Best Laptops Under $500: Big, Fast, And Built To Last

Finding the best laptops for under $500 can be a little difficult these days. You might be asking, ‘What is the best laptop to buy under $500? Well, the truth is that there are not many top-tier laptops in this price range.

But fret not! We did the hard work, and we have a few good options for you. These laptops may not have all the fancy bells and whistles but they will get your job done without breaking the bank.

Yeah, they may lack the latest coolest features or sleekest designs. However, they are dependable and reasonably priced. Whether you need a laptop for work or for school, these options have got you covered!

HP 17 Laptop

Specifications:

  • Screen Size: 17.3 Inches
  • Processor: 11th Gen Intel Core i3-1125G4, running at 2 GHz
  • RAM: 32 GB
  • Storage: 1 TB SSD
  • Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics with 8 MB graphics card RAM
  • Ports:
    • 1 x USB 2.0
    • 1 x USB 3.0
    • HDMI
  • Wireless: Bluetooth
  • Operating System: Windows 11 Home
  • Weight: 4.6 pounds

Review:

HP has laptops for all sorts of demands, whether you want something extravagant or just a simple one. If you are on a tight budget, you should consider the HP 17.

The HP 17 laptop comes with 11th Gen Intel Core i3-1125G4 processor, which does well on daily tasks like school work and office work. 

The display on this HP laptop is a bit mixed. Its a 17.3inch TN panel, meaning it isn’t as sharp as an IPS display. However, it still manages to provide decent brightness at 250 nits. However, the resolution is only 1600 x 900 pixels so it’s not full HD.

Moreover, this laptop weighs less compared to most other 17 inch laptops in this price range, making it portable.

It has a sleek, business-like design with narrow bezels and an aluminium-like finish with an attention-grabbing shiny HP logo on the lid. However, it is made of plastic, though it does not feel cheap. Typing on the keyboard is comfy, although it does have a bit of a bend to it. But all in all, using it feels nice and enjoyable.  

As far as hardware is concerned, the laptop comes with an Intel Core i3 CPU (12th generation) that includes Intel UHD graphics and thus fits basic tasks like web browsing and office applications perfectly.

However, its low processing power and dedicated video memory may hinder its performance when handling more demanding tasks. That being said, it still allows you to use it for tasks like Photoshop and video editing.

Toby, who works as a web developer and internet marketer, recently bought this laptop and this is what he has to say:

‘I work as a Web Developer and internet marketer. This laptop is really quick! With the upgraded RAM (32GB), programs like Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and video editing software load instantly. I’m really pleased with what I got for the price. I use this laptop instead of a desktop computer and connect it to two external monitors. It’s a great deal considering its hardware abilities!’

It is perfect for multitasking and file storage, and with 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD, you have plenty of storage and memory for anything you want to do.

When it comes to ports, you have a good range, including USB Type-C, Type-A and HDMI. However, there is no Ethernet port or SD card slot, though Wi-Fi 6 ensures that the internet is faster and more stable.

This laptop lasts up to 7.5 hours in mixed usage, which is quite surprising considering its low price. The speakers are decent for entertainment but not great for music production. Even though a touchpad may be a bit cheap, you can always use a mouse instead.

On the whole, this HP laptop has an affordable price tag in relation to functionality. Despite its few drawbacks, it’s a solid choice for the price and definitely worth considering if you’re in the market for an affordable laptop.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3i Business Laptop 2024:

Specifications:

  • Screen Size: 15.6 inches
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-1155G7 (up to 4.5GHz)
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Webcam: HD Webcam
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6
  • Number of USB 2.0 Ports: 1
  • Number of USB 3.0 Ports: 2
  • Weight: 3.64 pounds
  • Operating System: Windows 11 Pro

Review:

The Lenovo Ideapad 3i is a lightweight laptop that’s great for everyday stuff like emails, web surfing, and Zoom calls. It’s not the fanciest model, but it won’t drain your wallet either.

It’s actually more of an in-between device, falling somewhere between basic and high-end laptops. So you’re not splurging, but you’re also not settling for something that’s going to lag behind.

