10 Best Gaming Laptops Under $1500 2020
Smooth gaming at spectacular prices
We have also assembled some of the finest options in the marketplace today that deliver excellent performance at a budget-friendly price.
Until not too long ago, gaming on a laptop was a distant dream. People preferred desktops for the sheer magnitude of processing power, superior specs and high-quality graphics—something that seemed impossible to attain in a laptop.
With time, however, not only have gaming laptops become a reality, but they have also become very popular.
Today, you can play most high-end games on laptops and experience desktop-level enjoyment. While many of these devices are expensive—upwards of $2000 or $2500—some can be purchased at less than $1500 as well.
In the bid to offer capable computers on a budget, many manufacturers have deepened their commitment to intelligent design. The product lines, of course, vary vastly across brands.
For instance, while HP is committed to a secure, dependable computing experience, Asus is keen on staying abreast of the latest advancements in the gaming landscape. Companies like Razer go the extra mile to bring you immense power and visuals so grand it is almost desktop-class.
Thanks to this abundance of choices and priorities, gaming audiences can take their pick according to their specific requirements.
Computers, in their atavistic avatars, may have been used exclusively for number crunching and data computation. But in modern times, one of their core purposes in life is helping you escape reality by immersing yourself in an alternate, fascinating world. Or, in other words: gaming.
With more and more computer manufacturers jumping on the video-game bandwagon, the marketplace is replete with gaming laptops that help you contest with foes on the battlefield and emerge as the victor.
For a gaming device to offer you a competent mix of performance and A/V merits, it must have both a high-speed processor and a display with an optimal refresh rate.
While the former helps you run the latest AAA titles, complete with all the CPU-heavy paraphernalia they require, the latter is essential to minimize stutter and ensure that the games get rendered as the makers intended them.
It is in achieving this combo that many brands struggle. This is why locating a high-performance gaming laptop with a refresh rate of 144Hz, and a price tag that doesn’t burn a hole in your wallet is an immensely tall order.
Most of these laptops are from the stables of reputed computer manufacturers and promise sustainable, reliable gaming experiences.
But before we dive into this mesmerizing world, let us find out something crucial about the world of gaming: the importance of refresh rate and how to locate a computer that knows it too.
Table of Contents
- Quick Checklist for a Top-notch Best Gaming Laptops Under $1500
- Our Picks: 10 Best Gaming Laptops Under $1500
- 1. Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-53 (Recommended)
- 2. MSI GL65 Leopard 10SFK-062 (Recommended)
- 3. ASUS ROG Strix G15 (Best 240Hz )
- 4. Acer Predator Triton 300 (Most Powerful)
- 5. MSI GP65 Leopard 10SFK-047 (Best Audio)
- 6. ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 (Best AMD)
- 7. Predator Helios 300 PH317-54-77TH (Best 17-inch)
- 8. MSI GS66 Stealth 10SE-044 (Best 240Hz)
- 9. New Alienware m15 R3 (Premium)
- 10. Razer Blade 15 2020 (Premium)
- Pros and Cons of Gaming Laptop Under $1500
- Should You Purchase a Cheap Gaming Laptop?
- What to Look for in an Under $1500 Gaming Laptop
- What is Refresh Rate & Why is it Important in a Gaming Laptop?
- Final Word
Quick Checklist for a Top-notch Best Gaming Laptops Under $1500
While hunting for a 144Hz gaming laptop, ensure you also have your eye on:
- A high-speed processor (Intel Core i5 and above): This is critical to fuel your high-adrenaline gaming sessions. A high refresh rate won’t serve you well unless your CPU can back things up.
- A dedicated GPU: Integrated graphics are unlikely to be ample for fast-track gaming. Look for a laptop with a dedicated GPU (e.g., NVIDIA GTX). If you have the budget, you can also explore NVIDIA RTX GPUs and experience brilliant visual effects with real-time ray tracing.
- An anti-glare screen and an IPS panel: Since you are investing in a high-refresh-rate monitor, chances are you will be staring at the screen for long hours. An anti-glare panel and IPS compatibility (In-Plane Switching) will keep your experience strain-free and comfortable across viewing positions.
