5 Best Laptop for Students Under $500 – College Made Easy

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The best laptop for students under $500 is a necessity because It’s already tough being a student without a laptop now imagine you have a laptop but it’s old, slow and bulky. It’s time to drop it like a hot potato and get one of the best laptops for students under $500.

Going old school, carrying heavy books, dragging a large bag to the classroom isn’t practical anymore.

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Who would want to write down long notes in a notebook when you can have the convenience of just ergonomically typing the notes on your laptop?

So what is the best laptop for students under $500 you can buy today? That’s exactly what we will answer in this top 5 round-up.

We have brought together 5 of the best laptop for students under $500 and put them through their paces.

For our findings at a glance, just head to our quick view table below.
For our dedicated buyer’s guide and in-depth review of each of our choices, keep on reading.

Top 5 Best Laptop for Students Under $500

Laptops are an essential component of a student’s life because of all the things you could do with it plus your mobility.

For research, note-taking, presentation, or even photo/video editing, all of which are possible on your laptop. And what’s more, you can take it anywhere with you!

Recommended Best Laptop for Students Under $500

We’ve compiled a list of laptops for students under $500. All the top brands reviewed for their fast laptops and premium build quality are featured on this list.

Alongside this, I have also added upgraded units that would not generally break your bank but would slightly jump you over the $500 range but with significant improvements.

1. Acer Aspire 5 – The Recommended Pick

What I consider as the best in this list actually breached the $500 mark as of this writing. But considering that this is only $9.99 more than our price bracket, I’d have to include the Acer Aspire 5.

What differentiates this beast from the rest is that it is packed with perks such as a fingerprint scanner, IPS display for better viewing angles while already at the 1080p resolution.

While we can see the common I5-8265U Processor at the center with 8GB RAM, it already packs 256GB or NVME SSD which makes everything go by at a blazing fast speed.

While all those bells and whistle sound like added weight, we are actually looking at 3.97lbs which makes it the easiest to carry of the bunch which is very ideal for students and young professionals alike who are on the go.

PROS:

  • 256GB SSD Ready for fast booting, saving, and file transfers.
  • Processor and RAM Combo are sufficient for day to day productivity applications.
  • Bells and whistles not native to this price range (IPS display, Fingerprint Scanner)
  • Lightweight and very portable

CONS:

  • Slightly Dim Display
  • No MMC Reader

Where to buy it:


2. Lenovo Ideapad 330S

The Lenovo Ideapad 330s has always looked sharp and very professional mimicking the premium look of the more expensive Ultrabook variants.

Others, on the other hand, see the design as bland and unartistic, I leave this thought to you as this boils down to a matter of personal perspective.

This Lenovo Ideapad dons the Intel Core i5-8250U and packed with 8GB DDR4 Memory, which generally is ready to tackle everyday application for every student.

It is paired up with 16GB Optane Memory and 1TB of HDD which aids in loading applications and transfer of files.  Sadly this model only comes with 1366 by 768 resolution and is very dim vs. direct sunlight.   

PROS:

  • Looks very professional and sleek
  • Multitasking made easy with the choice of CPU, RAM, and Optane Memory
  • Comfortable keyboard for long typing sessions

CONS:

  • Battery life clocking under 3 hours.
  • Low Resolution and very Dim against direct sunlight
  • 1TB HDD 5400RPM is just slow even with the Optane Memory. An upgrade to an SSD should fix this.

Where to buy it:

If you’re willing to sacrifice processing power from an I5-8250U into an I3-8130U for blazing-fast 512GB SSD and a Chic color you can also check out the Plum Purple variant:


3. Dell Inspiron 5575

An under $500 entry from Dell, this Inspiron 5575 seeks to please with its platinum finish. Though rare for a budget-friendly laptop, it has a backlit keyboard which is very good for the nocturnal students who prefers to study or research at night or in the dark.

The Dell Inspiron 5575 is packed with the Ryzen 5 2500U CPU with its integrated Radeon Vega 8 graphics. It rocks 8GB RAMs which is upgradeable up to 32GB but with only 1TB HDD at 5400RPM.

The screen is already on a 1080p resolution at 15.6-inch which is great for this price range, however, the viewing angle section is a department Dell might want to improve on for the Inspiron 5575.

PROS:

  • Great eye-catching looks.
  • Capable of everyday activities and applications.
  • The backlit keyboard is always welcome for students who love studying or researching in the dark.

CONS:

  • Viewing angles could have been better.
  • Upgrading the HDD to an SSD is a must.
  • Speakers are downright bad. You might want to get your own speakers.

Where to buy it:


4. HP Pavilion 15Z

While the HP Pavilion 15Z would feel plastic to the touch, it certainly has an appeal for a wider market spanning both students and young professionals alike.

Despite the “plasticky”, flimsy feel, the HP Pavilion 15Z aims to deliver in this price range offering the AMD Ryzen 5 2500U with the AMD Radeon Vega 8 graphics. Multitasking ready with 8GB of RAM with a 1TB HDD Storage at 5400RPM.

