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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.

Touch Screens: 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.

The comparison of Best Laptops under 500 dollars:

Models Detail InformationScreenCPU/GPUStorageConnectivityBattery/Weight
ASUS VivoBook F510UA
(Best Choice for Daily Use)
More information and user reviews on Amazon15.6 inch;
1920 x 1080
Quad-core Intel i5-8250U
(Benchmarks)

Intel UHD Graphics 620
1TB 5400RPM/ 8GB DDR4 RAM1 x USB3.0
2 x USB2.0
1 x USB3.1
Type-C;
1x HDMI,
Bluetooth 4.1
Around 5 hours;
14.2 x 9.6 x 0.8 inches (L x W x H)
3.7 pounds
Acer E5-576G-5762
(Best Choice for Gaming)
More information and user reviews on Amazon15.6 inch;
1920 x 1080
Quad-core Intel i5-8250U
GeForce MX150 with 2GB VRAM
256 GB SSD/ 8GB DDR4 RAM1 x USB3.1
Type-C;
2 x USB3.0
1 x USB2.0
1x HDMI,
Bluetooth 4.0
6-cell lithium ion
Up to 15 hours;
15 x 10.2 x 1.2 inches;
5.3 lbs
Dell Inspiron 15 5000More information and user reviews on Amazon15.6 inch;
1920 x 1080
Touchscreen
Quad-core Intel i5-8250U
Intel UHD Graphics 620
1TB 5400RPM/ 8GB DDR4 RAM2 x USB3.1;
1 x USB2.0;
1x HDMI,
Bluetooth 4.2;
DVDRW/CD-RW
Battery: around 5 hours;
14.96 x 10.15 x 0.89 inches (L x W x H)
4.85 pounds
HP Flagship LaptopMore information and user reviews on Amazon15.6 inch 1366 x 768Quad-core Intel i5-8250U
Intel UHD Graphics 620
2 TB 5400RPM / 12GB DDR4 RAM2 x USB 3.1;
2 x USB2.0
1x HDMI,
Bluetooth 4.1
DVD Super Multi
3-cell lithium-ion, up to 8 hours,
14.9 x 10 x 0.9 inches (L x W x H) 3.77 pounds
Acer Aspire E15 LaptopMore information and user reviews on Amazon15.6 inch
1366 x 768
2.5 GHz Core i5-7200U Intel HD Graphics 6201 TB 5400RPM
8GB DDR4 RAM
1 x USB3.1
1 x USB 3.0;
2 x USB2.0
1x HDMI,
Bluetooth 4.0
DVDRW/CD-RW
4-cell li-ion, Up to 6 hours;
13.43″ x 9.31″ x 0.71″ inches (L x W x H)/ 4.94 pounds
Dell Inspiron 15.6″ laptopMore information and user reviews on Amazon15.6 inch; 1366 x 768;Intel Core i3-7100U (2.4GHz);
Intel UHD 620 graphics
1 TB 5400RPM / 6GB DDR3 RAM2 x USB2.0
1 x USB 3.0
1x HDMI,
Bluetooth 4.0
DVDRW/CD-RW
4-cell lithium ion battery;

15 x 10.2 x 0.9 inches (L x W x H), 4.85 pounds
Lenovo 320
(Affordable Choice for Gaming
HDD Version | SSD Version15.6 Inch HD Display; 1366 x 768AMD A12-9720P (2.7 – 3.6GHz);
Radeon R7 (Bristol Ridge)
1 TB 5400RPM or 256GB SSD;
8GB DDR4 RAM
1 x USB3.0
1 x USB 2.0
1x HDMI,
Bluetooth 4.1
DVDRW/CD-RW
Up to 5 hours battery life;
14.9 x 10.2 x 0.9 inches (L x W x H)/ 5.51 pounds;
Lenovo Yoga 710
(Best Convertible Laptop under 500$)
More information and user reviews on Amazon11.6 Inch FHD IPS Display; 1920 x 1080Intel Pentium processor 4405Y; Intel HD Graphics 515128GB SSD/
4GB DDR4 RAM
1 x USB3.0
1 x Micro HDMI,
Bluetooth
Up to 9 hours;
11.1 x 7.7 x 0.6 inches (L x W x H); 2.36 pounds
ASUS C302CA Chromebook
(Convertible Chromebook)
More information and user reviews on Amazon12.5 Inch FHD IPS Display; 1920 x 1080 (Touchscreen)Intel M 6Y30 Processor; Intel HD Graphics 51564GB SSD/
4GB DDR3 RAM
2 x Type C USB3.0;
Bluetooth
Up to 10 hours;
11.97 x 8.28 x 0.54 inches (L x W x H); 2.65 pounds
Samsung Chromebook
(Convertible)
More information and user reviews on Amazon12.3 Inch QHD IPS Display; 2400 x 1600 (Touchscreen)Rockchip RK3399 (OP1); ARM Mali-T860 GPU32GB SSD/
4GB DDR3 RAM
2x USB-
C;
Bluetooth 4.0
Up to 10 hours;
11.04 x 8.72 x 0.55 inches (L x W x H); 2.38 pounds

