Best Thin Laptops under $500

Pic of laptop on a table

Ever wondered how thin your laptop should be? Well, we suppose you understand that thinner is more often lighter. And lightweight laptops are easy to handle whether you are a student commuting to school, college or just heading to work; your choice will always affect your comfort. If you mind how thin your laptop should be, we’ve assembled a list of some of the best thin laptops on a $500 budget.

1. HP Stream 11 – Best Lightweight

The HP Stream 11 is one of the best budget notebooks in the market. It’s stylish, small and fanless, weighing 2.74 pounds. One of the most defining design aspects of the HP Stream 11 is the fact that HP made it available in a number of colorful options. You can opt for either magenta or cobalt blue, which is an impressive touch of elegance at this price point. The HP Stream is cheap enough to compete with a Chromebook. It packs an Intel Celeron N2840 similar to what Chromebooks have but on the flip side suffers slower cold-boots. Even so, it makes a workhorse for real-work computing tasks such as web browsing, word processing, and lightweight productivity work.

Pros

  • Great price – low
  • Bright and colorful design
  • Comfortable keyboard
  • Solid performance
  • Sports 1TB cloud storage and 1-year Office 365 subscription

Cons

  • Half decent display
  • Slow-boot-up times
  • Limited onboard storage

Verdict

If you’re thinking budget laptop and don’t want to yield to the Chrome OS side, the HP Stream 11 is a great Windows option to run to. It’s inherently cheaper than most Chromebooks, is portable, has a great design, and tops it off with great audio. Finally, for users looking for a reliable travel companion, they’ll find the 0.7 inches easy to fit in a bag and 2.74 pounds weight light on their shoulders. In many respects, the HP Stream 11 borrows its aspects from the sublimely thin industry-leading HP Spectre x360 2-in-1 laptop.

2. Dell Inspiron 11 3000 2-in-1- Best Compact

On top of being Dell’s current cheapest laptop, the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 flaunts a candy red plastic clamshell design that’s hard to miss from a mile away. Users can also opt for other color options including blue, gray or white. Compared to other laptops in its price point, such as the HP Stream 11, it’s 0.82 inches height and 2.84 pounds is a bit on the larger side. Well, that’s nothing above the average notebook size of 1.0 inches and 3.0 pounds so it should also be easy to carry it around. On the bright side, the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 makes up for that loss by being convertible which means flexible. Also, the budget system is a decent performer for a sub $200 budget system. It packs an anemic 6 hours 29 min battery which should allow you almost full day’s work.

Pros

  • Affordable price point
  • Great battery life
  • Decent audio
  • Includes HDMI port
  • Touchscreen display
  • Core m3 processor

Cons

  • Dim display
  • Relatively short battery

Verdict

In addition to being slim, the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 comes with a touchscreen display and Intel Core m3 processor that outperforms lower powered competitors with Intel Celeron, and Atom processors. While we didn’t like the few wrinkles it comes with, for instance, 1366 by 768 resolution and relatively short battery life, for the price it sells for, those are only small compromises. That said, it should be a favorite among teenagers and students for its aesthetics and parents for its price.

3. Lenovo IdeaPad 120s – Best designed

One of the most noteworthy aspects about the Lenovo IdeaPad 120s is its impressive design and USB-C ports. It mostly averages on other features like battery life, display, audio, and performance. In terms of dimensions, it measures 0.71 inches at its thickest point and tips the scale at 2.53 pounds in weight. On size matters, it easily compares to the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 (3162) (0.78 inches). That means it should not present any problems commuting with it to college or work. However, our biggest gripe that could seek it unworthy is the 2GB memory available for its base configuration. If you can get at least 4GB configuration, which is at par with what we recommend for Chromebooks, then you have yourself a deal.

Pros

  • Impressive build quality and stylish design
  • Futuristic ports, including USB-C
  • Sleek, compact chassis
  • Office 365 subscription for 6 months

Cons

  • Washed-out screen
  • Narrow viewing angles
  • Poor webcam
  • Only 2GB RAM

Verdict

The Lenovo IdeaPad 120s is a well-designed laptop, but performance and battery life considered, it doesn’t unseat our Editor’s Choice budget Ultraportable, the Acer Swift 1 (offers IPS screen, better performance). Still, we recommend it as a handy go-to-laptop for everyday apps. Ideally, it’s a great starting point for your kids if you prefer them joining in through Windows 10. We recommend it for users on a tighter-than-tight budget just like the Inspiron 3162 and Stream 11.

P/S It performs better than the two, but we prefer their screens and keyboards. The Acer Aspire 1 still remains a better choice if you don’t mind topping up a few extra dollars.

About Mark Hyde

Mark is an Editor and writer with a deep passion for tech. His primary focus is on laptops, desktops, home appliances, and gadgets. He also supports the idea of a worry-free-life through technology. At his free time, you'll find him in the comfort of hearty food, movies or traveling. His most recent obsession is cooking.

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