The best i5 processor laptop comes neatly within budget.
So, there’s no need to settle for a Core i3 laptop.
And no need to spend the extra coin for a system with a Core i7. When with a few configurations, you can get similar value. At a cheaper price.
One of the most important features of any computing device is the processor. And Intel has been serving the laptop market well with its superior line of CPUs for years.
But finding the right Core i5 laptop to serve your needs requires the right combination of features to maximize the processor’s potential.
i5 Processor Laptop
- i5 Processor Laptop
- Best i5 laptop-Comparison
- The Run Down
- Best i5 Processor Laptop: The Intel Core i5 Processor
- Best i5 Processor Laptop : When Is a Core i5 Laptop the Right Choice for You?
- CPU Terms That’ll Help You Along the Way
- Best i5 Processor Laptop : The Core i5 Laptop Generations
- Best i5 Processor Laptop: Intel Core i5 Lines
- The Best i5 Processor Laptop: Here’s Exactly What You Need to Look For
- The Research Method
- Best i5 Processor Laptop-Review
- 1. Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575G-57D4 15.6-inch
- See what others are saying about this laptop only on Amazon. 2. Apple MacBook Pro (MD101LL/A) 13.3-inch
- 3. Dell Inspiron 15 i7559-763BLK 15.6-inch
- 4. Apple MacBook Air (MMGG2LL/A) 13.3-inch
- 5. Acer Chromebook 15 CB5-571-58HF 15.6-inch
- 6. HP Notebook 15-ay011nr 15.6-inch
- 7. Asus ZenBook UX330UA-AH54 13.3-inch
- 8. Asus ZX53VW 15.6-inch
- 9. HP Envy 13-ab01nr Notebook 13.3-inch
- 10. Acer Switch Alpha 12 2-in-1 12-inch
If you already know what you’re looking for in an i5 processor laptop. Here are the top picks:
Best i5 laptop-Comparison
|Laptop||# of Cores||Generation/Processor||Graphics Card||RAM/Storage||Price|
|Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575G-57D4 15.6-inch||Dual-Core||KabyLake/2.5GHz (up to 3.1GHz) i5-7200U||NVIDIA GeForce 940MX 2GB GDDR5 RAM||8GB DDR4/256GB SSD; DVD||Check|
|Apple MacBook Pro (MD101LL/A) 13.3-inch||Dual-Core||Ivy Bridge/2.5GHz (up to 3.1GHz) Intel Dual-Core i5-3201M||Intel HD Graphics 4000 Integrated||4GB DDR3/500GB HDD; DVD-RW||Check|
|Dell Inspiron 15 i7559-763BLK 15.6-inch||Quad-Core||Skylake/2.3GHz (up to 3.2GHz) i5-6300HQ||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M 4GB GDDR5 RAM||8GB DDR3L/256GB SSD; No Optical Drive||Check|
|Apple MacBook Air (MMGG2LL/A) 13.3-inch||Dual-Core||Broadwell/1.6GHz (up to 2.7GHz) Dual-Core i5 w/ 3MB shared L3 cache||Intel HD Graphics 6000 Integrated||8GB LPDDR3/256GB PCIe-based flash storage; No Optical Drive||Check|
|Acer Chromebook 15 CB5-571-58HF 15.6-inch||Dual-Core||Broadwell/2.2GHz (up to 2.7GHz) i5-5200U w/ 3MB Cache||Intel HD Graphics 5500 Integrated||4GB DDRL/32GB Solid-State Drive; No Optical Drive||Check|
|HP Notebook 15-ay011nr 15.6-inch||Dual-Core||Skylake/2.3GHz (up to 2.8GHz) i5-6200U w/ 3MB Cache||Intel HD Graphics 520 Integrated||8GB DDR3L/128GB SSDr; DVD Writer||Check|
|Asus ZenBook UX330UA-AH54 13.3-inch||Dual-Core||KabyLake/2.5GHz (up to 3.1GHz) i5-7200U||Intel HD Graphics 520 Integrated||8GB DDR3/256GB SSD; No Optical Drive||Check|
|Asus ZX53VW 15.6-inch||Quad-Core||Skylake/2.3GHz (up to 3.2GHz) i5-6300HQ||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M 4GB RAM||8GB DDR3/512GB SSD; No Optical Drive||Check|
|Acer Switch Alpha 12 2-in-1 12-inch||Dual-Core||Skylake/2.3GHz (up to 2.8GHz) i5-6200U||HD Graphics 520 Integrated||8GB LPDDR3/256GB SSD; No Optical Drive||Check|
|Acer Switch Alpha 12 2-in-1 12-inch||Dual-Core||Skylake/2.3GHz (up to 2.8GHz) i5-6200U||HD Graphics 520 Integrated||8GB LPDDR3/256GB SSD; No Optical Drive||Check|
The Run Down
Intel is best known for manufacturing CPUs that deliver a consistent 1, 2 punch of performance, and affordability.
