Best Laptop Under $1,000 in 2020
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With a bit more room in the budget in this day and age, we can be pretty sure than $1000 is going to get you a pretty good standard of laptop. We aren’t in the realms of great devices for gaming on that’s for sure, but we can certainly get a machine that will serve a purpose both as a general runaround with the day to day stuff as well as one that should be able to handle more taxing projects such as photo and video editing.
For our $1000 we are looking for some more than a good all-rounder, we want a comfortable experience with a good build-quality and more battery life than you would expect from a cheaper model. This may sometimes be a challenge as bigger screens and better components are all a power hog, but increased chassis sizes mean that manufacturers should be able to pack in a better power cell, so we are not having any excuses here.
How We Picked
We wanted a machine that would easily be the workhorse of our day, able to not only be there for the work-related things but also to entertain us when we wanted. We aren’t talking about playing games on Ultra settings, but the ability to play the odd game and watch a movie without facing any hurdles to overcome. The five laptops we have picked here all met these benchmarks, and any one of them would be an ideal choice if you have around $1000 to spend on your new toy.
Best Laptop Under $1,000 in 2020
- Battery life
- Only a 256 SSD in the model that comes under our budget
Dell XPS 13
Taking the lowest configuration of Dell’s flagship notebook will bring you nicely under the budget and wow, what a machine you will get for that money.
The first significant factor here is the one you don’t instantly see, and that’s the battery life. You should be looking at getting around 11 hours out of this bad boy – easily enough for a day’s work with a bit of Netflix on your commute as well.
The CPU packed away inside the svelte chassis is an Intel i3-1005G1, and 4GB of ram sits alongside it.
The display is the next wow factor in this price range. A stunning 13.4” InfinityEdge screen with a max res of 1920×1200 means whatever you are doing on it is going to look mighty sharp.
This is a notebook that both looks great and performs great. What more do you want? Take our money.
ASUS ZenBook 13
This unique design won’t suit all users, especially those that get a lot of work done with their laptop actually on their lap, or those simply used to typing on a flat keyboard, but if your preference is for a titled keyboard, this makes an excellent choice.
- Great performance
- Good build quality
- Value for money
- Keyboard has small Shift and CTRL keys to fit in full-size arrows. Annoying
Asus Zenbook 13
Okay, so we are spending $1000 here, so we want to be able to take something out of the bag that looks sharp. Something that doesn’t make us feel as though we have cheaped out in any way.
Well, here you go. You’re welcome. The ASUS Zenbook 13 comes into the Ultrabook category, so if you are looking for something that might just compare to everybody else’s Macbook Pro, have a look at this.
For starters, it’s looking pretty amazing. There’s a strong argument here that it looks like it cost considerably more than the $1000 you just paid for it to be your new friend.
Again, starting with the battery, you should be good for around 11 hours of on-time which is up there with the best of the bunch,
A Core i5 8265U, 8GB RAM, and a 256 SSD are all packed inside, and for the price, it’s looking pretty darn good already.
ASUS are reusing their royal blue and gold color scheme here, and it looks so good on this Zenbook 13, which also packs in good connectivity with USB A ports and a USB C as well for pretty much all your connecting needs bar Thunderbolt.
The metal chassis feels premium and also serves the purpose of protection so much more than the cheaper plastic offerings.
It is a fantastic machine at this price. The competition in this category is hotting right up already.
- The display
- Small SSD
- No surface pen
- Getting harder to find
Microsoft Surface Pro
If you are looking for a 2-in-1 machine in this price range, you are into the realms of being able to pick up a great Surface offering from Microsoft. The Surface is a quality machine, and while this model may not exactly be the top of their range, you are getting a quality piece of kit that can double up due to its flippability!
Looks-wise it does come off as quite a serious-looking business machine, but in a scenario where you need to present with it or pop it out regularly in meetings, that’s probably exactly what you want from it.
The Core i5 processor is pretty standard in this price bracket, but the Surface does give you 8GB of RAM, which is nice. However, the 128GB SSD seems a bit skinny for the money and will probably mean you need to consider extra storage capacity quite quickly, adding to the overall cost.
If you are looking for a laptop but would find a tablet handy at the same time, this is a solid choice. It’s a great machine. This version doesn’t include the Surface Pen, which is another irritant, but once you start working with the beautiful screen, it won’t be long before you decide to add one of those to your kit bag as well.
This is the best 2-in-1 out there for the money, without a doubt.
- Powerful for the price
- Larger hard drive
- Great keyboard
- Good price
- Not SSD
Lenovo Thinkpad Edge
If you thought the Microsoft Surface Pro above was a serious workhorse, then wait until you check out the Lenovo Thinkpad. This is out and out designed as a no-nonsense business machine, and it meets its design brief to pretty much perfection.
Comparatively, this is much cheaper than those that come before it and, in truth, can fit into several of our round-up categories, but it offers so much for under the $1000 benchmark we had to include it here.
For starters, this machine has our favorite keyboard of the lot. It’s comfortable and easy to use without any of the frustration that you can find on computers in this price range – nor does it have any of the quirks of the Zenbook when it comes to key size and positioning.
The Core i5-7200U, 4GB Ram and 500GB hard drive (mechanical not SSD unfortunately) all give you exactly what you need for your home office or small business machine.
It’s considerably heavier than some of the other offerings here, coming in at 4.7llbs, so if portability is high on your list of priorities, there are better choices, but rest assured, this machine just works and will cover all your needs for some time to come. Solid performer.
- Great design
- Slim and light
- Excellent specs
- Disappointing screens
- Disappointing battery life
To finish our selection, we are making a leap from the serious to the beautiful.
You can pick up the top-spec model of the Vivobook and still come under budget with $1 to spare, so let’s look at what you get for that amount of cash.
The Core i7-8565U comes alongside 12GB RAM – more than any other machine in our round-up, a 512GB SSD and an MX250 GPU.
That’s all great. The Vivobook also comes with ASUS’ Screenpad, which for uninitiated means that the standard trackpad is actually a second display. A tap of the F6 key turns it on and off, and from there, you can use it to launch shortcuts, use it as a screen to make cross-referencing between documents a breeze, or just generally up your multi-tasking game.
It all sounds impressive, and it looks fantastic too. This is a great, stylish machine, but the small things that let it down prevent it from getting to the top of our pile. The battery life is below par compared to other laptops here. Having a second screen certainly won’t help that, so it’s a compromise on what you might want, but we said at the start battery life was essential to us.
The main display is also not as crisp or bright as our other pics, which is a shame because we want to love the Vivobook. Having said that, if you like gadgets and novelty like the Screenpad this is still very much worth checking out.
The specs on the $999 model raise it above a lot of the competition, it’s just let down by small things.
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Right at the start of this review, we loved the Dell XPS 13 and said it would be hard to beat, and that has proved to be the case. For sure, we have five fantastic machines in this line-up, many with features that you would expect to find on laptops at a much higher price range.
The Dell XPS 13 wins though because it ticks all our boxes – great screen, great battery life, great performer.
The ASUS Zenbook ran it really close and it might seem churlish, but we HATE the keyboard design choices and on a machine that we want to use all day and everything that is a big thing. Still, if that wouldn’t annoy you as much as us, then it remains pretty much neck and neck.