It’s not easy to find the best laptops below $500 these days. There isn’t much in the way of laptops that are high-quality and well-made at this price point.
There are many great options available for those looking for a laptop at an affordable price. Below is a list of laptops below $500 that we believe will help you get the job done while saving your money.
These machines won’t offer the most cutting-edge performance and best in industrial design. You still have the option to buy a reliable laptop that you can use for work on the move, or give it as a gift to your children knowing that they won’t be terribly disappointed if they do break it.
The 2-in-1 devices such as the Lenovo Chromebook Duet or Microsoft Surface Go 2 cost just $500. They offer both a tablet AND a laptop in one package. You will need to make some compromises but they are not as severe as you might think.
Best laptops for back-to-school under $500
Many people are now thinking about summer, which means that they will be spending more time at the beach, grilling, and back-to-school sales. As school begins again, the best laptops below $500 are in high demand. It is worth shopping early. You’ll need a laptop that is both functional and stylish, whether you’re going to college or returning to school.
Many of our top picks are on sale right now, making this a great time for you to purchase the best laptops. For all your shopping needs this season, be sure to check out our back-to-school guide.
Which are the top laptops below $500?
It can be difficult to find a good laptop under $500. However, our selection is growing slowly as more machines are available on the market. We also have hybrid 2-in-1 tablets that combine tablet and laptop devices at competitive prices.
The Lenovo Chromebook Duet is our current choice for the best laptop under $500. Although technically it is a Chrome tablet, the detachable keyboard included with it makes it a fully serviceable laptop. It’s also very affordable at less than $300.
The Microsoft Surface Go 2 is also highly recommended. It’s a strong, powerful successor to the original Microsoft hybrid device. Although its specs may not set the world ablaze, it still has the power to do some work on the go. Its keyboard cover and design are impressive.
The iPad 2021 with Smart Keyboard and Apple products is a budget-friendly laptop that’s extremely usable. This is due to the iPadOS improvements that Apple made to it to make it more laptop-like. Although you won’t be performing a wide range of tasks with this device, you still have access to one the most intelligently curated app shops.
The Best Laptops Under $500
1. Lenovo Chromebook Duet
Best 2-in-1s under $500
Display: 10.1 inches 1920 x 1200
CPU: MediaTek Helio P60T
GPU: ARM MP3
Storage: 64GB eMMC
Weight: 2 pounds (docked)
+Sharp, vibrant screen+Excellent batterylife+ChromeOS tablet optimizations
-Flimsy hinge-Cramped keyboard
The Lenovo Chromebook Duet is a great budget laptop. You can buy both the tablet and detachable keyboard for $245. This is in contrast to the Microsoft Surface Go, which requires you to purchase them separately. However, the hybrid Windows 10 machine offers a better experience. The 10.1-inch tablet comes with a MediaTek Helio P60T 2.0GHz octa core MediaTek Helio P60T processor, ARM G72 MP3 graphics card, 4GB RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage. However, it doesn’t have a lot of storage or power.
It doesn’t matter because it’s a Chromebook. Chromebooks rely on web-based services to do the heavy lifting. It won’t drain your battery life because it has a low specification. The display is bright and sharp at 1920×1080, which makes it ideal for watching YouTube videos or zipping through the web.
2. Microsoft Surface Go 2
Best Windows 2-in-1s under $500
Display: 10.5 inches, 1920 x1280
CPU: Intel Pentium Gold 4425Y
GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 615
Storage: 64GB eMMC
Weight: 1.22 lb (1.75 lb with type cover).
+Much better battery life+Brighter, more colorful (and larger) screen+Excellent Webcam
Type Cover is not for the faint of heart – Performance doesn’t impress – There are learning curves
The Microsoft Surface Go 2 is a wildcard to add to this list. It’s a hybrid laptop that can serve double duty as both a laptop for road warriors and a tablet for Windows 10. The Surface Go 2 is not much different than its predecessor. Microsoft has made one small upgrade to its display size, which now fits a 10.5-inch screen. This still produces bright, vivid colors.
When the Type-Cover accessory is included, the Microsoft Surface Go 2 really shines. The $299 Surface Go 2 tablet is now $359. However, it’s still a small and capable laptop. To keep costs down to $500 you will need to accept a 4GB RAM and 64GB eMMC storage processor from Intel Pentium Gold. This is not a huge set of specs but it should suffice for those who need a 2-in-1 device to perform light productivity tasks such as web browsing, word processing and sending out emails.
