With $500 as the budget, finding the perfect option isn’t the most straightforward task, and with a strict budget, we’re all limited to some of the manufacturers present on the market. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get a reasonably priced machine with everyday performance and long-lasting battery life. This budget also is very popular as a back to school device as it provides an ideal scenario that makes these laptops shine and perform throughout their lifespan. If you’re looking for a back to school device for your kids or a laptop for college or just a laptop for everyday use then this is the perfect place to be in with great selections and excellent aesthetics that would be capable of all your daily needs.
What should you expect from a Laptop under $500?
A laptop under 500 dollars brings some sacrifices to the table, and these can amount up to some severe cutoffs in build quality or display panels. However, the performance generally remains constant as the newer chips deliver about the same level of performance.
Though expecting anything more than daily tasks would result in expectations being shattered. Light games are fair, but anything with intense graphics won’t run. Some exceptions sacrifice other aspects and deliver the best performance, and some of these devices are listed below. They, unfortunately, cater to a specific target demographic and aren’t meant for everyone.
The general spec list that you should be expecting at this price point is:
- CPU: At a minimum, an Intel Coore i3 or similar from AMD
- GPU: Integrated graphics
- RAM: At minimum 8GB with 4GB acceptable on some devices
- Storage: At minimum 128GB of SSD storage
- Battery Life: Around 5+ hours of use
- Display Panel: FULL HD 1080P IPS Display
- Touchscreen Support: Can be variable
- Biometric Authentication: Through Windows Hello Facial Recognition or Fingerprint sensors
Top 7 Laptops under $500
1. ASUS VivoBook 15
- Has biometric authentication with a fingerprint scanner built-in
- The port selection is impressive, with a wide range of USB and HDMI included
- The display looks stunning with great punchy colors and viewing angles.
- No dedicated graphics for gaming
- Speakers can sound a little mushy
The ASUS VivoBook 15 has everything that will guarantee you a convenient user experience starting from its looks and up to its fast performance and all of these without paying a fortune. The keyboard feels impressive with ideal key travel, and the nano edge display makes this one of the best portable media machines. The build is also solid with a general aluminum construction that sticks to durability’s upper tiers.
First things first, this laptop’s design looks premium, and it doesn’t look like a laptop that costs less than 500 dollars. Its lightweight monotone chassis feels sturdy, and the small bezels with the impressive backlit keyboard make this a joy to use.
The FULL HD 1080p display looks gorgeous with ideal colors and a screen size to match. The 15.6-inch IPS display has a 88% screen-to-body ratio meaning that the bezels are small and the screen screens the entire front panel.
The Intel Core i3-8145U CPU can clock up to 4Ghz with incredible boosts that lead it to be one of the best laptops on the line-up. The processor delivers on all day-to-day tasks with ease and flexes its muscles on many editing workloads with 128GB of SSD storage and 8GB of RAM.
2. HP 15.6 HD
- Excellent CPU and GPU performance
- A full day of battery life (varies with the type of usage)
- Solid ports selection
- Average Display
- Limited by 4GB of RAM
- Tinny sounding speakers
HP has been generous with what they provide at the budget end, and with the new HP 15.6-inch Laptop, the budget segment has seen another that has stolen the thunder from most others. With a Ryzen 3 processor, the CPU performance has seen a big step up, and with the integrated Vega graphics chip, Gaming performance has been blown out of the room compared to the previous generations.
The build is solid with zero body flex and small bezels to make it look modern and clean. The port selection is also good with a wide variety of ports, including USB 3.0, HDMI, and SD card support.
The 1366 x 768 HD display is its Achilles heel as it looks washed out compared to the competition and is not meant to exist in the 500 dollar price tag category.
The performance is best as the Ryzen 3 3250U delivers excellent single-core performance with Vega graphics that allow it to run multiple gaming titles without breaking a sweat. The 256GB of SSD Storage is good but is let down by the measly 4GB of RAM.
3. Lenovo IdeaPad 3
- A physical shutter for the webcam providing extra privacy
- Excellent performance for the price
- Best Gaming capability under 500 dollars
- Average build quality
- Bad TN display panel with washed-out colors
The 500 dollar budget devices aren’t meant for gaming, but Lenovo changed it by introducing the IdeaPad 3, which comes equipped with a Ryzen 5 chip and 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD configurations. This combination allows it to dominate most gaming titles and can easily chew on games while streaming. However, the settings would have to be dialed back for a more comfortable and pleasant experience.
The build quality is something that Lenovo had to compromise on as the build is made entirely of plastic, which is good at durability but is not going to win you any awards at aesthetics or something that is made out of metal.
The 1080p FULL HD display looks great on paper but falls a little short of expectations. However, the FULL HD resolution is acceptable with colors that feel slightly high on contrast and average brightness levels.
This is where the IdeaPad shines the most and instantly becomes the best choice for gamers or individuals looking for the best performance in the 500 dollar budget category. The Ryzen 5 3500U is a chip that can handle anything that you can throw at it with zero delays or lag, and the 8GB RAM keeps everything in memory without any issues. The GPU is excellent, with consistent 30+ FPS on all games with high graphics, and the 2556GB SSD is where you’ll be storing everything.
4. Acer Aspire 5
- Beautiful FULL HD display
- Robust and sturdy build
- Amazing battery life
- Low RAM, which makes it a little laggy
- The SSD storage can feel a little limiting
The Acer Aspire 5 earns its place due to its robust Intel Core i3 performance, bright 1080p display, and long-lasting battery life, all for an affordable price. The display panel emits 276 nits of a brightness value, which gives the screen some punchy colors and decent contrast levels. It even is built from an aluminum hood, and the bezels on display are surprisingly narrow. The Aspire 5 can be summed up as one of the best, most affordable laptops currently available and should be a must-buy if battery life is your topmost priority.
