These are the best Dell laptops you can buy for under $500 in 2022

These are the best Dell laptops you can buy for under $500 in 2022

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 or around $500.

We tried to stick to prices under $500 as much as possible, but unfortunately, Dell actually doesn’t make a lot of laptops in this price range. Some go slightly above $500, and many of these laptops are currently 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: Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 7425

The Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 is a great laptop for its price, but that price is noticeably above $500. Still, if you’re looking for something that doesn’t stray too far from that price tag, you can get a pretty amazing deal with this one. Right now, the Intel model is discounted to under $590, though its usual price is higher, and if you take advantage of this deal, it’s a really great option.

It starts with the processor, which is an Intel Core i5-1235U. Yes, this laptop is already using Intel’s 12th-generation processors, and this one comes with 10 cores, 12 threads, and boost speeds up to 4.4GHz, so you´re getting stellar performance this way. Plus, it has Intel Iris Xe graphics for some light GPU workloads. That processor is backed up by 8GB of RAM and 512GB of fast SSD storage, which is really good for a laptop at this price. Again, if you can take advantage of a deal, this becomes an amazing laptop for the price.

The display is also great, being a laptop that’s already made the jump to a taller 16:10 aspect ratio, which is fairly uncommon at this price. A taller screen is great for getting work done since you can see that much more content without having to scroll, and this panel is pretty sharp, at 1920 x 1200 resolution.  Since it’s a convertible, it supports touch, which is a great option to have for more intuitive controls. The display also has fairly small bezels on the sides, and for sound, you get two stereo speakers with MaxxAudio, which should give you a solid experience for media consumption.

Above the display is the webcam, as you’d expect, and it’s a 1080p webcam, and we’ll tell you right now, that’s the only 1080p webcam on this list. This upgrade in quality is very important these days with video calls and meetings being so much more common. Every other laptop here has a 720p camera, though, so this really is the best option if you care about that.

The Inspiron 14 2-in-1 has a fairly modern design, and it’s actually quite unique because the area below the keyboard is entirely covered in glass. Instead of having a touchpad cut out of the palm rest, the touchpad is only cut on three sides, and it actually blends seamlessly into the palm rest at the top. It looks sleek and clean, and of course, it’s versatile thanks to the convertible form factor. It weighs 3.61lbs, which is still decently portable for a 14-inch convertible, and it’s 17.85mm thick at its thickest point, which isn’t too bad, either.

It has a solid supply of ports, too. You get two USB Type-C ports, one USB Type-A port, HDMI, a headphone jack, and an SD card slot, which should cover the basic needs of just about everyone. THere’s no Thunderbolt support, but that’s pretty common for cheap laptops, as you’ll see on this list.

It’s a little expensive for our budget, but with the current discount to $590, the Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 is an easy recommendation. If you miss the discount, though, Dell’s website has an AMD-powered model around the same price, and that one isn’t dependent on a sale.

    The Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 is a great convertible laptop with top-notch performance and a great display.

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Best clamshell: Dell Inspiron 14 5410

Fromt view of the Dell Latitude 14 5410 over a gradient blue background

If you want a solid laptop on a budget, the Dell Inspiron 14 is one of your best options, and it can be had for $550. The good news is that price isn’t part of a discount, so it might go even lower, and for what you get here, this is a very good price already.

First off, the latest Inspiron 14 comes with Intel’s 11th-generation processors, specifically the Core i5-11300H. That’s actually a bit of a rare sight for laptops in this price range, as this processor comes from Intel’s H35 series with a 35W TDP. You get four cores, eight threads, and boost speeds up to 4.4GHz, so performance is excellent across the board. Plus, the processor has Intel Iris Xe graphics, so some light GPU workloads are possible, including running some visually simple games.. Plus, you get 8GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD for storage, a very solid combination for a budget-oriented laptop.

The display is a 14-inch panel with wide viewing angles, but perhaps most notably, it comes in Full HD resolution, or 1920 x 1080. In this price range, many laptops still have lower resolution displays, so this is great. It does come with a 16:9 aspect ratio, but that applies to any laptop on this list, and taller screens are generally reserved for more premium devices.

