A Bang for your buck: Reviewing the best laptops under 500 Dollars.
So you find yourself in the market for a new laptop, being overwhelmed with choice and having a strict budget makes for a horrid headache!
Nothing is as frustrating as buying a new laptop only to have it become out-dated in no time or to have buyers regret from being unable to find a product suited to you.
Luckily this is where we can help out! With countless hours of research, over a broad range of products, we have compiled a list tailored for your needs. Be it for travel, work or a cheeky bit of gaming on the go, we have sorted through the Amazon jungle, quite literally, to compile our top five of the best laptops under 500 Dollars in 2017, so be sure to take a look below and digest our choices!
1. Acer Aspire E 15
2. Lenovo Ideapad
3. ASUS P-Series
4. Dell Inspiron 15
5. ASUS F402BA
What to Expect from Laptop Under $500?
If your budget is set to around 500 dollars you should know what your aim is and what you want out of your laptop. No wasting time with flashy lights, booming speakers or luxury high-end accessories. It’s all about priorities, and that means functionality, thus we will zone in on the core of what makes a laptop serviceable.
All of your finances will be funneled into the processor, the graphics card and the memory (or RAM). Don’t bother fretting over anything else as with a good eye for these key components will make your money go further and do so much more! Listed below is our top five Laptops, and a description of the product and its specs.
1. Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575G-57D4
For a Budget of $500 our top pick is the Acer Aspire E15 E5-575G-57D4. You might wonder why we would include a product slightly over the target price, but this laptop is constantly fluctuating in price and when Amazon runs a promotion you can sometimes get it for quite close to $500.
So we had to decide whether to put it into our best gaming laptops for under $600 category or this one. Currently selling for just over $500, (check lowest price here) the Acer Aspire E15 is well worth the few dollars extra investment.
It is an astounding machine that will take the extra money you put in and more than make up for it in what you get. Due to it's NVIDIA GeForce 940MX graphics card it quite simply outclasses everything else in its range, giving you more power to use at your pleasure.
Running popular gaming titles such as Overwatch, Dota 2 and Battlefield 1 on medium to low settings is no mean feat. This is a game changer for most laptops in this price range struggle, whereas the Acer Aspire E15 E5 excels.
This great GPU coupled with the latest Intel Core i5-7200U and you have a real mean-machine! You might want to consider upgrading the on-board storage space or looking into an external option since the 265GB limit is a little limiting.
Summary: The Top-Dog
With a great CPU/GPU combo the Aspire E 15 E5-575G-57D4 is our top pick for good reason. Being able to game comfortably at this price range just shows how far budget laptops have come and having these good specs allow for high-end video editing to boot!
Boasting a great 12 hour battery life this is a huge plus as most laptops in this range would be lucky with 4. A great overall performer if one is willing to add a bit more of a cash investment, but for this top-dog we would more than recommend it!
2. Lenovo Ideapad 510 15.6 Inch
Our second pick on our list the, Lenovo Ideapad 510 15.6 Inch, also packs a dedicated Nvidia GeForece 940MX card, which is a great card for its price range.
Getting solid frame-rates on high to ultra-settings on online competitive titles like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and League of Legends is awesome.
However with the more intensive single player titles such as The Witcher 3 or Mass Effect Andromeda you’ll have to tone down the setting somewhat to get better FPS. This is no surprise as the laptops which are able to breeze through these games will be 3times the price and thus far above the budget we are aiming for.
Still the dedicated GFX card will bring a great edge over its competitors as the laptops with integrated cards really struggle when tested on the modern gaming titles.
Boasting an Intel Core i5-6200U (Skylake) processor added with 8gb of DDR4 RAM it is well rounded in the key features one should look for in a budget laptop under 500 dollars.
One change we would recommend is a further investment in a faster SSD to combo with the supplied 1TB HD since it is somewhat sluggish going at a mere 5400 RPM.
Summary: A Great Contender
The Lenovo Ideapad 510 coming in at 2nd on our list is a great product, with its solid GPU+CPU combo it really shines at this budget. With relatively minor short comings which are heavily outweighed by its great core components, being no.2 on the list is simple really. It is a well honed machine and will certainly make the most of your money!
