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What Is The Best Laptop For Under $500

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Best Laptops Under $: The Best Budget Laptops Around

Best Gaming Laptops Under $500 – Which Is The Best Budget Laptop?

ByMichelle Rae Uylast updated 2 December 21

The best laptops under $500 TechRadar has reviewed

Inspiron 15 3000

If you dont need a ton of computing power, then one of the best laptops under $500 might be the most ideal notebook for you. After all, laptops such as the Dell XPS 15 are brimming with features and performance but come with a pretty hefty price. If you dont need all that power or the status symbol of a flagship machine, then why dont you save some money and get a more affordable portable?

And, though theyre in the budget range, these laptops under $500 are surprisingly capable. Youll get a reasonable amount of features, a reliable machine, and more than enough power all without breaking the bank. Youll end up with a solid portable and still be able to afford some great additions to your setup like a quality mouse and a comfortable chair.

Unless you need a computer that can handle processor- or graphics-heavy tasks like video editing or gaming, then a laptop under $500 is probably the better way for you to go. No matter if you just want something for home, an office laptop, or a portable for school, one of our budget laptop picks below will fit the bill.

Reasons to avoid

Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Go

Reasons to avoid

Read the full review: Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook

Reasons to avoid

Read the full review: HP Chromebook 14

Reasons to avoid

Read the full review:Acer Chromebook 314

Reasons to avoid

Read the full review: Acer Chromebook Spin 311

How We Test Computers

The review process for laptops, desktops, tablets and other computer-like devices consists of two parts: performance testing under controlled conditions in the CNET Labs and extensive hands-on use by our expert reviewers. This includes evaluating a device’s aesthetics, ergonomics and features. A final review verdict is a combination of both those objective and subjective judgments.

The list of benchmarking software we use changes over time as the devices we test evolve. The most important core tests we’re currently running on every compatible computer include: Primate Labs Geekbench 5, Cinebench R23, PCMark 10 and 3DMark Fire Strike Ultra.

A more detailed description of each benchmark and how we use it can be found in our How We Test Computers page.

What Are The Trade

As long as you manage your expectations when it comes to options and specs, you can still get quite a bit from a budget laptop model, including good battery life and a reasonably lightweight laptop body.

A bright spot is you don’t have to settle for a traditional clamshell laptop with a fixed display and keyboard. You can also get a convertible laptop , which has a screen that flips around to turn the screen into a tablet, to position it for comfortable streaming or to do a presentation. Keep in mind that all convertibles work as both laptops and tablets. A touchscreen is a prerequisite for tablet operation, and many support styluses for handwritten and sketched input. Don’t assume a stylus is included, though.

One thing you won’t find at these cheap laptop prices: a MacBook or any other Apple laptop. An iPad will run you more than $500 once you buy the optional keyboard , which is above our budget here. A base-model iPad with an inexpensive Bluetooth keyboard and cheap stand for the iPad might suffice.

You’ll see a lot of cheap laptops listed as coming with Windows 10 S, a stripped-down and locked-down version of the operating system intended for use by schools — it only allows you to install applications from the Windows Store, forces you to use Microsoft’s Edge browser and includes a subset of the administrative tools in Windows 10 Pro. You can upgrade to the full version for free, though.

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Best Large Screen: Dell Inspiron 15 3502 156 Hd Laptop

  • Large 15.6 inch display
  • No information on battery life
  • No-touch display
Graphics:Integrated UHD Graphics 600

Not everyone needs or wants a laptop with a small screen and in fact, for some forms of work, especially anything that involves larger layouts and graphics , a larger screen is desirable.

This laptop from Dell has a Windows OS and while its near the top of the $500 price limit, you get a pretty decent processor the Intel Celeron N4020 is power efficient and faster than the old Celeron N4000 plus a large 15.6 HD screen. The display offers up a decent resolution of 1366 x 768 and the anti-glare, LED backlit non-touch narrow border display gives you added screen space for beautiful visuals.

With the larger screen and overall body, youll have to give up a bit in the lightness department, but at 5.7 pounds, its still pretty easy to carry around. Couple that with 4 GB of RAM and an Intel UHD graphics 600 with shared graphics memory, and youll have yourself a pretty good laptop to meet most of your needs.

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2

Best Gaming Laptops under $500 [August 2020]

BEST CHROMEBOOK

Because some people can make do with a cloud-based device, we decided to include one Chromebook in our guide to the best mini laptops. No surprise, a Samsung Chromebook is our top recommendation. The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 promises to offer big performance at a price that is anything but. Running on an Intel Celeron CPU may not sound impressive, but since Chrome OS requires less horsepower to run smoothly, an Intel Core i5 CPU is not as necessary. Combined with a form factor that comes in at 2.7 pounds and 0.55 inches, 4 GB of RAM and a highly desirable 13-inch 4K display, youre likely to find that this laptop will suit all your needs.

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What To Look For In A Budget Laptop

One of the constants of the tech landscape is the computer. Specifically, the laptop is the center of most peoples digital lives. There are a dozen of factors to consider prior to your purchase. Important factors include, but are not limited to, the complexity of your workload, operating system, RAM, storage, graphics, ports, display, weight, and size.

