The Best Laptops for under $800
Buying a laptop can be a big decision. You want something that can stand the test of time, in both durability and performance. It’s easy to think you’ll have to spend over $1500 that won’t be outdated in just a couple years, but in fact, just $800 is more than enough for the typical user’s needs, and believe it or not, many $800 notebooks use a lot of the same components and technologies as the most expensive models.
In its current form, the base configuration of the Dell XPS 15 is an excellent buy. Its CPU is the exact same model used in many high-end powerful notebooks, and while it may not have as much RAM as the more expensive models, it’s still the latest technology and easily enough for most every task. Where the $799 XPS 15 falls short is its display. At just 1366×768, it can seem a bit cramped in terms of screen space, but the color quality is still among the top in the industry. It’s also not the best choice for gaming, but can still play all of the modern games as long as you turn down the settings.
The Heavy Hitter
The Aspire series actually comes in a variety of flavors, but the 7741G is a great example of a well rounded laptop. It’s similar powered compared to the XPS 15, but with its larger and higher resolution display (1600×900), as well as more powerful GPU, it lends itself much better toward gaming. You’ll still need to turn down some of the settings on the latest games, though. It also doesn’t come with the styling you’ll find in an XPS, but considering you can find the 7741G for less than $700, it’s a pretty fair trade.
If you’re looking for a bit of style and some serious portability, Acer also has its TimelineX series. The TimelineX 4820TG has essentially all of the same hardware inside as the Aspire 7741G, making it a very capable laptop for just about anything you’d want to do. The main difference is its physical size, at just an inch thick at its thinnest point and sporting a 14-inch 1366×768 pixel display. With this configuration weighing in at $799 while performing nearly identically to the 7741G, what you’re paying for is primarily enhanced portability.
The Movie Buff
Sony’s EL series isn’t nearly as fast as the previously mentioned laptops, but it’s also considerably cheaper. Plus, this specific model comes with a Blu-Ray drive, allowing for glorious playback of Blu-Ray movies. Despite its slower hardware, it’s still capable of most any task, though if you’re planning on doing any semi-serious gaming, you’ll want to look elsewhere.
When it comes to affordable computing portability, you can’t do much better than the Asus Eee PC series. With screen sizes hovering right around 12-inches, they can nearly fit in your pocket, and without putting a hole in your wallet. Their biggest downfall is performance, but if you don’t mind spending a little extra on the 1215B-PU17 model (currently about $450), which sports the AMD E-350 processor, you can get similar performance to the previously mentioned Sony Vaio EL.