If you’re in the market for a new laptop and need a productivity powerhouse on a budget, you might be asking yourself: what’s the best ultrabook under $500 in 2019?
With the release of Intel’s latest 7th-generation Core processors, the answer to that question is growing into a longer list by the day. For this list, we wanted to keep our eyes set on ultrabooks that offer a great value for the money, with at least 4GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive, and the aforementioned 7th-gen processors.
All those factors considered, we’ve come to the conclusion that the #1 pick is the new Aspire E 15 series. The Aspire line has always been an incredible series of laptops, but the E 15 takes it to the next level thanks to its low price point, 1920 x 1080 screen, and internal upgrade to DDR4 RAM.
That all said, you might want to check our best value ultrabook list, which comes in at a higher price point but adds bang for buck.
- 1 Best Ultrabook Under $500 2019
- 2 How We Choose the Ultrabook Under $500
- 3 Why You Should Buy an Ultrabook Under $500
- 4 #1 Pick Acer Aspire E 15/Editor’s Choice
- 5 #2 Pick Dell Inspiron 11 3179 2-in-1
- 6 #3 Pick HP 15-ay011nr 15.6″
- 7 Most Important Features
- 8 Mistakes or Things to Avoid
- 9 What Else You Should Think About
Best Ultrabook Under $500 2019
|Acer Aspire E 15||Dell Inspiron 11 3179||HP 15-ay011nr|
|Rank||#1 - Editor's Choice/|
Best 2-in-1 Ultrabook
|Display||1920 x 1080||1366 x 768||1920 x 1080|
|Battery Life||Up to 12hrs||Up to 10hrs||Up to 8hrs|
|CPU||2.4GHz Intel |
|RAM||4GB DDR4||4GB DDR3L||8 GB DDR3L|
|Storage||1TB HDD||500GB HDD||1TB HDD|
|Weight||5.27 pounds||3.24 pounds||4.73 pounds|
|Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now|
How We Choose the Ultrabook Under $500
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 7th 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.
Why You Should Buy an Ultrabook Under $500
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.
#1 Pick Acer Aspire E 15/Editor’s Choice
Price: $349.99 | Features: 2.4GHz Intel Core i3-7100U CPU, 12-hr battery life
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Cutting edge features at a price that everyone can afford.
For everything the Acer Aspire E 15 lacks (any kind of SSD, to name one thing), it makes up for immediately with a bargain-basement price and the inclusion of an all new 7th-gen processor from Intel.
Sporting a 2.4GHz Intel Core i3-7100U CPU, you can be sure that the Acer Aspire E 15 will last longer and run faster than any other laptop in this cost tier, not an easy feat considering what the rest of the competition is capable of. Tie that upgrade in with the choice to pump the 4GB of RAM up from DDR3L to DDR4 on the current model, and you’ve got a recipe for success for the best ultrabook under $500.
#2 Pick Dell Inspiron 11 3179 2-in-1
Price: $449.99 | Features: 2-in-1 hinge, 11.6″ touchscreen, 4GB DDR4 RAM
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The Dell is a solid 2-in-1 under $500 with a touchscreen for work or play.
Like the Aspire, the Inspiron line of laptops from Dell have been a flagship seller for the brand, leading the way when it comes to power and price on nearly every front imaginable. The latest off that roster is the Dell Inspiron 11 3179 (Inspiron i3179 for short), a 2-in-1 ultrabook that comes with a fully responsive touchscreen that’s great for taking notes or playing games on the go.
Read More: Best 2-in-1 Ultrabooks
This ultrabook comes equipped with an Intel Core m3-7y30 as opposed to a Core i CPU, so while it may not necessarily be as fast as the Aspire off the line, it’s got more than enough power efficiency to last for the long haul. If your main concern is with the screen then you might want to skip the Inspiron (it only rocks a less-than-HD 1366 x 768 resolution), but other than that small caveat it’s still got all the specs we crave at a price that won’t leave you scraping out your pockets by the time you leave the checkout line.
#3 Pick HP 15-ay011nr 15.6″
Price: $459.99 | Features: 15.6″ 1920 x 1080 display, 8GB DDR3L SDRAM, 2.3GHz Core i5-6200U CPU
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: For all out power, the HP 15-ay011nr can’t be beat.
Awkward naming schemes aside, the HP 15-ay011nr is a solid, respectable ultrabook under $500 that will get the job done that you need it to when you’re in a pinch. Although it may not sport the bleeding edge of processors, it offsets its 6th generation roots with increased power by bumping things up to an i5 CPU, unlike the i3 and m3 found in the Acer and Dell.
Read More: Best Ultrabook Under $1,000
This laptop is a little heavier than we might like, but it combines all the features an ultrabook needs with media features and a beefier GPU in case you want to take a little time off work to play games instead. For an all-around choice that will be just as proficient in the office as it will at home, it’s hard to find an ultrabook under $500 that offers a better slew of available add-ons.
Most Important Features
- Ultrabooks are made to be portable, because you never know when a work emergency might pop up and you’ll need to be online within seconds.
- All the laptops here are less than 5lbs, though the HP is the heaviest of the bunch.
- If you want something light and lean, go with the Acer E series. The new processor helps to save on weight that would otherwise be packed into the battery, thanks to its increased ability to use that power on a more efficient basis.
- Ultrabooks are known for their long battery life, and if you need a laptop that will last through long periods without being plugged in, you’ve come to the right place.
- All the laptops listed here have a minimum battery life of at least 8 hours, a stat that Intel themselves mandate if a laptop wants the honor of being able to call itself an ultrabook at all.
- Two of the three ultrabooks listed here have full HD, 1920 x 1080 screens that would look good at work or for watching a few episodes of Game of Thrones after you get back from the office.
- One is a touchscreen, though, which means the cost of a capacitive screen goes up. That’s why the Dell still rocks the 1366 x 768 lower resolution display, so if that’s your main concern, you’re better off going with the Acer or the HP instead.
- Of course, this wouldn’t be a list of the best ultrabooks under $500 if we didn’t talk about the price, right?
- On average, getting any kind of laptop under $500 means you’re going to have to make a few sacrifices along the way.
- Namely, this will happen with the GPU. Don’t expect to be playing any heavy duty games on these laptops, but as long as you’re okay with giving those up, everything else should measure up just fine.
Mistakes or Things to Avoid
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 3 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.
What Else You Should Think About
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 Acer Aspire E 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!