PC gaming can be a costly passion. From purchasing games to acquiring a capable machine to run them smoothly, it often feels like an expensive venture. However, the good news is that you don’t need to break the bank to embark on your gaming journey. There’s a wide selection of gaming laptops available for under $1,000, and they offer the essentials you need for an enjoyable gaming experience.
Here’s what you can expect from gaming laptops in this price range:
- 1080p Display: These laptops come equipped with a 1080p display, providing crisp visuals for your gaming pleasure.
- Strong CPU: You’ll find a capable CPU that can handle gaming and everyday tasks with ease.
- Discrete GPU: These laptops feature dedicated gaming-ready GPUs that are suitable for esports and competitive games, delivering smooth performance.
- Some Work Capability: Beyond gaming, they can handle work tasks efficiently.
However, there are certain trade-offs when opting for a gaming laptop under $1,000:
- Settings Adjustment: In more demanding games, you might need to lower some settings to maintain smooth performance.
- Not the Latest Components: These laptops might not have the latest-generation processors or top-of-the-line GPUs.
- Limited Storage: Storage space may be limited, restricting your ability to store numerous games simultaneously.
- 8GB of RAM: You’ll likely find laptops with 8GB of RAM or less. It’s advisable to avoid single-channel RAM configurations.
If you have the means, it’s worth considering spending a bit more for a laptop with a better GPU, SSD, or screen. You’ll also likely get better build quality. However, if budget constraints are a concern, there are viable options for you. You can always upgrade storage or RAM later, when your finances allow.
Many of the sub-$1,000 gaming laptops currently on the market are powered by Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 4050, and some may feature slightly older CPUs like 12th Gen Intel processors or Ryzen 6000 series chips. While you might encounter laptops with a GeForce GTX 1650 or RTX 3050, it’s advisable to opt for the RTX 4050 if possible.
With the best gaming laptops under $1,000, you can expect to run most games smoothly, even though you might need to make some adjustments to settings and resolution.
BEST GAMING LAPTOPS UNDER $1,000
The Asus Vivobook Pro 15 earns its “Pro” designation by delivering exceptional value for its price. It boasts a Ryzen 7 CPU, an RTX 3050 GPU, 16GB of RAM, and a speedy 512GB M.2 NVMe hard drive, providing the performance typically associated with higher-end laptops at a significantly lower cost. However, what truly sets the Vivobook Pro 15 apart is its stunning 15.6-inch OLED display, offering vivid visuals and an impressive contrast ratio.
While the laptop’s design may not be particularly eye-catching, that’s not its primary focus. Asus has prioritized packing this laptop with robust performance, making it an excellent choice for those seeking power over aesthetics. The Asus Vivobook Pro 15 provides the capabilities and features of a more expensive midrange laptop while maintaining an affordable price point.
- Strong productivity performance.
- Excellent display quality.
- Durable and rugged design.
- Impressive battery life.
- Plain and uninspiring aesthetics.
- Lackluster 720p webcam.
- Unreliable fingerprint scanner.
- Limited port selection options.
2. HP Victus 15
The HP Victus 15 stands out as an excellent budget-friendly option, offering decent performance at an affordable price point. While it may not match the power of some other laptops on this list, its affordability makes it an attractive choice. Equipped with discrete graphics, albeit an older GTX 1650 model, it remains one of the most budget-conscious options that still provides dedicated graphics capabilities.
Although achieving a consistent 60 frames per second (FPS) in modern games may be challenging on this laptop, it can handle gaming at lower graphics settings. If you’re on a tight budget but still want the advantages of a discrete graphics card, the HP Victus 15 offers a compelling choice.
- Exceptional price point.
- Well-performing keyboard and touchpad.
- Respectable processor performance.
- Capable of handling most games at 30 FPS.
- Generic design lacks uniqueness.
- Disappointing build quality.
- Unattractive 144Hz display.
- Achieving 60 FPS is often challenging.
The Acer Nitro 5 (2022) offers a compelling gaming experience at an affordable price point. Equipped with an Intel Core i5-12500H processor, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU, 512GB SSD, and 16GB of RAM, this laptop delivers solid gaming performance. While its initial price was $899.99 during testing, it has been spotted on sale for as low as $799.99, making it an even more attractive option for budget-conscious gamers.
One standout feature is the generous 16GB of RAM, which is often more than what’s typically found in laptops in this price range. This contributes to better overall performance, allowing for smoother gameplay. Additionally, the laptop includes a 512GB SSD, providing ample storage space for several games.
However, the display’s color quality left something to be desired, appearing somewhat washed out. On the bright side, it does offer a fast 144Hz refresh rate, which is a notable advantage compared to other laptops in its class. Users may need to weigh the trade-off between display quality and speed based on their preferences.
One drawback is the significant amount of pre-installed bloatware on the Nitro 5, which can consume storage space and impact the overall experience. Removing unnecessary software is advisable to free up storage for games and achieve a cleaner user experience.
Acer deserves credit for leaving room for future storage expansion. The laptop features an empty 2.5-inch drive bay and includes a SATA cable, enabling users to easily add an additional hard drive or SSD for increased storage capacity. This flexibility is a valuable addition, especially in this price range where such opportunities are limited in other laptops.
- Affordable price
- Improved and refined design
- Good gaming performance considering the price
- Display exhibits washed-out colors
- Tons of bloatware
The Asus TUF Gaming A16 Advantage Edition stands out as a gaming laptop with exceptional battery life, making it a great choice for gamers on the move. Gaming laptops are typically known for their limited battery endurance, forcing users to stay near a power source. However, the A16 defies this norm by featuring a massive 90 watt-hour battery that lasted an astonishing eleven hours during testing.
