There's a running belief that finding a good laptop under $800 for graphics-intensive programs and games is almost impossible: This couldn't be any further from the truth. We can confidently assure you that this price range gets you a more than capable laptop with excellent hardware that can easily handle high-end resource-hungry programs. This unbiased in-depth review walks you through 5 of the best laptops under $800 to help you find the ideal machine for your needs.
What's Makes a Good Laptop Under $800?
Before get to our top picks for the best laptop under $800, it's important to give you a clearer picture of what to expect. A decent laptop within this budget should have the following specifications:
- Intel Core i5/ i7 or AMD Ryzen 7 processor
- 8 GB RAM
- 4 GB GPU
- At least 256 GB SSD or 500 GB HDD
- Full HD display
- Standard backlit keyboard
- Multiple ports
Which is the Best Laptops Under $800?
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Now let's get started.
1. Acer Aspire 5
- AMD Ryzen 3 3200U Dual Core Processor (Up to 3.5GHz); 4GB DDR4 Memory; 128GB PCIe NVMe SSD
- 15.6 inches full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen LED backlit IPS display; AMD Radeon Vega 3 Mobile Graphics
- 1 USB 3.1 Gen 1 port, 2 USB 2.0 ports & 1 HDMI port with HDCP support
- 802.11ac Wi-Fi; Backlit Keyboard; Up to 7.5 hours battery life
- Windows 10 in S mode. Maximum power supply wattage: 65 Watts
CPU - Ryzen 3 3200U
GPU - AMD Radeon Vega 3
RAM - 4GB DDR4
STORAGE - 128GB PCIe NVMe SSD
RESOLUTION - 1920×1080
WEIGHT - 3.97 pounds
On paper, the Acer Aspire 5 probably doesn't win all the acknowledgment and praise, but there's no doubt it's the best budget laptop looking at price for performance. It ticks all the important checkboxes for people who want a reliable general use laptop. If you aren't not particularly looking for a premium machine with fancy features, the Acer Aspire 5 won't let you down.
It features an AMD Ryzen 3 3200U process that can reach up to 3.5 GHz when turbo boosted. The Radeon Vega 3 Mobile graphics card allows it to compete with other top-tier options on this guide for graphical performance. Furthermore, the GPU is power-efficient to give you extended battery life. The 8GB DDR4 RAM is the entry-level specs, but that's sufficient for everyday use if you aren't into heavy gaming and software.
The Aspire 5 sports a narrow-bezel design that creates amazingly crisp images with true colors to bring out the best out of the Full HD display. The 1920x1080p resolution ensures that you get great visuals for enjoyable viewing experiences. It also features Acer Color Inteligence that helps in adjusting saturation and gamma in real-time.
The backlit keyboard has responsive keys to give you optimal travel when typing. The keys also actuate, rather than click audibly, fo an improved typing experience. The touchpad is pretty simplistic, without dedicated click buttons. Plus, it responds quite well to clicks and touches quite smoothly as well.
2. ASUS Vivobook 15
- 15.6 inch FHD 4 way NanoEdge bezel display with a stunning 88% screen-to-body ratio
- Powerful AMD Quad Core Ryzen 5 3500U Processor (2M Cache, up to 3.6 GHz)
- AMD Radeon Vega 8 discrete graphics with Windows 10 Home
- 8GB DDR4 RAM and 256GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
- Ergonomic backlit keyboard with fingerprint sensor activated via Windows Hello
CPU - AMD R5-3500U
GPU - AMD Radeon Vega 8
RAM - 8GB DDR4
STORAGE - 256GB SSD
RESOLUTION - 1920×1080
WEIGHT - 3.53 pounds
The first things that stands out with the ASUS Vivobook 15 is its breathtaking design. On top of which, Asus offers 5 different colors from which you can choose from. It comes as no surprise that it's considered one of the most aesthetically pleasing laptops in the current market. Not only does it give off a premium look and feel, but the Vivobook 15 also has an incredibly solid build that oozes top-tier quality.
But that's not to say the laptop compromises on performance for looks; quite the contrary. The VivoBook 15 features a powerful AMD Ryzen 5 3500U processor, backed with 2MB Cache. It reaches up to 3.6 Ghz when turbo boosted. In addition, it features an AMD Radeon Vega 8 GPU to help you in getting the best graphical performance. Furthermore, its 8GB DDR4 RAM ensures the laptop can maintain optimal performance, making multitasking quite a breeze.
