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Today, we’re listing the best laptops under $700; devices selling for less than $700 come with beefy specs (sans a beefy GPU), excellent build quality, and okay screens. An average $700 convertible features the latest Core i5 or Ryzen CPU (mostly low power versions), 8GB of memory or more, along with 256GB of fast SSD storage or larger. In other words, good enough hardware for almost any scenario except gaming. You can find gaming laptops at this price, but if you want anything useful for modern games, ensure they’re equipped with at least the GTX 1650 graphics card.
1. Dell Inspiron 15 3501: Best Intel laptop under $700
The most powerful Intel-based device we could find on Amazon is the latest Dell Inspiron 15 3501, powered by the Core i5-1135G7. This particular model comes with 16GB of dual-channel memory and a 256GB SSD. The build quality isn’t the best you’ll see, but it’s more than decent. The body is mainly plastic, but it feels nice under the fingers and doesn’t make the laptop feel cheap. The design is utilitarian, without fancy details, and with widescreen bezels.
The screen is an average MVA panel with less than stellar contrast and colors, narrow viewing angles, and low brightness. Perfectly fine for using indoors but not great for outdoor use. Further, while it’s entirely usable for photo and video editing, we can’t recommend this device to professionals who earn a living out of editing photos and videos. Ports include two USB 3.2 gen1, one USB 2.0, one RJ45 (LAN) port, an SD card reader, and a full-sized HDMI. Finally, speakers are trash, the webcam is usable at best, and battery life is average (expect six to eight hours of usage). While 256GB SSD is okay for many users, you can get 512GB for less than 10 percent higher price. And if you’re ready to pay 10 percent extra, you can snag a model with 256GB SSD and a 1TB hard drive.
If you want alternatives, there’s the latest HP 15 model with the same CPU, 512GB SSD, and eight gigs of memory that also sports a lower price. That said, upgrading the HP 15 to 16GB of memory ends up relatively pricier. Other choices include the HP 17 with the same hardware as the 15-inch model. There’s also a base version of the DELL Inspiron 3501 that costs a lot less and only has 8GB of memory. Finally, there’s the Acer Swift 3 equipped with the Core i7-1165G7 that you can buy for less than $700 when on sale. It’s better than the other sub $700 Intel picks shown here.
If you prefer AMD, definitely check the Lenovo Ideapad 3 powered by the Ryzen 5 5500U CPU. This is a powerful little CPU featuring six cores and more brute force than the 11th gen Core i5. You also get 20GB of memory and a 512GB SSD, which is a great deal for $700. Overall, this hardware package is good enough for most use cases, even demanding video editing tasks (don’t expect record-breaking rendering times).
Good stuff continues with an excellent keyboard. The trackpad is usable but quite small, and the speakers and webcam are, you guessed it, passable but barely. It’s not like other laptops in the same price range offer a better audio and video conferencing experience. Build quality is decent, but nothing to write home about. The screen is the biggest downside of the Ideapad 3 lineup in general, no matter which CPU powers them. The included TN panel has washed-out colors, low contrast, and very narrow viewing angles. Port selection is much better than the panel selection. The device has two USB-A ports, one USB-C, an RJ45 port (LAN port), a full-sized HDMI, and an SD card reader.
There’s also a combo audio jack, which can be found on every other laptop featured on this list. Battery life is average, with enough juice to last you about 7 hours of light usage. If you want a better screen and build quality along with a fingerprint reader – but also only 8GB of memory – for about the same price, you can get the latest ASUS VivoBook S513. For less cash, the ASUS VivoBook M515 has a better display and a faster CPU (Ryzen 7 5700U) but, again, only 8GB of memory. And if you can spend about $750, definitely consider the Acer Swift 3. This model rocks the Ryzen 7 5700U CPU, packs 8GB of memory, 512GB SSD, and has one of the best screens in the $700 market.
3. Microsoft Surface Laptop Go: Best ultraportable laptop under $700
The Microsoft Surface Laptop Go is the best ultraportable convertible you can get for less than $700. This model features a 256GB SSD, the only difference to the Surface Laptop Go we picked as the best ultraportable for less than $600. Compared to other ultraportable laptops featured on this list (such as the ASUS S513), the Surface Go has a much higher build quality and a much better screen. The aluminum and high-end polycarbonate body is light yet surprisingly rigid. The screen is a 3:2, 12.4-inch with a Full HD resolution, high brightness, and punchy colors and contrast.
