The Best Laptop Under $1,500 of 2018 – 5 High End Picks

Every year like clockwork a new batch of laptops hit the market, and they are always upping the ante in terms of hardware specs.

Looking for the most powerful computer with tons of extra features? Below we examine the five best laptops under $1,500 available in 2018, from business notebooks to gaming computers.

Picking the best high end laptop

If you’ve followed our previous guides, you may notice some similar makes and models listed below. That’s because many of those machines are available in upgraded configurations with even better specs.

In the $1,000 – $,1500 range you shouldn’t be nearly as willing to compromise on any features. At this price point, you want the best specs with very few flaws or potential problems.

In general, always be on the lookout for at least 16GB of RAM and an 8th gen processor. If you plan to do any gaming or use engineering software, make sure to hold out for a dedicated graphics card as well.

Beyond those basic specs, a very wide range of options are available. Read on for a full breakdown of what’s available so we can help you find the best laptop for your needs!

Verdict: Editor’s Choice

CUK N857VR Gaming Laptop

CUK N857VRTwo of our contenders stand head and shoulders above the competition for the best overall laptop under $1,500.

If you prefer the old clamshell design and want absolutely amazing specs with a dedicated graphics card, your pick should easily be the CUK N857VR. You won’t get a better machine at nearly any price.

For those users who want a 2-in-1 device and don’t need a high end graphics card, your best pick will instead be the HP Spectre.

The contenders for best high end laptop under $1,500

1. CUK N857VR Gaming Laptop

  • Huge storage capacity
  • Dedicated graphics card
  • Lots of starting RAM + upgrade ability
  • No touch screen
  • No hybrid 2-in-1 ability
  • Lower battery life

Should this be your choice?

Need a top-notch laptop with a great graphics card but don’t want a machine that looks robotic or has flashing lights? This is your best bet for a non-touch screen computer!

Now hold on a minute, why do we have a VR-ready gaming laptop at the top of our list of best multi-purpose notebooks?

The answer is easy — this is one of the best all-around portable computers available for the price. This CUK model has a screaming fast processor, plenty of memory, and a huge storage capacity.

If you don’t want a flashy gaming rig, this is still the perfect option for you. Other than a slight angular design on the back, nothing about the exterior of this laptop screams “gamer” to anyone.

That can be a huge deciding factor if you need to run CAD or high end video editing software in a business setting.

Since its aimed at gamers, this model also has huge upgrade potential. You won’t need to buy a new laptop to replace this anyone anytime soon, as the RAM can be doubled later on to 32GB.

With the dedicated graphics card, you get lower battery life, however. If you are actively playing games instead of just browsing the web or writing word docs, expect to get a max of 2 – 3 hours.

Keep in mind that this is the best option for users who prefer the standard clamshell design. If you need a hybrid touch screen device, you’ll need to look at our other contenders instead.

Hardware specifications for CUK N857VR Laptop
ProcessorIntel Core i7-8750H 6-Core Processor (2.20 – 4.10GHz)
RAM16GB DDR4 RAM
Storage500GB SSD + 1TB HDD
GraphicsNvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB)
Display15.6-Inch FHD IPS Display, 1920 x 1080 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home 64 Bit
Battery Life5 hours
Weight5.51 lbs

2. HP Spectre x360-13t

  • Excellent overall specs
  • Extreme battery life
  • Very lightweight
  • No dedicated graphics card
  • No optical drive
  • Slightly less storage capacity

Should this be your choice?

Need an absolutely cutting-edge laptop with a 2-in-1 design and don’t care about gaming at all? This is your best all around high end laptop available!

HP’s Spectre is a radically different offering from our #1 pick above, but for some users this may be the better option.

The main difference is in size and utility — with the Spectre you get a 360 degree hinge and a touch screen. If you prefer a device that weighs under three pounds and can be folded over for saving space, this is your best pick.

This particular model also features a Corning Gorilla Glass display. That style of glass resists scratches and damage better than most other touch screen displays.

Are there any downsides to this model? Honestly not many, but there are a few curveballs to consider here.

First off, there’s no dedicated graphics card here, so this isn’t a gaming device. If you want to play games and do work on one machine, check out the CUK model above.

512GB is an excellent amount of space for a solid state drive. That being said, note that several of our other contenders also include secondary drives for extra space.

