The sub $800 laptop market has lots of powerful convertibles that can fulfill all your needs, sans AAA gaming with high details and high refresh rates. You can even find a couple of premium ultraportable models, such as the XPS 13 or the Microsoft Surface Laptop, at this price point. Overall, if you have $800 to spend there are plenty of choices and many of those choices are pretty good machines that don’t have major shortcomings. That said, the sheer number of offerings might make the buying process more complicated than it needs to be. This is why we’ve created our list of the best laptops under $800. We hope it’ll make the process of finding your next laptop much easier. Now, before we start let’s see what you can expect from a sub $800 notebook.
Best Laptops Under $800 – Our Picks
|Sub $800 Notebook With Best Display||ASUS ZenBook 13 OLED|
|Best Sub $800 Convertible with AMD CPU||Lenovo IdeaPad 5|
|Best Sub $800 Laptop with Intel CPU||Acer Swift 3 (Intel)|
|Best Budget Sub $800 Laptop||Acer Swift 3 (AMD)|
|Best Sub $800 Premium Ultraportable||Microsoft Surface Laptop 3|
|Best Sub $800 2-in-1||Lenovo Yoga C740|
|Best Sub $800 Gaming Notebook||ASUS TUF Gaming F17|
|Best Sub $800 Apple Laptop||Refurbished 2020 MacBook Air|
What to expect from sub $800 notebooks
First of all, the average screen quality is much higher than what you can find on the sub $400 and the sub $600 laptop market. That means IPS displays with high brightness and good to great colors, which you can use outside without issues. As for the resolution, most devices rock 1080p displays but you should find a couple of devices sporting 1440p or 1600p (16:10 aspect ratio) displays.
Next, 16GB of memory is the standard here. Ultraportable convertibles and budget models (costing around $600) do come with 8GB of RAM but if you need 16 gigs, you can find a model packing that much memory without issues.
You can find lots of powerful CPUs in this price segment. We’re talking about Core i5 and i7 (10th and 11th generation) as well as Ryzen 5 and 7 CPUs (Ryzen 4000 and 5000 series). In other words, processors that are more than powerful enough for casual use and that should be a solid choice for power users. Do note that most of those mobile CPUs are low power versions, which use less power but still can be pretty snappy when needed.
As for the build quality, you can get a device with a metal body and great build quality but don’t expect the same quality as on flagship convertibles. Finally, extra features such as a fingerprint sensor, Thunderbolt ports, Wi-Fi 6, or a touchscreen are relatively easy to find but devices that pack all of these features are rare.
When it comes to gaming laptops, expect devices with relatively humble specs (i5 and Ryzen 5 CPUs, GTX 1650/1650 Super GPU) but also with relatively decent cooling systems and solid IPS displays. Newer models also come with 144Hz displays. And yes, webcams are still crap. And now, let’s check our first sub $800 laptop pick.
Sub $800 Notebook with Best Display
ASUS ZenBook 13 OLED
|Storage||256 GB SSD|
|Connectivity||1× USB A, 2× USB-C, 1× HDMI, Card Reader|
Let’s start with a convertible rocking the best screen in the sub $800 category. The ZenBook 13 from ASUS comes with an 1080p OLED display, which is the best screen you can get in this category. OLEDs are usually reserved for flagship devices so it’s great to see one in this category. The display covers 100 percent of the DCI-P3 gamut making it an excellent choice for color-critical work. It’s also fairly bright. Overall, this OLED display is better than most standalone PC monitors.
Other specs aren’t top-of-the-line but should be enough for regular work as well as for advanced uses such as video editing. The 11th gen Core i5 is a pretty capable processor but only 8 gigs of RAM prevent us from recommending this device for power users. You also get only a 256GB SSD but, luckily, users can replace it with a larger capacity unit. Build quality is pretty good but not on par with devices such as the XPS 13 or the Microsoft Surface Laptop.
As for the other features the keyboard isn’t among the best on the market, the touchpad is huge, precise, and very pleasant to use, the webcam is bad but it supports Windows Hello (the reason why the fingerprint sensor is amiss), and the connectivity options include Wi-Fi 6. Expansion ports include one USB-A, two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4, a full-sized HDMI, and a microSD card reader. If we had a headphones jack this would be one of the best offerings on an ultraportable but ASUS had to ruin it.
