The Best Laptop Under $800 of 2018 – 5 Picks (With 2 in 1 Option)

While it may not be quite as big an investment as a new vehicle, a laptop purchase can still eat a big chunk of your paycheck.

Before dropping hundreds of dollars on a computer that might not be worth the price, be sure to consider all the options available!

Below we’ve rounded up five amazing contenders for the best laptop under $800 for any user, from college students to business professionals.

Picking the best mid range laptop under $800

At this tier you officially leave behind the budget options and get into the mid-range to higher end machines.

In general, that means more memory, faster processors, and larger solid state drives for speedy data retrieval.

Bigger numbers and newer CPUs aren’t the only reason to go with a computer at this price, though. Build quality and longevity are two major reasons you should be willing to spend this amount.

Cheap laptops available for a few hundred dollars seem like a better choice for your bank account at first. In the long run you actually end up paying more, as budget-friendly devices typically only last two or three years before going out.

Let’s take a look at what options are available in the sub-$800 price tier, from hybrid 2-in-1 machines to ultra light and slim notebooks!

Verdict: Editor’s Choice

Dell Inspiron 7000 Convertible 2-in-1

Dell Inspiron 7000 Convertible 2-in-1We have two top picks for the best mid-range laptop in 2018. If you’re ready to switch over from a standard laptop to a 2-in-1 hybrid device with a touch screen, the Dell Inspiron 7000 can’t be beat.

For those who still prefer the traditional clamshell laptop, your best choice will instead be the 2018 HP Pavilion. You aren’t going to find better overall specs on a notebook in this price range.

The contenders for best overall laptop under $800

1. Dell Inspiron 7000 Convertible 2-in-1

  • Hybrid 2-in-1 device
  • 15 inch screen
  • Backlit keyboard
  • No discrete dedicated graphics card
  • No 10 key section

Should this be your choice?

Ready to follow the wave of the future and try out a hybrid device with a swivel hinge and touch screen? This should easily be your choice, as you don’t sacrifice specs or screen size to get that extra functionality!

When you reach the higher price ranges of portable computers, the options expand in more ways than just increased RAM or processor speed.

Dell’s Inspiron 7000 may have similar specs to other notebooks, but is set apart in one major way. This is a fully hybrid machine that gives you the speed and power of a computer with the touch screen and rotating hinge of a tablet.

The best of both worlds is at your fingertips here, and you don’t sacrifice any screen size either. Hybrids are typically in the 13 inch range, but Dell’s entry in our contenders for best laptop offers up a full 15.6 inch screen.

The touch screen / full laptop combo makes this a great pick for nearly everyone, but there are a few users who shouldn’t go this route. With an integrated graphics card, this probably shouldn’t be your pick if you into serious gaming or video editing

You won’t typically see optical drives in 2-in-1 devices either, so be prepared to shift entirely to online storage or using USB devices for data transfer.

There are some big upsides here, though. The Inspiron 7000 utilizes a surprisingly spacious keyboard for a hybrid flip model, although Dell achieved that by ditching the 10 key segment on the side.

The full size keyboard is also backlit, which is another option that isn’t often included in hybrid laptops.

There’s typically high praise from reviewers for this model. One main issue is brought up by buyers though, and especially from those who are just getting started using 2-in-1 devices.

With this model, the power switch is on the right side exactly where you’d usually grab a laptop to pick it up. That means you need to get acclimated to the design change or you will frequently turn off the power by accident.

Hardware specifications for Dell Inspiron 7000 Convertible 2-in-1
ProcessorIntel Core i5-7200U (2.5G – 3.1GHz)
RAM8GB DDR4 RAM
Storage256GB SSD
GraphicsIntel HD 620 Graphics
Display15.6-Inch FHD Touch Screen Display, 1920 x 1080 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home 64 Bit
Battery Life6 hours
Weight4.63 lbs

2. 2018 Newest HP Pavilion

  • Excellent 8th gen processor
  • Full backlit keyboard with 10 key
  • More RAM than other models
  • Not a touch screen or hybrid model
  • Less storage space

Should this be your choice?

