Why go for the traditional laptop when you could get the modern ultrabook all thin, sleek, and lightweight? Coined by manufacturers who had to meet Intel Trademarked specifications, the Ultrabook has become a must-have for the busy professional on the go.
With portability and powerful performance comes at a steep price. As you may have noticed cheap ultrabooks under $500 are hard to find. But we are here to give you a detailed review of the best.
- Features to Consider in Cheap Ultrabook
- Best Cheap Ultrabooks 2020 (Under $500)
- 1. Asus C302CA-DHM4 Chromebook Flip 12.5-Inch Touchscreen Convertible Chromebook
- 2. Dell Latitude E7440 14.1 Business Ultrabook
- 3. ASUS VivoBook F510UA 15.6-Inch NanoEdge Laptop: Best for College Students
- 4. Asus Chromebook C202SA-YSO2 11.6-Inch Ultrabook: Most Durable Option for Kids
- 5. Jumper EZbook 3L Pro 14-Inch FHD Ultrabook
- 6. HP EliteBook 840G G1 14-Inch Business Ultrabook
- 7. Acer Swift 3 SF314-54-56L8 14-Inch: Best 14-Inch Ultrabook
- 8. Acer Aspire E 15: Best 15-inch Ultrabook
- 9. Lenovo Flex 14 2-in-1 14-Inch HD Touchscreen Display
- 10. HP Pavilion 360 2-in-1 14-Inch: Best Convertible
- Guide to Buying the Best Cheap Ultrabooks
Features to Consider in Cheap Ultrabook
At Least 5Hours of Battery Life
Among the things that define an ultrabook, is that it should give you over five hours of battery life on a single charge. Since they are designed for business trips and professional office work, you should be able to depend on your ultrabook for up to 10 hours maybe more depending on the intensity of the work.
Ultrabooks are designed to have hybrid storage; Solid State Drive (SSD) and Hard Disk Drive (HDD). Hybrid is the most ideal for fast boot up speed; though you may also find HDD only laptops.
These laptops can multitask owing to the SSD functionality, and you can store lots of stuff without affecting input speed.
The last thing you want is dealing with a cracked screen just because you had to fit your laptop in a tight space. Ultrabooks should withstand impact that’s why aluminum parts are essential. The fewer the plastic, the durable the notebook as it is less susceptible to breaking with little impact.
Thin and Compact Design
Ultrabooks must have a light form factor. For 14-inch models and larger, your ultrabook should be no more than 21mm thick. And if its smaller than 13.3 inches, it should be under 18mm thick. These specs are specified by Intel and are some of the important features that help stack the ultrabook against other conventional laptops.
The processing speed of your ultrabook is also designed to be efficient depending on the work you plan to perform on it. Intel Core i7, 15, and i3 processors are the CPUs you want to deal with in your ultrabook. They have the fastest configurations and can drive graphics much better than you would experience with i3 CPUs.
Best Cheap Ultrabooks 2020 (Under $500)
The first thing you see is the 360-degree hinge design. It allows you to flip it in just about any degree such that you can use in the laptop or tablet mode. Next is the 12.5-inch full HD display that is amazing to work with.
The anti-glare panel is a nice addition as it helps to work without squinting your eyes when working in the sun thanks to its light sensor.
An Intel Core m3 processor powers asus C302. It does not compromise on value as it integrates the tablet mode to use with its Chrome OS system. It comes outfitted with your favorite apps, and you can also add others from Google Chrome Store.
What’s more, this laptop has 4GB of RAM which means it works smoothly when you have multiple tabs open on your browser. Also, it allows you to play motion-controlled games owing to its inbuilt gyroscopes.
When it comes to weight and portability, this ultrabook is only 2.65 pounds. It falls right in with our expectation of an ultraportable. It has an attractive aluminum chassis with a silver finish. It will work as new even if you drop it on the street hurrying to work.
Keyboard and Connectivity
It is incredible working with the one-piece chiclet keyboard. The keys provide 1.4mm travel distance, and it has a palm rejection feature. For professional web typists having a solid feel of the keys without accidentally keying letters guarantees faster work. That is what you get from Asus C302’s keyboard.
Asus C302 is not all great when it comes to many connectivity options, but it offers a USB 3.1 Type-C port. It allows the fastest transfer speeds whether you want to share videos, photos, or games. This Chromebook also comes with an audio jack and a Micro SD card slot.
From the Intel Core processor to having full HD touchscreen, Asus C302 gives you the functionality of an ultrabook. You get to experience superfast processing speeds as well as seamless wireless connectivity over its latest wireless protocol.
