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The best laptops under $1,000 that you can buy right now

These laptops will deliver top-tier power, speed, and performance for less than $1,000.
By Cesar Cadenas, Contributing Writer and  Josh Slate, Contributor on
Reviewed by Gabriela Jordan

Gone are the days of huge PC towers taking up your desk space to achieve powerful performance. Now we live in a time where power can be condensed and tightly packed into a slim laptop. Many lightweight laptops even promise lightning-fast speeds, detailed graphics, and 1TB SSD storage options for your creative, academic, or professional use. 

Also: The best laptops under $500

After going hands-on with the 2020 Apple MacBook Air when it first came out, the now three-year-old model still wins ZDNET's coveted title of the best laptop under $1,000 thanks to its speed, portability, and relatively budget-friendly price tag. However, that is far from your only option. 

Whether you're someone playing video games in your room or working in a coffee shop, your needs as a consumer can be drastically different. You might want the best hardware possible or perhaps you prefer something simple. With that in mind, these are the best laptops under $1,000 for your daily routine, whatever it may be.

The best laptops under $1,000 of 2023

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

2020 Apple MacBook Air 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, especially with the 2020 version of its MacBook Air. Featuring the Apple M1 chip and 8GB of RAM, this model gives users a brilliant experience with fast loading speeds, which makes for clean, sharp, and vibrant viewing on its compact, yet effective 13.3-inch Retina display. 

While ZDNET testing found that screen brightness tends to eat up some battery life, the overall performance functions great for routine professional and creative demands. The large trackpad and screen size help make it easy to do work. The high amount of space lets you have a lot of apps open at once. What's more, the MacBook Air is completely quiet. You won't have to worry about disturbing other people around you.

Also, if you have other Apple products, you can connect those devices to your MacBook and gain access to your contacts, photos, iMessage, and so much more all from your laptop. 

Review: 2020 MacBook Air

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

HP Victus 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 probably think of plenty of RGB, fancy glass cases, and large fans inside the unit. And while this HP Victus laptop doesn't tote those flashy features, it does provide an epic gaming experience.

The visuals are just as important as the performance in gaming. Luckily, this laptop has power in spades. 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 heat sinks, ensuring the computer maintains a cool temperature while you game. 

We should mention the GeForce RTX 3050 graphics card is paired up with an Intel Core i5-12500H processor. This combination is noteworthy because it allows the HP Victurs to handle all kinds of workloads, not just gaming. It can handle everyday tasks like browsing the web, checking emails, and working on documents. Content creators should consider picking up a laptop because that hardware can be beneficial in rendering and editing videos.

And since games can take up a good chunk of storage, the 512 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD provides 30x faster performance than a traditional hard drive. Plus, with 2 USB Type-A ports and 1 USB Type-C port, if extra storage is needed, there are also more than enough ports for you to use an external SSD.

Pros & Cons
  • Affordable
  • Adapted for remote work
  • Powerful processor and RAM for a low price
  • Screen is glare-heavy
  • Mediocre trackpad
More Details

HP Envy 13 tech specs: CPU Model: Intel Core i5-1135G7 | RAM Memory: 8 GB | Hard Disk Drive: 256 GB SSD | Screen Size: 13.3 inches

This laptop is the cheapest laptop under $1,000 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 moving to online formats via Zoom or Teams, this laptop has adapted to the times. With a built-in camera shutter key and a key to mute your microphone, you can protect your privacy when you step away from your workstation. 

The HP Envy 13 excels in striking a good balance between portability and performance. Even though it wasn't developed with resource-intensive activities in mind, it can handle casual gaming, 3D rendering, and video editing. Of course, the HP Envy 13 is excellent at tackling everyday tasks if you don't do any of that.

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 transparent when working in the classroom, office, or cubicle.

