The best laptops under £500 are packed full of features at an affordable budget price. Laptops can be a big investment, so choosing something at a lower price tag can often be risky if you don’t know what to look for. Luckily for you, we’ve rounded up some of the best laptops under £500 (or closest to), that are still high-spec enough and great value for money.
When it comes to high-quality products, we know our stuff. Here at T3, we only provide you with the best recommendations and buying advice to ensure you make the best investments, but that’s not to say we don’t know about the budget options too.
While not all of the options may have the latest features, what they do provide is powerful functionality that makes them reliable and great for everyday tasks. For those headed back to school, college or university, this is the perfect list for you to find a laptop on a budget that will take care of all your studying needs. We’ve picked out options to suit everyone’s needs, from Windows to Chromebook, and with a range of price points, you’ll find one of the best laptops under £500 for you in this list.
Due to the cost of living crisis, we're looking for ways to save money on non-essential items or replacements of old devices. This can be shopping with a budget like for a laptop under £500 or prolonging the life of your old one. For example, to keep your old or new laptop running smoothly for years to come, you may also want to invest in one of the best laptop cooling pads (opens in new tab) – check out the guide for some inspiration.
Which is the best laptop under £500? The top 3
If you just want our top three picks of the best laptop under £500, check them out below:
The best laptop under £500 for most people is the Asus VivoBook 15. This laptop definitely acts more premium than its price tag, with smooth performance and great style, it’s a bargain buy that you can rely on.
The best premium laptop under £500 is the Acer Aspire 5. On the higher end of our price list, this laptop has a large 15-inch screen, great battery life and storage space, making it a solid choice for daily use.
Our lowest of the low-price tag is the Lenovo IdeaPad 3. While it’s not packed full of features, it is the best budget laptop under £500 that is portable and reliable on the go.
The best budget laptops under £500 to buy in 2022
The best cheap laptop for most people, right now, is the stunning Asus VivoBook 15. Not only does this laptop come with a capacious display that, thanks to tiny bezels, seems far bigger than it actually is, but backs up those looks with a strong all-round hardware and software showing.
You get a full-fat version of Windows 10, of course, and that is powered by a combination of Intel Core i3 CPU, Intel UHD 620 GPU, 4GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD NVMe. Oh, and for those who find themselves taking more video calls and meetings than before, the VivoBook 15 also delivers an integrated webcam.
Solid battery life, a decent selection of ports, and an included 1-year warranty complete the package. For the money this is a great system, and in T3's eyes one of the very best laptops under £500 on the market today. See how it compares to our number 2 pick in our Asus Vivobook 15 vs Acer Aspire 5 (opens in new tab) head-to-head.
There's plenty of reasons why the Acer Aspire 5 sits so high in our best laptop under £500 buying guide, and its affordable cost is just the first. It also delivers a really strong and capable all-round specification, including an AMD Ryzen 5 4500U, Intel UHD 620 GPU, 8GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. This is combines to deliver zippy performance in all light and medium computing tasks, and when combined with the Aspire 5's 15.6-inch, 1080p IPS LCD screen, delivers plenty in terms of entertainment and gaming clout, too.
Battery life tops out at a respectable 10 hours, too, and it has a strong selection of ports as well, meaning you can hook it up to a larger monitor or TV. You also get an integrated HD webcam, which is perfect for video meetings. Overall, the Acer Aspire 5 is a really strong all-round laptop that delivers great value. For more info, head to our Acer Aspire 5 review (opens in new tab), which focuses on the A514-52-582Y model, or see how it compares to our number 3 laptop in our Acer Aspire 5 vs Lenovo IdeaPad 3 (opens in new tab) face-off. You can also see how it matches up to its cheaper sibling in our Acer Aspire 3 vs Aspire 5 (opens in new tab) comparison.
If you are looking for a cheap laptop for light computing experiences and don't need a large screen, then the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is a great choice. It's compact 11.6-inch screen makes it incredibly bag-friendly, as it's one of the best lightweight laptops (opens in new tab) around too, weighing only 1.12 kilograms.
This system is a Chromebook, meaning that it runs Google's online-focussed operating system, which is designed to be used while online. Google's G-Suite of services like Google Calendar, Google Docs and GMAIL are perfect partners. Despite its budget spec, this OS means that it runs very fast and with built-in HD Audio and a crisp 11.6-inch screen, it still offers plenty when it comes round to web-browsing, video streaming and basic image editing. Overall, the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is a basic system for lightweight computing needs, but that's precisely what many people need. After all, what's the point in spending £700 on a system when you're not going to use its full power?
Head to our full Lenovo IdeaPad 3 review (opens in new tab) for more info, or see how it matches up against our #1 pick in our Asus Vivobook 15 vs Lenovo IdeaPad 3 (opens in new tab) showdown. Make sure you check our Lenovo discount codes (opens in new tab) to save on your purchase.
