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Top 5 cheap laptops for under £500

By Michael Passingham

What's the best laptop for under £500? We run you through five of our top picks at different sub-£500 price points to let you find the perfect budget laptop for your needs.

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How to pick a cheap laptop

Technology has moved on so much that you really don't have to spend a lot to get a laptop that'll do everything you need. Here, you'll find laptops ranging from ultra-budget 'netbooks' for browsing the web and doing some light office work, all the way up to a £500 laptop that should be able to handle everything from heavy web browsing to editing photos. 

In our selections, we've tried to pick laptops that score well in every area but, inevitably, there are compromises when you buy a cheaper laptop; often the screen or performance won't be the absolute best around. But, with that said, we're confident that you'll be satisfied with our recommendations.

Best laptops under £500

Which? score 77%
Reviewed Jul 2017
Ease of use:
4 out of 5
Performance:
5 out of 5
Battery:
4 out of 5
Screen quality:
3 out of 5
Portability:
4 out of 5
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive
Resolution (pixels):
Member exclusive
Processor:
Member exclusive
Ram (GB):
Member exclusive

A fast booter at just seven seconds, this nippy laptop won't keep you waiting. The i3 processor is more than enough for daily tasks, and while 4GB of Ram won't turn heads, it can be expanded.

Which? score 74%
Reviewed Dec 2017
Ease of use:
4 out of 5
Performance:
5 out of 5
Battery:
4 out of 5
Screen quality:
2 out of 5
Portability:
4 out of 5
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive
Resolution (pixels):
Member exclusive
Processor:
Member exclusive
Ram (GB):
Member exclusive

A great choice for those looking for a laptop that can carry out every day tasks with ease, as well as packing in respectable battery stamina. A solid state drive means that accessing files is pleasingly fast.

Which? score 73%
Reviewed Jan 2018
Ease of use:
4 out of 5
Performance:
4 out of 5
Battery:
4 out of 5
Screen quality:
4 out of 5
Portability:
4 out of 5
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive
Resolution (pixels):
Member exclusive
Processor:
Member exclusive
Ram (GB):
Member exclusive

This thin and light laptop is available in a variety of specifications ranging from under £400 to over £500. But whichever way you look at it, it's great value.

Which? score 72%
Reviewed Mar 2017
Ease of use:
4 out of 5
Performance:
4 out of 5
Battery:
5 out of 5
Screen quality:
3 out of 5
Portability:
3 out of 5
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive
Resolution (pixels):
Member exclusive
Processor:
Member exclusive
Ram (GB):
Member exclusive

This budget laptop hits the sweet spot of having a decently-sized screen, brilliant battery life and 128GB of storage.

Which? score 69%
Reviewed May 2016
Ease of use:
4 out of 5
Performance:
2 out of 5
Battery:
4 out of 5
Screen quality:
3 out of 5
Portability:
4 out of 5
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive
Resolution (pixels):
Member exclusive
Processor:
Member exclusive
Ram (GB):
Member exclusive

This laptop's indomitable battery life and comfortable keyboard mean you can do much, much worse.

Recommendations correct as of June 1st 2018.

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We test laptops more thoroughly than anyone else

Our tests go further than those carried out by other organisations, and because Which?, unlike other review sites, is independent and does not accept advertising or free laptops from manufacturers. We buy all our own review samples (in fact, we buy two of each laptop we test), so you can trust our reviews to give you the full, honest and impartial truth about a product.

When testing laptops in the Which? test lab, we monitor, measure and test more than 260 different criteria to ensure that we have every base covered. Everything from battery life and screen brightness to key dimensions and USB data transfer rate is considered.

We even use thermal imaging to see just how hot laptops get under stress. When Which? passes judgment on a laptop, you can be sure that if there's a problem to be found with it we'll let you know.

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