First off, let’s talk about speed. This thing is pretty snappy, especially for its price range. You’re getting good bang for your buck here.

Onto the specs. The screen size is pretty average—15.6 inches—with a full HD IPS touchscreen providing clear visuals for all your tasks and entertainment requirements. On the inside, it comes with a 512GB SSD drive that offers enough storage as well as aids in accessing data at high speeds, unlike traditional drives. It also features 16GB of RAM so one can multitask smoothly while using internet browsers or office applications without worrying about lags or buffering.

This laptop, which has Intel Iris Xe Graphics and an Intel i5 12th generation processor, is one of the few midrange models in its class that can be referred to as a snappy performer. It can handle typical computer tasks like web browsing and work, but it can also accommodate some light gaming.

The laptop’s webcam is okay, capable of recording in 720p and has the potential for privacy. The power button also has a fingerprint reader, which is a cool feature found more on expensive laptops. Plus, it can connect to Wi-Fi 6, which is good.

The keyboard is comfortable to type on. It’s not amazing, but it’s not bad either. 

There are lots of different tasks that this laptop can do, like emailing, browsing the internet, watching videos, and doing school or office work, which also makes it good for business use because it can easily handle video and photo editing with advanced applications and software. 

And about the ports. On the left side of this laptop, there is a power plug, an HDMI port, and two USB ports, while on the right there are also headphone jacks and an SD card slot. Even though there are so many options here, it would have been nice if they had included USB-C too.

It comes with a battery that lasts about 5 to 6 hours with regular use. For things like browsing the web and working on documents, it’s enough. It’s not the longest-lasting battery, but it’s okay for the price.

And this is it! Lenovo IdeaPad 3i! Great features! Nice design! And affordable too. The best option for someone looking for an all-powerful mid-range laptop.

If you want more advanced features without spending too much money on them, then this is exactly what you need to go for. A mid-range laptop should be fairly capable of everything you may think of using it for; this one fits that description very well. Plus, it’s priced just right for what you get.

HP Notebook Laptop

Specifications:

  • Screen Size: 15.6 Inches
  • CPU Model: Intel Core i3-1115G4 Processor
  • RAM: 32 GB DDR4
  • Hard Disk Size: 1 TB SSD
  • Special Feature: HD Audio
  • Graphics Card Description: Integrated Intel UHD Graphics
  • Wireless Type: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • Operating System: Windows 11 Home
  • Ports:
    • 1 x USB 2.0
    • 1 x USB 3.0
    • HDMI
  • Laptop weight: 3.75 pounds

Review:

Looking for a laptop that is not heavy, easy to carry around and not expensive? Consider this HP notebook. It’s one of the inexpensive HP laptops that you can buy for under $500 and is a good choice for light tasks. It may not be suitable for demanding jobs and definitely not a gaming powerhouse, but it can play games such as Minecraft fairly well.

The HP Laptop 14 has some basic hardware inside. It runs on an Intel Core i3 processor and comes with 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage. Additionally, it has USB ports, an HDMI port, a headphone jack, and Wi-Fi 6 to connect to the internet.

The processor speed of this laptop is 3 GHz, which is an average speed. At entry level, 2 GHz and 3 GHz are reasonable ballparks. For gaming and tough tasks, it’s best if the speed is between 3.5 GHz and 4.0 GHz. But what really matters is how well it handles one thing at a time.

Given that, it is great for simple tasks such as web browsing, office suite applications, or basic photography editing. But when you try to multitask or run many programs at the same time, it may struggle a bit because its processor has fewer cores compared to other similar computers.

Honestly speaking, it functions efficiently for tasks that only make use of one core of the processor, but tasks that require more than one core are slower. This involves activities such as working with large databases and doing many different things at the same time. 

Thus, if we take into account that it also has 16 GB of RAM as well as storage capacity up to 1 TB, these could easily work out for video or photo editing, plus you can store them easily due to its large storage capacity.

