It wasn’t too long ago when laptops under $500 were considered to be a waste of money. They were looked down due to the poor build quality, meager features, substandard processors, and inferior battery life.
However, in recent years, we have noticed a change in scenery in the budget category of laptops. With the fast progress of computer technology, we see a lot of top of the line, beastly performing laptops in the higher end spectrum. This leaves the budget segment with a boost in terms of specifications and overall quality.
Budget laptops nowadays boast good build quality and decent specifications. They are fast enough to run casual tasks such as coding, gaming, and basic photo or video editing. For some users, there’s no major reason to buy a laptop beyond the price of $500, unless you want to do highly intensive tasks such as 3D modeling, intensive gaming, or heavy programming.
When you are on the lookout for a budget laptop that gives premium value for your hard earned cash, look no further as you are in the right place.
In this article, we will feature the best laptops under $500. We will also discuss the things to consider when buying a budget laptop.
The first entry on our list is from Dell. Boasting several excellent laptops from the budget to the premium segment, Dell has proven its footing in the laptop industry as one of the leading companies to churn out feature-packed laptops at a reasonable price.
The Dell Inspiron i3567 is the newest release from the company at the budget segment. Despite its meager cost, the unit comes with strong hardware specs.
In terms of design, the Dell Inspiron i3567 has a gorgeous and fresh looking style. However, the unit is somewhat reminiscent of the older chunkier Dell laptops. It features a black finish to give it a sleek and professional look.
The keyboard gives off a good response when being used and seems like made of durable material. The keys are made with good ergonomics and placement. However, the keyboard is not backlit so you might get a few errors when typing under dim lighting conditions.
This laptop has a 7th generation Intel Core i5 processor and 8 GBs of RAM. With this at hand, expect a smooth running experience with little to no lags or crashes. It also comes with Windows 10.
In terms of its graphics capability, it runs smooth thanks to its Intel HD 620 Graphics card. The laptop boasts a decent display with a resolution of 1366 x 768. This might be too low for some but when we tested the unit, the screen was decent enough to show only minimal pixels and produced close to accurate colors.
It weighs only 5 lbs, which is considered to be very lightweight. With this, you can slip on the laptop inside your bag without feeling the extra weight.
In terms of battery life, it can only sustain 5 hours of straight use with a single charge. We consider this to be quite average for day to day use.
One of the biggest advantages of the Inspiron i3567 is its huge storage size. It possesses a massive 2 TB hard drive which is more than enough to store all your important information.
Another worthy addition to our list is the Acer Aspire E15. Acer, one of the leading companies in the computer industry is also known to produce laptops with top tier specs at an affordable price. With that said, the Acer Aspire E15 is no slouch when it comes to providing good specifications at a humble price tag.
The recently released Aspire E15 is another budget laptop with top ratings in various aspects. It has one of the best displays under the 500 dollar price range, boasting a 15.6-inch screen and a 1920 x 1080 resolution. The colors look accurate and the texts are crisp with minimal pixels. It also produces a gorgeous display with good viewing angles.
Under the hood, it is powered by a decent processor. It is equipped with a 2.20 GHz Intel i3 core processor accompanied by a 6 GB RAM. With this combination of processor and RAM size, the laptop can handle the usual tasks smoothly with no lags.
Aside from this, it also houses a 1 TB HDD which is more than enough to store all your relevant data and files. When it comes to graphics capability, it has an integrated Intel HD 620 graphics card.
It boasts 13.5 hours of straight use on a single charge.
One of the main caveats of the laptop is its build quality. It is made out of an all plastic chassis which comes with slightly textured patterns. While we believe that the unit is strong enough to withstand minimal drops or scratches, it typically lagged behind other laptops in its price range in terms of design and build quality.
The next entry on our list is from yet another prominent leader in the computer industry, Lenovo. The Lenovo Ideapad 320 boasts good specs to price value and has proven to be one of the best selling laptops in the budget segment across the world.
