Tablets stole the spotlight from laptops when they first burst onto the scene, but ultrabooks and hybrids have helped turn the tide in recent years. Cheap laptops are also a popular alternative, and there are plenty of options on the table if you’re looking for the best laptop under $500.
Things to Consider When Choosing the Laptop Under $500
When you’re shopping in the budget range, there are some things you just won’t get when dipping down below $500. Want a UHD display or 16GB of RAM? You won’t find a laptop with those specifications in this class, but you may be surprised by how many affordable 15.6-inch machines are available.
Before we get to the areas, you should consider, take a few minutes and think about your needs. If you’re a student, you’ll want a laptop with great battery life and reliable connectivity while gamers will want to go straight for the PC with the most RAM and largest processor.
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While you may think you’re stuck choosing between machines with large bezels at this range, you’d be mistaken. There are actually two styles you can choose from although both have their drawbacks.
The Classic Laptop – Any laptop we refer to as a “classic” has a normal form factor with a clamshell design. While the shell can be made from aluminum, you generally have to deal with a lot of plastic.
Hybrids – A hybrid laptop is any machine that’s considered a 2-in-1 or convertible. These PCs have hinges which allow you to use the computer in “tablet” mode or set it up like a tent. Typically, these hybrids range from 11 to 13-inches in size and some even allow you to detach the display entirely.
RAM is arguably the most important factor when choosing a budget-friendly laptop, but only if the machine isn’t easy to upgrade. Thankfully, modern technology allows us to upgrade RAM on certain laptops which makes a huge difference when you can quickly go from to 16GB without breaking the bank.
In other cases, you’re stuck with what you get out of the box. Every PC on our list has a minimum of 4GB of RAM, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a laptop with more than 8GB for under $500. If you plan to run high-end programs, be sure to check out the system requirements beforehand or you may be in for a rude surprise.
Storage & Speed
Speed or horsepower is where things get tricky with budget laptops as you won’t find any running a Core-i7 and only a handful will have an i5 processor. AMD chips and Core-i3 chips are the most popular options. While on the lower end of the power spectrum, most will still provide enough pop to handle applications as long as you have enough RAM. The generation of the chip makes a huge difference as well, so go for the newest model if given the option.
As for storage, thankfully things are quite simple with cheap laptops. Solid-state drives have come down in price so if you need speed, opt for a PC with an SSD. You won’t get as much space but can expand through the usual means. HDD’s will provide you with more storage initially but are considerably slower than their solid-state counterparts.
8 Best Laptops Under $500
ASUS F512JA-AS34 VivoBook 15
A Great, Everyday Ergonomic Laptop Within an Affordable Price Range
If you are looking for an above-average laptop with good specs and an elegant design, this offer is hard to up by due to it possessing the capabilities to satisfy the needs of most everyday users while offering additional implementations brought by the advancement of modern computer technology.
The design closely follows the trend of laptop construction aimed to maximize portability, weighing just 3.75 pounds and coming out in dimensions of 14.1 x 9.1 x 0.78 inches, marking it as a lightweight option that suits most users when it comes to mobility.
The 15.6 inch HD screen presents a full 88% screen-to-body ratio, additionally enriched with the latest NanoEdge bezel display. The i3-1005g1 CPU processor and 8GB of RAM do wonders for everyday tasks, resulting in a lightning-fast and responsive machine.
The ergonomic design encompasses the backlit keyboard design, which improves typing posture and is ultra-sensitive to touch. The comfort of use complements the innovative sound design, powered by ASUS SonicMaster, which offers an immersive experience in light gaming, streaming movies, or just watching videos.
When it comes to power capacity and charging, the VivoBook 15 is no slouch; it can last for the entire day and recharge 60% within just 49 minutes. If you are looking for a jack-of-all-trades laptop, this is an excellent light machine for light work and leisure.
- Smooth and lightweight
- Above-average specs
- Lightning-fast operation speed
- Fantastic battery life and recharge rate
- Not suitable for heavy-duty work
Dell Inspiron 3583
A Customizable High-Performance Machine at an Affordable Price
This laptop option fits many users with a wide variety of needs, bringing in high-levels of customization that allow you to enhance your productivity and bring it to the next level. It packs much value in every configuration, which you can adjust to your liking.
