While $700 isn't much in the laptop world, where some models cost thousands, you can still find many options around this price. $700 is about the price at which we start seeing some high-quality models with a sturdy metal chassis and a powerful CPU, especially in the thin and light laptop category, and it's also roughly the entry point for gaming laptops. Unfortunately, there aren't any mobile workstations under $700 (unless you want to use a cheap gaming laptop as a substitute), and Apple MacBooks are generally more expensive. For this article, our recommendations will mainly feature Windows laptops and Chromebooks. The list is a little short for now, but it'll grow as we test more laptops.
We've tested over 90 laptops, and below, you'll find our recommendations for the best laptops under $700 you can buy. You can also see our recommendations for the best laptops, the best budget laptops, and the best laptops for college.
If you don't want to spend more than $700, the best laptop we've tested is the Acer Swift 3 14 (2020), a 14-inch ultraportable designed for general productivity. Its thin and light design makes it easy to carry around for school or work, and its battery lasts nearly 14 hours of light use, so you won't need to bring a charger. You can configure it with an Intel 11th Gen Core i5 or i7 CPU and up to 16GB of memory and 512GB of storage. Intel's 11th Gen. CPUs perform well and can easily handle light tasks like text processing, web browsing, spreadsheets, and video playback. The SSD is user-replaceable, so you can upgrade it if 512GB isn't enough.
Its 1080p IPS display looks sharp and provides enough room for light multitasking, but it doesn't get very bright, so it isn't ideal for well-lit or sunny environments. As for the keyboard and touchpad, the former feels cramped but decent to type on, and the latter is small but reasonably responsive. Its port selection includes two USB-As, one USB-C/Thunderbolt 4, a full-size HDMI, and a headphone jack. Our main gripe with this laptop is the webcam; the image looks soft and underexposed, and the audio is staticky.
If you can stretch your budget slightly, we recommend the Apple MacBook Air 13 (M1, 2020). Its regular price is $999, but as we're approaching the new school year, you can easily find it on sale for around $750. Sure, the M1 MacBook Air isn't as sleek as the newer M2 model, but it's still a fantastic device with a sturdy build, a nice screen, a comfortable keyboard, and plenty of processing power. Plus, its battery lasts over 13 hours of light use. The only downside is its limited port selection.
Our best Chromebook pick is the Acer Chromebook Spin 714 (2022). It's currently over $700, but keep an eye on it, as it'll likely get a price cut since it's an older model from 2022. It has a sharp 14-inch screen, and as its 'Spin' name suggests, this is a 2-in-1 convertible, so you can set it up in tent mode for media consumption or flip the screen around and use it as a tablet. The display supports pen input and comes with a stylus that you can dock into the side of the laptop. Battery life is amazing at over 13 hours of light use, and you can charge the laptop over USB-C.
Spec-wise, this laptop is available with various Intel 12th Gen CPUs, ranging from a Core i3 to a Core i7. Performance isn't a problem; these CPUs are more than fast enough for anything you'd need to do on a Chromebook. The problem is availability. The Core i5 model with 8GB of memory and 128GB of storage is the most widely available, and even that model is getting hard to find. There's a newer version available, which we haven't tested but expect will perform similarly. It has faster Intel 13th Gen CPUs and a higher-resolution 1440p webcam but no longer comes with a stylus. You can see the 2023 model on Amazon or Best Buy.
For gaming, we recommend the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2021), the best gaming laptop under $700 we've tested. For around $650 USD, you can get a configuration with a 120Hz FHD display, an AMD Ryzen 5 5600H CPU, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 GPU, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage. This CPU and GPU combo can provide a fairly solid 60 fps experience at 1080p with medium to low settings. The downside is that you won't have access to features like DLSS, which is only available on configurations with an RTX 30-series GPU. Also, 8GB of memory isn't ideal for gaming, and you'll quickly run out of storage space with a 256GB SSD. The memory and storage are user-replaceable, so you can add more later.
As for the overall build, this laptop feels surprisingly sturdy, especially for a model in its price range. The keyboard feels comfortable and tactile, and the webcam's video quality is good if you want to stream. There's very little thermal throttling, so you get consistent performance when gaming for an extended period, although you'll have to endure loud fan noise. Unfortunately, it isn't very portable as it's rather bulky and heavy, and like most laptops with a discreet GPU, the battery lasts only an hour when gaming.
The best 2-in-1 tablet we've tested is the Microsoft Surface Go 3 (2021), a super compact and lightweight 10.5-inch tablet with a built-in kickstand and detachable keyboard. Its 1080p display looks very sharp and gets bright enough to combat glare, and above it sits an excellent 1080p webcam for video calls. There's also an IR camera for quick logins via Windows Hello facial recognition. The type cover keyboard protects the display during transport and feels surprisingly comfortable to type on. The downside is that you have to buy it separately.
As for the configuration, we recommend the Core i3 model with 8GB of RAM, as it'll give you a smoother experience with fewer slowdowns than the base model with a Pentium Gold CPU and 4GB of memory. As it's a very compact device with a small battery, you can expect it to last about seven hours of light use on a full charge. Another downside of such a compact device is its limited port selection. You only get a single USB-C port that supports charging and video output (not Thunderbolt), an SD card reader, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and Microsoft's proprietary Surface Connect charging port.
Another device to consider is the flagship Microsoft Surface Pro 8 (2021). Since this is an older model, and there's a newer Surface Pro 9, you can often find the base Core i5 model on sale for around $700. Naturally, it's a significantly better device than the Surface Go 3. It has a bigger, sharper, brighter display, more processing power, and a second USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 port. Also, since it's larger, the keyboard feels much more spacious. The catch is that the $700 price tag doesn't include the keyboard, so if you want the whole package, you'll have to spend more, around $850 to $900.
Sep 25, 2023: Small text changes to provide more information about the 2023 version of the Acer Chromebook Spin 714 and the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3's under-$700 configurations. Added the HP Victus 15 (2022) as a Notable Mention.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best laptops under $700 and best gaming laptops under $700 to buy for most people. We factor in the price (a cheaper laptop wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no laptops that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you prefer to make your own decision, here's the list of all of our laptop reviews. Keep in mind that most laptops are available in various configurations, and the table only shows the results of the model we tested, so it's best to see the full review for information about other variants.