It comes with 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD storage. It helps in booting up and loading apps and games much faster. The storage is typically enough for general use, but if you're into gaming and other high-end programs, you might probably need more. The best part it, both the RAM and SSD are upgradeable, so you can tweak your laptop as your needs change. Plus, it also has decent keyboard, although it lacks a strong bounce for faster typing.
This laptop features a 15.6" FHD NanoEdge bezel display with an impressive 88% screen-to-body ratio. The 1920x1080p resolution produces sharp images, although the panel is fairly dim and the colors sometimes look washed out. Still on the flipside, the battery life is a bit underwhelming, so this might not be the best gaming laptop out there.
3. Lenovo IdeaPad 3
- AMD Ryzen 5 3500U Mobile Processors with Radeon Graphics deliver powerful performance for everyday tasks
- Dopoundsy Audio delivers crystal-clear sound, while the 14-inch FHD screen and narrow side bezels give you more viewing area and less clutter
- Quick and quiet with Q-control – Effortlessly swap between fast and powerful performance and quiet battery saving mode
- Connect with ease using Bluetooth 4.1, up to 2x2 Wi-Fi 5, three USB ports, and HDMI
- Keep your privacy intact with a physical shutter for your webcam. You'll enjoy privacy right at your fingertips
CPU - AMD Ryzen 5 3500U
GPU - AMD Radeon Vega 8
RAM - 8GB DDR4
STORAGE - 256GB SSD
RESOLUTION - 1920×1080
WEIGHT - 3.30 pounds
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is usually the go-to option for people on a budget. It's a decent laptop that comes with a sturdy chassis, a 14" display and a wonderful keyboard -features you wouldn't see on most budget laptops. Even though it doesn't have earth-shattering power, it always gets the job done for school or office work.
It comes with an AMD Ryzeen 5 3500U Mobile processor that runs on lower voltage, so it runs cooler and offers better battery life. It features an AMD Radeon Vega 8 graphics card that performs reasonably well in light gaming. The IdeaPad 3 is packed with 8GB DDR4 RAM to make multitasking smooth and fluid. It's also upgradeable in case your needs change with time. The same flexibility goes for its entry-level 256GB SSD storage, which might not be enough for someone who uses heavy software or plays heavy games.
The 14" 1920x1080p display is not particularly bright, largely due to the weak contrast and saturation. Although this screen can run Skyrim, the IdeaPad 3 is probably not the best laptop to go for if you like watching movies and gaming. In fact, this laptop's keyboard shows it's built for work more than play. There's a somewhat hollow sound when you press down the keys, but pressing them harder brings out the best of its long-form typing.
The IdeaPad 3 is the ultimate definition of a laptop that simply gets the job done, no frills whatsoever. Other than the signature Abyss Blue color, there's not much that stands out in its design. But you can still rest assured that the solid construction will stand firm to the test of time.
4. Acer Swift 3
- AMD Ryzen 7 4700U Octa-Core Mobile Processor (Up to 4.1 GHz) with Radeon Graphics; 8GB LPDDR4 Memory; 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
- 14" Full HD Widescreen IPS LED-backlit display (1920 x 1080 resolution; 16:9 aspect ratio)
- Intel wireless Wi-Fi 6 AX200 802.11ax; HD webcam (1280 x 720); Backlit keyboard; Fingerprint reader
- 1 - USB Type-C port USB 3. 2 Gen 2 (up to 10 Gbps) DisplayPort over USB Type-C and USB Charging, 1- USB 3. 2 Gen 1 port (featuring power-off charging), 1 - USB 2. 0 port and 1 - HDMI port
- Just 0.63" thin and 2.65 pounds and up to 11.5 hours of battery life
CPU - Ryzen 7 4700U
GPU - AMD Radeon Vega
RAM - 8GB LPDDR4
STORAGE - 512GB SSD
RESOLUTION - 1920×1080
WEIGHT - 2.65 pounds
What does the average college or university student want in a laptop? Efficient multitasking, portability and good battery life. And this is precisely what the Acer Swift 3 mostly targets. It's regarded as the best budget laptop, and it has easily become the "Student's Choice".
The Ryzen 7 4700U offers incredible performance, meaning you can run the most intensive programs without any worries. It works amazingly well in multitasking, thanks to the 8GB LPDDR4 RAM that ensures you never experience any lags or glitches when using your machine. This is capped off by an impressive 512GB SSD storage capacity so that you can store all your data internally.