Finally, the battery life is pretty good. Overall, the ZenBook 13 provides tremendous value. It has an OLED screen, a powerful 11th gen Intel CPU, Thunderbolt 4 support, Windows Hello camera, and Wi-Fi 6. It lacks in storage space and the amount of memory, with the former being expandable. If you want the best-looking screen in a sub $800 laptop, or if you want a relatively powerful ultrabook that offers a lot for the money, this one’s a great choice.
Best Sub $800 Convertible with AMD CPU
Lenovo IdeaPad 5
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 7-4700U|
|Storage||1 TB SSD|
|Connectivity||2× USB A, 1× USB-C, 1× HDMI, Card Reader, Headphone Jack|
The Lenovo IdeaPad 5 equipped with the Ryzen 7 4700U processor is almost a complete package for just a bit over $800. The device features superb specs. You get the aforementioned 4700U CPU coupled with 16 gigs of memory and a 1TB PCIe SSD for the ultimate performance at this price point. No matter what you plan on doing with this device, it’ll chew through it and ask for more.
Next, the metal body equals pretty solid build quality without much flex. We also like the inclusion of the Wi-Fi 6 standard, the presence of a fingerprint sensor, and an SD card reader. Other expansion ports include two USB-A ports, one USB-C, a full-size HDMI, and a headphone jack. Battery life is pretty good at almost 10 hours of juice during standard tests.
The great overall impressions are slightly ruined by the average display. It’s solid for regular use and it has enough brightness to use it outside. Contrast is average for an IPS display but what makes a dent is only 56% coverage of the sRGB color gamut, making this device unsuitable for professional photo and video editing. A shame because the hardware inside it is top-notch.
Overall, if you don’t need a laptop for photo and video editing and are happy with the average color gamut, the Lenovo IdeaPad 5 with the Ryzen 4700U is a brilliant device. Tons of power, a long-lasting battery, plenty of fast storage, and a nice selection of extra features, and all that for a price that’s only five percent north of $800.
If your budget is tight and you can’t go even a nickel over $800, we recommend either getting the IdeaPad with a 512GB SSD or checking the HP Pavilion 15, which provides a very similar package to the Lenovo. There’s also the ASUS VivoBook S17, which comes with a larger screen but also a less powerful CPU, 8 GB of memory, and a 128GB SSD coupled with a 1TB hard drive.
Best Sub $800 Laptop with Intel CPU
Acer Swift 3 (Intel)
|CPU||Intel Core i7-1165G7|
|Storage||256 GB SSD|
|Connectivity||2× USB A, 1× USB-C, 1× HDMI, Headphone Jack|
If you want a laptop equipped with the latest and greatest (11th gen, in other words) Intel processors for less than $800, you’ll have to settle with 8GB of memory. That’s the price you need to pay for the pricier Intel mobile CPUs. And the best overall sub $800 Intel package is the latest 2021 Acer Swift 3.
This convertible packs the Core i7-1165G7, which is an amazing low-power processor. It’s capable of any workload, from Word to Blender, but the 8GB of memory limits its performance during intense assignments. Sadly, the memory is soldered to the PCB meaning you cannot upgrade or replace it. What can be upgraded is the 256GB NVMe M.2 SSD.
While Acer lacks in memory and storage, it rocks when it comes to the build quality. The aluminum and magnesium body is very sturdy and well-made. There’s almost zero flex, in line with more expensive devices. The 1080p IPS display supports wide color gamut and is an okay choice for color-critical work, as long as you aren’t in professional waters. The screen’s also fairly bright and has a good enough contrast for an $800 laptop.
The keyboard and trackpad are decent but are far from being the best in class. Battery life is average, but it should be enough for an 8-hour workday unless you put the CPU to its limits with heavy workloads. As for the expandability, you have two USB-A ports, one Thunderbolt 4 port, a full-sized HDMI, and a headphone jack. Not bad but there’s no SD card reader.
When it comes to the extra features the Swift 3 comes with Wi-Fi 6 support and a fingerprint reader. Also, don’t forget about the excellent iGPU found in Tiger Lake CPUs, which should be enough for 1080p AAA gaming at 30fps. Overall, this is a capable machine with its biggest caveat being only 8GB of memory.
If you need 16GB of memory in your laptop and you’re limited to an $800 or so budget, get an AMD-equipped device. If you need snappy performance but your workflow doesn’t demand at least 16GB of memory, the Acer Swift 3 is an excellent Intel-powered machine. As for the alternative choices, there’s the ASUS VivoBook S15 and the Acer Aspire 5, both equipped with the Core i5-1135G7 and 8GB of memory.
