Updated on December 8, 2020 by Lyric Fergusson
Laptops have really evolved over the years, and now purchasing a high-performing laptop is affordable for more and more people. There are now numerous laptops available that can deliver quality performance for working remotely, gaming, and schoolwork. Customers have many factors to consider when purchasing a laptop, including the processor (which effects the speed of the computer), the display size and resolution, the size and weight of the computer, and connectivity options such as Bluetooth, USB-C, Ethernet, and various ports and jacks, all which vary according to models.
With so many features, it can be easy to be overwhelmed with options when shopping for a new laptop. Below is a list of our seven favorite laptops under $700:
Best Laptops under $700
1. Acer Swift 3
(Incredible processor speeds)
Why it’s great: A thin, lightweight laptop with great display, the Acer Swift 3 is a good bet for your money. What sets this apart from others on the list is the AMD Ryzen Octa-Core processor, a strong competitor for Intel’s hold on the market. The Ryzen is faster than some Intel models, and less expensive, meaning you get a fast computer for less money. Weighing in at only 2.7 pounds, you’ll be able to carry this laptop around with no issues. The battery has a decent life and charges quickly, which is a plus for most users.
Keep in mind: The display is fine for indoor use, but may not be bright enough for frequent use outdoors.
Why it’s great: A sleek-looking design and solid battery life are the foundations of the HP 15-dy1036nr, which is a great laptop for the price. It’s small enough to travel with, and features WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5 connect ability, making it a great for remote work. Another great feature is its environmental impact – this laptop features a mercury-free, low halogen display, and is energy certified. If you are looking to reduce your environmental footprint while staying connected, this is a great option.
Keep in mind: The keypad is not backlit, and it doesn’t feature an ethernet port, which may be a deal-breaker for some people.
Why it’s great: The Surface 6 is a bit different than most of the laptops on this list – it’s a tablet-PC hybrid, meaning you can use as a regular PC, or detach the keyboard and convert it to a touch-screen tablet. With a beautiful 12.3-inch display and a longer battery life than its predecessor, the Surface 6 makes for a great, versatile option for those wanting both the performance of a PC and the portability of a tablet. Users love the speedy Intel i5 processor, which really sets the Surface apart from other tablets. With a well-rated stylus (sold separately) and a weight of only 1.7 pounds, it is more adaptable and lighter than most regular laptops, while delivering beautiful graphics and performance.
Keep in mind: This version does not offer a USB-C (Thunderbolt) port, which may turn some users off.
Why it’s great: A solid performer with every available connectivity option, the Lenovo IdeaPad 5 is a great laptop for students, remote work, and basic everyday use. The 15.6-inch, high-resolution display features a touchscreen, which many users have found appealing. Customers love the long battery life and smooth trackpad as well. You can also purchase an upgraded model with 1 TB storage, if you need more space.
Keep in mind: The graphics card is not ideal for most gaming or high-graphics processing.
(Most sleek design)
Why it’s great: All of the ZenBook models from ASUS combine sleek looks with top-notch performance, and the ZenBook 14 is no exception. It’s thin and ultra-light, weight only 2.49 pounds, which means you can carry it around in a shoulder bag with little to no strain. It features a 22-hr battery life with a quick-charge option that can recharge you up to 60% in 40 minutes. With a 90% screen-to-body ratio, the display is impressive and large for a laptop this small and lightweight. Standard ASUS features such as the ErgoLift keyboard and touchpad/number pad add to its comfort and flexibility.
Keep in mind: With no headphone jack and less-than-perfect speakers, you’ll want to keep a set of Bluetooth headphones handy.
Why it’s great: If you value a large a clear screen, the Dell Inspiron’s anti-glare, 17.3-inch LED display will exceed all expectations. Users love it for video editing, gaming, and watching movies. With a 10th generation Intel i5 processor and 8GB RAM, you’ll appreciate the speed and smoothness of operation. It comes with the Windows 10 platform and users really like the style of the keyboard for comfort when typing. Overall, a solid daily-use PC with a display that tops most of the others on this list.