The webcam above the display is a 720p camera, which isn’t fantastic but it’s completely expected at this price point. Far more expensive laptops still have 720p webcams, so more affordable ones are bound to have them, too. What’s more disappointing is the lack of Windows Hello support, be it in the camera or a fingerprint reader. The camera does have a privacy shutter, though, in case you’re worried about someone being able to see you without you knowing.

In terms of design, the Inspiron 14 is fairly basic but still premium. It has an aluminum exterior shell and it comes in a classic silver color, which is what you’d expect for an affordable metal laptop. It’s also fairly thin, measuring 17.99mm at its thickest point, and it weighs 3.22lbs. It’s not incredibly light, but it’s still fairly portable, so you can easily take it anywhere.

In terms of connectivity, it’s packing one USB Type-C port (with DisplayPort and Power Delivery), two USB Type-A ports, HDMI, a headphone jack, a microSD card reader, and a proprietary power connector for charging. That’s a solid combination of ports, including a fast USB Type-C connection that can charge the laptop, and a good supply of ports to cover the basics.

For $550, this is definitely one of the best laptops you can buy from Dell right now. It is a little over $500, but for what you´re getting here, it’s a very good deal, and if you can find it for even lower, it’s a no-brainer.

    The Dell Inspiron 14 is a great 14-inch laptop with a quad-core processor and a Full HD display.

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Best AMD-based laptop: Dell Inspiron 15 3525

Angled view of Dell Inspiron 15 3525 over a red gradient background

Dell doesn’t make many laptops with AMD processors, so if you’re absolutely interested in an AMD laptop, this is essentially your best option in this price range, though it goes a little over $500. That’s not to say it’s not a solid laptop in its own, right, though, and it has some very nice specs.

The version of the Inspiron 15 we’re recommending comes with an AMD Ryzen 5 5625U, which is one of the newest processors AMD offers. It has six cores and 12 threads, and it can boost up to 4.3GHz, so it’s a very fast mid-range processor. AMD’s integrated Radeon GPU is also solid for what it is, though it’s not that good for gaming. This model also includes 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD for storage, so it rounds out a very solid experience for a laptop at this price.

As the name indicates, the Dell Latitude 15 has a 15.6-inch panel, and it comes in the typical 16:9 resolution, which is still the most common in this price range. It’s also a Full HD panel, but what really makes it stand out is that it has a 120Hz refresh rate, which you really don’t see on other laptops this cheap. High refresh rates are usually brought up for gaming, but they can also just make normal animations and movement feel a lot smoother, so this is really nice to see.

The webcam above the display is once again 720p, just like every other laptop on this list. It also doesn’t support Windows Hello facial recognition. Dell does mention an optional fingerprint reader is available, though it’s not clear which models have it.

Design-wise, the Dell Inspiron 15 is a black laptop, and thus it looks a bit more interesting than some of the others on this list. The black look is pretty sleek, though the laptop is still made from plastic, so it’s not exactly going to feel very premium. It’s also 21.07mm at its thickest point, and it weighs 3.71lbs, so it’s not the most portable device around, though you should still be able to take with you almost anywhere.

That design makes way for a relatively ample selection of ports. This model comes with one USB Type-C port, two USB Type-A ports, HDMI, a combo audio jack, and a full-size SD card reader. That’s a decent setup overall and it covers the basics for most users, especially considering its price point.

All in all, this is a fantastic laptop, and it delivers stellar performance for an accessible price. If you really want something under $500, there’s a version with an older Ryzen 3 processor and less storage on Dell’s website, but for how much more you get with the upgraded model, we’d recommend spending a bit extra if you can. Otherwise, you can also check out the Intel model we’ll talk about next.

    This AMD-powered version of the Inspiron 15 comes with decent specs and fingerprint reader.

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Also great with Intel: Dell Inspiron 15 3511

Front view of Dell Inspiron 15 3511 over a gradient orange background

If you’re a fan of slightly larger screens, the Dell Inspiron 15 may be one of the best laptops available for under $500. Officially, it actually costs nearly $600, but thanks to an ongoing discount, it’s much more palatable. This 15-inch laptop also offers solid performance all around, and it gives you additional space to have more apps open and multitask.

