Top 5 Best Laptops Under $500 2022


If you're shopping for a laptop on a budget, you can find some great options for under $500. Many laptops in this price range are available with the same CPUs that we see in more premium models, but they compromise on a few features to bring the price down. The recommendations in this article consist mainly of productivity and media consumption devices like Chromebooks and Windows laptops because gaming laptops and Apple MacBooks are typically much more expensive. The list is short for now, but it'll grow as we review more laptops.

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5. Acer Chromebook Spin 713



The Acer Chromebook Spin 713  is a well-built, foldable 2-in-1 touchscreen laptop running Chrome OS. Its body is made of plastic and metal and is lightweight and portable enough to easily bring around with you. The battery lasts an entire day of school or work or through quite a few feature-length films, so you can work or binge without needing to plug in. The screen displays vibrant colors, gets bright enough for use in well-lit environments, and has a tall 3:2 aspect ratio that provides more vertical room so that you don't need to scroll as often. Also, the keyboard feels good to type on, with a lot of travel, and shouldn't cause strain over extended periods. Unfortunately, its webcam and microphone don't make you look or sound your best in conference calls, and although the speakers sound decent, they don't get very loud.

Our model has a dual-core Intel Core i3-10110U CPU, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of eMMC storage. You can get it with the more power-efficient Pentium Gold 6405U CPU or the more powerful quad-core i5-10210U or i7-10510U CPUs which are significantly better for multitasking. You can also equip it with up to 16GB of RAM, up to 128GB of eMMC storage, or either a 128GB or 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD. The highest-end options are overkill when running tasks on a lightweight OS like Chrome OS, although the extra overhead might be helpful when running demanding Linux apps. If you only need a laptop for light productivity tasks, the Pentium Gold variants are more than enough for typical everyday use, and we expect them to get longer battery life.

The Acer Chromebook Spin 713 is decent for business use. Its keyboard is quiet and comfortable to type on and shouldn't cause strain over long periods. It has a metal top frame that feels well built, yet it feels impressively light and portable. The battery lasts through a full workday, so you won't need to bring a charger. Also, there are enough ports to use wired peripherals and connect to an external display. Unfortunately, the webcam and microphone are only alright, so you might not look and sound true to life in business meetings. While the laptop has sub-par performance in benchmarks, it's still smooth and responsive because of the lightweight nature of Chrome OS.

PROS

  • Battery lasts a full day of productivity.
  • Keyboard feels comfortable and won't cause fatigue.
  • Enough ports for an external display and a wired accessory.

CONS

  • Webcam and microphone don't have the best quality.
  • Drag and drop gesture is occasionally interrupted.
  • No serviceable parts.

4. Lenovo Chromebook C340 15




The Lenovo Chromebook C340 15 is a 2-in-1 convertible laptop with a 360-degree hinge. It has a thin profile that makes it portable, and it feels impressively well-built, with a finish that doesn't scratch easily. Its battery life is outstanding, lasting over twelve hours of light productivity and nearly eight hours of video playback. The keyboard feels great to type on for extended periods, and although the touchpad is small, it's responsive to all movements and gestures. As it's a Chrome OS device with a low-power Intel CPU, it can only handle simple tasks like web browsing and media consumption, so it isn't ideal for any demanding workloads like video editing or 3D animation. Unfortunately, the display looks washed out and doesn't get bright enough to combat glare. Also, the webcam's image looks dim, and audio through the microphone sounds staticky.




Our Lenovo C340 15 has an Intel Core i3-8130U CPU with Intel UHD Graphics 620, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. There are models equipped with an Intel Pentium Gold 4417U, which we expect will be slightly slower, though not significantly. The memory isn't configurable, but you can choose between 32GB or 64GB of storage (in North America).



The Lenovo Chromebook C340 is good for school use. It's a well-built laptop that's easy to carry around thanks to its thin profile, and it has a battery that lasts easily through a typical school day with plenty of charge to spare. The keyboard feels great to type on, and the touchpad is responsive to all movements and gestures even though it's a bit small. Its Intel CPU is powerful enough to handle general productivity tasks like web browsing and text formatting. However, it isn't ideal for demanding workloads, which might disappoint students in more technical fields like 3D animation or engineering.

PROS

  • Battery lasts easily through a typical 8-hour day with plenty to spare.
  • Portable due to thin profile.
  • Impressive build quality for a laptop in its class.
  • Comfortable keyboard and responsive touchpad.

CONS

  • Screen doesn't get bright enough to combat glare.
  • CPU and integrated GPU aren't powerful enough for demanding workloads.
  • Webcam video looks underexposed and lacks fine details.

3. Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5




The Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 is a 2-in-1 convertible laptop with a detachable keyboard and a kickstand built into the back cover. It's thin and lightweight, making it easy to carry around, and its battery lasts easily over ten hours of light productivity and seven hours of video playback. Its 13.3 inch screen is sharp and colorful, and like all OLEDs, it displays deep, inky blacks. The speakers get reasonably loud, but they lack bass and sound slightly unnatural. The webcam's video quality is excellent, though, and the microphone sounds loud and clear with only a bit of static in the background. Unfortunately, the keyboard feels cramped, and the touchpad doesn't track all that well. Also, it only has two USB-C ports and no 3.5mm headphone jack. Its ARM-based Qualcomm Snapdragon SoC (System on a Chip) can handle simple tasks like web browsing and text formatting; however, it isn't ideal for heavy workloads like photo or video editing.



