• Top 10 Best Laptops Under $500 in 2021 (Lenovo, Samsung, and More) 1
  • Top 10 Best Laptops Under $500 in 2021 (Lenovo, Samsung, and More) 2
  • Top 10 Best Laptops Under $500 in 2021 (Lenovo, Samsung, and More) 3
  • Top 10 Best Laptops Under $500 in 2021 (Lenovo, Samsung, and More) 4
  • Top 10 Best Laptops Under $500 in 2021 (Lenovo, Samsung, and More) 5

Top 10 Best Laptops Under $500 in 2021 (Lenovo, Samsung, and More)

Are you looking for a reliable yet affordable laptop for work, studies, or entertainment purposes? They might not offer all the features of their high-end counterparts but with $500 or less, you can get your hands on a laptop that gets the job done. 

Take Acer's Aspire 5 Slim Laptop, for example. It boasts a long battery life, full HD display, and even multiple connectivity ports - all for less than $500. We've picked out nine more user-approved and pocket-friendly laptops plus included a buying guide to help you get started in finding the laptop for you.

  • Last updated: 01-21-2021
  • 1,166 views
Table of Contents

Top 10 Best Laptops Under $500

We've made the task of hunting for the best laptops much easier for you with the top 10 list below. You have laptops, notebooks, and Chromebooks to choose from, depending on your requirements or preferences. 

1

AcerAspire 5 Slim Laptop

A515-43-R19L

$364.99

Screen size15.6 in.
RAM4GB
Weight3.97 lbs.
Operating systemWindows 10 S
CPUAMD Ryzen 3
Battery life7.5 hours
Display resolution1920 x 1080 pixels
Ports3 USB (Type-A), 1 HDMI, Ethernet
2

HPStream 11.6-inch HD Laptop

11-ak0020nr

$263.00

Screen size11.6 in.
RAM4GB
Weight2.37 lbs.
Operating systemWindows 10 Home
CPUIntel Celeron
Battery life12 hours
Display resolution1366 x 768 pixels
Ports3 USB (1 Type-C, 2 Type-A), 1 HDMI, 1 media card reader
3

MicrosoftMicrosoft Surface Go 2

STV-00001

$399.00

Screen size10.5 in.
RAM4GB
Weight1.2 lbs.
Operating systemWindows 10 S
CPUIntel Pentium
Battery life10 hours
Display resolution1920 x 1280 pixels
Ports1 USB (Type-C)
4

LenovoChromebook Flex

82B80006UX

$380.07

Screen size13.3 in.
RAM4GB
Weight2.97 lbs.
Operating systemChrome OS
CPUIntel Core i3
Battery life10 hours
Display resolution1920 x 1080 pixels
Ports3 USB (2 Type-C, 1 Type-A), 1 media card reader
5

SamsungChromebook 4

XE350XBA-K03US

$332.57

Screen size15.6 in.
RAM6GB
Weight3.09 lbs.
Operating systemChrome OS
CPUIntel
Battery life12 hours
Display resolution1920 x 1080 pixels
Ports2 USB (1 Type-A, 1 Type-C)
6

LenovoIdeaPad 3 14" Laptop

81W0003QUS

$489.48

Screen size14 in.
RAM8GB
Weight3.30 lbs.
Operating systemWindows 10
CPUAMD Ryzen 5
Battery life6 hours
Display resolution1920 x 1080 pixels
Ports3 USB (Type-A), 1 HDMI, 1 media card reader
7

HPChromebook X360

BR6933

$321.99

Screen size14 in.
RAM4GB
Weight3.50 lbs.
Operating systemChrome OS
CPUIntel Celeron
Battery life12.5 hours
Display resolution1366 x 768 pixels
Ports3 USB (1 Type-A, 2 Type-C), 1 media card reader
8

