Best laptops for college students under 500$

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What a student wants in a laptop in 2021. Portability, processing power, good vibrant screen, low price and long battery life. I have researched multiple laptop models and came up with the list of models below within the price range of 500 dollars so that it will not cost you a fortune to buy. With advancement in technology you can get a good power machine within the budget which gives you the performance you want. Without wasting further more time, let’s get straight to the list.

But just before that, pay close attention to display and storage. I do not recommend choosing TN display and HDD instead go with IPS display and SSD.

Table of Contents

1. Lenovo IdeaPad 3 14

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 14

Processor : AMD Ryzen 5 5500U Processor | RAM: 8 GB RAM | Memory: 256GB SSD | Screen: 1”4 Full HD display 4-side narrow bezels  | Weight: 3.11 pounds | Misc: Backlit keyboard, Fingerprint reader

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 comes with FHD 1920 x 1080 Display, AMD Ryzen 5 5500U Processor, 8GB DDR4 RAM, 256GB SSD, AMD Radeon Vega 8 Graphics and Narrow Bezel. 

AMD Ryzen 5 5500U Processor ranks around Intel I7 8th generation which in itself is good. Added with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD, this laptop becomes snappy. 14inch FullHD display with narrow bezels adds up to the portability and webcam privacy shutter gives you control over the privacy. With just 3.1 pounds this laptop is meant to be extremely portable. The screen is crisp and colorful. Though SRGB is not that great but 300 nits gives good brightness. Speaker is as par of budget laptop and do not expect it to be great.

Fan noise is not noticeable. Built is of plastic and the color of it gives look of metal to it. Trackpad works good for this laptop and you won’t have any issue using it. Startup and shutdown time is very less in few seconds.

Check price: https://amzn.to/3G2wt11

Pros:

  • The big yes for this laptop is, it is lightweight, compact and portable which can be carried easily.
  • The keyboard is good to type and comfortable.
  • Ryzen powerful processor with Radeon graphics

 

Cons:

  • Made up of plastic body but looks good
  • With high load applications it may get hot
  • USB Type C only has data transfer function and not for power or video out

2. ASUS VivoBook 15

Processor : Intel i3-1005G1 Processor | RAM: 8 GB RAM | Memory: 128GB SSD | Screen: 15.6 inch Full HD (1920×1080) 4-way NanoEdge bezel display with a stunning 88% screen-to-body ratio | Weight: 3.75 pounds | Misc: Backlit keyboard, Fingerprint reader

This is one of the best budget devices available in the market. Though the current Intel generation is 11 but 10th generation works well for daily usage.

It has 15.6 inch Full HD (1920×1080) 4-way NanoEdge bezel display with 88% screen-to-body ratio. Though screen quality cannot be compared to premium laptops.

8GB RAM is enough to run applications smoothly.

It comes with a backlit keyboard and fingerprint sensor. It has 4 side narrow bezel so display is more satisfying. It is sleek, handy and portable even after being 15.4 inch display.

You can go ahead and try some games on this laptop in low to mid quality. With ports you need to worry as it has 3 USB ports, 1 type c port though no LAN port. If you want more performance, RAM upgrade is easier option. It comes with Wiindows S mode by default which can be disabled easily.

Check the price: https://amzn.to/3oaxdv9

Pros:

  • Sleek design
  • Screen body to size ratio
  • Intel 10th gen with 8GB RAM
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Amazingly budget laptop

Cons: 

  • Screen quality could have been better
  • Only 128GB SSD

3. HP Pavilion 14 Inch

Processor Intel 11th Gen Core i3-1115G4 | RAM: 8 GB RAM | Memory: 512GB SSD | Screen: 14 inch FullHD (1920 x 1080), micro-edge, anti-glare, 250 nits, 45% NTSC | Weight: 3.24 pounds | Misc: Fingerprint reader, touch screen

When it comes to the latest processor, ample amount of RAM and portability HP Pavilion 14 inch cannot go wrong. It equips with all the features a modern laptop requires under the budget.

Screen

Screen is 14 inch touch which is less than 15.4 inch large size laptop screen which makes it a portable laptop on the go. Screen is FullHD with 1920 x 1080 pixels and with 250 nits.

Screen to body ratio is 79% which makes it big viewing area with narrow bezels. 

There is front facing 720p HD camera mounted with dual array microphone.

The camera is fine for day to day use but it should not be compared with high end external webcams. Practically screen can go upto around 240 nits which is less compared to advertised spec of 250 nits but brightness is ok for day to day use.

You might face some issue with brightness if you are working outdoor but indoor is perfectly fine. Though it is touchscreen but usage are limited because it cannot be folded 360 degree to make it like tablet. Sometime touchscreen can be handy as per different usage.

