Best overall: ASUS ZenBook UX330UA

Thin and light with performance hardware to back it up.

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A lot of laptops in this price range will use a low-res display with attractive hardware in order to keep the price down and interest up, but the ZenBook UX330UA really has it all. For about $700, you get a 13.3-inch 1080p display, an 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U processor (CPU), 8GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 256GB SATA solid-state drive (SSD). A fingerprint reader allows you to log in with Windows Hello, and for ports it has three USB-A 3.0, an SD card reader, micro-HDMI, and a USB-C 3.1 port. The entire thing weighs just 2.6 pounds (1.18kg).

Bottom line: Within this price range, the ASUS ZenBook UX330UA is hard to beat.

One more thing: This laptop is just half an inch thick, making it easy to bring with you wherever you go.

Why the ASUS ZenBook UX330UA is the best laptop for most people in this price range

The ASUS ZenBook UX330UA looks like a laptop that costs a lot more than $700 thanks to a slim aluminum-alloy chassis and brushed-metal finish. The chassis still holds an impressive number of ports, including three USB-A 3.0, one USB-C 3.1, micro-HDMI, and an SD card reader.

The backlit keyboard has 1.5mm of key travel for a comfortable typing experience, and the large touchpad has a fingerprint reader built in. With Windows Hello, you'll be able to log in almost instantly with just one finger.

As for hardware, you're getting an 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U CPU, 8GB of DDR3 RAM, and a SATA 256GB SSD. This is the right amount of power for productivity tasks, like word processing, web browsing, and video watching, plus you can probably squeeze in a bit of light gaming thanks to the integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620.

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Best gaming: Dell G3 15

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Dell's new gaming lineup of laptops is quite impressive, and the G3 version hits this price range. They're just 0.89 inches thick (22.7mm), yet they have a great selection of ports, including USB-A 3.1, HDMI 2.0, and Ethernet, and pack inside some impressive hardware. For about $720, you're looking at an 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8300H CPU, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, a 1TB hard-disk drive (HDD), and an NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti graphics card (GPU) with 4GB of GDDR5 VRAM. Toss in a 15.6-inch 1080p display, and you have one fine gaming laptop.

Best business: Lenovo ThinkPad E480

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The legendary ThinkPad has many different versions, and the E Series hits this price range. The E480 has a fingerprint reader and a dTPM 2.0 chip to up security, and it comes with plenty of ports, including USB-C, USB-A 3.1, Ethernet, and HDMI, so you can avoid dongles. The 14-inch display has a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, and inside you can choose an 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U CPU, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 1TB HDD. This exact configuration costs about $720, which is not a bad price for this much business PC.

Best convertible: Dell Inspiron 13 5000 2-in-1

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The 13.3-inch Dell Inspiron 13 5000 2-in-1 has a 1080p touch display that supports Dell's Active Pen. You can draw, sketch, and take notes while in tablet mode, then convert it back to notebook mode for some real productivity. For about $750, add an 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U CPU, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 1TB HDD, plus take advantage of an HDMI, two USB-A 3.0, and USB-A 2.0 ports. If you're looking for something versatile in this price range, you've probably found it.

Best notebook: Acer Aspire E 15

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If you don't mind a big laptop, the Acer Aspire E 15 is ready to get to work. It has a full keyboard with number pad, an all-day battery, a 15.6-inch 1080p display, and just about every port you'll ever need (plus an optical drive). Spending about $600 will get you an 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and an NVIDIA MX150 GPU with 2GB of GDDR5 VRAM, enough power for a decent gaming experience. This is a big laptop, but its versatility and battery make up for the size.

Conclusion

There are many laptops in this price range, though the ASUS ZenBook UX330UA offers the best mix of price, features, and performance. If you're a gamer, be sure to have a look at Dell's impressive new G Series.

Best overall: ASUS ZenBook UX330UA

Thin and light with performance hardware to back it up.

See at Amazon

Updated May 24, 2018: We refreshed this roundup with some new laptop choices to ensure you're still looking at the absolute best options in this price range.