Just how much laptop can you get for under $350? Acer's Aspire E 15 (E5-575-33BM) offers a colorful 1080p display, strong build quality and solid Core i3-powered performance. The laptop lasts for over 8 hours on a charge, impressive endurance for any 15-inch laptop, let alone one at this price point. The Aspire E 15 (E5-575-33BM) also comes equipped with 4GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive, a DVD writer and just about every port you could possibly want, including a USB Type-C connector.
|Best Laptops Under $500|
|Acer Aspire E 15 (E5-575-33BM)||Best Overall||4 out of 5|
|Acer Spin 1||Best 2-in-1||4 out of 5|
|Asus VivoBook E403NA||Best 14-inch Laptop||4 out of 5|
|HP Stream 11||Best Sub-$200 Laptop||4 out of 5|
|Samsung Chromebook 3||Best Sub-$200 Chromebook||4 out of 5|
|Lenovo IdeaPad 120S (14-inch)||Best Sub-$300 Laptop||4 out of 5|
|Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA||Best Chromebook||4 out of 5|
At first glance, you might mistake the Acer Spin 1 for a much more expensive laptop. This 11.6-inch convertible sports a premium, all-aluminum chassis and one of the brightest and most colorful screens you'll find on any system, even those which cost over $1,000. For good measure, the Spin 1 also includes an active stylus, something that costs extra on many 2-in-1s, so you can draw on the screen using 1,024 levels of pressure.
The best lightweight laptop you can get in this price range, Asus's 14-inch VivoBook E403NA has a sharp, 1080p screen and a partially-metal chassis, two premium features you rarely find on laptop that costs less than $400. At 3.1 pounds and with over 8 hours of battery life, this notebook can go anywhere while you leave its plug at home. A fingerprint reader helps you log into Windows 10 without entering a password.
The Stream 11 is a great choice for kids or adults who need a lightweight, secondary PC that can last over 8 hours on a charge. Available in colorful blue or purple shades, the Stream offers solid performance thanks to a Celeron CPU and 4GB of RAM, double the amount of memory you find on most Windows 10 laptops in this price range. Even better, the Stream 11 comes with a free, one-year subscription to Office 365.
If you prefer Google's browser-centric operating system to Windows 10, Samsung's Chromebook 3 is your best choice for under $200. This 11.6-inch system lasts nearly 10 hours on a charge, weighs just 2.5 pounds and provides snappy performance and multitasking.
While the best laptops cost much more, the average consumer spends under $500 for a new notebook. When shopping for a laptop in this price range, you have to make some compromises, so it's important to prioritize the features that matter most and get as many of them as you can, without breaking your budget.
We've listed several high-quality budget laptops on this page for you to consider. When evaluating a laptop, consider these factors in this order of importance:
A good laptop that costs over $800 should have all of these features, but if you can find a system that has one or more of these for under $500, you're ahead of the game.
Your buying decision may come down to whether you need a full-fledged PC, or would prefer the simplicity of a Chromebook.
You'll want a Windows 10-based machine if there are applications that you depend upon, such as Adobe or Microsoft's suites of apps. Yes, Chrome OS machines can run the Android versions of those apps with Google Play emulation, but those apps are often incomplete, and give you a bare minimum when it comes to features.
Chromebooks will be best, though, if you live inside the Chrome browser, and prefer a system that takes care of itself. With a Chromebook, you'll never need antivirus software, and system updates are automatically performed. Chromebooks are also more web-dependent, as offline modes are still not as widely available.