The best laptops under $500 that are actually worth buying

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When you're connected nan hunt for nan champion laptop nether $500, location are 2 important words to support successful mind: "Buyer beware."

Many celebrated gadgets person wildly inflated prices, but successful nan highly competitory laptop market, you get what you salary for. And that intends it tin beryllium very vulnerable to bargain inexpensive laptops. Choose wrongly, and you'll beryllium stuck pinch a slow, outdated machine that causes much problems than it solves.

The Mashable shopping squad is present to make your lives easier, which is why we're bringing you our picks for nan champion laptops nether $500. We've antecedently tested immoderate of nan best inexpensive laptops overall, but if $500 is your precocious limit, past you're going to beryllium priced retired of immoderate celebrated fund models. Even so, location are some awesome computers wrong your budget.

close-up position of Chromebook pinch "Intel Inside" sticker

Testing nan Samsung Chromebook 4. Credit: Timothy Beck Werth / Mashable

A speedy guideline to laptop pricing

Our favourite inexpensive Chromebook tin beryllium yours for conscionable $159, while our favourite gaming laptop will group you backmost $2,099. And successful our guideline to nan best laptops successful general, you'll find machines for each budget. So, really overmuch should you scheme connected spending?

Typically, laptops autumn into 1 of nan pursuing categories:

  • Chromebooks ($150-$650): These computers person minimal retention and are designed to tally web applications. They're light, portable, and very affordable.

  • Budget laptops ($250-$750): Even nan champion inexpensive laptops won't person nan astir awesome specs, but they should person capable RAM and retention for mundane usage astatine schoolhouse aliases work.

  • MacBooks ($750-$3,500): The cheapest MacBook worthy buying (the always-popular M1 MacBook Air) will group you backmost $750, while a afloat specced-out MacBook Pro tin costs arsenic overmuch arsenic $3,500.

  • Ultrabooks ($1,000-$3,500): These high-end laptops person capable processing powerfulness to grip tasks for illustration photograph and video editing. They typically person a sleek and modern aesthetic, too. MacBook laptops besides autumn into this category.

What is nan champion laptop nether $500 successful 2024?

Below, we've put together a elaborate guideline to our apical fund laptop recommendations. The correct laptop will alteration depending connected your needs and budget, but our wide apical prime is nan Acer Aspire 5. We've besides gathered computers that are awesome options for school, work, and individual use.

Our Pick

Acer Aspire 5

Who it's for:

If you're looking for nan astir afloat specced retired laptop you tin get for $500, you won't beryllium capable to hit nan newest type of nan celebrated Acer Aspire 5. The configuration we've chosen has 20GB of RAM and a afloat terabyte of storage, which is virtually unheard of successful nan fund category.

That being said, if you're looking for thing a small much affordable, you tin bargain a little souped-up type of this machine for arsenic small arsenic $370 via Amazon Prime, wherever it's 1 of nan astir celebrated fund laptops. Still, we urge spending a small much for superior capacity and longevity.

Why we picked this:

This laptop was precocious tested by Mashable contributor Callum Bains, who named it nan best inexpensive laptop of nan year. Bains recovered it to beryllium an awesome and long-lasting computer. There are plentifulness of ports connected nan side, and nan onboard webcam is peculiarly good.

Editor's Note: If this laptop is priced supra $500 astatine Amazon, look for an on-page coupon that lowers nan value tag.

samsung chromebook 4 connected table successful beforehand of books

Who it's for:

The Samsung Chromebook 4 isn't going to triumph immoderate beauty aliases capacity contests, but it's not designed to. It's a "just nan basics" Chromebook that has everything you request to get online — and that's it. Consistently priced nether $200 astatine some Walmart and Amazon, it's an highly affordable computer, cleanable for watching Netflix connected nan spell aliases accessing Google Docs.

Why we picked this:

Mashable editor Timothy Beck Werth has been utilizing nan Samsung Chromebook 4 for 2 years, and he hasn't encountered immoderate problems successful that time. He uses his Chromebook arsenic his "party laptop." When he's done pinch activity and conscionable wants to cheque his email, watch Bob's Burgers, aliases do immoderate online shopping, he breaks retired this Chromebook.

If you request to download package aliases don't want to bargain a abstracted difficult thrust for storing your files, past a Chromebook isn't nan correct prime for you. But truthful acold arsenic fund Chromebooks go, this is simply a no-brainer.

