The Best Laptops Under $1000 in 2021 [In-Depth Buying Guide]

best laptops under $1000 - featured image

The best laptops under $1000 can cater to a wide array of requirements of people. They are plenty powerful for what most people use the laptop for and can handle everything from everyday work and study-related tasks to gaming and photo or video editing. Also, at this budget, you can purchase some of the most premium and sought-after laptop models like — MacBook Air and Dell XPS 13, or premium 2-in-1 like HP Spectre x360 13″.

However, depending upon what you plan on doing on your laptop, you are probably overspending your money here. For instance, if you are buying a notebook for just everyday productivity tasks, you’ll probably be OK with one of our recommended laptops under $500 (if not under $600). They have enough processing muscle for basic to medium-demanding tasks. Also, if you are looking for a gaming laptop, check out the options under $800 as well. Sure, they are not as powerful as the gaming laptops under $1000, but they can run all the latest games too, and by dialing down a few settings, you can achieve smooth gameplay on them.

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But, laptops under $1000 get you much more than just powerful performance. Laptops in this price range are well-built with lightweight and premium-feeling materials like aluminum and carbon fiber. Most of them have a good quality display that can get bright enough to use comfortably outdoors and colorful enough for professionals to make crucial color-related edits with confidence. You also get a better overall feeling keyboard and trackpad and many other aesthetically pleasing things that give them a “premium” badge!

In this guide, we’ll look at the best laptops you can buy for under $1000 right now, and we’ll have a look at all types of options – from gaming laptops under $1000 to business notebooks and even top ultrabooks and 2-in-1 hybrids. We also have some affordable options on our list that offer similarly capable hardware and features as premium laptops under $1000 for much less, sparing you a couple of hundred bucks from your budget.

So, let’s get started.

Best Laptops Under $1000 – Top Picks

In case you’re wondering how do we test and pick these laptops,

We review dozens of laptops every year by performing real-world tests and various benchmarks like Geekbench, Cinebench, and 3D Mark, among others. And, the laptops that we like during our time with them are the ones that mostly make it to our laptop buying guides.

However, we don’t limit our recommendations to just that. We perform in-depth market analysis and shortlist laptops that offer decent specs and features for the money. Then we do research about them on the internet, including checking actual customer reviews to peeping various forum discussions about them. Then, based on factors such as the laptop’s build quality, display’s brightness and color capabilities, how it performs under stress, battery life, and more, we choose the best laptops in the different price segments and for various uses of people. To learn more about how we pick laptops, you can check out our whole process here.

Accordingly, the best laptop of 2021 that you can buy for under $1000 right now is Asus ZenBook 13. For the price tag that’s less than $900, it offers spectacular performance from its 8-core AMD processor, and it’s the only laptop in this price range that offers an OLED display.

It has many other outstanding features. We have talked about it and other laptops that we recommend under $1000 in detail below. We have also mentioned key features (pros & cons) of each model. That would allow you to skim through our top picks faster, but we strongly recommend reading our full briefing on each laptop. It would help you to know the laptops better and make the right purchase decision.

1. Asus ZenBook 13 OLED – Our Top Pick

Asus ZenBook 13 OLED: Editor's Choice - The Best Laptop Under $1000 2021

Key Features:

  • Powerful performance & long battery life
  • OLED display
  • Durably built (MIL-STD Certified)
  • Carry sleeve and dongles (USB-C to 3.5mm audio & USB-A to Ethernet) included in box
  • No headphone jack

The Asus ZenBook 13 is just exquisite to look at. It’s also straight from the future, touting a 13-inch OLED display with razor-thin bezels. Asus boasts of 400-nits of brightness that’s good enough to use the laptop outdoors, and with an OLED panel comes a big set of advantages, including increasing contrast ratio, deeper blacks, and overall great picture quality to watch and edit content.

The one we recommend here is powered by the AMD Ryzen 7 5700U, which is an 8 core and 16 thread CPU with a max clock speed of 4.8GHz. It also has powerful integrated Radeon graphics that would allow you to play titles like Forza Horizon 4 at medium settings, although the laptop is not intended for gaming. The powerful AMD chipset is paired with a fast 512GB of SSD and 8GB of RAM, which is decent for everyday multitasking.

There’s also an Intel variant powered by the 11th Gen Intel Core processors with Thunderbolt 4 ports, and it also comes in a 2-in-1 flavor. But we recommend this AMD variant purely for the raw performance it offers.

Apart from excellent performing hardware, it also offers some pretty great features such as an IR camera for Windows Hello-based face unlock and a backlit keyboard along with Asus’s signature NumberPad trackpad. And you get all this at just under 2.5lbs, which is perfect for portability. Oh, and did we mention it comes with a MIL-STD certification for durability?

Hardware Specifications of Asus ZenBook 13 OLED:

ProcessorAMD Ryzen 7 5700U (8-core, Up to 4.8GHz)
RAM8GB LPDDR4X RAM
Storage512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD
GraphicsAMD Radeon RX Vega 8 Integrated
Display13.3-inch Full HD OLED NanoEdge display (400-nits)
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home 64-bit
Battery LifeUp to 13 hours
Weight2.5 lbs

2. Apple MacBook Air M1 – Best MacBook Under $1000

Apple MacBook Air M1

Key Features:

  • All-metal unibody design
  • Bright & color-accurate Retina display
  • Extraordinarily fast performance
  • Long battery life
  • No traditional ports

MacBooks need no introduction, but the MacBook Air powered by Apple’s own M1 silicon is just phenomenal. If Windows is not your jam, the MacBook Air offers game-changing performance in one of the thinnest form factors, and the macOS Big Sur operating system that powers it is optimized to handle even heavy video editing.