While intensive gaming sessions will reduce this impressive battery life, you can still expect around seven hours of continuous 1080p gaming without needing to plug into an AC outlet. This is a remarkable achievement compared to most gaming laptops, which typically offer only three to six hours of battery life. Moreover, the A16’s sturdy chassis and robust design make it capable of withstanding occasional bumps or knocks while on the go.
In addition to its remarkable battery life, the A16 delivers strong gaming performance with its combination of a Ryzen 7 processor and AMD Radeon RX 7600S graphics card. It performs exceptionally well in 1080p gaming, even outpacing more expensive competitors in benchmark tests, making it an excellent choice for gamers looking for a portable solution for on-the-go gaming.
- Remarkable all-day battery life.
- Stunning and fluid FHD+ 16:10 display.
- Sturdy chassis boasting US military-grade certification.
- Left-side port placement may not be ideal for left-handed users.
- Keys have a slightly soft feel and may induce fatigue during extended use.
- The 720p HD camera’s quality is subpar.
5. Dell G16
The Dell G16 is an excellent choice for those looking for a laptop that can handle both work and play effectively. While its design may not be the most eye-catching, it excels in terms of performance. This laptop outperforms its competitors, making it capable of handling everyday tasks such as office work, video conferencing, and email checking with ease. It also impressively ran the Rise of the Tomb Raider benchmark, achieving 131 FPS.
Under the hood, the Dell G16 boasts an Intel Core i7-12700H CPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD. These specs ensure that it can handle demanding tasks and gaming with ease. So, if you’re searching for a versatile laptop that excels in both work and play scenarios, the Dell G16 is a top choice.
- Impressive performance considering its cost.
- Features a versatile and vibrant 16-inch 16:10 QHD display.
- Equipped with Thunderbolt 4 connectivity.
- Bulky and boring design.
- Keyboard feels soft, and the touchpad is small.
- The 720p webcam provides grainy quality.
- Experiences a noticeable amount of fan noise.
Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Gaming Chromebook stands out as an affordable and unexpected choice for gamers. Its capable hardware specifications, including the Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM, ensure that it can handle gaming and multitasking. Additionally, the presence of a high-resolution display and compatibility with cloud gaming services make it an attractive option for budget-conscious gamers seeking a versatile gaming laptop.
Despite not being commonly associated with gaming, the Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Gaming Chromebook offers a cost-effective solution for gamers. With a price tag of under $600, it manages to deliver a commendable gaming experience without breaking the bank.
The laptop comes equipped with an Intel Core i5 processor, providing a solid foundation for gaming and other daily computing tasks. This CPU ensures that the laptop can handle modern games and multitasking with ease. With 8GB of RAM onboard, this Chromebook offers smooth multitasking capabilities.
Gamers can enjoy uninterrupted gameplay while also running background applications without a hitch. The inclusion of a 256GB SSD ensures speedy storage performance. This not only translates to quick boot times but also provides ample space for storing games, applications, and other files. One of the standout features is its 16-inch display, boasting a high resolution of 2560×1600 pixels. The screen delivers vibrant and sharp visuals, enhancing the gaming and entertainment experience. In a surprising turn, this Chromebook is compatible with cloud gaming services.
This means that, with a decent internet connection and a subscription to such services, gamers can stream modern AAA games directly to the laptop. Impressively, these games can be played at good resolutions and even support refresh rates of up to 120Hz.
- Spacious and vibrant 2560×1600 display.
- Excellent wireless and wired connectivity options.
- Good display quality complemented by robust speakers.
- Design lacks appeal and is unimpressive.
- Keyboard and touchpad performance is mediocre.
- Subpar webcam and microphone quality.
What to look for in an affordable gaming laptop?
When searching for a budget gaming laptop, several key factors should be considered to ensure you get the best value for your money. Here’s what you should look for:
- GPU (Graphics Processing Unit): The GPU is crucial for gaming performance. Look for a laptop with at least an entry-level GPU like the GTX 1650, RTX 3050, or RTX 3050 Ti. These GPUs can handle 1080p gaming with reasonable settings.
- CPU (Central Processing Unit): A processor with at least four cores is recommended, but six or more cores are better. For Intel, consider an 11th-gen Core i5 or i7, and for AMD, go for a Ryzen 4000 or 5000 series CPU.
- RAM: Aim for a minimum of 8GB of RAM, but if your budget allows, 16GB is preferable. Keep in mind that memory is often upgradeable, so you can add more later.
- Storage: Look for a laptop with at least 512GB of SSD storage. SSDs load games faster compared to traditional hard drives, and they provide a smoother overall experience. You can always expand storage later.
- Display: A 1080p display is typical in this price range. Try to find one with a 144Hz refresh rate for smoother gaming. Keep in mind that budget gaming laptops might compromise on display quality.
- Battery Life: Gaming laptops generally have shorter battery life due to their power-hungry components. Most will last around four to six hours on a single charge. Some exceptions, like the HP Envy 14, offer longer battery life.
- Build Quality: While budget laptops may cut corners in design and build, try to find one that feels sturdy. A rugged chassis can withstand more wear and tear.
- Port Selection: Ensure the laptop has the necessary ports for your needs. USB-C, HDMI, and ample USB ports are useful for connecting peripherals and external displays.
- Cooling: Adequate cooling is essential for gaming laptops to prevent overheating. Look for laptops with efficient cooling systems to maintain performance during extended gaming sessions.
- Keyboard and Touchpad: Comfortable input devices are essential for gaming and productivity. Test the keyboard and touchpad to ensure they meet your preferences.
By considering these factors, you can find a budget gaming laptop that suits your gaming needs and provides good value for your investment. Remember that while budget laptops may have some limitations, they can still deliver enjoyable gaming experiences for a range of titles.