The aluminum body makes this laptop feel premium and reliable and allows it to act as a heat spreader, which keeps the CPU cool for quiet and fast operation.
The FULL HD display delivers ideal colors and makes this a great media machine that streams media content on HD levels without any hiccup.
The performance does take a hit due to the limited 4GB of RAM, which caps the Intel Core i3-1005G1 Processor performance, and the 128GB SSD storage is just average for the tier it’s competing at.
5. HP Stream 14
- Ample CPU and GPU performance
- 10+ hours of battery life
- Brushed aluminum body
- One year Office subscription
- Wrong storage configuration with only 4GB RAM and 64GB of storage
- Average display
HP, with its enticing “Stream” line-up, provides an experience that is average all around. It is not the best laptop by any means, but if you’re looking for reliability in every field and would deliver on all your expectations, then this is the way to go. The Stream 14 has good performance and has intermediate storage for the price. The display feels good in suitable lighting conditions but fares worse in direct sunlight. So, if you’re keeping your expectations low and are really in need of a touchscreen HP laptop, then this would suffice.
The sleek brushed aluminum body feels comfortable with an ideal keyboard and trackpad. The port selection is also good, with various ports that would help connect all your devices.
The 14-inch 1366 x 768 HD Display is average and delivers a comfortable watching experience in ideal situations but suffers when pushed to the limits.
The 2.4GHz AMD 3150U chip is an underclocked 3250, which can deliver ideal performance in most tasks and handles multi-tasking well with 4GB RAM and 646B eMMC storage.
6. Samsung Chromebook Plus V2
- Compact convertible body
- Touch and stylus support
- Excellent battery life
- Compatibility issues with Windows apps
Samsung has developed a Chromebook that has made notable changes in the market and with features such as a stylus and a fantastic display makes it one of the best options. The Chromebook comes equipped with an Intel Core m3 processor and a 12-inch IPS display with a FULL-HD Display. The device performs well with no lag issues as it’s running on ChromeOS, but with this comes compatibility issues and little to no support for Windows apps.
The aluminum build is sturdy with no deck flex and a hinge that can fold 180 degrees back and work as a tablet. The device works as a convertible and works well for students by taking notes and sketches with ease.
The 1900*1200 FULL HD display produces punchy colors and an excellent level of contrast. The touchscreen support works wonders, and the stylus support is the cherry on top.
The Intel Core m3 processor works well for all day to day tasks, and the 4GB RAM efficiently manages multiple functions as the operating system is very light and not as intensive as Windows. The 64GB storage, however, leaves something to be desired.
7. Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5
As with the rise in Chromebooks’ popularity, Lenovo’s Flex 5 Chromebook represents a tremendous value for an everyday laptop. The touchscreen is equipped with small bezels, and the 360-degree hinge makes it a convertible tablet that could be used by creative designers and students alike. The device can be stated as one of the best choices for a portable 13-inch convertible Chromebook that delivers impressive compatibility with most daily uses.
The build is nothing to be amazed at but still provides an average construction that would last you a long time. There is no deck flex, but the hinges could sometimes feel a little rigid.
The 13.3-inch 1920×1080 FULL HD pixel touch display produces some great colors and also has acceptable brightness levels. However, it suffers in direct sunlight or non-ideal conditions.
The 2.1GHz Intel Core i3-10110U processor performs well in all the tasks thrown at it, and due to the nature of ChromeOS, RAM consumption is kept at a minimum, which makes the measly 4GB of RAM perform it’s best. However, it takes a hit in the storage department, giving the user 64GB of usable storage capacity.
There are different choices on the market, and therefore, we have done our best to provide you with all the specifications and features that you will require for a great purchase, and we hope that we have met all your expectations.
If you’re not sure which one fits you the best, we would recommend our number one pick – Asus VivoBook 15. No matter the circumstances the laptop is great for overall use. It’s rather new and quality built with good performance.
If you believe none of these fit your needs or is a bit out of your price range, feel free to check out our article – best laptops under $400
if you’re still unsure, drop us a line below and we’ll try to help you.
With this, we end the post, and if you have questions about the Laptops or Chromebooks that we have listed above or add something of value, do reach out to us in the comments section below.
Is a $500 laptop worth it?
Yes, a $500 laptop is worth it, as with the cut-throat competition out in the market, the prices are way down, and the performance ratio is ideal for budget seekers. This all, however, depends on what your work is and what your expectations are.
If you’re expecting the best gaming performance and some numbers that would destroy the charts, then the 500 dollar segment isn’t meant for you. However, if your expectations are grounded with the performance for all day-to-day tasks, then this segment is for you and would be worth it.
Should I buy a refurbished laptop?
Yes and No, It all depends on the quality of the refurbished product. Sometimes the condition would be basically out of the factory kind and with that the deal is something that you shouldn’t resist. But, you will always be facing the risk of ending up with something that looks used and in bad condition, making the deal worse in comparison. Thus, researching the state of the device would result in better purchases.
Should I go with Acer, HP, or Microsoft?
All top brands such as HP, Acer, Microsoft, or Lenovo deliver excellent products but differ on specs, and with that, the choices become difficult. However, if you research the products and look out for great specs and reviews, that would lead you in the right direction, and a general rule of thumb is to keep away from off-branded laptops as they can be a hassle to deal with.
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