Dell

Dell makes some of the very best Windows laptops money can buy. From the Alienware gaming machines to the incredible XPS 13 and XPS 15 and beyond, there's a lot to choose from.

But laptops like these are also very pricey. Not wanting to spend thousands shouldn't exclude you from having a great laptop, and in the case of Dell, you can get something good for under $500.

If that's your target budget, you need to check out one of these.

Dell Inspiron 11 3000 2-in-1

Inspiron 11 3000 2-in-1

This little 2-in-1 comes in a variety of configurations, but even at its highest end, it comes in nicely under the limit at $480. It's a highly-portable laptop with just an 11-inch 1366 x 768 resolution display that folds around to be used either as a tablet or to be propped up when you want to watch a movie.

At the low-end, the $300 entry-level model comes with 32GB of eMMC storage and 4GB of RAM. At the high end that becomes 8GB of RAM and a 128GB solid-state drive (SSD), and it's worth spending a little more because the HDD models come with an incredibly slow 5400 rpm drive. And the SSD is only $80 more than the cheapest of these.

All models come with AMD processing power in the form of an APU, combining a 7th Gen AMD processor with Radeon graphics. A gaming machine this is not, but it's perfectly capable and at an attractive price.

See at Dell

Dell Inspiron 14 3000

Inspiron 14 3000

All configurations of the Inspiron 14 3000 cost between $180 and $220, but the one to go for is the $220 version that comes with a year of Microsoft Office 365 bundled in. It's a reasonably low-spec laptop, but it's great for folks who want something reliable to get work done.

You get 4GB of RAM, but all models come with 32GB of eMMC storage, a 14-inch 1366 x 768 resolution display and an Intel Celeron processor. The only difference in price is what else you get with the laptop, including a wireless mouse or premium support.

Ultimately this is a value-oriented laptop that's reliable, durable and won't run away with your wallet. If you want something a little bigger and with a bit more grunt, there's a 15-inch model also available with AMD processors and a 1TB hard-disk drive (HDD) for around $350.

See at Dell

Dell Inspiron 11 3180

Inspiron 11 3180

The Inspiron 11 3180 is a particularly good choice if you're hunting for a laptop for the little ones in your life. Not only does it look fun with its wild blue paint job, but it's compact, affordable and most of all, durable.

You get excellent battery life, a decent 11-inch 1366 x 768 resolution display and a robust build quality that can take the kind of abuse kids deal out. And at 11 inches, it'll fit in their bag just great for the trips to and from school.

Prices are also very attractive. The latest versions have all switched to AMD processors and start at just over $180. With 32GB of storage backed up by 4GB of RAM, it's a decent little laptop for not a lot of money.

See at Dell

Updated July 20, 2018: Refreshed with latest (and lower) pricing for the Inspiron 14.