Nowadays, when it comes to laptops, there are thousands of choices out there and they are available at all price levels. With a budget under $500, you can still get a great laptop for yourself. Have a look at our list of the top 13 best laptops under 500 consumer reports! We believe you can find the one that meets your needs while not costing you a fortune.
Whether you need a laptop for your livelihood or just for leisure purposes, it is still a crucial decision. Hence, you should think carefully about the products’ features as well as specifications before buying. Our article will cover both reviews and buying guides in detail for you to consider. Let’s dig in!
Best Laptops Under 500 Consumer Reports Comparison 2020
Best For power
Best 2-in-1 budget laptop
Best For student
Best For battery
Best For big screen
** Below, you will find our detailed reviews of the Best Laptops Under 500 Consumer Reports, but you can also click these following links to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
Top Best Laptops Under 500 Consumer Reports Reviews 2020
Dell Inspiron 15.6” Touch Screen Laptop
If you are searching for a low budget laptop that is powerful, Dell Inspiron would be a good option. Its specs include an Intel Core i3 2.7GHz onboard CPU, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, an Intel HD Graphics 620 chips and 128GB of solid state drive space. Dell Inspiron is as powerful and capable as the other twice its cost. Hence, it is ideal for not only office tasks but also entertainment purposes such as games and movies.
In terms of connectivity, this laptop comes with various available ports that can be rarely found in a budget laptop, including 1 USB 3.0, 1 HDMI, 1 SD card reader and 1 microphone/headphone jack. Regarding its design, there is a nice paint job on the keyboard as well as a smooth finish on the case, resulting in quite a good-looking laptop.
- Powerful specs and great performance
- Suitable even for playing games
- Solid design
- Large screen
- Not really suitable for carrying around
Microsoft Surface Go MCZ-00001
Here comes one of the most eye-catching laptops in our list of best laptops under 500 consumer reports! With 1.3 lbs, Microsoft Surface Go can be said to be the lightest and smallest laptop in our list. It will fit your bag easily while giving you standard laptop performance.
This laptop works on Windows 10 and the new Surface Go to run Office and is powered by an Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y processor. Its 10-inch PixelSense Display with touch screen is ideal for working, browsing as well as watching.
You can also pair it with a new Surface Mobile Mouse in your favored color for precise control and navigation. With 128GB and 8GB RAM, this laptop can give you up to 9 hours of video playback. Battery life varies with usage, settings and other factors. For connectivity, there is a type C port which is suitable for HDMI.
- Super light and slim
- Stunning design
- Touch screen
- High performance and storage
- No USB port
- Not suitable for heavy tasks
ASUS F512JA-AS34 VivoBook Laptop
Rated 4.5 stars on Amazon, this has become a favorite budget laptop of many people. ASUS VivoBook has a 15-inch non-touchscreen and the Intel Core i3-1005G1 processor. This budget laptop will bring you better performance than many others in the list as it does not require you to add memory, due to its solid-state drive and 8GB of memory. These specs also allow the laptop to boot up instantly when you need it.
The keyboard and trackpad will ensure a nice user experience. There is a fingerprint reader which works smoothly and will improve your privacy. Its weight is 3.75 pounds so it is not really a hassle carrying it around.
The keyboard might not be really comfortable since the keys lack a strong bounce that will cost you more effort to use. There is backlighting on the keyboard that delivers such higher experience for users. The 4.1 x 2.9-inche touchpad is large enough for your navigation. The panel is accurate and responsive, too.
In terms of audio, Asus Vivobook comes with dual bottom-firing speakers. They are able to stay clear, but they cannot produce any bass as well as not capable of high volume. If you want to listen to music with this laptop, you might be disappointed.
On the other hand, its screen looks a bit harsh that your eyes will get strained very quickly. The viewing angles are also not good as the others in the list.
- Powerful processor allows high performance
- USB ports and HDMI ports
- Fingerprint reader
- Low battery life (4 to 5 hours)
- A bit low-quality speakers
- Harsh screen can make your eyes strain quickly
Lenovo Ideapad 330 Laptop
If you are searching for a laptop that has a big screen in our list of best laptops under $500 consumer reports, Lenovo Ideapad 330 would be a good choice. This budget laptop has a 15.6-inch display and a comfortable keyboard. It is also an eye-catching budget laptop that will draw your attention at first sight.