Pros & Cons
  • Great looking screen
  • Awesome performance
  • Lightweight frame
  • Poor quality webcam
  • Resolution could be better
More Details

ASUS VivoBook S 15 OLED tech specs: CPU Model: Intel Core i5-12500H/Intel Core i7-12700H | RAM Memory: 8 GB | Hard Disk Drive: 512 GB SSD | Screen Size: 15.6 inches

If you're looking for an inexpensive laptop with a gorgeous screen, look no further than the ASUS Vivobook S 15 OLED. It sports a 15.6 Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixel) OLED screen on a 16:9 aspect ratio. This type of display allows you to enjoy stunning colors and deep blacks. Additionally, it covers the entirety of the DCI-P3 color gamut plus support for Display HDR True Black 600. Together, these two software features offer color saturation and unmatched on-screen detail.

Of course, there is more to the Vivobook S 15 besides its screen because it does have some powerful hardware. The low-end model sports an Intel Core i5-12500H CPU and 8GB of RAM, ideal for multitasking. You won't experience any significant performance drops even if you have a ton of tabs open on Google Chrome (and we know you do that). 

As for its overall design, the laptop weighs less than four pounds so you can travel anywhere without any hindrance. Typing on its keyboard is a pleasant experience as well. For one, it's spacious, giving your hands all the freedom they need. Plus, each key has a low actuation point for fast typing. The touchpad at the bottom is relatively small. Using it for scrolling web pages may be a little uncomfortable for some.

Pros & Cons
  • Rugged design
  • Long battery life
  • Generous port selection
  • Subpar speakers
  • Mediocre webcam
More Details

Acer Aspire 5 tech specs: CPU Model: Intel Core i5-8265U | RAM Memory: 8 GB | Hard Disk Drive: 256 GB | Screen Size: 15.6 inches

The Acer Aspire 5 is an excellent Windows laptop priced under $1,000. It has a comfortable 15.6-inch widescreen display that isn't too small or too big, with an LED-backlit IPS and full HD resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels). This translates to impressive graphics on a screen large enough to enjoy detail. The backlit keyboard is a bonus for greater visibility, especially for work or school projects.

Processing speeds are incredible, too. The Aspire 5 utilizes an 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8265U processor with 256 gigabytes on the hard disk and 8GB of RAM. This combination of hardware allows the laptop to handle all sorts of workloads, be it streaming a movie from Netflix or browsing the internet. Speaking of movies, Acer Aspire 5 boasts Acer TrueHarmony tech to boost volume and deliver deep bass.

For higher security, there is a fingerprint reader for unlocking your computer. You have ports aplenty, with several USB ports, including a USB-C input. Expect a battery life of about nine-and-a-half hours, more than enough power to get you through long work days.

And the cherry on top of the Acer Aspire 5 sundae is the lightweight. It weighs less than four pounds, so you can take it with you everywhere you go.

Pros & Cons
  • Great performance
  • Lightweight form factor
  • Long battery life
  • Limited ports
  • Pricey
More Details

Acer Swift X tech specs: CPU Model: AMD Ryzen 5 5600U/Ryzzen 7 5800U | RAM Memory: 8 GB/16 GB | Hard Disk Drive: 512 GB | Screen Size: 14 inches

Keeping with Acer, we have the Swift X – a low-cost laptop that surprisingly has a decent amount of power behind it. You can choose an AMD Ryzen 5 5600U or a Ryzen 7 5825U as your processor. It's slim pickings for the graphics card, but at least it's an Nvidia RTX 3050 GPU. Pretty decent hardware for a laptop costing less than $1000. It's on par with the HP Victus mentioned earlier.

The Swift X may be a better pick for most people as it excels in areas where gaming laptops struggle. For one, it's lightweight, coming in at a little over three pounds, making it much easier to carry around. The average battery life is set at a nice 12 hours. With that time, you could do all your day's work and still have juice left over to wind down with your favorite show on Netflix.

Of course, I can't forget the great-looking FullHD IPS display sporting an over 85 percent screen-to-body ratio. It also covers the entirety of the sRGB color gamut.

One of my favorite things about the Swift X is that it comes in a head-turning Gold. It's an unusual color for laptops, but it'll definitely look nice on a desk.

Review: Acer Swift X review: A slimline AMD-powered workhouse with discrete Nvidia graphics

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 regarding searching up the key specs of the best laptops under $1,000. Below is a table comparing the best laptops in this list by price, CPU model, and screen size to help make the decision process more manageable.

