The Best Gaming Laptops Under $1,500 (Plus Other Budget Options)

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Let’s get one thing out of the way: if you want to play Triple-A titles on your laptop at medium-to-high settings, it’s not going to come cheap. But just because it doesn’t come cheap doesn’t mean you have to sell your kidney on the black market to afford an ROG Mothership or a Predator Triton; yes, those laptops are the dream, but with both models coming in at a whopping $6,000 and $4,200 respectively, they’re not the most practical purchases.

In fact, some of the best gaming laptops are under $1,500, and while that’s still a pretty penny, it’s an affordable price for portable gaming power. For the die-hard gamers who might be strapped for cash, we’ve also included a few options for some of the best gaming laptops under $800 and under $500, just so you can get in on the fun.

Best Gaming Laptops Under $1,500

Image Product Details Price Product Link
Acer Predator Helios...image Acer Predator Helios 300

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$1,539.00 See it on Amazon
Alienware 15 R4...image Dell Alienware R4

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$1,199.99 See it on Amazon
MSI GF65 Thin...image MSI GF65-Thin

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$943.00 See it on Amazon
ASUS TUF FX505DT...image ASUS TUF FX505DT

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$699.99 See it on Amazon
Dell G3 Gaming...image Dell G3

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$709.99 See it on Amazon
HP 15-dy1036nr 10th...image HP 15-dy1036nr

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$598.05 See it on Amazon
Acer Aspire 5...image Acer Aspire 5 Slim

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$364.99 See it on Amazon

Acer Predator Helios 300

Acer Predator Helios 300

Quick Specs:

  • Intel Core i7 Processor
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU
  • 15.6″ HD IPS Display with 1920×1080 resolution
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM
  • 512GB NVMe SSD Storage

Coming in at just under the $1,500 mark is the Acer Predator Helios 300, Acer’s newest entry-level laptop for its premium line of gaming rigs. It comes with an i7 processor, a GTX 1660 Ti GPU, a 16GB RAM, and 512GB of NVMe SSD storage.

The chassis is pretty cool, too: textured metal gives the laptop body a sturdy, industrial look that’s accentuated by sleek geometric angles that taper into hard edges. The whole thing is kept cool by an ultrathin AeroBlade 3D fan cooling system, and it comes with a standard backlit keyboard. All of this, of course, is intentional: the Predator was built to be an Acer gaming laptop.

But while it’s so cool, it really isn’t our number one pick for the best gaming laptop under $1,500. Check the specs again: you’re getting comparable –if not exactly the same –specs as the MSI GF65-Thin (see specs and review below), but at $600 more. They perform in roughly the same category and they score pretty much the same on various user benchmark tests.

Really, the extra cash you’ll be shelling out will be for the Acer brand name and the pretty cool-looking chassis. And honestly, if that’s not something that bothers you, then go right ahead and treat yourself! Pair it with our best mechanical keyboards under $50 for a full-on gaming experience.

Pros
  • Lag-free 1080p Performance
  • Sleek Chassis
  • 240HZ Screen is super smooth and seamless
  • Has space for 3 Storage Drives
Cons
  • Average CPU Performance compared to its competitors
  • Sleek chassis, but some of the edges can be a bit sharp
  • Laptop can get hot when performing at max load

Price: starts at $1,468 on Amazon

 

Dell Alienware R4

Alienware 15 R4

Quick Specs:

High Ground Overview:

  • Intel Core i7 processor
  • NVIDIA GTX 1060 GPU
  • 15.6″ HD IPS Display with 1920×1080 resolution
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM
  • 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD memory

There was once a time when the word “Alienware” was synonymous with being one of the most advanced and expensive pieces of gaming machinery. And honestly, the same can still be said today, but Dell has started releasing more affordable Alienware laptops over the past decade, and the Alienware R4 is one of their contenders for the best gaming laptop under $1,500.

At just over a thousand bucks, the Alienware R4 comes with i7 processor, a GTX 1060 GPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB HDD with an extra 128GB of SSD storage. It’s also sleek as hell, which is something one should expect with Alienware, and it comes with a 15.6” monitor. As far as Dell gaming laptops go, the R4 is your best bet for gaming on an Alienware laptop on a budget.

Here’s the downside, though: it comes in at 12.6 lbs. Compared to the GF65-Thin’s 4lbs and the Predator 300’s 5lbs, the Alienware R4 is the chonky boi of the three. But if you plan on just leaving it on your desk, it should be ok (check out our top picks for some of the best ergonomic mouse for under $30).

