Great gaming laptops don’t have to be expensive. Whether you have a tight budget or you just can’t bear to spend thousands of dollars, there are a plethora of budget gaming laptops that will suit your needs. We created a list of ten of the best cheap gaming laptops to check out this year.
Best cheap gaming laptops:
Editor’s Note: Each device comes in under $1,000, features a 15.6-inch display, and is listed in no particular order. We’ll add more cheap gaming laptops to this list as new machines are released.
1. HP Omen 15
The Micro Center variant of the HP Omen 15 is definitely one of the best cheap gaming laptops you can buy. The Omen 15 was already an amazing laptop, but for less than $1,000, this thing is a steal.
It sports a 15.6-inch 1080p 60Hz display, Intel’s ninth-generation i7 CPU, and Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU. The RAM and storage are upgradable, but this model comes with 16GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and a 1TB HDD.
The Omen 15 was already an amazing laptop, but for less than $1,000, this thing is a steal.
Like all of the devices on this list, the battery life isn’t amazing, but the 70WHr battery makes it one of the better options. It also features plenty of ports, including an HDMI port, an audio jack, a mini display port, an ethernet port, three USB-A 3.1 ports, one USB-C Thunderbolt 3 compatible port, and an SD card reader.
It also features Bang & Olufsen speakers, so sans-headphones media consumption is pleasurable; more than a lot of the competition can say! If you are in the market for a budget gaming laptop, then you need to check out Micro Center’s HP Omen 15.
2. HP Pavillion Gaming Laptop
The next budget gaming laptop we have on this list is another HP: the HP Pavillion Gaming Laptop. HP punches well above its weight with this device coming in at just $650.
For that money, you get a 15.6-inch 1080p 60Hz display, Intel’s eighth-generation i5 CPU, and Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1050 Ti GPU. You also get a USB-C port (not Thunderbolt 3), three USB-A 3.1 ports, an HDMI port, an ethernet port, and an audio jack.
HP punches well above its weight with this device.
The laptop has 8GB of RAM and a 1TB HDD, both of which are upgradable. The 52WHr battery isn’t terrible, but definitely leaves something to be desired. Still, if you step back and look at the whole picture, you are definitely getting your money’s worth with this one.
It’s sturdy, the green accents aren’t overwhelming, and like the previously mentioned HP Omen 15, this budget gaming laptop rocks Bang & Olufsen speakers. You should definitely consider the HP Pavillion Gaming Laptop when you go shopping for your next gaming laptop.
3. Asus TUF FX505
Like the last two cheap gaming laptops, the Asus TUF FX505 features a 15.6-inch 1080p display. But, instead of a 60Hz display, Asus managed to add a 120Hz display to this $865 machine, giving it quite the competitive advantage. Asus also added an ethernet port, an HDMI port, one 2.0 and two 3.0 USB-A ports, and an audio jack.
The FX505 has quite the competitive advantage.
Instead of an Intel CPU, Asus added the AMD Ryzen 7 3750h CPU to this device. Alongside that, they threw in Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1650 GPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 512GB NVMe SSD. Thankfully, the RAM and storage are upgradable, but 8GB of RAM is just fine for gaming.
You get quite a bit for your money with this device. The only real downside is the battery life (again). Sometimes, corners need to be cut when manufacturers design budget offerings. The 48WHr battery is definitely the corner Asus decided to cut when the developed the FX505! You will probably just want to leave it plugged in during longer gaming sessions.
Other than that, the device is amazing for what you are paying. It looks good, has great performance, and the 120Hz display is the icing on the cake.
4. MSI GF63 Thin
MSI is known for being one of the best PC gaming companies in the world. It becomes very apparent why the moment you look at the MSI GF63 Thin. You would never guess that it was a budget gaming laptop! It’s sleek, the bezels are incredibly thin (hence the name), and it comes in at an unbelievable $785.
Just by looking at the GF63, you would never guess that it was a budget gaming laptop.
