The Best Laptops Under $500

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There are a vast amount of laptops to choose from, ranging from ultraportable to gaming machines and mobile workstations. But these laptops can be very pricey indeed, often topping $1,000. For some, such a price tag might be hard to swallow, especially if all they plan to do with their laptop is some basic email, word processing, and web browsing. It is here where the best laptops under $500 come into their own.

Now finding the best laptops under $500 might not seem like an impossible task, especially when you consider how some of the best smartphones sit around $800 to $1000. But there is a swathe of impressive notebooks that offer plenty of performance for not a lot of money. Many have decent processors, vivid displays, and long battery life, especially Chromebooks.

 

Acer Aspire 5
There's a lot to like in the Acer Aspire 5. The 15.6-inch display is quite bright at 276 nits, and it outputs at full 1080p resolution, unlike most budget laptops in this class (although a few others on this list also boast that distinction). Performance-wise, you can expect to do plenty of multitasking, browser tab switching and Spotify listening with minimal slowdown, thanks to an eighth-generation Intel Core i3 and 4GB of RAM. With a battery life of nearly 9 hours, you can do all that for a while, too
Samsung Chromebook 3
The Samsung Chromebook 3 is a very decent and very affordable laptop. It has a screen brighter than most competitors at 259 nits. It can handle multiple open browser tabs, thanks to 4GB of RAM and an Intel Celeron processor. And its battery lasts up to nearly 10 hours. There's also a standout webcam, with Instagram-ready live filters for video chats and Multi-Shot mode. Like all Chromebooks, Samsung's laptop uses the Google Chrome OS operating system (which relies largely on web-based Google services but also supports Android apps) and provides 32GB of flash storage
Acer Swift 1
Another Acer laptop, the Swift 1, is a lightweight model with some excellent value. For less than $300, you get a solid aluminum chassis, plenty of ports (Type-C, USB 3.0, USB 2.0 and HDMI), and a surprisingly sharp webcam. Outstanding battery life rounds out the Acer Swift 1, with over 10 hours of energy for all-day office productivity, Twitch streaming or Mindhunter bingeing.
Asus VivoBook 15
If it's comfort and class you want, the Asus VivoBook 15 sports a superslim design with an ultrathin, 5.7-millimeter bezel for maximum screen real estate. And the elevated ErgoLift hinge (first introduced on the ZenBook S) increases airflow for improved heat management and makes typing a breeze, thanks to an upward 3.5-degree tilt. The backlit keyboard and fingerprint sensor round out a laptop for late-night cram students and privacy-concerned users.
Microsoft Surface Go 2
A wild card to throw into this list, we have the Microsoft Surface Go 2. Unlike the other laptops, it’s a hybrid device able to pull double duties as a road warrior laptop and a Windows 10 tablet. On the surface, the Surface Go 2 doesn’t look that much different to its predecessor, except in one neat upgrade where Microsoft slimmed down its bezels to fit a 10.5-inch display, rather than 10-inch display; that screen still delivers bright and punchy colors. And under the chassis, the Surface Go 2 offers a much-improved battery life and a fantastic webcam that makes for clearer teleconferencing
HP Pavilion x360
As a 2-in-1, you can use the HP Pavilion x360 as a touch-screen tablet or regular laptop without skipping a beat. That means when you're done poking and prodding the responsive Windows 10 layout, you can switch to typing on a satisfying and smooth keyboard with excellent travel. Plus, a unique pair of top-firing Bang & Olufsen speakers lets the HP Pavilion x360 double as your own personal stereo. Surprisingly solid sound from a budget laptop? Yes, please.