This laptop’s downsides are that the battery doesn’t last as long as some other laptops, giving you about three hours when you’re using it a lot, or a whole workday with less use. But you have to carry the special charger because you can’t charge it with a regular USB-C port.

Also, the screen isn’t very good. The keyboard is not backlit, which is okay, but they’re hard to see because they’re gray on a silver background, especially in dim light.

In terms of appearance, the laptop has a shiny and smooth silver 15.6 inches touchscreen that makes it easy for navigation as well as quick tasks. Nonetheless, if you are viewing the screen from narrow angles, there may be some shifts in contrast and pale areas.

Some people may find it annoying that at lower settings, the screen brightness flickers slightly.

Another disadvantage of this laptop is that it uses fans that can be noisy and run frequently since most of its chassis is made out of plastic, which does not dissipate heat well. There are two fan modes: one with semi-high noise and another with more noise. Unfortunately, there’s no way to control the cooling system to reduce the noise.

Though there are issues like fan noises and a bit slower performance, this laptop still has some positives about it. It is stylishly designed and lightweight, which makes it easier to carry around wherever you want to go.

The HP notebook computers may not break any records on beauty or power, but they do solve a problem for those on a budget who want a Windows laptop. The HP 14 is flawed but it’s highly affordable below $500, thus making it one of the best options, especially for individuals who can’t afford expensive models, even though they need functionality above all else.

Lenovo IdeaPad 1i

Specifications:

  • Screen Size: 15.6 Inches
  • CPU Model: Intel 10-Core i5-1235U
  • RAM: 12 GB 
  • Hard Drive: 512 GB SSD
  • Graphics Card Description: Integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics
  • Processor Speed: 4.4 GHz
  • Graphics Coprocessor: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
  • Wireless Type: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)
  • Number of USB 2.0 Ports: 1
  • Number of USB 3.0 Ports: 2
  • Laptop weight: 3.52 pounds
  • Operating System: Windows 11 Pro

Review:

If you’re checking out this review, chances are you’re looking for a really cheap laptop. Well, the Lenovo IdeaPad 1i is made just for you. It’s meant to meet your needs without costing too much.

When it comes to finding a reliable laptop that can handle various tasks, the Lenovo IdeaPad is often a safe bet. It’s versatile, suitable for light gaming, work, and even some editing tasks. 

However, because it’s mainly designed for office work, maintaining a steady performance across different tasks can be a challenge. But with the IdeaPad 1i, we were pleasantly surprised. The model I got here came with an Intel 10-Core i5-1235U processor, 12GB of RAM, 512GB of storage, and an Intel Iris Xe GPU.

What is really great is that storage and RAM both have ample capacity and can be readily upgraded. The RAM can be increased to 40GB and the storage to 2TB.

In its design and connectivity, Lenovo’s budget IdeaPad remains simple. Despite being entirely made of plastic, it still has the traditional IdeaPad appearance, which is smart and professional.

The weight is about 3.52 pounds, making it lightweight and easily portable. All important ports are present, including USB-A, HDMI, and a microSD card reader. There is also a USB-C port that only supports data transfer.

Internally, you get a roomy keyboard and a trackpad that is of decent size, both of which are comfortable to use, especially considering the price point. Nonetheless, there isn’t any backlighting on the keys or fingerprint scanner.

The hinge above the keyboard is alright yet it could be stronger. Concerning display quality, this one is pretty basic—720p resolution with limited viewing angles and low brightness. Nevertheless, it gets the job done for most everyday activities.

Even though it’s a cheap laptop, the sound quality is good, as is its charging ability. The battery life is up to par; it can last for about 14 hours under normal usage and six to seven hours if you are gaming or working on demanding apps.

When it comes to tasks, this laptop surprises with its performance. While it’s great for everyday stuff like browsing, typing docs, or watching videos, it can also handle heavier tasks surprisingly well, since it’s technically a business laptop. 

For instance, if one needs to edit videos or run business apps with ease using a processor like the Intel Core i5, then this computer could do exactly that without experiencing any problems. It also features integrated graphics, which makes it suitable for light gaming, thus giving it more usability.

