The sub-$1000 laptops has always been interesting as the budget range has machines that come with a balance between performance and money. Based on our research, we found this budget range a sweet spot among gamers, video editors, college students, graphic designers, photo editors, new music producers, business owners, engineers, work-from-home professionals, and many others.
Most of the $1000 laptops are incredibly powerful and capable enough, and the space is stuffed with devices ranging from excellent mid-range gaming laptops to exceptional Ultrabooks with all-day battery life.
Compromises still have to be made somewhere, though, and the one area that could see some improvement is display quality. 4K displays are expensive, and to sell devices at under $1000, Laptop makers tend to opt for dimmer displays with more limited color accuracy and performance.
Laptops in this budget segment now tend to offer a very sensible specs befitting a workhorse. You will find some compromises along the way, such as last-gen components, slower SSDs, and bulky machines, but you can rest assured that most of the devices in this price range are solid performers. But which one? That’s where our guide comes in the picture.
Note: Some manufacturers are even offering 11th Gen Intel CPUs — with that exciting new Xe graphics chip — and NVIDIA’s ray-tracing ready RTX GPUs in the $1000 budget range.
- Minimum & Recommended System Requirements
- 10 Best Laptops Under 1000 Dollars in 2021
- 1. Best Overall: Acer Nitro 5
- 2. Best For Gamers: MSI GF65 Thin
- 3. Best For Graphic Designers: Lenovo Legion 5
- 4. Best from ASUS: ASUS ROG Strix G
- 5. Best Intel i5 Laptop: Acer Aspire 7
- 6. Best Value for Money: Lenono Ideapad L340
- 7. Best Work Laptop: HP Pavilion 15
- 8. Best Battery Life: ASUS ZenBook 14
- 9. Best for Daily Use: Dell Inspiron 15 5000
- 10. Best Ultrabook: LG Gram 15
- Frequently Asked Questions
Minimum & Recommended System Requirements
Although your budget is up to $1000 but still isn’t enough to get all-round machines that are high-end in all aspects. Based on our research, when picking a machine in this budget range, the purpose must be very specific, we’d still recommend to consider the below mentioned system specifications.
Note: Unless you’re going to play games or perform GPU-intensive tasks, you can opt for a machine without a dedicated GPU.
|Minimum System Requirements||Recommended System Requirements|
|CPU||9th Gen Intel Core i5||9th Gen Intel Core i7|
|Storage||256GB SSD||512GB SSD|
|Display||13.3-inch FHD (1920 x 1080)||15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)|
|Graphics||Integrated Intel UHD 615||4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650|
|Battery||Up to 3 hours||Up to 5 hours|
10 Best Laptops Under 1000 Dollars in 2021
If you’re looking for a list of safe, sensible, and fun laptops that won’t break the bank, this list is for you. Our experts at Freedom 251 have researched for 37 hours to test, and qualify these machines out of 23 different options. We performed several tasks, played high-end games, used CAD-centric software, and to our surprise, they could handle them with ease. Now, let’s begin with the reviews!
1. Best Overall: Acer Nitro 5
If your $1000-budget had you worrying that you wouldn’t be able to find a nice, powerful gaming laptop that could handle your Call of Duty sessions, fret no more! At just 1c shy of $1,000, the Acer Nitro 5 is exactly what you’re looking for. You get an excellent CPU, an RTX GPU, and even a fast, 144Hz refresh rate for that display.
The powerful H-series CPU, the Intel Core i7-9750H is paired with the NVIDIA RTX 2060 GPU which is a nice combo for a $1000 gaming laptop. The 6-core CPU can hit 4.5GHz turbo speeds, and that RTX GPU will handle any and all RTX titles at med-high settings while also supporting NVIDIA Broadcast for AI-based noise cancelling and background removal when streaming games live.
16GB of DDR4 RAM is also great, but that 256GB of SSD storage can be a problem. If you’re a gamer, a single AAA game title like Red Dead Redemption or Warzone will eat up 100-150GB. The pre-installed copy of Windows 10 and a handful of essential apps that you might want to install will eat up another 30GB or more, leaving you with little to no room for anything else.
Thankfully, Acer has accounted for this eventuality and has designed the laptop with an additional M.2 slot for an SSD and a slot for a 2.5” SSD or HDD. Upgrading the storage shouldn’t cost more than about $50, and you can do so on your terms. However, spending $100 more will get you the 512GB variant of this same machine, which is also a good investment.
