5 Best Laptops for College Students Under $1000 in 2023

Laptops are essential gadgets today. Whether it’s simple stuff like taking notes, researching papers, and watching movies, or professional tasks like coding, video editing, or even gaming, laptops serve many use cases. No wonder choosing a good laptop feels like a chore. But don’t worry! This list of the best laptop for college students under $1000 will help you make the right choice.

Best Laptop For College Students under $1000 2022

Some key characteristics that define a good college laptop are portability, battery life, reliability, and price. While there definitely cannot be a one-size-fits-all pick, here we have some of the best laptops for college students under $1000.

All the laptops we have picked here are under $1000, but

1. Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook

  • Battery life: Up to 10 hours | Screen Size: 13.3-inch
  • Screen resolution: 1920×1080 | Weight: 2.97lbs
  • Processor: Intel i3 1115G4 | Graphics: Intel UHD
  • Pros: Affordable, Reliable Performance, Touchscreen
  • Cons: Can’t run Windows software, average webcam, outdoor visibility
Going for a Windows laptop might be risky if you’re on a tight budget of $450 or lower. Most laptops under $500 are underpowered or old, having little chance of lasting for 3-4 years without any issues. This is where Chromebooks come in. The Lenovo Flex 5i Chromebook looks and feels like a Windows laptop on the outside but runs on ChromeOS. It’s powered by a decently powerful 11th gen Core i3 chipset with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of SSD storage.

The specs on offer here are more than sufficient to ease through tasks like online research, preparing documents, and working on spreadsheets. It features a 13.3-inch 1080p touchscreen which can be used for note-taking or drawing purposes using a stylus. The screen brightness isn’t great for outdoor usage but is sufficient for indoor video watching.

Further, the type-C ports support fast charging and can also connect this Chromebook to external displays. This Chromebook can eke out about 10 hours of battery life, making it a reliable full-day machine.

However, many students need Windows software for their studies, and Chromebooks, sadly, can’t run any Windows app or software. Instead, they can run Android apps and anything that works in a web browser, like Office 365 and Google Sheets. If your work doesn’t involve any Windows-specific apps, this is one of the best computers for college students.

2. Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop

  • Battery life: Up to 9 hours | Screen Size: 15.6-inch
  • Screen resolution: 1920×1080 | Weight: 3.9lbs
  • Processor: Intel i5 1235U | Graphics: Iris Xe
  • Pros: Big Screen, Dedicated Numpad, Latest Ports, and Wi-Fi 6
  • Cons: Not Intel Evo-certified, plastic base
The Acer Aspire 5 is one of the best 15-inch laptops under $1000, perfect for those on a tight budget. It’s not too heavy at 3.9lbs of weight but still offers a big 15.6-inch IPS display. The screen does its job decently enough, and the bigger size helps in multi-tasking and spreadsheet work. The i5 processor isn’t the most powerful but offers a great balance between performance and power consumption. This enables the Aspire 5 laptop to deliver up to 9 hours of battery life on mixed usage.

The lack of a dedicated graphics card means this laptop isn’t for heavy gaming use. Although, light games like CS:GO and Fortnite should run smoothly. Despite its slim profile, this laptop features 3 USB-A ports, a USB-C port, an HDMI port, and a headphone jack. It has features like the latest WiFi 6, 4K Thunderbolt support, and a built-in fingerprint reader for secure login.

Like most Windows laptops in this price range, this one comes with a screen not bright enough for outdoor usage. You’ll also have to make peace with its plastic build, although that’s not a big shortcoming in real-life usage. For its starting price of less than $600, it’s no wonder many reviewers call it one of the best cheap laptops for college students.

3. Lenovo Flex 5 2-in-1 Touchscreen Laptop

  • Battery life: Up to 10 hours | Screen Size: 14-inch
  • Screen resolution: 1920×1080 | Weight: 3.3lbs
  • Processor: AMD Ryzen7 5700U | Graphics: AMD Radeon
  • Pros: Touchscreen, Digital Pen included, 360-degree hinge
  • Cons: Sub-par Screen brightness
This is one of the best touchscreen laptops under $1000, perfect for note-taking or digital drawing. It features a 14-inch touchscreen and weighs about 3.3 pounds, so it’s easy to carry around. This laptop offers unmatched versatility, thanks to its 360-degree hinge and can be used as a tablet or an art canvas.

The Lenovo Flex series is available in various CPU+Storage configurations. We’d recommend the one with 512GB of SSD and AMD’s Ryzen 7 5700U chip to power through daily multi-tasking needs. The integrated Radeon graphics card is capable enough for light photo-editing work; however, it’s not recommended for running heavy games.

The backlit keyboard and large touchpad add to the experience. One thing that might be a problem is the screen’s maximum brightness. At under 300 nits, it’s more than enough for indoor usage, but outdoor usage is a strict no-no. If you’re not going to use the touchscreen, you might be able to get better performance at a similar price.

4. ASUS VivoBook S 14 OLED

  • Battery life: Up to 10 hours | Screen Size: 14-inch
  • Screen resolution: 2880×1800 | Laptop weight: 3.3lbs
  • Processor: i7 12700H | Graphics: Intel Iris Xe
  • Pros: OLED Display, 90Hz Smoothness, Reliable Performance
  • Cons: Average Trackpad, Not suitable for gaming
The Asus VivoBook S 14 OLED laptop might be the best Windows laptop under $1000. It weighs just around 3.3 pounds and boasts a stylish aluminum chassis. Its 180-degree hinge allows this laptop to open up completely flat on the table, which might come in handy during group projects. It features the latest 12th gen i7 processor and, more importantly, is Intel Evo-certified.

