Best Laptops Under $500

Digital Trends

Don’t tell the hordes swarming into the Apple Store every weekend, but the days of needing to spend over $1,000 to get a quality laptop passed by while most of them were still in high school. Even before netbooks came along sending manufacturers into a frenzy while chewing their own margins down to pennies just to compete, prices on Windows laptops were in a freefall, leaving today’s prices at rock bottom. With Windows 7 now standard, you won’t have to deal with Microsoft’s last dud of an operating system this year either. Just about any notebook under $500 will serve your most basic needs, but some inevitably do it a whole lot better than others. Here are some of our favorites.

Note: All prices reflect what you can find these notebooks for on the street or online, not necessarily MSRP.

Asus Eee PC Seashell 1201N-PU17, $483.41

Not all netbooks are built alike. Asus sets its Eee PC 1201N apart with some of the brawniest silicon to be planted in such a tiny package: a dual-core Intel Atom processor and Nvidia’s Ion graphics processor. Together, they give the 12.1-inch netbook pep above and beyond even some full-size notebooks in this price range, including the ability to run many modern games on the 1366 x 768 display. The dynamo GPU also makes the 1201N adept at 1080p video playback, which it can even pump out to a flat-screen TV via a standard HDMI port.

 

HP Pavilion dm1z Series, $449.99 and up.

HP's dm1z stacks up similar to the Lenovo X100e with an 11.6-inch screen and choice of AMD Neo processors, but you’ll get the faster Neo K125 CPU in the base price, a superior Radeon HD 4225 graphics chip that handles HD video, as well as more memory (2GB instead of 1GB) and hard drive space (320GB to 160GB). Specs don’t tell the whole story, since we find Lenovo’s build quality is hard to match, but the dm1z makes yet another excellent alternative for folks looking for a little more power than the average netbook supplies.

 

HP Mini 5102, $415

HP means business, quite literally, with this rare corporate-class entry in the netbook category. Although the guts look a lot like any other, HP has wrapped them in a sturdy magnesium chassis trimmed with aluminum, which looks, well, ready for the boardroom. It also gets the same drop protection as full-fledged business notebooks, an almost-full-size keyboard, and Corel Home Office preinstalled. (Yes, it's the poor man's Microsoft Office, but it will save you $150).

 

MSI X Slim X340-021US, $499.99

OK, it's a blatant rip-off of Apple's MacBook Air. But for a penny under $500, what's not to like? The X340 features the same rounded clamshell edges, 13.3-inch screen, and even a 0.78-inch thick profile that's only a hair away from the Air's 0.76 inches. Of course, you get a 1.4GHz Intel Core 2 Solo chip instead of a 1.86GHz Core 2 Duo, integrated Intel graphics instead of a Nvidia GeForce 9400M, and a glossy plastic body instead of an anondized alumimum unibody one. But hey, what do you expect for a third the price?

 

Sony Vaio W Series, $449.99

Looking for a netbook with some style? Sony’s Vaio W Series delivers with classy pink, blue and white finishes, along with a swank Billabong edition you can pick up for an extra $50. As with most devices bearing the Sony name, you’ll pay a little more for it than the generic equivalent, but a peppier 1.83GHz Intel Atom processor and large-capacity battery both come standard, negating some of the brand name price inflation.

 

Compaq Presario CQ62Z, $379.99

This spacious 15.6-inch machine offers the comfort of a notebook, with the price of a netbook. The AMD V Series CPU you’ll find on the base model won’t get out of its own way in a hurry, so we recommend dropping $30 to step up to a significantly faster Athlon II dual-core processor. As on the HP dm1z, ATI’s Radeon HD 4250 should make short work of HD video on the (admittedly low resolution) 1366 x 768 display, but won’t leave much headroom for gaming.

 

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • ‘Fame Can Change Things’: Aaron Rodgers’ Family Opens Up About Their Rift

      NFL star Aaron Rodgers’ father Ed Rodgers has opened up in a new interview with The New York Times about his family’s strained relationship with the Green Bay Packers quarterback. “With all the craziness that comes along with the media and the show, it would have been much harder to do it not living together,” Jordan said of moving in together.