The Most Recommendation: :

The Best For Daily Use

ASUS VivoBook F510UA Laptop (Intel Core i5-8250U, 8GB RAM, 1TB, Great for Daily Use)

ASUS VivoBook F510UA Laptop

Slim futuristic design, modern hardware, and a really affordable price tag of $509 makes the VivoBook F510UA the most admired laptop on our list. It will be the best bang for your buck if the use case is typical. So, let’s take a closer look at this VivoBook.

The CPU inside is an Intel Core i5-8250U from the latest generation of Kaby Lake R processors. It is clocked at 1.60 GHz and can turbo boost up to an insane 3.40 GHz. With all the goodness of 4-cores with 8-threads, thanks to hyperthreading. To compare it with previous generation of laptop processors, it out performs the similarly priced i5-7300HQ. It also has a larger L3 cache of 6M.

This VivoBook comes with 8 GB of RAM which works wonderfully well with the considerable processing horsepower of the CPU. You can multitask, run multiple VMs, stream multimedia, all at once without any noticeable change in the responsiveness of the system. General use cases, like checking emails, streaming high resolution media on Netflix are all trivially easy for this device.

The only short-coming for this laptop is its storage, which consists of a 1 TB hard disk drive. However, considering how inexpensive Asus tried to make this laptop, it is hardly surprising that they had to cut a few corners. If your budget permits, we highly recommend upgrading the laptop with an SSD.

The graphics capabilities are powered by Intel UHD 620 Graphics which offers decent viewing experience on a 1080p display. It is not meant for gamers, but it is the latest integrated graphics offered by Intel.

Speaking of viewing experience, Asus has used this opportunity to show off their marvelous engineering in the display side of business. The display has a diagonal length of 15.6 inches, and a typical resolution of 1920 by 1080, which offers enough pixel density that the pictures look crisp and clear. It is an IPS panel with anti-glare coating so you don’t have to worry about viewing angles, or color accuracy.

ASUS Splendid visual optimization technology offers 4 visual modes for the display, Normal, Eye-care, Vivid and Manual which offers both customizability and great out-of-the-box settings for your personal preferences. Along with this, the Asus Tru2Life visual technology enhances the video too, no matter what the source.

The body has a beautiful and consistent star gray finish with just black Chiclet keys and a black extremely thin bezel – Known as the NanoEdge display. The design looks just as futuristic as the hardware that is inside the laptop. It weighs only 3.7 pounds and is 0.8 inches thick. For additional security and convenience, it also has a fingerprint reader which is quite useful for office use-cases where you may have to lend your device to someone you don’t trust.

For connectivity, we get an HDMI port, a USB 3.1 Gen1 (Type-C) port, 1 USB 3.0 port, 2 USB 2.0 port, 3.5 mm jack for audio input/output and an SD card slot. For Wireless the dual band 802.11ac works great!

To sum it up, this device is sleek, ergonomic, with decent computing capabilities and quite future-proof as well. Especially, for the given price of $500 you will hardly find anything better for various use cases from office use case to general entertainment.

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 Intel UHD 620 graphics [Benchmarks]
Storage 1TB 5400RPM
RAM 8GB DDR4 RAM
Operating System Windows 10 Home 64-bit
Battery Life Around 5 – 6 hours
Dimensions/Weight 14.2 x 9.6 x 0.8 inches, 3.7 pounds
Comparison Back to the comparison of best laptops under 500$
Pro
  • Latest 8th Gen Processor Intel Core i5-8250U
  • Crisp and Bright Display
  • Best overall value
  • 1 – USB 3.1 Type C
  • Thin and Light
Con
  • No SSD
  • Feeble Audio Output
  • Slow hard drive (5400RPM)

>>More information and user reviews on Amazon<<

The Best Choice for Gaming

Acer E5-576G-5762 Gaming Laptop (Intel i5-8250U, GeForce MX150, 256GB SSD)

https://pc4u.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Acer-E5-576G-576.jpg

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)
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 best 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 Recommendation:

Dell Inspiron 15 5000

Dell Inspiron 15 5000

With a luxurious white body, touchscreen and future-proof hardware, the Dell Inspiron offers a compelling product priced at competitively at $568.