In terms of performance, the Dell Inspiron 15 comes with an Intel Core i5-1035G1, which is a quad-core processor with 8 threads and boost speeds up to 3.6GHz. That should get you quite good performance for basic tasks like browsing the web or writing up documents. It is a 10th-generation processor, so it’s not the most recent, but it’s still very good. You also get 8GB of RAM, more than enough to have multiple apps open at once, and a 256GB of SSD storage round things out with a good amount of space for files.

Having a bigger screen is definitely a plus for some users (myself included), but with a bigger size, it’s good to have a higher resolution, too. Thankfully, the Inspiron 15 comes with a Full HD panel, which is sharp enough to look great on a 15.6-inch display like this one. You don’t get any fancy bells and whistles like touch support, but it’s a solid screen to get work done, and the higher resolution makes multitasking easier.

Like most other laptops on this list, the camera on the Inspiron 15 is just 720p, and it doesn’t support Windows Hello, so you’re out of luck if you want a more convenient method to sign in. Dell’s support page does say there’s an optional fingerprint reader, but it’s not clear what models it’s included in.

Unlike most laptops above, the Dell Inspiron 15 actually comes in black instead of silver, which makes it a bit more interesting visually. It’s still a plastic laptop, so build quality isn’t exactly premium, but that’s par for the course at this price. It’s relatively portable, weighing 3.83lbs, which isn’t too bad for a 15-inch laptop. It also measures between 17.5mm and 18.99mm in thickness, so it’s not too bulky, though it’s not overly thin either.

In terms of ports, too, the 15-inch version feels a little less modern. It comes with three USB Type-A ports, HDMI, a full-size SD card reader, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a proprietary charger port. There’s no USB Type-C, which is an odd omission in 2021. Still, this should cover most of your needs, since many (if not most) peripherals still use USB Type-A to connect to your computer.

The Dell Inspiron 15 is a solid 15-inch laptop at an affordable price, and even though there are some downsides, it’s still a great choice if you want a larger screen. It’s one of the best Dell laptops you can get for under $500, though it’s only that cheap thanks to a discount. If you want something even cheaper, there’s also a model with a newer (but slightly slower) Core i3 processor on Dell’s website.

    Dell's 15-inch Inspiron is a solid low-cost laptop with a large Full HD display.

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Best business laptop: Dell Vostro (3420)

Front view of Dell Vostro 3420 over a green background

We had to break our own rules ever so slightly for this one, as there aren’t a ton of business laptops in this price range, but the Dell Vostro 3420 is still likely to be your best option if you need the benefits of Windows 11 Pro. Because Pro licenses are more expensive, this laptop also costs over $500, and it’s actually closer to $600. But if you want a business laptop, this is the way to go.

First off, there’s performance. The Dell Vostro 3420 is powered by an Intel Core i5-1135G7, so while it’s not the newest hardware around, it’s definitely a very capable processor.It has 4 cores, eight threads, and boost speeds up to 4.2GHz, so it’s pretty good for basic day-to-day tasks. This model also comes with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, which is a combination we’ve seen a few times on this list already. For a budget laptop, this is totally expected, and it’s going to do the job fairly well.

The display is a 14-inch panel, and it comes with Full HD resolution, or 1920 x 1080. That’s one area where budget business laptops sometimes cut corners by stepping down to 1366 x 768, but that’s not the case here, and that’s great to see. It’s a perfectly serviceable display for working indoors.

The webcam is also a 720p camera, and it doesn’t support Windows Hello facial recognition, which is unfortunate but not unexpected. Thankfully, there is a fingerprint reader built into the power button, so unlocking your PC is still pretty easy.

As for the design, it’s probably what you’d expect. This is mostly a black laptop and it looks sleek enough considering its price point. It’s made from plastic, as you should expect in this price range, and it’s also fairly thick, reaching 23mm at its thickest point. However, at 3.29lbs, it’s fairly light, so that’s a point for portability.

