A computer for less than 500 euros? We tried 6 (and one tablet)

Thanks to the shortage of semiconductors and the commercial policies of manufacturers and distributors, the prices of personal computers have skyrocketed. However, there is the possibility of choosing computers below 500 euros with the certainty of having made good purchases for those who use them for work or study (including distance learning).

We have tested some of them, in the middle-low range, which we report here in ascending price order.

Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook

In fact, it is a tablet with a diagonal of 10.1 inches that, accompanied by the keyboard provided with the device, enters the category of laptops 2 in 1 and is suitable for students, a market in which address also by virtue. of the operating system, Google Chrome OS.

The processor, a 2018 MediaTek P60T, should not be fooled: its 8 cores and a frequency of 2.1 GHz allow a smooth use of the device, the cost of which starts at 229 euros.

The graphics card, Arm Mali G72, is typical of mid-range products and, in our opinion, is a compromise considering the price of this netbook, equipped with 4 GB of RAM and a storage capacity of 64 GB. A USB-C port, Wifi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac covering 2.4 GHz to 5 GHz wireless frequencies and a Bluetooth 4.2 module complete the device.

Usage is fluid, even making long use of the 2 megapixel front camera and the 8 megapixel rear camera.

The keyboard, despite its small size, makes typing easy, and the battery lasted 10 hours and eight minutes. The weight is 450 grams.

What we liked:

· The fluidity of use

· Battery life

What we didn’t like:

· The brightness of the screen

· The low volume

Lenovo V15-IGL laptop

The entry-level machine, therefore low-end, fully meets the typical needs of school use. The 1.1 Ghz Intel Celeron N4020 dual-core processor is not powerful but it balances the equipment that Lenovo has decided to put on board this computer. It is the 4 GB of bouquet that raises some doubts, but the price of about 250 euros makes it understandable the absence of a larger budget. Please note that the Intel UHD Graphics 600 graphics chip is integrated and therefore shares the computer’s RAM.

The operating system is 64-bit Windows 10 Home and the TPM 2.0 firmware supports the upgrade to Windows 11. It has a 256 Gb SSD hard drive, 802.11 wireless a / b / g / n / ac, Bluetooth 5.0, one port USB 2.0 and two USB 3.1 ports in addition to the HDMI jack. The card reader is the classic “4 in 1” for SD, MultiMediaCard, Sdhc and Sdxc media.

15.6-inch HD screen with backlit LCD, VGA camcorder and lithium polymer battery that allowed us to work 4 hours and 12 minutes. It weighs 1.9 kg.

What we liked:

· Plenty of ports for external peripherals

· Battery life

What we didn’t like:

· 4 GB of RAM seems insufficient

· The brightness of the screen

Chuwi gemibook pro

A Chinese manufacturer founded in 2004, Chuwi is not very famous in our latitudes, it specializes in ultraportables, such as the geminibook pro which, despite being low-end, has its versatility and durability.

A computer equipped with 8 Gb of ram and an Intel Celeron Gemini Lake N4020 dual-core processor, with a base frequency of 1.1 GHz. It’s not a splinter but in line with the price, which starts at 305 euros.

Equipped with Windows 10 Home 64-bit and 14.1-inch LCD screen, it has an English-designed keyboard but in the package there is a cover to apply to the keys that returns the classic layout of Italian keyboards. .

The plastic chassis, which is particularly weak on the sides of the screens, suggests that it be handled with a particular touch.

The 1.4-kilogram weight includes a 256 GB solid state drive, an 802.11 b / g / n Wi-Fi module, a USB 2.0 port, a USB 3.0 port and a mini-Hdmi. The micro SD drive allows you to expand the storage space. The graphics chip is the classic Intel UHD Graphics 600 which, having no patented RAM, uses the computer.

We used this machine for 3 hours and 23 minutes without connecting the power supply to the power supply, making it mostly the typical office use without running media files and without finding great difficulty, although experiencing a some slowness in the start-up phase of the machine. applications.Most common.

What we liked:

· The fluidity of use

· Battery life

What we didn’t like:

· The lightweight plastic chassis

· The brightness of the screen

Teclast F7PLUS2

Teclast is a Chinese manufacturer born in 1999 whose products are not among the most famous in Italy. The F7PLUS2 computer is a pleasant surprise in terms of value for money: it can be found from figures close to 350 euros.

The 4-core Intel Gemini Lake N4120 processor has a base speed of 1.1 GHz, typical of cheap, low-power computers. 8 GB of RAM, a 256 GB solid state drive, and an Intel HD Graphics 600 graphics processor (which shares the computer’s RAM) complete the basic equipment of this machine.

On board is 64-bit Windows 10 Home, which we upgraded to Windows 11 without any issues.

