Right now, with $1,000 you can get an iPhone, or score one of these excellent laptops instead.
The Asus ZenBook 13 tops our list of best laptops under $1,000. The ZenBook 13 will set you back less a grand, for which you get solid performance, a spirited CPU, durable build quality, and a display that’s only seen in systems costing hundreds of dollars more.
We’ve not just picked our Editors’ Choice – or the others in our list – a number have not even made it to our Top Picks. Instead, we’ve curated them from the dozens of laptops of all kinds that we’ve reviewed at different price points, and it has taken hundreds of hours to have those in-depth reviews. It’s not an easy task, so don’t be surprised to see a previous generation CPU as part of the list, but there’s more that makes for a good laptop. The latest components don’t necessarily mean it’s a good laptop.
More importantly, in this list of “best of” we’ve zeroed on what you really need in a laptop to make it worth your money, depending on your needs.
BEST LAPTOPS UNDER $1,000
- Best laptop under $1,000: Asus UX333FA-DH51
- Best gaming laptop under: Acer Predator Helios 300
- Best business laptop: Lenovo ThinkPad T480
- Best laptop for students: Lenovo IdeaPad 330
- Best laptop for photo/video editing: Acer Swift 2 w/ MX150
- Best 2-in-1: Asus ZenBook Flip 14
- Best value Chromebook: Acer Chromebook 11
While there are many laptops that can be had for much less, for a reasonable price, the Asus ZenBook UX333FA makes with a premium build quality and sleek design. It’s our favorite for best laptop under $1,000. It starts at $849.99 at Amazon , and for that price, it offers a Whiskey Lake 8th-gen intel Core i5-8265U CPU, 8GB memory, and a 256GB solid-state drive (SSD).
The design remains the same over its predecessor from last year, but an upgrade to the 8th-generations Intel Core processors counts for a lot. It moves forward with better performance at a very reasonable price. Intel’s newer chips offer a substantial performance boost, for everyday task like office work, and they are more efficient when the CPU is maxed out.
Read our full Asus UX333FA-DH51 Review
Best gaming laptop under: Acer Predator Helios 300
Acer has lately elevated its Predator line of gaming laptops to elite status with the Helios 300, delivering the best of the best for less money. The Predator PH315-51-78NP is the latest in Acer’s gaming line, and it has lots of things going for it. First, it has a cool name. Starting at $1,049.00 at Amazon , it isn’t the most affordable laptop you can get with these specs, only that it packs a solid feature set and can even paired with a virtual reality (VR) headset.
This gaming laptop is powered by an H-Series “Coffee Lake” eight-generation Intel Core i7-8750H CPU and a GeForce GTX 1060 GPU, a combination that will run anything thrown its way with resilience. Battery life is middling (which is common among all gaming laptops), but the Helios advantages are centered on whether you prefer a comfortable keyboard, nice aesthetics, sturdy build quality and gaming prowess over anything else. For a gaming laptop, we are inclined to stick with most part.
Read our full Acer Predator Helios 300 Review
Best business laptop: Lenovo ThinkPad T480
When it comes to 14-inch business ultrabooks, Lenovo has it figured out with its ThinkPads. In its lineup, they have light –the 3.6-pound Lenovo ThinkPad T480, lighter –the 3-pound Lenovo ThinkPad T480s, and lightest – the newly released Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon. It’s ironical that as the system get thinner and lighter, the prices swing in the opposite direction.
So, why would you go for the heaviest ThinkPad in the pack?
Because it not only rings the lowest starting price of the trio $735.99 at Amazon , but also features some legacy features that you can’t find on its other miniature siblings, including a hot-swappable battery that gives you near-eternal unplugged life with an extra Hot-swappable battery pack.
Read our full Lenovo ThinkPad T480 Review
Best laptop for students: Lenovo IdeaPad 330
It’s not easy to find a notebook line that offers the possibility of diverse configurations, while remaining affordable and maintaining a stylish design. Our Top Pick for college is the Lenovo IdeaPad 330, a 15-inch notebook with Intel’s Celeron N4100 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive for storage. Starting at $429.00 at Amazon , it offers an unbeatable value in a beautiful design, solid hardware and the flexibility to configure it with better specs.
It must be what every student envisions when shopping for an affordable, top-value laptop, offering impeccable features and good components unmatched portability. On a feature set versus value basis, the IdeaPad 330 offers the best combination of both, making it our Top Pick.
Read our full Lenovo IdeaPad 330 Review
Best laptop for photo/video editing: Acer Swift 3 w/ MX150
For the creative professionals who often edit photos and video, a laptop with a discrete graphics card and a clear screen always come handy. Intel’s integrated graphics are OK for normal productivity work, but a dedicated GPU like the Nvidia GeForce MX150 can change how fast you edit your content.