Like most business laptops, one thing the Dell Vostro 3420 gets right is the ports, and there’s quite a few of them here. You get three USB Type-A ports, HDMI, Ethernet, a headphone jack, and a full-size SD card reader. This is another laptop with no USB Type-C port, but a few of the laptops on this list don’t have it either. And as we’ve mentioned, many peripherals still connect via USB Type-A.

The Dell Vostro 3420 is roughly $80 over our $500 target at writing time, but it’s the best you can get around this price tag, and it actually does deliver a very solid experience. Business laptops like this also get discounted somewhat frequently, so maybe that price will come down further.

    The Dell Vostro 3420 is a business-oriented laptop with a Pro license for Windows 10 and 11.

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Bust for young students: Dell Latitude 3120 2-in-1

Dell Latitude 3120

Young students need a device that’s easy to use for smaller hands, durable, and still decently capable. These devices may also need the additional management features of Windows 10 or 11 Pro, and the Latitude 3120 2-in-1 checks all the right boxes.

First off, it comes with Windows 1o or 11 Pro licenses, which may be useful for schools trying to deploy and manage classroom devices. It can be had with a Home license, but that actually seems to increase the price, so there’s no reason to not get the Pro license instead.

Performance-wise, the Latitude 3120 2-in-1 comes with an Intel Celeron N5100 CPU, which has four cores and four threads and it can boost up to 2.8GHz. This is a low-power processor, meaning it won’t be as fast as the Intel Core processors in some other devices, but it should deliver better battery life in return. The laptop can also be configured with 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD while still staying under the $500 budget. 4GB of RAM is good enough for a young child using one app at a time, and having SSD storage is a big plus. Many devices in this price range opt for slower eMMC storage.

This is an 11-inch device, which is partly why it’s ideal for younger students. These smaller screens make the devices easier to grab and use for smaller hands. The resolution is 1366 x 768, which isn’t great, but it’s more acceptable with a smaller screen like this and considering most children will only use one app at a time. Because this is a 2-in-1, it also supports touch, giving children a more intuitive way to interact with their PC.

The design is also a big part of why this device is tailored to younger kids. It looks somewhat bulky, but the design is easier to grip, and it’s tested to withstand up to 30-inch drops onto steel or 48-inch drops onto plywood. It has rubberized edges and rounded corners to lessen the impact of falls and tumbles, making it more durable overall, which is ideal for children’s clumsy hands. It’s not extremely portable, though, weighing 3.12lbs and measuring over 21mm in thickness, but it’s not meant for that as much as it is meant to be durable.

The Latitude 3120 also has a decent selection of ports for its small size. You get two USB Type-A ports, HDMI, a headphone jack, and a proprietary power connector. There’s also a volume rocker on the side to make volume adjustments easier, particularly when using the device as a tablet. The Pentium model (which is beyond our budget) also adds a USB Type-C port.

For a price under $500, this one one of the best Dell laptops you can buy for younger students. You can find cheaper devices running Chrome OS, but if you prefer Windows, this is the way to go.

    The Dell Latitude 3120 has a durable design and solid specs for younger children to use at school.

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Best Chromebook clamshell: Dell Chromebook 3100

Dell Chromebook 3100

Dell doesn’t have a wide selection of Chrome OS laptops available, and the Chromebook 3100 is the best option available for under $500. This is more of an education device, as many Chromebooks tend to be, and it’s specifically geared towards younger users.

The performance specs of the Chromebook 3100 aren’t very impressive, but they’re serviceable. It’s powered by an Intel Celeron N4120, which is a quad-core processor with just four threads. It’s not particularly impressive, but Chrome OS is a lightweight operating system that should run decently well on this PC. Additionally, it comes with up to 8GB of RAM and up to 64GB of eMMC storage. Again, it’s not an impressive setup, but with Chrome OS being fairly lightweight, that amount of RAM isn’t too bad, and 64GB of storage is also acceptable considering many files are saved on the cloud instead.

