Laptops have basically become a necessity for most Malaysians, with everyone from students to your parents probably using one at this moment. Unlike their desktop PC counterparts they’re portable and ready to use out of the box, while also being much more powerful and easier to work with than the smartphone in your pocket.
While everyone would love to have the latest and greatest laptop like the new Surface Laptop 5 or the MacBook Air M2, the truth is that not everyone can afford or even need such devices. If all you want or need is a simple laptop and you have a budget of under RM3,000, then we’ve got you covered as here’s a list of some of the best laptops you can buy in Malaysia available for below RM3,000.
Asus Vivobook 16X
Starting off with what is arguably the most powerful option here is the Asus Vivobook 16X. A relatively new laptop having been announced in Malaysia just last week, the Vivobook 16X packs a decently powerful AMD Ryzen 5 5600H processor mated to 8GB of DDR4 RAM and a 512GB SSD.
The Ryzen 5 5600H may be a last generation processor—AMD’s latest mobile chips are currently the Ryzen 6000 series—but it’s still a solid chip in its own right. It is a 45W TDP processor so does trade some battery life for performance, but does have Radeon Vega 7 integrated graphics which could mean some light gaming for casual and eSports titles, which at this price point is a pretty nice bonus to have.
The Vivobook 16X’s display meanwhile is a pretty large 16-inch, 1920 x 1200p WUXGA IPS panel. It’s not the best screen you’ll find having just 300nits of brightness and a 45% coverage of the NTSC colour gamut, but again, it’s a large display that also isn’t very common to see at this price point.
Elsewhere, there’s a 50Whr battery with a 90W charger, a backlit chiclet keyboard, a 720p webcam with a privacy shutter and Asus’ real time 3D noise reduction feature for better video conferencing quality, as well as a fingerprint sensor on the touchpad. As for I/O, you’ll find a USB-A 2.0 port, two USB-A 3.2 ports, a USB-C 3.2 port, a HDMI 1.4 port and a 3.5mm audio jack. It also supports WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity.
The Vivobook 16X weighs in at 1.88kg and measures 1.99cm thick, comes in two colour options, Quiet Blue and Transparent Silver, and is priced at RM2,999.
Acer Aspire Vero
If you prefer your laptop to have a little more, shall we say, character, then the Acer Aspire Vero could be on your shortlist. For starters, this is a green laptop—no not the colour, but it’s actually supposed to be an eco-friendly device. This means that the chassis is build out of 30% post-consumer recycled plastic with the keycaps themselves made of 50% PCR material. Ocean-bound plastic was also used for the touchpad, while the entire laptop comes in cardboard packaging that can be reused and recycled. Even the chassis itself comes with no paint on it for a lower carbon footprint.
Under the hood, the Aspire Vero comes with 12th Gen Intel Core processors, but the only option that’ll fit our sub-RM3,000 price point is the one running a Core i5-1235U processor with 8GB of DDR4 RAM along with a 512GB SSD. Despite this technically featuring a newer generation chip, because it (and a few other laptops on our list) are using the Intel U-series chip with a lower 15W TDP, it won’t be as powerful as the Vivobook 16X’s 45W chip, trading some performance for better battery life. You’ll also be getting Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics here.
As for the display, the Aspire Vero has a 15.6-inch, FHD IPS display with 100% coverage of the sRGB colour gamut. Keeping it on meanwhile is a 4-cell battery that Acer claims will last you up to 11 hours of use. As for I/O, there’s a HDMI port, an Ethernet port, three USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports, a USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 port as well as a 3.5mm audio jack. You’ll also find a fingerprint reader along with support for Bluetooth 5.2 and WiFi 6. Also, the R and E keys are mirrored to remind you to reduce, reuse and recycle.
The overall laptop measures 17.9mm thick, and weighs roughly 1.76kg. It goes for RM2,599, though if you have a little more to spend the Intel Core i7-1255U option is also available at RM3,299.