ASUSChromebook C202 Laptop

C202SA-YS02

$375.00

Screen size11.6 in.
RAM4GB
Weight2.2 lbs.
Operating systemChrome OS
CPUIntel Celeron
Battery life10 hours
Display resolution1366 x 768 pixels
Ports2 USB (Type-A), 1 HDMI, 1 media card reader
9

LenovoChromebook Duet 2-in-1 Tablet

$329.00

Screen size10.1 in.
RAM4GB
Weight1 lb.
Operating systemChrome OS
CPUARM (Mediatek 8389 Quadcore)
Battery life10 hours
Display resolution1920 x 1200 pixels
Ports1 USB (Type-C)
10

AcerSwift 1

NX.GXGAA.002

$403.13

Screen size14 in.
RAM4GB
Weight4.41 lbs.
Operating systemWindows 10 S
CPUIntel Pentium
Battery lifeNot provided
Display resolution1920 x 1080 pixels
Ports4 USB (3 Type-A, 1 Type-C), 1 HDMI, 1 media card reader

Compare the Best Laptops Under $500

Image
1
Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop 1

Acer

2
HP Stream 11.6-inch HD Laptop 1

HP

3
Microsoft Microsoft Surface Go 2 1

Microsoft

4
Lenovo Chromebook Flex 1

Lenovo

5
Samsung Chromebook 4 1

Samsung

6
Lenovo IdeaPad 3 14" Laptop 1

Lenovo

7
HP Chromebook X360 1

HP

8
ASUS Chromebook C202 Laptop 1

ASUS

9
Lenovo Chromebook Duet 2-in-1 Tablet 1

Lenovo

10
Acer Swift 1 1

Acer

Name

Aspire 5 Slim Laptop

Stream 11.6-inch HD Laptop

Microsoft Surface Go 2

Chromebook Flex

Chromebook 4

IdeaPad 3 14" Laptop

Chromebook X360

Chromebook C202 Laptop

Chromebook Duet 2-in-1 Tablet

Swift 1

Features

Extensive Connectivity All in One Device

Student-Ready and With All the Essentials

A Lightweight Tablet That Works as a Laptop

A 360° Convertible Chromebook With Touchscreen Display

Has a Large Screen Size, Plus Great Protection

Adds in a Webcam Shutter for Extra Privacy

A Versatile Chromebook for Entertainment and Productivity

Anti-Glare and Ready for Drops and Spills

High-Quality Scren and Comes With a Detachable Keyboard

Your Productivity Laptop With a Fingerprint Scanner

Price$364.99$263.00$399.00$380.07$332.57$489.48$321.99$375.00$329.00$403.13
Screen size15.6 in.11.6 in.10.5 in.13.3 in.15.6 in. 14 in.14 in.11.6 in.10.1 in.14 in.
RAM4GB4GB4GB4GB6GB8GB4GB4GB4GB4GB
Weight3.97 lbs.2.37 lbs.1.2 lbs.2.97 lbs.3.09 lbs.3.30 lbs.3.50 lbs.2.2 lbs.1 lb.4.41 lbs.
Operating systemWindows 10 SWindows 10 HomeWindows 10 SChrome OSChrome OSWindows 10Chrome OSChrome OSChrome OSWindows 10 S
CPUAMD Ryzen 3Intel CeleronIntel PentiumIntel Core i3IntelAMD Ryzen 5Intel CeleronIntel CeleronARM (Mediatek 8389 Quadcore)Intel Pentium
Battery life7.5 hours12 hours10 hours10 hours12 hours6 hours12.5 hours10 hours10 hoursNot provided
Display resolution1920 x 1080 pixels1366 x 768 pixels1920 x 1280 pixels1920 x 1080 pixels1920 x 1080 pixels1920 x 1080 pixels1366 x 768 pixels1366 x 768 pixels1920 x 1200 pixels1920 x 1080 pixels
Ports3 USB (Type-A), 1 HDMI, Ethernet3 USB (1 Type-C, 2 Type-A), 1 HDMI, 1 media card reader1 USB (Type-C)3 USB (2 Type-C, 1 Type-A), 1 media card reader2 USB (1 Type-A, 1 Type-C)3 USB (Type-A), 1 HDMI, 1 media card reader3 USB (1 Type-A, 2 Type-C), 1 media card reader2 USB (Type-A), 1 HDMI, 1 media card reader1 USB (Type-C)4 USB (3 Type-A, 1 Type-C), 1 HDMI, 1 media card reader
Link

