The Best Budget Laptop Deals This Week*
*Deals are selected by our partner, TechBargains
All of these CPUs also host the silicon that runs the laptop’s graphics. The newest integrated graphics solutions can hold their own in browser-based games and even some online games like World of Warcraft. The higher demands of AAA titles, though, still require a discrete GPU, which you won’t find in this price range.
In years past, many of the barest-budget Windows laptops would come with just 2GB or 4GB of main system memory, but nowadays, at least in the Windows sphere, most come with 8GB. In terms of batteries, an ideal budget laptop has one with six cells or more. The battery life for a cheap laptop should come in at a minimum of seven or eight hours, and these days, many will last quite a bit longer.
When it comes to storage, some inexpensive systems still use spinning hard drives, with capacities often at 500GB, but increasingly, inexpensive Windows machines opt for small-capacity solid-state drives of 128GB or 256GB capacity. If you can get by with the capacity of a small SSD, we strongly favor opting for one, even over a roomier platter-based hard drive, for their durability.
In terms of features, budget laptops will come with at least one USB 3.0 port, and possibly a USB 2.0 port or two. You also may get an SD card slot. A Wi-Fi radio that uses the speedy 802.11ac protocol is also the norm now.
Dell G5 Se Gaming Laptop
Why you should buy this: Its the best budget gaming laptop.
Who its for: Gamers, and only gamers.
Why we picked the Dell G5 SE:
Although the best gaming laptops are typically expensive, the Dell G5 SE is a great example of why they dont need to be. Starting at just under $900, you get an AMD Ryzen 5 4500H CPU, an AMD Radeon RX 5600M graphics chip, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD, with options for faster CPUs, more powerful graphics, extra and faster storage, and memory if you dont mind spending a little more. Every model comes with a 15.6-inch, 1080p IPS display. For $1,049, youll get a fantastic machine with 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and the faster Ryzen 7 4800H.
With a decent build quality and surprisingly good gaming performance that rivals laptops with Nvidias GeForce RTX 2060 GPU, the G5 SE offers an all-around solid gaming package at an impressively competitive price. It does have its weak points, most notably a less than stunning display its dull, but it offers a fast 144Hz refresh rate thats great for gaming.
The keyboard is surprisingly good and offers RGB lighting for $30 more, and overall there are fewer sacrifices than expected to keep the price down on such a capable gaming machine.
There are far better gaming laptops out there, but wed struggle to find one thats as powerful as Dells G5 SE at this price point. Its a fantastic, budget gaming machine.
Why Buy A Gaming Laptop Instead Of A Standard Laptop
Gaming laptops offer much more than just futuristic designs and fancy lights. Unlike a regular laptop, which can typically handle only the most basic gaming duties, gaming laptops have the power to run and make the most of the latest and greatest games, from Assassins Creed to Cyberpunk 2077. They deliver a gaming experience thats free of crashes and frame stutters while serving up gorgeous graphics on big and beautiful screens. Gaming laptops dont just enable high-quality PC gaming, they make it a feast for the eyes.
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Which Budget Gaming Laptop Is Right For You
Specs are usually overrated when it comes to picking a PC, but not when it comes to gaming systems. Purchasing a cheap gaming laptop is definitely a case where you have to get the most bang for the fewest bucks. It’s a careful balance, though, as doubling your RAM or getting a better graphics card will impact your budget. The closer you get to the $1,000 price point, the more likely you’ll be able to get more than just the basic gaming laptop specs: maybe a newer processor or 16GB of RAM or a 512GB solid-state drive. If you’re watching every dollar, however, you’ll have to make do with those bare minimum specs.
Two other important considerations are weight and battery life, neither of which is a gaming laptop’s specialty. The notebooks on this list fall on either side of the 5-pound mark, but if you’re planning to take the laptop with you on the go often, a lighter system might be of greater importance to you. You also shouldn’t expect miracles when it comes to battery life, as more powerful components being pushed to the max by games will chew through a charge, though if staying unplugged as long as possible is crucial, serious consideration should be given to the Acer Nitro 5’s superior battery numbers.
Cyber Monday Gaming Laptop Deals 2021
Although Black Friday is seen as the optimal time for discounts, you can still get plenty of good Cyber Monday gaming laptop deals at the end of November. These offer shoppers their last, best hope of securing a machine for less ahead of the Holiday season.
While you’ll struggle to get a good gaming laptop for under $300, many budget options approach the $500 – $600 mark during Cyber Monday gaming laptop deals. That includes well-respected brands like ASUS TUF and HP.
You aren’t just limited to cheap gaming laptop deals, either. Mid-range options also tumble in cost during Cyber Monday. As an example, the HP Omen 15 with a 10th-gen i7 processor and GTX 1660 Ti card crashed from $1,299 to $799 last year.
In our experience, Cyber Monday gaming laptop deals also provide an opportunity to pick up some of the very best gaming laptops around. That includes discounts on machines with newer RTX cards capable of ray tracing, and those prices are falling all the time. With any luck, we’ll get even bigger drops this November.
