These are the best Dell laptops you can buy for under $500

These are the best Dell laptops you can buy for under $500

Dell is one of the most renowned PC manufacturers out there, and for good reason. The company makes some of the best laptops you can buy today, particularly with its XPS and Inspiron families. However, those high-end laptops aren’t cheap. If you’re looking for something more affordable, we’ve rounded up the best Dell laptops you can buy for under $500.

Dell actually doesn’t make a lot of laptops in this price range, but by taking advantage of ongoing deals, you can find some solid options. The laptops we’ve rounded up here are all under $500 as of writing, but some of them are discounted. Prices may go back up, so you’ll need to check to make sure they fit your budget.

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Best overall laptop: Dell Inspiron 14 5402

Dell Inspiron 14 on a light blue background

The Dell Inspiron 14 is a very competent laptop for its price range. It has an 11th-generation Intel Core i3-1115G4 processor, and while that’s far from high-end, it’s part of Intel’s latest lineup. That means it’s built on the latest 10nm process, and it offers solid entry-level performance. It has two cores and four threads, and it’s capable of boosting as high as 4.10GHz.

That processor is backed up by 8GB of RAM and 256GB of fast SSD storage, which isn’t bad at all. That should get you some solid multitasking capabilities, and 256GB is already a lot of storage for school projects. The display is Full HD, which isn’t a guarantee in this price range, and it has fairly small bezels all around. You also get a pair of stereo speakers for sound. All of that makes it the best overall Dell laptop under $500.

The laptop does come with Windows 10 Home in S mode, which means you can only download apps from the Microsoft Store. This should give you extra security and better performance over time, but it can be a bit limiting. You can always switch out of S mode though, and because it’s using a recent processor, this PC will get the upgrade to Windows 11 when it releases.

    Dell Inspiron 14 5402
    The Dell Inspiron 14 is a great laptop for younger students or the occasional user. It offers solid performance for day-to-day tasks and multitasking, and it has a lot of fast storage to get started.

Best 15-inch laptop: Dell Inspiron 15 3501

Dell Inspiron 15 3501

This model of the Dell Inspiron 15 is powered by an Intel Core i5-1035G1, which is a 10th-generation processor. That’s no longer the newest available, but it’s still a quad-core CPU built on a 10nm process, and it offers some solid multi-tasking performance already. That’s not all though, because this model also includes a whopping 12GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD storage, something you’ll almost never find at this price anywhere else. This makes it a great PC for multitasking, and the larger Full HD 15.6-inch display helps with that, too.

As with the Inspiron 14, this laptop comes with Windows 10 Home in S mode, which has some limitations, but you can opt out of it if you want to. It’s a recent laptop, too, so you can get the Windows 11 update once it’s released, and get support from Microsoft for years to come. Thanks to a discount, it’s currently the best Dell laptop you can get for under $500.

    Dell Inspiron 15 3501
    The Dell Inspiron 15 packs surprising mid-range specs for its entry level price. An Intel Core i5, 12GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD make it a no-brainer at this price point. It's also got a Full HD display, another great addition at this price.

Best AMD-based laptop: Dell Inspiron 15 3505

Del Inspiron 14 3505

If you absolutely need to have a laptop with AMD processors instead of Intel, this is essentially your only option in this price range. It comes with an AMD Ryzen 3 3250U, which is a couple of generations old, but it offers decent entry-level performance. You also get 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD so multi-tasking is still possible, and you’re still going to be able to upgrade to Windows 11 when it releases.

This laptop has some other strengths for its price. The display is Full HD, for example, which isn’t always a guarantee. You also get a pair of 2.5W stereo speakers, which are fairly powerful compared to others in this price range.

    Dell Inspiron 14 3505
    The Dell Inspiron 14 3505 is an affordable AMD-powered laptop. It features an AMD Ryzen 3 processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD, plus a Full HD display that makes multitasking easier.

Best 14-inch business laptop: Dell Vostro 3400

Dell Vostro 3400

If you’re looking for the added features of Windows 10 Pro, the Dell Vostro 3400 is is one of the best options you can get. It has the most recent Intel Core i3 processor, plus 4GB of RAM and a massive 1TB of storage. The downside here is that it’s now an SSD, but an old-school HDD. If you don’t mind the longer boot times and you prefer having a ton of storage, though, this is one way to get that for a low price.

The display is 14 inches, and it comes at a resolution of 1366 x 768. That’s not uncommon for laptops at this price, and considering you’re getting fairly modern specs otherwise, it’s not a bad deal.

    Dell Vostro 3400
    The Dell Vostro 3400 is a solid business laptop featuring an 11th-generation Intel Core i3-1115G4 processor, plus 4GB of RAM, and a whopping 1TB of HDD storage. It also comes with a 14-inch display with a resolution of 1366 x 768.

