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The 5 best laptops under $1,000

The 6 best laptops under $1,000

Got a limited budget for a new laptop? You have plenty of options, especially if you're interested in a Chromebook or Windows machine. When it comes to Apple MacBooks, there are far fewer models that come in under $1,000, but there is a current-model, entry-level, 13-inch MacBook Air that'll fit within your budget.

For $1,000 or less, you can even get a decently powered, current-model computer that can handle your everyday computing tasks. Our in-house team of consumer technology experts has curated this roundup of options for you.

As you shop for the perfect laptop, be sure to also check out our coverage of the five best laptops for 2024, the six best gaming laptops for 2024, the five best laptops for college in 2024, the five best Chromebooks of 2024 and the five best budget laptops for 2024.

What are the best laptops under $1,000?

While you always have the option of buying an older model laptop or one that's been renewed or refurbished, if you want a current model that's brand new, here are great options, whether you want a computer that runs Windows, ChromeOS or MacOS. And if you enjoy gaming, all of these computers give you plenty of options for that, including the ability to connect to a variety of cloud-based gaming services.

Best under $1,000 laptop overall: Dell 13" XPS 13 Plus

Dell XPS 13 Plus

Operating System: Windows 11 Home | Display Size: 13.4 inches | Display Type: FHD+ | Display Resolution: 1,920 x 1,200 pixels | Refresh Rate: 60Hz | Processor: 13th Gen Intel Core i7-1360p (CPU), Intel Iris Xe Graphics (GPU) | CPU Speed: 5.00 GHz | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 512GB | Size: 11.63 x 7.84 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 2.71 pounds | Battery Life: Up to 14 hours 

While this computer has a starting price just under $1,000, you have the option at the time of purchase to upgrade the RAM and internal storage. For $50 more, you can also upgrade from Windows 11 Home to Windows 11 Pro. Even with the basic configuration, it's a mid-powered computer that comes with one-year subscription to McAfee Premium+ (anti-virus and security software) and a 30-day trial for Microsoft Office.

The computer is also equipped with a decent collection of ports, including two Thunderbolt 4 (USB Type-C) ports. You'll also find a 720p webcam with a dual microphone array and stereo speakers -- all in a model that weighs under three pounds. The up-to-14-hour battery life is also rather impressive. And speaking of the rechargeable battery, using the computer's ExpressCharge feature, you can go from zero to 80% charge in less than one hour.

Other features offered by the Dell XPS 13 Plus include a zero-lattice keyboard that extends from one edge of the computer to the other, as well as a seamless haptic touchpad that extends its entire length. The laptop comes with a power cable, AC adapter Type-C power cable, power adapter, USB Type-C to USB Type-A adapters and a headset adapter. Overall, you get a decently powered, very thin and lightweight laptop that's competitively priced.

Best Chromebook laptop under $1,000: Asus 14" Chromebook Plus CX3402

ASUS Chromebook Plus CX34 Laptop

Operating System: ChromeOS | Display Size: 14 inches | Display Type: Backlit LED | Display Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 pixels | Refresh Rate: 144Hz | Processor: 12th Gen Intel Core i3-1215U (CPU), Intel UHD Graphics (GPU) | CPU Speed: 1.2 GHz, up to 4.4 GHz | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 128GB | Size: 12.85 x 8.44 x 0.75 inches | Weight: 3.17 pounds | Battery Life: Up to 10 hours 

There are decent Chromebooks starting at just $200, but for a really handy laptop that runs ChromeOS, we highly recommend a mid-priced option, like this Asus Chromebook Plus CX3402. 

The Asus Chromebook Plus CX3402 offers a traditional laptop computer design that's lightweight (just 3.17 pounds) and thin (0.75 inches). The 14-inch LED display offers 1,920 x 1,080 pixel resolution, although it's not a touchscreen, and its maximum brightness is just 250 nits. Thanks to the display's anti-glare coating, even in a well-lit room, everything on the screen appears vibrant and detailed. Most appealing of all: You get advanced "Chromebook Plus" functionality for well below $1,000.

Between the laptop's multiple ports, integrated 1080p webcam, built-in stereo speakers and rather large touchpad, the CX3402 conquers all of the tasks you'd expect from a Chromebook, while providing crisp and smooth graphics, a high level of performance and excellent multitasking capabilities. While the entry-level configuration of this laptop offers only 128GB of internal storage, as a Chromebook, it relies heavily on cloud apps, services and storage. It comes with apps for virtually all of Google's services preinstalled, so all you need to do to get started using it is enter your Google account information when you first turn on the computer. 

