The Best Cheap Gaming Laptops 2020
Powerful gaming, tempting prices
Gaming is an expensive affair—there’s no denying it. A pro-game computer can be ridiculously pricey, especially when you factor in the cost of peripherals, external displays and gaming controllers. While desktops and top-of-the-class game laptops can be atrociously expensive, many brands have now come up with budget offerings.
Getting a gaming device in less than $1000 can be tricky. You must be prepared to sacrifice a few potentially important things like that fancy 4K monitor or a top-of-the-rung RTX graphics card with artificially enhanced imagery and real-time ray tracing.
Many cheap gaming laptops also tend to cut corners in build quality, resulting in poorly constructed hinges, faulty keyboards and boring displays.
That said, it is possible to find a budget-friendly gaming laptop that offers a good mix of reliability and performance. Leading tech giants have come up with affordable gaming solutions that don’t need you to burn a hole in your wallet.
The primary thing is to have your priorities set and pick a trustworthy product that doesn’t end up feeling like a cheap but useless purchase.
- Minimum Requirements in a Good Cheap Gaming Laptop
- Our Picks: Top Cheap Gaming Laptops 2020
- Closing Note
Minimum Requirements in a Good Cheap Gaming Laptop
Cheap or not, there are some compromises you should never make in a laptop dedicated to gaming. Here is a basic layout of the bare minimum to look for to avoid regretting your purchase decision in record time:
- Capable processor: You want at least an Intel Core i5 CPU to handle demanding titles. If you want to save some money, you can also get an AMD equivalent. It is important to choose well since you cannot upgrade your CPU as easily as the memory or storage.
- Competent graphics card: Get an NVIDIA GTX 1650 graphics card or above, depending on your budget. You will need this to ensure your content gets rendered satisfactorily.
- Ample memory and storage: At least 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD is essential. If you get little storage space, you will be in serious trouble stocking gaming paraphernalia that can easily take up 50GB or more. One option is to get secondary storage, such as an HDD or a cloud-based drive.
- Bright display: What good would a gaming laptop with a dull display be? You need at least an FHD monitor, ideally with IPS support. In-Plane Switching will allow you to play from different positions without compromising on the image quality.
Okay, is there anything you can skimp on when you want to keep your purse strings as tight as possible? Many users find they can do without a long battery life; most gaming laptops don’t offer much unplugged juice even when they are expensive.
You might also want to skip on features like per-key backlighting for the keyboard, as a single backlight with WASD keys can serve you well.
Our Picks: Top Cheap Gaming Laptops 2020
We have consolidated some of the finest gaming computers that don’t need you to rob a bank.
1. ASUS TUF A15 Gaming Laptop
Available at an under-$1000 price, the 15.6” ASUS TUF A15 gaming device is a good mix of performance and sustainability.
It is powered by an AMD Ryzen 7 4800H processor, 16GB RAM, a 512GB SSD, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics.
Since the memory is easy to upgrade, you can personalize the system to your requirements without much of a hassle.
On one charge, this 5.07lbs computer runs unplugged for up to 8.7 hours—a good deal for anyone who wishes to play on the go.
Build-wise too, it is a reliable computer, adhering to military-standard construction (MIL-STD-810H) and supporting torture-testing for the keyboard up to 20-million keystrokes.
Keeping the inner components cool and functioning at their optimum is anti-dust technology and self-cleaning fans.
Gamers demand an engaging audio-visual experience, and this device delivers well. You get DTS:X Ultra audio with high-fidelity sound and an FHD monitor that has a refresh rate of 144Hz.
2. MSI GF63 Thin 9SC-614 Gaming Laptop
Driving this laptop is an Intel Core i5-9300H CPU, 16GB RAM, a 512GB SSD and NVIDIA GTX 1650 graphics.
MSI has designed it to be significantly quieter and cooler even during intensive gaming sessions, which means you can immerse yourself in the moment. It helps that the Nahimic 3 audio is exceptional, bringing you fine details even when you are gaming on the go. A built-in AMP (Audio Power Amplifier) further boosts the sound by up to 30%.
From a display perspective, you should find the FHD monitor with its IPS-Level panel quite engaging, even though it has a sub-optimal refresh rate of 60Hz and a low color gamut of 45% NTSC. The thin-bezel design lowers external interference considerably.
