Best Ultra Cheap Gaming Laptop
Display: 15.6 FHD LCD 144Hz CPU: Intel Core i5-10200H GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 RAM: 8GB DDR4 Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD Weight: 4.1 pounds Size: 14.13″ x 9.99″ x 0.85″
If you look in the right place, $1,000 can get you some really solid gaming gear. And this happens to be the right place, because the MSI GF65 Thin delivers a well-balanced package that shouldnt leave you itching for more.
This gaming laptop comes kitted out with a modest Intel Core i5-10200H processor that should chug along well enough, and that savings makes room for an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 graphics processor. The combination will deliver some solid horsepower for AAA and esports games alike. So, its a good thing the MSI GF65 Thin includes a 144Hz 1080p monitor, letting you do your fast-paced gaming wherever you go. And, at just over four pounds and measuring less than an inch thick, the MSI GF65 Thin will make it easy to go places while toting it around. The laptop even supports Wi-Fi 6 for a robust wireless connection you can game on.
How To Choose The Best Gaming Laptop For You
What you’re looking for in the best gaming laptop of 2021 is the capability to run the most demanding games of the day graphically intensive games, throwing up all sorts of shading and effects on screen without having to make a ton of settings compromises along the way.
Bad gaming laptops advertise themselves on their gaming credentials, but then deliver vastly inferior performance to their desktop counterparts, so it’s absolutely crucial that you avoid these clunkers.
High-resolution screens are a nice added bonus on a gaming laptop as well, but it’s important to keep in mind that high frame rates are far more important when gaming on the go so it’s pretty pointless plumping for a laptop with a 4K screen if it doesn’t have the interior hardware to power games on it.
In other words, a very high quality, Full HD screen can beat a 4K display in some situations, especially when it’s partnered with stonkingly fast internals for a superb portable gaming experience.
Other things to look out for when buying a gaming laptop include weight and portability , battery life , and price.
These are the top gaming laptop makers in business today.
How We Selected The Best Cheap Laptops
First, in order to qualify as cheap, laptops must cost less than $999. After narrowing down the available models based on price, we gathered testimonials from our staff and associates, their friends and family, and combed through dozens of different review sites to cosign these first-hand impressions and assure we can confidently call a consensus on the best cheap laptops available.
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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.
Display Details Part Two: Refresh Rate And Panel Type
Like the native resolution, you should take note of the panel’s refresh rate, even if, these days, it may be the sameâthat is, 60Hzâacross some budget models.
If the refresh rate is being called out as a feature on a given laptop, that means it’s likely higher than the norm. Most laptop screens, including those in almost all non-gaming-oriented budget models, stick to 60Hz, which means they redraw the onscreen image 60 times per second and thus can display up to 60 frames per second of in-game performance. Some notebook screens these days, though, can display at 75Hz, 120Hz, or more. These high refresh rates can be beneficial for some extremely fast-paced games, particularly titles played competitively online, including stalwarts such as CS:GO, DOTA 2, and Overwatch, and the more recent trio of Fortnite, Apex Legends, and Call of Duty: Warzone.
Still, unless you’re attempting to become a professional gamer or get ranked globally in a particular popular title, a 60Hz screen will suffice. Nearly all gamers are still “stuck” with 60Hz displays, after all. High-refresh panels aren’t the norm in budget machines, but they are worth knowing about, and they have trickled down into some under-$1,000 machines.
A final note, about touch input. Despite the undeniable convenience of touch screens for Windows 10, they are not the norm on gaming machines, and we don’t know of any GeForce- or Radeon RX-based gaming models in the under-$1,000 zone with touch.
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Gaming Graphics And Vr
The Pavilion 15 packs an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 GPU with 4GB of VRAM.At the laptops highest graphical settings , modern graphical marvels such as Far Cry New Dawn and Hitman averaged out at 54 frames-per-second and 57 fps, respectively. Notably, it ran Far Cry New Dawn considerably better than the Nitro 5 at the highest settings .
When up against the Zephyrus , the Pavilion 15 doesnt hold up as well. The Asus ran Hitman better , Rise of the Tomb Raider better , Shadow of the Tomb Raider better and Grand Theft Auto V better . The HP gaming laptop also didnt run Hitman nearly as well as the G5 15 .
Now, going by my personal experience, Id still say that the HP Gaming Pavilion 15 ran Shadow of the Tomb Raider pretty well on the highest graphical settings. Naturally, in the linear, closed-off parts of the game, the fps would hover between 40 to 60 whenever I was traversing through the linear portions of the game, But in the more wide open hub areas such as Paititi, the fps would dip to the 30s to 40s range.