      People
    • 'Fresh Off the Boat' Author Eddie Huang Responds to Steve Harvey's "Upsetting" Jokes About Asian Men

      "The one joke that still hurts, the sore spot that even my closest friends will press, the one stereotype that I still mistakenly believe at the most inopportune bedroom moments ... is that women don't want Asian men," he writes in an essay for The New York Times. Fresh Off the Boat author Eddie Huang is calling Steve Harvey's recent jokes about Asian men dating women of another race "upsetting." In an essay published by The New York Times, the author, chef and host of Viceland's Huang's World responded to Harvey's recent segment on his talk show that found the host cracking jokes about obscure, absurdly specific advice books that included Dating for Under a Dollar: 301 Ideas and How to Date

      The Hollywood Reporter q
    • Bryan Tanaka says it 'f*****g sucks' as Mariah Carey and James Packer get 'touchy feely' on TV show

      Bryan Tanaka received a "big reality check" as he spotted his girlfriend Mariah Carey and her former fiancé James Packer hitting it off on Sunday's episode of Mariah's World. According to E!News, Tanaka said it ''f*****g sucks'' after he spotted the former couple get ''touchy feely''. Australian business tycoon Packer appeared on the show to watch Carey's performance.

      International Business Times UK q
    • Eight men own same as poorest half of world: Oxfam

      Eight men own the same wealth as the poorest half of the world's population, a level of inequality which "threatens to pull our societies apart", Oxfam said on Monday ahead of the World Economic Forum opening in Davos. Picked from Forbes' billionaires list, they include Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg who co-founded Facebook, and Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon. Oxfam pointed to a link between the vast gap between rich and poor and growing discontent with mainstream politics around the world.

      AFP
    • Serena Williams Confirms: You Can Rock Sneakers with a Skirt (8 photos)

      Serena Williams is on top of her stylish athletic wear game. The tennis star not only reps sports bra brand Berlei , but also reminds us time and time again that she's fashionable both on and off the court. In fact, Williams recently shared a photo of her rocking a flouncy tulle skirt and Nike sneaks while posing with her new fiance, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. "Can't resist a strong shoe game," she wrote about the ensemble on Instagram. She hid the most buzzed about part of the photo, her engagement ring, with a taco emoji, so her black and white kicks were the center of attention. Can't resist a strong shoe game #nike A photo posted by Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) on Jan 6, 2017 at 4:48am PST This sporty yet dressy look caters towards those who just can't fathom wearing heels every day (especially if you suffer from bunions , flat feet , or other foot-related woes) but still want to look put-together. In honor of Williams's outfit, we've rounded up our favorite sneaks so you too can emulate the athlete's style--all you need now is a flouncy skirt fit for a princess and Williams-level confidence.

      InStyle
    • Dear Abby: Why take photos of my dead mom?

      DEAR ABBY: I am a 58-year-old female. My mother passed away in my home almost exactly a year ago. I took care of her for the last three years of her life. After she died, my brother and his wife came to my home at 1:30 p.m. The funeral home didn’t arrive to pick her up until 8:30 that night. Later that evening, after my mom was gone and my brother and his wife left, my daughter came to me and announced that my sister-in-law had secretly taken pictures of Mom in the body bag on the stretcher as she was being wheeled out of my home. She didn’t know that my daughter had seen her. I am furious, horrified and hurt beyond description! My mother always liked to look nice and made a special effort to

      Chicago Sun-Times q
    • The Latest: Trump promises health insurance for all

      WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President-elect Donald Trump (all times EST):

      Associated Press
    • Aly Raisman and Simone Biles Are Redefining the 2017 SI Swimsuit Issue

