10 Best Laptops Under $500 (Reviewed & Updated Jan 2020)

The days of bulky, battery-draining, expensive laptops being your only option are long over — you can now buy nice, thin, stylish laptops for less than $500. The best laptops under $500 are well-rounded, reliable machines that hit several sweet spots, including strong overall performance, solid battery life and interesting distinctions such as an array of useful ports or a sharp webcam.

The Best Laptops Under $500

Our top three choices on this list nail those conditions: the Acer Aspire 5, the Asus VivoBook 15 and the Samsung Chromebook 3. These notebooks make perfect holiday gifts for folks who need a basic PC and are ideal for students or anyone who just wants to do some basic word processing and web browsing.

Some things to note: You’re not going edit massive photos or videos or stream Gears 5 to your Mixer followers at full resolution with the laptops on this list. These are mostly no-frills, beginner laptops. So, you will be able to complete homework and office assignments with the minimal slowdown, while streaming music or video with a few browser tabs open.


#1

Best Laptops Under $500 – Acer Aspire 5


Best Laptops Under $500 - Acer Aspire 5


Specs

  • Display: 15.6 inches; 1,920 x 1,080
  • CPU: Intel Core i3
  •  GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 620
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 128GB SSD
  • Weight: 3.76 pounds

Pros

  • Long battery life
  • Bright screen
  • Strong performance

Cos

  • Poor graphics
  • Build quality could be better

Review

There’s a lot to like in the Acer Aspire 5. The 15.6-inch display is quite bright at 276 nits, and it outputs at full 1080p resolution, unlike most budget laptops in this class (although a few others on this list also boast that distinction). Performance-wise, you can expect to do plenty of multitasking, browser tab switching and Spotify listening with the minimal slowdown, thanks to an eighth-generation Intel Core i3 and 4GB of RAM. With a battery life of nearly 9 hours, you can do all that for a while, too.

What’s not to like? Well, the graphics could be better. The Aspire 5 won’t be able to play many current or last-gen games, even on modest settings, but you shouldn’t expect to go crazy in Apex Legends on any of the laptops on this list. However, the Acer Aspire 5 is a worthwhile choice if it’s a reliable office or school machine you’re looking for. This is the best laptops under 500 in our opinion.

#2

Asus VivoBook 15


Asus VivoBook 15 - Best Laptops Under 500


Spec

  • Display: 15.6 inches; 1,920 x 1,080
  • CPU: 8th Generation Intel Core i3
  • GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 620
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128GB SSD
  • Weight: 3.75 pounds

Pros

  • Runs cool
  • Lightweight
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Solid performance

Cons

  • Dull display
  • Annoying bloatware

Review

If it’s comfort and class you want, the Asus VivoBook 15 sports a super slim design with an ultrathin, 5.7-millimeter bezel for maximum screen real estate. And the elevated ErgoLift hinge (first introduced on the ZenBook S) increases airflow for improved heat management and makes typing a breeze, thanks to an upward 3.5-degree tilt. The backlit keyboard and fingerprint sensor round out a laptop for late-night cram students and privacy-concerned users. 

Performance is solid across the board. Like other laptops on this list, you’ll get enough speed to complete light office and schoolwork, listen to music and watch YouTube, but not enough juice to power the latest and greatest PC games. But you do get Type-C, USB 3.1 Type-A, USB 2.0 and HDMI ports. The catch: a dull display and an annoying amount of preinstalled bloatware. Keep the viewing angle head-on and break out the CCleaner, and you can’t go wrong with the Asus VivoBook 15. This is why we have included it in our best laptops under 500 list.

#3

Samsung Chromebook 3


Samsung Chromebook 3 - Best Laptops Under 500


Spec

  • Display: 11.6 inches; 1,366 x 768
  • CPU: Intel Celeron N3060
  • GPU: Intel HD Graphics 400
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 32GB
  • Weight: 2.5 pounds

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Excellent battery life
  • Bright screen
  • Great performance
  • Fun webcam

Cons

  • Awkward button placement
  • Weak speakers
  • Runs warm

Review

The Samsung Chromebook 3 is a very decent and very affordable laptop. It has a screen brighter than most competitors at 259 nits. It can handle multiple open browser tabs, thanks to 4GB of RAM and an Intel Celeron processor. And its battery lasts up to nearly 10 hours. There’s also a standout webcam, with Instagram-ready live filters for video chats and Multi-Shot mode. Like all Chromebooks, Samsung’s laptop uses the Google Chrome OS operating system (which relies largely on web-based Google services but also supports Android apps) and provides 32GB of flash storage. 

