Working through cheap Windows laptops and Chromebooks is a chore, especially if you need it now for work or distance learning. We’re here to help.
Finding Laptops Under $500or Chrome OS (also known as a .) ) has become more challenging as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced both office workers and students to start working from home. While we’re finally starting to get past – Work from home rush, even when PC and accessory sales boomed, there is still a huge demand for budget laptops and others .
Even though the demand is high, we urge you not to take any hasty decisions. There are a lot of cheap laptops that are just not worth it. But there are a few – we’re highlighting our picks for the best laptops under $500 to help you sort through the competition and find the one with the right features and hardware specifications for you.
think long term
As a general rule, resist buying out of frustration — for example, don’t spend $500 on a laptop because there isn’t a cheaper one available. Buying a laptop when you are in need can be like shopping for food when you are hungry. Even for a laptop, $500 can be a lot of money, and you can hold on to it for at least three years, if the figures that Intel and PC makers pinned on us are correct.
you can also. If you need something for a few months, explore potential places to buy a refurbished machine, and find nonprofit or educational discounts if you qualify. Also, if there’s something you really want in a laptop, like a touch screen, backlit keyboard or HDMI port, definitely look for something with that feature. If you don’t you will regret it.
If you doubt you’ll be holding on to your new laptop for a while, see if you can stretch your budget to buy a slightly more expensive laptop to accommodate a processor with a little more memory or a processor with more cores. , otherwise you were considering. If you haven’t thought about it, look at AMD Ryzen processors as an alternative to Intel Core.
Even better, if you’re comfortable with that, think about an affordable laptop with a replaceable battery, or upgradeable memory, graphics card and storage, or all of the above. In addition, you. Remember to consider whether a lightweight laptop with good battery life will be important to you in the future.
You can always add an external drive or two (or five, if you’re mine) at some point down the road. But if your internal storage is the type of slow-rotating hard drive that comes in a lot of cheap laptop models, even faster external storage isn’t likely to help speed up the loading of Windows or applications. (You can often set the system to boot from an external solid-state drive if necessary.)
You may see references to “Intel Optane” in conjunction with a slow (5,400rpm) spinning hard drive; Optane is fast solid-state memory that serves as a temporary storage space for frequently accessed files on a hard drive to speed things up. It helps, but not as much as an SSD drive.
And finally, if you’re replacing an older Windows laptop that no longer runs Windows,.
You can get a lot out of a budget laptop model as long as it comes to options and specifications, including good battery life and a reasonably lightweight laptop.
One bright spot is that you don’t need to settle for a traditional clamshell laptop with a fixed display and keyboard., which has a screen that flips around to turn the screen into a tablet, to position it for comfortable streaming or to make a presentation. Keep in mind that all convertibles have a touch screen, a prerequisite for tablet operation, and many support stylus (aka “pen”) for handwritten and sketched input. However, don’t assume that there’s a stylus included with it.
One thing you won’t find at these prices: aOr any other Apple laptop. even a The tablet will run you over $500 once you buy an optional keyboard (though it might work out less if you look for a tablet or keyboard on sale), which is well above our budget here. a With a cheap Bluetooth keyboard and a cheap stand for the iPad, though, that might suffice.
You’ll see a lot of cheap laptops listed as upcoming, a stripped-down and locked-down version of the operating system intended for use by schools — this allows you to install applications only from the Windows Store, forcing you to use And it includes a subset of the administrative tools in Windows 10 Pro. However, you can upgrade to the full version for free.
easy to find cheapCompared to Windows laptops, this is one of the most popular categories of budget laptops on the market, though we’re also seeing a lot more Chromebooks in the $500-to-$1,000 range. That’s because Google’s Chrome OS isn’t nearly as power-hungry as Windows (see specs), so you can get by with a lower-end processor, slower storage, and less screen resolution or memory — just a few components that laptops can use. Make it expensive
But the flip side is that while Chrome OS isn’t as power-hungry as Windows, Chrome and Google apps are unfortunately more memory hogs than you’d expect, and if you go too low with the processor or skimp on memory, the system Will still feel slow. Chrome OS is also a vastly different experience from Windows; Make sure the Chrome app is among the apps you need before making the leap.
Since they’re cloud-first devices, though, you don’t need a lot of storage. This also means that if you spend most of your time surfing the web, writing, streaming videos or playing Android games, they are a good fit. If you want to play Android games, make sure you get a touchscreen laptop model.
For a cheap gaming laptop, though, you’ll still have to break the $500 ceiling to support most games. The least expensive budget laptops suitable for a solid gaming performance experience — even those with moderately powerful discrete graphics processors — will run you closer to $700. here are our.
However, if you prefer to live on the bleeding edge, cloud gaming services likeand Will let you play games on laptops with specs under $500.
Features to keep in mind Spec
While Chromebooks can run Chrome OS-specific and Android apps, some require the full Windows operating system to run heavy applications such as video editing suites. With that comes the need for a faster processor with more cores, more memory – 8GB is the bare minimum – and more storage for applications and operating systems. A lot of these have 4GB or 6GB, which in conjunction with a spinning hard disk can make for a frustratingly slow Windows experience as well.
- I see that a lot of Windows laptops in this range use AMD Athlon and lower-end A Series and Intel Celeron processors to hit the low price. I really don’t recommend going with a Ryzen instead of a Core or an Athlon instead of a Celeron: Windows is too heavy for them, and in combination with 4GB of memory having so many of them, you’ll find them very slow. can be the best.
- Because of their low prices, 11-inch Chromebooks are attractive. But we don’t recommend that size for any but the youngest students. And for distance learning, 11 inches can be really tight if you’re going to be looking at both screens over and over again.
- SSDs can make a big difference in how much faster Windows performance feels compared to a spinning hard disk, but they also drive up the price. So if your budget can stretch a bit and you want more storage, you can consider stepping up from the base storage options to a 128GB SSD.
- In the budget price range you have to watch out for screen terminology when it comes to specs: an “HD” screen…