Asus Chromebook Plus CX34

Who it's for:

If you don't mind giving up immoderate of nan functionality of a due laptop and are consenting to sacrifice a ample magnitude of retention space, nan Asus Chromebook Plus CX34 will astir apt beryllium a bully lucifer for you. Chromebooks are awesome astatine what they're meant to do: Handling elemental tasks for illustration web browsing, streaming, and archive editing pinch minimal fuss and awesome speed. If that's each you need, decidedly springiness this zippy productivity instrumentality your consideration.

Why we picked this:

While we haven't personally gotten our hands connected nan Asus Chromebook Plus CX34 yet, our friends complete astatine PCMag (owned by Mashable's publisher, Ziff Davis) have, and they thoroughly enjoyed their clip pinch nan fund laptop.

Asus Chromebooks conscionable support getting better, particularly pinch nan improved specs of their "Plus" statement of devices. The Asus Chromebook Plus CX34 is simply a awesome illustration of those caller strides, featuring speedy and responsive capacity (and overmuch more) astatine conscionable $399. Even speech from processing power, nan experts astatine PCMag besides noted nan laptop's display, durability, and larboard action arsenic precocious points in their review.

The CX34 comes pinch a 14-inch, Full HD NanoEdge anti-glare show that looks arsenic vibrant arsenic nan screens you'd find successful much costly models. Unfortunately, it doesn't person touch capability, but that whitethorn beryllium thing you're consenting to sacrifice considering nan debased value of admission. The device's build value is awesome and moreover features an antimicrobial defender to thief support your machine sanitary — a prize that we didn't moreover cognize we wanted. You'll besides get entree to Google AI features, sound cancellation, and video telephone enhancement devices that amended clarity and lighting.

As for nan could-be-betters, PCMag reviewers said that nan artillery life was OK, but not arsenic awesome arsenic likewise priced fund laptops. They besides didn't emotion nan UFS storage, which is usually reserved for smaller devices for illustration mobile phones, calling it simply "adequate."

Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook 16 unreality streaming 'Starfield'

Who it's for:

Gaming Chromebooks are an absorbing type of laptop to tackle because they aren't precisely what you'd deliberation of erstwhile you perceive nan words "gaming laptop." In fact, they're successful a class of their ain — gaming Chromebooks are beautiful overmuch solely utilized for unreality gaming, arsenic they don't person nan specs to tally performance-heavy games aliases package natively. The tradeoff, though, is that you tin get 1 for a awesome price.

Case successful point: The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook 16. This laptop is simply a awesome worth astatine conscionable $429 if you don't mind utilizing it only for unreality gaming successful summation to regular web browsing, productivity tasks, and streaming.

Why we picked this:

During our testing, we had nary issues booting up Xbox Game Pass and hopping into games for illustration Starfield and Sea of Thieves (they ran decently well, too). Controller setup was speedy and painless via speedy Bluetooth connection. Besides its unreality gaming capabilities, nan Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook 16 besides made a bully belief pinch its keyboard, which feels really bully to type on, and build value that hardly feels budget-level. The show isn't thing to constitute location about, but it's not bad either. We appreciated nan 120Hz refresh rate, but we wished nan max brightness was conscionable a little spot brighter.

Battery life is astir mean for a Chromebook, which is to opportunity that it's beautiful darn good. During testing, we sewage astir 10.5 hours retired of nan instrumentality earlier needing to recharge. The Chromebook's prize perks sweeten nan wide package, which includes 3 months of YouTube Premium, a year's worthy of Google One unreality storage, and a period of entree to Boosteroid.

As for cons, location aren't many, and it's difficult to harp connected them erstwhile you're getting specified a stellar value. They really travel down to nan audio features — astatine max volume, nan speakers sounded a spot tinny, and lacked extent overall. The microphone isn't a beardown point, either, and didn't sound very bully connected nan different extremity of sound calls. And for illustration we said, it's not a full-on powerhouse gaming laptop, but arsenic agelong arsenic you cognize what you're getting (a unreality gaming machine), you can't hit that price.

Acer Chromebook Spin 514 connected colored background

Who it's for:

If you're looking for a fund 2-in-1 laptop that doesn't sacrifice overmuch successful nan measurement of specs, nan Acer Chromebook Spin 514 is simply a awesome option, whether you're request a instrumentality for school, work, aliases your regular web surfing and streaming. Our friends complete astatine PCMag are large fans of nan Chromebook Spin 514, citing its AMD Ryzen processor, artillery life, build quality, and wide worth for your money arsenic highlights.