This laptop is available in 3 screen-size options: 14 inches, 15.6 inches, and 17.3 inches. So you can easily select the right one for your anote-takingliking. Lenovo Ideapad comes with excellent connectivity function, as well as a premium design.
In terms of its screen, many people have complained about the dull colors and poor viewing angle. Even though Lenovo Ideapad comes with a low-resolution display, it is hard to criticize such a budget laptop like it. And you should look at its variety of advantages as well.
Searching for a budget Window-powered laptop? This one is installed with Windows 10 that is ideal for multi-purpose use, from learning, working to playing.
Its 256GB SSD will give you faster data transfers and shorter boot-up times. Meanwhile, the 7th generation AMD processor and fast disk drives will satisfy you with anything you need, from multi-task work to gaming, or movie entertainment.
- High performance
- Premium design
- Big screen
- 256GB SSD
- Some people have complained about slow boot-up times
HP Envy X360 FHD IPS 2019 Flagship 2 in 1 Laptop
HP Envy is known for both its stunning design and efficient performance. It also has a big screen of 15.6 inch, compared to other convertible laptops in the list. This 15.6 screen comes with a full-HD resolution of 1920x1080 pixels, delivering the combination of realistic color and stunning visuals. Also, the 16:9 aspect ratio is ideal for people who work in the photo editing field.
HP Envy X360 displays accurate colors and has great viewing angles. And even though the cover introduces some reflections, the maximum brightness levels are good.
There is a built-in FHD IR webcam that allows taking photos and video calls. In terms of connectivity, there are 1 USB 3.1 type C, 2 USB 3.1, 1 HDMI, 1 microSD Card Reader and 1 headphone/microphone combo jacks.
This laptop’s frame is made of metallic so it will last very long. Its powerful 4 GB DDR4 RAM and 3.4 GHz Intel Core i3 Dual-core Processor provide you with great performance for daily tasks. In addition, HP Envy X360 is equipped with Intel Graphics that can handle light to medium games.
Regarding its audio and speaker, this laptop does quite well as it truly delivers more volume and better sound.
- High performance
- Large and high-displayed screen
- Can handle photo editing tasks
- High price compared to others in the list
HP Chromebook X360 Laptop
Rated 4.5 stars on Amazon, HP Chromebook X360 is a convertible that can be used as an ordinary laptop or tablet. It is even able to stand or tent mode for note taking, drawing and other activities that feel as pen on paper. Its touch screen is 12 inches in a format of 3:2 pixelbook, which is perfect for web browsing. Its specifications include a Celeron 1.1 / 2.6 GHz processor, 32 GB of storage and 4GB RAM.
Other things that make this laptop attractive is its full HD screen and Bluetooth 5.0, which allows smooth wireless connectivity. Also, HP Chromebook X360 is equipped with a USB 3.1, 2 USB-C 3.1, a slot for MicroSD card and a 3.5 mm headphone jack. So you can connect any of the devices you have with this laptop.
With the weight of 2.86 pounds, you will love to carry it anywhere you want. Besides, its battery life can be up to 13 hours, which is quite impressive compared to many others on the list.
- Can be used as laptop or tablet
- Full HD screen
- Great for both wired and wireless connectivity
- Long-lasting battery
- Low storage
Apple MacBook Air MD760LL/A Laptop
This is the only product from Apple in our list of best laptops under $500 consumer reports. It’s hard to find a budget product from Apple, right?
Apple MacBook Air MD760LL/A has a Intel i5-4250U 1.30GHz processor and a 4GB RAM that allow smooth web surfing as well as basic work and study tasks. Its screen is 13.3 inches. There is also a webcam to support your needs for video calls. However, it does not have any USB ports so connectivity can be a bit troublesome.
When it comes to Apple, we cannot forget to mention the stunning design. This laptop is so slim and light that you will find it super compact and portable. This laptop comes with a refund or replacement within 90 days of receipt if you are not satisfied.
- Stunning and portable design
- No USB ports
- Not suitable for playing games and running heavy apps
HP 2019 14" Laptop
Rated 4.4 stars on Amazon, HP 2019 14-inch laptop works on Windows 10 that is really to use for people who are familiar with Windows. Powered by a 7th-generation Intel Core i3 processor, the laptop comes with a 8GB system memory. So you can easily multitask with this laptop! Also, it can quickly boot up when you need, partly because of the flash-based SSD that has no moving parts.
