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The best ultrabook under $500 offers performance, high-quality design, and, of course, an ultra-affordable price. To find the best ultrabooks for you, we researched 50 different options and configurations online before purchasing the top 10 laptops in order to test them out with our own fingers.
Once we received the ultrabooks, we got to quick work integrating them into our daily workflow and using them as we would our daily machines. We wrote articles, streamed Netflix, and played games on each one of the computers to test their prowess. During this testing, we specifically paid attention to processor performance, display quality, and overall design quality. With these features in mind, it was easy to choose the Dell Latitude E7240 as our top pick. With its powerful Intel Core i5 processor and lightweight, yet sturdy design, this ultrabook under $500 is an excellent choice for anyone in the market. Keep reading to learn more about this powerful Dell ultrabook and the other top picks on our list.
Award: Top Pick/Best Lightweight
WHY WE LIKE IT: With an extra lightweight build and solid performance overall, the Dell Latitude E7240 is an excellent choice for anyone looking to purchase a budget ultrabook. Whether you’re looking for home use or office use, the E7240 is sure to impress you with its speed and overall build quality.
Purchasing an ultrabook under $500 can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to finding something with a quality design and good performance. Fortunately for you, the Dell Latitude E7240 is here to save the day. While it doesn’t offer the highest end specs (which you shouldn’t expect in this price range anyway), it still gives you a powerful Intel Core i5 processor that can handle pretty much anything you throw at it. You also get a super-durable build that will last for many years to come, which more than makes up for the clunky and plain design.
We were a little disappointed with the Latitude E7240’s battery life. It’s the worst of the lot, but if you’re always around a power source, you won’t notice it at all. The Latitude features a touchscreen display that’s responsive and bright, even if it isn’t full HD. At such a low price, the Dell Latitude E7240 is a great choice for pretty much anyone in the market for an affordable and reliable ultrabook. If a reliable laptop is what you need while traveling, then you need to check out our lightest ultrabooks buying guide.
Award: Honorable Mention/Best Battery Life
WHY WE LIKE IT: HP remains a mainstay in the laptop and ultrabook world, and the EliteBook 840 G1 shows why. This sub-$500 ultrabook features a high-quality build and one of the best batteries on our list. If you’re looking for quality, long-lasting performance with minimal drawbacks, consider the HP EliteBook 840 G1.
If you’re looking for a budget ultrabook with a little more display real estate and a little more battery life than the competition, the HP EliteBook 840 G1 offers 14 inches of display and up to 12 hours of rated battery life. While you don’t get full HD resolution with this ultrabook, the large display still manages to provide rich colors and good contrast. It does struggle a little with limited viewing angles, but that doesn’t tend to be an issue when it comes to laptops, generally speaking.
Unfortunately, the EliteBook is a bit heavier and bulkier than the other ultrabooks on our list, but not to the extent that it ruins the overall experience. In spite of this heaviness, the ultrabook is designed really well with a design that mixes tradition and modernity. You’ll get a powerful Intel Core i9 processor with this ultrabook, which is more than enough to handle most office and home applications, along with streaming videos and music. All in all, the HP EliteBook 840 G1 is a powerful laptop that combines long-lasting performance with a sleek design for an impressive overall experience. Check out the best portable ultrabook for more options.
Award: Best Value/Best for Gaming
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Dell Latitude E7470 is the most powerful ultrabook under $500 that we tested, making it a great choice for anyone who wants to fit in the occasional gaming session. It’s also well designed and durable, making it an easy winner for our top picks.
While we typically wouldn’t recommend purchasing an ultrabook under $500 for your sole gaming machine, the Dell Latitude E7470 still gives you enough juice for some light gaming between work projects. With an ultra powerful 3.4 GHz Intel Core i7 processor and 256 GB solid-state drive (SSD), you’ll find that everything loads quicker without stuttering or freezing. Again, this isn’t a dedicated gaming laptop, but it outperforms the other options on our list by far in this regard.
We were also super pleased with the E7470’s crisp, 1080p display. Measuring in at 14 inches, the full HD display is bright and packaged within an anti-glare LCD. We were able to use the laptop in most any lighting situation and still see what we needed to, even in direct sunlight. The Dell also features a super comfortable and snappy keyboard that responds well to any input and just feels good under the fingers. The Latitude E7470 places most of its ports on the rear of the device for desktop docking purposes, which can get a little awkward when you’re on the go, but this wasn’t a dealbreaker by any means. Have a look at the best value ultrabook too.
Award: Best Display
WHY WE LIKE IT: You’ve probably never heard of the Jumper EZbook 2, but it’s made its way onto our top picks list due to its attractive design, excellent display and super affordable price. If you’re looking for an ultra-affordable ultrabook with a great display, this is the pick for you.