The device features a 15.6-inch 1080p 60Hz matte display, Intel’s eighth-generation i5 CPU, and Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1650 GPU. It also has three USB-A 3.0 ports, a USB-C port (not Thunderbolt 3), separate headphone and microphone jacks, an HDMI port, and an ethernet port.
The 51WHr battery is decent, and the device includes 8GB of RAM and a 256GB NVMe SSD out of the box. Though the NVMe SSD is a nice touch, it’s really unfortunate that it’s so small. Thankfully, this is upgradable, and there is an extra 2.5-inch drive bay if you want to add even more storage later. Personally, I would also pick up the Samsung 860 QVO 1TB SSD or something similar. Even with that extra $100, you are still well within budget territory.
5. Lenovo Ideapad L340 Gaming
Sitting just below the $1,000 mark, the Lenovo Ideapad L340 is a budget gaming laptop in disguise. The blue backlighting is instantly eye-catching. Pair that with an appropriately understated chassis, and Lenovo has designed a laptop that I would be comfortable bringing to a meeting without everyone thinking that I pwn noobs in Call of Duty.
The Lenovo Ideapad L340 is a budget gaming laptop in disguise.
The L340 features a 15.6-inch 1080p display, Intel’s latest i7 CPU, and Nividia’s GeForce GTX 1650 GPU. The upgradable 8GB of RAM, 256GB SSD, and 1TB HDD are suitable for most gaming situations, even if the 45WHr battery falls a little short.
Read also: The best Chromebook deals (August 2019)
The laptop sports an HDMI port, an ethernet port, two USB-A 3.0 ports, an audio jack, and a USB-C port (not Thunderbolt 3). The Lenovo Ideapad L340 is one of the most professional looking budget gaming laptops, even if a little generic. Pair that with the outstanding performance, and you have one of the best budget options for work and play.
6. Acer Predator Helios 300 (2018)
Even though it’s last year’s model, the Acer Predator Helios 300 (2018) is definitely worth considering. This device normally comes in over $1,000, but with the release of the latest model, last year’s variant saw a big price drop.
Where this laptop truly shines is with its 144Hz display.
The Helios 300 has already established itself as one of the best bang-for-buck laptops. With an eighth-generation i7 CPU, a GeForce GTX 1060 GPU, and 16 GB of RAM it’s not hard to tell why. But, where this laptop truly shines is with its display.
The display is the typical 15.6-inch 1080p but with a not-so-typical 144Hz refresh rate. Games are buttery smooth, and they load exceptionally fast off the included 256GB NVMe SSD. The laptop includes an extra easy-access 2.5-inch drive bay for expandable storage, and the RAM is also upgradeable.
The Acer Predator Helios 300 (2018) has had one year to prove its worth. With the recent price drop, it’s hard to argue that this isn’t one of the best cheap gaming laptops you can buy in 2019, even if it is last year’s model.
7. Dell G5
Dell is known for making some outstanding gaming laptops with the Alienware line. But those who don’t want to spend that much money, Dell offers the G series of laptops, including the G3, G5, and G7. Of these three, we believe the Dell G5 15 is the best sub-$1,000 option.
The design of the G5 is reminiscent of Alienware laptops without the Alienware price-tag.
The G5 includes Intel’s latest i7 processor and Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1650. It comes with 8GB of RAM, a 256GB NVMe SSD, and a 1TB HDD out of the box, all of which are upgradeable. The laptop features a pretty decent 60WHr battery and includes an audio jack, HDMI port, Thunderbolt 3 compatible USB-C port, three USB 3.1 ports, SD card reader, and an ethernet port.
The design is reminiscent of Alienware laptops without the Alienware price-tag. Though the chassis looks great, where the G5 truly disappoints is the display. It has a 15.6-inch 1080p 60Hz display, but the color accuracy is beyond lacking. Though this is perfectly fine for gaming, don’t pick up the G5 expecting to do professional-level design, photo, or video work.
For those of you that want to save even more money, the G3 is also a pretty good laptop. If you are willing to pay a little more than $1,000, the G7 is great too. But, for the best cost-to-performance ratio, we think the G5 is your best bet.
