10 Best Gaming Laptops Under $1000 2020
Great gaming, terrific prices
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 Budget Gaming Laptop?
- Must-Have Features in Budget Gaming Laptops Under $1000
- Our Picks: 10 Best Gaming Laptops Under $1000 for 2020
- Closing Note
Is It Worthwhile Getting a Budget Gaming Laptop?
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.
Must-Have Features in Budget 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.
Our Picks: 10 Best Gaming Laptops Under $1000 for 2020
In this (near) exhaustive list of the best gaming laptops under $1000 2020, we have reviewed the very finest offerings in this space and highlighted their relative pros and cons.
1. Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-78VL
Yes, we promised a collection of ten gaming laptops under $1000, but the 15.6″ Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-78VL is too cool to be missed out! It comes in at only a few dollars more—around $1100—but the features up for grabs are astounding.
Enjoy the strength and efficiency of a ninth-gen Intel i7-9750H CPU, coupled with 16GB RAM, a 256GB SSD, and a fourth-gen AeroBlade 3D fan (all-metal) for efficient cooling.
The dedicated NVIDIA GTX 1660 Ti GPU comes with as much as 6GB of dedicated memory.
But here is the best part: the FHD screen offers a dazzling refresh rate of 144Hz and a swift response time of 3ms, both of which make a world of difference when it comes to gaming without lags, jitters and delays.
The screen also has a high brightness setting of 300 nits and a color gamut of 72% NTSC. This renders the proceedings on the monitor bright, colorful and accurate—traits that are so very crucial for passionate gamers!
The Acer Predator provides you with a high degree of control and customization with its “PredatorSense” tool.
Through a special key on the keyboard, you can define ideal settings for fan speed, overclocking, lighting, the works. While we are talking about the keyboard, it is worth drawing attention to its brilliant design; the keycaps are concave, and the backlighting is bright and radiant.
Build-wise, Acer has succeeded in keeping things slim: this laptop weighs 5.07lbs, and its profile is 0.9” thick.
Although the build is lean, the sound system hasn’t been compromised. So, you get Waves MaxxAudio (with MaxxBass, MaxxVolume and MaxxDialog) which delivers fantastic sound to complement your game.
The two Acer technologies for great sound—True Harmony and Acer Purified—are also in top form to delight you during voice/video calls.
|Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-78VL Specs|
|Processor||9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H (Up to 4.5GHz)|
|Graphics||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6GB|
|Memory||16GB DDR4 2666MHz|
|Storage||256GB PCIe NVMe SSD|
|Display||15.6-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080)|
|Battery Life||Up to 6-hours|
2. ASUS ROG G531GT Gaming Laptop
The 15.6″ ASUS ROG G531GT is a great choice available in less than $1000. Run by an Intel i7-9750H CPU, 16GB RAM, and a 512GB SSD (with 1TB HDD), this laptop is ideal for AAA games. You get an FHD monitor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics—a combination that does justice even to games with many special effects and minute details.
The highlight of this gamer is its specially designed keyboard with overstroke technology. With n-key rollover to support any fast-paced pursuits, the likelihood of mistaken strokes, typos, etc., goes down considerably.
This will come in handy particularly when you participate in battlefield games or those that involve rapid movements. Notably, this laptop is high on portability too, weighing only 5.32lbs and boasting of an enhanced thermal design for heat dissipation.
3. MSI GF63 Thin 9SC-066
If you are looking for a durable, high-performing machine that exudes its strength inside-out, then the 15.6” MSI GF63 Thin 9SC-066 will not disappoint you.
It is fuelled by a powerful Intel Core i7-9750H processor, 16GB RAM, a 512GB SSD, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 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 60Hz. 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 4.10lbs; 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.
4. ASUS TUF TUF505DU-EB74
This 15.6” laptop is fitted with 16GB RAM, a 256GB SSD, and an FHD screen with a refresh rate of 120Hz. You can enjoy the comfort of an IPS panel while gaming with your peers; you needn’t huddle in front of the screen to get the best view.
This is a sturdily built gaming laptop that adheres to the MIL-STD-810 military standard of construction. You can move with it effortlessly, assured that it can withstand the grind of travel. That said, it retains a compact and sleek profile of 1.02” and 4.85lbs.
Of particular note is the RGB backlit keyboard that is torture-tested for 20 million keystrokes. Add to that anti-dust technology for cooling, and you have a computer that exudes sustainability. Here’s looking forward to many long hours of uninterrupted gaming!
5. Asus Vivobook K571
It has a lot going for itself: an Intel Core i7-9750H CPU, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics, and a superior cooling system.
The RAM support and storage are ample for most present-day games—16GB and a 256GB SSD, respectively. The heat dissipation system is especially noteworthy with dual fans and a rear vent design.
On the display front, you get an FHD screen with a refresh rate of 120Hz, IPS support, and a wide-angle view. The narrow-bezel design (7.4mm or 0.29”) is especially pleasing since it manages to give you incredible screen real estate (80%).
For a 15” gaming machine, this notebook is fairly lightweight at 4.7lbs and 0.9”. It also features a plethora of USB ports, including a Type-C one for rapid data transfer. You can store all your gaming paraphernalia comfortably and connect to any peripherals like external displays without a glitch.
Bonus: Lovers of aesthetics will adore the ASUS Splendid technology that enables two display modes: normal and vivid. The latter enhances the contrast and overall feel of your content considerably.
