Best Laptops Under $500

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Those on a budget might be surprised to learn just how much laptop you can get for less than $500 these days. Chromebooks are coming on strong, because they're easy to use, responsive and satisfy basic computing needs. Prefer Windows? You can also pick up a Windows 8 laptop with touch for less than $350. The trick of choosing a great budget notebook is finding the one that delivers what you care about most, whether it’s portability, performance, display quality or comfort.

Here are the best laptops available now for less than $500. 

Best Laptops Under $500

Dell Inspiron 15 5000

The Dell Inspiron 15 5000 is a very attractive laptop inside and out. On the outside, you get a design that feels more solid than the budget competition and that comes in a fetching red hue. When you turn the system on, you'll enjoy snappy performance courtesy of a Core i3 processor, as well as a refreshing lack of bloatware. Add in surprisingly powerful speakers, and you have a value-priced laptop that rises above the rest.

Toshiba Chromebook 2

The Toshiba Chromebook 2 boasts a gorgeous full-HD, 13-inch display and punchy Skullcandy-powered speakers. The MacBook Air-like design doesn't hurt either. This Chromebook lasted nearly 8 hours on the Laptop Mag Battery Test, which means you'll have plenty of time to surf, get work done and play games between charges.

Dell Inspiron 11 3000

Versatile and vibrant, the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 sports the most colorful display in its class along with zippy Intel Pentium performance. Other highlights include 6 hours of battery life, surprisingly loud speakers and an attractively slim design that makes it easy to transform from laptop to tablet mode (or tent or stand mode).

Asus X555LA

If you want the longest battery life for your buck, the Asus X555LA delivers, lasting nearly 6 hours on our test. This 15-inch laptop also offered speedy performance in various benchmarks, as well as strong audio. Plus, Asus doesn't pack as much bloatware as other brands in this price range. We just wish the design felt more solid.

HP Stream 13

For basic, mostly cloud-based computing, the stylish HP Stream 13 is the ticket. Its Intel Celeron CPU is fine for surfing the Web, checking Facebook and streaming music, which will sound great through the quality speakers. The 6 hours of battery life isn't best in class, but you'll have plenty of time between recharges.

Asus EeeBook X205TA

With a battery life of more than 12 hours, one of the least expensive laptops on this list also lasts the longest. At $200, the 11-inch Asus EeeBook X205TA is an affordable solution for basic computing needs, with an Intel Atom CPU, 2GB of RAM, a 32GB flash drive and 1TB of cloud storage. Weighing only 2.16 pounds, the X205TA is easy to take with you no matter how far away from a power outlet you roam.

Asus Chromebook Flip

At just 1.96 pounds, the Asus Chromebook Flip is a slim and sleek aluminum Chromebook, giving you a 10-inch touch-screen system you can use as a laptop or tablet. Another reason to scoop up this hybrid is the more than 9 hours of battery life. Having Google Now on board makes it a cinch to do searches with your voice, and the latest version of Chrome OS will soon support notifications from your Android phone.

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Author Bio
Mark Spoonauer
Mark Spoonauer, LAPTOP Editor in Chief
Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.
Mark Spoonauer, LAPTOP Editor in Chief on
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21 comments
  • Dr K C Agrawal Says:

    I need help in being able to select a most suitable LAP TOP for being able to write a book. The subject is highly mathematical and does have reasonable graphics. I can spend about $800/

  • Ron Abate Says:

    Chromebooks are the way to go! Less expensive, will do most things that that Apple and Windows systems do. Virus checkers no longer required. No more ads. Long battery life. Many free apps. Less waiting. Great for streaming to your TV.

  • ayud Says:

    This is a great article on top 8 computers. Who doesn't love a really cheap computer? A really great artice. :):):):):):):):)
    :)
    :):)

  • Ian Says:

    We have had 4 acer aspires between us and the common problem is the quality of the paint on the mouse the colour wears and the black from the plastic shows.

  • Salyan Patteson Says:

    Does the Toshiba Satellite L50 come in any other colour than white

  • Zero Says:

    And what about the HP Stream 14? Despite the AMD CPU cores are not strong, the GPU cores could compensate that. Definately nothing near to a Gamer Laptop, but enough strong to run smothly some old games.

  • kahiurrahman Says:

    I’ve managed to narrow my choices to only 4! That’s a great accomplishment for me.Everyone loves cheap, and everyone wants equipment that does not slow them down. This is why this blog is great, as it lists 8 laptops that come under both of the above categories

  • Maureen Says:

    Great site, soooo helpful to an oldie like myself who needs to update my ancient laptop but is baffled by the array on offer, can go shopping now with a lot more confidence. Thank you.

  • jimmy Says:

    Jennifer looks a lot better from the neck up.

  • who cares Says:

    Who cares about your PHD. Who cares about how many brands. You f@cktards need to get a life and stop whining.

  • Denis Says:

    i hope they were using windows 7 for non touchscreen laptop, well whatever

  • Milton Says:

    I bought my Lenovo laptop in March, 2013 for $445 total from a Staples special. It has a 3rd generation i5 processor, 8 GB RAM, 700GB hard drive and many other nice features. I got it with coupons Deal of the Day type thing from PC Magazine site referral. So there was an extra coupon serial code beyond the large Staples discount. It's an excellent laptop. Of course, on most of these laptops you can add the 4 GB to get 8 GM but why bother, if you can buy one that comes with it already.

  • Hayden Says:

    You are trying to find the TOP 6 so if there is a shortage on brands thats because the best spots are clear. Its like asking for the fastest overall coolest cars and then getting upset if they say Lamborghini or Ferrari.

  • mike Says:

    I'm looking though I haven't gotten anything, the Samsung Chromebook Series 3 is really cheap and there is no mentioning of the ram or memory. What could this mean?

  • Ernest Says:

    Top 6 laptops for paupers.

  • itrentals.com Says:

    Everyone loves cheap, and everyone wants equipment that does not slow them down. This is why this blog is great, as it lists 8 laptops that come under both of the above categories. These 8 laptops by HP offers great performance and all of them are under £500.

  • Tressa Fresquez Says:

    And people wonder why I left the US for my PhD- no one back home believes my building is closed on Sundays and you can't go in!

  • Kat Says:

    HP, Dell, ASUS, Toshiba = 4 brands.

  • Darlene Says:

    Your choice of ONLY two name brands makes me trust PC mag more. But thanks anyway. :)

  • Darlene Says:

    It makes me wonder your motivation when given 8 slots to fill you only mention two brands .... are you getting paid to have this oppion then?

  • margaret Says:

    My 10 year-old desk top is dying and I had no idea where to begin to find information on laptops. I stumbled on to your site and so appreciative of the reviews and comments. I've managed to narrow my choices to only 4! That's a great accomplishment for me.