The HP Pavilion 15Z comes with a 15.6-inch screen though with a low resolution at 1366 x 768. The Wi-Fi adapter only stands to be able to receive up to 802.11n and not capable AC signals.

PROS:

  • Sufficient for day to day productivity applications
  • AMD Radeon Vega 8 allows for light casual gaming for study breaks.
  • Lightweight at 4.5lbs. Easy transport.

CONS:

  • Plastic feel
  • Upgrading the HDD to an SSD is a must.
  • Wifi Adapter is not capable of receiving 802.11ac signals.
  • Low Resolution

Where to buy it:

Just a $29 over $500, this HP Pavilion is definitely a big upgrade over the HP Pavilion 15Z. It packs the same screen size but is already on the 1920 x 1080 resolution and a touchscreen at that.

At the core it runs the I5-8250U with the Intel Integrated 620 Graphics along with an 8GB Ram for multitasking activities. Unlike the HP Pavilion 15Z, this one is already capable of accepting 802.11ac Wi-Fi Signals which is significantly better.  

If you want to check out one of HP Pavilion’s bigger brother:


5. Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop – The Budget Pick

This is the cheapest best laptop for students under $500 but it’s also a pick because it comes with a powerful NVMe SSD which would make your laptop twice as fast as a regular laptop with a slow Hard disk drive.

You can expect faster boot times, software and applications load faster and your entire school-work process will be much faster and smoother just because you have one of the best laptops for students under $500 that has an NVMe SSD.

PROS:

  • Superfast NVMe SSD
  • An 8th Generation Core i3 Processor (Upto 3.9Ghz speed)
  • 15.6 HD IPS Display
  • Backlit Keyboard
  • USB Type-C Ports

CONS:

  • Low SSD storage of 128GB
  • Not a Full HD 1920 x 1080P screen display

Where to Buy it:

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best laptop for students under $500?

The best laptops for students we found extended a little bit over the $500 range and that would be the Acer Aspire 5. It is lightweight and easy to carry for students, it offers blazing fast speed as it dons the 256GB NVME SSD.

But the situation could change as some students might opt for larger storage versus speed so the second nominee for best laptop would be the DELL Inspiron 5575.

How much do I need to buy the best laptop for students under $500?

If you plan to go for the Acer Aspire 5, you would need to dish out $509.99 plus shipping from amazon which is a bit beyond our budget.

But if you opt to go for the Dell Inspiron 5575, you would only need $448.63 and have enough room to upgrade to an SSD if you feel like doing so.

What is the cheapest best laptop for students under $500?

The cheapest is the Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop but you’ll advise you opt in for one with a bigger NVMe SSD space, I recommend one with 256GB but that would costs more.

Buyer’s Guide – Why do You Need the Best Laptop for Students Under $500

Education is a journey, not a race.

While others would question the validity of this statement, we have to accept the fact that education takes years. And while your education would take you years to complete, your very first laptop may not be there to see you through it all.

That is why you need to select the best possible laptop that would serve you for years and powerful enough to get more mileage.

Not all laptops are created equal. Though the specifications are pretty generic looking to the non-savvy, they each have their purpose and limitations. Depending on your needs a student, only then you would be able to identify the minimum requirements you require from a laptop.

Who Needs the Best Laptop for Students Under $500

When research and heavy note-taking or writing is part of your daily life as a student, this is when the realization of the importance of owning your laptop comes in light.

A high schooler can take advantage of using laptops because of the amount of research, note-taking, and maybe even projects and presentations they have to do in school.

This could never be truer for college students as well, as they face head-on with the same daily requirement only with bigger expectations, which makes owning a laptop more of a necessity than a convenience.

More than this, college students can also make use of these laptops for online part-time jobs as they relatively share the same minimum requirements from a laptop.

So if you are considering working online part-time while studying, this is one hard-packed reason for you to get a laptop yourself.

Who the Best Laptop for Students Under $500 is NOT for.

The most common limitation in the list is the lack of dedicated graphics.

All the laptops on the list are going to be using integrated graphics, which means that it will be using power coming from your laptop’s processor to process the graphics.

So only the lightest gaming can be done for this machine. Talk about study breaks.

While gaming is limited severely, this goes without saying that editing is also limited as well as it uses graphics processing too. Though you can edit to some extent, the processing time to render the graphics and saving would take long.

While the two most prominent limitation fell on the graphics area, we also have to consider that these laptops are not for Power Using.

The amount of memory (RAM), heat, and battery life are key things to consider when going for the laptops in the list. In the long run, you would feel that these key things would create limitations for you as well.

Conclusion

The best laptop for students under $500 in this list are the 15.6-inch variants with the full-length keyboard.

I believe that this is the optimum size for students because you would be able to take advantage of the full-sized keys over the course of time you would be using these laptops.

So if you are a student planning to get a laptop for easier research, note-taking, project presentations and the like, then you are at the right place.

My recommendation would be to slightly breach the $500 mark and get the Acer Aspire 5 or, if you prefer, the Dell Inspiron 5575 would be the better second choice.


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