Intel’s Core i5 processor stands out by powering many high-performance machines that range from notebooks. To 2-in-1s. Ultrabooks. And even gaming laptops.
The best i5 processor laptop will provide you with reliable power. Without breaking the bank.
To make your life easier. We’ve put together a list of 10 of the best laptops with Intel’s Core i5 processor currently available.
Throughout this guide. You’ll see our detailed rundown of the most important specs, benefits and perks.
If you want actionable tips on:
- how many cores you should get
- the meaning behind those processor terms
- what you need to know about Core i5 processors generally
- and, what to look for in the best i5 processor laptop so you get the most out of your workday
We’d love to help you answer all of these questions in this guide.
But maybe an i5 laptop isn’t what you’re looking for after all? No worries. You’ll find links along the way to articles that feature laptops within a similar price. With the best options for your budget: like this one below.
(Keep an eye out for our helpful PRO TIPS along the way.)
Best i5 Processor Laptop: The Intel Core i5 Processor
To understand what the Intel Core i5 processor offers, it’s helpful to understand Intel’s development cycle.
Best i5 Processor Laptop: The Tick/Tock Method
‘Tick/tock’ is Intel’s two-fold strategy for developing the micros.
What are micros? Transistors-small functional blocks that connect with each other to form a processor.
Intel’s ‘tick’ minimizes the minimum size used to create transistors. Reducing these blocks helps the processor perform more tasks using the same hardware.
The company’s ‘tock’ distributes the blocks (or changes the architecture of the transistors) in a way that makes the micro behave more efficiently.
Best i5 Processor Laptop: Naming Conventions
The Intel Core i5 processor first appeared in 2009 with the codename ‘Sandy Bridge’. It used a 32 nanometer (nm) node process, which refers to the half distance between identical feature of a memory cell.
Intel uses these Codenames to distinguish a processor’s microarchitecture. Each new generation promises better performance, and more efficient power consumption.
Best i5 Processor Laptop : When Is a Core i5 Laptop the Right Choice for You?
A Core i7 laptop is tempting when the work you do requires a lot of processing power. A laptop with a Core i3 processor is equally tempting when budget is a primary concern.
Is the Core i5, then, the happy median it’s positioned to be?
When portability, reliability. And the ability to serve all your computing needs for less than you’ll pay for an i7 laptop are important. A Core i5 processor laptop is the perfect choice.
For most users, including gamers. And those who work with processor heavy programs. A the best i5 Processor laptop makes the most sense.
There are many other factors that determine overall system performance, which will get into throughout this guide.
PRO TIP #1: The most important thing to keep in mind is that a laptop with a Core i5 won’t bottleneck daily performance. And you won’t pay the premium that you will for an i7 laptop.
CPU Terms That’ll Help You Along the Way
Dual Core vs Quad Core In the Best i5 Processor Laptop
The number of cores has the most effect on a processor’s performance. And by extension, the overall performance of your laptop.
You can think of each core as a processor. Each one works on a separate task to prevent system bottlenecks.
Having several cores can drastically increase the speed at which a program runs. But not all programs take advantage of multiple cores.
PRO TIP #2: For general web-browsing, Dual-Cores are more than sufficient. But for activities like coding, 3D work, and modern games. A Quad-Core i5 processor will be beneficial.
Best i5 Processor Laptop: Hyper-Threading
Helps the processor multitask.
It’s a feature you’ll find on both the low-end Core i3 and high-end i7. But strangely enough, not the mid-range Core i5.
In brief, Hyper-Threading is a technology developed to trick the Operating System into thinking that a single processor core is in fact two. So instead of 2 cores. The OS thinks it’s working with 4.
The benefit is the operating system can then share tasks among these extra cores. Enabling applications to run more quickly and smoothly.
You’ll find that like cores, not all apps benefit from hyper-threading. And, the technology only produces less than half the power as full cores. But it’s a great ‘nice to have’ for applications that support it.
