Best Laptops For College Students Under $500

As a college student, if you are interested in gaming, content creation, such as basic productivity and media consumption, among others use a $500 laptop from the higher-end on the spectrum of the said price range (think something gaming-oriented for example) fits your needs.

Although running intricate 3D modeling software or rendering might require an increase in budget, a laptop running something like Windows 10 (which will cost around $100 or lower) often covers the bare essentials of computing, including decent processing power, sharper display with high resolution, and a powerful battery, regardless of what subject or academic specialization you’re looking for.

Customized machine options with extensive specifications can be very costly. But, our experts are here to help.

With a little extra effort on your part and their guidance, you will find the best deal for a top-notch laptop that not only suits your needs but also fits well within your project’s monthly budget requirements.


Best Laptops For College Students Under $500

Also, make sure you purchase a device that comes with a decent number of ports. For example, consider purchasing a laptop for college accompanied by additional features such as USB ports for connecting additional accessories such as your mouse and keyboard.

Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop

Acer-Aspire-5

Acer Aspire 5 is a highly capable laptop that combines a metal build with cutting-edge hardware to deliver a reliable and attractive mobile PC experience.

The metal shell feels solid and the laptop is comfortable to use and carry around. It feels very sturdy in your hands with the body easily letting you know that it’s there.

The screen has a Full HD 1920×1080 resolution with a bright, vibrant picture and the screen size is 15.6 inches. The built-in webcam is also impressive, it snaps high-quality images and the sound quality is also good.

It is equipped with a quad-core 2.5GHz AMD processor and 4GB of memory, so it is able to handle all sorts of tasks easily. A 128GB SSD is used for the storage of files, and a 1TB hard disk is used for the storage of mass amounts of data.

Acer Aspire 5 A515-43-R19L 15.6″ Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen LED-backlit IPS Display, AMD Radeon Vega 3 Mobile Graphics, 4GB DDR4 Memory, 128GB PCIe NV Me SSD, True Harmony Technology, Windows 10 in S mode.

Cine-Crystal technology creates a wider color gamut, bringing every image to life. The new standard in display clarity.

Dedicated graphics with shared video memory provide high-performance, multi-tasking capabilities. Boot in seconds with solid-state hybrid drive technology. All the power you need to stay productive throughout the day.

Acer Dust Defender technology protects your laptop from airborne particles and reduces maintenance downtime. Truly immersive viewing with a thin, light, and portable design.

Acer’s Aspire 5 is a lightweight yet powerful Ultrabook, crafted with a stylish aluminum chassis that reflects the premium look and feel of the new Aspire 5 series.

This Ultrabook balances savvy design with the ability to take on the day and the tasks in front of you.

The 11.6-inch laptop is designed with a Full HD LED-backlit display that makes data and graphics pop; with an HD webcam, you’re always in sharp focus.

Pros

  • Full-size Ethernet and HDMI ports.
  • Fingerprint reader.
  • Excellent battery life.
  • Decent power for everyday computing tasks.
  • Aggressively priced.
  • Sleek silver exterior.
  • Thin and light.
  • Crisp, bright 15-inch display.

Cons

  • Abundant bloatware.
  • Mediocre build quality.
  • Lacks touchscreen option.
  • Imprecise touchpad.
This laptop is built for the road, with a durable chassis and a battery that lasts up to 7.5 hours. It’s also easy to travel with, with a lightweight design and a smaller screen size that fits easily in your purse or backpack.

Acer Chromebook Spin 311

Acer-Chromebook-Spin-311

The Acer Chromebook Spin 311 lets you enjoy all the entertainment you love and the apps to support them with ease.

Since it runs on Chrome OS, you can use Google Play to access more than 2 million Android apps on the Chromebook.

The 11.6″ touchscreen display offers crisp, clear visuals that make enjoying a movie or web browsing feel like an exciting adventure.

Setup is easy, as all you have to do is log in with your Google account to be up and running in minutes. The Intel Celeron processor provides up to 5 hours of battery life on a single charge, so you can get the job done without worrying about running out of juice before you’re done.

The adjustable hinge lets you use the Chromebook in multiple ways, allowing for comfortable hands-free viewing.

The Acer Chromebook Spin 311 is a convertible laptop that adapts to meet your needs by switching from laptop to tablet mode wherever, whenever.

