Though planning to invest less in a laptop can be tricky. You must dodge away from a heap of substandard junk to be able to get your hands on something special. Thankfully, all the well-known tech brands know their consumer circle. This article features examples from such brands that will allow you to cut corners without sacrificing the essentials.
Our Top Five Product Reviews
1. The Acer Aspire 15.6” Laptop
Right under budget, Acer Aspire 15 ranks first in being credible enough to land on our list. It is one of the best laptops under $500 to carry a decent finish that matches the high-end brands. It says 15.6″ on the box, but in actuality, it has a feel of 17″ because of the narrow bezels. Weighing only 3.99 pounds and 0.7″ thick, this laptop is a perfectly portable option for everyday use.
It is packed with the productivity of AMD Ryzen 3 and an extended battery life of 10 hours. The Acer slim notebook powers demanding applications through an ultimate precision boost of 3.5 GHz. As for visuals, the full HD combined with a high screen-to-body ratio delivers vibrant and crisp results. Its screen also assists as a filter to minimize harshness and decrease eyestrain. If you are a gamer, you can also play some games in a low graphics setting.
Acer also has a backlit keyboard ready for night use. Moreover, high security is assured through the biometric fingerprint reader and Windows Hello sign-in. As for internal specifications, the 4 GB DDR4 onboard and 128 GB NVMe solid-state drive storage can further be extended for user preference.
How is Acer better than the second-hand versions?
High speed and snappy performance are the reasons for sure. Secondly, the Purified voice feature makes it easier to carry out clear calls and chat with Alexa. Lastly, this laptop has an HDMI port, which most high-end price laptops lack. This offers you a stable connection without interference, which may be an issue on Wi-Fi-supported platforms.
All in all, this notebook is perfect for students and regular usage folks. It is fast, has an excellent display, and is upgradable. It is definitely ideal for basic computing needs!
Buy Here: Amazon
2. HP 14” Touch Screen HD Laptop
Once you have worked with a touch screen laptop, there’s no going back. Specially made for students, the next-best laptop under $500 is from HP. It comes ready with an Intel Celeron N4020 processor. The tenth-generation processor is backed by 4 GB DDR4 memory and 64 GB SSD storage.
What makes this HP model different from others?
Well, apart from being budget-friendly, the laptop comes with ready-to-go Skype and Microsoft Office. This makes it the go-to affordable laptop for students. Now, you can take classes and enjoy learning anywhere you like. The all-time connectivity of 4G LTE saves you from interference-ridden WI-FI and security risks of cafes or parks.
HP is known for its ergonomic designs. The 14” touchscreen display with micro-edge Bright View delivers a crisp, clean display. The laptop has a 0.7″ slim design and light pick-feel.
Moreover, the 720p HD webcam will make your Skype/Zoom calls a breeze! Thanks to the integrated SSD, this budget-friendly laptop offers fast speed throughout. It also manages to keep working without running out of juice for the whole day. For on-the-go users, the 30-minute 50% fast charge will be your savior.
Overall, this laptop is excellent value for money under $500. It is built to move with you. Though, there are some downsides to consider. There is no backlight keyboard to support working in the dark. Moreover, the trackpad is not the smoothest and takes some getting used to.
Buy Here: Amazon
3. Microsoft Surface Go 2 – Touch Screen
If you want the best laptop under $500 that’s ultra-portable and adapts to your every need, have a look at this!
The Microsoft Surface Go 2 weighs only 1.2 pounds without the Type Cover and comes with a 10.5″ screen. The thin bezel shifts your focus to the contents of your screen without any distraction. Which itself is a high-resolution display, having Pixel Sense technology.
What makes this laptop different?
Apart from being affordable, Microsoft’s multiple modes allow you to express yourself in ways you deem fit. The Laptop, Tablet, and Studio Mode, together with its big screen, make it a formidable contender to beat. It keeps up with your pace with an 8th Gen Intel Core Processor, 8 GB RAM, and 128 GB SSD drives.
That’s not all!
It also has a 10-hour battery life to allow you to power through your work sessions. The accessories include a Surface Pen and Surface Mobile Mouse. It makes using the Microsoft Surface Go 2 even more effortless. Perfect for eBooks, presentation practices, or even homework, it’s ready to cater to all your family’s needs.
