Best Laptops Under 500 Dollars – Buyers Guide & Reviews 2018Last Updated: December 1, 2018
Budget is not always the best criteria to govern the choice of a new laptop, but it’s a particularly important one. Our team researched the best laptops for under 500 dollars, and found a range of great appliances, made by the leading names in laptop/tablet technology.
Having a reliable laptop by your side has numerous benefits, they can help us organise our lives, or unwind after a long day with a range of media. However, with the top-dogs in the market carrying arguably excessively high price-tags, users around the world are tearing their hair out for a cheap alternative, and that’s where we come in. We’ve compiled a buyers guide outlining the strengths and weaknesses of the best laptops under 500 dollars available on the market today.
Best Laptops Under $500 in 2018
Our reviews team researched the best selling laptops for less than $500, and found the following range of top devices from some of the leading names in global computing. There are reviews of each laptop to help you find the device that will work best for your requirements.
The Lenovo 15.6″ HD LED Signature Laptop PC is relatively basic, but is a great little all-rounder, catering for a wide variety of needs, be they games related, work related, or simply as a general multi-media device. Be warned however, this is not a gaming designed laptop, so while it can stand some of the more demanding games out there, it may stumble a bit on the more advanced games. However, it really cannot be emphasised enough that this Lenovo laptop punches sufficiently above its weight to merit inclusion here. Furthermore, the 1 TB HDD storage is another fantastic bonus.
|Lenovo 15.6in HD LED Signature Laptop - Pros||Lenovo 15.6in HD LED Signature Laptop - Cons|
|• Suitable for moderate gaming purposes.||• Quite a short battery life compared to other laptops.|
|• Light and compact, which aids portability.||• Can have problems connecting to Wi-Fi.|
Amazon Customer Reviews: 105
Average Customer Review Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
The ASUS Vivobook 15.6in is easily one of the best looking laptops on the market today. With its smooth soft gold finish, this product is instantly identifiable as a device of refinement. With would recommend this laptop to any professionals out there who find themselves connecting their device to an external monitor, as this device boasts enough ports to facilitate almost any set-up. These include one USB 3.0, one USB Type-C, HDMI, one RJ45, and a Multi-Format Digital Media Reader. Additionally, this laptop will take DVDs/CD+RW.
|2018 ASUS Vivobook 15.6in - Pros||2018 ASUS Vivobook 15.6in - Cons|
|• Stylish and sleek aesthetic appeal.||• Bulkier than most laptops on our list.|
|• Capable of carrying out graphically challenging functions.||• 15.6" Screen means this laptop is quite large - con for portability.|
Amazon Customer Reviews: 2
Average Customer Review Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Now for something a little bit different—the ASUS 10.1in Transformer Mini. Benefitting from a streamlined ultra-portable design, this touchscreen laptop is incredibly portable, easily taken on the go. Not stopping there however, the Transformer Mini also benefits from One-Touch fingerprint login, through a simple, yet attractive instant-ID sensor on the exterior of the unit. Also included with the Transformer Mini is a detachable keyboard for tablet use, and stylus, which runs on AAAA batteries. This allows users a great amount of freedom in how they can utilise their device, depending on the circumstances.
|ASUS 10.1in Transformer Mini - Pros||ASUS 10.1in Transformer Mini - Cons|
|• Compact, portable design, ideal for taking your laptop with you on the go.||• Small keyboard can make it difficult to type long pieces of text.|
|• Detachable keyboard for added versatility of operation.||• Screen resolution is mediocre when compared to other tablets.|
Amazon Customer Reviews: 317
Average Customer Review Rating: 3.3 out of 5 Stars
With its competitive price tag, the Acer Aspire E15 is a highly affordable middle-range laptop device. While not boasting the same sleek aesthetic appeal as some of the other units here, the Aspire E15 is still impressive nonetheless. It has a simple design that does not get in the way, with a sleek, black casing and a backlit keyboard that facilitates easy typing in the dark. Be aware that this laptop will not be able to maintain pace with heavy gamers, or those who need to use big, complex programs. However, it is eminently capable of meeting the needs of the average user, and in fact it does so fantastically well.
|Acer Aspire E15 E5-575-33BM - Pros||Acer Aspire E15 E5-575-33BM - Cons|
|• Very quiet operation.||• Unremarkable display resolution.|
|• Backlit keyboard for use in dark surroundings.||• Can have issues connecting to Wi-Fi.|
Amazon Customer Reviews: 3,741
Average Customer Review Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
The ASUS T100 2 in 1 laptop with detachable screen serves a number of different functions. This affordable alternative to the more upper market models features a reading mode, automatically adjusting your screen’s brightness, colour, and contrast based on your surroundings. Another useful feature of the ASUS T100 is its dual band Wi-Fi capability, so it comes with built-in support for both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies. The former frequency delivers compatibility, while the latter guarantees high speed with minimal interference.
|ASUS T100 10-Inch Wide Laptop - Pros||ASUS T100 10-Inch Wide Laptop - Cons|
|• Light-weight and compact design for easy portability and storage.||• Touchscreen not as responsive as some other products on our list.|
|• Ideal as an inexpensive college laptop.||• Unusually prone to crashes / breaks.|
Amazon Customer Reviews: 72
Average Customer Review Rating: 2.8 out of 5 Stars
The ASUS C302CA-DHM4 Chromebook is a fan favourite, a relatively inexpensive 2-in-1 laptop of solid metal construction. Its metallic appearance is subtly offset by an attractive backlit keyboard for ease of use when the lights are low. With decent user interfaces, operation of this device could not be made any easier, making it certainly a bargain to be considered when the below 500 dollars price-tag is taken into account.