The display is a 144Hz FHD panel that measures 15.6-inch across. It is excellent for gaming. Be warned that the display does show some backlight bleed, which can be noticeable in low light, and that its response time is rated at about 16-18ms, which means that you won’t quite get that buttery smooth gaming experience as you can experience in $2000 gaming laptops, however, the existing refresh rate will lead you to expect. Still, this is a $1000 laptop, and considering the price other specs it has, you’re getting a really decent display.
In terms of design, the laptop is pretty slick and feature a muted black finish with red accents. The keyboard features a red backlight that goes well with that red accent. Included is a 720p webcam, a single USB 2.0 port, 2x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports, a single USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port, an RJ45 Ethernet port, a headphone jack, and an HDMI output. Battery life is rated at 8 hours.
At 4.84 pounds, the Acer Nitro 5 is a little heavy, and the display isn’t the most color accurate option out there. Still, the laptop might cost a mere $1000, and you’re getting a powerful RTX GPU and a 144Hz display, both of which are hard to find in this price category. You might want to spend a bit on expanding the storage, but other than that, the Nitro 5 is a killer deal.
- Upgradeable storage
- RTX GPU under $1000
- Excellent value for money
- 144Hz screen refresh rate
- Red backlight
- Limited storage
- Display quality
2. Best For Gamers: MSI GF65 Thin
If you’re going to be gaming all day, every day, you’re going to need a fast, capable machine with adequate cooling and a great display. The MSI GF65 Thin does fit the bill on that front, especially if your budget happens to be hovering around $1000.
While laptops like the Acer Nitro 5 pair a RTX 20-series GPU clubbed with an Intel i7 H-series CPU, MSI has opted for the GTX 1660 Ti for graphics support. This is an interesting one and has implications on the kind of games you play.
The RTX 2060 is certainly the more powerful option when playing RTX titles like Control or Cyberpunk 2077, the GTX 1660 Ti’s performance is just as good in non-RTX titles like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, PUBG, Civ 6, or Fortnite, SIMS 4, Minecraft RTX. In fact, the GTX 1660 Ti might even edge out the RTX 2060 as it can run cooler and faster and a heavy load.
At this price, MSI is bundling 16GB of RAM and 512GB of NVMe storage. We like the fact that this is dual-channel RAM, which gets you about 10-20% better performance in optimized titles. 512GB is also a great choice as you now have room to install a handful of large AAA games like Overwatch, League of Legends, WOW, Warzone and Black Ops.
Note: Windows 10 Home and bundled apps won’t take up more than about 20-30GB of storage.
For the display, MSI has opted for a 15.6-inch 120Hz FHD option that is well suited for gaming. It’s fast, and color-accurate enough for gamers of every type, and it’s placed in a frame with thin bezels, so it happens to look great as well.
Moving forward, the laptop flaunts a backlit keyboard and, if we’re honest, a little bit cramped, which could take a little getting used to. As the name would suggest, the laptop is quite thin, and the black color and brushed aluminium add a nice touch, as do the red accents.
At 4.1 pounds, it’s not too heavy for a gaming laptop. Ports include RJ45, HDMI and 4x USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports, 2 of which are USB-C. Battery life is rated at about 7 hrs.
For a gamer, especially one who’s into competitive shooters like Apex Legends and Black Ops, the GF65 is a fantastic option for the price. Just be warned, the laptop can get quite hot and loud under extended gaming conditions.
- Slim bezels
- Powerful GPU
- 120Hz display
- Expandable storage
- Dual-channel memory
- Noisy when gaming
3. Best For Graphic Designers: Lenovo Legion 5
$1000 for a laptop with one of the most powerful mobile CPUs around, a powerful GPU, high-speed RAM, and a fast display? Who wouldn’t want something like that. Enter the Lenovo Legion 5. Easily the sub-$1000 gaming king, the legion 5 sets itself apart as one of the high-performance laptops you could buy in this price range.
The 7nm Zen 2 based, octa-core AMD Ryzen 7 4800H is easily among the most powerful CPUs you could shove into a laptop. It’s high base clock of 2.9GHz, 4.2GHz boost, and 45W TDP mean that it will run rings around Intel’s best, while also delivering superb gaming performance. The CPU is also very efficient, and features a powerful onboard GPU, ensuring excellent performance even when running on battery power.