However, the 10 inches display size is relatively small as compared to the ones mentioned above. Moreover, some software and accessories such as Type Cover are sold separately, so an added investment is required.
Buy Here: Amazon
4. Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15” Laptop
Another budget-friendly choice is to go for the Lenovo IdeaPad. This provides a performance fit for general usage, office tasks, gaming, and even video editing.
It brings you the power of the AMD Ryzen 5 Quad-Core Processor, along with integrated Radeon Vega 8 Graphics. As for memory, 8 GB DDR4 and 256 GB SSD are more than enough to handle most productivity, content creation, and light gaming.
Now, here is the impressive part.
Many components of this budget laptop are upgradable. These include the RAM, Hard Drive, WI-FI card, and much more. This allows you to tailor your computer to your needs. The Lenovo weighs only 4.3 lbs which is easy to carry around. Overall built is a durable plastic body with a 15.6″ wide anti-glare display. Interestingly, it carries a sturdy keyboard, so you can go all bananas if you want.
However, there are several downsides to this budget “under $500” laptop. The webcam is only 0.3 MP, being the worst on our list. Moreover, this laptop is suited for indoor use only due to sub-par viewing angles.
But these are no way deal breakers. Considering such a low budget, Lenovo had to compromise somewhere. The high-end hardware specs and their ability to generate less heat make Lenovo a decent low-budget gaming machine. That’s why Ideapad 3 made it in our list of the best under $500 gaming laptops (link best under $500 laptops article here).
Buy Here: Amazon
5. Vivo Book 17
The last option on our list is the best 17″ laptop under $500 by Vivo. If you want to go big without emptying your wallet, this is it!
Vivo Book 17 is a slim and lightweight laptop despite a 17.3″ Full HD IPS display. It is stacked with an AMD Dual-Core Ryzen 7 Processor, 8 GB DDR4, 256 GB NVMe SSD. This all-rounder business laptop gives you everything the best 17” laptop under $500 should.
The slim design weighs 4.4 lbs. Its size and speed make it credible to compete with the big leagues, Dell Inspiron or Lenovo IdeaPads.
Worthy of being called the “Best laptop under $500?”
Apart from being pocket-friendly, the Vivo Book has a large keypad, fit for data entries or simple office use. The ergonomic design lifts the keyboard as the laptop unfolds, making it easier for you to type. Another key feature is its powerful speakers. There are sub-woofers at the bottom to aid in the production of bass.
With a decent webcam, card reader, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, it’s a decent laptop to end our list.
However, the Vivo Book has a small battery life of 5 hours, depending on the task at hand. This means you need to have a power supply near you during long work hours. It also lacks a backlit keyboard for nighttime sessions. However, Vivobook 17 is ideal for users who want more screen real estate for home or office use.
Buy Here: Amazon
Buying Guide for the Best Laptop Under $500
Investing in affordable does not mean settling for a laptop that offers a non-promising life. A good budget laptop should last at least three years. The following buyer’s guide will put you on the right track to obtain the best laptop under $500.
What Do You Need?
A suitable laptop shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg. Having said that, the more you want out of a laptop, the higher it costs. Look for something that sits in line with your needs. Being on a budget means letting go of fancy features.
Fast processors and long battery life should be at the top of your list, especially if you are a student who has classes and assignments all day.
Second, a 4 GB RAM and 128 GB SSD is the bare minimum at this range. It is also wise to search for an upgradeable laptop. Otherwise, you will be stuck with the same hardware configuration.
What to Avoid?
Watch out for the “HD display.” Not all HD screens are truly high definition. A true HD has 1,920×1,080 resolution, which is often called full HD. Certain manufacturers use the term HD even for displays with only 1,280×720 pixels resolution.
Another red flag is the dull and washed-out display. Your laptop must have good viewing angles and brightness to allow you to work in a wide variety of spaces.
2020 and 2021 caused an increase in the sales of laptops, with more people online. The new work-from-home practice pressured many individuals into investing in notebooks to keep up with work. Such pressing times call for budget-friendly options, readily provided above. The best laptops under $500 may not be powerful high-end machines. Still, they do make daily browsing, light gaming, learning, and online shopping easy. If you have more budget for a laptop, check out our recommended laptops. (link best laptop article)
Furthermore, we deliberately excluded Chromebooks from this list. Chromebooks are also a good option if you are working with a limited budget. Be sure to check out our list of the best Chromebooks for more information.