- Anti-stutter technology (NVIDIA G-SYNC or AMD FreeSync): While the best way to avoid screen tearing or stuttering is to invest in a laptop with an optimal refresh rate (144Hz or at least 120Hz), you can also explore technologies like NVIDIA G-SYNC or AMD FreeSync. These technologies reduce screen tearing and ghosting by synchronizing the display panel with the graphics card. So, the monitor will update only when the card sends a frame, thereby keeping the two in sync irrespective of the frame rate.
- A superior sound system: Games with fast-changing movements tend to rely heavily on sound for building realistic, captivating worlds. A laptop with acoustics that complements the 144Hz display will help you derive the best results.
Our Picks: 10 Best Gaming Laptops Under $1500
We have designed the list of best gaming laptops under $1500 2020 to suit a variety of need and priorities—from cost-effectiveness and superior battery life to additional gaming features sought out by pros.
1. Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-53 (Recommended)
A 15.6” machine that comes in at just under $1200, the Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-53-72XD is a marvel of design and function.
Fueled by an 10th gen Intel Core i7-10750H processor, 16GB RAM, 512GB of SSD memory and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 graphics, this Predator is ample to run most modern AAA titles on a stutter-free, 144Hz display.
The FHD screen is fitted with an IPS panel to grant you viewing comfort from multiple vantage points. To its merit, this computer also offers up to seven hours of battery life—a feature that does wonders for the portability of this already lightweight and slim machine (5.51lbs, 0.9”).
While this laptop manages to meet a sub-$1200 price point, it does not compromise on the beauty of the display. Along with the high refresh rate, you get a brightness of 300 nits and a color gamut of 72% NTSC.
This makes the colors and details pop, all the flourishes intact and vivid. Keeping everything cool is an AeroBlade cooling system with two metallic fans (3D).
Acer has ensured top-notch design standards for this offering. The build features red accents and geometric lines—a combination that adds to the dramatic appeal of the black chassis.
In stand-out features, this laptop brings you stunning sound; Acer TrueHarmony and DTS X Ultra combine to produce loud, clear audio that builds scintillating gaming sessions.
Note that this device is equipped with abundant USB ports, a backlit keyboard, and 802.11ax Wi-Fi. So, connecting to peripherals or hopping onto the World Wide Web will not be a hassle at all. It is also fitted with an HD Webcam with Super High Dynamic Range (SHDR) to let you interact with your gaming buddies via top-quality video.
2. MSI GL65 Leopard 10SFK-062 (Recommended)
MSI has, over time, developed a solid reputation for building sturdy, performance-oriented laptops that combine modern trends with a quintessential core.
The 15.6” MSI GL65 Leopard 10SFK-062 follows this legacy, with its 10th gen Intel Core i7-10750H CPU, NVIDIA RTX 2070 graphics, and swift-response-time monitor (3ms).
The anti-glare display provides crowd-pleasing benefits, the highlight among which is a color gamut of 72% NTSC and 100% sRGB.
The latest RTX graphics card lets you delight in the power of real-time ray tracing—a futuristic technology where in-game light imitates the behavior of light in real life.
It also enhances gaming imagery using artificial intelligence, creating genuinely breathtaking worlds. Remember: RTX gaming laptops are still considerably pricier than GTX laptops, which is another reason this offering is a steal.
To be able to deliver the superior performance that it does, this computer is equipped with 16GB RAM and 512GB of SSD storage. The Cooler Boost 5 technology uses an assortment of two fans, two exhausts, and six heat pipes (copper) to keep the system cool and functioning sweat-free.
On the whole, this laptop is stylish and portable with a weight of 5.07lbs (thickness: 1.08”). It has a sleek, clean chassis with the standard red-lining design of MSI and a gaming keyboard with translucent key edges.
3. ASUS ROG Strix G15 (Best 240Hz )
The device features a stunning and lightweight design that enables you to carry it around without any hassle.
It is powered by the 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10750H Processor along with NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 GPU for efficient gameplay without any glitches. It features a standard 15.6” FHD IPS-type display with 240Hz refresh rate and 3ms overdrive response.
The device is backed by the ROG Intelligent Cooling system that enables faster cooling without affecting the gaming experience.
