Note: Our comparison table only shows our top 5 picks. You can find the other recommendations within this article.
If you have no idea about computers and processors then let me explain it to you in simple language, i3 processors are usually a budget-friendly option, and i7 processors are known to be the most expensive and powerful ones.
And here comes the i5 processor which can be affordable as well as powerful enough to handle most of the programs and games. Now you have a better idea about Intel's processors, and I guess you're ready to make a purchase.
Most of the i5 laptops are considered as the best value machines since they can run most of the games as well as high-end tasks like video editing, graphics designing, and music production.
Also, according to many experts, i5 processors consume very less battery life compared to the i7 processor, and that's not something people take lightly.
What Intel i5 processor series to choose?
If we look at the mobile processors, there are two series', and their model name ends with either U or HQ. Intel Core i5 U processors are usually known for saving battery life, nd they last a lot longer than usual HQ processors.
If we look at i5 processors ending with HQ, they are designed for high performance and are quad-core processors. They deliver the maximum speed and might consume a lot more battery life than U series processors. They also include better-inbuilt graphics, and with an additional GPU from NVIDIA, these laptops are ready to rock the gaming world.
You should also make sure that your i5 laptop has at least 4 GB of memory and the more is always best for you.
Who Should Buy an Intel Core i5 Laptop?
Intel i5 laptops are suitable for almost every kind of person, and there isn't a particular profession. These laptops are budget-friendly as well as powerful enough to handle both demanding and casual tasks.
However, many laptops feature i5 processor, and you need to know exactly what you'll be doing on it. That's how you can finalize other specifications like RAM, storage space and GPU. If you are using it to play games, then we recommend that you look for a machine with NVIDIA GPU as well as SSD.
Our Top Picks for Best i5 Laptops
1. Acer Aspire E 15
The Acer Aspire E 15 is currently one of the best i5 laptops, and it proves that you can find some amazing laptops for under $600. It comes with NVIDIA GeForce MX150 GPU and 8 GB of DDR4 RAM.
It features a solid construction that should be able to take your daily wear and tear usage. It uses a 6-cell Li-Ion battery that can last for up to 15 hours under normal use. Its 8th generation Intel Core i5-8250U processor with the help of NVIDIA GPU will run most of your games with above average frame rates.
It looks similar to most of the Acer Aspire series notebooks. Nothing exciting or flashy, but great for a more conservative buyer. Backed by 256 GB SSD, it will boost your boot-time and application-loading performance while multitasking and playing games.
We also recommend it to most of the casual gamers since it packs few things that are desired by players like its full HD display, NVIDIA GPU, and backlit keyboard. All in all, it's one of the best performers for such price making it our top recommendation for the best i5 laptop.
2. Apple MacBook Air MMGF2LL/A
The Apple MacBook Air is known for its portability and amazing battery life. Other than that, it offers good performance, and we usually do not recommend it to budget users.
However, if you can afford it, you will go to a whole new level of computing with Apple's macOS X and premium quality hardware. It features a beautiful 13-inch Retina display with a resolution of 2560 x1600.
Other than Intel Core i5 processor, it features 8 GB of RAM, Intel UHD Graphics 617 and 128 GB of SSD storage. For iPhone users or anyone looking for a portable laptop to connect with their smartphone, you just won't find a better option than this.
It features a full aluminum body that weighs less than 2.75 pounds and this changed the whole meaning of portability in the laptop world. Its storage space might be an issue for many who'd want to save their movies and games, but it's surely better for performance and for storage we suggest you use an external HDD.
Overall, the light weight and long battery life of 12 hours makes this a highly mobile laptop that be used for doing light gaming and other relatively high-end tasks like video editing, DJing, programming, writing, etc.
3. Dell 15-Inch Gaming Laptop
This particular device by Dell is certainly the best i5 laptop that is specially designed for gamers.
Recently, we also listed it in our guide of best gaming laptops under $800 and I must say it provides a gaming experience that can easily be compared to professional gaming notebooks. Looking at its graphics, it features a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M 4 GB GPU which is more than enough to handle most of the popular games.
The 256 GB SSD helps with quick booting and also boosts the gaming performance. Its other specifications include Intel Quad-Core i5-6300HQ processor, 15-inch full HD display, and 8 GB DDR3L memory.
While buying it off from Amazon, you're also given the choice of this laptop with gaming mouse or an additional 8 GB of RAM.
You can also check its thousands of reviews on Amazon where you'll notice almost all buyers have praised its design and performance. Overall, it's an excellent choice for anyone looking for an i5 laptop, and it's also one of the best laptops with a backlit keyboard.
4. ASUS ZenBook UX303UA
The ASUS ZenBook UX303UA is yet another one of the best i5 laptops, and it's a perfect choice for users that need a powerful laptop for their everyday tasks. It has all the essential features and ports except the DVD drive.
It's powered by 6th generation Intel Core i5-6200U Skylake processor along with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB SSD. It's a premium looking notebook that packs a decent hardware, and we recommend it to anyone including college students, businessmen, web developers, etc.
However, we do not recommend it to gamers as it doesn't have a GPU that is required by most of the games. It's also available in two more variants that include an NVIDIA GT 940M GPU and i7 processor, but that will surely cost you over $1000.
Portability and power both go well with this device and we recommend this gem to anyone who is looking for a lightweight laptop. Its 13-inch display with a resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels is a perfect match for watching movies and videos.
Overall, it's among the best laptops for writers as well as travelers since it packs a big touchpad and well-spaced backlit keyboard.
