Best Laptops Under $500
You don't have to feel like you're settling when looking for the best laptop under $500. There are value-priced notebooks that include full-HD displays, solid performance and long battery life, plus all the ports you need. You can even get a 2-in-1 laptop with a touch screen in this price range, though it will be on the smaller side.
After reviewing dozens of value-priced systems, the most well-rounded Windows laptops under $500 are the 15-inch Acer Aspire E 15 and the Acer Aspire 5 (watch them face off). Our favorite low-cost Chromebook is the 11-inch Samsung Chromebook 3. At IFA 2019, Acer announced a slew of new Chromebooks, and a couple of them boast 1080p displays. If you're wiling to step away from a laptop, you can get Apple's new $329 iPad that has 10.2-inch display and keyboard support.
You can currently get the Acer Aspire E 15 for $329 ($51 off). But if you want an even cheaper laptop, take a look at our selection of the Best Laptops Under $300. Otherwise, here are the best laptops under $500 you can buy now.
Acer Aspire 5 (Core i3, 2019)
The Acer Aspire 5 earns its place at the top spot due to its strong 8th Gen Core i3 performance, bright 1080p display and long battery life, all for an affordable price.
Although the Aspire 5 is much thinner than its sibling, the Aspire E 15, the Aspire 5 boasts enough room for a battery that lasts nearly 9 hours on a charge. It doesn’t feature a DVD writer, but it still has a decent number of ports. The display emits an impressive 276 nits of brightness, which gives the screen some decent contrast. It even has an aluminum hood. The Aspire 5 is the best sub-$500 laptop currently available.
Pros: Strong performance; Long battery life; Bright, 1080p display; Affordable
Cons: Middling graphics; Questionable build quality
Key Specs — CPU: Intel Core i3-8145U | GPU: Intel UHD 620 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 128GB SSD | Display: 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 | Size: 14.3 x 9.9 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 3.76 pounds
Acer Aspire E 15 (E5-576-392H)
For just under $400, the Acer Aspire E 15 can rock your world with a powerful 8th Gen Core i3 processor, plenty of ports and a subtle premium aesthetic.
Despite the upgrade in power, the battery life actually lasts a bit longer than last year’s model at just under 9 hours. The 2018 Aspire E 15 is outfitted with a beefier 6GB of RAM, and still retains its DVD writer and USB Type-C port. The keyboard is comfortable to type on due to how springy, and well-spaced, the keys are. For what you get, the Aspire E 15 is as premium as a sub-$500 laptop can get.
Pros: Strong performance; Lots of ports; Good battery life; Very affordable
Cons: Bulky design; Filled with bloatware
Key Specs — CPU: Intel Core i3-8130U | GPU: Intel UHD 620 | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 1TB 5,400-rpm HDD | Display: 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 | Size: 15 x 10.2 x 1.2 inches | Weight: 5 pounds
HP Stream 11 (2018)
For under $200, you won’t find a better Windows laptop than the HP Stream 11.
The Stream boasts a portable, 11-inch chassis, weighing in at 2.5 pounds and measuring just 0.7 inches thick. The system is packed with all-day battery life and relatively strong performance. While its keyboard can be a little cramped, it offers decent key travel. If you’re on a tight budget, the HP Stream 11 is the one laptop to go with.
Pros: Long battery life; Better performance than competitors; Insanely cheap
Cons: Washed out low-res display; Awful webcam
Key Specs — CPU: Intel Celeron N4000 | GPU: Intel UHD 600 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32GB eMMC | Display: 11-inch, 1366 x 768 | Size: 11.8 x 8.1 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 2.5 pounds
HP Chromebook x2
Previously, the HP Chromebook x2 wouldn’t be anywhere near this page, but the detachable Chromebook has since landed below the $500 price range.
The HP Chromebook x2 offers quite a few things that other budget laptops don’t, such as a colorful 2400 x 1600 display and a solid pair of speakers. Additionally, the Chromebook x2 offers a comfortable keyboard and a battery that lasts nearly 9 hours on a single charge. But the cherry on top is that it comes included with HP's Active Pen, which kept up with even our fastest drawings. The HP Chromebook x2 is one of the best Chromebooks around for the price.
Pros: Bright, high-res display; All-day battery life; Comfortable typing experience; Solid sound
Cons: A bit heavier than other convertibles; Thick bezels; Core m3 CPU isn't the fastest
Key Specs — CPU: Intel Core m3-7Y30 | GPU: Intel HD 615 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32GB eMMC | Display: 12.3-inch, 2400 x 1600 | Size: 11.5 x 8.3 x 0.3 inches | Weight: 3.1 pounds
Acer Swift 1
The Acer Swift 1 is a sleek and lightweight 14-inch laptop with a full aluminum chassis featuring a healthy amount of ports all for less than $400.
Now combine that great price with a battery that can last 10 hours and 14 minutes on a charge and a 14-inch display that ditches the mediocre 768p resolution for a full 1080p. The Acer Swift 1 is packed with Intel Pentium Silver N5000, 4GB and 64GB of eMMC storage, which is strong enough to let you manage at least 10 Google Chrome tabs before succumbing to the usual slowdown. The Swift 1 also comes with a decent 720p webcam, which is surprising for a laptop this cheap. Overall, the Acer Swift 1 is a solid choice for a lightweight sub-$500 laptop.
Pros: Lightweight aluminum chassis ; Long battery life; Wide range of ports; Decent webcam; Excellent value
Cons: Dim, dull display; A few build-quality quirks
Key Specs — CPU: Intel Pentium Silver N5000 | GPU: Intel UHD 605 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB eMMC | Display: 14-inch, 1920 x 1080 | Size: 12.7 x 9.0 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 2.9 pounds