It’s no secret that gaming can be an expensive hobby, particularly as you’re getting set up. If you’re into PC gaming, purchasing the right laptop and equipment can end up costing you a lot more than a regular console like an Xbox Series X or PS5. If you are looking for more budget-friendly options, there are several high-quality gaming laptops that you can buy without spending thousands of dollars — and still getting all the performance you want!
Note: If you are specifically looking for a gaming laptop to enable VR gameplay, always check the recommended specs for your VR headset. That being said, our picks should generally be able to handle VR gameplay.
Asus TUF Gaming Laptop
Asus’s solid 16-inch TUF laptop is an ideal choice for taking a gaming session on the road, and with multiple model options, it’s easy to find one under $1,000 that still performs well enough to play your favorite games. This particular variation comes with an updated octa-core AMD Ryzen 7 4800H processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB PCIe SSD. Graphics are handled by a more-than-capable GeForce GTX 1660 Ti.
The HD screen supports a 144Hz refresh rate with a five millisecond response time, and the “Hyperstrike” keyboard is designed to imitate desktop keyboards as closely as possible while also offering RGB backlighting options. Asus also has top-notch dual fans on this model to help keep performance up and reduce dust build-up. Ports include USB 3.2, USB 2.0, HDMI, and a headphone/mic combo jack. Asus also includes a gaming mouse with this purchase at no additional cost, the perfect accessory for your mobile gaming setup!
Buyers will have to forego some extras at this price, including USB-C ports and Wi-Fi 6 compatibility. But this Asus TUF laptop is still one of the best you can find at these price levels.
Dell G3 15 3500 Gaming Laptop (2020)
If you play more demanding games that require more processing power, it’s important to find a laptop that can keep up. This 15-inch Dell model is up to the task with a 10th-gen Intel Core i7-10750H processor and 16GB of RAM. It also sports an Nvidia GTX1650Ti GPU to manage more demanding graphics, and offers 512GB of PCIe NVMe SSD storage.
Since a gaming laptop needs to be usable in all kinds of situations, we also appreciate the sturdy FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS screen with an anti-glare coating and up to 300 nits of brightness. The powerful dual-fan cooling system will keep this machine chugging along even when things get busy, too. You also get access to Alienware software to tweak settings and save personalized gaming profiles for later use.
While the G3 15 is a highly capable laptop, you again lose out on a couple of the latest features at this cost point: There are plenty of USB 3.0 ports, but no USB-C, and once more you’ll be limited to Wi-Fi 5 instead of Wi-Fi 6.
HP Pavilion 17 Gaming Laptop (2020)
While 15-inch screens are big enough for many games, if you like larger displays for maximum visual data, this HP laptop offers a 17-inch HD display, supporting up to 300 nits of brightness and a 60Hz refresh rate. Inside, you’ll find a 10th-gen Intel quad-core Core i5-10300H processor, 8GB of RAM, and a GTX 1650 Ti GPU. You also get 256GB of PCIe NVMe SSD storage, plus two empty memory slots if you ever want to do any future upgrades — an excellent addition if you like the idea of getting a more affordable laptop now and investing more in it later on.
If the lack of USB-C bothered you on some of our other picks, you’ll be happy to see it’s included here, plus HDMI 2.0, USB- 3.0, and DisplayPort 1.4. HP’s command center software also makes it easier to switch settings or manage overclocking in a controlled environment.
Keep in mind, with a larger laptop like the Pavilion 17, carrying it around won’t be as easy, and you’ll need to find larger laptop bags to handle it!
HP Omen 15 Gaming Laptop
Those interested in future-proofing their laptop for the long haul will appreciate that HP’s 15-inch laptop includes both Thunderbolt 3/USB-C and support for Wi-Fi 6, in addition to HDMI 2.0a and DisplayPort. The full HD and anti-glare display has a 60Hz refresh rate, and Bluetooth 5.0 is here if you prefer to use wireless accessories.
Inside, you’ll find a highly capable 10th-gen, six-core Intel Core i7-10750H processor, 8GB of RAM, and 512GB of PCIe NVMe SSD storage. This is another model where two memory slots are included for future upgrades if you want to add extras!
We’ll also note that the Omen 15 has a very similar physical design to the HP Pavilion model we covered above: It comes with a sturdy, full-sized RGB keyboard that includes a numeric keypad and offset trackpad. It’s a great setup but if you aren’t used to the numeric keyboard design it may take a little repositioning to get the best feel for it.
Lenovo IdeaPad L340 (2020)
Lenovo’s 15-inch IdeaPad has been specifically customed for gaming purposes, plus plentiful 1TB PCIe SSD storage if you prefer to have a local library downloaded or store lots of media on the side. It comes equipped with a ninth-gen quad-core Intel Core i5-9300H processor, 8GB of RAM, and Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1650 for graphics. Connections include USB 3.1, USB-C, and HDMI, although unfortunately there’s no Wi-Fi 6 support here.
This is another laptop that comes with its own wireless gaming mouse, which is a nice bit of added value if you’re looking for a similar accessory. We also this gaming IdeaPad’s slim design that makes it a particular portable option if you’re planning on being regularly on the go.
Shopping on a budget? We’ve also rounded up the best Black Friday gaming laptop deals ahead of Black Friday sales.
Acer Nitro Gaming Laptop
As one of the top
While it’s on the more expensive side, this laptop comes with excellent storage, speed, and screen resolution.
At 0.91 inches thick, it’s not the thinnest laptop available, but the Acer Predator Helios 300 still features a modern look with a backlit, bezel keyboard.
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