If you are searching for the best laptops under $500 according to consumer reports in 2023 then this post is for you.
I don’t think I would ever be able to buy a laptop.
I am on a budget and looking for a desktop although I need a laptop to carry around for my computing needs.
That’s one of my friends, we met in a market where I was looking for computer peripherals.
Well, that’s a common myth about laptops that they have to be expensive to be worth your time.
There are good affordable laptops for as cheap as 500 dollars.
But we see other fellows looming around with the expensive machine and think all laptops are expensive.
So, I decided to pen down a guide with all affordable laptops under 500 dollars laptops gathered in one list.
These models are my personally tested and I am going to put down their advantages and disadvantages in my personal testing experience. Which can be different than what others say as per their experience.
So without further ado here are the best laptops under 500 dollars as per consumer reports in 2023.
5 Best Laptops Under $500 Consumer Reports
I have compiled a list of the top 5 best laptops under $500 based on consumer reports 2023.
1. Acer Aspire 5
I don’t think any list of the budget laptop can be complied with without adding Acer Aspire 5. This laptop is a well-balanced package of good power, gorgeous display, and affordable price. It is hard to grab such a remarkable performing laptop, under such a budget price.
It comes powered by AMD Ryzen 5 5500U processor. It is a Hexa-core mobile processor with AMD Radeon Vega series of graphics cards to make it good to handle visually loaded operations.
I don’t claim it to be a gaming laptop, but it is enough good to seamlessly pass you through light photo and video editing. Along with some low-end video games like Minecraft and CS: GO, at reducing graphics.
I loved its display. It is a 15.6 inches FHD IPS with 1920X 1080P resolution. Viewing angles are wider as well as sharper. And for those like me addicted to using laptops, the display integrates Comfy View technology to filter the blue rays to prevent your eyes from blue-ray damage.
The standout aspect, the feature that marks a big difference from other models and is its spectacular performing keyboard. It is a good keyboard with superb travel speed, the keys are wide-spaced, ideal suit for small and large-handed typists.
Furthermore, the keys are illuminated. There is a dedicated number pad, to help handle numeric streams of data without hovering your fingers on the keyboard.
The keys are soft on touch, and those like me spend hours of typing, they would not feel exhausted. To your surprise, the current review I am writing is using Acer Aspire 5 keyboard.
Regarding the RAM and storage, the laptop got multiple variants. The incumbent one we are reviewing has 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD storage.
I don’t think you can grab any other better-speed laptops than this under this price range. And it’s not the end of the world with the specs, both the RAM and storage can further be expanded using extra slots.
The port selection is remarkable too. It hosts one USB Type-C, 2 USB 3.2 Gen 1 Ports, one USB 2.0 Ports, and one HDMI port. I don’t think there could be any better port selection for a budget laptop.
The battery hours last around 8-10 hours in my testing. According to consumer reports too, the battery lasts all day.
- Powerful Processor that handles most of the processing well
- Comfortable keyboard with dedicated number pad
- Gorgeous display with wider viewing angle
- Host of multiple ports options
- The keys make loud noises when clicked
2. Lenovo IdeaPad 3
Lenovo being one of the most selling laptop brands never disappoints its loyal fans and customers even under the budget price category. This budget-priced model, with a 14-inches screen, is going to produce superior performance and productivity throughout the day.
In my view, this laptop is the best suit for business professionals on the go. It is lightweight than Acer Aspire 5, smaller with a 14-inches screen, compact, and can easily be slipped into a backpack for traveling.
On the power front, I think our above-reviewed model and Lenovo budget-priced models are almost equal. This too comes powered with Ryzen 5 5500U series processor with Radeon graphics. So, the same level of graphics performance can be expected from this rig too.
It has a 14-inches FHD screen display. Here, if you compare the screen with Acer Aspire 5, in quality of performance viewing angles, they are almost the same except the Lenovo design got thin bezels around, enhancing the viewing area with increased screen-to-body ratio and reduced clutter. But not a comfy view panel integrated into the display here, to filter blue rays’ effect on the eyes.
8GB RAM, and 256GB SSD storage are there to welcome you, to help you do whatever you want but at a good speed without rendering, or freezing issues.
I am a content creator with lots of apps and dozens of tabs opened, I did not face even a single glitch, even switching back and forth dozens of tabs and other programs.
Lenovo Ideapad 3 got a 3-cell battery. In performance, it easily lasts for 8 hours in tests. But what does make a huge difference if you compare the battery department is Q-control. With this feature, you can easily switch the battery to battery-saving mode to save battery when traveling.
The Lenovo Ideapad 3 got a good-sized keyboard though but no backlighting. The keys are good to go but not as smooth and soft as Acer Aspire. So for a keyboard, it is average but expected if you look at the price range and other features.
- Powerful processor to handle heavy processing
- 256GB SSD storage
- Good 8 hours battery with Q-control feature
- FHD IPS display with narrow bezels
- The keys are not smooth and soft on touch for typing
3. ASUS VivoBook 15
Asus-designed Vivobook 15 is another great laptop within 500 dollars price range. This laptop unlike the above two models we reviewed comes powered by an Intel processor.
