Keyboard Battery Life And The Rest
While the GPU, CPU and screen are the holy trinity of gaming, you should also check our reviews to see what else the laptops offer.
The keyboard is probably the next most important element assuming you will plug in a gaming mouse rather than using the trackpad and they are not all created equal.
Cheap budget laptops have a couple of potential advantages over top-end models due to their thicker chassis. The chunkier design means more space for various ports, meaning connectivity is often better than more expensive options.
It also means more space for a battery and, combined with lower power components and Full HD displays, could offer longer battery life. Check our reviews to see how many hours they can last away from mains power.
Q: Is An Intel Core I5 Processor Good For Gaming
Intels Core i5 processors have long been regarded as good choices for gamers on a budget. Since Intels 8th generation of laptop processors, Core i5 CPUs have featured at least four cores and eight threads of performance which is perfectly sufficient for gaming. While older generations may show their age in frame rate compared to newer CPUs, Intel Core i5 processors are a great choice for gaming PC buyers looking at less expensive machines.
Lenovo Ideapad Gaming 3i Display
There are cheap gaming displays, then there are cheap gaming displays, and this falls under the latter in terms of color. The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3is 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 display boasts a 120Hz refresh rate and is decently bright, but the color is absolutely dismal.
In the recent trailer for Ava, the titular characters red dress was muted and looked as dull as one of the lamps in the background. In the establishing nighttime shot of the airplane, I was able to make out the details in the clouds and the aircraft, despite how dark it was. The strands of hair leaping from Colin Farrells moustache was pretty sharp, too.
When I played Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Lara Crofts blue tank top was pale alongside with the dull green foliage that surrounded her. While traversing the shadowy parts of the forest, I could still make out the details of a Jaguars fur in the distance. When I cranked down the settings, nocking my arrow and releasing from my bow looked super smooth on the display.
According to our colorimeter, the IdeaPad Gaming 3is panel covered a measly 58% of the sRGB color gamut, falling short of the 73% budget gaming laptop average. It couldnt even match its weakest competitor, the Pavilion 15 , let alone reach the levels of its more colorful competitors, the Nitro 5 and the G5 15 .
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Can I Get A Gaming Laptop Deal For Under $500
Unlikely, to be honest. There are occasional listings on Walmart especially that get close to $500 but they often feature last-gen components and are often not the best value in context. At any one time you’ll often also find third-party listings on Amazon, eBay, or Newegg that advertise ‘gaming laptops’ but are in fact office computers or ultrabooks. If the laptop being advertised doesn’t have a dedicated graphics card like an Nvidia RTX or AMD Radeon RX then it’s a dead give away that it’s being falsely advertised as a gaming laptop. Usually these listings may run from around $350 to $600, which is suspiciously cheap for a gaming laptop. In general, our advice is to ignore these third party listings like the plague.
Best For School: Dell Inspiron 15
Buy it used or refurbished: eBay
Why it made the cut: The Dell Inspiron 15s simple design is great for schoolwork, and can play a game or two between study sessions.
- Limited port selection
If you need something simple to power through note-taking, research papers, and presentations, the Dell Inspiron 15 is an excellent option. Of course, youll want to take breaksand theres no better way to unwind than with video games. Dells affordable laptop features an Intel Core i3 processor, UHD graphics, and 8GB of RAM to power through games like Rocket League and Counter-Strike: GO. The Inspiron 15 also features a 256SSD, giving you plenty of storage to save those vital school projects and download your favorite titles from Steam.
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Best For Streaming: Lenovo Ideapad 3i
Buy it used or refurbished: eBay
Why it made the cut: The Lenovo IdeaPad 3i features Intel Iris Xe graphics, 512GB SSD, and 8GB of RAM, making it a powerful option for gaming and streaming.
- Lower resolution display
For just a smidge over our $500 budget, the Inspiron 14 2-in-1 features a 14-inch HD touchscreen display, an Intel Core i3 processor, Intel UHD graphics, and 8GB of RAM. Thats enough power to run multiple applications and browser tabs smoothly. More importantly, its good enough to give us our gaming fixand the 256GB SSD is plenty big to download free-to-play and other popular titles. The Inspiron 14 also features a USB-C 3.2 Gen 1 port for power delivery and data transfer and two USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports. It also features an SD card slot, rounding out one of the sleeker, more sophisticated options on our list.
Why You Should Consider Open
Another option is to pick up an open box device. When customers return products or display models get taken down, retailers usually sell them at discounted prices. Companies like , Best Buy, Micro Center, and Newegg have a selection of open-box and refurbished devices that often get sold for hundreds of dollars off the sticker price.
Sometimes you may have to physically pick these options up in-store, or they may have some minor wear and tear. But, if you keep your eye out, a well-placed deal can save you even more off of your budget gaming laptop or land you something more premium within your budget.