It features an IPS display with a 1920 x 1080p resolution for high-quality visuals, whether you're working with graphical content or watching something on your laptop. Plus, it has 400-nit brightness with wide viewing angles for enjoyable viewing experiences. Not to mention the screen is pretty eye-pleasing, owing to its thin bezels and 84% screen-to-body ratio. Even using local apps, say the browser, is quite a treat, thanks to the panel's additional height ad 100% sRGB color gamut coverage for rich and well-saturated visuals.
The Acer Swift 3 comes with a firm backlit keyboard that looks quite snazzy. The touchpad is remarkably smooth and doesn't make the characteristic click sound. It also features a fingerprint reader next the palm rest, meaning security is continually a top priority. The 720p webcam will get the job done for pictures but expect slightly noisy videos. Plus, it's worth noting that the webcam lacks face recognition.
5. Dell G3 Gaming Laptop
- 8th Generation Intel Core i5 8300H Processor (Quad Core, 8MB Cache, up to 3.9 gigahertz w/Turbo Boost)
- 8GB 2666 megahertz DDR4 up to [32GB], (additional memory sold separately)
- 256 GB (SSD)
- 15.6 inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS Anti Glare, LED Backlit Display
- Be more productive. Windows 10 is the best for bringing ideas forward and getting things done. upto 4.1 gigahertz w/ Turbo Boost
CPU - Intel Core i5 8300H (Quad-core)
GPU - Nvidia GTX 1050
RAM - 8GB 2666 megahertz DDR4
STORAGE - 256GB
WEIGHT - 5.95 pounds
The demand for gaming laptops has increased over the last couple of years. At the same time, consumer trends show that people also want the lightest and thinnest laptops with 10x the performance, thus skyrocketing the price of such machines. This is where the reputable Dell G3 comes in, as one of the best laptops under $800 for gaming.
It comes with an 8th generation Intel Core i5-8300H Quad-Core processor that's backed with an 8MB Cache and reaches up to 3.9GHz on turbo boost. On top of such incredible raw performance, it has an Nvidia Geforce GTX 1050 Graphics card that delivers more efficiency for solid battery life and works great for graphical performance. In any case, the Dell G3 is pretty ugradeable, so you can get your own dedicated graphics card to optimize performance.
This solid laptop comes with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD storage as entry-level specs, but there's room for an upgrade as well. The RAM does perform as expected for gaming, but you can always tweak things around. SSD storage helps in booting the OS and loading up apps and games much faster. However, the storage might run out sooner than expected, especially if you're into high-end games, but that why this laptop is almost fully upgradeable.
The 1920x1080p display is a bit dull and underwhelming, and colors aren't as vivid as you might want in a gaming laptop. However, it's still a bright screen, at 272 nits, so you still get to enjoy a good deal of the 15" full HD display. The keyboard isn't exactly the best we have seen at this price range but it still holds up well for overall decent typing quality. Plus, the touchpad is fairly tall and roomy for easy navigation.
Factors to Consider in the Best Laptops Under $800
The first element that really matters in a computer is the processor. The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is primarily responsible for computing power, hence performance. That means a well-performing processor is a definite must-have, regardless of why you're buying the laptop.
An $800 budget allows you to go for at least a 10th Generation Intel Core i5 processor. However, you would be making a safer bet going for an 11th generation processor as it offers fairly better performance.
If you're going for a high-end laptop, you can opt for AMD processors, which are widely popular for high-spec machines. The Ryzen 4000 series, such as Ryzen 5 or 7, is a good starting point, thanks to its highly power-efficient 7nm processing node.
RAM is equally important when you're looking to get the best performance from your laptop. RAM takes care of multitasking and making programs run smoothly. It follows then that the more RAM you have, the faster and fluid your laptop will be.
Typically, a laptop within this budget comes with 8GB DDR4 RAM, but it would be best to start at DDR5. In addition, it's highly recommended to get a machine with upgradeable RAM for future-proofing purposes. The bottom line is, the more RAM you can have, the better the performance.
3. Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)
The Graphics Card is another essential element in a system, especially for productivity and gaming laptops. It helps the system to run graphics-intensive software and games smoothly. If you want a laptop that can run lightweight games, an integrated graphics card will get the job done. Recent integrated GPUs have massively improved and are quite capable of handling most heavy graphics processing. However, if you intend to run high-end AAA games, you'll definitely need a dedicated graphics card.
