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Best laptops under £500 in the UK in 2022

Aspire 5
(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The best laptops under £500 may seem like they’re scraped out of the bottom of the barrel, but don’t be mistaken by those affordable price tags. Just because these praiseworthy laptops come cheap doesn’t mean you’re sacrificing performance, display quality, or battery life. On the contrary, some of these laptops have even made it onto our list of best laptops.

Instead of costing you an arm and a leg for the latest Intel or AMD CPUs or counting pennies for top-of-the-line Nvidia GeForce RTX 30 Series GPUs that some people may never get full use out of, these low-cost laptops bring efficient full-HD displays, solid performance, long battery life, and then some. For those that simply need a laptop for casual web surfing and productivity apps, the laptops on this list deliver a lot of bang for your buck.  

Sure, they won’t be cranking out the latest AAA PC games like the best gaming laptops or keep up with the processing power of the best laptops for video-editing, but not everyone needs that kind of power to efficiently get through the workday or watch the latest shows. Depending on what you need in a laptop, there are some compromises that you should think about before getting out your wallet. For example, if you're constantly on the move and use your laptop outdoors, you may not be able to sacrifice a screen with high brightness or a laptop with good battery life.

This list of best laptops under £500 will guide you through which of these value-priced notebooks are best suited for you. And, if you have some extra cash lying around, you can take a look at our best laptops under $1,000 (that are also under £1,000).

What is the best laptop under £500? 

Currently, the best laptop for under £500 is the Acer Aspire 5. For what you get in both portability and what’s under the hood, this is a bargain laptop to pick up. Not only does it boast Intel Core i3 processors (and sometimes even Core i5 with great deals (opens in new tab)), but it also comes with a premium aesthetic, with a silver aluminium hood, long battery life, and a bright, 1080p display to take care of your binge-watching needs. You can’t go wrong with Acer’s brilliant budget laptop.

You’ll also find plenty of Chromebooks on this list (find out what a Chromebook is and why you should buy one), and for good reason. The Asus Chromebook Detachable CM3 is one of the cheapest notebooks you can find, priced from just £249. Don’t expect a lot of processing power, but it offers excellent battery life and a brilliant 2-in-1 detachable design. If you’re all about the big screen, look no further than the Acer Chromebook 317, boasting a commendable 17-inch display and decent battery life for all your viewing needs.

For more Windows-based laptops, The HP Stream 11 is the most affordable Windows laptop on the market, with an insanely cheap price tag and, surprisingly, competitive performance. You’ll also find the Asus Vivobook Flip 14 on here, even though at lower prices it doesn’t sport the best CPU. Still, it sports a 360-degree 14-inch touchscreen that’s worth checking out. Without further ado, here are the best laptops for under £500. 

Best laptops under £500 you can buy today 

(Image credit: Future)

1. Acer Aspire 5

Best overall laptop for under £500

Specifications

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

Reasons to buy

+
Strong performance
+
Long battery life
+
Bright, 1080p display

Reasons to avoid

-
Middling graphics
-
Questionable build quality

The Acer Aspire 5 earns its place at the top spot of our list of best laptops under £500 thanks to its strong 8th Gen Intel Core i3 performance, bright 1080p display and long battery life — all for an affordable price. Despite its thin design, the Aspire 5 even boasts enough room for a battery that lasts nearly 9 hours on a charge. All for under £500? We’re impressed, Acer.

With a sturdy aluminium hood and surprisingly narrow bezels on the display, the Swift 5 is like an upper mid-range laptop in disguise. Better yet, it’s equipped with a decent number of ports, too. That display also emits an impressive 276 nits of brightness, which gives the screen contrast. If you’re after a stellar, capable laptop without needing to count pennies, the Acer Aspire 5 will do the trick.

See our full Acer Aspire 5 review.

