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Best Cheap Gaming Laptop under 500 Dollars 2018

With the start of a New Year, Intel’s new Coffee Lake processors and winter sales on most of the game titles it is a great time for gaming laptops and other gears. For the price point of $500 the options a very large and diverse. To get the best bang for your buck is not an easy task since most of the options available will have a catch that will put you at a disadvantage.

The key question to be answered for most of them is what your use case for the laptop is going to be. In our list of reviews below, we consider gaming as the main use case, but even then the questions like “What kind of games?” and “Will you be using it for something else?” arise.

As a minimum requirement for hardware you can expect at least an i5-7200U for a CPU and a 940MX or better for a GPU is fine. It can play most popular titles at reasonable frame rates and visual quality. But obviously, these are entry-level devices and put AAA title at extreme settings would only lead to frustration.

Knowing that is important so as to know what is the optimum trade-off you can make in order to get the best performance at the least possible budget. Another important factor, which at $500 is easily available, is an SSD and it severely improves the entire user experience by making the system more responsive and snappier. Same goes with the amount of RAM that is offered. The more memory your system has, the more you can multitask on it or run demanding jobs and VMs on it. 8GB or more of DRAM is ideal at the given price point.

Next important factor to be considered is the display that you desire. For decent gaming experience 1920 by 1080 resolution is ideal, for the given price point. Also important is the type of display that you are using. If you play single player games with immersive graphics and an open world, like Skyrim, or even games like Witcher or GTA, then you would want to go with an IPS display and not a TN panel. IPS panels have better color reproduction and wider viewing angles making them a superior choice for both gaming and productivity.

On the other hand, TN panels offer much lower latencies and are thus generally favored for highly competitive games like CS: GO or DOTA 2. In some cases, TN panels also support higher refresh rates than most other panels making them all the more viable, despite poor color reproduction and viewing angles.

Also important for a gamer are the ergonomics and the build quality of the device. Your hands must not get uncomfortably tired, nor should the surface heat up so much that it distracts you and throttles the hardware as well. You would need a decent keyboard, even if its Chiclet, it should have decent key-travel to it for a smooth decent.

Lastly, we would also have to consider the way in which the laptop is meant to be used. Do you already have a PC and need an additional laptop for travelling and LAN parties? In that case, portability and battery longevity are both crucial as is the availability of ports for connectivity. If you intend on using it as your only computer, better focus on CPU horse power as well.

Best Gaming Laptop under 500 comparison:

