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Budget i5 Laptops (Intel 12th Gen)

cheap i5 laptops

The Intel Core i5 is an excellent mid-range processor for accomplishing most tasks, allowing you to multitask efficiently. It offers the perfect price-to-performance balance making it the ideal choice across a range of use cases.

Whether for daily use or office work, the Intel Core i5 works perfectly when your need to complete typical tasks like sending emails or working on spreadsheets, documents, and presentations.

You can also pair it with a high-performance display and GPU to get an equally good gaming laptop to enjoy your favorite games. An Intel Core i3 wouldn’t offer you similar performance levels, and a Core i7 won’t come cheap, making a Core i5 laptop the perfect middle ground.

The Core i5 is a versatile processor that provides you with tremendous flexibility. You’ll get the perfect laptop to suit your need by selecting the appropriate specifications with your chosen budget, which is impossible with other processors.

The Core i7 and Core i9 are high-performance CPUs ideal for CPU-intensive tasks like high-resolution video or image editing, Computer-Aided Design (CAD) applications, and competitive eSports. Thus, their architecture is highly specialized to deliver superior performance, but this performance comes at a price, and finding a pocket-friendly laptop is close to impossible.

Alternatively, the Core i3 is an affordable option that is perfect for students who need a laptop for their studies. Streaming lectures, research work, and documentation are a breeze, but the Core i3 struggles when you demand greater processing power.

Here is a round of the cheapest i5 laptops on the market. They offer the perfect balance of economy and performance, capturing perfectly the essence of what the Core i5 is designed for.

Comparison of the Cheapest Core i5 Laptops

ImageProductDetailsCheck Price
Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15IAU7 82RK001DUS on Amazon
Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15IAU7 82RK001DUS Display: 15.6-inch IPS
Resolution: 1920x1080 16:9 FHD
CPU: Intel Core i5-1235U
GPU: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 8GB DDR4
Storage: 512GB SSD
Ports:
1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 1
1 x USB 2.0
1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1
1 x HDMI v.1.4b
1 x Card reader
1 x 3.5mm Combo Jack
Buy on Amazon
DELL Inspiron i7420 on Amazon
DELL Inspiron i7420 Display: 14-inch IPS
Resolution: 1920x1200 16:10 FHD+
CPU: Intel Core i5-1235U
GPU: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 12GB DDR4
Storage: 256GB SSD
Ports:
2 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C
1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A
1 x HDMI v.1.4b
1x SD Card Reader
1 x 3.5mm Combo Jack
Buy on Amazon
HP Victus 15-fa0031dx Gaming Laptop on Amazon
HP Victus 15-fa0031dx Gaming Laptop Display: 15.6-inch IPS
Resolution: 1920x1080 16:9 FHD
CPU: Intel Core i5-12450H
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
RAM: 8GB DDR4
Storage: 512GB SSD
Ports:
1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C
2 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A
1 x HDMI v.2.1
1 x RJ-45
1 x 3.5mm Combo Jack
Buy on Amazon
Lenovo IdeaPad 3i on Amazon
Lenovo IdeaPad 3i Display: 15.6-inch IPS
Resolution: 1920x1080 16:9 FHD
CPU: Intel Core i5-1235U
GPU: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 8GB DDR4
Storage: 512GB SSD
Ports:
1 x USB-C 3.0
1 x USB-A 3.0
1 x USB-A 2.0
1 x HDMI
1 x SD Card Reader
1 x 3.5 mm Combo Jack
Buy on Amazon
Dell Inspiron 16 5620 Laptop on Amazon
Dell Inspiron 16 5620 Laptop Display: 16-inch IPS
Resolution: 1920x1200 16:10 FHD+
CPU: Intel Core i5-1235U
GPU: Intel UHD Graphics
RAM: 8GB DDR4
Storage: 512GB SSD
Ports:
1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2x2
2 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1
1 x HDMI v.1.4
1 x SD Card Reader
1 x 3.5 mm Combo Jack
Buy on Amazon
Acer Aspire 5 A515-57-53T2 on Amazon
Acer Aspire 5 A515-57-53T2 Display: 15.6-inch IPS
Resolution: 1920x1080 16:9 FHD
CPU: Intel Core i5-1235U
GPU: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 8GB DDR4
Storage: 512GB SSD
Ports:
1 x Thunderbolt 4
3 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1
1 x HDMI v.2.1
1 x Ethernet (RJ-45)
1 x 3.5mm Combo Jack
Buy on Amazon
ASUS ZenBook 14
2022 Newest ASUS Zenbook 14" 2.8K OLED 90Hz Business Laptop, 12th Gen Intel Evo i5-1240P 12 Cores, 600 nits 100% DCI-P3, 18 hrs Battery Life, 8GB LPDDR5, 512GB SSD, WiFi 6E, Thunderbolt 4 Display: 14-inch OLED
Resolution: 2880x1800 16:10 2.8K
CPU: Intel Core i5-1240P
GPU: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 8GB DDR5
Storage: 512GB SSD
Ports:
2 x Thunderbolt 4
1 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2
1 x HDMI v.2.0
1 x SD Card Reader
1 x 3.5mm Combo Jack
Buy on Amazon
ASUS VivoBook S 15 K3502ZA-DS51 on Amazon
ASUS VivoBook S 15 K3502ZA-DS51 Display: 15.6-inch OLED
Resolution: 1920x1080 16:9 FHD
CPU: Intel Core i5-12500H
GPU: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 8GB DDR4
Storage: 512GB SSD
Ports:
2 x Thunderbolt 4
1 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1
1 x USB 2.0
1 x 3.5mm Combo Jack
Buy on Amazon