It also doesn’t come with the more advanced GTX GPU, but gamers can still play their triple-A games at high graphics settings.

Pros
  • Amazing aesthetic design
  • 1TB SSD Storage
  • Customizable keyboard and chassis lighting
  • Multiple ports
Cons
  • 60fps at 4k with ray tracing is still impossible despite the price
  • 60HZ 4K is not the best choice for gaming
  • VERY heavy

Price: starts at $1,199 on Amazon

 

MSI GF65-Thin

MSI GF65

Quick Specs:

  • Intel Core i7 Processor
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU
  • Display: 15.6″ HD IPS Display with 1920×1080 resolution
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM
  • 512GB NVMe SSD storage

As we mentioned at the start of this article, this is possibly the best gaming laptop under $1,500. The MSI GF65-Thin starts at around $900 on Amazon, and it’s a steal for what you’re getting: an Intel i7 processor, 6GB of RAM, a built-in 512GB NVMe SSD, and NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1660 Ti. All of this comes bundled in a sleek, aluminum casing that looks and feels sturdy along with anti-ghost backlit keys and a 15.6” monitor. It’s not the best MSI gaming laptop out there, but it is definitely one of the best they can offer under the $1,500 mark.

The GTX 1660 Ti isn’t exactly the most advanced GPU out there, but it’s more than enough to get you gaming on triple-A titles at high settings. You could probably overclock so you can get to Ultra High, but we wouldn’t recommend it. Not officially, anyway. If you do, make sure you get some of the best laptop cooling pads out there, as the MSI GF65 does run a little warm.

Is it the best gaming laptop out there? Probably not, but for something that’s just under a grand, it is one of the best gaming laptops you could get on a moderate budget.

Pros
  • Provides a lot more performance for the price you’re paying
  • Slim bezels maximize your screen for gaming
  • Sharp and beautiful display
  • Strong HD gaming performance
Cons
  • Chassis is sturdy, but it does flex when pressed
  • Memory not configured to run in dual channel mode out of the box
  • Laptop gets hot during gaming

Price: starts at $944 on Amazon

 

Best Gaming Laptops Under $800

Those were our picks for the best gaming laptops under $1,500. But what if you’re just slightly short on cash? Well, we’ve picked out a couple of rigs for people with slightly lower budget.

Take note, however, that the reduction of price means a reduction in gaming capabilities. This isn’t to say that you can’t play your triple-A titles anymore, but it might mean that you won’t be able to play them in high settings. You get what you pay for, after all.

ASUS TUF FX505DT

ASUS TUF FX505DT

Quick Specs:

  • Ryzen 5 r5-3550h processor
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 4GB GPU
  • 15.6″ HD IPS Display with 1920×1080 resolution
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM
  • 256GB NVMe SSD storage

Our top pick for the best gaming laptop under $800 is the Asus TUF FX505DT for a number of reasons, not the least of which is its pretty impressive GTX 1650 GPU. It’s the slightly less powerful iteration of the GTX line, but at 4GB, it’s no lightweight. In fact, with a bit of overclocking, you could probably push this laptop to play triple-A titles on Ultra high. Again, we’re not officially recommending you do that, but if you do, be careful.

Other than its GPU, the TUF FX505DT comes with a Ryzen 5 processor, 8GB DDR4 RAM, and 256GBs of NVMe SSD storage. It’s all housed in the TUF lineup’s military-grade chassis and anti-dust dual-fan tech. For people with a limited budget, this is the next best thing to a GF65.

Pros
  • Dual storage bays
  • 120HZ display options
  • Compact and light
Cons
  • Single-channel RAM
  • No go-sync
  • Slower frame rates

Price: starts at $734 on Amazon

 

Dell G3

Dell G3 Gaming Laptop

Quick Specs:

  • Intel Core i5 processor
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 4GB GPU
  • 15.6” HD IPS Display with 1920×1080 resolution
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM
  • 256GB NVMe SSD storage

Another budget option from Dell, the G3 gaming laptop has specs comparable to the FX505DT. We say comparable, but really, it’s practically the same: i5 processor, GTX 1050 GPU, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of NVMe SSD storage. It’s the same sized monitor as well, which means that capabilities-wise, it’s almost the same machine. You could get yourself one of the best wireless keyboards out there just to be different.