It is also integrated with 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD for storage along with 16GB RAM for smoother performance. Even the wireless connectivity with the Gig+ Wi-Fi 6 & Bluetooth 5.0 makes this a worthy purchase.
4. Acer Predator Triton 300 (Most Powerful)
Another budget-friendly option under $1500 that you can buy to entice your gaming heart is the Acer Predator Triton 300.
This is a beast of a device, especially because of the wide range of features it packs in.
The overall durable design with the curved edges is pretty enticing but the device is not the most portable option.
The device is powered by the 10th Generation Intel Core i7-10750H hexa-core processor with NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 GPU for smoother gameplay.
It is equipped with a 15.6” FHD LED-backlit IPS display with a screen resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. It also has 144Hz refresh rate with 3ms overdrive response.
In terms of the storage, it is integrated with 1TB NVMe SSD with 16GB DDR4 RAM for smoother gaming experience. It has a 4-zone RGB backlit keyboard that further enhances the gameplay. It runs on the Windows 10 Home operating system.
5. MSI GP65 Leopard 10SFK-047 (Best Audio)
But, don’t get deterred by the less price because the price doesn’t define how amazing the features of the device are.
The device is powered by the 10th gen Intel Core i7-10750H processor along with the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 that ensure super fast and glitch free gaming experience beyond questions. If you don’t want to compromise on your gaming experience, this is the one.
Aside from the performance, the device also packs in a standard 15.6” thin bezel IPS-level display with a refresh rate of 144Hz and overdrive response of 3ms.
It assures that the next time you play a heavy duty game, you wouldn’t have to worry about the device glitching or stopping in the middle of the game.
6. ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 (Best AMD)
If you want to keep an eye out on the budget but at the same time, want the latest Ryzen processors for your gaming laptop, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 (2020) make that possible for you.
This is one of the most stunning gaming laptops that you will likely come across.
The combination of the AMD Ryzen 7 4800H processor along with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660Ti graphics processor make this one of the best gaming beasts that you can get your hands on. If you don’t want t compromise on the performance, this device has got you covered.
Aside from that, the 15.6” FHD IPS display along with 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD and 16GB SDRAM for memory options make this device a worthy pick for your gaming needs. The ROG intelligent cooling system in this device further ensures to take the overall gaming experience up a notch.
7. Predator Helios 300 PH317-54-77TH (Best 17-inch)
It features a very standard Acer Predator like design with backlit keyboard and the latest features for smoother gameplay.
The best part of this gaming laptop is the 17.3” FHD widescreen IPS display with 144Hz refresh rate and 3ms overdrive response.
It also has 300 nit brightness for clearer display. It comes with a 4-zone RGB backlit keyboard that further adds a stunning look and feel to the device.
For cooling and thermal management, the device is integrated with the 4th Gen All-Metal AeroBlade 3D Fan that ensures faster cooling without affecting the gameplay of the device.
This gaming laptop is also equipped with 1TB NVMe SSD for storage along with 16GB RAM for memory options.
8. MSI GS66 Stealth 10SE-044 (Best 240Hz)
With such a sleek design and the packed feature list, this is a gaming laptop that you just can’t do without.
It also packs in the stunning RGB backlit keyboard which further adds a very premium look and feel to the device. The Black-core design is the standard one and looks extremely amazing with the overall features that it packs in.
Aside from that, the device is also powered by the Intel Core i7-10875H processor for smoother gameplay and uninterrupted gaming experience.
It is also supported by NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 that further enhances the overall gaming experience of the user.
Coming round to the display, it comes with the standard 15.6” FHD display with narrow bezels on the side and a refresh rate of 240Hz, for better frame response.
The device has a storage of 512GB SSD along with 16GB RAM for effortless gaming experience beyond comprehension and without any kind of unnecessary glitches or interruptions.
9. New Alienware m15 R3 (Premium)
The final 10th gen. laptop under-$1500 computer on this list is also one with a clear advantage in advanced technology vis-à-vis display, efficiency and gaming.
The Alienware m15 R3 brilliantly combines several modern-age gaming technologies including, per-key RGB LED lighting (AlienFX), Tobii eye-tracking, and a superior cooling system with 8-phase voltage regulation.
