The best laptops under £500: stunning value notebooks and ultraportables

You don't have to pay much for a fantastic laptop

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If you're currently looking to pick up one of the best laptops under £500 on the market today then you have come to right place.

Choosing a laptop isn't always easy, though, and many a potential buyer has got lost in a swirl of specs, colours and sizes.

But worry not, as that is where T3 comes in. We've scoured the world's best makers and selected only the very best laptops under £500 that money can buy, before presenting them here in this carefully curated guide.

Just because you're keeping an eye on your budget doesn't mean you have to settle for subpar components, either. 

Advances in technology, and the appearance of cheap Chromebooks, mean that you can pick up some very good deals for laptops under our £500 ceiling, and boy have we found some top systems for you to evaluate.

Before we get to the best laptops under £500 on the market today, though, we've also supplied some concise buying advice and tips to make sure you end up with a system that is perfect for you.

How to choose the best sub-£500 laptop

Buying a new laptop can be a daunting task - even more so when you're trying to find the right model on a tight budget. A lower price range often means less impressive components, but that doesn't mean you're getting a cheap and throwaway product.

With more impressive components now dropping in price, more affordable laptops are boasting far more powerful specs and that means your money will go even further. It's not going to be a portable gaming beast or a media powerhouse, but you'll have enough power for surfing, editing documents and streaming from your favourite services.

MacBooks are out of the question at this sort of price, but fortunately Windows 10 has evolved to run very well indeed on less high-end hardware. We've also included one of our favourite Chromebooks in the list – but remember Chrome OS requires everything to be done on the web, and you won't be able to run traditional desktop programs.

Down at this end of the market, prices can fluctuate quite regularly, and retailers will often throw in special deals to tempt buyers, so don't be surprised if some of the these prices go up and down – just make sure you shop around to work out who's got the best laptop for you at the best price.

The best laptops under £500 on the market today

Dell Inspiron 15 5570 best laptops under £500

Dell Inspiron 15 5570

1. Dell Inspiron 15 5570

The maximum bang for your buck

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i3-7130U (1.5GHz/2.7GHz dual-core)
RAM: 8GB
Screen: 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution
Storage: 1TB HDD
Reasons to buy
+Plenty of local storage available+Expansive, high-res screen
Reasons to avoid
-On the larger and heavier side

If you want to get as much for your money as you possibly can, then we'd point you towards the Inspiron 15 5570 from Dell – a company that knows what it's doing with laptops. For your cash you get a very generous 15.6-inch screen, 8GB of RAM, and 1TB of storage space, so there's plenty of room for storing photos, music and movies locally.

The laptop looks the part too, and could pass for something much more expensive, though you only have one colour choice: platinum silver. USB ports abound, and there's also a HDMI connector for hooking up another screen, and an SD card reader. You'd be hard pressed to find a laptop that had such good looks and such high specs for less than £500.

HP Pavilion 14-bk052sa best laptops under £500

HP Pavilion 14-bk052sa

2. HP Pavilion 14-bk052sa

A champion of the all-rounders

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i3-7100U (2.4GHz dual-core)
RAM: 8GB
Screen: 14-inch, 1366 x 768 pixel resolution
Storage: 128GB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Plenty of RAM for applications+Larger screen than many budget models
Reasons to avoid
-Not much local storage available

You're going to see a lot of very good HP laptops under the £500 bracket, all with slightly different and vaguely confusing codenames, like the Pavilion 14-bk052sa. What we like about this particular model is the way it combines a generous amount of RAM with a good-sized screen – more room for your movies and websites to stretch out on.

Also to the laptop's credit is the B&O audio system (again useful for watching films on the go) and the generous number of ports, including HDMI out and USB-C. Last but not least, it's quite a looker too, with silver and white your colour choices. One to consider if you're after an all-rounder that can deal very happily with your everyday computing tasks.

Asus VivoBook 14 X405 best laptops under £500

Asus VivoBook 14 X405

3. Asus VivoBook 14 X405

Style meets performance

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i3-7100U (2.4GHz dual-core)
RAM: 4GB
Screen: 14-inch, 1366 x 768 pixel resolution
Storage: 128GB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Stand-out screen for the price+Super-speedy SSD storage on board
Reasons to avoid
-Not the most powerful of options

Asus has been churning out great-value laptops for years, and you know where you are with the VivoBook 14 X405. For a computer at this price, the screen offers little in the way of bezels and plenty in the way of viewing angles, making it a great choice for watching shows and movies (something the HDMI out port is likely to come in handy with as well).

You get an Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of speedy SSD storage under the hood, so this isn't going to cope well for the most demanding tasks, but will breeze through all the emailing, word processing, and social networking you do every day. We also rather like the brushed metal effect that Asus has put on the back of the laptop lid.

