It might be confusing to look for a new laptop because there are so many different models available. When purchasing a gadget for several hundred dollars, you want to ensure that it fulfils your needs, but you also don’t want to spend a lot of money on high-end features you won’t use. Fortunately, there are many excellent and reasonably priced solutions available because to the wide range of models. The finest budget laptop models are available for less than $500 and are capable of handling all of your daily chores, like reading emails, surfing through social media, typing up papers, and more.
Here are the top $500 laptops available now if you’re looking for a low-cost laptop. If you’re unsure of what to look for in a decent cheap laptop besides pricing, go to the purchase advise immediately below our suggestions. This guidance is based on our extensive testing and evaluation expertise to determine what to look for in a laptop that costs less than $500. Additionally, it will inform you of what to look for if you decide to continue your independent search for a low-cost laptop.
To sort the competition, use these selections. Be cautious while making purchases because there are many inexpensive laptops that aren’t worth it.
1. Gateway GWTN141 in $349
Back in the 1990s, Gateway was best known for its inexpensive PCs and laptops. The name was reintroduced in 2020 for a fresh batch of laptops and tablets offered only by Walmart. We evaluated both the 15.6-inch variant and the 14.1-inch model, which were recently upgraded with 11th-gen Intel CPUs. We recommend the latter since it is an affordable alternative for finishing schoolwork while being portable enough to take around campus for the day.
The Intel Core i5 CPU stands out because it offers dependable performance while being combined with less expensive components. The touchpad isn’t the most accurate, and the keyboard is comfy but not lighted. The integrated fingerprint reader is also hit or miss. Nevertheless, it features several connectors, making it easy to attach a mouse or an external monitor, and the full-HD display is also respectable overall. Furthermore, during our streaming video test, the battery lasted only a few minutes short of ten hours.
2. Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 in $299
The original Microsoft Surface Go is simply a Chrome version of this Lenovo Chromebook, the IdeaPad Duet. The 10-inch Lenovo Chromebook Duet is a portable touch screen laptop that, like the Go, has a detachable keyboard and touchpad. Lenovo, on the other hand, comes with the keyboard. The Lenovo Duet is essentially a smaller, albeit less powerful, Pixel Slate that appeals to a wider audience and has a low price that is more in line with what consumers anticipate paying for a Chromebook.
But because the Chromebook Duet’s screen is so tiny, we advise connecting an external monitor to its USB-C connector if you frequently use it at a desk. It’s likely that you’ll also wish to connect a wireless keyboard and mouse.
Acer Aspire 5 in $280
One of the greatest laptop discounts is still the 15-inch clamshell Acer Aspire 5. This Windows laptop weighs less than 4 pounds and has an AMD Ryzen 3 3350U CPU, 4GB of RAM, and a quick 128GB SSD. A USB 3.2 Gen 1 USB-C port, two USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports, Ethernet, and an HDMI port are also included on this affordable laptop.
Even more uncommon features at this price are the backlit keyboard and fingerprint reader on the Acer Aspire. Although you may add more RAM and storage in the future, the 4GB RAM and 128GB solid-state drive storage limit how many apps and browser tabs you can run at once.
Lenovo IdeaPad Chromebook Flex 5 2-in-1 in $374
Despite having a 13-inch, full HD display and being fairly compact, the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 offers good performance and battery life for the money, owing to its Intel Core i3-10110U CPU, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of SSD storage. The Lenovo Flex’s rather dark display makes it a poor choice for outdoor use.
Asus VivoBook 15 in $385
An earlier Core i3 8GB model is now available on Amazon for about $450, which is a fair cost for a Windows laptop powered by an Intel Core CPU. There are postings with 4GB RAM as well, however Windows can hardly function with that much memory (8GB). Contrast that with the Asus VivoBook S15, which is more costly, lighter, and thinner.
Are there any nice laptops under $500?
As a general guideline, avoid making impulse purchases; for instance, don’t spend $500 on a laptop because you can’t locate a bargain on one for less money. A need-it-now laptop purchase can be compared to shopping for groceries while famished. If the figures Intel and PC makers throw at us are accurate, $500 can be a lot of money, and you’ll probably be holding onto it for at least three years.
You can also attempt to extend the lifespan of your present laptop. If you need anything to get you by for a few months, look into locations where you might be able to purchase used equipment, and if you qualify, look into charitable or educational discounts. Additionally, carefully review the manufacturer’s specifications to ensure sure the laptop has any features you truly want, such as a touchscreen, a backlit keyboard, DDR4 RAM, an HD camera, Intel UHD Graphics, AMD Radeon Vega Graphics, or an HDMI connector. If you don’t, it will be a mistake.
