Best Laptop under 500 Dollars 2018 Buying Guide

Many people enjoy the larger screens, attached keyboards and greater flexibility of laptops instead of mobile devices. If you are one of them, but don’t want to break the bank on your next purchase, these laptops deliver great power and use for less than $500 for a new machine.

I have covered a wide range of laptop price ranges in my reviews, but the under $500 price point seems popular with people who want a useful computer at a budget-friendly price. You aren’t going to find a good machine that will last several years for less unless you buy used, and that can bring a whole bunch of different problems.

So many brands of laptop exist with so many different features that it can be a challenge to choose the right one for you. I’ve listed the best laptops available for under $500. They all have the best and latest technology for the price so you can keep up with your friends who have more expensive models.

You do not have to worry about doing extensive research yourself because I have done it all for you. Below is a list of the best $500 and below laptops I’ve found after comparing many. You can confidently make a purchase and know you’re getting a great value.

Common Buying Mistakes to avoid:

Though most of the price of laptop is expensive, they are still have affordable choice. It might mean some cutbacks on the part of the manufacturer, but you can usually find a compact and reliable solution for $500 or less. Budget laptops are a great example of this, and they are used for everyday tasks such as browsing online and creating Word documents. These types of laptops are not heavy on hardware, and they do not offer superb graphics or lots of RAM; so they’re not ideal for intense gaming or demanding multitasking, but you save money and still possess the needed essentials in a laptop.

True to its name, budget laptops are designed to meet your budget, so manufacturers eliminate elements that are not critical, such as solid state drives. These cuts are not crippling to the laptop’s performance, however. Best Budget laptops are sturdy, built in a compact manner, and come with user-friendly and ergonomic keyboards and touchpads. Overall, budget laptops can be seen as a great introductory step to someone who is new to computers, and simply needs to perform standard tasks.

Most likely, you are not a brand new consumer, and have in mind what features are most important to you in a laptop. For example, the inconvenient hauling of a 17-inch laptop, or the streaming Netflix movies that accompany small 11 inch notebooks might be inevitable letdown. However, there are many options depending on what features you deem most valuable, so there will always be something for you. In addition, there are always exceptions to the rules.

Touchscreens: Helpful, or Impractical?

Due to the profitability of touchscreen tablets, many manufactured laptops now feature touchscreen options. For example, Windows 8 and Windows 10 was one program produced with this in mind, and it is indeed true that many consumers prefer touchscreens over the more traditional keyboard and trackpad arrangement.

However, touchscreens are not perfect solutions, and are actually fraught with drawbacks. The first drawback is the increase of laptop prices. This feature alone will raise the cost of the laptop. Second, they are not always as user-friendly as given credit for. Touchscreens are more suitably designed for tablets, but can become quite an inconvenience when integrated with a laptop. Stretching forward in order to touch the screen lends an uncomfortable position to the user.

In an attempt to correct this complication, some manufacturers have attempted to compensate by constructing laptops where the keyboard can be folded behind the screen. In essence, the laptop thus becomes more like a tablet. Because the quality of these designs varies greatly, it is wise to investigate these options in more depth before making any purchasing decisions.

Building on lessons learned with Windows 8, Microsoft has tried to better consolidate these features in Windows 10, attempting to regain the familiarity and comfortable nature of the traditional mouse and keyboard experience. However, for consumers who need a laptop for basic use, touchscreens prove an expensive and unnecessary hassle.

Looking for the Lowest Cost Laptop

Trying to find the cheapest laptop available is advantageous to your wallet in the short-term, but might actually end up costing you more money in the long-term. For example, repairs are more likely to be needed, and the longevity of the laptop shortened. In addition, you will have to improvise for its lack of needed features.

Let’s give an example. Pretend you are debating between a dual and quad-core processor. First, consider what it is you are wanting and needing to accomplish with the laptop. Let’s say that although you wish to have the ability to seamlessly run multiple applications at once, you decide to save money and purchase the dual-core processor. You have succeeded in saving money, but now you must deal with the frustrations of being unable to accomplish what it is you needed to accomplish in the first place, the very reason you were driven to purchase a new laptop.

In this scenario, you have defeated the purpose of the purchase. So instead of falling for the cheapest model available, consider what you are needing the device for. If you know exactly what you are wanting and needing to do with the laptop, you will be clued in to what features are dispensable and which ones are indispensable. After this has been decided, compare your conclusions with the spec sheets of each laptop. This strategy ensures that you will save money by avoiding unnecessary features, but still be able to get everything done you need to accomplish.

Falling for Unnecessary Features

It’s easy to become consumed in the allure of fascinating, however unnecessary, features. Eye-catching ads that display the latest features can overshadow the purpose of the laptop you are looking to purchase. Depending on its purpose, some laptops are more suited for you than others. For example, if you need a cloud-computing device for both work and school, a Chromebook will get you much farther than a gaming laptop will. In this instance, a super powerful processor is not the priority.

Therefore, always keep the answer to why you need the laptop in the forefront of your mind. Is it for work, school, design or gaming? What type of activities does your work, school, or studies demand you do on the laptop? What features will best accommodate this? Will this laptop be in place of a desktop, or will you have access to both? Answering these questions before arriving at the counter will help guide you to the right purchase.

