As a student, you have enough money for basic needs. It will cost more money to get high-end 3D modeling and rendering software. Even so, a notebook for high school students with a budget of $500 may cover the basics--good processing power, an impressive display, and enough battery life for heavy use all day long.
Laptops for a certain budget will have some things cut out. It is important to know this before you buy, so it will be okay. IT professionals need a laptop with a long battery life so it can last all day. It needs to have good processing power and a high resolution display so the person can see things clearly. A laptop should be portable. This might mean that you can't do the things you want to do with it.
It can be expensive to take a class online. You need to have a computer and camera. For this reason, a keyboard that has enough key travel is important to have on your laptop. College students may sometimes need to do work on the computer. You might need a good place to type one of your assignments.
There are some convertibles at this price point. They are hard to find. You can also get a Chromebook if you want. It is not the same as Windows, but it has more storage space. Convertibles can make it easier to do work on your computer while traveling. This is good for people in school.
The featured price bracket doesn't allow you to get a premium machine, but with research and the help of our experts, you can still find a moderately powerful device.
As a student, you need to attach your mouse, keyboard and other devices. You can buy a device that has many USB ports.
Minimum & Recommended System Requirements
12 Best Laptops Under $500 for College Students in 2021
If you are looking for a new laptop, there is a lot of options under $500. There are many things to think about when you go to college.
All the gadgets listed are things that college-going students like. We reviewed notebooks for one week and none of them had any damage.
1. Best Overall: Lenovo Ideapad 3
Most college students can't afford laptops. Lenovo offers a powerful, AMD-powered processor that provides cross-platform compatibility for your college student activities. Lenovo Ideapad 3 is a laptop for people who need to do many things. It can be for work or for fun.
Furthermore, the CPU can do many things. It can handle at least two programs at once. Even though this CPU can usually only be found in laptops that cost more than $700, Lenovo is bringing it to their laptop that costs less. The AMD Ryzen 5 3500U has a 2.1GHz clock speed. The Zenbook UX391UA does not come with the power of an Intel i7 or Intel i9, but it can handle most productivity-related applications.
The integrated GPU can do simple things like photo editing and video editing. Detailed games are not for the DS. But you can still play old versions of FIFA and GTA on it. Starting now, there is an AMD Radeon Vega 8 for graphics support. It's better than most Intel UHD graphics cards.
Ideapad 3 comes with Windows 10. An 8 GB DDR4 is a type of memory that works with the processor. The 256GB SSD offers fast data read/write speeds so that your software will work quickly. This will allow you to upgrade from a Windows 10 Home/Pro to one with access to more software than the built-in Microsoft Store.
The display is good for watching movies. The device has a high-quality screen. It is 1920x1080 resolution. The screen with brightness levels of 200 nits doesn't disappoint in its visual performance.
The keyboard will be good for regular use. The computer's trackpad allows you to do different things. You can touch it and it will do what you want. The keys are easy to read and they go in the lock. If the key had more resistance, it would be better. The Ideapad has a keyboard that has keys like chiclets. This kind of keyboard doesn't have a number pad, which is usually on the side.
This laptop has Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth for wireless connection. The laptop is about 3.3 pounds and has a black finish on its plastic. This computer has 3 USB ports, a card reader, an HDMI port and a headphone jack.
The Lenovo Ideapad 3 has a 2-cell lithium-ion battery. It can last for up to 7.5 hours without being plugged in. If the battery is used normally, it should last 4 years. For students who want to do work and play games on their laptop, this is a good choice. Lenovo offers a laptop that is good for people who want to watch things on the internet. It has an HD webcam and battery backup that will work if the electricity goes out.
2. Best Renewed Model: Dell Latitude E5440
The original model might not be cheap, but the refurbished model costs less than $200. If you want an older machine, the Dell Latitude E5440 is worth it.
The 4th generation of Intel chips has a clock speed that can go up to 3.3GHz. The powerful single-core processor allows you to edit photos and process them without any lags. The Intel Core i7-4600U is great in the 500 price range.
It has an Intel HD 4400 graphics card. It also has a NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M graphics card.
The existing GPU has medium performance and 2GB of RAM. The GPU Boost 2.0 is a good feature. It can be used to overclock the GPU. Games like Rocket League, Team Fortress and Farming Simulator can be played with the lowest visual settings (HD preset). This will allow for consistent frames rates, and in most cases you can get up to 70 or more FPS.