HP 2019 comes with a 128GB SSD while offering less storage space than a hard drive. It has a solid design which is very thin and light, you will find it easy to carry this laptop from place to place. The 14-inch display glossy screen will remain the vivid colors in your videos and photos. It has a typical HD resolution of 1366 x 768.
HP 2019 14-inch comes with quite a disappointing webcam, which makes your skin look super blotchy and the background looks so dark.
One plus is that this laptop stays very cool even under pressure. It is always below 95-degree Fahrenheit, which is our comfort zone.
- Fast boot-up
- High performance
- Thin, lightweight and solid
- Trackpad’s responses can be delayed some time
Samsung Chromebook Plus V2 2-in-1 Laptop
Here comes another 2-in-1 laptop in our list. You can rarely find a product from the giant brand Samsung in the list of best laptops under $500 following consumer reports. Samsung Chromebook Plus V2 is super lightweight (3 pounds) and you can turn it into a tablet just by folding it for more comfortable browsing and viewing.
The laptop is equipped with a built-in pen, which allows you to write, edit, sketch and magnify easily. Furthermore, there is a built-in dual camera fold that allows you to take clear photos when needed, as well as enables video calls. Samsung Chromebook Plus V2 is equipped with a 13-megapixel camera with autofocus in addition to the 1-megapixel front camera. Even though your phone camera is much better, you might still consider this as a plus of Samsung Chromebook Plus V2 as you may need it some time.
The long-lasting battery and Intel Celeron processor will allow you to work continuously without having to recharge again and again. The built-in memory is 64GB and you can expand the memory by using a microSD card.
- 2-in-1 laptop and tablet
- Long-lasting battery life
- Built-in camera
- Built-in pen
- A bit high price compared to others in the list
- Some people have complained about the light titan material
ASUS Chromebook Flip C302 2-In-1 Laptop
This 12.5-inch laptop from Asus is recently always the top-rated Chromebook under $500 from Chromebook. The laptop is really eye-catching as it is light, slim and very stylish. Its 360-degree hinge allows users to quickly flip it into a Chromebook tablet. If you are looking for a touchscreen laptop with a low budget, this will be a nice choice.
With the weight of 2.65 pounds only, Asus Chromebook Flip 302 is ideal for people who have to travel quite often. You will not have any trouble carrying it around.
Impressively, its battery is long-lasting that you can use it to work or play without worrying about recharge. Asus Chromebook Flip C302 is powered by the 6th generation Intel Core and 4GB RAM, by which the laptop can boot up quickly and run the apps smoothly for you.
This laptop comes with a touchpad and a backlit keyboard. For wired connection, it has a MicroSD reader as well as a lightning-fast USB-C port. Its storage is 64GB.
In general, Asus Chromebook Flip seems to be designed specifically for being used as a tablet. However, if you plan to use it as a laptop, its excellent keyboard can also make it as familiar as an ordinary laptop. Its 1.4mm of crisp key travel, which is rarely found in any ultra-thin notebooks, can help to satisfy your needs.
- Reasonable price
- 360-degree hinge
- Stylish and portable design
- Long-lasting battery life
- Low storage
Lenovo Chromebook C330 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop
Rated 4.5 stars on Amazon, Lenovo Chromebook C330 can be considered one of the most favorite budget laptops currently. This is also a high-performance in the list of best laptops under $500 consumer reports, since it is powered by Chrome OS which is very easy to use and able to kick start instantly when you need.
This laptop is a 360-degree convertible laptop that is super light and thin - just 2.64 pounds and 1 inch. 64GB of storage could be enough for your basic tasks in both work and study. The 11.6-inch touchscreen display is ideal for daily use. You can use it as an ordinary laptop as well as a nice tablet.
Lenovo Chromebook is compatible with the latest standards and ports, consisting of USB 3.1 support and USB-C, SD. Its battery can last up to 10 hours, which is quite impressive.
In addition, this laptop is suitable for both teamwork and individual play since it fits many collaborative apps and services.
