The world of computers has come a long way from the time when gaming laptops cost the moon and a handful of glittering stars.
Today, you can lay your hands on budget gaming devices that fuel powerful play without requiring you to break the bank.
Many game-friendly laptops in a comfortable and easy-to-use form factor now come in at under $1000; in no way are these machines shoddy or driven by patchwork.
Instead, they offer an enticing alternative to the computers at the other end of the spectrum (i.e., the shiny ones with their many frills, easily setting you back by $2000 and above).
In the world of budget gaming, commitment is crucial for success. This is why the brands that lead the game have identified their areas of commitment and endeavor to stick to them.
For example, if durability and reliability drive HP, companies like Acer and ASUS focus on being in vogue with the latest trends. Dell has maintained its enviable commitment to flexibility by bestowing its product line-up with features that enhance ease of use.
Lenovo, on the other hand, is focusing on creating a fascinating blend of the traditional and the contemporary, by making premium possible at low prices.
While inter-brand differences abound in the marketplace, the best gaming laptops have one thing in common: efficient and sustainable processing that does not compromise on detail.
Before heading out to purchase a gaming companion, your wallet rather fidgety in your pocket, we recommend you analyze and weigh your options.
- Is It Worthwhile Getting a Best Gaming Laptop Under 1,000 Dollars?
- Our Picks: 10 Best Gaming Laptops Under $1,000 2021
- 1. ASUS TUF Dash 15 Gaming Laptop Under $1000
- 2. MSI GF63 Thin Gaming Laptop
- 3. Acer Nitro 5 AN517-41 Gaming Laptop
- 4. MSI GF65 Gaming Laptop
- 5. ASUS TUF Gaming F17 Gaming Laptop
- 6. MSI GF75 17-inch Gaming Laptop Under $1000
- 7. Lenovo Legion 5 Gaming Laptop
- 8. Lenovo IdeaPad 5i Pro 16-inch Gaming Laptop
- 9. Dell G3 15 3500 Gaming Laptop
- 10. Acer Aspire 7 A715-42G-R20C Gaming Laptop
- Must-Have Features in Best Gaming Laptops Under $1000
- Closing Note
Is It Worthwhile Getting a Best Gaming Laptop Under 1,000 Dollars?
When gaming laptops were first launched, they were met with considerable suspicion and apprehension. Gaming was such a CPU-draining activity. Could laptops ever be powerful enough to support gameplay without irritating lags and cumbersome breakdowns?
With time, however, not only have gaming laptops proved their mettle, but they have also become more affordable.
Today, it is possible to find budget gaming laptops that come in at around $1000 but offer the entire pro-game paraphernalia.
Investing in a budget gaming laptop can be the right decision for you if:
- You are passionate about gaming but watching your budget. Many laptops in this space, especially by leading brands like MSI, Asus and HP, offer a huge chunk of features from backlit keyboards to premium design. Some of these notebooks stretch the limits by even throwing in features like n-key rollover, multiple display modes, and long battery life.
- You are looking for a portable gaming computer. Several budget gaming notebooks weigh in the range of 4–5lbs, which makes them easy to lug along. They also come with other features to boost portability, such as USB ports, display ports, and a robust build.
- You are comfortable playing at low to medium settings. Let us face it, while many laptops in this league are driven by topnotch processors and have ample storage space, they may not be able to provide a refresh rate of 144Hz, per-key backlighting, a 4K OLED display, or the razzmatazz of an NVIDIA RTX card. You might have to skimp on some settings, especially if you opt for a low-RAM machine (around 8GB) or a laptop with a refresh rate of 60Hz–120Hz.
- You want to use your laptop as a multi-purpose device for activities like multimedia editing, watching a movie, working on school assignments, or an office computer. If you don’t want to invest in an out-and-out gaming laptop, a budget machine is your best bet. It will give you the best of both worlds: gaming and what lies beyond.
- You want to upgrade as you go. Some budget gamers come with the provision to upgrade the specs such as the RAM, storage, etc. For instance, many HP computers have single-panel access for upgrades. The advantage is that you don’t need to pay much upfront but can get a more powerful configuration if your budget allows it in the future or your needs warrant it.