The eye-tracking is especially delightful, allowing gamers to utilize subtle motions like head pose and eye position.
If you are likely to be using your computer for long hours, the heat dissipation system with specially designed fan blades will come in handy. (There is a 10% and 20% diameter increase in the CPU and GPU fan blades respectively).
This Dell laptop is powered by an Intel Core i7-10750H processor, 16GB RAM, a 256GB SSD, and AMD Radeon RX 5500M 4GB GDDR6 graphics.
But the stand-out is the gorgeous display. You can opt for the 300Hz panel which comes with a 100% sRGB color gamut and 300-nit brightness. Or, how about an OLED 4K display? The cherry on the cake: this Alienware maintains a high degree of mobility with a weight of 4.65lbs and a resilient industrial design.
This makes it perfect as an all-rounder gaming laptop that also suits anyone looking for a multimedia- or design partner.
10. Razer Blade 15 2020 (Premium)
An 10th gen Intel Core i7-10750H processor drives this machine, supported by 16GB RAM and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660Ti graphics.
The available storage is 256GB SSD. Display-wise too, you will be well-placed with the FHD monitor that offers a color gamut of 100% sRGB and 144Hz refresh rate.
This Razer laptop is sturdily built with CNC aluminum, but it weighs a fairly light 4.6lbs and measures only 0.78″. Along with the portable build, Razer also offers a Thunderbolt 3 connection to permit you to plug into any devices or peripherals on the go.
Thanks to the backlit keyboard (single-zone) with preset profiles and support for 16.8 million colors, all multimedia experiences are elevated by several notches.
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- Top 10 Best AMD Ryzen Laptops 2020
- 10 Best 240Hz Gaming Laptops
Pros and Cons of Gaming Laptop Under $1500
Gaming on a laptop is a premise that was unfathomable only a couple of years ago. With the advent of superior design and intelligent technologies of heat management, it has become possible to perform complicated multimedia tasks on compact devices.
Let us do a quick assessment of inexpensive gaming laptops and see what they bring to the table.
- Many inexpensive gaming laptops now provide the processing power to support games such as Fortnite and Overwatch at moderate to high settings.
- Manufacturers have risen to the needs of modern audiences and equipped cheap gaming laptops with many premium features. For instance, it is possible to experience the glamour of NVIDIA RTX graphics and a high refresh rate on an under-$1500 gaming machine. You can also get fine-tuned audio by Bang & Olufsen as well as surround sound in your headphones.
- You save precious dollars that you can then invest in gaming paraphernalia such as controllers, external devices and mice.
- Many gamers like to embrace the latest trends and acquire new laptop models as and when available. If you get a budget-friendly notebook now, it leaves you with greater flexibility to purchase a fresh model a few years down the line. You won’t have to make two hefty investments close on each other’s heels.
- Inexpensive gaming laptops can frequently double up as excellent multimedia devices for film enthusiasts, editors, photographers, artists, and other creative professionals. They can be used for creating and editing multimedia content, thus expanding their usability. Effectively, you did not rob a bank to acquire a gaming laptop, but you did end up getting a versatile, multipurpose machine, nonetheless.
- You will have to be extra cautious while selecting a gaming laptop in the budget-range. Many picks tend to have poor design, cheap-quality keyboards, and flimsy construction.
- Upgradeability is not usually high among laptops in the budget aisle. You are stuck with the specifications you buy, and, if your needs change, the likelihood is that you will have to buy a new laptop.
- It is still difficult to get the desktop-league experience on gaming laptops, especially ones that are cheaper than $2000. Part of this is due to the cooling mechanism—desktops almost always have a better airflow, thus enjoying more sustainability and long-term performance. (Laptops are working on equaling this through technologies like anti-dust and adjustable fan speeds.)
Should You Purchase a Cheap Gaming Laptop?
Cheap gaming devices span a wide spectrum of prices—from as little as $500 to $1000. When you get home a laptop close to $1500, you are investing in the moderately-priced range, which means you will still get access to many top-of-the-rung features.
Powerful processing and engaging graphics—the two mainstays of gaming—are in full form in such laptops. This makes them great picks for anyone who loves gaming but also wishes to save some money.