Not only does it stay cool and quiet during these operations but its efficient design also enables that to happen. So whether you’re on spreadsheets or gaming sprees, this laptop has got your back.

The Lenovo IdeaPad 1i is a good budget option with a powerful processor. It is well-built, has a good keyboard and trackpad and, besides that, it has a nice battery life. If that is exactly what you are looking for, it could be a good purchase for you.

Dell Inspiron 3511 Laptop

Specifications:

  • Display: 15.6 inches
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-1135G7
  • RAM: 32 GB DDR4
  • Storage: 1 TB 
  • Graphics: Integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics
  • Operating System: Windows 11 Home
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • Ports:
    • 2 x USB 2.0
    • 2 x USB 3.0
    • HDMI
    • SD Card Reader
  • Weight: 3.7 pounds

Review: 

You don’t have to spend a ton to get a good Windows laptop. Some of the best ones can be pricey, but the Dell Inspiron 3511 proves you can get quality for less than $500.

Reviewing this laptop is almost easy because it meets expectations. Dell is known for making well-built devices, and the Inspiron 3511 is no exception. It feels sturdy and reliable, just like you’d expect from Dell.

The Inspiron 3511 comes in different versions, ranging from the simplest, which has a Core i3 processor, to the most advanced, which has a Core i7 processor.

There are also options for how much memory and storage capacity you would prefer. The screen is a high-definition display, and you can even get it with touch capability if you want. Additionally, it features Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5, which is good. 

The design of the Inspiron 3511 isn’t remarkable but it is stylish enough, whether for work or play. The top half of the machine is metallic, while the bottom half is made of plastic. Its weight is 3.7 pounds, which makes it not very light but manageable.

The Inspiron 3511 has lots of ports, like HDMI, SD card, headphone, and three USB-A ports. But it’s missing a USB-C port, which is disappointing. Some people still need old ports, but I think Dell could’ve swapped one USB-A for a USB-C. Or they could’ve replaced the barrel charging port with a USB-C that can charge the laptop.

Many good webcams for Windows use USB-A, so having old ports makes sense. But some accessories, like external hard drives, use USB-C.

The keyboard does not have backlight, which many people may find annoying, yet the touchpad is fine for everyday activities, but for more demanding work, it might be simply unpractical. 

However, let’s proceed to the most important feature of any device – its display. This one is an average 1080p IPS panel with a matte finish, which helps reduce glare. The colors are okay for everyday tasks, but don’t expect them to be super vibrant. The touchscreen is a nice addition, though.

On the aspect of performance, with an Intel Core i5 and Iris Xe Graphics, this laptop handles everyday duties effortlessly. Surfing the web, editing documents, and even light gaming are smooth to use.

However, once you begin pushing it for more demanding tasks like video editing or gaming, then things start to get heated. The single fan and narrow air intake vent don’t do a great job of keeping things cool, resulting in thermal throttling issues. So you need to be careful about that.

Battery life is good enough, as it lasts up to 7 hours on low usage. The speakers are also fine, just that they lack excellent sound quality.

In terms of upgradability, both RAM and SSD can be easily upgraded, which is an advantage.

Our verdict: This laptop is perfect if you’re on a budget and need something reliable for everyday and more powerful tasks like video editing or graphic design.

Whether you’re buying just one or several laptops, the Dell Inspiron 3511 is a solid choice. It’s affordable and well-built, just like other Dell laptops. While it would’ve been nice to have a USB-C port and built-in Windows Hello, these missing features shouldn’t be a dealbreaker for most people.