- You want to keep your options open to accommodate innovations in the gaming arena. This is one space that keeps experimenting with new technologies. If NVIDIA RTX cards and Tobii eye-tracking are all the rage now, you might soon see more laptops with refresh rates as high as 240Hz. If you wish to wait it out and invest in a fancier gaming laptop in the future, a budget laptop can be your best bet for the present.
Our Picks: 10 Best Gaming Laptops Under $1,000 2021
In this (near) exhaustive list of the 10 best gaming laptops under $1,000 2021, we have reviewed the very finest offerings in this space and highlighted their relative pros and cons.
Best Gaming Laptop Under 1000 – Recommended Specs
|Processor||Intel Core i7-11800H|
AMD Ryzen 7 5800H
|Graphics||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050Ti|
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660Ti
|Memory||16GB DDR4 2933MHz Memory|
|Storage||512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD|
|Display||15.6″ Full HD (1920 x 1080)|
Widescreen LED-backlit IPS display
|Weight||Under 6 lbs.|
|Battery||Up to 10 Hours|
|Keyboard||4-Zone RGB Backlit Keyboard|
|OS||Windows 10 Home 64-bit|
1. ASUS TUF Dash 15 Gaming Laptop Under $1000
This list of affordable gaming laptops would be incomplete without the 15.6” ASUS TUF Dash 15—a veritable pro-gaming device powered by an 11th gen Intel Core i7-11370H CPU, NVIDIA GeForce Ampere graphics, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD, and a portable design.
For all its strength, this device weighs only 4.04lbs and is 0.8” thick—dimensions that should make this computer convenient to lug along to an outdoor or out-of-town gaming event.
In fact, this is the first lightweight laptop in the TUF gaming family. Upping the mobility of this device even further is compatibility with 802.11ax Wi-Fi and the availability of inbuilt USB ports (three USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports).
In terms of the display and sound, things are quite good. An 144Hz FHD screen and a surround sound system help to realize a home theater-quality experience.
Considering the incredibly attractive price point (under $1000), you might be surprised at the kind of audio-visual brilliance on offer. It also contributes toward the utility of this laptop as a gaming companion as well as an everyday laptop for creative professionals.
This machine also employs the anti-dust technology for heat dissipation, using four fans to disperse the heat generated during operation and keep the innards cool and snug.
2. MSI GF63 Thin Gaming Laptop
MSI is, undoubtedly, one of the top manufacturers of gaming laptops in the marketplace today.
If you are looking for a durable, high-performing machine that exudes its strength inside-out, then the 15.6” MSI GF63 Thin 10UC will not disappoint you.
It is fueled by a powerful Intel Core i7-10750H processor, 8GB RAM, a 512GB SSD, and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 graphics. A competent heat dissipation system keeps the innards cool to give you long, uninterrupted hours of play.
The FHD display offers a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 and compatibility with IPS. A slight dampener is the refresh rate of 144Hz. The color gamut of 45% NTSC is also on the lower side.
This can be a limitation if you plan on games with several special effects/transitions or demand more meticulous color.
To its merit, this powerhouse is feather-light at 4.1lbs; whoever said functionality and mobility cannot coexist? It is also very sleek to behold with its brushed aluminum cover and profile measuring 0.85” (21.7mm).
The red-backlit keyboard is charming, lending incredible thrill to the proceedings. You can carry this notebook with you for gaming marathons or other outdoor events, assured of standing out in a crowd.
Recommended Budget Gaming Laptop: Acer Predator Helios 300 Intel i7-10750H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 GPU, 16GB DDR4, 512GB NVMe SSD (Price: $1349 | Available on Amazon)
3. Acer Nitro 5 AN517-41 Gaming Laptop
Another superior gaming laptop under $1000 has to include the Acer Nitro 5. This beast of a gaming device features an unique design with curved edges for superior design and even better performance.
Also, the gaming laptop comes with the stunning RGB-backlit keyboard that allow you to tackle your favorite game any time of the day.
The Nitro 5 is powered by the AMD Ryzen 5 5600H processor with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 with 4GB dedicated graphics memory for tackling some of the graphics hungry games.
The laptop is equipped with a 17.3” FHD widescreen LED-backlit display with 1080p screen resolution for crisp visuals and optimal color reproduction.
As for storage and memory, the laptop is integrated with 512GB SSD of storage with 8GB RAM, making it ideal for multitasking and handling the intensive games.
