Are you looking for a cheap laptop PC to accompany you in all circumstances? Here is our pick of the best laptops under $ 500.
If by nature we tend to test machines at the cutting edge of technology and therefore quite expensive, we do not forget that not everyone has the need or the means to put a large sum in their laptop.
Fortunately the last few years have seen great strides in the power and quality of entry-level laptops. The democratization of SSDs in particular has brought responsiveness and good user comfort even on inexpensive machines.
However, there are some things to pay attention to before buying. Avoid like the plague all machines with less than 4 GB of RAM and less than 128 GB of storage that is often found in supermarkets. These are therefore simply unusable and often do not even have enough space to install Windows updates.
In search of the lost bargain
Note that manufacturers and distributors have the unpleasant habit of changing their machines regularly. The same chassis will thus be available in multiple configurations and references depending on the dealer, the price of the components or the age of the captain. All with sometimes very limited stocks. It is not uncommon to see a reference disappear and return a few days later under another name with a few euros more or less.
In short, if one of the models we recommend is no longer available, do not hesitate to check if it has not been replaced by an equivalent model.
Here is our selection of inexpensive laptops.
Huawei MateBook 13 AMD: Price Breakdown
We apologize in advance since this MateBook 13 AMD exceeds the price limit that we had set ourselves a little but it was impossible for us to miss what is probably the best quality / price ratio of the moment.
Among the strengths of this PC, a well calibrated high resolution screen and above all a remarkable build quality. In addition to the metal frame we are thus entitled to a good keyboard and even a fingerprint reader. We also appreciate the presence of a small dock that supports the pair of USB-C ports.
Big change compared to the version we tested: the Intel processor was swapped for an AMD Ryzen 5 3500U. In practice we lose a bit of CPU performance, but we gain an integrated graphics part capable of running light games in good conditions. Too bad on the other hand that the autonomy remains bad for an ultra portable, not exceeding 5 hours.
If the Matebook 13 had us a little disappointed when sold at 1000 euros, it becomes much more interesting with a price almost halved!
Why choose the Matebook 13 AMD
- A good screen
- The impeccable finish
- The unbeatable quality / price ratio
Acer Chromebook C514 : l’option Chrome OS
If they have never achieved the same popularity in France as in the United States, Chromebooks have always been designed with a low price in mind. And over the years they have gained in versatility, especially since it is possible for them to launch Android apps.
Signed Acer, this Chromebook offers a particularly neat metal finish that would not swear on a machine twice as expensive. Rarely, the 14-inch touchscreen is matte, which greatly improves readability. We also appreciate the Full HD resolution even if the colors lack accuracy.
The configuration is also to match, with in particular 8 GB of RAM and an 1128 GB SSD. The Pentium N4200 is not a lightning strike, but it is more than enough to run the Google OS in good conditions. Combine that with an autonomy of ten hours and you get one of the best quality / price ratio on the market. The only real compromise: Chrome OS will not necessarily suit everyone
If you are tempted by the principle of Chromebooks, do not hesitate to consult our selection of the best Chromebooks.
Why choose the Acer Chromebook C514
- The very good finish
Asus Vivobook R409JA: good in all respects
With its range of Vivobook laptops, Asus places itself in the mid-range segment with quality products, often at attractive prices without sacrificing performance. This is the case with the Vivobook R409JA, currently marketed at 569 euros on Amazon.
The 14-inch screen has Full HD definition and an anti-reflective filter, so you won’t be distracted during a work session. Inside the machine, there is an Intel Core i3 processor 1005G1 10th Generation Dual Core (4 threads) clocked at 1.2 GHz base, and can go up to 3.4 GHz. The whole thing is supported by 8 GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD, which should allow you to store your data without difficulty and reduce loading times when launching your software.
With such a configuration, which still incorporates a latest generation processor, this Vivobook is mainly intended for office use. Web browsing, word processing software, some photo retouching … the main common tasks can be performed without problem.
The 32 Whr battery is a bit light and won’t last a full day without plugging it in, so be sure to bring your charger. More than half of the battery will recharge in less than 50 minutes. Note that if you prefer Linux (or if you already have a Windows 10 key on hand) you can save a few euros by choosing the Linux version at LDLC.
Why choose the Asus Vivobook R409JA
- A 10th generation Intel processor
- A Full HD screen
- 256 GB storage
Dell Inspiron 15 3000: a large screen
Known among other things for its superb XPS 13, Dell also offers many very interesting entry-level models. The Inspiron 15 3000 is a prime example. So of course the all-plastic construction is clearly not the sexiest it is, but the chassis is solid and you can easily access the RAM and storage for those who would like to add a posteriori.
The configuration used is surprisingly muscular considering the price, we thus find 8 GB of storage and a 256 GB SSD. But it is above all the Ryzen 3 3250 processor that catches our interest. The latter offers very correct performance. The 15-inch screen, however, is singularly lacking in brightness, even if we appreciate its Full HD resolution. In short, if you are looking for a large screen and a machine that is comfortable with office automation, look no further.
Why choose the Dell Inspiron 15 3000
- 8 GB of RAM
- A large 15.6-inch screen
- A 256 GB SSD
Cheap laptops: what to expect?
Under the bar of 600 or 500 euros, manufacturers are forced to make significant concessions to keep a modest envelope. Then, it is up to the brand to make the sacrifice that it deems most appropriate. The quality of the screen? The amount of memory? The processor ? It’s up to you to choose the element that seems the least important to you. We find that a good screen contributes more to the pleasure of use than a slightly more efficient chip. The difference is often more noticeable in the first case in the second.
AMD in laptops?
Once frankly bad, mobile processors have made a remarkable comeback in laptops for two years. And for good reason, the Ryzen 3000 and 4000 processors offer very good performance, consume little and above all cost much less than their Intel equivalents. No need to avoid them, quite the contrary.
What is Windows 10 S?
Windows 10 S does not exist. It is actually “Windows 10 in S mode”, it is the name of Microsoft. If it is extended and not really sexy, it has the merit of highlighting the fact that it is a deactivatable mode of Windows 10, and not a full version of the OS. The main change is the inability to install applications that do not come from the Windows Store. The mode is also less greedy, which allows it to work better on modest machines. This simplifies the use, but also limits the range of possibilities.