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The best laptops under $1,000 in 2021

The best laptops under $1,000

The best laptops under $1,000 will offer you spectacular performance, impressive battery life, and portability without breaking the bank. So, the good news is getting an amazing laptop doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg.

Depending on who you are and what you need, there are some features you'll be willing to sacrifice — others, not so much. For example, if you simply need a laptop for casual web surfing and productivity apps, you should be fine with a lower-end CPU. However, if you're constantly on the move and use your laptop outdoors, you may not be able to sacrifice a screen with high brightness or a laptop with good battery life.

That being said, there are plenty of brilliant sub-$1,000 options out there, whether you need a business laptop for working on the go, a gaming laptop that lets you frag on a budget or a 2-in-1 that allows you to transform your laptop into a tablet.

Without further ado, here are the best laptops under $1,000 you can buy right now.

What is the best laptop under $1,000?

The best 2021 laptop that's less than $1,000 is the HP Envy 13, making it the best ultrabook on the market today for its price. Starting at $799, the new HP Envy 13 is our favorite sub-$1,000 thanks to its sleek, portable design, bright 4K and 1080p display options, and brilliantly fast performance. 

The HP Envy 13 is the best laptop for anyone who wants a premium machine but is trying to save a buck. Its sibling, the HP Envy x360 13, is also on this list for those after the best 2-in-1 laptop under $1,000. It's an absolute steal for what it dishes out. 

In the case of the Asus ZenBook 13 UX325EA ($999 reviewed, $949 starting), the secret sauce is Intel’s new Tiger Lake chips. Under Intel’s new Evo initiative, Intel Tiger Lake chips offer more powerful performance, longer battery life, and the introduction of Thunderbolt 4 and Wi-Fi 6. Plus, you get the added bonus of the ZenBook’s beautiful yet durable chassis. 

There's plenty of great contenders on this list though, so check out the best laptops under $1,000 below. 

The best laptops under $1,000 you can buy today

At under $1,000, the HP Envy 13 is the best Ultrabook value around.  (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

1. HP Envy 13

The best laptop under $1,000

CPU: Intel Core i5/Core i7 | GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 620/Nvidia GeForce MX250 | RAM: 8GB/16GB | Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB | Display: 13.3-inch, 1080p or 4K | Size: 12.1 x 8.3 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 2.8 pounds

Attractive, portable chassis
Fast performance
Bright display
Poor battery life (on 4K model)
No Thunderbolt 3

Starting at $799, the new HP Envy 13 is our favorite sub-$1,000 thanks to its sleek, portable design, bright 4K and 1080p display options, and fast performance. New to the 2019 model is a webcam kill switch and fingerprint sensor for those who value security and privacy. And unlike its predecessor, the latest Envy 13 has great speakers. 

All these perks make the Envy 13 the best laptop for anyone who wants a premium machine but is trying to save a few bucks. Our only reservations with the Envy 13 are that the 4K model doesn't last very long on a charge and that the Envy x360 13, its 2-in-1 sibling, is so good. 

See our full HP Envy 13 review

The Asus ZenBook 13 UX324EA offers great power and longevity thanks to Intel’s new 11th Gen chips. (Image credit: Future)

2. Asus ZenBook 13 UX325EA

The best laptop and battery life under $1,000

Display: 13.3-inch, 1920 x 1080 display | CPU: Up to Intel Core i7-1165G7 CPU | Weight: 2.5 pounds

Sleek, lightweight frame
Powerful overall and gaming performance
Excellent battery life
Very comfortable keyboard
Weak speakers

There’s just something about a ZenBook. They’re beautiful, tend to be incredibly slim and lightweight, and thanks to Asus, have some ace up their digital sleeves. In the case of the Asus ZenBook 13 UX325EA ($999 reviewed, $949 starting), the secret sauce is Intel’s new Tiger Lake chips. Under Intel’s new Evo initiative, Intel Tiger Lake chips offer more powerful performance, longer battery life, and the introduction of Thunderbolt 4 and Wi-Fi 6. Plus, you get the added bonus of the ZenBook’s beautiful yet durable chassis. 

