8 best laptops under £1000 for 2023: we rank cheap computers in terms of power, display, weight and design

8 best laptops under £1000 UK 20238 best laptops under £1000 UK 2023
8 best laptops under £1000 UK 2023 | 8 best laptops under £1000 UK 2023

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The best laptops to choose from, whether you want a gaming machine or a down-to-earth performers – all for under a grand

Choosing the right laptop is crucial. What’s most important to you, power, display, weight or design? Something that looks great might not have the grunt you need, and something with a big screen could be too heavy to comfortably sling in your backpack or briefcase. And since so many of us work in hybrid environments, portability from home desk to office desk could be important.

Even so, there’s plenty to choose from, with super-comfortable keyboards and bright displays, which don’t break the bank.

There are three operating systems to choose from: the magnificently intuitive macOS on Apple’s laptops is hard to beat. But it’s Windows that has the biggest range of compatible programs and applications, so it’s worth checking if the ones you need are available on the platform you like. The latest version of Windows is Windows 11, though you can save money often by choosing a version with the older but still excellent Windows 10. Often, upgrading to Windows 11 can be done later.

And then there’s Google’s ChromeOS, which offers a leaner system on usually more affordable machines. ChromeOS has come on leaps and bounds but it still performs best when it’s connected to the internet.

Many computers have touchscreen displays now (though never those made by Apple) and this is a feature available on several here.

Best budget laptops at a glance

Apple MacBook Air with M1 processor

Apple’s super-light laptop just squeaks in under the price bar. This laptop has Apple’s own silicon powering it, and the M1 processor is super-fast and efficient, with exceptional battery life that runs for up to 15 hours. It has a slick design with a big, smooth trackpad and an invitingly comfortable keyboard, including a fingerprint sensor in the power button.

There’s also exceptional integration with other Apple devices. For instance, if you see a web address on your iPhone, you can press and hold to copy it. Open the MacBook Air and press paste and it knows you want the last thing you copied and puts it in seamlessly.

There’s a more expensive MacBook Air, with a new design and even faster performance from the latest M2 chip (from £1,249), but for most people the M1 is more than fast enough.

Key specs 13.3in display, Dimensions 304 x 212 x 16mm, Weight 1.29kg, Processor Apple M1, Storage 256GB, 512GB, 1TB or 2TB, RAM 8GB or 16GB, Fingerprint sensor yes, 720P camera, Space grey, silver or gold finishes

Huawei MateBook 16

The 16-inch display on the MateBook 16 is big, inviting and attractive. It looks good whether you’re working on a spreadsheet or playing back video. And video sounds good, too, thanks to powerful speakers mounted either side of the keyboard.

If you have a Huawei phone or tablet, these will connect seamlessly to this Windows 11 laptop, so you can transfer files to and from instantly. Unlike some laptops, this has great connectivity, with two full-size USB ports, two USB-C and HDMI connector. Note that to maximise the display and keep the overall size as small as possible, the webcam is built into the top row of the keyboard.

So, it looks at you from a strange angle but the benefit is you can close it off by pressing the key down. This laptop has strong design and is good value.

Key specs 16in display, Dimensions 351 x 255 x18mm, Weight 1.99kg, Processor AMD Ryzen 7 5800H Mobile Processor, Storage 512GB, RAM 16GB, Fingerprint sensor yes, 720P camera, Space grey finish

Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2

If you don’t mind a slightly smaller display – this one measures just 12.4 inches – Microsoft’s own-brand laptop is a spectacular choice. It’s affordable, lightweight and effective. Because it’s made by Microsoft, it has the purest version of Windows, with no third-party software installed when you buy it.

There’s the option of a fingerprint sensor in the power button, but not in the entry-level version, only the pricier models. The keyboard and trackpad are easy to use and the build quality on this laptop, as with other Surface devices, is very good. If there’s a downside, it’s that the battery life runs to seven hours or less, depending on usage.

