Best Laptops Under $500

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Best Under $500

Asus VivoBook E403SA

Editor's Choice

Laptops under $400 don't tend to have stylish looks, full 1080p displays and excellent battery life, but that's what makes the Asus VivoBook E403SA our favorite budget notebook. The VivoBook also offers a solid keyboard, a slick brushed-metal design and a USB Type-C port for power and data transfer. Its Pentium CPU and 4GB of RAM provide enough pop for solid multitasking.

From $379
Amazon
Best Laptops Under $500
Product: Use Case: Rating:
Asus VivoBook E403SA Best Under $500 4.5 out of 5
Dell Inspiron 11 3000 Best Value 4 out of 5
Samsung Chromebook Plus Best Chromebook 4 out of 5
Asus Transformer Mini T102HA Best 2-in-1 3 out of 5
Asus F555LA Best 15-inch Latop 4 out of 5
  • Best Value

    Dell Inspiron 11 3000

    Editor's Choice

    Dell's Inspiron 11 3000 stands out from its bargain-basement competitors by offering 13 hours of battery life, solid audio output and an attractive design. This 11.6-inch, 2.4-pound laptop is available in a wide variety of bright colors, including red and blue, has better build quality than you'd expect in this price range and features a snappy keyboard for pleasant typing.

    Dell Inspiron 11 3000 Review

  • Best Chromebook

    Samsung Chromebook Plus

    The Samsung Chromebook Plus is a laptop built on premieres. It's one of the first Chromebooks that can run Android apps out the box and has an embedded stylus -- adding loads of functionality to Google's otherwise scant operating system. Powered by an ARM processor, the laptop is an able multitasker and looks good while doing it thanks to its sleek sliver aluminum chassis. 

    Samsung Chromebook Pro/Plus Review

  • Best 2-in-1

    Asus Transformer Mini T102HA

    The Asus Transformer Mini T102HA serves as both a tablet and a miniature Windows 10 laptop with a detachable keyboard, a bright screen and all-day battery life. If you're looking for an inexpensive secondary computer, a 10-inch 2-in-1 can be a highly portable and affordable option. The hybrid also comes with a pen for productivity buffs and creatives alike.

     

    Asus Transformer Mini T102HA Review

  • Best 15-inch Latop

    Asus F555LA

    For less than 350 bucks, the Asus F555LA offers a 15-inch, 1080p display, which is almost unheard of at this price range. It's a bit on the dim side, but paired with the notebook's strong speakers and attractive design, you get a budget computer for simple tasks.

    Asus F555LA Review

How to Choose a Budget Laptop

While the best laptops cost much more, the average consumer spends under $500 for a new notebook. When shopping for a laptop in this price range, you have to make some compromises, so it's important to prioritize the features that matter most and get as many of them as you can, without breaking your budget.

We've listed several high-quality budget laptops on this page for you to consider. When evaluating a laptop, consider these factors in this order of importance:

  • Full HD (1920 x 1080) Screen: Most budget laptops are saddled with low-res, 1366 x 768 displays that allow you to fit a lot of text on the screen at once. If you can find a laptop with a screen that has a 1920 x 1080 resolution, you'll be able to see more of your favorite web pages, emails, social media feeds and documents, without scrolling. You'll also get much sharper images and videos.
  • SSD or eMMC Memory: Most sub-$500 laptops use mechanical hard drives, but if you can get one a Solid State Drive or eMMC storage, another form of solid state memory, you'll have faster boot times and application open times.
  • Good build quality: If you see a laptop with a soft-touch finish or real aluminum on any of its surfaces -- especially the deck and lid -- that's a sign of good design. However, in this price range, you may have to settle for shiny plastic.
  • Core i5 CPU: One area where you may need to compromise is on processor speed. If you can find a system with an Intel Core i5 CPU that also has the other three features above, you're in great shape. If you have to settle for a Core i3 processor, that's still pretty good. Intel Pentium and Celeron CPUs are serviceable, but not particularly speedy.

A good laptop that costs over $800 should have all of these features, but if you can find a system that has one or more of these for under $500, you're ahead of the game.