What are the best cheap i5 laptops?
The modern market is full of laptops with Intel processors. This company produces high-quality and robust processor units at a reasonable price. The laptops with Intel i5 processors combine top-tier performance and affordability while allowing you to perform all types of data processing operations.
So, if you are going to purchase the best i5 laptop, this article will definitely come in handy. The list comprises 8 most popular options among users, including Intel Core i5 laptops, convertible laptops, notebooks, and the best laptops for photo editing on a budget.
Technology has been marked by rapid changes. Especially, it refers to computers that were designed to simplify human lives. The first computers were hulky, often the size of an entire room. However, these huge machines could barely reach the processing power of the devices that now can neatly fit into your handbag. Nowadays, we can enjoy portable yet powerful laptops that can perform any tasks. The power of a computer mainly depends on its processor. That is why the processor is one of the most important aspects to consider when shopping for a laptop.
So, if you want to become a lucky owner of the best i5 laptop, check out the most popular models listed below. The brief but comprehensive reviews will help you make an informed choice.
CPU: Intel Core i7-10510U | GPU: Intel Integrated | RAM: 16 GB | Storage: 512 GB | Display: 13-3-inch | Weight: 2.8 pounds
⊕ Compact and lightweight
⊕ Excellent performant
⊕ Well-designed keyboard
⊕ Long-lasting battery
⊖ Dark, touch-insensitive screen
⊖ Weak performance when handling resource-intensive tasks
⊖ Doesn’t offer discrete GPU for gaming
The Asus ZenBook 13 is a compact, lightweight, and affordable Intel Core i5 laptop suitable for everyday use. The distinctive feature of this model is its long-lasting battery that allows you to use your laptop all day long without the need to charge it.
Due to its integrated graphics, the Asus ZenBook 13 is considerably inferior to the laptops with discrete graphics cards in terms of gaming capabilities. Also, this model can hardly handle the video encoding or other CPU-intensive tasks. Overall, the Asus ZenBook 13 is a perfect option for those, who value productivity and don’t want to always deal with AC adapters.
CPU: Intel Core i5 | GPU: Intel Integrated | RAM: 8 GB | Storage: 512 GB | Display: 15.6-inch | Weight: 2.4 pounds
⊕ As fast as its heavier counterparts
⊕ Smooth and precise work of a trackpad
⊕ Thin and lightweight
⊖ Reflective display
⊖ Keyboard isn't comfortable to type on
With a 15.6-inch Full HD IPS display, the LG Gram boasts incredible portability and ultimate performance. Moreover, its battery can handle up to 21 hours of constant use. Although this i5 15 inch laptop is lightweight, it has a robust construction. The LG Gram is packed with 10th Gen Intel Core i5-10210U CPU, Intel UHD graphics, and 8GB of DDR4 RAM to ensure fast work and efficiency. With 512GB M.2 NMVe SSD and USB Type-C port, you can enjoy high-speed data transfer and smooth display of video content.
The battery life can vary depending on the adjustments, applications, features, and workloads. The performance level is based on the MobileMark 2014 standard and is used to compare the LG Gram with other devices.
CPU: Intel Core i5 | GPU: Intel UHD Graphics | RAM: 8 GB | Storage: 512 GB | Display: 14-inch | Weight: 3.50 lbs
⊕ First-class build quality
⊕ Rotating 360-degree touchscreen
⊕ High-quality stereo speakers
⊕ IPS-type panel
⊖ Doesn’t offer an Ethernet port
⊖ Average battery life
⊖ 1-year manufacturer warranty
HP Pavilion x360 is a convertible 14-inch laptop with i5 processor. It has all the necessary features and specifications to handle office and internet applications. Due to its dedicated graphics, HP Pavilion x360 can also serve as a gaming laptop.
The SSD is a decisive factor for the speed, and this model does its job great with it. With a 1TB hard drive, you will have more than enough space to store your content. You can upgrade and replace both storage devices. However, you will need to partially disassemble the case of the laptop.
CPU: Intel Core i5 | GPU: Intel Integrated | RAM: 8 GB | Storage: 512 GB | Display: 15.6-inch | Weight: 2.7 pounds
⊕ Thin and lightweight chassis
⊕ Robust construction
⊕ Outstanding 4K display
⊕ Wi-Fi 6 connectivity
⊖ Keyboard may feel inconvenient
⊖ Noisy fan
Casual gamers, who are all about small and lightweight laptops, will certainly be blown away by Dell XPS. This 13-inch Intel Core i5 laptop combines a first-class graphics chip, neat design, and responsive touchpad. If you need a computer for basic tasks and occasional video viewing, this option can be a no-brainer purchase.
However, if you are looking for a light and thin laptop with improved RAW performance suitable for resource-intensive tasks, you can consider the 7390 from the Dell XPS 13 series. The laptop with six cores will be a compelling option for those, who appreciate well-elaborated design and productivity.
CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i5 | GPU: Intel | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB | Display: 15-inch | Weight: 3.75 pounds
⊕ Exceptional design
⊕ Amazing performance
⊕ Responsive keyboard
⊕ Multiple ports
⊖ Dim screen
⊖ Doesn’t offer a backlit keyboard
⊖ No Ethernet port
The HP 15-dy1036nr includes everything you may expect from the best i5 laptop for everyday use. It has a metal covering and slim bezels, which create a stylish and modern look. The keyboard provides a comfortable and stable feel. However, it doesn't offer keys backlighting. This model includes different ports, which allow for multiple connections. The main bragging point of the HP 15-dy1036nr is its high-capacity battery. You can use the laptop for a long time without the need to charge it. The downside of this model is that it has a little storage space and doesn't offer the ability to upgrade the hardware.
Anyway, if you don’t care about the keyboard backlighting and storage upgrading, the HP 15-dy1036nr will be an excellent option in terms of quality-price ratio. It has a premium design and offers a more durable construction compared to its rivals. Moreover, with long battery life, you may enjoy all day of computing.
CPU: Intel Core i5 | GPU: Intel Integrated | RAM: 8 GB | Storage: 256 GB | Display: 15.6-inch | Weight: 6.02 pounds
⊕ Excellent keyboard
⊕ Great range of input/output ports
⊕ Support for M.2 PCIe x4 drives
⊖ Doesn’t offer keyboard backlight
⊖ Rigid hinges
Dell Inspiron isn’t suitable for demanding games, and even if you fond of playing casual games, you will face heat issues. The lid redirects the hot air blowing out from the vent. Rather than going behind the laptop, the heat reaches user's face and keyboard. Unfortunately, this model doesn't offer LED backlight, but the keyboard seems to be convenient with its tactile feedback and relatively long keystroke.
This Intel Core i5 laptop is inferior to similar options due to the tight hinges that don’t allow you to smoothly open the lid with one hand. Also, the laptop has a weak battery. Although it has a lot of upsides, there are some aspects that disappoint many customers.
CPU: Intel Core i5 | GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 | RAM: 8 GB | Storage: 256 GB | Display: 15.6-inch | Weight: 6.07 pounds
⊕ Compact 200 W AC adapter
⊕ GPU core remains cool during gaming sessions
⊕ Silent for a gaming laptop
⊕ Stylish design
⊖ Lacks Thunderbolt 3 or Kensington Lock
⊖ Poor bass reproduction
When using the Pavilion Gaming 17, you will definitely be surprised with its cool capabilities. The manufacturer has released the budget-friendly Pavilion series, so you will need to estimate this model accordingly. What makes this HP laptop stand out from the crowd is its unusually sleek design and almost noiseless work. The manufacturer began to pay more attention to its enthusiast-level laptops, and Pavilion Gaming 17 clearly demonstrates it.
Although this model is considered to be a budget i5 laptop with i9-9750H and GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q graphics, it isn’t much cheaper than its contenders with similar specs. While costing a $1300 model, its price is only $100-$200 lower compared to MSI GP75, MSI GL73, Asus TUF FX705, or Asus ROG GL731GU based on the storage, RAM, and screen peculiarities. Anyway, if you are looking for a quiet gaming laptop, the Pavilion Gaming 17 is worth considering.
CPU: Intel Core i5-9300H | GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 | RAM: 8 GB | Storage: 512 GB | Display: 15.6-inch | Weight: 4.84 pounds
⊕ Superior Ultra HD gaming performance
⊕ Long-lasting battery
⊕ Convenient keyboard
⊖ Noisy functioning of the ClickPad button
⊖ 512 GB SSD is not enough for gaming
The Lenovo Ideapad L340 (81LK00HDUS) is a budget i5 laptop that boasts a great variety of functions, which make it one of the greatest entry-level gaming devices.
The notebook operates a Core i5-9300H quad-core processor that is powerful enough to run the majority of current games. Besides, one of the greatest advantages of this model is its 4 GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card that ensures a smooth gaming experience.
Asus ZenBook 13Our choice
LG Gram10th Gen
|CHECK PRICE →|
HP Pavilion x3602-in-1
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From a great variety of laptops, those that run on Core i5 are considered to be the most popular ones. So this guide will help you choose the best i5 laptop for graphics design and other needs. To make the right choice, you should have some basic knowledge of the most common computer parts and elements. Let’s review the most important information that you should know to select the perfect model.
Of course, the first thing you should pay attention to when looking for the best laptop is its processor. The Core i5 processor incorporates many features and performs well. Let’s recall some of them to better understand the advantages and drawbacks of this type of processor.
Hyper-Threading defines the capability of a processor to perform two different tasks at once. For instance, you can allocate one “thread” to call via Skype, while other “thread” will be used to perform other tasks like typing or surfing the Internet. This feature lets you work on these tasks faster while loading the CPU more efficiently.