It also supports the Wi-Fi 6 connectivity with MU-MIMO technology for connecting multiple devices at once. The device runs on the Windows 10 Home OS.
4. MSI GF65 Gaming Laptop
When it comes to affordable yet durable gaming devices, there is no one like MSI. The brand has been around for years and has been contributing to the reliability of the gamers from across the world.
However, if you are looking for a function-rich gaming laptop from MSI under $1000, the MSI GF65 Gaming Laptop is hands down the best option.
The device is powered by the Intel Core i7-10750H CPU with NVIDIA GeForce GTX1650Ti with up to 6GB of dedicated graphics.
As for the design and the construction, the MSI GF65 is designed with an all-black design with premium and durable build. The gaming laptop is equipped with a 15.6” FHD display with 1080p screen resolution.
Coming to the functionalities of the device, the MSI GF65 is integrated with 512GB SSD of storage with 8GB RAM for superior gaming experience. The device runs on Windows 10 Home OS.
5. ASUS TUF Gaming F17 Gaming Laptop
No surprises here: ASUS is a pro when it comes to delivering budget-friendly gaming laptops with a plethora of premium features.
The 17.3” ASUS TUF F17 is run by an Intel Core i5-10300H, 8GB RAM and a 512GB SSD. It offers an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650Ti GPU with 4GB of dedicated memory, which proves to be satisfactory for most of the latest gaming titles.
This ASUS TUF offers an effective cooling mechanism that uses two fans infused with an innovative anti-dust technology. Two special tunnels help to expel dust particles, effectively increasing both the stability of system operations and the ultimate lifespan of your machine.
While you get an FHD screen with an IPS panel, the refresh rate is a tad disappointing at 120Hz. The screen resolution, however, is optimal at 1920 x 1080.
Moreover, since the bezel is thin and the viewing angles are wide, your overall experience turns out to be quite absorbing both for gaming and everyday multimedia pursuits. This only gets a further boost from the superb auditory system: DTS Headphone: X technology for virtual surround-sound (7.1-channel).
Durability is a big commitment for this gaming laptop, as is evident from its MIL-STD-810 construction (military standard) and torture-tested keyboard (up to 20-million keystrokes). Weight-wise, you get a lightweight chassis at 5.70lbs; the thickness is about 1”. These dimensions lend themselves reasonably well to travel, aided by the sturdiness of the construction.
AMD has recently emerged as a legit alternative to Intel, endeavoring to match up to the established market giant in domains such as multitasking at a budget. If you are up to experimenting with an AMD gaming laptop, we can definitely recommend this ASUS device.
Note: The keyboard is backlit (red), although you would be hard-pressed to find per-key backlighting at an under-$1000 budget.
6. MSI GF75 17-inch Gaming Laptop Under $1000
Here is an MSI gaming laptop with a keen focus on display and visual glory.
The MSI GF75 THIN 10SCS offers an FHD display with a refresh rate of 144Hz, a response time of 3ms, and a thin-bezel design for maximum engagement.
With a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080, the monitor is able to render the imagery without loss of detail.
Wait, there is more—it also packs in a wide color gamut of 94% NTSC and 100% sRGB. A dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650Ti graphics card is in-charge of the gameplay. Your content is certain to look accurate and distortion-free.
The processing chamber is highly efficient, thanks to the Intel Core i5-10300H CPU, 16GB RAM, and 512GB SSD + 1TB HDD.
While the RAM support is lower than some other budget MSI laptops, it should easily allow you to play at low settings. Not a bad deal for a reliable gaming partner that comes in at under $1000!
Bonus: This laptop can run on a single charge for over seven hours. This ultra-portable computer weighs only 4.85lbs and measures 0.9” in thickness, so that is yet another feather in its cap.
7. Lenovo Legion 5 Gaming Laptop
It offers brilliant performance, thanks to the AMD Ryzen 7 4800H processor, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti graphics and Harman Kardon audio.
Additionally, it delivers on mobility and audio-visual grandeur. Here are the specs: 16GB RAM, and 512GB SSD.
Display-wise, you can opt for Dolby Vision along with 100% sRGB. Else, you can stick to an FHD monitor that comes with IPS, anti-glare, a refresh rate of 120Hz, and a brightness of 250 nits.
