Those on a budget might be surprised to learn just how much laptop you can get for less than $500 these days. Chromebooks are coming on strong, because they’re easy to use, responsive, and satisfy basic computing needs. Prefer Windows? You can also pick up a Windows 8 laptop with touch for less than $350. The trick of choosing a great budget laptop is finding the one that delivers what you care about most, whether it’s portability, performance, display quality, or comfort. Here are the best laptops available now for less than $500.
If you're looking for a laptop that's a cinch to use, comfortable and lasts a long time on a charge, the Toshiba Chromebook ($269) should be on your short list. This 3.3-pound, 13-inch notebook runs Chrome OS, which enables you to get online in a flash. You'll also appreciate the colorful display, fairly loud speakers and smooth 1.4-GHz Intel Celeron CPU. Throw in 8 hours of battery life and you have one heck of a value.