The Importance of Ports and Compatibility

Different laptops contain different ports. Depending on what you need, whether it’s extra USB ports or a card reader, will help determine your purchase. Unfortunately, your options might dwindle at this point. Because of the popularity of the ultrabook, many manufacturers are cutting down on available ports. If you prefer Apple devices, then a Thunderbolt 2 port is most likely what you need. However if you’ve been used to the more traditional external hard drives that feature USB 2.0 ports, you might be out of luck once again. Not all USB 3.0 ports are compatible. Thus, knowing exactly what ports you need and what is or is not compatible will help you narrow your search for a new laptop.

Becoming obsessed with one specification

It is not only easy, but common to get distracted by specs when comparing laptops. One feature may especially grab your attention, even if the other features and specs are incompatible with your needs.

One example is the emphasis manufacturers have long placed on RAM. The more RAM, the better. RAM is also cheap, so including more of it is a way manufacturers increase profits. While it’s easy to be dazzled by how much RAM a laptop may have to offer, unless you are a hardcore gamer or work with heavy software, you usually will not need over 8GB of RAM. Thus, how much RAM a laptop does or does not have should not influence your final purchasing decision.

Other features that are easy to become obsessed with are resolution, graphics card, processor speed, and battery life. Being on a budget means that you will need to make proper balance a variety of features and hardware options. A laptop that has a variety of components is still preferable to a laptop that excels in one, and only one, specific area.

Best Laptops under 500 dollars:

