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It’s surprising how little you have to spend to get a good laptop these days. Whether you’re getting ready to go back to school or just need a new notebook PC for work, you can get something that meets your needs for less than $500.

From lightweight notebooks with long battery life to hybrids and convertibles What Are 2-In-1 Laptops and How to Pick the Best One? What Are 2-In-1 Laptops and How to Pick the Best One? 2-in-1 laptops combine the portability of tablets with the ergonomics of a laptop, but are they any good? Is it better to get a tablet and a laptop separately? We explore. Read More , the new budget laptop market has something for everyone without compromising on quality. Heck, there’s even a decent gaming machine if you’re ready to extend your budget by about $30.

So save yourself the trouble of scouring through Amazon and other shopping sites because we’ve got the best laptops under $500 in 2016 right here.

Best Battery and Lightest: Asus VivoBook E403SA-US21 ($379)

If you’re a student who needs portability and probably will be away from a charging point for hours, the Asus VivoBook E403SA is a godsend.

The VivoBook’s battery offers 57 Wh (watt-hours) of juice, which is exceptional battery life. It uses a non-removable lithium-ion though, so you should take care of your laptop battery How To Care For Your Non-Removable Laptop Battery How To Care For Your Non-Removable Laptop Battery What precautions should you take to ensure your non-removable laptop battery last for as long as possible? Read More nonetheless. Measuring just 0.7-inch thin and weighing 3.3 pounds; it’s the ultimate portable laptop in the sub-$500 price range.

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The good news is that you still get a 14-inch Full HD (1920×1080 pixels) screen with a matte finish. The VivoBook guts include a 1.6GHz quad-core Intel Atom Braswell N3700 processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD. It’s enough power for browsing the web, working in Microsoft Office, watching high-definition movies, basic image editing, and more. It’s too slow to use for high-end PC gaming, professional coding, or video editing.

The best part? The Vivobook E403SA is equipped with a USB Type-C port and can be charged through it, which means that if you have a smartphone with a Type-C port, you can use the same charger for both devices. It’s no wonder LaptopMag picked the Vivobook as the best sub-$500 laptop.

ASUS VivoBook E403SA-US21 14-inch Full HD Laptop (Intel Quad-Core N3700 Processor, 4 GB DDR3 RAM, 128GB eMMC Storage, Windows 10 Home OS) Metallic Gray ASUS VivoBook E403SA-US21 14-inch Full HD Laptop (Intel Quad-Core N3700 Processor, 4 GB DDR3 RAM, 128GB eMMC Storage, Windows 10 Home OS) Metallic Gray 14-Inch Full HD 1080P Display, Windows 10 Signature Edition Pre-Installed Buy Now At Amazon $417.99

Best 2-in-1 Hybrid or Convertible: Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi ($499) [UK]

If you’re on a budget, it might be unfeasible to purchase a laptop and a separate tablet. That’s why 2-in-1 hybrids or “mini PC tablets” Best Mini PC Tablet or Convertible Hybrid Best Mini PC Tablet or Convertible Hybrid Tablet sales have been declining. However, one category of tablet continues growing: tablets that transform into laptops when coupled with a keyboard. We call these 2-in-1 tablets. We rounded up the best convertibles around. Read More are so popular these days and a sensible fiscal choice. The best of the lot again comes from Asus.

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The mobile-friendly Intel Core M processor powers the Transformer Book, which combines the battery efficiency of an Atom with performance approaching a Core i3. In addition, the Transformer includes 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD .

The aluminum body makes the 12.5-inch Full HD (1920×1080 pixels) touchscreen feel premium when used as a tablet. Snap the tablet into the keyboard dock and it’s just like any laptop you’ve ever used. Overall, you can expect about 8 hours of battery life on a single charge.

This Signature Edition also removes Windows 10 bloatware How to Easily Remove Bloatware From Windows 10 How to Easily Remove Bloatware From Windows 10 Windows 10 comes with several pre-installed apps that take up space on your device and aren't easy to remove. Sounds like bloatware, doesn't it? We show you how to remove these apps. Read More , so it’s just the pure Windows experience here.

ASUS Transformer Book T300 Chi Signature Edition 2-in-1 PC - 12.5" Full HD Touchscreen Display, Intel Core M5Y10c, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD, Intel HD Graphics 5300, Windows 8.1 - Dark Blue ASUS Transformer Book T300 Chi Signature Edition 2-in-1 PC - 12.5" Full HD Touchscreen Display, Intel Core M5Y10c, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD, Intel HD Graphics 5300, Windows 8.1 - Dark Blue Display: 12.5 in Full HD LED-backlit touchscreen (1920 x 1080), 10-finger multi-touch support Processor: Intel Core M-5Y10c 0.80 GHz with Turbo Boost Technology up to 2.00 GHz Memory: 4GB LPDDR3 1600 MHz Hard drive: 128GB SSD Up to 8 hours battery life Buy Now At Amazon $398.00

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We think the Transformer T300 is the best you can get in this segment, but if you specifically want a convertible and not a hybrid, then the HP Pavilion x360 (UK) is the best choice. The 13.3-inch HD (1366×768 pixels) touchscreen flips back completely to turn it into a tablet, and it has solid hardware on board too, including a 6th generation Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB RAM, and 1TB HDD.

Best Desktop Replacement: HP 15-ay013nr ($488)

Being on a budget often means you need a laptop that can also be a desktop replacement and is future-proof. You want a big screen, an optical drive (just in case), loads of RAM, and you want it to support the Wireless AC standard Everything You Need To Know About AC Routers Everything You Need To Know About AC Routers While wireless standards lack a logical progression in terms of letters, the technology under the hood is notable, and with each new release we get one step closer to painless connectivity. Read More . These elements add bulk and weight, but you’ll get all this and more in the HP 15-ay013nr.

