Deal Alert: Our top value choice, the Lenovo Ideapad 100S, is now on sale for $159, down from its typical $199 price.
It may not be the most powerful sub-$500 laptop, but the Ideapad 100S offers the most value for your money. Lenovo's 2.2-pound, 11-inch laptop combines solid performance, an attractive design, a bright screen and over 9 hours of battery life. The Windows 10-powered Ideapad 100S even comes with a free one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal.
If battery life and price are your top concerns, the $330 Toshiba Chromebook 2 CB35 is just the laptop for you. It's the only budget laptop we've tested that lasted more than 10 hours, and it has a bright, accurate 13.3-inch 1080p display. Add to that an excellent keyboard, and you've got a low-cost system that's worth more than the sum of its parts.
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).
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.