If there’s a caveat, it’s that the bottom runs warm after a while, so be sure to keep your long pants on while swapping hot Twitter takes. Despite the heat, this is the coolest Chromebook on the market for budget shoppers.

#4

Microsoft Surface Go


Microsoft Surface Go - Best Laptops Under 500


Spec

  • Display: 10 inches; 1,800 x 1,200
  • CPU: Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y
  • GPU: Intel HD 615
  • RAM: 4-8GB
  • Storage: 64-128GB
  • Weight: 1.15 pounds (without keyboard); 1.66 pounds (with keyboard)

Pros

  • Very lightweight
  • Cozy backlit keyboard
  • Bright display
  • Fast performance

Cons

  • Short battery life
  • Keyboard and stylus sold separately

Review

One of the more versatile picks on our list, the Microsoft Surface Go is a touch-screen tablet with a detachable keyboard. That means, at 1.15 pounds, it doesn’t get much more portable than this. However, like the rest of the Surface family, the keyboard and stylus are additional purchases, which is a bummer if you’re looking to save some more dough (though you’ll still come under $499 if you only go with the Signature Type Cover keyboard). The price will also increase as you boost to higher RAM and storage options.

Regardless, the Surface Go is a premium product. You get a very bright and colorful 10-inch display, sturdy build quality complete with a handy kickstand for switching between laptop and tablet modes, and a comfortable backlit keyboard if you decide to go that route. On top of that, the Surface Go’s Intel Pentium Gold CPU delivers speedy performance. Just don’t take it out for too long; the battery will run for only 6 hours.

#5

Acer Swift 1


Acer Swift 1 - Best Laptops Under 500


Spec

  • Display: 14 inches; 1,920 x 1,080
  • CPU: Intel Pentium Silver N5000
  • GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 605
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB
  • Weight: 2.9 pounds

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Terrific battery life
  • Good webcam
  • Lots of ports

Cos

  • Dim display
  • Quirky design issues

Review

Another Acer laptop, the Swift 1, is a lightweight model with some excellent value. For less than $300, you get a solid aluminum chassis, plenty of ports (Type-C, USB 3.0, USB 2.0 and HDMI), and a surprisingly sharp webcam. Outstanding battery life rounds out the Acer Swift 1, with over 10 hours of energy for all-day office productivity, Twitch streaming or Mindhunter bingeing.

As per usual for budget laptops, you’re not going to play Borderlands 3 or anything demanding on the Acer Swift 1. You probably wouldn’t want to anyway, since the dim display fades colors. Despite that, the terrific battery life, sweet webcam, and decent performance make the Acer Swift 1 one of the best, longest-lasting budget laptops you can find for the money.

#6

HP Pavilion x360


HP Pavilion x360 - Best Laptops Under 500


Spec

  • Display: 11.6 inches; 1,366 x 768
  • CPU: Intel Pentium N5000
  • GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 605
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 128GB SSD
  • Weight: 2.67 pounds

Pros

  • Decent performance
  • 2-in-1, so it works as a tablet
  • Comfy keyboard
  • Crisp audio

Cons

  • Dull display
  • Below-average battery life

Review

As a 2-in-1, you can use the HP Pavilion x360 as a touch-screen tablet or regular laptop without skipping a beat. That means when you’re done poking and prodding the responsive Windows 10 layout, you can switch to typing on a satisfying and smooth keyboard with excellent travel. Plus, a unique pair of top-firing Bang & Olufsen speakers let the HP Pavilion x360 double as your stereo. Surprisingly solid sound from a budget laptop? Yes, please.

The Pavilion x360 offers decent performance, too. You can expect the usual ability to browse multiple browser tabs while streaming last night’s 90 Day Fiancé as well as the usual inability to play today’s latest demanding games. However, you won’t be able to work on it all day, due to 6-hour battery life. And the washed-out display means you’ll want to avoid browsing in the sunlight. But if your goal is to work or study for short bursts or entertain your dorm mates with higher-than-average sound quality, the HP Pavilion x360 is your go-to choice.