The MacBook Air runs on Apple’s M1 chip made on ARM architecture, which is a huge departure from the Intel chips Apple used to use. The new 8-core chip unlocks performance that beats the latest Intel chips hands down and rubs it in with significantly less power consumption, making MacBook Air one of the most powerful yet portable laptops out there. Moreover, it features unified 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD, both primed for fast response.

Apart from fast performance, the MacBook Air also features an excellent 13.3-inch Retina display. Its tall aspect ratio means it’s great for everyday productivity work and its wide P3 color gamut support makes it good enough for content creation. Moreover, it also features a backlit keyboard, an HD camera for FaceTime calls, and a smooth and spacious touchpad.

But the biggest advantage of the M1 MacBook Air is its battery life. The laptop can run for more than 18 hours on a single charge, making it the perfect machine under $1000 for students or those who are always on the road.

The app support, however, can be a bit of a problem, and if you have to use legacy x86 software, you’ll have to run it through Rosetta 2. But many apps are natively supported on M1 now, including all commonly used web browsers like Chrome or Firefox, and even Adobe apps like Photoshop, Lightroom, and Premiere Pro.

Hardware Specifications of Apple MacBook Air M1:

ProcessorApple M1 chip with 8-cores
RAM8GB
Storage256GB Solid State Drive
Graphics7 GPU Cores (integrated on chip)
Display13.3 Inch (Retina) IPS LED-backlit with 2560 x 1600 Resolution
Operating SystemmacOS Big Sur
Battery LifeUp to 18 hours
Weight2.8 lbs

3. HP Spectre x360 13″ – Best 2-in-1 Laptop Under $1000

HP Spectre x360 13: Editor's Choice - Best 2-in-1 Under $1000 in 2021

Key Features:

  • Stunning design
  • Beautiful 1080p touchscreen
  • Good performance & 10+ hours battery life
  • Fingerprint scanner & IR camera for facial recognition
  • Comes with Pen inside the box

If you’re looking for a powerful 2-in-1 hybrid laptop, we recommend the HP Spectre x360 13. It’s a 13-inch portable machine that’s both lightweight and transforms into a touchscreen tablet. HP includes an active stylus in the box, and you can unleash your creativity doodling, drawing, and taking notes on this super portable laptop.

The HP Spectre is offered in a wide range of 11th-gen Intel Core processors, but for under $1000, you can get it with the 11th Gen Intel Core i5 processor, which outputs enough performance for most users’ daily requirements. Moreover, it also offers Iris Xe graphics that comes integrated on all 11th Gen Intel chips, which makes Spectre x360 13″ also handle light photo/video editing work and even gaming.

You can buy it with a 13.3-inch 4K OLED panel, but it will stretch your budget. Instead, the IPS WLED display with full HD resolution is good enough. It supports touch controls and pen input. No good laptop will leave out an SSD, and this one diligently includes up to 1TB SSD storage and up to 16GB RAM.

Additional goodies include a backlit keyboard, IR webcam for Windows Hello, Wi-Fi 6, and audio by Bang & Olufsen. And, all this is packed inside a chassis weighing less than 3 pounds, making HP Spectre x360 the best 2-in-1 to get under $1000 right now.

Hardware specifications of HP Spectre x360 13″:

Processor11th Gen Intel Core i5-1135G7 (Quad-Core, Turbo up to 4.2GHz)
RAM8GB DDR4 RAM
Storage256GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
GraphicsIntegrated Intel Iris Xe
Display13.3-Inch Full HD IPS WLED Multitouch Display (Anti-Glare)
Operating SystemWindows 11 Home
Battery LifeUp to 12 hours
Weight2.8 lbs
HP ENVY x360 13″ Convertible Laptop – CHEAPER ALTERNATIVE
HP ENVY x360 13" - Affordable Convertible Laptop Option
HP ENVY x360 13″

If you want something a little more affordable, the HP Envy x360 13 is perfectly good too. It doesn’t have the premium build as the Spectre lineup, but it’s also an all-metal built laptop, and you can get it with a more powerful 11th-gen Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM, and roomy 512GB SSD under $1000, which is perfect for power usage on the go. | Check Price on HP

4. Lenovo Legion 5 15″ – Best Gaming Laptop Under $1000

Lenovo Legion 5 15: Editor's Choice - Best Gaming Laptop Under $1000

Key Features:

  • Powerful 8-core CPU & Nvidia RTX GPU
  • Superb display w/ 165Hz refresh rate & 100% sRGB
  • Runs cool under load
  • Good build quality & well-designed
  • Great value for money
  • Below average battery life

No list of best laptops under $1000 is complete without including gaming laptops. That said, the Lenovo Legion 5 is hands down the best option for gaming right now in the $1000 price range. Its incomparable specs and aggressive pricing blow out the competition right out of the water, making it a gaming champ of this price segment.

It comes in a 15-inch form factor and accordingly offers a 15.6-inch FHD display with a 165Hz refresh rate and 100% sRGB color fidelity, making it perfect for both high-intensity gaming and intensive creative tasks like high-res photo or video editing. It also packs the necessary horsepower to drive this display. It is powered by an AMD Ryzen 7 5800H processor along with 16GB DDR4 memory and 512GB NVMe SSD storage.