The Asus Chromebook Detachable CM3 isn’t the most powerful Chromebook, but its diminutive size, long battery life, versatile 2-in-1 form factor, and stylish looks may win you over. (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

2. Asus Chromebook Detachable CM3

Best Chromebook under £500

Specifications

CPU: MediaTek MTK 8183
GPU: Integrated Arm Mali-G72 MP3
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 128GB eMMC
Display: 10.5-inch, 1900x1200, touchscreen
Size: 12.7 x 8.9 x 0.68 inches
Weight: 2 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent battery life
+
Detachable 2-in-1 design
+
Durable
+
Built-in stylus

Reasons to avoid

-
Weak performance for the price

It’s made it onto our list of best Chromebooks, and now the Asus Chromebook Detachable CM3 finds another rightful spot here. Cloaked in the guise of a tweed-bound journal, this versatile 2-in-1 laptop is one of the best web browsing devices that you can easily slip into a bag. Plus, it comes with a built-in stylus just in case you did actually want to note some things down.  

While the Detachable CM3 isn’t the most powerful of Chromebooks, its vibrant display and convenient form factor make it excellent for content consumption. While it can seem pricey for having a MediaTek processor inside, the CM3 makes up for it with nearly 12 hours of battery life and a durable chassis. It's easily one of the best laptops under £500.

See our full Asus Chromebook Detachable CM3 review.

If you're looking for the cheapest Windows laptop you could possibly buy, then the HP Stream 11 will satisfy you with its long battery life and solid performance. It's easily one of the best laptops under $500.

3. HP Stream 11

Cheapest Windows laptop you can buy

Specifications

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

Reasons to buy

+
Long battery life
+
Better performance than competitors
+
Insanely cheap

Reasons to avoid

-
Washed out low-res display
-
Awful webcam

Depending on which model you go for, 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. While our particular model sports a dull, black paint job, the HP Stream 11 is still adorable given its petite size.

For the price, you shouldn't expect much out of the Stream 11, but its Intel Celeron N4000 processor with 4GB of RAM was able to handle 10 Microsoft Edge tabs as well as a 1080p YouTube video. The system also lasted a solid 9 hours and 19 minutes on our battery test. 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 one of the best budget laptops.

See our full HP Stream 11 (2018) review.

The Acer Chromebook 317 is a record-setter, but served up middling performance scores in our testing. (Image credit: Future)

4. Acer Chromebook 317

Best 17-inch budget laptop

Specifications

CPU: Intel Pentium Silver N6000
GPU: Intel UHD
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 64GB eMMC
Display: 17.3-inch, 1920x1080
Size: 15.8 x 10.5 x 0.9 inches
Weight: 5.3 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Massive display
+
Spacious keyboard and touchpad
+
Decent battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Dim display
-
Middling performance

The Acer Chromebook 317 is the world’s first-ever 17.3-inch Chrome OS laptop. While it doesn’t have the brightest display, the most powerful processor, nor the longest battery life, it's adequate for those who’d sacrifice those perks for an intact bank account and a spacious Chromebook with a massive display.

There is an audience for the Chromebook 317, and it’s targeted at large-handed folks who are tired of feeling as if they’re typing with thick, meaty sausage links. This laptop is for consumers who live by the “go big or go home” maxim. However, in this case, you’ll have to do both: go big and go home. And that’s perfectly fine for those who fancy a device purely for entertainment or business at home. The Chromebook 317 isn’t particularly travel-friendly, so you’d be better off leaving the laptop stationed in your home office.

See our full Acer Chromebook 317 review. 

The Lenovo Chromebook Duet is a budget-friendly miniature 2-in-1 laptop with nearly 13 hours of battery life. (Image credit: Future)

5. Lenovo Chromebook Duet

The cheapest 2-in-1 worth buying

Specifications

CPU: MediaTek Helio P60T
GPU: ARM G72 MP3
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 64GB eMMC
Display: 10.1-inch, 1920 x 1200
Size: 9.6 x 6.7 x 0.7 inches
Weight: 2 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Lasts long on a charge
+
Comes with keyboard/kickstand
+
Colorful display
+
Decent performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Cramped keyboard

At first glance, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet looks like an innocuous journal, but open that bad boy up, and it’s a small laptop with a colourful 10.1-inch display. 

But this device’s transformative capability isn’t its only alluring feature — the Lenovo Chromebook Duet lasted almost 13 hours on our battery test, which beats the 10-hour average runtime for Chromebooks. The price is another big selling point of the Lenovo Chromebook Duet. For just over £250, you can own a lightweight machine that can endure all your intensive web multitasking.

The Lenovo Chromebook Duet sports a 10.1-inch, 1920 x 1200 display that’s impressively colourful. However, the tablet’s screen has chunky bezels that might turn you off if you’re seeking a more modern look. But the Duet is a budget-friendly Chromebook, so we can concede the lack of slim bezels as a reasonable trade off.

See our full Lenovo Chromebook Duet review.

(Image credit: Acer)

6. Acer Chromebook 314

Best Chromebook for students

Specifications

CPU: Intel Pentium Silver N5030
GPU: UHD Graphics 600
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 64GB
Display: 14-inch, 1080p
Size: 12.8 x 9.1 x 0.8 inches
Weight: 3 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Budget-friendly
+
Bright 1080p display
+
Rugged features
+
Comfortable keyboard

Reasons to avoid

-
Chunky design

If you’re a student or need a laptop for business and productivity, the Acer Chromebook C933T is one of the better Chromebooks out there — and it’s one that won’t see you overbuying or left feeling shortchanged.

For a price as low as £189, Acer’s C933T comes reasonably well equipped with an Intel Pentium Silver processor with 8GB of RAM. That’s more than enough power to run most classroom or light office-related apps. And with 64GB of storage available, you won’t be left hard-pressed for document space any time soon. Add to this a comfortable keyboard, a 720p webcam and a bright, 14-inch FHD display and you have a fantastic companion for the classroom or the home office.

See our full Acer Chromebook 314 review.

Need something superportable? The Lenovo Duet 5 Chromebook is super light and it's one of the best laptops under $500 thanks to long battery life and bright, vivid OLED display. (Image credit: Laptop Mag/Sean Riley)

7. Lenovo Duet 5 Chromebook

Best lightweight Chromebook

Specifications

CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen 2
GPU: N/A
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB eMMC
Display: 13.3-inch, 1920x1080, OLED
Size: 12 x 7.4 x 0.28 inches
Weight: 2.2 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent battery life
+
Detachable 2-in-1 design
+
Bright, vivid OLED display
+
Keyboard and cover included

Reasons to avoid

-
Stylus not included

The Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 features a fabric rear case and keyboard cover like the previous model, but open it up and the 13.3-inch OLED display will make you check that sub-£500 price again. The changes run deeper than that with a dramatically improved Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 processor, while also delivering over 13 hours on a single charge.

While it may not be the scrappy budget champ that the original Chromebook Duet was, the Duet 5 has bulked up and is ready to take on some heavyweight competition among the best laptops under £500 today.

See our full Lenovo Duet 5 Chromebook review.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

8. Microsoft Surface Go 2

A fantastic 2-in-1 detachable option

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core m3-8100Y
GPU: Intel UHD 615
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB SSD
Display: 10.5 inches, 1920 x 1280-pixels
Size: 9.7 x 6.9 x 0.3 inches
Weight: 1.2 pounds (1.8 pounds with keyboard)

Reasons to buy

+
Vivid 10.5-inch display
+
Sleek magnesium design
+
Long battery life
+
Excellent webcam

Reasons to avoid

-
Cramped Type Cover keyboard
-
Keyboard and stylus sold separately

With the Surface Go 2, Microsoft found a way to make a sleeker, faster and longer-lasting hybrid tablet. Delivering a larger display, slimmer bezels and better performance without hiking up the Surface Go 2, the tablet’s 10.5-inch display is great for viewing content, the premium and portable design feels great when you’re carrying it around the house, and the twin cameras offer strong picture and video quality for video conferencing. Best of all, the Surface Go 2’s battery life has blossomed, so you won’t stay tethered to an outlet.  