Cheapest i5 Laptop – Our Pick

1. Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15IAU7 82RK001DUS – Thin and Light i5 Laptop

The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 weighs 1.63Kgs. and is just 0.78 inches in thickness, making it super easy to carry where your work takes you. But the thin form factor doesn’t mean that Lenovo cuts corners in what it offers.

You get the Intel Core i5-1235U processor with 10-Cores (two performance and eight efficiency cores), 12MB Cache, and up to 4.4GHz clock speed. Lenovo pairs this with 256GB M.2 NVMe and 8GB DDR4 RAM. Unfortunately, the 8GB RAM module comes solders to the SoC, but you also get a DIMM slot to extend the RAM up to 16GB to enhance multitasking capabilities.

The laptop has a 15.6-inch IPS panel display with a FullHD resolution of 1920x1080pixels in a 16:9 aspect ratio. It is a 10-point touchscreen panel that makes it very convenient to navigate windows, and you won’t need a mouse. It uses Intel’s integrated Iris Xe GPU for handling the graphics, and the peak brightness of 300nits is adequate for daily and office use.

For a thin and light, the IdeaPad 3 offers a generous selection of connectivity ports that even include USB-A and HDMI ports, which is not typical for such a form factor. It doesn’t offer an Ethernet port for wired high-speed connectivity, but you get wireless connectivity with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1.

Lenovo also pays special attention to your privacy and security by incorporating a webcam shutter and a fingerprint reader. So, you stay safe from hackers and protect your sensitive data.

Our Take

The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is an excellent choice for users looking for a thin and light laptop to carry with them on their travel. The Core i5 processor and 8GB RAM will use all the applications you need to multitask with ease.

PROS
  • A good selection of ports allows you to connect all your peripheral devices.
  • The touchscreen display makes it convenient to navigate windows.
  • Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 offer high-speed wireless connectivity.
  • It is thin and light, making it easy to carry everywhere.
CONS
  • The soldered RAM module limits future upgrades.
  • The 256GB storage is too little.

2. DELL Inspiron i7420 – Cheapest 2-in-1 i5 Laptop

A 2-in-1 laptop gives you the benefit of a tablet and a laptop, making it the ideal device for work and pleasure. And when you pair this with a Core i5 processor, you get the perfect mid-range computing experience that these laptops need.