Why we picked this:

AMD's Ryzen statement of CPUs is nary joke — much often than not, they're utilized to powerfulness high-end gaming rigs, truthful you tin ideate nan magnitude of processing powerfulness you'll get retired of it erstwhile it's housed successful a budget-level Chromebook. On apical of velocity and power, nan Spin 514 besides impresses successful nan artillery life department, offering astir 13 hours of usage connected a azygous charge. Don't deliberation that this Chromebook is cheaply made conscionable because it's inexpensive, by nan way. The value of its building is really really awesome for nan price, truthful you won't person to interest astir accidentally snapping it successful half erstwhile converting betwixt its 2 modes (yes, it's a 2-in-1, truthful you're getting a laptop and a tablet for nether $500).

Just statement that nan machine doesn't travel pinch a stylus, and you're not getting nan champion retention format (eMMC versus nan accustomed SSD you'd find successful a Chromebook).

Mashable unit aliases contributors person hands-on tested aggregate laptops for this shopping guide. Mashable editor Timothy Beck Werth tested nan Samsung Chromebook 4, while Mashable contributor Callum Bains antecedently tested nan Acer Aspire 5. Lead Shopping Reporter Dylan Haas hands-on tested Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook 16. Both nan Asus Chromebook Plus CX34 and Acer Chromebook Spin 514 were tested and recommended by unit astatine PCMag (which is owned by Mashable's publisher, Ziff Davis). When choosing these laptops, we considered specs specified as:

  • Processor: The cardinal processing unit, aliases CPU, is responsible for really accelerated your laptop tin complete a fixed task. High-end CPUs will beryllium capable to grip aggregate demanding tasks astatine once, whereas much budget-friendly options whitethorn beryllium amended solely for basal tasks for illustration web browsing and archive editing.

  • Graphics processor: The graphics processing unit, aliases GPU, is responsible for rendering clear and elaborate visuals. It's particularly important for gaming and photo/video editing, truthful if that's thing you'll beryllium utilizing your laptop for, salary adjacent attraction to GPU specs while you shop. (For sub-$500 laptops, we'd put little banal successful this.)

  • RAM: A laptop's RAM is wherever progressive exertion information is temporarily stored to assistance nan CPU. Essentially, if you person much RAM, you'll beryllium capable to tally much applications astatine nan aforesaid time. Look for devices pinch a minimum of 8GB of RAM.

  • Storage: This is wherever your laptop saves semipermanent information for illustration files and downloads. Keep successful mind that SSD retention is faster than eMMC flash and regular difficult thrust storage. Laptops nether $500 will usually autumn wrong nan 128GB to 256GB range.

  • Display: Most fund laptops aren't going to person eye-popping OLED displays, but a fewer of nan picks connected our database were still capable to nutrient decent brightness, resolution, and extent of color.

  • Battery life: Eight to 10 hours is nan "sweet spot," but your mileage whitethorn vary. Generally speaking, nan much artillery life, nan better.

  • Price: The astir important spec of each for this roundup. Every proposal connected our database had to deed beneath nan $500 people (whether MSRP aliases connected sale), aliases other it didn't make nan cut. Not everyone has $1,000 to chuck astatine a caller computer.

Frequently Asked Questions


It's nary longer existent that you person to walk $1,000 to $3,000 to get a decent gaming laptop. In our guideline to nan best gaming laptops, you tin find options starting astatine $649. Unfortunately, if you're looking for nan champion gaming laptop nether $500, it's beautiful slim pickings.

We person recovered astatine slightest 1 bully option, though, and it's nan Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook 16. We see it to beryllium solely a unreality gaming laptop, but for nether $500, it's a really coagulated value. (Another bully action — nan Acer Chromebook 516 GE — sometimes goes connected waste astatine nan under-$500 mark, and it's one of our favourite gaming laptops.)

author photo

Dylan Haas is simply a Lead Shopping Reporter for Mashable, wherever he covers each things gaming, pets, fitness, sleep, and shopping events for illustration Black Friday and Prime Day. Before joining nan squad astatine Mashable, Dylan received a B.A. successful Communications from Pace University and contributed to publications for illustration Paste Magazine, Bandsintown, and others pursuing a little stint arsenic a trading and guidance adjunct successful nan euphony industry.

When he's not penning aliases testing products, you tin find Dylan playing tons of video games, moving out, spending clip pinch loved ones (especially his dog, Stevie), aliases watching reality TV. Follow him connected X astatine @iamdylanhaas, aliases nonstop him an email astatine [email protected].

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