The Legion 5 also packs in a GTX 1660 Ti GPU, Nvidia’s most powerful non-RTX card, and pairs it with 16GB of fast, 3200MHz RAM and a 512GB NVMe SSD. Sure, you’re not getting any RTX goodness here, but there are only a handful of games that take advantage of it, so you’re not missing out on much. Any game you throw at this machine will run well. The included Windows 10 Home OS will not even get this device to break a sweat.
Another exceptional feature of the Legion 5 is its bright, 300-nit display and full sRGB gamut coverage. 15.6 inches is plenty of real-estate, and 144Hz is great for gaming and image rendering. It’s also Dolby Vision certified.
Lenovo’s kitted out this machine with a full size keyboard, but things can get a little cramped. That being said, it is nice to have a dedicated numpad. Coming to design, the Legion 5 offers a solidly built body in matte black, though at 5.41 pounds, it is quite a heavy machine. Storage is expandable and ports include an always-on USB 3.1 Gen 1 port, 3x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, 1x USB-C 3.2, HDMI 2.0, RJ45, and a 3.5 mm combo jack. Battery life is rated at 5 hours.
At just $1000, the Legion 5 is exceptionally well equipped for gaming as well as productivity. If you don’t mind the weight, this is the laptop to get.
- 144Hz display
- Powerful CPU
- 3200MHz RAM
- Gaming performance
- Elegant design
- No RTX support
4. Best from ASUS: ASUS ROG Strix G
The ASUS ROG Strix G doesn’t push any boundaries or test the limits of what you can offer in the sub-$1000 category, but it is a decently specced machine that’s solidly built and offers good value.
The specs are a tad unbalanced in that a powerful Intel Core i7-9750H CPU being offered alongside an entry-level GTX 1650 GPU. The GPU is good for light gaming, and that CPU is a healthy addition. If you’re into programming, or work with creative apps like Adobe Photoshop, Premiere Pro, and other apps in the Adobe Creative Cloud, that CPU is great to have. If not, you could opt for the lower power Intel i5-9300H CPU and save a bit of cash.
The bundled 8GB of RAM is just enough for this machine, and given that you’re only getting a 1650, demanding AAA games like Modern Warfare will be bottlenecked more by the GPU than the RAM. The 512GB SSD is an M.2 drive and plays host to a handful of ASUS apps and Windows 10 Home.
The 15.6-inch panel is a fairly standard 60Hz FHD display that is adequate for play and work. It’s not fast, but that 1650 can’t push too many frames, making the decision of sticking with 60Hz a sensible one. Despite being a budget gaming laptop, it’s nice that the Strix comes with an RGB backlit keyboard. It’s pleasant to type on and even features an isolated WASD color matrix to help the keys stand out.
This is, relatively speaking, a budget gaming laptop, so it is heavy at 5.4 pounds. The design is also simple and the color palette is restricted to black with red accents. It’s nice that the display has slim bezels, but it’s also surprising that the laptop doesn’t include a webcam. Connectivity includes 3x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, 1x 3.5 mm combo jack, 1x RJ45 and 1x HDMI 2.0 port. You can expect about 3-4 hours of battery life from the machine.
Don’t want to spend much and are looking for a laptop for work and casual gaming? Get this one.
- RGB keyboard backlight
- Decent value for money
- Upgradeable RAM slot
- Slim bezels around
- Pleasant keyboard
- No webcam
5. Best Intel i5 Laptop: Acer Aspire 7
You don’t always need a ton of horsepower, especially when you need a machine just for work and maybe some competitive multiplayer gaming. If that’s the case, this thin and light laptop from Acer might be just what you’re looking for.
On paper, the Acer Aspire 7 appears to be pretty wimpy. You’re getting a low power Intel i5 CPU that only hits a 4.1GHz boost, and an entry-level GTX 1650 GPU that can only really handle light games and esports titles like Valorant or Fortnite. But is that really such a bad thing?
The CPU might not be the most powerful around, but it’s a good pairing for the GTX 1650, and it draws less power, giving you better battery life.
Since the components aren’t too powerful, they also won’t draw that much power or generate too much heat. Win-win, we say. Games like World of Warcraft or Counter Strike will run beautifully on this machine, as will lighter titles like Ori or Hollow Knight.
You only get 8GB of RAM, but also a more generous 512GB of SSD storage. 8GB is enough for web browsing, online schooling, and even light gaming, though. The bundled Windows 10 Home is a fast, well-optimized OS that will run just fine on this system.
