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Laptops, unlike desktop PCs, are hard to upgrade. That’s why it makes sense to spend a few extra bucks and buy something that is a little more future-proof.
Generally speaking, you can now get excellent future-proof laptops, if you are willing to spend up to $1,000. From laptops according to your major to even non-Windows notebooks, a four-figure budget meets any needs you have and protect against immediate obsolescence.
We checked out reviews of several machines from different tech pundits, and tried a few ourselves as well, to come up with this final list of the best laptops you can buy for less than $1,000 in 2017.
Best Ultrabook: Dell XPS 13
It’s a new year but the Dell XPS 13 continues to be the best Windows ultrabook you can buy. Dell has launched a new model with Intel’s 7th generation processor, but that costs far more than the 1,000 dollar budget. Instead, last year’s model still offers excellent bang for your buck.
The 2016 Dell XPS 13 has a 256GB SSD and an Intel Core i5 processor, along with 8GB of RAM. It has a thin-bezel design that packs a 13-inch screen in the same size that other laptops have an 11-inch screen. And it’s a laptop that consistently ranks high among those with the best battery life.
If you can extend your budget slightly, then spend an extra $60 to buy the Core i7 version. The faster processor is worth it.
Best 15-Inch Laptop: Lenovo Yoga 720 15″
If your laptop mostly sits on a desk at your office, a large-screen notebook makes sense. But you still don’t want to compromise on portability, right? The Lenovo Yoga 720 strikes the right balance between the two.
With a powerful Core i7 processor, 8GB RAM, and a 256GB SSD, the performance is guaranteed to be fast always. Lenovo has also added a USB Type-C port, which the Yoga 720 can also charge from. The claimed battery life is 8 hours, but most tests saw it lasting longer than that.
As part of the Yoga series, you get a flip-over touchscreen to turn your device into a tablet. It’s a little heavy at 4.6 pounds, but remember, a 15-inch laptop isn’t something you expect to use much while on the move.
Note that there’s a 13.3-inch version of the Yoga 720 too, but we can’t recommend that at the moment. The Yoga 720’s higher battery life and louder speakers make it superior.
Best 2-in-1 Mini PC Tablet or Hybrid: Asus Transformer Pro T304
In the world of flipovers and detachable 2-in-1 laptops, the Asus Transformer Pro stands alone. With classy design and top-notch specifications, it’s hard to believe the cost is under a thousand bucks.
Weighing less than 2 pounds, the high-resolution 12.6-inch tablet (2160×1440 pixels) is supremely portable. It also feels premium to hold with its aluminum body. And you can use a pen for handwriting and annotations too. The keyboard similarly has a metal build, making it feel more sturdy than what you get with the Microsoft Surface Pro.
If you thought all this would mean a reduction in hardware, think again. There’s 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD shoved in there. And an Intel Core i7 processor, which is astounding for a hybrid at this price.
The only real issue with the Transformer Pro is the battery life. It gives you about 6 hours of usage before needing to recharge. That’s not bad at all, of course, but it’s not as high as other 2-in-1s.
Best Gaming Laptop: Acer Aspire VX 15
A good gaming laptop within $1,000 means compromises. And the compromise is usually either in the graphics card or the screen quality.
The best graphics card you’ll get is the same: the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (or Titanium). Don’t settle for anything less than the Titanium, the graphics performance boost is massive.
For the screen, gamers are usually split between two types of panels: TN and IPS. TN offers faster response times, while IPS has more accurate colors and better viewing angles (especially with sunlight). On a laptop, I’d say IPS wins the race, and that’s why the Acer Aspire VX 15 should be your choice.
The Aspire VX 15 is also packed with excellent hardware, including a Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti with 4GB dedicated VRAM.
For a Desktop Replacement: HP Envy 17
Looking to replace your old desktop PC with a new laptop? You probably still want that big-screen experience though, along with powerful performance. The HP Envy 17 will do its best to ensure you never miss your old PC.
The large full HD screen also offers a touchscreen, but you probably won’t use that much. What matters is that it’s an IPS screen with wide viewing angles, so multiple people can see what’s playing on it.
A Core i7 processor, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 1TB hard drive should take care of all your needs. There’s even a dedicated Nvidia GeForce 940MX graphics card for light gaming. And a good old DVD writer too.
Bite of the Apple: MacBook Air 13″
At $1,000, you can ditch Windows and grab an Apple laptop. The new 13-inch MacBook Air is still an excellent value laptop, and perhaps better than most alternatives with Windows.
It comes with a Broadwell Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and a 128GB SSD. And on macOS, that’s more than enough for most users. It works with the newest macOS version for years to come, and the battery life is top-notch.
If the price seems a little high, remember, the “Apple tax” means a higher resale value. So when you’re ready to sell this laptop, you’ll get a better deal for it than most Windows notebooks.
In case you don’t mind buying a refurbished laptop, then check the deals at the best places for refurbished Apple MacBooks. You might find a much better purchase there, as long as it has been certified refurbished by Apple itself.
Chrome Finish: Google Pixelbook
Google has jumped into the high-end laptop game with the new Pixelbook. It’s still too fresh to figure out any potential problems with it or its longevity. So chalk this up as an early adopter’s option.
The Pixelbook racked up some good reviews, with pundits praising the overall package. The taller 12-inch screen with the 3:2 aspect ratio (as opposed to the usual 16:9) scored praise, as has the premium aluminum body. And remember, you can run Android apps on Chromebooks now.
But there is one major common complaint: the battery life. For a 2-in-1 device, all reviewers are disappointed with the battery life, claiming about 6-8 hours of usage. That’s not bad for a laptop, of course, but Chromebooks tend to last longer than that.
If you’re unconvinced by the Pixelbook so far, you can still get the Asus Chromebook Flip C302 with the Intel Core M5 processor. It’s a powerful, well-designed Chromebook that you will fall in love with.
Which Sub-$1,000 Laptop Do You Like?
Whether you’re looking for a pure Ultrabook, a taste of Mac, or some 2-in-1, the $1,000 budget will give you an excellent long-term purchase. In fact, I’d say this price range is just right to get power and performance without it seeming like you spent too much.
Which of these $1,000 laptops do you like the most? Do you have any other recommendations that we missed?