The 9 Best Laptops for Under $500 in 2019

Find the best touchscreen, design, portable laptop and more

The Ultimate Laptop Buying Guide
The Ultimate Laptop Buying Guide
Introduction

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Our Top Picks

Most Popular: Acer Aspire E 15 at Amazon

"Offers a balance of modern hardware, performance headroom, features, and price."

Best Overall: ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02 11.6" at Amazon

"It passes the 3.9 feet drop test and has a spill-resistant keyboard."

Best 2-in-1: Microsoft Surface Go at Amazon

"Add one of the available Microsoft Type Covers and the Go instantly becomes a highly capable desktop-like computer."

Best for College Students: 2018 Lenovo ideapad 320 15.6" at Amazon

"An excellent everyday laptop at a value price point."

Best Touchscreen: HP 15-BS013DX at Amazon

"This entry-level touchscreen from HP is an amazing value."

Best Budget: HP Notebook 15 at Amazon

"It will do the job for casual users that need to accomplish basic tasks in a timely fashion."

Best Value: HP Pavilion 15z at HP

"The design is sleek, with a simple yet polished look."

Runner-Up, Best Value: Dell Inspiron 15 3000 at Dell

"You'll definitely have enough power for multitasking and day-to-day computing tasks on Windows 10."

Best Visuals: Lenovo IdeaPad 330s at Amazon

"Expect decent performance out of this despite its budget price."

Our Top Picks

Most Popular: Acer Aspire E 15

4.5
What We Like
  • Full HD display

  • Fantastic battery life

  • Solid performance for the price

  • Optional discrete Nvidia card

What We Don't Like
  • Lots of bloatware

  • Heavy and thick

  • Design fails to impress

Acer's Aspire E 15 offers an excellent balance of modern hardware, performance headroom, and features—all at an affordable price. Although its design features a lot of plastic, some of it has been given a metallic appearance for a sleeker -look. It also has a 15.6-inch display (hitting Full HD resolution), 802.11ac Wi-Fi, an all-day battery life, a USB 3.1 Type-C, two USB 3.0 ports, and an SD card reader.

Inside, the machine delivers an Intel Core i3-8130U processor, which is paired with 6GB of dual-channel DDR4 memory and a 1TB hard drive. Both the memory and hard drive are stored inside an easily accessible compartment, so if you want to upgrade them, you can. There’s even a DVD-RW drive included. "Anyone looking for a budget-priced laptop should take a long, hard look at this one," said our tester. "The performance is decent, it has a full HD display, and the battery life is great. The only reason not to buy it is if you absolutely need a touchscreen or a fingerprint reader."

Best Overall: ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02 11.6"

3.6
What We Like
  • Very portable

  • Great value

  • Impressive battery life

What We Don't Like
  • Limited features

  • Screen on the smaller side

Dropping hundreds of dollars on a laptop that’s bound to be dropped itself might seem a bit stressful, but a rugged model like this ASUS Chromebook is designed to put you at ease. It houses an Intel Celeron N3060 Processor with 2M Cache, up to 2.48 GHz, plus 16GB of flash storage. (You’ll also get 100GB of free Google Drive storage for the first two years.) Its 11.6-inch, 1366 x 768 anti-glare display tilts back 180 degrees for viewing at all angles.

Being a Chromebook, it’s not as powerful as other machines on this list, but what it lacks in brains it makes up for in brawn. It has 3 millimeters of reinforced rubber around its edges, which passes the 3.9 feet drop test, and a spill-resistant keyboard that can endure about a quarter-cup spill. On top of that, its durable and modular design makes it easy to swap in and out parts, should it need repair.

This laptop received good ratings from our tester because it's capable and dependable: “This is a great option for everything you need: online access, writing accessibility, and some extras," he said. The battery life was another plus: "For school, I'm positive this computer would last a full day and likely still have time for homework back at home.”

Check out our other reviews of the best ASUS laptops available on the market today.