Powered by a 1.8 GHz Intel Celeron Processor, the laptop is customized to dish out excellent performance and productivity while remaining portable and long-lasting, ensuring you can remain productive wherever you go.
You can choose the memory capacity and working memory sizes you need, with all customization options coming with an Anti-Glare LED-Backlit Non-touch Display, which gives you an excellent 15.6-inch HD display.
Another upside is the HD webcam and microphone addition, which add up nicely to the stellar sound quality. The product’s qualities, combined with just 4.83 pounds, make it great for making calls and connecting with others wherever you are.
The impressive set of components comes in a chassis that allows for multi-connectivity for both USB 3.X1 Gen and 2.0, HDMI (among many other additions) that makes this product fantastic for all kinds of activities, allowing you to maximize its great innate potential in all areas of use.
- Customizable to your liking
- High-end specs regardless of choice
- Lightning-fast response speed
- Affordable and aesthetically pleasing
- The CPU is not suited for heavy-duty tasks
Acer Aspire 5 A515-43-R19L
Perfect Choice for Basic Computer Needs
Aspire 5 A515-43-R19L from Acer comes with pretty good Dual Core AMD Ryzen 3 3200U CPU, which is capable of reaching a maximum of 3.5GHz.
Accompanying that, there are 4GB of DDR4 system memory, which will allow you to perform all basic tasks without losing performance.
When it comes to storage, this model comes with 128GB PCIe NVMe SSD, which will speed up your loading times a lot.
Aspire 5 features standard 15.6” FHD Widescreen IPS Display with LED-backlit support. To make screen even better, there is AMD Radeon Vega 3 Mobile Graphics.
When we talk about the connectivity, this laptop comes with 1 USB 3.1 generation 1, 2 USB 2.0 and HDMI port with HDCP support. As for its internet connection, it supports standard 802.11ac Wi-Fi connection.
Battery life is solid, and it will last for around 7.5 hours of constant use, which is enough for performing some daily tasks. Maximum Power Supply is 65W.
This model comes with pre-installed Windows 10 in S mode, so you won’t have to worry about installing the operating system by yourself.
- Pretty good performance for basic tasks
- SSD for faster loading times and increased performance
- Decent screen quality
- Solid battery life
- Includes operating system
- It can be a bit tricky to switch to Windows 10 Home
Asus Chromebook Flip C434
Solid Laptop with NanoEdge Display
Chromebook Flip C434 comes with FHD14” 4-way NanoEdge Display, which means that its bezels are very narrow, only 5mm thin. That is useful because it makes it possible for 14” display to fit in a 13” body.
Display hinge can be rotated for 360 degrees, thus allowing you to use a tent, stand and even tablet mode, which, along with the touchscreen feature is pretty useful for business users.
Apart from that, C434 features Intel Core m3-8100y CPU with 4M cache and can work on up to 3.4GHz.
Along with that comes 4GB of LPDDR3 system memory, which is enough for performing daily basic tasks.
When it comes to available storage space, we could say that it is not the stronger side of this Chromebook, since there is only 64GB eMMC.
C434 model comes with a pre-installed Chrome OS and all Google apps that come alongside it, so you can expect to have all apps needed for basic use.
Another great thing about C434 is that it is very lightweight since it weighs only 3 lbs, which is pretty handy if you need to go on business trips often.
- Great Nano Edge design
- Touchscreen 360 degrees flip-and-fold display
- Pre-installed OS and basic applications
- Solid performance
- Virus protection included
- Low amount of storage space
Lenovo IdeaPad 3
A Miniature Powerhouse, Designed to Excel in All Everyday Tasks
Manufactured to meet a large number of students and digital nomads’ needs, this mobile laptop aims to please and does so with flying colors!
It is small enough to be packed in almost any bag and sufficiently light to enable you to make full use of its portability, bringing its power anywhere you want it.
It comes with the latest mobile multi-core processor, the AMD Ryzen 5 3500U, which allows you to surpass the limits with immense speed, alongside Radeon Graphics, which nicely add up to this potent configuration.
