The best laptops under $500 can be a great option if you’re looking to get a portable setup without breaking the bank. Budget devices have come a long way as technology has progressed, and the low-quality, bulky PCs of the past are long gone, opening the door to a new generation of affordable technology that is great for first-time buyers looking for a solid investment.
Walking into a store to buy a computer can be an overwhelming experience, and with so many options available, all at such drastic price points, finding the best laptop that is also affordable and fits your needs can get complicated. Not to worry though, as Gear Nuke has collated and compared everything from screen and keyboard quality to build quality and design to create this list of the best laptops under $500.
Note: Many of these laptops are only available in certain regions and due to this, where links to products have been provided, we have selected to closest possible laptop that still meets the price requirement where possible.
Here are the Best Laptops Under $500 you can buy today:
- Dell Inspiron 15
- Acer Swift 1
- Lenovo duet Chromebook
- Asus VivoBook 15
- Acer Aspire 5
1. Dell Inspiron 15 (11th Gen Intel)
Solid specs and a durable build make the Dell Inspiron 15 (11th Gen Intel) a great option for those after a big screen on a small budget. Expect to pay $449.99 (£429).
- The large screen is great for multitasking
- Plenty of customization options
- The 720p built-in camera is sub-par battery life isn’t great
Dell is a company with a reputation for reliable, high-quality PCs, a standard that runs all the way from its most expensive models to its best budget buys. The Dell Inspiron 15 (11th Gen Intel) is a fantastically affordable laptop that boasts a sleek, casual design and doesn’t compromise its size for the price. Boasting a near-borderless 15.6-inch LED-backlit display with built-in anti-glare, it would be an ideal companion for someone who puts productivity first and is opting for more screen space over raw power.
The mid-range build for the model comes with a speedy 256 GB SSD and the 11th Gen Intel Core i3, which work together well to keep the device running smoothly as you use it. It’s worth noting that those looking to splash a little more cash and fine-tune their needs can customize their own Inspiron Dell’s website. Options like upgrading the SSD to a 512 GB or opting for the 11th Generation Intel Core i5 become available at a price.
The Inspiron 15’s battery life is decent, though if you often find yourself out and about, it may be wise to pack the charger as its ExpressCharge technology can bring the battery up to 80% in an hour. With plenty of ports and a HD webcam to boot, the Dell Inspiron 15 (11th Gen Intel) is a great option for budget-conscious power users.
2. Acer Swift 1
The Acer Swift 1 is a pocket-sized wonder that gets the job done thanks to some surprising hardware until the hood. Expect to pay $379.99 (£349.99).
- Appealing minimalist design
- Fingerprint reader makes logging in easy
- 128 GB SSD may not be enough storage for long-term users
The Acer Swift 1 is a great option to consider when in the market for a budget starter laptop. Its simple and sleek aluminum design is inoffensive and cool, making the laptop blend into all manner of environments, from school to work. The tactile keyboard is responsive and provides a quiet and comfortable typing experience. Plus, an accompanying fingerprint reader is located just under the arrow keys, which can conveniently add extra security to the device if you choose to set it up.
The Swift 1’s cool exterior is bolstered by a reasonable set of hardware that’s great for users interested in low-intensity activities like browsing and note-taking. Its 128 GB SSD is small but mighty speedy when compared to bulkier hard drives, and it provides a solid amount of storage for its reasonable price, especially if you’re leveraging cloud services for some of your files.
Coming in at 1.3kg, the Swift would fit easily in backpacks or side bags without taking up too much room and can last up to approximately 16 hours on a single charge, making it a great travel companion for long days.
3. Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3
If you’re looking for a laptop that can double as a detached tablet, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 may be the perfect option for you. Expect to pay $379.00 (£399).
- 2-in-1 setup offers touchscreen capabilities
- Extremely light and portable
- The poor-quality camera makes video calls difficult.
The Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 is a bite-sized 2-in-1 laptop that offers a new way to work and play. With the capability to fit in your pocket at a push, this small laptop houses an impressive 128 GBs of storage for the form factor, allowing you to store a decent amount of precious files and photos.
The Duet 3’s detachable keyboard doubles as a kickstand, enabling users to flip the Chromebook into various positions, which makes switching between file editing and watching Netflix a simple and appealing process. If you’re done with the keyboard altogether, you can remove it to use the Duet 3 solely as a tablet, which is convenient for reading, catching up on the latest news and scrolling through social media.
The Duet 3’s touchscreen capabilities can be elevated with the optional Stylus Pen, though it comes at an extra cost. One caveat to this reasonably powerful machine is the camera that only offers 5MP of clarity on video calls.
4. Asus VivoBook 15
The Asus VivoBook 15 is a great all-rounder laptop for budget-conscious users, offering modern technology in a sleek frame that is ready for whatever the day throws at you. Expect to pay $459 (£429).
- Good amount of storage
- Enough power under the hood for everyday use
- Lackluster keyboard
Finding a laptop that can handle the strain of rigorous everyday use on a budget can be difficult. However, the Asus VivoBook 15 makes a convincing case with its admirable spec sheet and feature set.
With plenty of ports, 256 GB of storage and a nifty Intel i3 CPU, the budget-friendly Vivobook 15 would be a great fit in any prospective student or young professional’s backpack.
This entry-level laptop’s sizable HD screen is a bright and vibrant display that’s great for watching movies or playing low-intensity games.
5. Acer Aspire 5
The Acer Aspire 5 offers a user-friendly experience wrapped up in a reasonably priced box, great for those after competitive hardware and an easy-to-use device. Expect to pay $439 (£475).
- Competitive battery life
- Fingerprint security
- Limited ports for connectivity
Acer is great at bringing out competitively-priced laptops that don’t skimp on the user experience, even though they can often feel a little outdated in the design department. The Acer Aspire 5’s looks may not be the most picture-perfect, but what it lacks in charm, it makes up for with its hardware, offering an i3 processor and a 256 GB SSD.
The Aspire’s base model features an impressive display that works like a charm for browsing the internet and catching up with your favorite shows. It can also be easily maneuvered to find ergonomic positions for work and relaxation, which helps sell you on its weight and size. You’ll get several hours of charge when using it on the go, but if you’re looking to push it to its limits, you’ll have to bring the power brick with you.