Best overall: CHUWI Hi13

A beautiful hi-res display is this laptop's main feature.

See at Amazon

With a 3,000 x 2,000 resolution touch IPS display (13.5 inches) with beautiful color and near-perfect contrast, an attachable keyboard, and an active pen, the CHUWI Hi13 (altogether about $450) is our pick for the best laptop in this price range. You get a 7th Gen Intel Celeron N3450 processor (CPU), 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of eMMC storage for light duty tasks, and can take advantage of a wide selection of ports to connect your peripherals.

Bottom line: The best laptop in this price range is the CHUWI Hi13.

One more thing: Have a look at our review for more information.

Why the CHUWI Hi13 is the best between $300 and $500

Most laptops in this price range come with at best a 1080p display, but the CHUWI Hi13 kicks things up a notch with its 3,000 x 2,000 resolution. This is a beautiful touch display that can be used as a tablet only, but you can add an attachable keyboard for an additional $55. That brings the total cost up to about $425, which is still an awesome price for what you're getting.

The hardware inside includes a 7th Gen Intel Celeron N3450 CPU, 4GB of DDR3 RAM, and 64GB of eMMC storage, enough to browse the internet, watch videos, and even get some work done during the day. You're also getting a good selection of ports, including two USB-A, USB-C, micro-USB, micro HDMI, and a microSD card reader. If you're keen on drawing, check out the optional active pen that costs about $27.

See CHUWI Hi13 at Amazon

Best convertible: Dell Inspiron 11 3000

See at Dell

Dell's Inspiron 11 3000 series has been refreshed to include 7th Gen AMD A9-9420e CPUs with Radeon R5 Graphics, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and 128GB of eMMC storage. The touch display is set at a 1,366 x 768 resolution, but at 11.6-inches it will appear more crisp than usual. This is a convertible, meaning you can use it in tent, stand, and tablet modes, and there's a good selection of ports ― including HDMI 1.4, three USB-A, and a microSD card reader ― for your peripherals. This high-end configuration costs about $450.

Best notebook: Acer Aspire E 15

See at Amazon

If you need a big budget laptop, Acer's Aspire E 15 should be the answer. It has a 15.6-inch 1080p display and a full keyboard (with number pad) to help with productivity. Inside, you get an 8th Gen Intel Core i3-8130U CPU, 6GB of RAM, and a 1TB hard-disk drive (HDD). That's not bad at all considering it costs about $380.

Conclusion

It can be tough to find a worthwhile laptop in this price range, but the CHUWI Hi13's display sets it above the Dell Inspiron 11 and Acer Aspire E 15, if only slightly.

Best overall: CHUWI Hi13

A beautiful hi-res display is this laptop's main feature.

See at Amazon

Updated May 16, 2018: I've refreshed this roundup to ensure you're still looking at the best laptops in this price range.