5 Of The Best Ultrabooks Under $500 In 2018 (With Hybrid, Refurbished, & Business Picks)

So you want a thin, sleek, and lightweight laptop, but you don’t have a ton of money to spend?

You don’t need take out a loan or pick up a second job to afford a great ultrabook. Even if you need to stick to a low budget, there are plenty of high end options available if you know where to look.

We’ve compared all the light models available on the market today to pick the 5 best ultrabooks in 2018 available under $500, from hybrid touch screens to standard clamshell units.

Picking The Best Budget Ultrabook Under $500

You’ve got some tough choices to make if you want a high performance ultrabook that stays under the $500 mark.

There are trade offs to be made to find a sleek and slim model, from ditching the fast booting solid state drive to giving up the dedicated graphics card.

With the buying guide below we can help you decide exactly which features are critical and which you can live without.

Once you know what specs you need, from there it’s time to decide if you want a brand new ultrabook or if you want to save money by going with a refurbished option.

We’ve included a mix of both types below to maximize your choices and help you save the most money.

Let’s get started looking at our contenders for the 5 best budget ultrabooks in every size, shape, and style!

The Contenders For Best Ultrabook Under $500

Asus VivoBook F510UA

  • High end processor
  • Plenty of storage space
  • No touch screen display
  • Highest price

Should this be your choice?

Want to try out a super lightweight model but not willing to give up the clamshell design or fast processor speeds? This model should be your top pick if you don’t mind the high price tag.

If you want an ultrabook that doesn’t compromise on the performance or power, this should be your pick.

At a surprisingly low price, Asus offers an extremely high end ultra portable machine. You don’t usually find 8th generation i5 processors at this price point.

With that level of CPU and 8GB of RAM, you won’t be worrying about speed at all.

You may have noticed this is still a 15.6 inch unit, which is another anomaly for an ultrabook.

The manufacturer put a typical 15 inch display into a 14 inch chassis, which means there’s almost no bezel interrupting your viewing area.

They didn’t cut any corners on the screen quality either. With a full HD 1920 x 1080 screen, everything from YouTube videos to Fortnite will look fantastic.

The VivoBook F510UA is usually available for just a few dollars over the $500 limit. There are ways to cut down the price though, from waiting for a sale to getting a discount through Amazon’s credit program.

Not ready to spend the full $500 on an ultrabook but want to stick with the Asus design? The new 2019 Thin And Light model is half the price and even lighter than the F510UA!

It isn’t nearly the same powerhouse of computing power, however. With only 4GB of RAM and a Celeron processor, the new lightweight Asus model is meant more for web browsing than anything else.

Hardware specifications for Asus VivoBook F510UA
ProcessorIntel Core i5-8250U (Up to 3.4GHz)
RAM8GB DDR4 RAM
Storage1TB HDD
GraphicsIntel UHD 620 graphics
Display15.6″ Anti-Glare Full HD Display, 1920 x 1080 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home 64 Bit
Battery Life5 hours
Weight3.7 lbs

2019 Premium Flagship HP Pavilion X360

  • Hybrid 2-in-1 design
  • Touch screen display
  • Low storage capacity
  • High price

Should this be your choice?

Want the latest and greatest machine that includes a hybrid touch screen design? This should be your top choice for a budget ultrabook!

Yep, the 2019 ultrabook models are starting to roll out already!

The updated x360 is essentially a scaled down, much more affordable version of the extremely high end HP Spectre.

At under 4 pounds, HP still managed to pack a whole lot of hardware into this 14” machine.

With a solid state drive and an 8th gen processor, you’ll get amazing speed and great battery life.

Even though the x360 is incredibly thin, it still manages to offer a full complement of ports for hooking up peripherals.

Unlike the Asus listed above, this model embraces modern design changes like the touch screen display.

As a 2-in-1 hybrid, you can also fold the x360 around so it take up even less space than a standard clamshell notebook.

If you prefer to use your laptop like a tablet you are covered as well, since this unit includes an Active Pen stylus out of the box.