Models Detail Information Screen CPU/GPU Storage/RAM Connectivity Battery/Weight
Acer E5-576G-5762 (Most recommended) More information on Amazon 15.6 inch
1920 x 1080
IPS
Intel Core i5-8250U/
GeForce MX150 2GB DDR5 VRAM
256GB SSD/8GB DDR4 2 x USB3.0
1 x USB2.0
1 x USB3.1 Type C;
1x HDMI,
Bluetooth 4.1
DVDRW/CD-RW
6-cell lithium ion
Up to 15 hours;
15 x 10.2 x 1.2 inches;
5.3 lbs
Acer Aspire E E5-575G-562T More information on Amazon 15.6 inch
1920 x 1080
IPS
Intel Core i5-7200U
GeForce 950M 2GB DDR5 VRAM
1TB 5400RPM +128GB SSD/8GB DDR4 2 x USB3.0
1 x USB2.0
1 x Type-C
1x HDMI,
Bluetooth
DVDRW/CD-RW
Up to 8 hours;
15 x 10.2 x 1.2 inches;
5.3 lbs
Dell Flagship Inspiron More information on Amazon 15.6 inch
1920 x 1080
IPS
;
Touchscreen
AMD A12-9700P;
Radeon R7 (Bristol Ridge)
1TB 5400RPM;
8GB DDR4
2 x USB3.0
1 x USB 2.0
1x HDMI,
Bluetooth 4.1
DVD-RW
Around 3.5 hours;
15.06 x 10.08 x 1.06 inches;5.1 lbs
HP 15-bw040nr More information on Amazon 15.6 inch
1366 x 768
SVA;
AMD A12-9720P;
Radeon R7 (Bristol Ridge)
1TB 5400RPM;
8GB DDR4
2 x USB 3.1
1 x USB2.0
1 x HDMI
Bluetooth 4.2
DVD-RW
3-cell Battery;
15.06 x 10.08 x 1.06 inches;
4.5 lbs
Lenovo IdeaPad 320 SSD Version | HDD Version 15.6 inch
1366 x 768;
TN
AMD A12-9720P;
Radeon R7 (Bristol Ridge)
256GB SSD or 1TB 5400 RPM HDD
8GB DDR4
2 x USB 3.0;
1 x USB 3.1 type C
1 x HDMI
Bluetooth 4.1
DVD-RW
2-cell lithium ion, Up to 5 Hours Battery Life;
14.90″ x 10.40″ x 0.90″;
4.85 lbs
ASUS VivoBook F510UA More information on Amazon 15.6 inch
1920 x 1080
IPS
Intel Core i5-8250U;
Intel UHD Graphics 620
1 TB 5400RPM;
8GB DDR4
1 x USB 3.0;
1 x USB 3.1 type C
2 x USB2.0
1 x HDMI
Bluetooth 4.1
DVD-RW
Up to 13.25 hours battery life;
14.2 x 9.6 x 0.8 inches;
3.7 pounds (Thin and Light)
HP Flagship 15 More information on Amazon 15.6 inch
1920 x 1080
SVA
Intel Core i5-8250U;
Intel UHD Graphics 620
2 TB 5400RPM;
12GB DDR4
2 x USB 3.1;
1 x USB 2.0;
1 x HDMI;
Bluetooth 4.1
DVD-RW
3-cell lithium-ion;
14.95″ x 9.99″ x 0.94″;
4.3 pounds
Lenovo Z50 More information on Amazon 15.6 inch;
1366 x 768;
TN
AMD Quad-Core FX-7500;
Radeon R7 (Kaveri)
1TB 5400 RPM;
8GB DDR3
1 x USB3.0;
2 x USB2.0;
Bluetooth 4.0;
1 x HDMI;
DVD-RW
Up to 5 hours
15.11 x 10.43 x 0.98 inches
5.15 pounds
  • The performance of Radeon R7 (Bristol Ridge) is slightly higher than the dedicated GeForce 920MX.
  • The performance of GeForce MX150 is better than GeForce GTX 950M. More information on Notebookcheck
  • The performance of Intel UHD Graphics 620 should be positioned between a GeForce 910M and 920M dedicated graphics card from Nvidia

The Most Recommendation: Acer E5-576G-5762 Gaming Laptop

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The Acer E5 is one of the first models to have come out with both the latest CPU and GPU available in the market at this time. Eager early adopters might want to take a peek as well as college students and budget-conscious gamers. Priced at $599 this is marvelous model has earned the editor’s recommendation for many a good reasons.

The CPU is an Intel 8th gen i5-8250U with 4 cores and hyper threading enabled which allows applications to consume up to 8 threads if the workload is multithreaded. It is clocked at a base frequency of 1.6GHz but can turbo boost up to 3.4 GHz which means it can work longer consuming low power or do intensive workload depending on what you desire.

Applications like video editing and rendering, running VMs, compiling or decompiling software, and compression or decompression all will see massive improvements with this CPU compared to its older generation counterparts like i5-7200U and i5-7300HQ.

The single threaded performance itself is also quite impressive by being slightly ahead of the 7300HQ, making it the perfect option for gamers. The CPU is never going to throttle your games. Neither will the ample 8GB of dual channel RAM bottleneck your games. Although some applications might struggle with it a little, most games and apps will not be using all of it. In case you do want to upgrade your system, RAM and disk are easily accessible for you to swap them out.

Next up, for storage we get a snappy and spacious 256 GB of SSD offering ample storage for your game library and for the media files as well. SSDs are always a welcome addition to any laptop, they improve its responsiveness. The loading screens on your display become considerably less annoying and much shorter and your PC boots in mere seconds.

But what a gamer needs the most is a GPU which can push a decent 60FPS and that too at a decent visual setting. Nvidia’s GeForce MX150 is the one powering your games inside this device. It is an incremental update and still uses the Pascal architecture, but when compared to the popular options in this price point, which are the 940MX it is much more powerful in raw benchmarks and at the same time it is power efficient as well. It has 2 GB of dedicated VRAM.