The 15.6-inch FHD IPS display is nice for office work. The color accuracy and brightness is also enough for that Netflix binge on weekends, and for isolating enemies in fast-paced shooters like Black Ops.
Designed to look more like an office machine, the sub-$800 notebook, Aspire 7 will not look out of place at a meeting or in school. At about 4.7 pounds, it’s also not too heavy to lug around everywhere. The keyboard is backlit as well, so late-night gaming or typing sessions can go ahead unimpeded.
Connectivity includes 2x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports, 1x USB 2.0 port, 1x USB-C 3.2 Gen 1 port, an HDMI port, an RJ45 port, and a 3.5 mm combo jack. Battery life will vary based on your usage, but you should be able to extract up to 8 hours of productivity from this machine.
If you’re looking for a gaming-ready office machine that won’t let you down during competitive matches in Fortnite, the Acer Aspire 7 could very well be what you need. The pricing is also very reasonable.
- Good value
- Office-friendly design
- Slim chassis
- Backlit keyboard
- 512GB SSD storage
- Plastic build
- Entry-level GPU
6. Best Value for Money: Lenono Ideapad L340
Gaming shouldn’t be out of reach just because you have a smaller budget, the Lenono Ideapad L340 is proof of that. Powered by a 9th Gen Intel Core i5 CPU and GTX 1650 graphics, this laptop may not have many frills and fancies, but it’s a good machine that can at least run any game that’s been released to date.
Intel’s quad-core 9300H can hit a boost of 4.1GHz when needed, and runs at a base of 2.4GHz. When it comes to mid-tier gaming, 3D modeling, 3D rendering, and more, that’s all the horsepower you really need. The GTX 1650, while an entry-level gaming GPU, is a great choice at this price.
It’s just powerful enough to run newer games at low-med settings and older games at med-high settings. Competitive online games like Rocket League and Fall Guys will just fly. If you want to do some video editing, photo editing, or live streaming on the side, the pair will do a decent job of supporting your needs.
The more RAM the better, but 8GB is a good baseline to start from. It’s enough RAM to meet the minimum requirements of most games, and it’s also enough to handle the RAM-hungry monster that is Google Chrome. Paired with a 512GB SSD, you’re unlikely to run into issues using the pre-installed Windows 10 Home or in apps like Photoshop and Lightroom.
The 15.6-inch IPS LCD display has a refresh rate of 60Hz, which make it great for watching movies and working from home, but a little slow for gaming. That being said, AAA titles like Borderlands 3 or Battlefield are unlikely to hit 60+ fps on this system. Lenovo does include a low-blue-light mode to help reduce eye-strain during long work or gaming sessions.
Lenovo laptops has a reputation for building fantastic keyboards, and this Ideapad is no exception. It’s a well-designed keyboard that’s very comfortable to type on, and it’s backlit. The rest of the design is rather like the keyboard too. It’s a pleasant, comfortable design with no jarring colors or egregious ergonomic faults. The hinge also rotates by 180°, allowing you to lay the display flat if you wish to.
There are plenty of ports to choose from, including 2x USB-A 3.1 Gen 1, 1x USB-C 3.1, and a 3.5 mm combo jack. You also get an HDMI port and an Ethernet jack. The overall weight of the package is about 4.7 pounds and battery life is rated at a comfortable 9 hrs, though you’ll get a lot less when gaming.
The Lenovo Ideapad L340 is a pleasantly designed workhorse of a gaming laptop that could stay by your side for years without falling apart. It also has plenty of grunt for a device in its price bracket, which makes it excellent value.
- Privacy shutter on webcam
- Dolby Audio
- Backlit keys
- 180° hinge
- 60Hz panel
7. Best Work Laptop: HP Pavilion 15
Featuring Intel’s latest 11th Gen CPUs with Xe graphics, the HP Pavilion 15 is a high performance Ultrabook with a 15.6-inch display. It’s among the few devices in this segment with an 11th Gen CPU, and while it may not be as well built as premium Ultrabooks costing twice as much, you’re getting uncompromised performance in a relatively thin and light package. At this price, that is indeed enough.
It’s quite exciting to see an 11th Gen CPU in a laptop that costs as little as this does. Unlike Intel’s CPUs up to this point, 11th Gen marks a massive jump in performance and features, especially in the graphics department.