While it will cost your entire $499 budget, if you want a new machine that’s lightweight, you won’t find many better options that the x360.

Hardware specifications for 2019 Premium Flagship HP Pavilion x360
ProcessorIntel Core i3-8130U (Up to 3.4 GHz)
RAM8GB DDR4 RAM
Storage128GB SSD
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 620
Display14-Inch HD SVA Touch Screen Display, 1366 x 768 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home 64 Bit
Battery Life8 hours
Weight3.73 lbs

Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon

  • Touch screen
  • Thinkpad keyboard design
  • Refurbished
  • Heaviest of the ultrabooks

Should this be your choice?

Want a high end laptop without paying a high end price? If you’re willing to buy a refurbished united, the X1 Carbon should be at the top of your list of ultrabook options.

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon normally costs far more than $500, but you can stay on budget by picking up a refurbished unit.

These models have been previously used, but Lenovo has restored them to factory settings and replaced any malfunctioning parts.

At over 4 pounds, the X1 Carbon is slightly heavier than our other contenders, but it’s still lighter than your typical clamshell laptop.

There’s good reason to pick an ultrabook at this level of weight though — you get some amazing extra features that the other contenders don’t offer.

Notably, this model includes a backlit keyboard and the iconic Thinkpad red TrackPoint nub. The keyboard layout is also incredibly comfortable for a compact 14” machine.

The Carbon is no slouch on the hardware specs, either. Although its slightly cheaper, this model actually has a larger solid state drive than the new HP listed above.

By going refurbished, you can get a light & slim machine with excellent hardware.

Make sure to rigorously test out the laptop as soon as it arrives, however!

This particular refurbished unit only has a 90 day warranty, so you’ll need to find any potential problems as soon as possible.

Hardware specifications for Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon
ProcessorIntel i5-4300U (Quad Core, 3 MB SmartCache, Up to 2.9GHz)
RAM8GB DDR3 RAM
Storage256GB SSD
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 4400
Display14-Inch FHD Touch Screen Display, 1920 x 1080 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Pro 64 Bit
Battery Lifehours
Weight4.8 lbs

Fenniu Ultra Thin 14 Inch Laptop

  • M.2. slot for upgrading SSD
  • Lowest price
  • Very small storage capacity
  • Less RAM

Should this be your choice?

Don’t mind storing your data in the cloud or using an external USB drive? If you want to save money and get a reliable machine for web browsing, this should be your top cheap ultrabook pick!

Not all users need blazing fast processors and high end graphics cards. Those features are nice to have, but they add weight and significantly increase the price tag.

Sometimes, you just need a light, low-cost computer for browsing the web, sending emails, and writing up documents.

That’s what you get with this incredibly reasonably priced Fenniu model.

This ultra thin model is only half an inch thick when closed! You can customize your color scheme as well, with pink, grey, or silver options available

If you do a lot of typing, rest assured that buyers also constantly praise the comfortable feel of the keyboard.

The low price and thin design comes with a trade off to be aware of before buying — Windows 10 takes up a big chunk of that 64GB solid state drive.

In other words, this is a device where you are meant to store your data in the cloud or on external storage.

This model offers something you don’t see in a lot of ultrabook designs however —  an M.2. slot. 

That means it is incredibly easy to upgrade to a larger solid state drive when you’ve got extra money to spare.

When tax time rolls around, use that tax return to bump this one up to a 512GB SSD. By going with a budget unit and upgrading later, you get the same specs for far less money.

Hardware specifications for Fenniu Ultra Thin 14 Inch Laptop
ProcessorIntel Apollo Lake Celeron N3450 (1.92GHz)
RAM4GB DDR3 RAM
Storage64GB eMMC
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 500
Display14-Inch FHD Display, 1920 x 1080 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home 64 Bit
Battery Life8 hours
Weight3.96 lbs

Toshiba Satellite Portege Z30-B

  • Very lightweight
  • High end CPU
  • Refurbished
  • No touch screen display

Should this be your choice?