Models Detail Information Screen CPU/GPU Storage Connectivity Battery/Weight
For Office work
Lenovo 320S (Great for Business) More information and user reviews on Amazon 14 inch 1920 x 1080 2.5 GHz Core i5-7200U Intel HD Graphics 620 256 GB SSD/ 8GB DDR4 RAM 1 x USB3.0
2 x USB2.0
1 x USB Type-C
1x HDMI,
Bluetooth 4.1
4-Cell Battery;
13 x 10 x 1.1 inches (L x W x H)
3.7 pounds
Acer Swift 3 More information and user reviews on Amazon 14 inch 1920 x 1080 2.5 GHz Core i5-7200U Intel HD Graphics 620 256 GB SSD/ 8GB DDR4 RAM 1 x USB3.1
1 x USB3.0
1 x USB2.0
1x HDMI,
Bluetooth 4.0
Battery: up to 10 hours;
13.43 x 9.31 x 0.71 inches (L x W x H)
3.3 pounds
ASUS P2540UA (P-series, great for business) More information and user reviews on Amazon 15.6 inch 1920 x 1080 2.5 GHz Core i5-7200U Intel HD Graphics 620 1TB 5400RPM/ 8GB DDR4 RAM 3 x USB3.0
1 x USB2.0
1x HDMI,
Bluetooth 4.1
DVDRW/CD-RW
Battery: up to 9 hours;
15  x 10.1 x .09 inches (L x W x H)
5.2 pounds
HP Notebook 15 More information and user reviews on Amazon 15.6 inch 1366 x 768 (Touchscreen) 2.5 GHz Core i5-7200U Intel HD Graphics 620 1 TB 5400RPM / 12GB DDR4 RAM 1x USB 3.1
2 x USB2.0
1x HDMI,
Bluetooth 4.1
DVD Super Multi
4 Cell battery up to 7 hours,/
15.12  x 10.02 x 0.95 inches (L x W x H) 4.8 pounds
Lenovo Ideapad 310 More information and user reviews on Amazon 15.6 inch
1366 x 768
2.5 GHz Core i5-7200U Intel HD Graphics 620 1 TB 5400RPM
8GB DDR4 RAM
1 x USB3.0
1 x USB 2.0
1x HDMI,
Bluetooth 4.1
DVDRW/CD-RW
Battery: Up to 5 hours;
14.92 x 10.24 x 0.9 inches (L x W x H)/ 4.8 pounds
Dell Inspiron 5000 More information and user reviews on Amazon 15.6 inch;
1920 x 1080;
Touchscreen;
2.3 GHz Core i5-6200U/
Intel HD 520
1 TB 5400RPM / 8GB DDR3 RAM 2 x USB2.0
1 x USB 3.0
1x HDMI,
Bluetooth 4.0
DVDRW/CD-RW
4-cell lithium ion battery;
14.96 x 10.25 x 0.94 inches (L x W x H), 5.36 pounds
Lenovo Ideapad 110 More information and user reviews on Amazon 17.3 inch;
1600×900;
2.5 GHz Core i5-7200U Intel HD Graphics 620 1 TB 5400RPM / 6GB DDR3 RAM 1 x USB3.0
1 x USB 2.0
1x HDMI,
Bluetooth 4.1
DVDRW/CD-RW
Battery: Up to 4 hours;
16.46 x 0.98 x 11.52 inches (L x W x H)/ 6.1 pounds;
For Gaming
Acer E5-575G-57D4 More information and user reviews on Amazon 15.6 inch 1920 x 1080 2..5 GHz Core i5-7200U;
NVIDIA GTX 940MX 2GB DDR5
256GB SSD/
8GB DDR4 RAM
2 x USB3.0
1 x USB2.0
1 x Type-C
1x HDMI,
Bluetooth
DVDRW/CD-RW
6-cell Li-ion Battery;
15 x 10.2 x 1.2 inches (L x W x H) 5.3 pounds
Acer E5-553G More information and user reviews on Amazon 15.6 inch 1920 x 1080 AMD A12-9700P;
AMD Radeon R8 M445DX 2GB DDR3
1 TB 5400RPM + 128GB SSD;8GB DDR4 RAM 2 x USB3.0
2 x USB2.0
1 x Type-C
1x HDMI,
Bluetooth
6-cell Li-ion Battery;
15 x 10 x 0.9 (L x W x H), 5.3 pounds
Dell B06XZRP1TL More information and user reviews on Amazon 15.6 inch
1920 x 1080
AMD A12-9700P  (2.5 – 3.4 GHz);
Radeon R7 (Bristol Ridge)
1 TB 5400RPM/
8GB DDR4 RAM
2 x USB3.0
1 x USB 2.0
1x HDMI,
Bluetooth
DVDRW/CD-RW
3-cell Li-ion Battery;
15.1 x 10.1 x 1.1 inches (L x W x H)/ 5.1 pounds
Lenovo Z50 More information and user reviews on Amazon 15.6 inch
1366 x 768
AMD FX-7500 (2.1 – 3.3 GHz);
Radeon R7 (Kaveri)
1 TB 5400RPM/
16 GB DDR3 RAM
1 x USB3.0
1 x USB2.0
1x HDMI,
Bluetooth
DVDRW/CD-RW
Battery: Up to 5 hours;
15.11 x 10.43 x 0.98 (L x W x H), 5.2 pounds
2 in 1 Convertible Laptop
Lenovo Flex 3-1580 More information and user reviews on Amazon 14 inch 1366 x 768, Touchscreen 2.3 GHz Core i5-6200
Intel HD Graphics 520
128GB SSD/
4GB DDR3 RAM
2 x USB3.0
2 x USB2.0
1x HDMI,
Bluetooth
Up to 6 hours;
13.39″ x 9.06″ x 0.85″ inches (L x W x H)
Acer Spin 5 More information and user reviews on Amazon 13.3  inch; 1920 x 1080; IPS;
Touchscreen
2.3 GHz Intel Core i3-7100U; Intel HD Graphics 620 128GB SSD/
4GB DDR4 RAM
1 x USB3.0
2 x USB2.0
1x HDMI
Bluetooth 4.1
Up to 10 hours;12.94 x 9 x 0.78 inches(L x W x H);  3.5 pounds
HP Pavilion x360
Convertible
More information and user reviews on Amazon 13.3  inch; 1366 x 768; IPS;
Touchscreen
2.3 GHz Intel Core i3-6100U; Intel HD Graphics 520 128GB SSD/
6GB DDR3 RAM
2 x USB3.0
1 x USB2.0
1x HDMI
Bluetooth 4.0
Up to 10 hours;12.94 x 9 x 0.78 inches(L x W x H);  3.5 pounds
HP Pavilion X360 Convertible More information and user reviews on Amazon 15.6 inch; 1920 x 1080; IPS;
Touchscreen
2.5 GHz Core i5-7200U Intel HD Graphics 620 500GB  5400RPM,
8GB DDR3 RAM
2 x USB3.0
1 x USB2.0
1x HDMI
Bluetooth 4.0
Up to 8 hours; 12.8 x 8.7 x 0.8 (L x W x H); 4.6 pounds

The most recommendation:

Best Laptops under 500 dollars for Office:

ASUS K556UA 15.6-inch Full-HD Laptop

ASUS K556UA 15.6-inch Full-HD Laptop

The typical desktop-replacement laptop that combines both sleekness and desired functionality at a reasonable cost is the ASUS K556UA . Similarly to the Asus ZenBook line, ASUS K556UA is equipped with a carefully designed and durable chassis, In addition to its long battery life is the fact that it runs on a full HD non-touch screen and has numerous connectivity ports. The specifications of Its direct competitor HP Notebook 15 which entails the same super seventh-generation Intel Core i5-7200U processor, 12GB DDR4 RAM memory larger than 8GB DDR4 RAM of Asus AB54. However, ASUS AB54 has a better storage system, 256GB SSD is enough for most user and much faster than HP’s Mechanical hard drive. Its enhanced functionality during multi-tasking and other demanding activities gives it an edge over contemporaries such as HP Notebook 15 despite the storage difference; also to be reckoned with is its amazing design and sleekness making it the most preferred choice.

The feature of the ASUS K556UA includes its ability to fit in a mid-size backpack, elegance and portability. The unfading icicle-gold color on the metal casing furnishes it with an alluring appearance. Other enthralling features are its size (15 x 1 x 10.1 inch) and its light weight of only 5.1 pounds. As anticipated, the metal casing definitely increased the weight of this sumptuous piece but it enhances its durability and compactness.

