Remember when laptops were the poorer cousin of the humble desktop? Well, you’ll be as shocked as I am to see just how much times have changed. The humble laptop has managed to turn the tides, now becoming the most sought-after workstation, and packing in incredibly juicy-looking specs.
That said, the more you want from your laptop, the more it’ll cost you… normally. There are always exceptions to the rule when you know where to look, and you can actually grab some great deals on mid-range laptops that give you beefy stats and performance for a cut-price cost. These laptops aren’t even last-gen or outdated - you can still get something relevant for your hard-earned cash.
Our round-up of the best laptops under £1,000 has some brilliant prices, check out our top picks below:
The best laptops under £1,000 shortlist:
We’ve searched the internet to find the best laptops for under £1,000 that don’t know the meaning of compromise. Among our favourites, you’ll find plenty of RAM and meaty processors, allowing you to run image editing apps such as Photoshop, and even pull out some gaming.
Of course, if £1,000 is too much, you can always check out our best budget laptops to get you on the ladder without destroying your finances.
The best laptops under £1,000 in detail:
• Mega-quick and powerful Apple M1 Chip
• P3 display
• Long battery life
The 2020 Macbook Air brings some nifty upgrades and is an attainable gateway if you want to jump to the Apple ecosystem. It comes with the all-new Apple M1 processor, which divides its eight cores into two sets - four are dedicated to tasks that require heavy lifting, and four look after low-impact jobs with increased efficiency. Apple's new macOS, BigSur, is installed and ready to go - it's built around the new processing chip to improve user experience and performance.
The £999 2020 MacBook Air carries the M1 chip with a seven-core GPU and 256GB SSD, while the £1,249 version has the same M1 chip with an eight-core GPU and 512GB SSD. Both carry 8GB of RAM. It also includes a high resolution 13.3in 2560x1600 display with the new-and-improved P3 colour gamut, which is ideal for watching videos or inspecting photos, even in 4K UHD. It even boasts an 18-hour battery life during video playback. You can read more about the 2020 MacBook Air here. And it currently has £100 off!
|• Impressive performance on heavyweight tasks||• Expensive|
|• Long battery||• Only a 13-inch screen|
|• P3 display|
• Power punches above its weight
• Great screen resolution
This is a powerful notebook designed by Huawei as a challenger to the Apple MacBook Air. Huawei gives you a unique 3:2 aspect ratio on a 14-inch 2K pixel screen, which gives those working with documents much more room to work with. It comes in at 15.9mm thick, weighs 1,490g and cuts a very modern design. Under the hood, you get a generous 11th-gen Intel Core i5 processor that offers up to 4.20GHz, as well as an 8GB RAM, and 512GB SSD for all your storage needs. It's a great-looking laptop with enough power for everyday use and even some photo editing. Reviewers noted the superior build quality, impressive screen and great user experience.
|• Nice processing power||• Only 8GB RAM|
|• Pleasant screen||• Still not as good as the MacBook Air|
|• Good value|
|CPU:||Intel Core i5-1135G7|
• Intel i5 Processor
• 1TB SSD
This laptop is both stylish and light, while still delivering the goods. You get a sizeable 15.6 inches of Full HD screen real estate, a whopping 1TB SSD, and 8GB of RAM for a very reasonable price. It also features a quad-core Intel i5 processor that's sure to breeze through your workload, and even manage apps such as Affinity Photo, or a spot of light play – though it lacks the graphics card for serious gaming.
The battery life on offer is billed up to 8.5 hours, which is plenty of time to get out and about without worrying about charging. This is a laptop that's well worth checking out, managing to offer great specs at an ultra-competitive price point.
|• Affordable||• Average battery|
|• Capable CPU for daily use||• Heavy|
|CPU:||Intel Core i5-1135G7|
• Tablet/laptop hybrid
• 8GB RAM
This convertible touchscreen tablet/laptop hybrid from HP is ideal for those who demand a mobile device level of use from their computers. It comes with an Intel i5 processor (2.4GHz-4.2GHz) as well as 8GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. You get a 14-inch 180-degree Full HD 1080p tilting touchscreen that allows you to fold it back on itself for the tablet experience. It's also compatible with pen input, though you'll have to buy this separately.
