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Help Me, Laptop: What's the Best Laptop for Working From Home?

There's nothing better than seeing your loved one's reaction to a gift they've always wanted. Not fit choosing just any laptop for his wife, Laptop Mag reader clay.zahrobsky turned to our forums for some help.

Clay.zahrobsky is looking for a 13-to-15-inch sub-$1,000 laptop for everyday tasks, like watching movies and running Microsoft Office. Most importantly, the laptop has to be fast and reliable since his wife occasionally works from home.

The specifications our reader requested include a display resolution above 1280 pixels, more than 250GB of storage and at least four hours of battery life. Lucky for clay.zahrobsky, there are tons of laptops on the market that fit this criteria. The hard part is settling on one of them. But fear not, I'm going to run through the best options available, so that our reader can buy the perfect machine for his wife.

 Best Under $400

The Acer Aspire E 15 is a solid option if you want to save some money. At just $379, the E 15 is one of the least expensive laptops that fits the bill. This 15-inch machine has a 1920 x 1080 resolution display, an Intel Core i3 CPU, and a 1TB, 5400rpm hard drive.

That processor isn't the most powerful, and we typically recommend a solid-state drive (SSD), but the Aspire E 15 performed well in our tests regardless. The most compelling reason to go for the E 15 (aside from its price) is for its nearly 9 hours of battery life. Along with performance, build quality (the E 15 is plastic) is the biggest tradeoff you make when you buy on a budget.

Best Under $700

If you want even faster performance and a more premium design, then go with either the Lenovo Ideapad 530s ($699) or the Asus VivoBook S15 ($699).

Both laptops have sleek, ultraportable designs, slim display bezels and they did a great job in our benchmark testing. Unfortunately, the 15.6-inch displays on both the Ideapad 530s and VivoBook S15 aren't particularly vibrant.

Best Under $1000

If you're OK spending most of the $1,000 budget, then the Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN ($929) and the HP Envy 13t ($899) should be at the top of the list. Both of these 13-inch laptops have sleek, aluminum chassis and they last more than nine hours on a charge. The ZenBook 13 even comes with a discrete graphics card for casual gaming, while the Envy 13t can be configured with a 4K display and an Nvidia MX150 GPU.

Another option would be to buy the base model of a premium flagship laptop, like the new Dell XPS 13 ($899) or the Microsoft Surface Book 2 ($999). These device's premium chassis, gorgeous displays and long battery life make them some of the best laptops around. However, only the base models, with lower-end components, are available for under $1,000.

Bottom Line

If I were in our reader's shoes, I would choose the ZenBook 13 UX331UN. For $929, you get a Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and a discrete GeForce MX150 GPU. The laptop's stunning blue chassis is remarkably thin and lightweight, and its keyboard is surprisingly comfortable to type on.

Credit: Laptop Mag