Well, performance-wise, it is as good as the above models, but it does not produce heat even when exposed to high-end computing operations.
ASUS VivoBook 15 comes powered with 11TH Gen Intel core i3-1115G4 processor. It is an 11th Gen processor that goes up to 4.1 GHz clock speed. Integrated Intel UHD graphics make it good for even relatively high graphics operations like light gaming, photo, and video editing tasks, etc.
But, like the above two models, these two are not designed for pro-level games or high-end graphic-intensive games. So, don’t take it for the purpose.
Regarding other core features, the model comes with 128GB SSD storage, and 8GB RAM. So, handling multiple programs and apps would not be a big operation.
The one aspect that makes this computer stand out is its keyboard. I loved its backlighting. It is a full-size backlight keyboard that has a dedicated number pad to help you type through your work in dim environments.
More than the backlighting, the bottom of the keys is supported by the metal brace. This metal bracing provides a relatively smoother and less-shaky experience in typing. For those who have to type for long hours, it is important to feel smooth in typing to not get exhausted.
Its screen too is among one of the prominent aspects. With a 15.6 inches FHD IPS display, 178-degree viewing angles, and an 83% screen-to-body ratio, this display provides you an immersive viewing experience for working.
Well, the brightness and sharpness could have been better for those like me who watch movies, and binge-watch Netflix.
It is a compact and thin laptop a good-to-go option for students who move a lot. With 3.97 pounds of weight and 0.7 inches of thickness, this laptop can easily be traveled and taken along. The laptop helps you keep up with your fast-paced lifestyle.
A pool of connectivity operations helps you connect multiple computer peripherals. It has two USB 3.0 Ports, and 2 USB 2.0 ports to help you connect an external keyboard as well as the mouse.
Regarding battery backup, it easily lasts for around 6-8 hours. On streaming though, the battery lasts for around 4-6 hours, not as good as above reviewed models.
- A smoother keyboard helps type for long hours
- Compact, portable, lightweight model
- 6 Inches FHD IPS display with an increased screen-to-body ratio
- 11th Gen Intel processor
- The display is not good bright for streaming and binge-watching
4. HP 15 Laptop
Hp as a brand is known as a king of mid-priced or budget laptops. Take an example of this laptop, I don’t think the specs range this laptop offers can be matched with any other models.
Can you imagine buying an 11th Gen core i5 processor integrating laptop for under $500? I don’t think so.
This HP-designed laptop comes powered by one of the finest processors. It has a 1st Gen Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor, it is a quad-core processor with a clock speed up to 4.2 GHz. This grade of processor you often sees in high-end laptops for modeling, rendering, and even playing high-end games.
Along with the best processor, the laptop comes featured with an Intel Iris Xe graphics card. Yes, it is Intel’s modern integrated graphics that upped the graphics handling power to a new level. The visual handling of this laptop is unmatchable to any of the models on our list.
With these graphics, you can only go through visually intensive operations but play the game as well. You can play games like Sims series, Minecraft, CS: Go, PUBG, and many more others in the row. If you want a budget-range laptop for gaming, I recommend this model better than Acer Aspire 5.
In RAM and storage comparison too, I find this HP-designed laptop a fine deal. It comes powered with 256GB SSD storage. It is NVME M2 SSD, which provides around 15 times faster-improved performance compare to traditional storage and 4 times that regular SSD storage.
8GB RAM laptop is more than enough for most of the operations an average user has to handle. User like me, content creator, finds the RAM size more than just good.
I tried to freeze this RAM with multiple tabs opened in Chrome, streaming, and other high-end apps dealing. But, to my surprise, the laptop did not freeze, nor lag in performance.
In battery testing, the laptop lasts for around 6-8 hours. I think this is the only feature where Acer aspire 5 beats HP 15 model.
There is one more thing in the battery section worth mentioning, it got HP fast charging feature that lets the laptop charge up to 50 percent in only 45-minutes.
Even when the laptop drains the completely battery, within minutes you can charge it up, and juice it up to the level of work.
About the keyboard, Unfortunately, HP could not provide backlight keys. Yes, the keys are though soft and provide a smooth, as well as ASUS designed 15 model’s typing performance. But, it lacks the backlighting, and that’s the only reason we did not add this laptop as our overall best model.
Overall, if you like buying a powerful laptop that handles high-end operations like a pro, this 11th Gen core i5 processor HP laptop for under 500 dollars is the right option.
also read: laptops under $400
- 11TH Gen Intel core i5 processor laptop under 500 dollars
- Intel Iris Xe graphics card
- 256GB SSD storage
- Bright FHD 15.6 Inches thin bezels screen
- No backlight keys keyboard
5. Lenovo Flex 5
Interested in buying a convertible 2-in-1 laptop? I find convertible laptops more useful than regular laptops because of their adaptability to change into a tablet as well as a regular laptop. If you too are interested in buying a 2-in-1 laptop under 500 dollars range, go with Lenovo designed Flex 5 laptop.
It is not like any other convertible laptop. It got all the power of a regular laptop, but with the freedom to change it into a tablet.
Look at the specs profile of the model, I am sure you too like me would be baffled. For how Lenovo can offer a full-fledged laptop with touchscreen performance under a budget price range.
