The best laptops under £500: the top budget laptops available in 2023

After one of the best laptops under £500? These are our favourites right now

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(Image credit: arnel-hasanovic Unsplash.com)

Our guide to the best laptops under £500 will lead you straight to the affordable laptop that's best for you – and just because you're shopping at the budget end of the market doesn't mean you have to put up with a sub-standard computer.

Choosing something at a lower price point can often be risky if you don’t know what to look out for. Luckily for you, we’ve rounded up some of the best laptops under £500 (or close to that figure), that still offer great value for money.

And there are options here to suit everyone's tastes and needs, including 2-in-1 laptops, Windows laptops, and Chromebooks. What you won't find here is anything from Apple, as none of their MacBooks meet the sub-£500 criteria for this list.

The cost of living crisis means we're all looking for even more ways to save money on non-essential items or replacements for old devices. This could be shopping within a budget like for a laptop under £500, or prolonging the life of your old one.

Best laptop under £500: The top 3

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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 lots of storage space, making it a solid choice for daily use.

Our best low-price laptop under £500 is the Lenovo IdeaPad 3. While it’s not packed full of features, it is the best budget laptop under this price point. 

Asus VivoBook S15T3 Award

The Asus VivoBook 15 is the best laptop under £500 for most people.

(Image credit: Future)
The best laptop under £500 for most people

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i3 1005G1
Graphics : Intel UHD 620
Screen: 15.6-inch Full HD
RAM: 4GB

Reasons to buy

+
Spacious, tiny bezel screen
+
Strong internal hardware
+
Full-fat Windows 10 OS

Reasons to avoid

-
Rings in right at the top end of the price point

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. 

Acer Aspire 5 reviewT3 Award

The Acer Aspire 5 is the best premium laptop under £500 you can buy today.

(Image credit: Jeremy Laird)
The best premium laptop under £500

Specifications

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 4500U Processor
Graphics: Intel UHD 620
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 512GB
Screen: 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080

Reasons to buy

+
Affordable
+
Strong hardware spec
+
Good battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Dowdy styling and big bezels
-
Mediocre trackpad and keyboard
-
No USB-C charging

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.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3T3 Award

The Lenovo IdeaPad is a budget bargain, and one of the best laptops under £500.

(Image credit: Future)
The best budget laptop under £500

Specifications

CPU: Intel Celeron 1.1GHz
RAM: 4GB
Screen: 11.6 Inches
Storage: 32GB

Reasons to buy

+
Incredibly affordable
+
Light and compact
+
Chromebook functionality

Reasons to avoid

-
Screen could be brighter
-
Average battery life
-
Low-powered components

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 laptops under £500: The best of the rest

Surface Go 2 laptop on grey backgroundT3 Award

In terms of flexibility and hybrid functionality, the Microsoft Surface Go 2 delivers and fantastic package.

(Image credit: Microsoft)
The best 2-in-1 laptop under £500

Specifications

CPU: 8th Gen Intel Core M3
RAM: 4GB
Screen: 10.5-inch 1920 x 1280 pixels (220 ppi)
Storage: 64GB / 128GB SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Feels much more expensive
+
Great hardware package
+
Compact and lightweight

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as powerful as other laptops here

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.

Acer Swift 1 laptop on white backgroundT3 Award

If you need something lightweight and portable, but you don't want to spend much, the Acer Swift 1 is worth considering. 

(Image credit: Acer)
The best lightweight laptop under £500

Specifications

CPU: Intel Pentium Silver N6000
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 615
RAM: 4GB / 8GB
Screen: 14-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
Storage: 64GB / 128GB / 256GB

Reasons to buy

+
Sturdy, attractive design
+
Fantastic battery life
+
A lightweight option

Reasons to avoid

-
Screen isn't particularly bright
-
Disappointing performance

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.

Asus C433 laptop on white backgroundT3 Award

If you are happy using Chrome OS, then the Asus C433 is a great laptop that costs under £500.

(Image credit: Asus)

6. Asus C433 Chromebook

The best sub-£500 Chromebook laptop

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core M3 8100Y
RAM: 4GB
Screen: 14-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 pixel resolution
Storage: 64GB SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Great design
+
Aluminium-alloy finish
+
Android app support

Reasons to avoid

-
Geared toward online use

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.

HP Stream 14 laptop on white backgroundT3 Award

The HP Stream 14 offers a compact system for basic computing at a very low price point.

(Image credit: HP)

7. HP Stream 14

A thin and stylish laptop with huge cloud storage included

Specifications

CPU: AMD A4-9125 Dual Core
RAM: 4GB
Screen: 14-inch, 1366 x 768 pixel resolution
Storage: 64GB eMMC | 1TB OneDrive

Reasons to buy

+
Thin and light design
+
1TB OneDrive storage
+
microSD card slot

Reasons to avoid

-
Big bezel screen

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.

ASUS Touchscreen VivoBook Flip laptop on white backgroundT3 Award

(Image credit: ASUS)

8. Asus VivoBook Flip

A quality 2-in-1 laptop for well under £500

Specifications

CPU: Intel Pentium Silver N5030
RAM: 4GB
Screen: 14-inch 1366 x 768 touchscreen
Storage: 128GB SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Touchscreen 360-degree display
+
Respectable specs
+
Lightweight, quality build

Reasons to avoid

-
Processor isn't top shelf

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.

Acer Swift 3 laptop on white backgroundT3 Award

Being on a low budget doesn't mean bad hardware and the Switch 3 is a testament to that. 

(Image credit: Acer)
A 13.5-inch Chromebook that impresses in most areas

Specifications

CPU: 10th-gen Intel Core i3-10110U 2.10 GHz
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics
RAM: 8GB
Screen: 13.5-inch LCD, 2265 x 1504 pixels
Storage: 128GB / 256GB

Reasons to buy

+
Impressive specs list
+
Bright, flippable screen
+
Stays quiet and cool

Reasons to avoid

-
Average keyboard quality
-
Relatively thick bezels

With the sort of discounts that we're currently seeing across the web, the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 is available for just about around £500, and you get plenty of decent specs and a fine design style and build quality in return for your cash. We don't think anyone is going to be disappointed if they purchase this.

With an Intel processor, plus plenty of RAM and storage, this is one of the best Chromebooks on the market at the moment in our eyes. It also comes from a brand name you can trust – you know that this is a laptop that will still be going strong several years down the line (especially with Chrome OS on board).

If you any more reasons to pick this as your next laptop, the Acer Chromebook 713 offers a good selection of ports for your computer peripherals, and decent battery life as well – you can expect to get a full working day away from a power socket. This is worth noting, and it's something Chromebooks are known for more generally.

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 laptop on white backgroundT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Lenovo)

10. Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5

An affordable laptop with flexible screen

Specifications

CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 4300U Processor
RAM: 4 GB
Storage: 128 GB SSD
Screen: Full HD touchscreen

Reasons to buy

+
Flexible touchscreen
+
12-hour battery life
+
Dolby Atmos audio

Reasons to avoid

-
Windows 10 S operating system

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. It's one of those cases where you don't have to make too many compromises to save yourself some serious cash.

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 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.

Yasmine Crossland
Reviews Writer

Reviews Writer for T3, Yasmine, started writing reviews in 2019 and is always knee-deep in the latest tech products. She keeps a finger on the pulse when it comes to the most exciting and innovative tech and is happy to tell you exactly what she thinks about it too. In her free time, you'll catch her tending to her plants and planning her next big trip.