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 laptop under $500 is the 15-inch Acer Aspire E 15. Our favorite low-cost Chromebook is the 11-inch Samsung Chromebook 3. HP recently announced its $449 Chromebook 15, which boasts razor-thin bezels and all-day battery life, and Google actually recently confirmed at its I/O developer conference that a virtual desktop feature is coming to Chrome OS. If you're still running Windows 7 on your sub-$500 laptop, read our current guide about how to deal with the inevitable end of the OS.
You can currently get the Lenovo Flex 6 11 for $289 ($40 off) and the Lenovo IdeaPad 300 for $449 ($230 off). We recently reviewed the HP Chromebook 14 and didn't like it very much, but we have plenty of other recommendations. Here are the best laptops under $500 you can buy now.