Want a 4k screen instead? The larger Spectre x360-15t model offers that feature, along with a distinctive dark ash color scheme you won’t find in other laptops.

Those potential issues aside, buyers constantly mention the extreme light weight of this model. They also frequently praise the included stylus and the built-in loop holder so you won’t ever lose your touch screen pen.

Hardware specifications for HP Spectre x360-13t
ProcessorIntel Core i7-8550U (1.8 – 4.0 GHz)
RAM16GB DDR4 RAM
Storage512GB SSD
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 620
Display13.3-Inch FHD IPS Micro-Edge Gorilla Glass Display, 1920 x 1080 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home 64 Bit
Battery Life16 hours
Weight2.87 lbs

3. Lenovo Flex 5

  • 4k display
  • 2-in-1 touch screen
  • Low price
  • Slower processor
  • Slightly heavier model

Should this be your choice?

Want a full 4k display on a 2-in-1 hybrid laptop? This should easily be your pick for the best overall laptop!

Hold up, does that really say a 2-in-1 laptop with a 4k display? Yep, they exist, and if screen quality is your main concern over any other feature, you need to take a look at this Lenovo model.

For videophiles who need crystal clear displays during video playback, you won’t find a better hybrid laptop. There’s plenty of extra bells and whistles here too, like a fingerprint reader and backlit keyboard.

If it weren’t for the 7th gen processor, this would probably be our top pick. It’s still an all around great CPU for most purposes, but all of the other contenders on our list have faster 8th gen models instead.

You still get 16GB of RAM and a ton of hard drive space as well. Despite the screen quality and decent specs, there are two issues frequently brought up by buyers you should be aware of.

First off, this model features a smaller, more compact keyboard than many other 15 inch laptops.

Second, at four-and-a-half pounds the Lenovo Flex is a bit heavier than other hybrid models. In general, you’ll usually see other 2-in-1 devices in the three pound or under range.

Considering the Flex is often available for just over a thousand dollars, many users can overlook those design flaws, however.

Hardware specifications for
ProcessorIntel Core i7-7500U (2.7GHz)
RAM16GB DDR4 RAM
Storage256GB SSD + 1TB HDD
GraphicsNvidia GeForce 940MX (2GB)
Display15.6-Inch Ultra HD 4k IPS Touch Screen, 3840 x 2160 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home 64 Bit
Battery Life8 hours
Weight4.4 lbs

4. Dell i5770-7330SLV-PUS

  • Amazing amount of storage space
  • Spacious 17” display
  • Much heavier model
  • No touch screen

Should this be your choice?

Want a huge screen, lots of storage capacity, and a good old DVD-RW drive? This should be your pick for the best high end laptop!

For those who prefer bigger over lighter, you’ll want to strongly consider Dell’s offering in our list of contenders.

A 17” display doesn’t just mean you have a bigger viewing area for reading PDFs or streaming videos. It also means there’s more room in the chassis for additional hardware.

Unlike most modern laptops, you still get an optical drive with this Dell model. It also has both a 256GB SSD for quick booting and a whopping 2TB of hard drive space for storing files.

Although it doesn’t quite match the graphical power of the CUK model at the top of our list, you do also get a dedicated graphics card with the Dell i5770.

There are really only two main downsides here that could prevent you from picking this model that are referenced by buyers. Most notably, you don’t get a touch screen or any sort of hybrid design.

At over six pounds in weight, you also have less portability here than with thinner and lighter models. You will definitely notice this thing sitting in your backpack when walking between classes, for instance.

Hardware specifications for Dell i5770-7330SLV-PUS
ProcessorIntel Core i7-8550U (up to 4.0GHz)
RAM16GB DDR4 RAM
Storage256GB (SSD) + 2TB HDD
GraphicsAMD Radeon 530 Graphics
Display17.3-Inch FHD Anti-Glare Display, 1920 x 1080 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home 64 Bit
Battery Life5 hours
Weight6.15 lbs

5. Huawei MateBook X Pro Signature Edition

  • No bloatware
  • Office 365 subscription included
  • Extremely thin and light
  • Compact keyboard
  • Bottom positioned webcam

Should this be your choice?

Want an amazingly slim machine with decent specs, no bloatware, and Office 365 included? This should be your pick for the best laptop!