If you really need to take your gaming experience to the next level, you should level up with one of the best gaming keyboards or mice. Additionally, try to keep your laptop cool with one of the best gaming laptop coolers around.
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Flaws But Not Dealbreakers: Gigabyte Aorus 15p
The Gigabyte Aorus 15Ps top panel is thin and flexes under pressure, and the low webcam placement would be embarrassingly bad on just about any video call. Its also disappointing that the keyboards backlight only shines through the main keycap legends, making it almost impossible to see the secondary functions unless you lean in and strain your eyes. And in our web-browsing battery test, the Aorus 15P lasted only 4 hours 20 minutes, which is two hours shorter than our top pick.
Gigabyte doesnt provide any live tech support, unlike Acer, which offers support via phone and live chat.
Despite the long warranty, Gigabyte doesnt provide any live tech support. We had to register an account and submit a ticket to reach tech support, and the company only commits to responding to inquiries in three to seven days. If youre not comfortable troubleshooting your own problems or having some downtime if something goes wrong, youll be better off with one of our recommendations from Acer, which offers support via phone and live chat.
Q: Can You Use A Normal Laptop For Gaming
Broadly speaking? Sure. Really, it depends on what you want to play. A productivity laptop made for work and general computing, like the picks above, is usually capable of playing some games using its discrete graphics chip. They will only play some games, and often on lower settings, though.Many of todays top AAA titles require more powerful CPUs, GPUs, and a certain amount of RAM. If you own an older machine, your laptop may not meet that games minimum requirements. You will probably not have a good time playing a or Assassins Creed game on the average work laptop. That said, there are plenty of great indie games that dont require a ton of graphics processing power.We recommend buying a laptop specifically for gaming if thats something you plan to do every day. As we mentioned, gaming-specific laptops are perfectly capable of performing other tasks, like word processing and web browsing. However, not all standard laptops, particularly models on the lower end of the spectrum, are capable of playing the newest games.
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Nd Asus Tuf Gaming A15 Fa506qr
Admittedly the TUF Gaming A15 is slightly too expensive for this list but only marginally so. In return, you get a full-fledged RTX 3070. At a price of 1,529 Euros you get a great and powerful gaming laptop at an affordable price point.
The Asus TUF Gaming A15 offers good gaming performance and long battery life.
The TUF Gaming A15 is currently not yet available in North America.
What Should I Look For In A Cheap Gaming Laptop
For the best gaming experience with a budget gaming laptop, you want to make sure you get the most graphics power affordable from the start since this can’t be upgraded later, unlike memory or storage.
A cheap gaming laptop with an entry-level Nvidia GTX 1650 normally starts around $700, though the current chip shortage has prices up and supplies low. That chip gives you enough graphics performance to play the newest demanding games at medium settings. Spending between $800 and $1,000 will get you a laptop with a GTX 1650 Ti, a 1660 Ti or even a 3050 Ti for a better gaming experience.
If you’re on a strict budget when shopping for a cheap gaming laptop, again, go with an Nvidia GTX 1650 graphics chip. If you can afford to spend closer to $1,000, you’ll be better off in the long run as you’ll be able to play more demanding games now and later.
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Q: Is A Gaming Laptop Good For Students
While gaming laptops can handle everyday tasks, they arent necessarily the best option for students. Gaming laptops tend to be larger and heavier than laptops made for work, making them a burden to lug around campus. Students who carry their computer from class to class may not get enough battery life on a single charge to make it through a full day of school. They can also get uncomfortably hot after extended use, so you may not be able to use them on your lap in specific situations.
Best Ultra Cheap Gaming Laptop
Display: 16.1 FHD IPS | CPU: Intel Core i5-11400H | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 | RAM: 8GB DDR4 | Storage: 256GB NVMe SSD | Weight: 5.44 pounds | Size: 14.57″ x 10.24″ x 0.93″
Its hard to believe all you can get for under $650 with the HP Victus 16. This system is loaded with some seriously solid gaming gear. It’s kitted out with an Nvidia RTX 3050, which is plenty for playing games at Full HD on the 1080p display. That GPU is paired with a decent Intel Core i5-11400H processor to help keep your games chug along fairly well especially when you realize how little you’re actually are paying for it all.
The HP Victus 16 is loaded with 8GBs of RAM which may be on the lighter side, but it is relatively easy to upgrade up to 32GB if needed. The system also comes running on an NVMe SSD instead of a hard drive or SATA SSD like you might expect at this budget price making for faster than expected performance. The larger 16.1-inch screen size, backlit keyboard with integrated numeric pad, and upgraded cooling system are a few added bonuses for this super-affordable laptop that gets you gaming anywhere.
How We Test Computers
The review process for laptops, desktops, tablets and other computer-like devices consists of two parts: performance testing under controlled conditions in the CNET Labs and extensive hands-on use by our expert reviewers. This includes evaluating a device’s aesthetics, ergonomics and features. A final review verdict is a combination of both those objective and subjective judgments.