It comes powered with AMD Ryzen 5 5500U quad-core processor with Radeon graphics. I love the way how it handles regular apps and programs, opening apps and programs are as seamless and smooth as you can imagine.
Look at the RAM size. The laptop comes powered with 16GB RAM, I can assure you that no other laptop can offer you a 16GB RAM under such a price range. Those handle high-end apps likes Adobe Photoshop, many others can easily be handled using this laptop.
And about the storage size, it got 256GB SSD storage. Plus, if you want more storage, it can easily be expanded. There is an extra slot that helps you expand the storage.
It has a 14-inches FHD IPS display with wide viewing angles. The thin bezels around the display help you enjoy a superior display. Increased screen area with less clutter improved your viewing experience. If you love to watch movies or binge-watch like me, I don’t think you should overlook the model.
And above all, you can transform it into a tablet. It has 360-degree hinges to help you rotate it. You can type on the screen, using a digital Pen. But the digital pen does not come with the package, you will have to buy it separately.
I am loving the way a convertible laptop under budget comes with a good pool of connectivity ports. It has 2 USB Type-A ports, one USB Type-C port, one HDMI port, and one 4-in-1 card reader. So, if you connect more than one computer peripherals, like an external keyboard and mouse, the model makes a good option.
If you like a convertible laptop, I don’t think you should miss the opportunity of buying this laptop.
- Good RAM size of 16GB under 500 price
- 14 Inches convertible touchscreen FHD IPS display
- Multiple connectivity ports along wit type-C
- Powerful AMD Ryzen 5 processor
- Average brightness
Consumer Reports 500 Dollar Laptop Buying Guide
In case you don’t like any of the models we reviewed. How would you know what you can get for your spending?
We are going to help you learn the specs or features one can get for a 500 dollars laptop.
This guide will help you better understand the core aspects, and most essential things to look for in any laptop to make the purchase a good investment.
We are on a budget, we can’t afford to buy an expensive core i7 processor. We want the best replica of our money.
So, for the price, we can easily secure at least AMD Ryzen 5 5500U processor. It is a quad-core processor that goes up to 4.0 GHz clock speed.
If you prefer Intel then at least the core i3 processor or the max you can get if got lucky is a core i5 processor.
One of the laptops in our reviews got a core i5 processor. But there will be a few trades-off if you try to grab a high-end Intel core i5 processor.
RAM plays a huge role in making your laptop smooth and error-free. Keep in mind, for average computing, regular tasks handling, for school, college students as well as business professionals, 8GB RAM is enough.
For the price too, you can easily secure an 8GB RAM. In case you want more RAM for your tasks handling, look for a laptop that at least comes with an extra slot to help extend the RAM size.
Well, in some cases, if you got lucky, you may grab a laptop deal with 16GB RAM. In one of our laptops under 500 dollars, as you can see, we have added a 16GB RAM laptop for 500 dollars price range.
More than the size of the storage, more important should be for you is the type of storage.
Yes, always grab an SSD storage, because SSDs are way faster and more secure than traditional storage.
Yes, they are expensive and cost almost four times more than regular storage.
Still, I always prefer buying SSDs laptops. For the price we are spending, we can easily grab a 256GB SSD storage laptop.
The display is the biggest factor and most important them all. If the display renders poor picture quality, high-end performance for fast SSD would not bring any joy to your computing. So, always try to grab a laptop that has at least an FHD display.
Yes, slimmer bezels around, wider viewing angles, less-glares, and 100% sRGB color gamut are some many other features everyone should pay special attention to.
In a budget laptop, you always grab some and let go of some features.
But, a battery is among very few important things one can’t easily let go away.
Students, or those who move a lot, can’t imagine a dead laptop in their backpack when they need it the most.
So, look for a laptop that has a good battery backup to help you do the tasks you had purchased it for.
At least 6-8 hours of battery backup is essential for a good laptop on a budget.
Buying a budget laptop requires careful consideration. You end up getting fewer options and in most cases, you have to make some compromises. The important thing is, you should look for what is most important to you.
If the processor is what you weigh the most for your tasks, go with a high-end processor, and compromise on other things.
If you love to watch movies and binge-watch Netflix, don’t forget a good quality display with other nuts and bolts.
So, it is you who has to decide what is important for you and works for you the best.
Should I buy a Chromebook or a laptop?
If you do about all of your tasks online from browsing to docs handling, reading blogs to taking notes, I think Chromebook is the best bet for you.
Chromebooks are affordable, accessible, and easy to use. They come in hand at a cheaper price range and do not require a powerful resource to get things rolled.
On the other hand, if you have to install apps and programs, and do regular computing on a laptop.
I think a regular Windows laptop is essential for you. With them, you can do light to professional photo or video editing, modeling as well as rendering.
How long will a $500 laptop last before it needs replacing?
It is totally dependent on how you use it and in what conditions. If you take good care of the laptop, use it in an event space, and clean it frequently, it should easily last 3-4 years.
If you don’t care about it, use it on your bed, take it outdoor in the dust without cleaning it, it should end up running within 2 years or less.