The laptop flaunts a large 15.6 inch HD display. The Ideapad 320 sports the same design language that is common to the Ideapad series from Lenovo. It comes with a sleek design with a chrome finish for that extra touch of elegance. With that being said, the Ideapad 320 is an upgrade in terms of configuration compared to the other models.
It is powered by a beastly 2.7 GHz AMD A12-9720P quad-core processor which is accompanied by 8 GB of RAM. While it has the powerful processor and a large RAM size, the laptop decides to tone down on the storage space.
Compared to others in this list which has a TB storage, this unit only has 256 GB. However, it dons an SSD storage which far outweighs the inferior speed of the HDD.
One of the drawbacks of the Lenovo Ideapad 320 is its low-end resolution for the screen. It only comes with 1366 x 768 resolution, which is not bright enough when used under the direct sunlight. Moreover, the colors are undersaturated and inaccurate.
It comes with Windows 10 out of the box which comes loaded with the necessary apps. While the drawbacks bog down the overall value of the unit, the presence of an SSD and capable processors as well as an elegant design made the Lenovo Ideapad 320 worthy to be included as one of the best laptops under 500 dollars.
The next entry on our list is the ASUS Vivobook 14. This unit is a testament to the constant effort by ASUS of producing affordable laptops with exceptional performance.
The Vivobook 14 excels in almost all aspects. First, it flaunts a simple yet elegant design. It has a 16:9 ratio which allows users to get a bigger display with minimal bezels. In terms of resolution, the screen has 1920 x 1080 pixels which produce accurate color reproduction and good viewing angles, making it a good laptop for graphic designers and content creators.
The Vivobook 14 has a 3.4 GHz AMD Dual Core A9-9420 chipset with 8GB DDR4 RAM. It also has a dedicated AMD Radeon R5 graphics with integrated DirectX 12 GPU. With this set of features, running intensive tasks and multitasking will be a breeze,.
In terms of storage, it is equipped with a 256 GB SSD which is sufficient for storing important files and data. It comes with Windows 10 with the typical software. It also has a backlit keyboard which makes it convenient when typing under dim light conditions.
The only drawback is the subpar battery life. For a single charge, you get only 5 hours of straight usage. However, if you don’t mind having to charge from time to time then this is only a small compromise.
The last entry on our list is the Lenovo Ideapad 330. Once again, Lenovo resurfaces on our list thanks to their bang for the buck offerings.
The Lenovo Ideapad 330 has one of the largest displays in the price segment. The 17.3-inch display has a resolution of 1600 x 900 pixels. This is a rather low resolution, but the display is bright enough to produce good viewing angles and crisp texts. The laptop though is made entirely of plastic so you might need to be extra careful when handling the laptop. To compensate, it boasts an elegant and sleek design.
In terms of its processor, it has an 8th gen Intel Core i5 processor which is paired with 8 GB of RAM. It boasts a great storage space amounting to 1 TB. The graphics card used in the laptop s the Intel UHD graphics 620.
One of the main drawbacks of the laptop is its measly battery life. It only lasts 5 hours on a single charge.
If you want a large display laptop with good processing speeds, then the Lenovo Ideapad 330 is the best fit for you.
So there you have it, these are the laptops that made it into our list of the best laptops under $500. With that being said, we hope you have found the best laptop that suits your tight budget.
So the next time you are on the lookout for a good laptop on a tight budget, just remember to look at the factors mentioned above and you will get the best value from your hard-earned cash.
Laptops Under $500 Buying Guide
When buying a laptop, there are several things you need to consider, especially when you are on a tight budget. It pays to know that while these laptops give you what you need, there are some aspects compromised. With that being said, here are the things you need to consider when buying a budget laptop.
We’ll be straightforward, buying a budget laptop won’t be as beneficial in the long run when compared to a pricier laptop. When you have the budget to buy higher-end laptops, then budget laptops shouldn’t be your primary option.
While you are pouring in a lot more money buying a higher end laptop now, this can serve you a few more years compared to one that will only last you 4 to 5 years. However, this all depends on how you use it.