See our full Asus ZenBook 13 UX325EA review

The HP Envy x360 13 is the best laptop for under $1,000, offering similar benefits to the Spectre at a lower price. (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

3. HP Envy x360 13 (2020)

The best 2-in-1 under $1,000

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 4500U | GPU: AMD Radeon Graphics | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB | Display: 13.3-inch, 1080p | Size: 12.1 x 7.7 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 2.9 pounds

Outstanding performance
1080p display is bright and vivid
Stylish and compact aluminum design
Long battery life
No IR camera

The HP Envy x360 13 is the best laptop for under $1,000 and one of the best 2-in-1 laptops on the market. While it doesn't come with a stylus (neither does the Surface Pro), the Envy is a 2-in-1 so you can flip it into tent or tablet mode. What makes this such a fantastic value is its entirely aluminum design and Herculian AMD Ryzen processors. 

In our testing, we found that an Envy x360 13 with a Ryzen 5 4500U CPU can outperform laptops with 10th Gen Intel chips. This specific Envy costs just $800 and can outmuscle laptops that cost well over $1,000, including the exorbitant MacBook Pro. Moreover, the Envy x360 13 has a bright, vivid 13.3-inch display and a comfortable keyboard. 

There is very little we don't like about the Envy x360. If you can get over the lack of a Thunderbolt 3 port and IR camera, then it is the ultimate money-saving laptop.

See our HP Envy x360 13 (2020) review

With its understated good looks, surprising powerful gaming and overall performance and comfortable keyboard, the Lenovo Legion Y545 is our top cheap gaming laptop. (Image credit: Future)

4. Lenovo Legion Y545

The best gaming laptop under $1,000

CPU: 2.2-GHz Intel Core i7-9750H CPU | GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU with 6GB of VRAM | RAM/Storage: 16GB/128GB SSD | Display Size/Resolution: 15.6/1920 x 1080

Elegant, understated design
Great gaming and overall performance
Comfortable keyboard
Below-average battery life
Runs hot when gaming

The Lenovo Legion Y545 offers strong gaming and overall performance with understated, business-ready looks — all for an affordable price. Thanks to an Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti GPU and an Intel Core i7 CPU, the Legion Y545 is the best cheap gaming laptop, keeping its competitors at bay. Instead of a flashy light show, Lenovo opted for a sophisticated, subtle design, allowing it to fit in an office setting or a LAN party. 

The laptop’s discrete Nvidia graphics chip serves up a surprising amount of power, with above-average results. And when you’re not gaming, the laptop’s Core i7 processor is more than capable of allowing you to create spreadsheets, do some light video-editing and, of course, watch some movies on the beautiful 1080p display. And despite its price, the laptop also delivers a comfortable keyboard and excellent audio. In short, it's the cheap gaming laptop to beat. 

See our full Lenovo Legion Y545 review

(Image credit: Future)

5. Lenovo ThinkBook 14s Yoga

The best business 2-in-1 under $1,000

CPU: Intel Core i7-1165G7 | GPU: Intel Iris Xe | RAM: 16GB/24GB | Storage: 512GB/1TB | Display: 14-inch, 1080p Corning Gorilla Glass | Weight: 3.3 pounds

Robust build quality
Smart Pen included
Fingerprint reader in power button
Service Hotkey via F9
Reasonably priced
Quiet speakers
Fingerprint-attracting chassis

The Lenovo ThinkBook 14s Yoga dares to be different — it wants to stand out from all the other sub-$1,000 business convertibles on the market. While it didn't blow us away when we put it to the test, it did consistently win silver medals in every department.

We're suckers for a garaged stylus, with the all-aluminum ThinkBook 14s Yoga includes a Smart Pen that has its own silo for rapid charging while it’s not in use. Along with strong performance and good display, the ThinkBook 14s Yoga is a 2-in-1 that’s ideal for business users who hate scrambling for pens that never seem to be within reach.

