The Best Laptops Under $500: Surface, Lenovo, Acer, and More

This article was last updated on August 5, 2020 by Digital Trends reviewer Mark Coppock.

Best laptop under $ 500 Acer Aspire 5. Laptops often have significant compromises at this price point, be it in performance, screen quality, or battery life. The Aspire 5, however, has almost everything you need in a modern laptop at an impressive price.

In addition, we have selected for the best Chromebook under $ 500, the best 13-inch laptop under $ 500, and even the best laptop under $ 200.

Best Laptops Under $ 500 at a Glance:

The best laptop under $ 500: Acer Aspire 5

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

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

This is a lot of computers for a lot of money. Better yet, this is a well-made budget laptop that inspires confidence in the hand, and its keyboard and touchpad are punch-way up. Battery life is also a plus, with the Aspire 5 competing with laptops that cost far more money.

The 15-inch 1080p display is great for the price, though you’ll have to jump outside the $ 500 budget to add touch-screen functionality. Since this laptop is not 2-in-1, it is a concern for this kind of money.

Read our in-deer Acer Aspire 5 review

The best 13-inch laptop for under $ 500: Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5

It is nearly impossible to find a 13-inch laptop for less than $ 500. This is a shame, as it is the most popular size for a laptop. but it’s not like that Actually Chrome is impossible for OS, and the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 manages to come in under $ 500 and deliver impressive performance, 2-in-1 flexibility, and great value.

Impressively, there’s a 1-gen Intel Core i3-10110U CPU inside, which is very fast for Chrome OS. 4 GB of RAM is sufficient for good performance and moderate multitasking skills, and 64 GB of storage is sufficient if you make good use of the cloud.

It should come as no surprise that this is a Chromebook that occupies this category, and the Chromebook Flex 5 is a computer for very little money.

Read our in-built Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 review

Best 2-in-1 under $ 500: Microsoft Surface Go 2

Luke Larson / Digital Trends

Microsoft’s Surface Go 2, now in its second generation, is the child of the Surface range – but that doesn’t mean it’s not a capable small machine. Starting well under our $ 500 limit, you might think that it’s a little cheaper, even for what we’re looking at, but you’d be wrong. Taking advantage of many of the more outstanding features of its more expensive siblings, such as the Surface Pro 7, the Surface Go 2 is a robust, well-built detachable 2-in-1 that works just like a tablet as a laptop.

If you want a full laptop, you have to open a little extra for the type cover and pen. And Tablet experience, but it leaves you with the option to upgrade later if you want to stretch your costs. And, although its screen isn’t quite as detailed as you’d find on a dedicated tablet like the iPad, it’s still one of the best we’ve seen for a convertible laptop at this price point.

The Surface Go 2 is also not the fastest device in the world, but the tablet packs a good battery life and at this price point, you can’t find a Windows 2-in-1 that can improve it.

Read our in-deep Surface Go 2 review

Best Chromebook Under $ 500: Lenovo IdeaPad Duet

If you’re on a budget and want a detachable tablet that can meet your web browsing and light productivity needs, Lenovo’s IdeaPad is no more than a Duet. It’s an attractive priced tablet at $ 279 ($ 299 with $ 128GB storage), and all include a kickstand cover with a great keyboard with the best touchpad.

One of the best values ​​we’ve seen on the pair is coming in at less than hundreds of dollars compared to competing tablets after spending money on a keyboard cover. The performance is mediocre, but it is quite fast for the tasks you would ask it to perform, and the performance is surprisingly good for the money. It will run your favorite Android apps, and provides the best browsing experience on the tablet.

Read our Lenovo IdeaPad Couple review

The best laptop under $ 200: Lenovo Chromebook S340

The Samsung Chromebook 4+ may be prettier, but the Lenovo Chromebook S340 sells at an unbelievable price. Despite having the same components as Samsung (Intel Celeron N4000, 4GB RAM, 32GB storage), the S340 is $ 300 cheaper. The S340 also has a touchscreen to boot.

An important compromise of this is the screen. It measures at a solid 14 inches, but has only 1,366 x 768 screen resolution with a maximum of 220 nits. It’s not all that impressive or fast, but for a $ 200 Chromebook, you’ll get it. You have to work hard to find a laptop worth more than the Lenovo Chromebook S340.

Research and Purchase Tips

Are Laptops Under $ 500 Good?

They can be, however, finding one that does not compromise in many areas is difficult. Try to avoid laptops with screen resolutions under 1080p, Windows 10 laptops with Pentium processors, or laptops with no solid-state drive. There are always exceptions, but there are types of components that make a significant difference to your experience with a laptop.

Whatever you choose, you should not expect your $ 500 laptop to perform complex tasks such as video editing or gaming. These are for basic computing, word processing and web browsing.

Should I Buy a Chromebook?

The Chromebook does not offer Windows, which may be a blessing or a curse, depending on your opinion on Microsoft’s OS. As they mature, Chromebooks have become a viable alternative to Windows PCs, especially in the lower price range. Because Chrome OS is a lightweight OS with fewer features, often Chromebooks Feel Faster, and provide better battery life than their Windows counterparts (at a given price).

They also support Android apps through the Google Play Store, which gives you access to a huge portfolio of mobile applications and games. That said, the Android application experience can leave a lot to be desired, so you shouldn’t rely on it.

The downside is that you cannot just go online and install any application. In fact, everything you can do in a web browser is off-limits.

Can you buy a gaming laptop for less than $ 500?

For the most part, no. Cheapest gaming laptop Down around $ 600 or $ 650. Those laptops are already quite low for modern games, however if you play light games and are willing to play in low settings, they will be found.

None of the laptops in this list are a good choice for 3D gaming.

What’s missing from a $ 500 laptop?

Unlike the aluminum and other premium materials used in expensive laptops, most $ 500 laptops are made of plastic. You will also get faster performance in these more expensive laptops. Mid-range laptops have a quad-core processor and 8 GB RAM, while most of the options on this list are few.

Expensive laptops often specialize in battery life or graphics performance. The Dell XPS 13 will give you all-day battery life, while the razor blade will let you play modern games at high frame rates. When you are shopping for under $ 500, you should expect a bare-bones laptop. It can easily handle most daily tasks, but gaming, photo / video editing, and other more demanding tasks may require a higher budget.

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