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Don’t spend more than $1,000 for a gaming laptop on Prime Day

Finding a gaming laptop that’s actually good value is no easy feat. The last two years of the pandemic and the chip shortage got us used to some really overpriced laptops and PC hardware, so much so that staying around the $1,000 range is tricky. This is especially true if you’re in the market for a gaming laptop — those things can cost a pretty penny if you’re looking for something that can actually tackle AAA games.

Here’s a perhaps controversial take — there’s really no need to spend thousands of dollars to get a good gaming laptop. The manufacturers might have you believe otherwise, but the vast majority of gamers will be satisfied with something more midrange and won’t need to spend a fortune to get something of value. With that said, Amazon Prime Day deals are finally here, and we’ve spotted a couple of laptops that pretty much fit the “under $1,000” price bracket — and they can give you a lot of gaming power for that price.

Two MSI Stealth 15M gaming laptops over a white background.

Staying firmly under $1,000 is tricky, but you can do that and still walk away with a good laptop if you check out the Lenovo Legion 5. The 16% discount brings its price down to just $969, and that’s a real steal for the kind of hardware that it delivers. You’re getting a very decent processor, the AMD Ryzen 5 5600H, as well as Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3060 in its mobile version. This setup can tackle a whole lot of games, and if you’re willing to compromise on settings, you’ll be able to play even the latest titles with no problems. If there’s one thing to pick on, it’s the amount of RAM — it’d be nice to see more than 8GB of DDR4 memory, but the low price has to come from somewhere.

Aside from the two big-ticket components, namely the CPU and the GPU, the Lenovo Legion 5 comes with a 15.6-inch Full HD screen surrounded by thin bezels. The 120Hz refresh rate is optimal for gaming — you’ll enjoy it especially if you’re into e-sports titles. The 512GB NVMe TLC SSD rounds out the package. All in all, this is a really solid laptop. It might not have the same specs as the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro we reviewed a while back, but for just $969, it’s definitely worth grabbing. You’ll get yourself a decent machine without overspending.

If you’re not a fan of the low RAM on the Legion 5, you might want to check out a slightly better option that delivers a bunch of upgrades for a slight bump in price. The MSI Stealth 15M joins the ranks of the best Prime Day laptop deals with a 24% discount that knocks the price down to $1,059. While that means it slips past the “under $1,000” mark, it’s still an affordable laptop, and the $90 increase over the Lenovo Legion 5 is completely reasonable. In this case, spending more is a good idea — as long as you don’t mind the extra expense.

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro with the lid half-closed.

MSI teamed up with Intel for this laptop, so we’re getting an Intel Core i7-11375H processor that can deliver boost clock speeds of up to 5.3GHz. In terms of graphics, things stay the same here with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060. However, there’s a bump in terms of RAM, bringing it up to a much more modern 16GB. The refresh rate is also slightly higher at 144Hz, but realistically, you won’t be able to tell much of a difference in that regard.

Both of these laptops are light and thin, so you can game on the go with ease. In fact, MSI claimed that the Stealth 15M was the world’s thinnest gaming laptop upon release. MSI wins out thanks to the extra RAM, small bump in refresh rates, and a wider range of connectivity options — it even has a Thunderbolt 4 port. Ultimately, they’re similar machines — whichever one you pick, you’ll get yourself thousands of hours’ worth of entertainment.

If you’re not convinced …

Now, I know that I said you don’t need to spend more than $1,000 to get yourself a decent gaming laptop — and I stand by it. When it comes to electronics, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the chase and end up spending more than you need to on hardware you won’t make the most of. But, if you’re not convinced by the MSI and the Lenovo, and you’re able to spend more, there’s one more deal that’s worthy of your attention: the Alienware M15 R6.

This is a beefy gaming laptop with most of the bells and whistles you’d like to have in order to support enthusiast gaming habits. The price breaks out of the “$under 1,000” bracket considerably, though. Discounted by 13%, the Alienware M15 R6 now costs $1,699 — but it’s still worth your money thanks to the upgrades it’s able to deliver.

Two Alienware m15 R6 gaming laptops with one placed forward displaying Aliens: Fireteam Elite and the other faced backwards so you can only see the bezel.

Much like the two laptops above, this Alienware notebook comes with a 15.6-inch Full HD screen. However, it has an intensely high refresh rate of 360Hz that will help you breeze through all kinds of games that are able to utilize it. While still equipped with an 11th Gen Intel processor, this one has a Core i7-11800H with a large 24MB cache and a clock speed of up to 4.6GHz. It also delivers better graphics thanks to Nvidia’s ever-so-popular RTX 3070.

The upgrades continue upon closer inspection. The Alienware M15 R6 comes with a whopping 32GB of DDR4 RAM alongside a 1TB SSD. It also has a mechanical keyboard that Alienware co-developed with Cherry. All in all, Alienware brings a few performance and quality-of-life improvements over the previous two, and that 360Hz refresh rate is a steal at this price. If you’re willing to spend more, in this case, it’s actually going to be worth it.

Most of us have been waiting for what feels like forever to see well-priced laptops in stock. Things have certainly been improving in that regard, with prices slowly beginning to normalize. However, it’s always better to grab a deal while it’s there, and with the Prime Day discounts, all three of these laptops are a good pick, so if you want to get yourself an upgrade, now is the time to do so.

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