If you want a Core i7 and more than 8GB of memory for $800 or less, your choices are limited to the Dell Inspiron 15 and the HP 15, both packing the Core i7-1065G7 and 12GB of RAM. Then there’s the latest Dell Inspiron 15 5502 packing the Core i5-1135G7 and 16GB of RAM. Finally, users looking for durability and a great keyboard should take a look at the Lenovo ThinkPad E14.
Best Budget Sub $800 Laptop
Acer Swift 3 (AMD)
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 7 4700U|
|Storage||512 GB SSD|
|Connectivity||2× USB A, 1× USB-C, 1× HDMI, Headphone Jack|
Now, when we say a budget sub $800 device, we mean notebooks that cost between $600 and 700, without getting near the upper $800 price limit. And the best “budget sub $800” device you can get right now is the Acer Swift 3 equipped with an eight-core Ryzen 7 4700U processor. Other specs include 8GB of memory and a 512GB NVMe SSD. Overall, a pretty powerful package for the money with a CPU that can power through even the most demanding workloads.
As is the case with the Intel-equipped Swift 3, the main stumbling point, performance-wise, is only 8GB of memory. But other than that, for the price, this is a beastly powerful laptop. Aside from potent hardware, the Swift 3 also offers very good build quality and an attractive ultraportable design. Not as premium as flagship devices but great at this price point.
Other pros include a great keyboard, Wi-Fi 6 and a fingerprint reader, and a long-lasting battery. The 1080p screen is the biggest negative. It’s dim and doesn’t have great colors. It’s not suitable for color-critical work but other than that, it’s more than usable for work, browsing, and media consumption.
Overall, the Swift 3 offers incredible performance for the price. The device is also well built, it supports Wi-Fi 6, and comes with a 512GB NVMe SSD while still being a budget sub $800 choice. If you want something even cheaper, the HP 15 rocking the Core i5-1135G7 is the best alternative. The VivoBook S13 from ASUS is more expensive while having the same CPU but also a better screen. Finally, you have the Lenovo IdeaPad S540, featuring 16GB of memory but also the older, 10th gen Core i5-10210U processor.
Best Sub $800 Premium Ultraportable
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3
|CPU||Intel Core i5-1035G7|
|Storage||128 GB SSD|
|Connectivity||1× USB-A, 1× USB-C, Headphone Jack|
If you don’t care about brands and if you don’t need the most portable laptop around but still want an ultraportable get the Acer Swift 3 (2021 Intel edition), or the ASUS ZenBook 13 OLED if you want a great screen. But if you want a relatively affordable premium device that features astounding build quality coupled with pretty good everyday performance and one of the best keyboard+touchpad combos on the market, get the Surface Laptop 3 from Microsoft.
This isn’t the latest model and the laptop doesn’t pack the latest and greatest CPU from Intel but for an ultraportable, this is still an amazing device. Brilliant keyboard encircled with comfortable Alcantara, large and precise trackpad, superb build quality, and a unique, 3:2 display with 2256 x 1504 resolution create a very attractive package for writers and business users. The display is also very bright and features punchy and accurate colors.
The biggest negative is the awful port selection, a common flaw of all Surface devices. You get one USB-A, one USB-C without Thunderbolt support (even though the device packs a 10th gen Core i5 CPU), and a headphone jack. Also, the battery life isn’t the champion of longevity. Overall, as a complete package, the Surface Laptop 3 is an excellent choice for users preferring portability and top-notch build quality coupled with respectable performance. The price is a bit over the $800 upper limit, but if you want a premium ultraportable, we recommend saving a bit more cash and going for it.
Another option is the second generation of the Surface Laptop that also features an amazing keyboard and superb build quality, although with a slower CPU. And as a budget solution, we have the Surface Laptop Go that comes very close to the premium Surface experience. If the Surface brand isn’t for you, there’s the 2019 version of the XPS 13.
Best Sub $800 2-in-1
Lenovo Yoga C740
|CPU||Intel Core i5-10210U|
|Storage||256 GB SSD|
|Connectivity||1× USB-A, 2× USB-C, 1× Headphone Jack|
The sub $800 2-in-1 market has a lot of contenders, but no clear winner. If you want the best performance coupled with an average screen, get the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 powered by the Ryzen 4700U CPU. Another powerful 2-in-1 device that doesn’t have the best screen is the ASUS VivoBook Flip 14. Budget buyers should get the Lenovo Flex 5, powered by the Ryzen 5 4500U CPU and 16GB of RAM, which is great to see in a (relatively) budget 2-in-1 convertible.
