Get yourself the best laptop under $500, and you’ll never look back. There are many laptops out there that strike that perfect balance between price and performance so that you can save some cash while having a portable that meets your computing needs.
It’s true that budget laptops are never going to deliver that level of performance many high-end laptops boast. However, there are quite a few laptops out there that will see you through most computing demands without costing you an arm and a leg – as long as you don’t expect to do anything incredibly graphics-intensive or processor-hungry. Besides, the best laptop for you might not be an ultra-expensive, high-end model that’s going to set you back $1,000/£1,000 or more.
Many of the best laptops under $500 should meet your needs, whether you’re simply looking for a cheap laptop for the kids, an affordable gaming laptop, a 2-in-1 laptop and one of the best Chromebooks on the market. We put together a list of the best laptops under $500, so you’ll find something that suits you painlessly. Just because you’re on a budget, it doesn’t mean you can’t still get the best.
Best laptops under $500 at a glance
- Microsoft Surface Go
- Acer Switch 3
- Dell Inspiron Chromebook 11 2-in-1
- Acer Chromebook 15
- Acer Chromebook R11
- Acer Chromebook Spin 15
1. Microsoft Surface Go
The best laptop under $500 so far
CPU: Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615 | RAM: 4GB – 8GB | Screen: 10.5-inch 1,800 x 1,200 PixelSense touch display | Storage: 64GB eMMC – 128GB SSD
Light and easy to hold
Not as powerful as the iPad
Type Cover not included
The Microsoft Surface Go may not be the traditional laptop we’re all used to, but it will more than meet your computing needs in its compact and portable package. Not only is this device one of the best Windows tablets out there, but it makes for an excellent laptop alternative if you’re looking for the best laptop under $500. With a Windows 10 S mode out of the box, you’re getting a proper operating system that lets you use such apps as the mobile versions of Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop. If you’re computer needs go as far as word processing, sending emails, video conferencing, some light gaming, light photo editing and streaming Netflix, this device has you covered.
Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Go
2. Acer Switch 3
A Surface Book 2 alternative at half the price
CPU: 1.10GHz Intel Pentium Quad Core N4200 – Intel Core i3 7100U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 505 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 12.2-inch, 1,920 x 1,200 IPS LCD touchscreen | Storage: 64GB – 128GB eMMC
Excellent build quality
Tricky hinged stand
Slower storage options
The Microsoft Surface Book 2 is fairly expensive, but the Acer Switch 3 is a great alternative for far less money, making it the best laptop under $500 for fans of Surface Book 2’s features. This tablet is designed around basically the same concept as the Surface Book 2, even though it’s less adept because of its lower-power internals. For most tasks, however, it’s a plucky little machine. What this 2-in-1 laptop has over Microsoft’s ‘Pro’ and ‘Go’ models is that the keyboard is already included. Of course, the Acer Switch 3 comes in multiple configurations, with USB-C, 8GB of memory, an IPS touchscreen and an Intel Core i3 7100U processor coming with the more expensive option.
Read the full review: Acer Switch 3
3. Dell Inspiron Chromebook 11 2-in-1
The best cheap 2-in-1 Chromebook
CPU: Intel Celeron N3060 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 400 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 11.6-inch, HD (1366 x 768) touchscreen | Storage: 32GB-64GB eMMC
Long battery life
Not very powerful
Slower SSD storage
Counted among the best Chromebooks is also a thrifty machine for anyone looking for the best laptop under $500. It’s easy to see how the Dell Inspiron Chromebook 11 2-in-1 exceeds expectations. While it is far from the most powerful Chromebook available, it’s exactly what people need it from it: budget-friendly, easy to use and able to hold up to abuse. The Dell Inspiron 11 2-in-1 is more than able to handle all your web browsing and document editing, and consider that it could be the best laptop under $500 which won’t shatter from a simple stumble.
Read the full review: Dell Inspiron Chromebook 11 2-in-1
4. Acer Chromebook 15
Proof that 15-inches can be affordable, too
CPU: Intel Pentium N4200 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 505 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) | Storage: 32GB eMMC
Unbelievable battery life
Attractive, fanless design
Trackpad feels clunky
Easy to weigh down with tabs
With a shiny chassis as gorgeous as the most recent MacBook, this beautiful, 15-inch Chromebook makes an amazing impression with its battery life, lasting nearly 17 hours in our battery test. That’s crazy for a 15-inch laptop – Chromebook or not. But that’s not the end of it. It also has a few other aces up its sleeves, including its roominess, brilliant display and fast charging capability. Best of all, it’s the best laptop under $500 (you can find one under $200, in fact), so budget-minded shoppers will love the value.
Read the full review: Acer Chromebook 15
5. Acer Chromebook R11
360-degree flips all day long
CPU: Intel Celeron N3150 – N3160 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 400 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 11.6″ HD (1366 x 768) 16:9 IPS | Storage: 32 GB Flash Memory or 32GB SSD
Good battery life
The Acer Chromebook R11’s design might not turn heads, but as far as the best laptops under $500 go, it’s chassis is still a minimalist beauty with its textured finish and an overall build that feels pretty solid. It’s got a few other aces as well – the battery life that lasts up to 10 hours, the vibrant touch display, the 2-in-1 design that lets you use it in tent and tablet mode, and those bright crispy speakers. That keyboard is endearing as well.
Read the full review: Acer Chromebook R11
6. Acer Chromebook Spin 15
The ultimate Chromebook for multitasking
CPU: Intel Pentium N4200 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 505 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 15.6″ Full HD (1920 x 1080) 16:9 IPS | Storage: up to 64 GB Flash Memory
Plenty of power
Extremely long battery life
Beautifully responsive touchscreen
Trackpad could be better
Even if you’re used to powerful laptops that breeze through your photo and video editing demands, the Acer Chromebook Spin 15 will still impress you with its knack for multitasking without batting an eyelash. This lightweight laptop might not look like it could take on processor-hungry tasks at a time, but it does, making it great for relentless computer users who do more than their fair share of Internet browsing, mobile gaming and video streaming.
Read the full review: Acer Chromebook Spin 15