#7

Lenovo Chromebook C330 2-in-1


Lenovo Chromebook C330 2-in-1 - Best Laptops Under 500

Spec

  • Display: 11.6 inches; 1,136 x 768 – 1,366 x 768
  • CPU: MediaTek MT8173C
  • GPU: Integrated
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 32-64GB
  • Weight: 2.82 pounds

Pros

  • 2-in-1 so works as a tablet
  • Long battery life
  • Comfy keyboard

Cons

  • Dull display
  • Sluggish performance

Review

With a MediaTek processor, 4GB of RAM and a Google Chrome operating system, the Lenovo Chromebook C330 isn’t going to allow you to do much heavy browsing with multiple tabs and certainly won’t let you play the latest hardware-crunching games on its integrated graphics chip. However, you can accomplish some light work and watch a YouTube video (so long as other tabs remain closed), even if the low-resolution display means colors will appear washed out.

But hey, the battery will last at least 10 hours, which is one of the better life spans on this list. The keyboard is comfortable and clicky, too, so you can at least get some work done without worrying about mushy keys or flex. For kids and college students who don’t care about color accuracy and just want to get their assignments done on time (perhaps while using the HDMI port to plug into a better monitor), the Lenovo Chromebook C330 is a fine option.

#8

Signature Lenovo Edition


Signature Lenovo Edition-


Spec

  • 15.6-inch HD LED (1366 x 768) Display
  • AMD Quad-Core FX-7500 2.10 GHz
  • 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600 MHz, 1TB 5400 RPM HDD, DVD
  • 802.11b/g/n, LAN (10/100/1000), 1 x USB 3.0, 2
  • Windows 10 Home 64-bit, Battery life up to 5

Pros

  • Extremely Fast RAM
  • Efficient AMD Processor
  • Supportive Graphics Card

Cons

  • No Full HD
  • SSD; A Better Alternative

Review

If you’re a gamer with a tight budget, this is all good news for you. This laptop has a heavy-duty CPU AMD FX-7500 quad-core processor that runs 2.1 GHz and may boost up to 3.3 GHz. This processor is fast and power-efficient. The DD3 RAM has a capacity with 16 GB that runs at 1600 MHz which makes it extremely fast to carry out tasks such as editing videos, music, and transferring data.

The computer is also equipped with a graphics card, the AMD Radeon R7. This card may not be the best but still supports graphical games on such an affordable system. The space storage is near to unlimited, 1 TB HDD, which can hold almost all your documents, multimedia, and personal data. An SSD card might have improved the performance quality of the system, but it’s a minor issue to be ranted about. One drawback is that the laptop oddly doesn’t support full HD.

Although it does have an HDMI port, that too connects to a 1080p monitor. Keeping the price into consideration, it is safe to say that it’s okay. To compensate, a DVD drive is available to play games of your choice on CDs. Although it isn’t the best option in the market, this laptop is good enough to support all sorts of video editing applications and various types of games.

#9

Asus T100


ASUS T100 10-Inch Laptop [2014],(gray)


Spec

  • Includes keyboard dock with USB 3.0 port.
  • Intel Quad-Core Baytrail-T Z3740 1.33GHz. 2GB RAM.
  • Storage Capacity: 64 GB solid-state in the tablet.
  • 11-Hour battery life. 1.2MP webcam. micro HDMI

Pros

  • Handy & Portable
  • Multi-purpose Book

Cons

  • Limited Storage

Review

This laptop is an affordable one that serves as both a laptop and a tablet. The screen holds up to 10 inches consisting of an Intel Bay Trail quad-core processor. The laptop ships with Windows 8.1 with a year’s free subscription to Microsoft Office. This laptop, too, is not heavy duty per se. However, it does serve the purpose of casual use as the process runs 1.46 GHz. Upon detaching the screen (tablet) from the keyboard, the system doesn’t overheat whatsoever.

The system is not exactly made to cope up with multitasking, though it may smoothly perform basic tasks with only 2 GB of RAM. It is advisable to purchase such an affordable laptop for entertainment for family purposes. The overall space of the eMMC drive does limit a purchaser to 64 GB only. Although it is not less entirely, more memory may be required to store movies, songs, and videos. On the brighter side, there are also good features such as the laptop being extremely lightweight, approximately 2.4 pounds.

Bluetooth connectivity enables the laptop to connect to wireless gadgets, multiple connection ports for external inputs and a long-lasting battery that doesn’t disappoint. If you are desperately looking for a 2-in-1 laptop, this can serve as a good option. Even though it is strongly recommended that better-performing laptops can be found within the same budget range.