The ASUS K556UA runs on a seventh-generation (Kaby Lake), Intel Core i5 7200U processor (2.5GHz  with Turbo up to 3.1GHz), 8GB DDR4 RAM and an integrated Intel HD 620 graphics. Our Editors choice the Acer F5-573G-56CG, incorporated with Nvidia GeForce 940MX graphics card with 4GB DDR5 VRAM is more suitable for running heavy games than the Asus AB54. The seventh-generation (Kaby Lake processor enhanced with a CPU benchmark score of 4,300 affords notebook users the opportunity to carry out enthusiast-level media editing on Photoshop and execute other programs regularly without hitches. The 8GB DDR4 memory space allows the user keep numerous browser tabs open at the same time.

The Integrated Intel HD 620 graphics card with shared memory still allows you to play trending games (low performance demanding games) at an OK performance level, like you get when using the NVIDIA GeForce 920M,  at reduced settings and resolutions you also can play the latest games. When playing GTA V, ASUS F556UA-AB54 operates at lowered settings of 22.8 FPS and resolution 1366 x768, while during games like Minecraft and League of Legends, Starcraft 2 or other low-performance demanding games you are assured of not just improved settings and resolutions but also enhanced playability. Like all other laptops with similar specs, it is pre-installed with Windows 10 Home (64-bit) which is the trending operating system.

Conclusion

The ASUS K556UA is the most preferred choice if you desire a laptop efficient in speed, functionality at a moderate cos. If you intend to purchase a laptop for the purpose of video chatting, video streaming, internet browsing, and other office related activities then look no further. ASUS K556UA allows you to multi-task at high speed and performance. In addition, you can simply take it along as you go about your day to day activities because it is slim, light-weight and sleek. It is enhanced with a full high definition display and a large memory space to keep. ASUS K556UA is recommended for individuals with the desire to own a compact, sleek and efficient laptop for everyday use at a reasonable price.

>>Read More information and user Reviews on Amazon<<

Asus P-series P2540UA-AB51 15.6” Business Laptop

Asus P-series P2540UA-AB51 15.6” Business Laptop

The name speaks for itself. This model from Asus’ P-series (P stands for Professional) is one of the most sleek and impressive looking laptop in this list. We will discuss the build and aesthetics in detail further but first let us look at the important configurations.

Priced at $500, it comes with an i5-7200U which we have already seen, and is well suited for power-efficient everyday office usage, without compromising on the performance. The clock speed is 2.50GHz and it can turbo up to 3.1GHz to handle beefy applications. Next up is the RAM which is the standard 8GB in size, enough for everyday productivity and multitasking. The secondary storage is a 1TB HDD which doesn’t have high IOPS like an SSD but for office uses or light multimedia, works just fine.

The display is a 1920 by 1080 resolution panel of 15.6” size. This is quite an impressive resolution, giving sharp images at the given screen size. The display also has an antiglare coating on it which makes it much easier to work outdoors or under direct light. The display is powered by Integrated Intel HD Graphics 620 which actually performs as good as a GeForce 940m.

The next and the most impressive thing about this laptop is its build quality. The premium brushed-hairline aluminum textures on the dull black body look absolutely stunning and provides a very appealing workspace. The Chiclet keyboard also surrounded by this metallic body which is crafted from a single piece of the material. The screen hinges are sturdy and smooth and the entire laptop is quite thin.

The availability of ports is quite high, too. There are 3 USB 3.0 ports, 1 USB 2.0, an HDMI port and a VGA port. The last one is especially useful since most old projectors need a VGA input. Also available are an Ethernet port and a headphone/microphone combo jack. The wireless technology is 802.11 ac. There is also finger print scanner for file access authorization and safeguard. Moreover, the Asus Business Manager is a nice utility if you are running a small business without an IT consultant. The entire laptop weighs 5.2 pounds and has a battery life of about 9 hours making this the perfect fit for any business professional.

>>Read More information and user Reviews on Amazon<<

HP Premium 15” HD Laptop

HP Premium 15” HD Laptop

This 15 inch laptop from HP priced at around 500$ sets the standard for what you should expect in this range. The CPU is an Intel i5-7200U which is clocked at a base frequency of 2.5GHz and can Turbo-boost to 3.10GHz using 2-cores/4-threads for multithreading and 4MB of cache. This is a pretty decent CPU which can run most applications like Microsoft Office without any struggle. The fact that it is a U-processor, where U stands for Ultra-low power, allows the laptop to have longer battery life.

The RAM is yet another pleasant surprise. It has 12GB of DDR4 SDRAM clocked at 2133MHz which provides plenty of room for multiple applications to run at the same time. For graphics we have to settle for the Intel Integrated graphics which is the Intel HD graphics 620 with up to 6230MB of memory. While gaming is going to be limited to DOTA2 and casual LoL matches only, this does have enough horsepower to render even the heaviest of webpages without stuttering. Even high bit-rate media playback is quite smooth on this chip.

For storage, it comes with a standard 1TB HDD which may not be as good as an SSD performance wise but its large capacity might be useful to you. However, if you do wish to upgrade it to an SSD that is completely doable, as well.