Techtarget.com will help you understand hyper-threading in much better detail.
Best i5 Processor Laptop: Turbo Boost
Dynamically increases the clock speed of the processor to prevent bottlenecking.
Clock speed is measured in Gigahertz (GHz). This figure represents the number of calculations a processor can manage in a second. For instance, 2.5GHz means 2,500,000,000 calculations per second.
It would be inaccurate to use these numbers to compare processors from different Intel families (Core i3, i5, i7), different generations (Broadwell, Skylake, Kaby Lake), or brands (AMD and Intel).
PRO TIP #3: Different processors perform different amounts of tasks. How much they can get done in a clock cycle is a more accurate way to compare processors than the GHz numbers.
Makuseof.com explains Intel’s turbo-boosting technology perfectly.
Best i5 Processor Laptop : The Core i5 Laptop Generations
An i5 is generally going to perform better than an older generation Celeron or Pentium processor. But it will cost more.
A budget i5 won’t be that much different from an i3. In fact, a newer i3 processor, in some instances can outperform an older i5. But the faster clock speed of an i5 CPU is where all the difference lies.
Unless you don’t mind settling for basic multi-tasking. The generation of i5 processor you should go for in a laptop are listed below. Along with the codename of their microarchitecture.
You can click the links to find out more about each one.
Here’s a Video for Every Core i5 Generation Benchmarked
Best i5 Processor Laptop: Intel Core i5 Lines
Casually browse different laptops with a Core i5 processor and you’ll discover a wide variety. The difference between Core i5 lines, is in the way the processing of information is handled.
Intel’s Core M and Y Line (Single-Core Chips)
This series consumes low power at the cost of very low performance.
You can find them almost exclusively in laptops with a fan-less design. And laptops where size and weight are a big concern, like Ultrabooks, 2-in-1s and other small computing devices.
But don’t worry. They’re still plenty powerful for basic web browsing, and light, daily multi-tasking. Plus, the miserly power consumption means a more economic battery life.
Intel’s U Line (Dual-Core Chips)
This is Intel’s Consumer Ultra-Low Voltage (CULV) line of processors.
These deliver higher speeds than the Core M and Y line with the power of dual-cores while still using power conservatively. You can find these chips in ultra-portable laptops.
PRO TIP #4: When battery life is more important than flat-out power, a laptop with an i5 processor will be the right fit for you.
Here’s PCworld.com to demystify Intel’s ultra-low voltage branding.
Intel’s HQ Line (Quad-Core Chips)
HQ stands for High Performance Graphics and Quad Core.
As you can imagine, this line has the highest speeds per core. You get four cores that support Hyper-Threading and Turbo-Boost to handle all your multi-tasking expertly.
Any Intel processor with this suffix will give you the best performance. Bear in mind that these are not power sippers. You’ll find them in high-end multimedia and gaming laptops.
PRO TIP #5: For any activity that is going to requires a lot of processing power like, video/photo/audio editing, 3D designing, and gaming. Get an i5 processor with an HQ at the end of its name. You’ll love yourself for it.
The Best i5 Processor Laptop: Here’s Exactly What You Need to Look For
As ever, think about what you need the laptop to do. Intel Core processors differ from each other in terms of frequency (speed). And the number of Cores and Threads.
The configuration of the laptop, for instance the graphics card and RAM will impact the performance of the processor.
RAM In the Best i5 Processor Laptop
Most any Core i5 laptop will come with at least 4GB of RAM. For general users and multi-tasking, this will be just fine.
Editors, 3D designers and gamers will want to opt for at least 8GB of RAM. 16GB is recommended so that you won’t be slowed down by any lag time.
SSDs In the Best i5 Processor Laptop
The whole point of a Core i5 laptop is to get the performance you need to get the job done. Without spending a lot of cash.
If you work with programs that are processor heavy. A solid-state drive is always beneficial for quick boot ups. And a speedier laptop over all.
PRO TIP #6: It’s true solid-state drives have poor storage capacities compared to a hard disk drive. A great workaround is to purchase an external hard drive. That way you still get the performance of an SSD. With a wider storage capacity.
Graphics Cards In the Best i5 Processor Laptop
The 3 types of graphics cards you’ll find in an i5 laptop have been listed below. Along with the functionality you should expect.