#10

Nextbook Flexx


Nextbook Flexx 9 Touchscreen 8.9' Intel Quad Core... -


Pros

  • Pocket-Friendly
  • Storage Capacity Increasable
  • Ms. Office Pre-installed

Cons

  • RAM Cannot Be Upgraded
  • Memory is Restricted
  • Inconvenient Keyboard

Review

If you are tech-savvy and you have money to spend on something between a laptop and a tablet, here’s a special something. To begin with, the Nextbook is as small as 8.9 inches. Although it makes up for a perfect tablet size but maybe a bit too small for a laptop. The entire system weighs about 2.6 pounds including the keyboard which makes it extremely handy and portable.

The processor installed in the system is better off than many in the expensive 2-in-1 systems, although its functions are limited. The low powered Intel 1.8 GHz quad-core processor prevents the system from overheating when used in hand. The memory is a downside of the system as it has about 1 GB RAM which may be okay for a tablet, but too less for a laptop.

Although the system runs Windows 10, you can’t do much even if it concerns memory-intensive applications or games. The microSD comes with a 32 GB, it may be increased up to 64 GB. The Bluetooth connectivity is also a plus point that enables the tablet to connect to wireless gadgets. The laptop also comes with a free subscription to Ms. Office for an indefinite period.

Best Laptops Under $500 – Buying Guide

As a purchaser, you must review and note down your particular needs and expectations from a laptop. It usually happens so that individuals that need regular laptops end up buying Chromebooks or 2-in-1 laptops/tablets, leaving them dissatisfied with their purchase. To make a wiser decision, the following are features explained in detail that differs these three from one another.

Traditional Laptops

During this era, laptops are now far too common. However, a brief explanation would include that these consist of a processor or CPU. All data is stored on hard drives (HDD) or solid-state drive (SSD). The RAM acts as a facilitator during the transfer of information HDD to the processor. These various machines are wired to the motherboard that is the center of communication between processor and drive, port connectivity and graphics.

Laptops are convenient for gaming, multitasking, browsing, streaming, the creation of videos or music or documental purposes.

Chromebooks

Chromebooks are a cheaper alternative to regular Windows laptops for students or individuals on the move. They are powered by Google’s Chrome operating system. It was initially designed to fulfill the requirements of both a tablet and a laptop. These Chromebooks come with relatively lower memory capacity, up to 16 GB, and can be extended to 32 GB.

Chromebooks work differently from regular systems. They come with a 15 GB cloud for each user. All the documents processed whatsoever are saved on the cloud over the internet and not a physical storage disk. Conveniently, you may access your documents anywhere on any device. This may also be a drawback as Chromebook builds its entire workaround internet-powered applications and not software and so, if you are out of the reach of the internet you may not be able to retrieve your data. What is even more disappointing is its limited 2 GB processor that hampers its performance and multitasking.

Video and music editing are near to impossible on this device. However, low graphics games can be played. The Chromebook is a cheaper alternative for students and people who simply need to carry out basic activities such as word processing or web browsing.

Two-in-one Laptops

There are two different types of two-in-one laptops that people lack the understanding o. One is the Hybrid. The Hybrid is the kind that detaches and attaches the screen to the keyboard at will. The screen independently serves as a tablet on the go; whereas, the keyboard has USB and audio input ports along with the keyboard’s battery. These are light weighted and portable enough to carry around. They usually come with a Windows 10 installed, but the performance may still not be up to mark as its processor is not heavy-duty, and in fact, is a mobile-friendly process.

The other type is the Convertible. The convertibles do not detach from the keyboard; however, they have a hinge in between that lets the screen rotate and swivel over the keyboard. On contrary to the hybrids, these are heavier in weight making them inconvenient to carry around. They also have a bigger processor as the screen does not detach from the keyboard and serves as a laptop entirely.

The sole purpose of this article was to generate a clearer understanding of different types of laptops in the market that can suit your requirements within the budget constraints. It is entirely up to the reader to decide which laptop suits their needs more. No personal biases were involved as only facts about the 10 laptops were stated.

CONCLUSION

Hopefully, you must have made your choice for the best laptops under $500. Do share your queries/questions/suggestions through the comment section below to raise more awareness on this topic.

​STILL NOT SURE WHICH LAPTOPS UNDER $500 YOU SHOULD BUY?



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