The 6 (real) Best Cheap Laptops 2019 Under 500$
After many hours of research and in-depth analysis of a dozen models, we have selected the 6 best cheap laptops (under the 500 $ mark) of the moment.
We strongly recommend the Acer Chromebook 514 (CB514-1HT-P1S7), a Chromebook with excellent hardware quality, very good mobility, and able to accompany you daily in your office tasks, even professionally.
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How did we choose?
The challenge, when you do not have a very high budget, is to find a cheap computer (say less than 500 €) but that is still good quality, not to be forced (e) to invest in again a year later.
Indeed, most often, to lower the price of a computer, the manufacturer makes sacrifices: average material quality, less power, bad screen display … To avoid falling on a computer of poor quality when you choose, Here are six things you need to pay attention to:
- The screen: good size and good screen quality are essential to use your computer in comfort. Admittedly, at a low price, it will not be the best, but it must be of sufficient quality to allow proper use. We recommend, if it is your only PC, to choose a screen of minimum 13 inches, with a resolution at least HD (and even Full HD from 14 inches), and having sufficient brightness and a correct colorimetry.
- Speed: a usual source of economy for manufacturers is the power of the computer, which directly influences the speed of navigation. This is why many cheap laptops are unfortunately very slow (at startup as in navigation). Not to mention that a slow computer gets older faster (the resources requested by the sites and computers being always more important). When buying, check if the computer is not only fast enough now, but also in a year or two.
- Balanced components: the choice of components (CPU, GPU, RAM) must, of course, depend on your needs, but, of course, you must not be too greedy under the 500 € mark (the computers offered here will only be suitable for use in office automation). But the important thing is that they are balanced (beware if a cheap PC integrates, for example, a very advanced processor: the GPU and the RAM will probably not be powerful enough to run it optimally).
- Sustainability: the durability of a computer passes not only by the internal quality of the computer (balanced components and sufficient power) but also by its material quality (hull material, number of moving parts, a sufficiently accessible fan that for is easily dusted, …) and its impact resistance.
- The keyboard and the touchpad: just as a good screen is important, a good keyboard and a good touchpad are essential to make your daily work easier. The keyboard must be durable and comfortable to hit, while the touchpad must be responsive enough to allow you to work without a mouse.
- Autonomy: batteries are definitely a point on which manufacturers love to save money. However, the interest of a laptop resides most often in its mobility. Unless you use your PC always at the same place and on the mains, it is, therefore, a factor that should not be neglected. The autonomy announced on a technical sheet is however often optimistic: do not hesitate to consult the specialized tests to realize the real autonomy of a computer.
Unfortunately, except if we turn resolutely to the Chromebooks, the offer of quality cheap laptops under the $ 500 mark is quite meager. A first survey has allowed us to find only a dozen models that seem to meet our criteria.
To decide between them, we screened not only the specialized tests but also a multitude of user opinions collected on various sales sites, dedicated sites or blogs related to the computer field, English-speaking and French-speaking.
This brings us to present the following 6 cheap laptops as the most interesting on the market.
The best cheap laptops
In this first section, we focused on the models offered for less than 400 $.
Admittedly, in this budget, they will not be the best performers in the market, but the two selected models largely hold the road, offering a pleasant combination of material quality, ergonomics, and durability.
Asus Chromebook C423NA-DH02: The Vest Very Inexpensive
The first model we present is a Chromebook. These are PC running Chrome OS, a free open operating system, which allows manufacturers to offer their machines excellent material quality without feeling on the final price. Optimized to work quickly, both on the ignition and during surfing, they are ideal tools for office automation.
And if Asus laptops are often distinguished by their quality on Windows, it is the same with their Chromebooks, often among the most elegant on the market, without sacrificing anything to their capabilities. This model stands out as much for the quality of its aluminum construction as for its finesse.
On the other hand, its small price has a reverse: it has only one HD display, which is a little bit, on a 14-inch screen, especially in 2019. The display is nevertheless very correct, with colorimetry and brightness rather well mastered.
It also has the advantage of 180 ° hinges, allowing to open flat, which strengthens its resistance (there is less risk of opening it too quickly and thus damage it) and is convenient to share the screen with another person.
Note that for additional investment, you can get a version with the same features, but a touch screen, making better use of 180 ° hinges.
The components, if they can be confusing with a Windows PC, are very good for a Chromebook at this price: Intel Celeron N3350 processor, 4 GB of RAM, 32 GB of memory, expandable via microSD. Note, again, that for a budget a little higher but still reasonable, you can get the version with Pentium N4200 processor, which allows a task processing office a little faster.
Users also report that its keyboard is very pleasant to use and that the touchpad is responsive. This, combined with its pleasant autonomy of 10 hours and its small weight of 1.3 kg, makes it a very popular low-cost Chromebook.
In the end, if you’re not put off by the Chromebook experience, it’s definitely the best laptop on the market at this price. Admittedly, it will make a concession on the Full HD display, but it is not unacceptable if you do not use it only for watching movies.