The display is similar to other cheap 11-inch laptops, featuring a 1366 x 768 resolution that should look good enough on a display of this size. These laptops are also meant for younger children who are very unlikely to notice a difference either way. It also has a 720p webcam above the display, and naturally, no form of biometric authentication is available here.

Similar to the Latitude 3120, the Chromebook 3100 is designed to be durable, and it can withstand 30-inch drops onto steel, as well as thousands of “free-fall micro drops”, so it should be just fine in the hands of a young child. The keyboard is also resistant to spills and tampering so kids can’t damage it or pry keys out of the keyboard. At 2.85lbs, it’s not very light for its size, but it’s not a heavy device, either. It’s over 20mm in thickness, too.

The ports on the Chromebook 3100 are enough to cover the basics, with two USB Type-A ports, one USB Type-C, and a headphone jack. You don’t get a typical display output, but it’s unlikely to be something you need in a laptop like this. Regardless, it’s a very basic setup, so it’s not going to be the most capable.

Starting at just $259.99, the Chromebook 3100 is meant to be an extremely budget option, so it’s only natural that it’s not impressive. If you can deal with its sacrifices, it’s a decent enough machine for young children.

    The Dell Chromebook is a very affordable laptop with Chrome OS that covers the most basic needs.

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

dell chromebook 3100 2-in-1

This is the convertible version of the clamshell laptop we just talked about, and while it’s more expensive, it may be worth it for the form factor alone. Being a convertible offers much more versatility, so even if it’s not as good in some areas, it’s definitely worth checking out,

First off, it’s powered by the Intel Celeron N4020, which is unfortunately a significant step down, featuring just two cores and two threads, along with boost speeds up to 2.8GHz. For the target audience of these machines, though, that’s probably fine. You also get 4GB of RAM and 32GB of eMMC storage (you can upgrade to 64GB, but it’ll go over the $500 target). This is very much a budget laptop, just like the model above.

The display is once again an 11.6-inch panel, and it features the same 1366 x 768 resolution as the clamshell model. The big difference is that this is a convertible, and that means the display supports touch input and you can use it like a tablet. That’s more convenient in general, but it’s especially great for kids since touch is a more natural method of interacting with things.

Convertible laptops tend to be heavier than traditional clamshell laptops, and that holds true here, too. The Dell Chromebook 3100 2-in-1 weighs in at 3.10lbs, and it’s slightly thicker at 21.5mm, but that shouldn’t make this device significantly less portable than the clamshell variant. Of course, being a convertible means you can rotate the display all around and use this device as a tablet, which is a great feature to have.

One advantage of the Dell Chromebook 2-in-1 versus its clamshell variant is the ports. You get two USB Type-A ports, two USB Type-C ports, a microSD card reader, and a headphone jack. That’s an additional USB Type-C port and a microSD card reader, which the clamshell version didn’t have. This could allow you to expand the internal storage if you find 32GB to not be enough. Plus, since it’s meant to be used as a tablet, you also get a volume rocker on the side of the laptop to make adjustments on the fly.

The top-tier configuration of the Dell Chromebook 3100 2-in-1 costs $528.39, which is slightly over our target budget, but the base model with 32GB of storage costs just $468.39. Considering all the benefits you get, it’s certainly worth considering, but you also have to think about the performance benefit you can get with the clamshell version for significantly less money.Regardless, these are two decent options.

    The 2-in-1 version of the Dell Chromebook 3100 comes with more RAM and a touch screen.

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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 2-in-1 is clearly the best of the bunch. It has the latest Intel processors, a great display, and it’s a convertible, which is always a plus. You really have to take advantage of a promotion for it to be anywhere near $500. The clamshell version of the Inspiron 14 is a close second, though, and it’s a little cheaper, too.

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 Vostro laptop. On the other hand, Chrome OS is popular for education, so that might be a better option for young 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. That’s particularly true for Chromebooks, which admittedly aren’t abundant in Dell’s lineup. All the Windows-based laptops we recommended either ship with Windows 11 or can be upgraded for free.

About author

João Carrasqueira
João Carrasqueira

Editor 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.

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