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Best Laptops Under 500

Updated on September 17, 2012

Laptops Under 500

With all the nonsense floating around it's hard to envision finding a surprisingly efficient and solid laptop for as little as $400-500. The opposite is undoubtedly true to anyone who decides to question the stereotype, thanks in-part to the push of high-tech cheap hardware that continues to swell contemporary markets.

Nevertheless, what you consider a deal will vary wildly depending on what use your have in store for the model you buy. A gamer may need to sacrifice on software packages in order to reach his budget. With business in mind, a top-of-the-line processor may be relatively superfluous.

In this article I will do my best to offer separate candidates based on projeted use. The one thing I find that all candidates should share is a healthy dose of RAM, which is quite cheap nowadays in almost all cases, most of my choices are easily upgradeable.

The Deal -Toshiba Satellite L755-S5271

As of writing this (August 2011) the L755-S5271's price has just crept under $500, making it an idea all-round candidate for the price. It can fit neatly into anyone's projected use, though it may be a little to little for the most advanced games that are coming out (a few tweaks may improve frame-rates but we certainly can't count on it).

What's all the fanfare about then? Here's a brief overview.

  • 15.6 inch wide-screen HD TruBrite LED-backlit display. Native 720p, 1366x768 (16:9) resolution.
  • An optimal amount of RAM for almost any memory-hogging application and OS, 4GB DDR3.
  • 6-cell lithium battery (6 hour battery life stated, though expect results closer to 3-4 if you're aggressive with your apps).
  • 2.1 GHz Intel Core i3-2310M (Dual core).
  • 64 MB - 1696 MB Intel HD Graphics (dynamically generated). Not a huge fan myself (no pun intended). Possibly a pitfall for gamers, though for the price you'll be hard-pressed to find a high, or even mid-end card.

The laptop comes with a legit copy of Windows 7 home premium, wireless capability and a spacious keyboard layout with offers (not all laptops do) a 10 digit number pad to the right of the main keyboard.

Recommended for: All rounder.

Could use: A better graphics card, but it isn't the end of the world.

The Cheap - HP ProBook 4525s

Getting a combination of a large 15.6 inch screen, a serviceable dedicated video-card, HDMI and a solid dual core chip for close to $399 is a bizarre feeling, but thanks to Hewlett Packard, an easily attainable luxury.

Here are some of the juicy details for less than the price of a IPad:

  • 15.6 inch WXGA Display 1366 x 768 monitor.
  • 2 GB 1066mhz DDR3 RAM (expandable to 8gigs, I suggest shelling out for at least 2 more at quite a cheap price).
  • 320 GB 7200 rpm SATA II (somewhat restrictive in size) Hard disk drive.
  • ATi Mobility Radeon HD 4250 video card.
  • Wifi, HDMI, bluetooth and microphone on-board and ready to go.
  • Windows 7 professional 32 bit (customer reviews have noted that they were able to switch to 64 bit architecture at no additional cost -- nice!).

Recommended for: Business.

Could use: A little more HDD space and perhaps an added 2 gigs of RAM to be on the safe side. Bear in mind DDR3 is high performance RAM, so in most cases it should be absolutely fine.

Acer AS5253-BZ602

High performance RAM, a cheap-as-dirt price with ATI Radeon HD 6310 Graphics to sweep the visuals, what's not to love about the AS5253?

My only concern, primarily for gaming is the low amount of RAM. Clocking in at 2 GIGS DDR3 (1066mhz) we need more oopmf from a performance perspective. Thankfully an extra 2 gigs (CT25664BC1067 2GB 204-PIN PC3-8500 SODIMM DDR3 to be precise) is easily added (there is an open slot) and is also pretty cheap.

The entire product is an exceptionally well-rounded machine, so if you're looking for a household staple. Well -- you've got it .

  • ATI Radeon HD 6310 Graphics Card.
  • 250GB hard drive (want to hoard movies? You might want to think twice, upgrade the HD or invest in separate storage. 250 gigs can vanish pretty fast indeed).
  • 15.6" HD (1366 x 768) Widescreen CineCrystal LED LCD display
  • As previously mentioned, 2GB DDR3 1066 SDRAM (upgradeable).
  • Windows 7 Home Premium.
  • AMD Dual-Core (1.60GHz, 1MB L2 Cache, 1066MHz FSB) Processor E-350

Recommended for: Home use.

Could use: Complimentary storage options and a stick of 2 gigs RAM.


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    • profile image

      Estefania 4 years ago

      RAM stands for Recent Access Memory, it is the anmout of data your computer is able to run at one time with decent efficiency. Therefore if a video game requires 2 gigs of RAM and your computer has, like my laptop, 2.2 gigs of RAM than you will be able to run it but it may lag some or be slow. Having a good video or graphics card is also important as they can reduce how much RAM is required for higher graphics. If you had to graphics cards and one was newer and better, your current one may run the game with minor lag or speed reduction but if you had the new graphics card it can access and run those graphics easier allowing you to run them more efficiently. Make sure also that you defrag the computer every so often as well, all that fragmented data can hurt a computers run ability a lot. But yes RAM does help gaming.

    • profile image

      Janinny 4 years ago

      Do you know why most crocheters in eaierlr eras held the crochet hook in their hand like a pencil? In the 1800s, this hand positioning was thought to be more feminine and graceful. Many crocheters now hold their hooks in the palms of their hands (often called the knife hold ) to reduce carpal tunnel. I thought this was interesting! Thanks for sharing Jayna:)

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      Xiomara 6 years ago

      Hello Thooghun, very useful information, Now i regret paying 2,200.00 US Dollars for a DELL 4700.

    • Deborah-Diane profile image

      Deborah-Diane 6 years ago from Orange County, California

      This is very useful information on how to choose a laptop for under $500. It is great to see the prices come down!