Besides, Hyper-Threading can be used for faster processing of one particular task. For example, you want to edit your entire graduation video by applying a black-and-white effect to it. In this case, one “thread” can get involved in the processing of the first half of the video, while others will work on the second part. This feature will be also effective for photo editing or 3D modeling. However, Hyper-Threading is mainly used for multitasking awarding you with a great level of versatility and comfort.
Even a budget i5 laptop has a feature of Turbo Boost that speeds up the processing of your tasks. Thanks to it, your laptop will function faster while performing numerous actions. The good news is that this feature won’t be enabled if the CPU is overloaded.
U vs HQ vs M vs H Lines
One of the most important aspects when selecting the best i5 laptop is the Line. So let’s consider each type of the Line in detail.
U can be defined as ultra-low power. Of course, a laptop with an i5 processor can function relatively fast, but it won’t be able to compete with the devices fitted with the processor from the HQ/H series. These processors offer from 2 to 4 cores per CPU, whereas every core is capable of supporting two threads with the help of hyper-threading. So if the hyper-threading is active, you will get from 4 to 8 threads. All processing units from the U series feature hyper-threading.
HQ or H
HQ can be deciphered as high-performance graphics plus Quad-core, whereas H is a new type of Intel processor optimized for mobile devices. Having up to four cores, this is the best CPU for video editing, running games, etc. They offer a higher clock rate and boast more Cache memory if you compare them to the U processors.
M or Y series
As for M or Y series processors, they are less powerful meaning that they should consume less power to prolong the life of the battery. However, this is not true, as the battery functions as long as in the laptops with U processing units. M or Y series processors are meant for ultra-books and designed to fit the measurements of their compact and thin construction. However, these processors are capable of multitasking when running basic applications.
Generations: 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th
There are various generations of Intel core processors. Later ones are better than older generations in terms of their functionality, quality of graphics and battery life. For example, the 6th generation Core i5 laptop has better battery and graphics, as well as performs faster than the 5th generation model. Its construction and design were greatly enhanced.
However, the 7th generation laptops received only minor improvements if we compare them with the 6th generation devices. So there is no reason to pay more, and I advise you to opt for the older model. The latest 8th and 9th generation processors are the most powerful ones (even not the 10th). These processing units offer almost identical functionality, and they are only different in clock speed values. You can read detailed information concerning this issue in our other articles.
Wait, What about the 4th, 3rd, 2nd and 1st?
Do not consider buying these models, as they are very slow and won’t be able to run your favorite games. These laptops can only be used for such simple computing tasks as browsing or working in Microsoft Word.
The minimum RAM that would be enough for performing various tasks on your budget i5 laptop is 8 GB. The maximum recommended RAM size is 8 GB (as 16 GB is pricier, but won’t outperform the 8 GB devices). You can only choose 16 GB RAM for photo or video processing, professional gaming or designing 3D animations. 8 GB is enough for editing images and performing other necessary tasks.
HDD is very slow. Choose Hard Disk Drives only for disk backups or additional storage. If you do not want to get frustrated while working on your device, opt for Solid State Drives as they are faster and more reliable.
SSDs are much faster than HHDs. You can choose from two types of SSDs, namely SATA or PCIe. The second type is great for performing various tasks. Gamers who like Open World Games also prefer this SSD type.
If you are an experienced user, you probably know that a Core i5 laptop can feature three types of graphics.
HD Graphics (Intel HD XXX)
HD Graphics is the most frequent type of GPU found in the Core i5 laptop. This graphic card allows operating 3D apps, editing videos, running games, but you should pay attention that it won’t function very fast and will load the Central Processing Unit considerably. If you use low game settings or perform simple editing or modeling tasks, this type of graphics will do well.
Intel Iris/Iris Pro. These display adapters are a little bit more powerful but function as well as Intel HD cards.
NVIDIA or AMD Dedicated Graphics
If you are an experienced user, you are probably well aware that NVIDIA or AMD are dedicated graphics cards. If you prefer playing resource-consuming games, or your professional activity involves much video editing or 3D modeling, try 1050Ti or similar graphics cards. If you often play light games and need to perform basic image editing tasks or model some simple 3D shapes, opt for MX150 or MX250 graphics. Choose these cards if your daily routine involves much photo editing, as the more powerful GPUs are not capable of accelerating the functioning of image editors.
How much time can the battery integrated into the best i5 laptop function? How the battery life will be different if your device has a more powerful processor?
Let’s compare the battery life of a laptop with i5 processor with that one offered by the competitive Core 7 devices. LaptopMag conducted a research and tested the laptops fitted with i5-7200U CPU and i7-7500U processing units. To check the durability of the batteries, both processors were pushed to their limits. While performing the standard operations or browsing the Internet, the difference constituted 30 min in favor of the core i5 processing unit.
When testing both batteries while performing various computing tasks, editing or encoding video files, running 3D games, loading the CPU of a laptop greatly, the difference was minor. All in all, if a durable battery is your preference, opt for an Intel Core i5 laptop. Besides, you should pay attention to the fact that the devices fitted with U processors offer more battery life.