You get a discrete Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti GPU that, combined with Nvidia’s AI-based DLSS technology, delivers high frame rates in the most intensive AAA gaming titles, including Red Dead Redemption, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, and more. Lenovo offers custom fan controls and multiple performance modes to eke the most out of the hardware. It also relies on AI optimization for dynamic CPU/GPU power distribution resulting in maxed-out frame rates.

No gaming laptop is complete without the RGB shenanigans, and the Legion 5 comes with a 4-zone RGB backlit keyboard. There are also all the latest connectivity options, including Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, and USB-C ports.

The only caveat, though, is its price tag that’s a little over $1000, but it’s still very well worth it. There is no other laptop in the market that offers such powerful hardware and quality display at this price, we bet.

Read our full Lenovo Legion 5 15 Review

Hardware Specifications of Lenovo Legion 5 15″:

ProcessorAMD Ryzen 7 5800H (8-cores, Turbo up to 4.4GHz)
RAM16GB DDR4 3200MHz SDRAM
Storage512GB SSD
GraphicsNvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti 4GB DDR6 VRAM
Display15.6 Inch Full HD IPS 165Hz Refresh rate display with Dolby Vision (100% sRGB)
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home
Battery LifeUp to 6 hours
Weight5.2 lbs
Asus TUF Dash 15 Ultra-slim Gaming Laptop ALSO GREAT
Asus TUF Dash 15 Thin and Light Gaming Laptop
Asus TUF Dash F15

If you can’t expand your budget over $1000, then Asus TUF Dash F15 is also an equally good gaming laptop under $1000. It also offers a high refresh rate 144Hz display (not color accurate though) and features an Intel Core i7-11370H (quad-core) processor with the Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti inside combined with 8GB RAM and 512GB PCIe SSD storage. It’s not as powerful as the Lenovo Legion 5 15″, but it’s still a capable machine for gaming and non-color sensitive editing work. | Check Price on Amazon

5. HP ENVY 13 – Best For Students

2021 HP Envy 13 - Good affordable option for students

Key Features:

  • Beautiful design
  • Ultra thin & lightweight
  • Long battery life
  • Power-packed performance
  • Affordable pricing

If you’re looking for a powerful and portable laptop well below $1000, the HP Envy 13 is a perfect choice. It’s one of our most recommended laptops for students and features an all-metal build that looks both tough and premium, and at 2.88lbs, it’s easy to carry around wherever you go.

The HP Envy 13 can be configured with up to the 11th-Gen Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor along with 16GB onboard memory for about $800, making it plenty fast for the usual office and classroom tasks, and even some gaming thanks to the integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics. There are also less powerful configurations going down to the Intel Core i5-1135G7 with 8GB onboard memory for $600, which is an excellent option if you don’t need Core i7’s compute power for intensive tasks. For storage, you get options for up to 1TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD, making ENVY 13 both fast and spacious for storing all your data.

Apart from great specs, the Envy 13 also features an excellent 13-inch full HD IPS display that is both bright and vivid and great for work or to binge-watch. It has an HD webcam at the top of the screen, which is perfect for attending zoom meetings, and it also features dual-array microphones that filter out ambient noise. The full-size backlit keyboard is also impressive. It has a great layout and a satisfactory amount of key travel. The trackpad feels great, too, despite it having a plastic surface.

With decent connectivity options, including the latest and fastest Thunderbolt 4 ports (thanks to the Intel pedigree) and up to 11-hours of battery life, the HP ENVY 13 is one of the best compact ultrabooks under $1000 for students and working professionals.

Hardware Specifications of HP ENVY 13″:

Processor11th Gen Intel Core i5-1135G7 2.4GHz Quad-Core CPU (Turbo up to 4.2GHz)
RAM8GB DDR4 RAM (non-upgradable)
Storage256GB SSD
GraphicsIntel Iris Xe Graphics
Display13.3-inch Full HD IPS WLED-backlit Display
Operating SystemWindows 11 Home
Battery LifeUp to 11 hours
Weight2.8 lbs

6. Acer Swift X – Best For Content Creation

Acer Swift X - Best performance notebook under $1000 for content creation

Key Features:

  • Superb performance from 8-core AMD CPU & Nvidia GPU
  • Color accurate display
  • Good ports selection
  • Fingerprint scanner for quick & secured logins
  • Affordable pricing
  • Not as premium feeling as other options

If you’re looking for a laptop under $1000 to edit photos and videos, you’ll need a little more power than a standard notebook and a color-calibrated display. The Lenovo Legion 5 15 – our pick for gaming is a much better option for content creation with more powerful hardware and color-accurate display, but its bulky design would bog you down if you have to travel a lot. The Acer Swift X makes a perfect choice. It offers a powerful AMD Ryzen processor, a discrete Nvidia GPU, and a color-accurate display in a compact and lightweight design, perfect for content creation and light gaming.

It features a 14-inch full HD IPS display with 100% sRGB calibration and 300-nits of peak brightness, which is perfect for color-sensitive photo and video editing work. Furthermore, the AMD Ryzen 7 5800U Zen 3 CPU with 8 cores, and Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti GPU with 4GB video memory is a mighty powerful CPU and GPU combo for creative tasks, especially when there’s multi-core usage. 4K footage renders quickly, and you’ll feel no lag in operating heavy editing software. Add to the fact that the Swift X is so deceptively thin and portable, which makes this even better for creators on the move.