If you're buying a laptop for general multitasking, then you don't have to worry about the GPU since the integrated card will work just well. But for a gaming laptop, you should get no less than an Nvidia GTX 1650 dedicated GPU. We recommend the GTX "Ti" variant that offers slightly more power and performance with boosted clock speed and GDDR6 RAM. In addition, if you're getting a laptop for heavy visual work, like video editing, then the NVIDIA GTX 1660 or 2080 or something within this range would run your software pretty smoothly.
Storage is pretty straightforward; the more you have, the more data you can store internally. Normally, 512 GB Solid State Drive (SSD) is the most recommended capacity for laptops within the $800 budget. However, if you find an option that offers 256GB SSD, you can consider it if the other specifications stand out.
If you need plenty of internal storage, you can opt for at least 1TB Hard Disk Drive (HDD) storage. But that means you'll compromise on the perks of SSD storage, mainly the boot-up and loading speeds. Alternatively, you can choose a Hybrid Drive (both SSD and HDD) to get the best of both worlds.
The display gets overlooked more often than not, but graphic designers and video editors highly rely on a good display and high-performing graphics card. Some of the aspects that matter when it comes to a laptop's display are resolution, brightness, refresh rate and color accuracy.
Resolution is probably the most straightforward since most modern laptops come with decent Full HD resolution. But there are better options within our budget if you're looking for a higher resolution. Additionally, the average laptop offers a standard brightness of 250-nits. If brightness is essential to your laptop use, then we recommend looking at 300-nit brightness and above.
The refresh rate is most critical for gaming laptops. Any display that exceeds the standard 60Hz refresh rate is considered a high refresh-rate panel. Generally, 120Hz refresh rate is considered the sweet spot for a gaming laptop as it matches up with most modern games' frames per second (FPS) rate.
Color accuracy is mostly important for productivity tasks. Around 70-80% color accuracy is decent for vivid colors and crisp images for more enjoyable visual experiences. Lastly, you can also find a touch screen display within the budget, but it's worth noting this decreases your laptop's functionality.
6. Power & Portability
Modern laptops are all about finding the right balance between power and portability. The key thing to remember is that the more powerful your machine is, the quicker it drains the battery. That being said, the laptops featured in this guide guarantee great performance without compromising power to the extreme.
Most brands have refined their laptop designs, making them ever so easy to move around with. However, if you intend to get a laptop for heavy programs, it'll probably come with more components, meaning it can be relatively bulkier.
All factors considered, spending around $800 on a laptop is quite an investment. Therefore, go for a laptop that's backed by a solid warranty in case you'll need repairs within the given period. A 1-year warranty is always a good place to start when you'll looking into a backup plan.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Laptops Under $800
1. Is Intel Core i7 better than Intel Core i5?
Generally, Intel Core i7 processors tend to be better than i5's in terms of performance. However, i7's are normally more expensive than i5's, meaning it's hard to find budget laptops equipped with an i7 processor.
That being said, several Intel Core i5 laptops can handle your average computing needs. If you're not in search of a laptop to run intensive programs, you can find an i5 laptop that can capably handle your computing tasks for relatively cheap.
2. What is the best processor for general use?
Intel processors are usually the most recommended for everyday use, either Intel Core i5 or i7. But you can also opt for a decent AMD processor that's equally powerful and reliable enough to handle general computing tasks.
3. Is SSD better for gaming laptops?
Undoubtedly. SSD storage increases boot-up speeds, making it faster in launching games as well. SSD also gives you higher and better processing speed for running light and heavy games. However, you still have to get adequate storage for all your files, including all your games.
4. How long can I expect the laptop to last?
A good laptop is expected to run at least 3-5 years without giving you technical issues. However, that also varies depending on the quality of the machine and the brand value. Therefore, ensure that you go for a trusted and reputable brand that preferably comes with a warranty claim.
In the beginning, it probably seems a bit overwhelming to find the best laptop under $800 from the array of options on the market. With the help of this guide, you can hopefully pick the one that fits your needs best, as well as presents the best value for your money.
To sum up short, the laptops we have reviewed tick all the necessary checkboxes for heavy performance. Whether you're a student, writer, programmer, graphic designer, architect or professional gamer, our top picks are no doubt the most reliable machines in the game right now within this price range.