- Our choice for the #1 Best Overall Laptop Under $950 is the Surface Laptop 4 13”.
- Laptops under $950 appeal to a large consumer base because they combine reliable performance with affordability.
- A laptop under $950 is appropriate for anyone on a tight budget looking to engage in any number of activities, including studying or gaming, without breaking the bank or incurring debts.
- When buying laptops under $950, a brand’s reputation is critical because it speaks to the reliability of their devices.
- Other factors to consider before buying a budget-friendly laptop include processor performance, internal storage space, and battery reliability.
Buying a laptop for under $950 seems laughable. Luckily, HP, Acer, Microsoft, and Asus have some neat devices within this price range, depicting their resolve to provide budget-friendly machines.
But are these laptops good? It depends on your usage, but don’t be over-ambitious because they don’t have the best processors or high clock speeds like in pricier models. However, you will still browse and type; some you can use for editing, gaming, video conferencing, and more. Overall, these laptops are ideal for students or casual users who need a computer for basic tasks.
Here’s our top six best laptops under $950 that you can buy in 2023:
- Best Overall: Surface Laptop 4 13”
- Best for Gaming: HP Pavilion Gaming 15.6″
- Best 2-in-1 Laptop: Acer Chromebook Spin 713
- Most Portable: Asus ZenBook 13 OLED (UM325UA)
- Best for Students: Acer Swift AMD Ryzen 7
- Biggest Screen: Acer Aspire 5 A517
Best Overall: Surface Laptop 4 13”
The Surface Laptop 4 13” tops our list of the best laptops under $950 in 2023. This laptop perfectly combines price and performance, especially for a computer under $950.
Powered by a Core i5 processor and the Intel Iris Xe Graphics card, this laptop has enough power to handle light gaming and music editing. Furthermore, you can upgrade to a Core i7 processor with AMD Ryzen graphics, giving you enough power for CPU-intensive games. Also, the laptop’s 47.4Wh battery capacity delivers 17 hours of normal usage, which is pretty great for this price point.
Storage isn’t a limitation with this laptop. Typically, it has a 256GB SSD card, but you can increase the storage space to 1TB.
Where this laptop shines the most is its overall design. With a 13.5-inch screen and slim design, this computer is portable and easily fits in a small laptop bag. But the standout feature is the luxurious Alcantara material used on the keyboard, typically found in car interiors.
Adding to the specs is a 720p front camera, which is handy for video conferencing meetings. The laptop also comes with quality speakers and Dolby Atmos, meaning you won’t have to plug in headphones for your video calls.
Check out this product on Amazon.
|It has the perfect blend of performance and pricing.||Though the internal storage is expandable, its standard 256GB capacity can be limiting, especially for content creators.|
|The device offers up to 17 hours of battery life.|
|It has a small build that boosts portability.|
|The laptop’s speaker system has Dolby Atmos for good audio quality.|
|It has exquisite finishing thanks to the Alcantara on the keyboard.|
Best for Gaming: HP Pavilion Gaming 15.6″
Finding a gaming laptop for under $950 may seem impossible, considering most gaming computers have hard drives and graphics that cost double. However, HP introduced the Pavilion Gaming 15 laptop, which packs a Core i5 processor while being budget-friendly.
Thanks to the laptop’s NVIDIA GeForce RTX graphics, your gaming visuals will be more photo-realistic. The laptop also comes with a 4.4 GHz turbo boost processor, which can handle most games without lagging. This HP has a 1TB SSD, which provides sufficient storage for your laptop to store all your gaming data, translating to better performance and increased frame rates.
This HP laptop is your typical gaming computer. It weighs 6.35 pounds, which is customary for gaming laptops due to their bulkiness. Also, the green-lit keyboard on the HP Pavilion adds to the gaming allure, and you can pair it with an external mouse and encoder keyboard to have a complete gaming setup.
Unfortunately, this laptop’s 52.5Wh battery pack is its main shortcoming. You get 5 hours and 45 minutes of usage, and even though it has a fast charger, this usage time is still insufficient.
As of July 14, 2023, this product is currently unavailable on Amazon. Please check back later.
|It combines a powerful NVIDIA graphics card with a CPU with up to 4.4 GHz speeds.||It has a subpar battery pack offering less than six hours of battery life.|
|It has features that enhance gaming experiences, such as the back-lit keyboard.||It is slightly heavy.|
|The device has adequate storage space.|
Best 2-in-1 Laptop: Acer Chromebook Spin 713
- Sleek, LED-backlit 13.5" touch display
- 128GB SSD storage and 8GB Memory
- Fingerprint Reader, Wi-Fi 6, Backlit Keyboard, and more
- Multiple USB ports ( USB 3.1 Type C, USB 3.1, USB Charging, HDMI 2.0
There are many 2-in-1 laptops under $950, but the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 is arguably the most prominent.
