Best cheap laptops for under £500 [updated]
Our annual PC reliability survey showed the majority of people spend between £300 and £600 on laptops. This ‘buyers sweet spot’ should offer good quality screen, plenty of storage space and a reasonably speedy processor. Everything you need for everyday tasks like web browsing, watching a movie or working with Microsoft Office.
But how do you pick the best laptop at the right price? Read on for five of our top laptop performers costing under £500.
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 14 – best for versatility
Although the Flex 14 isn’t a full tablet/laptop convertible – the screen doesn’t detach – it comes pretty close to one. The rotating hinge allows you to flick its 14-inch touchscreen from a regular clamshell position to a standing one, which is useful for watching films or Skype.
Unfortunately, the display doesn’t rotate fully backwards to go flat and demonstrates a noticeable wobble in ‘stand mode’. This means the Flex’s versatility can only stretch so far – as you’d expect for a laptop of this price.
Find out if the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 14 impressed our experts for battery life and sound in our full review.
Toshiba Satellite NB10t-A-101 – best ultrabook
Ultrabooks are thin, light and sleek looking Windows-powered equivalents to Apple’s MacBook Pro range. This Toshiba Satellite ticks most of the category’s boxes with its compact design and 11.6-inch screen.
Despite a solid build quality, compromises have been made to meet the £309 price point. The Satellite’s battery lasted just four hours when watching video, and its keyboard keys are small and fiddly to use.
Is this laptop a hot bargain or a little undercooked? Read our Toshiba Satellite NB10t-A-101 review to find out if it’s the right device for you.
Samsung ATIV Book 9 Lite – best for portability
A portable laptop that’s ideal for students, the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Lite has a trim 13.3-inch screen and weights in at just 1.5kg. This means you can easily tuck it into a rucksack if you want your computing to go.
Battery life isn’t bad either, offering a smidge over five hours web browsing when surfing over wi-fi. Due to the Book 9’s slim design it doesn’t offer a great selection of connections and you’ll have to make do with only two USB ports, and the adapters required for ethernet and HDMI.
Read our Samsung ATIV Book 9 Lite review for its full test lab verdict.
Asus X550CA-XX877H – best for screen size
Featuring a 15.6-inch screen with a good 1,366×768 resolution, this Asus laptop is an excellent budget choice for movie lovers. Plus, its built-in SonicMaster speakers offer better sound than you’d expect for a laptop of this price.
Sadly, the Asus doesn’t hold up well when transported away from a mains power supply, with battery life when playing video less than three and a half hours.
Read our Asus X550CA-XX877H review for our extensive test lab verdict.
HP TouchSmart 11-e030sa – best for price
You can pick up this HP TouchSmart 11 for as little as £299, which is about as cheap as you’re likely to find a Windows 8 laptop. With an 11.6-inch touchscreen and weighing in at a light 1.5kg, it’s extremely portable too.
If you tend to use processor intensive programs on your laptop, like Photoshop or Premiere, this TouchSmart 11, like many cheaper laptops, will struggle.
Read our HP TouchSmart 11-e030sa review to see how it fared overall.
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