Purchasing a laptop in 2020 requires a lot of thinking about what kind of features you require in relation to the price and durability of the laptops under $800. Depending on your needs, different laptops are manufactured for different uses which range from regular office work to heavier tasks, such as graphic design or gaming.
Features such as processing power, RAM, GPU, display, storage, battery life, and weight are essential when deciding which laptop to buy.
Read More : 17-inch laptop under $1,000
Best laptops under $800 you can buy today
- Microsoft Surface Laptop 1
- Acer Aspire E 15 Laptop (runner up)
- ASUS Vivobook S15 S512
- 2020 HP 15
- Dell Inspiron 15 7567
- Acer Swift 5
- Lenovo IdeaPad 710S
- Acer Spin 3 Convertible (best 2-in-1 laptop under $800)
- ASUS ZenBook Flip 14
- Lenovo Flex 15 2-in-1
Microsoft Surface laptop 1
Best display (4/5)
CPU: Core i5 7200U, 2.5 GHz | GPU: i5 7200U | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256 GB SSD | Display 13.5” 2256 x 1504 LED | Aspect ratio: 3:2 |Weight: 2.76 lbs. | Battery life: 14.5 hours.
This laptop has one of the best displays on the market. With a 2256 x 1504 display, it is better than most laptops in this price range – many of which only offer a 1920 x 1080 display. It is ultra-thin and light which gives it the perfect balance of portability and performance. The screen supports touch as well as Microsoft’s Surface pen, although this is sold separately.
The 3:2 aspect ratio is great for video or photo editing when compared to the 16:9 aspect ratio, which is mostly suitable for watching. The Alcantara fabric-covered keyboard deck just below the screen gives it a premium look while also offering resistance against stains and spills.
However, one major limitation is that it only has a single USB port, a mini display port, a combined port for headphones or microphone, a charging port and no place for an SD memory card reader.
Acer Aspire E 15 (E5-576G-5762)
Best battery life (4/5)
CPU: Core i5 8250U, 1.6 GHz | GPU: GeForce MX150 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256 GB SSD | Display 15.6” 1920 x 1080 LCD |Weight: 5.27 lbs. | Battery life: 15 hours.
This is among the cheapest laptops on the market. If you are in the market for a computer which has more features, and offers real value for money, the Acer Aspire E 15 is the laptop for you. The quad-core i5 8250u CPU, GeForce MX150 graphics, plenty of ports and DVD drive offer excellent performance. It is also possible to play a few games on the side effortlessly.
Its ports are a mix of both new and old: a single type C 3.1 USB port (5Bgbps) on the left, two USB 3.0 type-A ports, VGA port, HDMI port, and an Ethernet jack. The Aspire E15 is the perfect laptop for someone who is looking for a new generation laptop while still wanting to make use of some of the older functions such as the DVD drive and some of the older ports.
The downside to this laptop is its weight and display. At 5.27lbs, it is a bit little heavy for a laptop, thereby limiting portability. In addition, the display is a slightly dim which isn’t a problem in an indoors setting but can be a bit straining for your eyes when used outdoors.
Overall, this offers great performance for its price range, making it a great laptop under $800.
ASUS Vivobook S15 S512
Most stylish (4/5)
CPU: Core i5 8265U, 1.6 GHz | GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256 GB SSD | Display 15.6” 1920 x 1080 |Weight: 3.97 lbs. | Battery life: 8 hours.
The Vivobook has a good design and is surprisingly light for a 15.6” laptop. It has an FHD display, stylish aluminum lid and narrow bezels. The narrow bezels are enabled by the ASUS NanoEdge bezel technology which ensures that the screen takes up 80% of the entire body. The 0.7” width makes it thinner and lighter, making it a fairly light 15.6” laptop.
A great feature of the Vivobook is its keyboard and touchpad. The layout of the keyboard gives you enough typing space while the touchpad is highly responsive and offers great precision. In the same thin space, the laptop sports 3 USB ports (type C and USB 2 and 3), an HDMI port, and an SD memory card reader.
The laptop’s touchpad also acts as a screen pad display which works as a second monitor, making it easier to access tools such as the calendar, calculator, music player or streaming of a game on the mini-screen while working on the main screen.
One major drawback is the poor battery life which only lasts for 8 hours. However, this is not that bad as this is fairly average compared to most laptops that are currently available.
2020 HP 15”
Most powerful (3.5/5)
CPU: Core i7 1065G7, 1.3 GHz | GPU: Intel Iris Plus Graphics | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 512 GB SSD | Display 15.6” 1366×768 |Weight: 5.4 lbs. | Battery life: 3.5 hours.