3. ASUS P-Series P2540UA-AB51 Gaming Laptop
Third on our list, the ASUS P-Series P2540UA-AB51 zones in on our 500$ target.
Originally it was geared towards a young student or business man’s workspace but as time has shown, the ASUS P-Series P2540UA-AB51 has become a niche buy for gamers on a budget.
Packing a 7th Gen Intel Core i5 7200U CPU, it can handle a multitude of tasks making it a great laptop for work with a bit of gaming thrown in.
With an integrated GPU you might be groaning already, thinking that it will be a pretty weak performer on the gaming titles of today, but this is not the case!
The Intel HD 620 punches above its weight very comfortably for an integrated card, running Grand Theft Auto V, a great game to stress test on, at an average 37-46 FPS which is remarkable for its price.
Summary: A Middle Ground
The ASUS P-Series P2540UA-AB51 is our middle ground laptop. It can still run games respectably well but not at the level of our top two picks. 1TB HDD space makes it a strong pick for a student or business workspace, with between 6 to 9 hours battery life means its portability is great for on the go environments. It’s a solid but not brilliant Laptop making it a firm 3rd on our list.
The ASUS P-Series is also highly recommended for graphic design. A friend of ours uses it for 3D printing and 3D painting and has only good things to say. She uses it for Autocad, 3D Max, Photo Shop, 3D Builder (which comes free with Windows 10).
4. Dell Inspiron 15 i5555-2866SLV
Our fourth pick is from the ever reputable company Dell. The Dell Inspiron 15 i5555-2866SLV is geared to the ‘everyday’ user. Not a machine for high-end gaming but it does what it geared to do, and that is provide a great budget laptop.
With a AMD A10-8700P 1.8GHz CPU the Dell Inspiron 15 i5555-2866SLV will handle most things thrown its way with regards to everyday tasks and with 6 CPU cores to work with video editing should work very smoothly.
While its integrated AMD AMD Radeon R6 GPU won’t be setting your frame-rate benchmarks alight, it will run the standard titles of Diablo III and Overwatch just fine. The more stressing titles of Battlefield 1 or PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS (PUBG) will sadly not run smoothly even on the lowest settings so, tone down your enthusiasm when picking up games should you purchase this laptop.
The 1TB HDD space is great but the 5400 RPM might be found a little wanting, as well as the the audio which has been reported as being rather lack luster. The 15inch, 1366 x 768 pixels leaves a bit to be desired but the 10-finger touchscreen is responsive enough to easily navigate windows 10 so that is a plus.
Summary: Holds Its Ground
The Dell Inspiron 15 i5555-2866SLV is your everyday work laptop. Don’t buy this product to game on, as even casually it suffers somewhat from an integrated GPU. What it can do is fulfill your everyday work tasks and do that well not to mention it comes at a very kind price.
5. ASUS F402BA-EB91 VivoBook Laptop
Last on our list the ASUS F402BA-EB91 VivoBook Laptop is the lowest performer of all the others by some margin. So why include it at all you might ask? Well its inclusion in this list is due to what it brings to the table in terms of price.
Coming in at 399$, well shy of the 500 dollars we aimed for in this article. A lower price is not necessarily bad thing.
The ASUS F402BA-EB91 is very sleek machine. Brushed aluminum case that really looks great with a tight-fitting keyboard to add to its great appearance.
Measuring 0.7 inches thick and weighing a poultry 3.18 pounds it’s very easy to move around and the lightest of all the others on the list.
Neither its AMD A9-9420 3.0 GHz CPU or its AMD Radeon R5 Series are going to win many prizes, if any at all, but that is not the point. This Laptop wont be a gaming powerhouse and thus shouldn’t be acquired for that. It does the basics and does them on a budget.
Summary: A Light Weight
This is the Laptop for those who need workspace ASAP and are on a tight budget. It will be light, easy to maneuver around in a college environment and accomplish your everyday tasks. Not a laptop to be looking to game on or your expectations will surely be met with disappointment.
This brings us to the end of our list, we hope that you have a better insight into to the rocky world of finding a well priced, tailored machine that does what you need!
Check out our other laptop catagories on our homepage which will cover other niche equipment or budget needs.
~ Gary Botha, head editor