Give up the graphics when you are not doing a lot of graphical work. The NVIDIA Optimus technology switches between using the integrated and dedicated GPU, based on needs.
This laptop comes with a 500GB SSD module. The Windows 10 Pro installation is the best. It will give people the best experience possible. This computer has 8GB of RAM. It can do lots of things at once for college students.
This notebook has a screen that is 14 inches and the resolution is 1366x768 pixels. Dell cut the corners off of their screen resolution in order to use an LED panel. This will help people see better outside and also get a wide-angle view. This panel doesn't have anti-glare properties, but it can help reduce eye strain.
The Windows 8.1 device has a microphone and camera that you can use for video calls. Dell has a keyboard that is part of the device. They also have a touchpad that responds to your touch. This machine has a optical drive. It is a convenient way to use your computer because you don't need to put in disks every time.
You will also get better wireless connections with this phone for your phone. The Dell Latitude E5440 weighs 4.41 pounds and has a lot of different ports, including Mini DisplayPort, USB 3.0, HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet, and the E-port connector.
This battery lasts between 5 and 6 hours. It is long enough for moderate use. For buyers who want to spend less than $500, the laptop has a good processor and dedicated GPU.
3. Best for Everyone: Asus VivoBook 15
Whether you are an engineering student or a student of other fields such as medical , nursing , law , the ASUS VivoBook won’t let you down.
This laptop is only $100. It is very similar to other laptops that cost more.
The Intel UHD integrated graphics card can help with graphics, visuals, and casual gaming. The base clock speed is 1GHz, but with 6MB of cache and HyperThreading support there are good processing speeds. The Intel Core i5-1035G1 processor will create great graphics for you when gaming on your laptop.
Asus laptops offer 8GB of memory for reliable performance. This fast computer has Windows 10. You will be able to start it up fast. This module is good for storing a lot of data. It can move data really fast, and it can do that because it has an advanced kind of memory chip.
This telescope is very good because it can show you things that are far away and it has a very clear view. The screen-to-chassis ratio is 88% so there is a lot of space. You can see your computer with few distractions. The computer screen measures 15.6 inches and it is in full HD.
The ErgoLift design helps you create content and type. You will be able to type on a keyboard that has lights and is easy on your hands. The speakers in the computer are good. They have a "fuller, richer sound" with SonicMaster technology. The Acer Swift 3 has a touchpad that is responsive and has a fingerprint scanner. It also has a webcam and microphones that are serviceable.
Asus has WiFi standards that will help you get internet. This gadget has a battery that is good. It can last up to 9 hours. This notebook weighs 3.75 pounds and has ports that can be used for many different things, like USB 3.2 Type-C, USB 2.0, and an HDMI slot.
On the other hand, it is not expensive. It costs less than $600. This laptop is good for jobs that need a fast processor. Intel's 10th generation processor is a high-performance machine. It can help kids in school, like grad students, engineers, and artists.
4. Best 15-inch Laptop: HP 15-DY1036NR
Do you want a car with good performance and that is also nice to look at? In that case, you can choose the HP 15-DY1036NR. This notebook is a really good gadget for under $500, and it doesn't have any big problems.
Intel Turbo Boost Technology has pushed the turbo clocks to 3.6GHz Processing power comes from an Intel Core i5-1035G1 chipset. It has four cores to power it. This phone has a really fast processor. It will be easy to create content with it, and you can also do 3D Union rendering.
Intel UHD Integrated graphics handle images and visuals. They do not do much work though because the graphic-optimized chipset does most of the heavy lifting.
But the 256GB SSD has a memory card that is fast. The 8GB of built-in ram is a good thing. I can multitask more easily. Solid-state drives are not slow. They load Windows 10 Home quicker than SATA-powered SSDs.
The manufacturer says that the screen is very bright. It is 1920x1080 pixels and very bright. The WLED screen also has a glare that is not there for students. This is good for when they are working or watching media. This notebook has a good price. It has more space for writing than most notebooks do.
The HP laptop has a keyboard that is not easily broken and a touchpad that responds. This speaker system is good for people who want to speak. It has a microphone and webcam so students can work from it.
The battery on offer has a backup that lasts 11 hours. This device has a wireless connection that can get up to 802.11ax speed with Bluetooth 5. The Evecase is one of the nicer looking notebooks on our list, weighing in at 3.72 pounds. This laptop has a single Type-C port that is good for 5Gbps data transfer.
