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MacBook, Dell, or HP? Which laptop under $1,000 is the best?

Truth be told, you don't need to spend an arm and a leg for a powerful laptop. These five laptops under $1,000 provide all the bells and whistles you need to do your online work with ease.
Written by Josh Slate, Contributor on
Reviewed by Emery Wright

You don't need a huge PC under your desk anymore to achieve lightning-fast speeds, amazing graphics, and 1TB SSD capabilities. There are plenty of laptops on the market today with all the tools you need to succeed academically or professionally. 

Whether you're gaming in your room or working in a coffee shop, the specs that you may desire from a laptop can be drastically different. That being said, every laptop on this list can be used for whatever your daily routine consists of -- and they're all less than $1,000.

Also: Want to save even more money? Here are the best laptops under $500.

Pros & Cons
pros
  • High SSD capacity
  • Fast loading speeds with impressive RAM and CPU
  • Great battery life
cons
  • No full-size SD Card slot
More Details

Tech specs: CPU Model: Intel Core i7-1165G7 | RAM Memory: 16GB | Hard Disk Drive: 512GB SSD Screen Size: 15.6 inches

When looking for a new laptop, the most essential features are fast speeds, large SSD capacities, and good visuals. Luckily, this Dell Inspiron 15 5000 has all three and more. With an Intel Core i7 processor and 16 GB of DDR4 RAM, this laptop can handle your long work meetings and your biggest school assignments with ease. 

With laptops like MacBooks moving away from having an abundance of ports on the sides of the keyboard, Dell doesn't shy away. This laptop features seven ports: 1 charging port, 1 HDMI input, 2 USB 3.2 ports, 1 USB Type-C port, 1 microSD Card reader, and 1 headphone/ microphone jack. 

Lastly, this laptop contains Intel Iris Xe Graphics making every moment on this product vivid and crisp. But, the bright lights don't stop there, a backlit keyboards makes it easier for you to use your laptop when the lights are off. Additionally, the sound on this laptop is just as high-quality as the visuals with stereo speakers with Waves MaxxAudio Pro and Bluetooth capabilities.

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Easy access to all things Apple
  • Simplistic design
  • Small size makes it easily portable
cons
  • Not good for gaming
  • Browsing works best with Google Chrome
  • Hard to adapt from Windows to MacOS
More Details

Tech specs: CPU Model: Apple M1 | RAM Memory: 8GB | Hard Disk Drive: 256GB SSD | Screen Size: 13.3 inches

Apple has emerged as the frontrunner in the typical laptop market today. While MacBooks, in my opinion, aren't the best in the industry, their features set them apart from competition. As a loyal Apple customer, I own many of their products and use a MacBook every day. 

The 2020 version of the MacBook Air is incredibly advanced. I have a 2019 MacBook Pro, and it still has plenty of features brand-new laptops don't. This MacBook Air features the Apple M1 chip and 8GB of RAM, giving users a brilliant experience with fast loading speeds. The 13.3-inch Retina display is unique for laptops and allows everything to show up on your screen sharp, clear, and vibrant. 

Additionally, if you have Apple products, you can easily connect your Apple ID to your MacBook to get access to your contacts, photos, iMessage, FaceTime, and so much more all from your laptop. 

Read the review: 2020 MacBook Air review

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Easily portable with kickstand and small size
  • Small size, powerful components
  • Incredible battery life
cons
  • Touchscreen can sometimes cause trouble
  • Intel i3 processor could be better
More Details

Tech specs: CPU Model: Intel Core i3 | RAM Memory: 8GB | Hard Disk Drive: 128GB SSD | Screen Size: 12.3 inches

If my MacBook Pro were to stop working, my next purchase would be a Microsoft Surface Pro. The ability to have a laptop/tablet combination that's both powerful and compact is perfect for those who travel frequently. Behind the 12.3-inch touchscreen display is an Intel Core i3 processor along with 8GB of RAM and a battery capable of up to 15 hours of use.

Because this Surface Pro 7+ doubles as a tablet as well, this laptop has a 5MP and 8MP front and rear facing cameras, respectively. Additionally, these cameras have a 1080p resolution, so your virtual work meetings will look even better with a clearer picture on your webcam. 

Even though the screen is smaller, you can add extra displays to expand your workspace among multiple screens. If you need to use this laptop on the go, a nearly 180-degree kickstand located on the back makes sure you get the best view at all times. Along with the kickstand, a 3:2 aspect ration provides 18% more vertical real estate than typical laptops

Read the review: Microsoft Surface Pro 7+ review

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Battery life is good for a gaming laptop
  • Incredible graphic capabilities
cons
  • At over 5 pounds its harder to transport
  • Only 60Hz refresh rate
More Details

Tech specs: CPU Model: Intel® Core™ i5-12500H | RAM Memory: 8GB | Hard Disk Drive: 512 GB SSD | Screen Size: 15.6 inches

When you think of the typical gaming PC, you think of RGB lights everywhere, fancy glass cases, and large fans inside the unit. This HP Victus laptop has none of those but still provides an epic gaming experience. Plus, with a 16.1 inch screen, you don't necessarily need a true monitor to game -- although having a big monitor greatly enhances the experience. 