The pros notwithstanding, cheap gaming machines are not suitable for everyone. You should buy a budget gaming companion only if:
- You like gaming, but are not, let us say, obsessed with experiencing the highest level of gameplay attainable.
- You are willing to compromise on some specifications, such as the refresh rate, available storage or portability. For instance, few budget gamers can offer a refresh rate of 240Hz, more than 512GB of storage or an ultra-light chassis of 4–5lbs.
- You are open to the idea of upgrading to a pricier laptop in the near future if and when your requirements change.
- You are not a stickler for immersive sound. While some laptops under $2000 now offer distortion-free audio, it remains a challenge for most gaming notebooks. This can in no small part be attributed to the high-speed fans that laptops require for heat dissipation. Desktops and premium laptops tend to have more efficient (and less noisy) cooling systems, which contribute to better audio.
- Note: Surprising as it is, you can also find gaming laptops in the range of $800–$1000. Some of these devices are simply everyday computers that you can also use to play some games—at moderate settings at best. But it would be pushing it too far to expect such devices to give you the adrenaline rush of immersive graphics or the breakneck speeds that form the backbone of many AAA games.
What to Look for in an Under $1500 Gaming Laptop
Truth be told, these laptops are not really “budget”. However, they are relatively inexpensive when compared to the higher end of the spectrum with computers exceeding $2500 in pricing. That said, they still need to deliver ample power for your gaming pursuits. When you are out looking for a gaming laptop that can meet your needs, ensure that it satisfies these criteria:
- A competent CPU: Most laptops in this space have an Intel Core i7 processor, which proves capable of supporting contemporary games like PUBG and Fortnite. You can also look for an AMD equivalent; AMD processors are especially gifted at multitasking and also come in cheaper. It is important not to settle for a mediocre processor since doing so will seriously limit your gameplay and the range of settings you can enjoy. It is also helpful if the CPU supports overclocking. As for the number of cores, you can settle for a processor that has four or six; there is little point in doing overkill here.
- Adequate RAM and storage: Aim to get at least 16GB RAM and 512GB of storage. Ideally, the laptop should offer an SSD (solid-state drive) for superior read/write speeds and swift loading. SSDs also tend to have more longevity and quick booting, both of which are helpful for intensive pursuits like gaming. An even better option is to get a mix of SSD and HDD (hard disk drive). That way, your primary gaming files that can benefit from a quick boot-up can rest on the SSD, while the rest of your stuff can go on the HDD. However, not many under-$1500 laptops offer this combination storage yet.
Some laptops offer easy upgradeability for the memory and storage through easy-to-access slots. This comes in handy when you wish to upgrade the specs of your laptop but avoid investing in a whole new device—a scenario all too common for gamers.
- Effective heat dissipation: Gaming is a CPU-draining pursuit and generates immense heat. Unless the laptop has a functional heat dissipation mechanism, the build-up will affect your experience. Look for cooling systems that utilize good airflow. Innovations such as anti-dust keep the innards cool and working at their optimum. Some laptops in this league offer aeroblade fans for faster air circulation.
- Dedicated graphics card: This is pretty much mandatory if you wish to play high-end games at high-end settings. Integrated graphics simply won’t cut it for games that involve multiple transitions, details, special effects, etc. While an NVIDIA GTX card can support many contemporary games, you can also look for an NVIDIA RTX card. Some under-$1500 gaming laptops do offer the grandeur of RTX, complete with real-time ray tracing, better performance, and artificial intelligence.
- Vivid display: A bright and engaging display is a prerequisite for a laptop to qualify as a gamer. Look for an FHD display with a narrow-bezel design for minimal external interference. It is recommended to get a 15.6” screen (at least) or a 17” one, depending on your requirements. While the former is more portable and better suited to outdoor events, the latter is closer to a desktop experience. Also, check that the screen has an IPS panel (In-Plane Switching). This will be important to let you view the screen from various angles/positions, without encountering distortion.
An important parameter of the display is the refresh rate or the number of times in a second that your screen refreshes. A good metric is 144Hz; you will be hard-placed to find 240Hz laptops in this price range. Also, aim to get a rich color gamut (100% sRGB is superb), a quick response time (close to 3ms) and a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080.