With only 8GB of RAM and a single 256GB SSD, the Huawei MateBook X seems at first glance to be the weakest of our contenders.

Don’t immediately discount it based on those specs, though! There are three main selling points here that might make this machine worth your while, and they are major features:

  • The MateBook features a 91% screen to body ratio, with almost no bezel at all taking up screen real estate.
 
  • This model is amazingly slim, at just over half an inch in height when folded closed. It’s also one of the lightest laptops available at well under three pounds.
 
  • You get 1 free year of Office 365 included in the price. If you need Word, Excel, and so on then this is a great way to get those programs without spending more.
 

Buyers often mention both the extremely high battery life of this model, and the fact that it manages to fit in a dedicated graphics card.

The main complaints from reviewers are the position of the webcam — which is at the bottom of the screen rather than the top — and the cramped keyboard layout.

You will have to learn some key combos, as there are no dedicated Home or Page Up / Down buttons on this keyboard.

Don’t forget, if cost isn’t a concern, this same model is available with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD — for several hundred more dollars.

Hardware specifications for Huawei MateBook X Pro Signature Edition
ProcessorIntel i5-8250U (1.6GHz)
RAM8GB DDR4 RAM
Storage256GB SSD
GraphicsNvidia GeForce MX150
Display13.9-Inch Full View 3K Touch Screen Display, 3000 x 2000 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home 64 Bit Signature Edition
Battery Life14 hours
Weight2.93 lbs

What should I be looking out for when browsing high end laptops?

In this price range, it’s easy to end up with a machine that isn’t actually worth the cost. That problem occurs because older models continue to be listed on sites like Amazon without any price reductions.

That means that the first few laptops you look at may have newer models available with better specs for the exact same price. Costs on newer laptops fluctuate constantly, so always be on the lookout for similar models or sales.

In terms of system specs, there are some very firm tiers you should be sticking to here with no wiggle room.

The bottom line is that in almost all cases, 8GB of RAM is unacceptable if you spending more than a grand on a computer. The only exception there is a model like the MateBook, which has some unusual features in exchange for less RAM.

In general though, if you look around longer you will absolutely find a device with 16GB or more for the same price.

At this price, most laptops should also feature a dedicated graphics card. That’s not just for gaming, but also for using memory-intensive programs like video editing software.

What potential problems exist with expensive laptops?

When spending large sums on a single computer, you want quality, longevity, and excellent specs out of the box.

That being said, there are always potential issues to be aware of when buying electronics. Even the best manufacturers occasionally ship out malfunctioning units.

Before clicking that “buy” button, make sure the warranty covers the cost of shipping, parts, and labor. Laptops at this price point can be very expensive to repair, even for minor issues.

If you frequently take part in video conferencing, make sure to check for reviews that mention the webcam quality. Even if a laptop features a stunning high res display, the manufacturer may cut corners and put in a sub-par webcam.

Keyboard layouts can also vary widely between different models. If you are used to a specific style, make sure to check that your new laptop includes all those same keys in the same locations.

Are there higher end laptops available above this price point?

You might think that $1,500 would really be the maximum anyone would be willing to spend on a portable computer. You’d also be dead wrong, as there in fact notebooks that go well into the two and even three thousand dollar range.

Why would anyone spend that much money on a single computer? In most cases, the goal there is to “future proof” your device so you don’t have to get a new machine in a few years.

Laptops at that price range often start with 32GB – 64GB of RAM, which are really at the upper end of what’s available in 2018.

In addition to extremely high specs, they also often combine all the best features without any trade offs. You’ll get hybrid 2-in-1 machines that are lightweight but still have top-of-the-line hardware for multiple uses.

At these higher price ranges typically customers want completely new machines. Keep in mind that you can save money by going a with refurbished model, however.

Yes, refurb machines are available even in the $1,500 – $2,000 range. If you want cutting edge tech but don’t have the money to spend, going pre-owned can be a great option.

Finding the best possible laptop experience

As you’ve seen by our wide ranging list of contenders, there are more options that you’d expect to consider when buying a high end laptop!

What did you think of our picks, and are you planning on picking up any of these best laptops under $1,500 in the near future?

Sound off with a comment below, and leave us a note with what specs you’d like to see in a notebook at this price range.

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