Our Windows computer and Chromebook hints at a price range-friendly charges. How tons pc can you get for much less than $500? Quite a chunk, as long as you manage your expectancies; that’s simpler with Chromebooks. Chrome OS is not almost as strength-hungry as Windows, so that you can get by with a decrease-quit processor, slower garage, and less memory — most of the additives that make a laptop steeply-priced. And because they are cloud-first devices, you do not want quite a few garages constructed in. They’re wondering if you spend the maximum of your time roaming the internet, writing, streaming video, or gambling Android video games. (For the latter, ensure you get a version with a touchscreen.)

But at the same time, as Chromebooks can run Chrome OS-particular and Android apps, some human beings need a full Windows working machine to run heftier packages. That comes with a need for a quicker processor with more cores, more memory — 8GB is the bare minimum — and greater storage for programs and the operating system itself.

Solid nation drives (SSD) could vastly distinguish how rapid Windows feels compared to spinning tough disks (HDD). However, they also push the rate up. So in case, your price range can stretch a bit, you may want to don’t forget stepping up from a base choice to a 128GB SSD.

The correct information is you could get a convertible (aka a -in-one) — a computer with a display screen that flips around to turn the show into a pill, to put for comfy streaming or to do a presentation — at a pretty affordable charge, for Windows or Chrome OS. All convertibles have touchscreens, as it truly is a prerequisite for pill operation. Disclaimer: CNET can also get a share of the revenue from the sale of products featured on this page.


Acer Aspire E 15

Sarah Tew/CNETIt’s not the prettiest system, but the Aspire includes a good 1,920×1,080 15.6-inch display, a ton of ports — new and old — and even a DVD burner for those still working in the world of physical media. What’s more, you can open it up and add more memory and storage. It’s heavy at 5.3 pounds, but it’s a great option as a desktop replacement or as a system you want to tote around the house. This $350 configuration includes a dual-core Intel Core i3-8130U, 6GB of RAM, and a 1TB hard drive.

Asus Flip C302A

Josh Miller/CNET

This classy, capable Chromebook sports an all-aluminum two-in-one design and touchscreen. It’s got a backlit keyboard, two USB-C ports, and a sharp 1,920×1,080 12.5-inch display, and since it weighs under 2.5 pounds, it’s a great travel companion. It runs for around $470 for a dual-core Intel Core M3 processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 64GB SSD.

Asus C523NA


Most Chromebooks under $500 save cost by sticking with a smaller screen. The C523NA goes big with a 15.6-inch, 1,920×1,080 touchscreen display and a premium brushed aluminum body that comes in at roughly 3.1 pounds. It’s got up-to-date features, including 5GHz wireless support and USB-C connections. With this model, you get a quad-core Pentium N4200, 4GB of RAM, and a 64GB SSD for under $400

Samsung Chromebook Pro

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If you’re willing to go right up to the $500 line, the Chromebook Pro will greet you there with its 12.3-inch touchscreen at a better-than-HD 2,400×1,600 resolution. It comes with Samsung’s excellent S Pen stylus, an Intel Core m3, 4GB of RAM, and a 32GB eMMC flash storage.

HP Pavilion x360


This sleek Windows 2-in-1 packs in quite a bit for less than $460; it has a 15.6-inch 1,920×1,080 display, a current-generation dual-core i3-8130U, a 1TB hard drive boosted by 16GB Optane memory, and 4GB of RAM. The stylus comes with, and it boasts, one of HP’s excellent keyboards. The battery life isn’t terrific, but it’s relatively light for a 15-inch at around 4.3 pounds.

SES laptop loan program ends, but NU Libraries offers a similar program

After three years of presenting free laptop loans to first-technology and coffee-profits students, Student Enrichment Services ended its laptop mortgage software before the start of this faculty year — however, a similar software from Northwestern University Libraries offers pc loans to college students no matter socioeconomic repute.

The SES software, which started within 2015, furnished undergraduate students with 15 to 25 laptops for quick-term loans to college students from low-earnings and first-generation backgrounds.

The software ended for some reasons, together with constrained staffing ability, structure, and control of the costly system, SES Director Kourtney Cockrell said in an email. In addition to internal troubles, Cockrell stated the workplace observed a boom of requests for pc loans from both undergraduate and graduate students who have been simply above the low-income threshold.

“It is critical to understand that not simplest low-income students need laptops,” Cockrell stated. “Many college students fall just above the low-earnings reduce-off, and as a consequence have the economic need as well.”

Despite the removal of this system, NU Libraries began a pilot laptop loan application this past fall. The software got here out of consciousness for the need of laptops to serve the University community, Clare Roccaforte, the director of advertising and marketing and communications for NU Libraries, stated in an email.

The new program currently affords 10 laptops — to be had for quarter-long loans and the summer — for graduate students. It also provides all students and school seven-day loans for a separate 10 laptops. Unlike the SES pc loan software that prioritizes laptops for low-earnings and first technology students, the library’s program operates on a primary-come-first-serve foundation –– similar to all different library loans.

While the library’s program and SES serve to offer equal resources, they are separate, Roccaforte said. “Our application evolved independently in their work,” Roccaforte stated. “It’s feasible that the start of our program might also have motivated their decision to end their program. While SES will now not manage the laptop mortgage software, it will hold control of the Querrey Laptop Grant Program. The software provides free laptops for low-income and first-era students to keep, even after graduation. In the past two years, the program disbursed among 2 hundred and 250 laptops for college kids in the class of 2021 and 2022, Cockrell said.

“These laptops are their computer systems to hold all the time, and part of the purpose of this application is to prevent the need for loaners via giving students laptops as they matriculate to Northwestern,” Cockrell stated. Such packages that offer technological help to low-income students are critical to the ones like McCormick sophomore Abednego Kipkirui, who needed to spend his first two weeks of university finishing his assignments on his telephone or the library.

Through SES’ pc provide application, Kipkirui became given a pc for instructional purposes. I am a laptop engineer, and I turned into truly hoping to have my personal pc to do paintings on my own,” Kipkirui stated. “It’s a whole lot extra transportable. When you are touring and allow say you’re going returned domestic, it’s fine to have a pc of your very own.

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Lucia Stokes
Pop culture buff. General organizer. Music evangelist. Reader. Award-winning twitter ninja. Devoted food advocate. Skateboarder, maker, fender owner, Swiss design-head and doodler. Operating at the junction of modernism and sustainability to save the world from bad design. I work with Fortune 500 companies and startups.