- One of the best gaming laptops is the ASUS ROG Zephyrus M with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX graphics card, the latest generation Intel processor, full HD display, an intelligent cooling system, and a lightweight design making it ideal for gaming on the move.
- The Alienware m15 Gaming Laptop is a true powerhouse with its NVIDIA® GeForce RTX graphics card, 10th-generation Intel processor, 16GB of RAM, and a terabyte of storage.
- The Acer Nitro 7 featuring a 512GB solid-state drive, and a lightweight construction provides the perfect balance of durability and performance.
The best gaming laptops are affordable and offer the superior graphics that you need for a remarkable experience. When you use one of the top options, many of which are under $500, you will have excellent gameplay. Having sluggish performance is a thing of the past when your laptop uses the best technology.
One of the things to remember is that your processor quality dictates what sort of gaming experience you’ll have. Every brand is not necessarily ideal for playing games, especially multiplayer online games. If you want to reap all the benefits, you will need to have a processor and graphics card up to the challenge.
After spending time checking out the top gaming laptops, here are our choices:
- Best overall: Razer
- Best budget option: MSI
- Best travel choice: ASUS
- Best for performance: Alienware
- Most durable: Acer
Best For Overall Gaming Laptop: Razer
- 15.6-inch Full HD screen
- Thin, compact, and durable body
- Intel Core i7 processor for ultimate performance
- Multiple connection options (Wi-Fi 6, USB, HDMI, Ethernet)
- Cinematic-quality rendering in visually intense games.
The Razer Blade 15 is supercharged for all of today’s top gaming activity. Our testing found too-level performance in all areas, from speed to graphics quality. We found the full HD display offered a competitive advantage over many of the computer’s similarly-priced counterparts. Maximum connectivity includes a webcam, two USB and Type-C ports, Bluetooth, and wireless connectivity. An aluminum case helps reduce the laptop’s carbon footprint. A problem that some users reported with this computer was a battery that wore out quickly due to overcharging.
Check out the Razer Blade 15 on Amazon.
Best For Gaming on a Budget: MSI
- Display: 15.6 Fhd (1920 1080), IPS-Level 60Hz 45 percent ntsc thin Bezel 1920 1080 16: 9
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX1650 [Max-Q] 4G GDDR5
- Processor: Intel Core i5-9300h 2.4 - 4.1GHz
- Memory: 8GB (8G 1) DDR4 2666MHz 2 Sockets; Max Memory 64GB
- Storage: 256GB NVMe SSD
With an Intel i5-10200H processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card, the MSI GF63 offers superior performance in the under 500 and under 1,000 categories. This MSI GF63035 model boasts two 8GB DDR4 slots and a 256GB SSD. USB, HDMI, and Ethernet ports helped keep our computers running smoothly in all settings. We also appreciated the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. One concern we had about this computer was that the number of apps installed decreased the amount of storage available.
Check out the MSI GF63 on Amazon.
Best For Travel Gaming Laptop: ASUS
- 15.6-inch Full HD IPS-Type display with 14-inch secondary touchscreen display
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070
- 8GB GDDR6 with ROG Boost
- 5th Gen AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX processor
- 32GB DDR4 3200MHz RAM
- 1TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
Although the Asus ROB Zephyrus SE 15 Gaming Laptop is not what many consider cheap, we found it of superior quality with its NVIDIA GeForce RTX graphics card, latest generation Intel processor, and a full HD display. The ASUS ROG Zephyrus M’s thin design makes it easily portable, and the computer has an intelligent cooling system. As a computer sold at many retailers, including Walmart, this brand is accessible. However, some of our reviewers did report issues with quality control, like noisy fans, poorly constructed cases, and buggy software.
Check out the Asus ROB Zephyrus SE 15 Gaming Laptop on Amazon.
Best For Performance Gaming Laptop: Alienware
This Alienware m15 Gaming Laptop stands out for its high-quality performance features. A 10th-generation Intel processor and NVIDIA® GeForce RTX graphics card offer the superior performance that every gamer needs. Our reviewers found that this computer met their expectations with up to 16GB of RAM and a terabyte of storage. Reviewers had a few complaints about the software, which sometimes failed to improve gaming performance despite promises to the contrary.
