Best college laptop under $500 (50K)

ASUS VivoBook 15
ASUS VivoBook 15

ASUS VivoBook 15

Buying a sub-$500 laptop isn’t easy, especially when it’s going to be used for schoolwork. You still need something reliable with a decent set of features to get you through the year. With all this in mind, the ASUS VivoBook 15 is one of the best college laptops under $500. It’s not going to compete with other, more expensive laptops in this roundup, but it has the fewest blind spots when compared to other sub-$500 competition.

ASUS VivoBook 15

ASUS VivoBook 15

I reviewed the ASUS VivoBook 15 late last year, stating, “With generous port selection, fingerprint reader, decent camera, comfy keyboard, and expected performance, the VivoBook 15 makes a strong case for itself in the sub-$500 market.” The display and audio aren’t overly impressive, and the SSD is slow, but the keyboard with number pad is comfortable thanks to 1.4mm key travel, there’s a fingerprint reader for added security, there are plenty of ports for connecting accessories, and the whole thing is fairly lightweight and compact.

The VivoBook 15 is available with either a 10th or 11th Gen Intel Core i3 CPU; the newer version adds some cost, but you might still be able to snag it for less than $500. These i3 chips aren’t going to beat any performance records, but they will be enough to handle general note taking and word processing, video streaming, and web browsing. If you need something super affordable and can live with slower performance, this laptop’s supporting features should make college life easier than a lot of what the competition can offer.

Reasons to buy

  • Backlit keyboard with 1.4mm key travel, numpad
  • 6-inch FHD display
  • Lots of ports, fingerprint reader
  • OK performance for taking notes, web browsing, video streaming

Reasons to avoid

  • Display isn’t overly colorful
  • Battery life could be better

Slow SSD

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