If you bought a MacBook Pro for $ 1,500, but then take it for granted or use it too intensely without any form of maintenance; then expect it to die down on you within a couple of years.
When buying a laptop, you also need to consider what kind of tasks you need to perform. In the budget segment, you can’t expect these laptops to perform highly demanding tasks such as programming, 3d modeling, and high-resolution video editing.
So if you are an architect who’s in the lookout for a laptop that can run programs that help you with creating your designs and 3d models, then you might veer away from the budget segment and go directly to the higher end models.
However, if you want to run light to moderate intensity programs, then a budget can suffice. Running programs such as Microsoft Office and Photoshop as well as casual gaming and internet surfing will do just fine with budget laptops.
So before buying a laptop, think about what you will be doing with it first.
Just like buying any laptop, it is wise to look at the specifications it offers. You can’t just get inside a computer shop and buy the sleekest looking laptop. You need to look past the physical attributes and dissect each of the features it possesses to determine whether you get the best value for your money.
The first thing to consider is the display of the laptop. While you can do tasks with a low-resolution display, it is always worthwhile to look for a laptop with a resolution of at least 1920×1080. This resolution is considered to be pleasing enough to give you a decent viewing experience. At this resolution, there are minimal pixels, texts look crisp and colors look accurate.
Moreover, it pays to get a laptop with an IPS display instead of the usual TN display. IPS displays are known for providing more vibrancy and better viewing angles. In addition, matte display tends to give better sunlight visibility compared to glossy ones. With this, you don’t need to ramp up the brightness of the display under direct sunlight.
Don’t fret over touchscreen displays. They may come in handy in some tasks, however, you can always do away with this feature. Windows 10 makes it possible to do tasks without the need for a touchscreen display. Anyway, laptops with a touchscreen display at this price range, usually have several compromises. In fact, it is hard to find a decent 2 in 1 laptop at this price segment.
In terms of processor, you can cop a laptop with an Intel Core i5 at this price range. Intel Core is in fact, more than sufficient to run the basic tasks even intensive games and editing programs. Nevertheless, an Intel Core i3 is also sufficient for these kinds of tasks.
In addition, it is better to find a laptop with a newer generation Intel processor as the company constantly refreshes these chips on a yearly basis. Moreover, equip yourself with U series chips rather than the Y series processors. The U series chips usually are more superior in terms of speed and multitasking compared to the latter.
Another feature you need to look into is the amount of RAM used by the laptop. This is one of the most important, if not, crucial aspects you need to look for in any laptop. The RAM is usually the one responsible for allowing you to do multitask and store more information. Without a capable RAM size, the laptops seize to store more information and might crash easily when you are running several tasks simultaneously.
A laptop with a RAM capacity of 8 GB is more than sufficient for you to do your tasks. However, a RAM size of 6 GB will also suffice. As much as possible, don’t settle for 4 GB of RAM. In terms of storage, the bad news with laptops at this price range is that there are not enough equipped with Solid State Drives (SSD). With this, you have no choice but to settle with the older HDD.
Try to look for a laptop with a higher capacity HDD. While 500 GB is the norm at this price range, you will be surprised to know that there are also laptops that exceed this size. The higher the Storage space, the faster your laptop will be.
Aside from the above mentioned, you also need to look for a laptop with a dedicated GPU or graphics processors. There are several laptops at this price range that are equipped with a Nvidia GeForce chip. They will come in handy when playing games or editing images or videos.
The next feature you need to look out for is the laptops battery life. This is important for any laptop unless you are okay with constantly working near an electrical outlet. If you are always on the move, it pays to get a laptop with a higher than average battery life. At this price range, you can buy a laptop that has a battery life of 6 hours with a single charge.
In terms of connectivity, you need to make sure that the laptop supports the fastest 802.11ac which is the standard for most Wifi connections today. It is also important to have at least 2 or 3 USB 3.0 ports included.