Enjoy stunning HD visuals on the brightly lit 11.6-inch HD IPS touchscreen display. Its 360° hinge has the ability to auto-rotate between four modes while the touch screen makes this Chromebook ideal for the best of today’s digital world.

The touch screen provides the ability to swipe through web pages, write with the digital pen*, or play your favorite movie right on the screen.

Pros

  • 2-in-1 versatility on the cheap
  • Responsive keyboard and touchpad
  • Both USB Type-A and USB Type-C ports

Cons

  • Small, low-resolution display with thick bezels
  • Meager 32GB of internal storage
  • Brief battery life
The Chromebook is also thin and lightweight so you can easily carry it around with you throughout the day. Pen sold separately.

ASUS Vivo Book 15

ASUS-VivoBook-15

ASUS Vivo Book 15 is the ideal laptop for your day-to-day tasks and for entertainment on the go. This laptop features a large 15.6 inch Full HD display with a slim 4-way Nano Edge bezel display with a stunning 88% screen-to-body ratio.

ASUS Vivo Book 15 also features a powerful and efficient 10th Gen Intel Core i3-1005G1 CPU that offers a great balance of performance and power consumption. The 8 GB DDR4 RAM allows you to run multiple programs easily.

Furthermore, the 128 GB PCIe NV Me M.2 SSD offers a large storage space to store your files and favorite games.

The Vivo Book 15 also features a fingerprint sensor that is activated via Windows Hello. The Ergo lift design of this laptop ensures a comfortable typing position.

With comprehensive connections, including USB 3.2 Type-C, USB 3.2 Type-A, USB 2.0, and HDMI; Gigabit Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac); and Sonic Master Premium speakers, the ASUS Vivo Book 15 is an ideal laptop for your day-to-day tasks and entertainment.

The ASUS Vivo Book 15 is the perfect blend of performance and style. Powered by a 7th Gen Intel Core i5 processor, the Vivo Book 15 delivers great performance and seamless multitasking.

The ASUS-exclusive Vivo Book 15 features an ASUS Nano Edge display, merging a full-size 15.6″ display into a slender-looking laptop.

Pros

  • Slim and Lightweight.
  • Decent display panel.
  • Good performance.
  • Pricing.

Cons

  • No backlit keyboard. No indicator for Caps Lock.
  • Audio output could have been better.
At just 0.3cm thin and weighing only 1.4kg, it’s easy to carry anywhere. The narrow bezel design means you’re immersed in the action onscreen, with hardly any distraction from the real world. The ASUS Vivo Book 15 is available in two different colors: black and white.

SAMSUNG Galaxy Chromebook

SAMSUNG Galaxy Chromebook 4

Perfect for everyday use at home, school, or work, the Samsung Chromebook delivers the performance, speed, and security you need.

Compact yet comfortable design The 11.6” Chromebook fits any lifestyle and is perfect for watching HD movies, editing your home video collection, or working on your latest project.

Whether it’s playtime or work time, this Chromebook packs the features you deserve. Military-grade durability With a rubber bumper, reinforced ports, and a protective lid, this Samsung Chromebook 4 is built to handle bumps and drops.

The Samsung Chromebook has a 12.2″ HD LED-backlit display with a 16:9 aspect ratio, a 360° rotating touchscreen, and an Intel Celeron Processor N3050 processor.

The Google Chrome operating system lets you access your favorite websites, apps, games, and videos instantly with the built-in Chrome web browser. This Samsung Chromebook has 4GB of memory and 16GB of eMMC flash memory.

The built-in HD webcam makes it easy to video chat with family and friends or teleconference while you’re on the go. The Chromebook has two USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI output, a headphone jack, and a microphone jack.

Pros

  • Unusual screen size for the price
  • Supports Wi-Fi 6

Cons

  • The display panel is murky and low-resolution
  • Plodding performance
  • Minuscule memory and storage
  • No HDMI port
The built-in speaker is located on the keyboard. It features 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi connectivity and Gigabit Ethernet.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 14

Lenovo-IdeaPad-3-14

A thin and light laptop that’s perfect for all your everyday computing needs, the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 14 features a 14″ display and a spill-resistant keyboard that’s easy to clean.

With a Ryzen 5 3500U Mobile processor, 8GB memory, 1TB hard disk drive, and AMD Radeon Vega 8 graphics, you can run multiple apps simultaneously and enjoy smooth 4K UHD playback.