On the virtual reality front, this HP gaming laptop averaged 5.9 fps on the SteamVR Performance test.. Its enough to top the 5.3 average, the G5 15 and Nitro 5, which both average 5.6 fps. The Asus continued to dominate, with a score of 9.2.
Lenovo Ideapad Gaming 3i Webcam
The 720p shooter in the IdeaPad Gaming 3i took images that look like they came from a flip phone.
The test shots were pixely and blotchy to the point where all of the detail in my hair was a blur. It translated the blue tape on the wall behind me into pure black. To top it off, the poor contrast nearly blew out most of the window, save for a few patches of outside greenery. If you plan on streaming, take a look at our best webcams page.
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Best Cheap Gaming Laptop Under $1000 For 2021
New processors from Intel and AMD paired with good entry-level graphics chips mean terrific performance for less money.
The microchip shortage has made getting a good deal on a gaming laptop more difficult. You can find worthy gaming laptops between $700 and $1,000, really good bargains tend to disappear quickly due to limited stock. Fortunately, when you can find one, they’re typically loaded with the latest Intel or AMD processors, newer entry-level discrete graphics and displays with faster refresh rates.
That means that you’re not limited to low-res gaming on these machines and can get an immersive experience playing games like Apex Legends, CS: GO, PUBG, Fortnite and Minecraft. It still costs a pretty penny to get what’s considered an affordable gaming laptop, but frugal gamers can save even more money if they look for the best cheap laptop deals on a refurbished or open-box option from the likes of Best Buy, , Micro Center and Woot.
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To help you get your ideal gaming experience on a cheap laptop, our recommendations, based on our reviews and testing, are below. And if you want to improve your gaming and work-from-home experience, you may want to look into some inexpensive gaming gear to help you do it. We’ll update this list of the best cheap gaming laptop options as we review new products.
Best For Battery Life
Specs: Display: 15.6 inches | CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600H | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB | Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 | Weight: 4.9lbs | Battery Life: 10 hours
Acer has had the Nitro line of gaming laptops for years, and while it includes configurations that are well beyond budget pricing, it also has affordable options like the one listed here. While it shares many of the same specs as its sub-$1000 competitors, this Nitro 5 is equipped with an AMD Ryzen 5 processor instead of an Intel Core i5 chip.
Not only does the Ryzen 5 5600H outperform the 10th-generation Core i5 processors, but it delivers superior battery life — at least for a gaming laptop. Unfortunately, you’re paying a premium for the processor and nothing else, as the remaining specs aren’t any better than its lower-priced competitors.
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Best For A First Gaming Laptop
- High-refresh display with support for AMD FreeSync
- Potent Ryzen 4000 series processor
- 16GB of RAM in under-$1000 test configuration
- Good battery life and speakers
- Wi-Fi 6 support
- Single-color keyboard, versus RGB keyboard of the Alpha 15
- CPU runs hot under load
- Can’t quite match gaming frame rates of GeForce GTX 1660 Ti notebooks
Cheap Gaming Laptop Deal Of The Week
Dell G15 gaming laptop: $1,029$749 at DellSave $280 – Dell often has good mid-range gaming laptops and this new G15 model is no exception. With an RTX 3050, Intel Core i5-10400H, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD this one’s a solid performer for 1080p gaming with really up-to-date specs. Bear in mind, however, that it’s not super high-end so if you really want to max those games you’ll likely have to spend a bit more.View Deal
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Budget Pick: Acer Nitro 5
|Tested battery life:||6 hours|
If you want the cheapest possible laptop that will play games decently, get the Acer Nitro 5 AN515-44-R99Q or AN515-55-53AG. At this price, no laptop will play the latest games as well as our top picks. But the Nitro 5 is powerful enough for older games or less-demanding modern ones. The cooling system remains effective without running the fans full tilt. The laptop has a responsive keyboard and trackpad, too, and its easy to upgrade. But compared with our top pick, the Nitro 5 has more downsides: a dimmer screen with a 60 Hz refresh rate, less storage for games, no support for VR, and too much bloatware.
We tested the AN515-44-R99Q model with a six-core AMD Ryzen 5 4600H processor, but we also recommend the AN515-55-53AG model with a four-core Intel Core i5-10300H processor if the AMD variant is sold out or if the Intel model is cheaper. We didnt see any differences in gaming performance between those two processors on the other laptops we tested this year. Both models usually cost $700 or less, while most other laptops with similar specs cost at least $800.
Like many of the cheap gaming laptops we tested in 2020, the Nitro 5 has a vent positioned toward the back of the laptops right side. This vent directed some warm air onto my mousing handbut since the laptop runs so cool, I didnt notice any discomfort during gaming sessions.
