7 Best Gaming Laptops Under $1200 in 2021

By Robin Owens 14 days ago, Hardware

Recommended $1200 gaming laptops in a wide range of brands.

best gaming laptops under 1200

Although professional gamers still choose desktop computers, a compact and lightweight laptop is still a great option. A portable $1200 gaming laptop is a great option to carry with you and play favorite games wherever you are.

Top 7 Gaming Laptops under 1200 Dollars

  1. Acer Predator Helios - Our Choice
  2. OMEN by HP - Universal model
  3. ROG Zephyrus - Lightweight
  4. HP Pavilion Gaming - High-quality
  5. MSI GF65 Thin - Stylish
  6. ASUS TUF Gaming - For professionals
  7. MSI GF65 Thin - Cheap

A good gaming laptop comes not only with advanced specifications but also with a high-quality display and an ergonomic keyboard. Choosing a device for gaming, you should find the one successfully combining all these features. The post below describes the top options available on the market to help you easily find the best gaming laptop under $1200.

1. Acer Predator Helios

Best gaming laptop under $1200
gaming laptop under 1200 acer predator helios

CPU: Intel i7 | GPU: RTX 2070 | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 512 GB | Display: 15.6 -inch | Weight: 5.29 lbs

⊕ Great performance
⊕ Convenient keyboard
⊕ Affordable for a device with a GTX 1060 GPU
⊖ Sound system is not the best one

The first thing you should know about the Acer Predator Helios is that it has unique PredatorSense software developed to control your laptop and customize its functionality. If you want to apply some changes, just tap the PredatorSense button and you will see the features you can customize, such as fan speed, lighting, overclocking, game profile, etc. In case you need to use some creative tools, the Helios 300 will cope with this task.

This gaming laptop under $1200 also pleases users with the availability of all the necessary ports, including HDMI 2.0, USB Type-C, USB 3.1 and the Mini Display Port that supports up to 240 Hz refresh rate. It also boasts the NVIDIA G-SYNC technology. Thanks to the latest 9th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, you get the fastest gaming experience. The laptop is also powered with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics and features the custom-engineered 4th Gen AeroBlade 3D fan technology.

2. OMEN by HP

Best gaming notebook under 1200 dollars
gaming laptop under 1200 omen by hp

CPU: HP® OMEN | GPU: NVIDIA® | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 512 GB | Display: 15-inch | Weight: 5.26 lbs

⊕ Portable
⊕ Truly gaming device
⊕ Premium quality
⊖ None

If you don’t want to sacrifice performance for portability, choose the OMEN by HP. This gaming notebook under 1200 dollars perfectly balances mobility and high performance. It boasts a powerful desktop-class GPU and allows for further upgrading. This laptop is designed for full overclocking. Thanks to great graphics performance and a mechanical keyboard, you will enjoy a great gaming experience. The laptop can be upgraded with the latest Intel Core processors, NVIDIA or AMD video cards. It has a highly effective cooling system. However, mind that you should also work hard to improve your gaming skills. Anyway, the OMEN is an effective device guaranteeing impressive gaming experience in capable hands.

3. ROG Zephyrus

Best lightweight gaming laptop under $1200
gaming laptop under 1200 rog zephyrus

CPU: ROG Zephyrus | GPU: NVIDIA | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 1 TB | Display: 15.6 -inch | Weight: 4.60 lbs

⊕ Matte IPS screen
⊕ High-quality performance and graphics
⊕ 144Hz panel
⊖ Weak battery

The ROG Zephyrus is the best gaming laptop under 1200 that weighs 4.85 lbs and boasts a 19-mm slim design. At the same time, it successfully copes with regular tasks and runs popular games. Being an all-purpose device at an affordable price, the ROG Zephyrus will be suitable for content creators and gamers. This elegant notebook has super slim bezels (6.2 mm), which accounts for an 81% screen-to-body ratio.

Users will enjoy bright colors and wide viewing angles. While a chassis is rather slim, the developers have introduced an innovative cooling solution that allows for more airflow. Each fan blade is 33% thinner than usual so at 83 blades per fan, airflow rises by up to 17%. In such a way, the NVIDIA graphics card delivers the best performance.