You get 16GB LPDDR4X memory and 512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD, which is decent for high-intensity workloads, but sadly the memory and storage are not user-upgradable on this laptop. There’s also a backlit keyboard and a wide choice of ports and connectivity options, including the latest Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 wireless options.

Overall, the Swift X isn’t as premium-looking or feeling laptop as other options under $1000 on our list, but it certainly is a power-packed ultraportable that’s suited well for creators on budget.

Hardware Specifications of Acer Swift X (SFX14-41G-R1S6):

ProcessorAMD Ryzen 7 5800U 8-Core CPU (Up to 4.4GHz)
RAM16GB LPDDR4X
Storage512GB NVMe Solid State Drive
GraphicsNvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti 4GB DDR6 Memory
Display14-inch Full HD IPS Display with 100% sRGB coverage (300-nits)
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home
Battery LifeUp to 12 hours
Weight3.0 lbs

7. Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 13″ – Best Windows Experience

Microsoft Surface Laptop 4

Key Features:

  • Premium design with Alcantara keyboard deck
  • Great AMD performance
  • Bright & color-accurate 3:2 touchscreen
  • 12+ hours battery life
  • Less ports

If you need a subtle but good-looking ultrabook to take to work or college (if you’re a student), it doesn’t get better than the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4. It is Microsoft’s signature hardware made to deliver a clean Windows experience in a thin and light, portable form factor that feels both fast and premium.

Of course, Microsoft had to go with AMD this time, thanks to the Zen 3 superiority “Team Red” is enjoying these days. Accordingly, the AMD Ryzen 5 4680U is tailor-made for the Surface Laptop 4. It’s pretty fast and delivers a significant boost in multitasking tasks, and although not meant for, it can run heavy software like Adobe Photoshop. The integrated Radeon graphics is good enough for light media editing and playing games on Xbox Game Pass at scaled down settings.

You get 8GB of LPDDR4 memory and 256GB SSD storage that’s good enough to handle fast file transfers, quick app launches, and more. It wakes up instantly and doesn’t feel slow even after a dozen Chrome tabs open.

It comes in two sizes (13″ & 15″), but for under $1000, you’ll only be able to get the base 13-inch variant with the specs I mentioned earlier. Microsoft claims up to 19 hours of battery life, which is just an unreal number. In real life, you can expect its battery to last for around 12 hours.

What makes the Surface Laptop 4 so convenient to use is the Alcantara on the keyboard deck, which offers a comfortable palm rest while typing. Believe us, it feels royal.

Hardware Specifications of Microsoft Surface Laptop 4:

ProcessorAMD Ryzen 5 4680U 2.2GHz Hexa-Core (Turbo up to 4GHz)
RAM8 GB LPDDR4x RAM
Storage256GB SSD
GraphicsIntegrated AMD Radeon RX Vega 6
Display13.5-Inch 3:2 PixelSense Touchscreen Display with 2256 x 1504 Resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home
Battery Life12 hours
Weight2.7 lbs

8. Acer Aspire 5 – Best For Home/Casual Use

Acer Aspire 5 - Affordable Computer Under $1000 for Home and Family Use

Key Features:

  • Affordable price
  • Newest & powerful hardware
  • Decent quality 15-inch 1080p display
  • Backlit keyboard & fingerprint scanner
  • Upgradable hardware
  • Polycarbonate chassis but well-built

You don’t need to spend as much for more casual usage because laptops like the Acer Aspire 5 will do the job perfectly well. The Acer Aspire 5 belongs to Acer’s budget lineup of thin and light laptops, and it offers mighty powerful specs for the money.

The Acer Aspire 5 is offered in multiple configurations, but the one we recommend under $1000 comes powered by the 11th Gen Intel Core i7 processor along with powerful Iris Xe graphics, 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD making it suitable for more than casual use. There are also multiple cooling modes to eke out the maximum performance from the hardware.

You get a large 15.6-inch full HD IPS LED display that, while not being the most color accurate, is quite bright and has good viewing angles. It also comes with a wide choice of ports, including a USB Type-C and multiple USB-A ports. There’s also a Wi-Fi 6, a backlit keyboard, and a trackpad with an integrated fingerprint sensor.

It has a metal lid, but its chassis is made up of polycarbonate. As a result, it does manage to look good, but it does not feel as premium in hands as other options under $1000, but it is very well put together, and it’s also relatively lightweight for 15-inch laptops, weighing just 3.6 pounds. It also features an elevated hinge design that allows for comfortable typing and improved cooling. Acer promises around 8 hours of battery life, which is good enough for home and casual use computers.

Hardware Specifications of Acer Aspire 5 (A515-56-73AP):

ProcessorIntel Core i7-1165G7 Quad-Core Processor (Turbo up to 4.7GHz)
RAM16GB DDR4 RAM
Storage512GB SSD
GraphicsIntel Iris Xe Integrated
Display15.6-inch Full HD IPS LED-backlit Screen
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home
Battery LifeUp to 8.5 hours
Weight3.6 lbs

9. Dell Inspiron 15 5515 – Best From Dell

Dell Inspiron 15 5515 - Affordable and Reliable Option from Dell

Key Features:

  • Premium & modern-looking design
  • Powerful performance with 8-core AMD CPU
  • Full-size backlit keyboard
  • Full day battery life
  • Upgradable RAM & Storage drive

Dell’s Inspiron lineup has always showcased the company’s progress in making affordable thin and light machines with powerful hardware. The Inspiron 15 is no different. It is a proper 15-inch device but weighs just 3.62 pounds and is one of the best-specced laptops around for under $1000.