Lenovo Ideapad 120S-14IAP: The Vesy Cheap Alternative
If, because of their very design philosophy, most good cheap computers are Chromebooks, they are not made for everyone. So we wanted to present you every time alternatives on Windows, and we must admit that PC signed Lenovo amazed us with its quality/price ratio.
For a PC offered at this price, it has a rather elegant design, and it even wears a coating designed to withstand small shocks, without exceeding 1.4 kg.
Let’s say it immediately, it suffers from the same flaw as the previous Chromebook, namely that it offers a 14-inch HD screen, but whose display, again is quite correct.
In this version, it displays a Celeron N3350 processor, and 4 GB of RAM. This makes it perfect for occasional surfing, but do not expect a monster of power and speed. An alternative is however offered at a price a little higher but still reasonable, with a slightly more powerful processor and hinges 180 °.
On the other hand, the memory of 64 GB, if it is amply sufficient for a Chromebook, is a bit fair for a Windows PC. Fortunately, it comes with a microSD port allowing you to easily expand the capacity.
Also note that this PC is provided by default with Windows 10 S, a restrained version of Windows, which only allows you to download to the Windows Store. However, it is now possible to exit this mode .
Finally, it should be noted that, if this PC has imposed on us among the low prices, it is because, in addition to its material quality, it is very poor in bloatware that is usually found on Windows PCs.
That is to say? On any Windows computer, you have a series of preinstalled software from partner companies that automatically start up when the computer starts, taking up space and slowing it down unnecessarily. Here, Lenovo has chosen to best scan the 120S, which has almost the official applications Lenovo (McAfee LiveSafe and Microsoft Office excepted). The result is a PC a little more fluid, and with which we are less easily distracted by various tabs that appear impromptu.
In the end, with its affordable price, its correct autonomy (7 hours), its transportability, … It presents pretty much everything you need from a cheap laptop.
The best cheap laptops
In this second section dedicated to PCs available between 300 and 500$, the selected models are distinguished from the previous ones mainly because of their screen, the first providing a Full HD display and the second being tactile and reversible tablet.
Acer Swift 1: The Best Cheap
Among the attempts made by Microsoft to prevent Chromebooks from nibbling more and more market share, one of the most successful is Acer’s Swift range.
And this time, lovers of beautiful large-quality images will be delighted, since it is a 14-inch Full HD screen. It is, therefore, an ideal companion if you like to watch movies on your PC.
Its design is the most classic among Acer Windows PCs. The chassis, however, seems of quality and no game is never felt at the hinges.
Side components, it is equipped, this time, an Intel Pentium N5000 processor, 4 GB of RAM, and 64 GB of memory. That’s where it stuck because, if a small memory is no problem on a Chromebook (your files stored directly in the cloud) on a Windows PC, this is quickly binding, especially as no SD port n is here proposed.
Fortunately, it is also rather well-provided connectivity level, and you can easily connect an external hard drive: 1 HDMI port, 1 USB 2.0 port, 2 USB 3.0 ports, 1 USB-C and 1 jack 3.5 mm.
Another point where it also stuck is on the side of its autonomy: 5 hours. It’s honorable for Windows, but ridiculous compared to the rest of our selection. On the other hand, its lightweight of 1.3 kg is very practical to take it everywhere.
Of course, you can not expect incredible performance from this laptop, but it is still able to launch many tabs simultaneously and run a few light applications without worry.
It is a PC definitely enough for standard use: you can browse the Internet, do the office, check emails without worry. But it soon reveals its limits when it comes to making more use, and is definitely slower than its competitors Chromebook.
Nevertheless, the overall result is more than satisfactory given its price. It is among the cheapest in the Windows domain, without sacrificing much to the quality of other components (if not the autonomy and internal memory, so).
HP Chromebook x360: The Cheap Alternative
Released on the market in the fall of 2018, the HP x360 is one of the best value for money in low budget Chromebooks.
Note, however, that this is an 11.6-inch model. So it can be insufficient on a daily basis if it’s your only PC!
Design side, it is not the most elegant of Chromebooks, with its white plastic. It is nevertheless resistant and that allows him to reach only 1.25 kg.
The screen edges, they are a bit wide. Nevertheless, this is probably a brand bias because of the 360 ° hinges that allow to use this Chromebook as a tablet. Indeed, its screen is touch.
It also has a HD resolution, but it’s more than enough for this screen size. The display quality is also very good for a PC of this size.
At the level of its components, it offers a lot of similarities with the Asus Chromebook seen above: Intel Celeron N3350 processor, 4 GB of RAM and, this time, 64 GB of internal memory, expandable via microSD.
If a problem usually encountered on computers 11 inches is the little space reserved for the keyboard, it has keys of a correct size and spaced enough to provide excellent typing comfort even for a long time. The only flaw, at this level, is the lack of backlight.
Finally, if the manufacturer announces an autonomy of 1:45 pm (it’s accurate!), Users report that, in fact, it is closer to 11 hours, which is already excellent.
In the end, this Chromebook has excellent value for money and can seduce you with its versatility, since it also perfectly fulfills the function of a tablet. Its size can still put you off if it’s your only PC, and that’s why it could not take first place in this section. Because in terms of performance, it is at least equivalent to Acer Swift 1!
