In the past articles, we recommended several laptops around 300 dollars, which could meet the basic needs of the office, but their performances do not meet the demands of many games. Today, we recommend several gaming laptops around 500 dollars. They will meet most of all the mid-range and low-end games needs because many mid-range games can only be played at medium resolutions settings. Hence, it can be said that the laptops costing around $500 are good fits for the users who don’t pursue high-end gaming experience, but enjoy playing older games.
The integrated graphics that APU platform uses have better gaming performance than that of Intel processor. The gaming laptops around $500 usually adopt APU platform in order to get better graphics performance. At first, I didn’t think there were laptops with discrete graphics at around $500. Fortunately though, we found Acer E5-575G-57D4 , which is equipped with i5-7200U CPU and GTX940MX graphics. At slightly higher price of at around $550, this is what we recommend as a better choice.
Next, we will recommend five laptops at $500 price point, which were carefully selected. We believe that the following are the best configured laptops at this price. We hope the information is helpful as you make your choice.
The most recommendation: Acer E5-575G-57D4
One of the more distinct and low-priced laptops available on the market today is the Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575G-53VG. For around $550 this 15.6” graphics-equipped laptop, comes complete with Windows 10 preinstalled and a full HD display screen. Additionally, it has a Nvidia GeForce 940MX 2GB DDR5 video card, a backlit keyboard and supports a 256GB SSD, 8GB of RAM and Intel i5 core processor. The i5-7200U which is included in the i5 CPU is the latest, 7th generation intel processor.
This particular laptop is a great solution for regular tasks such as emailing, creating documents in Word, Excel spreadsheet calculations, surfing the internet and watching movies (even the Ultra Hi-Definition ones) or gaming. With its 8GB DDR4 RAM, you won’t suffer from performance problems, even if you are running several apps together. We think Acer deserve a standing ovation for incorporate a 256GB SSD into the Aspire E 15 E5-575G-53VG, rather than using a much more measured hard drive storage.
Surely, the GeForce 940MX is not a gaming-class notebook video card and it performs better than systems with integrated graphic processors. Apart from the feature mentioned above, the 940MX has 2GB of GDDR5 video memory which is better than the 2GB DDR3 of the 940M model, for a bit of extra FPS rate boost. In overall, the GeForce 940MX is made in a way that makes it to easily run many of the popular game titles but some demanding games need the resolution and graphic detail settings decreased in order to have a smooth gaming experience.
This averagely heavy 5.3 pounds notebook has a chassis made of plastics, keyboard deck with glossy finish and the display lid having a texture finish. Asus says it 2800mAH 6-cell battery can work for 12 hours but you can expect to use it for 10 hours and this depends on your tasks. This time is a good period for backing up files especially for those the mainly use their laptop on the go.
The Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575G-53VG has some promising technical specifications and performance and rates as a reasonably good laptop. It comes preinstalled with Windows 10 and everything else you might expect from a great day to day usage laptop. The Acer is by no means one of the more premium choices, but it will offer you enough power to get the job done without any compromise on specification. At the price around 550 dollars, the Acer Aspire E is a good performer and a great choice that won’t damage your wallet.
Best Gaming Laptop under 500 comparison:
|Models:||Acer E5-575G-57D4||Acer Aspire E E5-575G-5341||Acer E5-553G||Dell Inspiron||HP 15-bw040nr||Lenovo Z50|
|Size||15.6 inch||15.6 inch IPS||15.6 inch||15.6 inch||15.6 inch||15.6 inch|
|Display Resolution||1920 * 1080||1920 * 1080||1920 x 1080||1920 x 1080
|Processor||Intel Core i5-7200U||Intel Core i5-6200U||AMD FX-9800P||AMD A12-9700P||AMD A12-9720P||AMD FX-7500|
|Graphic Card||GeForce 940MX 2GB DDR5 VRAM||GeForce 950M 2GB DDR5 VRAM||Radeon R8 M445DX 2GB DDR5||Radeon R7 M445 4GB DDR5||Radeon R7 (Bristol Ridge)||Radeon R7 (Kaveri)|
|Ram||8GB DDR4||8GB DDR4||16GB DDR4||12GB DDR4||8GB DDR4||12GB DDR3|
|Hard Drive||256GB SSD||1TB 5400RPM + 128GB SSD||1TB 5400RPM + 128GB SSD||1TB 5400RPM||1TB 5400RPM||1TB 5400RPM|
|Input/Output||2 x USB3.0
1 x USB2.0
1 x Type-C
|2 x USB3.0
1 x USB2.0
1 x Type-C
|1 x USB3.0
2 x USB 2.0
|2 x USB3.0
1 x USB 2.0
|2 x USB 3.1
1 x USB2.0
1 x HDMI
|2 x USB 3.0
1 x USB2.0
1 x HDMI
|Battery Life||6-cell lithium ion
Up to 12 hours
|Up to 8 hours||6-cell lithium-ion;
Up to 8.5 hours
|3-cell lithium ion||3-cell Battery||4-cell (up to 5 hours)|
|Weight||5.3 lbs||5.3 lbs||5.27 lbs||5.13 lbs||4.5 lbs||5.15 lbs|
|Dimensions||15 x 10.2 x 1.2||15 x 10.2 x 1.2||15 x 10 x 0.9||15.3 x 10.2 x 0.9||15 x 10 x 0.9||15.11 x 10.43 x 0.98|
|OS||Windows 10 64 bit||Windows 10 64 bit||Windows 10 64 bit||Windows 10 64 bit||Windows 10 64bit||Windows 10 64bit|
|More information||More information on Amazon||More information on Amazon||More information on Amazon||More information on Amazon||More information on Amazon||More information on Amazon|
- The performance of Radeon R7 (Bristol Ridge) is slightly higher than the dedicated GeForce 930M.