The webcam allows you to take advantage of facial recognition, meaning you don't have to type in a password every time the keyboard is tucked away. You can even make in-app purchases this way, with HP promising a less than two second recognition time. If you're looking for a device with a solid level of grunt for moderately intensive app use, but also want to flit between a traditional keyboard and touch controls, this is a great hybrid option with ease of use in mind.
|• Versatile hybrid design||• No memory card slot|
|• Reliable CPU||• Heavy for a hybrid|
|• Nice screen|
|CPU:||Intel Core i5-1135G7|
• Best of both worlds
• Impressive screen
• Stylish design
Part of Microsoft's brilliant 2-in-1 range, this mobile powerhouse brings you the flexibility of a laptop in the convenience of a tablet. You get a meaty 10th gen quad-core Intel i5 processor and 8GB RAM. There's a handy 128GB SSD for your storage needs, and enough USB ports to stash an external hard drive. The 12.3in touchscreen gives you a tablet-like experience, and the 10.5-hour battery life is made even sweeter by the fast charging, up to 80 per cent in just over an hour.
We definitely have to give this an award for the best of both worlds. Reviewers enjoy that it's quick, lightweight and can handle photo editing, media consumption and more with ease. Make sure to add the type cover to your basket too, as it's sold separately.
|• Best example of hybrid design||• All the good accessories are sold separately…|
|• Impressive screen||• …and they aren’t cheap|
|• Good accessories||• Dinky onboard storage|
|CPU:||Intel Core i5-1035G4|
• Great for streaming TV and movies
• Speedy performance on everyday tasks
Lenovo's brilliant mid-range laptop comes with some impressive specs. With a 14-inch Full HD screen and Dolby Audio, it's great for catching up on Netflix. You'll find an Intel i5 processor and 8GB RAM with a 256GB SSD for nippy performance. It runs Windows 10, will handle some creative image editing software and offers a 10-hour battery life - ideal for the creative on a budget. Reviewers were happy with the speed it loads windows, its lightness and quality build.
|• Good performance for general use||• Short on battery|
|• Speedy||• So-so storage|
|CPU:||Intel Core i5-1035G1|
• Dedicated gaming hardware
• Powerful GPU
• FHD/144Hz screen
A bit of a break from the norm, this 15.6in laptop from ASUS is actually geared up for budget-friendly gamers. You'll get a 516GB SSD, and a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics chip that’s designed for optimum performance in mobile gaming. The 144Hz Full HD screen comes with an anti-glare coating, making it ideal for serious sessions. You also get a 10th generation Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB of onboard RAM that will make short work of your favourite FPS, Minecraft or even Photoshop. Reviewers enjoy its ample power for most games and a good number of ports. Ideal for an entry-level gaming laptop.
|• Reliable entry-level gaming laptop||• Short on battery|
|• Dedicated GPU||• Heavy|
|• Quick screen|
|CPU:||Intel Core i5-10300H|
|Graphics:||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650|
|Screen:||15.6in, 1080p 144Hz|
How much RAM do I need?
Here's a rundown of what you can expect to get for your RAM:
2GB - At the lowest end, you'll only really find 2GB in tablets, which is fine for browsing the internet and video calling - though, not usually at the same time.
4GB - Seen on basic laptops and notebooks, it's good for daily computer use, word processing and browsing.
8GB - Most users will be happy with 8GB for their daily use, low-level gaming needs and even some photo editing.
16GB - Suited to professionals and more demanding games.
32GB upwards - Made for hardcore gamers and video editors.
What graphics hardware do I need?
Most budget laptops come with a built-in graphics card which will perform well enough for general use, but laptops with GPUs like the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 will give you a much smoother ride when it comes to gaming.
What's the difference between HDD and SSD?
Hard drive disks (HDD) write and read their memory on spinning disks with the help of an actuator arm, which moves across the platter. These platters are broken down into a series of tracks and sectors, and it is in these that data is stored and addressed.
Solid State Drives (SSD) write and read on flash memory, much like USB flash drives. Data is stored in grids and blocks, and though the process is more complicated than in HDD, the available space is used more efficiently thanks to a series of process that go on behind the scenes.
HDD is reliable, though they are large in size and rely on mechanical procedures to store, write and read memory. SSD is a newer technology, but as it uses no moving parts, is far quicker at data retrieval, is smaller in size and runs more efficiently. SSDs are very popular within the gaming community due to their rapid load times.
Screen resolution guide:
Full HD: 1920×1080
Ultra HD/4K: 3840×2160
Kirk Schwarz is one of our resident tech experts. A tech-addicted photographer with more than a decade's experience, Kirk's used to putting new gear through extreme field-testing.
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