If you’re on the hunt for a laptop under $500, you might be overwhelmed by the sheer variety of options available. What’s worse, many sellers try to pass off inexpensive laptops with outdated specs as a “good deal.” It can be hard to tell which laptop will offer you value for your money, and no one can afford to learn through trial and error when it comes to modern tech.
To help make your laptop shopping experience a little more enjoyable, we’ve compiled a list of the 5 best laptops under $500. Whether you’re looking for a basic machine to type up documents, an entertainment hub to stream your favorite shows, or something more powerful, there’s a laptop on this list for you. Let’s dive in and find the perfect machine for your needs!
Disclaimer: due to frequent price changes, a few of the laptops in this list may not always be available for under $500. But typically, these prices fluctuate within a few dollars of the $500 mark.
What to expect from a laptop under $500
When it comes to budget laptops, the common misconception is that you’re sacrificing processing speed, sleek design, or features to get a lower price. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. Many of the best laptops under $500 offer comparable speeds, long battery life, and beautiful design compared to their more expensive counterparts.
Be cognizant of what you intend to use your laptop for when figuring out your budget. Most budget laptops will not have the storage capacity, for example, to store massive files or run sophisticated software. However, if you’re simply browsing the web or streaming movies and TV shows, a laptop under $500 should be more than enough. If you intend to game or run business software such as Adobe Premiere, you may need to look for a laptop above the $500 mark.
Here are a few things to consider when you’re choosing a budget laptop:
- Processing Speed: Many laptops under $500 come with an Intel Core i3 processor, which is more than enough for everyday tasks such as web browsing, streaming videos, or writing emails. If you need a laptop for advanced gaming or graphic design, you should opt for a more expensive model with more RAM and a faster processor.
- Battery Life: Budget laptops may not have the longest battery life, but they still offer more than enough for a full day’s work. Many budget laptops can provide up to 10 hours of usage on a single charge.
- Design: For a budget laptop, you can expect that the design won’t be the sleekest or the most fashionable. However, many of these laptops offer slim designs with minimal bezels, full-sized keyboards, and attractive color choices.
Top 5 laptops under $500
- Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 (Best Multimedia Laptop)
- Acer Aspire 5 (Best Windows Laptop)
- Asus Chromebook Detachable CM3 (Best Lightweight Laptop)
- Acer Chromebook Spin 311 (Best Convertible Laptop)
- Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i (Another Solid Windows Laptop)
1. Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5
Best Multimedia Laptop
Why We Like It
- OLED display
- Great battery life
- Detachable keyboard
The Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 is a great choice for anyone looking for an affordable laptop with plenty of features. This 2-in-1 laptop-tablet combo has a detachable keyboard, an OLED display, and up to 15 hours of battery life – all in one sleek package. It also comes with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage, making it suitable for both everyday tasks such as web browsing and streaming videos as well as more advanced applications like gaming or graphic design software.
The most impressive feature of the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 is its 13.3″ OLED display that provides stunning visuals at 1920×1080 resolution. Whether you’re watching movies or playing games, you can be sure that your content will look sharp and vibrant on this screen. And since the display is powered by energy-efficient technology, you don’t have to worry about sacrificing battery life either!
One downside of this laptop is its slow storage drive. The 64GB SSD may be enough for everyday tasks, but if you intend to store large files or programs on your laptop, you may want to look into a more expensive model with more storage.
Overall, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 is great for anyone who wants a lightweight, portable laptop that can stream media, browse the web, and perform basic tasks.
2. Acer Aspire 5
Best Windows Laptop
Why We Like It
- Lightweight for its size
- It has a powerful processor
- A great selection of ports
The Acer Aspire 5 is one of the best Windows laptops under $500. It offers a decent processor, plenty of RAM and storage, and an impressive selection of ports. The laptop has a lightweight design that makes it great for anyone who needs to carry their computer around with them. Plus, it’s just as capable at home or in the office as it is on the go!
The Acer Aspire 5 comes equipped with an Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor that provides excellent performance while still being energy efficient. This means you can multitask without lag or slowdowns, even when running multiple programs simultaneously.
For storage space, the Acer Aspire 5 features a 512GB NVMe SSD drive which allows for fast loading times and quick access to files stored on your hard drive. And if that isn’t enough space for all your data needs, there are three USB type-A ports and one HDMI 2.1 port available so you can easily connect external drives or other peripherals like gaming controllers or a webcam.
Overall, the Acer Aspire 5 is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a decent Windows laptop under $500. The battery life is so-so and the brightness could be better, but it still offers a great combination of features and performance that should satisfy most users.
3. Asus Chromebook Detachable CM3
Best Lightweight laptop
Why We Like It
- It’s incredibly lightweight
- Detachable keyboard makes it perfect for on-the-go use
- Decent battery life
The ASUS Chromebook Detachable CM3 is an incredibly lightweight and versatile laptop that makes it easy to use both at home and on the go. It features a detachable keyboard, so you can easily transition between laptop and tablet mode in seconds. It also has a 10.5-inch touchscreen display with 1920 x 1200 resolution, so you can enjoy crisp visuals on the go.
The ASUS Chromebook Detachable CM3 has a MediaTek 8183 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB eMMC storage that is perfect for everyday tasks like web browsing, streaming videos, and writing emails. The battery life of up to 9 hours is alright for those who are always on the go, as well as students who need something powerful enough to last throughout their classes. Additionally, there’s also one USB 2.0 Type C port and one audio jack which allows users to connect their own peripherals or headphones for more flexibility.
