Zoom has become the de facto standard in online meetings since everyone was forced to start working from home. A laptop is not essential for Zoom since you can use it on a smartphone or a tablet.
Still, laptops are generally better for business purposes, and some Zoom functions are only available on laptops. So, which are the best laptops for Zoom meetings, especially on a budget?
The best laptop for Zoom meetings will depend on your requirements. Low-spec budget laptops like the Chromebook can run Zoom, but if you’re looking for more power, there are excellent options from corporations like Dell, HP, Lenovo, Acer, and Apple.
These are not necessarily budget laptops, though.
To determine the best of the best affordable laptops for Zoom meetings, we must compare them on levels beyond just cost.
Their power and portability also come into play, along with factors like battery life, USB ports, webcam quality, audio quality, and screen size. Let’s compare a handful of the best options to find the best budget laptop for Zoom meetings.
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The Best Overall Laptop for Zoom Meetings
When we determine the best overall laptop for Zoom meetings, we have to consider all of the factors. This means that we can’t necessarily go for the cheapest option but the one that offers the best value for money in terms of performance and portability.
With all things considered, the overall best budget laptop for Zoom meetings is:
Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop 2022
Acer is a well-known and reliable brand, trusted by millions due to a reputation for excellence that they’ve built up over several decades. With the 2022 model of the Acer Aspire 5 Slim laptop, they managed to hit the ball out of the park altogether. It is an unbelievable value and the perfect budget laptop for Zoom meetings.
The laptop sells for around $500, placing it barely in the upper levels of a mid-range laptop. But its specs and capabilities are worth the price.
It has a high-performance AMD Ryzen 3 quad-core CPU with AMD Vega graphics. 8GB of DDR4 RAM, a 256GB Solid State Drive, a fingerprint reader, and a full version of Windows 11 round off the technical specifications.
The fact that it has a complete installation of Windows 11, not Windows 11 in S-Mode (like other models of the Aspire 5), makes it perfect for Zoom since the Zoom app doesn’t support S-Mode at all. You won’t have any of the limitations that S-Mode imposes on you so that you can install any software of your choice on your powerful, budget Windows laptop.
It also has a full HD camera and a backlit keyboard for late-night Zoom meetings in high quality. Its screen is slightly larger than the other options on this list, measuring 15.4 inches. But despite that, it still weighs less than four pounds and has eight hours of battery life, so it’s still nice and portable.
The 2022 Acer Aspire 5 is a fantastic option for Zoom meetings and more. It won’t disappoint.
The Best Mid-Range Laptop For Zoom Meetings
Midrange laptops are great for those who want to attend Zoom meetings without sacrificing performance and quality while doing their other work comfortably. Many great laptops can help you to do just that:
Microsoft Surface Go 3
The Surface Go 3 is Microsoft’s 2-in-1 convertible tablet/laptop device. The Surface Go is often compared with Apple’s iPad Pro, and it has its similarities, like the fact that it’s a touchscreen device that you could use as a tablet or a laptop. But the Surface Go 3 has the added advantage of running a complete version of Windows instead of a mobile or tablet operating system.
This means that you don’t have to worry about software support. If it runs on Windows 10, it will run on the Surface Go 3, and it runs Zoom beautifully. Its price is perfectly mid-range, and so are the specs. You can get the Surface Go 3 with an Intel Pentium Gold CPU, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage for around $400.
The comfort of running any Windows software, but using it in tablet or laptop mode, makes it one of the most ideal Zoom laptops on the market.
HP Pavilion x360
HP is an excellent contender against Microsoft’s Surface Go 3 with its Pavilion x360 2-in-1 laptop offering. It is slightly more expensive than the Surface, costing around $60 more, but its hardware specs make it worth the higher price.
This HP Pavilion model is also a 2-in-1 like the Surface, with complete touchscreen tablet/laptop conversion and running Windows 10. But unlike the Surface, it has an Intel Core i3 CPU, 128GB hard drive space, and 8GB of RAM. That’s double that of the Surface in most cases, meaning you can attend your Zoom meetings and do other work simultaneously.
The Most Portable Laptop For Zoom Meetings
Portability is a crucial component that many users are looking for. Offices have become increasingly mobile, and many people are working from coffee shops or restaurants these days. Since budgets and needs differ, here are the most portable laptops for Zoom meetings:
Apple MacBook Air 2020
Some would find it laughable that this laptop is on a list of budget laptops. The Apple MacBook Air 2020 still sells for just under $1,000 on Amazon. However, in terms of “bang for your buck,” it will be very difficult to beat this one.
The 2020 MacBook Air is the first MacBook that sports the Apple Silicon M1 processor. This CPU has proven to be one of the most powerful and energy-efficient processors on the market today. The laptop also has 8GB of high-performance unified RAM and 256GB of storage.