The 2020 HP is one of the most powerful 15” laptops under $800. For just $739, you get a 512gb SSD, Core i7 1065G7 processor, which is one of the most powerful processors in the Intel family. For this price, you will generally only get an i5 or an i3 with other brands, which makes the 2020 HP 15” a worthy bargain.
The Intel Iris Plus Graphics on the laptop are also a rarity for laptops in this price range. This means that you can play some games or do some graphic work. The design is sleek, and there is a touch screen and great keyboard which is good for people who work with numbers. There are 3 USB ports, an HDMI port, a microphone/headphone port and a memory card reader.
Two significant problems with this laptop are its battery life and display resolution. At this price, I would expect better battery life and at least a 1080hd display. However, with the kind of processing power this laptop offers, it is a worthy trade-off. Overall, it is a great laptop for personal and office/business set ups which require greater processing power.
Dell Inspiron 7567
Best gaming laptop (4/5)
CPU: Core i5-7300HQ, 2.5 GHz | GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256 GB SSD | Display 15.6” 1920 x 1080 |Weight: 5.5 lbs. | Battery life: 8 hours.
When it comes to gaming laptops, most people think that you need to spend a lot of money, and this is generally true. However, the Dell Inspiron 15 7567 offers a greater solution at only a fraction of the price of other laptops. With its dedicated GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics card, it performs gaming tasks seamlessly, making it one of the best great gaming laptops under $800.
Its rubbery exterior design offers a good grip while the massive rear in-built fans cool the laptop when at full performance to prevent overheating. It is also supported by a Core i5-7300HQ and 256 SSD storage which improve its functionality and it has 3 USB ports (no type C), an HDMI port, a headphone port and SD card port.
The battery can last for up to 8 hours with light usage, but when used for gaming, this reduces to approximately 3-4 hours. While the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics card is strong, it unfortunately does not support virtual reality, meaning that VR gaming is not an option on this Dell laptop. It is also not easily portable, which is a normal requirement for any gaming laptop on the market.
Acer Swift 5 SF515-51T-507P
Most portable laptop (4/5)
CPU: Core i5-8265U, 1.6 GHz | GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256 GB SSD | Display 15.6” 1920 x 1080 |Weight: 2.2 lbs. | Battery life: 10 hours.
The most outstanding feature of this laptop is its weight in relation to its size. Surprisingly, it has great features considering its 0.63” width. In addition to its sleek mobile build, it delivers quite well with a great 1080p display and bezels which are only 0.23” thick, and provides a great viewing experience.
The aesthetics of this laptop are simply great. The magnesium alloy gives it a premium feel and makes it sturdy and light. It supports touch capabilities and is foldable, meaning you can work in any position. The Core i5 processor and 8 GB RAM allow it to support multiple functions at once.
It also offers 3 USB ports, an HDMI port and a headphone jack but lacks an SD card slot. The keyboard doesn’t feel quite right with its buttonless parts feeling a bit slippery. Ultimately, if you are looking for an ultra-portable, stylish, mid-range laptop, the Swift 5 is the definitive choice.
Lenovo IdeaPad 710S
Most portable laptop (4.5/5)
CPU: Core i7-6560U, 2.2 GHz | GPU: Intel Iris Graphics 540| RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256 GB SSD | Display 13.3” 1920 x 1080 LED |Weight: 2.6 lbs. | Battery life: 7 hours.
Weighing in at only 2.6lbs and with a screen size of 13.3”, the IdeaPad 710S is probably one of the most portable laptops under $800 on the market. Due to its small size and light weight, the IdeaPad is classified as a notebook, which makes it perfect for office, business, personal or school use.
With a core i7 processor, 8 GB RAM, a 256gb SSD storage, and Intel Iris Graphics 540, the IdeaPad can handle pretty much anything you throw at it, performance-wise. The 1080p LED display and JBL stereo speakers make it a great laptop for viewing as well as listening to music, even at full volume.
In addition to its sleek magnesium and aluminum exterior, it has 3 USB ports, a power port, an HDMI port, a headphone jack and an SD memory card reader. However, it doesn’t come with a USB type C port and you will need to use an adapter to connect to its micro-HDMI port. Ultimately, this is a great laptop which offers excellent performance and provides great value for money.
Acer Spin 3 Convertible SP314-53N-77AJ
Best 2-in-1 laptop under $800 (5/5)
CPU: Core i7-8565U, 1.8 GHz | GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 512 GB SSD | Display 14” 1920 x 1080 |Weight: 3.7 lbs. | Battery life: 12 hours.
