I normally buy netbook type computers - 7" to 11" - because I spend most of my time hitchhiking around the world and when I'm at home I plug into external monitor, drive, keyboard, mouse, etc.

I want the very cheapest. It's liable to get lost, broken, or stolen on my travels. I'm willing to accept inferior CPU and graphics and less RAM and storage. These I regard as natural limits.

But I hate artificial limits.

Back when netbooks were super popular just before iPads came out, Microsoft offered cheap Windows licenses to OEMs if they put artificial limits such as 32-bit only, maximum RAM 4gb, etc.

I also hate soldered-in RAM, non-replaceable batteries, etc.

I also regard proprietary hardware with no free drivers for Linux to be an artificial limit.

So which are the cheapest laptops which are small like netbooks but support 64-bit OSes and have upgradeable RAM etc?

(MacBooks and Ultrabooks are several times the price of netbook class laptops. Intermediate priced laptops in my part of the world are generally full size - 14" to 17".)

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    Most netbook class machines with windows seem to be 64 bit these days. My HP mini upgraded quite well, but its got soldered in ram, batteries that need you to tear it apart to replace and built in storage so wouldn't meet your needs. Would an older system work for you? Also what country? – Journeyman Geek May 27 '16 at 0:41
  • I'm in Australia but could be in China in a few months. – hippietrail May 27 '16 at 5:12

The Lenovo ideapad range are quite good value, I don't know what country you're from but in the UK you can get a lenovo ideapad 305 for under £300. It has an i3, 8GB ram and a 1tb HDD. For it's price it's pretty good value for money!

in regards to ram and battery, both can be replaced! I have a slightly older version which came with 4GB of ram. Upgrading it was no issue whatsoever


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  • I actually got an IdeaPad 100S a few months ago and am a bit disappointed. It has soldered-in RAM and flash storage. It also has monotouch trackpad and some driver issues such as semi-regularly crashing during sleep and inability to succeed with any Win 10 updates. At AUD $240 on clearance it was cheap but these faults make it hobbled compared to my old HP Mini and even my original Asus Eee PC before that (when I allow for advances over the years). Anyway it's made me hesitant to try Lenovo again. Also a quick search makes the 305 look like a full-size 14/15" laptop. I'll clarify my question. – hippietrail May 26 '16 at 17:40

I'm going to essentially steal RPhipps answer from here and suggest an older X series thinkpad.

I have an x220, and from his ebay link, they're roughly in the 200USD range, and around 12 inches. While its an older system, sandy bridge holds up well and its really lean.

Nice things? Its trivial to upgrade. Mine's got roughly twice the ram as stock, a 250gb SSD replacing the 300gb stock disk and an easily replacable battery.

All you need is a small screwdriver

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