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Best Laptop Under $500

Dell Inspiron 17 Laptop

The Dell Inspiron 17 wins our award for Best Laptop Under $500 with solid performance, a large display, yet surprisingly sleek and light-wight design.

Like almost all notebooks in this price range, the Inspiron 17 has a plastic chassis, not a metal one. This isn't the most premium material, but the Inspiron doesn't feel cheap or poorly made. And for a budget laptop with a large 17.3-inch display, it’s surprisingly sleek at 1.17 inches thick and relatively light at 5.8 pounds. The pixel density is just enough for fonts to stay crisp and to take good advantage of the screen real estate. A 1600 x 900 pixel resolution is high for a budget system!

The Inspiron 17's size has another benefit: plenty of full-size ports and an integrated optical drive. Dell also delivers comfortable keyboards with springy keys and plenty of space between them. The touchpad is similarly spacious and responsive, so pulling off multitouch and Windows 8 gestures doesn't require effort.

Intel’s third generation Core i3 processor provides that balance of power and price, with 6GB of RAM, Intel HD graphics and a 750GB hard drive. With these internals, the Inspiron 17 is powerful enough to handle dozens of browser tabs, HD video, large spreadsheets and documents, multitasking, games played on lower intensity settings and even light video editing.

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From penny on December 25, 2013 :: 12:21 pm

what laptop would you suggest for a college student going into art,design/ anime?



Sorry we didn't get back

From Josh Kirschner on April 29, 2014 :: 8:52 am

Sorry we didn’t get back to you sooner. I’ll still answer your question in the hope that it will help you or others in the same situation.

I’m not an anime designer, but I imagine you would have some pretty graphics-intensive requirements for that type of work. So you’ll want a laptop with a very strong graphics processor and CPU. Those graphics may take up quite a bit of space, as well, so you would want a good-sized hard drive (at least 500MB). Extra RAM (at least 6GB would be a good idea, too).

Unfortunately, all of that is not going to come cheap. You’ll either want to go with a 15” MacBook Pro (about $2.5k decked out as suggested)  or a Windows laptop with an i7 processor (ideally, 4th generation processor, which has improved graphics). You can get the Lenovo Ideapad Y510P for about $1k here:(

I suggest you discuss with other anime designers what software they use and whether Windows or Mac OS is the better option.


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