The keyboard is impressive with its only downside being lack of backlighting. The trackpad isn’t the best in class but is enjoyable to use and precise enough for use during travels if you don’t like carrying a mouse around. Other specs include a decent webcam and speaker combo, a fingerprint scanner, and excellent battery life. The webcam supports Windows Hello, another plus compared to the rest of the sub $700 laptop lineup. The biggest downside here is poor connectivity. Like on every other Surface device, you only get a single USB-C and USB-A port, and that’s it.
Overall, the Surface Laptop Go is a great device for anyone who doesn’t need beefy specs and more than 8GB of memory. 256GB SSD should be enough for most users, and the excellent screen is the most significant selling point of the Surface Laptop Go compared to other devices with similar pricing. If you want something even more portable, take a look at the Microsoft Surface Go 2. Or maybe consider our 2-in-1 recommendations found below.
4. Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5: Best 2-in-1 laptop under $700
2-in-1 devices with beefier specs often command four-figure price points, but the Lenovo Flex 5 offers excellent hardware for less than $700. This model comes with last year’s still capable Ryzen 5 4500U, 16GB of memory, and a 256GB SSD. Overall, these specs, sans the CPU, are better than what most regular $700 laptops come with. The screen is also solid. It’s an IPS panel with punchy colors and decent contrast. It could’ve been brighter, but overall, it’s better than what you can find on an average $700 notebook while at the same time having touch support.
The positives continue with an excellent keyboard, superb build quality, and 16 hours of battery life. The touchpad is more than decent, speakers are average, and the webcam is trash, but it comes with a privacy shutter. Overall, the Lenovo Flex 5 packs hardware worthy of a four-figure price point while costing less than $700, making it by far the best 2-in-1 device in this price category. It’s a bit weighty, but that’s understandable considering the specs.
If the Flex 5 doesn’t work for you for one reason or another, you could get the HP Pavilion x360 equipped with the Core i5-1135G7, 8GB of memory, 256GB of SSD storage, and an IPS screen. Our recommendation is the Lenovo Yoga C740 (2020 model) that packs a core i5-10210U, 8GB of memory, 256GB of storage, an aluminum body, and an excellent IPS touchscreen. The hardware is weaker, but that screen is worth it if screen quality is more important to you than capable hardware.
5. Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3: Best gaming laptop under $700
The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 is one of the rare gaming laptops that sport both sub $700 price and current hardware is the gaming version of the IdeaPad 3 from Lenovo. The insides are impressive for the price. You get the excellent Ryzen 5 5600H CPU that can be found in much pricier gaming models along with the GTX 1650 graphics card. The GPU isn’t perfect, but at this price, you can’t expect anything more powerful than the GTX 1650. The main downside isn’t the GPU but only 8GB of memory. Luckily the IdeaPad Gaming 3 comes with an extra RAM slot meaning you can add an 8GB stick and get 16GB of memory running in dual channel mode. 256GB of SSD storage is also far from perfect, but you can upgrade the storage since the device includes an extra M.2 slot. Overall, excellent upgrade options.
The 1080p 120Hz IPS screen is pretty good for a sub $700 notebook. It has about 60% coverage of the sRGB color space and 250 nit peak brightness. Not great, but in line with similarly priced devices. The battery is average at best, lasting less than one hour while gaming and 2-3 hours surfing the web or watching videos. The performance should allow you to play the latest games in 60fps with medium settings. Older AAA games should work at 60Hz with high settings.
The speakers and webcam are below par, and the keyboard is okay, but it could’ve been better. The touchpad is plastic but precise and pleasant to use. The build quality is pretty good. There’s some flex, but nothing too serious. Finally, connectivity options include two USB 3.2 ports, one USB-C port (USB 3.2), one USB 2.0 port, an RJ45 port (LAN), a full-sized HDMI, and a combo audio jack.
While the build quality isn’t great and the screen doesn’t have the best colors, the IdeaPad Gaming 3 gives a lot of performance for its modest price (for a gaming laptop). It’s the best choice in the $700 market. It’s also one of the rare devices coming with current hardware at this price point. The only alternative we could find is the Acer Nitro 5, but this one has a slower and older CPU, worse build quality, and a lower quality screen. All that while being more expensive than the IdeaPad Gaming 3.
6. MacBook Air (2019 Refurbished): Best Apple laptop under $700
If you want an Apple laptop for less than $700, you must settle for a used one. The renewed MacBook Air from 2019 looks like a pretty good deal. This is a more robust model equipped with an 8th gen Core i5 instead of a docile Core i3 found on the base model. This is a good enough CPU for everything except serious video editing and rendering. Word processing, multitasking, working with a ton of browser tabs, etc., are tasks this Core i5 can handle without issues. Other specs include 8GB of memory and 256GB of storage. Hardware is more than decent, but other specs are what matter when it comes to MacBooks.