See our full
Lenovo ThinkBook 14s Yoga review 

Microsoft's latest flagship detachable, the Surface Pro 7 adds 10th Gen CPUs and a USB-C port to a proven formula.  (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

6. Microsoft Surface Pro 7

The best business laptop under $1,000

CPU: 10th gen Intel Core i3/Core i5/Core i7 | GPU: Intel UHD or Iris Pro | RAM: 4GB/8GB/16GB | Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB | Display: 12.3-inch, 2736 x 1824-pixel | Size: 11.5 x 7.9 x 0.33 inches | Weight: 1.7-1.74 pounds

Speedy performance
Colorful display
Comfortable (optional) keyboard
USB-C port
Less battery life than predecessor

The Surface Pro 7 takes an excellent laptop in last year's Surface Pro 6 and gives it a power boost. While battery life takes a hit, the new 10th Gen CPUs provide outstanding performance in our synthetic and real-world testing. 

The design hasn't changed at all, but the Surface Pro 7 now has a USB-C port for charging and connecting peripherals. Microsoft still sells the comfortable Alcantara-clad Type Cover and the super-responsive Surface Pen, which makes it easy to draw or take notes on this tablet's vivid and bright 12.3-inch display.

There is still room for improvement. For example, the Surface Pro 7's display bezels are chunky and storage/RAM upgrades are inexplicably expensive. Still, this is one of the best 2-in-1 devices around, and an excellent choice if you're traveling. 

The updated Microsoft Surface Pro 7+ comes with an 11th gen Intel Core processor, but you'll find its best configuration is well above the $1,000 limit. 

See our full Surface Pro 7 review

Best Chromebook under $1,000: Asus Chromebook Flip C434 (Image credit: Future)

7. Asus Chromebook Flip C434

The best Chromebook under $1,000

CPU: Intel Core m3-8100Y | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB eMMC | Display: 14-inch, 1080p touch screen | Dimensions: 12.6 x 8 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 3.1 pounds

Sleek, premium design
Thin display bezels
Vivid, 14-inch touch screen
Long battery life
Mixed performance

The best overall Chromebook, the Flip C434 is an excellent successor to the Flip C302CA, our previous top pick. Not only do its super-small bezels allow Asus to fit its large 14-inch screen into a smaller chassis than you'd expect, and that screen is both bright and colorful. On top of that, its aluminum design provides a more premium feel than most Chromebooks. Oh, and I almost forgot: it lasts about 10 hours on a single charge.

See our full Asus Chromebook Flip C434 review

Thanks to the Acer Aspire 5's strong performance and long battery life, it's the top of the best laptops under $500 that you can buy. (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

8. Acer Aspire 5

The best laptop under $500

CPU: Intel Core i3-8145U | GPU: Intel UHD 620 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 128GB SSD | Display: 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 | Size: 14.3 x 9.9 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 3.76 pounds

Strong performance
Long battery life
Bright, 1080p display
Middling graphics
Questionable build quality

The Acer Aspire 5 earns its place at the top spot of the best laptops under $500 page due to its strong 8th Gen Core i3 performance, bright 1080p display, and long battery life — all for an affordable price. Although the Aspire 5 is much thinner than its sibling, the Aspire E 15, the Aspire 5 boasts enough room for a battery that lasts nearly 9 hours on a charge.

It doesn’t feature a DVD writer, but it still has a decent number of ports. The display emits an impressive 276 nits of brightness, which gives the screen some decent contrast. It even has an aluminum hood. To top it off, the bezels on the display are surprisingly narrow for a laptop this cheap. The Aspire 5 is one of the best cheapest laptops currently available.

See our full Acer Aspire 5 review

(Image credit: Rami Tabari)

9. Asus ZenBook 13 UM325S

One of the best ultraportable laptops under $1,000

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5800U | GPU: AMD Radeon Graphics | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 1TB SSD | Display: 13.3-inch, 1080p, OLED | Size: 12.0 x 8.0 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 2.6 pounds

Excellent performance
Gorgeous OLED display
Long battery life
Sleek ultra-portable design
Well-rounded speakers
Cramped keyboard
Sticky touchpad

The Asus ZenBook 13 UM325S is a great ultraportable laptop. It rocks awesome performance, stellar battery life, a lovely OLED display and powerful speakers. The only shortcoming is its compact design. It’s wonderfully portable, but it makes the keyboard and touchpad somewhat uncomfortable to use.