The Dell Inspiron 15 5515 offers the latest AMD Ryzen 7 5700U processor with 8 cores and 16 threads, and it includes an integrated AMD Radeon GPU on-chip that’s good enough for playing some of the Xbox Game Pass titles and light content creation. It is paired with 16GB RAM and 512GB solid state drive, which is also more than enough for most users requirements.

Apart from powerful specs, it features a 15.6-inch full HD touchscreen display with narrow bezels and an anti-glare coating, which is large enough to immerse yourself in watching videos. The laptop also sports a backlit keyboard primed for typing out long emails and documents, and it also features a dedicated numeric pad for convenient number input.

You get a wide choice of ports, including a USB 3.2 Gen-1 Type-C port with DisplayPort and USB PD support, along with 2xUSB 3.2 Gen-1 Type-A ports and HDMI out and also an SD card slot. Dell includes a 54Whr battery that delivers around 8 hours of battery life in intermittent usage and features twin 2W stereo speakers and an HD webcam with a dual-array microphone setup.

Hardware Specifications of Dell Inspiron 15 5515:

ProcessorAMD Ryzen 7 5700U Octa-Core CPU (1.8GHz – 4.3GHz)
RAM16GB DDR4 3200MHz RAM
Storage512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD
GraphicsAMD Radeon RX Vega 8 (Integrated)
Display15.6-inch Full HD Anti-Glare LED Touchscreen Display
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home
Battery LifeUp to 8 hours
Weight3.6 lbs

10. Lenovo ThinkPad L15 Gen 2 – Best Business Laptop Under $1000

Lenovo ThinkPad L15 Gen 2: Editor's Choice - The Best Business Laptop Under $1000 in 2021

Key Features:

  • Tough build quality
  • Enhanced security features
  • Signature ThinkPad keyboard with TrackPoint
  • 720p webcam & dual-array mics
  • Upgradable hardware

ThinkPads are synonymous with business use. Walk into any office, and you’ll find suited individuals buried deep into a ThinkPad with its iconic red track button in the middle of the keyboard. And the Lenovo ThinkPad L15 is easily the best business laptop you can buy for under $1000. Its base configuration starts well under the budget, but if you have the necessary leeway, get one of the higher configurations for the best experience.

The ThinkPad L15 is offered with up to 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1185G7 quad-core processor with a turbo boost speed of 4.8GHz along with 16GB DDR4 RAM. Lenovo offers two upgradeable RAM slots, and you can technically max out memory to 64GB. Similarly, you can go up to 512GB PCIe SSD storage, and there’s even a hard drive slot if you need more storage.

The ThinkPad L15 also has the option to include a discrete Nvidia GeForce MX450 GPU, but we’d recommend sticking to the integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics if you don’t have to run graphics-intensive software.

It offers a 15.6-inch full HD display with an anti-glare coating, and Lenovo claims a 250-nits brightness rating for the laptop, which is about enough for outdoor usage.

But what makes the ThinkPad L15 perfect for business use are the security features that include IR camera-based facial recognition, a discrete TPM (Trusted Platform Module) – must for Windows 11 update, webcam privacy shutter, and more.

Hardware Specifications of Lenovo ThinkPad L15 Gen 2:

Processor11th Gen Intel Core i5-1135G7 (4 Cores, 2.4 – 4.2GHz)
RAM8GB DDR4 3200MHz RAM (Upgradable)
Storage256GB PCIe SSD
GraphicsIntegrated Intel Iris Xe
Display15.6 Inch Full HD IPS Anti-Glare Display (250-nits)
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home
Battery LifeUp to 7 hours with Fast charging support
Weight4.3 lbs

11. Acer Swift 3 – An Affordable All-rounder

2021 Acer Swift 3 - Excellent Affordable Ultrabook Costing Under $800

Key Features:

  • All-metal thin & light chassis
  • Bright 1080p display with 100% sRGB
  • Performance that beats much expensive machines
  • Backlit keyboard & fingerprint scanner
  • Great value for the price

If you’re looking for a laptop for everyday productivity work, then you don’t really have to spend $1000 because the Acer Swift 3 for $749 is just perfect for everyday casual use. The Swift 3 is Acer’s decent midrange offering; save for a slightly cheaper feeling build quality (still all-metal though), it offers almost everything you find in premium products.

That includes the capable AMD Ryzen 7 5700U chip, an 8 core CPU with 16 threads and a max clock speed of 4.2GHz. The CPU here is revolutionary in terms of performance and efficiency. It can outperform every Intel processor available in thin and light laptops while also lasting longer than them on a single charge! The integrated Radeon graphics are good too. You can play less demanding competitive multiplayer titles like CS:GO at medium settings on this machine. The CPU is paired with 8GB LPDDR4X memory and 512GB NVMe SSD storage, which accounts for the swift in the name.