The Dell Inspiron i7420 comes with the 12th generation Intel Core i5-1235U processor (10-Core, 12MB Cache, and up to 4.4GHz clock speed). Dell offers the Inspiron 7000 with 12GB DDR4 RAM and 256GB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD storage. Of course, more variants offer up to 64GB RAM and 2TB SSD, but those are significantly higher priced.

The Inspiron i7420 has a 14-inch IPS display with FullHD+ 1920x1200pixel resolution and a 16:10 aspect ratio. Like the IdeaPad 3, this laptop also uses Intel’s integrated Iris Xe GPU, but the screen lacks the wide color gamut and brightness. So, while it’s perfect for work and streaming the occasional video, don’t expect a brilliant visual display when you watch a movie in tablet mode.

However, the pocket-friendly price and 2-in-1 design offer an attractive combination of economy and convenience. The Core i5 processor provides plenty of processing power to accomplish your work, and the tablet mode is great when you want to kick back and catch up on your reading.

The laptop offers plenty of features for your security and well-being. It has a webcam slider and fingerprint reader to keep your data safe. More importantly, the TUV Rheinland-certified screen has low blue light emissions that prevent eye strain, and you can stay productive for long hours.

Our Take

The Dell Inspiron i7420 is perfect for work and pleasure. The Core i5 processor provides enough computing power to cater to typical office work, and the tablet mode is ideal for reading and streaming video during your lunch break.

PROS
  • The TUV Rheinland-certified screen for low blue light emission prevents eye strain.
  • The 2-in-1 design gives you the convenience of a laptop and tablet.
  • Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 offer high-speed wireless connectivity.
  • The backlit keyboard makes it easy to work in dimly lit rooms.
  • Plenty of connectivity ports, including USB-C and HDMI ports.
CONS
  • The screen is unsuitable for enjoying HDR content.
  • The poor heat dissipation tends to overheat the laptop.

3. HP Victus 15-fa0031dx Gaming Laptop – Cheapest Gaming Laptop with Intel Core i5

The HP Victus 15-fa0031dx is an excellent laptop for users who want the Core i5 for gaming. It offers a good display screen and a dedicated GPU that provides an immersive gaming experience. However, the affordable price means that HP cuts corners with the specifications.

The laptop has a 12th generation Intel Core i5-12450H processor (8-Core, 12MB Cache, and up to 4.4GHz clock speed). The processor balances performance and efficiency with four cores, which helps it deliver excellent mid-range gaming. You also get 8GB DDR4 RAM and 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD storage, enough to create your gaming center.

The 15.6-inch IPS panel display offers a FullHD resolution of 1920x1080pixels in a 16:9 aspect ratio. While you get a 144Hz refresh rate that will help prevent motion blur, the 9ms response time will seem like an eternity compared to high-performance gaming devices. And with no support for Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) technologies and an underpowered GPU, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX1650, it would be best to limit your gaming to mid-range titles.

It makes up for what it lacks in gaming hardware by offering you an excellent set of connectivity ports. You get an HDMI v.2.1 port to connect the latest monitors and an RJ-45 port for Gigabit Ethernet. And for wireless connectivity, the laptop supports Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2.

Our Take

The HP Victus 15-fa0031dx is a pocket-friendly gaming laptop that is perfect for mid-range gaming titles that don’t need high-performance specifications. It offers a great set of connectivity ports, including an HDMI v.2.1, to connect the latest monitors.

PROS
  • Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 offer high-speed wireless connectivity.
  • The 144Hz refresh rate prevents motion blur during fast-paced gaming.
  • The Gigabit Ethernet port allows you to play multiplayer games on LAN.
  • The backlit keyboard allows you to work in dimly lit rooms.
  • Plenty of storage space for multiple games and media files.
CONS
  • No VRR technologies for distortion-free gaming.
  • No fingerprint reader for securing your laptop.