In addition, Lenovo Chromebook has a camera which enables you to take photos as well as video call. However, the camera is kind of sensitive to lighting, even the light one. We suggest that you should have natural light in front of you, as well as only a little light behind you.
- Touchscreen display
- High performance
- Light and sturdy design with 360-degree convertible
- Suitable for both teamwork and individual play
- A bit low storage
- Some people who are familiar with Window or Mac OS might find it difficult at first to get used to
Acer CB3-532 Chromebook Laptop
Acer CB3-532 HD Chromebook is one of the best laptops under $500 consumer reports that has a large screen, which is 15.6 inches. Your first impression with this laptop would be its simple but elegant design made of high-quality plastic and a matte finish.
Acer CB3-532 is powered by Intel Celeron Dual-Core N3060 1.6 GHz. Its processor is a 2 GB DDR3 RAM and 16 GB flash memory. However, there is no optical drive. This makes sense since we cannot ask for everything in a budget laptop, can we?
This laptop works on Chrome OS, which is really easy to use but it might take time for Window or Mac OS users to get used to. Acer CB3-532 is included with an HDMI port, an SD card reader, a single USB 2.0 and USB 3.0, as well as a headphone jack.
There is also a HD webcam that allows you to easily indulge in video calling. Its Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity helps the laptop to quickly connect to any Bluetooth device.
One plus is that this Acer Chromebook has the capability to connect with WiFi 3 times faster than many others in the list.
Acer Chromebook is equipped with a chiclet style keyboard, which is easy to type on. The Caps Lock key is replaced by a Search key. Its touchpad is very responsive and easy to use. The speakers are not really loud and the sound is a bit light and hollow.
- Large screen
- High performance
- HD Webcam
- 3x faster wifi
- Lack of optical drive
- 2GB RAM
- Keyboard is lacking in some features that Window/Mac OS laptops have
Acer Aspire E E5-575-33BM Notebook
Acer Aspire E is a full HD Chromebook that is promised by the brand as better everyday computing. Its processor is an 8th-generation Intel Core I3, which allows your basic work and study to run smoothly.
One thing from this budget laptop that will impress you is its long-lasting battery, which is said to be 12 hours, but it can last up to 13.5 hours in reality. If you feel like the laptop’s specs are not enough for your daily needs, you can easily upgrade the hard drive and memory due to its easy-to-access compartment.
The MU-MIMO wireless antenna technology enables the connectivity to be strong and consistent. There are two options for you in terms of wired connectivity: USB 3.1 and 3.0 ports, allowing super fast data transfer. Besides, Acer Aspire E comes with Acer Harmony Audio, so you will have high quality audio from this laptop.
The keyboard is okay to type on, as the physical response and key travel distance are decent. The touchpad looks nice in silver and is responsive. We have to admit that you cannot get the desired speakers with a laptop under $500. This laptop’s speakers can get quite loud but the sound is still a bit tiny even at full volume. And there is not much bass.
On the other hand, some owners have complained about the dull screen despite full HD quality. Also, this laptop can sometimes get warm when being used in an extended period. So you might find it a bit uncomfortable.
- Long battery life
- Expandable storage and memory
- Large full HD screen
- Large touchpad
- Easily get warm
- A bit heavy with 5.27-pound weight, compared with others in the list
Complete Buying Guide: How To Choose The Best Laptops Under $500 Consumer Reports
When choosing any product, always keep in mind what are your personal needs and requirements. Your using purpose might be web browsing, or basic office tasks, or just entertainment. Once you know what you really need, it will be so much easier to decide. Below is our buying guide in detail including almost all of the factors that you should consider before selecting a budget laptop.
Processor, which is installed on the motherboard, is the first factor that you should pay attention to when choosing a laptop. Some famous processor companies you might have known about are Intel, Ryzen, AMD, etc. However, the most popular one is Intel. With the best laptops under 500 consumer reports, Intel Core i3 and Intel Core i5 are the most common.
Processor includes two main things: the number of cores and processing speed. They decide the laptop’s processing power. Generally speaking, more expensive laptops will have more powerful processors. In this article, we recommend you to choose an 8th or 10th generation Intel Core i3 or i5 processor.