Another triumph for this computer comes with mode-switching—from hybrid to quiet. Based on the need of the moment, the voltage requirement to the CPU changes; this keeps things sustainable for longer.
This 5.5lbs computer uses anti-smudge, talcum-injected materials and has a long-lasting battery life of up to eight hours. Plus, the power adapter is incredibly light and lets you charge up to 50% in less than half an hour.
8. Lenovo IdeaPad 5i Pro 16-inch Gaming Laptop
When you think of gaming laptops, Lenovo is not a very common or casual brand to think of.
However, the Lenovo IdeaPad 5i Pro is hands down one of the most functional gaming laptops that you can get your hands on and that too for a price under $1000.
This is one of the few gaming laptops that features a sleek and stunning 16” 2.5K QHD display with 350 nits brightness.
Also, the 4-sided narrow bezels make this an ideal purchase for unmatched performance and user experience.
The gaming laptop is powered by the latest 11th Gen. Intel Core i5-11300H processor with NVIDIA GeForce MX450 discrete graphics for unconstrained performance and gameplay.
As for the storage and memory, the device is integrated with 512GB SSD of storage with 16GB DDR4 RAM for seamless multitasking without any interruptions. It is also backed with Rapid Charging and Smart Login functions.
9. Dell G3 15 3500 Gaming Laptop
It is equipped with 16GB RAM, a 512GB SSD, and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti graphics card—a configuration that should suffice for casual gaming pursuits.
You get an FHD display with a brightness of 220nits and an anti-glare panel. While the refresh rate is low at 60Hz, it is possible to opt for a 144Hz panel that also offers a narrow bezel design.
This 5.18lbs and 0.85” laptop is well-suited to multimedia pursuits on several fronts. For instance, the dual-fan cooling system lends a good degree of sustainability during intense, CPU-draining tasks.
With Nahimic 3D Audio, the sound output is guaranteed to be immersive. You can also choose to have an RBG backlit keyboard (4-zone) and Killer Wireless 1650, depending on your commitment to gameplay and budget.
10. Acer Aspire 7 A715-42G-R20C Gaming Laptop
If anything, the Acer Aspire 7 is a multitasking beast with premium quality gaming features and functions.
Not only does the device feature a standard and lightweight design, the backlit keyboard with expansive display enables you to make the most out of your gaming experience without any drawbacks.
The Aspire 7 is powered by the AMD Ryzen 7 5700U processor with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 with additional 4GB VRAM for superior graphics and enhance frame rates.
Aside from the processors and the performance, the device is equipped with a standard yet sleek 15.6” FHD display with 1080p screen resolution with widescreen LED-backlit display for crisp and enhanced visuals.
Also, you get 512GB SSD of storage with 16GB RAM for superior multitasking and gaming experience beyond your expectations. It runs on Windows 10 Home OS and offers up to 10 hours of battery life as well.
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- Top 10 Best ASUS Gaming Laptops
- Top 10 Best Acer Gaming Laptops
Must-Have Features in Best Gaming Laptops Under $1000
Fortunately, shopping at a bargain price does not—and should not—mean you have to cut corners. When you are scouting for a gaming partner, make sure it has the following features:
- CPU: You need an efficient and speedy processor to run your games smoothly. Ideally, an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor or an equivalent AMD Ryzen CPU will do the job well. Besides the CPU, you also want the RAM support to be at least 8GB.
Look for sufficient storage space too, as gaming can be a data-intensive pursuit. Think of all the files that most modern-day games require, from sounds to visuals and special effects.
It makes sense to look for an SSD as there are considerable wins in read/write speeds over the traditional hard disk drives.
This setup lets you utilize the hard disk storage for regular files, heavy-duty data, etc., while the SSD can contribute directly to speeding up booting times and the overall gaming performance.
- GPU: Most AAA games demand dedicated graphics. Integrated graphics are unlikely to make the cut when you crave immersive visuals and time-sensitive effects.
Many budget laptops come packed with NVIDIA GTX 1650 cards. This graphics card is based on the Turing architecture and provides a significant fillip from the GTX 1050 card that used to be common in budget gaming laptops.
What about an AMD laptop? Well, it is rare to find dedicated graphics in budget AMD laptops, primarily since they already operate at low costs.