Next up is the build quality where the word ‘premium’ truly stands out. The laptop is sturdy and well-built, with brush metallic finish in the interior surrounding black Chiclet keyboard (with numeric pad). The display has a resolution of 1366 by 768 which is easier for the integrated graphics to support without it getting over-heated.

In terms of connectivity, we have a single high-speed USB 3.1 port, 2 USB 2.0 ports an RJ-45 port for Ethernet connections, an HDMI port and lastly a headphone/microphone combo jack. Also available is an SD card read and the wireless protocols are 802.11 bgn and Bluetooth 4.0.

The entire device weighs 4.8 pounds and is powered by 4-cells, 41Wh batteries which can run this device for 6 to 7 hours of light use.

>>Read More information and user Reviews on Amazon<<

Lenovo IdeaPad 310

Lenovo IdeaPad 310

Priced at $480 this entry level IdeaPad from Lenovo is perfect for anything from casual browsing to hours long work with a spreadsheet. It is lighter than the P-series laptop from Asus we just reviewed and is also $20 cheaper. The screen resolution, however, is poor at only 1366 by 786 so the choice depends upon your personal preference.

The internal hardware configuration is almost identical to the other laptops we have seen so far. The Intel i5-7200U makes yet another appearance, clocked at 2.5GHz which can turbo up to 3.10GHz with 2-Cores, 4-Threads. Along with it is 8GB of RAM in form of 2×4GB DIMMs, one of which is soldered to the board. This is important to know if you plan on future upgrades. The storage solution includes 1TB of HDD which provides plenty of storage for many modern applications and files albeit at slower speeds.

The next most important thing is, of course, the build quality and aesthetics. Both the external casing and the internal one has smooth matte finish to it which will not get dirty easily and there’s a single large shroud protecting the hinges from external damage. This device is quite robust and can be carelessly chucked around in a backpack without getting damaged.

The display is a 15.6”, 1366 by 786 resolution TN panel with antiglare coating for outdoor usages. It is powered by an Integrated Intel HD Graphics 620 which is more than enough to power the given resolution.

The ports available are 1 USB 3.0, 2 USB 3.0, a standard Ethernet port an HDMI port and headphone/microphone combo jack and lastly an SD card reader. The IdeaPad weighs about 4.8 pounds and has a battery life of almost 5 hours. All in all, this is a good bang for your buck, if you don’t mind the low resolution screen.

>>Read More information and user Reviews on Amazon<<

Lenovo IdeaPad 110 17.3 inches – 1600 by 900 resolution

Lenovo IdeaPad 110

For those of us who are thinks 15.6 inch screen is just too small, this IdeaPad from Lenovo is the perfect solution to provide a nice huge screen for you to be more productive without losing any of the visual clarity. We will have a detailed look at the display but first let’s look at the internal hardware.

Priced at $500, it has the Intel i5-7200U clocked at 2.5GHz with turbo up to 3.10GHz. The hyper-threaded dual core processor can actually provide up to 4-thread giving adequate performance for multithreaded applications. Next up we have 6GB of RAM, this is disappointing especially if you like having multiple applications running at the same time or using multiple tabs on your browser. However, the 2GB DIMM is not soldered and you can easily upgrade to 8GB or 12GB, if you wish for that.

For storage, we again see a standard 1TB HDD storage which, while not being anything special, gets the job done pretty well. Especially, if you are using this device for watching movies, because it has a large screen, the 1TB hard drive provides enough room for a good HD quality movie library.

Moving on to the most unique thing about this laptop, which is the display. The display is a 1600 by 900 resolution display provides higher resolution than your typical HD display. This is especially helpful for the screen size of 17.3 inches. With more pixels available your images would look sharper and you would actually have larger screen real estate to work with. The graphics processing is obviously left to the Intel HD Graphics 620.

The number of ports are extremely minimalistic, we have 1 USB 3.0 port, another single USB 2.0, an HDMI port and an RJ-45 port for Ethernet connectivity. The wireless is 802.11 ac and also included is an SD card reader. Because of the greater screen size, the laptop weighs 6.1 pounds and has an average battery life of 4 hours.

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HP Pavilion 15-AY163NR

HP Pavilion 15-AY163NR

The next laptop on our list is yet another model from HP. This HP Pavilion laptop comfortably priced at $530 and is one of the most powerful laptop on our list. With just $30 more you get an i7-7500U clocked at 2.7GHz almost 200MHz greater than the previous HP laptop on the list, it can also turbo up to 3.5GHz when need arises. The processor has 2-cores executing 4-threads using Intel’s hyper-threading technology. The part where it is not beyond the normal expectation is the RAM. We have only 8GB of RAM unlike the HP notebook we saw before with 12GB of it. So if you require more of RAM go for the first one but for higher clock speeds this model is way more preferable.

The storage solution is again a standard 1TB hard disk drive with slower IOPS but larger space. For graphics, the manufacturers have again relied upon the Intel HD Graphics 620 responsible for the powering the screen. Speaking of which, the maximum screen resolution is 1366 by 786 and spans the standard 15.6” size. Given all the specs and build this laptop is ideal for college students and people who need a laptop for casual browsing and media playback.