Lenovo IdeaPad 1

Specifications:

  • Display: 15.6 inches
  • CPU Model: AMD Ryzen 3 7320U
  • RAM: 8 GB DDR5
  • Storage: 1 TB PCIe SSD
  • Graphics Coprocessor: AMD Radeon 610M Graphics
  • Number of USB 2.0 Ports: 1
  • Number of USB 3.0 Ports: 2
  • Wireless Type: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth, 2.4 GHz Radio Frequency
  • Operating System: Windows 11 Pro
  • Laptop weight: 3.48 pounds

Review:

Looking for a good Windows laptop on a budget may not be easy. Still, if you need a simple laptop, the latest Lenovo IdeaPad 1 could be an option. It is an affordable laptop that Lenovo claims offers excellent quality for its features.

Starting at just under $500, this one stands tall, but it also has some quirks that may not appeal to everyone.

The Lenovo IdeaPad 1 comes in a plain, abyss blue finish. Its design is straightforward and unpretentious, like any entry-level laptop should be. The lid only has a small logo of Lenovo on the top right corner as an embellishment. There’s no extra flair, which is expected for this type of laptop.

To be honest, the build quality of this budget laptop isn’t too shabby. There is some chassis flex but it isn’t excessive. As a whole, it feels very solid, like many mid-range laptops, which is quite remarkable considering how low priced it actually is.

The Lenovo IdeaPad 1 is compact and fits easily into a small bag, making it quite portable. However, it’s not the lightest laptop around, weighing about the same as a 13-inch MacBook Pro (1.38 kg). This weight is manageable but not exactly lightweight.

A nice feature for this budget laptop is that the screen can pivot nearly 180 degrees, adding some flexibility for different uses, like using it while lying on the couch. However, this means you can’t open the laptop with one hand because the hinge is too strong.

The Lenovo IdeaPad 1 comes with an AMD Ryzen 3 7320U processor and AMD Radeon 610M graphics. AMD claims that this processing unit performs better than the Intel Core i3-1115G4 (28W), with a Cinebench Multi-threaded score of 4560 as well as a PCMark10 score of 4417.

Ryzen 3 7320U does well in everyday tasks such as Microsoft Word usage, Excel spreadsheets, and browsing the web. The best part about these programs is that they open fast and function smoothly, even if there are multiple tabs opened in Chrome or other similar engines. It has 8GB of RAM and 1TB of storage, which suits all these purposes but may struggle with other demanding duties depending on what you do with your laptop more often.

One thing I like is the variety of ports it offers, including USB, HDMI, and a card reader. However, it would have been nice if the USB-C port could also charge the laptop. Instead, it uses a standard pin charger, which is a bit old-fashioned but easy to replace if needed.

The battery life is claimed to be up to 14 hours, but in reality, it’s closer to 9 or 9.5 hours with regular use.

For those who plan to use the Lenovo IdeaPad 1 for routine, low-demanding tasks, it is an adequate and reasonably priced option overall.

Its low price makes it an attractive choice for those looking for a starter laptop. Its performance is good for the price, and it has decent battery life that lasts all day.

Lenovo V15 G2 ALC Laptop 

Specifications:

  • Display: 15.6 Inches
  • Processor: Hexa-core (6 cores) AMD Ryzen 5 5500U
  • Base Clock Speed: 4 GHz
  • Memory:16 GB
  • Storage: 512 GB SSD
  • Graphics: AMD Radeon
  • OS: Windows 11 Pro
  • Ports:
    • USB 3.0 Type-A: 1
    • USB 2.0 Type-A: 1
    • USB Type-C: 1
    • HDMI: 1
    • RJ45 (Ethernet): 1
    • Headphone/Microphone Combo: 1
  • Laptop weight: 3.75 pounds (1.70 kg)

Review:

Today, we’re asking the classic question: How cheap is too cheap? Sometimes, the only difference between cheap and affordable is a very thin margin; we are here to determine if Lenovo V15 Gen 2 has found that sweet spot between them.

This time around, things might not be the same for the Lenovo V15 Gen 2. It looks like there are some exciting specifications that include up to Ryzen 5 5700U with six cores, multi-threading and fast integrated graphics. It is amazing to find such potent hardware on a wallet-friendly laptop.

The spill-resistant keyboard doesn’t have a backlight but offers good key travel and clicky feedback that makes typing comfortable. A power button has been conveniently separated from other keys. Touchpad is surprisingly good in this class, though not the best overall.

