Best Laptops Under $500

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Best Overall

Acer Aspire E 15 (E5-575-33BM)

Editor's Choice

Just how much laptop can you get for under $350? Acer's Aspire E 15 (E5-575-33BM) offers a colorful 1080p display, strong build quality and solid Core i3-powered performance. The laptop lasts for over 8 hours on a charge, impressive endurance for any 15-inch laptop, let alone one at this price point. The Aspire E 15 (E5-575-33BM) also comes equipped with 4GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive, a DVD writer and just about every port you could possibly want, including a USB Type-C connector.

Acer Aspire E 15 (E5-575-33BM) Review

From $349.99
Amazon
Best Laptops Under $500
Product: Use Case: Rating:
Acer Aspire E 15 (E5-575-33BM) Best Overall 4 out of 5
Asus L402SA Best 14-inch Laptop 4 out of 5
Dell Inspiron 11 3000 Best Sub-$200 Laptop 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 VivoBook S15 New and Notable N/A
Acer Spin 1 New and Notable N/A
  • Best 14-inch Laptop

    Asus L402SA

    Editor's Choice

    Asus's low-cost, lightweight laptop has a comfortable keyboard, a colorful design and a vibrant 14-inch display that can reproduce a strong 92 percent of the sRGB color gamut. At 3.3 pounds, the L402SA is easy to carry anywhere and it provides a ton of ports, including two USB Type-As and VGA, HDMI and Ethernet connectors.

    Asus L402SA Review

    From $209
    Amazon
  • Best Sub-$200 Laptop

    Dell Inspiron 11 3000

    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

  • New and Notable

    asus vivobook s15-300

    The Asus VivoBook S15 is the latest laptop to go on the bezel diet, with its 7.8-millimeter "NanoEdge" borders. The chassis is thin and light at 3.3 pounds and 0.7-inches thick. This system isn't short on power, thanks to its available Intel Core i7 processor with 16GB of RAM and discrete Nvidia GeForce GTX 940MX GPU. And while it's built like a more expensive ultraportable, the VivoBook S15 starts at $499.

    Asus VivoBook S15 Is a Lightweight 15-Incher for the Masses

  • New and Notable

    acer-spin-1-1-300

    What if we told you that you could have a tablet and laptop in one for $329? Meet the Acer Spin 1, the company's latest convertible. Despite the price, the Spin 1 offers a premium metallic chassis with a lovely 1920 x 1080 IPS touchscreen. It can be configured with either a Celeron and Pentium processor with 16GB and up to 128GB eMMC storage for light productivity and multimedia.

    Acer's Spin 1 Has High-Res Screen and Premium Chassis For Crazy-Low Price

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.