Do you need a new laptop but find that when you look at the ones for sale you have no idea what you’re looking at? Or maybe you’re just trying to narrow your search down a little? We know it can be stressful to buy a new laptop. You’ll hopefully be getting several years out of this, so it feels like a big purchase. Whether you’re technologically illiterate and need to know what makes one laptop better than another, or you’re a hardcore techie just looking for a few recommendations, we’re here to help, and that’s why we’ve compiled this list for you.
You may have seen our other article on the best laptops under $800, well if those laptops just didn’t make the cut for you and you have a little extra money to spend, this article will help you find what you’re looking for. Luckily, laptops are getting cheaper and cheaper, and with a $1000 budget, finding your dream computer should be no problem.
What Should I Look for When Buying a Laptop?
Everyone needs a laptop, but not everyone needs the same laptop. You’ve decided to spend a little more cash than some people might, and we don’t want to waste your hard-earned dough. We’re working with a little more cash this time around, so we’ll make sure you get the next-gen experience.
Criteria #1: Speed. Above all, we all want our laptops to be one thing: fast. Whether you’re going to be gaming all night, streaming movies with your friends and family, or you just need a laptop to browse the web and get your work done, you want to do it quickly. If you’re old enough to remember early operating systems and dialup, you know how frustrating it is to stare at loading screens instead of using your computer. Luckily, no decent laptop today should give you that problem.
There are two main factors that contribute to the speed of a laptop: its processor, and its RAM, or Random Access Memory. The processor is basically the engine of a computer. It is constantly running in the background as long as the computer is on, and doing the brunt of the work for any task. If one given task is proving to be too much for your laptop, it usually means your processor isn’t up to the job. The most popular processors right now come from the Intel Core series, with the Intel Core i5 processor being the more standard option, and the Core i7 being the hot new thing. If you’re spending more than $800, you’ll want to aim for the Core i7, and definitely don’t settle for anything older than the Intel Core i5, with the noted exception of the Macbook Air.
RAM is your laptop’s short-term memory. RAM is used for speed and multitasking, so if the fifteen different programs and tabs you have open seem to be slowing down your laptop, you probably want more RAM. While both RAM and your computer’s internal memory are measured in gigabytes, RAM will always be a much smaller number, with the average for most laptops being about 4 GB of RAM, 8 GB being very good, and anything more than that being remarkable.
Criteria #2: Battery life.Even with our increased budget, there won’t really be a change in what to look for as far as battery life is concerned. Battery life varies a lot from laptop to laptop, with some computers being able to hold a charge for close to a day, while others can barely last a few hours. If it’s important to you to stay away from the charger, you’ll need to make sure to look at the specs of your laptop before you buy it and make sure the battery life is up to your standards. Battery life is actually typically better in smaller and cheaper laptops. Counterintuitively, you might see worse batteries in this price range.
While we’re on the topic of battery life, here’s a quick pro-tip: avoid charging your laptop overnight or overcharging it. This burns out the battery and will cause it to hold a charge for decreasing amounts of time.
Criteria #3: Size. If your laptop is too big to bring anywhere, it’s not really much of a laptop. While to some extent, the more powerful laptops are on the bigger side, modern technology and miniaturization have made it so that even the best laptops should still be reasonably portable. Just like with battery life, if you’re set on a small laptop, spending more might actually set you back when aiming at that goal.
Criteria #4: Price. You might be here because you decided that our $800 laptops just weren’t cutting it for you, so most of our laptops in this article will fall in between $800 and $1000. That being said, we still don’t want you to waste your money, so when all things else were equal, we prioritized the cheaper laptop.
Criteria #5: Memory. Laptop hard drives usually come in one of two standard sizes: 256GB SSD and 512GB SSD, with even the smaller size being plenty for most users. This means that you won’t see too much of a difference for your dollar past the $800 mark, but there are exceptions to that rule. That being said, if you’re doing a lot of photo and video editing, or if you want to store a lot of video games on your hard drive, you will want to look at laptops with more memory, and while paying more doesn’t guarantee more memory, pushing the price a bit is the only way to get a truly massive SSD.
Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Laptops under $1000
We used the criteria above in tandem with your needs to find the best laptops out there. While the criteria were listed in general order of importance, that order will change depending on what you want. For example, if you’re looking for a gaming laptop, you won’t be as focused on finding a small computer, while the graphics card and processor will be of the utmost importance. And if you’re a student mostly using your laptop to type up essays, you won’t care about the processor, but you’ll probably want a smaller laptop. If you’re commuting you’ll definitely want better battery life. Finally, if you’re going to be using your laptop without a lot of supplementary devices, you’ll need to make sure it has all of the ports you need for those USB cords and HDMI cables.
And with that, we give you our list of the best laptops within a $1000 budget.
#1: Asus ZenBook 13 (Best Value – All-Purpose)
Once again, Asus manages to grab our number one spot for the best laptop – this time with their ZenBook 13. This laptop is powered by the 10th generation Intel Core series Core i7 processor, so you’ll never waste your time staring at a frozen screen. Combine this with its impressive 16 GB of RAM and the Intel UHD graphics card, and you have yourself one of the fastest laptops out there.
The Zenbook is more than just fast. It has an impressive seven to ten hours of battery life and a large 512GB hard drive. Packaged into a 13-inch display that weighs a measly 2.2 pounds, you’ll find yourself wondering how they fit everything in there. (They creatively saved space by having the trackpad double as a number pad.)
Its i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM, and Intel UHD graphics card will give you a solid gaming experience, and its size and battery life make it easy to bring along on your commute or on that trip you have coming up. Its large hard drive will let you download freely. All for about $970, this laptop is so good that I almost don’t know what to say. The Asus Zenbook is the absolute best buy for your dollar.
#2: Apple MacBook Air (For an Immersive Experience)
One way or another, you probably know exactly where you stand on Apple products. The biggest name in electronics has garnered a massive fanbase with their inter-product network, simple user interface, and sleek designs, while those who opt for other brands will insist that Apple products are over-priced. While Apple computers may not be the best deal on the market, the specs don’t lie, and it’s not for nothing that Macbooks have become so popular.
Coming in with a 13-inch display, the Intel Core series 10th generation Intel Core i3 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD (with an option to pay more for 512 GB), the Macbook Air is impressive, but just a step behind the Zenbook. That being said, there are two main reasons you might elect to buy the Air as your new laptop.
Reason #1 to Choose This Product: The Apple Experience
For a lot of users, the Apple brand name is enough of a reason to buy something, and if you’re one of those people, the Air won’t be an exception. Apple has cleverly created a network of products that work best when you have the full package. So if you have an iPad, an iPhone, an Apple Smartwatch, and use Apple Music, you’ll need an Apple laptop to go with it all. If that’s the case, the Macbook Air is what you’re looking for.
Reason #2 to Choose This Product: User Interface
Another one of the perks for buying Apple, there’s just something about the design of a Macbook that users love. Maybe you prefer the Apple dock to the Windows start menu, or the Mac’s sleek silver finish is just too irresistible. Whatever it is that makes you keep coming back to Apple, you’re not alone. A user-friendly experience is an aspect of a laptop that can’t be measured in numbers, but it’s a key factor when assessing the best laptops.
The Macbook Air comes with the usual price tag that’s come to be expected of Apple, and this lightweight notebook will cost about $950 – roughly as much as the Asus ZenBook despite being a less powerful machine. This price, along with its weaker processor and smaller amount of RAM, is what kept the Asus laptop ahead of the Macbook Air.
#3: Asus ROG GL552VW (Best Gaming Laptop)
For a laptop that can handle the best and newest games, you’ll need to focus on the processor, GPU (graphics processing unit), and RAM, with the bulk of that focus being on the graphics card. The reason for that is in any newer laptop, the processor will probably be up to the task, and while RAM is part of the equation, you can make up for not having enough RAM by making sure to only have one program running at a time. But why choose when you can have it all?
The Asus ROG GL552VW is powered by the high-end Intel Core i7 processor, has 16 GB of RAM, and the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M graphics unit that’s dedicated to the ultimate gaming experience. This all comes in a beautiful 15.6-inch full HD display. The audio system is provided by SonicMaster and ROG’s Audio Wizard and comes with five different preset settings for different game genres, so you’ll get the exact experience you want depending on what game you’re playing.