We’ve got more specific predictions on 2021’s Cyber Monday gaming laptop deals below, so fill your boots if you want advice on the sales event of the year.
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Another Excellent Amd Value
The Bravo 15 picks up the Alpha 15s torch and carries it a lot further with its Ryzen 4000 series processor. It offers solid 1080p gaming performance, a FreeSync-enabled display, ample memory and storage in our tested configuration, and a redesigned chassis that looks great. It even gets pretty good battery life for a gaming laptop.
Its true that gaming notebooks with a GeForce GTX 1660 Ti can be found for around the same price, though they usually skim other specifications to achieve that. The Bravo 15 hits all the right marks for a budget-oriented gaming notebook and earns our Editors’ Choice laurels for being a standout in this category. Well done, MSI…or, as I noted at the beginning, “Bravo!” indeed.
Simple Styling And A Solid Build
The IdeaPad Gaming 3i’s design isn’t remarkable, but solid basics are perfectly acceptable for an entry-level gaming laptop. I prefer its understated all-black look to an over-designed one trying to compensate for an under-$1,000 price with flashy flourishes. A few angled corners and lid lines add some style, but overall it’s restrained and inoffensive.
The physical construction is sturdy despite being fully plastic, with no flex or weak points to speak of, an important box to check at this price point. The whole system measures 0.98 by 14.1 by 9.8 inches and weighs 4.8 pounds. That’s pretty compact and acceptably svelte, even if it doesn’t quite match the trimmest and more costly gaming laptops like the Razer Blade 15 or the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 . Compared to other budget machines like the Dell G5 15 SE and Acer Predator Helios 300 , the IdeaPad Gaming 3i comes out looking good.
The screen should appeal to gamers with its full HD resolution and 120Hz refresh rate. Due to the abovementioned GPU, you probably won’t be topping out most games at 120 frames per second , but some less demanding multiplayer titles on lower settings may hit that mark , so it’s a good inclusion. Full HD resolution is similarly a good fit for the modest power, as it will allow better frame rates than 1440p or 4K.
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Are High Refresh Rate Panels Worth It For Gaming Laptops
You should definitely be looking for a higher refresh rate panel on a gaming laptop these days, as they become more readily available and more affordable. Higher refresh rates provide smoother gameplay and truly come into their own in more competitive esports titles. More casual gamers should look to 120/144/165Hz panels, which are on offer at most gaming laptop manufacturers. If esports games take up a big chunk of your playtime and youre an avid player, 240 and, even, 360Hz panels are available with the former being a bit of a sweet spot and the latter remaining a tad bit overkill for now.
Best Win 10 Ultracompact Around $200
- SD card slot for storage expansion
- Only 32GB of internal storage inhibits app installs
- 1,366-by-768-pixel screen makes text fuzzy
- Poor camera quality
Gone are the days when a decent laptop would cost you north of $1,000. It’s now possible to pick up a full-size or ultraportable Windows 10 notebook with a processor powerful enough for use at home, school, or work, for between $300 and $500. It’s also possible to find full-featured Chromebooks and hybrid systems that give you both laptop and tablet functionality in one device for less than that.
You should be prepared to compromise in one aspect or other, however. While it’s certainly possible to find a powerful laptop with a 15-inch screen, you might have to make do with a flimsy keyboard and touchpad. Likewise, you could buy an impeccably made ultraportable that uses a modest CPU and a small storage drive to achieve its low price. Understanding those trade-offs, and matching up a budget laptop’s strengths and weaknesses with what you will do with it, is the key to making a happy purchase. Here’s help.
Can I Find A Good Display On A Budget Laptop
Definitely, but as with battery life or specific ports, youll need to pick and choose the right laptop. A good display will need to be a key component of the laptop, as color accuracy and contrast can be some areas where savings can be made on certain systems.
The best-looking screen of our budget recommendations comes with the HP Envy x360 13, which is yet another reason why its our pick for the best video editing laptop.
Large Screen Low Price
Specs: Display: 17.3 inches | CPU: Intel Core i5-10300H | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 512GB | Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti | Weight: 5.7lbs | Battery Life: 6 hours
Though most laptop screens run 15.6 inches or smaller, a subset of users prefers a larger display. On this list, the HP Pavilion offers a slightly bigger screen at 16.1 inches, but for gamers who desire even more screen real estate, the Asus TUF Gaming F17 could be your choice. It provides a 17.3-inch display, which translates roughly to 20% more screen area than a 15.6-inch display possesses .
Given the larger display, it’s no surprise that the Asus is the heaviest laptop listed here, though it still manages to weigh under 6 lbs. Specs are otherwise similar to the lower-end systems here — though you do get twice as much storage — but you’re paying more for the larger display.
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What Gaming Laptop Features Should You Consider
Gaming laptop spec sheets can fluster even seasoned PC gamers. Keep your cool by focusing on a few key specifications:
- Graphics card: Look for a discrete, dedicated graphics card from Nvidia or AMD, then compare their model numbers. The higher the number, the more powerful the card.