Be sure to read our full, in-depth review of the Asus CX3402 Chromebook to discover even more about this laptop.

Best Windows laptop under $1,000: Lenovo 16" ThinkPad T16 Gen 2

Lenovo ThinkPad T16 Gen 2

Operating System: Windows 11 Home | Display Size: 16 inches | Display Type: WUXGA IPS | Display Resolution: 1,920 x 1,200 pixels | Refresh Rate: 60Hz | Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 Pro 7540U | CPU Speed: 3.2 GHz up to 4.9 GHz | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 256GB | Size: 14.25 x 10.06 x 0.81 inches | Weight: 3.7 pounds | Battery Life: Up to 10 hours 

Powered using an AMD Ryzen 5 Pro 7540U processor, this ThinkPad T16 from Lenovo is an entry-level Windows laptop that's also priced just below $1,000. Although, if you opt to upgrade the processor to the AMD Ryzen 7 Pro 7840U, which boosts processing speed up to 5.1 GHz, this will cost an additional $119 at the time of purchase. You can also upgrade from Windows 11 Home to Windows 11 Pro for an additional $60.

Other upgrade options at the time of purchase include going from 16GB of RAM up to 32GB of RAM for an additional $119, or upgrading the internal storage from a 256GB SSD to a 512GB, 1TB or 2TB SSD for $45, $134 or $149 more, respectively. There's also an option to upgrade to a touchscreen display, plus add a fingerprint scanner for added security. In other words, you're able to do a nice job custom configuring this laptop when you purchase it, but any of these upgrade will put the price over $1,000.

Even with the basic configuration, the ThinkPad T16 is more than capable of handling all common computing tasks (while running Windows) rather efficiently. Normally, this computer has a starting price of $1,500, but between now and May 2, if you use coupon code BYOTHINK2024 at checkout, you'll save $555, which brings the price down to $994.

Best MacBook Air under $1,000: 13" MacBook Air with M2 processor

Apple MacBook Air with M2 processor

Operating System: MacOS | Display Size: 13.6 inches | Display Type: Liquid Retina | Display Resolution: 2,560 x 1,664 pixels | Refresh Rate: 60Hz | Processor: Apple M2 (CPU), Apple 8-core GPU | CPU Speed: 3.49 GHz | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB| Size: 11.97 x 8.46 x 0.44 inches | Weight: 2.7 pounds | Battery Life: Up to 18 hours 

The very latest MacBook Air laptops run on the Apple's M3 processor and allow you to choose between a 13-inch or 15-inch display. However, the entry-level model, the MacBook Air with M2 processor, is the one with a starting price of $999 (which has been discounted on Amazon to $849).

This version of the MacBook Air is configured with the M2 processor (with an 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU and 16-core Neural Engine), a 13.6 inch Liquid Retina display, 8GB of unified memory and a 256GB SSD for storage. Like all current MacBook models, this one runs the latest version of MacOS Senoma and comes with a generous collection of preinstalled apps, as well as Apple iCloud integration. These apps include Contacts, Calendar, Apple Maps, Safari, Photos, FaceTime and Mail -- so right out of the box, the computer can handle your everyday computing.

This MacBook Air also works seamlessly with all of Apple's services, including Apple Music, Apple Arcade, Apple News, Apple TV+ and Apple Fitness+. The computer offers an impressive battery life -- up to 18 hours -- and comes in your choice of four casing colors -- midnight, starlight, space gray or silver. If you're looking for an entry-level MacBook with a starting price that's under $1,000, this is the model you want. 

Best gaming laptop under $1,000: Acer Nitro 16 AMD 

Acer Nitro 16 Gaming Laptop

Operating System: Windows 11 Home | Display Size: 16 inches | Display Type: LCD IPS (with LED backlighting) | Display Resolution: 1,920 x 1,200 pixels | Refresh Rate: 165Hz | Processor: Ryzen 5 7535HS (CPU), Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 (GPU) | CPU Speed: 3.3 GHz | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 512GB | Size: 14.2 x 11 x 1.1 inches | Weight: 6.17 pounds | Battery Life: Up to 10 hours 

For novice or moderate gamers looking for a decently equipped, affordable Windows gaming laptop -- that can also handle a wide range of other tasks -- the Acer Nitro 16 offers good value and impressive power for the money. It runs using a 6-core AMD Ryzen 7535HS processor with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 GPU.