Keep in mind: Its large display size means that it’s a bit heavier than some laptops (3kg).
Why it’s great: The ASUS Zenbook 13 is one of the best ultra-portable laptops on the market. It’s small and lightweight design weigh in at just 2.36 pounds, much lighter than many other laptops on the list. It features the ASUS ErgoLift keyboard, which increases typing comfort. A feature unique to ASUS is the flexibility to turn the touchpad into a calculator with virtual backlit buttons, a convenient option. The overall look of the laptop is thin, light, and sleek. For the price, this model is a great choice for ultra-portability and performance. With the powerful Intel Tiger Lake processor, it can compete with much more expensive models.
Keep in mind: The sleek design does not include a headphone jack, although it does feature Bluetooth connectivity.
FAQs about laptops
1. What should I look for most in a new laptop?
First, consider how you will use it. Are you looking to check your email, surf the web, and access social media? A laptop with the basics should be fine. Are you a high-performance gamer or video editor? Look for top graphics cards and displays. Do you travel a lot and value portability and reduced weight? Consider the ultra-portables for their size and weight. Your answers to each of these questions will help you decide what to look for.
2. What are the different processors?
Processors (CPUs) have come a long way in the past few years, and the whole line of Intel Core processors will give you great speeds. Core i5 is sufficient for most everyday use, and the Core i7 gives you even more power and speed. AMD is another big name in processors, and pride themselves on the speed of their Ryzen processors (as seen in the Acer Swift 3 above).
3. What’s the best screen size?
In general, the bigger the screen, the better, particularly for watching movies and gaming. However, larger screens mean increased weight, so if you value portability and lightness, you’ll want to consider a smaller screen. Check the screen’s resolution – the higher the number, the sharper and more impressive the display will look. Higher-resolution, larger, and brighter screens also use more power, and so will impact battery life. In general, a 12.5 to 14-inch screen will give you a nice balance between portability and use, but if you are planning to watch a lot of movies on your laptop, you may want to consider a larger display.
4. Are there other display options I should consider?
Some of the laptops listed offer a touchscreen, which many users are comfortable with because they are used to mobile touchscreens. Touchscreens do use more battery life, so if you don’t think you’ll use it, you can skip it. Some laptops also offer a 2-in-1 hybrid option, such as the Surface 6, which can be either a tablet or PC, depending on your preference.
5. What’s the best overall size?
Again, this will depend on each user’s preference. The ultra-portable options, such as the ASUS Zenbook 13 above, will be perfect for people who travel a lot or carry their laptop in a bag each day commuting. However, small laptops mean smaller display, and small keyboards and trackpads, and may feel cramped to some users. Larger laptops, such as the Dell Inspiron 17, give you the largest and most impressive display and a spacious keypad/trackpad but can be bulky or heavy to carry with you each day.
6. What types of connectivity should I look for?
Pretty much every laptop available today should connect to WiFi. However, some offer Ethernet ports for Internet connectivity, and some (in the effort to keep them small and compact) do not. If your WiFi is spotty and you’d prefer a more stable Ethernet connection, you’ll need to check for that. Some also offer 4G LTE connection, which can be used anywhere data is available, but will likely include the extra expense of a data plan.
7. What about the different ports?
Regarding the options for various ports, you’ll want to consider the different devices and drives you’ll want to connect – do they use Bluetooth, SD cards, USB (type A or type C “Thunderbolt), or HDMI? Do you prefer headphones with a 3.5mm jack (missing on some laptops above), or Bluetooth? While you can almost always carry an extra dongle or two to connect, it’s a good idea to look for the ports you want right off the bat.
As you can see, there are now many laptops with many different options available on the market, at a very affordable price point. Getting fast, solid performance and impressive displays no longer means having to pay over $1000 for a quality laptop. When trying to decide which would be best for you, consider your needs: do you need high-performance graphics for gaming? Do you need a basic, reliable connection to do school work and remote work? Do you want to travel light? Once you know exactly what you want and need in a laptop, you’ll be able to narrow your options down. Know that each of the laptops on this list will give you reliable, impressive performance for under $799.