Display is proportionate to the GPU horsepower. The 15.6 inch IPS panel has 1920 by 1080 resolution which is optimal for both productivity and entertainment purposes. IPS panel means you don’t have to worry about poor color accuracy or pathetic viewing angles.

The keypad and the rest of the ergonomics are mediocre but are never going to be a crutch and the battery life is an insane 15 hours on average. For ports we get 1 USB 2.0, 1 HDMI, 2 USB 3.0 and 1 USB 3.1 gen-1 type C connector. It weighs 5.27 pounds and is 1.2 inches thick.

So to sum it up, you get a very futureproof, powerful, upgradable laptop at only $599 with a battery life so good you could almost forget that you need to charge it. It has portability, longevity, computing and gaming potential all at a very reasonable price!

 

Hardware Specifications
Display 15.6 Inch Full HD IPS Display (1920 x 1080)
Processor Intel Core i5-8250U  (Turbo up to 3.4GHz) [Benchmarks]
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce MX150 2GB DDR5 VRAM  [View Benchmarks]
Storage 256GB SSD
RAM 8GB DDR4 RAM
Operating System Windows 10 Home 64-bit
Battery Life 6-cell Li-Ion Battery (2800 mAh), Up to 15-hours Battery Life
Dimensions/Weight 15 x 10.2 x 1.2 inches, 5.27 pounds
Comparison Back to the comparison of gaming laptops under 500$
Pro
  • Intel i5-8250U CPU
  • NVIDIA GeForce MX150 (Best GPU for gaming laptop around 500$)
  • Easy to upgrade storage and RAM
  • SSD
  • 1 – USB 3.1 Type C
  • Battery Life
Con
  • No HDD, only 256GB storage space
  • Dim screen

>>More information and user reviews on Amazon<<

Other Choice:

 

Acer E5-575G-57D4  (Old Models, Often out of stock)

Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575G-53VG

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.

Hardware Specifications
Display 15.6 Inch Full HD IPS Display (1920 x 1080)
Processor Intel Core i5-7200U(2.5GHz, Turbo up to 3.1GHz)
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce 940MX 2GB DDR5 VRAM  [View Benchmarks]
Storage 256GB SSD
RAM 8GB DDR4 RAM
Operating System Windows 10 Home 64-bit
Battery Life 6-cell Li-ion Battery (2800 mAh), Up to 12-hours Battery Life
Dimensions/Weight 15 x 10.2 x 1.2 inches, 5.27 pounds
Comparison Back to the comparison of gaming laptops under 500$
Pro
  • Intel Core i5-7200U 2.5GHz
  • GeForce 940MX
  • Easy to upgrade storage and RAM
  • SSD
  • 1 – USB 3.1 Type C
  • Battery Life
Con
  • No HDD, only 256GB storage space
  • Acer bloatware

>>More information and user reviews on Amazon<<

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Acer Aspire E15

Acer E5-573G-52G3

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.

Hardware Specifications
Display 15.6 Inch Full HD TN Display (1920 x 1080)
Processor Intel Core i5-6200U (2.3GHz, Turbo up to 2.8 GHz)
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce 940MX 2GB DDR5 VRAM  [View Benchmarks]
Storage 1TB 7200 RPM
RAM 8GB DDR4 RAM
Operating System Windows 10 Home 64-bit
Battery Life 4-cell Li-Ion (2800 mAh) Battery, up to 8 hours
Dimensions/Weight 15.02″ x 10.20″ x 0.94″-1.19″, 4.92 pounds
Comparison Back to the comparison of gaming laptops under 500$
Pro
  • GeForce 940MX
  • Easy to upgrade storage and RAM
  • Large 7200RPM HDD
  • 1 – USB 3.1 Type C
Con
  • Intel Core i5-6200U
  • No SSD
  • Acer bloatware
  • Price

>>More information and user reviews on Amazon<<

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Lenovo IdeaPad 320

Lenovo-IdeaPad-320

Next is an AMD centric configuration from Lenovo’s popular IdeaPad line up. Priced at $549 the IdeaPad 320 is equipped with an AMD APU, a snappy SSD and a Radeon R7 graphics. Let’s take a closer look.