Looking for the best specs at this price range? If you don’t mind using external or online storage, this is easily one of the most powerful computers available under $800.

Despite lacking a touch screen and hybrid design, HP’s entry in our list of contenders otherwise outclasses the Dell Inspiron in most ways.

The two key features here to justify the price tag are the 8th gen processor and 16GB of RAM. That combo offers an incredibly smooth experience for nearly any type of user.

When you add in the dedicated graphics card, there isn’t much that this HP can’t handle. From gaming to video editing to office work, this is a killer well-rounded laptop.

To get that much RAM and a high end processor at this price range, you’ve got to give up storage capacity unfortunately.

This model only includes 128GB of storage on an SSD, and much of that space is taken up by Windows 10. With a cheap USB hard drive though, that’s not much of an issue to overcome.

For buyers, the lack of a touch screen is the major issue that could derail this as your main pick. When reviewing this HP model, they do often mention its low weight for a 15 inch, which makes it a great option for school or work.

Hardware specifications for 2018 Newest HP Pavilion
ProcessorIntel Core i7-8550U (1.8 – 4.0GHz)
RAM16GB DDR4 RAM
Storage128GB SSD
GraphicsNvidia GeForce 940MX 4GB
Display15.6-Inch FHD IPS Display, 1920 x 1080 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home 64 Bit
Battery Life6 hours
Weight4.67 lbs

3. Apple 13″ MacBook Air

  • Excellent battery life
  • Mac OS
  • No touch screen display
  • Less storage space

Should this be your choice?

Want to ditch the Windows operating system and go with an Apple product instead? This should be your pick!

Windows 10 may be the king of the hill in terms of market share, but frankly Microsoft’s flagship OS isn’t for everyone. Updates are lengthy, bloatware is prevalent, and security is always a concern.

For the Apple crowd, you’ll want to go with the MacBook Air at this price range. At only 13 inches, you get a thin and light laptop with a lot of power.

Much like the HP unit above, this model features a solid state drive with a 128GB capacity. That’s less of a problem here than with a Windows machine, however.

With the iCloud service, storage space isn’t an issue, and of course you can always plug in a hard drive to the USB ports.

Ditching Windows doesn’t mean losing out on all your programs, either. Equivalent word processors, audio players, and so on are all readily available in Mac OS versions.

The are fewer gaming options, but that’s not the focus of this particular laptop anyway. If you plan on doing any serious gaming, look for one of the other contenders with a dedicated graphics card.

If you pick this model, beware going with third party sellers on Amazon. Even if the device is being sold as new, the warranty still won’t be for the full 12 month period through some third party companies.

Hardware specifications for Apple 13″ MacBook Air
ProcessorDual-core Intel Core i5 processor (1.8 – 2.9GHz)
RAM8GB DDR3 RAM
Storage128GB SSD
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 6000
Display13-Inch Display, 1440 x 900 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemMac OS
Battery Life12 hours
Weight5.3 lbs

4. ASUS ZenBook 13 Ultra-Slim Laptop

  • Sleek and extremely lightweight
  • Fingerprint reader for security
  • Dedicated graphics card
  • Smaller display
  • No touch screen

Should this be your choice?

Looking for an incredibly slim, light, and small laptop for the best of both portability and overall hardware specs? This should be your pick!

At this price range, ultrabooks with super slim designs and extremely low weight become more common. The Asus ZenBook is our sub-$800 ultrabook contender, and it manages to fit fantastic specs into a tiny package.

That 8th gen processor is the defining feature here, offering up battery battery life and faster speeds. The MX 150 isn’t a top-of-the-line graphics card by any means, but simply having a dedicated card is always a bonus over an integrated chip.

Buyers often mention the high build quality for such a slim and light device. This is a laptop you can easily carry around and it will last you a good long time.

As a slim 13 inch model, there may be a few design features that aren’t ideal, especially if you are used to larger computers. For instance, the power button is integrated into the keyboard, rather than positioned above or to the side like with a full size laptop.

In most cases that’s just a personal preference issue, but some users have accidentally hit the power button while trying to strike the backspace with their pinky.

