If you’re getting started with music production, you’ll need to get a laptop capable of handling the demands of music production.
And while a super high-end laptop may be ideal, they can often cost upwards of $1000 which may be out of your budget when you’re just starting out.
Fortunately, there are some laptops out there that will be able to keep up with your needs for under $500! So in this article, we’re going to go over the best laptops for music production that will fit into your $500 budget.
Disclaimer: At the time of writing this article, all the laptops listed below were available for less than $500, but prices do fluctuate and some of them may be more expensive when you’re reading this.
Best Budget Laptop For Music Production
|Image||Name||CPU||RAM||Storage||Screen Size||Check Price|
ASUS VivoBook 15
10th Gen Intel Core i3 or i5
128GB or 512 GB
15.6 Inches (diagonally)
10th Gen Intel Core i3-1005G1
15.6 Inches (diagonally)
Lenovo IdeaPad 3
10th Gen Intel Core i3-1005G1
15 Inches (diagonally)
Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5
10th Gen Intel Core i3-10110U
4GB or 8GB
64GB or 128GB
13 Inches (diagonally)
11th Gen Intel Core i3-1115G4
8GB, 12GB, or 16GB
128GB, 256GB, or 512GB
14 Inches (diagonally)
It comes equipped with a 10th Gen Intel Core i3-1005G1 CPU and 8GB of RAM so while it’s not exactly the most powerful laptop ever, it will still have no trouble handling a regular music production workflow.
It has a 256GB SSD so there should be enough room to store all your tracks but you might need to purchase an external SSD for a bit more space.
The keyboard, trackpad, and overall build quality of this laptop are wonderful. The keyboard is a pleasure to type on and the entire package feels very sturdy and well made which is impressive considering the price point.
Unlike a lot of modern laptops, it actually has quite a generous port selection giving you 1 USB 3.2 Port, an HDMI port, a USB-C port that could be used for connecting a USB-C hub, a headphone/microphone jack, a micro SD card reader and two USB 2.0 ports.
But it’s worth noting that the USB-C port on this laptop is not capable of charging or connecting to an external display.
You can still use an external display via the HDMI port, but this might be a little inconvenient if you want to use a USB-C hub to create a docking station of sorts. But really, this isn’t a huge deal and I guess it’s to be expected with a laptop at this price point.
It comes with Windows 10 in S mode which is slightly annoying because when it’s in Windows 10 s mode, you won’t be able to install any non Microsoft store software such as Daws, but you can very easily switch it out of S mode by following the simple instructions here so it’s really not a big deal.
The one thing about this laptop that really isn’t very good is the screen. It is FHD so everything looks reasonably sharp, and it’s a matte display so you won’t get much glare on it.
But, unfortunately, it doesn’t get very bright which can make it hard to see in bright settings, and because it’s a TM panel instead of IPS, everything will start to look quite bad if you’re looking at it on a bit of an angle.
But really, it still does the job and it will be perfectly fine for music production, and I guess they had to cut corners somewhere to make such a great laptop this cheaply.
So overall, this is an awesome laptop for the price and will be the perfect choice for anyone wanting a laptop that’s very capable of music production without having to spend a fortune.
Want To Buy The ASUS VivoBook 15?
But it is a great, reliable laptop for a great price that will have no trouble handling the demands of music production.
It has a 10th Gen Intel Core i3-1005G1 processor, and while that’s not exactly the most powerful processor around, it will still be able to handle a regular music production workflow without difficulty.
It also has 8GB of RAM which is not huge but perfectly fine and pretty good for a laptop at this price, and 256GB of storage so you might be able to fit all your files on the laptop, but there is still a fair chance you’ll need an external storage device.
It (like the ASUS VivoBook) comes with Windows 10 in S mode, but as I said above you can very easily disable S mode for free so that’s really no big deal.
As for ports, you get an SD card reader, headphone port, 1 USB-C port, two USB A 3.1 ports (regular USB ports), and an HDMI port.
And unfortunately, just like the ASUS VivoBook, the USB-C port can’t be used for charging or display output which is not a huge deal due to the HDMI port but it’s just something to keep in mind.
So, by now, you’ve probably noticed that the HP 15-DY1031WM sounds quite similar to the ASUS VivoBook 15, and they are actually fairly similar laptops. But, one fairly big thing that does set them apart is the screen.
The screen in the HP 15-DY1031WM is actually a lower resolution than the VivoBook, so you might think it’s worse, but apart from the resolution, the HP’s screen really looks better in every other way.
It’s brighter, the colors are better, the viewing angles are much better, and it’s just overall a nicer screen to look at. Obviously at this price the screen isn’t going to be perfectly color accurate or anything like that, but it is certainly better and more enjoyable to look at.