The Raw CPU performance has gone up fractionally, but where you’ll really see the difference is in gaming and photo/video, and audio editing. For the first time ever, you can look forward to playing CS: GO at FHD 60 fps on a device that doesn’t get too hot or weigh a ton.
This fast new CPU is paired with 16GB of fast, 3200MHz RAM in dual-channel mode, and a 512GB NVMe SSD. Windows 10 Home comes pre-installed. With this config, you should feel no lag when running productivity apps like Microsoft Word, Excel, etc. Not only that, you’ll do just fine in demanding apps like FL Studio, Cricut Explore, and Lightroom as well, thanks to that Xe graphics chip.
The display is a 15.6-inch FHD IPS panel that is only rated at 45% NTSC. The limited color range does limit the Pavilion 15’s usefulness as a portable Photoshop/Lightroom machine, but some compromises had to be made to bring down the price. Of course, you could always hook up a high quality monitor when you need a good display.
The full-size keyboard and trackpad are great and are finished in a ‘natural silver’ color. In fact, ‘natural silver’ is the only color option you have for the machine, and we must say, it does look pretty good. Being a 15-inch machine, the Pavilion 15 is large, but the narrow bezels and tapering sides cut down on bulk, bringing weight down to a respectable 3.86 lb.
Connectivity options include 1x USB-C 10Gbps port with power deliver and DisplayPort 1.4 support, 2x USB-A 5 Gbps ports, an HDMI 2.0 port, and a 3.5mm combo jack. HP has thoughtfully included an SD card slot as well.
Battery life is rated at a healthy 8 hours and the laptop charges via a proprietary charger. However, that charger can juice it up to 50% in just 45 min. The USB-C port also supports USB-PD, so you could charge your laptop with a USB-C charger in a pinch.
HP had to compromise on the display and build quality to sell this machine under $1000, but compromises haven’t been made in the area that matters: performance. This is a fast, powerful machine with great speakers, good battery life, and fast charging support, and it’s also not very expensive. Could you really ask for more from a sub-$1000 laptop?
- 11th Gen Intel CPU
- Fast charging
- Great battery life
- Wide-angle HD webcam
- Dual channel memory
- No USB 4 / Thunderbolt 3 support
- Display quality
8. Best Battery Life: ASUS ZenBook 14
Normally, one would expect a sub-$1000 device to be compromised in some fashion, with the ASUS ZenBook 14, it’s nearly impossible to find any. This device is slim, very light, features a fantastic display, the latest Intel CPU, promises up to 21 hours of battery life, and supports Thunderbolt 3 and fast charging over USB-C, and even has a numpad hidden in the trackpad. It’s brilliant, and perhaps the best Ultrabook you can buy under $1000.
Intel’s powerful new Xe graphics, included with the 2.8GHz Core i7-1176G7, is a fantastic addition to any Ultrabook. You basically get the performance of a discrete GPU without the power and thermal penalties associated with them. This means great GPU performance and excellent battery life. Being a 14-inch ultraportable laptop, the 1165G7 in the ZenBook 14 has been throttled down considerably, but there’s still more than enough performance on tap, and more than what you’d get from a 10th Gen CPU that’s not been throttled.
The 512GB NVMe SSD is nice, but we’d have liked to see 16GB of RAM instead of the bundled 8GB. It’s not that 8GB isn’t fine, it’s more than enough for productivity apps like Word, Excel, and entire Microsoft Office. Not just that, it can even handle light games like Fortnite or Valorant. Still, more RAM does help with future-proofing. The fast SSD should help mitigate most performance issues, however. Whatever the case, Windows 10 Home will fly on this machine.
With a 90% screen-to-body ratio, 400 nits of brightness, and 100% sRGB coverage, the 14” display on the ZenBook 14 is easily among the very best screens you can get on a Windows laptop. Below this screen is the keyboard and trackpad — the former is backlit — which like your regular laptop keyboards. But looks can be deceiving.
The trackpad looks, feels, and functions like a regular trackpad, but tap a button and you transform it into a touch-sensitive numpad! This trackpad/numpad is also intelligent enough to determine when you’re tapping on specific numbers and when you’re just generally using the trackpad. It’s a fantastic idea that isn’t a gimmick and works really well. It’s especially useful for people who tend to work a lot with numbers.
