A laptop can help college students complete academic tasks handily without the need to go to the library. It’s quickly becoming a very useful tool for completing coursework and research purposes, among others.

When deciding on a laptop for college students, you’ll need to think about speed and multi-tasking capabilities. Some of the things a college student will be doing include attending online classes, doing some word processing for term papers, working on e-courses and during downtime, browsing on the web, social media and watching videos.

There are plenty of options if your budget is somewhere around a few hundred dollars. Here’s a list of the best laptops for college students under $500

Laptop ModelWeightStorageScreen Size 
Acer Swift2.87 lbs64 GB13.3 inches
Lenovo Ideapad Miix 3202.58 lbs128 GB10.1 inches
ASUS Chromebook C3022.65 lbs64 GB12.5 inches
Dell Business Laptop4.63 lbs128 GB15.6 inches
Acer Chromebook R 113.28 lbs32 GB13.3 inches
Samsung Chromebook Plus2.38 lbs32 GB12.3 inches

1. Acer Swift 13.3″

The Acer Swift 13 inch laptop certainly fits the college student bill as it can handle basic tasks easily while being extremely portable and stylish.

The Acer Swift 1 is a machine that sports a stunning 13.3 inch full HD, IPS display at a crisp resolution of 1920 x 1080 with Anti-Glare ComfyView technology. Unlike older resolutions set at 1366 x 768, the Swift 1 offers more pixel real estate and greater graphical details. You get an efficient N4200 Intel Pentium processor, along with 4 GB of RAM and a speedy 64 GB of flash storage on a Windows 10 Home operating system right out of the box.

Needless to say, this laptop can handle the rigors of everyday computing and can boot up in less than a minute when needed. The speakers, the fingerprint reader, and the touchpad are a nice touch. Connectivity options include a USB-C, HDMI, one USB 2.0 port and two USB 3.0 ports, and wireless is handled by standard 802.11 ac WiFi. Students can easily squeeze out 11 hours of juice before needing to plug it in a wall socket.


  • Very lightweight at only 2.9 lbs
  • Included fingerprint reader
  • Bluetooth 4.0 capability


  • Limited storage
  • Prolonged typing can be a pain

2. Lenovo Ideapad Miix 320

Need a budget student laptop that’s as versatile as you are? This 2 in 1 convertible from Lenovo works very well as a laptop for school work and as a tablet for web browsing and entertainment.

The first thing you’ll probably notice with the Miix 320 is its attractive price tag. A peek underneath the hood reveals an Intel Atom CPU, 4 GB of memory and 64 GB of HDD on a Windows 10 Home platform. Opening up multiple tabs while working on your report with a music player open should be no problem. The 10.1-inch FHD display has a maximum resolution of 1280 x 800 for visual clarity. Watching videos, reading lessons and doing research will prove to be an enjoyable affair.

Music aficionados and those who want an immersive entertainment experience will surely love the Dolby Advanced Audio technology inside the Miix 320. Make sure to bring a good pair of headphones to really hear the full-bodied sound! Connectivity options are represented by a couple of USB ports and an 802.11 ac WiFi. The touchpad offers reasonable precision for its size.

The Ideapad Miix 320’s main chassis can be detached from the keyboard easily, conveniently turning it into tablet mode. What’s more, it only weighs at around 1 kg and can be carried around to and from classrooms and inside your backpack.


  • Lengthy battery life at 10 hours
  • Has a USB-C port
  • Comes with rear and front cameras


  • Cramped keyboard

3. ASUS Chromebook C302

The ASUS Chromebook C302 is an excellent alternative for those who want to work in a speedier environment. If you want a Chromebook that can handle all the Android apps you can throw at it, the C302 is your machine. Chromebook users rely on the cloud and Google apps for most of the work, and thankfully there’s a variety of downloadable software you can use for studying, researching, communicating and watching content.

It’s very lightweight for its size, weighing at only 2.65 lbs. The pseudo aluminum design will instantly remind you of the MacBook Pro. The Chromebook C302 offers a variety of modes you can use it in, including tent, tablet, stand and laptop mode as you twist the flexible hinge. Students will more often than not convert the C302 in several modes throughout the day, enjoying the clear, 12.5 inch HD touchscreen display.