If you anticipate keeping your new laptop for a while, consider increasing the price of the laptop you purchase to accommodate a CPU with more cores or more RAM than you had originally planned. Consider AMD Ryzen CPUs as an alternative to Intel Core for Windows laptops or as an alternative to Intel Celeron and Pentium for Chromebooks if you haven’t already.
Consider an inexpensive laptop with a changeable battery (if you can locate one), upgradeable RAM, graphics card, and storage, or all of the above, if you’re okay with it. Additionally, even though you may be working from home right now, this won’t be the case indefinitely. Remember to think about whether a touchscreen laptop with a long battery life or a lighter, slimmer laptop will be relevant to you in the future.
Later on, you may always add one or more external drives (or five, if you’re me). Fast external storage, however, is unlikely to assist speed up the loading of Windows or apps if your internal storage is the kind of slow-spinning hard drive that is common in low-cost laptop models. If necessary, a system may frequently be configured to boot from an external solid-state drive.
Occasionally, sluggish (5,400rpm) spinning hard drives are mentioned in connection with Intel Optane, a quick solid-state memory that speeds up operations by serving as a temporary storage location for frequently visited items on the hard drive. Though not as much as an SSD disc, it still helps.
And lastly, think about converting an old Windows laptop that can no longer run Windows into a Chromebook if you’re replacing it.
What to consider when buying a laptop under $500
While Chromebooks can run Android and Chrome OS-specific software, some users require the entire Windows OS to operate more resource-intensive programmes like video editing suites. The HP Chromebook with Intel Celeron CPUs offers 5.4 times more high-resolution video editing than the standard HP laptop if you’re looking for an excellent video editing machine. This necessitates a faster CPU with more cores, memory (8GB RAM is the absolute minimum), and storage for both the operating system and apps.Many of them feature 4GB or 6GB, which when combined with a rotating hard disc can result in an excruciatingly sluggish Windows laptop. However, because Chromebooks are in higher demand, you should consider spending more money on extra RAM and a faster CPU if your Chromebook needs to do functions above the bare minimum.
In order to keep costs down, many Windows laptops in this price range employ AMD Athlon and lower-end A series or Intel Celeron and Pentium CPUs. Since Windows is too demanding for them and many of them have GBs of RAM, I don’t really advise choosing an Athlon over a Ryzen or a Celeron/Pentium over a Core. At most, you may find them to be appallingly sluggish.
The pricing of 11.6-inch Chromebooks makes them appealing. The Samsung Chromebook boasts a great screen and a battery life of around 10 hours. However, we only suggest that size for the youngest kids. Additionally, 11 inches might get quite crowded if you and your partner will be using the screen for remote learning regularly.
When compared to a spinning hard drive, SSDs may significantly speed up Windows performance, but they also increase cost. Therefore, you might want to think about upgrading from base storage options to a 128GB SSD if your budget will accommodate it and you need additional capacity.
You must be careful when reading specifications for screens in the low price range since a “HD” panel is not always one that is actually high-definition. Full HD, which has a resolution of 1,920×1,080 pixels, is used by marketers to refer to displays with a lower resolution (1,280×720 pixels). HD often refers to a screen having a 1,366×768 pixel resolution in Chromebooks. The rise in 14-inch laptops trickles down to this price range, which is positive because it opens up additional FHD possibilities for this size.
Poor viewing angles and “washed-out” appearing screens are a common criticism I hear. Unfortunately, that is one of the compromises: a number of devices employ the inexpensive but unimpressive TN (twisted nematic) screen technology.
Networking is important. Only Wi-Fi 3 (or 802.11b/g/n) may be supported by less costly devices with outdated chipsets. Wi-Fi 3 can only use 2.4GHz channels, which are slower than more modern chipsets that support Wi-Fi 4 (also known as 802.11ac), which also add a 5GHz channel. I haven’t seen any laptops in this price range that support Wi-Fi 6, the most recent version, but you probably won’t miss it now because you won’t have any Wi-Fi 6 access points to connect to. If you encounter a model that doesn’t appear to offer Wi-Fi 4, double-check on the manufacturer’s website before discarding it because the specs aren’t always accurate on the purchasing sites. Remember, So even though Chromebooks are primarily meant to be used online, Wi-Fi reliability and speed are essential. Read more also here 5 Best Gaming Laptop for 2022.
You’ll find some of our top picks for 2022’s best Windows laptops and Chromebooks under $500 in the list above, along with their benefits and drawbacks, after taking into account all specifications and options, including battery life, storage space, screen resolution, screen size, core processor performance, general machine performance, and battery performance.