Acer Aspire 5
If perhaps you’re looking for a more regular laptop option, then we have the Acer Aspire 5, a mainstay of the local budget laptop segment. The latest generation of them come with 12th Gen Intel Core processors too, and the one we’d recommend from here is technically over budget, but just a smidge, so we think it’s still okay to consider getting if you can find it on discount.
The model in particular we’d go for is the one with an Intel Core i5-1235U, mated to 8GB of DDR4 RAM and a 512GB SSD. It can be upgraded to up to 32GB of RAM though. Graphics meanwhile get taken care of by the Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics. This simple no frills laptop also has a 15.6-inch, FHD IPS display with a standard 16:9 aspect ratio, covering 45% of the NTSC colour gamut.
Elsewhere, there’s a 48Wh battery that is good for up to 7.5 hours of use, a 720p webcam, with WiFi 6E and Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity. You’ll also find a HDMI 2.1 port, three USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports, a 3.5mm audio jack and a USB-C 3.2 port with Thunderbolt 4 support. Weighing in at 1.76kg and measuring 1.79cm thick, it’s available in Steel Grey or Haze Gold and will cost you RM3,099.
Acer Aspire 3
Another favourite amongst Malaysians seeking out a budget laptop, the Acer Aspire 3 was also recently refreshed by Acer and at first glance might not seem very different at all. The model we’d recommend here has the same Intel Core i5-1235U processor with Intel Iris Xe graphics, 8GB of DDR4 RAM and a 512GB SSD. There’s also the same 15.6-inch, 16:9 FHD IPS display with a 45% coverage of the NTSC colour gamut.
The differences here though are in the port selection, with no Thunderbolt 4 support. Instead, you’ll find an Ethernet port, a HDMI 2.1 port, three USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports and a 3.5mm audio jack. The battery is also weaker than the Aspire 5, with just a 40Wh battery keeping the lights on for up to 6.5 hours of use. There’s also a 720p webcam, and the overall chassis is a little thicker at 1.99cm and weighs 1.78kg.
Available in Pure Silver and Willow Green, this Aspire 3 model retails for RM2,899. Curiously, there is another model with an NVIDIA GeForce MX550 2GB VRAM discrete graphics card priced higher at RM3,399.
Asus Vivobook 15 OLED K513
Now this one is a bit of different recommendation, as it as not only a last generation 11th Gen Intel Core processor, but is also using an entry-level tier Intel Core i3-1125G4 chip, mated to just 4GB of DDR4 RAM and a 512GB SSD. It also just has older Intel UHD graphics rather than the more capable Intel Iris Xe graphics too. One thing to note is that you’ll want to avoid the dual-core Core i3-115G4 chip, and look out for the four-core Core i3-1125G4 chip instead.
What it severely lacks in performance, it makes up for it with its display. The Vivobook 15 OLED, as its name implies, packs a 15.6-inch, FHD 16:9 OLED display which is often times a much better visual experience compared to usual LCD panels. The Vivobook 15 OLED’s screen covers 100% of the DCI-P3 colour gamut, has Display HDR True Black 600 certification, reaches 600nits of HDR peak brightness, and has a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio. Simply put, if you want a laptop purely to watch content on, the Vivobook 15 OLED should be on your shortlist purely for its display.
Elsewhere, there’s a 42Wh battery with a 65W charger, a 720p webcam and a backlit chiclet keyboard. As for I/O you get a 3.5mm audio jack, a HDMI 1.4 port, two USB-A 2.0 ports, a USB-C 3.2 port, a USB-A 3.2 port and a MicroSD card reader. You’ll also find support for WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0. The Vivobook 15 OLED weighs in at 1.8kg and measures 1.79cm, and is available in Indie Black and Transparent Silver colourways.