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Inside the laptop, you get a 6th generation Intel Skylake Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM — one of the few notebooks in the sub-$500 range to have both those elements. That’s powerful enough for any work you might have. There’s even a DVD burner. And all of it comes together inside a large 15-inch Full HD screen.

HP is giving users the option to fit in a 128GB solid state drive (SSD) or a 1TB hard disk drive (HDD). We usually recommend an SSD because of its speed and drop resistance. But if you’re going to load your laptop with, ahem, legally obtained high-definition movies, then the 1TB version will serve you better.

HP Notebook 15-ay011nr 15.6-Inch Laptop (6th Gen Intel Core i5-6200U Processor, 8GB DDR3L SDRAM, 1TB HDD, Windows 10), Silver HP Notebook 15-ay011nr 15.6-Inch Laptop (6th Gen Intel Core i5-6200U Processor, 8GB DDR3L SDRAM, 1TB HDD, Windows 10), Silver Intel® Core(TM) i5-6200U Processor 2.3GHz with turbo boost up to 2.8GHz Buy Now At Amazon $449.99

Best Chromebook: Acer Chromebook 14 ($315) [UK]

The budget market these days is dominated by Chromebooks, especially since so many schools are now employing it in classrooms. In this crowded field, the Acer Chromebook 14 stands head and shoulders above the rest.

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The aluminum chassis and the 14-inch Full HD matte screen are not elements that you often see in low-cost Chromebooks. Plus, it packs 4GB of RAM, which aids when multitasking on a Chromebook. Coupled with the 1.6GHz Intel Celeron N3160 processor, it can handle all the things you can do on a Chromebook The Fundamental Advantages Of Using A Chromebook The Fundamental Advantages Of Using A Chromebook Chromebooks are highly divisive and a consensus about the merits of Google's offering is a long way from materialising. Here are the key advantages of using a Chromebook when compared to Windows and Macs. Read More .

Like with most Chromebooks, it also has a stellar battery life. Multiple reviewers also noted that the large keyboard and touchpad were a nice touch since most Chromebooks feel a bit cramped.

As always, you also get a bunch of freebies from Google, like 100GB of Google Drive space and unlimited music from Google Play. And remember, Chrome OS now supports Android apps 12 Android Apps You Need to Install on Chromebook 12 Android Apps You Need to Install on Chromebook With the Google Play store about to come to our fingertips, the power of an incredible number of apps is about to reach Chrome OS. So what will we install first? Let's see. Read More .

Acer Chromebook 14, Aluminum, 14-inch Full HD, Intel Celeron Quad-Core N3160, 4GB LPDDR3, 32GB, Chrome, CB3-431-C5FM Acer Chromebook 14, Aluminum, 14-inch Full HD, Intel Celeron Quad-Core N3160, 4GB LPDDR3, 32GB, Chrome, CB3-431-C5FM Intel Celeron N3160 Quad-Core Processor 1.6GHz (Up to 2.24GHz) Buy Now At Amazon $281.10

Best Gaming Laptop: Acer Aspire E15 E5-575G-52RJ ($510)

It’s no secret that a gaming laptop will always be inferior to a gaming PC. PC games won’t work at full resolution and in all their glory on your notebook, but the Acer Aspire E5-575G is a good enough experience for casual gamers.

 

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Powered by a 2GB Nvidia GeForce 940MX discrete graphics card, it will be able to play most games released in the recent past. Reviewers even tried out GTA V and found that it worked fine at “Medium” graphics settings. You might still want to try some tricks to improve gaming performance on laptops 5 Ways To Improve Gaming Performance on Your Laptop 5 Ways To Improve Gaming Performance on Your Laptop Read More .

The E5-575G comes equipped with a 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-6200U 6th generation processor, 8GB DDR4 RAM, and a 1TB hard drive. You can even add more RAM to your laptop to make it 16GB. A 15.6-inch Full HD screen caters to your viewing needs. And it’s preloaded with Windows 10 and all its gaming delights.

Naturally, the laptop is quite heavy, and battery life isn’t excellent. But those are to be expected when you want a gaming laptop.

Newegg has the best price for this one at $510, and we’d recommend spending those extra ten bucks over our prescribed budget. If you can afford $50 more, then Amazon has a model with a 256GB SSD for $550, which will probably give you better battery life and faster performance.

Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575G-53VG Laptop, 15.6 Full HD (Intel Core i5, NVIDIA 940MX, 8GB DDR4, 256GB SSD, Windows 10) Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575G-53VG Laptop, 15.6 Full HD (Intel Core i5, NVIDIA 940MX, 8GB DDR4, 256GB SSD, Windows 10) 6th Generation Intel Core i5-6200U Processor (Up to 2.8GHz) Buy Now At Amazon $547.96

Which Laptop Looks Best To You?

After recently looking at the best sub-$1000 laptops in 2016, I didn’t expect to get such a bounty of excellent laptops for less than $500. If I were choosing among these, I’d want to buy the Asus VivoBook E403SA. That killer battery life and the matte screen are instant sellers for me.

Which of these notebooks would you buy? Do you think the specifications here are enough or would you rather extend your budget a little to grab something better?

  1. FileEagle.com Chris
    August 19, 2016 at 2:14 am

    Oh, Dell is not in your list. I used Dell laptop in many years, it's always stable and fast.

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