The Acer Spin 3 is one of the most versatile laptops within this price range. It has so much to offer which makes the $709.99 price tag such a bargain. It is slim, very lightweight and offers one of the best touch experiences for users. In addition, it is convertible, which means you can turn it from a laptop to a tablet in a matter of seconds.
It comes with a powerful core i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB SSD internal storage. This means that you can run most of your programs effortlessly and still retain ample space for file storage.
It has a great battery and various ports (excluding the USB type C) for your daily use. The GPU of this laptop is integrated into the system, so there is no option for adding a dedicated graphics card to boost the graphics. It also supports a stylus pen, so if you are a designer, this is the perfect laptop for you.
ASUS ZenBook UX461FA-DH51T
Best design for a 2-in-1 laptop under $800 (4/5)
CPU: Core i5 -8265U, 2.1 GHz | GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256 GB SSD | Display 14” 1920 x 1080 |Weight: 3.1 lbs. | Battery life: 12 hours.
The ZenBook is another excellent 2-in-1 laptop from ASUS which offers versatility, is lightweight and gives great performance. It has a great aluminum build which makes it durable and a leaning keyboard which will aid with typing without adding to the overall thickness of the laptop. Its features make it great for business, as well as multimedia and light gaming.
With an 8 GB RAM, core i5 processor and a storage of 256 GB SSD, the ZenBook can handle pretty much anything. The integrated GPU, however, makes it unsuitable for heavy gaming and complex multimedia work. It has most of the required interfaces for plugging in external items such as USB, HDMI, and SD card ports.
It has a great battery life and the 1080p display makes it sharp and vivid for great viewing. The brightness, however, dims slightly if you view it from the side, which is a slight drawback. Overall, this is a great laptop with great performance, display and audio for most of your daily needs.
Lenovo Flex 15 81CA000UUS
Best graphics for a 2-in-1 laptop under $800 (4/5)
CPU: Core i7-8550U, 1.8 GHz | GPU: GeForce MX130| RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256 GB SSD | Display 15.6” 1920 x 1080 |Weight: 4.4 lbs. | Battery life: 8 hours.
The Lenovo Flex is a great laptop, especially if you prefer a larger screen for your work or entertainment. Its 1080p display, combined with the GeForce MX130 GPU, offers great graphics for viewing, low-level gaming and multimedia editing. It is also a foldable tablet for better viewing or working using the touch screen with either your fingers or a stylus.
Performance-wise, it packs a great i7 processor, 8 GB of ram and 256 GB of internal storage, which gives you high performance for your tasks as well as ample space for file storage. It has two USB 3.0 ports, a Type C USB port, an HDMI port and a headphone jack for all your external utilities.
For a 2-in-1 laptop, the Lenovo flex is quite large and bulky, which makes it a bit awkward for a tablet. It also heats up sometimes when putting in a high performance, and the battery life is a bit short when compared to other 2-in-1 computers in the same mid-range price category. However, it is great for viewing, which makes it one of the best large-screen laptops under $800.
What are some features you should look for when purchasing a laptop?
When purchasing a laptop, there are several things you must consider in order to ensure you get great value for your money. It is important to know that the computer you buy meets your expectations and can easily handle your day to day needs. Some things you need to be on the lookout for include:
- Screen size
- Battery life
This is the brain of the laptop and is responsible for powering it up. The most famous manufacturer of processors is Intel. Although Intel powers most computers, AMD is steadily picking up market share and it offers great value too. The numbering of processors will give you a rough idea of the range of the laptop in terms of price and performance.
An Intel Core i3 or AMD Ryzen 3 will offer basic computing services at a cheaper production price. If you are looking for something more, such as multimedia editing, videos and low-level gaming, try the Intel Core i5 or the AMD Ryzen 5. For more complex tasks, the Intel Core i7 or the Core i9 or the AMD Ryzen 9 will come in handy.
Remember, the higher the processing power, the more expensive the laptop will be. For laptops below $800, you will mostly get an Intel core i5 processor. However, a Core i5 -8265U in the ASUS ZenBook is more powerful than the Core i5 7200U in the Microsoft Surface laptop as it packs more processing cores, thereby having the ability to handle more applications.
For even more computing power, look out for the Intel Core i7 or Core i9 or the AMD Ryzen 7 processor. Although they all increase the price range, there are still some laptops under $800 which come with the Core i7. A good example of these is the Lenovo Flex, Acer Spin 3 or the 2020 HP 15.
Decision: In the under $800 range, the core i7 offers great value for money. However, the Intel Core i5 also offers great processing power for the same price range and may also be a good alternative.
RAM (Random Access Memory)
RAM allows the computer to store memory in the short-term so that the data currently being worked on is easily accessible. The more RAM your laptop has, the more applications you can work on simultaneously, as the laptop is able to access more data easily. However, no matter the size of the RAM on the computer, it is only useful with complementary processing power.