Best laptop under $1,000Lowest price availableCPUScreen sizeStorage size
2020 MacBook Air$750Apple M113.3 inches256 GB
HP Victus$730Intel Core i5-12500H15.6 inches512 GB
HP Envy 13$560Intel Core i5-1135G713.3 inches256 GB
ASUS Vivobook S 15 OLED$900Intel Core i5-12500H / Intel Core i7-12700H15.6 inches512 GB
Acer Aspire 5$5188th Gen Intel Core i5-8265U15.6 inches256 GB
Acer Swift X$799AMD Ryzen 5 5600U / Ryzen 7 5825U14 inches512 GB

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

The size and weight of your laptop can restrict where you bring and use your computer. Laptops, such as the HP Envy 13, can be taken anywhere, while larger options, such as the HP Victus, require a bit more room. Read the chart below to understand which model works best for you. 

Choose this best laptop under $1,000...If you want...
2020 MacBook AirA laptop that's perfect for Apple users. Utilizing the M1 chip and packing in 8GB of RAM, this laptop delivers lightning-fast performance and easily integrates the rest of your Apple devices.
HP VictusA high-quality laptop with incredible specs for gamers. This laptop is packed with power without the high price tag, like a 16.1-inch screen, Nvidia graphics, and plenty of ports.
HP Envy 13A computer that will exceed expectations without breaking the bank. While the screen is only 13 inches, the display is virtually edgeless, with an 88% body ratio. Plus, the graphics are fantastic quality, and the camera features are perfect for remote workers.
ASUS VivoBook S 15 OLEDA laptop with a fantastic screen. As its name states, the VivoBook S 15 OLED delivers a Full HD resolution OLED screen capable of outputting stunning color, deep blacks, and a high level of detail.
Acer Aspire 5A gaming-worthy budget laptop with superior graphics. This best middle-of-the-road option offers a comfortable 15.6-inch display and plenty of storage and port availability.
Acer Swift XA lightweight yet powerful laptop sporting some of the same hardware as the HP Victus without the drawbacks. Able to last 12 hours on a single charge, The Acer Swift X will surely be your new best friend at work.

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

A great laptop doesn't have to cost a fortune. To determine the best laptops under $1,000, there are several factors you need to consider.

  • CPU Model: The processor tells you how quickly and how well your computer will be able to understand and complete tasks. Look for a newer processor that boasts faster speeds so you can be guaranteed a high-performing machine.
  • RAM Memory: Consider how much memory you will need for your computer. If you deal with a lot of files, you are likely going to need more RAM memory than the average user. 
  • Screen size: It is typically a matter of preference when it comes to screen size. The best laptops under $1,000 have screens ranging from 12.3 inches to 15.6 inches. It is possible to find laptops that are both bigger and smaller than this specific range. 
  • Price: Cost is, of course, a driving factor here, so pay attention to that price tag. We found that the best laptops under $1,000 range from $570 to $800, depending on the make and model you choose.

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.

There are decent gaming laptops under $1,000, as seen with the HP Victus. But, inexpensive gaming laptops won't have the same quality or power as the more expensive ones. If you are a casual gamer or don't care much about having the best graphics or performance possible, a gaming laptop under $1,000 can provide an enjoyable experience.

Who makes the best laptops under $1,000?

The usual laptop industry powerhouses, like Apple, HP, Acer, and Microsoft, make quality laptops under $1,000. All of our favorite models from these manufacturers are included on this list. 

What is the best touchscreen laptop?

We love the versatility of the Microsoft Surface Pro tablets/laptops. If we had to purchase a new computer today, it would have to be a Microsoft Surface. They come in so many different sizes and spec combinations that you will be able to 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.

Best HP laptop under $1,000

HP 17.3-inch HD+ Screen Laptop

This best laptop under $1,000 packs excellent value at a reasonable price.

View at Amazon

Best Asus laptop under $1,000

Asus TUF Gaming F17 Laptop

Enjoy an extra-large display with superior NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050, making this the best gaming laptop under $1,000 that you can buy.

View at Amazon

Best Microsoft laptop under $1,000

Acer Nitro 5

Choose this mid-range gaming laptop if you want better performance without breaking the bank.

View at Best Buy
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