Best 2-in-1: Microsoft Surface Go

3.3
What We Like
  • Very portable

  • Durable

  • Plenty of ports

What We Don't Like
  • Slower speed

  • No keyboard included

It’s hard to argue against the success of Microsoft’s Surface lineup, and the Go is no exception. When in tablet mode, the 10-inch PixelSense touchscreen display is ideal for reading, writing, and games. With 1800 x 1200 resolution, text is crisp and clear. Add one of the available Microsoft Type Covers and the Go instantly becomes a highly capable desktop-like computer. Running Windows 10 S, the Go has complete access to Microsoft’s Marketplace for downloading thousands of applications. For business users, Microsoft’s entire suite of Office products runs superbly.

Weighing a mere 1.3 pounds, the Go is easily the most portable Surface yet. Our tester agreed: “There were times when I completely forgot it was in my bag,” she said. “Even with the Keyboard Type Cover attached (which is sold separately), the Surface Go remains light and svelte.” It also has plenty of built-in protection: Microsoft Defender protects against malware attacks while parental controls offer parents peace of mind. One downside, according to our tester, was that its performance could be “sluggish,” even when performing more basic tasks.

Best for College Students: 2018 Lenovo ideapad 320 15.6"

3.1
What We Like
  • Beautiful unibody design

  • Light and thin

  • Great keyboard

What We Don't Like
  • Poor battery life

  • No HD display

  • Sluggish performance

Lenovo delivers an excellent everyday laptop at a value price point, combining the latest generation of Intel processing with a high-definition 15.6-inch screen. The computer is powered by an Intel Celeron N3350 dual-core processor with 4GB RAM and a 1TB hard drive. The computer also includes a DVD drive, a 4-in-1 memory card reader for easy transfer of files, as well as Bluetooth 4.1 and USB 3.0 port.

The computer is especially great for college students looking to watch movies in their dorm room, with an anti-glare screen that looks great from every angle. “I think it's the perfect computer to use when curled in bed watching Netflix or a DVD,” our tester said. “I could see my teenage cousin enjoying it—it's attractive and has a 'cool factor.'"

Interested in reading more reviews? Take a look at our selection of the best Lenovo laptops

Best Touchscreen: HP 15-BS013DX

HP - 15.6" Touch-Screen Laptop
Courtesy BestBuy.com
3.6
What We Like
  • Attractive design

  • Decent battery life

  • Big hard drive

What We Don't Like
  • Touchscreen doesn’t feel great to use

  • Lots of bloatware

If you're a tactile learner, a touchscreen computer can come in handy. This entry-level model from HP is an amazing value at just under $500. It has an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 1 TB hard drive. The BrightView glossy 15.6-inch screen is powered by WLED backlight and shows movies and photos in 1366 x 768 HD. The 2 SuperSpeed USB 3.1 ports make transferring media a breeze, while built-in Bluetooth makes it easy to sync with mobile devices. Finally, an Intel HD Graphics 620 card can handle photo editing and even some basic gaming. Our tester also noted that its "brushed metal finish is a nice touch."

Although our tester liked that this laptop had a responsive touchscreen, he observed it wasn't always very pleasant to use: "Something about the glossy screen causes the finger to stick and skid across instead of sliding smoothly," he said.

Check out our guide to the best touchscreen laptops you can buy today. 

Best Budget: HP Notebook 15

HP Notebook 15
Courtesy of Amazon.com
3.1
What We Like
  • Attractive design

  • Good keyboard

  • Decent stereo sound

What We Don't Like
  • Lots of bloatware

  • Display isn’t full HD

  • Mediocre battery life

The latest edition of the HP Notebook 15 packs a lot of features into a sub-$300 machine. This laptop may not impress power-hungry users, but it will do the job for casual users that need to accomplish basic tasks in a timely fashion.