This notebook is good if you want to buy something for around $500. It has a keyboard that you can't see at night.
5. Best 2-in-1 Convertible: Asus 2-in-1
Do you need a hardware device that is both a laptop and tablet? If this laptop meets your needs, you will find it both enjoyable and useful.
The Intel HD 620 GPU is good for playing games. It also takes care of the visuals. The U-series processor is good because it is power-efficient and can be clocked up to 3.1 GHz. The processor can handle some difficult software. But when you are doing more than one thing, it gets worse. This is a computer that can change from a laptop to a tablet. It has the best processor ever, Intel Core i5-7200U CPU.
A 1TB hard drive is slow. It reads and writes data slowly. This notebook is good. It has 6GB of RAM, so it can do well. You should not run any process on this that will use up all your memory.
However, the flashy animations are a big scene-stealer. Besides, students can enjoy the widescreen display and sharper viewing angles of this TV. This screen is 13.3 inches and it helps you see pictures from a distance. It has 1920 x 1080 pixels, which is a lot of pixels.
This speaker has good speakers. They use SonicMaster acoustic technology. The backlit keyboard and the key travel of 1.6mm is a good feature, followed by the sensitive and intelligent touchpad. The laptop has a standard camera. The laptop also has a microphone.
If the battery is plugged in, it lasts up to 10 hours. The Connectivity is good because it has wireless capability and usb ports. The Asus Q304UA is a very light convertible. It is one of the lightest in its price range. Some of the ports on this device include a USB 3.0, a USB 2.0, and a Type-C port.
This ASUS 2-in-1 has a 360 degree hinge. It could be one of the most durable and powerful options on our list.
6. Best 14-inch Laptop: Dell Inspiron 14
The Dell Inspiron 14 is a standard laptop that has a good amount of processing power.
This is the 3.7GHz Turbo Clock. It helps you do creative editing and accounting tasks. The graphics processing for the Intel Iris Plus GPU is not good for gaming. It cannot handle it, and is dependent on other tasks. Intel Core i5-1035G4 is very power efficient and has good graphics.
The 128GB solid-state drive will be big enough to store everything. Students can use the power-efficient S-mode in Windows 10. The system memory is the space that your computer has to work with. It can be upgraded up to 8GB, but 4GB is the default. This is enough to do basic things like watching videos and browsing the internet.
The screen is a 1366x768 pixel resolution. One of the ways to save power is an LED backlight. Working longer hours is possible thanks to the anti-glare properties. The 14-inch HD display is not as bright as the new models. However, it is still good for doing basic homework.
The most basic laptop has a keyboard, trackpad, speakers and a camera. This laptop is light. It is easy to carry it around. The Dell computer has USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports, HDMI, and other standard connections followed by wired and wireless connection options.
This laptop has lots of battery life. It also has a lot of battery power. Get it!
7. Best from Lenovo: Lenovo IdeaPad 15
Lenovo IdeaPad 15 is a good laptop. It costs less than other laptops. I don't know. To read more, click here.
As a result, it is much easier to create content with a $500 device than before. The AMD Radeon R5 is a low-end graphics card which can be used with this entry-level CPU. The Intel Core i7-7700HQ's dual cores can be boosted up to 3.7GHz when necessary. The AMD A9-9425 chip has a good base clock speed of 3.1GHz.
This device has 4GB of RAM and a 2133 MHz processing speed. A 128GB solid-state drive is a lot better than a mechanical hard disk drive. That's because it does not have moving parts.
The TN display also makes life easier. It reduces eye strain. Make sure that the display of the moving pictures is good. Your screen has a resolution of 1366 768 pixels. The brightness is not very bright but the pixels are closely together. This means that you can see it better from different angles.
The business laptop has a keyboard that is tough and responsive, a touch pad with gestures, two speakers, an HD camera and an optical drive.
The battery on this computer is not very good. You will only get five hours of backup before the battery dies. This not a heavy notebook. It has many ports, including USB 3.0 and HDMI slots.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 15 is a basic laptop that has an innovative processor and an integrated graphics card.
8. Best Intel i3 Laptop: Dell Inspiron 15
If you are looking for a laptop that can do many things, consider the Dell Inspiron 15.
The TDP level is low, being a U-series processor. The CPU can work hard without problems. It is made of two cores and four threads that can do demanding tasks easily. For the price, Dell's processing speed is good. They used Intel Core i3-8145U chipset.
