Contrary to popular belief, something doesn’t have to cost the earth to possess quality, and it’s the same with laptops. It’s perfectly possible to buy a decent laptop that can fulfill your requirements, and more, without paying a premium price.
The marketplace is full of budget-friendly notebooks offering a solid performance, battery longevity and a full HD image experience, 2 in 1s with impressively responsive touchscreens, and all the ports you could wish for, and even some pretty decent machines for the serious gamers who want change from their $500.
What to look for when buying a new laptop for under $500?
- Processor: For under $500, there’s no need to compromise on power. A lot of the more expensive machines still come with the standard 2GHz processor speed, and although it may be tempting and look for up to 3.2 or even 3.4, there’s really no need for the majority of users.
- RAM: 4GB of RAM is the most usual offering, but at the lower end of the price band, there’s plenty of machines with more, and there’s always the option to purchase more RAM at a later date, even taking your laptop up to 32 or more
- Battery Life: For a laptop this is always going to be a crucial question. How often will you need to be away from a power source for charging purposes?
- Screen Size: While bigger is generally seen as better, you can still get a good sized screen for under $500
- SSD vs HDD: With an SSD being the more popular choice, due to its faster load times and robustness, most manufacturers of under $500 machines favor these, too.
We’ve scoured the market for the best laptops that come in under the $500 mark, and have found a good range for your to choose from.
The 2021 HP Touchscreen Premium Laptop is powered with an Intel Core i3-8145U and packs 8GB RAM and a 128GB SSD for a solid package under $500. The 14-inch TouchScreen HD SVA BrightView micro-edge WLED-backlit display at 1366×768 resolution is powered by an Intel HD Graphics 620 GPU, making for a crisp image that you can interact with. That makes it infinitely useful for work tasks, as well as for presentations and even a little bit of gaming. The Intel Core i3-8145U dual-core processor has a 2.1 GHz base clock that can go up to 3.9 GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Technology, which makes it adequate for most of the programs you will likely use.
The Acer Aspire 5 is a well-known name among laptops for being a solid go-to option among work laptop, being incredibly reliable and robust. Its 15.6-inch Full HD IPS display lets you see clearly what its AMD Ryzen 3 3200U processor and Vega 3 Graphics are capable of. Other than that, it has 4GB DDR4 that is expandable, 128GB SSD for incredible boot and loading times, a USB 3.1 Gen 1 port and 2 USB 2.0 ports for peripherals, an HDMI port with HDCP support, 802.11ac Wi-Fi connectivity, backlist keyboard, and up to 7.5 hours of battery life.
15 used from $299.00
The Samsung XE500C13 Chromebook 3 is great if all you really need from your laptop is to do work and some web browsing. It has the meat and potatoes with an Intel Celeron N3060 processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB SSD, and an 11.6-inch display. While it is not brimming with power, the battery can last up to 11 hours on a single charge, which is great for those who are looking for a laptop that they can write or do work on throughout the day. The 11.6-inch HD display also has an anti-reflective coating so you can see what is on screen even when you are outside. The spill-resistant keyboard protects against accidental damage, which tends to happen with laptops that get used in coffee shops or just at home for work while having a beverage.
10 used from $114.35
The Lenovo Flex 14 Convertible Laptop is powered by an Intel Core I5-8265U processor and Intel UHD Graphics 615, packs 8GB DDR4 RAM and a 128GB NVME SSD, and comes in onyx black. The 14-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) Touchscreen display is amazing for productivity and multimedia work, letting you write and sketch on it directly with amazing accuracy. It also boasts up to 8 hours of battery life with recharge technology that lets it charge up to 80% in just an hour. It also has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth built-in connectivity, as well as 2 USB ports, 1 USB-C port, a card reader, an HDMI port, and an audio jack.
The Acer Flagship CB3-532 Premium Chromebook is powered by an Intel Celeron N3060 dual core processor that clocks from 1.6GHz up to 2.48GHz, with 2GB RAM and 16GB SSD, Wireless AC, HDMI, USB 3.0, and Webcam. Running Chrome OS, it should let you do most work tasks, web browsing, and social media with ease. The 15.6-inch display with 1366×768 resolution gives you a good deal of visual detail, and the Zero Air Gap feature keeps it clear even in sunlight. It also has a USB 3.0 port that allows you to transfer files very quickly, so this laptop certainly does not fall behind.
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