You’re looking for an inexpensive Chromebook or a Budget Windows laptop, I’ll have the product for you. If you want more information on the most up-to-date pricing on the products mentioned, be sure to check the links in the description below.
Lenovo Chromebook Duet
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The fifth product on our list is the Lenovo Chromebook Duet. This is our best Chromebook under 300 dollars. The Lenovo Chromebook Duet is a versatile 2 in 1for students and professionals looking for an inexpensive Chromebook option for around 240 dollars. It packs a lot of value for the price with a colorful screen, amazing battery performance to get you through your day and what I especially like is that in addition to the versatility of being a two-in-one, the keyboard is detachable so I can use the display as a stand-alone tablet.
The 10.1 inches WUXGA 1920 x 1,200 display produces surprisingly good image quality that’s crisp with solid color reproduction putting it close to the iPad with 106% of the SRGB spectrum. The touchscreen is pretty responsive and accurately registers touches and swipes. Despite its price, the duet comes with impressive specs under the hood. You get a media tech Helio P60T processor with an ARM G702 MP3 graphics to easily get you through your daily tasks, assignments, and productivity work.
The 4 gigabytes ram may seem low when it comes to laptops but the Chrome OS is well optimized to let you multitask and even surf with multiple tabs open in Chrome. Like other Chromebooks, the Duet seamlessly lets you work online reducing the need for extensive local storage. So the 64 gigabyte SSD should be ample for school and work related files.
The small form factor weighs only 1.1 pounds making it extremely portable but sacrifices on the port selection with just a single USB-C. The battery life is impressive giving you a full day with up to 10 hours. The keyboard can feel a little cramped but considering the price point and the portable design, it’s easy to overlook. The 8 megapixel shooter on the back is typical of budget tablet cameras and the 2 megapixel webcam is suitable for video calls or in-class sessions.
The Lenovo Chromebook duet lets you flow between tablet and laptop giving you versatile working options making it an ideal choice for students and professionals looking for an inexpensive laptop in the sub $300 price range
HP Stream 11
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The fourth product on our list is the HP Stream 11, this is our cheapest Windows laptop under $500. HP Stream 11 is a popular and inexpensive Windows alternative to Chromebooks for home school and work it’ll appeal to those on the go and looking for a mobile computing option that’s portable stylish and affordable for around $250
The 11.6 inches HD display comes with anti-glare and AW led backlit display with 1366 x 768 resolution and for its price, it’s well suited for productivity work but it is a bit washed out when it comes to watching movies and only delivers about 71% of the SRGB color gamut compared to the Chromebook duets 106 percent.
There’s an HDMI port so at least I can hook up an external monitor or TV to watch movies for better color reproduction. Even at this price, it’s nice to see that HP packs in some great performance and features. You get an Intel Cellaron N 4,000 core processor with an Intel UHD graphic 600 that will get you through your everyday school or work tasks especially with the exceptional battery giving you up to 12 hours on a single charge.
The 4 gigabytes ram is a little low I think. Considering you’re running Windows home in S mode and not the more efficient Chromo S but it’s sufficient to let you run Office 365 personal edition which comes included for a year but any extensive multitasking could be an issue if you’re juggling a lot of apps.
You also only get half the SSD storage of the Lenovo Chromebook duet. So working online will be optimal since you get one terabyte of online storage via OneDrive for one year. Otherwise, you have the option of using the micro SD card slot for additional media storage. The HP Stream eleven brings a lot to the table for a laptop at this price point. It’s obviously not meant for power users but if you’re looking for an inexpensive alternative to Chromebooks, it’s definitely a cheap Windows option with solid performance and benefits including being bundled with Office 365 personal edition and one terabyte of one drive for a year.
Samsung Chromebook 4+
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The third product on our list is the Samsung Chromebook 4+. This is our best fifteen in laptop under 500 dollars. Retailing at about 300 dollars, the Samsung Chromebook four plus delivers a solid laptop experience. Building upon its previous iterations and setting itself apart from low-end Chromebooks on the market.
What will really entice most people is the larger screen size and impressive specs for the price when compared to Windows options. Making it an ideal choice for students and professionals looking for an affordable laptop with a bigger screen. Samsung ups the ante giving you a large 15.6 inches full HD display while keeping the price affordable in a sleek and lightweight packet It only weighs 3.8 pounds which is considerably light for a fifteen inch laptop.
So despite the larger size, it’s still extremely portable and as with most Samsung devices, the build is quite good with the four plus having what they call military grade durability but there’s still some flex and not as solid feeling as the more premium Galaxy Chromebook. It packs the same Intel Cellaron N 4,000 dual core processor as the HP Stream eleven with Intel UHD graphic six hundred.
So you’ll find it performs really well especially on Chromo S for school assignments and office productivity tasks including more complicated spreadsheets without any issues even with the 4 gigabytes of RAM. Since Chromebooks are generally designed to work online, having the gigabit WiFi connection is a big bonus since it comes with only a 32 gigabytes SSD for storage.
You’ll be able to stream or download large files quickly and working online in Google Docs will be seamless. Plus, unlike the Lenovo, you get USB-C ports so you can hook up external drives or peripherals but having 64 gigabytes would really add more value for the price. Considering storing apps and games can quickly eat up the available storage.
You’ll get about same battery performance as the Lenovo Chromebook duet at about 10 hours but considering you’re powering a larger display it’s pretty good and will definitely get you through your day and then some. The Samsung Chromebook 4+ delivers a solid laptop experience with good performance especially for those that like Chromebooks but prefer a larger fifteen inch screen at budget prices.
Acer Aspire 5
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The second product on our list is the Acer Aspire 5. This is our best Windows laptop under 500 dollars. The Acer Aspire 5 is another popular option for those looking for a Windows laptop. It packs more performance oomph and features than the HP Stream 11 but still delivers considerable value for the money at around $370 for the AMD Ryzen 3 model.
You can also get the Aspire 5 with the Ryzen 5 or Ryzen 7 for even great performance boost but that would put you above the $500 threshold but there’s still relatively cheap options when compared to the more premium laptops out there
If you have a little more room in your budget the Aspire 5 series also comes with Intel processors but I think for the money you’re going to get a bigger bang with AMD even with the AMD rises 3,200 use series processor and Vega 3 graphics, you’ve still got plenty of performance power for productivity apps for school, work, and daily tasks.
The base model comes with 4 gigabytes of RAM which can be doubled to eight and the 128 gigabytes SSD can be configured up to 512 gigabytes depending on your needs. The large 15.6 inches full HD display produces sharp, crisp visuals with punchy colors and images look pretty impressive on the narrow bezel design.
The display is enhanced with Acer’s color intelligence and Acer blue light shield protects your eyes prolonged use. The keyboard is comfortable to type on with nice key travel. It’s also backlit which is perfect for working in any lighting conditions. The audio isn’t too bad for a laptop especially at this price point. Acer’s true harmony feature helps improve the overall sound with deeper base and you get more volume through its innovative speaker design.
The Acer purified voice with two built-in microphones does a decent job so communications are pretty clear and filters out typing noise and the HD webcam is not bad for color and details and suitable for online learning or Zoom calls. The Acer Aspire Foam delivers solid performance and gives you flexible configuration options to suit your needs making it one of the better options for home, school, and work at an affordable price.
Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5
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The first product on our list is the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5. This is our best two-in-one laptop under 500 dollars. The Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 offers just about everything you could want from a laptop including the versatility of a two in one while still coming in around 400 dollars. What’s immediately noticeable is that the Flex 5 doesn’t look or feel like the cheaper Chromebooks nor does it perform like one either.
The Flex 5 offers a convertible laptop convenience that can be used in laptop, tent, and tablet modes but unlike the duet, the keyboard isn’t detachable but you’re definitely going to get a much better typing experience with the solid keyboard deck. The Tenth Gen Intel Core I3 processor and integrated Intel UHD graphics offer a nice bump in performance over the duet. Even with just 4 gigabytes of RAM, you’ve got impressive multitasking abilities to have over 25 chrome tabs including FHD YouTube videos and working in Google Docs.
The 13.3 inches 1080p display is pretty good at this price but it would have been nice to see colors a little more vibrant. You only get about 66% of the SRGB color gamut which is on the lower side but for productivity work, it shouldn’t be an issue. Unless you’re working on media files that need to be color accurate. Overall, I think the details and crispiness are impressive for a sub $500 laptop.
Even in tablet mode, you’ll find the display is snappy and responsive to touch gestures and swipes. I also like that the display supports digital pens. Unfortunately, Lenovo doesn’t include one. Now, one of the things that the Xfive excels at in the budget laptop category is it’s backlit island style keyboard. It’s clicky and bouncy and along with the above average touch pad working on long assignments and reports should be a pretty nice typing experience.
Port selection is pretty good too with two USB C ports and a USBA port but the battery performance is a little disappointing at only about seven and a half hours. For a sub $500 laptop, the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 6 not only offers some of the best specs, performance, and features, it also gives you the versatility of a pretty great tool