What is different is the chassis: the TUF FX505DT boasts of military-grade toughness (which is one of the main selling points of the TUF line of laptops), the G3 is housed in a matte-black plastic chassis. Is it sleek? Sure. Does it feel sturdy? I mean, as sturdy as plastic can be. The outside definitely does not compare to the TUF FX505DT, and it doesn’t have the anti-dust dual-fan tech, but if you’re not going to be gaming in the desert or on the beach, the Dell G3 works just as fine, and at a slightly marked-down price tag.

Pros
  • Gaming performance is impressive for the price
  • Beautiful chassis that feels premium
  • Impressive battery life
Cons
  • Display is dull at best

Price: starts at $719 on Amazon

 

Best Gaming Laptops Under $500

And now we come to the bottom of the gaming laptop budget barrel. These are the best gaming laptops under $500 that we’ve found on the market.

Will it game as well as our best gaming laptops under $1,500 and under $800? Of course not: chances are you’ll need to play on medium settings, with overclocking definitely not recommended, and the more premium triple-A titles will be out of your grasp.

HP 15-dy1036nr

HP 15-dy1036nr

Quick Specs:

  • Intel Core i5
  • Integrated GPU
  • 15.6” HD IPS Display with 1920×1080 resolution
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM
  • 256GB NVMe SSD storage

Let’s get one thing out of the way: the HP 15-dy1036nr wasn’t built to be a gaming laptop. It does have an i5 processor, 8GB DDR4 RAM, and 256GBs of NVMe SSD storage. However, it doesn’t come with a GPU; instead, the HP 15 dy-1036nr comes with an integrated graphics chip that isn’t built for triple-A gaming. Of course, there are HP gaming laptops out there, but they’re definitely not going to be anywhere near the $500 range.

That being said, if you’re a casual gamer that doesn’t mind lowering your graphics to low (medium at best) and turning off luxuries like ray tracing and reflections, then you could do far worse than this laptop. Again, we wouldn’t recommend this for serious gamers or for competitive e-sports athletes, but for the casual, RPG/Single-player users, it’s very much ok.

Pros
  • Highly tactile keyboard
  • Smooth non-gaming performance
  • Beautiful chassis
Cons
  • Display is dim
  • No backlit keyboard
  • Capable of playing some games, but NOT a full-experience gaming laptop

Price: starts at $600 on Amazon. Yes, it’s $100 above the $500 budget, but if you keep checking back, sellers might drop the price down to something lower than $500.

 

Acer Aspire 5 Slim

Acer Aspire 5 Slim

Quick Specs:

  • Ryzen 3 3200u processor
  • Vega 3 GPU
  • 15.6” HD IPS Display with 1920×1080 resolution
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM
  • 128GB SSD

At just over $300, the Acer Aspire 5 is a really cheap gaming laptop, probably the cheapest you can get. In fact, it’s more of a “laptop you can use for gaming” rather than “gaming laptop”. That’s because, just like the HP 15, the Acer Aspire wasn’t designed for gaming in mind: it has a low-power-but serviceable Ryzen 3 processor (arguably one of the best budget Ryzen processors), 8GB DDR4 RAM, and a paltry 128GB SSD storage. Just like the HP 15, it doesn’t come with a GPU, instead relying on an integrated Vega 3 chip.

But here’s the thing about the Vega 3, it’s actually quite decent for slightly older titles, but don’t even bother using it for triple-A games. That being said, it can still run more than a few games on medium to high settings, just don’t expect you could play Cyberpunk 2077 on it.

Pros
  • Fast processor despite the price
  • Memory and storage are above average for its price range
  • Great battery life
Cons
  • Mediocre interface
  • AC adapter discharges battery load inefficiently
  • Display is sub-par, even for its price range
  • Capable of playing some games, but is NOT a gaming laptop

Price: starts at $364 on Amazon

 

A Final Word on Budget Gaming Laptops

Gaming laptops are designed to be both portable and powerful, and as such, will require a more expensive price tag to pay for the added complexity, much like when you buy a laptop for video editing.

While a budget of around a thousand to a thousand and five hundred is pretty sufficient, anything below that will have noticeable deficits in your gaming. Again, you could play more than a few titles using the gaming laptops under $800 and $500, but you may or may not get the full experience.

If you’re a serious gamer and/or getting into competitive play, you will need to shell out a fair bit of cash. There are great gaming laptops under $1,500 and that can be enough for now until you can scale up on a more powerful, but more expensive, gaming laptop.

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