Keyboard:

As it is portable laptop, numeric keypad is out of scope and it should not be show stopper if you are a student. Keyboard keys are spacious and not congested. You can hear the sound of the keys while typing.

The keys are a bit stiff and it takes time to get used to it but after a while you will experience a good keyboard.

Trackpad: 

The trackpad is big and spacious. It is pretty sensitive and comfortable to use with gestures and scrolling.

Processor and RAM:

While this is lowest range(I3) processor in 11th generation series but the performance is solid. As a student it will not be overloaded with the multi tasking usage. With heavy usage also heating is minimum, thanks to the 11th gen Intel processor.

8GB RAM with SSD is minimum and absolute must if you want good processing power now a days. I always suggest to go for SSD as it is much faster than HDD.(https://www.avg.com/en/signal/ssd-hdd-which-is-best

Battery:

Advertised battery life is 9.5h but actual usage will give you around 7.5 hrs which is sufficient for student usage and portability. Full battery recharge would table around 90 minutes. While the battery is not the best in market but it gives you long running time without being attached to power source.

 Design:

Laptop is portable and good looking silver color. The weight of the laptop is just 1.4kg which is very lightweight. It can be carried to school or colleges.

Pros:

  • Portable laptop with 14 inch screen
  • 11th generation I3 processor with 8GB RAM and SSD
  • Good battery life

Cons:

  • Comes with Windows 10 S which can be converted to Windows 10

Check current price: Check Price

4. IdeaPad 3 81W1009DUS

Processor AMD Ryzen 5 3500U Quad Core Processor 2.1GHz up to 3.7GHz | RAM: 8 GB RAM(4GB OnBoard + 4GB DIMM) | Memory: 256GB SSD | Screen: 15.6″ FHD IPS LED Backlit Anti-Glare Non-touch Display | Weight: 3.5 pounds | Misc:

With Ryzen 5 3500U Quad core processor and integrated Vega 8 graphics, this laptop can give you optimal performance for day to day activities. 8GB ram is good enough to have multiple applications running at the same time. It weighs just around 3.5 pounds with a big FullHD screen size of 15.6”. Storage size of the 256GB SSD is pretty decent. The keyboard keys are spacious and good looking though no backlit. It comes with Windows 10 operating system. Battery is 35Wh and would last for around 5 hours. Ryzen 5 3500 gives approximate performance if compared to intel i5 8th gen(higher end) or i7 10th gen(lower end). It has additional SATA adapter for adding extra hard drive. It has 3 USB ports, SD card reader port, and 3.5mm audio jack. It has wifi 5 card on it as opposed to wifi 6 card.

 

As with most of the budget laptops, the camera is good for normal functioning, not to be compared with mobile phone cameras.

Keyboard:

The keyboard is spacious and comes with a numeric keypad. 

Trackpad: 

The trackpad is big in size and pretty aligned to the left side. It is a button-less trackpad.

Processor and RAM:

Ryzen 5 3500 is pretty solid and just ranks around i7 10th generation lower end processors. 

Even with this processor, RAM and SSD configuration, this laptop can be used for light gaming as well. 8GB RAM is pretty solid for day to day activities and tasks and as I mentioned above, SSD is the go to for laptops these days. 

Battery:

Battery is 4 cell Li-Ion, integrated 35W. With normal usage, it will last around 5 hours. 

 Design:

With a big screen, this laptop is still lightweight and weighs around 3.6 pounds.

Pros:

  • Cheap and budget laptop for its price
  • Very fast, takes around 5 seconds to start.

Cons:

  • Bulky charger
  • No type-c port
  • Though 1080p FHD but average display
  • No backlit keyboard

Check current price: Check Price

 

5. Acer Aspire 5 A515-46-R14K

Processor : Ryzen 3 3350U | RAM: 4 GB RAM | Memory: 128GB SSD | Screen: 15.6″ Full HD display with 82.58% screen-to-body, 16:9 aspect ratio and narrow bezels | Weight: 3.97 pounds | Misc: Backlit keyboard, Fingerprint reader

With AMD Ryzen 3 3350U and 4GB RAM, this laptop runs smoothly for the students applications. With narrow bezels and 15.6 inch FullHD IPS screen gives a good and nice looking display.

It has a backlit keyboard and fingerprint. It is not the lightest of the laptops but given the screen size of 15.6 inch, weight makes sense. 

Battery life is good and will give you ample amount of time without a charging port. The charger itself is very lightweight.

For connectivity you get multiple USB ports, 1 Type C, 1 HDMI,1 LAN port and 1 headphone port.

4GB is soldered on the motherboard, there is one additional slot for the RAM, in which you can add more RAM. You should not expect much in terms of audio in most of the budget laptops, but this laptop sound is loud and good.