Its size ranges from 2 GB, 4GB, and 16 GB to 128 GB RAM or as much as the computer motherboard can handle. For a Windows laptop, at least 4 GB of RAM is required for proper performance. In the price range of $800 and below, 8 GB or 16 GB will offer great performance.
Decision: With a Core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM will work perfectly, while with the Core i7 Processor, 16 GB RAM complements the processing power well.
GPU (Graphics Processing Unit)
Most laptops come with integrated (inbuilt) graphics in their processors – these are mostly sufficient for the computer. On the other hand, there is dedicated GPU, which has its own RAM, independent of the laptop’s RAM. It is used for higher graphics processing and although it is faster, it generates more heat.
For example, the GeForce on the Lenovo flex is faster than the Intel UHD Graphics 620 on the Acer Spin 3, which makes it better for certain more complex functions. However, it costs more and with the extra heat it produces, this means a poor battery life or a cooling solution which adds to the weight of the laptop.
Decision: If you are not a gamer or a designer running complex multimedia editing, then integrated GPU will serve you just fine.
For the majority of laptops currently on the market, SSD (solid-state drives) are preferred to HDD (traditional hard drives). An HDD has a spinning disk inside which allows it to read/write data. The faster it spins, the faster it works, and this determines how quickly you will be able to load applications.
SSDs, on the other hand, are a newer technology, which means they have no spinning parts. Instead, they use flash memory for retrieving data or loading applications. SSDs are more expensive than HDDs but offer greater computing power. SSDs are mostly used for internal memory, while HDDs are used for external hard drives to store data because they are cheaper.
Decision: When buying a laptop under $800, a 256 GB SSD is sufficient for running your applications and storing your information externally. Certain laptops, such as the 2020 HP and the Acer spin 3, however, come with 512 GB SSD installed, which makes them real value for money.
Screen size varies according to the intended use of a laptop. Most 2-n-1 laptops are smaller, so they can be easily handled in tablet mode. Gaming laptops, on the other hand, are bigger and provide a better gaming experience.
Screen resolution is also a factor to consider when buying. Most laptops range from 720p (high definition, HD to, 1080p (ultra HD) to 2160p (4k). The Microsoft Surface computer offers a better resolution than the rest in the $800 range, as it is equipped with 1504p resolution.
Decision: Most mid-range laptops are equipped with 1080p UHD resolution which is more than adequate for general viewing and normal daily work.
Finally, battery life is a major consideration when buying a laptop. The Acer Aspire E offers the best battery life of 15 hours while the 2020 HP 15 has the lowest with just 3.5 hours. On average, most laptops in this range offer 8 hours of battery power, which is sufficient.
Decision: When running heavy applications such as gaming and complex multimedia applications, battery life will be affected. However, if your laptop is in good condition, running normal applications for business should allow your battery to run for the expected number of hours.
Which laptop type best suits you?
There are different types of laptops which cater for different needs. These range from general laptops to gaming laptops, Ultrabooks, and 2-in-1 laptops.
- General laptops: These devices focus more on user needs (practicality) than features such as style, portability or power. Devices such as the 2020 HP and the Acer Aspire E 15 have some great specs, but their main focus is on function rather than style.
- Gaming laptops: Laptops such as the Dell Inspiron 7567 are mainly used for gaming. While they can be used for other functions, the upgraded specs for gaming would be wasted if used for normal daily operations.
- Ultrabooks: These are thin, lightweight notebooks, mainly equipped with great SSD storage, impressive resolution and long battery life. Portability is a key requirement, and the features are designed for such. Laptops such as the Microsoft Surface, ASUS Vivobook S15, Lenovo Ideapad and the Acer Swift 5 fall into this category.
- 2-in-1 Laptops: These notebooks also double as tablets with detachable, foldable, or 360 rotatable features a major focus. Laptops such as the Acer spin 3, ASUS ZenBook and Lenovo Flex fall into this category.
- Budget Laptops: A budget laptop does not mean that you need to settle for a low quality laptop. It means you get good value for money without paying a premium price. If you are looking for a cheap laptop which offers the basics, then the ASUS Vivobook S15 S512 or Acer Aspire E 15 are great options. However, if you are looking for the best value for your money on an $800 budget, then the Acer Spin 3 is the best option for you.
Overall, some of the best-designed laptops in this price range are 2-in-1 laptops. However, there is still room for a functional day-to-day laptop in the Acer Aspire E. The under $800 range is, therefore, a great place to start when looking for a laptop which can fulfil your daily needs.