Here’s The Cheapest Gaming Laptop You’ll Find On Black Friday
Finding a gaming laptop, even in the Black Friday deals, can be hard. There’s so much choice and in a lot of cases, a pretty high price. What about if you’re wanting to get into PC gaming with a truly affordable laptop? Integrated graphics isn’t too bad these days but what you really want is something with a decent CPU and an integrated GPU, preferably NVIDIA for the best bang for your buck.
What if I told you that this is possible right now for under $500? You’d say I’m crazy.
I’d say check out this scorching deal on the MSI GF63 at Walmart, where indeed you will find what you’re looking for under $500. For the price of a mid-range Chromebook, you can get yourself a bona fide gaming laptop for proper gaming. Let’s take a look at the goods.
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Best Cheap Thin Gaming Laptop
Display: 15.6 FHD WVA 60Hz CPU: Intel Core i5-10300H GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti RAM: 16GB DDR4 Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD Weight: 5.18 pounds Size: 14.4″ x 10″ x 0.85″
Dell has been building up a strong fleeting of affordable gaming laptops and it’s latest G3 15 Gaming laptop is one of the best it has ever made. It’s thinner and lighter than ever at just 0.85-inches thick and 5.18 pounds. At the same time, this 15-inch gaming laptop comes packing the latest components with the combination of an i5-10300H and a GTX 1660 Ti. The included 512GB SSD is a solid starting point, and it should have you covered for a small selection of major games.
The Dell G3 15 should also be of interest to those looking for a sleeper gaming laptop. Nothing about this machine screams the fact that you’re living the gamer life. If anything this machine’s sleek blue lines make it look more like a budget school laptop, which can be a good thing if you plan to take it out every day.
Lenovo Ideapad Gaming 3i Price And Configuration Options
I tested the most expensive Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i model , which still put it at $989, just within the entry-level gaming laptop range. It comes with an Intel Core i7-10750H processor, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 with 4GB of VRAM, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD and a 120Hz display.
Price: $989Size: 14.13 x 9.83 x 0.98 inchesWeight: 4.8 pounds
The $919 mid-tier model brings you down to an Intel Core i5-10300H CPU, but upgrades your GPU to a GTX 1650 Ti, while the rest of the components remain the same. The base model runs for $839 and comes with the same Core i5 CPU, a GTX 1650 GPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and a 60Hz display.
If youre looking for something a little more pricey, you might want to check out our best gaming laptops page.
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Hey Where Are The Macbooks
The Apple laptop lines are excellent. And for nearly everything except gaming, they truly shine. However, the fact remains that we cannot, in good conscience, consider anything that Apple makes as cheap. Apple chose long ago to present and price itself as a premium brand, and its quality represents that choice, but so does its cost. The lowest-spec MacBook Air M1 only slips under the $999 dividing line between cheap and not cheap during sales or when an educational discount is applied, and thats not an option available to everyone. So while theres nothing in this list saying that a MacBook isnt a good value or a quality product , MacBooks arent cheap and arent on this list.
Best Gaming Laptop Deals: Deep Discounts From Amazon Best Buy And Newegg
Check out these holiday deals on the latest gaming laptops based on GPUs from Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 30 series.
Do you have a gamer on your holiday shopping list? You’ll find some sweet deals right now on models with Nvidia’s latest GeForce RTX 30-series graphics. Best Buy has the best prices on gaming laptops right now, particularly the Alienware m15 R5 with RTX 3070 graphics on sale for $1,700.
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Lenovo Ideapad Gaming 3i Heat
Thanks to its plastic chassis, the IdeaPad Gaming 3i didnt get too hot under the hood. After streaming a 15-minute, 1080p video, the underside hit 100 degrees Fahrenheit, which is just slightly above our 95-degree comfort threshold. The center of the keyboard and touchpad measured 89 and 77 degrees, respectively. At its hottest, the machine was 105 degrees on the left rear-center underside, just in front of the vents.
Components And Connectivity: What To Know
The good news is that you’ll have to accept fewer compromises with the budget laptops of today than you did in the past. Intel’s Celeron and Pentium processors have evolved to the point that they can support most of your web browsing and basic productivity needs without feeling sluggish. That said, the $400-to-$700 Windows laptop market is mostly populated by systems based on the much peppier Core i3, Core i5, Ryzen 3, and Ryzen 5 families of processors. Opt for these CPU lines if you need more than just the basics.
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Lenovo Ideapad Gaming 3i Ports
There are a decent number of ports on the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i, but it only has two USB Type-A ports, whereas most gaming laptops feature three.
On the left side, theres the power jack, an RJ45 Ethernet port, an HDMI port, one USB Type-A port, one USB Type-C port, a headphone jack, a Novo hole and a power indicator. Meanwhile, the right side is home to only one USB Type-A port.
If you need some more USB Type-A ports, we recommend checking out our best laptop docking stations and best USB Type-C hubs pages.