The device also includes an AMD Radeon R7 GPU, which can run games that are old. Intel HD graphics are so good that you can see them when you're just sitting there.
Windows 10 S comes with the Home edition of Windows. The existing SSD module is fast but it only has 128GB of storage. This notebook is great for college students. It comes with an Intel Virtualization technology and 8 GB RAM.
This is a good size for a television. It's an HD TV. The display is touch and you can swipe to change pages. You can see the resolution on the screen. Dell has a good display resolution. It also has one thing that is different from other computers. That thing makes the picture really clear and easy to see.
Less common, the six-hour backup is for study-based activities. This product weighs 4.41 pounds, so it is still portable with many different functions including USB 2.0 and 3.0 or other standards for high connectivity. This laptop has a touchpad for gestures and it has speakers. You can use the webcam. There are microphones too.
If you want to avoid the worries of storage, Dell's Inspiron 15 is a good choice. Dell Inspiron 15 is a good laptop for reading and school.
This notebook has 1TB of space and it is a 64 bit. It can process at 2.7GHz and does not have a graphics card.
9. Best Display Quality: Acer Aspire 5
College students who need a laptop should consider the Acer Aspire 5. It is very powerful and has the latest technology.
AMD makes computer chips that are good for the phones we use. They are in a lot of phones we have. The CPU can do any task. It is a computer chip that can handle anything. Even if it seems impossible, the CPU can do it! The new HP 15 laptop has good graphics with a clock speed of 1200MHz. It also supports DirectX 12.
The answer is 1,000. Acer has created a Windows 10 operating system with the voice assistant from Amazon built-in. The 128GB solid-state module with NVMe support is worth mentioning. You might need one of these if you have a lot of data to store. Attending college is like a full-time job. And storing your files in an ultrafast storage unit is not enough; you need to store them in more than one place.
The monitor has a low glare. It also has technology to reduce blue light. The In-Plane Switching technology makes the panel thin and improves how it looks. The Acer Aspire 5 has the best display on any low-cost laptop, because it is 15.6 inches and has high definition. This monitor has no bezels and the colors are true to life. It is also very accurate with its color.
The notebook has a backlit keyboard and touchpad. It also has powerful speakers with trueHarmony technology. When you buy this webcam, you get everything. It has a great design that is also top quality and it has two microphones.
The battery lasts for 7.5 hours with one charge. The Aspire 5 is one of the lightest and thinnest laptops on our list. This computer is small but it still has connections. It has a USB 3.1 Gen 1 and Gig Ethernet, as well as Dual-Band Wi-Fi connectivity.
We like the Aspire 5 under 500. It is good because it has a screen that is very bright and it also has a powerful computer chip.
10. Best For Teachers: Lenovo IdeaPad S340
The machine is popular with students, teachers and professors. Laptops are a good way to get work done. They're light and small. One example is the Lenovo IdeaPad S340, which has everything you need and still costs less than $500.
The new Intel chipset is exciting. The hyper-threading and the turbo clock speed of up to 3.90GHz means it's fast. The i3-8145U is the main thing in the notebook. It's different from most other notebooks because it has this.
Graphics-based performances are better because you can see better with the integrated GPU. The HP has a 4MB cache and Virtualization technology. This makes it fast and efficient for mid- and high-level programs to work.
128GB of super fast storage. Lenovo's computers come pre-installed with Windows 10, so they are easy to use for all users. You get 8GB of system memory with this computer. You can do as many tasks on one computer as you want.
Lenovo's screen has a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. The 15.6" display is not the brightest but does offer narrow bezels and offers great viewing angles. The S340 is a good gadget for students with laptops. It has screens that are made to be used for a long time without getting hurt by the glare.
The S340 is light. It's just 3.96 pounds. The device has a keyboard that lights up and a touchpad. It is more productive. The MacBook Pro is a good laptop because it is pretty and it has sound that is better than other laptops.
The Lenovo IdeaPad S340 is a good computer because it is portable and uses less power. This model has a battery that lasts an 8.5-hour backup. The Lenovo Thinkpad has lots of different ports like USB 3.1, Type-A HDMI, and other functional slots even wireless standards.
11. Best Chromebook: HP Chromebook x360
Despite being affordable, this notebook has some great features. It has a good display and it is easy to use. If you want to use a web-based, open sourced operating system on your device instead of Windows, the HP Chromebook x360 is one of the best options.
