You don't need to splurge for a capable and portable notebook, though you may need some luck to snag one as many models are out of stock. Last we checked, the following entry-level and mainstream picks can be found at their manufacturers' websites, as well as online platforms such as Lazada and Shopee. But do expect delivery to take a week or even longer in most cases.
NOTEBOOKS UNDER $2,000
Acer Swift 3
$1,698 (available on Amazon)
With a 3:2 aspect ratio that offers more vertical screen real estate, the Swift 3's display is ideal for office workers who spend most of their time on spreadsheets and documents.
The Swift 3 also comes with the latest features, such as Wi-Fi 6 for fast wireless speeds and a Thunderbolt 3 port for speedy data transfer.
Dell Inspiron 14 7000 (7490)
Thanks to its magnesium alloy chassis, the Dell Inspiron 14 7000 notebook weighs a handy 1.1kg.
A fingerprint sensor integrated into the power button lets you log into your Windows account securely with a single touch when starting up the computer.
Lenovo ThinkPad E14
You can't go wrong with a Lenovo ThinkPad if your top consideration is having a good, tactile keyboard.
The latest entry-level ThinkPad E14 has a slimmer chassis than its predecessor, as well as the latest hardware such as a 10th-generation Intel Core i5 processor and a dedicated AMD Radeon RX640 graphics chip.
NOTEBOOKS UNDER $1,500
Apple MacBook Air
$1,449 (available on Shopee)
For those who are wedded to Apple's ecosystem, consider the latest MacBook Air, which was recently updated with an improved, more clicky keyboard.
While it remains more pricey than an equivalent Windows laptop, the entry-level Air has sufficient memory (8GB) and storage (256GB) for e-mails, editing documents and software development.
Asus ZenBook 14 (UM433DA)
$1,398 (available on Shopee)
This AMD-powered notebook has a special touchpad that doubles up as a number pad.
With its quad-core AMD Ryzen 7 3700U processor, the ZenBook 14 can breeze through basic computing tasks. Its integrated AMD Radeon graphics chip can even run older games like Overwatch at modest settings.
HP Pavilion 13
$1,399 (available on Shopee)
Powerful yet lightweight, the HP Pavilion 13 fits a top-tier Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of system memory and a 512GB solid-state drive (SSD) into a portable 1.3kg package.
With a thickness of 15mm, it is also the slimmest model ever in HP's Pavilion series of mainstream notebooks.
NOTEBOOKS UNDER $1,000
Acer Aspire 5 (A514)
Inside the nondescript 1.5kg body of the Acer Aspire 5 are the latest computing hardware such as a 10th-generation Intel Core i5-10210U chip, a 512GB SSD and a Wi-Fi 6 wireless chipset.
There is also a dedicated Nvidia graphics chip that can run esports titles like Fortnite smoothly. And all that for less than $1,000.
Dell Chromebook 3100
The Dell Chromebook 3100 is built to withstand the rough and tumble of school life with its rubberised edges and spill-resistant keyboard.
Dell says the notebook has been tested to "survive 5,000 free fall micro-drops and 30-inch drops onto steel". It also boasts an all-day battery life of up to 14 hours.
Lenovo Chromebook C340-11
The handy 11-inch Lenovo Chromebook can transform into a tablet by folding its flexible hinge.
In its tablet form, users can easily tap the Chromebook's touchscreen to run Android apps, which are available conveniently through the built-in Google Play Store.