Best Laptops Under $500 for (2021) – Buying Guide and Reviews

Looking for the latest Windows or Chrome OS laptop for under $500 (also known as a Chromebook)? When it hit parents that their kids were not going back to school anytime soon, the supply of inexpensive notebooks dried up, and we’re past the hump since the height of the original coronavirus-induced work-from-home rush when sales of PCs and accessories spiked. But now it’s the last-minute holiday shopping rush, and the demand for a budget laptop and other ultra-cheap hardware remains high alongside the bleak reality of unprecedented job losses. It can also be an excellent time to find seasonal bargains, however.

It’s not an easy job to find the right laptops for under $500. There’s not a massive range of laptops coming in at that price point, for a start. Spend a little more and it opens up the arena. But the budget set here is $500, so we’ll stick to it.

Right now, what are the best laptops for under $500?

It can be a struggle to get a good laptop for under $500, but our range here is steadily growing as more affordable computers enter the market and competitively priced hybrid tablet-meets-laptop laptops become available. Samsung Chromebook 3 is our current choice. And if you want to go down the hybrid path, the iPad 2020 provides a versatile experience with its Smart Keyboard. That’s because Apple has made iPadOS changes to make it a more laptop-like experience. Granted, on such a computer, you won’t be doing a massive range of tasks, but then you have access to one of the best app stores around.

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The Best Laptops under $500


The best laptop under $500: Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 13″ Laptop

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It is almost difficult to find a 13-inch laptop for under $500. That’s a shame, as a laptop is the most common size. But thanks to Chrome OS, it’s not really impossible, and the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 manages to come in below $500 and provide amazing performance, usability 2-in-1, and great value. That puts the top of our list with this Chromebook.

Impressively, a 10th-gen Intel Core i3-10110U CPU is inside, which for Chrome OS is very fast. The 4 GB of RAM is sufficient for good performance and moderate multitasking prowess, and if you make good use of the cloud, 64 GB of storage is sufficient.

It should come as no surprise that this category is filled by a Chromebook, and the Chromebook Flex 5 is a lot of machine for a little bit of money.


The Best Windows Laptop under $500: Acer Aspire 5

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In its latest update, Acer’s Aspire 5 has improved dramatically, bringing better performance, build quality, and battery life. The new model is priced slightly higher right now, but with a 10th-generation Core i3-1005G1U CPU, 4GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD, and a 15.6-inch Full HD display, it mostly comes in at under $500.

That’s a lot of machines for not a lot of cash. Better still, this is a well-built budget laptop that inspires confidence in the hand and punches its keyboard and touchpad far beyond its class. Battery life is also a bonus, with the Aspire 5 costing much more money to compete with laptops.

The 15-inch 1080p display on the Acer Aspire 5 is also very nice for the price, but to add touch-screen features, you’ll have to leap just beyond the $500 budget. However, since this is not a 2-in-1, that’s less of a concern for this kind of capital.


The best 15-inch laptop under $500: SAMSUNG Chromebook 4 +

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Laptops under $500 are not always watchers, and hey, can you blame them for that? You’re better off paying for better efficiency and configurations than aesthetics at such low prices. However, the Samsung Chromebook 4+ doesn’t allow you to choose.

It has an aluminum unibody design that resembles a MacBook Pro, if you need any additional screen real estate, along with a larger 15-inch screen. For students and at-home employees who do not have access to a secondary monitor, this makes it a good option.

The specifications won’t blow your socks off, but the Samsung Chromebook 4+ will get the job done with a 1080p screen and 4GB of RAM.


Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop under $500

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“AMD Ryzen 3 3200U Dual-Core Processor 2.6GHz with Precision Boost up to 3.5GHz (Up to 4MB L3 Cache), Windows 10 in S mode, 15.6” Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen LED-backlit IPS Display, AMD Radeon Vega 3 Mobile Graphics, 4GB DDR4 Memory, 128GB PCIe NVMe SSD, True Harmony Technology, Two Built-in Stereo Speakers, Acer Purified. Acer Aspire 5 A515-43-R19L comes with these high-level specs:

Two Built-in Microphone Voice Technology, 802.11ac Wi-Fi with 2×2 MIMO (2.4GHz and 5GHz dual-band), 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN (RJ-45 port), Bluetooth 4.0, Backlit Keyboard, HD Webcam (1280 x 720), 1 – USB 3.1 Gen 1 port, 2 – USB 2.0 ports, 1 – HDMI port with HDCP support, Lithium-Ion battery, battery life up to 7.5 hours, 3.97 lbs. | 1.8 kg (unit of a machine only) (NX.HG8AA)


Lenovo IdeaPad 3 14″ Laptop under $500

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You’ll enjoy strong output for all types of daily tasks with the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 14-inch laptop. This practical notebook is designed for long-lasting results, whether you are operating from your home office, a student who requires a lightweight school laptop, or just need a great entry-level Windows device for entertainment, video chats, and other everyday uses.You’ll get multi-core processing power to help you get more stuff done faster, fuelled by the latest Ryzen 5 3500U Mobile Processors with Radeon Graphics.