Best 11-inch business clamshell: Dell Latitude 3190

Dell Latitude 3190

If you need the features of Windows 11 Pro in an affordable clamshell laptop, the Dell Latitude 3190 is your best bet. It packs an Intel Pentium N5030 CPU, 4GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD for storage. It also has an 11.6-inch display with 1366 x 768 resolution, which isn’t the highest, but it’s sharp enough for this size.

Admittedly, it’s not a very high-end laptop, but it has the benefits of Windows 10 Pro. If you need things like BitLocker encryption or access to Remote Desktop, this is your best option in this price range. Plus, Windows 10 Pro has other benefits, like being able to set up the PC with a local account or joining a domain.

    Dell Latitude 3190
    The Dell Latitude 3190 is an entry-level business laptop with an 11.6-inch display, Intel Pentium processor, and 4GB of RAM. It runs Windows 10 Pro so you can use professional features like Remote Desktop.

Bust business convertible: Dell Latitude 3120 2-in-1

Dell Latitude 3120

The Dell Latitude 3120 2-in-1 shares a lot with the aforementioned Latitude 3190, but with some key differences. It has an Intel Celeron N5100 CPU, and the 4GB of RAM is a little faster at 2933MHz, instead of 2400MHz. That newer processor means it also supports faster Bluetooth 5.1 instead of Bluetooth 4.2. Otherwise, it still has a 128GB SSD, so you get some space to store your files, and storage should be pretty fast.

Of course, the biggest difference is it’s a convertible. The 11.6-inch display supports touch, and it can rotate all round to be used as a tablet. You can even add a rear-facing camera if you ever need to take pictures with it.

    Dell Latitude 3120
    The Dell Latitude 3120 is an entry-level business convertible with Intel Celeron processors and an 11.6-inch touchscreen. With Windows 10 Pro, you can access features like BitLocker drive encryption and Microsoft Remote Desktop, too.

Best Chromebook clamshell: Dell Chromebook 3100

Dell Chromebook 3100

If you’re more of a fan of Chrome OS, the Dell Chromebook 3100 is the best clamshell laptop you can get for under $500. It’s powered by an Intel Celeron N4020 processor, and it has 4GB of RAM and 32GB of eMMC storage. Those specs aren’t all that impressive, but a lot of the tasks you’ll do on Chrome OS are based on the web and don’t require a lot of resources. The display is an 11.6-inch panel with 1366 x 768 resolution, and you get a 42Whr battery.

What makes this particular model more appealing is it comes with LTE support by default. You can insert a SIM from your carrier and you’ll be able to access the internet anywhere, so you don’t have to constantly look for Wi-Fi networks on the go. LTE tends to add quite a bit to the price of a laptop, so this isn’t a bad deal. Still, if you’re looking for cellular-capable laptops, we also have a list of the best 5G laptops you can get right now.

    Dell Chromebook 3100
    The Dell Chromebook 3100 is a fairly basic Chromebook with entry-level specs, but it does come with one big benefit -- it supports LTE by default. You can easily stay connected on the road, so you'll be able to work from anywhere.

Best Chromebook convertible: Dell Chromebook 3100 2-in-1

dell chromebook 3100 2-in-1

The Dell Chrome 3100 2-in-1 has some advantages and disadvantages compared to its clamshell counterpart, but it’s still a great choice. You don’t get LTE here, but you do get double the storage with a 64GB eMMC drive, plus a world-facing camera on the palm rest. Otherwise, you still get 4GB of RAM, an Intel Celeron N4020 CPU, and a 42Whr battery, so that much is similar.

Of course, it’s a convertible and that’s the biggest difference. It has a touch display and you can rotate it all round to use the PC as a tablet. That display is protected by Gorilla Glass too, so it should be pretty durable. For younger students, it’s one of the best Dell laptops you can get for under $500.

    Dell Chromebook 3100 2-in-1
    The Dell Chromebook 3100 2-in-1 is a basic Chromebook convertible with entry-level specs. Thanks to its form factor, you can use the touchscreen by itself if you just want to focus on the display. It also includes a world-facing camera for taking pictures.

These are the best Dell laptops you can get for under $500 right now. As we mentioned, these prices may vary since some of the laptops are currently on sale. If you’re looking strictly at specs, the Dell Inspiron 14 is clearly the best of the bunch. It has the latest Intel processors, a lot of storage, and a decent amount of RAM for multitasking. The Dell Inspiron 15 is a close second, and the bigger screen might be enough to win you over.

However, all the other options are viable for specific use cases. Windows 10 Pro has some important business features that might suit your use case, and if they do, then you’ll want to opt for the Latitude laptops. On the other hand, Chrome OS is popular for education, so that might be a better option for some students.

If you’re looking for other affordable options, we recommend taking a look at our list of the best cheap laptops you can buy right now. There are many non-Dell options there if you’re interested in other brands. All the Windows-based laptops we’re recommending will support the upgrade to Windows 11 when it’s available.

About author

João Carrasqueira
João Carrasqueira

Writer at XDA Computing. I've been covering the world of technology since 2018, but I've loved the field for a lot longer. And I have a weird affinity for Nintendo videogames, which I'm always happy to talk about.