- Connectivity options: Gaming is an endeavor that needs plenty of connections—from controllers and mice to keyboards and external displays. Ensure that the laptop you purchase has an assortment of USB ports, HDMI, display ports, and compatibility with Wi-Fi and LAN. Some notebooks support Killer Wi-Fi that helpfully optimizes your internet bandwidth, directing it toward your game.
- Rich audio output: What is a great game without terrific sound? Since much of modern gameplay relies on high-quality audio, the laptop should support good sound, rich bass, and ample volume. In the under-$1500 range, you can find laptops with Bang & Olufsen audio, DTS: x Ultra surround sound and fine-tuning technologies for minimal distortion and noise. Even when the laptop is compact and portable, smart design can ensure that sound quality does not get affected.
- Gaming-friendly keyboard: A full-purpose keyboard with smart keys, anti-ghosting, and backlighting can make gaming more enjoyable. You can find laptops with per-key backlighting even in this price range, though more choices abound in the zonal-lighting segment. Also, check that the keyboard is sturdily built and torture tested since it will be getting plenty of animated activity during gaming.
- Dependable build and construction: If portability is important to you, it is possible to find cheap gaming laptops weighing 5–6lbs. Otherwise, even if the laptop is heavy and space-consuming, it is paramount to check that it is dependably built, with well-made hinges and components, and long-lasting polish. Nothing is a worse eyesore than a gaming laptop, supposedly all-powerful, with shoddy design and a flimsy chassis. If aesthetics matter to you, search for accents and highlights, brand logos, and stand-out patterns. Some laptops have metallic top covers for extra glamour.
The above parameters are essentials in any gaming laptop worth its salt. No matter how budget-conscious the purchase, you should guarantee that these criteria are met so that you can enjoy fluid and uninterrupted gameplay. Remember that you may have to give up on certain features that are characteristic of portable laptops, such as long battery life. Or, you may not get too many color choices that are common with some contemporary notebooks focused on style.
What is Refresh Rate & Why is it Important in a Gaming Laptop?
The refresh rate of a laptop is defined as the number of times in one second that the screen updates itself.
A higher refresh rate is preferable for gaming because it lets you see more frames per second. The result will be a smoother video with higher precision and more responsiveness.
So, while the standard refresh rate for laptops is 60Hz (which means 60 times in one second), you are likely to find this lacking for heavy-duty gaming. For the latter, the recommended metric in 2020 is 144Hz.
But wait—can the eye really detect a difference between a monitor with a 60Hz, 120Hz and 144Hz display? You bet! Yes, if you don’t intend to use your laptop for serious gaming and only ever play low-key games without fast-moving objects, you might get along fine with a 60Hz display.
But for gameplay at high frame rates—where the fun truly belongs—you need a monitor that can update itself swiftly and let your eyes track movements realistically. This becomes almost imperative to play shooter and fighter games; it is less significant for strategy-oriented games.
Note that the refresh rate is distinct from the response time which is the number of milliseconds it takes for a pixel to change color. But yes, this is also a crucial metric for a gaming laptop.
If your display has a high response time and a low refresh rate, but you try to play a game at maximum frame settings, you are setting yourself up for stuttering and screen tearing.
Have you decided on your gaming laptop yet? As times change and video games evolve further, gaming machines are also working harder to deliver gratifying experiences.
The market is resplendent with productive competition, where giants like Dell, MSI and HP are matching wits with innovative players like ASUS and Acer.
It isn’t straightforward to offer dazzling performance with engaging graphics at a budget-friendly price. However, the evolution of design technologies and architectures has helped bridge the gap between cost and future-friendliness to a large extent.
When shopping for your gaming soulmate, a good way to start is by enlisting your priorities.
For instance, you might covet a gaming machine that, along with cost effectiveness and a 144Hz display, also adapts well to outdoor marathons and peer-events.
In this case, you should zero down on a laptop with good battery back-up (#8). If casual gaming is more your cup of tea, you can save some precious dollars by getting #7 or #3. For a future-ready gaming machine equipped with stellar features for professionals and competitive gamers, we would recommend #1, #2 or #4.
Whatever you do, remember this: once skill and tact are accounted for, your game can only be as good as your gaming machine.