- Display: Aim for a big, bright screen with a resolution of at least 1080p and a high refresh rate .
- RAM: Laptops with lots of memory16GB is a good goalhelp keep games running smoothly even during scenes with overwhelming action.
- Storage: A laptop with a solid-state drive , as opposed to a standard hard disk, will likely be a little pricier, but provides lightning-quick loading times.
Ultimate Performance: Alienware M15 R6
If you’re interested in the Java Edition with custom shaders or the Bedrock Edition RTX enhancements, something like the Alienware m15 R6 with NVIDIA RTX 30-series dedicated GPUs and 11th Gen Intel Core H-series CPUs will offer the performance necessary to get the game looking as good as possible. It’s also cut out to handle just about any other game when you’re not in a Minecraft world.
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How To Pick A Good Gaming Laptop On A Budget
The process of buying a budget laptop already comes with a number of recommended steps, but adding PC gaming into the equation changes things up. You’ll need to be sure that the processor and graphics card can handle the games you want to play, and you want the display to be able to keep up. You’ll also need to balance other important features within your set budget. I’ve laid out some key tips to help you pick out the best gaming laptop possible on a tight budget.
How About Battery Life
The short answer is not to count on your gaming notebook being super portable.
If youre using your laptop to play games, you need to keep your laptop plugged in to get the full performance out of your GPU. And if you dont, youll be lucky if your laptop lasts an hour gaming. In our testing experience, most gaming laptops last only a few hours on a charge when performing other tasks, but never as long as ultraportables without discrete GPUs. If you need something to last 8 hours while you work, it wont be a gaming notebook.
Some do last long, but thats often at the expense of the display, and you dont want to play all your games on a dark, dim or inaccurate screen.
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Lenovo Ideapad Gaming 3i Specs
|Boot Drive Capacity||512 GB|
|0.98 by 14.13 by 9.83 inches|
While Lenovo courts hardcore gamers with its Legion line, more affordable gaming laptops are available under the IdeaPad brand. The IdeaPad Gaming 3i is a wallet-friendly offering with the latest parts from Intel and Nvidia. The 3i’s physical build is solid, its keyboard is comfortable, and its CPU is up to the task, but its Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 GPU is a bit underwhelming. Comparable or lower-priced gaming rigs deliver the same or better graphics performance, while some slightly pricier laptops deliver substantially higher frame rates. The MSI Bravo 15 is a superior value at the same price point, while the Acer Predator Helios 300 is our pick at the top end of budget pricing.
Should I Get A 4k Screen In My Laptop
Nah. 4K gaming laptops are overkill fine for video editing on the go if you’re dealing with 4K content, but it’s not the optimal choice for games. The standard 1080p resolution means that the generally slower mobile GPUs are all but guaranteed high frame rates, while companies are slowly drip-feeding 1440p panels into their laptop ranges.
A 1440p screen offers the perfect compromise between high resolution and decent gaming performance. At the same time, a 4K notebook will overstress your GPU and tax your eyeballs as you squint at your 15-inch display.
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Realistic Expectations Of Gaming Performance
The unfortunate reality is that when you reach budgets of $500 for a gaming laptop, you are unlikely to get good FPS performance on even moderately demanding games. Most gaming laptops under $500 will come with integrated graphics instead of a separate, dedicated GPU, so you cant expect the same level of performance.
Older games may run on decent Frames Per Second on medium-high settings, but for anything new, unless it has low requirements , you will generally need to fork out more money. Our best gaming laptops for under $1,000 guide may be your best port of call. Alternatively, if mobility isnt that big a priority for you, wed suggest looking at desktop machines such as our $700 self-build gaming PC, or pre-build gaming PC for under $800. Ultimately you will nearly always get at least 50% more performance out of a desktop machine for the same price as you would from a laptop, as the power and cooling restrictions of the laptop chassis limit performance substantially.
Learn About Diy Memory And Storage Upgrades
While the CPU and GPU in a laptop can’t be upgraded, memory and storage are a different story. It’s still important to double-check specific gaming laptop models, but the extra size generally allows for non-soldered RAM and one or two M.2 slots for storage.
The ability to upgrade RAM and solid-state drive comes with two benefits. First, you can buy less storage and RAM from the factory to cut down on the initial investment. There are plenty of opportunities to buy inexpensive RAM and storage, which you can then use to soup up your PC. Second, you can keep your laptop relevant longer into the future. File sizes seem to only get larger, and games seem to always require more memory. If you buy a laptop with 8GB of RAM, an upgrade to 16GB in a year or two will go a long way.
For storage specifications, try to shoot for an M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD. Our list of the best SSDs can help. This will provide the best speed, but it will generally cost more. If that’s not possible, a SATA SSD is next best in line. Avoid a hard-disk drive unless otherwise absolutely impossible it’s incredibly slow and far more prone to failure. As for memory, aim for at least 8GB of RAM in the system anything more is better.
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