The workplace is no longer limited to a specific location. And this has created remote workers who are increasingly making up a larger number of the workforce. Laptops are playing an important role in this trend. For many small businesses and their employees and freelancers, there is only so much they can spend on a laptop. So if you are on a budget, what can you get for under $500?
Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report showed 43 percent of Americans worked remotely in some capacity in 2016. And for the vast majority, if not all, a computing device workers can take with them anywhere is an important tool. This, in most cases, means a laptop, although tablets and smartphones are also being used as they gain more capacity.
The Right Laptop
Computers are an essential tool in running almost all businesses. Therefore, having the right device for your particular industry will play a role in how much it improves your day to day operations. The good thing about the PC market is, there are many manufacturers that address the needs of virtually all industries.
Best Budget Laptops Under $500
Once you find out what you need, you can look at the following laptops under $500 to see if they meet your requirements. And if you don’t find one on this list, you will get a general idea of what is available at this price point in the marketplace.
As of the posting of this article, the price for each laptop was accurate, but they could be lower as the Holiday approach or even higher. The operating system is Windows 10 unless indicated otherwise.
It is incredible what you can get for a sub $500 laptop these days. Coming in at $483.00, this high-performance Dell Inspiron really packs a punch, based on listed specs. You get a 7th Generation Intel Dual-Core i5-7200U Processor up to 3.10 GHz; 8GB DDR4 SDRAM and 2TB 5400rpm SATA hard drive.
The display is a 15.6″ Touchscreen HD (1366 x 768) Widescreen LED-LCD with a webcam and 802.11N WiFi and Bluetooth for connectivity.
With this much RAM, storage and 7th Generation Intel processing, you can pretty much tackle all of your small business tasks. By the way, this is the 2018 edition.
HP Pavilion 17
If you are in the creative or other fields where screen real estate is important, this $476 laptop has a 17.3 Inch HD+ Widescreen LED Backlight Display with 1600 x 900 resolution. It is supported by a 7th Generation Intel Dual Core i5-7200U processor and Intel HD Graphics 620.
The HP Pavilion 17 has a capable 4GB DDR4 SDRAM and 1TB SATA 5400 rpm hard drive along with a webcam, HDMI and USB 3.0 to connect your peripherals. It is heavy at 7.2 pounds, but there has to be a compromise for all that screen space.
Lenovo IdeaPad 320
Lenovo’s $479 IdeaPad also gives you a 17.3-inch screen laptop, but it comes with Intel’s 7th generation Core i3-7100U processor instead of the i5 for the HP. Where it betters the HP is in the RAM department at 6 or 8 GBs (depending on where you get it). The storage stays the same at 1TB.
The laptop has 802.11 AC WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity along with 2 USB 3.0, 1 USB-Type C, and an HDMI port. The Lenovo is slightly lighter at 7.1 pounds, but won’t make that much of a difference. This is also an ideal laptop for image intensive application users on a budget.
The Acer Aspire A515-51-50RR is being sold for more than $500 in most places, but you can find it for $499 at New Egg. Powered by Intel’s Core i5-7200U 7th Generation 2.50 GHz Kaby Lake processor, it will let you breeze through your power-intensive applications.
You will get 8GB of RAM and Intel HD 620 graphics to bring images to life on the 15.6 Inch LCD backlit display. There is 1TB of storage, a webcam, Bluetooth, and 802.11ac WiFi for remote connectivity.
With a powerful AMD dual-core A9-9420 processor, 3.0 GHz (Turbo core to 3.6GHz), Radeon R5 integrated graphics, 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD, the $499 price tag just comes in under $500.
The ASUS VivoBook has a 14-Inch Full HD 1080p Display, dual-band 802.11ac WiFi, and a USB-Type C connector. If you need quick access to your computer, the SSD drive provides fast boot time and application performance.
Chromebooks are making headway for business users, but they still lag behind Windows 10 devices. Although this is the only entry on this list for this OS, all of the major manufacturers have their own version. And the price can start at less than $200 and go beyond the $500 price range of this list.
As Chromebooks go, the $499 price tag for the Samsung is up there. But it does have one of the better screen resolutions at 2,400 x 1,600 for the 12.3″ touchscreen/stylus pen display. It uses the Intel Core M3 Processor to power the device with 4GB LPDDR3 RAM and 32 GB flash solid state drive.
Chromebook operating systems are designed for easy connectivity and accessibility, which makes them ideal for remote workers. This Samsung only weighs 2.1 pounds and it has 802.11 A/C WiFi connectivity. In fact, a touted spill resistant feature suggests Samsung is betting you will probably spend just as much time in coffee shops as in the office.
Acer Spin 5
If you are looking for a 2-in-1 under $500, the Acer Spin 5 comes in at $412 with a 13.3″ Full HD (1920 x 1080) Multi-touch widescreen LED-backlit IPS display and an HD webcam. It is accompanied by a 7th Generation Intel Core i5-7200U processor (up to 3.1GHz), 8GB DDR4 RAM, and 256GB SSD.
This Acer has 4 modes, which include laptop, display, tent, and tablet. This lets you work in different conditions in and outside of the office. Connectivity features include 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1 along with USB 3.0 and HDMI port.
While the devices listed above may be low in cost, it’s possible you might be looking for something even less expensive . If you are on an even stricter budget, the following three laptops will do just fine for most of your business needs.
ASUS F402BA-EB91 VivoBook
What can you get for $395? The ASUS F402BA-EB91 VivoBook will give you 1TB of storage, 8GB DDR3 RAM, an AMD dual-core A9-9420 processor and Radeon R5 graphics. You also get a 14″ HD 1080p display, dual-band 802.11ac WiFi, and USB 3.1 Type-C port.
These are all specs capable of handling the day to day needs of many of the business applications today. The portability, at 3.6 pounds, and the price makes this ASUS a device small businesses can give to their workforce.
The Lenovo 320-15 comes in even lower than the ASUS at $364. And for this price, it delivers a remarkable set of specs led by the AMD A12-9720P 2.7GHz processor (with turbo up to 3.3GHz). The RAM is a very capable 8GB DDR4 which can be expanded to 16GB, 1TB storage, and a 1366 x 768 15.6 inch HD widescreen LED.
A webcam, USB Type-C, 2 USB 3.0, 1 HDMI, and Bluetooth are also part of the package according to the specs of this Lenovo.
Just slightly over the $300 mark, the HP 15-F222WM will more than do the job according to the product description . The $318 price tag will get you an Intel Pentium N3540 Quad-Core processor, 2.16 GHz (up to 2.66 GHz with Turbo Technology), 4 GB RAM, and 500 GB of storage.
Surprisingly this HP has a 15.6″ HD backlit LED touchscreen display and a front-facing VGA webcam. The connectivity includes 802.11b/g/n Wireless LAN along with 1 HDMI port, 1 USB 2.0, and 2 USB 3.0 ports.
As mentioned previously, the market is full of laptops addressing the needs of most industries and budgets. If you need an even cheaper laptop, you can find some devices in the $200 price range. But as always, buyer beware. Don’t sacrifice functionality for price, because it will end up costing you more if you have to stop working to address problems with your device all the time.
Try to find a laptop that will deliver the most value for your particular budget and upgrade the device as your needs and finances allow.
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