Dell Latitude E7440 is one of the most sought ultrabooks thanks to its compact form and affordable price. It comes with a 14-inch IPS screen that is a joy to work with, in and out of the office. This is because it delivers anti-glare properties so you won’t have to deal with reflectivity when looking at it from an angle.
Dell Latitude E7440 has 351 nit brightness and is large enough to accommodate two windows for faster editing of documents.
Under the thin, anodized aluminum chassis is an Intel Core i5-4300U CPU. It makes up to 1.9GHz processing speed on its dual-core CPU which manages to give you smooth multitasking speeds. Not to mention, it can max out at 2.9GHz to allow more intense work to be done without input lag.
The ultrabook offers 8GB of DDR3 RAM and 256GB SSD. This combination is just right when you want to do more than deliver reports. It has a solid photo and video editing performance such that you will not find yourself in a jam on the day before you have to deliver a presentation.
It does not come with an optical drive, so you have limitations on the storage capacity. But you can always add your hard drive since it includes a slot for it.
Keyboard and Connectivity
Dell Latitude E7440 comes with a super comfortable keyboard, only that it is not backlit. For typing purposes, this keyboard offers high responsiveness and just the right key travel. All the keys are well-spaced which makes it easy to prevent accidental pressing of keys.
Being a business laptop; it offers a wide array of connectivity options. It has a USB 3.0 port for superfast transfer of documents and files. You also get an HDMI port, a Mini DisplayPort, an RJ-45, E-Port connector, and an Audio jack.
Dell Latitude E7440 is a thin ultrabook, but it weighs way more than most ultrabooks at 3.7 pounds. Nevertheless, it is a model you will love working with owing to the matte screen, large keyboard, and powerful processor combined with SSD.
It may weigh 3.7 pounds, but ASUS VivoBook F510UA is only 14 inches wide. It can be easily transported in its laptop bag since it has a profile of only 20.32mm. Despite its budget offering, it has a sleek, modern look that defies what we expect under $500.
This laptop has an attractive silver-gray finish that is nice to have for any college student. The screen does not offer touch. It is an omission we are willing to forego since it keeps out glare and reflections. Since it is a full HD wide-angle screen, it is comfortable to view by multiple users like when your friends join in to enjoy a movie.
Looking at its 8th gen Intel Core i5-8250U processor, you will find it exceptional for smooth visuals and driving the Intel UHD 620 graphics. It is a nice touch for games that do not require intense graphics. Even better, it uses Asus Visual Optimization and Tru2Life Video technology to bring real-life imagery.
ASUS VivoBook F510UA has 1TB HDD. Because it lacks SSD, it is slower than what you would experience if it has at least 256SSD. Seeing that it operates between 1.6GHz base frequency and 3.4GHz turbo frequency, it is a viable model for most college work.
Keyboard and Connectivity
The keyboard and trackpad also take on a premium look. We find that you will not be typing on clacky keys since they offer a solid feel with a muffled click. However, working in low-lit rooms will be a bit of a problem since the keyboard is not backlit.
On the thin chassis, you have a USB 3.1 Type C port, USB 3.0, USB 2.0, and HDMI port. It bears the capability to connect to many accessories and peripherals including other monitors and projectors.
ASUS VivoBook F510UA is stylish no doubt. We wish it would have had a longer battery life which could have completed the package. All in all, it supplies an Intel Core i5 processor and is comfortable to use for long hours.
Asus Chromebook C202SA is more appealing to kids. It comes with rubber guards and a rugged design to withstand impact from falls. It can endure being tossed around and spills as the keyboard is also liquid-resistant.
At 2.65 pounds, it is an ultralight laptop that will not weigh down juniors. It offers an incredibly long battery life of 8 hours. The charger is not a must-pick item before you go to class. Not to mention, it is easy to repair since you can access the interior components.
Seeing that this laptop operates on Chrome OS, it has limited capabilities compared to what you can get with a Windows Ultrabook. It runs on Intel Celeron N3060 that’s why it will perform great for student’s work. It experiences a bit of lag when you have multiple tabs open because it lacks the latest Intel core processor.
Something good with this Chromebook is the ability to access thousands of apps from the Google Play Store. It lets you in on all the amazing apps that you can include to make your system more efficient.