4. HP Pavilion Gaming

High-quality gaming notebook under 1200 dollars
gaming laptop under 1200 hp pavilion gaming

CPU: Intel® Core | GPU: NVIDIA | RAM: 16 GB | Storage: 256 GB | Display: 17-inch | Weight: 6.07 lbs

⊕ Powerful performance and high-quality graphics
⊕ Smart design
⊕ Correct operating temperatures despite a slim design
⊖ Disappointing transfer speeds

Nothing is impossible with this HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop. This gaming notebook under 1200 dollars is powered with an impressive NVIDIA graphics and Intel CPU to guarantee the most effective gaming and working experience. Moreover, the laptop features a thermal cooling technology, which ensures stability and effective operation of the whole system. Thanks to the strong Intel i7 processor, you can not only play the latest online games but also live-stream. The laptop has a keyboard backlighting, which allows you to use it even in poorly lit rooms. You will also enjoy an almost bezel-free screen and the B&Q audio system with stereo speakers.

5. MSI GF65 Thin

Stylish
gaming laptop under 1200 msi gf65 thin

CPU: MSI GF65 THIN | GPU: NVIDIA | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 512 GB | Display: 15.6 -inch | Weight: 4.10 lbs

⊕ 120 Hz FHD display
⊕ Nvidia RTX 2060
⊕ DLSS 2.0 support
⊖ Plastic body

To take your gaming experience to the new level, take a look at the MSI GF65 Thin. It’s a multifunctional gaming laptop under $1200 that will greatly change the way you play. Use the power of NVIDIA GeForce GTX GPU to succeed in the game and enjoy an almost bezel-free display. A long-lasting battery allows for extended gaming sessions without breaks. You can take this device on trips since it is slim and lightweight. There is also an MSI APP Player guaranteeing flawless gaming experience.

6. ASUS TUF Gaming

Gaming laptop under $1200 for professionals
gaming laptop under 1200 asus tuf gaming

CPU: AMD® Ryzen | GPU: NVIDIA | RAM: 16 GB | Storage: 512GB | Display: 15.6 -inch | Weight: 4.85 lbs

⊕ Doesn’t use PWM to adjust screen brightness
⊕ Reasonably budget price
⊕ Good thermals
⊖ Mediocre battery

The name of this laptop speaks for itself. The ASUS TUF Gaming is powered with AMD Ryzen processors and the GeForce RTX 20-Series GPU. It is the best gaming laptop under 1200 that is MIL-STD 810G compliant and features an RGB keyboard. This device has the latest NanoEdge design with slim bezels providing for an immersive viewing experience. What is more, the display offers wide viewing angles so you can enjoy bright and accurate colors. The ASUS TUF Gaming FX505 is a successful combination of power and portability. NVIDIA GeForce Experience lets you adjust settings for various purposes. If you want to empower your graphics card, you can do it by choosing Creator or Gaming drivers.

7. MSI GF65 Thin

Cheap laptop
gaming laptop under 1200 msi gf65 thin

CPU: Intel Core i7 | GPU: NVIDIA | RAM: 16 GB | Storage: 512GB | Display: 15.6-inch | Weight: 5.14 lbs

⊕ Impressive Nvidia RTX 2060 GPU
⊕ 120Hz FHD screen
⊕ DLSS 2.0 support
⊖ Plastic body

The MSI GF65 is a 15.6-inch 1080p laptop with very thin bezels on the sides and wider ones at the top and bottom. This gaming notebook under 1200 dollars features a 120Hz panel. Thanks to the IPS technology, you can enjoy high image quality. Although there are already 10th-gen Comet Lake H processors by Intel, the manufacturers equipped the MSI GF65 with an Intel Core i7 9750H processor to make it cheaper and more affordable.