HD Graphics- Most i5 processors from the U line will come with an HD Graphics card. These are integrated cards which means they share resources with the CPU.
For watching YouTube, movies and light gaming at the lowest settings. This will be your cheapest option. And you should expect decent performance.
Iris/Iris Pro- This is the next level up, which delivers mid-level gaming performance. It’s considered a discrete graphics card since it has its own memory (though very little). It doesn’t share resources with the CPU.
NVIDIA and AMD- These are proper, discrete graphics cards. Which is where you want to be for 3D work and gaming.
For NVIDIA, these will be your HQ line of graphics cards. If you’re on a budget, we recommend the GTX 960M card. You’ll get decent performance. For not that much money.
But we encourage you to look at the company’s new Pascal cards. Which offer desktop level performance for serious 3D work and gaming.
Intel Core i5 Battery Life In the Best i5 Processor Laptop
As you would expect, you’re going to get more endurance from the U line than the HQ due to performance differences.
For your convenience, we’ve distilled these two i5 processor lines by the type of activity typically associated with each to help you decide what you need.
Basic Core i5 laptops-U Line: everyday multi-tasking and web browsing, watch videos, gaming on very low settings, and light duty photo/video editing
Power Core i5 laptops-HQ Line: professional grade for working with 3D applications, serious gaming and multimedia editing
Must Read: Checkout Our List of Laptops with 4K Display
The Research Method
There are an awesome number of laptops with an Intel Core i5 processor to choose from. These picks represent an even wider array of what’s currently available in the market.
The choices are based on best all-round performance. Best specifications. User experience. At least 100 Amazon reviews. And at least 4.1 out of 5 stars when this guide was published.
We’ve put together a range of laptops to fit almost anyone’s need. From notebooks. Ultrabooks. 13.3 to 15.6-inch examples. And even Chromebooks.
Now, from among the most progressive brands we bring you: Acer, Apple, Asus, Dell and HP.
Best i5 Processor Laptop-Review
This latest Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575G has been updated with new components, like the 7th Generation i5 processor to push it to the head of the class. It’s still a 10.2 x 15 x 1.2-inch midrange, desktop-replacement, with a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce 940MX graphics card. And Full HD (1080p) screen featuring ColorBlast Technology. A backlit keyboard, and about a 10-hour battery life are some of the extras that help make it a best i5 processor laptop. It lacks IPS display for wide viewing angles. But picture quality is sharp. Photo/video editors, gamers and anyone who works from a laptop for hours will appreciate Acer’s BluelightShield technology, which works to minimize blue light emissions form the screen to reduce eye strain.
See what others are saying about this laptop only on Amazon.
2. Apple MacBook Pro (MD101LL/A) 13.3-inch
Yes. It’s old. But it’s still an Amazon best-seller, and a best i5 processor laptop. And here’s why. Though, it came to the market in mid-2012, and therefore, lacks the Force Touch trackpad and Retina display of its newer brothers. Upgradable components make it a DIY dream. For instance, the 8.9 x 12.8 x 1-inch, aluminum, unibody chassis has two standard RAM slots that use SATA drives for storage instead of being attached to the motherboard like new models. As for ports. It’s the last of its kind to feature a full-sized gigabit Ethernet port and optical drive.
It’s best i5 processor laptop cred kicks off with the NVIDIA GTX960M card. This 15.1 x 15.1 x 10.4-inch entry-level gaming laptop also features a backlit keyboard. A speedy 6th gen Quad-Core i5 processor. And snappy 256GB SSD for quick boots. Designers will appreciate the Full-HD screen, with IPS. Which can be set to different modes per work demands. The anti-blue setting works a lot like Acer’s ColorBlast Technology to prevent eye-strain when working for long hours. Unfortunately, the battery is not replaceable. For intense activities like gaming, you shouldn’t expect more than 4-hours.
Apple only treats us to upgrades when the company feels it’s warranted. But when they do add new components we get a faster Intel Dual-Core i5 processor. 8GB of RAM instead of the old 4GB. And a spacious 256GB PCIe base solid-state drive. Which is faster than the SATA based ones. You get the same 10.5 x 2.2 x 14.2-inch aluminum, unibody design. All this adds up to about 12-hours of battery life. The Airs are mid-range laptops that unfortunately don’t come with Retina display. Or Force Touch trackpad. But the backlit keyboard provides an excellent feel. Along with a glass-covered trackpad, which make it a best i5 processor laptop.