The CPU inside is an Intel 8th gen i5-8250U which we have seen in the Asus VivoBook above. It is a 4-core, 8-thread part with clock speeds reaching up to 3.40GHz. This is quite a bit more powerful than most of the previous gen processors and comes with 6M of Cache to further its performance. 8GB of standard laptop memory kit is more than enough to work wonders with this beefy CPU.

Given that the price is still quite low, we fail to see any SSD in this product as well. Instead, Dell has decided to go along with its competitors and install a 1TB HDD which hampers the responsiveness of the system but offers larger storage capacity. If you were to install an SSD instead, it would be limited in storage capacity, but the IOPS would be so high that your system will boot in just a couple of seconds and your programs will load in no time.

The 15.6-inch display has a resolution of 1920 by 1080 built with IPS technology and up to 10 fingers of multitouch support. This makes it a really remarkable sketching tools for designers and content creators looking for a low budget device to start with. The beautiful silver-white body looks professional and appealing at the same time. The keyboard is backlit and ergonomically designed so you can work long hours on this device.

It weighs 4.85 pounds, and is 0.89 inches thick with an average battery life of up to 5 hours. Portability wise it is not a bad option; the only crutch is its poor battery life.

For connectivity, we have Wireless 802.11 ac, Bluetooth 4.2, Ethernet port, 2 USB 3.1 port, 1 USB 2.0 port and an HDMI port.

This is probably the most well-designed model on our list and nobody at can tell you that it is only $568 in price looking at the design or the computing horsepower that it possesses.

Hardware Specifications
Display 15.6 Inch Full HD IPS Display (1920 x 1080) Touchscreen
Processor Intel Core i5-8250U  (Turbo up to 3.4GHz)
Graphics Intel UHD 620 graphics
Storage 1TB 5400RPM
RAM 8GB DDR4 RAM
Operating System Windows 10 Home 64-bit
Battery Life Around 5 hours
Dimensions/Weight 15 x 10.2 x 0.9 inches, 4.85 pounds
Comparison Back to the comparison of best laptops under 500$
Pro
  • Latest 8th Gen Processor Intel Core i5-8250U
  • SSD
  • 1 – USB 3.1 Type C
  • Touch screen (10-finger multi-touch support)
Con
  • No SSD,
  • Slow HDD (5400rpm)
  • Dim screen
  • Poor battery

>>More information and user reviews on Amazon<<

HP Flagship Laptop

https://pc4u.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/HP-Flagship-Laptop.png

The term flagship gets thrown around quite loosely these days. Strictly speaking, the flagship is the best that the manufacturer has to offer in a given line of hardware. In the case of this laptop, ‘flagship’ refers to the best budget-oriented laptop that HP has to offer in 2018. It is priced at $530 and offers quite a unique set of features that sets it apart from its competitors.

The processor is our familiar i5-8250U with 4-cores/8-thread, 3.40GHz of clock speed (at turbo boost) and 6M of L3 cache. What takes it to the next level is the enhanced size of RAM and storage. We get 12 GB of RAM instead of the standard 8 GB kit we have been seeing so far.

This makes it especially useful for developers who are can allocate the extra RAM for running virtual machines for heavy development software like Visual Studio or Android Studio. The CPU supports a large number of concurrent threads and the it is supported by a larger memory. Both these factors help reduce the compilation time quite significantly and allows engineers to test builds quickly.

Similarly, for storage, we get an insane 2 TB of HDD capacity. Which can be used for installing an insane number of libraries, dependencies and software suites. This is also useful for maintaining a local version control system. Or for storing large number of test cases and the output from programs for analysis.

The hard-plastic body has a unique marine blue color for the outer chassis and the lid, whereas, the internals are dull black in color. The device is 0.9 inches thick, weighs 4.3 pounds and has an average battery-life of 8 hours. The display is the only place where HP had to make a budget-conscious decision. So we are left with a 1366 by 768 resolution display.