      After stunning the world at the Rio Olympics last Summer, gold-medal gymnasts Aly Raisman and Simone Biles are back and better than ever, continuing their pursuit of blowing our minds, this time on the cover of the 2017 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. The girls are taking the modeling world by storm, and we think they are the perfect candidates for this year's famed issue. "Aly and Simone represent all that is beautiful and strong and inspiring in women today," said MJ Day, SI Swimsuit Issue editor. "Women that are not only elite athletes, that are captivating and impressive in their own professional accomplishments (lots and lots of Olympic gold medals between them), but strikingly sexy and

      PopSugar q
    • Chargers admit mistake, drop new LA logo after criticism

      The Chargers have dropped their new LA logo, which bore an uncanny resemblance to that of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

      Omnisport
    • Inside Edition
    • Say What Now? Florida Man Arrested for Having Sex Over 100 Times with the Family Dog 'Baby Girl' | B. Scott

      23-year-old Bradley Jean Hubbard was arrested on Monday in Pensacola, Florida on claims he’s been having sex with the family dog for years. One of his own family members alerted the authorities saying she had physically seen Bradly take the pitbull mix, named ‘Baby Girl,’ to his room and engage in sexual contact with her. She estimates it’s been happening more than 100 times in the past years. The family member also says she witnessed the attack because Bradly’s bedroom door has a hole in it as a result of a previous violent outburst. via Pensacola News Journal: The witness said she heard the dog whimper and cry out in pain during each incident, and the behavior had become increasingly frequent

      B. Scott | lovebscott.com q
    • Aaron Rodgers' Father on Relationship with Son: ‘Fame Can Change Things’

      Ed Rodgers opens up about his relationship with sons Aaron and Jordan

      People
    • Ciara Posts Family Picture After Cheeky Move From Ex Future

      Singer Ciara just clapped back at her ex, Future, after the latter showed up during her husband Russell Wilson's game.

      International Business Times
    • Packers and Cowboys’ emotional postgame celebration gave way to hugs, heartache

      Green Bay was all smiles after hanging on to advance to the NFC title game. Sunday’s Packers-Cowboys Divisional playoff game was an elevator of emotion. Green Bay was all smiles while jumping out to a 21-3 lead, then a bundle of nervous energy as Dak Prescott looked nothing like a rookie leading Dallas to tie the game at 28- and 31-all.

      SB Nation q
    • Mariah Carey's Boy Toy Confronted With The Reality Of Mariah's Fiancé

      Mariah Carey’s very absent fiancé, James, made a very present appearance on Mariah’s World. After Mariah and company landed in Paris for her show, Mariah and James were going to finally able to get together for a dinner party. With Tanaka hobbling around the city of love on crutches due to a dancing injury, Mariah set out to get Tanaka some new clothes with the paparazzi in tow.

      Superfan TV
    • Police hunt for 'mystery visitors' as George Michael's family 'fear the worst'

      Police investigating the unexplained death of late singer George Michael wish to speak to a number of "mystery visitors" seen visiting the star during his final few days. The 53-year-old was allegedly found motionless in bed by boyfriend Fadi Fawaz, who has twice been questioned by police. The celebrity hairdresser claims he fell asleep in his car on Christmas Eve and so cannot explain what happened to Michael.

      International Business Times UK q
    • Trump Team May Move Press Briefing Room Out of White House: Priebus

      Trump's team may move press room to Executive Office Building next door.

      ABC News q
    • Tom Brady Trolled Houston With A Bizarre Cartoon After The Patriots Beat The Texans

      Tom Brady wants you to know he put the Houston Texans to sleep on Saturday night.

      UPROXX
    • Woman Abducted as a Baby Tearfully Pleads for Jailed Woman Who Raised Her

      Kamiyah Mobley, left, and Gloria Williams. Williams is accused of abducting Mobley when she was an infant, in Florida, and raising her in South Carolina. Kamiyah Mobley was abducted from a Jacksonville, Fla., hospital nearly two decades ago from her birth parents and raised in South Carolina under the name Alexis Manigo.

      Yahoo Beauty
    • Man Who Shot Wife Claimed She Killed Herself Over Body Image Issues

      Daniel Politte faces up to 99 years in jail after being found guilty of murdering his wife. His defense? That she was struggling with body image issues.

      Yahoo Style