Gaming laptops have come a long way in recent years and you no longer have to spend a fortune to get a proper kit. There are plenty of great options that start under $ 1,000 without sacrificing all the useful features that make playing so much fun. In fact, we’ve found several affordable gaming laptops that start at $ 700 and offer a decent gaming experience for their value.
This means you are not limited to playing in low definition on cheap gaming notebooks and you can enjoy the immersive experience of playing games like Fortnite, Minecraft, Apex Legends, CS: GO and PUBG. Getting what is considered an affordable gaming laptop still costs a nice penny, but frugal gamers can save even more money by looking for the best cheap laptop deals on a refurbished or open laptop from similarMicro Center a .
The recommendations below are based on our reviews and testing. Our goal is to help you get the perfect gaming experience on a cheap laptop. And if you want to improve your gaming and work from home, you may want to look for some cheap gaming equipment to help you with that. We will update this list of the best cheap gaming laptop options as we review new products. Also, if you need help decrypting what specifications you should look for in a good, inexpensive gaming laptop, we have a few tips below.
Dell has streamlined its G-Series notebooks and switched from three models to one – all for the best. Instead of having to decode different features and the differences in quality between them, there is only one chassis with different configurations with an Intel 11th generation processor or AMD Ryzen 5000 H-series processor, although these models start at $ 1,200 or more. All processors can be paired with up to 6GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060, 8GB DDR4 RAM or 16GB DDR4 RAM and 256GB SSD or 512GB SSD. They are basically cheaper versions of those from its Alienware division, but they are still able to play the latest AAA titles. Prices have been rising and falling lately due to supply problems, so if you’re a player on a tight budget, you may have to wait until you get the best deal. This gaming notebook has eight USB ports and the notebook is available in two colors.
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The Acer Nitro 5 is the best affordable gaming notebook, which comes in sizes 17.3 and 15.6 inches. A 17-inch cheap gaming notebook is a rarity with basic gaming notebooks; most gaming laptops under $ 1,000 have a 15.6-inch display and the larger Acer screen allows players to immerse themselves and get lost in the chosen gaming world. Unfortunately, larger screens are currently just over $ 1,000. This inexpensive gaming notebook comes with an 11th generation Intel Core processor with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD.
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It’s a bright green backlit keyboard that really reveals that HP’s 15.6-inch Pavilion Gaming notebook isn’t just a normal mid-size notebook. Sure, there are some pretty large rear vents, but otherwise the chassis is quite tame and all black, except for the slightly green tinge of the HP logo on the lid. Inside the gaming laptop is an excellent mix of components that are good for playing and working.
Legion 5 is an updated version of the Y540, which was one of our favorite gaming laptops for its design and the best value gaming laptop. There have been a few changes to the design of this gaming machine, but most of what’s inside has changed, including the choice between AMD (Legion 5) and Intel (Legion 5i) processors. Prices still start at just under $ 1,000 for AMD models, but if you can spend closer $ 1,300, you get more for your money. If you’re a gamer who needs to keep costs low, the company’s budget for the IdeaPad Gaming 3 gaming laptop starts at $ 650.
Are Cheap Gaming Laptops Worth It?
You can find a good cheap gaming laptop, but compared to more expensive laptops they definitely have performance limitations. The components necessary for a pleasant gaming experience on a PC are expensive, which means that even basic gaming laptops still normally range between $ 700 and $ 1,000. Also, because these models use lower-class components, the gaming performance they will have in today’s challenging AAA games may not stand up for future titles.
Cheap gaming laptops are worth considering if you usually play older games or games that are not graphics-intensive, or if you want to play with reduced graphics quality to maintain a high frame rate. They are also a good option if you are looking for a laptop for work or school, but with enough graphics performance for normal gaming during outages.
What should I look for in a cheap gaming laptop?
For the best gaming experience with a cheap gaming laptop, you want to make sure you get the most graphics performance available from the start, because unlike memory or storage, it can’t be upgraded later.
A cheap gaming laptop with a basic Nvidia GTX 1650 normally starts at around $ 700, although the current shortage of chips increases prices and supplies are low. This chip gives you enough graphics performance to play the latest challenging games at medium settings. When you spend between $ 800 and $ 1,000 (or maybe a little more), you get a GTX 1650 Ti, 1660 Ti or even 3050 Ti laptop for a better gaming experience.
If you have a tight budget when buying a cheap gaming laptop, choose the Nvidia GTX 1650 graphics chip again. If you can afford to spend more than $ 1,000, you will be better off in the long run, because now and later you will be able to play more challenging games.
What other components should I look for in a cheap gaming laptop?
With CPU, memory and storage, your choices are a little more flexible for a cheap gaming laptop, especially the last two. Because many games, such as first-person shooters, rely more on a graphics chip than a CPU, you don’t necessarily need the fastest one available. Going with a midrange CPU like the Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 is a sure bet.
Gaming laptops, especially the cheaper ones, also allow you to easily expand or upgrade memory and storage. If you are going to save, this is the best place to do it with the expectation that you will eventually upgrade and put your money into the GPU and CPU instead.
In addition to the graphics chip, look for:
- Intel Core i5 or i7 10th, 11th or 12th generation processor or AMD Ryzen 4000 or 5000 series.
- At least 8 GB of memory (aka RAM) and the ability to add more after purchase.
- At least 512GB SSD or a combination of 256GB SSD storage and a larger hard drive.
Do cheap gaming laptops have good displays?
Most of your money goes to components, so the other parts – the display, keyboard and trackpad, and the build quality – will be fine, but not fantastic. That’s why I’m leaning towards models like the Dell G15, which has its own power input and additional ports on the back for cleaner setup when connected to external peripherals. It also has decent battery life, which is something that usually declines with cheap gaming laptops.
This means that the display quality of entry-level notebooks has improved over the last few years, especially in terms of refresh rates. It is now common to find the offered 120Hz or 144Hz displays, which will make the fast movement in your games look smoother and give you a more sensitive experience. It is not worth paying extra if the GPU is not capable of faster frame rates for your games.
The process of inspecting laptops, desktops, tablets, and other computer-like devices consists of two parts: performance testing under controlled conditions in CNET labs, and extensive practical use by our expert reviewers. This includes an evaluation of the aesthetics, ergonomics and functions of the device. The final review verdict is a combination of these objective and subjective judgments.
The list of comparison software we use changes over time as the devices we test evolve. The most important basic tests we currently run on every compatible computer include: Primate Labs Geekbench 5, Cinebench R23, PCMark 10 and 3DMark Fire Strike Ultra.
You can find a more detailed description of each benchmark and how we use it on our How We Test Computers page.