But overall, the ZenBook 13 is one of the best ultraportable laptops out there, as long as you have smaller hands and can get used to its keyboard. 

Read our full Asus ZenBook 13 UM325S review

(Image credit: Future)

10. Acer Swift 3 (2020, AMD Ryzen 7 4700U)

The best laptop with high performance under $1,000

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 4700U | GPU: Radeon Graphics | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 512GB SSD | Display: 14-inch, 1920 x 1080 | Size: 12.7 x 8.6 x 0.63 inches | Weight: 2.6 pounds

Beastly performance
Amazing CPU for price
Great battery life
Fingerprint scanner
Dim display

The Acer Swift 3, the one with the AMD Ryzen 7 4700U CPU, blew us away with its overall performance on our Geekbench 5.0 benchmark. Not only did the Acer Swift 3 outdo the laptops within its price range, but it also outperformed some top-tier, premium laptops such as the Dell XPS 13.

The Acer Swift 3 also has good battery life. You'll get more than 11 hours from the Acer Swift 3, which will last you a whole day. Equipped with a powerful CPU and great battery life, the Acer Swift 3 will only set you back $649, which is totally unheard of nowadays. However, for the price, you'll have to sacrifice having a brilliant screen because the Acer Swift 3 has a dim display.

Still, the Acer Swift 3 will give you a lot of bang for your buck. We highly recommend it.

Read our full Acer Swift 3 review

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

11. Dell XPS 13 (2019)

The best thin notebook under $1,000

CPU: Intel Core i3-1005G1 CPU | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 256 SSD | Display: 13.4-inch 1920 X 1200 Infinity Edge | Weight: 2.9 pounds

Slim, ultraportable design
Strong performance
Bright, 16:10 display
Great battery life
Scant on ports
Shallow keyboard

No matter how you configure it, the Dell XPS 13 (2019) is still one of the best laptops for your money. Even if you opt for the $979 configuration of Dell's flagship notebook (the only one under $1,000) you'll still get a stunningly slim chassis, a gorgeous InfinityEdge display, and solid internals that include a 10th Gen Intel Core i3 processor and a battery that can last almost 11 hours.

As for the Dell XPS 13 (2020)? Well, that's the best laptop you can buy.

See our full Dell XPS 13 review

How we test the best laptops under $1,000

To evaluate whether a laptop is worth your hard-earned money, we run industry-standard performance benchmarks such as Geekbench and 3DMark as well as a variety of real-world tests that we've developed in our labs. This includes the Laptop Mag Battery Test, which surfs the web at 150 nits of brightness until a laptop runs out of juice, as well as a custom spreadsheet test that measures a laptop's processing power. For more on our process, see this page on how we test laptops.

How to find the best laptop under $1,000

When shopping for the best laptop under $1,000 there's a lot to consider. Here's a good breakdown on how to find the best laptop for you.

What's your budget?

Sure you can find some diamond-in-the-rough, decent Windows laptops and high-quality Chromebooks for under $500, but you may have to deal with a low-performing CPU or a poor multitasker. If you're a light laptop user, those will be OK, but if you need something more powerful, you may aint to aim higher -- the best mainstream laptops typically cost more than $700. If you can, we suggest aiming for the $700 to $900 range.

Do you want a 2-in-1 or a clamshell?

If you enjoy the awesomeness of converting your laptop into a tablet, then the 2-in-1 laptops are a good choice. But keep in mind that most times, you'll be able to get a lower price and stronger-performing features with a traditional laptop.

How much battery life do you need?

If you're on the go, you're going to need to make sure you snag a laptop that lasts more than 10 hours.  But if you're a homebody or you're tied to your desk all day, perhaps you can sacrifice some battery life and save some money in the process. Check out our laptops with the best battery life list.

What specs do you need? 

Aim for a Core i5 CPU if you want decent performance. Memory and storage, you should aim for 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. As far as display, don't get anything less than 1080p screen -- your eyes will thank you later.

You can spend a lot of time delving into specs, but here are the key components to think about. If you just want really good mainstream performance, go for a Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and a 1080p screen.

Gamers and content creators should be on the market for a laptop with discreet graphics, but finding a high-performing GPU under $1,000 might not be an easy task.