That’s where you start to appreciate the Acer Swift 3. For $883.50 at Amazon , you get an 8th-gen Core i7-8550U, 8gb of RAM, a 256GB SSD and a 14-inch Full HD display. It benefits from a built-in MX150 GPU that applications can utilize for additional performance punch. Acer’s Swift 3 is well built with an all-metal frame, is attractive, and should offer enough battery life for a full day’s work.
Read our full Acer Swift 3 Review
Best 2-in-1: Asus ZenBook Flip 14
How Asus manages to pack so much power in a 14-inch body but make it look like a 13.3-inch device is something Apple have not managed to crack even in the newly released MacBook Air. A preiums design makes the ZenBook Flip 14 stand out in the crowd of svelte, extremely portable 13.3-inch convertible laptops. For one, it doesn’t have a 13-inch screen, the Flip 14’s chassis is fairly bigger than its rivals and the screen measures 14 inches diagonally.
A bright screen, speedy SSD, solid performance and a premium aesthetic are just the right features for a Top Pick convertible. If you’re a 2-in-1 convertible fan and on a tight budget, you’ll love this device. Plus, as a purely professional ultraportable, we still feel that with the ZenBook Flip 14 $768.99 at Amazon , Asus has finally got hold of what pro users really want.
Read our full Asus ZenBook Flip 14 Review
Best value Chromebook: Acer Chromebook 11
PC manufacturers are making their Chromebooks stand out with a roost of features like rugged designs and convertible designs, but the Acer Chromebook 11 CB3-132-C4VV $199.00 at Amazon scores differently. This 11-inch laptop fuses a non-convertible design with all the features you’d need in a Chromebook, and nothing extra. By all feature we mean a long-lasting battery, a svelte and light design, stable performance and an insanely low-price tag.
It bears a stylish design, a bright IPS display, and a reasonably-low price tag, which should make it ideal for anyone in the market for an attractive yet decent Chromebook for work, college and entertainment.
Read our full Acer Chromebook 11 Review
How good is an under $1,000 laptop?
Very good! As we said earlier, you’ll want to be careful when buying a budget laptop to ensure that the manufacturer hasn’t cut corners to make it affordable. But honestly – manufacturers are omitting features that we care about even on premium laptops – you can spend over $2,000 and get a laptop that has mediocre battery life or any other flaw if you don’t identify what matters to you.
In our tests, we have encountered a few budget laptops that are very nice with good performance that are better than two subsequent generations. And consider: the Lenovo ThinkPads, they don’t have the ultrathin, metallic designs but they are still a top choice for business executives.
The same goes for budget laptops. Be sure what your needs are, identify the laptop that will meet them, if you find an affordable one among the list, grab it. If anything, our list proves that you can quite get a bit of solid performance and reliability for well under $1,000.
Which is better – Windows, Mac or I try a Chromebook?
Its all about choice. Specifically, on what tasks you usually undertake. We suggest that you first understand the limitations of each, especially Macs and Chromebooks, with Windows being a neutral here especially to the wide scope of applications. All said, there are advantages and disadvantages of each.
Chances are that if you’re shopping for a sub-$1,000 laptop, definitely you’re not eyeing a mac unless you want to settle with an older model. That leaves you with Windows and Chrome OS, which goes down to the kind of software you need to run.
If you want access to the widest selection of software across most platforms, them Windows must be your safe bet. If you’re on budget, need to browse the wen and don’t need tons of storage, a Chromebook is the way to go.
Should I go for the latest processor?
Sure, if you get one at the right price. Right now, the Whiskey Lake 8th-generation Intel Core i5 CPU is the main thing among budget laptops, and extends to our $1,000 list. Quite a few of the laptops in our list use the Core i5, which is a real workhorse chip that will deliver top-notch performance on most productivity tasks without hesitation. It is also energy efficient, meaning you will enjoy longer battery life.
In case you go for a Chromebook, definitely you’re getting a slower processor, maybe Intel Core i3 or Pentium processor. And, chances are that you might find a Core i7 processor in this list, if you get one, run with it. For the better part of it, the Core i5 is the easiest processor to find in this list of budget laptops.
What about a 4K display?
Probably not – it wasn’t long ago hen we were all struggling to find Full HD displays in the under $1,000 category. Besides, budget laptops don’t pack as much battery life as more expensive laptops to sustain the battery sucking 4K displays. Even if you manage to score a 4K display for under a grand, you won’t be very happy with its juice, especially when you’re away from the mains.
The best laptops under 1000 list includes our curated laptops from the hundreds we've reviewed at this price range in various categories.
- Value for money
- Strong performance for less
- Sleek designs
- Quality build
- Not easy to get 4K at this price