10 Best Affordable Laptops

Wally Nowinski
editor

Our experts used the PerfectRec decision engine to comb through our laptop database and find the best affordable laptops available in 2024. Here are our top picks.

Our criteria for the best affordable laptops:

  • Budget: We focused on budget and budget only. These are the best laptops in our database under $500.
To consider others factors, try the PerfectRec decision engine to get your personalized laptop recommendation
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10 Best Affordable Laptops

1
Lenovo 16”

IdeaPad Slim 5i

BEST RATING
Keyboard Quality:
4.4
General: B+, Gaming/AI: B, Eng/Design: B+
Size: 16"
Overall Performance: Good
Portability: Med. thick, med. heavy
Battery: Good




Expert Summary
The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 5i, with a lower midrange price, offers a solid balance for everyday use with its Intel i5 processor, 16GB RAM, and 512GB storage; it should handle tasks like web browsing, office work, and media playback well. It has a 16-inch display using IPS technology for better viewing angles, and the resolution is sharp enough for clear visuals, although not the highest available. The battery life is average, not ideal for long periods away from power. This laptop is reasonably portable, but there are lighter options if portability is a priority. With a backlit keyboard and fingerprint reader, it includes features for convenience and security. Suitable for general use and lighter engineering tasks, this laptop won't excel in intensive gaming or complex 3D work due to its integrated graphics. If you're looking for a laptop to use primarily at a desk with occasional mobility, and your tasks are mainly productivity-focused without high-end gaming or professional creative work, the IdeaPad Slim 5i is a respectable choice.
Pros
  • High RAM capacity for multitasking
  • Backlit keyboard aids low-light use
  • Good portability for travel
  • Fingerprint reader for extra security
  • Decent battery life for daily use
Cons
  • Moderate storage capacity
  • Average speaker quality
  • Fair performance for engineering tasks
  • Display colors not very vibrant
2
HP 15.6”

15" Laptop

BEST RATING
Operating Noise:
4.6
General: B+, Gaming/AI: B, Eng/Design: B+
Size: 15.6"
Overall Performance: Good
Portability: Med. thick, light
Battery: Good




Expert Summary
The HP 15" Laptop offers a balance for those on a budget, providing a large 15.6-inch screen with touchscreen capabilities, albeit at a lower resolution. It's not the lightest is, but still reasonably portable. This laptop is equipped with a considerable amount of RAM and a sizeable storage capacity. It runs on an Intel i3 processor with integrated graphics, which is sufficient for general use, but may lack the necessary power for intensive 3D rendering, gaming, or engineering applications. Battery life is adequate for typical use, and the keyboard includes a number pad, although it is not backlit and there are no biometric security features. The build and heat management are fair and it has a variety of ports including USB-C, but lacks Thunderbolt support. Suitable for general use and those who prioritize budget and screen size over high performance and screen resolution.
Pros
  • Spacious storage
  • Large RAM capacity
  • Touchscreen available
  • Decent battery life
  • Good heat management
Cons
  • Basic processor model
  • Low screen resolution
  • Mediocre portability
  • Limited color coverage
3
ASUS 16”

Vivobook 16

BEST RATING
General Use:
4.3
General: B+, Gaming/AI: B, Eng/Design: B+
Size: 16"
Overall Performance: Good
Portability: Med. thick, med. heavy
Battery: Good




Pros
  • Large 16-inch screen
  • High-capacity storage
  • Good battery life
  • Number pad on keyboard
  • Windows 11 Home pre-installed
Cons
  • Average portability
  • Moderate screen brightness
  • Non-touchscreen
  • Lower color space coverage
4
Dell 15.6”

Inspiron 15 3511

BEST RATING
General Use:
4.3
General: B+, Gaming/AI: B, Eng/Design: B+
Size: 15.6"
Overall Performance: Good
Portability: Med. thick, light
Battery: Good




Expert Summary
The Dell Inspiron 15 3511 is a laptop with a lower midrange price, offering a solid general use experience with an Intel i5-1135G7 processor, integrated Iris Xe graphics, 1024GB of storage, and 32GB of RAM. It has a 15.6-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080, not touch-enabled, providing decent color accuracy and fair performance for fast motion. With a weight of 3.7 pounds and a thickness of 0.74 inches, it's relatively portable, but it compromises on battery life, offering around 6.5 hours of typical usage. It includes convenient features like a number pad on the keyboard and available slots for RAM and storage upgrades. While it's not designed for intensive gaming or engineering tasks due to its integrated graphics, it still delivers good performance for everyday general use and moderate multitasking. The build quality is fair, and the laptop handles heat effectively, which is good for prolonged use. It was released in January 2021 and runs Windows 11 Home.
Pros
  • Ample storage space
  • High RAM capacity
  • Solid general use performance
  • Effective heat management
  • Has number pad
Cons
  • Mediocre battery life
  • Average build quality
  • Not very portable
  • Lacks high performance graphics
5
ASUS 16”

Vivobook 16X

BEST RATING
Battery Life:
4.2
General: B+, Gaming/AI: B, Eng/Design: B
Size: 16"
Overall Performance: Fair
Portability: Med. thick, med. heavy
Battery: Good