- The performance of Radeon R8 M445DX 2GB DDR5 is slightly higher than the dedicated GeForce 920M
- The performance of Radeon R7 M445 4GB DDR5 should be similar to a dedicated GeForce 940M (notebookcheck).
Acer Aspire E 15
Acer Aspire E 15 may be an expensive looking laptop. However, the price tag is quite reasonable. This model looks fancy, but when you examine its specifications closer, you will find it’s more than a mid–range notebook. Let’s take a closer look at this notebook to find out if it’s what you may be looking for.
The Acer Aspire E 15 utilizes the new Intel Core i5-6200U processor. This processor is one of Intel’s sixth-generation processors that were released September in 2015. Its dual core has a base speed of 2.2 GHz and the turbo maxes out at 2.7 GHz. Because this processor is relatively new, there are very few benchmarks available as of yet. However, in terms of performance, the i5-6200U most likely will fall in the upper range of i5 processors. When you consider i5 models are excellent for heavier use, it is safe to assume that the stability will be excellent. Hence, the power users will be satisfied.
This system has 8GB of DDR4L SDRAM. It can be upgraded to the maximum of 32 GB of memory, so you do have the ability to double the RAM capacity. You may not wish to do this right away though as 8 GB should be sufficient to start with for most applications.
One of this machine’s weak points is its storage. Don’t get me wrong because it’s not that bad. It is just that by today’s standards, a 1000 GB hard drive with a speed of 5400 RPM does not seem small. You can store hundreds of games and movies on a terabyte drive. The fact that the drive speed is only 5400 RPM does not win any extra points though; the newer 7200 RPM hard drives and SSDs easily outperform this drive.
Gamers, however, will be glad to know that this laptop has a dedicated graphics card. Released in 2015, the GeForce 940MX with 2GB DDR5 VRAM is obviously faster than the Intel HD integrated graphics series. What this means is that almost any of your games will run smoothly on this laptop. However, some games with very heavy graphics will need to have the setting decreased and the resolution set to the minimum. You can expect the games that are considered to be demanding, such as Assassin’s Creed, Unity, and Thief, to have approximately 30-40 frames per second as long as the settings have been set low.
Ports include 3 USB ports, two of which are USB 3.0. There is also an HDMI output for external monitors.
This laptop does not have an optical drive. Of course, you can utilize an external DVD drive to this notebook through the USB 3.0 port.
The Acer Aspire E 15 caters to those users who are looking for some performance; it truly is a modern laptop. The new Core i5 processor, along with the dedicated graphics engine GTX 940MX and 8GB of RAM make this a powerful unit for gaming. The one bad thing, of course, as stated before, is a slow, small hard drive. Not having a DVD on board might also bothers some customers. The price tag on this Acer is not too bad, so overall, I would recommend this unit for anyone looking for an affordable gaming laptop.
Lenovo IdeaPad 510
The Lenovo IdeaPad 510 is another productivity and casual gaming laptop from Lenovo which comes at the price of $521 on Amazon. This model linked here comes with an i5-6200U clocked at 2.30GHz base frequency which can turbo up to 2.8GHz. It is a 2-cores/4-threads part so while it does manage multitasking quite well, it just isn’t enough horsepower for video rendering and editing.