4. Lenovo IdeaPad 3i – 15-inch Core i5 Laptop for Everyday and Office Use

The Lenovo IdeaPad 3i has a 15.6-inch IPS panel display that offers a FullHD display, perfect for work and watching the occasional movie in your free time. A 60Hz refresh rate and a 16:9 aspect ratio deliver a reasonably good experience while watching movies.

The laptop has a 12th generation Intel Core i5-1235U processor (10-Core, 12MB Cache, and up to 4.4GHz clock speed). The laptop has an 8GB DDR4 RAM module soldered to the SoC and an additional DIMM slot for another 8GB module. You also get 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD storage that is enough to store all your data and media library.

It is one of the cheapest Core i5 devices on the market. It is a versatile laptop that you can use for a range of applications at home or work, making it an excellent choice for any user on a tight budget.

Our Take

The Lenovo IdeaPad 3i is a super affordable laptop with the 12th generation Intel Core i5 processor, making it a versatile laptop suitable for most users. The Core i5 processor delivers good mid-range performance so that you won’t face problems running word processors and spreadsheet software.

PROS
  • The 512GB storage space is perfect for storing your data and media library.
  • Dolby Sound and Smart Noise Cancellation deliver excellent sound quality.
  • Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 provide high-speed wireless connectivity.
  • The thin and lightweight design makes it easy to carry when you travel.
CONS
  • The soldered RAM module limits future upgrades.
  • No Ethernet port for wired high-speed network connectivity.

5. Dell Inspiron 16 5620 Laptop – Cheap Core i5 Laptop with 16:10 Aspect Ratio

The 16:10 aspect ratio is ideal for professionals whose work involves reading, coding, or any other task that requires text. The Dell Inspiron 16 5620 is perfect for such professionals as it offers this aspect ratio and combines it with a great set of specifications.

The Inspiron 5620 comes with the Intel Core i5-1235U processor, 8GB DDR4 RAM, and 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD storage. Thus, you get an excellent mid-range laptop that is perfect for programmers who need an affordable laptop that is powerful enough to compile numerous lines of code.

The laptop features a 16-inch IPS panel display to accommodate the 16:10 aspect ratio and FHD+ 1920x1200pixels resolution. While you get an anti-glare screen that makes it easy to use in a brightly lit room, the 250nits brightness is a bit of a letdown.

Dell provides you with various connectivity ports, including a USB-C 3.2 Gen 2×2 port that offers a data transfer speed of up to 20Gbps. And while professionals would appreciate the inclusion of Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 for wireless connectivity, the laptop lacks an Ethernet port to connect to a wired LAN.

Our Take

The Dell Inspiron 5620 is perfect for professionals who prefer a display with a 16:10 aspect ratio to enhance their productivity. And with Wi-Fi 6E, Dell ensures that you stay connected with your team or client without any network interference and minimal disruptions.

PROS
  • The 16-inch IPS screen with a 16:10 aspect ratio helps enhance productivity.
  • TUV Rheinland-certified screen for low blue light emissions.
  • ExpressCharge enables you to charge your laptop to 80% in one hour.
  • The FullHD webcam delivers high-quality video calls.
CONS
  • Low brightness levels
  • Poor battery life.

6. Acer Aspire 5 A515-57-53T2 – Cheap i5 Laptop with Thunderbolt 4 ports

It is nearly impossible to find a laptop that offers the 12th generation Intel Core i5-1235U processor and comes with a Thunderbolt 4 port. The Acer Aspire 5 offers both and what is most surprising is that it still manages to keep the price down.

The laptop comes with 8GB DDR4 RAM and plenty of storage with the 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD module. You also get Intel’s integrated Iris Xe Graphics, making it ideal for typical everyday and office tasks.

Acer offers the Aspire 5 A515-57-53T2 with a 15.6-inch FullHD IPS panel display with a resolution of 1920x1080pixel. The narrow bezels give the screen a screen-to-body ratio of 81%, giving you a generous amount of real estate for work and video calls.