Continuing the 2-in-1 laptops tradition, this Chromebook is lightweight and portable as it weighs 3.2 pounds. Furthermore, you can hinge it to 360 degrees, and thanks to its touchscreen feature, you can use it as a tablet. Also, you get good viewing angles for a laptop with a 13.5-inch screen and an LCD screen display when streaming movies on Netflix.
Speaking of streaming, this Chromebook has a Lithium-ion battery that provides 10 hours of usage time, which you can squeeze in to get more hours with the right brightness settings. Acer also included sufficient power on this Chromebook. Running on a Core i5 processor and a 1.6 GHz processor speed, this 10th-generation laptop will handle your browsing and office work smoothly. But still, a 1.6 GHz processor speed is slow. Remember, this is a 4-core processor, so provided you aren’t gaming or editing videos, you shouldn’t expect any lag.
The laptop’s 256GB SSD seems fair, but considering the volumes of data we store today, we could use more storage. Nevertheless, we are dealing with a laptop that costs less than $950, so there isn’t much we can expect from the Acer Chromebook Spin.
Check out this product on Amazon.
|The device weighs 3.2 pounds, which enhances portability.||It has a slow processor, which limits its usage and versatility.|
|It is a 2-in-1 laptop and is convertible into a tablet thanks to a 360-degree hinge.||The internal storage is insufficient when handling large files.|
|It offers at least 10 hours of battery life.|
Most Portable: Asus ZenBook 13 OLED (UM325UA)
- Aspect Ratio:16:9
- 13.3 inch OLED 400nits Full HD (1920 x 1080) Wide View 4-way NanoEdge bezel display
- AMD Ryzen 7 5700U Processor (Up to 4.3GHz, 8 cores, 8M Cache) with AMD Radeon Graphics
- Windows 10 Home
- Fast storage and memory featuring 512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD with 8GB LPDDR4X RAM
The Asus ZenBook 13 is one of the best portable laptops for under $950. Weighing 2.51 pounds, you can easily fit it in any bag and carry it around campus or at work without any fatigue.
The laptop’s 13.3-inch screen is decent for its build, but the most outstanding feature is the OLED display. You get large fields of view when watching a movie on Netflix, and thanks to the Asus’s 16:9 aspect ratio, this laptop won’t crop out your videos to fit them on the screen. Also, with a 67Wh battery, you will have many hours of playback time on a single charge.
Asus packed this laptop with the AMD Ryzen 7 5700U processor and a 4.3 GHz CPU speed, so it has sufficient power for a small laptop. Coupled with the AMD Radeon Graphics and a 512GB SSD that you can increase to 1TB, this laptop can handle some light gaming.
Additionally, it’s unbelievable that a laptop that costs less than $950 has an HD camera with an IR function. Now, you cannot miss your Zoom meetings and, with the IR function, you can use Windows’ face authentication feature to boost your laptop’s security.
Check out this product on Amazon.
|At 2.51 pounds, it is one of the lightest laptops under $950 to carry around.||Asus could have provided more storage space.|
|It has a 13.3-inch OLED display that offers superb image quality.|
|It has a 67Wh battery for extended use on a single charge.|
|The AMD Ryzen CPU and AMD Radeon GPU offer incredible processing power.|
Best for Students: Acer Swift AMD Ryzen 7
The Acer Swift AMD Ryzen 7 is the best laptop under $950 for students. It is very portable and powerful enough to handle most school-related assignments.
Sized at 14 inches and with an overall slim design, you can conveniently carry it in your school bag without sacrificing some of your textbooks. It also runs on an 8-core processor, which is suitable for multitasking, and can handle multiple browsing tabs when researching. Furthermore, thanks to the laptop’s AMD Radeon graphics card and its 1.51 to 2.00 GHz processing speed, you can enjoy light editing after school.
Speaking of leisure, the Acer Swift has a 1920 x 1080p resolution screen, which gives you HD content when streaming movies. And with 512GB SSD, you can download your favorite films and store them to watch later. Adding to the specs is a webcam and microphone, so you don’t have any excuse for missing your online classes.
Even though this laptop can handle all the basic stuff, the processor could be better, which is where this laptop fails. But then again, Acer wouldn’t have priced it this low, so we understand the economics involved in ensuring this laptop is affordable for students.
