Laptop/Ultrabook under $500.... I'm Lost, Need Help!


Feb 8, 2013
Hey team, thank you for your help in aiding me select parts for a desktop I built a few years ago, still going strong with no issues! Currently I may be on an impossible task but have been looking for a laptop/ultrabook, under $500. I will be using it for light gaming such as Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2, etc... but mainly MS Office, Kodi, and web browsing. I would greatly appreciate a backlight keyboard with decent battery life if that is possible. Thanks for the help, Cheers!


Feb 8, 2013
1. What is your budget?

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
13" - 16"

3. What screen resolution do you want?
Hopefully at least 1600 x 900

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?

5. How much battery life do you need?
Hoping for 6 hours or more

6. Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low,Medium or High)?
Diablo 3, Starcraft 2, etc. Medium if possible

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
MS Office, Kodi (XBMC), web browsing

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
Something Reputable

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
3-4 years

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
Don't need one

12. Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.
Something reliable

13. What country do you live in?

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
Backlight Keyboard is also a want.
If you want a laptop with a dedicated GPU, then you only have once choice, the Acer Aspire Aspire E E5-573G-52G3 for $500. It has a Core i5-5200u, 1080p screen and a nVidia 940m. It does not have a backlit keyboard and the laptop is only rated at 5 hours battery life so expect something like 4 hours. Acer laptops generally of average quality. The 940m is not a powerful GPU. It is possible to play games at 1366x768 / 1600x900 with low / medium graphic settings depending on how graphically demanding the game is. See link below for some benchmarks.

Other than that laptop you are basically looking at integrated graphics and most likely a 1366x768 resolution screen. The following Dell Inspiron 15 i5548-1671SLV sells for $500. It comes with an i5-5200u, 1366x768 screen, and it relies on the integrated Intel HD 5500 graphics core. It also has a backlit keyboard. Click link below for game benchmarks; the Intel HD 5500 does decently well in Starcraft II at 1366x768 resolution with medium graphics.
Another option is the HP ENVY - 15z Laptop for $470. It has a quad core AMD A10-8700p APU with the integrated Radeon R6 (Kaveri) graphics core. It comes with a 1366x768 resolution screen, but you can upgrade to 1080p for $20. Also a backlit keyboard is standard. HP rates the battery life at up to 7.5 hours however, I am not sure how realistic that is because AMD APUs generally consumes more power than Intel CPUs so take that with a huge grain of salt.

It is generally accepted that the Radeon R6 (Kaveri) graphics core is a bit more powerful than the Intel HD 5500. But AMD APU has lower processing performance compared to Intel CPUs. Below is a link for some benchmarks. The Radeon R6 (Kaveri) got lower results than the Intel HD 5500 in Starcraft 2 most likely because SC2 is a bit CPU intensive.