11 Best Laptops Under $1200 | Reviews and a Buying Guide

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Top-of-the-line features without the top-of-the-line price tag. You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a great laptop. Here are our top picks for laptops under $1200.

Best Laptops Under $1200

Shopping for a new laptop can be exciting, but it can also be a daunting task. You might not know what to look for when buying a laptop, or you might be overwhelmed by all of the choices out there.

How do you know which one is right for you with so many different models and brands to choose from? You want to buy a new laptop, but you don’t want to spend more than $1200. Even though you’re on a budget, you don’t want to sacrifice quality. You need a laptop that can handle all your needs, from work to play.

This article will review 11 of the best laptops for under $1200 and rank them based on their performance, features, design, and value. So whether you are looking for a powerful gaming laptop or a sleek and lightweight model for everyday use, we have you covered!

Best Laptops Under $1200 Compared

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Best Laptops for Under 1200 Dollars: Reviews

1. Acer Swift X 

  • It is lightweight and therefore highly portable.
  • Has an uncompromised battery life
  • It comes with the AMD Ryzen 7 5800U Processor to help speed up tasks.
  • Offers a true visual representation.
  • It is a little short on ports
  • Users have reported WiFi issues, partly because Mediatek, not Intel, makes the card.

2. MSI 15M Stealth Gaming Laptop 

  • It is highly portable
  • It comes with an RGB keyboard
  • You can use it for a range of functions
  • There have been complaints about flickering screens.
  • It has no Ethernet port, which necessitates the use of a dongle

3. Acer Nitro 5

  • It has a powerful microprocessor
  • It has 1TB of storage
  • It has a bigger screen that is convenient for gaming
  • It is quite heavy and may therefore be inconvenient for some

4. Dell Inspiron 15 5000

  • It has several ports.
  • It is light enough, hence portable.
  • It has a high bandwidth RAM.
  • Better versions keep coming every year

5. Asus ZenBook

  • It is relatively cheaper regardless of its features.
  • It offers flexible performance
  • It is highly portable
  • Complaints about the keyboard’s backlit being too bright in the dark

6. HP Pavilion 15

  • Fast and responsive
  • Excellent audio
  • Easy to set up
  • No ethernet port

7. Asus VivoBook S15

  • It has a Screenpad 2.0 that offers a secondary touchscreen.
  • A powerful processor backs it.
  • Has a touchscreen display
  • It is more of a business than a gaming laptop

8. Asus ROG Strix Gaming Laptop 

  • Its keyboard is properly backlit
  • It is aesthetically pleasing.
  • Fast
  • Superb refresh rate and FHD display
  • It doesn’t have a camera
  • Comes with a short warranty duration

9. Lenovo IdeaPad

  • Lenovo laptops are reliable.
  • It is enhanced by 6- ultra-responsive cores.
  • Fully upgradeable
  • Lightweight
  • Poor battery life when gaming

10. Apple MacBook Air 

  • It is fast and efficient
  • It is light
  • It has a powerful GPU
  • Ideal for video editing
  • Lacking sufficient ports

11. Microsoft Surface Pro

  • It has a fully functional touchscreen.
  • It is light and aesthetically pleasing aluminum chassis
  • It uses a solid-state drive.
  • Great thermal tech
  • Shorter battery life
  • No Thunderbolt ports

Video: Top 10 Tips for Buying a New Laptop

Best Laptops Under $1200: Buying Guide

When buying a budget laptop, there are several features that you need to look out for to ensure that you get the best value for your money. Here are some of these factors:


The processor is one of the most important things to consider when choosing a laptop. It determines how fast your device will be and how efficiently it can handle different tasks. If you are a heavy user who likes to multi-task, you need to get a laptop with a powerful processor such as an Intel Core I or AMD Ryzen. Quad-core processors will offer peak performance, but dual-core will work fine for most everyday computing tasks.

Best Laptops Under $1200

Storage and RAM

The storage and RAM of your device also play a significant role in its overall performance. If you like to store any data on your laptop, you need to get one with a large storage capacity. It is advisable to get a laptop with at least 8GB of DDR4 RAM. This will ensure that your laptop can handle multiple tasks simultaneously without any lag. Some models in the sub $1200 bracket offer 16GB RAM, but you’ll have to weigh up your needs and budget to see if this is necessary because you’ll have to sacrifice something else to remain within budget.

Screen size and resolution

When it comes to the screen, size does matter. The larger the screen, the more immersive your viewing experience will be. However, a large screen also means that the laptop will be heavier and take up more space in your bag. A good compromise is to find a laptop with a 15-inch display. Regarding resolution, aim for a model that has Full HD or higher. Anything lower, and you will see pixelation on text and images.

Screen type

We all know that technology is important and screen quality matters. The type of panel used can make a world difference, so it’s best to invest in high-quality devices with these advanced screens!