5. Dell XPS 9350-4007SLV
The Dell XPS 9350-4007SLV is an extremely portable and lightweight 13-inch touchscreen laptop that comes with a long battery life. It's another one of the best i5 laptops for primary users and not gamers since it doesn't have that kind of specifications.
However, it has plenty of power for non-graphical tasks thanks to its Intel Core i5-6200U processor, 256 GB SSD, 8 GB of RAM and Intel HD 520 graphics. Surprisingly, it features a 4k display with 3200 x 1800 pixels and also a battery life that can last for almost 11 hours.
My friend who is a Windows expert, as well as a software engineer, has been using it for over a year and according to him, there's no other portable laptop with such power. It's also available in some different variants including with i7 processor and 512 GB SSD.
It's also available with three different laptop carriers like a backpack, messenger bag, and sleeve. Overall, it's a high-end and sleek laptop that's designed pretty nicely and feels very comfortable.
6. HP Pavilion 15 TouchScreen
The HP Pavilion 15 is one of the standard i5 laptops but still packs powerful specifications for such low price. While it's able to handle most of the average games, it won't be able to run latest high-end titles due to the lack of GPU.
Its speakers can be pretty loud for watching movies and listening music in a group. It features a sturdy keyboard with black keys and perfectly matches with the overall structure of its silver body. Speaking of the hardware, it comes with 8 GB DDR4 SDRAM, Intel Core i5-8250U processor, and a 1 TB HDD.
It's a complete package of power, portability, and price. We highly recommend it to our budget users that need a laptop for their everyday tasks except gaming. It's currently available with an additional mouse, power adapter, and backpack.
One can choose whatever they need, and you probably will be saving a lot with a combo deal. Backed by a solid 15-inch full HD display, this one certainly is among the best budget i5 laptops of the year.
7. ASUS VivoBook S15
The ASUS VivoBook S15 is yet another one of the budget friendly i5 laptops that can be used for intensive tasks and casual gaming. Almost all ASUS laptops are usually designed for budget users that need power more than anything.
You're getting some solid specifications with this one such as 5th generation Intel Core i5 processor, 256GB SSD and 8 GB of RAM. The device runs on 64-bit Windows 10.
It's a lot better than its alternatives and one can easily upgrade its specifications to whatever you want. It also features a keyboard with an IceCool system that will help you with keeping your hands cool. For people whose jobs require a lot of typing might avoid it due to lack of backlit keyboard.
However, that's not an issue for most of the daily users and considering its price; you simply can't ask for more. Its touchpad is extremely flexible and can be used comfortably without the need of a mouse. With the battery life of over 5 hours, the ASUS VivoBook S15 is a fabulous option for budget users looking for an i5 laptop.
8. HP Pavilion 17
Are you looking for an i5 laptop that's portable yet available for under $500? If yes, then the HP 17-G119DX is surely something that you need to consider. It has 4 GB of RAM, and one can easily expand it to 8 GB with an additional RAM.
It flaunts 17-inch display with BrightView technology and to watch some HD videos and movies it comes with Intel HD 4400 graphics. Its other specs include Intel Core i5-4210U processor and 1 TB HDD.
Although it's mostly recommended to multimedia users, one can also use it for casual gaming and other heavy tasks. Moreover, it's impossible to find a 17-inch laptop with such specifications for this price. For storage, it already includes a 1 TB HDD, but for better performance, we recommend purchasing an additional SSD.
The full-size keyboard is surely appreciated by users who have to do a lot of calculating such as accountants and lawyers. Overall, it's an incredibly convenient PC and can be used as a regular home computer as well as office tasks.
9. Lenovo IdeaPad 720s
Lenovo IdeaPad 720s is a traditional laptops made by Lenovo, and many choose it due to its affordability and reliable performance. While it may be a little too traditional for many users, it's still powered by Intel Core i5-8250U processor and has 8 GB of RAM.
One feature we love about this laptop is that it has a 256GB SSD rather than magnetic hard drive. This provides extensive storage while not sacrificing boot times and program load speeds.
It includes a decent Lenovo keyboard and runs on Windows 10 Home. Its display is an average budget quality screen, and it could have been better.
Its 14-inch size and low weight make it portable enough to carry around easily. It features a classic Lenovo design and packs a decent keyboard and large touchpad for better typing experience. It's highly known for being one of the most durable laptops and providing its users with long battery life.
As already described, its battery life is exceptionally great with 14 hours life, and it is exceptional value for money machine. Overall, it can be used for almost anything and is a great option for anyone looking for a powerful and affordable laptop.
10. Microsoft Surface Laptop 2
Who doesn't like a laptop that is powerful, reliable and portable? Well, here comes the Microsoft Surface Laptop 2. It's a 15-inch notebook that has gotten so much popularity in a very less span of time. Since it's not the latest model, you can can some great deals on this one.
Unlike more traditional laptops, this one has a fantastic design that feels very luxurious and attractive. It's equipped with a 1.6 GHz Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD.
This is a very portable choice for people who need a portable computing solution. It's lightweight (under 3 lbs) and thin. It has amazing battery life at 14.5 hours.
It has plenty of ports and an optical DVD drive for better connectivity. Windows 10 works well with the machine. This is a great machine for both everyday and more advanced computing requirements. We highly recommend it if you are someone who needs to be highly mobile (especially travelers and students).
I believe now you understand everything about i5 laptops and know which one will be suitable for you. All of these laptops are from highly reputed brands, and we can assure you that they’ll have no issues with your work and casual games.
Feel free to check our other guides like high-performance laptops if you’re not satisfied with one of these. If you have any other requirements like portability or if you can’t afford one of these then let us know through our expert advice page, and we’ll make sure to find a good laptop for you within your budget.