On the flip side, this laptop does suffer from weak performance compared to higher-end models due to its lower specs. So if you’re looking for something that can handle more intensive tasks such as graphic design software or gaming then you may want to consider a different laptop in this price range. Also, keep in mind that this device only has Chrome OS which can be limiting if you rely heavily on certain Windows applications that aren’t available on Chrome OS.
Overall, the ASUS Chromebook Detachable CM3 is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a lightweight yet versatile laptop that can handle everyday tasks such as web browsing, streaming videos, and writing emails with ease. Its low cost makes it even more appealing than other laptops in this price range while still offering great features like a detachable keyboard and touchscreen display. However, if you’re looking for something more powerful that can handle intensive tasks then this laptop may not be the best choice.
4. Acer Chromebook Spin 311
Best convertible laptop
Why We Like It
- Compact and lightweight design
- Corning Gorilla Glass touchscreen display
- Two USB 3.1 Type-C ports for easier connection
- MicroSD slot for expanded storage
The Acer Chromebook Spin 311 is an excellent choice for those who are looking for a convertible laptop that can handle everyday tasks such as web browsing, streaming videos, working on documents, and more. It features a compact and lightweight design with an 11.6-inch touchscreen display protected by Corning Gorilla Glass for better durability. Plus, it has two USB 3.1 Type-C ports for easier connection and charging your devices, as well as two USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, and a MicroSD slot for expanded storage.
In terms of performance, the Acer Chromebook Spin 311 is powered by an Intel Celeron N4000 processor combined with 4GB RAM and 64GB eMMC storage that should be enough to power most basic tasks. The battery life of up to 10 hours is also decent enough to get you through your classes or work day without needing to recharge too often. All in all, this laptop offers great value for money with its affordable price tag and a good combination of specs and features.
The downsides of the Acer Chromebook Spin 311 mostly stem from its low specs which makes it ill-suited for more intensive tasks like graphic designing software or gaming. Additionally, due to its lightweight design, the build quality feels quite flimsy so it may not be the best option if you plan on carrying it around regularly or using it in less-than-ideal conditions. Moreover, it only comes with Chrome OS pre-installed which may be limiting if you rely heavily on certain Windows applications that aren’t available on Chrome OS.
All things considered, the Acer Chromebook Spin 311 is one of the best convertible laptops under $500 thanks to its light yet durable design and decent combination of specs and features. It should provide enough power to handle everyday tasks such as web browsing, streaming videos, and working on documents while still being lightweight enough to carry around easily wherever you go. Just make sure that this laptop suits your needs before making a purchase since its lower specs mean that it won’t be able to handle more intensive tasks like graphic designing software or gaming very well.
5. Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i
Another Solid Windows Laptop
Why We Like It
- 2-in-1 laptop/tablet combo
- Narrow bezels around the screen
- Good specs for the price
The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i is an excellent laptop for those who need a versatile machine that can handle tasks like web browsing, streaming videos, and working on documents. It features a 13-inch FHD touchscreen with narrow bezels around the screen for a more immersive viewing experience. Additionally, the laptop comes with 8GB of RAM and 128GB SSD storage, which should be enough to power most basic tasks. Plus, it has an Intel Core i3 processor and integrated Intel UHD Graphics for decent gaming performance. The battery life of up to 10 hours is also great for getting you through your day without needing to recharge too often.
On top of that, the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i is a 2-in-1 laptop/tablet combo so you can easily switch between modes depending on what you need to do. Plus, given its price tag, this laptop offers good specs and features which means it provides great value for money. However, it does have some downsides such as the low-resolution webcam which could be quite limiting when streaming or making video calls online and the stylus not being included in the package.
All things considered, the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i is an excellent option if you are looking for versatility in a Windows device under $500 with great specs and features at an affordable price tag. Just bear in mind that it doesn’t include a stylus and its low-quality webcam may make video calls or streaming slightly disappointing if not better-suited hardware is added later on.
Do budget laptops last as long as expensive laptops?
You might be nervous about spending your hard-earned money on a laptop that doesn’t last very long. Yes, expensive laptops tend to last longer than their cheaper counterparts. Expensive laptops usually have higher-quality components and better build quality, which can make them last longer than budget models. However, this isn’t always the case.
The lifespan of any laptop is highly dependent on how it’s used, its build quality, and other variables. The laptops on this list come with good build quality and reliable components that last for several years with proper maintenance. Periodic repairs or upgrades can help maintain performance levels if needed. Additionally, investing in high-quality parts and accessories may extend the lifespan of a budget laptop as well.
All in all, you won’t be able to expect a budget laptop to go the distance that an expensive one can, but it should still offer decent performance and last a few years with proper care.
Time to Start Shopping
If you’re looking for a laptop under $500, the options on this list should give you an idea of what to look for. There are tons of laptops in this price range and it’s important that you do your research before choosing one. Ensure that it meets all of your requirements and needs so that you don’t end up with something that’s not suitable for your use case.
Good luck, and happy shopping!
Frequently Asked Questions
How much RAM do I need in a laptop under $500?
8GB of RAM should be enough to power most basic tasks, but if you’re looking for something more powerful, then you may have to look into higher RAM options.
What is the best processor for a laptop under $500?
Intel Core i3 processors are usually found in laptops at this price point, and they provide decent performance for everyday tasks. If you want something more powerful, then you may want to look into Intel’s Core i5 or i7 processors.
What is the best laptop under $500?
The best laptop under $500 will depend on your personal needs and requirements. However, all of the laptops mentioned in this blog offer great specs and features for their price range, so you should have a good selection to choose from.