Expert Summary
The ASUS Vivobook 16X offers a balance between performance and price, being in the lower midrange category. It features a large 16-inch IPS screen with a 16:10 aspect ratio, suitable for productivity tasks but with a standard 60Hz refresh rate that's adequate for general use rather than fast-paced gaming. Powered by an AMD Ryzen 7 5800HS with integrated Vega 8 graphics, the laptop is capable of handling daily tasks and lighter creative workloads, though it's not designed for intensive gaming or high-end 3D rendering. Its battery life is suitable for several hours of typical usage, making it moderately portable at a bit over 4 pounds. The Vivobook 16X is equipped with 512GB of storage and 12GB of RAM, enhancing multitasking abilities. It also has a decent selection of ports including USB-C, HDMI, and an Ethernet port, plus a backlit keyboard with a number pad, enhancing utility for work and study. Overall, the Vivobook 16X is good for general use, fair for 3D/machine learning applications, and fair for engineering tasks.
Pros
  • Large 16-inch display
  • Reasonable battery life
  • Multiple USB-C ports
  • Number pad on keyboard
  • Good heat management
Cons
  • Heavy at over 4 pounds
  • No touchscreen or high refresh rate
  • Mediocre speaker quality
  • Limited color space coverage
6
Lenovo 14”

IdeaPad 3 14"

BEST RATING
Operating Noise:
4.9
General: B+, Gaming/AI: B, Eng/Design: B+
Size: 14"
Overall Performance: Fair
Portability: Med. thick, light
Battery: Good




Pros
  • Large storage capacity
  • Ample RAM
  • Good battery life
  • Decent general use performance
  • Lightweight for portability
Cons
  • Basic processor
  • Integrated GPU limits gaming
  • No USB-C or Thunderbolt ports
  • Subpar engineering performance
7
Acer 15.6”

Aspire 5 15

BEST RATING
Portability:
4.3
General: B+, Gaming/AI: B, Eng/Design: B+
Size: 15.6"
Overall Performance: Good
Portability: Med. thick, light
Battery: Good




Expert Summary
The Acer Aspire 5 15 is offered at a lower midrange price and is equipped with a 15.6-inch IPS screen with full HD resolution. It does not support touchscreen functionality. Powered by an Intel i5 processor with integrated Iris Xe graphics, it provides a balance of performance suitable for general use and can handle some light 3D and engineering tasks. It has a solid battery life but may not be ideal for intensive gaming, although casual gaming should be acceptable. With 512 GB of storage and 16 GB of RAM, it's capable of multitasking efficiently. The laptop is fairly portable at under 4 pounds and 0.7 inches thick and comes with a backlit keyboard, fingerprint reader, and a good array of ports including USB-C and HDMI. Its build and speaker quality are fair, while the keyboard and webcam are rated good. Overall, the Acer Aspire 5 15 well suits everyday tasks and modest design work.
Pros
  • Good portability and battery life
  • Performs well for general use
  • Full HD screen with backlit keyboard
  • Number pad and USB-C charging
  • Fingerprint reader for security
Cons
  • Not suited for advanced 3D or engineering tasks
  • Mediocre speaker and webcam quality
  • Average build and heat management
  • Limited color accuracy for professionals
8
Lenovo 15.6”

IdeaPad 3 15"

BEST RATING
Operating Noise:
4.9
General: B+, Gaming/AI: B, Eng/Design: B
Size: 15.6"
Overall Performance: Fair
Portability: Med. thick, light
Battery: Good




Expert Summary
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15" is a budget-friendly laptop with an Intel i5 processor and integrated graphics, suitable for everyday tasks and light productivity. It comes with a 512GB storage drive and 8GB of RAM, a combination that offers a decent balance for general use. The 15.6-inch IPS display offers clear images at a standard 1920 x 1080 resolution, but it isn't touchscreen. The battery life is modest, making it more suited for use where charging options are accessible. Weighing 3.59 pounds and measuring 0.78 inches thick, it's relatively portable but might feel bulky compared to ultrabooks. It includes a numeric keypad, backlit keyboard, and a good variety of ports including USB-C and HDMI. The IdeaPad 3 is not designed for intensive gaming, 3D rendering, or machine learning tasks, but it's a good match for more straightforward engineering software. Overall, this laptop is a good choice for students or home office use where high performance is not a critical requirement.
Pros
  • Solid build quality
  • Good portability
  • Decent general use performance
  • Backlit keyboard and number pad
  • Ample storage capacity
Cons
  • Moderate battery life
  • Average display for color work
  • Not ideal for 3D/machine learning tasks
  • No hardware ray tracing or DLSS support
9
MSI 14”

Modern 14

BEST RATING
Portability:
4.6
General: B+, Gaming/AI: B, Eng/Design: B+
Size: 14"
Overall Performance: Good
Portability: Thin, very light
Battery: Good




Pros
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Good general use performance
  • Backlit keyboard included
  • Supports USB-C charging
  • High screen pixel density
Cons
  • Low battery life
  • Mediocre for 3D and engineering
  • Limited high-speed port selection
  • Moderate color space coverage
10
BEST RATING
Operating Noise:
4.6
General: B+, Gaming/AI: B, Eng/Design: B
Size: 14"
Overall Performance: Fair
Portability: Med. thick, very light
Battery: Good




Expert Summary
The Dell Latitude 14 7490 is a budget-friendly option with a solid build and respectable performance for general use. It has an Intel i7 processor, integrated Intel graphics, 512GB of storage, and 16GB of RAM, which should handle most day-to-day tasks comfortably. The 14-inch IPS display offers clear images at Full HD resolution and has touchscreen capabilities. Key features include a backlit keyboard, fingerprint reader, and a variety of ports including USB-C, HDMI, and Ethernet, although it lacks a number pad. It's fairly lightweight, conducive to portability, and has a good balance of battery life. This laptop may not be suited for intensive gaming or demanding engineering tasks as the graphics are on the basic side. It's well-suited for business users seeking reliability and functionality without stretching the budget.
Pros
  • Very good portability
  • Good battery life
  • USB-C charging supported
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Fingerprint reader for security
Cons
  • Fair 3D/machine learning performance
  • Fair engineering performance
  • Screen colors are fair
  • Moderate weight