Screen:

It has a 15.6″ Full HD IPS display non touch screen. Screen is bright and high contrast, and in this price range this screen is par to the premium laptops.

Keyboard & Trackpad: 

The trackpad works good and is comfortable to use. However it is a bit wobbly when using along the edges.

The keyboard is natural and comfortable to use.

Processor and RAM:

Though this processor is getting old and new processors are out there in the market , an AMD Ryzen 3 3500, does pretty well for normal day usage.

4GB RAM seems to be less but it is fine for normal usage. However you can increase the RAM accordingly. For gamers, this is not a laptop for you.

Battery:

This laptop got a decent battery. With normal usage, it will last around 5-6 hours and you can be there without a charger.

 Design:

This laptop has sleek design and is lightweight and portable, making it easier to carry it on the go.

Pros:

  • Very budget competitively
  • Good battery life
  • Good overall performance
  • Nice looking lightweight design which feels good while using

Cons:

  • Only 4GB RAM but can be upgraded
  • Trackpad could be better

Check Price: check price

6. HP 15-inch 15-dy2024nr

Processor 11th Gen Intel Core i5-1135G7 Processor | RAM: 8 GB RAM | Memory: 256 GB SSD Storage | Screen: 15.6” Full HD IPS Display | Charge: HP Fast Charge | Weight: 3.75 pounds

You won’t get better deal than this in around 500$ price range. This laptop is power horse with i5 11th gen intel chip. 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD makes it perfectly smooth running. With these settings, it can boot up within seconds. It comes with latest Windows 11 installed. The bezels are thin on the sides and makes screen wide angle. Design is sleek and compact which makes it perfect to carry. It has big screen size of 15.6 inch Full HD display size. 

Overall its perfect fit for the students. Battery is decent and can be charged to 0-50% in 45 mins.

Check Price: https://amzn.to/3dm9Nwu

 

Pros:

  • Amazing specs on the paper
  • Crisp sharp display
  • Very lightweight

Cons:

  • Hard disk is not upgradable
  • Webcam is average
  • No backlit keyboard and no touchscreen

7. Acer Aspire 5 A515-56-36UT

Processor : Intel Core i3-1115G4 Processor | RAM: 4 GB RAM | Memory: 128GB SSD | Screen: 15.6 inch Full HD  | Weight: 4.19 pounds | Misc: Backlit keyboard, Fingerprint reader

As I mentioned above, Intel 11th generation is latest and even if it is I3 processor.

This laptop comes with 11th Generation Intel Core i3-1115G4 processor which gives speed and performance. For normal day to day usage this device should be good enough for the students. It is pretty fast thanks to 11th gen processor with SSD. It comes with Full HD 15.6 inch display with 82.58% screen-to-body, 16:9 aspect ratio and narrow bezels. 

It comes with USB 3.2 power off usb charging and reversible type c connector.

Design Wise its made up with metal and ultra thin design looks good to eyes.

Screen is bright, sharp and crisp. If you want further increase in performance then you can upgrade the RAM to 16GB.



Check Price: https://amzn.to/3oaTetC

Pros:

  • Intel I3 11th generation processor with SSD
  • Nice FHD display
  • Good performance

Cons:

  • Only 4GB RAM and 128GB SSD

8. ASUS VivoBook Flip 14

Processor 11th Gen Intel Core i3-1115G4 Processor| RAM: 4 GB RAM | Memory: 128 GB SSD Storage | Screen: 14” Full HD IPS Touch Display | Weight: 3.31 pounds | Misc: 2 in 1 Laptop, Thunderbolt port

With Intel 11th generation I3 processor and 4GB RAM, this laptop is for those who are looking for general laptop use and not for heavy performance.

As this is lightweight, you can carry it anywhere and portability is good plus for this laptop without sacrificing the screen size. 14 inch is pretty decent enough which is not too small and not too big.

Thunderbolt is charm as you can charge it with your single charger which can be used to charge other devices such as mobile, MacBook etc. Touch screen is responsive but not obviously as par to the mobiles. Colors are bright and crisp. Viewing angles are good.  Look wise this laptop is good and nice in design. This laptop can be perfectly suited for the students who want to join Zoom calls, do word documents, web browsing, and watch YouTube videos. Sound is quite good on this laptop with stereo sound. Keyboard is backlit and comfortable.

As this is 2 in 1 laptop, you can flip the hinge completely and it will become a 14 inch tablet. It is ready for Windows 11 update. 

Check Price: https://amzn.to/3DbBaUp

Pros: 

  • SSD is upgradable
  • Thunderbolt port
  • 2 in 1 design

Cons:

  • RAM is not upgradable
  • Not for multitasking high performance usage

9. ASUS Chromebook Flip C433

Processor Intel Core m3-8100Y Processor | RAM: 8 GB RAM| Memory: 64GB eMMC Storage| Screen: 14” Full HD IPS Touch NanoEdge Display | Weight: 3.31 pounds | Misc: 2 in 1 Laptop, Backlit keyboard, Chrome OS

ASUS Chromebook Flip C433 is a lightweight and portable laptop with good specifications.