Key specs 12.4in display, Dimensions 278 x 206 16mm, Weight 1.13kg, Processor 1th Gen Intel Core i5-1135G7, Storage 128GB or 256GB, RAM 4GB or 8GB, Fingerprint sensor on some models, 720P camera, Sage, ice blue, sandstone, platinum finishes

Acer Swift 3

Acer’s laptop is very light, a touch lighter than the MacBook Air above. Not least, that’s thanks to its all-aluminium chassis. It’s compact enough to fit easily into smaller backpacks and you’ll barely know it’s there.

When you push back the display fully, the hinge cleverly lifts the back of the laptop up for a more comfortable typing angle. Performance is strong, delivering fast results from regular tasks like surfing the net, word processing and spreadsheets.

The matte-finish 14-inch laptop looks good and works well when you want to stream Netflix, say. It’s not a touchscreen, though. But what really stands out here is the price: it’s really excellent value.

Key specs 14in display Dimensions 323 x 212 x 16mm, Weight 1.2kg, Processor Intel Core 15-1135G7, Storage 512GB, RAM 8GB, Fingerprint sensor yes, 720P camera, silver finish

Dell XPS 13 9315

This laptop has great build quality and an eye-catching design with light weight, thin profile and elegant display. Like the MacBook Air above, it’s short on sockets, making do with two USB-C ports (Dell thoughtfully includes two dongles to allow you to connect headphones or a USB-A device).

Though unlike the Mac, here there’s one port on each side, which is handy if your power cable won’t stretch to the other side. The 13.4-inch display is bright and attractive, though the audio is less impressive. Sometimes this laptop isn’t quite as fast with more demanding applications but in everyday use this is a reliable performer.

Key specs 13.4in display, Dimensions 295 x 199 x 13.99 mm, Weight 1.17kg, Processor Intel Core i5-1230U, Storage 256GB, RAM 8GB, Fingerprint sensor no, 720P camera, sky blue finish

Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro 360

Samsung has put an OLED screen in this laptop, so the picture quality is excellent. OLED offers authentic colours and outstanding contrast levels. The touchscreen means it responds when you touch it, and there’s even a smart stylus, called the S Pen, in the box, which is great for drawing and painting applications.

The 360 in the title gives a clue that this is a convertible, that is, the screen can fold back on itself to be used like a tablet. The keyboard and trackpad are decent and performance is strong enough for everyday tasks and video playback, though gaming isn’t outstanding.

Key specs 13.3in display, Dimensions 303 x 202 x 11.5mm, Weight 1.04kg, Processor Intel Core i5-1240P, Storage 256GB, RAM 8GB, Fingerprint sensor, 1080P camera, silver finish

Honor MagicBook 15

The MagicBook 15 is a solid performer with decent connectivity (though only one USB-C socket which you’ll likely use for powering the thing most of the time) with a slick, simple design. This includes a metallic body with slim bezels around the 15.6-inch display.

The keyboard is good and the large trackpad is responsive. Like the Huawei above, it idiosyncratically puts the webcam in the keyboard, which at least means closing the key gives definite privacy. If you have an Honor phone, this laptop is well-integrated with it so it’s easy to transfer files. You can also answer calls on the MagicBook.

Key specs 15.6in display, Dimensions 358 x 230 x 17mm, Weight 1.54kg, Processor AMD Ryzen 5 5500U, Storage 512GB, RAM 8GB, Fingerprint sensor yes, 720P camera, grey finish

Asus ChromeBook Flip CX5

The well-built hinge on the Asus lets you twist the display back on itself like a tablet or stand it up in tent orientation for watching video on its large, 15.6-inch touchscreen display. The keyboard includes a number pad, which is handy if you expect to be using spreadsheets, for instance.

Performance is strong, easily enough for everyday tasks and more. While Chrome OS lets you download content for offline use, it’s still true that this laptop works best when connected to the internet, though access to Android phone apps means that the range available is huge. There are plenty of ports and sockets: this laptop has good connectivity.

Key specs 15.6in display, Dimensions 35.8 x 241 x 19mm, Weight 1.95kg, Processor Intel i5-1135G7, Storage 256GB, RAM 8GB, Fingerprint sensor no, 720P camera, white finish

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