The Lenovo V15’s build quality is a mix of fine and ordinary. The exterior has a clean, patterned texture finish, which adds a touch of elegance.

However, it feels strong, although the design is so common. Furthermore, its weight stands at only 1.70 kg, making it light but still sturdy.

The lid can’t be opened with one hand, but it has thin side bezels and an HD webcam with a privacy shutter.

Lenovo has improved the cooling system to keep the V15 quieter and less hot. The Ryzen 5 processor plus fast SSD and adequate RAM ensure smoothness when doing programming, basic photo/video editing, or gaming. Booting windows will only take 9 seconds and multitasking is handled well.

While most popular online games run well on Radeon graphics cards, some newer ones might require GeForce MX model versions.

Under intense usage, its 38Wh battery lasts for over four hours and up to seven hours when performing light tasks with reduced screen brightness. This makes it enough for one working day with several recharging gaps.

The Dolby Audio supported stereo speakers have high-pitched sounds with mid-tones that are rich in quality. Although not very loud, the bass is subtle, and it still surprises in some scenes.

The Lenovo V15 has a lot of ports for connecting different devices. You have several USB ports (one being USB Type-C), an HDMI port to connect your monitors or TVs, an RJ45 for wired internet and a numeric keyboard for easy data entry. It comes with all the basic features required for various activities.

Its AMD Ryzen 5 5500U processor has 6 cores and 12 threads. This means that it can run many tasks at a time, reaching from 2.1 GHz up to 4.0 GHz whenever it needs more power. This makes it ideal for everything, from everyday tasks to more demanding uses.

The Lenovo V15 is a lightweight laptop with thin bezels, a great keyboard, and above average speakers. The Full HD display is well-defined but the TN panel version has a low color range and viewing angles; hence, the IPS version is preferable.

Despite being made of plastic material, the build quality is pretty good, though it isn’t fingerprint-resistant. Summing it up, the Lenovo V15 shows excellent value and is one of the best laptop choices for those seeking a fast, inexpensive machine.

HP 14

Specifications:

  • Display: 14 inches
  • Processor Model: Intel Celeron N200
  • Memory (RAM): 16GB DDR4
  • Storage: 1TB SSD 
  • Special Features: Backlit Keyboard
  • Wireless Type: Bluetooth
  • Number of USB 3.0 Ports: 3
  • Operating System: Windows 11 Home (S Mode)
  • Weight: 3.09 pounds

Review:

Imagine this: laptops often cost over $1,000. So, when you see one for less than half that price, you might think there’s a catch. But, in our test, this HP 14 does everyday tasks just fine. Whether it’s surfing the web, typing up documents, or doing schoolwork, it handles it all without a hitch.

Here’s what stands out about this laptop:

Roomy 14-inch display: It’s just right—not too big, not too small. It fits nicely on a desk or in a bag when you’re on the move. While it may not have the vibrant colors of a big-screen TV, for tasks like working on documents or spreadsheets, you won’t really notice the difference.

Spacious keyboard: The keys are nicely spaced out, so you won’t feel cramped while typing. Plus, it’s backlit with a soft white or light blue light, making it easy to see in dimly lit rooms. This feature comes in handy if you’re not a typing pro and need to glance at the keys occasionally. It’s a win-win—especially for those who don’t spend all day typing away!

It does not look like a luxury item—it’s made for regular folks who just need a reliable laptop. The laptop feels surprisingly sturdy for its price, with a plastic build that’s less flimsy than expected. It’s a bit heavier than similar laptops but nothing too noticeable. The design is simple, with standard ports including USB, HDMI, and even a full-sized SD card reader, which is a nice touch.

Under the hood, it’s got an : Intel Celeron N200, 16GB of memory, and 1TB of solid-state storage. It might seem like it would be just okay. 

But it’s better than okay. 

Browsing the web is smooth, even on sites packed with ads. Watching HD videos on YouTube is pretty much the same as on a more expensive PC, although the laptop’s fans can get a bit noisy.