The Thunderbolt 4 port gives you the added advantage of daisy-chaining up to two 4K monitors to multitask efficiently. The HDMI v.2.1 port gives you added flexibility to connect to the latest monitors, and the numerous USB ports allow you to connect all your peripheral devices.

Our Take

It is hard to find an affordable laptop that offers the convenience of a Thunderbolt 4 port. The Acer Aspire 5 offers that and combines it with a pocket-friendly price, making it an unbeatable deal overall.

PROS
  • Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 provide high-speed wireless connectivity.
  • The Thunderbolt 4 port provides a data transfer speed of 40Gbps.
  • The HDMI v.2.1 port allows you to connect the latest monitors
  • Copper pipes and multiple cooling modes provide excellent heat dissipation.
  • The Aluminum body makes it durable.
CONS
  • No SD Card Reader.
  • Below par color accuracy and reproduction.

7. ASUS ZenBook 14 – Core i5 Laptop with DDR5 RAM

With DDR5 on offer, the Asus ZenBook 14 has good reason to be expensive. However, despite that, Asus manages to offer a reasonably priced laptop and offer you plenty more.

Unlike most other laptops on our list, the ZenBook comes with the 12th generation Intel Core i5-1240P processor (12-Cores, 4-Performance and 8-Efficiency, 12MB Cache, and up to 4.40GHz clock speed). Thus, offering significantly better performance than the Core i5-1235U processor. Asus pairs this with 8GB DDR5 RAM and 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD storage.

The ZenBook has a brilliant 14-inch OLED panel display with a resolution of 2880x1800pixels in a 16:10 aspect ratio. You get a peak brightness of 600nits courtesy of the VESA-certified DisplayHDR True Black 600. Further, the OLED screen ensures a contrast ratio of 1000000:1. The laptop offers realistic and accurate colors because it features a wide color gamut that covers 100% of the DCI-P3 color gamut.

Our Take

The Asus ZenBook 14 is pricier than all other laptops on our list. However, the difference isn’t a deal breaker, especially when you consider that the laptop offers far more bang for your buck by including an OLED screen, dual Thunderbolt 4 ports, and DDR5 RAM.

PROS
  • Thunderbolt 4 ports provide fast data transfer rates.
  • The DDR5 RAM offers superior multitasking.
  • The OLED screen offers fantastic image quality.
  • Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 offer high-speed wireless connectivity.
  • The 18-hour battery life will last you an entire day.
CONS
  • No FullHD webcam despite the price.
  • No Ethernet port for wired LAN connections.

8. ASUS VivoBook S 15 K3502ZA-DS51– Cheap i5 Laptop with OLED Display

The Asus VivoBook S 15 K3502ZA-DS51 has a 15.6-inch OLED panel display that offers a FullHD. The screen is Pantone Validated for color accuracy, and with VESA-certified DisplayHDR True Black 600, the colors look vibrant and extremely lifelike. Asus also includes TUV Rheinland certification for a Low Blue Light emission and Flicker-Free Screen, which means your eyes stay safe even while you work long hours.

The S 15 comes with the 12th generation Intel Evo Core i5-12500 processor (4P+8E Cores, 18MB Cache, and up to 4.50GHz). Unlike the ZenBook, you get 8GB DDR4 RAM; of this, 4GB is soldered to the SoC, and you get a DIMM slot for 4GB more, making the 8GB limitation the only major limitation of this laptop. For storage, the S 15 comes with a 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD, so you can easily store all your media files.

Asus includes all the bells and whistles for your security and privacy, including a fingerprint sensor, webcam privacy shutter, and backlit keyboard so you can work in dimly lit rooms. You also get a great set of ports, including two Thunderbolt 4 and one HDMI v.2.1 port.