The 14 “screen is in full HD and sometimes we noticed a slight and annoying flicker that we could not correct even updating the chipset drivers. The keyboard is backlit, but another sore point is that it has an English layout, and at least at first you need to trace the accented letters. Wifi 802.11 ac and Bluetooth 4.2 (therefore not the latest generation), to which are added 2 USB 3.0 ports, a USB-C port, a mini-Hdmi and a micro SD card reader. The weight of 1.3 kilograms is in line with computers of this size.

The 5-cell battery is a strong point of this laptop, which we have used for typical office functions (word processor, spreadsheet, web browsing) for 5 hours while maintaining a 19% charge. Another positive note, along with the metal chassis, is the absence of cooling fans, which makes the machine quiet.

What we liked:

· Cooling without fan

· Battery life

What we didn’t like:

· The English keyboard

· The screen flashes

Acer Aspire 3 A315-35-P3XM

Taiwanese Acer has been able to create a laptop worthy of entering the mid-range, while keeping the price oriented towards the typical low-end products. In its configuration with an Intel Silver N6000 4-core processor at 1.1 GHz produced in the first quarter of 2021, it is priced at around 400 euros.

Equipped with 8 Gb of DDR4 ram (expandable up to 16) and a 128 Gb solid state drive, it already has Windows 11 on board in S mode, designed to ensure maximum security of the device and in any case can be turned off for free . of an irreversible operation. Once S mode is turned off, it can no longer be reactivated.

The 15.6 ”screen is on hd sheet, has a USB 2 port, two USB 3.2 ports and the inevitable Hdmi port. In addition to the 802.11 ac Wifi network card and the Bluetooth 5.0 module, there is also a Lan port (10, 100 and 1000 Mbit / s). The weight is 1.7 kilograms.

The two-cell battery lasted very well for 6 hours, although I usually did office work and sometimes used a VGA camera. At the end of the work, the indicator indicated 23% of residual energy.

In addition to the absence of a cd / dvd player (sorry), the MicroSd slot and a USB-C port are missing.

What we liked:

The performance is good, but considering the office-related activities

· Battery life

· Refrigeration

What we didn’t like:

· The audio, at full volume, is not very powerful

128 GB of disk space

· The operating system in S mode

Asus P509JA-EJ025R

It is a computer that meets average needs for both home and office. Let’s start with the operating system, Windows 10 Pro, which is already an indication of the ambitions of this machine, also designed for business use. The processor, Intel Core i3-1005G1, has a clock speed of 1.2 GHz which can reach 3.4 GHz at turbo frequency and is a more than acceptable compromise for this Asus PC, whose price is around the 490 euros. 4 Gb of RAM, Intel UHD video card that shares computer RAM and 256 Gb SSD hard drive.

Equipped with Wi-Fi 802.11 ac, the Bluetooth 4.1 module (standard dating from 2013) is a bit perplexing and, given that the machine is also designed for professional users, the absence of Lan port is surprising.

The screen is 15.6-inch Full HD. The computer is equipped with a USB 2.0 port, a USB 3.2 and a USB-C and, in addition to the HDMI input, also has a micro SD card reader. All included in 1.8 kilos in weight.

We stressed the computer a bit, using several applications at once, including watching a streaming movie. It handled the workload well, but the battery ran out after about two and a half hours.

What we liked:

The Windows 10 pro operating system

· Multitasking execution

What we didn’t like:

· The absence of a Lan port

· Battery life

· Refrigeration

Huawei MatePad 11 tablet

Let’s start with the price: 429 euros, not exactly the cheapest of the tablets, but with a value for money in our opinion among the best.

The operating system is HarmonyOS 2.0, an alternative to Android launched by Huawei in 2021. The absence of Google services is noticeable, although there are valid alternatives to AppGallery, Huawei’s app store.

It is equipped with an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor with a clock speed of 2.84 GHz, has 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage space. The 10.95-inch screen with IPS technology and an average brightness of 515 candles per m2 for a resolution of 16:10 (typical of tablets, ie 2560 x 1600 pixels).

The 8-megapixel front camera and 13-megapixel rear camera, plus Wifi 6, a Bluetooth 5.1 module and a USB-C port and the M-Pencil, the active pen to interact with the touch screen complete the ‘hardware equipment of this. tablet. All concentrated in 27 centimeters and weighing 485 grams.

We used the tablet to browse and test handwriting recognition, then focused on using HiSuite, the native PC and Mac sync app. We finally took advantage of the 4 speakers to test their audio quality. The battery lasted for 6 hours and 35 minutes, and considering that we made heavy use of it, the 12 hours guaranteed by Huawei are not utopian.

The smooth use and accuracy of the M-Pencil make the experience enjoyable. Facial recognition, however, needs to be improved, he recognized the same face with and without a mask.

What we liked:

· The fluidity of use

· The accuracy of the pen

What we didn’t like:

Facial recognition

· The absence of Google services makes the use of the device more malicious

Leave a Comment