Switching between apps like Edge, Adobe Photoshop, and Word is a breeze, whether you’re using keyboard shortcuts or clicking around. So, even though it’s not the priciest laptop out there, it handles everyday tasks just fine. Also, it includes Microsoft 365 Office for your work needs at no extra cost.

The battery life leaves something to be desired, as it only lasts about 7.5 hours in real-world usage. The speakers are good enough for a budget laptop, but they really aren’t that impressive.

This makes the HP Laptop 14 an excellent choice for general productivity tasks under $500. It delivers well on performance, has a solid body and comes with plenty of ports. But the keyboard isn’t that great, and neither is the battery life. So considering those setbacks, it’s a decent bang for your buck.

So, if you are not willing to spend much on a brand-new workhorse that will serve everyday purposes without being unreliable, try your luck on the HP 14 laptop.

Acer Aspire 3

Specifications:

  • Display: 15.6 inches
  • CPU Model: AMD Ryzen 7 5700U
  • Processor Speed: 4.3 GHz
  • Number of Processors: 8
  • RAM: 16 GB DDR4
  • Storage: 1TB 
  • Number of USB 3.0 Ports: 4
  • Operating System: Windows 11 Pro
  • Laptop’s weight: 3.92 pounds

Review:

In the world of budget laptops, there are many cheap options but not many good ones. The Acer Aspire 3 stands out with its simple design, full-size keyboard with a number pad, and wide screen that’s great for video calls. Although it has some limitations because of its low $500 price, Acer has made smart choices to offer a lot of value for the money.

The Acer Aspire 3 has very powerful specs: a 4.3GHz AMD Ryzen CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB solid-state drive. It’s super robust and good for heavy business tasks on a budget. It has an HDMI port for connecting to external displays and one USB-C port for newer accessories. However, it doesn’t have an SD card reader or a second USB-C port, which you might miss. Having just one USB-C port can be inconvenient, but you can use an adapter to add more ports.

Weighing just under four pounds, the Aspire 3 isn’t super light, but for a bit of extra weight, you get a wide 15.6-inch screen and a full-width keyboard. As someone who uses spreadsheets a lot, I love having a number pad on such an affordable laptop. The keyboard feels solid, with little flex or bounce when typing. This is important because cheap laptops often have weak structures that feel flimsy and can cause the mouse cursor to jump around. Thankfully, that’s not an issue with this Acer—it’s actually nice to type on.

The Aspire 3 also has a 1080p display, but now many other budget laptops have this resolution too, so it’s not as special. In 2024, 1080p is the minimum resolution you should accept, as 768p doesn’t display modern web pages well. 

The Aspire 3 meets the acceptable resolution range of 1080p for current devices. We liked the display for movies and videos. The color quality was decent and it was bright enough for use in full sunlight.

The laptop has two small, downward-pointing speakers that are quite loud and work well for video calls and YouTube videos. However, the sound is a bit tinny for music with a lot of bass.

In video call tests, the Aspire 3 surprised us for a budget laptop. The HD webcam produced clear video, and the microphone picked up voices well, even with background noise.

We liked the Aspire 3’s webcam performance in low light. The HD camera, with temporal noise reduction, makes low-light video look clear and bright, better than many more expensive laptops.

The microphone also works well, thanks to Acer PurifiedVoice software that filters out noise and sends clear sound. For a laptop at this price, that’s impressive. Overall, the image and voice quality make the Acer Aspire 3 better for Zoom calls than some laptops that cost four times as much.

It is equipped with 16GB of RAM, which helps it run smoothly even when you’re using a bunch of heavy-duty programs. This is especially helpful for people who use complicated software or have a lot of things open at the same time.

The Aspire 3 has good battery life. In our test, playing a movie on repeat, it lasted about eight hours, enough for a full workday. The charger is compact and easy to carry.