Plus, a thin and light laptop that’s perfect for all your everyday computing needs, the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 14 features a 14″ display and a spill-resistant keyboard that’s easy to clean.

With a Ryzen 5 3500U Mobile processor, 8GB memory, 1TB hard disk drive, and AMD Radeon Vega 8 graphics, you can run multiple apps simultaneously and enjoy smooth 4K UHD playback.

Plus, the thin and light laptop that’s perfect for all your everyday computing needs, the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 14 features a 14″ display and a spill-resistant keyboard that’s easy to clean.

With a Ryzen 5 3500U Mobile processor, 8GB memory, 1TB hard disk drive, and AMD Radeon Vega 8 graphics, you can run multiple apps simultaneously and enjoy smooth 4K UHD playback.

The versatile 14-inch IdeaPad 3 Yoga combines a high-performance AMD Ryzen 5 3500U Processor with Radeon Graphics, premium Dolby Audio and optional AMD Sense Cam, a first-of-its-kind RealSense™ camera that lets you quickly and easily interact with your notebook by uploading pictures and videos, creating notebooks, and sharing them with others.

The 360-degree hinge lets you use your IdeaPad Yoga 14 as a laptop, a stand, or tablet with four modes.

Lightweight, slim and portable, the Lenovo Yoga 3 14 has a hard drive and solid-state options, so you can select the storage best suited to your needs.

Pros

  • Comfortable keyboard and touchpad
  • Integrated fingerprint scanner
  • Users can upgrade RAM (at their own risk)
  • Great performance
  • USB-C port included
  • Sturdy chassis

Cons

  • Lackluster speakers
  • Dull display
14″ Full HD IPS Display, AMD Radeon Graphics, Harman Kardon Audio, AMD Sense Cam, and 360-degree Hinge for four modes.

Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 13

Lenovo-Chromebook-Flex-5-13

One of the first 2-in-1 laptops in the world, the Lenovo Flex 5 13 combines a workhorse laptop with the versatility of a touchscreen tablet.

This Windows 10 2-in-1 laptop comes with a 360-degree hinge and a removable kickstand for multiple angles and tent-like viewing.

The touchscreen offers 10-finger touch capability, and the full-sized keyboard offers behind-the-scenes multitasking features that make it easier to run multiple apps at the same time.

It comes with a full HD display that lets you watch movies and edit documents comfortably, and the laptop has enough power to run your most demanding apps and programs.

The laptop comes with a long-lasting battery that lasts up to 11 hours on a single charge, and you can enjoy the laptop on the go with the speedy USB 3.0 port.

This convertible Chromebook offers beautiful visuals, while narrow bezels minimize distractions. Two user-facing stereo speakers keep you immersed in the experience, while an Intel® Quad-Core processor offers speed and efficiency.

Use your Google account to easily access files, videos, music, and documents stored on the cloud from anywhere.

The Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook combines a stylish design with the productivity of Chrome OS. Engineered to be both durable and lightweight, it features a 360-degree hinge that allows you to flip the display around for tablet-like functionality.

The ultra-thin precision-milled unibody aluminum chassis is extremely strong yet lightweight, so you can take it anywhere.

It features a spill-resistant keyboard that protects against accidental spills, and a large, comfortable touchpad.

Pros

  • Pleasing soft-touch plastic chassis
  • Digital stylus support
  • Long battery life
  • Comfortable keyboard
  • MicroSD card reader

Cons

  • Dim 250-nit display
  • Uncomfortable touchpad
  • Cramped 64GB storage drive
The 13.3″ (33cm) Full HD (1920 x 1080) display features wide viewing angles and vibrant, accurate colors. The chrome finish on the top cover acts as a fingerprint and smudge-resistant barrier.

New Microsoft Surface Pro 7

New-Microsoft-Surface-Pro-7

Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is a powerful, versatile laptop that lets you create, work, and play like never before.

Powered by 7th Generation Intel Core processors and up to 16 GB of RAM, Surface Pro 7 can run professional-grade software, and its stunning 12.3-inch PixelSense display has brilliant resolution and low reflectivity, so you enjoy vibrant, true to life color.

Microsoft Surface Pro 7 comes with a detachable keyboard and advanced features like Windows Hello face sign-in, Windows Ink, and Thunderbolt 3 for charging and 4K video output.

Surface Pro 7 is perfect for work, study, or play it’s the tablet that can replace your laptop.