With the number of things to keep in mind when buying a laptop, weve put together a brief guide of the top three considerations to alleviate any stress during your purchase. But buying a laptop hasnt necessarily become any easier. In fact, thanks to technology improvements that allow for things like 2-in-1s , buying a laptop may well have become more difficult.

Microsoft Surface Book 3

BEST 2-IN-1 SMALL LAPTOP

Microsoft Surface Book laptops have always been solid overall computing devices, and the long-awaited Surface 3 is no lightweight. Released around the same time as the new Macbooks, Microsofts premium laptop packs plenty of power for multimedia editing with software like Photoshop and Premiere, all while providing up to 15.5 hours of battery life in low power mode . Plus, if you like using touchscreen tablets, you can detach the Surface Book screen from the keyboard and turn your laptop into the ultimate entertainment device. For anyone who prefers Windows to Mac OS, Microsoft has finally released a laptop to rival the MacBook Pro.

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Best With Windows : Hp Notebook 156

Why It Made the Cut: Using a tried and tested operating system, like Windows 10, helps gamers jump back into their favorites without navigating new features.

Specs: Hard Drive: 256 GB Solid State Drive

Pros: Dedicated graphics card improves gameplay 15.6-inch HD screen Pre-installed Windows 10 operating system Long battery life

Cons: Slow CPU can hinder processing power

This HP Laptop offers users the convenience and familiarity of the well-known Windows 10 operating system. Windows 10 comes pre-installed and ready to go, though there will probably be a few items to set up the first time the computer is used in order to personalize the settings. Like all laptops, this HP device is intended for portability. Users can take advantage of the long battery life to finish important games on the road or kick back and watch a favorite show in their downtime.

The gaming laptop has a dedicated graphics card to help improve the visual quality of TV, movies, games, and other media. It also reduces the strain on the already slow CPU, allowing gamers to get the most out of their top games without needing to rely on the CPU for the graphics processing power. The laptop boasts an impressive memory for the low price, including 256 GB solid state hard drive and 8 GB of RAM.

Lenovo Ideapad 3 15 Laptop

The Best Laptops Under $500 for 2022

Another budget-friendly choice is to go for the Lenovo IdeaPad. This provides a performance fit for general usage, office tasks, gaming, and even video editing.

It brings you the power of the AMD Ryzen 5 Quad-Core Processor, along with integrated Radeon Vega 8 Graphics. As for memory, 8 GB DDR4 and 256 GB SSD are more than enough to handle most productivity, content creation, and light gaming.

Now, here is the impressive part.

Many components of this budget laptop are upgradable. These include the RAM, Hard Drive, WI-FI card, and much more. This allows you to tailor your computer to your needs. The Lenovo weighs only 4.3 lbs which is easy to carry around. Overall built is a durable plastic body with a 15.6 wide anti-glare display. Interestingly, it carries a sturdy keyboard, so you can go all bananas if you want.

However, there are several downsides to this budget under $500 laptop. The webcam is only 0.3 MP, being the worst on our list. Moreover, this laptop is suited for indoor use only due to sub-par viewing angles.

But these are no way deal breakers. Considering such a low budget, Lenovo had to compromise somewhere. The high-end hardware specs and their ability to generate less heat make Lenovo a decent low-budget gaming machine. Thats why Ideapad 3 made it in our list of the best under $500 gaming laptops .

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Buying Guide: What To Look For In A Sub

It is essential to have a clear vision while buying a long-term and expensive laptop. A laptop can easily stick to a user for 3-5 years, depending on your usage. And if a thing is gonna be with you for such a long time, it becomes important to choose that thing with caution. Specifically for students looking for a laptop under $500, here are the things you should look for in your next laptop.

Processor & GPU

No one can deny that a good processor is the foundation of a good performance on a computer. From a students perspective, there are no heavy tasks, so a dual-core processor is a fine choice. But it doesnt mean that you can opt for any dual-core CPU. Always make sure the dual-core CPU you are going with belongs to at least 10h gen if its from Intel or Ryzen 4000 series if its from the AMD. Some newly launched laptops are available with 5000 series AMD processors that can be definitely considered for the more powerful applications. But they definitely cost more than the older 4000 series AMD laptops.

If you go to the base of what a college student laptop is used for, there is no such task that will require a dedicated GPU. The student work usually takes notes, browses the web, does document viewing, casual editing, etc. And for these kinds of works, any integrated GPU from Intel or AMD will work fine.

RAM & Storage

Form Factor

Windows VS Chrome OS

Acer Chromebook Spin 713

The best Chromebook with long battery life

Specifications
Reasons to avoid

Acer Chromebook Spin 713 are among the best Chromebooks on the market due to its 11-hour battery life. We prefer that laptops last at least 8 hours to endure an entire day at school or work, but the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 exceeds our 8-hour minimum.

The Acer Chromebook Spin 713 won a spot on the best Chromebooks list for its colorful and bright display, speedy performance and versatile form factor. And, get this, it won’t cost you more than $700 to snag this Chromebook.

For high school and college students seeking an inexpensive, portable and durable laptop, the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 is certainly one of the best Chromebooks they could choose for their everyday device.