The aesthetics are simple and subtle. It follows the classic black on dull silver finish throughout the laptop and there a neat metal finish around the black Chiclet keyboard which makes working on it that much more enjoyable.

The ports available are 1 USB 3.1, 2 USB 2.0 ports, an RJ-45 port for Ethernet, an HDMI port and lastly a headphone-microphone combo jack. Also included is an SD card reader slot. The wireless technology include 802.11 bgn and Bluetooth 4.0.

The laptop weighs 4.8 pounds or 2.17 kg and the average battery life time is reported to be able to support a decent 6 hours of usage.

>>Read More information and user Reviews on Amazon<<

Best Laptops under 500 dollars For Gaming:

Acer E5-575G-57D4

Acer E5-575G-57D4

One of the more distinct and low-priced laptops available on the market today is the Acer Aspire Acer E5-575G-57D4. 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 video card, a backlit keyboard and supports a 256GB SSD, 8GB of RAM and Intel i5 core processor. The i5-6200U which is included in the i5 CPU is the new, sixth 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 laptop 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.

In Conclusion

The Acer E5-575G-57D4 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.

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Acer E5-553G Gaming Laptop

Acer E5-553G Gaming Laptop

The most demanding workload for a PC is its gaming performance and while we have seen quite a few laptops for offices, colleges and casual usage, this one is meant for gaming. While being quite expensive at $550 as compared to the other we have seen. This is also quite a good bang for your buck as we will see.

The both the processor and the GPU are from AMD, the processor is A12-9700P which is a true quad-core processor that clocked at 2.5GHz and can go up to 3.4GHz when needed. Compare to I5-7200U which is manufactured in an improved 14nm FinFET process, the A12-9700P is built on the older 28nm technology, on top of that has 4 physical cores. This will result in far worse battery life. Not only that, but the 2 core-4 thread i5-7200u is going to perform better in all single-threaded operations and in some multi-threaded situations as well. Sure, if all you do is zip and unzip files all day, the A12 might be a bit faster. But for everyday use (and/or gaming) the i5 will be a much better choice.

The Graphics processor which is an AMD Radeon R8 M445DX has good performance and 2GB of dedicated graphics. Its modest performance is enough for Counterstrike matches and LAN parties.

Even more appealing to the gamers is the storage solution offered. There is a 128GB SSD and a 1TB HDD so you can have faster boot times and loading times while still having plenty of space for less demanding apps and games. The next most important thing, especially for gamers, is the screen resolution and here too we see a decent 1920 by 1080 resolution panel of the standard 15.6” size with Acer BluelightShield feature which reduces the blue light emissions for stress free yet long hours of work or gameplay.

The build quality is mediocre yet good enough and the interior casing around the keyboard is a glossy fingerprint magnet. But for what all it offers at this price point, one can’t complain. The ports available are 1 USB 3.1 Type-C, 2 USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0, an HDMI, a VGA and of course the Wireless solution involves 802.11 ac and Bluetooth 4.1. The laptop weighs 5.3 pounds.

>>Read More information and user Reviews on Amazon<<

Lenovo IdeaPad 310

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 we have talking it 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.

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.

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Convertible Laptop

Acer Spin 5 13.3 inches convertible

Acer Spin 5 13.3 inches convertible

The next device on our list is a 2-in-1 convertible laptop from Acer which is priced around 500$. The CPU is Intel Core i3-7100U which is weaker than the most i5-7200U and similar processors that we have seen so far. However, it does have a clock speed of 2.40GHz for 2-cores, 4-thread and the single core performance is quite close to an i5-7200U. The processor, on the other hand, is incredibly low powered which gives this device up to 10 hours of average battery life which can last you an entire day at work. The RAM is a standard 8GB in size which is enough for most modern usages.

Next up is the storage, and here we are again happy to report and light and lightning fast 128GB SSD for faster boot-times and load-times. The display is 1920 by 1080 resolution IPS panel at 13.3 inches size which means the images are going to be crisp and clear. The display also supports multi-finger touch since it is a 2-in-1 convertible. The tablet mode is where you can set Windows 10 on the said mode, turn the screen a full 360 on its own back and get the experience of using a large tablet without being tethered to a keyboard and a mouse.

There are 4-modes of operations each depending on where you are and what you want to do with your convertible. Circling back to the more laptop like features, the keyboard is backlit allowing you to work even in dim environments. However, there is no numeric pad since this is a small form factor device. The integrated Intel HD Graphics 520 is more than capable for handling the full HD display, but will not be able to handle demanding games.

The availability of ports is pretty standard. It has 1 USB 3.0, 2 USB 2.0, an HDMI and a headphone-microphone combo jack. The wireless solution include 802.11 ac and Bluetooth 4.1.

If you travel a lot, or just don’t want your laptop to be huge and clunky, this is the perfect solution for you. Powerful, responsive and light-weight (it weighs only 3.5 pounds) and still so power-efficient that you don’t have to worry about carrying your charger thanks to the i3-6100U.