Compared with the iPad Air, the Surface Go 2 isn’t as sleek or as fast, but it costs less and has a more functional keyboard with a touchpad. Be warned, you’ll have to pay extra for a typing cover, but that price is still under the £500 mark. Not bad at all for a 2-in-1 detachable.
 

(Image credit: Future)

9. Asus Vivobook Flip 14

Great lightweight Windows laptop under £500

Specifications

CPU: Intel Pentium Silver N5030
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 128GB
Display: 14-inch, 1920 x 1080
Size: 12.7 x 8.6 x 0.72 inch inches
Weight: 3.3 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Decent performance
+
Nice variety of ports
+
Great portability

Reasons to avoid

-
Dim display
-
Below-average battery life

The Asus Vivobook Flip 14 doesn’t have the brightest screen around, but at least that touchscreen features a 178-degree wide-viewing angle and an 82% screen-to-body ratio. Sporting an Intel Pentium Silver N5030 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD for storage, along with a fantastic selection of ports, this is a decent Windows laptop for a £329 price tag. Better yet, it comes with a one-year subscription to Microsoft 365.

If you pay a little extra, you can find a Vivobook Flip 14 with an AMD Ryzen 7 4700U, offering breakneck, rapid-fire performance scores that even surpass mid-range laptops. This brings the price past £600, but that doesn’t stop the lower-priced version from being a capable laptop. Plus, you can find one with an Intel Core i3 processor for just under that £500 mark.

See our full Asus Vivobook Flip 14 (2020) review.
 

Students and teachers should consider the Chromebook x2, a high-end detachable that runs Chrome OS.
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10. HP Chromebook x2

Best HP Chromebook

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core m3-7Y30
GPU: Intel Core m3-7Y30
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 32GB eMMC
Display: 12.3-inch, 2400 x 1600-pixel
Size: 11.5 x 8.3 x 0.3 inches
Weight: 3.1 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Bright, high-res display
+
All-day battery life
+
Comfortable typing experience

Reasons to avoid

-
A bit heavier than other convertibles
-
Thick bezels

If you're willing to pay a premium for your next Chromebook, the HP Chromebook x2 will definitely satisfy. Well, we say premium, but what we mean is just under £500. We love the attractive white lid and a vibrant 12.3-inch touchscreen, and the nearly nine hours of battery life beats most Windows-powered 2-in-1s. 

Other highlights include a bundled pen for taking notes and full Google Play compatibility for downloading Android apps. We just wish this 3.2-pound machine was a little lighter.

See our full HP Chromebook x2 review.

Why trust Laptop Mag

Laptop Mag has been testing and reviewing laptops for over two decades. We test over 150 different models per year, subjecting each system to a series of rigorous benchmarks that provides a complete picture of performance, battery life and usability.

Our expert reviewers also use each product to see how it looks and feels in everyday situations. Because we see so many different notebooks, we can compare each to its direct competitors and give you an idea of how it stacks up to the average laptop in its price band.

Darragh Murphy is fascinated by all things bizarre, which usually leads to assorted coverage varying from washing machines designed for AirPods to the mischievous world of cyberattacks. Whether it's connecting Scar from The Lion King to two-factor authentication or turning his love for gadgets into a fabricated rap battle from 8 Mile, he believes there’s always a quirky spin to be made. With a Master’s degree in Magazine Journalism from The University of Sheffield, along with short stints at Kerrang! and Exposed Magazine, Darragh started his career writing about the tech industry at Time Out Dubai and ShortList Dubai, covering everything from the latest iPhone models and Huawei laptops to massive Esports events in the Middle East. Now, he can be found proudly diving into gaming, gadgets, and letting readers know the joys of docking stations for Laptop Mag.