You’re probably already sold on this gaming laptop (I certainly am) but here’s where things get really impressive. The ROG has a massive one terabyte hard drive! Go ahead and download the entire Steam library onto this bad boy. You’ll still have room leftover for those vacation pictures.
Weighing in at 5.6 pounds, the ROG is even smaller than most gaming laptops, so you won’t have to play Tetris to fit it into your bag. The only flaw in this laptop is the battery life, which can last for as short as an hour or two during intense gaming, but that’s the usual compromise of gaming laptops. Just make sure you’re near an outlet before you hunker down for a long gaming session.
At about $1070, this gaming laptop is actually a little over our $1000 budget, but we promise it’s worth every penny. Asus outdid themselves with the ROG. It’s one of the best laptops out there.
#4: Dell Inspiron 15 (Best Laptop for Business)
For all you ambitious workers out there, the Dell Inspiron 15 is the best laptop you can find under $1000. For most work, you won’t need an elite processor or too much RAM, and Dell gives you pretty standard specs across the board. With this laptop, you’ll get 8 GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and the 9th generation intel core i5 processor. It has a nice 15.6-inch display and weighs 4.12 pounds, which isn’t a ton but is more than you’d like from a laptop meant for business and travel. The Inspiron has a solid battery life that should last in between five and seven hours. Where this laptop really shines is in its versatility.
With the Inspiron 15, you’re getting every port and jack you could ever need. There’s a headphone and microphone jack so you don’t have to worry about poor quality on that video conference, as well as two USB ports, an HDMI port, and a USB-C port that will help you hook up to any monitor for that big presentation. This laptop will bring your work to the next level and help you climb to the top. And it’ll do it all for a price that is well under our $1000 budget.
Most of our shopping guides have a section dedicated to a price breakdown, but since this article discusses products in such a specific price range, we decided to forgo that section this time around. That being said, if you’re looking for the cheapest laptop on this list, then you’re looking for the Dell Inspiron 15.
#5: Microsoft Surface Pro (Best 2 in 1 Laptop)
Why buy a laptop and a tablet when you can just buy the 2 in 1 Microsoft Surface Pro and call it a day? This convenient laptop/tablet will help you travel as light as possible – and don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s a gimmick or a laptop pretending to be a tablet.
Running on the up-to-date Intel Core series Intel Core i5 processor, the Surface Pro comes with 8 GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. Those specs can go toe-to-toe with most of the proper laptops on our list, and they simply blow any other 2 in 1 device out of the water. Between its size and its 13-hour battery life, the Surface will leave you free to go anywhere at the drop of a hat. On top of all of this, it’s LTE enabled, so you won’t be limited to wifi networks. The Surface is the perfect traveling companion.
This all comes in at about $860, and for your money, you’re getting an elite tablet as well as a laptop that can hang with the best of them. Dollar for dollar, the Microsoft Surface Pro is a one-of-a-kind product that won’t disappoint.
Verdict: Your Best Laptops under $1000
In this section, we break down our best laptops by what niche they fill, so you can find exactly what’s best for you as quickly as possible.
There’s really nothing else to say. This is the best laptop for your dollar. It does it all and keeps it cheap. The Asus ZenBook13 is a true jack of all trades.
This powerful machine has the best processor, best GPU, and the most RAM for the absolute best gaming experience. With the Asus ROG, you’ll be able to play even the newest next-gen games with zero lag. The absolute best laptop for your gaming needs.
A long-lasting battery and weightless design make this the best laptop for any traveler. The 2 in 1 Surface will leave you wondering what to do with all that extra room in your bag.
We’ve tried to help you find the best laptop for you and keep it under $1000, but the decision is up to you. We’ve broken it down by specs and by what niche the laptop fills, but you might fall in-between categories. Maybe you’re a busy worker but you like to game after a long day at the office. Maybe you want a Macbook but also want the top-tier RAM and processor of the ZenBook. Or maybe you want the portability of the Surface but also want the ports of the Inspiron 15. The choice is yours, and we hope this list makes that choice easier.