How to Choose a Laptop Under $500 – Buying Guide

There are a few essential features to look for when choosing a laptop under $500, such as memory space, battery life, connectivity, and even portability. We'll explain below how to compare these specs within the context of popular budget laptops. 

Choose a Suitable Operating System (OS): Windows or Chrome OS

Most people consider Windows and Macintosh as the two dominant operating systems. In terms of cheap consumer laptops, however, Windows is king. There is another OS in the world of budget laptops, and that is Chrome OS, made specifically for Chromebooks. Let's compare these two operating systems to get you acquainted with their features to suit your requirements. 

Windows Gives You Abundant Software

Windows Gives You Abundant Software

For conventional PC users at school, home, or the office, Windows has long been the industry standard. A major advantage of Windows is the rich selection of exclusive software, such as the essential Microsoft Office Suite. 


If you often rely on Windows' resources and software such as Word, Excel, or Powerpoint for productivity, it makes sense to stick with the standard because that's what you're most comfortable with. Changing operating systems can feel like a culture shock and takes time to get used to. 


However, with Windows and budget laptops, we recommend checking if the laptop comes with a pre-installed full version of the OS. Some are only equipped with Windows 10 S, a safe mode of the operating system. Users have complained about not being able to install non-Microsoft software, unlike the Windows 10 Home or Pro version, which need to be purchased separately. 

Chrome OS for an Intuitive and Streamlined System With Google

Chrome OS for an Intuitive and Streamlined System With Google

Chrome OS, a closed-source system made for Chromebooks, is all about seamless connectivity between Google users and their devices. Google's reputation for intuitive and integrated design extends to its OS. We recommend Chrome OS for users without specific software demands and don't need to customize the laptop heavily. 


The selection of programs with Chrome OS is smaller and less optimized for commercial software like MS Office. What you get in return is a system that is light on your hard drive size because you store most of your data in the cloud. Technically speaking, the lack of different software developers makes the integrated Google system perform faster. 


You can still install other apps in a Chrome OS, such as Skype, WhatsApp, PlayStore, and use it much like a mobile device. If you require MS Office, you can opt for Office Online on the Chrome Web Store, albeit it doesn't function as smoothly, resulting in some hangups with the software. 

Go Clamshell or Convertible

Go Clamshell or Convertible

Budget laptops generally come in two varieties, clamshell or convertible. The clamshell type is the traditional laptop with the keyboard on one side and the screen on the other. Meanwhile, convertible laptops are multi-use because you get a touchscreen device plus a keyboard, giving you a tablet and laptop experience. 


You can get reliable 2-in-1 laptops under $500 that you can use for productivity tasks and entertainment. Their screens are often hinged and fully rotatable, allowing you to flip the screen and turn the keyboard into a stand or lay the device fully flat on a surface. 


When choosing a convertible laptop, we recommend checking reviews for hinge quality. This is the main area of concern among users who commented the hinges break easily after continued use. 

Look at the RAM and Storage Capacity

The Random Access Memory (RAM) and storage capacity of your laptop directly affect performance, therefore do take the time to check if a particular budget laptop has enough of these two aspects. 

RAM Capacity Affects Performance

RAM Capacity Affects Performance

The RAM is the core of your computer and can be considered as crucial as your CPU or Central Processing Unit because the latter needs enough RAM to perform properly and smoothly. The more RAM your CPU can access, the faster it performs, no lagging or glitching. 


Most budget laptops come with 4GB to 6GB of RAM, which is considered enough for basic processing such as Internet browsing, productivity, emailing, streaming movies, even light gaming. 


If you plan to use the laptop for more RAM-dependent tasks such as graphic design or video editing, you might need to upgrade the RAM, so check if a particular model is expandable. 

Your Storage Should Match Your Needs

Your Storage Should Match Your Needs

The internal storage capacity is another important consideration that affects performance because once a laptop reaches full capacity in terms of files stored, it starts to slow down. Most budget laptops of today have an internal storage capacity ranging from 32 to 128GB, which is usually enough to keep the essential apps and documents. 


However, if you require more space, we recommend double-checking if the internal memory is expandable or perhaps have an external hard drive on standby. Storage capacity would greatly rely on your needs, whether you are dealing with bulky files and need a lot of available space or can make do with a 64GB memory. 

Check for Ergonomic Typing and Connectivity

We've touched on the laptop's internal features; now, let's cover the hardware to ensure you have an efficient and convenient experience with the device. 

Ergonomic Keyboard Features

Ergonomic Keyboard Features

It might not be obvious at first, but keyboard quality can help reduce hand strain and increase productivity. A deeper-set keyboard, for instance, is good for preventing mistakes.


You might also need a full keyboard layout for using the calculator or Excel. Fortunately, some of the larger laptop with 15.6-inch screens offer numeric keys without compromising space. Added perks to watch out for are backlit keyboards, making it easy to use the laptop in dim environments. 


We recommended reading through the reviews as users would often share if the keyboard was responsive, evenly spaced out, and easy to type on.

USB Ports and Terminals for Connectivity

USB Ports and Terminals for Connectivity

To ensure your laptop connects to the devices you use, such as monitors and projectors, check if it has the right ports and terminals. For example, most budget laptops come with at least two USB ports and an HDMI terminal. 


However, you might need to use the laptop with a projector or other more analog devices. In that case, look for a VGA terminal to make your laptop compatible. A workaround would be an adaptor, which you plug into a USB port to achieve connectivity.


Other considerations in terms of connectivity include headphone jacks, webcam or camera features, and SD card slots, which increase the usefulness of your laptop, especially if you require these for school or work purposes. 

Make Sure it Suits Your Portability Needs

If you are planning to use your laptop on the go, weight is a big concern. Also, consider related features such as screen size, type of LCD, and even battery life. Having a larger screen is more desirable at home, but carrying a bulky laptop for outside work can be cumbersome. 

Gauge the Weight and Display Type

Gauge the Weight and Display Type

With that in mind, we recommend checking the screen size and overwell weight of the laptop. You can get 14-inch screens weighing only a pound or a larger 15.6-inch screen but a bit heavier, depending on preference. 


We recommend choosing non-glare LCD screens to prevent that annoying reflective glare when using the laptop in bright outdoor areas. Note, however, that matte screens are rather difficult to find, so they're not necessarily a make-or-break feature.


In addition to non-glare screens, experts advise not settling for a display resolution lower than 1920x1080 pixels, especially for streaming, as this would affect display quality, making your screen look dim and washed out. 

Pick a Laptop With At Least Eight Hours of Battery Life

Pick a Laptop With At Least Eight Hours of Battery Life

When using a laptop on-the-go, you don't always have access to a power outlet. In general, you'll want at least eight hours of battery life, even if you're planning on staying indoors. Some budget laptops offer less than this, so keep in mind how often you'll be using it when you purchase your laptop.


If you plan on watching videos or working on intensive editing on Word or Excel, a battery life of 12-hours or more would be a safer bet to avoid accidental shutting down due to a depleted battery. 

Grab Your Other Laptop Needs Here

Grab Your Other Laptop Needs Here

In need of other essentials for your laptop? We've got you covered with suggestions like lap desks, portable printers, and more. 

Summary

Buying a laptop can be a headache since you’ve got to sift through all the features and unfamiliar terms in the specifications. And it’s important to be realistic about the inherent limitations of budget laptops. Hopefully, through our guide, you are more equipped to finding the perfect PC for your needs.

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