Best laptop under £500: The best of the rest
Microsoft’s Surface laptops are consistently excellent, and the Microsoft Surface Go 2 (opens in new tab) is one of the best 2-in-1 laptops (opens in new tab) right now, as well as being an excellent laptop under £500 in general. It takes everything that was good about the original – its sleek design, its excellent build quality, its go-anywhere do-anything versatility – and makes it even better.
The screen is bigger and has a higher resolution than before, and the specification has been improved for better performance. The bigger screen doesn’t mean a bigger device, though: the bezels around the display are smaller so Microsoft has been able to make the screen bigger without also making the Surface Go bigger. As with its predecessor, it looks and feels like a much more expensive machine.
With a very respectable five hours of active use between charges it’s good for on-the-go computing, but remember that the sticker price doesn’t include the Type Cover keyboard, which you'll need if you’re going to be doing a lot of typing (at time of writing, that’ll set you back just under £100).
To see how this system compares to our number one choice of best laptop under £500, be sure to check out our Asus Vivobook 15 vs Microsoft Surface Go 2 (opens in new tab) comparison feature.
Often spending so little on a laptop means you’re restricted to clunkier computers with thick bezels, that’s not the case here. The Acer Swift 1 (opens in new tab) only weighs 1.3kg and it’s super slim, making this a super-portable PC that you can take with you anywhere whether that’s to university, the library or to a café.
Considering how cheap it is, you get a lot for your money including a decent 14-inch Full HD screen, long-lasting battery life and there’s even a fingerprint scanner to keep it secure.
You do lose out somewhat on performance because the internal hardware is basic, but for light everyday tasks that won’t matter. Just don’t expect to use this for hardcore gaming or intricate video editing.
Simply one of the best Chromebooks (opens in new tab) we've ever laid eyes on (look at that display, for instance), the Asus C433 will get you around the web and run Android apps with aplomb. You don't need to worry about being disappointed if you pick this as the best cheap laptop for you.
Chrome OS is the same here as it is on any other Chromebook, and it's getting better all the time, as are the web apps that run in your browser. Now that Android apps are supported as well, you can run the mobile versions of programs like Spotify and Microsoft Word as well. With a big, bright 14-inch screen and enough power to do everything you need to do, the Asus C433 is a fine choice. The display can flip over into tent and tablet modes as well, making this laptop even more appealing.
If you really don't want to spend much money at all but do want to land a stylish, lightweight laptop under £500, then you should definitely consider the HP Stream 14, which retails for a bargain price point. You get a solid all-round spec for your money, with an AMD 2.3GHz CPU, 4GB of RAM, 64GB eMMC storage, and 14-inch 1920 x 1080 resolution screen partnered with a Windows 10 S operating system.
The HP Stream 14 also comes with a 1-year subscription to Office 365 and a 1TB OneDrive account, too, so you're set for office and study. The system also features a built-in webcam, meaning video meetings and calls are sorted, as well as microSD card reader.
The Inspiron is a regular visitor to our best buy guides, and the Inspiron 15 takes its rightful place thanks to its solid specification, good battery life and a price tag that just squeaks under our £500 limit.
This laptop is powered by a quad-core AMD Ryzen 5 3500U processor (Intel processors are available too) backed with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, the full HD screen (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) is sharp and bright and the battery life is a quoted 8.5 hours. It comes with Dell Mobile Connect, which enables you to connect your PC to your phone and get notifications of texts and calls on your laptop.
You wouldn’t want to render a 3D CGI movie on one of these, but for Microsoft Office, Netflix and other everyday tasks it’s a solid performer. Just make sure you’re getting one of the Full HD models: previous versions had a lower resolution display that we found unimpressive.
If you like the sound of 2-in-1 laptop functionality and have under £500 to spend on a laptop then the Asus VivoBook Flip is a great choice.
You get solid core specs, which include an Intel Pentium Silver N5030 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD for storage, as well as a full-fat version of Windows 10 Home and one year free of Microsoft Office 365, too.
The reason you'll opt for this laptop, though, is its 14-inch rotating screen with 360-degree metal hinge, which can flip all the way over to provide a slate experience. This means this system can act as both a laptop and a Windows tablet.
The fact that the display is a touchscreen also means you can use a digital stylus on it, which will be great for illustrators. Importantly, the Flip does not come with a stylus, though, which is disappointing but understandable at this price.
Throw in a good battery, thin design and in-built webcam, and you've got a strong all-round package – but one with a 360-degree rotating party piece.
Just because your budget has topped out at £500 doesn't mean you're bound to low-end components. That AMD Ryzen 5 2500U Processor means the Acer Aspire 3 can handle any casual task, and even deal with some light (and we mean light) gaming, too. That 15.6-inch Full HD display is very generous for a laptop in this range, and its surprisingly sharp too, while that 1TB HDD, despite not being as fast as an SSD, is huge and provides loads of storage space.
The only thing that isn't ideal is the system's battery life, which at just 4.5 hours is definitely not use-all-day-off-one-charge capable. Providing you're happy carrying your charger with you, or you're using the system primarily from a desk plugged in, then this negative point can be mitigated. For more info, head to should I buy the Acer Aspire 3? (opens in new tab)
Ok, we know, we know. The Acer Swift 3 retails for just over £500, but we think it is such a good system that we've included it here.