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Dell Inspiron 13.3 Inches Convertible

Dell Inspiron 13.3 Inches Convertible

Dell Inspiron is a powerful alternative to the Acer Spin 5, although the battery life time is less and there’s no SSD in it. It is, however, priced at $534 which is about a $30 more than the Acer Spin 5. The CPU is i5-7200U, clocked at 2.5GHz and can turbo up to 3.10GHz. Computing intensive tasks or media decoding is better on this CPU as compared to the 6100U especially given that the native screen resolution is 1920 by 1080.

The RAM is 8GB in size and provides enough room to run multiple applications and have as many tabs open in your browser as you like. The storage is a 1TB hard disk drive and this may cause your laptop to load applications and access files at a slower rate. Even with the faster processor it may seem to lag while loading or booting.

The next thing is the graphics processing capabilities where again the integrated Intel HD Graphics 620 shines ahead of the previous generation’s 520 although still not something one would recommend for gaming purposes. The native display is a beautiful 13.3 inches, 1920 by 1080 resolution IPS panel with support for multi-finger touch. The hinges support a full 360 degrees turn for tablet mode along with many intermediate settings.

Dell is famous for their sturdy build quality and this convertible certainly lives up to the mark. The hinges are sturdy yet smooth to adjust and the premium dull gray finish makes this laptop stand apart from the rest. The black Chiclet keyboard is backlit allowing you to type even under dim lighting. However, there is no numeric pad since this is a small form factor device.

The ports available are pretty standard ones. We have 2 USB 3.0 ports, 1 USB 2.0 port, and an HDMI port and of course a headphone-microphone combo jack. The wireless solution is the latest 802.11 ac along with Bluetooth 4.2 support. The entire device weighs 3.4 pounds only and the battery backup, on average is about 6 hours.

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HP Pavilion X360 Convertible

HP Pavilion X360 Convertible

If you are looking for an affordable 2-in-1 laptop, then the highly flexible HP Pavilion X360 is a great choice. It has a 1366 x 768(13.3 inch) high-definition display screen which rotates 360°, which converts it into a multi-faceted piece of equipment. It changes from an ordinary laptop, into a tablet, can be set in tent-mode for gaming or used as a multimedia display device.

Unlike that of the high-end HP Spectre X360, which also comes with the same display size, the 13 series of Pavilion X360 doesn’t have an ultra-thin look, keyboard backlight, or aluminum case. That said, it is a lightweight option made of plastics being only 3.8 pounds, with 12.8 x 8.7 x 0.8 inch dimensions, and is fully equipped with a 2.3GHz Intel Core i3-6100U processor and 6GB DDR3 RAM.

The IPS-powered display resolution (1366 x 768 pixels) is sharp and provides wide angle viewing. The sixth generation 2.3 GHz Intel Core i3-6100U processor which provides a stable solution for those who need something for day-to-day use or intermittent heavy computer usage. The Pavilion delivers adequate multi-tasking ability for the typical user. Unfortunately, the 128GB SSD does not give the average user much storage space, but it’s responsiveness in comparison to some of the more traditional hard-drives is much greater.

The HP Pavilion X360, as with other hybrid convertible laptops available, has Intel HD 520 Graphics which is integrated and delivers a total graphic memory of around 4052MB. This is sufficient for streaming media and browsing the internet. It does however struggle with 3D gaming. If you are looking for a laptop capable of handling gaming, then perhaps this hybrid is not the one for you. The conventional gaming laptops are more suited to you, for example the cutting-edge Acer Aspire V15 Nitro offers a NVIDIA Geforce GTX 960MX gaming card, 8GB DDR4 memory and 256GB SSD.

HP (Hewlett-Packard) have boldly claimed that the Pavilion’s battery life will last up to “11hrs 45mins”. It is unclear whether this is a confident assessment on their part, but I think that the 45WHr battery capacity is pretty good for this particular type of hybrid laptop.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the HP Pavilion X360 Convertible is a high-quality performing convertible laptop. For dedicated gamers, it is not ideally suited, but generally speaking this is not the type of laptop for players that are interested in the first place. But, considering the system performance and the features that this compact 2-in-1 laptop offers, I believe it is great value for money.

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Budget Chromebooks Under $500

Google is trying to expand into the notebook market ever since it came with its Chrome browser. Most computers, regardless of Operating System, are running Chrome to browse the Internet.

Seeing that the budget laptops are used mostly for browsing the Internet and streaming videos, the Chrome OS is something you can consider. Google developed Chrome OS as something which is supposed to be always on the Internet.

If Internet connectivity is an issue for you, you might not want to consider this. Document editing is not big deal with Google Docs catching up with MS Office. Also MS office does have an online version to use in your browser.

That said, it does have some perks over Windows 10. First, Chrome OS is meant for low spec devices. It consumes less energy, it can run off of weaker processors and it need very little space on you storage. Making it a worthy contender on the budget notebook range.

Let’s dive in and look at some of the Chromebooks in a greater detail.