If you don’t feel like working on the move, you can load up movies and videos, along with a few indie titles, via Steam compatibility. You can then use these to entertain yourself during your commute. The Surface Go 2’s battery life is longer than its predecessor and should last for a decent amount of time without needing to be connected to a power source.
3. Acer Chromebook Spin 311
Chromebook: A Chromebook that is durable and affordable
Display: 11.6 inches 1366 x 768
CPU: 2.0GHz Octa-core MediaTek Mt8183
GPU: ARM Mali G72 MP3
Storage: 32 GB eMMC or 64 GB
Weight: 2.65 pounds
+Still battery life+Exceptional keyboard+Tough gorilla glass screen
Low resolution screen. No USB Type A port.
Acer’s Spin 311 Chromebook is just what people want: It’s small, affordable, and powerful enough to handle light work and play every day. For a Chromebook this small and affordable, the keyboard is great. The battery life is good, as well as its performance. It’s sufficient to handle light, daily tasks.
The Spin 311 Chromebook for children is a great choice for students and anyone who needs a portable Chromebook that does all the basics. It can also be used to compete with other best Chromebooks at a comparable price.
4. Apple iPad 2021 with Smart Keyboard
The best laptop for under $500, that is also an iPad
+Bright, colorful display +Superb battery life+Fast Chip
Design a little dated with the limitations of iPadOS
Okay, so the iPad 2021 doesn’t actually look like a laptop. The tablet can be purchased with an Apple Smart Keyboard for $449, which turns it into a hybrid laptop. It’s almost like the Microsoft Surface Go.
This iPad can do basic photo and video editing, as well as email work. It’s not a powerful machine, but very few laptops are. Even though iPadOS does have its limitations, it can still perform a wide range of daily tasks. The Apple App Store offers a rich, curated selection of apps that make the iPad an excellent device for casual play and light work.
This iPad is a great secondary device and we highly recommend it, even though it may look a bit dated in comparison to the more expensive iPad Air 5..
5. Acer Aspire 5
If battery life is not important, this laptop is a great choice.
Today’s Top Deals
There are many reasons to buy
+Affordable+Full layout keyboard+Upgradeable hardware+Ample port choice
Poor battery life-Slippery trackpad
Acer Aspire 5 is a complete laptop under $500. It’s a great machine, as long as it’s not unplugged often. The Acer Aspire 5 has a wide range of ports, a 15.6-inch 1080p screen, and a comfortable full-size keyboard. It isn’t as budget-friendly as its predecessor. The battery life was less than 7 hours in lab testing and it started to drain after streaming video.
The Acer Aspire 5, while a great deal, is not the best choice if you are looking for a laptop that will last. It still delivers all of the essential computing features, including stable performance and a wide range of ports.
How to pick the best laptop for under $500
It can be difficult to determine how much one should expect from a laptop costing less than $500. It’s not likely that you will get the most advanced performance or a premium design. You might need to compromise on some aspects of the display like how it handles colors or how bright it gets. You don’t have to settle for a cheap laptop. Instead, you should look for one that is affordable. Here are some things to remember when looking for a laptop below $500.
Chrome or Windows? If you have $500 or less, it’s not possible to get a Windows 10/Chrome OS machine. Even the most affordable MacBook Air 2020 is way beyond your budget. You’ll have to choose between a Chromebook or Windows laptop that suits your needs.
Chrome OS is a lightweight operating system that can run on any hardware. However, it still provides a wide range of capabilities and web-based applications to help you with your day-to-day computing tasks. It also supports Android apps.
Windows 10 requires more power to run smoothly. It supports a wide range of software that is far beyond what Chrome OS can offer. Windows 10 is constantly being updated, so you will be able get the best software Microsoft has to offer for years after you buy your laptop.
Clamshell and convertible: Laptops below $500 come in two types — traditional clamshell laptops and dynamic 2-in-1 convertibles. The cheapest laptops, clamshells, are the most affordable. They have a keyboard and non-touchscreen and offer a traditional experience. Convertibles (or detachable like the Surface Go) are worth looking at if you need a touchscreen device with the ability to double as a tablet.
Do not settle for less than 1080p. Unless you are really tight on cash, most laptops have a 1366×768 display. Many notebooks starting at 1080p will be able to stream Netflix or work on Word documents for hours.