The MacBook Air is perfect for mobility. It has battery life that can last you for 10 hours or more and a size that’s just slightly bigger than an average tablet PC. It also has two USB-C ports but no other expansion capabilities, which could limit some users. It has a beautiful display, 720p HD webcam, and high-quality simulated surround sound. Your Zoom meetings never looked or sounded so good.
The thing that makes the MacBook Air 2020 ideal is the combination of power and portability. Its lightweight, small size, and the power of a full PC with the M1 CPU make it an unbeatable combo for mobile productivity, and Zoom meetings are just the beginning of its capabilities.
Acer Swift 3X
At slightly less than the MacBook Air 2020, the Acer Swift 3X is a lightweight laptop powerhouse that will cost you around $960. This powerful Windows 10 laptop weighs just over 3 pounds, but it runs an Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB RAM, and 1TB of storage space. The word “powerhouse” is an understatement for such a small, lightweight laptop.
As with the MacBook Air, this one is for users who want to host and attend their Zoom meetings on the go, but with the ability to do all their other work as well and the power to feel like they’re using a desktop PC.
The Best Budget Laptop For Zoom Meetings
Zoom is not very power-intensive. It still supports operating systems like Windows 7 and Ubuntu 12.04, which are more than a decade old. Almost any webcam (HD or not) is supported too. It even works on pre-Android BlackBerry smartphones. With this in mind, nearly any laptop will do, but obviously, better performance will lead to a smoother experience.
However, this abundance of support makes it easy to find a great budget laptop for Zoom meetings, and the best ones are:
Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 4
The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 4 isn’t a powerhouse by any stretch. In fact, the only place where it packs a punch is in its price, which is well below $200. You won’t easily find a more affordable laptop, and this one supports Zoom perfectly.
This laptop only has 64GB of storage and an Intel Celeron processor. But it has 4GB of RAM, which is decent for Zoom meetings. There are two USB 3.0 ports and a USB-C port (also used for its charger), so it can easily be expanded without too much effort.
Regarding Zoom meetings, this Samsung laptop has a 0.9-megapixel webcam. It’s not HD (far from it, actually). But the quality is surprising compared to that of other similar laptops. The webcam will do nicely for Zoom, as long as you don’t want to show off the view from your apartment or how effective your skincare routine has been.
The Zoom app will stop supporting ChromeOS soon, but the built-in Chrome browser is ready to take over. Zoom has already made provision for this with its PWA (Progressive Web App). If you’re looking for a budget laptop that you will mainly use for Zoom and maybe a few other productivity tools, the Samsung Chromebook 4 is one of the most affordable options.
Lenovo IdeaPad 3 Chromebook
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is another Chromebook nearly identical to the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 4 with a few minor differences. It has the exact RAM and CPU as the Samsung laptop. It only has 32GB for your files, which is half the size of the Chromebook, limiting your ability to install third-party apps and store documents.
However, it is significantly better for Zoom since it has a 720p HD webcam. This is a drastic improvement over Samsung’s 0.9-megapixel webcam. It also boasts 10 hours of battery life, an ultra-slim design, and a price that can’t be beaten at just over $100.
Suppose power isn’t a high priority, and you will primarily use cloud applications like Zoom and Google Workspace. In that case, this Lenovo laptop is probably the perfect option for you, especially at this price point.
Best Budget Laptop for Zoom FAQs
What Kind of Laptop Is the Best Kind for Zoom Meetings?
There are no clear rules to qualify a laptop as the best option for Zoom meetings. It should have access to the internet, a camera, microphone, and speakers, or at least a way to connect all these things externally. Apart from that, the choice is yours based on your quality, portability, and price requirements.
What Computer Do You Need for Zoom?
Almost any computer will do. Zoom will run on computers over ten years old, and those that don’t support the Zoom app can run the web-based version. As long as it meets the hardware requirements (mainly a camera, speakers/headphones, and microphone), you are all set, regardless of your computer type.
What Processor Is Best for Zoom?
Though there are no precise CPU requirements for Zoom, some CPUs are better at simultaneous processing of two-way video and audio than others. For Zoom Rooms, in particular, Zoom recommends using at least an Intel Core i5 8th Generation or an Apple Silicon M1 chip for single-screen setups or 8th Generation Intel Core i7 for two or more screens.
Which Is Better for Zoom: Tablet or Laptop?
There are a few differences in Zoom’s capabilities for different platforms. This doesn’t only apply to tablets vs. laptops. It goes beyond that since there are even differences between the macOS and Windows versions and the Android and iOS / iPadOS versions of Zoom. Laptops are better for large Zoom meetings, while tablets and phones are better for smaller, intimate calls.
Laptops also offer better performance and improved screen-sharing capabilities. You can also multitask more efficiently on a laptop than on a mobile device such as a tablet. So if you’re on the go, a tablet is great, but if you have a choice, laptop versions of Zoom offer more features and better capabilities.