So overall, there’s really nothing overly special about this laptop, but there’s nothing really wrong with it either, it’s just a basic, dependable laptop with some pretty good specs for the price.
And if that sounds good to you, this laptop will be the perfect choice.
Want To Buy The HP 15-DY1031WM?
Probably the most significant difference between this and the previous two laptops is that the keyboard and trackpad are both really good quality and enjoyable to use considering the price.
Like the previous options, it has the same 10th Gen Intel Core i3 processor, the same 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage. So once again, nothing crazy on the performance side of things, but it will be able to handle a regular music production workflow without any issues.
One thing about this laptop that is a little weird is that it doesn’t have a USB-C port which is kind of strange in this day and age.
But other than that it does have an overall good port selection for the price, and seeing as most laptops in this price range usually don’t support charging or display output over the USB-C port anyway, I guess the lack of USB-C here isn’t a huge loss.
The biggest drawback in my opinion, is that the screen is similar in quality to the VivoBook 15, it is FHD so it looks fairly sharp, but the overall picture quality isn’t that good.
This of course isn’t a big deal and it’s perfectly fine for music production, and they have to make cutbacks somewhere to make a good laptop this cheap, but it’s still something you may want to keep in mind.
But aside from all that, the main reason I would recommend the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 over the previous two on this list is that it has a very nice keyboard and trackpad.
Obviously, they’re not going to be as good as a $2000 laptop, but considering the price, they feel really high quality and are overall very enjoyable to use.
So should you get this laptop? Well, it depends. It is very slightly more expensive than the other two options above, so I’d say if you really care about keyboard and trackpad quality, or you really like something about the design of this laptop, this is the one for you.
But, if you don’t really care about either of those things, I would go with one of the previous two options.
Want To Buy The Lenovo IdeaPad 3?
And, due to the lightweight nature of Chrome OS, they are able to run more smoothly on less powerful hardware.
Because Chrome OS can’t actually run any normal Windows apps, I know using a Chromebook for music production might sound like a silly suggestion.
But, while Chromebooks aren’t exactly perfect for music production, it is actually very possible to produce music on a Chromebook (I have a whole article about how to produce music on a Chromebook here).
So if you’re willing to give a Chromebook a try, I would say the best option for under $500 is definitely the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5.
It has similar specs to most of the other laptops on this list, but because it runs Chrome OS instead of Windows, the performance will actually be better. And the external hardware of the device is really nice.
It has a great backlit keyboard which is great if you often work in a dim environment and is something most laptops at this price point don’t have.
And, unlike some of the laptops on this list, the screen is actually quite good. It’s not a perfect screen like you might find on a $2000 laptop, but it’s FHD so it looks nice and sharp, and the brightness, colors, contrast, and viewing angles are all very good.
Another added bonus is that the screen is a touchscreen, and the 360° hinge allows it to fold backwards into a tablet. This isn’t super useful for music production, but it’s still nice to have.
And unlike the other laptops on this list, the USB-C port can actually be used for charging and display output which is great if you want to use a USB-C hub to create a docking station.
The only real downside I can think of (apart from the limitations of Chrome OS), is that the screen is only 13 inches (measured diagonally). So while it’s still perfectly useable, if you don’t have an external screen, you may find it a little cramped for music production.
So overall, while some people may not like the idea of using a Chromebook for music production, if you’re open to giving it a try, I would say the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 is the perfect one for you.
Want To Buy The Lenovo
Chromebook Flex 5?
The HP 14-dq2013dx has one really nice advantage over the others on this list, and that is that it uses intel’s newer 11th Gen processor rather than the older 10th Gen processor that the others use.
So while this particular laptop still only has an Intel Core i3 processor (i3-1115G4 to be precise), the performance is actually going to be somewhat better than the others which will give you more scope to work on more complicated projects and help with futureproofing so you can keep your laptop for longer.
Apart from the newer better processor, the overall rest of the laptop is fairly similar to the others on this list.
It has 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, a decent keyboard, and a very nice port selection. (Unfortunately, like most of the laptops on this list, the USB-C port s not capable of charging or display output.)
Unlike some laptops on this list, the screen is really quite good. Again, it’s not going to be perfect at the price, but the brightness, colors, and viewing angles are all quite good and it’s generally quite a nice screen to look at.
Unfortunately, the build quality is a bit average, all the panels are fairly flexible giving it a bit of a fragile feel, but with normal use, this will really be nothing to worry about, it just makes it feel a little cheaper.
So overall, while it’s nothing that flashy, if you want the best performance you can possibly get from a laptop that costs less than $500, this is going to be the one for you.
Want To Buy The HP 14-dq2013dx?
So there you have it, 5 different options that are under $500 that would be great laptops for music production. Comment down below if you decided to purchase any of these for music production, and if so, which one?