The Notebook 15 has a 15.6-inch screen with 1366-by-768 resolution, a 500 GB hard drive, an SD media card reader, a DVD/CD burner, as well as a VGA webcam with a digital microphone. For ports, there’s one Ethernet, one HDMI, two USB 2.0, one USB 3.0 and a headphone/microphone combo jack. One of the standout features of this model is its 4GB of RAM, which is incredibly important for keeping your machine running smoothly and not something we often see on models in this price range. Our tester also noted that its "sound is surprisingly good for such an inexpensive laptop."

This machine measures 10 x 15.1 x .9 inches and is a little heavy at 4.74 pounds, so it’s probably not one you’ll want to carry around everywhere. It would make the most sense as a home or work laptop that’s mostly used in one place.

Best Value: HP Pavilion 15z

4
What We Like
  • Great design

  • Solid build

  • Responsive touchscreen

What We Don't Like
  • No full HD display

  • Display is slightly washed out

  • Entire case flexes when using keyboard

If you're looking for speed, capacity, design, features, and price, HP’s Pavilion 15z Touch pretty much delivers on all counts. The design is sleek, with a simple yet polished look complemented by an all-metal finish. The base model includes a 15.6-inch HD touch display, an AMD Ryzen 3 2200U processor with Vega 3 Graphics, 8GB of DDR4 memory, and 1TB of storage on a hard drive. For a budget computer, these specs are quite impressive.

Our tester agreed: "This model has enough muscle to perform all of your basic productivity tasks without a snag," he said, "including word processing, email, and web browsing. It’s even capable of more difficult tasks like image and video editing, although professionals who work with images or video every day will most likely find it to be too sluggish." Just keep in mind that the price of this laptop can fluctuate, so keep an eye out for sales to get the best price possible.

Runner-Up, Best Value: Dell Inspiron 15 3000

Dell Inspiron 15

 Dell.com

What We Like
  • Good specs for the price

  • Sturdy

  • Plenty of ports

What We Don't Like
  • Heavy

  • No backlit keyboard

  • Display could be better

Dell’s Inspiron 15 3000 is a solid, dependable laptop with decent specs for a device under $500. Running with a 7th-gen Intel i3-7020U processor—Intel’s mid-range chip—and 8GB of RAM, you’ll definitely have enough power for multitasking and day-to-day computing tasks on Windows 10. There’s even enough capacity for 16GB of RAM.

It’s heavier than other budget laptops at 4.95 pounds, so it isn’t the most portable. But if you value a sturdy build, a touchscreen, plenty of ports, and a DVD drive, the extra weight is worth it. Ports include two USB 2.0 ports and one USB 3.0 port, an HDMI port, an SD card slot reader, and a headphone jack. The DVD drive is optional. The downsides: a less-than-stellar display, mid-range processing power, and no backlit keyboard. But for a budget laptop, the Dell Inspiron 15 3000 is more than suitable for basic everyday use. 

Best Visuals: Lenovo IdeaPad 330s

What We Like
  • Clear visuals

  • Reduced bezels around screen

  • Good value

What We Don't Like
  • Short battery life

The Lenovo IdeaPad 330s doesn’t come in at the bottom of the budget barrel, but it hits a sweet spot between price and solid specs. With this model, you’ll be getting a decently sized 15.6-inch display while the laptop itself stays slim thanks to reduced bezels around the screen. Plus, the display is a Full HD IPS panel, offering clear visuals and great viewing angles.

Inside, the IdeaPad 330s packs a modern Intel Core i3-8130U dual-core processor paired with 6GB of DDR4 memory and a large 1TB hard drive. You should expect decent performance out of this despite its budget price. As a bonus, this laptop will be good for interfacing with external hardware as well.

As for connectivity, 801.11ac Wi-Fi is a good, recent protocol for connecting to wireless networks, and you’ll get Bluetooth 4.1. For fast USB connections, the IdeaPad 330s offers USB 3.1 and USB-C ports. And, if you’re doing work with any media, the 4-in-1 media card reader will come in handy. Some reviewers said its battery life was too short.