The chip is good at handling demanding apps. Lets set the story straight. There is a computer chip with graphics that we can rely on. The HP Spectre Folio is a good computer for people who like the Intel Core i3-10110U processor.
However, you can't store a lot of stuff on Chromebooks because they only have 64GB of internal storage. The rest of the stuff must be stored in the cloud or on external platforms. Even though this car is an affordable convertible, it has 8GB RAM installed. The resourcefulness of the car would be perfect for a college student who needs a new vehicle.
HP has switched from Windows 10 to Chrome OS, which is faster and lighter than its predecessor. If you spend a lot of time on the internet, you might want to buy this Chromebook x360.
A 14-inch touch-supported display could be a good thing for a college student. It can be useful, and help them use their computer. This laptop is easy to carry around. The IPS panel of this computer has a total resolution of 1920 x 1080. It is also good at showing color so all the colors are accurate.
This convertible has a 360-degree foldable design. It is not too big because it folds up. It also has many features like web cameras, microphones, speakers and a fingerprint scanner. The backlit keyboard and touchpad make operating this computer easy.
You can have Wi-Fi 6. Not only that, the slimness of profile makes it more visible. The tablet has USB ports for Type A, C, and cards. It is not thick. A Chromebook x360 is one of the lightest gadgets in the market. It weighs a spare 3.64 pounds. The existing battery is good. A new battery will not offer more than three hours of backup, which is not enough time.
12. Best Compact Laptop: Microsoft Surface Go
You don't need to worry about the basic features on a laptop if you are on a budget. The Surface Go is a good computer because it is easy to carry. You can add things to it like a keyboard and other stuff. It has good specs too.
The Intel HD 615 iGPU handles the visuals and graphics. The existing chip is not the best, but it still lets you do basic tasks and small creative things. The computer has a Pentium Gold 4415Y processor that is 1.6GHz.
The 128GB SSD module is good for reading and writing data. Although, students can use the 8GB ram on offer to do great things. Microsoft now offers Windows 10 Home in S mode on their new devices as the first-time installed operating system.
When it comes to the display, Microsoft makes a good one. They use PixelSense and a good contrast ratio. It looks really pretty. The product is for college students and has two new features. These are multi-touch support and screen durability.
The audio comes through with a sound that is really good. It has Dolby Audio support. The other Camera mode is for tablets or studios. The back camera has a higher resolution than the front cameras which are 5MP and 8MP respectively. The Surface Go can be paired with a keyboard. The best one is the Type-Cover, and it pays off for years.
The Surface is small that you can hold in one hand. This is a battery that lasts for 9 hours before needing to be charged again.
This is a good computer that works well. It is portable, which makes it great for going places.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a sub-$500 notebook a good choice for 1st-year college students?
One of the most common courses in college curriculums is an introductory course on typing. Sometimes lectures are also given. A $500 laptop is useful because it comes with several features that help you be more productive, such as a good microphone, keyboard and processing.
What is the most important feature that a college-centric laptop must have?
If you want to prioritize one thing, always make sure that the gadget has a long battery life. Being more productive in the long and short run is good. But it is not good if you compromise with a battery that doesn't have enough power. College students are always on the go whether they are inside or outside of their building. They usually do not have a long cord or charging outlet to plug in their phone.
What are the preferred processor families that sub-$500 laptop manufacturers consider?
The most inexpensive, student-friendly notebooks come with G-series or U-series Intel processors. Intel has two types of processors. One type is a G-series processor, which is good for graphics. The other type is the U-series processor, which can help reduce power consumption and heat.
What kind of display should a college student opt for?
In addition to this, it is advisable that you buy a laptop with a matte screen. This way your visibility will be better. You should buy a screen resolution that provides better color clarity and quality. College is hard. You will need to read a lot of things. You will also need something to write on like paper or your laptop.
Are Chromebooks useful for college-goers?
If you want to work with others, Chromebooks are good. You can do it online. In windows-powered laptops, there is not a lot of storage space. Mac computers are the best to use for professional tasks.
Students are very unpredictable when it comes to what they will buy. Choosing a computer for an adult who is going to college can be hard because you need to know what they want.
We hope you find the right device to use. Ask us any questions you have about paint colors. We can build a laptop for you. We will customize it to what you want. It will be done in 12 hours. You can use the Laptop Finder function to find a computer that meets your needs.