Check out the Alienware m15 Gaming Laptop on Amazon.
Best For Durable Gaming Laptop: Acer
- 9th Generation Intel Core processor and Windows 10 OS
- Powerful NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Graphics for gaming
- 15.6" Full HD display with LED backlight
- 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD storage (2 x PCIe M.2 Slots
- Multiple ports for ethernet LAN, data transfer
The Acer Nitro 7 has an affordable under $1,000 price tag that makes the laptop an excellent choice for your gaming needs. With a 512GB solid-state drive, the computer is lightweight yet constructed to withstand all your needs. An NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 graphics card keeps every minute of gameplay exciting, and the sturdy case withstands every demand. In addition to the durable physical construction, this laptop has features to help regulate the operating temperature, minimizing heat damage. Our reviewers pointed out sound issues that included having to turn the volume up too much during gameplay and the cooling fans being too loud.
Check out the Acer Nitro 7 on Amazon.
How to Pick the Best Gaming Laptops: Step by Step
Most buyers look at four primary considerations when choosing a gaming laptop:
Let’s look at each in more detail:
Many laptops in the under $500 category have in common with higher-grade models: greater portability. Being able to easily take your laptop with you for tournaments or similar events is essential. A battery that provides sufficient power also helps keep your laptop as portable as possible.
Although the quest for an affordable gaming laptop offers many options in the under $500 categories, affordability is often relative to the most features that gamers need. Buying a great gaming laptop for under $1,000 would be something that many gamers consider reasonable. In the end, gamers need to decide what their ideal gaming experience is worth.
Brands such as ASUS often offer better performance for gaming than similar laptops used mainly for work purposes. Superior graphics and displays enhance the gaming experience for all involved. Although many brands are relatively cheap, they may offer similar graphics and sound quality to more expensive models, making a winning situation.
Brands sold through Walmart and other popular retailers feature updated versions of Windows that help laptops retain their gaming compatibility. One thing to bear in mind is that some games will require better graphics cards and memory than others. Online massive multiplayer games such as World of Warcraft are examples of games requiring laptops with better gaming features.
What to Know Before Buying the Best Gaming Laptops
When you decide to buy a gaming laptop, whether it is from Walmart or higher-end retailers, an Intel processor in one of the newest generations, such as i7, will provide excellent performance. Sometimes a processor that allows overclocking may work best. Because this component is one that you cannot upgrade, you will want to make an intelligent choice.
Having a laptop that supports a minimum of 16GB of memory is also beneficial. The memory is an upgradeable feature, providing room for later upgrades if necessary. Keeping an eye on your new laptop’s performance while gaming is a great way to decide if you need to upgrade.
What Should I Avoid When Buying a Gaming Laptop?
When you’re shopping for a gaming laptop, it’s important to avoid the following:
- Overspending: It may be tempting to buy the latest and greatest — or at least the most hyped — gaming laptop of the moment. But there’s no need to put yourself into debt. Simply do your research and figure out what kind of performance you need, set a budget, and stick to it.
- Buying a laptop with outdated or underpowered hardware: The label “gaming laptop” is meaningless if the laptop’s GPU and CPU are incapable of running the games that you want to play.
- Buying a laptop with a poor cooling system: Gaming laptops generate a lot of heat, so a good cooling system is essential. Otherwise, playing the games you love will damage your new gaming laptop’s components and reduce performance.
- Buying a laptop with a low-quality display: One of the most important features of a gaming laptop is a high-resolution display with a fast refresh rate.
- Buying a laptop with a poor battery life: If you want to avoid being tethered to an outlet at all times, ensure that your new gaming laptop has a long battery life.
Using Gaming Laptops: What It’s Like
We tried these laptops for a few weeks and found them superior to many computers marked as cheap options for gaming. Besides using them in a typical home setting, we also tried the laptops at gaming events where quality computers are in demand. These devices performed well in both environments.
To better understand how well these laptops worked overall, we used them for casual and hardcore gaming. Each of these computers’ features for gaming stood up well in both settings. Any lags in game speed or performance were minimal.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©iStock.com/sezer66.