The processing capabilities are pretty limited but it is a true quad core A12-9720P clocked at 2.7 GHz with a maximum clock speed of up to 3.6 GHz. Its single threaded performance is comparable to that of an i3-7100U and it is only marginally behind the 7200U in multi-threaded workloads. It is quite capable of running most games or running CPU intensive workloads like running multiple VMs, thanks to its true quad core architecture. It comes with 8 GB of RAM which makes it multitasking quite effortless and smooth.

For storage we get a snappy 256 GB SSD which doesn’t only improve the overall IOPS but also helps offer a much more responsive and fast-seeming experience. It is nice to have an SSD especially when the rest of the hardware platform is very old. It has a modern touch to it.

Most important of all is the graphics capability which is powered by A12-9720P’s Radeon R7. It performs better than the Intel’s integrated HD 620 graphics and is still viable for light weight gaming. The display is equivalently of a lower resolution at 1366 by 768 spanning 15.6 inches. For casual streaming and multimedia consumption as well as for applications like Word Processing and using an Office Suite, this configuration is ideal. 

The build quality is superior and the platinum grey finish is very classy and professional in its own right. The battery life on average is 5.5 hours and the device is 0.9 inches thick weighing 4.41 pound. It is light, slim and portable.

For connectivity, we get wireless 802.11bgn, 2 USB 3.0, 1 USB type-C, 1 USB 2.0, and an HDMI port.

All in all, the IdeaPad 320 has a very aesthetic design, professional look, and comfortable and snappy user-experience at $50 less than the Acer E5 we saw above. It is also considerably lighter than the Acer E5 making it much more portable.

Hardware Specifications
Display 15.6 Inch TN Display (1366 x 768)
Processor AMD A12-9720P (2.7 – 3.6 GHz)
Graphics Radeon R7 (Bristol Ridge) [View Benchmarks]
Storage 256GB SSD
RAM 8GB DDR4 RAM
Operating System Windows 10 Home 64-bit
Battery Life 2-cell lithium ion, Up to 5 Hours Battery Life;
Dimensions/Weight 14.90″ x 10.40″ x 0.90″; 4.85 lbs (Thin and Light)
Comparison Back to the comparison of gaming laptops under 500$
Pro
  • Decent performance
  • Decent Hardware
  • 256GB SSD
Con
  • 1366 x 768 resolution
  • May be noisy
  • Poor battery

>>Check user reviews on Amazon<< | >>HDD version (Price under $400)<<

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ASUS VivoBook F510UA

ASUS-VivoBook-F510UA

With thin bezels, and a distinguishing sleek design the Asus VivoBook is certainly one of the most compelling and stunning model on our list and it has all the latest gen hardware for its inner guts as well. It is priced at $689. Let’s have a closer look at it.

For CPU we see the familiar face of an i5-8250U along with all the glory of 4-cores, 8-threads that it brings. It is clocked at 1.6 GHz and it can turbo boost to 3.4GHz. Its power is now well-established as superior to most other CPUs which previously dominated the market at this price point. With this processor and 8GB of DRAM the VivoBook offers competitive horse-power to run most of your daily productivity as well as creativity related applications. Even gaming is hardly ever bottlenecked by this kind of processing capabilities.

Storage is a bit disappointing, given the price point. It has a 1 TB HDD at 5400RPM where as many other vendors offer faster, smaller SSDs at this price point instead. However, if you absolutely need that kind of space, it is better to go with a larger SSD.

Display is a gorgeous 1920 by 1080 panel employing the IPS technology and with a matte finish. Undoubtedly, this display is guaranteed to offer a good visual experience both indoors and outdoors. It is surrounded by an unusually thin bezel; The NanoEdge Display is a comfortable and elegant design.

The rest of the laptop is equally well-built. The chassis has a dull-grey finish to it and the black keys and display bezel really stand out when viewed against them. It weighs only 3.7 pounds and is only 0.8 inches thick. For connectivity, we get 1 USB Type-C gen 1 connector, 1 USB 3.0 port, 2 USB 2.0 port and an HDMI port. It also has an integrated fingerprint scanner for higher security along with easier access to files.

Although a bit higher priced than the other models, the quality and assurance of Asus makes it a really compelling choice for both productivity and entertainment. Professionally build and with a future-proof CPU that packs a punch!