Image Name Features  
gaming laptop under 1200 acer predator helios
Acer Predator Helios
Our choice
  • CPU: Intel i7
  • GPU: RTX 2070
  • Display: 15.6 -inch
  • Weight: 5.29 lbs
CHECK PRICE
gaming laptop under 1200 omen by hp
OMEN by HP
Compact
  • CPU: HP® OMEN
  • GPU: NVIDIA®
  • Display: 15-inch
  • Weight: 5.26 lbs
CHECK PRICE
gaming laptop under 1200 rog zephyrus
ROG Zephyrus
Gaming
  • CPU: ROG Zephyrus
  • GPU: NVIDIA
  • Display: 15.6 -inch
  • Weight: pound
CHECK PRICE

How to Choose the Best Gaming Laptop under 1200 Dollars?

best gaming laptop

Storage

What type of storage to pick, HDD or SSD? Let’s see what option is better. Budget laptops usually have a hard drive only (1 TB). As for more advanced devices, a gaming laptop under $1200 might also include a small SSD that serves as a boot drive. However, you will not probably meet a combination of a 128 GB SSD and 1 TB HDD. It is obvious that a larger SSD decreases the loading time, but you will have to pay for this benefit. It’s better to get a faster 7,200 RPM HDD instead of a 5,400 RPM HDD. Keep in mind that storage and memory can be upgraded.

Graphics

A gaming notebook under 1200 dollars should necessarily have a good graphics card. It is essential to deliver the best image quality. GPU processes the data and transmits the signal to the monitor. As you probably know, this process is very resource-consuming when you are playing games, so your graphics card should be with its own dedicated video memory (VRAM). A typical gamer will be satisfied with 4 GB of VRAM. Most gaming notebooks are powered with Nvidia GPUs but if you like AMD, some manufacturers allow you to configure your system as you like.

Suitable for Gaming Enthusiasts

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060. Laptops featuring 1060 cards can run such games as Mass Effect: Andromeda or Witcher 3. They allow enjoying water reflections, natural-looking hair and other details on the screen. If you play a 4K game, it is recommended to adjust the settings a little. What is more, you can pair your Rift or Vive headset to get the best plug-and-play VR experience.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050/1050 Ti. Although it is not as good as the 1060, the GTX 1050 is quite enough to play middle-level games like Battlefield 1 at very basic settings. If you compare the GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti, you will see that the latter is more effective and can be also called the best graphics card for video editing. However, if you are a serious gamer, this graphics card will not satisfy your requirements.

RAM

RAM (Random Access Memory) is responsible for the temporary storage of data that is further retrieved by a processor. When speaking about SSD or HDD, people refer to long-lasting storage of data. RAM stores the data that is frequently used and makes it available very quickly.

Consequently, if your laptop has some additional RAM, it works faster and can run more processes at the same time. You can switch between programs without any lags.

If you are currently looking for a new gaming laptop under $1200 and don’t know how much RAM you need, don’t miss the info below.

For those who want to purchase the device to browse the web, use lightweight software and play simple games, 2-4 GB of RAM is more than enough.

If you play middle-level games and can’t do without some advanced programs, it’s better to get a gaming notebook under 1200 dollars with 8 GB of RAM. By the way, almost all modern games state 8 GB as a minimum system requirement.

16 GB of RAM is enough to play resource-intensive games at advanced settings, run several background services and streaming programs.

If you decided to get a laptop with 32 GB of RAM, nothing will be impossible for you. You can play the latest games, create content, use high-end photo/video editing software.

You shouldn’t presume that the amount of RAM is the main parameter you must consider while choosing a gaming laptop under $1200; there are other specs that also matter.

FAQ

  • • How do I choose a laptop for gaming?

If your budget allows you to get a gaming notebook under 1200 dollars, it is recommended to buy a device with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 with 6 GB of memory or newer 1660 Ti. Apart from the powerful graphics card, pay attention to the CPU. A laptop should come with an 8 or 9 Generation Intel Core i5 or i7 and at least 8 GB of memory.

  • • What should I look for in a gaming laptop in 2020?

Pay attention to such components as GPU, CPU, RAM and storage space. Everything depends on the amount of money you can spend. You can get a powerful Core i7 CPU or even Intel Core i9-9980HK that you can overclock. There are also notebooks that feature desktop CPUs.

  • • Are gaming laptops worth it?

Of course, if you want to get a decent gaming laptop with powerful performance, it will cost you some money. However, if you are an active gamer, you can’t simply do without a reliable device. Thus, save up some money and get a lightweight gaming laptop under $1200 that will help you win more than one game.

  • • Are gaming laptops good for everyday use?

Of course, they are. Even gaming PCs under 300 dollars can easily handle regular tasks. They are very similar to all-purpose notebooks and run on the same operating systems. That is why if you decide to get a gaming laptop under $1200, it won’t be a problem to type a text on it or watch an online movie.

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