Being a midsize 14-inch machine, it features a 14-inch full HD IPS LED display with 100% sRGB color calibration and narrow bezels. You get a fingerprint sensor that works with Windows Hello and a bunch of ports, including a USB-C port with DisplayPort and USB charging, 2 USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports, along with HDMI and a 3.5mm combo jack. The laptop also features far-field mics with Amazon Alexa support to remote control the laptop and get quick answers to your silly questions or control your internet-connected devices.

Read our full 2021 Acer Swift 3 AMD Review

Hardware Specifications of Acer Swift 3 (SF314-43-R2YY):

ProcessorAMD Ryzen 7 5700U 8-core (Zen 2) CPU
RAM8GB LPDDR4x RAM
Storage512GB NVMe SSD
GraphicsAMD Radeon RX Vega 8 Integrated
Display14-Inch Full HD IPS Display with 100% sRGB (300-nits)
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home
Battery LifeUp to 10 hours
Weight2.6 lbs

12. Lenovo IdeaPad 5i Pro – With 16-inch Screen

Lenovo IdeaPad 5i Pro 16 inch Laptop

Key Features:

  • 16-inch QHD display
  • Beautiful & minimal design
  • Excellent backlit keyboard with numpad
  • Good amount of ports
  • Lightweight than many 15-inch laptops

If you’re looking for something larger than a regular 15-inch laptop, the Lenovo IdeaPad 5i Pro is just perfect. It features a larger 16-inch panel with high resolution and discrete Nvidia graphics.

The IdeaPad 5i Pro features a 16-inch QHD display with 350 nits brightness and razor-thin bezels, and it boasts 100% sRGB color calibration, making this perfect for watching high-definition content and also editing photos and videos.

It’s powered by the 11th Gen Intel Core i5-11300H processor, a quad-core CPU belonging to the H-series processors from Intel, meant for high-intensity workloads. It is paired with 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD storage, making it plenty fast and capable of handling heavy software.

There’s even a discrete Nvidia GeForce MX450 GPU inside that’s good enough for enjoying the latest AAA titles at 1080p, but don’t expect them to run smoothly at the display’s native QHD resolution. It comes with IR camera-based Windows Hello face unlock and Dolby Atmos audio.

The IdeaPad 5i Pro’s battery lasts for up to 10 hours on a full charge, and it also features Rapid Charging, which can deliver 3 hours of usage with 15 minutes of charging. It also has all the essential ports and slots, including two USB 3.0 Type-A ports, a single USB 2.0 port, a USB Type-C Thunderbolt 4 port, and a full-sized SD card slot, making it a complete all-around performing laptop under $1000 with a large and immersive 16-inch display.

Hardware Specifications of Lenovo IdeaPad 5i Pro 16″:

ProcessorIntel Core i5-11300H (11th Gen) Quad-Core Processor (Turbo up to 4.4 GHz)
RAM16GB DDR4 RAM
Storage512GB NVMe SSD
GraphicsNvidia GeForce MX450 2GB VRAM
Display16-inch QHD IPS 16:10 Screen with 2560 x 1600 Resolution (100% sRGB, 350-nits)
Operating SystemWindows 10 Pro
Battery LifeUp to 10 hours
Weight4.4 lbs

13. HP ENVY 17 – Best Large Screen Laptop Under $1000

HP ENVY 17 with Large 17-inch 1080p Display

Key Features:

  • Large 17-inch 1080p display
  • Powerful specs
  • Lot of storage space
  • All essential features and ports
  • Great value pricing
  • Not easy to carry around

And if you want something even bigger, a 17-inch laptop is what you’re looking for. This is as big as laptops go, and the HP Envy 17 is undoubtedly one of the best laptops in the sub-$1000 price range featuring a large 17.3-inch full HD display.

It is also offered with a 4K display, but we’d recommend going for the full HD variant priced under $1000. You get the latest 11th Gen Intel Core i7 processor with integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics, which is a lot more powerful than last-gen Intel processors and can handle some of the latest games and also light photo/video editing jobs. The powerful CPU is paired with 16GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD that houses the operating system and a separate 1TB HDD for storing your data.

Additionally, you get an integrated fingerprint reader for secure unlock and a full-sized backlit keyboard with a numeric keypad, which is comfortable for typing long emails or word documents. The laptop also features the latest and fastest Wi-Fi 6, and it has an integrated HD webcam along with a dual-array microphone for uninterrupted video calls. You also get a host of ports to connect your peripherals ranging from a super-fast USB-C port with USB Power Delivery support to multiple USB 3.0 Type-A and an HDMI port.

It comes with a 4-cell 55Whr battery, which can power ENVY 17’s powerful hardware and large display for around 4 to 5 hours with casual use, which is less, but it supports fast charging, which will let you charge the battery to 50% in 45 minutes with the provided 65W charger in the box.

Hardware Specifications of HP ENVY 17:

Processor11th Gen Intel Core i7-1165G7 Processor (4 Cores, Turbo up to 4.4 GHz)
RAM16GB DDR4 3200MHz RAM
Storage1TB HDD + 128GB SSD
GraphicsIntel Iris Xe Integrated Graphics
Display17-inch Full HD WLED-backlit Screen (250-nits)
Operating SystemWindows 11 Home
Battery LifeUp to 5 hours
Weight6.0 lbs

That’s all!

These are the best laptops you can buy if you are ready to spend $1000 right now. We have tried to address the needs of all types of users through our list. We have picked different sizes and types of notebooks ranging from $700 up to $1000. And, we also have a few gaming laptops recommendations and thin and light performance ultrabooks if you are looking for a road warrior.