See and do more on the 14-inch full HD display with two narrow bezels that completely remove clutters while allowing you to immerse yourself in your work or entertainment fully. On top of that, you get the Dopoundsy Audio system, which works wonders on miniature laptop systems.
- Extremely fast operating speed
- Can tackle all everyday tasks
- Can carry you through the entire day
- Allows for a wide range of multi-connectivity options
- Not suitable for gaming nor intensive tasks
SAMSUNG XE350XBA-K01US Chromebook 4 Plus
A Fast and Powerful Portable Machine at an Exclusive Price
Chromebooks have always kept up a high reputation due to their practicality and overall power that tends to offer all of the features of Google’s OS at lightning-fast speed, and this Chromebook is no different, offering high-end specs at a truly phenomenal price.
This product’s shining elegance, exemplified in its 15.6″ HD display design with minimized bezel, allows you an unparalleled viewing experience of all your content.
You get to choose between 4GB or 6GB of RAM, with a substantial amount of memory to store all your files and experience the true power a high-quality Chromebook can offer.
The system runs all of Google’s trademark services and is entirely operated with Google Assistant – sort out all of your tedious tasks with just a few sentences!
First and foremost, this is a lightweight machine, as it runs ChromeOS, which makes it come to light when working on tasks that are not too tasking on the CPU- it might be designed for light jobs, yet it does them within a moment’s notice.
If you want a machine that is all about raw speed and portability, you cannot go wrong in picking this unique Chromebook, which offers protection that goes well beyond the industry standard while keeping up the reputation of stellar performance.
- A lightning-fast and optimized OS
- Fantastic for carrying around
- Performs admirably with multiple processes running at once
- Long-lasting battery life
- The system is ill-suited for tasking work
HP Pavilion X360
A Budget-Cut 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop Ideal for Multitasking
The HP Pavilion X360 is a laptop best suited for light to moderate work-related purposes and leisure activities that are not too taxing. If you want a dependable machine of average power but high multitasking capacity and speed, this is a good choice.
It comes with Intel’s Dual-Core Core i3-1005G1 CPU and UHD Graphics that are solid specs for a more work-oriented laptop, offering up to 3.4GHz, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB SSD.
It sports an innovative 14″ HD WLED- Backlit touchscreen that is light on the eyes, allowing for full 360° flipping capabilities that transform it into a tablet with the power of a portable computer within seconds!
It is also great for communication and attending online seminars and classes with the integrated HD camera and dual-array microphones that confer your voice in a crisp and transparent fashion.
All in all, this is a powerful option for those that wish to dedicate their laptop to jobs that are not too heavy on the GPU, allowing the computer to use its fast processing power and optimized OS for lighter tasks.
- Perfect traveling companion when frequent movement is a must
- Potent mid-range specs with excellent optimization
- Provides an excellent viewing experience
- It can last you for an entire day
- Not suitable for gaming
Microsoft Surface Go 2 4425Y
3-in-1 Lightweight Laptop With Great Overall Functionality
This laptop is a premium choice when superb portability is concerned with its 1.2-pound weight and potent components. The miniature laptop allows for a 10.5″ Touchscreen and full pen support.
The Surface Go 2 offers a trio of different configurations that can satisfy a wide range of needs, from 4 to 8GB’s of RAM, from 64 to 128GB’s of storage space, and the choice between Intel’s Pentium Gold 4425Y and Intel’s Core m3-8100Y, with the standard implementation of Intel HD Graphics 615 in all three.
This laptop can connect with a Surface Go Signature Type Cover that acts as a separate keyboard, allowing you to replicate the entire experience wherever you happen to be. The added Surface Pen and the Surface Mobile Mouse allow for unparalleled versatility that is entirely optional.
This product is terrific for content creators and artists due to its components’ innate capacity to deliver a long-lasting device that can replicate different digital art types. It can also work on more tasking activities such as programming, giving this device an edge in mobility and sheer capacity.
If you are in the market for a universal gadget that can function in multiple ways without sacrificing performance, the Surface Go 2 offers a great deal at a reasonable price.
- Light as a feather, allowing you to use it virtually anywhere
- The laptop’s long-lasting battery can carry you through the entire day without needing to recharge.
- It can convert in three different modes and offer fantastic performance on all three.
- You need to purchase the keyboard and mouse separately