Skip to main content

The best laptops under $1,000 in 2020

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. Getting a great laptop doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg. There are tons of great 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.

From the entry-level version of the excellent Dell XPS 13 to sub-$200 machines like the HP Stream 11, there's a laptop under $1,000 out there for every type of shopper.

 But it's important to note that the lower your budget is, the more you may have to make sacrifices of premium features, such as top-of-the-line processing power, discreet graphics, a jaw-dropping display, biometric authentication such as fingerprint readers, touchscreen capabilities, 2-in-1 convertible properties and more.

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, you're a traveler who constantly uses your laptop outdoors, you may not be able to sacrifice a screen with high brightness.

That's why we've laid out the pros and cons for each of our best laptops under $1,000 so that you can choose the best laptop for your needs.

Here are the best laptops under $1,000 you can buy right now.

What is the best laptop under $1,000?

The best 2020 laptop that's less than $1,000 is the Dell XPS 13, which is a show-shopping 2-in-1 laptop. This means you can convert the Dell XPS 13 from a laptop to a tablet so that you can shape-shift the device into the mode that best fits your immediate needs.

The Dell XPS 13's base model costs around $979, more or less, and it'll come with a Core i3-1005G1 CPU, 4GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and a black interior. When we reviewed the Dell XPS 13, we were blown away by its ultraportable design, attractive display and impressive performance.  The configuration we reviewed was able to survive 10 hours and 57 minutes on your Laptop Mag battery test.

The Dell XPS 13 is not only one of the best 2-in-1 laptops today, but it is also one of the best laptops overall.

Another that device I'd give the best laptop under $1,000 crown to is the Asus ZenBook 13 UX333FA. If you thought the battery life on the Dell XPS 13 was good, wait 'til you hear the battery life on the ZenBook 13 UX333FA -- a sweet 11 hours and 28 minutes.  This is a device that will give you solid performance, battery longevity and a premium design for a price that won't break the bank.

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

The best laptops under $1,000: Dell XPS 13

1. Dell XPS 13

The best laptop under $1,000 overall

Storage: 4GB | Rear camera: 12MP

No matter how you configure it, the Dell XPS 13 is the best laptop for your money. Even if you opt for the $979 configuration of Dell's flagship notebook, 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.

Key Specs : Intel Core i3-1005G1 CPU; 4GB RAM; 256 SSD; 13.4-inch, 1920 X 1200 Infinity Edge display; 2.9 pounds

See our full Dell XPS 13 review.

The best laptops under $1,000: HP Chromebook x2

2. HP Chromebook x2

The best Chromebook under $1,000

Intel Core m3-7Y30; 4GB RAM; 32GB eMMC; 12.3-inch, 2400 x 1600 display; 3.2 pounds

What makes the HP Chromebook x2 the best of its kind is its vibrant, high resolution display, comfortable keyboard and great sound, which are qualities that are rather difficult to find in your average Chromebook. But most importantly, it’s a 2-in-1 detachable accompanied HP’s Active Pen, which makes it even more versatile for productive use. On top of that, this machine can last 8 hours and 50 minutes on a charge.

The best laptops under $1,000: Asus ZenBook 13 UX333FA

3. Asus ZenBook 13 UX333FA

The best ultrabook under $1,000

Intel Core i5-8265U; 8GB RAM; 256GB SSD; 13.3-inch 1080p display; 2.7 pounds

If you're seeking premium looks and portability on a budget, look no further than the Asus ZenBook 13. This beautiful, blue-tinted laptop has one of the best designs we've seen from a recent notebook, and backs up its eye-catching looks with strong Core i5 performance and more than 11 hours of battery life.

Best Gaming: Dell G7 15

4. Dell G7 15

The best gaming laptop under $1,000

Intel Core i5-8300H; 8GB RAM; 1TB hard drive; Nvidia GTX 1050; 15-inch 1080p display; 6.3 pounds

The Dell G7 15 is proof that you don't have to spend thousands of dollars for a good portable gaming experience. The $849 version of this affordable powerhouse packs an Intel Core i5 processor and an Nvidia GTX 1050 GPU, which is perfect for running mainstream games on decent settings (a more powerful GTX 1060 config costs just $1049). The G7 15 also stands out with long battery life and a refreshing white and blue design that's a far cry from the overly aggressive, red-and-black looks of most gaming notebooks.

The best laptops under $1,000: Microsoft Surface Pro

5. Microsoft Surface Pro

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

Other: Intel Core i5 | Other: 8GB RAM | Other: 128GB SSD | Other: 12.3-inch, 2736 x 1824 display | Other: 1.7 pounds

Microsoft's Surface Pro is still the detachable to beat, thanks to its slim and versatile design that's a joy to use whether you're drawing with your Surface Pen in tablet mode or getting work done with a Type Cover keyboard attached. The $999 version of this 2-in-1 gets you a Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, which is more than enough power for staying productive on the road. The hybrid's gorgeous PixelSense display is just icing on the cake.

The best laptops under $1,000: Dell Precision 3530

6. Dell Precision 3530

The best workstation under $1,000

Intel Core i5-8400H; 4GB RAM; 500GB hard drive; 15.6-inch, 1366 x 768 display; 4.48 pounds

If you need desktop-level power on a laptop budget, the Dell Precision 3530 is for you. This business powerhouse features a durable, MIL-STD 810G-tested design, a secure fingerprint reader, and enough battery life to last through a full work day and then some. And with a Core i5 processor and 15-inch anti-glare display in the machine's $929 configuration, you'll have plenty of muscle for getting work done on the go.

The best laptops under $1,000: Lenovo ThinkPad E580

7. Lenovo ThinkPad E580

The best business laptop under $1,000

Intel Core i5-7200U; 4GB RAM; 500GB hard drive; 15-inch, 1080p display; 4.7 pounds

The Lenovo ThinkPad E580 is a no-nonsense work laptop that packs everything you need for running a small business or putting together a presentation, without all the bloat (and cost) of enterprise-level notebooks. The E580 packs a best-in-class keyboard with Lenovo's signature pointing stick, a ton of ports for accessories and monitors, an optional fingerprint reader and strong overall performance no matter how you configure it. You can get the E580 for just $699 with a 15-inch 1080p display and an Intel Core i5 processor, which are specs you'll rarely find at such a low price.

The best laptops under $1,000: HP Stream 11

8. HP Stream 11

The best laptop under $500

Intel Celeron N4000; 4GB RAM; 32GB storage; Intel UHD 600 graphics; 11.6-inch, 1366 x 768 display; 2.5 pounds

If your budget is especially tight, the HP Stream 11 offers incredibly solid performance for its low $170 price tag. This adorable, portable machine sports an Intel Celeron N4000 CPU and 4GB of RAM for getting most basic tasks done, and outlasts many of its more expensive brethren with an awesome 9-hour battery life.

Acer Swift 3 AMD Ryzen 7 4700U

(Image credit: Future)

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

The best Acer laptop with high performance

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.

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 longest-lasting laptops 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.