Our Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon SC7180 SoC, Qualcomm Adreno 618 integrated graphics, 4GB of memory, and 64GB of storage. The SoC isn't configurable. 4GB of RAM is enough if you only perform light tasks like media consumption and web browsing, but if you tend to have many tabs or applications running simultaneously, it's best to get 8GB for the extra headroom.



The Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 is great for media consumption. It's a very portable device, and its battery lasts well over seven hours of video playback, enough to get through a couple of full-length movies. It has an OLED panel that displays a sharp image with deep, inky blacks, making it a fantastic choice for dark room viewing. The speakers get reasonably loud, but they sound a bit unnatural. Unfortunately, there's no 3.5mm headphone jack, and there isn't a USB-C audio adapter in the box, so you have to use wireless headphones or a third-party adapter. Also, it can't play any HDR content even though it has wide gamut support.

PROS

  • OLED panel displays inky blacks.
  • Very portable thanks to thin and light design.
  • Battery lasts over seven hours of video playback.
  • Perfect black uniformity is great dark room viewing.

CONS

  • Speakers sound slightly unnatural.
  • No 3.5mm headphone jack.
  • Can't play HDR content.

2. Microsoft Surface Go 2





The Microsoft Surface Go 2 is a 10.5 inch Windows tablet with a detachable keyboard. It feels solid and well built, with an incredibly stable kickstand. The screen is bright and sharp and has full sRGB coverage, and its 3:2 aspect ratio gives you more vertical space than a typical 16:9 display. It has an excellent 1080p webcam and a crisp, clear microphone, decent-sounding speakers, and it stays completely silent. Unfortunately, its performance in games is terrible, and since there's only a single USB-C port, you need to use a dongle for multiple wired peripherals. The battery life is mediocre, especially for a device meant for use on the go, so you need to bring a charger if you intend to perform even moderately demanding tasks. None of the available models are suited for running processor- or graphic-intensive programs.



There are two main configurations of this laptop. The lower-end models use the Intel Pentium Gold 4425Y dual-core processor, with either 4GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage or 8GB of RAM and a faster 128GB SSD. The two higher-end models use the dual-core Intel Core m3-8100Y with a significantly higher boost clock speed, which will run programs and older games faster and smoother. You can choose between a Wi-Fi-only option and one with LTE connectivity that lets you easily stay connected. The Type Cover keyboard and Surface Pen come in a variety of colors and are sold separately.



The Microsoft Surface Go 2 is a decent laptop for school use, with a very portable, lightweight build and a battery that lasts more than 8 hours for light productivity tasks. The tall, 3:2 aspect ratio screen gets bright enough to use in very well-lit environments, and the webcam and microphone are excellent. The keyboard feels good to type on, and although the touchpad is a bit small, it tracks alright. You can also use the Microsoft Surface Pen to take notes directly on the screen. Unfortunately, the laptop might slow down if you have many tabs open since it only has a dual-core CPU with no boost clocking.

PROS

  • Very well built, lightweight, and portable.
  • Type Cover keyboard is thin but feels good to type on.
  • Excellent webcam and microphone.

CONS

  • Only one USB-C port.
  • Intel Pentium Gold 4425Y might hang in some programs.
  • Touchpad is a bit small.

1. Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15



The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 is a basic Windows laptop available with AMD Ryzen 5000-series processors. It feels well-built even though it's mostly plastic, and it's easy to carry around thanks to its thin and light design. It has good battery life, lasting over 9 hours of light productivity and nearly 8 hours of video playback. The display gets bright enough for use in most settings, but its narrow color gamut makes most content appear washed out, so it isn't ideal for work that requires perfect image accuracy. The webcam's video quality is decent, the touchpad tracks reasonably well, and the keyboard has well-spaced keys but can be tiring to type on over time. Its Ryzen 5 5300U CPU provides a smooth experience in light productivity workloads like text formatting, spreadsheets, and web browsing, and it can also handle some 3D rendering work as long as the material isn't overly complex. However, its integrated GPU isn't powerful enough for graphically demanding tasks like AAA gaming or video editing of high-resolution footage.



Our Lenovo IdeaPad 3 has an AMD Ryzen 5 5300U CPU, AMD Radeon RX Vega 6 integrated graphics, 8GB of memory, and 512GB of SSD storage. If you perform heavy multitasking or need to run lots of multi-threaded applications, you can upgrade the CPU to an AMD Ryzen 5 5500U or an AMD Ryzen 7 5700U. Unfortunately, there aren't any dedicated GPU options. While the memory is configurable, we recommend that most people get at least 8GB because the base 4GB option may cause slowdowns or stutters. We also recommend that most people get a model with an SSD only as the models with a 2.5 inch physical hard drive, or the space to add one, have a smaller 38Wh battery.



PROS

  • Easy to carry around due to thin and light design.
  • Battery lasts over 9 hours of light productivity.
  • Feels well-built.
  • Decent webcam video quality for video calls.
  • CPU can handle most light productivity tasks.

CONS

  • CPU and Integrated graphics can't handle demanding workloads like video editing or gaming.
  • Can't charge laptop via USB-C.
  • Keyboard can cause fatigue over an extended period.
  • Small touchpad makes dragging and dropping hard.