The world’s most productive tablet just got even better (we know, you’re surprised). The Microsoft surface pro is our best tablet yet packing more power, more pixels, and more performance into our most versatile laptop yet.

The updated surface pro gives you even longer battery life, even more, powerful performance, and the latest high-performance surface pen.

Did you say business trip? The new Surface Pro 7 is made to keep up with you as you switch from plane to car to train to an office phone call.

Pros

  • Sharp display
  • Well-implemented kickstand
  • Includes USB-C
  • Snappy Intel “Ice Lake” processor
  • Robust battery life

Cons

  • Keyboard still sold separately
  • Just two ports, and no Thunderbolt support
And now, it delivers more power than ever, with a laptop-class Intel Core processor, all-day battery, instant-on, improved graphics, and standby time Plus more multitasking connections, including both USB-C and USB-A ports.

2021 HP 14 inch HD Laptop

Meet your new everyday companion. The HP 14-inch HD Laptop is designed to help you get more done faster. It features the latest AMD processor, which delivers smooth performance in even the most demanding applications.

This laptop weighs only 3.24 pounds, so you can take it anywhere and stay productive throughout your day.

Run popular apps and programs, such as Facebook, Spotify, and Skype. With the 14-inch diagonal HD SVA anti-glare micro-edge WLED-backlit display, this laptop gives you a picture quality that makes it easy to work efficiently. This laptop runs on Windows 10 home.

Experience the ultimate power in portability with this HP Notebook PC. It has a 14-inch screen and offers a dual-core AMD A4 processor with 4GB of system memory for basic multitasking.

It also has a 128GB solid-state drive to let you quickly start up your computer and access files. With up to 10 hours of battery life, you can use your computer for an extended period of time without plugging in.

This is a Windows 10 Home laptop with a touchscreen and a detachable keyboard. That makes it an excellent productivity machine for the modern businessperson on the go, allowing you to type up your notes using the full keyboard and then easily detach the keyboard for some touch-based work on the go.

Windows 10 Home in S mode is configured to help protect your device and your customer’s security, privacy, and productivity.

Pros

  • Speedy performance
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Keyboard slightly stiff
  • So battery life
You may switch to Windows 10 Professional for free during the one-year subscription period. To get Windows 10 Professional, press Start, select Settings > Update & Security > Activation and select “Switch to Windows 10 Pro.”

HP 15-dy1036nr

HP-15-dy1036nr

Find the perfect balance of performance and portability with the HP 15-dy1036nr. It’s the perfect notebook for keeping up with your busy professional and personal life.

The 6th generation Intel® Core™ i5 processor, 8 GB RAM, and large 1 TB hard drive give you the processing power and storage you need to get things done quickly and efficiently.

The 15.6″ diagonal HD display with True Vision HD Webcam lets you watch videos, stream music, or video chat with ease.

The HP 15-dy1036nr also includes fast 802.11ac WIFI and Bluetooth 5.0 combo to keep you connected to the Internet and compatible devices, plus USB Type-C™ and a 3-in-1 media card reader for easy file transfers. With long-lasting battery life, this laptop can go the distance whether you’re at home or at a café.

From work to play, this laptop has you covered. It features a powerful Quad-Core processor, high-speed SSD storage, up to 16 GB of memory for smooth multitasking, and a stunning HD display that’s great for watching movies, working on your computer, or just surfing the web.

The high-quality display produces bright, vivid visuals and supports touch screen capabilities, so you can fully immerse yourself in your entertainment.

This laptop also features a backlit keyboard and a USB-C port that allows you to charge your devices quickly and easily.

The HP 15-db0056nr Laptop is ideal for everyday computing. This laptop is powered by the AMD A12-9720P quad-core processor for responsive multitasking performance and energy efficiency in whatever you choose to do.

With 8 GB of RAM, you can take on multiple tasks at once, and with a 256 GB solid-state drive, you have all the storage you need.

It is equipped with a 15.6-inch diagonal FHD SVA BrightView WLED-backlit (1920 x 1080) display and features a built-in camera and microphone.

Pros

  • Excellent value
  • Elegant design
  • Strong notebook performance
  • Poppy, tactile keyboard

Cons

  • Lacks a backlit keyboard
  • The display could be brighter
With built-in 802.11b/g/n/ac wireless connectivity, you can stay connected to your home network or hotspot while you’re out and about.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 Laptop

Lenovo’s IdeaPad 3 15 Laptop may be compact and powerful—but it also embodies Lenovo’s attention to detail and design. Even its exterior design looks unique thanks to its smooth, rounded edges.