Hardware Specifications
Display 15.6 Inch Full HD IPS Display (1920 x 1080)
Processor Intel Core i5-8250U (1.6GHz, Turbo up to 3.4GHz) [Benchmarks]
Graphics Intel UHD Graphics 620
Storage 1 TB 5400RPM
RAM 8 GB DDR4 RAM
Operating System Windows 10 Home 64-bit
Battery Life 13.25 hours battery life
Dimensions/Weight 14.2 x 9.6 x 0.8 inches  3.7 pounds (Thin and Light)
Comparison Back to the comparison of gaming laptops under 500$
Pro
  • Intel Core i5-8250U
  • 1TB HDD
  • 1 – USB 3.1 Type C
  • Price
  • Portable / Lightweight
  • Premium look
Con
  • 5400RPM HDD
  • No SSD
  • Integrated Graphics

>>More information and user reviews on Amazon<<

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HP Flagship 15

HP Flagship 15-BS158CL

If you desire great performance at a low budget, this is the perfect fit for you. Priced at $533 it offers the latest 8th gen Coffee Lake CPU from Intel, an enormous amount of memory and the only corners cut are in terms of screen resolution and graphics performance. Let’s have a closer look at the model.

The CPU is an i5-8250U with 4 cores, 8 threads clocked at 1.60 GHz and can turbo up to 3.40 GHz with 6 M of L3 Cache . With the latest gen processor Intel has finally gotten higher core counts in for laptops and other mid-tier devices. This is great for both content creators and gamers alike. What makes it even more appealing to the power-users is the ample 12 GB of DRAM for main memory. You can multitask heavily on this system or do memory intensive tasks on-the-fly with this laptop.

Being a budget system HP has decided to with 2 TB of HDD for storage which only a few people would prefer over an SSD but if you need to store large media files or raw data, like most content creators do, and you are just starting out, then this is going to offer an enormous amount of storage. Over the long run, we do recommend upgrading to an SSD.

As for the graphics and gaming capabilities go, this model tends not to over cram the motherboard with 940MX or something like that, but goes with integrated Intel HD 620 graphics which is pretty limited in terms of gaming capabilities and you can play older games like CS: GO on it.

The aesthetics and build quality reflect the professionalism that is expected from HP. Jet black chassis with hard plastic body that is rugged and at the same time a pleasure to work with. It is 0.94 inches thick and weighs only 4.3 pounds. For connectivity we get 2 USB 3.1 ports, a USB 2.0 port, an HDMI port and an RJ-45 Ethernet port.

For the given price point, it offers a lot of computing horse power in exchange for poorer gaming and visual performance. It is light, fast and future-proof and with an enormous amount of memory making it quite desirable for content creators and enthusiasts alike.

Hardware Specifications
Display 15.6 Inch Full HD SVA Display (1920 x 1080)
Processor Intel Core i5-8250U (1.6GHz, Turbo up to 3.4GHz) [Benchmarks]
Graphics Intel UHD Graphics 620
Storage 2TB 5400RPM
RAM 12GB DDR4 RAM
Operating System Windows 10 Home 64-bit
Battery Life 3-cell, 31 Wh Li-ion
Dimensions/Weight 14.95 x 9.99 x 0.94″,  5.9 pounds
Comparison Back to the comparison of gaming laptops under 500$
Pro
  • Intel Core i5-8250U
  • 2TB HDD
  • 12GB Ram, Larger than all competitors
  • 2 – USB 3.1 Type C
Con
  • 5400RPM HDD
  • No SSD
  • Poor Battery
  • Integrated Graphics

>>More information and user reviews on Amazon<<

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Dell Flagship Inspiron

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.

Hardware Specifications
Display 15.6 Inch Full HD Display (1920×1080 ) Touchscreen
Processor AMD A12-9700P (2.7 – 3.6 GHz)
Graphics Radeon R7 (Bristol Ridge) [View Benchmarks]
Storage 1TB 5400RPM;
RAM 8GB DDR4 RAM
Operating System Windows 10 Home 64-bit
Battery Life Around 3.5 hours;
Dimensions/Weight 15.06 x 10.08 x 1.06 inches; 5.1 lbs
Comparison Back to the comparison of gaming laptops under 500$
Pro
  • Decent performance
  • Decent Hardware
  • Touch Screen
  • Large 1TB HDD
Con
  • Poor battery
  • Slowly 5400RPM HDD

>>More information and user reviews on Amazon<<

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Acer Aspire E5-575G-562T

Acer Aspire E5-575G-562T

Coming back to the budget oriented gamers the Acer Aspire offers the perfect balance between gaming performance and computing horsepower and that too at an affordable price of $580.