Rendering has never been the purpose of this laptop either! The moderately powered CPU and 8GB of RAM ensures that you can do media playback, web browsing and, say, word processing all very smoothly and without any stutter. The storage is a 1TB HDD which is a little disappointing but Lenovo must have had to cut corners somewhere which is understandable, given the price.
On top of all this, the GPU which is an NVIDIA GTX 940MX with 4GB of dedicated VRAM provides you with decent gaming capabilities to enjoy a friendly Overwatch match on-the-go. Games like Counterstrike or DOTA2 can run on this GPU with playable frame rates, even if games like Witcher 3 and other AAA titles are out of its reach.
Gaming experience rely as much on the display as it does on the graphics card and here we better off than most. The display is a 1920 by 1080 resolution 15.6” IPS panel with matte finish. This is no less than what most $1000 laptops offer. The build quality is sturdy but the battery life is only about 5 hours. The aesthetics are really professional looking with black back panel with matte finish and silver-white interiors with keys with are once again black and backlit. All in all, very professional and it weighs around 5.1 pounds depending on which configuration you are getting.
Finally, for connectivity we have 2 USB 3.0 ports, 1 USB 2.0 port, and 3.5mm Combo audio jack. For video out we have one VGA and another HDMI port. Other ports include an RJ-45 Gigabit LAN and a card reader. The wireless interface is 802.11 ac.
Lenovo IdeaPad 310
The IdeaPad310 is a highly affordable 15.6” laptop from Lenovo with decent tech specs at the price around 400 dollars. The reason they can manage this is simply because they have chosen to work with AMD’s APUs instead of going the more expensive Intel and Nvidia way.
The CPU is an AMD A12-9700P which performs close to the Intel i5-6200U we have seen above. It is a true quad-core processor with 4 cores running at 2.5GHz which can go up to 3.4GHz. There is 12GB of RAM which means tons of apps and processes can run on this tiny laptop without any hiccups.
The storage is a 1TB of HDD which is does act as a bottleneck often but at this price point it is acceptable. The most important thing to look at is the graphics performance. The AMD Radeon R5 graphics that comes in this APU has 6 dedicated compute cores. The performance is not impressive but it is what it is.
The 15.6 inch display has a resolution of 1366 by 768 which makes it easier for the R5 graphics processor to render frames. Moreover, since the CPU is a decently powerful quad-core processors CPU intensive games, especially Minecraft would run well on this machine. Combine this with the 12GB of RAM and you can run virtual machines on this laptop quite easily too.
The build is similar to that of IdeaPad 510 we saw above, but instead of silver interior the entire body has a dull black finish to it making suitable for any office presentation or other corporate scenario. The battery backup is reported to be at 5 hours and the entire device weighs 4.8 pounds.
For connectivity, we have 2 USB 2.0 ports, 1 USB 3.0 port, and 3.5mm Combo audio jack and wireless 802.11 ac. For video out we have a single VGA port and another HDMI port. Other ports included are an RJ-45 Gigabit LAN and a card reader.
Dell Flagship Inspiron
This particular model from Dell tries to find the right balance between budget and performance and does it quite well. The laptop is priced at $489 and is feature packed without crossing the $500 mark, which is impressive.
The processor is AMD’s A12-9700P which is not the same in terms of graphics seen in the IdeaPad 310 and we will come back to that later. The base clock speed is 2.5GHz and it can go up to 3.4GHz for intensive tasks. The main memory or RAM is also a sizable 8GB which is enough for most modern applications for productivity and media playback.
The storage is a 1TB of HDD which, as we have mentioned before, is the major bottleneck to performance. The next thing to look at is the gaming performance which is powered by Radeon R7 which works better than the R5 but is still a little weaker than its Nvidia counterpart. The CPU intensive games like Minecraft would still run better on this machine owing to its true quad-core architecture and better clock speeds.
However, the fact that it has R7 graphics is good news considering that the display it supports is a beautiful 1920 by 1080 resolution, 15.6 inch FHD panel which is a lot more demanding than HD. Another surprise regarding the display is that it is a touchscreen and with the newer Windows 10 and its Tablet mode of use you can be quite productive using the touchscreen.
The build is sturdy and ergonomic and weighs 5.1 pounds. The Chiclet keyboard is backlit and the overall look and feel of the device is premium.
For ports and interfaces we have 2 USB 3.0 ports, 1 USB 2.0 port, an Ethernet and an HDMI port along with a 3.5mm microphone/headphone combo jack. The wireless technology used is 802.11 ac which is always nice to have on a portable machine.
