The best laptops under $1,000

You could spend $1,000 on an iPhone, or buy one of these awesome laptops instead

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.

It should be noted that there are a number of laptops that sell for the marketing price of $999, such as the 2018 Dell XPS 13 or the Google Pixelbook, but those don’t really match the spirit of this category. The laptops listed below are well south of a thousand and prove you don’t need to break the bank to get a decent computer.

Our Pick

Asus ZenBook UX330UA

Acer Swift 3 versus Asus ZenBook UX330UA

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 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.

Read our full review of the Asus ZenBook UX330UA

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Best value

Acer Aspire E 15

Acer Aspire E 15 Review
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Available for as little as $350, the Acer Aspire E 15 comes well under our $1,000 threshold, but while it’s price tag may be lacking, its hardware certainly isn’t. Available with 8th-generation i5 CPU, a 1080P display, up to a terabyte of storage and even a discrete MX150 graphics chip if you’re willing to pay a little more, it’s an impressively capable laptop.

Able to offer basic gaming ability with solid battery life despite the use of a full HD 1080P display, this laptop offers a lot for your money. It doesn’t look the most modern, with chunky bezels and thick plastic in places where more expensive hardware might tri, the fat a little, but for what you pay you get a lot.

You might find greater performance or a prettier shell in other entries on this list, but none offer as much bang for buck as the Acer Aspire E 15.

Read our full review of the Acer Aspire E 15

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Best Chromebook

Samsung Chromebook Pro

Samsung Chromebook Pro review
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

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 $600, 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 there’s no need to pay for a full Windows machine if you don’t need to do much more.

It performs well during everyday use, has a battery that will see you through most of a workday, and it’s the thinnest, lightest laptop on this list. Samsung recently updated its Chromebook with a backlit keyboard, a feature missing from the first iterations.

Real our full review of the Samsung Chromebook Pro

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Best Gaming Laptop

Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming

dell inspiron 15 7000 gaming laptop late 2017 review 888
Dan Baker/Digital Trends
Dan Baker/Digital Trends

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.

Read our full review of the Dell Inspiron 15 Gaming

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Amazon Dell

Best 2-in-1

Surface Pro

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

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.

Read our full review of the Surface Pro

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Amazon Microsoft

Best stealth budget laptop

Dell XPS 13

dell xps 13 vs hp spectre gold 2016 front angle 2 1500x1000
Digital Trends

Dell’s XPS 13 has been our favorite laptops for years, and that’s no different with the 2018 update. In the past, Dell has always offered an $800 configuration featuring a lower-powered Core i3 processor, but this year, that CPU isn’t available yet. So for now, the laptop now starts at $1,000 with an 8th-gen Intel Core i5 CPU. What is doing on this list then you may ask?

Well, you can still purchase the 2017 version, and it still starts at $799 with a Core i3 processor. Though not quite as impressive, it’s still a great laptop, and remains competitive with others at that price point. You’ll get more performance value out of something like the ZenBook UX330UA, but the design, build quality, keyboard, and touchpad are much better. And in terms of performance, the 7th-gen Core i3 is still better than the Core m3 you find in the Surface Laptop. Ultimately, no one would guess that you spent less than a thousand bucks on this laptop, making it the best stealth budget laptop you can buy.

Read our full review of the Dell XPS 13 (2017)

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