The three main types of screen technology available are:

TN panels: Generally offer fast response times but poor color reproduction making them better for gaming than creating.

IPS screens can produce rich colors with impeccable accuracy while maintaining fairly fast refresh rates.

IPS – Advance: Finally, there’s a new breed. These advanced formulations combine both high speeds while still producing artistically perfect colors.

Laptop Graphics Card

Graphics card

It goes without saying that if you are looking to do some serious gaming or video editing on your laptop, you need to get one that has a good graphics card. Graphics cards can range from entry-level options such as the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 to high-end ones like the RTX 3080. Suppose you don’t plan on doing any gaming or resource-intensive tasks. In that case, you can save some money by getting a laptop with an integrated graphics card, such as Intel HD graphics, but bear in mind you won’t be able to render 3D models or edit 4K videos. It all depends on your needs and budget.

Ports and Connectivity

The next thing you need to consider is the ports and connectivity options that your laptop offers. Most laptops will have the standard USB ports, HDMI port, and a headphone jack. However, some of the more premium models will also offer Thunderbolt or USB-C ports which offer faster data transfer speeds. If you like to use any external devices, such as an extra monitor or printer, you must ensure your laptop has the appropriate ports.


A touchscreen laptop can be a great option if you like to use Windows Ink or just like the convenience and flexibility of using your fingers on the screen. Bear in mind that not all laptops with touchscreens offer this feature, so it’s something you need to check before making your purchase.

Battery life

Last but not least is battery life. No one wants to be tethered to a power outlet all day, so it’s important to get a laptop that can last you through a full workday. Aim for at least six hours of battery life but bear in mind that this will vary depending on your usage. If you like to stream movies or play graphics-intensive games, you can expect your battery to drain faster.

Frequently Asked Questions for The Best Laptops Under 1200 Dollars


Chromebook vs. laptop, which is right for you?

The answer to this question depends on your needs. If you are looking for a device primarily for browsing the internet, checking email, and doing light work, then the best Chromebook would be a good option. However, if you need a more powerful machine for video editing or gaming tasks, you will need to get a laptop.

Can you download the latest games on these laptops?

Most of the laptops on this list come with powerful hardware that will handle the latest games. However, suppose you are looking for a laptop specifically for gaming. In that case, you need to make sure it has a good graphics card, at least 512GB SSD storage, a quad-core processor, a high refresh rate display, and sufficient RAM to handle multi-tasking.

Why are gaming laptops expensive?

Gaming laptops are expensive because they need to have powerful hardware to handle the latest games. If you are looking for a laptop that can do some light gaming, you don’t need to spend as much money, but if you want a laptop that can handle the most demanding games, you will need to pay more to get the latest tech.

Are touch screens necessary?

No, touchscreens are unnecessary, but they can be convenient and useful for certain tasks. A touch screen laptop will be a good option if you use Windows Ink or find it easier to use your fingers on the screen. However, if you don’t think you would use this feature, you can save some money by getting a non-touchscreen model.

How much RAM do I need?

The amount of RAM you need will depend on your usage. If you only plan on using your laptop for light tasks such as browsing the internet and checking email, then you can get by with less RAM. However, if you want to do more demanding tasks such as video editing or gaming, you will need more RAM to handle multiple programs at once. The sweet spot is usually around 12GB, but it depends on your needs.

Should I consider a refurbished laptop?

A refurbished laptop can be a great option if you want to save some money. However, you need to make sure you buy from a reputable source and that the laptop comes with a warranty. You also need to be aware that there may be some cosmetic wear and tear on the device. If you are okay with these things, then a refurbished laptop can be a great way to get a high-quality machine for a fraction of the price.

Should I get a longer laptop warranty?

A longer laptop warranty can be a good way to protect your investment. However, it can also be expensive and may not be worth it if you only plan to use your laptop for light tasks or seek to upgrade within the warranty period. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of getting a longer warranty before deciding.

Best Laptops Under $1200 Conclusion

So, what do you need to look for when buying a laptop? Here are a few key things to keep in mind. First, decide on the type of laptop that will best suit your needs. If you plan to use your laptop for work and school, you’ll need one with a good processor and enough RAM. If you’re mostly going to be using it for entertainment purposes, like watching movies or playing games, then you’ll want one with a good graphics card.

Second, consider the size and weight of the laptop. You don’t want something too bulky or heavy that will be hard to carry around with you.

Third, decide on a budget. Laptops can range in price from a few hundred dollars to over $2000.

Finally, think about the features you want and need. Do you want a touchscreen? A backlit keyboard? Does the laptop come with a DVD drive or SD card reader? These are all things to consider when making your purchase.

So, what is the best laptop under $1200?

Here are some other articles you may like:

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12 Best Laptops Under $1500: (Reviewed, Rated, and Compared)

Empire Laptops is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you.
Edison Joshua