Check out this product on Amazon.
|It has a 14-inch high-resolution display that supports high-definition imagery.||The graphics processor could have better processing power.|
|The device has a reliable central processor.|
|It has adequate storage for basic uses like storing educational materials.|
Biggest Screen: Acer Aspire 5 A517
- 17.3" Full HD IPS Display
- 11th gen Intel Core i5-1135G7
- Intel Iris Xe Graphics
- 8GB DDR4
- 512GB NVMe SSD
- Wi-Fi 6
- Fingerprint Reader
- Backlit keyboard
We cannot leave out the Acer Aspire 5 A517 when discussing the best laptops under $950 due to its large screen size.
With a 17.3-inch screen that has LCD, you get a broad view for working on your content. Also, the laptop’s 1920 x 1080p resolution makes it a good machine for HD movies.
This laptop’s design is good. Even though it’s quite heavy as it weighs 4.9 pounds, the computer’s overall build is slim and compact. Adding to the design is a backlit keyboard and multi-touch gesture touchpad, making it appealing at first sight.
Running on a Core i5 processor with a 1.30 GHz processing speed, this laptop isn’t short of performance. But you will have to limit your usage to typing and browsing because even the laptop’s Iris Xe Graphics may not be sufficient for editing and gaming, especially with such a low processing speed. The laptop’s 512GB SSD is also welcoming for storing files, but Acer should increase it to 1TB because of the volume of data we use today.
The biggest drawback of this 12th-generation laptop is the 50Wh battery. Getting 6 hours of running time on a single charge is insufficient for streaming movies or working for hours.
Check out this product on Amazon.
|The device has a large 17.3-inch display that supports HD-quality content.||Its 6 hours of battery life is inadequate.|
|It has a simple external design coupled with an interesting back-lit keyboard.||The 1.3 GHz Core i5 is slow, and its graphics processor can hardly handle intense editing and gaming.|
|The Aspire 5 has a multi-gesture touchpad.|
How to Pick the Best Laptops Under $950: Step-by-Step
It’s often difficult to find a good laptop for under $950. Remember, a good computer shouldn’t necessarily tick all boxes, but it should satisfy your immediate preferences.
Consider the following factors when buying:
- Battery life
- Brand reputation
You may have realized that we have mentioned the processors of all laptops on our list. That’s because they are integral to your laptop’s performance. Most laptops under $950 usually run on a Core i5 processor, though you may find Core i3s or upgrade to a Core i7 if your device supports it. Furthermore, don’t compromise on the processing speed because it determines whether you can use the laptop for light gaming and coding or if it’s built for basic use only.
Storage is key for laptops under $950 because it determines how much data, media files, and programs you can store on your computer. From our list, most manufacturers prefer SSDs, but you can choose HDD laptops. The main difference is that HDDs have a higher storage capacity but are slower than SDDs, so companies prefer the latter. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean you should limit yourself to SDDs. Whether you choose an HDD or SDD hard drive, ensure it’s at least 512GB.
Battery life is essential irrespective of the laptop’s price tag. Don’t expect much from laptops under $950 because they aren’t built to provide higher usage times, which is usually the case with expensive models. But still, you should get at least 7 hours of running time on average from laptops under $950. However, don’t forget that a laptop’s battery life depends on many factors, such as usage, brightness levels, and running applications.
Brand reputation is essential when buying a laptop under $950. It determines the computer’s quality, longevity, and dependability. Microsoft, HP, Asus, and Acer are examples of reputable companies that manufacture the best laptops for this price point. Additionally, you get warranty waivers when dealing with reputable brands.
What to Know Before Buying Laptops Under $950
Limit your expectations when comparing laptops under $950. Remember, these computers have low prices because they lack some specs found in premium models. So, have an open mind to avoid disappointments.
Secondly, the laptop’s usage matters. You don’t have to buy a Core i5 laptop with a higher processing speed if you want a machine for basic use like typing and browsing. You will spend more and not maximize the laptop’s utility.
Thirdly, you must sacrifice something when buying a laptop under $950. At this point, you may have realized that the laptops on our list are not perfect. For instance, some have a Core i5 processor but a poor processing speed. So, you must sacrifice some specs to get a laptop that suits your budget.
Using Laptops Under $950: What It’s Like
Performance-wise, some of the laptops under $950 are very slow. For instance, a computer with a 1.6 GHz processing speed will lag when playing games or video editing. But those with a 4.4 GHz processor will handle your rigorous programs. However, using these laptops for typing, browsing, data storage, and analysis will meet all your expectations.
Furthermore, some even have unique features, like OLED, touch screen, HD webcam, and backlit keyboard, which will improve your user experience.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Jacob Lund/Shutterstock.com.