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Best laptops under $500 for every type of person

Best laptops under $500

Whether you're working, gaming, streaming or just browsing, a laptop is a necessary part of daily life for most people. While the most powerful models may have a high cost, there is no shortage of new and versatile machines for those on a budget.

While most laptops under $500 will lack impressive core power and graphics, there are plenty of options for those seeking efficiency, portability and convenience. These can stream your favorite shows while in bed, keep you working smoothly at home and allow you to collaborate with classmates and colleagues while on the go. 

What to expect when purchasing a laptop for under $500

Laptops in this price range feature either Chrome OS or Windows. The former is a budget-friendly operating system designed by Google that lowers the price by requiring users to stay connected and use online Google programs, like Docs, Sheets and the Play Store. Windows is a popular operating system that integrates Microsoft programs and allows for easy usage both online and offline. Storage will vary greatly but can be supplemented with an external drive, while there will be sufficient RAM in most models for moderate multitasking.

This range does not feature any MacBooks, nor does it include any high-end gaming laptops that feature the newest graphics cards and fastest processors. Most laptops in this group feature a display size between 11 inches and 15 inches with HD resolution. The type and number of ports will vary, allowing you to hook up a variety of devices as needed. Weight, thickness and battery life will also vary, though most in this range are designed to allow for easy portability.

The best laptops under $500

For the student abroad

HP Chromebook 14 Laptop

Fast and light, this Chromebook comes in at a terrific price, making it ideal for a young student or someone who needs a reliable and versatile machine away from home. It features a quality processor that allows for casual gaming, streaming movies, playing music and of course getting work done. A wide-angle HD camera and sensitive microphone also allow for staying connected with friends and family.

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For the Windows fan

Acer Aspire 5

Most budget-friendly laptops feature ChromeOS, but this new, slim model by Acer provides portability and an array of convenient features through Windows. Thin bezels complement the sizable screen for an immersive viewing experience, and there is plenty of power for multitasking, whether browsing, streaming or working. The battery is on the shorter side, but multiple inputs welcome an elaborate home setup.

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For the high schooler

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 4

One of the cheapest laptops on the list, this compact Samsung model offers reliability, ideal for a teen in need of something convenient and rugged. Provided you have an Internet connection wherever you are so you can access the features of ChromeOS, this laptop is terrific for moving around at home or school. The small screen allows for intimate viewing, while its impressive construction can stand up to drops and bumps.

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For the collaborator

Lenovo IdeaPad 3

As the name suggests, the IdeaPad is about taking your plans and creative notions and making them a reality. Quality graphics, a fast processor and a 180-degree hinge welcome those users who want to experiment and share. It also features thin bezels and impressive sound for streaming content.

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For the casual gamer

HP Pavilion 15.6-inch Laptop

The Pavillion line of gaming computers from Hewlett Packard welcomes casual gamers and budget-friendly shoppers to virtual worlds. While the model isn’t ideal for serious competitions in online realms, it’s terrific for solo campaigns and leisure gaming while still offering lush graphics and quick response times. Both RAM and storage can be upgraded to keep this within the budget as well.

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For the streamer

Acer Chromebook 315

For those in sync with Google programs, this well-priced Chromebook by Acer offers immense convenience at a low price. A lengthy battery life, lightweight design and quick start-up are especially convenient. Quality graphics and 3D audio welcome those who want to stream their favorite content without having to hook up to any accessories.

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For the multitasker

Dell Inspiron 3000

While this laptop by Dell approaches the budget limit, it's packed with enough RAM at 8GB and 128SSD of storage that typically comes at higher price points. An HDMI input and a trio of USB ports welcome devices to create an efficient home workstation. It also boasts a worthy HD webcam and quality microphone to connect online with others.

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For the budget-conscious

Lenovo Chromebook S330

Simple yet solid, this Chromebook by Lenovo integrates your Google docs and programs through Chrome OS and offers convenience at a low price. Its slim design and lightweight construction make it easy for travel, while the lengthy battery and quick start-up help maintain efficiency. Powerful WiFi and Bluetooth will keep you connected.

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For the at-home worker

ASUS VivoBook 15

A backlit and ergonomic keyboard is among the many convenient features of this well-priced laptop that is designed for those who need comfort and convenience for long hours of work. A variety of ports, including USB 3.2, optimize connectivity and a home setup. When you’re ready to move around, the lightweight build makes it easy to move from the desk to the couch, patio or wherever you want to set up shop.

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For the generalist

HP Stream 14-Inch Touchscreen

This versatile HP model is ideal for those seeking a laptop for a variety of functions, from word processing to streaming entertainment, whether at home or on the road. The 14-inch screen provides a quality display, while a lengthy 14-hour battery life allows you to operate wherever you desire. The touchscreen increases usage while a powerful WiFi connection offers reliability.

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For the tablet lover

Acer Chromebook Spin 311

This highly efficient and compact convertible device functions as both a laptop and a tablet, allowing you to personalize operation to your needs. It runs on Google OS, so an online connection is needed for most activities, but it boots up quickly and offers convenient usage for work, school and play.

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For the mobile worker


ASUS is known for its thin laptops, and this stylish model is no exception. Less than an inch thick and under three pounds, it’s ideal for those who need a laptop on the go. A 180-degree hinge allows the laptop to lay flat for sharing content, while the touchpad converts to a number pad at the push of a button. It runs quiet too.

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For the whole family

Dell Chromebook 11.6 Touch

This durably-constructed Chromebook is made to offer reliability while standing up to the unpredictability of any active home. Ports are covered and designed to withstand frequent connecting and disconnecting, while the keyboard is made to resist spills and intense typing that can come from younger users. The touch screen makes for convenient usage for all ages, as does the rigorously tested 180-degree hinge.

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Anthony Marcusa writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.