Keyboard and Connectivity
Asus Chromebook C202SA-YSO2 has a keyboard with large characters. The keys deliver 2mm travel distance that makes it easy to type in with the least effort. The laptop has a standard collection of ports which include a USB 3.0 port, three-in-one card reader, an HDMI port, an audio jack, and a Kensington key slot.
Although it’s a Chromebook, this laptop ticks most boxes for what an ultrabook should be. It is super light, thin, and with long battery life. Its eMMC flash memory, Intel processor, and premium build quality go to say it is a favorite pick for kids.
If you want a large ultrabook that fits in with demanding tasks, you will want to consider the Jumper EZbook 3L Pro 14-Inch. The housing is of aluminum, and you will find that it has a sleek texture that will last in good condition for a decent time.
With this ultrabook, say goodbye to input lags since it has a 7th gen Intel dual-core Apollo Lake N3450 processor. It operates between 1.1GHz and 2.2GHz base and turbo frequency. It is capable of running many browser tabs and Windows without an ounce of delay.
Not to mention, it has 6GB of RAM and 64GB of flash storage. It racks up its brain to give you top ultrabook performance more so with the HD 500 graphics cards. It can do some basic gaming when you want to pass the time.
The good thing is that you can expand the flash storage through the M.2 and TF slots.
Operating on Windows 10 is another nice benefit of owning the Jumper EZbook 3L Pro 14-Inch. It opens up possibilities to get top performance with access to Ms. programs to run your professional work.
Keyboard and Connectivity
The keyboard offers shallow keystrokes. You will find it comfortable to type for extended periods. If you are undertaking a long project or need to meet a deadline, its responsiveness offers smooth typing to complete work in good time.
Since it is an ultrabook, there’s not much going for it when it comes to the ports. It comes with two USB 3.0 ports which is amazing to see. It also has a mini HDMI port, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a DC jack. All the ports are placed on the right leaving left side clean and sleek. On the back, you will find the speakers and the M.2 slot.
You need to drop thousands of dollars to own a decent ultrabook. Jumper EZbook 3L Pro 14-Inch makes it possible owing to its rugged design that fulfills functionality. It is a capable laptop able to deliver Intel processing power for intensive work.
HP EliteBook 840G G1 is all about premium features. You would think that it is going to fall flat when it comes to processing power but you can’t beat an Intel Core i5 processor. It has 8GB of DDR3 RAM and 128GB SSD. And don’t worry about the graphics since it operates on an HD graphics 4400 card.
The exterior design carries the day with a beautiful silver-gray finish. The case combines magnesium and aluminum to build housing that can take what the professional world manages to throw at it. Its rounded edges give it a beautiful appearance that is the envy of other ultrabooks.
The rubber lip improves its durability as it is now less prone to scratches and battle marks if it ever hits the ground.
HP EliteBook 840G G1 delivers a clean look with a non-touch, matte display. We don’t see you contending with any glare from the flat bezel that offers up to 1366 x 768pixels max resolution. You can choose different resolutions as it also offers a 1600 x 900pixel design.
Keyboard and Connectivity
HP EliteBook 840G G1 showcases an impressive high-quality keyboard. It has short throw-keys with tactile feedback for everyone who spends hours clanking on the keyboard. You will also receive an excellent level of bounce and feedback when you press the keys harder.
Unlike other ultrabooks, HP EliteBook 840G G1 has plenty of ports. It offers four USB 3.0 ports, a smart card slot, a legacy VGA port, a drop-jaw Gigabit port, a full-size DisplayPort, a headset jack, and a docking port.
It has a practical layout that complete the clean look of this laptop.
It is surprising to see all the features packed in this ultrabook for the price. Between the SSD storage and 8GB of RAM plus the anti-glare screen, it competes well with other higher priced models.
Most of the nice features about the Acer Swift 3 happen under the hood. Not that you will not like how it looks as it sits on your desks. It has a lustrous gray finish on a 14-inch screen. It is an ultraportable model that boasts a bezel that’s only 0.74 inches thick.
The full HD IPS display gives it a good reputation since it uses Acer’s Color technology to deliver stunning visuals. It offers an amazing experience when you indulge in HD movies and videos that require outstanding graphics to hit home.
The glossy display has a Gorilla Glass layer. It will reflect and cause glare when looking at the screen from an angle. As much as it improves durability, it will not allow you to share the screen with a few friends when watching a movie.
Away from the body, an 8th gen Intel Core processor powers Acer Swift 3. It couples the processor with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD. It is a real powerhouse that you will love for the extra processing speed delivered by the SSD. It boots up fast and comes from sleep even faster in as little as 3 seconds.