At the center of this laptop is the most recent generation of AMD quad core Kaveri platform. The Lenovo IdeaPad Z50 is not a 3D gaming laptop. However, it works very well for daily multimedia entertainment tasks and productivity. With a cost of a little above $400, this laptop still offers many features that make it a good buy.
This laptop, with its solid slim design, is directly aimed toward those consumers seeking a budget laptop. The manufacturer has used solid black coloring and a brushed aluminum design, along with soft touch materials to make this laptop appear more expensive and robust than other laptops in its class.
With display resolution up to 1366×768 pixels, the display is slightly less than other laptops in the price range, which have a sharper resolution at 1920×1080. This makes the pixel count one of the downsides of this unit.
The AMD FX 7500 quad-core, at up to 3.3GHz is used in this unit. In terms of CPU speed and power consumption, it is comparable to the Intel Core i7-4500U/4510U dual-core. Both of these chips have been optimized for use in low profile notebooks. The CPU performance of both chips, according to AMD, are very similar. This is been confirmed with PassMark benchmarks of (~3750 vs ~3900 points in Intel’s favor). This means that, in reality, there is sufficient power for daily tasks and the demanding needs required for video and photo editing, as well. It should be noted that in the integrated graphics department, the Radeon R7 series IGP used in the FX 7500 is noticeably better than the results found with the i7’s Intel HD 4400, with over a 50% in 3DMark benchmarks advantages being claimed. This means you should be able to increase your graphics settings and resolution up from the lowest settings, however, mid- and high-end gaming are still better played with dedicated video cards.
This laptop gives smoother and faster performance when compared to other laptops in its price range, thanks to the combination of the 64-bit version of Microsoft Windows 10 as the operating system and 12GB of DDR3 RAM. The IdeaPad Z50 works well with the majority of modern office and productivity applications.
You get a lot of storage with the Z50 laptop. The 1TB of Serial ATA hard disk drive running at 5400RPM allows for a great deal of document and multimedia storage.
This laptop is easy on the pocket book, and comes with a full numeric keypad and a full non-backlit, black keyboard.
You can expect up to five hours of battery runtime from the 4-cell Lithium Cylinder 2200mAh battery that the laptop uses as a power supply.
You will not find multi touch screen technology on Lenovo Z50 laptop. However, the portable design, along with its large storage capacity and full connectivity features, makes this laptop, which sells for around $400, a good value for your hard-earned money. If you’re considering a new laptop be sure to take a look at the Lenovo 15.6 inch laptop.
HP Envy TouchSmart m6-n113dx (Certified Refurbished)
The first available laptop on the market utilizing the AMD FX “Kaveri” processor, which was launched earlier this year, was the HP Envy TouchSmart m6-n113dx, with its 15.6 inch touch screen. This chip from AMD, which was long awaited, finally allows AMD to compete directly with Intel in the higher-end notebook CPU category.
At the heart of the machine is the AMD FX-7500 Quad-Core Processor, with delivery processor speeds between 2.1 GHZ to 3.3 GHz. That is enough power to run your daily office and the majority of multimedia entertainment tasks without causing lag.
The laptop uses the AMD Radeon R7 (Kaveri) Graphics as graphics engine, which is able to handle some modern games and multimedia without noticeable delays. The display is a High Definition TFT Color LCD, which is 15.6 inches. It supports 1368 x 768 pixels native resolution with an average brightness of 200 nits. It is not designed for 1080p HD video content or for playing detailed 3D games. However, when viewing 720p video content or streaming movies from Netflix, this display, along with its LED back-lighting, gives fairly natural and crisp colors.
Besides the new CPU and touch screen, the m6-n113dx has 6 GB of RAM memory, which is enough for most computing scenarios. There is a 750 GB hard drive with a speed of only 5,400rpm; this is a bottleneck for this system’s performance. It also comes with a numeric pad and a backlit keyboard, integrated click buttons utilized by the advanced Control Zone touchpad, and Windows 8-specific touch gestures, which gives the system a little extra support. The stereo speakers also have a separate subwoofer.
The battery capacity is stated as 2,200 mAh, however, we have no further information on actual battery life. The chassis is 1.2 inches thick, made of glass-fiber construction, and has been painted in a natural silver color with soft-touch paint. Even though the unit lacks a DVD, it is a little heavy weighing in at 6.1 pounds.
All in all, the m6-n113dx is a good value for your money; at around 450 dollars, it is not as costly as the corresponding Intel i7.