Inside the ASUS C302 is an M3 Intel Core processor, 4 GB of RAM and a huge 64 GB of SSD storage. If that’s not enough space, then you can insert a micro SD card up to 256 GB for all your files, documents, music, and downloads. The machine performs really well, zipping along tasks with multiple programs open and your favorite music blasting out the speakers. One of the few advantages of a Chromebook over a traditional Windows 10 laptop is that it has a lightning-quick boot time at just under 4 seconds, and that energy is used more efficiently, translating to more than 10 hours of battery life.

For students, the C302 should last well after their college years. The beauty of this Chromebook is that it works great for office tasks and browsing the web with a few tabs open. You’ll be glad to have this efficient laptop with you at all times.


  • 2 in 1 convertible
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Speedy startup time
  • Long battery life


  • One of the more expensive options with a price tag bordering $500

4. Dell Business Laptop PC 15.6

A business-minded offering from Dell makes for a great laptop for college students as well. The Business Laptop 15.6 stands as one of the premium flagships for the brand with serious hardware to show for it!

The entire machine is encased in black and sports a professional hairline texture finish. Open it up and you’ll be treated to a 15.6 inch LED display that has a 1366 x 768 resolution with Truelife technology. Inside, there’s an i3 Intel Core processor, 8 GB of RAM and a generous 256 GB of SSD storage that ensures smooth and seamless multitasking. An Intel HD 620 handles the graphics end, while the front-facing cam works well for the occasional Skype and video calls.

Once in a while, students can boot up games and play them at medium settings. The included SSD should be enough for all your files, notes, documents, and downloads. For those who want more, there’s a 2018 model that has 2 TB of HDD and a more powerful i5-7200U processor.


  • Good-sized screen
  • Huge storage space
  • Has Windows 10 right out of the box
  • Touchscreen display
  • 8 hours of battery life


  • Hefty and weighs 4.63 lbs
  • Significant fan noise, especially when running power-hungry programs

5. Acer Chromebook R 11

The Acer Chromebook R 11 is a value-laden option that’s very portable and useful. The convertible machine opens up via a 360-degree hinge for a variety of modes, including tent, tablet, stand, and laptop. The 11.6-inch touchscreen display reveals a 1366 x 768 resolution with IPS and 10 Point Multi-Touch technology.

The R 11’s shell is made of tough, durable aluminum and is just only 19.2 mm thick. Inside, you’ll get an N3150 Intel Celeron quad-core processor, 4 GB of RAM and the standard 32 GB of SSD storage. The entire device only weighs in at 2.8 lbs., which makes it even more portable and versatile to work with.

Connectivity options include an industry-leading MIMO 802.11 ac wireless WiFi, 2 full-size USB ports, and an SD reader. The front webcam suffices for most video calls. Battery life is rated at 10 hours before needing to plug it in. Audio hardware reproduces sound at an acceptable level, even if you’re using headphones or desktop speakers.


  • Convertible function
  • Durable chassis
  • Long battery life


  • Inaccurate trackpad

6. Samsung Chromebook Plus

The Chromebook Plus touts an OP1 ARM processor, 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB MMC for storage. Everyday student tasks like note input, research, and web browsing are handled with superb efficiency!

The 12.3 inch HD touchscreen display shows off a remarkable 2400 x 1600 resolution, which is pretty much a trademark in all Samsung brands. It’s one of the best screens a laptop can have, which means you get a screen that’s crisp, detailed and shows a wide color representation in the sRGB gamut. As a convertible, students can set the mode according to their need, whether it be in tent mode (for viewing) or laptop mode (for taking notes).

The white chassis is attractive and the black keyboard balances it out in an aesthetic manner. You get an S-pen stylus that’s easy to grip and can be used for taking notes quickly. Newer Chrome OS means you’ll be able to download Google Play apps similar to the one on your Android phone or tablet. Samsung has made their Chromebook Plus one of the lightest 12 inchers around, weighing in at just 2.4 lbs. Users will be able to squeeze 10 hours out of the convertible before needing a charge.


  • 12.3 screen with 2400 x 1600 resolution
  • Comes in 2 USB-C ports
  • Samsung Pen stylus included
  • Sturdy build


  • One of the most expensive Chromebooks around
  • Legacy accessories
  • No backlit keyboard