Keyboard and Connectivity
We start with the trackpad as its smooth and glides easily. The keyboard, on the other hand, is large with full-sized keys. The keys on the bottom layer are a bit cramped and may give you some hand cramps if you spend your day typing a report or if you have to complete thousands of words for a blogger.
It does not have a number pad, obviously, and it has the function keys all of decent size on top of the keyboard.
Acer Swift 3 has a decent number of ports that include a USB 3.1 Type C port, two USB 3.0 ports, a USB 2.0 port, an SD card reader, a headphone jack, and a Kensington lock. It supports wireless connection over Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. It offers a nice way of customizing your options according to your peripherals.
Acer Swift 3 delivers operational brilliance in a compact body though a tad heavier than most ultrabooks. We find it exceptional in performance since it has a Kaby Lake processor configuration. We would have loved an anti-glare screen as it takes away most of the good points of this ultrabook.
Life gets easier with the prospects of working faster for every task you throw at the Acer Aspire E15. With an 8th gen Intel Core i3-8130U processor, it can handle all tasks except for extensive gaming. This model has Windows 10 already installed on it. You will have the help of Cortana to access apps and programs.
This laptop can turbo speeds up to 2.4GHz. It ensures you get seamless computing when you have a workload to complete in a short time. The full HD wide-view screen gives you awesome and vibrant imagery that will keep you glued to the screen when your day is going slow and uneventful.
We like that Acer Aspire E 15 has the longest battery life in ultrabooks up to 13.5 hours. It is a matter of working and forgetting about your charger all day long.
Something we have not covered on other ultrabooks is the audio which we feel deserves special mention in the Acer Aspire E 15. This laptop carries with it two speakers that boast Acer TruHarmony technology for crystal clear audio. Although you may want to connect it to a soundbar system, the sound is rich by itself.
Keyboard and Connectivity
Acer Aspire E 15 keeps it simple on the keyboard. The keys have a 1.1mm travel distance and an actuation force of 75g. Because the keys are weighty, it means you won’t be applying too much force to reach the travel distance. The keys include a number pad, and surprisingly, it is very spacious. You will love working on it because the keys are springy and you can manage to type an average of 110 words per minute.
The ports include a USB 3.1 type C port, two USB 3.0 ports, a USB 2.0 port, Ethernet, VGA, HDMI, and a 3.5mm jack. With this laptop, you won’t be dealing with low speeds as it does not only connect over the 802.11ac protocol, but it also offers MU-MIMO (Multi-User Multi Input Multi Output) technology.
Acer Aspire E 15 is a nice surprise in the world of ultraportables. Being the heftiest of the group, it nearly misses the mark but manages to stay on track with its powerful processor and long battery life. You can count on this machine to deliver that extra ounce of performance that you need to complete jobs in the shortest time possible.
Lenovo Flex 14 2-in-1 offers true value as it has a ton of features without breaking the bank. The laptop adapts to your exact situation as it offers a 360-degree flexible hedge. Whether you want to share some prediction graphs with a co-worker or need to get up and close with the screen, you can wrap the keyboard away to work in the tablet mode.
With this laptop, you are not getting a full HD display as it maxes the resolution at 1366 x 768 pixels. For a touchscreen, we would have loved to see more, but this is as good as it gets with a budget ultrabook. The narrow bezels mean that you will be getting crisp details as they offer a wide view of the 14-inch screen.
We like that this laptop is all about performance. It packs an Intel Pentium 4415U processor with 4GB RAM and 127GB PCIe SSD. This configuration comes with integrated Intel UHD 610 graphics. It is a midrange model that will not drive gaming graphics but is ideal for everyday computing.
Keyboard and Connectivity
Its chiclet keyboard has evenly spaced keys that have a light and shallow travel. Initially, the plastic feel may get to you as it looks cheap but having a solid click guarantees fast input each time. The touchpad brings the luxurious side of the ultrabook as it smooth, and it responds well to all basic gestures.
It even includes a fingerprint reader to restrict access.
Connectivity on the Flex 14 is all too familiar as it has AC Wi-Fi, a USB 3.1 type C port, two USB 3.0 ports, Ethernet, and a full-size HDMI. It will keep you connected to other devices as well as to the internet.
Lenovo Flex 14 2-in-1 hits a sweet spot between price and performance. It allows lots of functionality, but it’s not ideal to use in the sunroom or the outdoors owing to the glare-heavy screen. It gives you a decent size touchscreen and an adaptable form to suit the tasks in hand.