For context, Intel Evo certification means a laptop meets a set of premium criteria mandated by Intel, which assures a combination of performance, responsiveness, battery life, and portability in a sleek, stylish package.

What sets it apart from the competition is its gorgeous 2.8K OLED display. It offers punchy colors and unmatched contrast levels, making this one of the best laptops under $1000 for multimedia viewing. Plus, the screen supports a 90Hz refresh rate, meaning day-to-day operations and scrolling will feel much smoother.

There’s 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD for storage, enabling it to juggle multiple applications easily. There’s no dedicated graphics card on board, so don’t expect it to run the latest games. Although occasional video editing and less graphics-intensive games like Fall Guys and FIFA should be fine.

Further, the battery life here is just about enough for a day’s usage, and the touchpad experience isn’t the best either. But the OLED display and the latest processor make this a good laptop for college.

5. MacBook Air M1 (2020 Model)

  • Battery life: Up to 18 hours | Screen Size: 13.3-inch
  • Screen resolution: 1680×1050 | Laptop weight: 2.84lbs
  • Processor: Apple M1 | Graphics: Integrated
  • Pros: Battery Life, Performance, Works seamlessly with other Apple devices
  • Cons: Limited ports
The MacBook Air M1 is about 2 years old, but it still ticks almost every box needed to call it the best laptop for college students. It’s one of those laptops you can easily fit into any backpack, thanks to its 2.84 pounds weight and 0.63 inches thickness. Despite its size, the Air M1 manages to eke out exceptional battery life, with most reviewers agreeing that Apple’s claims of 15-18 hours of battery life are accurate in real life.

Along with all-day battery life, Apple’s M1 chip also delivers excellent performance and can even take on heavy workflows like video editing and graphics simulations. The 13.3-inch Retina display and built-in stereo speakers on the Air M1 are sufficient for multimedia consumption. The Air M1 offers a great keyboard+touchpad experience, making it suitable for productivity seekers and leisure users alike.

If you already own an iPhone or any other Apple product, you’ll be blown away by how seamlessly the Air M1 fits in. MacBooks are known to offer the best webcams and mics, so remote classes and zoom calls won’t be a problem. However, Apple’s walled garden approach might be a hassle for anyone not already using Apple products or an iPhone. Android phones don’t gel well with MacBooks, and you won’t be able to run Windows software on this machine.

Besides, it only comes with 2 type-C ports, so you’ll have to purchase an adapter for HDMI or USB-A connections. Alternatively, you can opt for the more expensive MacBook Air M2, which offers improved performance, better display and design, and much better I/O ports.

6. ASUS TUF A15 Gaming Laptop

  • Battery life: Up to 8 hours | Screen Size: 15.6-inch
  • Screen resolution: 1920×1080 | Laptop weight: 4.9lbs
  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 6800H | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti
  • Pros: Strong Graphics, RGB Keyboard, in-built ports
  • Cons: Heavier, average screen brightness, fans can get loud
With the advent of hyper-realistic graphics-intensive games, it’s impossible to find a top-end gaming laptop anywhere under $1500 or even $2000, but the TUF A15 offers a good balance between price and performance. It’s the first laptop on our list to feature a dedicated graphics card, Nvidia’s RTX 3050Ti; which is the most powerful GPU available on laptops under $1000 currently. The 144Hz refresh rate makes animations and graphics feel much smoother on its 15.6-inch screen.

This laptop would be great for running video-editing or graphic design software and even playing games like FIFA and Fortnite. Do note that the most graphics-intensive games might still need to be run at lower settings.

Like most gaming laptops, this also comes with an RGB backlit keyboard and a plethora of ports. You get two USB-A ports, two USB Type-C ports, a headphone jack, an HDMI port, and even a LAN port.

Although, this laptop is significantly heavier than traditional notebooks and might not be the most comfortable to carry around. Also, the screen here doesn’t get too bright, and the in-built fans can sometimes be a bit too loud. But for those looking for pure performance, this is one of the best gaming laptops under $1000.

FAQs on Laptops for College Students

1. How do I choose a Laptop for College?

Portability, battery life, and reliable performance are important features of college laptops. Looking for SSD storage laptops over HDD (Hard-drive) is generally better. For Intel-powered laptops, choose products with 11th Gen or newer processors, and do remember that for gaming or graphics-intensive usage, it’s advisable to go for a laptop with a dedicated graphics card.

2. Which laptop is best for students, Apple or Windows?

If you’re already using some Apple products like an iPhone, iPad, or Airpods, a MacBook will give you a better experience than a Windows laptop. Android phones with Macs must go through long, tedious processes for even simple stuff like file transfers. Alternatively, Windows laptops generally have more seamless integration features with Android phones.

3. How much RAM do I need for a college laptop?

Most Windows laptops now start with 8GB of RAM, which should be adequate for most people. However, if your workload includes video editing, running graphics software, or gaming, opting for a 16GB RAM machine might be beneficial.

Choosing the Best Laptop For College

Ultimately what makes for the best laptop for college students under $1000 depends on what the user wants out of it. If you already have Apple devices, investing in a MacBook will make your life much easier. If you don’t need Windows apps, a Chromebook could give you a great experience at a decent price.

Further, Windows laptops offer the most versatility, but you must be careful about the model you choose. Many budget laptop models available on the market are 3+ years old, offering outdated specs and some other hidden disadvantages. Understanding how you will use your laptop will help you pick out the best laptop for college.

Last updated on 17 January, 2023

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