There’s no two ways around it. The Jumper EZbook 2 is trying to look like the MacBook Air. And while it’s built from plastic instead of aluminum, it still comes pretty close to the real deal. If you’re hoping to achieve a MacBook appearance without spending north of $1,000, this is an excellent choice. The plastic build can feel a little cheap at times, but it’s still sturdy and designed well. We were especially surprised at the quality of the display. It features a full HD (1920 x 1080) display that’s bright and vivid.
The EZbook 2 struggles a bit when it comes to performance, due to its lower-end processor and limited 64 GB of flash storage. However, we found it adequate enough for most basic processes like web surfing and office applications. Just don’t expect to run any powerhouse games here. There’s no question about it. The EZbook 2 is one of the best ultrabooks for such an affordable price and there’s a lot to be said about the sleek-looking design. You can also check out the best 2 in 1 ultrabook if you’re looking for a higher level of performance.
Award: Best Budget/Best 2 in 1
WHY WE LIKE IT: If you’re looking for the versatility and flexibility that comes with a convertible ultrabook, look no further than the Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga 11e. This laptop packs a punch in a compact and portable package, making it the right choice for students and those who travel for work.
The Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga 11e is designed for simplicity and portability. If you’re looking for a computer that’s easier to take on the go without needing to use the full keyboard, this 2 in 1 ultrabook is the first option you should consider. You can convert the laptop into a tablet simply by folding the display back 180 degrees and only using the touchscreen to navigate and operate the device. With many convertible ultrabooks, the touchscreen is slow to respond, but you won’t find an issues with the Yoga 11e. Any touch input responds quickly and with accuracy, making overall operation easy.
Unfortunately, the display isn’t full HD and only offers a resolution of 1366 x 768, but this should be expected on a laptop at this low price range. We were still pleased overall with the display’s rich colors and brightness. Another thing we loved about the Yoga 11e was how cool it stayed, even during processor-heavy operations. When you’re carrying it around as a tablet, the last thing you want is super hot casing. Keep in mind that you may not get the best performance here with an Intel Celeron processor, but it still works perfectly for the average web surfing and office jobs that most people would need it for. Have a look at the best ultrabooks and compare them.
When we talk about the ultrabook category, the term “value” isn’t usually the first thing that pops up into people’s heads. But, thanks to Moore’s Law, now it’s possible to get many of the features you’d expect on a $1,500 laptop from two years ago on a sub-$500 device today. These include boot times from sleep that are under the one second mark, a minimum of 4GB of DDR3 (or DDR3L) RAM, an Intel Core i-X processor, and 500GB of onboard storage.
Read More: What Is an Ultrabook?
As Intel rolls out its brand spanking new generation of its Core i processors, we kept a keen out for any laptops which included this feature since the fresh CPUs promise to be faster and more power efficient than anything else that came before.
Lastly, it’s important to note that none of the choices on this list are specifically designated as “ultrabooks” by Intel, but that’s only because they’re missing one or two features each that hold them back from the proper distinction. Regular ultrabooks start no lower than $899, but the laptops here still match 90% of the criteria while costing significantly less overall. They may not be as slim or quick to boot as a designated ultrabook, they’re the closest (and fastest) you’re going to get in the under $500 range.
Just because you want to own an ultrabook doesn’t always mean you have to pay an “ultra” high price for the privilege. Though ultrabooks spent years as one of the most expensive options available in the laptop market, as technology has gotten faster and cheaper, so have the prices of these once unattainable laptops fallen down to a point where they’re affordable for most consumers.
If you haven’t looked for an ultrabook simply on the basis that owning one might be too expensive, it’s time to take a second look at what’s out there in 2019.
Avoid DDR3: All the laptops we’ve included on this list use at least DDR3L or DDR4 RAM, both options that use drastically less power than their older counterpart, DDR3. DDR3 is quickly being phased out of all models past the 2017 mark, so if you can afford to upgrade, this is the first place you’re going to want to do it.
Don’t Compromise: Although we’ve listed our personal top 5 picks here, there are plenty of options out there to choose from when it comes to ultrabooks. If you want a better screen but don’t care about having a large hard drive because you store all your files in the cloud, then get a better screen with a flash drive instead! With ultrabooks the possibilities are nearly endless, so never compromise just because you think you have to when you’re sticking to a smaller budget.
Now that you’ve got your pick for the best ultrabook under $500, what other considerations should you make about your new laptop and all the cool things you plan to do with it?
First of all, you should definitely check out our post on Ultrabooks vs Chromebooks to get the lowdown on what makes your ultrabook better than the Chromed out competition. Next, if you want the absolute lightest Ultrabook possible and have a little bit more than $500 to spend, we also have a great resource on the Lightest Ultrabooks in 2019 for you to peruse.
Ultimately it’s obvious that the Dell Latitude E7240 is a solid value with great features that run at the cutting edge of what ultrabooks are capable of these days, but remember there’s always plenty of options out there no matter what you need your laptop to do!