Finding a laptop for less than $1,000 isn’t as hard as it used to be, but finding a good laptop for less than $1,000 is still tricky. In that price range you have to be careful, because each manufacturer prioritizes different features over others in order to keep costs down. Some might offer a powerful CPU on the cheap, but skimp on build quality. Others might spring for a sleek, solid chassis and settle for a sub-par processor. It’s about finding the right balance for your needs, and doing a lot of research. Luckily, we’ve done most of that research for you and compiled this list of the best laptops under $1,000.
Dell’s XPS 13 has been one of our favorite laptops at any price, and the most recent update took everything that was great about it and made it even better. It’s now more gorgeous than ever with a new white and rose gold color scheme, and it offers an even more compelling balance of processing power, longevity, and build quality. New, exotic materials like Gore Thermal Insulation to keep it cool and rigid, are nice additions.
With the update, the XPS 13 only makes our list of under $1,000 notebooks if you go by the marketing price of $999.99. Even if you round up, as we do, then it’s only a dollar more than our limit for a very fast eighth-generation Intel Core i5-8250U processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD.
You can still purchase the old version, however, starting at $799 with a Core i3 processor. Though not as thin, it’s still a great laptop, and competitive with others at that price point. The entry-level version benefits from amazing battery life, as it retains a large battery but doesn’t upgrade to faster, power-sucking hardware.
If you’re willing to compromise a bit on premium build quality, the Asus ZenBook UX330UA is an excellent choice, and our pick for best laptop way under $1,000. It starts at just $700, and for that price you still get a 7th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD.
That’s already a great deal, but you can get a hefty upgrade for just an extra $50. For $750, you’ll get an 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor. That upgrade means your Zenbook will outclass nearly every other laptop in this price category. Those 8th-generation processors offer a substantial performance boost, even during everyday use, and they’re also more efficient when you’re not pushing the CPU to the max. It’s definitely worth the extra investment, and you’ll still end up saving money overall.
Speaking of saving money, maybe you don’t quite need all that extra horsepower. If you just need a device for checking email, writing papers, or reading Reddit while on the go, the Samsung Chromebook Pro is a compelling little device. Starting at just $500, the Samsung Chromebook Pro is a 2-in-1 running Google’s Chrome OS. It’s a little limited, in that you’ll only be able to run web apps and the occasional Android app on it, but as a value is hard to beat. It performs well during everyday use, it has a battery that will see you through most of a workday, and it’s the thinnest, lightest laptop on this list.
Best Gaming Laptop
Just a few years ago it would’ve been unthinkable that you could find a laptop under $1,000 with graphics card powerful enough to run the latest games without turning the detail settings way, way down. The Inspiron 15 Gaming is something of a novelty in that regard. Starting at just $700, it features an Intel Core i5 processor, a 256GB SSD, and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card with Max-Q design. During our time with the Inspiron 15 we were consistently impressed by its robust gaming performance — even if we were underwhelmed by its display quality.
At this price range , you simply won’t find a better gaming laptop. The Inspiron 15 Gaming is without peer when it comes to gaming performance on a budget.
Sometimes a typical laptop just doesn’t cut it. If you need a reliable stylus or a mobile workstation with a creative side, the Surface Pro is your best bet under $1,000. Starting at $800, the latest Surface Pro features an Intel Core m3 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage space. It’s a modest performer, but the touchscreen and stylus — which will run you an extra $100 — more than makes up for it. As a 2-in-1 with best-in-class handwriting recognition and Windows Ink, it’s a versatile mobile workstation with features you won’t find elsewhere, at least not at this price. For that reason, it’s hard to beat if you’re looking for something ultra-mobile and stylus-friendly.