Our Take

The Asus Vivobook S 15 is perfect for anyone who needs a brilliant screen that offers incredible color accuracy and fantastic picture quality at a pocket-friendly price. While the Intel Evo platform streamlines the processor for typical business applications, the Thunderbolt 4 port adds to the overall utility of the laptop.

PROS
  • The OLED screen displays bright and beautiful image quality.
  • The AI Noise cancellation helps to improve video call quality.
  • Thunderbolt 4 ports provide fast data transfer rates.
  • Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 offer high-speed wireless connectivity.
  • The fingerprint sensor and webcam shutter provide privacy and security.
CONS
  • The 8GB cap on RAM restricts the laptop.
  • No Ethernet port for wired network connectivity.

Cheapest i5 Laptops – Buying Guide

Here are some crucial considerations to keep in mind when buying a laptop for the Core i5 Processor.

Processor Version

If you have read through the entire article, you would have noted several implementations of the Intel Core i5 processor. While the most common Core i5-1235U offers two performance and eight efficiency cores, other implementations like the i5-12450H, i5-1240P, and i5-12500H offer more.

Of course, the more the number of cores, the more efficiently the computer handles the work. This also means that you pay a slight premium for more cores. Nevertheless, these are excellent processors, and you won’t easily find one that offers more than four performance cores at similar price points.

System Specifications

Apart from the processor, you must decide on the RAM and storage you require with your laptop.

Since this is a line-up of affordable Core i5 laptops, the most common RAM type and capacity is the 8GB DDR4 avatar. Most manufacturers offer this because it allows them to keep the overall pricing low.

However, some manufacturers offer you the flexibility to expand RAM capacities up to 32GB. We recommend such laptops as they allow you to start small and expand when you need changes.

Similarly, you won’t find affordable Core i5 laptops with 1TB or higher storage. While the most common capacity on offer is 512GB, few manufacturers offer 256GB to lower the cost further. We recommend you get at least 512GB as the price difference is not much.

Display Screen

The critical choice you have to make is the size and panel type. While the most common size is the 15.6-inch screen, some manufacturers may also offer a 14-inch screen to help keep the price low. We recommend the 15.6-inch screen size as most provide a FullHD resolution in a 16:9 aspect ratio. But if you prefer a 16:10 aspect ratio, you’ll have to settle for a 14-inch or 16-inch screen.

Essentially, the choice of panel type is limited to two, IPS or OLED. While these panel types offer excellent image quality, IPS panels are cheaper but are no match for the contrast ratio of OLED screens.

Ports

Most laptops offer USB-A and 3.5mm audio jacks. So, it is advisable to look for what other ports a laptop has on offer. For instance, if you intend to use this laptop with the latest external monitors, an HDMI v.2.1 port would make more sense than an HDMI v.1.4.

Similarly, if you have Thunderbolt docks or an external drive, you’ll easily find cheap Core i5 laptops that offer Thunderbolt 4 ports.

Cheapest i5 Laptops -Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Intel Core i5 much worse than the Core i7?

They are both excellent processors meant for widely different applications. The i7 processor offers top-notch performance but is far more expensive than the i5. In comparison, the i5 provides a far better price-to-performance ratio, making them a more attractive option for most users.

How does an i5 compare with i3?

While laptops with Core i3 are considerably cheaper than laptops with Core i5, they don’t offer as much processing power. Thus, they are only suitable for tasks like browsing the internet, sending emails, or other less CPU-intensive tasks.

A laptop with Core i5 offers significantly better performance that allows you to accomplish more and doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket.

Is the Intel Core i5 better than AMD Ryzen 5?

They are both fairly evenly matched when it comes to performance, but a more discerning user may opine that i5 processors hold a slight edge in performance. However, AMD Ryzen 5 is considered to be more power efficient.

Are Core i5 laptops for gaming?

Yes, the laptops with Core i5 processors have several cores with multiple threads and clock speeds up to 4.60GHz making them suitable for mid-to-high-range gaming titles. The GPU is a more important factor when it comes to gaming laptops.

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