HP Pavilion 360 2-in-1 gets the job done. It is not an attractive model, and that’s one of the reasons why it does not cost an arm and a leg. This laptop has a silver-gray exterior that is more plastic than metal. It goes to say you will want to take care not to drop it as it cannot handle too much impact.
On the brighter side, you have the 360-degree hinge that converts this laptop into the tablet mode. In this mode, it seems a bit heavy, but we are happy that the hinge can support it in all configurations.
HP Pavilion 360 2-in-1 runs on a 7th gen Intel Core i3-8130U processor. It operates between 2.2GHz and 3.4GHz base and turbo speeds. This model offers excellent processing speeds considering that it has 8GB RAM that is not upgradeable. Seeing that it has 128SSD instead of HDD, it enjoys smooth multitasking aimed at busy offices.
This laptop has a Nvidia GeForce 940MX GPU. It is an ultrabook that can play popular gaming titles like Minecraft.
Input and Connectivity
From the touchscreen response to the trackpad and keyboard, HP Pavilion 360 manages to strike a delicate balance in responsiveness. It allows you to input keys without missing keystrokes as well as work smoothly with all Windows 10 gestures including the 3-finger swipe.
HP Pavilion 360 offers dual-band Wi-Fi. Its port collection includes a type C USB 3.1, two USB 3.0 ports, and HDMI port, an SD card slot, and 3.5mm audio jack.
Powered by a Kaby Lake processor, HP Pavilion 360 2-in-1 gives you speed and capacity. It has a simple polished look and a touch display that spells simple input. Regardless of the plastic-heavy case, everything else about this laptop is top-notch including the Nvidia GeForce graphics card.
Guide to Buying the Best Cheap Ultrabooks
Buying an ultrabook has become more complex in recent years. As more brands enter the scene, we have seen the ropes tighten, and the competition become more severe. If you are always on the road or need a laptop that can handle professional work, read on to find out the deciding factors before buying an ultrabook.
Being travel-friendly is what you are looking to get from an ultrabook. Remember that if you get an 11-inch laptop, you won’t be able to upgrade it as we do with RAM and storage. As such, it is important to match your needs to the size of laptop that matters.
If, for example, you need to fit two windows on one screen, a 14-inch laptop will be better than the 11-inch model. The nice sweet spot in ultrabooks on a budget is the 12.5-14 inches and do not weigh more than five pounds.
Unfortunately, the small and thin your laptop is, the more it tends to sacrifice on performance which in this case, you won’t be able to get a good gaming ultrabook.
A quality ultrabook is envisioned to have perfect combination between the panel type and resolution. For budget ultrabooks, you are looking to for a beautiful display preferably on an IPS-panel display. The resolution is made up of pixels. The lowest number you can take home is 1366 x 768 which is HD but not full HD as in 1920 x 1080.
A full HD screen is way better than the HD only display since it gives up to 10 additional lines of text on an email or webpage. You can fit two windows side by side and be able to edit comfortably.
Do you need a Touchscreen?
If you are in the market to get a convertible, a touchscreen is a must have. But if you are getting an ultrabook because its thin and light and will spend most of the time in the office, you don’t need to deal with a touchscreen.
Besides its fast input system, you are going to be dealing with lots of fingerprints. A microfiber cloth should come in handy and hope that fingerprints do not bother you enough to switch to a non-touch model.
Let’s Talk Memory
Your system’s performance is highly reliable on the RAM. The more simultaneous applications you run, the more you need large memory to process your commands. It is essential to have at least 4GB of RAM for daily computing tasks and at least 8GB for photo and video editing. 16GB is ideal for gaming while 32GB is necessary for servers (you won’t be needing large memory in an ultrabook.)
Keyboard and Trackpad
Like size, the input also matters. Small laptops have small keyboards. It means you may encounter awkward placement of keys that may take up valuable time before you learn where the keys are placed. You will want to look closer at the Shift, Space Bar, Ctrl, and Delete Keys to ensure that every key lines up with your input style.
The way you execute each keystroke is just as important. Some models have a short actuation distance with heavy actuation force while the opposite is true for most other ultrabooks.
The slim profile of ultrabooks gives them an edge over other laptops in the industry. Their versatility and performance also mean that the price tag can be hard to meet when money is tight. Our review of the Best Cheap Ultrabooks Under $500 entails models that hit the mark on the performance and thin profile.
You will find business and student-oriented laptops but not gaming models in this price range.
Don’t be held back by a slow and heavy laptop; get an ultrabook instead.