This is a highly portable laptop, weighing only 4.10lbs and measuring 0.85”. It also offers good unplugged usage—up to seven hours.
3. Lenovo Ideapad L340 Gaming
For one, the specs are terrific for the price: an Intel Core i5-9300H CPU, 8GB RAM, a 512GB SSD, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics.
This Ideapad uses advanced Dolby Audio technology for tremendous sound, which is a blessing for those who like playing games with multiple sound effects. It also comes with a unique provision to shift gears between modes (quick vs. quiet)—a straightforward mechanism to adapt your system to the need of the hour.
This computer offers a bright FHD display with support for IPS. You can play from various positions without risking image distortion.
At 4.84lbs, this device is quite light for the road and travels well. Thanks to features like the backlit keyboard (cool-blue) and the physical shutter for the webcam, you can enjoy a secure working or gaming experience from anywhere.
4. Acer Aspire 5 Cheap Gaming Laptop
It comes with an Intel Core i5-10210U CPU, a 512GB SSD, 8GB RAM, and NVIDIA GeForce MX250 graphics.
This is a comfortable configuration for casual to moderate gaming. Thanks to the FHD display with IPS support and Acer Color Intelligence, all your content gets rendered brightly and accurately.
There’s even a blue-light filter designed to reduce eye strain. What about the sound output? Well, the Acer TrueHarmony technology ensures superior audio with close attention to volume and bass.
Acer has included plenty of connections in this good-looking 3.97lbs laptop with its stylish aluminum top cover.
You can avail of USB Type C ports, HDMI as well as Intel Wi-Fi 6. Plus, since it can run unplugged for up to 9.5 hours, traveling is convenient.
5. MSI GF65 Thin 9SD-004 Gaming Laptop
It’s run by an Intel Core i7-9750H CPU, 16GB RAM (up to 64GB), a 512GB SSD, and NVIDIA GTX1660 Ti graphics.
That’s enough processing prowess to support most modern AAA titles at satisfying settings. The display, built as per a thin-bezel design, is also vivid and engaging, perfect for both gaming and other multimedia-centric activities. Note: The monitor offers a refresh rate of 120Hz.
If you value portability, you will enjoy the lightweight build of this compact device: it weighs just 4.10lbs and is about 0.85” thin. You can easily slide it into a backpack and be good to go. A backlight keyboard with anti-ghosting and a long-lasting battery life of over seven hours further add to the mobility.
6. Dell G3 15 Cheap Gaming Laptop
It comes with an Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB RAM, a 128GB SSD (and a 1TB HDD), and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 graphics.
The extra storage is great for stocking additional gaming (or non-gaming) paraphernalia. Display-wise, the anti-glare monitor with its narrow border is quite pleasant and immersive. It helps that the chassis weighs just 0.85” as you can easily lug it along in a backpack.
This Dell laptop offers the Audio SmartByte technology to prioritize visual content when you are streaming. Huge advantage for online gaming fans! Another feature to enhance your overall multimedia experience is Nahimic 3D audio.
The keyboard deserves special mention for its spill-resistance and numeric keypad, along with 4-zone RGB backlighting. The WASD keys come in handy on the arena.
- Top 10 Best Gaming Laptops Under $1000
- 10 Best ASUS Gaming Laptops 2020
- 10 Best MSI Gaming Laptops 2020
- Top 10 Best Laptops Under $500
The demand for cheap gaming computers is constantly on the upswing. Leading computing brands and tech giants like Asus, MSI and Dell have invested in building pocket-friendly gaming machines that come in at less than $1000.
In fact, some makers have managed to come up with devices that cost less than $700 but support some modern gaming titles. While it is natural to expect that some corners will be cut, the end experience is quite competent in many of these offerings.
While selecting a cheap gaming laptop, remember to prioritize what matters the most to you. Needs vary across audiences, and you don’t want to end up with a computer that doesn’t suit your lifestyle.
For instance, if you want to purchase a gaming laptop that lets you travel and play on the move, then the Acer Aspire 5 can be a brilliant choice. But those who value durability and sustainability might delight in the ASUS TUF A15. Likewise, your topmost concern might be audio output and sound quality or build and construction.
With prices falling and new models catering to specific audience demands, the gaming world just became more tempting than ever. See you in the arena.