The great $500 laptop challenge

With a $500 budget and a list of rules, we sent some CNET editors out to find the perfect budget laptop.

CNET/Dan Ackerman

Built to order: HP Pavilion TouchSmart 11z-e000, $499
Selected by: Joshua Goldman

Maybe I'm an oddity these days, but when I'm at home, I work on a desktop. That means I don't need a ton of power and performance from a laptop, just something small and reasonably light for a daily commute or moving around the house. The HP Pavilion 11z is perfect: Since it starts at $399.99, I was able to move up from the dual-core AMD CPU to a quad-core version with improved integrated graphics and double the RAM to 8GB and still come in at $499.99. It has a touch screen, too, which I find more useful on smaller laptops since you're closer to the screen, and rearranging windows and moving files can just be done with your fingertip.

About the author

Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of laptops, desktops, and Windows tablets, while also writing about games, gadgets, and other topics. A former radio DJ and member of Mensa, he's written about music and technology for more than 15 years, appearing in publications including Spin, Blender, and Men's Journal.


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