For the CPU we get an Intel i5-7200U with 2-core, 4-threads and 3M of Cache. It is clocked at 2.5 GHz and can turbo up to 3.10 GHz. In multi-core performance it seems poorer than the 8250U but in the single core performance it is quite close. Which means gaming on it is going to be a similar experience. With 8GB of RAM you get to do a lot without compromising the responsiveness of the system.

Storage is an equally interesting aspect of this device. It has a 128 GB SSD for installing your operating system and the most frequently used games and applications. However, it also has a 1 TB of HDD for storing large collection of media and games.

Acer is nice enough to make the bottom panel for RAM and hard disk easy to open, so you can upgrade both of them, if the need arises.

Gaming performance is equally impressive, for slightly lower price you get slightly poorer GPU, the Nvidia 950M with 2 GB of GDDR5 VRAM. Yet again, you see only a marginal difference between the performance of the 950M and the 150MX. Display is an equally impressive 15.6 inch 1920 by 1080 panel, ideal for both gaming and productivity.

It is 1.2 inches thick and weighs 5.27 pounds and has a 12 hours of average battery life. Making it a proper choice for long hours of office or college and at the same time. At the same time you can also you it for a decent evening of gaming sessions.

For connectivity, it has 1 USB 3.1 type-C port, 2 USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0 and an HDMI port.

At only slightly lower price than our most recommended Acer E5 E5-576G-5762, this model offers a competitive performance and is a good resort for anyone who is needs to game and work but at the same time $20 or more.

Hardware Specifications
Display 15.6 Inch Full HD TN Display (1920 x 1080)
Processor AMD Quad-Core FX-7500 (2.1 – 3.3 GHz)
Graphics Radeon R7 (Kaveri)   [View Benchmarks]
Storage 1TB 5400 RPM
RAM 8GB DDR4 RAM
Operating System Windows 10 Home 64-bit
Battery Life Up to 8 hours
Dimensions/Weight 15 x 10.2 x 1.2 inches; 5.3 lbs
Comparison Back to the comparison of gaming laptops under 500$
Pro
  • GeForce 950M
  • Easy to upgrade storage and RAM
  • SSD and Large HDD
  • Intel Core i5-7200U
Con
  • Slow 5400RPM HDD
  • Acer bloatware
  • Price

>>More information and user reviews on Amazon<<

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Lenovo Z50

Lenovo Z50

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 $400, a good value for your hard-earned money. If you’re considering a new laptop be sure to take a look at the Lenovo 15.6 inch laptop.
Hardware Specifications
Display 15.6-inch HD LED (1366 x 768)
Processor AMD A12-9700P (2.7 – 3.6 GHz)
Graphics Radeon R7 (Bristol Ridge) [View Benchmarks]
Storage 1TB 5400RPM;
RAM 8GB DDR4 RAM
Operating System Windows 10 Home 64-bit
Battery Life Up to 5 hours
Dimensions/Weight 15.11 x 10.43 x 0.98 inches; 5.15 lbs
Comparison Back to the comparison of gaming laptops under 500$
Pro
  • Decent performance
  • Decent Hardware
  • Large 1TB HDD
  • Price
Con
  • Poor battery
  • Slowly 5400RPM HDD

>>More information and user reviews on Amazon<<

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Conclusion

To sum it up, at the $500 dollar price point your options are quite diverse. We have the Acer E5 E5-576G-5762 which offers the best bang for your buck and the best gaming performance. At the same time, there are models from HP which offer enoromous processing or if you want something professional then you can always go with the Asus VivoBook.

As a rule of thumb, go with the one that suites your requirements and workload the best but if you are unsure, there’s always our most recommended Acer E5 E5-576G-5762 which won’t disappoint you in any of the aspects.

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