Samsung Chromebook Plus

Samsung Chromebook Plus

Chromebooks have evolved a lot over the past few years. The operating system is much more user friendly and the Google’s vast suite of apps can help you be as productive as you want may want to be. The Samsung Chromebook Plus priced at $433 offers quite a lot for the given price point as we will see.

The CPU and instruction set are completely different. The OP1 processor based off of the ARM architecture is essentially a hexa-core processor clocked at 2GHz designed specifically for handling ChromeOS. The 4GB of DDR3 memory is enough to support the light-weight ChromeOS as well as do quite a bit of multitasking on it. Writing papers, watching Netflix and opening large spreadsheets at the same time can be done without any noticeable lag. The storage is a meagre 32GB of flash memory and you may want to look into an external storage solution like a micro SD card or an external USB drive.

The display is an absolute beauty, it has an aspect ratio of 3:2 so as to provide decent view in both portrait and landscape modes. The resolution is quite high at 2400 by 1600 for 12.3 inches size, and it is made using Gorilla Glass 3 making it quite resistant to scratches. This is actually quite useful considering that it does have multi-finger touch support and the Chromebook can function in a tablet mode just as well.

The build and aesthetics is at par with any MacBook. The body is made from metal and has a dull silver finish to it. The laptop weighs only 2.4 pounds with maximum thickness of 0.55 inches. Making it an extremely easy choice if you don’t mind the lack of Windows or a large storage space.

The ports available are quite future-proof USB 3.1 Type-C connectors and we have two of these ports along with a micro SD slot and an audio input-output combo jack. Also included is a Pen to makes better use of the touchscreen for editing, taking notes, sketching and much more. The average battery life is an impressive 10 hours of light usage making it an ideal device to last all day without the need of a charger.

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Acer Chromebook R13

Acer Chromebook R13

Acer makes it to our list with this middle-of-the-road Chromebook which offers decent price to performance than most other in the market. The Chromebook is priced at $390 and is packed with all the features one expects from a small, compact laptop for productivity and entertainment.

The CPU is a 2.1GHz MediaTek_MT8127 which is based off of ARM architecture and is essentially a quad-core CPU. The next important parameter is the RAM and here we have 4GB of LPDDR3 RAM which performs quite well for ChromeOS which is light-weight and requires less memory. The storage is 32GB of flash storage along to be used most for apps and local backups. Chromebooks are essentially meant to work off of cloud storage so this is not going to be an issue as long as you have a good internet connection.

The display is a full HD 1920 by 1080 resolution IPS panel which spans 13.3 inches. It supports multi-finger touch and provides an immersive experience in both tablet mode and Chromebook mode. The display can turn a full 360 for a complete tablet experience where all the apps from the Google Play Store would run as if on an Android app. There are a number of intermediate modes for all types of use cases from watching movies to interactive sessions.

The construction is very robust and the metal body is very appealing both for aesthetics and ergonomics. The entire thing weighs 3.3 pounds and has a maximum thickness of 0.61 inches making is a very light and compact device. On top of this, the battery life is a whapping 12 hours that can easily last you for your entire day even by the least conservative estimates.

Lastly, we have a good mixture of various ports which include USB 3.1 Type-C port that can be used for high speed data transfer as well as high resolution display (Display port). Also included is a USB 3.0 port for your regular devices and an HDMI port with HDCP support. The WiFi 802.11 ac is also included along with a micro SD slot and a headphone/microphone combo jack.

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Conclusion

The options available at the $500 price point are quite diverse in terms of what they offer. We see the main-stream Windows PCs with i3s, i5s and i7s and along with them we see compact computing devices with lower processing power but better portability.

For office usages and college or school students the latter option is much more preferable. You can spend your entire day without having to worry about running out of battery and without carrying a heavy weight in your backpack. There are however, certain use cases which require Windows PC or the x86_64 architecture of Intel and AMD. Not all programs are features are available for the portable devices just yet, and it is here that you should go for the more powerful although slightly heavier option of having a regular laptop. Developers might also prefer higher computing performance over light weight. Understanding your own necessities is the only thing that remains now, before you pick one of these laptops.

4 Comments

  1. Chip Hodal

    I am trying to read an article on laptop computers. A part of the article compares the devices on a chart. Your ad follows the scroll up and down and covers a portion of the chart rendering the information incomplete.
    This is typical Air Canada behaviour as per my experience. We know best
    You have lower my already low opinion of your company. The Air Canada ad shows fist class seating and will not allow me to read technical data on laptops costing less than $500. People who read that article can not afford first class. Way to go AC.

    Reply
    1. admin (Post author)

      Hello, Thank you for pointing out. Can you tell me where you found the ad covers a portion of the chart? Smartphone or PC, I just has a test, but I can’t find the problem.

      Reply
  2. George

    Hi, the HP Star Wars Special Edition 15-an050nr has a Full hd 1920*1080 IPS Panel NOT a 1366 X 768p as you write in your article. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B015W7OTGG/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B015W7OTGG&linkCode=as2&tag=tabletpcnow-20

    Thank you

    Reply
    1. admin (Post author)

      Thank you, I have corrected it. 🙂

      Reply

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