The list of benchmarking software we use changes over time as the devices we test evolve. The most important core tests we’re currently running on every compatible computer include: Primate Labs Geekbench 5, Cinebench R23, PCMark 10 and 3DMark Fire Strike Ultra.
A more detailed description of each benchmark and how we use it can be found in our How We Test Computers page.
Lenovo Ideapad Gaming 3i Battery Life
For a budget gaming laptop, the IdeaPad Gaming 3i offers a decent enough battery life. It continuously surfed the web over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness and stopped after 5 hours and 40 minutes, which is slightly longer than the 5:17 budget gaming laptop average. The Pavilion 15 and Nitro 5 didnt last quite as long, while the G5 15 kicked ass for an hour longer, surviving 6:53.
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The Best Gaming Laptop In A 14
If youre looking for a powerful 14-inch device that can keep up with the best 15-inch gaming laptops on the market, the only place youll find that is the Razer Blade 14. This slim and portable device includes Nvdias RTX 3070 and RTX 3080, Nvidias top-of-the-line mobile GPUs, as well as a powerful eight-core AMD chip. Its a gorgeous device, with a QHD 165Hz display option and a classy RGB keyboard. Theres even a reasonable port selection, including HDMI 2.1 as well as two USB-C ports.
Q How Much Ram Is Good For Gaming
RAM stands for random access memory, and it helps the computer handle the demand of operating more than one program or running more than one function at the same time, like playing music through a wireless Bluetooth speaker while sifting through 10 open tabs on Chrome or FireFox. Video games typically require a high amount of RAM for the video, audio, gameplay, and network connectivity, so on average you should try to find a gaming laptop with at least 8 GB of RAM.
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Make Use Of A Virtual Credit Card Number
This is a 16-digit number created randomly, combined with a CVV code, that you can use to purchase any product online. Also, be cautious when entering data, or you may suffer a significant loss. Regularly change your passwords. Keep your credentials safe and secure at all times. Never give out your personal login information to anyone. If you are still unsure, keep altering it regularly or as needed. Work smartly and privately.
Do Budget Gaming Laptops Have Good Displays
Most of your money is going toward components, so the other parts — the display, keyboard and trackpad and build quality — are going to be OK, but not fantastic. This is why I lean toward models like the Dell G15, which has its power input and other ports on the rear for a cleaner setup when connected to external peripherals. It also has a decent battery life, which is something that typically falls by the wayside on cheap gaming laptops.
That said, display quality has improved on entry-level gaming laptops in the past couple of years, particularly when it comes to refresh rates. It’s now common to find 120Hz or 144Hz displays offered, which will make fast movement in your games look smoother and give you a more responsive experience. It’s not worth paying extra for, though, unless the GPU is capable of faster frame rates for your games, too.
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Lenovo Ideapad Gaming 3i Design
The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3is Onyx Black chassis is unassuming. I wouldnt have guessed it was a gaming laptop at first glance due to the lack of any symbols or icons apart from a simple Lenovo logo in the top left corner. Whats unique about the design is that instead of featuring a simple square shape, the corners curve slightly inwards, and the lid ever so gently curves downward, like the hood of a car.
Unfortunately, the interior isnt as discreet due to the light blue keyboard font mixed with the light blue backlighting. The power button is centered just above the keyboard, and theres a blue IdeaPad Gaming logo on the hinge. While the bottom and top bezel are a little thicker than Id like, the side bezels are pleasantly narrow. Surprisingly, the webcam is not only above the screen, it also features a privacy shutter.
At 4.8 pounds and 14.13 x 9.83 x 0.98 inches, the IdeaPad Gaming 3i is relatively slim for a 15-inch laptop. The HP Gaming Pavilion 15-dk0046nr , Acer Nitro 5 and Dell G5 15 SE are all heavier than the IdeaPad.
What Are The Best Gaming Laptops Right Now
Our pick for the best gaming laptop is the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14, which packs class-leading battery life and a powerful GPU into one of the slimmest and lightest gaming laptop designs we’ve ever held. It’s extremely rare that a gaming laptop lasts more than a few hours, but the 2022 Zephyrus holds out for over 10 hours while browsing the web, all while looking and performing great in the process.
For budget-conscious shoppers, we recommend more affordable gaming laptops like the Dell G5 15 SE. The Acer Nitro 5 is also one of our favorite budget gaming laptops, and we’re currently in the process of reviewing the latest model to see if it’s still good enough to make this list. Stay tuned!
If money is no object, the Alienware Area 51m is our favorite high-end gaming laptop. This portable monster can be outfitted with up to an Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 graphics, and has a ton of RGB customization options that make it truly deserving of the Alienware name. Of course, Alienware just debuted its first-ever gaming laptops with 480Hz displays, and we’re hoping to get some in for testing and review soon!
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