While not ideal for hardware enthusiasts, Acer's Aspire E 15 (E5-576-392H) laptop is a solid budget system that works really well for the less-demanding users in your life. Normally $362, the entry-level configuration of the E 15 is now just $289 (opens in new tab) for Prime Day.
- Acer Aspire E 15 with Core i3 / 6GB / 1TB (opens in new tab) for $289
For the price, you get some really good specs: a 1080p screen, a Core i3-8130U CPU, 6GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive. The large keyboard has a numpad and, for anyone that still has discs, there's even a DVD drive.
The Aspire E 15 is a chunky, but well-built beast. It weighs 5 pounds and is made of simple plastic, but the deck and lid have a brushed-metal feel to them.
The screen provides plenty of real estate, but according to our colleagues at Laptop Mag, it registers a modest 227 nits of brightness and can reproduce a dull 62 percent of the sRGB color gamut. However, at this price, it's great to have a 1920 x 1080 resolution display, considering that laptops this cheap usually have 1366 x 768 panels that make it difficult to stack two windows next to each other and force you to do a ton of scrolling, because so little text appears on the screen at once.
You probably won't be using the E 15 on many airplane tray tables, but it does have long battery life. It lasted nearly 9 hours on Laptop Mag's web surfing battery test.
The Aspire E 15 is also really easy to upgrade. Open a hatch in the bottom and you can replace both the RAM and the 2.5-inch hard drive. So, if you want to move up from 6GB or pop in an SSD, you can do it.
While I wouldn't buy it for my personal use, I would and have recommended the Aspire E 15 to people like my sister-in-law, who just wants something cheap for surfing the web and doing social media. It's also a good laptop for families to share with children. Even if you were to build your own desktop for the kids, you'd be hard pressed to get all the components, a monitor and a keyboard / mouse for this cheap.