If you are still confused about what to get, below is some good advice from our experts that would help you to buy a great overall machine for your needs within your $1000 budget.

How to Buy a Perfect Laptop Under $1000 For You?

The sub-$1000 laptop market is flooded with all sorts of options from different brands offering varied specs, screen sizes, operating systems, and whatnot. If you are still struggling to find a laptop, we recommend starting by figuring out your requirements.

Answer simple questions like – What programs you’ll be using or what type of tasks you plan on doing on your new laptop. Do you think your work will benefit if you opt for a touchscreen or a 2-in-1 over a traditional laptop? How important weight of the laptop is to you? Also, what ports will you use on a regular basis?

Make a list of all the things you need and keep it handy when considering different laptop models. The list could also contain the name and minimum recommended specs of the apps and software you are sure to use or tasks such as video streaming, attending meetings online, gaming, video editing, etc.

With that sorted, let’s talk about the minimum specs you should aim for in a laptop under $1000 and what features a laptop must-have for specific jobs. We’ve also discussed different laptop sizes to help you pick the right size for your laptop and few other essential things that you should check when shopping for a new laptop.

So, let’s start –

Finding the right specs – CPU, GPU, RAM, Storage & Display

Minimum specs recommended for a laptop in the $1000 price range –

  • Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 processor
  • 8GB RAM
  • 256GB SSD
  • Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS display

Many laptops under $1000 will offer much more powerful specs than these, but this is the bare minimum. Consider any laptop between the $700 – $1000 price range not crossing this threshold as overpriced and not worth buying.

If you are looking for a laptop for business use or college, a Core i5 or Ryzen 5 processor with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD storage will be more than enough for you. You’ll see many premium laptops offering these exact specs in their under $1000 SKUs. Although, you’ll get the best performance for your money with one of the mid-range notebooks under $1000 — offering Intel Core i7 and AMD Ryzen 7 processors paired with 16GB of RAM and spacious 512GB SSD. They can do all sorts of heavy lifting, including gaming and also light content creation work.

However, if you are looking for a laptop to play games or make the intricate photo, video, or audio edits, you should look at the models that offer a dedicated GPU. You can get a laptop with an entry-level Nvidia RTX GPU like 3050 or 3050 Ti for under $1000, which should be enough for gaming at medium settings and most editing jobs. But, for the most intense workloads and playing AAA titles at the highest possible settings, you’ll have to spend more for a high-end machine with a Core i9 CPU.

Also, if you plan to keep this laptop for more than 3 years (which most of you probably do), buying a notebook with swappable or extra RAM and SSD slots will be great for the down-the-line speed increase, and it will likely add few more years to the total lifespan of your machine.

What size laptop should you buy?

Earlier laptops used to come in only three sizes – 13-, 15-, and 17-inches, but as the needs evolved, manufacturers started producing 14-inch and 16-inch machines to squeeze in a bit more performant hardware inside with larger screens without sacrificing much of portability that their smaller 13- and 15-inch siblings provide.

So, the basic rule to follow here is –

If you have to travel a lot, stick with a smaller-sized notebook, but be ready to sacrifice on performance, especially if you have to deal with graphics-intensive tasks.

That said, 13-inch laptops are great if you want a thin and light ultrabook for college or work on the go. Most of them have full-day battery life and enough oomph to get you through daily tasks with some light gaming.

If you find a 13-inch screen too small to work or you need a dedicated GPU in the smallest sized machine possible, then a 14-inch laptop is what you need, provided you don’t mind a little bit of extra heft that comes with it. There are several 14-inch thin and light ultrabooks and 2-in-1s to choose from for under $1000. The best ones are mentioned above.

If you want to buy a high-performance 14-inch laptop with a dedicated GPU, then the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is the prime example of it which provides gaming and content creation-worthy specs in a light and compact form factor with full-day battery life! There is a variant of it that costs just slightly more than $1000 if you are interested.

Where the 14-inch laptops fall short is they have upgradable parts like RAM and storage drive sodded on the motherboard, and they also cannot accommodate a flagship-grade GPU due to thermal limitations. Although you won’t find any laptop under $1000 offering such high-end specs, but these are the prime reasons to opt for a larger-sized laptop over the smaller ones we’ve discussed until now.

If you are looking for a good balance between performance and portability, then a 15-inch laptop is the perfect size for most people.

With tons of options from every brand, there is a 15-inch laptop out there for every need and budget. You’ll also get the option to spec a 15-inch laptop with the highest-end CPUs and GPUs if you need that kind of power, although, not possible under $1000.

On the other hand, if you prefer to work on a large screen and don’t mind giving away portability for it, you can also consider 16-inch and 17-inch options.

But, most of the time, we advise people to avoid large machines because 15-inch laptops offer everything they offer in a size that’s still portable enough to carry in a backpack.

However, choosing a larger size laptop makes sense when you have really powerful internals running inside. The more room inside allows CPU & GPU to breathe properly and sustain higher clock speeds for extended periods for better overall performance.

What are the other things you must check?

Build quality: Most premium laptops in this price range have the excellent build quality, and some even come with MIL-STD certification, which can take more beating and run in extremely cold or hot conditions. But, if you buy a midrange notebook, check the materials used to build its chassis, look at its fit and finish, and see if its keyboard deck flexes when you type.