8. Lenovo Legion Y530
The Lenovo Legion Y530 and Y730 are hands-down two of the best gaming laptops you can buy. They have some of the thinnest bezels in their category, and the design is both unique and professional. But, no matter how good the Y730 is, we think the Y530 is a better budget option.
The Lenovo Legion Y530 is one of the best-looking gaming laptops on the market.
The Legion Y530 comes with Intel’s eight-generation i7 CPU, Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB HDD. It features an unused NVMe SSD slot, so I would pick one of those up when I get the chance and use the 1TB drive for game storage. It also has a decent selection of ports, including an audio jack, a USB-C port (not Thunderbolt 3), three USB-A 3 ports, an HDMI port, an ethernet port, and a mini display port.
The Y530 has a pretty decent 50 WHr battery, and like the previously mentioned Lenovo L340, the Y530 has a sleek and understated design. Unlike the L340, the Y530 is more refined, even if it embraces the gamer aesthetic a little more.
All-in-all, the Lenovo Legion Y530 is one of the best-looking gaming laptops on the market. It doesn’t try to be something it’s not, and it knocks performance out of the park at its price point.
9. Acer Nitro 5
Acer’s latest Nitro 5 and Nitro 7 are both respectable mid-tear gaming machines. Though I think the Nitro 7 is a solid laptop, it comes in close to the $1,000 mark, and the Nitro 5 offers better cost-to-performance at its price point.
The Acer Nitro 5 is a great budget-friendly laptop.
It features a 15.6-inch 1080p display, an eighth-generation i5 CPU, and a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti GPU. It comes preconfigured with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD, but it features extra 2.5-inch and NVMe drive slots for expandable storage, giving it three drive slots in total. The Nitro 5 also features an HDMI port, three USB-A ports, a USB-C port (not Thunderbolt 3), an SD card reader, an audio jack, and an ethernet port.
The slightly upgraded Acer Nitro 7 features an all-metal chassis compared to the Nitro 5’s plastic body. The Nitro 7 also has a far more color accurate screen than the Nitro 5, making it a better choice for people who want to use it for content creation as well.
If you want to spend close to a $1,000, then the Acer Nitro 7 is a great option. But for those of you that don’t mind the lower-quality screen and plastic build, then the Acer Nitro 5 is a great budget-friendly laptop.
10. Asus ROG Strix G
The Asus ROG Strix G is the laptop that surprised me the most on this list. It’s slim, full of features, and it isn’t lacking in performance.
The ROG Strix G is one of the single best budget gaming laptops you can buy.
At just under $900, the ROG Strix G features a 15.6-inch 1080p 120Hz display — an upgrade from the typical 60Hz displays. It comes with the latest Intel i5 CPU, a GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU, and 8GB of RAM. It also features a 512GB NVMe SSD and extra 2.5-inch drive slot for upgradability.
This laptop also features three USB-A 3.1 ports, a USB-C port (not Thunderbolt 3), an HDMI port, an ethernet port, and an audio jack. It also comes with a solid RGB keyboard and RGB light strip surrounding the base. Like so many budget gaming laptops that come before it, the ROG Strix G seems to fall short in battery life. Though it features a 66WHr battery, that just isn’t enough to power this hardware for long. Still, it’s better than a lot of the competition.
Looking at the Asus ROG Strix G, it’s really hard not to recommend it. It’s one of the single best cheap gaming laptops you can buy, and in many cases, it’s better than several of it’s more expensive competitors.
Why you should consider open-box gaming laptops
Another option is to pick-up a device with an open-box. When customers return products or when display models get taken down, retailers usually sell them at discounted prices. Companies like Best Buy, Micro Center, and Newegg have a selection of open-box and refurbished devices that often get sold for hundreds of dollars off the sticker price.
Sometimes you may have to physically pick these options up in-store, or they may have some minor wear and tear. But, if you keep your eye out, a well-placed deal can save you even more off of your budget gaming laptop or land you something more premium within your budget.
That’s it for our list of the best cheap gaming laptops to pick-up in 2019. We’ll add more laptops to this list as new hardware comes to market.