They include a fantastic screen and superb build quality, an excellent keyboard (don’t forget this device uses a butterfly switch keyboard that’s not to everyone’s taste), and speakers that are miles ahead of similarly priced devices. The webcam is decent but not perfect. While the battery can offer almost 9 hours of usage, these are used devices, so expect shorter battery life on average. The device also comes with a fingerprint scanner, and when it comes to ports, you have two USB-C ports and a combo audio jack.
You could also get a used MacBook Pro for a similar price. This device has an excellent screen and a better keyboard than the Air. The build quality is outstanding. The rest of the specs include 16GB of memory and a 512GB SSD. But since the model in question is from 2015, the CPU might not be as fast as you expect despite being a Core i7. Also, the battery life will probably be disappointing. On the flip side, with this being an older MacBook Pro SKU, you have better connectivity (two Thunderbolt 2 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI port, card reader).
7. Acer Chromebook Spin 713: Best Chromebook under $700
If you’re looking for a $700 Chromebook, stop looking and get the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 that costs a lot less. The screen is impressive for a Chromebook, the build quality is terrific, and the keyboard is fantastic. We like the 3:2, 2256 x 1504 IPS screen. It’s perfect both for productivity and media consumption. It has excellent colors and surprisingly high max brightness. The CPU is overkill for a web-based device but in a good way. With the Intel i5-10210U, you can do anything on your Chromebook without experiencing slowdowns.
8GB of memory is, again, more than enough for a Chromebook. 128GB of storage is just suitable for this type of device. The battery is good but not great. Still, it’s above average when it comes to higher-priced Chromebooks. The webcam is average, and speakers are trash, but that’s expected at this price point. Port selection is impressive for a Chromebook. The Spin 713 packs one USB-A, two USB-C ports, a micro-SD card reader, a full-sized HDMI, and a combo audio jack. The device doesn’t feature a fingerprint reader, but that’s about the only major downside of this fantastic Chromebook.
When it comes to the alternatives, the Lenovo Flex 5 is a pretty good choice. You get a much larger, 512GB SSD, which isn’t too bad to have, even on a Chromebook. On the other hand, the Flex 5 has a slower CPU (10th gen Core i3) and a worse screen. There’s also the ASUS Chromebook Flip C434, but this one is worse in almost all aspects compared to the Spin 713, even the Flex 5. At least it looks rather lovely.
What to expect from laptop under $700
First of all, if you’re eyeing a new laptop and your budget is about $700, don’t settle for anything less than the latest Core i5 or a six-core Ryzen CPU. These include SKUs such as the Core i5-1135G7 or Ryzen 5500U. These low-power processors aren’t productivity beasts for, for the money, they offer a lot. The processors have excellent performance for regular tasks (word processing, light multitasking, media consumption, working on large Excel sheets, photo and video editing), but not enough performance for heavy CPU rendering or snappy 4K video editing. There are exceptions to this rule if you’re in the market for a 2-in-1 device or a Chromebook.
Eight gigs of memory are the standard here, but you can relatively easily find devices with 16GB of RAM (or a free RAM slot) if your workflow demands it. For the GPU, expect integrated solutions since dedicated GPU laptops usually cost more than $700 unless they’re on sale or sold on the used market. There are a few gaming laptop models at this price, featuring relatively humble specs such as 8GB of memory and up to a GTX 1650 GPU. With that said, Iris Xe iGPUs found on the latest Intel chips are good enough for running most indie titles and older AAA games at playable framerates.
The screens are okay. You can find devices sporting 1080p IPS panels, but even then, you shouldn’t expect great colors (100% coverage of the sRGB range, for instance), high contrast, or refresh rates higher than 60hz. With that said, for about $100 more, you can get an OLED screen, which is definitely worth the higher price. You can expect excellent keyboards with more than usable trackpads, more than decent build quality, including (mostly) metal chassis, 256GB or 512GB SSDs, and a solid selection of ports (don’t expect Thunderbolt support), including fast USB ports and SD card readers.
Finally, webcam and sound quality range from crap to passable, but sadly, we can say the same even for high-end notebooks sporting four-figure prices. Do note that this list features devices that sport price points between $600 and $700. You can check the best sub $600 laptops here.