Keyboard & trackpad: Backlit keyboard, once considered a luxury in laptops, has become a staple feature. Even budget laptops these days include one, so it goes without saying that laptops under $1000 must have it. Also, look out for weird keyboard layouts and wobbly trackpads. They can sometimes ruin the overall experience of an otherwise great laptop.

Battery life: If you’ll be using your laptop from a place where charging outlet won’t be readily available to plug in your laptop when it runs out of juice, battery life is probably an important thing to check for you. Look for laptops offering at least 8 to 9 hours of usage on a single charge.

Ports & slots: Many thin & light laptops compromise on ports these days and offer only USB-C ports to achieve thinnest design possible. Buying those laptops will require you to purchase dongles if you want USB-A, HDMI or other traditional ports. If you don’t want to get into that hassle, make sure to check the laptop for all the ports and slots you need. We have some ultrabooks on our list that do not compromise on any ports!

So, that’s all from us.

While we have tried our best to answer all the questions that one might have when buying a laptop under $1000, if you have any more questions, feel free to ask us in the comments below. We will get back to you as soon as we can.

We hope that this laptop buying guide helps you to buy the best laptop under $1000 for your needs without exceeding your budget. For more recommendations, visit our other buying guides for laptops spanning across multiple budgets, use cases, and needs.

Thanks for reading.

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24 comments
  1. Hello, I’m looking for a 13″+ display that will run great for a business major student and in a business career field. It needs to be able to run the Microsoft 360 applications effortlessly. What would you suggest?

    1. Hi Kiley,
      I would recommend you to get the ThinkPad E15. Its slightly heavy at 4.3 pounds, but, carrying it in a backpack would be no problem. ThinkPads are the choice of most business professionals. They come with an excellent keyboard with dedicated numpad and boast a decent amount of security features. I would recommend you to get it with the Intel i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 processor with at least 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD. If you want to future proof your purchase then getting it with Intel i7 or AMD Ryzen 7 would be a great idea. If you plan on saving a few bucks, then AMD machines are a lot better value than Intel right now. They perform better and also cost less.

  2. I need a good looking fast laptop with decent specs for little gaming and watching movies. Cant decide which one to buy?.

    1. There are quite a number of laptops I can recommend for you. Check the ASUS’s ZenBook laptops if you want to save some money, or if you are after the absolute best looking laptop check out the Dell XPS 13. To run the latest games I would recommend you to get the laptop with latest 11th Gen Intel processor with Xe integrated graphics. It might cost you a little more than $1000, though. If you’re on a budget, you can check out the AMD Ryzen 4000 series laptops.

  3. I haven’t bought a computer in almost 10 years… I need a new laptop mainly for work and going back to school online. I really want to keep it under $1000 but slightly over is OK as long as it will last. There are just so many options! Any advice?

    1. Hi Jessica,
      I would recommend you to get the 2020 MacBook Pro. It is currently on discount will cost you $1,099 on Best Buy. It costs slightly more than $1000 but I think it will be perfect for your requirements.

  4. Hello, I am looking for 13″ laptop which is fast and light. Powerful enough to do at least multitasking such as opening many tab in browser while playing Spotify , and operating Microsoft Office without any problem. Mostly for blogging use.

  5. I am looking for an ultraportable laptop with 13 to 14 inch screen and at least 10 hours of battery life for office usage. What is my best choice?

    1. Hi Albert,
      I think ASUS ZenBook 13 would be the best choice for you. It is a 13-inch ultrabook with adequate performance for office work, and its battery lasted for 10 hours in our tests.

  6. I am looking for a laptop that is fast when multi-tasking with school work, watching movies, and can also hold up when gaming.

    1. The absolute best laptop for gaming in $1000 price range right now is HP Omen 15. It has powerful hardware which will hold up to all your requirements and more. But, don’t expect more than 5 hours of battery life with it.

  7. Hello, Im looking for a laptop that is user friendly, reliable, good performance. This will mostly be used for business. Thank You.

  8. Hi, Im looking for a 15 inch laptop for school that can run VM’s and games like Ark:Survival Evolved and Tom Clancys: The Division on Medium to High settings.

    1. Hi,
      For running virtual machines you’ll need a laptop with powerful CPU and a lot of RAM. I think the best option for you will be the Acer Predator Helios 300 gaming laptop. It has powerful quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 for gaming. It is bit heavy though at 5.9 pounds and storage on the laptop is backed by small 256GB of SSD. But, hard drive bay of the laptop is easily accessible and you can put an additional storage drive inside which shouldn’t cost much.

        1. Yes, it will. Just make sure to run it in power saving mode when you want more battery juice.

  9. Hi, I need a thin 13 to 15 inch laptop that can handle CAD work but also looks good, and is durable. All of the laptops I have found under 1000 are bulky and more than an inch thick. An mx150 GPU or higher is required. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi,

      I don’t think buying a laptop less than an inch thick for CAD would be a good idea. CAD throttles the CPU and it needs proper ventilation so that inner heat can dissipate. Most thin laptops don’t have proper ventilation systems so you might end up frying your laptop. Have a look at the MSI GL62M-7REX. It is a 15-inch gaming laptop with good set of specifications and it is thin and light as per the gaming laptop standards.

  10. Hi, I’m looking for laptop around $900 for playing GTA V, watching a lot of movies, school work and photo editing. could you please suggest me great one?

    1. Hi Roberto,
      Get yourself the Acer Spin 5 from the above list. It will be best for school and your other requirements.

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