6. MSI GF63 Thin 9SC-652
Here is an MSI gaming laptop with a keen focus on display and visual glory. The MSI GF63 Thin 9SC-652 offers an FHD display with a refresh rate of 120Hz, 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 1650 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 i7-9750H CPU, 8GB RAM, and 512GB SSD. 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 4.10lbs and measures 0.8” in thickness, so that is yet another feather in its cap.
7. Omen by HP 15-dc1020nr
The 15” Omen by HP 2020 allows you to control pretty much everything, from CPU overclocking to the memory, with a single-panel access to the machine’s internals and an intuitive command center. (The panel is held on by only a few screws and requires little by way of handiwork during upgrades.)
As is, the laptop features some stellar specs: an Intel i7-9750H processor, 8GB RAM, a 256GB SSD, and NVIDIA GTX 1650Ti graphics. The FHD display offers IPS-support, glare protection, and an optimal resolution of 1920 x 1080.
Although this is a budget gaming machine, it offers a fantastic backlit keyboard (two zones, dragon red). The 26-key rollover helps maximize the strength of your reflexes while gaming, thus giving you a winsome edge on the arena. We also adore the sound system; the audio output is 3D and spatially accurate.
Note that this laptop weighs 5.31lbs, which is heavier than some others on this list. It does, however, provide several USB ports, the latest Wi-Fi standard (802.11), and display ports to provide a connected experience to gamers.
8. Dell G7 15 7590 Gaming Laptop
The Dell G7 15 7590 lets you fine-tune your game settings as per your requirements, thereby building a highly personalized hardware- and software environment.
This laptop also offers you a simple interface (Ace library science) to access all the game-related information that you need.
Look at this in tandem with the ninth-gen Intel Core i5-9300H processor, 128GB SSD (with 1TB HDD), and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics, and you have a laptop that can fuel satisfying gaming experiences without frowning.
The 60Whr-battery supports quick charging; you can also choose to get a 90Whr if more extended use on a single charge is high up on your priority list.
A dual-fan cooling system does a decent job of bringing sustainability to your gameplay. The only downside is the basic RAM support of 8GB.
Dell has managed to keep the display and sound at par with contemporaries in this price range. So, you get an FHD screen with a resolution of 1920 x 1080.
The Nahimic Sound Center brings you a terrific degree of in-game control through voice commands and visual sound tracking.
Dell hasn’t traditionally been associated with flashy design or build. With its foray into the gaming world, Dell has kept its essence intact while investing heavily in style and sophistication.
This laptop, for instance, boasts of a premium metal finish and a lightweight chassis of 5.5lbs (with a thickness of 0.78”).
Supporting your online gaming experience is compatibility with Killer E2500 Gigabit Ethernet; it helps maximize throughput while lowering lagging. Note: While the basic model does not offer a backlit keyboard, you can opt to have one.
9. Lenovo Legion Y545
Powered by an i7-9750H CPU, 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD, this gaming laptop is speedy and efficient. It has a dedicated graphics card—NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650—and Dolby Atmos sound (with Harman speakers) to realize effortless audio-visual processing.
The monitor supports an optimal screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 to ensure that different kinds of imagery get rendered with minimal distortion. Since the screen also has an IPS panel, you can look at it from any viewing angle and witness the proceedings smoothly.
Note that this is a fairly lightweight laptop that weighs 5.1lbs. It makes sense both as a gaming device that you intend to use in a stationary den as well as an on-the-go entertainment platform.
10. Acer Nitro 7 AN715-51-70TG
The Acer Nitro 7 AN715-51-70TG is a 15.6″ full-purpose gamer infused with a ninth-gen Intel i7-9750H processor, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 graphics, Waves MAXXAudio for superior sound quality, and a gorgeous backlit keyboard.
The processing set up is supported by 8GB RAM, a 256GB SSD, and battery backup of up to seven hours. This is adequate for many modern gaming titles at reasonable settings.
The GTX graphics guarantee an impressive A/V experience, together with the FHD screen (with an IPS panel and narrow bezel of 0.29″).
This laptop makes it simple to work on multimedia projects or unwind with a film of your choice. Also, the brightness setting of 300 nits and color gamut of 72% NTSC create a vivid, accurately rendered display.
Note: The GPU comes with less dedicated memory than some others on this list—up to 3GB.
One of the highlights of the Acer Nitro is its all-metal look and feel. Not only is it sturdy but also attractive.
The chassis weighs around 5.51lbs and is stylishly slim at only 0.78″. Suffice it to say that things look as good as they feel, especially when you also take into account the red-backlit keyboard and its pro-gaming, tactile design.
Interestingly, the keyboard has a dedicated key for NitroSense as well as highlighted WASD and arrow keys.
Notably, Acer has made this offering extremely well-connected. Not only do you have access to 802.11ac Gigabit Wi-Fi (dual-band at 2.4GHz and 5GHz), but you can also avail of a full array of ports for your devices and peripherals.
For instance, there is a USB 3.1 Type C port supporting data transfer up to 5Gbps, two regular USB 3.1 ports, as well as an HDMI to connect to external displays. The laptop also has an inbuilt HD webcam with support for Super High Dynamic Range (SHDR).
- Best Gaming Laptops (Our Top 10 Picks)
- 10 Best Gaming Laptops Under $1500
- 10 Best Gaming Laptops Under $2000
- Top 10 Best ASUS Gaming Laptops
- Top 10 Best MSI Gaming Laptops
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 G7 15 7590 (#8) with its Nahimic Sound Center for voice-led in-game control and the Lenovo Legion Y545 (#9) 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 ASUS Vivobook K571 (#5).
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.