Using a 2GHz Intel 5th-generation Core i3 processor that supports HyperThreading, it's suitable for a range of uses, from office work to Netflix streaming, and there's enough memory and storage for general Windows use.
Read the full review: Dell Latitude E3550
3. Toshiba Satellite L50-C-12V
A sharp-looking machine with plenty of storage
CPU: Intel Core i5-5200U (2.2GHz, dual-core) | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 15.6-inch (1366 x 768) | Storage: 1TB hard disk | Camera: 720p HD webcam | Weight: 2.5kg | Dimensions: 384mm x 265mm x 25mm
Available in sharp grey or bright red, the Core i5 version of the Lenovo G70 represents excellent bang for your buck. With 8GB of memory and a 2.2GHz dual-core processor, it jumps to a Turbo Mode clock speed of 2.7 GHz when under load.
It'll have no problems running light design tools such as Photoshop, and with a 1TB hard disk, there's enough storage to install plenty of programs, media and other files.
Read the full review: Lenovo G50-70
4. HP Pavilion 15-p251na
A mid-range notebook with oodles of memory and storage
CPU: AMD A10-4655M (2.0GHz, quad-core) | Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 7620G | RAM: 12GB | Screen: 15.6-inch (1366 x 768) | Storage: 2TB hard disk | Camera: HP TrueVision HD Webcam | Weight: 2.3kg | Dimensions: 389mm x 260mm x 24mm
Although a powerful desktop gaming computer is more likely to have an Intel chip, an AMD processor works well in a mid-range laptop such as the HP Pavilion 15 due to being such good value for money.
For everyday tasks, you won't be able to spot the difference, and HP has ploughed the savings into a better overall specification. You get a whopping 2TB hard disk, a bigger capacity than is usually offered on a laptop of this price, and large enough to stuff full of music and videos. Similarly 12GB of memory is more than you normally find on a £500 laptop.
Read the full review: HP Pavilion 15-p251na
5. Fujitsu Lifebook A555
Boasts 802.11ac Wi-Fi for faster downloads
CPU: Intel Core i5-5200U (2.2GHz, dual-core) | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 15.6-inch (1366 x 768) | Storage: 500GB hard disk | Camera: HD webcam | Weight: 2.4kg | Dimensions: 378mm x 256mm x 31mm
Fujitsu's Lifebook A555 may come with a slightly smaller hard disk and less memory than some of the other laptops here, but it offers fast 802.11ac wireless speeds via a built-in Intel Wireless-AC 7265 adaptor, which you don't get on all laptops.
As long as your router supports the faster wireless standard, you'll get better download speeds and faster web browsing.
Read the full review: Fujitsu Lifebook A555
6. Asus X555LD
A Core i7-powered laptop with discrete graphics
CPU: Intel Core i7-4510U (2.0GHz, dual-core) | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce 820M | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 15.6-inch (1366 x 768) | Storage: 1TB hard disk | Camera: VGA web camera | Weight: 2.3kg | Dimensions: 382mm x 256mm x 26mm
Most of the laptops we've covered use Intel's integrated HD graphics, which will work fine with older games, but will struggle with more modern titles. Asus has managed to squeeze a discrete GeForce 820 card into its X555LD laptop though, which will slightly improve its gaming capabilities.
With a Core i7 processor that runs at 3.1GHz in Turbo Mode, as well as the usual 8GB of memory and 1TB hard disk, the X555LD offers quite impressive performance for the money.
Read the full review: Asus X555LD
7. Acer Aspire E5-573
A good all-rounder with stylish looks
CPU: Intel Core i5-5200U (2.2GHz, dual-core) | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 15.6-inch (1366 x 768) | Storage: 1TB hard disk | Camera: HD webcam | Weight: 2.4kg | Dimensions: 382 x 256 x 29mm
Acer's new Aspire model shows you don't need bright or garish colours to look sharp, with a stylish dark grey and black design.
In this variant you get a dual-core Core i5-5200U processor, 8GB of memory and a 1TB hard disk, which gives the Aspire a specification that's capable of any general task it's assigned.
Read the full review: Acer Aspire E5-573
8. HP Pavilion 17-g034na
This 17-inch laptop represents great value for money
CPU: Intel Core i3-5010U | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce 940M | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 17.3-inch (1600 x 900) | Storage: 2TB hard disk | Camera: HP TrueVision HD webcam | Weight: 2.8kg | Dimensions: 419 x 287 x 28mm
If you're tempted by a laptop with a larger screen and higher resolution than our other suggestions, HP's Pavilion 17 could be a good choice. It has a 17-inch display, along with a Core i3 processor, 8GB of memory, Nvidia GeForce 940M mobile graphics card and 2TB of storage.
And interestingly enough, it fits within the same £500 price bracket as other mid-range laptops, making this notebook a real winner in terms of value for money.
Read the full review: HP Pavilion 17-g034na