Looking for a lightweight machine that’s designed for business users and can work well for home usage as well? This should be your top pick if you don’t mind buying a refurbished ultrabook.

Toshiba has shifted focus away from the home consumer market and instead focuses on business machines these days.

You can still get a great Toshiba ultrabook under $500 however, if you take a look at the refurb options.

Although it has been previously owned, the Satellite Portege has some of the best specs of any machine in our list of contenders.

An Intel i7 CPU at this price range is an absolute steal. If you demand high performance, you’ll get it here!

With a 256GB solid state drive, you get decent storage space and extremely fast boot up speeds.

The Portege also includes a few features you won’t find in our other contenders. For instance, you get a built-in security lock slot, and a VGA port for hooking up to external monitors.

Hardware specifications for Toshiba Satellite Portege Z30-B
ProcessorIntel Core i7-5600U (2.6GHz)
RAM8GB DDR3 RAM
Storage256GB SSD
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 5500
Display13.3 Inch Display, 1920 x 1080 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Pro 64 Bit
Battery Life8 hours
Weight2.65 lbs

What Exactly Is An Ultrabook?

There isn’t one definitive size or weight that designates a laptop as an “ultrabook” instead of a normal portable computer.

In general, a notebook will be designated as an ultrabook if it uses a thinner, lighter design than your typical 15 inch clamshell laptop.

There are several different designs and size ranges within that definition, however.

Typically, an ultrabook will be between 11 and 14 inches in size, and usually in the 2 – 4 pound range.

Competing manufacturers have come up with very different ways to reach those sizes.

For instance, the HP x360 listed above is a hybrid device that’s meant to be rotated a full 360 degrees and used like a tablet.

Other ultrabooks cut down on the size and weight by decreasing the display area and culling out certain hardware features.

In a few cases, ultrabooks may include a detachable keyboard, with lets you lower the weight even further if you prefer to type on a touch screen display or use a stylus.

Can I Find Ultrabooks With The Same Specs As Normal Laptops?

An ultrabook will almost always feature some sort of trade off in terms of hardware to end up at a lower weight and slimmer design.

When a machine is only half an inch thick and under 3 pounds, there just isn’t much room to cram in all the same components.

That being said, there absolutely are ultrabook models with higher end specs than our contenders listed above.

Unfortunately, to get increased performance in a lighter package, the price skyrockets.

In general, if you want an ultrabook that performs at the same level as a high end laptop, you can expect to spend in the $700 – $1,000 range.

For truly top-of-the-line ultrabooks that include 16GB of RAM and 8th gen Intel i7 processors, in some cases you may even have to go to another price tier above a thousand.

What Features Do I Need To Look Out For When Picking An Ultrabook?

Because the size of the chassis is reduced in an ultrabook, you need to carefully examine the included features before making your purchase.

In general, you will immediately lose out on the optical drive with any ultrabook. Don’t expect to be able to use DVDs or BluRay discs with these models.

Beyond that missing component, make sure to check the number of ports when choosing an ultrabook.

Some models will give you the full range of 3 USB ports plus an HDMI. Others significantly limit the number of ports to only a single USB-C slot to save room.

To use less power and offer more battery life, ultrabooks also often use DDR3 RAM rather than the faster DDR4 version.

In most cases, an ultrabook under $500 won’t be meant for gaming in any way. You simply can’t expect to find a dedicated graphics card at this price range in a slim notebook.

If you are more interested in gaming than web browsing, you’ll need to take a look at other options or be willing to bump up to a much higher price range.

Picking The Best Budget Ultrabooks

Did you find the perfect ultrabook under $500 in our lineup of the top 5 contenders?

Whether you need a touch screen, a standard clamshell with a blazing fast CPU, or anything in between, one of these models should work for you.

Be sure to give us a shout out and leave a comment below if you need help choosing between these models! We can help you narrow down your options to fit your budget and meet your computer requirements.

Andrew knows how hard it is to find the right laptop, that’s why he aims to deliver best know-hows to people in needs.

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