With the IdeaPad 3 laptop, expect more from your entertainment. The 14-inch full HD screen offers stunning picture clarity with a 1920 x 1080 resolution. Narrow bezels reduce clutter on both sides of the show and help offer a smoother, more immersive visual experience. Plus, with Dolby Audio, you can enjoy crystal-clear sound through two speakers. Take this handy, compact laptop with you everywhere to enjoy videos, music streaming, and much more. For a quieter user experience, Q-Control helps you to quickly switch between “Max modes” for faster performance and “battery saving mode”

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New Microsoft Surface Go 2 under $500

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We have Microsoft Surface Go 2 as a wild card to throw into this list. It’s a hybrid computer that can serve dual duties as a road warrior laptop and a Windows 10 phone, unlike most laptops. The Surface Go 2 does not look that different from its predecessor on the surface, except in a neat redesign where Microsoft slimmed down its bezels to match a 10.5-inch display instead of a 10-inch display; the display still provides vibrant and punchy colors.

When the optional Type-Cover accessory is applied to the mix, the Microsoft Surface Go 2 becomes it’s own. That takes the $399 Surface Go 2 tablet entry level up to $498, but the process transforms it into a surprisingly capable dinky laptop. But you have to put up with an Intel Pentium Gold processor, just 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of eMMC storage to hold stuff below $500.

That’s not a strong set of specifications, but for people who want a 2-in-1 system for relatively lightweight productivity activities, it should be enough – think web surfing, word processing, and a healthy batch of emails firing out.


ASUS Laptop L210 Ultra Thin Laptop under $500

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And when you’re on the move, the ASUS Laptop L210MA is built to help you be efficient all day. Driven by the new Intel processor, this compact and lightweight 11.6-inch laptop offer long-lasting battery life. It provides complete compatibility with a wide range of software and peripherals thanks to eMMC storage and preloaded Windows 10 in S mode.

For people on the go, it’s the perfect laptop. Real transfer speeds for USB 3.0, 3.1, 3.2 (Gen 1 and 2), and/or Type-C can differ depending on many factors, including host computer processing speed, file attributes, and other factors specific to your operating environment and system configuration.


Lenovo Chromebook 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop under $500

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The Lenovo Chromebook C330 will not allow you to do a lot of heavy browsing with multiple tabs with a MediaTek processor, 4GB of RAM, and a Google Chrome operating system, and will definitely not let you play the new hardware-crunching games on its integrated graphics chip. You can do some light work, however, and watch a YouTube video, even if the low-resolution monitor means that colors will appear washed out.

But hey, at least 10 hours can last for the battery, which is one of the better life spans on this list. The keyboard is also comfortable and clicky, so without thinking about mushy keys or flex, you can at least get some work done. The Lenovo Chromebook C330 is a fine choice for children and college students who don’t care about color accuracy and only want to get their assignments completed on time.


Acer Chromebook Spin 311 Convertible Laptop

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One very cheap and relatively realistic 2-in-1 Chromebook is the Acer Chromebook Spin 11. It might have a dim display and not look especially new by 2020 standards, but it’s not a bad buy for a price that’s under $400.That’s because you get a computer that you can use as a laptop and then turn around with an optional stylus to display media or doodle on. Its middle spec is not going to amaze, but Chrome OS doesn’t need a massive amount of power after that.

The Acer Chromebook Spin 11 has not been tested, but our sibling site Techradar has, and it gave the Chromebook a good four out of five stars. It was praised for its long-lasting structure, price, and lack of frivolous features. But for its less than stellar battery life and mediocre performance, it earned criticism.

However, due to its lower price and the fact that Acer produces good Chromebooks, this can all be ignored. This might be the machine to get if you want a machine that you won’t have to worry about destroying while traveling or letting your kids use.


HP Chromebook 11, Black under $500

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With huge-for-2020 display bezels, it’s not going to win any awards for its looks, but the HP Chromebook 11 is really cheap at $239. This makes it a perfect machine for risky backpacking journeys, carrying out in-the-field jobs, or giving your children their first foray into computing.

However, the form-aesthetic feature in Ash Gray is good, as it allows the HP Chromebook 11 to come with a few UBC Type-A ports, as well as two USB-C ports and a micro SD card reader – not bad for a Chromebook.