Inside, the IdeaPad 3 15 Laptop offers the power and performance you need to tackle the tasks of your daily life with the latest AMD Ryzen 3 2500U processor.

It’s equipped with AMD Radeon Vega 3 graphics, too, so you can run several applications simultaneously without worrying about a slowdown.

Watch movies and play games on widescreen (1366 x 768). This IdeaPad 3 15 Laptop’s 15. 6″ display also features narrow bezels and a webcam shutter.

The AMD multi-core processor with Radeon Vega 3 graphics gives you plenty of bandwidth for getting more done faster in several applications at once. It’s easy to connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi or Ethernet and to your peripherals via USB Type-C.

The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15-inch laptop gives you the power to do more. This Windows laptop has the AMD Ryzen 3 3250U mobile processors with Radeon Vega 3 graphics.

Designed to deliver powerful, long-lasting performance, this laptop enables you to get even more done with less time. Weighing less than 5 pounds, this sleek laptop will easily fit into your bag for on-the-go computing.

The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 Laptop is a well-designed computer that has a sleek, elegant space-saving design. The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is perfect for multimedia and gaming.

With the multi-core processing power, you can enjoy incredible bandwidth to do more on several applications at the same time.

Pros

  • Low price
  • Sufficient memory

Cons

  • The screen and keyboard need improvement
  • No USB-C port
  • Wi-Fi 5, not 6
The 128GB solid-state drive means lightning-fast wake-from-sleep times, faster application launches, and quicker data access in general. The 11.6″ display in space gray provides a simple backdrop to showcase your content.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a sub-$500 notebook a good choice for 1st-year college students?

You already know that we are in the middle of the technological revolution, a period where every student needs to possess an online learning device.

But not all students can afford a laptop computer, as prices vary from $400 to $500, depending on the model you choose and the type of operating system it runs.

After all, you have to consider your needs and the benefits the laptop can bring to you. To help you decide what device to buy, we have created a list of the most important features of a laptop.

What is the most important feature that a college-based laptop must have?

When it comes to laptops, you can never have enough battery backup. If you are a college student, then you know what I am talking about.

When it is time to study, you need the laptop on at all times, but when it’s time for a break or for some socializing, you need to conserve energy.

A laptop with a long battery life allows you to work on it until the last minute before making a mad dash to the study room. It can also help you to get more work done in the allotted time.

What are the preferred processor families that sub-$500 laptop manufacturers consider?

It is hard to find cost-effective notebooks at the student level, or for any level for that matter. However, student-grade notebooks can often be owned without too much expenditure.

Most mid-range laptops come equipped with G-series and U-series Intel CPUs of which the latter is a far more power-efficient model than its counterpart.

Less expensive machines are great for students because they have the ability to be upgraded easily since the processor is not locked in place like it would in a standard laptop computer.

What kind of display should a college student opt for?

A college student should also keep a notebook for extensive reading and watching of videos and movies. Besides that, there are other aspects involving media consumption to take into consideration as well.

The best way to experience a visual appeal that’s nearly as cinema-like as it gets is to view entertainment on a Full HD screen. No matter how vivid the picture may appear on a smaller laptop screen, this option will ensure your entertainment is visible in crystal clear detail.

Are Chromebooks useful for college-goers?

Chromebooks are often sought after by students or people in a younger age bracket. The benefits of Chromebooks being light and easy to carry make it a great study aid, but casual media consumption might be restricted in terms of space.

Conclusion

Finding a sub-$500 notebook for a college student can be tricky because as students, we often want all the necessities to study, write and complete our projects.

However, we rarely need everything. As such it is an arduous task to figure out which features students actually need, which features might be nice-to-have and whether or not these features are necessary at all because this will depend on the course he majoring in and the type of personality he has.

We hope you can find the right devices for your computing needs. However, if you would like to pick a laptop but are still a little confused because you don’t know where to start then feel free to reach out.

Our laptop experts are happy to help and with their knowledge in picking laptops, they should be able to assist in helping you choose the best option possible.

In case our team doesn’t manage to respond within 24 hours of your inquiry, feel free to use our Laptop Finder (it will allow you to filter laptops based on specifications).

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