Amazon sells the cheapest Core i5 laptop worth buying right now — it even comes with a touchscreen display

gateway touchscreen laptop
(Image credit: Future)
  • 09/15: Price amended, Memory capacity added

What is it? This one deal stands out as the Gateway GWTC51427-BK is the cheapest Core i5 laptop I could find that’s new (as opposed to refurbished) and recent (sporting a CPU launched after 2020). It is sold by the world’s biggest online retailer (Amazon) and what makes it special - other than its unbelievable price tag - is the presence of a fingerprint reader and touchscreen, two features unheard on sub-$400 laptops but common on business laptops.

Gateway Core i5 laptop: $378.99 at AmazonSave 32%

Gateway Core i5 laptop: $378.99 at Amazon
Save 32% Gateway delivers yet another superb laptop. This one comes with a superfast 12th Core i5 CPU, a big, upgradable SSD, a touchscreen full HD display and even a fingerprint scanner.

What makes it special? Like many great deals, it is the combination of unique features that make it worthy. In this case, a fingerprint scanner, a 12th generation Core i5, a capacious SSD and a 14.1-inch full HD IPS touchscreen display, all for less than $378.99, a 32% discount off its original price of $550.

What else should we know? The Core i5-1235U inside the GWTC51427-BK is a powerful CPU which is about 20% faster than the 11th gen Intel Core i7-1195G7, the speed champion from the previous generation, according to popular benchmark, Passmark. It has 8GB RAM, a 512GB SSD and you can add in another SSD. There’s plenty of ports and slots (eight in all) including a dedicated power connector - which I prefer. As for battery life, it reached more than 11 hours on PC Mag’s battery test - more than Gateway’s own 10 hour estimate -  and under seven hours for Notebookcheck. The webcam is a 2-megapixel model with a camera shutter. 

Any cons? Its 8GB memory is not upgradable as it is soldered. You can’t add to it, which is a shame but understandable given the thin-and-light nature of the laptop. It also uses a slower SATA rather than PCIe SSD, a minor disappointment. Business users may also flinch at the lack of a backlit keyboard and and IR camera. 

What have others said about it? PCMag and Notebookcheck reviewed the laptop last year, with the first giving it 60% and the second one, 78%. Bear in mind that this was at the original price. PCMag said it was heavy, had a dull screen and a sub-par touchpad while Notebookcheck claimed it was noisy, that they keyboard keys felt cheap and was larger than expected. The publication stated that the laptop “is ideal for budget-conscious users who want to maximize CPU performance and can utilize its dual storage solution and integrated ports”. Even PCMag had to acknowledge that this 14-inch Gateway laptop offers “good performance, battery life, and connectivity for a low price, making it a decent overall bargain”. I concur.

What about after sales? The item is eligible for return, refund or replacement within 30 days of receipt as per Amazon’s T&C. More than one seller are offering the GWTC51427-BK at this price which means that there’s enough stock going around. It is worth checking the 4-year protection to cover your purchase beyond the 12-month warrant. Provided by Asurion, it includes drops, spills and cracked screens and even includes expert tech help. At just under $93, it is a no-brainer.

Anything else? Personally I would have loved to have a screen that flips 360 degrees (like Lenovo’s legendary Yoga range) so that you could use the laptop as a pseudo-tablet. Now for the fun bit; a reviewer suggested that it is also overclockable but you need to tinker with the BIOS.

Also consider

Gateway Ultra Slim 14.1-inch laptop: $459.99

Gateway Ultra Slim 14.1-inch laptop: $459.99
If you want a more powerful laptop and Windows 11 Pro but don’t mind a smaller SSD, then check out the more expensive version of this Gateway laptop which features a Core i7-1255U and costs around $80 more. 

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.