View the Asus VivoBook 14 X405 for £349.99 

Lenovo Yoga 520-14IKB best laptops under £500

Lenovo Yoga 520-14IKB

4. Lenovo Yoga 520-14IKB

Take the 2-in-1 route

Specifications
CPU: Intel Pentium Gold 4415U (2.2GHz dual-core)
RAM: 4GB
Screen: 14-inch, 1366 x 768 pixel resolution
Storage: 128GB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Rotating hinge for the 14-inch display+Pick a colour to match your style
Reasons to avoid
-Not suitable for demanding tasks

Just because you're restricting yourself to a budget of less than £500 doesn't mean you have to miss out on a 2-in-1 device with a rotating touchscreen that can double up as a tablet. Use it in the conventional way, put it up in a tent position for movies, fold it over and doodle on the screen... the choice is yours with the Lenovo Yoga 520-14IKB laptop.

The other specs – Intel Pentium Gold 4415U, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of SSD storage – aren't quite so impressive, but they'll handle all the usual computing tasks with aplomb, so it's perfect for students or for anyone who just needs to get stuff done and doesn't do any video editing or high-end gaming. You get to pick from black, gold, and silver colours too.

Acer CB3-431 Chromebook best laptops under £500

Acer CB3-431 Chromebook

5. Acer CB3-431 Chromebook

Lightweight computing at a lightweight price

Specifications
CPU: Intel Celeron N3160 (1.6GHz quad-core)
RAM: 4GB
Screen: 14-inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution
Storage: 32GB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Speedy, secure, low-maintenance OS+Big, high-resolution display
Reasons to avoid
-Everything is run from and stored on the web

If you can do all your computing on the web – watching Netflix, working in online office apps and email clients, checking social networks – then Chromebooks represent excellent value for money. You can't install desktop programs on them, but you don't need to worry about large software updates, or antivirus software, or your system slowing over time.

The 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage you get with this Acer laptop should be enough for Chrome OS, as all you're doing is running a web browser. Meanwhile, the screen is relatively large, and offers a higher resolution than many other laptops at this price point. 

HP 250 G6 best laptops under £500

HP 250 G6

6. HP 250 G6

An affordable laptop with serious aspirations

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i5-7200U 65
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 167
Screen: 15.6”, HD (1366 x 768)
Memory: HDD/SSD. 128GB SSD
RAM: 8GB DDR4
Battery: 31Wh
Reasons to buy
+Strong performance for a budget model+Impressively long battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Build quality isn't HP's best

HP makes another instalment on this list with the HP 250 G6, a model that boasts some pretty respectable specs making it ideal for everyday tasks including casual web surfing, editing docs and streaming, but not much more.  Its display could be a little sharper and a little brighter, but with a powerful battery at its disposal it's unlikely to run out of battery even if you're away from a power socket for most of the day. It's not going to blow you away, but it's reliable, and that's all you need at this price point.

Acer Aspire 3 A315-51

 Acer Aspire 3 A315-51 

7. Acer Aspire 3 A315-51

A budget model, with a sprinkling of premium

Specifications
CPU: 2.0GHz Intel Core i3-6006U
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520
Memory: 4GB DDR4 SDRAM/128GB SSD
Screen: 15.6” Full HD display
Connectivity: 2xUSB 2.0, 1xUSB 3.0, 1xHDMI, 1xEthernet, 1xSD Card Reader
Reasons to buy
+Robust design+Myriad connectivity options
Reasons to avoid
-Decent performance, but not knockout

Just because your budget has topped out at £500 doesn't mean you're bound to low-end components. That Intel Core i3 chipset means it can handle any casual task, and even deal with some light (and we mean light) gaming thanks to the modest Intel HD Graphics 520 GPU. That 15.6-inch Full HD display is well-sized for a laptop in this range, and its surprisingly sharp too. Its overall build isn't the most impressive, especially for a HP machine, but it's a fair trade.

Acer Extensa 2540 best laptops under £500

Acer Extensa 2540

8. Acer Extensa 2540

A plucky little budget runner

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i5 7200U
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620
Memory: 8 GB SSD/Flash
Screen: 15.6-inch
Reasons to buy
+Surprisingly reliable performance+Rarely overheats
Reasons to avoid
-Display is a little dim at times

The Acer Extensa 2540 is certainly one of the more basic models the manufacturer has brought to the low-end of the laptop market, but there's still plenty to like about. Its Intel Core i5 7200U CPU provides all the performance you need for basic computing and office tasks, while that Intel HD Graphics 620 GPU will see to most model media needs. Its battery is also robust thanks to the lower spec of its component, however, the laptop's display is easily its weakest elements due to an overall dimness.