Now many of you ask Is the Acer Aspire 3 good for gaming and work? Well, it’s actually really good at both. The Ryzen 7 5700U processor is amazing for gaming. It has 8 cores and 16 threads, which means that it is super powerful and can handle most games pretty well, even on medium to high settings. And it’s efficient, so your laptop won’t get too hot while you’re playing.

But if you are interested in playing specific games, many of them should run alright on low settings, while extremely demanding ones like Cyberpunk may struggle a bit.

In terms of work, it can be great for heavy-duty stuff such as coding, programming, video editing, and photo editing. It’s fast with things such as Microsoft Office use, editing PDFs, video calls on Zoom or other platforms and light gaming or streaming.

In short, if you want a powerful laptop at a reasonable price, this one is a great pick. It has impressive specs that deliver strong performance, so you won’t be disappointed.

HP Laptop 14-dq0054d

Specifications:

  • Display: 14 Inches
  • Processor: Intel Celeron N4120 (4-core)
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4
  • Storage: 576GB (64GB SSD +512GB Card)
  • Graphics Card: Intel UHD Graphics 600 (Integrated)
  • Number of USB 3.0 Ports: 3, HDMI port
  • Screen Resolution: 1366 x 768 pixels
  • Operating System: Windows 11
  • Laptop’s weight: 3.24 lbs

Review:

Shopping for a cheap laptop is totally fine, as long as you know what to expect. The HP 14-dq0054d, which costs under $500, is one of those cheap laptops. It’s mainly made for students who want something affordable. This laptop can do basic things like email, writing documents, and surfing the internet okay, but it’s not great. Its processor is slow, it doesn’t have much storage, and the screen doesn’t look very good. So, if you’re really tight on money, it could work for you. But you’ll probably run into its limits pretty quickly.

The newest HP 14 laptop we tried out is part of a series known for being really cheap. This particular model, the 14-dq0054dx, has 16GB of memory, 64GB of storage, Intel UHD 600 Graphics built into the processor, and uses a Celeron N4120 processor.

The HP Stream 14 is around 0.7 by 12.7 by 8.8 inches in size and weighs about 3.24 pounds, which is typical for laptops of its kind. It’s not heavy, but it feels strong and well-made. It looks nice and has textured surfaces that make it seem tough (but try not to drop it).

There are rubber grips underneath to keep it from sliding around. The keyboard is sturdy and the keys are spaced out well, so it’s unlikely you’ll press the wrong one by accident. Typing might be a bit loud, though. The touchpad is big and works well, but you can’t turn it off easily without going into the settings.

Most budget laptops don’t have the best screens, but the HP 14’s screen is especially not great. It has a resolution of 1,366 by 768 pixels, which is low. The edges of the screen are thin, but they reflect a lot of light, making them hard to see. Even when you find a good angle to look at it, the colors don’t look very good and the text seems blurry. This resolution might be okay on smaller screens, but on this size, it’s not good enough.

The HP 14 has most of its ports on the right side. There’s a jack for headphones and microphones, two USB ports, a USB-Type C port, the port for plugging in the power cord, and an HDMI port.

On the left side, there are fewer ports. There’s an SD card reader and two small lights, one to show if the laptop is on and one for the SD card slot. It also has a 720p webcam, Bluetooth 4.2, and Wi-Fi 5, which are pretty standard for this type of laptop.

The HP 14-dq0054d disappoints in its performance and its average. With an Intel Celeron chip, 16GB of RAM, and only 64GB of storage, it is good for basic tasks like browsing the internet or using word processors, but don’t expect to run demanding apps or games on this laptop; it won’t handle that much.

Most people who buy these cheaper laptops are students or people trying to save money, so if you keep it simple and use it for light things, then this laptop is just fine. 

The battery life of the HP 14-dq0054d was also not very good compared to other laptops.

The only thing that was okay about the HP 14 was its screen brightness. It did better than some other laptops in this area, but the quality of the screen itself wasn’t very good.

Generally speaking, the HP 14-dq0054d is not the best choice if you want a good performing laptop. It’s okay if you just need something basic for school and don’t want to spend a lot of money, but there are better options out there.