While most college students would probably love to walk around the campus carrying a MacBook Pro, the reality is that universities are very expensive, and a lot of people can only afford cheaper laptops. This isn't the end of the world, especially if you know what you're looking for.
There are a plenty of good student laptops under 500 dollars, and we've decided to round up five best computers you can get in this price range.
Portability is one of the most important laptop features for a lot of college students, and this is where the HP Pavilion X360 11.6 excels. It is a very small and lightweight laptop that's a joy to carry around in the backpack. This laptop also doubles as a tablet, which means it's also very useful when you want to unwind from studying and watch a movie or a TV show.
Not every college is looking for a super portable laptop. For engineering students, power is much more important, and the Acer Aspire E5-573G definitely meets the criteria. It has a very powerful processor and GPU, which can handle basically any task. The laptop's screen is pretty large and has a high resolution, which means it's great for multitasking.
There's a reason why the ASUS F555LA-AB31 is one of the top-selling student laptops right now. It offers a lot of features for a very reasonable price. Unless you're majoring in engineering and similar fields, this laptop will be able to handle everything you throw at it. The ASUS F555LA-AB31 is a bit heavy though, mainly due to its large display.
The ASUS Chromebook Flip 10.1 isn't a laptop for everyone. If you're looking for a powerful Windows laptop so that you can install and use some less-known applications, this isn't the one for you. If, however, you need a laptop for creating and editing Word and Excel files and browsing the web, then the Chromebook flip is an amazing choice. It's affordable, really compact and has great battery life.
The Lenovo ThinkPad 11e Ultrabook is a pretty decent laptop choice, especially for college students working with a very tight budget. If you don't need a touchscreen and powerful specs, then this laptop definitely makes sense. It's the cheapest Windows laptop on our list and is easy to carry around the campus thanks to its compact size.
Our top choice in this price range is the HP Pavilion X360 11.6". It's not the cheapest option in our comparison, but it offers a lot of value for the money. It's very portable, yet pretty fast in everyday use. It also doubles as a tablet, which makes it even more useful.
Certain college students are looking for a more powerful laptop and are willing to sacrifice compactness and portability because of it. In case you're one of them, then we suggest going with either the Acer Aspire E5-573G or ASUS F555LA-AB31. The Acer laptop packs the most power, but the ASUS is cheaper, so it's up to you to decide what's more important in your case.
Unlike other laptops on this list, the ASUS Chromebook Flip 10.1 isn't running on Windows. Instead, it uses Google's Chrome OS. This limits it a bit, but if you only need a laptop for browsing and using applications like Word and Excel, then this is still a viable option for you.
Finally, our last choice is the Lenovo ThinkPad 11e Ultrabook. It's a decent laptop choice in this price range (it's the cheapest Windows laptop in this comparison), but keep in mind that you get what you pay for. Most college students who don't need a lot of power will be happy with its performance, but it does get sluggish if you open up more than three different applications.
Performance-wise, the clear winner is the Acer Aspire E5-573G. It sports the most powerful processor and GPU, as well as the most memory. The ASUS F555LA-AB31 is trailing slightly behind, and up next is the HP Pavilion X360 11.6". The other two laptops are less impressive when it comes to raw speed.
College students are always on the move, which is why portability is a very important factor when choosing a laptop. This is exactly why we included three laptops that have sub 12-inch screens. When it comes to portability, the ASUS Chromebook Flip wins with its 10.1-inch screen and a weight of 2 pounds. Unfortunately, if you need a laptop with a lot of processing power — this comes with a cost. The most powerful laptop on our list (HP Pavilion X360) weighs 5.4 pounds!
Most people think that you can't really find a good student laptop for less than $500. We don't agree. There are plenty of good choices in this price range, and we believe that the best all-around student laptop under $500 is the HP Pavilion X360. For those searching for a bit more power, we found options like the Acer Aspire E5-573G or ASUS F555LA-AB31. If you're working with an extremely small budget (less than $300), we have you covered as well, as the ASUS Chromebook Flip and Lenovo ThinkPad 11e come in at about $260 and $270, respectively.