At 15.1 x 9.7 x 1-inches, this is one of the largest Chromebooks out there. It makes use of the same plastic construction as other Chromebooks. But its larger size means it can house a Core i5 processor. A 15.6-inch Full HD monitor. And a larger battery (something only seen in Ultrabooks for laptops of this size). While the Broadwell processor, paired with only a 4GB RAM might seem underwhelming in a Windows laptop. In this Chromebook, you get more performance for Web browsing, and media streaming than most Chromebooks making use of the Cloud.Which earns it the distinction of best i5 processor laptop.
A fast 6th generation Dual-Core i5 processor. Full HD display. 8GB of RAM. And a 128GB SSD. With an optical drive means this desktop-replacement is fully focused to get all your daily computing tasks done. Since it’s on the more affordable spectrum of the midrange laptops. This 10 x 15.1 x 1-inch notebook doesn’t come with backlit keys. Or IPS. But it makes it on the list of best i5 processor laptop with sharp images. And you can see things on the screen reasonably well from most angles. The chicklet-style keys are well laid out offering a pleasant typing experience. The RAM is expandable up to 16GB. You can expect about 5-hours of endurance from the battery.
With a backlit keyboard. Bright display. And built in fingerprint reader for single-touch login. This is quite an Ultrabook. Made of aluminum and plastic, the 8.7 x 12.7 x 0.5-inch chassis houses a Full HD display with one of the most accurate color and contrast reproduction for its class. The keys are well placed. And the touchpad is a joy to use. The combination of 7th gen Dual-Core i5U series processor. 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD provides strong performance to get day-to-day computing tasks accomplished, and earn it a spot as a best i5 processor laptop. The integrated graphics card is well suited for watching movies. Gaming, not so much. You can expect an impressive 10-hours of battery life.
An excellent entry-level gaming laptop if you’re on a budget but still expect top-notch performance, and a backlit keyboard. Noteworthy is the quick, not to mention massive 512GB SSD. NVIDIA GTX 960M graphics card. Bright Full HD screen. And the chicklet-style keys are comfortable to use. We think the highlighted WASD keys are an excellent touch that are essential for gaming, which makes it a best i5 processor laptop. The touchpad is responsive. The 10 x 15.1 x 0.8-inch metallic, F-22 stealth fighter inspired chassis houses a Quad-Core processor that’s powerful enough for the office worker. Or anyone in need of this kind of performance. But you should expect less than 4-hours of battery life.
Superb build quality. Powerful Kaby Lake i5 processor. 8GB of RAM. 256GB PCIe SSD. And a backlit keyboard are just some of the top-notch features rarely seen on an affordable budget, desktop replacement. The impossibly thin 8.9 x 12.8 x 0.6-inch body is made of anodized aluminum and carbon fiber. Giving the Envy a high-end look. And earning it the notoriety of a best i5 processor laptop. The Full HD 1920 x 1080p resolution delivers sharp and crisp images thanks to IPS technology. And the combination of components give you enough power to get your multimedia activities done. To achieve this svelte design ports like Ethernet had to be jettisoned.
You won’t find any vents or hear any fans. This 11.5 x 7.9 x 0.6-inch is the first liquid cooled 2-in-1 detachable on the market, which gets it a place as a best i5 processor laptop. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean you won’t feel the heat generated by the Dual-Core i5-6200U processor. But it is a more powerful CPU than the Core M’s you’ll find in competitors. You also get a wonderfully bright and vivid display. The keyboard is comfortable to use and delivers good feedback. The optional Aspire Active Stylus is one of the best we’ve ever seen. It looks and feels like an actual pen. The pressure sensitivity allows you to make heavy or light strokes. The combination of hardware makes it a productivity machine. But you should only expect a less than 5-hour battery life.
Congratulations on making it through another one. We hope this resource will be useful to you as you shop through i5 laptops.
If an i3 processor is for budget-friendly consumers. And i7 is the processor family to consider when power means everything. Then the intel Core i5 is the best of both worlds.
Intel’s processor line-up can get a little complicated. But in general, newer generations offer faster speed. Graphic capabilities. And battery life over older generations.
To get the best i5 processor laptop for your needs, look at the number of cores. Clock speed. And whether or not the particular CPU has Hyper-Threading to understand what kind of power you’ll be getting.
We’d love to continue this conversation about what makes the best Core i5 processor laptop in the comments section below.