Connectivity wise the options include, Wireless 802.11ac, 2 USB 3.1 port, 1 USB 2.0 port, an HDMI port and an RJ-45 port for Ethernet connectivity.

The device is targeted towards developers and power users who are starting out and need something at a lower budget. The average person may not really appreciate the larger RAM and the low-resolution display can spoil the viewing experiences. Developers on the other hand, would love to use this for their daily jobs.

Hardware Specifications
Display 15.6 Inch HD Display (1366 x 768)
Processor Intel Core i5-8250U  (Turbo up to 3.4GHz)
Graphics Intel UHD 620 graphics
Storage 2TB 5400RPM
RAM 12 GB DDR4 RAM
Operating System Windows 10 Home 64-bit
Battery Life 3-cell lithium-ion, up to 8 hours
Dimensions/Weight 14.9 x 10 x 0.9 inches; 3.77 pounds
Comparison Back to the comparison of best laptops under 500$
Pro
  • Latest 8th Gen Processor Intel Core i5-8250U
  • 2 – USB 3.1
  • 12GB RAM
  • 2TB HDD
Con
  • 1366 x 768 (Not Full HD screen)
  • No SSD,
  • Slow HDD (5400rpm)

>>More information and user reviews on Amazon<<

Acer Aspire E15 Laptop (2018 Edition)

Acer Aspire E15 Laptop

The Aspire E15 comes with an i7-7500U, 8GB of RAM and a standard laptop configuration for your daily computing needs. It is priced at $586 and comes with a robust build-quality and the trust from Acer. Let’s have a closer look at it.

First and foremost, the computing capabilities, the i7-7500U is slightly under powered than the latest gen i5-8250U but it gets the everyday job done. It has 2-cores/4-threads with 4MB of cache and a base clock-speed of 2.7GHz which can overclock to up to 3.50GHz. Being a low-powered CPU, it offers longer battery life over a single charge, as compared to the other HQ processors. Along with 8GB of DDR4 memory this can stream FHD media, do a decent bit of multitasking, or handle a VM instance inside it. CPU intensive tasks like multiple VMs and rendering videos are going to tax the system responsiveness.

The Benchmark Between i7-7500U vs i5-8250U:

   Cinebench 11 Cinebench 15  Photoshop Fritz
Core i5-8250U 5.95 (+51%) 531 (+53%) 10.70s (-63%) 10449 (+50%)
Core i7-7500U 3.95 348 17.4s 6946

For storage we again get a 1 TB of HDD which is not something a typical home user would desire. Upgrading to an SSD, even with limited storage, is highly recommended in these cases, unless you really need a terabyte of storage.

Next up is the display which is a 15.6 inch, 1920 by 1080 resolution panel which offers a decent viewing experience. Ergonomics is also well-sorted in this device. The Chiclet keyboard has a decent feel to it and the trackpad is large and precise. For both, long hours of work and entertainment this device offers a comfortable experience.

It weighs 4.9 pounds and is 1 inch thick. The battery lasts about 6 hours on average.

Connectivity options include 802.11ac for WiFi, 1 USB-C 3.1, 1 USB 3.0, 2 USB 2.0 and an HDMI port.

The laptop is simple, solidly constructed and with reasonably good hardware inside it. The only downside to it is the pricing, which can be reduced in the event of a discount sale. This is definitely a device meant for years of daily use.

Hardware Specifications
Display 15.6 Inch HD Display (1366 x 768)
Processor Intel Core i7-7500U  (Turbo up to 3.5GHz)
Graphics Intel HD 620 graphics [View Benchmarks]
Storage 1TB 5400RPM
RAM 8GB DDR4 RAM
Operating System Windows 10 Home 64-bit
Battery Life 4-cell li-ion battery; Up to 6 hours
Dimensions/Weight 13.43 x 9.31 x 0.71 inches, 4.94 pounds
Comparison Back to the comparison of best laptops under 500$
Pro
  • Core i7-7500U
  • 1 x  USB 3.1 Type C
Con
  • Not the latest series of CPU
  • No SSD
  • Slow HDD (5400rpm)

>>More information and user reviews on Amazon<<

Dell Inspiron 15.6 inches

Dell Inspiron 15.6 inches

Similar to the last laptop Lenovo 320, this is a really budget oriented device aimed as an entry level device. Priced around 400$ this is an all Intel build for those of us who prefer not to use AMD. Let’s dig into the hardware details.