Like the Switch 3 above, the Swift 3 – somewhat confusing, we admit – offers a larger display and slightly improved specs for about the same price, minus the 2-in-1 form factor and touch screen. The i3 CPU, combined with the SSD, offer good performance for a cheap machine, crunching less processor-intensive tasks with ease while providing good battery life.
Unlike some other cheaper laptops, the touchpad on the Swift 3 is actually nice to use, offering smooth scrolling and mouse movements, which is important due to the lack of touchscreen. The port selection is good, too, boasting an HDMI, three USB-A, one USB-C, and more. All in all, this is a good budget pick.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14-inch laptop delivers a slim and lightweight laptop (1.5kg) that comes with a flexible, rotatable, Full HD touchscreen display. This means this laptop can offer both a laptop and tablet mode, which is good in terms of value for money. It also comes with Dolby Atmos audio, too, which means that it is good for those users who like to stream movies, TV shows and music from their laptop.
It's powered by an AMD Ryzen CPU and comes with a perfectly acceptable 4GB of RAM and 128GB SSD storage drive. The system does, though, come installed with a copy of Windows 10 S as an operating system, which is a stripped down version of the full OS. It's something to consider as, if you do want a full-fat version of Windows 10, then you'll have to install it yourself.
For casual and more lightweight computing, though, the Flex 5 is a good fit, and crucially it rings in for under £500.
How to choose the best budget laptop under £500
Buying a new laptop can be a daunting task – even more so when you're trying to shop under a specific price limit, as we are here. A lower price range often means less powerful components, but it doesn't mean you have to settle for a cheap, throwaway product.
With very decent components continuing to drop in price, affordable laptops are boasting far more powerful specs, so your money goes further. It's not going to be a portable gaming beast or a media powerhouse, but you'll have enough grunt under the hood for surfing, editing documents and video streaming.
Apple 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 a couple of our favourite Chromebooks in the list (just remember Chrome OS requires everything to be done on the web).
Down at this end of the market, prices fluctuate 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 – spend some time comparing prices to figure out who's offering the best cheap laptop for you.
Bear in mind that you're not going to be getting the most powerful or the most feature-rich of laptops, but we think you'll be pleasantly surprised at what you can bag at an affordable price point.
From vibrant displays to surprisingly robust CPUs, out list of the best laptops under £500 for 2021 has plenty of choice to offer buyers with less money to spend. Design and build continues to get better and better as well.
So as you browse around the various deals and offers that retailers have made available, take a look some of our helpful tips and advice on buying a new laptop, then dive straight into our very best picks. Enjoy browsing!
Best laptops under £500: extra information to consider
If you're not familiar with Chromebooks, they're Google-powered laptops that are often very, very cheap. We've put together a dedicated best Chromebooks (opens in new tab) guide if you'd like to see the cream of the Chromebook crop.
All of the laptops in our guide are good all-rounders. They'll cope comfortably with web browsing and Office applications, Zoom calls and online shopping and everyday gaming. If you're a power user who wants to play the latest games at the very maximum possible speeds and resolutions, or if you want to perform very demanding tasks such as video rendering, check out our best laptops (opens in new tab) and best gaming laptops (opens in new tab) guide instead. And if you're a fan of Dells – like we are – we also have a dedicated guide to the best Dell laptops (opens in new tab).
If you're looking to spend under £500 then you may actually be better served for your computing and reading needs with one of the best Kindle (opens in new tab) e-readers or best tablets (opens in new tab), so be sure to check those out, too.
Dell isn't the only big name brand you'll find here. Buying an affordable laptop doesn't mean having to buy a no-name cheapie from someone you've never heard of. All the big players are here: Microsoft, HP, Dell, Acer, Lenovo, Asus and many more.
How we test the best laptops under £500
Testing budget laptops is very similar to testing a laptop of any price, aside from the fact that the value proposition of the system gets more weighting than usual, while the absence of features less weighting.
This is because these systems are designed to offer solid core functionality first and foremost at a price that the vast majority of people can afford. These are systems that despite their low price point are perfect for students and professionals who can't spend thousands on a system.
So if a laptop under £500 doesn't have a touchscreen, or biometric sign-in option, then we don't hold it against the system, as it is not in its wheelhouse to do so. We want to see strong and solid core functionality, as well as decent build quality and performance from budget laptops.
That said, this doesn't mean that budget laptops get a free pass on things like build quality, and if a rival system delivers more for the same price point then we're sure to tell you.
Our testing process involves judging a system's built quality and design, performance and features, screen and software, and then price – and crucially price in relation to other similarly specced systems.
Only once all these things have been rated do we proceed to assign a budget laptop a star score, with high ranking systems then considered for our best laptops under £500 buying guide. We have a full article on how we test at T3 (opens in new tab) if you're interested in finding out more.