These days, finding the best laptops below $500 is difficult. Currently, there isn’t a huge selection of well-made, high-quality laptops offered for sale in that price range.
People looking for a new laptop at a good price have thankfully got a lot of great options right now. The list of top-notch laptops we’ve compiled below features some affordable options that can help you get work done without breaking the bank.
Of course, most of these machines won’t deliver the state-of-the-art performance or the best in industrial design. However, you can invest in a dependable laptop for yourself so that you can complete tasks while on the go, or in a robust device so that you can give it to kids knowing that even if they break it, they won’t have damaged anything terribly expensive.
For $500 or less, 2-in-1 gadgets like the Lenovo Chromebook Duet and the Microsoft Surface Go 2 are especially appealing because they combine a tablet and a laptop in one convenient device. Yes, you will have to make some sacrifices, but not as many as you may anticipate.
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1. ASUS VivoBook L203MA
A cheap computer that can handle writing, research and peer collaboration is required by the majority of college students. The ASUS Vivobook L203MA-DS04 is the ideal laptop for the typical studious multitasker to use for finishing coursework.
The weight of the laptop with the battery is just over 2 pounds, so students won’t have any trouble transporting it around campus. Considering that the battery can last up to 10 hours, regular charging is not required.
The screen’s 11.6-inch size is expected given how light the device is. But it’s easy on the eyes thanks to the screen’s 1366 x 768 display. Sharing work with lecturers and students is simple thanks to the fold-flat display. There is no keypad on the keyboard, so if you’re a math or science major, beware.
With an Intel Celeron N4000 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of flash storage, the Vivobook L203MA-DS04 can handle several projects without any lag time or slow loading. Any student should have more than enough freedom for both studying and recreational activities with this fast PC. ASUS caters to students by providing a free full year of Microsoft 365, which boosts productivity, as the majority of them utilize a variety of Microsoft products.
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2. Lenovo Chromebook Duet
The Lenovo Chromebook Duet might be the ideal laptop for you if you’re on a tight budget and don’t mind a hybrid tablet/Chromebook design. Instead of having to purchase the tablet and detachable keyboard separately as is the case with the Microsoft Surface Go, which is a hybrid Windows 10 device, you can purchase both for the current price of $245.
However, that Windows 10 device does provide a more luxurious experience. The 10.1-inch tablet is equipped with a 2.0GHz octa-core MediaTek Helio P60T, ARM G72 MP3 GPU, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of eMMC storage space, which isn’t a lot of processing or storage.
However, it doesn’t matter because it is a Chromebook, which mostly uses web-based services to take the workload off of the Lenovo Chromebook Duet. Additionally, a low spec indicates that less battery life will be consumed. Furthermore, it boasts a 1920 x 1080 display that is extremely clear and bright, and it can be used for email and web browsing as well as binge-watching YouTube.
3. Samsung Chromebook 4
The Samsung Chromebook 4 ($229 list price) is the best Chromebook you can get if you’re searching for one that is absurdly cheap. It endured our battery test for a full 10 hours and 36 minutes, making it the best laptop under $500 with the longest battery life.
The Samsung Chromebook 4 closely resembles the countless MacBook knockoffs we’ve seen over the years thanks to its curved edges and silver color. Its aluminum top is a little nicer than I had anticipated, but the plastic body of the laptop clearly reflects its high price.
The Samsung Chromebook 4’s Intel Celeron 3000N processor and 4GB of RAM give adequate multitasking power, especially for the price. The keyboard on this device makes it ideal for those who primarily use laptops for typing; nevertheless, the screen and audio aren’t up to snuff. However, it’s a reliable ultraportable laptop because of how light it is and its respectable performance.
4. HP Stream 11
With HP, a fantastic PC can be had for a little over $200. You can get a laptop with media streaming capability, the HP Stream 11, for $220. For easy launching and streaming, the PC comes with a built-in Netflix app, for instance.
You’ll notice amazing stereo speakers when you’re streaming Netflix, listening to music, or reading an ebook. Despite being at the bottom of Stream 11, the speakers are very clear and devoid of muffling or echo.
The 11.6-inch 1366 x 768 HD display isn’t very big or bright for a laptop designed for media streaming. However, if you’re at the proper angle and in the right lighting, the display is adequate for your steaming requirements.
The memory and processor aren’t particularly impressive. As the Stream 11 only has 4GB of RAM and an Intel Celeron N4020 1.1GHz processor, multitasking for work or school may cause sluggishness. However, the 8-hour battery life, rudimentary computer capabilities, and connectivity options like HDMI, USB (including USB-C), and microSD slots make this HP’s competitive price worthwhile.
5. ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS04
The ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS04 is the best laptop for those on a tight budget. The Chromebook C202SA-YS04 offers a great battery life of up to 10 hours and one free year of 100GB Google cloud storage, despite only having a 1.6 GHz Intel Celeron N3060 processor and 4GB of RAM.
The Chromebook C202SA-YS04 is incredibly small, with an 11.6-inch, 1366 x 768 display, and weighs a little under 3 pounds. ASUS built a sturdy keyboard and a protective casing into its small dimensions. The Chromebook C202SA-YS04 is covered in a robust protective rubber that protects it from drops that are almost 4 feet high.
The sturdy keyboard can also endure the occasional coffee or water spill (up to 66 cubic centimeters of liquid) without raising any major concerns. Due to its diminutive size, the Chromebook C202SA-YS04 has a special set of difficulties.
Reading the screen may be challenging due to the small display’s potential for glare. Thankfully, the anti-glare coating and the ability to flex the hinge entirely flat for viewing the screen with others make up for the small viewing area and the screen’s tendency to glare.
The compact size of the Chromebook C202SA-YS04 has no effect on its connectivity possibilities since users have access to multiple USB ports for storing data on an external drive and installing compatible Android apps from the Google Play Store.
What are the top laptops available now for under $500?
Finding a good laptop for under $500 can be difficult, but our collection is slowly growing as more cost-effective devices enter the market and hybrid 2-in-1 tablet-meets-laptop gadgets become available for inexpensive costs.
The Lenovo Chromebook Duet is our current top pick for the best laptop under $500 that you can buy. Although it’s technically a Chrome tablet, it also functions as a usable laptop because it includes a detachable keyboard for no additional cost. It shouldn’t put too much strain on your budget though, with a price tag under $300.
The Microsoft Surface Go 2, a powerful upgrade to the first, less expensive Microsoft hybrid gadget, is also something we strongly suggest. Even if its specifications won’t revolutionize the computing industry, it nonetheless provides the power required to complete some tasks while on the go. Also quite impressive are the keyboard cover and design.
Additionally, the iPad 2021 with Smart Keyboard is a surprisingly functional low-cost laptop if you favor Apple products. That’s because Apple updated iPadOS to provide a more laptop-like experience. On such a device, you won’t be performing a wide variety of jobs, but you will still have access to one of the best and most well-chosen app stores available.
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The best laptops for returning to school below $500
Since summer has been here, many of us are contemplating beaches, barbecues, and back-to-school bargains. It pays to start searching as early as possible because the finest laptops under $500 are always in high demand as soon as school resumes. You’ll need an excellent laptop that can be used for both works and play whether you’re starting college or going back to school.
Now is a wonderful opportunity to purchase some of the best laptops because many of our top recommendations are presently on sale. For all of your buying needs this season, be sure to stick to our back-to-school guide.