Just because you’re getting something affordable, that doesn’t mean you should have to make a lot of trade-offs. With its 8th-Gen Intel Core i5 processor, the Dell Inspiron 15 5000 ($549) is a fine workhorse, but it falls behind the competition in several ways. Its poor screen, short battery life and plain design should have you looking at better alternatives in this price range.
Those competitors include the Acer Aspire E 15 (E5-576-392H), our favorite laptop under $500. Not only is this 15-inch notebook a mere $379, but it packs a solid 8th Gen Core i3 processor and a ton of ports, including USB Type-C. Also its keyboard is quite comfortable and this machine includes a DVD writer, something of a rarity these days. If you’re looking for something smaller or for kids, the HP Stream 11, which lasts over 8 hours on a charge, is a solid option.
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