Finally, the HP Pavilion x360 14” and the Dell Inspiron 14 5406 both have pretty good performance (thanks to the Core i5-1135G7 CPU found in both devices) but their screens are, again, just average. Considering that the screen quality is the most important feature of 2-in-1 devices, our vote for the best sub $800 2-in-1 goes to the Lenovo Yoga C740. This 2-in-1 convertible offers 10th gen Core i5 CPU (far away from 11th gen CPUs, but still quite powerful for everyday usage), 8GB of memory, and a 256GB SSD.
The 1080p IPS display features great colors and a wide color gamut with almost 100% sRGB coverage and 68% coverage of the DCI-P3 range, making it a solid choice for color-critical work. At about 320 nits, the brightness is excellent for this price range but still below flagship devices (which are also noticeably pricier). The design is similar to the more expensive Yoga C940 (slick and stylish, with narrow screen bezels), albeit with a bit worse build quality. Overall, the Lenovo Yoga C740 stands above similarly priced competitors in everything except performance.
Best Sub $800 Gaming Notebook
ASUS TUF Gaming F17
|CPU||Intel Core i5-10300H|
|GPU||NVIDIA GTX 1650 Ti|
|Connectivity||2× USB-A, 1× USB-C, 1× HDMI, Headphone Jack|
The sub $800 gaming laptops are the cheapest gaming laptops you can find. They come with GTX 1650 or 1650 Ti graphics cards, 8GB of memory, and a selection between Core i5 and Ryzen 5 processors. Since both 10th gen Intel i5, and Ryzen 5 CPUs are more than enough for the GTX 1650/1650Ti we were focusing on other specs when trying to find the best option. And hardware-wise, the best sub $800 gaming laptop is the TUF Gaming F17 from ASUS.
This gaming convertible packs the GTX 1650 Ti GPU and a Core i5 10300H CPU. Not the most powerful combo around but enough to provide a 60fps AAA gaming experience with medium to high settings. The device also packs 8GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. The good news is that you can replace the memory since the laptop packs two UDIMM slots, allowing you to upgrade to 16GB of dual-channel memory. Also, the device comes with a secondary M.2 slot, perfect for adding more fast storage.
While the performance is excellent for a sub $800 gaming device, the build quality is only okay. The display is wobbly but the device is relatively sturdy and features slim display bezels as well as your regular gaming design. The keyboard is decent and the battery life is below average, expected for a budget gaming notebook. The 1080p IPS display has a very good contrast ratio, more than decent brightness, but also only about 50% coverage of the sRGB color space. Not great, but at least you get a 144Hz refresh rate.
As for the expansion ports, you get three USB-A ports, one USB-C, an Ethernet port, a full-size HDMI, and a headphone jack. Overall, the TUF Gaming F17 is a great budget gaming laptop. ASUS didn’t skimp on the hardware and for the price, you won’t find a better GPU. On the flip side, the display is average but it does support a 144Hz refresh rate. We also like the extra SSD slot, as well as two UDIMM slots for simple memory replacement.
The Acer Nitro 5, featuring a much more powerful Ryzen 5 5600H CPU and a regular GTX 1650, looks like another great value package. Aside from the slower GPU, you also have a 256GB SSD instead of a half-terabyte unit along with 8GB of memory and Wi-Fi 6. While the CPU is snappier than the Core i5 on the TUF F17, the GPU is slower so we can’t put the Nitro 5 in front of the ASUS. There’s also the 15.6 version of the TUF laptop, which also has a smaller, 256GB SSD. Finally, you can get two devices with 9th gen Core i5 CPUs that are a bit cheaper than the TUF and the Nitro 5: the Lenovo IdeaPad L340, and the HP Pavilion Gaming.
Best Sub $800 Apple Laptop
Refurbished 2020 MacBook Air
|CPU||Intel Core i3|
|Storage||256 GB SSD|
|Connectivity||2× USB-C, 1× Headphone Jack|
Last but not least, we have one Apple laptop. And again, this is a refurbished device. The device in question is the 2020 model of the MacBook Air, powered by a 10th gen Core i3 CPU. This device looks great, has superb build quality, excellent display with high resolution, comfortable keyboard, as well as 8GB of memory and a 256GB SSD. That said, the M1 MacBook Air is only about $100 more so if you already have the money for this refurbished version, we strongly advise you to save more money and get the M1 MacBook Air. It’s light years ahead when it comes to performance and it comes with a full warranty and without risks involved in buying a refurbished device.