What is the best laptop you can buy for under $1000? It’s completely normal to set yourself a budget when buying a new laptop but you might be wondering whether or not you’ve set the right target. There might be a temptation to look at much older laptops from recent years because their price will have dropped, but there is plenty of updated technology on the market for a reasonable price.
A lot of this decision will come down to what you need from the product because, let’s face it, you are not going to get a complete premium hardware package when restricting your budget… or are you? Prepare to be very surprised at what laptops you can get for your money in 2023 and let us here at Gear Nuke guide you in the right direction toward the best laptops possible.
Here are our picks for the best laptops under $1000 right now:
- Apple MacBook Air 13 M1 (2020) – best affordable MacBook
- Asus Vivobook S 15 – best OLED laptop on a budget
- Microsoft Surface Pro 9 – best for students and business
- Dell Inspiron 15 – best everyday laptop
- Victus 16 by HP – best budget gaming laptop
1. Apple MacBook Air M1 (2020)
Apple products are built to last, which makes it easy to recommend the MacBook Air M1 even if it is a few years old. The 13.3-inch MacBook Air M1 is incredibly thin, light, and compact. Yet despite its size, it’s still a competitor for many Windows laptops in 2023. It’s a stunning laptop as well as a solid performer across a range of programs and tasks, and the best budget MacBook right now. Expect to pay $999 (£999) .
Here are the Apple MacBooks Air M1 specs:
|Apple MacBook Air M1 specs|
|CPU||8-Core Apple M1 Chip|
|RAM||8GB Unified Memory|
|Screen||13.3″ Retina Display, 2560 x 1600, IPS, True Tone Technology|
|Battery||Up to 18 hours Apple TV movie playback, 49.9WHr|
- Long-lasting build quality
- High-end power and performance
- Links to other Apple products you own
- Price could inflate with additional storage options
- External accessory support is limited
With the Apple MacBook Air M1, you’re getting rapid processing power which is ideal for business, school, entertainment, and even creative use alongside a stunning retina display that has to be seen to be appreciated. It shouldn’t be undersold just how much hardware is available here and that’s before we even consider the cost.
When it comes to value for money, there really isn’t anything on the market that can come close to the MacBook provided that you’re comfortable using macOS and don’t have the intention to try and use it as a gaming laptop. If you already own some Apple products like an iPhone or iPad, the way these devices can interact is also a big advantage of taking the plunge and owning a MacBook. Be wary that as good as the build quality is on MacBooks, should one be on the receiving end of damage that would need a repair, it can be a costly fix when done through the official chain. AppleCare can help with this but will only extend as far as three years.
Read our Apple MacBook Air M1 2020 review for more.
2. Asus Vivobook S 15 OLED
If you’re after a stunning OLED display on a budget, look no further than the Asus Vivobook S 15. We’re honestly quite surprised to be including an option on this list that is focused on creativity. Asus is probably the best brand when it comes to editing laptops but the Vivobook S 15 is a great mid-range option that falls almost right on the $1000 mark. Expect to pay $999 (£899).
Here are the Asus Vivobook S 15 OLED specs:
|Asus Vivobook S 15 OLED specs|
|CPU||Intel Core i7 12700H|
|GPU||Intel Iris Xe|
|Screen||15.6″, 1920 x 1080, OLED, 600nits|
- Stunning OLED display
- Great heat management
- Wide selection of ports without compromising design
- Battery life could be better
- Integrated graphics are restrictive
The OLED display is a huge feature to have at this price and the difference in quality will be noticeable to anyone who has spent considerable time with standard LED screens. Better yet, being able to boast a strong Intel Core i7 processor alongside 16GB of RAM means that the Vivobook S is no pushover. Its only real sacrifices come in the form of a poor battery and integrated graphics which would limit any super-intense editing projects.
Asus is a brand that proudly showcases its gaming and creative laptops as some of the best in the industry and we find it hard to argue against them, especially when they can cater to multiple price points as they do here. We note that the integrated graphics are a restriction and that is true to a point, but we must also make clear that integrated options are far better than they once were and shouldn’t necessarily be considered a deal breaker in this case.
3. Microsoft Surface Pro 9
The Microsoft Surface Pro 9 is the best laptop under $1000 for business or students. Rarely will a laptop be so versatile for this price point. While we are big advocates of the Microsoft Surface Laptop, the extra versatility of the Surface Pro 9 is undeniable and deserves the spot on this list. For under $1000, you’re getting a rapid 2-in-1 laptop with tons of features packed in. Expect to pay $900 (£1099).
Here are the Microsoft Surface Pro 9 specs:
|Microsoft Surface Pro 9 specs|
|CPU||Intel Core i5-1235U|
|GPU||Intel Iris Xe|
|Screen||13″ PixelSense Flow, Gorilla Glass 5, Dolby Vision IQ|
|Battery||Up to 15.5 hours typical use|
- Versatility of a stationary laptop and tablet combined
- Power and performance to match far more expensive products
- Gorilla Glass display promotes durability
- Sound quality could be better
- Adding accessories is very expensive outside of promotional offers
Some of the other options we’ve picked out for this list are entry-level and could require upgrades to keep up the pace, the Surface Pro 9 is the complete package the moment you buy it and no upgrades would be necessary or advised based on the budget we’re trying to maintain!