All of the products in our list are equipped with at least 4GB RAM. For better performance, you should pick the one with 8GB RAM. You should also identify if the RAM is a DDR3 or DD4. A DD4 RAM has faster data transfer speed as well as clock speed compared to DDR3.
Screen is one important component that you would have to consider. Depending on your personal needs, you might choose between small and medium size, or between touch and non-touch screen. Within our list of best laptops under 500 consumer reports, the size varies from 10 inches to 15.8 inches.
If you want a slim and thin laptop, the screen size is normally from 10 inches to 12 inches. However, if you are looking for a large screen, then choosing the one from 15 inches and above.
A full HD screen is a great choice; however, a laptop with standard HD display of 1366 x 1768 resolution is also not a bad choice if it comes with other solid specs. You should also pay attention to the screen panel. IPS LED panel offers better picture quality and color, but LCD panel is a nice choice, too.
Storage will decide the data transfer speed. Many laptops have a hard disk drive (HDD), while others have a solid-state drive (SSD). The price of an SDD would be higher than an HDD since it makes the data transfer faster. Also, SSD comes with no moving parts so it is less likely to be damaged. However, as we are talking about budget laptops, you can still choose the one with an SSD if it has other substantial advantages.
Don’t forget to consider the operating system of the laptop. With laptops under $500, ChromeOS or Windows are the most common being used. They are all easy to use; however, you might want to have a look at their usability and features before choosing.
What the laptop offers for both wired and wireless connectivity is also important. Multiple USB ports, as well as WiFi and Bluetooth connections, are necessary. Depending on your needs, you might want to look for 4G LTE connection and USB type C or HDMI ports.
Build quality is crucial because it directly affects user experience and the laptop durability. One laptop having a metal frame is a great choice. However, budget laptops are normally made of plastic. But you can still have a look at some laptops in our list that have a metallic body.
If you are searching for a laptop that you can easily carry around, don’t forget to check the weight. A slim and light laptop tends to have a small screen, between 10 inches and 11 inches. Meanwhile, we bet that you will not want to travel with a 15-inch and above laptop.
If you need to travel a lot, we recommend that you should choose a laptop under 4 pounds. You might also want to look at those 2-in-1 laptops in our list, which are able to be converted into tablets when needed.
If you are interested in a versatile laptop that can also be used as a tablet or tent mode, then look for 2-in-1 or even 3-in-1 laptops. Normally, they would come with a touch screen as well.
For budget laptops, battery life tends to be anywhere from 5 to 13 hours. This factor is especially important for people who travel frequently. We recommend a laptop with battery life up to at least 10 hours, so you will not have to be frustrated sometimes.
You might forget about the keyboard while focusing on other factors like specs or screen. Keyboard will directly affect your experience so it should be easy to type and full of standard features. It is even better if there is a backlight that allows you to see the keys more easily.
We are living in an era that security is concerned more than ever. Even with a budget laptop, you can look for the one that includes built-in antivirus protection or automatic update. You might also want a laptop with fingerprint lock or other similar functions.
Last but not least, you can consider aesthetics as well. Many people will focus on power and performance to evaluate a laptop. While others make decisions based on how the laptop looks. Depending on your personal requirements, you can choose to have a look at those eye-catching products in our list!
Go through our list of best laptops under 500 consumer reports and don’t forget to have a look at our complete buying guide. Thanks to technology revolutions, you now can get a budget laptop that comes with good quality.
If you want to have a closer look at a typical budget laptop, have a look at the short video below!
Conclusion: Our Top Picks Of Three Best Laptops Under $500 Consumer Reports
We believe you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a decent laptop. Nowadays, there are many budget-friendly choices out there in the market. Going through our top 13 of best laptops under 500 consumer reports, you can own a laptop with full HD screen, long-lasting battery life or even high performance without having to pay too much.
Have a look at our picks of the five best laptops under 500 consumer reports. You can use the Microsoft Surface Go as both an ordinary laptop and a tablet. You sure will be impressed by its stunning design. On the other hand, Dell Inspiron is a nice option for someone who is looking for a powerful but affordable laptop. And Lenovo Ideapad 330 is also a great choice due to its large screen and acceptable performance.
Meanwhile, Asus Vivobook is also a good option for people who are looking for a laptop that has a large full HD screen and performs well. And HP Chromebook X360 has such a long-lasting battery life that will impress you.