The monitor will not wow any eyeballs with its resolution of 1366 x 768, but that means that the Intel Celeron N3350 CPU and 4 GB of RAM will not be pushed too hard to run apps at this resolution. 32 GB of eMMC storage will not impress either, but for such a computer, a large amount of onboard storage is not necessary thanks to Chrome OS.

So this is essentially a Chromebook bargain bucket for you to either pass on to your children or use as a secondary or even tertiary unit.


How to choose the best laptop under $500

Weighing up how much one can expect from a laptop that costs less than $500 can be difficult. You will not get bleeding-edge productivity or a super premium build. And on the projector, you can need to make a few compromises, such as how well it manages colors and how bright it gets. But that doesn’t mean that you have to deal with a cheaper laptop, but that you’re looking for an affordable one. So here are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for a laptop under $500.

About Chrome or Windows?

You’re limited to having a new Windows 10 or Chrome OS machine for $500 or less, as even the cheapest MacBook Air 2020 would be far out of your price range. As such, you’re going to have to determine if a Windows laptop or Chromebook suits your needs better.

Chrome OS provides a lightweight operating system that can run on even the most basic hardware, but also provides a robust suite of web-based apps and capabilities to perform a lot of everyday computing tasks. In addition, it also supports applications for Android.

On the other side, Window 10 needs a little more power to guarantee that it runs smoothly. But a vast variety of software is supported, even more than Chrome OS would actually think of. And Windows 10 is constantly upgraded, ensuring you will be able to get the latest apps that Microsoft can deliver years after you’ve purchased your laptop.

Clamshell or convertible: There are typically two styles of Sub-$500 laptops — standard clamshell laptops or dynamic 2-in-1 convertibles. Clamshells are typically the cheaper of the lot, and with a keyboard and a non-touchscreen, they offer a typical laptop experience. But if you want a touchscreen computer that can act as a tablet as well, it is worth considering convertibles (or detachable, such as the Surface Go).

Don’t settle for less than 1080p: You shouldn’t settle for most laptops with a 1366 x 768 display unless you’re really strapped for cash. Many inexpensive notebooks start with a 1080p monitor resolution, which makes a huge difference when it comes to watching Netflix shows or working for hours on end on Word documents.

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Buying Guide on Laptops Under $500

If you have previous laptop experience, you may be well informed about the features that dictate performance. Some individuals are still not enlightened with the necessary requirements, however, and they compromise with the device. So, once you make your next purchase, we would like to present you thoroughly with some important factors to be cautious about.

Hardware

The laptop hardware consists of a processor, RAM, and a graphic card. With an advanced processor, solid RAM, and the new Graphic Card, it is crucial that your next buddy is installed. The RAM should have a minimum of 4GB, 6GB, or 8GB. In mounting the laptop’s operation, these components admire each other completely. A graphic card does not come with any of the versions. Any mildly hefty orders can not be treated by them.

Storage

If you are a student looking for a reliable study choice, then you will certainly need enormous space to save your tasks. Being a student means working and saving the lectures on daily assignments, annual or semester tasks. Not only that but for potential use they should also be preserved as well. On the other hand, for some fun, you would need to have some downloaded films on the go.

Portability

The laptop’s portability is calculated by its weight and scale. To facilitate transport, both of them need to be in complete equilibrium. We advise you to select a model with a slim, elegant, and compact style. The lighter the laptop, the more it can be taken around easily. Most of us need to leave our home for work and study, so we can make our lives simple with a portable laptop.

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Operating System

The ease of use in operations is defined by the operating system. Many Chromebooks have a Chrome Operating System that is only a click away from everything. With Google applications, you can access a wide range of software in a second. Some of them are combined with Google Assitance in which emails are sent; it is easier to turn music along with other tasks.

Battery Life

In terms of the battery, different options are available for eight or even ten hours. The more it is, the stronger! Longer battery adds to the comfort of office staff and students who worked or studied outside for 8 to 9 hours. Imagine going anywhere and asking your laptop for an electric socket to charge? Long battery life is also a key choice.

Connectivity

This is important for students and office workers who often have to pass physical data. Often verify that there are some basic ports and an HDMI port on the laptop. The basic ports will allow you to connect your laptop to any tablet or mobile device, USB, or tablet. When attaching your computer to a projector, HDMI is helpful.

Final Thoughts

It’s time to be vigilant, to discuss all students, writers, and personalities of the industry! By investing in luxurious luxury computers, you do not need to waste your hard-earned money. What’s the point when you’re not even going to use a laptop to its full potential? Everything you’ll need to do is use Microsoft Office extensively, browse chrome, finish your projects, or often use a laptop for entertainment.

The best laptops under $500 listed above serve amazingly. Even with slightly stressful work, they can perform everyday tasks. Carrying the same luxury style, backlit keyboard, the hardware of high capacity, portability, these models substitute high-end models for daily jobs effectively.

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