Best laptops under $500 – CBS News

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By Kaylyn McKenna
/ Essentials
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If you’re shopping for a new laptop in 2023, it can be hard to sort through all of the options — especially when you’re trying to spend under $500. To help, we’ve compiled a list of the best laptops of 2023 across different categories, budgets and needs. Explore this guide to find the laptop that is right for you.
Top products in this article
11.6″ Samsung Chromebook 4 (Intel Celeron Processor, 4GB RAM), $196 (reduced from $250) 
Asus Vivobook 15, $339 (reduced from $420)
Acer Aspire 5 Slim, $470 (reduced from $500)
Laptops are an essential part of our day-to-day life. Many people opt solely for a laptop rather than a desktop these days, due to their portability and functionality. While you won’t be able to score a new MacBook Air or MacBook Pro for less than $500, there are still a ton of affordable laptops to choose from, including gaming laptops, Windows laptops and affordable laptops for college students. To help you pick the right laptop for your needs and budget, we’ve compiled a list of the top budget laptop options.
Keep reading to explore the best laptops under $500 for 2023. 
Check out the latest models and best deals on laptops for business and productivity, all for under $500, below.
The Asus Vivobook 15 is a great budget business laptop. It offers an Intel core processor, backlit keyboard and a 16:9 aspect ratio.
“This laptop is an outstanding value for the price,” wrote one Amazon reviewer. “It has and i3 Intel processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD hard drive. Really, this is the perfect configuration for the average business user. The performance is excellent for what it is equipped with. The i3 Intel chip works a lot better than most people realize. Even running when streaming video, it does well.”
Asus Vivobook 15, $339 (reduced from $420)
This HP Pavilion laptop offers 16 GB of RAM, 1 TB SSD, a 15.6-inch and an intel core processor. These are great specs for a laptop under $500. The laptop also has a 4.4-star rating on Amazon.
15.6″ HP Pavilion laptop, $469
Microsoft Surface laptops can definitely run well over $500, but this Microsoft Surface Go 3 is an excellent budget option. The Surface Go 3 is a portable, yet powerful device that can be used as a tablet or laptop. The device features an Intel Pentium Gold processor, 4 GB of RAM and an 11-hour battery life.
You may want to consider adding on a compatible wireless keyboard ($34) to enjoy full laptop functionality.
Microsoft Surface Go 3, $400
This Lenovo Ideapad 1i has a 14-inch FHD display and Intel Celeron processor. It runs on the Windows 11 operating system. This affordable laptop is a great fit for professionals that need basic Microsoft Office capabilities or anyone looking for a solid laptop to surf the web or watch Netflix on.
14″ Lenovo Ideapad 1i, $129 (reduced from $375)
Finding a gaming laptop under $500 can be a bit tricky. Gaming laptops generally cost more than standard productivity laptops. We’ve compiled a few options to fit your gaming needs and budget.
The Acer Aspire 5 Slim features an AMD Ryzen 3 processor for fast and responsive gaming. It offers 12 GB DDR4 RAM and 512 GB SSD storage. If you’re looking for a budget laptop for photo and video editing, the Acer Aspire 5 Slim is also a solid choice as it offers a large screen, great Radeon graphics card and a fast processor that can handle editing and multi-tasking well.
Acer Aspire 5 Slim, $470 (reduced from $500)
The Lenovo IdeaPad 5i offers an Intel core i3 processor, 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage. It’s suitable for cloud gaming and offers a nice 15.6-inch screen for gameplay.
“If you are looking for a well-priced Chromebook, this is a great deal. It is meant for gaming and video, so it’s a little less portable, but it is great for its intended purpose. Using it for gaming, movies, emails, etc. is great. The full keyboard with 10-key keypad is a treat,” writes one Walmart reviewer.
Lenovo IdeaPad 5i cloud gaming laptop, $429
College students need portable, reliable laptops at a reasonable cost. Chromebooks are a popular choice for students for this reason. Check out our top picks for the best laptops for college students in 2023.
Are you hard on your laptops? This thin, light and powerful MacBook alternative for Windows users boasts military-grade durability.
This model features a 11.6-inch display, lightning-fast Wi-Fi connection speeds and up to 12 hours of battery life. It even features Google-supported, voice-based assistance.
11.6″ Samsung Chromebook 4 (Intel Celeron Processor, 4GB RAM), $196 (reduced from $250) 
Consider the Lenovo Flex 3i Chromebook that doubles as a touchscreen tablet. The Chromebook features natural finger-touch navigation, multicore processing, a built-in 720p webcam with microphone, a 4 GB system memory and a 32 GB eMMC flash memory.
Lenovo Flex 3i 2-in-1 Chromebook, $340 and up
This HP Chromebook features 4 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage, an 11.6-inch touchscreen and a fantastic price.
11.6″ HP Chromebook with touchscreen, $124 (reduced from $260)
The Acer Chromebook Spin is a versatile 2-in-1 laptop and tablet. It runs on Chrome OS and includes access to the Google Play store. The laptop 4 GB DDR4 RAM and 32GB of eMMC storage.
Acer Chromebook Spin, $178 (reduced from $290)
Not sure how to choose the best laptop for your needs and budget? Check out our budget laptop buying guide below to find answers to common laptop shopping questions.
How much the right laptop for you will cost varies based on your preferred operating system and what you plan to use the laptop for. A standard Windows productivity laptop may be available in the $700-$1,000 range, but there are still solid options for less than $500. Chromebooks, one of the best laptop options for college students, can be purchased for as low as $200. 
Users that just plan to use their laptops for email and web browsing may only need 4-8 GB of RAM and around 256 GB of storage. However, gamers, video editors and those who frequently download large files will need more. Creatives and gamers may want 512 GB to 1 TB of storage and 8-16GB of RAM, though that will generally increase the price of the laptop.
One of the top concerns with purchasing a budget laptop is what features or specs you may be missing out on. There are plenty of excellent laptops under $500, but you will have fewer options, particularly if you are looking for higher storage options, advanced gaming specs or video editing capabilities.
Kaylyn McKenna is an expert on deals, travel, luggage, home and more for CBS Essentials. When she’s not scouring the internet for the best deals on new luggage or robot vacuums, she spends time with her goldendoodle, Harley, our resident canine correspondent and dog treat expert.
First published on March 1, 2023 / 3:20 PM
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