The new year is almost upon us and you’ll probably want to capitalise on the sales and pick yourself up a brand new laptop to kickstart 2023. If you have no money, don’t worry because we’re back with a brand new Best Budget Buys, this time for laptops below RM5,000. Doesn’t matter what your needs are, there’s probably a laptop here for you.
For this, we’re going to be breaking it down into categories, which means we’ll have a laptop recommendation for different kinds of use cases. Some of them have retail prices over RM5,000 but you can often find them on discount for less, so your mileage may vary a little tiny bit. With that out of the way, let’s get into the first category.
Best Macbook: MacBook Air (M1)
We’ll start simple with a MacBook recommendation. For this budget, the best would be the RM4,399 MacBook Air with the M1 processor. It’s pretty much the only thing you can get for below RM5,000 but it’s still quite a capable mac for work and media consumption.
It’s powered by Apple’s M1 processor with 8 CPU cores and 7 GPU cores. It’s got 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage.
While that doesn’t look mighty impressive on paper, the MacBook Air’s strengths shine when you consider the other features like the crisp 13.3” Retina Display that pushes a resolution of 2560×1600 pixels, the 18-hour battery life and solid speakers for its class.
Best for Content Creation: Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Pro 16″
If you’re a creator on the go, then we’d recommend getting the 16” Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Pro. Its RRP is slightly over budget coming in at RM5,309, but you can often find this on sale for under RM5,000.
The highlight is the 16” WQXGA IPS display that pushes 350 nits of brightness and a 120Hz refresh rate. Its specs are also nothing to scoff at, packing an AMD Ryzen 5 6600HS processor with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD alongside an NVIDIA GeForce RTX3050 graphics card.
Keeping the lights on is a 75Wh battery that’s rated for up to 9 hours of use. There’s also a plethora of ports including an HDMI port, a USB-C port, a USB A port, a card reader and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Best for Gaming: Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-57-71EN)
There’s a reason why the Acer Nitro 5 is a popular laptop among the budget conscious gamers. Yes, it currently retails for an RRP of RM5,999, but if you pick up the last gen Nitro 5 instead, you can definitely find it for below RM5,000.
Just because it’s “last gen” doesn’t mean that it’s a slouch. This laptop packs an Intel Core i7-11800H processor with 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card.
It also features a 15.6” Full HD IPS display with a 144Hz refresh rate and a 3ms response time. Keeping the lights on is a 57.5Wh battery, and you even get a spare HDD slot in case you want to add more storage. I/O includes a USB-C port, 3 USB-A ports, an HDMI port, an Ethernet port and a 3.5mm audio jack.
Best for Media Consumption: Asus ZenBook 14 OLED
If all you want to do is Netflix and…relax, then the RM4,799 Asus ZenBook 14 OLED is the laptop for you. I’m not sure if you’ve ever used a laptop with an OLED screen before, but when I did, it absolutely blew my mind. The visual experience was just so stunning with great contrast, deep blacks and vibrant colours.
This Zenbook packs a 14” OLED display that pushes a resolution of 2880×1800 pixels so everything is just crisp. On top of that it has a refresh rate of 90Hz and a peak brightness of 600 nits. Plus, it’s also a 16:10 aspect ratio which I prefer when using my laptop for work and web browsing.
Inside, the ZenBook is powered by an Intel Core i5-1240P processor, 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage. There’s also a 75Wh battery that Raymond has personally tested to get six hours of battery life on heavy usage.
Despite being a thin and light, you’re still being treated to a nice set of I/O, with a USB-A port, two USB-C ports, an HDMI port, a 3.5mm headphone jack and a microSD card slot.
Best Wildcard: Acer Aspire 7
Rounding out today’s list, Raymond insisted that I included his new favourite bang-for-buck laptop and that’s the Acer Aspire 7. It’s probably the newest laptop here but for RM3,899 it looks like a great starter laptop. Inside, the laptop is powered by an Intel Core i5-1240P processor that’s mated to 8GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD.
If 8GB of RAM is not enough for you, the savings you get here can be put into a second 8GB stick of RAM which is currently about RM100, then pop it into the extra RAM slot in the Aspire 7.
There’s also a 15.6” Full HD IPS display that has a 144Hz refresh rate, and all of that is powered by an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card. There’s a 50Wh battery in here, as well as a plethora of I/O ports including an HDMI port, three USB-A ports, a USB-C port and a 3.5mm audio jack.
If you want more recommendations on laptops for each category, make sure you check out Raymond’s detailed buyer’s guide.