Measuring just 13.9 mm in thickness, and weighing just 2.49 pounds, the ZenBook is the very definition of Ultrabook. Paired with a 67Wh battery than can charge to 60% in 40 min, and that power-efficient 11th Gen CPU, one can easily expect up to 21 hours of battery life, says ASUS. While you may not get 21 hours in real-world usage, you should easily expect it to last you through a full workday, perhaps two.
Given how slim the laptop is, it’s understandable that port selection is a little limited. On the left you’ll find an HDMI port and two USB-C ports rated for USB-PD and Thunderbolt 4. On the right you’ll find a USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port, and, strangely, a microSD card reader.
Thunderbolt 4 isn’t much different from Thunderbolt 3, only guaranteeing a certain minimum level of performance, such as guaranteed 40 Gbps speeds (up to 2 m) with the right cable.
You’re also guaranteed a higher PCIe bandwidth, which in turn allows for the use of dual 4K displays — TB3 only supports 1 — or an 8K display. It’s a niche feature and will see little use outside of powering multiple displays. Still, it’s nice to have the option.
The ZenBook 14 is a fantastic little Ultrabook that puts even premium Ultrabooks like Dell’s XPS 13 or Lenovo’s $2000 ThinkPads to shame. Performance is toned down a bit so as not to stress the limited cooling capacity of this laptop, but what you get is plenty for productivity and entertainment. If it’s a $1000-Ultrabook you seek, you need look no further than the ZenBook 14.
- Slim and light
- Superb display
- 2-day battery life
- IR camera for Windows Hello
- Thunderbolt 4 support
- 8GB RAM
- Speaker quality
9. Best for Daily Use: Dell Inspiron 15 5000
Where most other laptops aim for delivering maximum performance, this Inspiron 15 5000 model will deliver adequate performance and excellent battery life while focusing on controlling heat output. This is a great 15-inch laptop to target if your needs are limited to productivity and entertainment. Why waste money on an overpowered machine when you don’t need that power, right?
The 1GHz base clock of the i5-1035G1 might seem shockingly low to the uninitiated, but rest assured that there’s nothing to worry about on the performance front. The fact that the laptop can throttle down to 1GHz simply means that at idle, it will consume far less power than, say, a 2.8GHz 11th Gen CPU.
The UHD graphics chip might also not seem very powerful, but it’s powerful enough for using Windows, browsing the web, and indulging in accounting, homeschooling, DJing, light photo editing in apps like Photoshop and Lightroom.
Paired with that low power GPU is a healthy 16GB of high-speed RAM and 512GB of NVMe storage. This relatively large RAM buffer means that the CPU need not do as much work shuffling data between the SSD and RAM, leading to more efficiency. The bundled Windows 10 Home OS will run smoothly on this system.
The 15.6-inch FHD display is bright enough for indoor use, and you get a large, full-size keyboard with numpad for all your typing needs. In keeping with the pricing, the design is a standard wedge shape in the 15.6-inch form factor. Port selection includes 2x USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, 1x USB 2.0 ports, an SD card reader, an HDMI port, an RJ45 jack, and a 3.5 mm combo jack.
The laptop is large but the battery isn’t, so weight stays under 4 pounds but battery life is limited to about 6 hrs. This is adequate for a device at this price point.
This model is a generation old, but it’s running on a more modern, ultra-low power Ice Lake CPU that will not get too hot. For a device that’s priced under $1000, this is a great deal, and since it’s old, you might even be able to grab it at a heavy discount during sales.
- Plenty of RAM
- Good value
- Ultra-low power CPU
- SD card reader
- Older CPU model
- Battery capacity
10. Best Ultrabook: LG Gram 15
Looking for a laptop that’s almost as light as an iPad, and as slim as one, but also one that doesn’t compromise on performance, screen size, or ergonomics? Powered by a efficient 10th Gen Intel i5 CPU and featuring a 15.6-inch screen in a package that weighs a mere 2.49 pounds, the LG Gram 15 is exactly one such device.
The Comet Lake 10th Gen CPU in this LG Gram 15 is a 15W U series chip that’s designed with power efficiency and battery life in mind. This doesn’t mean that it compromises on performance, however. The quad-core chip is hyper-threaded and can boost from 1.6GHz all the way to 4.2GHz. The Intel UHD graphics chip isn’t great for gaming, but it’s good for running Windows, Office apps, and perfect for streaming videos on Twitch and more. It’s a neat little package for those who require a productivity and entertainment machine.