The four-core Core i3-1125G4 might not be a great processor, and having just 4GB of RAM will hamper performance quite a bit, but this configuration does comfortably meet our budget, priced at just RM2,499 at time of writing, down from RM2,799. If you have a bit more to spend, there’s also the Core i5-1135G7 model with 8GB of RAM that’s priced at RM3,299, down from RM3,399. However, if you’re willing to wait a couple more months, it’s likely only a matter of time before Asus refreshes these options with newer generation processors under the hood.
Lenovo IdeaPad 5 14
We have another all-rounder laptop here in the form of the Lenovo IdeaPad 5. It packs a decent AMD Ryzen 7 5700U with a 25W TDP, meaning that it’s going to be good enough for almost all typical use cases a student or office worker might need it for. While a last generation chip, it should perform just as well if not better in most cases against the aforementioned Core i5-1235U. It also has the most memory among all the laptops listed out here today, with 16GB of DDR4 RAM together with a 512GB SSD. As for graphics, you also get Radeon integrated graphics here.
The display meanwhile is a 14-inch, FHD IPS display, with a standard 300nits of brightness and covers 45% of the NTSC colour gamut. Keeping the lights on is a 44.5Wh battery with up to seven hours of use, and you’ll find a 65W charger in the box. There’s also a fingerprint reader, a 720p webcam and support for WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity. As for I/O there’s two USB-A 3.2 ports, a USB-C 3.2 port, a HDMI 1.4 port, a card reader and a 3.5mm audio jack.
Available in Graphite Grey or Abyss Blue, this laptop was actually priced at RM3,399 when it launched early this year. However, its since been discounted, and currently goes for RM2,909 on the Lenovo official store on Shopee.
Honor MagicBook 15 AMD
Lastly, we have what is surprisingly the cheapest laptop on our list, the Honor MagicBook 15 AMD. It has an AMD Ryzen 5 5500U processor with 8GB of DDR4 RAM and a 256GB SSD too, with Radeon integrated graphics. As for its display, it has a 15.6-inch, FHD IPS display with 100% coverage of the sRGB colour gamut and a 1,000:1 contrast ratio, with 300nits of brightness.
Built out of aluminum alloy, the MagicBook 15 measures in at 16.9mm thick, weighs around 1.54kg and comes in just Mystic Silver. It has a 56Wh battery, a full-sized keyboard and a fingerprint sensor on the power button, as well as a 720p webcam. As for I/O there’s a USB-C port, a USB-A 3.0 port, a USB-A 2.0 port, a HDMI 1.4 port and a 3.5mm audio jack. It also comes with support for WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity.
Typically priced at RM2,499, which by itself is a reasonable price tag, at time of writing it’s currently going for just RM1,899 on the Honor eStore as part of its Back to School sale.
If you want double the memory and storage though, the Honor MagicBook 14 AMD is also on discount. Packing the same processor with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, it does have a smaller 14-inch panel with mostly the same key specifications. It also shares the same I/O layout and the same aluminum chassis. It is lighter though at 1.38kg, and thinner too at 15.9mm. Normally priced at RM3,299, it currently goes for just RM2,499 on the Honor eStore.
What about gaming laptops?
Most of these laptops here today are going to be serviceable day-to-day laptops for office use or for students, but with no dedicated graphics card chances are you won’t be able to play any of the latest, triple-A games on them. You could still play some casual, older games or some eSports titles at low settings, but if you want a laptop for gaming, you’re going to need to fork out quite a bit more than just RM3,000 unfortunately.
There are other alternative ways to get a gaming laptop at this price point though. The most obvious one is to go and take a look at the secondhand market. On Facebook for example, groups like PC Gaming Community MALAYSIA often have people looking to sell of their old gaming laptops and PCs, and the community there seems tight knit enough that they will name and shame scammers that they encounter. Of course, it goes without saying that there are risks involved with buying older, used hardware, and you should always try to ensure that everything is in working order before letting your hard earned money leave your wallet.
In any case, we hope this list of budget laptops under RM3,000 will be able to help you make your next purchase just a little bit easier. Also, if you guys spot any more great deals on laptops to be had, let us and others know in the comments below!