It comes with an Intel core i3-7100U with 2-cores/4-threads, clocked at 2.4 GHz and with 3M of cache. It would do the everyday browsing and multitasking jobs quite easily but it is not meant for CPU intensive tasks by any stretch. The memory that comes along with it is only 6GB in size and it is clearly a decision made to reduce the manufacturing cost of the system so as to keep the price low.

For storage we get yet another standard 1TB hard drive which is ample storage although at the expense of the systems responsiveness.

The display has a resolution of 1366 by 768 with multitouch support. This works wonderfully well with the Windows 10 tablet mode and pen mode for aspiring designers and artists. The laptop chassis is hard plastic and has a premium dull black color to it. It weighs 5.07 pounds and has a thickness of only 0.9 inches. The on-processor integrated graphics 620 from Intel is sufficient to power the display and to get creative using the touchscreen feature.

Connectivity options include 3 USB ports, an HDMI port, Bluetooth and 3.5mm audio input/output jack.

This laptop is meant for various use cases from casual home use for the family, to light-weight office use cases. Students too can pick it up if they are unsure of what they truly want to invest in. Once you realize where the bottlenecks are, the next purchase would be to eliminate those specific issues. This is a typical use-case for any entry level device.

Hardware Specifications
Display 15.6 Inch HD Display (1366 x 768) Touchscreen
Processor Intel Core i3-7100U  (2.4GHz) (Benchmarks)
Graphics Intel UHD 620 graphics
Storage 1TB 5400RPM
RAM 6GB DDR4 RAM
Operating System Windows 10 Home 64-bit
Battery Life 4-cell Lithium-ion
Dimensions/Weight 15 x 10.2 x 0.9 inches, 4.85 pounds
Comparison Back to the comparison of best laptops under 500$
Pro
Con
  • No SSD
  • Slow HDD (5400rpm)
  • Not the latest series of CPU

>>More information and user reviews on Amazon<<

Lenovo 320 (Affordable Choice for Gaming

Lenovo 320

One of the cheapest device on our list, the Lenovo 320 may not offer the best bang for the buck but its AMD hardware lowers the cost significantly to only $389 so any college student or a beginner can pick it up as an entry level laptop.

It comes with an AMD-A12-9720P which is similar in single core performance when compared against the i3-7100U from Intel and slightly better at multicore performance. It is a quad core processor clocked at 2.7 GHz and it can go up to 3.3 GHz when under load. With 8 GB of memory this works well for daily use of entertainment and productivity.

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.

For storage, we again have a 1 TB hard disk drive with ample storage for media, software and personal files. Although supplementing it with an SSD would make the laptop seem much more responsive and smooth than what its budget would indicate. As always, SSDs are smaller in storage capacity so decision solely lies upon the user’s personal preference.

The display is a 1366 by 768 resolution panel with a diagonal length of 15.6 inches. The chassis has a metallic grey finish on hard plastic body with grey Chiclet keyboard. The build-quality is great with very little wobble on the lid and very little flex overall.

It weighs 5.51 pounds, with 5 hours of average battery life and a thickness of 0.9 inch. For connectivity we get, 1 USB-C port, 2 USB 3.0, an HDMI port, wireless 802.11 ac and Bluetooth. Also available is an RJ-45 port for Ethernet connectivity.

This laptop is really target as an entry level laptop for a budget conscious consumer who can then see what his/her needs are and later make upgrades accordingly. For office use cases like using a word processor, checking emails and browsing this works just fine and can save you up to $200.

Hardware Specifications
Display 15.6 Inch HD Display (1366 x 768)
Processor AMD A12-9720P  (2.7 – 3.6GHz) (Benchmarks)
Graphics Radeon R7 (Bristol Ridge)
Storage 1TB 5400RPM
RAM 8GB DDR4 RAM
Operating System Windows 10 Home 64-bit
Battery Life Up to 5 hours
Dimensions/Weight 14.9 x 10.2 x 0.9 inches, 5.51 pounds
Comparison Back to the comparison of best laptops under 500$
Pro
Con
  • 1366 x 768 resolution
  • May be noisy
  • Poor battery

>>More information and user reviews on Amazon<< | SSD version

Convertible Laptop

Lenovo Yoga 710

Lenovo Yoga 710

Lenovo Yoga is quite a unique product on this list. It is a responsive, light-weight and snug little 11.6-inch laptop meant for those of us who are sick of bulky 15-inch laptops. It is priced at $469.