You get Windows 10 Home pre-installed on the machine, along with a trial edition of Office 365. 8GB of RAM and a 512GB NVMe SSD round out the rest of the specs. Given its use-case, 8GB is, we believe, adequate. More RAM would certainly have been nice, but this travel laptop isn’t really meant to be a heavy-duty workhorse anyway.
It’s amazing that LG even managed to offer a 15.6-inch screen in a device that weighs less than 2.5 pounds. The FHD IPS panel is bright and offers great color accuracy. It’s also mounted in a slim, near bezel-less frame, allowing it to meld into the body of the Gram. There’s also a backlit keyboard to be found here, and that backlight can be adjusted for your comfort.
We just don’t know how LG has managed to make the device so slim and light, but they did, and that’s awesome. That said, the chassis isn’t as rigid as some of the heavier laptops you’ll find in this price bracket and you’ll have to take a bit more care with the Gram than you would other laptops. Still, 2.49 pounds and an ultra-slim chassis mean that you can toss it into any bag and not feel its presence.
Unlike Apple MacBooks, LG has also not used the slimness as excuse to compromise on ports. The Gram gets 3x USB-A ports rated at 5Gbps, a Thunderbolt 3 port, a microSD card slot, and a 3.5 mm combo jack. There’s even a fingerprint reader to be found. The icing on the cake? 21 hours of promised battery life.
As an ultraportable, the LG Gram is impossible to beat. It is one of the thinnest and lightest 15” laptops you can get, and unless you need more power for computationally intensive tasks like coding, photo editing or gaming, the LG Gram has all the power you’ll ever need.
- Light as a feather
- 21 hours battery life
- Backlit keyboard
- Fingerprint reader
- Port selection
- There is some chassis flex
- Last-gen CPU
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between 10th Gen U series and G series CPUs?
Intel offers two lines of 10th Gen CPUs. The U series and H-series chips are from the Comet Lake line, which are built on a larger, 14nm process and offer minor performance improvements over 9th Gen designs. 10th Gen G series CPUs are called Ice Lake and built on a far more efficient 10nm process and feature powerful Iris Plus graphics chips. Ice Lake is more expensive, and for most users, the performance from Comet Lake is sufficient.
Can I play games on integrated graphics?
AMD’s Ryzen CPUs and Intel’s 11th Gen CPUs feature powerful integrated graphics chips that are more than capable of handling light games and esports titles like Counter Strike and Fortnite. Intel UHD graphics chips are only suitable for 2D games and older 3D titles.
How much RAM is enough?
For general use such as office/school work and entertainment — 8GB is sufficient enough. If you’re a heavy Google Chrome user and/or intend to game a lot, it’s best to go for the 16 GB option. If you can afford it, go for the 16GB option by default, as more RAM will help future-proof your purchase.
Do I need a Thunderbolt port?
Thunderbolt is a high bandwidth bus developed by Intel. It’s capable of operating at over 40Gbps, which is well beyond 99% of users’ needs. That being said, you need Thunderbolt for fast, high-resolution displays (4K and 8K) and if you’re using expensive docking stations. For general use, you’ll never need the power of Thunderbolt.
Does upgrading RAM or storage void the warranty?
Upgrading RAM usually doesn’t void the warranty if the RAM compartment is made user accessible. Upgrading the storage and SSD usually requires a user to remove the entire bottom plate, which can void the warranty. It’s best to check with the laptop’s service center before taking the risk however.
Even a couple of years ago, the $1000 category of laptops were filled with bulky, noisy, wimpy machines that were clearly compromised on several fronts. Battery life was rarely adequate and cheap plastic was the norm. Today, the impressive variety of designs, and the sheer quality of products in the same category makes one wonder why one ever needs to spend more than $1000 to begin with.
- If you’re a gamer, the Acer Nitro 5 is a fantastic place to start. You get an RTX 2060 GPU and a good CPU. You might want to consider upgrading the storage, however.
- An ultraportable option would be the LG Gram 15, which weighs next to nothing while still packing in a 15-inch screen and promising 2-day battery life.
- If you’re looking for a budget-friendly workhorse, the Acer Aspire 7 is a steal. There’s something for everyone here.
Whatever your needs, you can rest assured that you’ll find exactly what you need without spending a cent over $1000. Still haven’t found the right one? Use our Laptop Finder (includes high-rated models only)