The visuals are just as important as the performance when it comes to gaming. Luckily, this laptop provides in each of those categories. The graphics are powered by an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 GPU and a 178-degree wide-view screen, so you can see the screen wherever you decide to sit. Plus, with an enhanced cooling solution in this laptop, hot air is blown out of the laptop to ensure the computer maintains a good temperature while you game.

Finally, since games seem to take up all your storage nowadays, a 512 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD provides 30x faster performance than a traditional hard drive.With 2 USB Type-A ports and 1 USB Type-C port, if extra storage is needed, there are more than enough ports for you to use an external SSD.

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Affordable
  • Adapted for remote work
  • Powerful processor and RAM for low price
cons
  • Screen provides a lot of glare
More Details

Tech specs: CPU Model: Intel® Core™ i5-1135G7 | RAM Memory: 8 GB | Hard Disk Drive: 256 GB SSD | Screen Size: 13.3 inches

Don't let the low price and small size of this HP Envy 13 fool you -- this laptop is incredibly impressive, and with a price like this, it's a must-have. At just $679, this laptop is by far the least expensive on this list, but also one of the most powerful. Powered by an Intel Core i5 processor, this laptop helps you stay on task while being efficient and responsive with any input. 

With many classes and meetings making the move to online formats via Zoom or Teams, this laptop has adapted with the times. With a built-in camera shutter key and a key to mute your microphone, you can ensure your privacy is protected when you step away from your work station.

Lastly, while the screen measures just 13.3 inches, the picture quality you will get from this unit is incredible. The FHD IPS display is virtually edgeless with an 88% screen to body ratio. Additionally, this laptop features BrightView technology so your colors are vivid and clear when working in the classroom, office, or cubicle.

What is the best laptop under $1,000?

With all big decisions comes a lot of research, Thankfully, we did a lot of the heavy lifting for you when it comes to searching up the key specs of the best laptops under $1,000. Below is a table comparing the five computers in this list by price, CPU model, and screen size to help make the decision process a tad bit easier.

Laptop under $1,000

Price

CPU

Screen Size

Dell Inspiron 15 5000

$969

Intel Core i7-1165G7

15.6 inches

2020 MacBook Air

$800

Apple M1

13.3 inches

Microsoft Surface Pro 7+

$700

Intel Core i3

12.3 inches

HP Victus 

$689

Intel Core i5-12500H

15.6 inches

HP Envy 13

$675

Intel Core i5-1135G7

13.3 inches

Which is the right laptop under $1,000 for you?

Each person will use their laptop to satisfy different needs. That's why this list includes laptops ranging from the best overall, to the best for gamers, to the cheapest.

The size and weight of your laptop can really restrict where you can bring your laptop, or more specifically, where you will have enough room to use it. With laptops like the Surface Pro 7+ and the HP Envy 13, you can bring your laptop virtually anywhere. Bigger options like the Dell Inspiron 15 5000 and the HP Victus will require a bit more room. But no matter who you are, a laptop is an essential item to have in today's world.

Choose this laptop under $1,000

If you want…

Dell Inspiron 15 5000

The best overall laptop to fulfill all your technology needs  

2020 MacBook Air

A laptop that's perfect for Apple users

Microsoft Surface Pro 7+

A tablet/laptop combination that's great for travel

HP Victus

A high-quality laptop with incredible specs for gamers 

HP Envy 13

A computer that will exceed expectations without breaking the bank

How did we choose these laptops under $1,000?

Through extensive research and personal experience on a MacBook, I was able to compile this list of the five best laptops under $1,000. Once I figured out which laptops ranked as the top five, I categorized them as the best in certain categories.

As you can tell by the brands of computers selected, brand reputation was of high importance when deciding which laptops to include in this article. While there are cheaper laptops on the market than the HP Envy 13, the components and price point make this computer a no-brainer to include in the list. 

Are gaming laptops under $1,000 good?

Like all things, you get what you pay for. But with a budget of $1,000, you can get an above-average laptop. Personally, if I were to buy a computer specifically for gaming, I would purchase a PC -- but those often run over $1,000 for a high-quality system.

Who makes the best laptops under $1,000?

All the laptops included in this list come from either HP, Dell, or Apple. That being said, it's hard to go against the powerhouse manufacturers in the laptop industry.

What is the best touchscreen laptop?

Personally, I love the versatility of the Microsoft Surface Pro tablets/laptops. Like I mentioned above, if I were to purchase a new computer today, it would have to be a Microsoft Surface -- they come in all different sizes and spec combinations, so you can find the perfect one for you.

Are there alternative laptops under $1,000 worth considering?

With a budget of $1,000, the big-name brands typically dominate the laptop industry for this price. Here are a few more laptop choices from reputable brands that are worth considering before making your purchase.

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