The best mid-range notebooks
In this last category, we are approaching the “fateful” bar of 500 €.
The two selected PCs nevertheless have the advantage, in addition to their increased material quality, of being equally effective in the context of professional use, particularly in terms of multitasking management and thanks to their increased speed.
Acer Chromebook 514: The Best Midrange
Acer is one of the builders to have earned a reputation for excellence in Chromebooks, again proving its model 514, whose quality makes it flirt with the high-end Chromebooks, for an investment reasonable.
Hardware quality and design are at the rendezvous, with a PC that looks like MacBook Air. Its only design flaw is the placement of the speakers at the bottom of the PC, which stifles the sound a bit.
This time, not only the 14-inch screen is Full HD, but it is also touch-sensitive. Its anti-reflective coating is also very effective, and even allows use in a very sunny room. On the other hand, we must admit that its colorimetry is not the most faithful: a little dull, the colors lack of shine.
Ergonomics side, we have a comfortable backlit keyboard, well spaced keys, with a sufficiently large wrist rest area. The touch pad, meanwhile, is a very responsive Corning Gorilla Glass.
In terms of performance, they are located one step above the previous models: Intel Pentium N4200 processor, 8 GB of RAM and 32 GB of memory expandable via microSD. This makes it not only a portable PC that performs well in office automation, but also in multitasking, which makes it very easy to use in a professional environment.
Its autonomy, finally, is amazing for a computer to 1080p: you can count on nearly a dozen hours of use before having to reload! It is a very mobile computer, from the top of its 1.4 kg!
Ultimately, here’s a solid, visually attractive, powerful and enduring Chromebook, which will prove very practical in everyday life, even for professional use. And if this model interests you but you do not need a configuration so pushed, know that there is also a 4GB version of RAM, at a great price.
Acer Swift 3: The Mid-Range Alternative
So we finish our selection with another model from the Acer Swift range, the Swift 3, which is again distinguished by the material quality offered at this price.
It offers an aluminum frame and very elaborate finishes, rarely available in this price range on Windows.
This is again a 14-inch Full HD screen, which offers both a panel of sufficient brightness and a good overall color rendition, even if this is not the most faithful.
Its keyboard is well balanced in terms of the distribution of keys as responsiveness and comfort typing. And if the first models were not backlit, they are now.
With its Intel Core i3 8145U (8th generation, which increases the speed of 10% compared to the 7th generation), its 4 GB of RAM and its 256 GB SSD, it is a computer largely capable of supporting any task office.
It is also quite well equipped, with its SD drive, 2 USB 3.0 ports, USB 2.0 port, USB-C port, HDMI port and headphone jack.
Finally, it is not outdone mobility level, since it weighs only 1.5 kg and its range can reach 9 to 10 hours (the “U” at the end of its processor number tells you: it is a model designed to optimize its performance).
In the end, this is an excellent Windows option for any user who needs a very functional desktop PC, fast (although it will be less than a Chromebook) and having a good quality of manufacturing. If there is a low price model that we recommend for Windows, that’s it.
Acer Chromebook 11 N7 (C732T-C9HM): on the side of low-priced Chromebooks, this model is ideal for use by a child, with its reinforced hull resistant to falls (up to 1.22 m) and splash ( up to 330 ml). It also has a touch screen HD and reversible 180 °, but its size of 11.6 “the limit for daily use, especially if it is your only PC.
Acer Chromebook 11 (CB311-8HT): this Chromebook has a very worked design, smooth navigation even multitasking and excellent value for money. Nevertheless, its 11.6-inch screen limits it a little every day, especially if it is your only PC.
Asus Vivobook (E406MA-BV106T): Among the cheap Windows PCs, this Asus model is a very nice option. Its components (Pentium N5000 processor, 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB SSD) make it rather fast, its HD screen is well calibrated and its backlit keyboard is comfortable. Nevertheless, he struggles a bit with the multitasking
Toshiba Satellite Pro R50-C-14G: here is an option (Windows) big screen and small price that could suit you if you are looking for a simple model both in terms of its use and aesthetic level. With its 15.6 “screen, 1.6 GHz Celeron processor, 4 GB RAM, it is a very affordable PC for basic use. But again, it’s an HD display, which can be frustrating if you like to watch movies.
In conclusion, which cheap laptop to choose?
We particularly recommend the Acer Chromebook 514 (CB514-1HT-P1S7), a Chrome OS PC with excellent value for money. If its colorimetry is not perfect, it also displays a remarkable material quality, a screen readable almost in all circumstances, great performance in office, and can even be widely used in the professional setting.
The choice (really) thrifty is also on the side of Chromebooks, with the Asus Chromebook, a PC that may be disappointed by its HD display, but offers excellent performance in office in view of its all. little price.
Finally, those looking for a Windows PC at a really affordable price may well find their happiness on the side of Acer Swift 1 (SF114-32-P4CQ), which offers good hardware quality, a convincing Full HD display, and is sufficiently powerful in office automation than to have a comfortable use.