The 16-inch LCD display provides a quick 165Hz refresh rate, which means action sequences will be fluid and quick. While this is certainly not a cutting-edge computer, it does come with an impressive collection of ports, including five USB Type-A and Type-C ports and an HDMI port. You also get a built in microSD memory-card slot.

At the time of purchase, more powerful hardware configurations are available, but this is the one with a starting price of $900 (which has been discounted from $1,200). Keep in mind, when performing everyday computing tasks, you might get the advertised up to 10 hours of battery life per charge, but when gaming, this requires more processing power which depletes the battery significantly faster. 

How to shop for a laptop

Our computer experts have compiled this list of the top things to consider.

  • Design: There are traditional laptop computers, 2-in-1 computers (that serve as a laptop computer and tablet), laptops with a touchscreen, laptops that are extra thin and lightweight, and those are are designed to be extra rugged. So ask yourself: What will you be using the laptop for?
  • Operating system: Focus on the OS of the equipment you're already using. Also, make sure your laptop runs the very latest version that operating system. At the moment, this means either Windows 11 Home, Windows 11 Pro, or MacOS Sonoma or ChromeOS 124.
  • Display size, type, resolution, brightness and refresh rate: Screens vary in size, display type, resolution, brightness and refresh rate. Think about the level of detail, vibrance and color accuracy you want to see. In general, larger displays that offer high resolution, a higher than average brightness level and a faster refresh rate will increase the computer's price, as will choosing a higher-end display type, such as an OLED.
  • CPU and GPU: A computer's CPU (or central processing unit) affects processing power, while its GPU (graphics processing unit) determines how efficiently the computer generates graphics. The faster and more powerful a computer's CPU and GPU, the more expensive it will be.
  • RAM: Consider this the computer's short-term memory. Depending on the apps being used, having more RAM (or unified memory in the case of MacBooks) will determine how smoothly and efficiently a computer runs.
  • Internal storage: A computer's internal storage determines how much content can be stored locally. If you rely heavily on cloud applications and file storage, internal storage capacity is less important. We recommend a laptop with at least 256GB or 512GB of internal storage, although you may find need 1TB.
  • Battery life: If you'll often use your laptop on the go, a more powerful battery will keep the computer running longer. Longer battery life is less critical if you'll primarily be using the computer while sitting at a desk at home.
  • Wired and wireless connectivity: All laptops have built-in ports, such as USB Type-A, USB Type-C, HDMI, Ethernet, a 3.5mm headphone jack or a memory card slot. The port array you need depends on what equipment you'll be connecting. You also want to pay attention to the computer's wireless connectivity. All offer Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, but determine if the versions offered are the most recent. At the moment, this means either Wi-Fi 6 or Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3. If a laptop offers cellular connectivity, make sure it supports 5G, which is significantly faster than 4G LTE.
  • Speakers: If you plan to use the speakers built into your laptop, make sure your machine offers at least two. Some of the latest laptops offer at least four speakers and an integrated subwoofer to generate robust, room-filling audio. 
  • Keyboard layout: A computer's keyboard design and layout, along with the size and location of the touchpad, dictates how comfortable it is to type. Some laptop keyboards include a numeric keypad on the right side, a separate line of function keys along the top, or other specialty keys. Some laptop computers offer backlit keys (which makes it easier to type in the dark) or support customizable RGB lighting.
  • Dimensions and weight: The size of the computer's display is a key factor in determining its overall dimensions and weight. Dimensions and weight impact how easy it is to carry and the size of the case you'll need.

Is a laptop priced under $1,000 worth it?

If you're just looking for a computer to handle everyday tasks, and you don't need to see the most high-resolution and detailed graphics, then a laptop priced below $1,000 will serve you well. 

A budget laptop can easily handle everyday computing and, for the most part, be as reliable as more expensive computers. To get the most out of a budget laptop, we recommend a model that's been released within the last year or so, since an older model will become outdated faster (even if it is cheaper).

Whether you need to know about the very best laptop computers or any other types of tech, we're constantly expanding and updating our coverage to offer the most informative, timely and accurate information.

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