- Cooling mechanism: Since gaming lets out considerable heat, it is imperative to get a laptop with a trustable cooling system.
You need a heat dissipation mechanism that keeps both the CPU and the GPU cool, thus preventing slowdown or, worse, breakdown.
A strong cooling system also extends the longevity of your laptop since it keeps the sensitive components functioning at their optimum.
- Display: This is perhaps the most obvious aspect you need to look for in a gaming laptop. It is all about what you see, after all, that lets you defeat foes on the battlefield.
In the $1000 price bucket, you can expect an FHD display with IPS and anti-glare provisions. Don’t settle for a screen resolution lower than 1920 x 1080 as you will then be left wanting for precision and detail.
The color gamut offered is also crucial since it will decide the range of colors you see in your content. Anything upwards of 45% NTSC is good, although a 100% sRGB color gamut would be tremendous.
Another important consideration here is the refresh rate or the number of times in a second that the screen refreshes the image.
While 144Hz is the gold standard for refresh rate, you should be able to find laptops that offer 60Hz–120Hz in this price range.
Along with this metric, also check the response time or the number of milliseconds it takes for a pixel to change the colors. A good standard is 3ms.
- Sound: Good-quality audio is a prerequisite for a gaming laptop. So many special effects and crucial junctures in games rely on audio, after all.
Even in affordable laptops, you can find fine audio with large speakers and innovative technologies.
Seek 3D output and good volume. Your computer should also be able to play great sound when on the run.
- Build and design: This one is a factor of your usage patterns. If you intend to carry your laptop along with you on travels, meetings, etc., you need a lightweight computer with a slim profile.
This will allow you to slide the notebook into a backpack and get going. You can find budget gaming laptops weighing 4–5lbs, with profiles under 1”.
It is also useful to look for robust construction, screen protection (glass), etc., so that the laptop can handle transit without incurring damage.
Many top manufacturers also focus on giving their gaming line-up an attractive appearance—a blend of the powerful and the distinctive. You can find laptops with dragon logos, eye-catching backlighting, metallic covers, and brushed patterns.
- Connectivity: You want your laptop to be equipped with a full array of USB ports to support your devices like keyboard, mice, etc. If the computer has a Type-C port (Thunderbolt), you can enjoy rapid data transfer and quick charging.
Along with USB ports, gaming laptops should also possess display ports and HDMI to permit you to connect to external displays. You might need a larger-than-life screen on multiple occasions, such as gaming competitions.
Check that the computer supports a consistent, updated Wi-Fi standard like 802.11ac, Ethernet and LAN. Some machines offer compatibility with Killer Ethernet that prioritizes your gaming traffic to deliver a stellar online performance.
- Keyboard: This one is critical for any gaming laptop as it’s your basic weaponry for any game. You should explore backlit keyboards with a comfortable key-travel distance and n-key rollover.
Budget gaming laptops usually provide single backlighting in colors like red or white. Backlighting by zones is rare in this segment, while per-key effects are restricted to premium machines.
The right keyboard should also come with a comfortable trackpad, well-defined arrow keys, and WASD keys.
- Battery backup: A long-lasting battery isn’t usually common with gaming laptops since they pack in way too much power to guarantee much unplugged usage.
However, if battery life is one of your priorities, you can find cost-effective gaming laptops that can run for around seven hours on a single charge.
We bet this list has you feeling a great deal more excited about that $1000 cutoff! Indeed, if you are an ardent gamer looking for a powerful CPU and GPU in conjunction with enchanting graphics and sound, a budget of $1000 is no longer paltry.
In this list, we have covered the best gaming laptops with alluring price tags, all of them offering satisfying and reliable performance.
Some of them also manage to throw in a few bells and whistles, such as the Dell G5 15 5500 with its Nahimic Sound Center for voice-led in-game control and the Lenovo Legion 5 with its eye-care mode for reduced blue light emission.
The latter also packs in high battery backup to emerge as one of the best bets for seekers of portability. In achieving this end, it is joined by other picks like the MSI GP65 leopard.
Ultimately, there remains only one golden rule for acquiring a gaming laptop best suited for you: identify what you cannot do without (read brute force, a high refresh rate, a portable build, etc.) and then maximize your resources to fulfill this quest.