Hardware specifications for ASUS ZenBook 13 Ultra-Slim Laptop
ProcessorIntel i5-8250U (1.6 – 3.4GHz)
RAM8GB DDR3 RAM
Storage256GB SSD
GraphicsNvidia GeForce MX150
Display13.3-Inch Anti-glare FHD Display, 1920 x 1080 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home 64 Bit
Battery Life8 hours
Weight2.6 lbs

5. CUK Probook 450 G5 Business Laptop

  • Much more storage capacity
  • High end processor
  • Doesn’t include dedicated graphics card
  • No touch screen functionality

Should this be your choice?

Are you more concerned with loads of storage space over a touch screen or graphics card? This should be your pick for the best mid range laptop!

By this point it should be clear than an 8th gen processor and 8GB of RAM are about standard for the best machines under $800.

There’s room to swap out other specs to match your specific needs, however. In this case, you get significantly expanded storage space over any of our other contenders.

Windows is still installed on an SSD though, so boot speeds remain very fast. That extra storage capacity instead comes from a secondary 1TB HDD for storing all your files.

This model isn’t lacking in ports for peripherals either, with HDMI, VGA, and USB ports available for connecting to external displays.

In a work or school setting where you need to display information at a meeting, that’s an excellent feature to have. If you turn the brightness down a bit, you can also get a full work day’s charge on the battery, which is the feature most often mentioned by reviewers.

Hardware specifications for CUK Probook 450 G5 Business Laptop
ProcessorIntel Core i5-8250U Quad Core (1.6 – 3.4GHz)
RAM8GB DDR4 RAM
Storage240GB SSD + 1TB HDD
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 620
Display15.6-Inch HD Display, 1366 x 768 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Pro 64 Bit
Battery Life15 hours
Weight4.64 lbs

What features set each of these best mid range laptops apart?

Within each price tier for portable computers, you will frequently notice similar specifications in terms of memory and processing power.

Some may vary slightly, but in most cases you only get a major bump on one component if there’s a reduction in another. For instance, you may find a laptop with 16GB of RAM instead of 8, but usually that means less drive space or a slower processor.

Outside of the base specs, always keep a careful eye on what extra features are included with any given model. These features can make or break a computer for you depending on what you actually need.

Fingerprint readers are a convenient security feature frequently added in this price range. They have the added bonus of making the boot up process much quicker, since they bypass the need for a password.

Keyboard backlighting is another key feature that is often overlooked in favor of hardware specs.

This may seem like an unnecessary frill if you haven’t used a keyboard with this feature before. Once you’ve tried it though, I can’t imagine anyone would want to go back to a standard keyboard.

Are these laptops also meant for gaming?

For any serious gaming, 8GB of RAM should be your lowest acceptable amount of memory. An 8th gen processor is also a huge plus if you want to get decent speeds.

By far the biggest factor determining whether a machine is meant for gaming is the graphics card, however. Laptops with integrated graphics chips — like the Intel HD 620 — aren’t going to run graphics-intensive programs at stable frame rates.

To get into gaming with newer titles, you absolutely want a dedicated graphics card like the GTX 1050 or 940MX.

While you can run some games with these contenders, that isn’t their primary focus. For that sort of usage, you should look at models specifically designed around their graphics card.

What sort of software comes with a laptop at this price range?

The answer to that question can vary considerably between different manufacturers and resellers. In most cases, any extra tools probably won’t be super helpful to you.

Extra tools that automatically load on startup are known as “bloatware,” and they are thrown in by manufacturers at nearly all price ranges.

Not all bundled software is useless though, and some can actually save you money if you prefer big name tools over free programs.

Quite a few laptops in this price range have optional Office 365 subscription bundles available. Before heading to checkout, make sure to look for this option on the main Amazon product page!

Finding the best mid-range laptop

What did you think of our roundup of the best laptops under $800? Head down to the comments section and leave us a note if you plan on buying any of these contenders.

Be sure to let us know if you prefer a touch screen or standard laptop display, and which specs are most important in your buying decision!

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