The Surface Pro 9 feels like a product punching above its weight ever so slightly in that it has a wonderful and durable display, great battery life and impressive 12th-gen processing power. This means you’ll get everything done quickly, without bemoaning a blurry screen and worrying about having to constantly be hooked up to a power outlet. Better still, if you catch the Microsoft Store while it’s feeling generous, you can often get a free signature keyboard thrown in at no extra cost, saving around $200 overall.
4. Dell Inspiron 15
If you’re after the best laptop under $1000 to get you by for everyday use, the Dell Inspiron 15 is a great choice. The Dell Inspiron 15 is the true everyday option on this list. It won’t blow any of the other options away when it comes to features or hardware, but it’s an incredibly reliable product for basic use. Expect to pay $749.99 (£879).
Here are the Dell Inspiron 15 specs:
|Dell Inspiron 15 specs|
|CPU||Intel Core i5-1235U|
|GPU||Intel Iris Xe|
|Screen||15.6″, Full HD, 1920 x 1080, Anti-Glare|
- Completes everyday tasks efficiently
- Lightweight without sacrificing build quality
- Performance downgrades available to save money
- Not upgradable if your needs change
- Battery could be much better
While there is an RRP attached to this laptop, you can actually look to take the specifications of the Inspiron 15 down to save on cost and it’s a perfectly acceptable plan if you’re confident that your usage will only ever be minimal. Naturally, you’re might reduce the long-term appeal or usefulness of the laptop but that isn’t the end of the world.
There are plenty of ports on the Inspiron 15 and the general build quality is quite high despite it being quite a light product. A full HD display is to be expected now but it’s also nice to see an anti-glare feature built in which will help should you ever have to use it while out in direct sunlight.
One question we would pose to anyone looking for an everyday-use laptop is whether or not a Chromebook would be a better option. We’ve compiled a list of the best Chromebooks around should you want to look into them before committing to a purchase!
Read our Dell Inspiron 15 review for more.
5. Victus 16 by HP
It’s easy to discount gaming laptops from the discussion when it comes to budgets but fear not, the Victus 16 by HP is here to save the day with gaming power at a fair price. It’s great to see a product put together the required hardware for gaming at an accessible price point but even better to see it done with true consideration for the fact that not everyone can or will drop silly money on a gaming laptop. Expect to pay $999.99 (£799.99).
Here are the Victus by HP 16 specs:
|Victus by HP 16 specs|
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 5 6600H|
|GPU||NVIDIA RTX 3050 4GB|
|Screen||16.1″ Full HD, 1920 x 1080|
- Powerful laptop vs cost and very capable gaming machine
- B&O audio system is great for gaming, music and video playback
- Display makes the most of the space available with thin border
- Budget power might only keep up with releases for two years at most
- Base storage needs upgrading due to modern game sizes
Now it’s time for the myth-busting question, can you get a good gaming laptop for under $1000? The answer is yes and we think we’ve found the absolute best option in the form of the Victus 16 from HP. While Omen is HP’s premium gaming brand, the Victus has become a fantastic launching point for those who don’t want to break the bank but still want a machine built for gaming.
Running a Ryzen CPU alongside an NVIDIA RTX 3050 graphics card is sure to power you through games like Fortnite, Valorant, and Call of Duty Warzone 2 comfortably. While there are limitations in the RAM and storage, both are upgradable over time if you’re able to spend a little bit more down the line. It’s worth noting that you won’t be playing the latest games on ultra settings from the start and it’s likely that due to the graphical limitations, the Victus 16 probably has a shorter lifespan compared to many other laptops on this list.
6. Acer Aspire Vero 15
The Acer Aspire Vero 15 is a fantastic all-round laptop that might get lost under its focus on being eco-friendly but deserves a lot more respect for what it accomplishes. Expect to pay around $700 (£649).
|Acer Aspire Vero 15 specs|
|CPU||13th Gen Intel i5-1335U or i7-1355U|
|GPU||Intel Iris Xe|
|RAM||Up to 16 GB|
|Display||15.6-inch, Full HD, IPS, 1920 x 1080|
|Storage||Up to 1 TB SSD|
|Battery||Up to 9 hours|
- Incredible design
- Unrivaled power for a reasonable price
- Super versatile
- Basic display and speakers
We loved the Acer Aspire Vero 15 as it looks to completely destroy the connotation that a laptop focused on eco-friendly manufacturing has to make a ton of compromises on design or power.
It can be a fantastic everyday laptop or you can easily use this as a gateway laptop for gaming or creative work. When the only real downside to a laptop is the fact that is only has a full HD display and basic speakers, you know the rest of the package is something to shout about.
If you’re after great performance and very minimal compromises (again, if you can call the display/speakers a compromise), then the Acer Aspire Vero 15 is truly an unbelievable laptop for well under $1,000.
Read our Acer Aspire Vero 15 review for more.