Laptops for games can be expensive due to the components needed to make the latest games work. Even cheap gaming laptop options usually range between $ 700 and $ 1,000, but you can actually get decent gaming performance at these prices and they are thinner and lighter than laptops were just a few years ago. Play Fortnite, CS: GO, PUBG, Minecraft and Apex Legends will not be a problem for this. You can save even more money if you are looking for refurbished or open box laptops from sources like Best Buy, Amazon, Micro Center and Woot.
We update this list of the best inexpensive laptops for games while reviewing new products; Our recommendations to help you find your ideal gaming experience based on our reviews and tests are below. And if you want to improve your gaming and work-from-home experience, you can explore this cheap toys to help you do that.
Sarah Tew / CNET
The Acer Nitro 5 comes in 17.3- and 15.6-inch sizes. A 17-inch laptop is a rarity with entry-level laptops; most laptops under $ 1,000 have 15.6-inch screens, and the larger Acer screen lets you down and get lost in whatever world you play in.
On the other hand, you can get the Nitro 5 with a 15.6-inch screen for as low as $ 670, including an AMD Ryzen 5 4600H processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphics. At this level you are able to play current games with FHD resolution with the graphics settings on medium to high depending on the game you are playing naturally. Still, Acer is an affordable game laptop that includes some nice extras, such as direct control for power and cooling, and upgraded access to memory and storage. Read CNET’s review of the 17.3-inch Acer Nitro 5.
The Legion 5 is an updated version of Y540 from last year, which was one of our favorite laptops for its design and value. There have been a few changes to the design of this game machine, but mostly it’s been changed there, including a choice between AMD (Legion 5) and Intel (Legion 5i) processors. Prices still start at just under $ 1,000. If you need to reduce costs, the IdeaPad Gaming 3 laptop starts at around $ 700.
Sarah Tew / CNET
While the G5 is still our choice, the G3 is available with many of the same components, including CPUs and graphics chips, but for less money. The other features and build quality are not as nice as the G5s, but the G3 is thinner and lighter. This is a good choice if you are looking for a school or home office computer that can also handle the latest games. Read our review of Dell G3 15 Gaming Laptop.
Sarah Tew / CNET
It’s the bright, screaming green keyboard that really gives away that HP’s 15.6-inch Pavilion Gaming laptop is not just a normal mid-sized notebook. Of course, there are some big big ventilation openings on the back, but otherwise the chassis is pretty tame and black, except for a slight green tint to the HP logo on the lid. Inside is an excellent mix of components that are good for play as well as work. Read our HP Pavilion Gaming 15 review.
Sarah Tew / CNET
The Aspire 7 is not a ‘gaming’ laptop, but is an excellent option if you are looking for a laptop at the office, which is also good to play. Along with an Nvidia GTX 1650 graphics card and a tenth-generation Intel Core i5 processor, you get a good 15.6-inch full-HD screen and a multitude of ports for $ 800.
However, the Aspire 7 is a bit thick. For those who prefer something slimmer and lighter, the Aspire 5 hits the mark and is available with an MX250 graphics card for less than $ 1,000. Read our Acer Aspire 7 review.
Buying Tips for a Cheap Laptop
Older laptops with Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 10 series GPUs still exist, but the options for laptops are not as good as before. Laptops with an entry-level GTX 1050 Ti card usually start at around $ 700 if you can find it. That chip offers you enough graphical performance to play the latest demanding games in low to medium settings. If you spend between $ 800 and $ 1,000 (or a little more), you’ll get a laptop with a newer GTX 1650, 1650 Ti or 1660 Ti or an older Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 for a great gaming experience. Plus, with the 6GB version of the GTX 1060, you can experience some of the radiation trace effects available with the more expensive RTX cards.
For the best gaming experience with a cheap laptop, you want to make sure you get the most graphics power from the start, as it can not be upgraded later, other than memory or storage. If you have a tight budget, go with an older Nvidia Geforce GTX 1050 Ti or newer 1650 graphics card, which will give you good gaming performance on newer games with medium or high settings, with prices of around $ 600. If you can afford to spend closer to $ 1,000, it’s better to get a laptop with an older Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 with 6GB of memory or newer 1660 Ti in the long run.
In addition to the graphic slide, look for:
- A ninth or tenth generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processor or AMD Ryzen 4000 series processor
- At least 8 GB of memory (including RAM) and the ability to add more after purchase
- At least a 256 GB solid-state disk, a combination of a 128 GB SSD storage and hard disk or a large solid-state hybrid
Most, if not all game laptops, allow you to easily expand or upgrade your memory and storage. So it is better to put your money in the GPU and processor. Of course, you get more for your money with a gaming computer, but if you do not have room for one, or if you need mobility, these cheap laptops are worth it.
More games that (almost) any non-laptop can use
See all photos