The CPU is a very power-efficient Intel Pentium 4405Y clocked at 1.5GHz. This is the perfect balance between mediocre performance and increased power efficiency which means longer battery-life. It has only 4 GB of DRAM for only the most basic use cases that a college student or a typical home might have.

The storage is a snappy 128GB SSD which is really a delightful sight at this price range. The SSD alone can make this innocent and weak-looking hardware perform like a premium responsive device.

The aluminum chassis further improves its presentation. The silver body with black backlit keyboard and bright touchscreen is a really inviting and appealing sight. Speaking of which, the display is a 1920 by 1080 resolution FHD dislay with touch support. It is a 11.6-inch panel making the higher resolution look all the more crisp and clear.

Lenovo 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 battery can last up to 9 hours in a single charge and the device weighs a mere 2.36 pounds and is only 0.6 inches thick. Making it extremely portable and outdoor-friendly.

For connectivity we get 802.11ac, Bluetooth, USB 3.0 port, mini HDMI port, and an audio jack.

If you like ultra-slim notebooks like the MacBook or the Surface book, then this is a really good budget alternative for you. It has the responsiveness of an SSD with longer battery and an ultra-small form factor at a mere fraction of the price.

Hardware Specifications
Display 11.6 Inch FHD IPS Display (1920 x 1080)
Processor Intel Pentium processor 4405Y dual-core processor (Benchmarks)
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 515
Storage 128GB SSD
RAM 4GB DDR4 RAM
Operating System Windows 10 Home 64-bit
Battery Life Up to 9 hours
Dimensions/Weight 11.1 x 7.7 x 0.6 inches , 2.36 pounds
Comparison Back to the comparison of best laptops under 500$
Pro
Con
  • Low amount of RAM
  • Small SSD
  • Less USB Port
  • For only the most basic use

>>More information and user reviews on Amazon<<

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.

ASUS C302CA-DHM4 Chromebook ASUS Chromebook C302CA-DHM4 Gaming Laptop

The second device on this list with an ultra-small form factor is a Chormebook from Asus at a 12.5-inch form factor.

It comes with a Core-M3 processor from Intel, from the same series that is used in the latest MacBook 12 inches. It is an ultrabook specific processor which aims at offering performance at a very low power consumption. The memory in here is 4 GB in size, but considering that this device runs on Chrome OS and not Windows, it is a reasonable amount of space. Chrome OS is light-weight and meant to run on low specification hardware.

It again has a complete aluminum body and weighs only 2.65 pounds. The battery life is pretty decent at around 10 hours on average, on a single charge. The storage is limited to only 64 GB of flash media, but since you are getting a Chromebook, you do get 100 GB of free Google Drive space for two years. It would rely heavily on Internet connectivity to back up and retrieve files from Google Drive but in 2018, that is hardly a problem anymore.

The full HD display has a resolution of 1920 by 1080 with touch support and you can use the device as a convertible tablet as much as a notebook or a viewing device. The lid locks at different angles to provide ergonomic support for different use cases like viewing movies, reading a book or working on a document or browsing the Internet.

Connectivity options include, Wireless 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0, 1 USB Type-C and a microSD slot. Understandably, for a device this small it is impossible to cram in an Ethernet port.

This is yet another competitor for the low-price range ultrabooks that offers a light-weight, though limited, ChromeOS instead of the standard Windows system. The only downside is a slightly weaker performance, but you do gain a considerable amount of portability in the trade-off.

>>More information and user reviews on Amazon<<

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.

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

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.

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

Conclusion

The price point of $500 offers a myriad of options ranging from a standard 15.6-inch laptop to ultrabooks and chromebooks. Thanks to the newest coffee-lake processors you don’t need an expensive i7 anymore to handle the intensive work loads anymore. You can do it easily on your laptop.The options for aesthetics are similarly diverse and full of decent choices.

For office usages and college or school students the better portability is much more important. 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.

The most recommended Asus VivoBook offers the best bang for your buck in this quest although people with different preferences might want something small, rather than something powerful. In those cases, the Ultrabooks would serve you well and good.

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6 comments

  1. The Asus F510UA has a Kaby Lake R processor, not a Coffee Lake processor.

  2. 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.

    • 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.

  3. 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

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