|ASUS C302CA-DHM4 Chromebook - Pros||ASUS C302CA-DHM4 Chromebook - Cons|
|• Robust aluminium casing, while remaining lightweight for portability.||• Mediocre speakers, not very loud on fullest volume, which is a problem for music lovers.|
|• Innovative 360 degree screen flip capability.||• Can struggle to maintain Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections.|
Amazon Customer Reviews: 765
Average Customer Review Rating: 4.1 out of 5 Stars
7. Best Laptops Under 500 Dollars – Nextbook Flexx 9 Touchscreen 2-in-1 Laptop/Tablet with Detachable Keyboard
On the Nextbook Flexx 9 Touchscreen 8.9in laptop, it must be said at the outset that this is not the machine if you’re looking to carry out graphically demanding tasks. In those terms, the Nextbook Flexx 9 has a very short battery life, and only 1GB of RAM, so if you’re expecting it to perform well on gaming or multi-media task, you’re in the wrong place. Instead, what makes this laptop unbeatable is its funky sense of portability. If you need a take-anywhere laptop to type out documents or emails, and care little for gaming or more demanding activities, this little laptop-tablet may be just the product for you.
|Nextbook Flexx 9 Touchscreen 2-in-1 Laptop/Tablet - Pros||Nextbook Flexx 9 Touchscreen 2-in-1 Laptop/Tablet - Cons|
|• Very affordable, one of the lowest price-tags on our list.||• Keyboard is too small - can be difficult to type with.|
|• Good choice for student work, basic laptop capable of basic tasks.||• Limited memory, greatly restricts how much you can download.|
Amazon Customer Reviews: 275
Average Customer Review Rating: 3.2 out of 5 Stars
Best Laptops Under 500 Dollars – Factors to Consider
Selecting the right laptop can be a trial. With a saturated market, rich in choice, it can be difficult to navigate through all of the tech-talk and get to the device that you need. Following on from our choice of the best laptops under 500 dollars, here is some additional food for thought in the form of a brief, easy to follow guide on the factors you should take into consideration when purchasing a laptop.
Although screen resolution is far from the most important aspect to take into consideration when selecting a new laptop, it does really matter for those of us who enjoy streaming our favourite TV shows in our down time. In fact, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that low-res screens are the most annoying aspects of some laptops out there for some people. If you intend to stream a lot on your laptop, we recommend that you do yourself the favour of picking a laptop with good screen resolution. If we’re honest, you may not be able to find the absolute best screen out there for under 500 dollars, however, this does not mean you have to settle for low resolution.
Battery life is potentially one of the most important aspects of a laptop. If you’re going to be using your laptop at a desk, or somewhere close to a socket most of the time, this isn’t as important, just keep your charger with you. However, if you like to use your laptop on-the-go, you’re going to need a laptop with a more long-lasting battery life. This way you can save yourself the considerable stress of your laptop dying moments before you have to submit that essay.
Portability / Size
In recent years, size and portability have come to the fore in a way like never before. The focus now is on thinner, more compact designs. While there are still larger laptops out there, if your use of your laptop centers around it being portable, make sure the dimensions fit. You would be surprised just how large laptops can get, with some being quite awkward to bring with you on-the-go.
This is a tricky one considering the budget we’re working for. Unfortunately, with under 500 dollars, you’re not going to be able to find a laptop that can keep up with the more graphically advanced products on the market to day. However, there are still some medium range laptops listed above that can still perform reasonably well. Graphics need to be taken into account if you plan on running big, bulky programs or games.
Nowadays it seems like ports are going extinct, getting smaller and smaller, with some simply disappearing from newer laptops. This can be problematic if you find yourself using older equipment that needs to be plugged into your laptop. There are dongles out there that can work as adapters that plug into the side of your laptop, but if we’re honest, who wants to carry around a bag of dongles with their laptop? Therefore, we recommend that you take stock of all the equipment you use, including your USBs, and make sure that the laptop you purchase can facilitate all of them.
What we mean by hardware is the keyboard, trackpad, etc. These aspects are vital for how you interact with your laptop. In the past, working with a budget like ours would get us less than ideal hardware. However, now there are a multitude of laptops with high-quality trackpads that can pick up on the most minor of movements. The keyboard is less of a worry, after all a keyboard is a keyboard. It’s really more of a preference, would you prefer the classic deep keyboards, or would you like the more modern ‘tappy’ keyboard? While this is far from a deal breaker it is a little design aspect that you may want to consider before committing to a purchase.
This is definitely a big one. The main platforms you can choose from today are Windows, Mac, or Chrome OS. Unfortunately, with our budget we most likely won’t be able to afford a Mac (no offence to Apple), however that does leave Chrome OS and Windows. If possible, we recommend you try out these two operating systems on someone else’s device before making a purchase. Once you get a feel for the flow and interaction of an OS, you can decide then if it’s for you. Trust us when we say, this is a very important decision, as there is nothing worse than working with a poorly constructed OS.
Note: always check if an OS is compatible with how you intend to use your laptop – prior to purchase. This is especially important for people switching from Mac to another OS, or vice versa, as there are several games and programs that only work on one or the other.
Wrapping up our buyers guide to the best laptops for under 500 dollars, it’s clear to see that there are a lot of factors for you to consider. Unfortunately, from here it’s all down to your preferences. How you intend to use your laptop will ultimately shape what kind of laptop suits you best. This is because not all laptops are designed for the same purpose. It’s not that each laptop is a completely niche product, rather it’s that the manufacturer places specific focus on one aspect of the device’s design, to make it more adept at carrying out specific tasks. Understanding this, and how you intend to use your laptop, will allow you to make the right decision when it comes to making a purchase.