It comes with ChromeOS which take a bit of time to used to but once you are used to it, it is pretty comfortable.

Given the 8GB RAM with m3 processor, this laptop is snappy and can handle day to day tasks very well. 

Screen is 14” Full HD IPS which is clear and bright with a touchscreen. The touchscreen is quite responsive. As it is 2 in 1 laptop, you can fold the hinge and it will become a 14 inch tablet, suitable for watching videos or doing some touch work on the screen. Once it becomes tablet, keyboard automatically switches off. You can download Mircosoft word and excel from the App store.

Battery goes for long time with normal usage. It can last up to 8 hours in that use case. The webcam is decent for normal video calls. 

It comes with a backlit keyboard which is good if you are working in low light. 

Check Price: https://amzn.to/3EhlyAf

Pros:

  • Lightweight, 2 in 1 laptop
  • 8GB RAM and decent processor

Cons:

  • Only 64GB storage out of the box

10. ASUS VivoBook 15.6"

Processor Intel Core i5-1035G1 | RAM: 8 GB RAM | Memory: 256GB PCIe SSD | Screen: 15.6” Full HD IPS NanoEdge Touchscreen | Weight: 5.07 pounds | Misc:

First thing first, It does not have a backlit keyboard as stated in the specification. If you are looking for backlit keyboard laptop, then it might not be for you. 

Though it is a 10th generation Intel chip, performance is better than most of the chips in budget laptops.

It is a compact laptop that immerses you in whatever you set out to do. It has frameless four-sided NanoEdge display with an ultraslim 5.7mm bezel, giving an amazing 88% screen-to-body ratio for supremely immersive visuals. Its keyboard is nice and comfortable and better than many budget laptops keyboards.

Ports: Comes with Type-C and microSD card slot

Check Price: https://amzn.to/3Eli7Zd

Pros:

  • Intel 10th gen Core i5-1035G1 with 8GB RAM
  • Fast boot time

Cons:

  • No backlit keyboard
  • Speakers are at bottom so not great sound
  • Display is not that great

 

11. Dell Inspiron 15 3511

Processor Intel Core i3-1115G4 | RAM: 8 GB RAM | Memory: 256GB SSD | Screen: 15.6” Full HD Anti-Glare LED | Weight: 3.82 pounds | Misc: Backlit keyboard

Dell Inspiron 15 comes with 8GB RAM and 11th gen  i3-1115G4 processor which is capable of handling day to day task with breeze. In this price range being 11th generation Intel is better than most of the budget laptop out there. The body is nice looking and carbon-black color gives it professional look. Being a 15inch laptop, it weighs around 3.8 pound which is not the lightest in the series but it is portable and good to carry. 

The keyboard feels comfortable when typing in. The dedicated number pad gives additional option for students working on numericals. Trackpad is spacious and there is no button on it. 

Speakers are good to listen on and are loud. 

The laptop battery life is good and can give you around 7-8 hours of continuous usage.

 

It comes with Windows 11 which is the latest operating system from Microsoft. 

 

It comes with SD card slot, USB2.0/3.2 ports, an HDMI port and audio jack.



Check Price: https://amzn.to/3pn3Uoi

Pros:

  • Intel 11th generation I3 processor and 8GB RAM
  • SSD makes boot a lot faster
  • Good battery life

Cons:

  • Screen is not that bright. Around 260 nits.
  • There is no Type-C port

12. HP 15-ef1020nr

Processor AMD Ryzen 3 3250U | RAM: 8 GB RAM | Memory: 256GB SSD | Screen: 15.6-inch diagonal HD SVA BrightView micro-edge, WLED-backlit touchscreen display (1366 x 768) | Weight: 3.75 pounds

With AMD Ryzen 3 3250U processor, 8GB RAM and 256 GB, this laptop gives optimal performance for student life. Ryzen 3 3250U ranks around Intel I7 7th generation which is quite old but for day to day usage and not heavy multitasking this laptop can handle the load pretty well. 

Battery will last for around 5-6 hours in normal usage. It comes with Windows S mode by default which you can disable and move to Windows 10. Even for gaming this laptop is decent, it can play sims 4 and minecraft pretty easily. The Speaker’s sound is good.



Check Price: https://amzn.to/3rr7xfL

Pros:

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Good RAM and SSD

Cons:

  • No ethernet port
  • No backlit keyboard
  • Reflective screen

Shadab

Hi, I am passionate about technology be it hardware or software. I like to write blogs and help people.

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