Last Updated: March 29th 2015
With a budget of $900, you have a lot of great choices available. Most laptops that reach close to this price range tend to have the same specifications, so the biggest distinguishing factors include the design, build quality, and portability. With so many options available, it can be tough to find a laptop that offers the best value for money. So here is a list of the five best laptops you can find at present under your budget.
Our best laptops for under $900: Top Picks
Sony Vaio S Series SVS1311N9E
Available for $899, the Sony Vaio S Series is part of the company’s top range ultrabooks, so it comes as no surprise to see a lot of good things with this laptop. You get a well-built laptop with a backlit keyboard and a magnesium-aluminum chassis. You also get a HD webcam, dual memory card lots, and a slot-loading DVD writer. One of the most interesting aspects of this laptop is that it gets a USB port that stays on when the laptop is shut down, so you can charge USB devices on it. With a weight of 1.7 kg, the Sony Vaio S Series is also very light.
There are, however, downsides. For one, the 13-inch screen does not get a full 1080p resolution screen. The maximum resolution is 1,366×768, which is standard for lower-budget models. Inside, you get a fairly decent third-generation Intel Core i5 3210M processor and 4 GB of RAM, accompanied by a 500 GB internal hard disk.
Notable features of this laptop include:
- Backlit keyboard
- Integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics unit
- Impressive battery life of seven hours
HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4
Priced at just under $900, the HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 gets an Intel Core i5 3317U processor with the third-generation Ivy Bridge architecture, along with Windows 8 and Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics unit. You also get 8 GB of RAM, and all this makes the TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 a pretty fast machine for general multi-tasking and daily activities. A 500 GB Seagate Slim hard drive with 32 GB Liteonit SSD gets you all the space you would need and fast reading and copying speeds.
On the downside, the HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 is quite heavy for an general-purpose ultrabook. The touchscreen digitizer and all the other related components add to the weight of the laptop, bring it to 2.1 kg along with the AC adapter. It may not seem like much, but it is heavy for a 14-inch laptop built for extreme portability. Apart from the weight, the HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 is quite an interesting option; the keyboard and touchpad work well, and the overall design and feel is quite good. The touchpad is a great unit although it tends to be unresponsive at times.
The most notable features of this laptop include:
- Touchscreen system with Windows 8
- Powerful third-generation Intel Core i5 processor
- Sturdy and nicely priced
Lenovo IdeaPad Y580
Unlike the above two entries that only just make the $900 budget limit, the Lenovo IdeaPad Y580 is available for a reasonable $849.99. Another difference is that it weights almost 3 kg, which is significantly more than the 1.7 kg of the Sony Vaio S Series and a little bit more than the 2.7 kg of the HP Envy Ultrabook. However, it is well worth the extra weight and the cost.
Despite its weight, the Lenovo IdeaPad Y580 does not look very bulky. It has a 15.2-inch display, and its dimensions can easily be forgiven for its specifications. It gets the very fast Intel Core i7 3610QM processor that runs at 2.3 GHz normally and 3.3 GHz with the Intel Max Turbo Frequency technology. Speed is provided by 8 GB of DDR3 RAM at 1,600 MHz, and graphics performance is delivered by an NVidia GeForce GTX 660M GPU. It may not be able to handle modern games at their highest settings, but it is a pretty powerful graphics card in its own right and can deliver a good gaming experience.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Y580 also comes with the following notable features:
- High-definition 15.6-inch screen
- Attached Blu-ray drive
- Sleek but simple design
- Wide and clutter-free backlit keyboard
The Samsung 550P7C is available for anywhere between $850 and $900, depending on the retailer and the finer features you opt for. First of all, it should be noted that the 550P7C is not as portable as the laptops from HP and Sony mentioned above, or even the Lenovo Y580. It is a desktop replacement laptop, and as such is bigger than other laptops in this list and cannot be carried around in a bag with ease. However, where it lacks in portability, the Samsung 550P7C compensates in terms of specifications.
The most notable features of this laptop include:
- An Ivy Bridge Intel Core i7 quad-core processor
- 17-inch backlit LED screen with 1600×900 native resolution
- 2GB VRAM NVidia GeForce GT 650M graphics card
- JBL speakers with extra bass
- Blu-ray/DVD-RW drive
Apple MacBook Air 11in
If your main criterion is performance, then your choices in this price range are either the Lenovo or Samsung laptop. However, if you value portability more than anything else and do not mind a Mac, then it does not get any better than the 11-inch Apple MacBook Air. Based on the original 13-inch Air, the Apple MacBook Air 11in is the latest addition to the company’s series of very sleek and light ultrabooks. It is available for up to $849, and gets some features that are not found in other laptops in this range. One of these is a 128 GB SSD storage, which is the latest form of flash storage that can speed up your system, improve battery life, and reduce the system noise as well.
The main features of this laptop include:
- Decently fast Intel Core i5 3317U processor
- 4 GB of RAM
- Integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics card