7 Best Budget Gaming Laptops in 2021

By Robin Owens 5 days ago, Hardware

Budget gaming laptops from popular brands.

cheap gaming laptop

It’s quite challenging to find an inexpensive gaming laptop that can guarantee great performance. However, it’s achievable. I have created a list of the best affordable gaming laptops to help you make your choice easier.

Top 7 Budget Gaming Laptops

  1. Lenovo Ideapad - Our choice
  2. ASUS TUF Gaming - Fast budget laptop
  3. Acer Nitro - Performance is better than you’d expect
  4. Lenovo Legion - Great performance and nice viewing angles
  5. HP Pavilion - Great for semi-serious gaming
  6. MSI GF63 Thin - Power for gaming and productivity
  7. MSI GF65 Thin - A lot of gaming power

Not all cheap gaming laptops have only entry-level elements. You can find many powerful models that don’t cost much. The majority of them are below $1000, however, the prices can differ depending on special deals that appear from time to time. Besides, I have created a guide, which describes all the characteristics and aspects you should take into consideration when choosing such a laptop.

1. Lenovo IdeaPad

Our Choice
inexpensive gaming laptop

CPU: Intel Core i5-9300H | GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 512GB | Display: 15.6-inch (1920x1080) | Weight: 4.84 pounds

⊕ Has a matte IPS panel
⊕ Good gaming performance
⊕ Nice keyboard
⊕ The battery lasts long
⊖ Doesn’t have a memory card reader

This is the best budget gaming laptop as it provides great performance and maintenance capabilities. Besides, it has a bright screen with excellent contrast and blacks. The CPU operates well too. I didn’t notice any performance drops when testing the device. With this laptop, you can enjoy games to the fullest.

2. ASUS TUF Gaming

Fast budget laptop
best budget gaming laptop

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7-4800H | GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 1TB | Display: 17.3-inch (1920x1080) | Weight: 5.73 pounds

⊕ Boasts 1 TB SSD
⊕ 16 GB of RAM
⊕ Great quality for such a price
⊕ Decent cooling system
⊖ Lack of USB-C

This is a cheap gaming laptop, which offers great value for the price. You can play the newest games such as Red Dead Redemption on the 17-inch IPS display with an amazing refresh rate. This device has robust specs, especially the R7 4800H. As it comes with 16 GB of RAM, you won’t need to upgrade it.

3. Acer Nitro

Performance is better than you’d expect
basic gaming laptop

CPU: Intel Core i5-9300H | GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB | Display: 15.6-inch (1920x1080) | Weight: 5.07 pounds

⊕ Great value for the price
⊕ Remains cool under pressure
⊕ Multiple ports for peripherals
⊖ Picky trackpad
⊖ Medium audio output

This is an ideal option for users who can’t afford to spend much money on a laptop or for those who are new to gaming. It has a very convenient keyboard, many ports and decent battery life. The performance it delivers will impress you too.

4. Lenovo Legion

Great performance and nice viewing angles
entry level gaming laptop

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7-4800H | GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 512GB | Display: 15.6-inch (1920x1080) | Weight: 9.36 pounds

⊕ Boasts 2 RAM SODIMM and 2 M.2 drives
⊕ Excellent input devices
⊕ Amazing AMD performance
⊕ Convenient viewing angles
⊖ No SD card reader

This is the best budget gaming laptop as it boasts an IPS panel (AUO B156HAN13.1) with a Full HD resolution, convenient viewing angles and a nice contrast ratio. It has a 15-inch display with a flicker-free backlight. Unfortunately, the 120Hz refresh rate doesn’t come with fast pixel response times. As for its performance, there’s nothing bad to say. Also, this model has a good keyboard, which is comfortable for both playing games and typing and provides 2 backlight colors, unobtrusive white and four-zone RGB.

5. HP Pavilion

Great for semi-serious gaming
affordable gaming laptops

CPU: Intel Core i5-10300H | GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB | Display: 17.3-inch (1920x1080) | Weight: 6.07 pounds

⊕ Seamless game visual effects
⊕ Has two fans
⊕ Top-quality graphics
⊕ Fast refresh rate
⊖ Touchpad is not the best

This budget gaming laptop features the Hexa-Core 9th generation Intel Core i5 processor, enhanced NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card, Full HD resolution display and fast refresh rate for seamless gaming experience and amazing visual effects. This device has two fans, which guarantees improved thermal cooling. Thanks to the top-quality graphics and processing power, you will enjoy playing such games as Fortnight, PUBG and Overwatch.

6. MSI GF63 Thin

Power for gaming and productivity
low price gaming laptop

CPU: Intel Core i5-9300H | GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB | Display: 15.6-inch (1920x1080) | Weight: 7.58 pounds

⊕ Slim, lightweight design
⊕ Excellent graphics card
⊕ Affordable
⊖ Short battery life

This is a great cheap gaming laptop as it’s compact, slim, lightweight and powerful. You can use it for studying, working and playing games. This model comes at a very good price. It has all the necessary ports for everyday use and allows you to play all the recent titles, edit photos and videos.

7. MSI GF65 Thin

A lot of gaming power
low price gaming laptop

CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H | GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 512GB | Display: 15.6-inch (1920x1080) | Weight: 4.1 pounds

⊕ Lightweight
⊕ RAM can be upgraded
⊕ Comes with full-size arrow keys
⊕ Doesn’t have PWM
⊖ Loud fan
⊖ Lack of HDMI 2.0 or G-Sync

This is a good inexpensive gaming laptop equipped with additional M.2 slots. It has a 120/144 Hz display, fans and copper heat pipes to accommodate its powerful GPU. This is a great option for such a price, especially given the fact, that slower GTX 1060 laptops are often more expensive. However, there are some disadvantages, which you will have to take into consideration, such as a loud fan, moderate ghosting and inconvenient placement of ports.

Image Name Features  
best budget gaming laptop
Lenovo Ideapad
Our choice
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-9300H
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Display: 15.6 (1920x1080)
CHECK PRICE
cheap gaming laptop
Acer Nitro
Budget
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-9300H
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Display: 15.6 (1920x1080)
CHECK PRICE
entry level gaming laptop
ASUS TUF
Premium
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 7-4800H
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Display: 17.3 (1920x1080)
CHECK PRICE

How to Choose the Best Cheap Gaming Laptop?

best budget gaming laptop

Screen Resolution

A 1080p display is a golden mean between the price and GPU power requirements. It’s the only good option for an inexpensive gaming laptop. Even if you find a cheap model with a high-res 4K panel, the GPU won’t be able to run games at this resolution anyway, so take into consideration that you will still get 1080p.

Storage

Avoid getting a laptop with a single solid-state drive. Even a device with a 256 GB SSD provides hardly enough space for installing a few games. That’s why opt for a laptop that has a slower but more spacious HDD.

RAM

Games might require a lot of RAM, and I recommend getting 8 GB even if you are planning to perform average productivity tasks. If it’s possible, get 16 GB for a gaming laptop. Usually, models with a GTX 1650 or 1660 Ti have 8 GB and the devices with a GTX 2060 or higher have 16 GB of RAM. If you can’t get a laptop with 16 GB now, you can upgrade it later.

best budget gaming laptop

CPU

Based on your budget, you can find a robust Core i7 CPU or even the one that can be overclocked, like the Intel Core i9-9980HK. Besides, there are laptops with desktop CPU for video editing and gaming. However, for most games, a qualitative GPU is better than a CPU, so you can opt for a Core i5 processor. If you see anything older than the most recent 10th Gen Intel core (model numbers start with 10) or with lower power consumption, try to save up a little. CPUs usually can’t be upgraded, so you need to choose the best one.

GPU

Even though some games use the CPU, your laptop’s performance still heavily depends on the GPU. That’s why this is one of the most important decisions you will need to make when selecting a gaming laptop. Today, the most popular graphics card for video editing and gaming are Nvidia GeForce GTX or RTX GPUs. The newest graphics cards in the Nvidia series are the latest RTX 20 Super cards series, which includes the 2070 Super and 2080 Super. As for AMD, there is a Radeon RX 5000M series, which includes the RX 5500M for inexpensive systems. For better performance, choose the RX 5600M or RX 5700M.

FAQ

The Acer Nitro, which costs $599, is a great option based on its performance/price ratio.

  • • Is a gaming laptop worth purchasing?

Even though you will pay for high-quality games, it’s worth it if you are going to use it for a long time and want to get the best gaming experience. You can always purchase a good laptop under 900 dollars with a fancier screen but for most gamers, this will be enough.

  • • What is the best gaming laptop below $1000?

The Lenovo IdeaPad is the best budget gaming laptop in my opinion. It is also considered to be a great laptop for photo editing on a budget.

  • • What is the best gaming laptop?

The Asus TUF provides amazing performance and boasts AMD Ryzen 7-4800H, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti and 16 GB of RAM.

creative cloud all special offers creative cloud all special offers