Reasons to avoid

The Asus Chromebook Detachable CM3 will fool others into thinking you’re carrying a tweed-bound journal, but in reality, you’ve got a spectacular 2-in-1 laptop in your hands. As a cherry on top, the Chromebook Detachable CM3 actually comes with a built-in stylus, so you could definitely get some journaling in with some high-tech handwriting.

Reasons to avoid
Reasons to avoid
Reasons to avoid
Reasons to avoid
Reasons to avoid

The Lenovo Chromebook Duet is one of the best Chromebooks because it is a low-priced 2-in-1 that is a tablet, but can also transform into a laptop with an accompanying twill-like kickstand cover and detachable keyboard.

Read our full review of the Lenovo Chromebook Duet.

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Best Chromebook Under $: Asus Chromebook Flip C302ca

If your computing needs are basic and you want the look and feel of a premium laptop, the Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA delivers. It has an aluminum chassis with an elegant design, is incredibly thin at just 0.6 inches and weighs just 2.6 pounds.

Unlike most budget picks, the Chromebook Flips 12.5-inch Full HD display is crisp and bright with good off-axis viewing. And, as its name suggests, the Chromebook Flip has a 360 hinge, so it can be used as a laptop, tablet and presentation screen. If you plan on using the computer in dimly lit areas, youll appreciate the full-size backlit keyboard.

The Chromebook Flip runs the Chrome OS and is powered by an Intel Core M processor and 8GB of RAM. And, it comes with all of the important ports: two USB-C with display and power delivery support and a microSD card.

The Chromebook Flip has the look and feel of a premium laptop and plenty of processing chops for everyday tasks.

Processor: 2.2 GHz Intel Core M 6Y30 processor

Screen size and resolution: 12.5-inch touchscreen, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels

Weight: 2.65 pounds

Storage and memory: 8GB of RAM, 64GB SSD

Operating system: Chrome OS

Price: $499 on Asus, check price on

A Guide For Buyers Wanting To Choose A Great Laptop Within This Price Range

Top 5 Best Gaming Laptop Under $500 for 2021 [EDITORâS REVIEW]

Below is a short and sweet crash course on terms and jargon youll commonly see thrown around when describing laptops. We hope this helps you achieve a better understanding, and that it leads you to make a more informed choice when purchasing a laptop.

The CPU is the brains of the system. Its at the center of it all and tells every other part what it should be doing, in addition to handling most general tasks. Rated in frequency, denoted in GHz, higher frequency is usually better, and higher core-count is usually better.

Not every CPU is created equally, however, so we suggest referencing benchmarks for a proper comparison.

RAM, or Random Access Memory, is where the data that the CPU needs to access immediately is temporarily stored. More RAM is better, especially for multitasking and heavier video and photo editing scenarios.

RAM can usually be upgraded if you need more, but that depends on each laptops design.

Storage

Once your CPU is done with the data that is on the RAM, it saves the relevant data permanently onto a storage device. Storage devices come in different variants, the fastest of which is an SSD .

All of our choices here feature SSDs as the main storage device, though other laptops may feature HDDs which are slower, but better suited for storing large quantities of data due to their lower price per GB. Some laptops have an extra slot for an HDD as well.

Display

Portability

Operating Systems

Microsoft Windows 10

Windows S Mode

Chrome OS

Purpose

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Powered By Amd: Hp Laptop 14z

HP has been on a roll, and its more budget-conscious laptops have come a long way. Just check out the HP Pavilion Aero, which Executive Editor Daniel Rubino awarded full marks as the best mid-range AMD laptop available today. HP’s standard “Laptop” lineup lives just below the Pavilion line, and the HP Laptop 14z packs in a whole lot of features for less than $500. It even has AMD Ryzen 5000 Mobile CPUs.

Prices start at about $350 for a model with Ryzen 3 CPU and HD display, but for a few dollars more, you can get a way better configuration. For about $490, I configured a model with Ryzen 5 5500U CPU with six cores and 12 threads, 8GB of dual-channel DDR4-3200MHz RAM, 128GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD , and a 14-inch 1920×1080 IPS display. Not having to deal with an inferior TN panel or HD resolution is important when checking out the best budget laptops under $500.

The laptop can be upgraded to Wi-Fi 6 for free, and port selection is good at this price. You get USB-C, two USB-A, HDMI 1.4b, an SD card reader, and a 3.5mm audio jack. Check out our HP Laptop 14z review for more information.

Asus Chromebook Flip C433 2

If you are looking for an affordable 14â touch laptop, then we can recommend the Asus Chromebook Flip C433.

The processing chamber houses an Intel Core M3-8100Y processor, 4GB RAM, and 64GB of storage.

The FHD monitor is complemented by the full-metal body to lend this device an inside-out beauty.

So narrow is the bezel that the chassis fits into a 13â size. This Chromebook also comes with a backlit keyboard.

A 360-degree hinge is the standout feature of this Chromebook, permitting you to use it in multiple modes like tablet, tent and stand.

Since the chassis weighs only 3.3lbs, all these usage modes are super convenient, even when you are on the move.

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