Best Gaming Laptop For Going Back To School
Back to school season has arrived, and that means you may be on the hunt for a new laptop to help you or someone you love tackle their coursework. Gaming laptops typically aren’t the first choice when getting ready for school, but their beefy components and big screens can sometimes prove useful for the computationally-intensive coursework that comes with studying something like video editing or game development. Plus, it can be nice to have a portable PC gaming machine around for entertainment while a student’s away at school.
Right now, the back to school gaming laptop to get is still the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14, because its comparatively lightweight and its 11-hour battery life can get you through a day of classes without needing to plug in though you’ll want to when you’re playing games, to make the most of its powerful components.
If you’re looking for something a little cheaper, the Dell G15 SE 2020 will serve you well, and you can usually get a good configuration for less than $1,000. With up to 16GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD space, this is a capable gaming laptop with decent battery life that won’t look out of place in a classroom setting until you turn on the keyboard’s RGB lighting, of course.
The Best Budget Laptop For Students
Many of the best cheap laptops might be good choices for high school and college students, but the Acer Swift 3s exceptionally durable build makes it an excellent choice for backpack-battering and dining hall spills. Its 14-inch screen also gives you more room for homework multitasking than some of the 13-inch machines here.
But the highlight of the Swift 3 is its Ryzen 4000 processors. We tested a model with a Ryzen 7 4700U, which did an excellent job handling our daily multitasking workload, and delivered seven-hour battery life as well.
On the outside, the Swift 3 isnt the thinnest or most beautiful laptop you can buy, but its a solid performer in most areas. It has all kinds of ports, including USB-C, USB-A, and an HDMI. The backlit keyboard has a nice click to it and has a reliable integrated fingerprint reader as well.
Our Pick: Asus Tuf Gaming A15
|Tested battery life:||7.3 hours|
Every cheap gaming laptop makes trade-offs, but the Asus TUF Gaming A15 doesnt sacrifice the things that make games enjoyable. Even on more recent games, it provides solid gaming performance for the price. It also keeps its most-touched surfaces cool during long gaming sessions, and it has a high-refresh-rate screen that looks good. It also has good battery life , and its easy to upgrade if you want more storage in the future. But its fans are loud during games, you have no way to manually run the fans at max speed for extra cooling if you need it, and some owners have reported issues with the A15s trackpad.
On its default fan settings, the TUF Gaming A15 kept the most-touched WASD keys the coolest among all the laptops with equivalent graphics we tested this year. After we played Shadow of the Tomb Raider for half an hour, these keys measured 87 °F, which felt neutral, not even warm, to my fingers. The A15s internals were on the warmer end in the same test, with the CPU at 104 °C and the GPU at 82 °C. We saw similar surface and internal temperatures in our Overwatch testing. Despite those high internal temperatures, we didnt experience any performance dips that would indicate thermal throttling in games, and the A15 kept cool where it counts.
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Solid But Needs More Gpu Power For The Money
The IdeaPad Gaming 3i starts strong with a sturdy and restrained physical build, but it doesn’t hold up as the best value on the graphics-performance side. It’s not a bad laptop, just tough to recommend in a competitive field. At this price, the MSI Bravo 15 is our Editors’ Choice for a superior value, while the MSI GL65 9SC and Acer Predator Helios 300 are our top picks at the lower and higher ends of entry-level pricing, respectively.
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.
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The Future Of Budget Laptops And Vr
The demand for VR ready laptops might have started out strictly for gamers, but more professions are beginning to see its appeal. VR is a safe place to practice diverse skills and operations that would otherwise be expensive or dangerous to do in the real world.
The aviation industry was one of the first to jump at the opportunity. Flight simulations have always been a part of pilot training, but now it can be done with VR, instead of the big, lumpy machines. Other industries such as education, real estate, architecture and medicine have been experimenting with VR for years. Now that the technology has caught up with our imaginations, the use of VR ready laptops for training and collaboration is bound to increase radically.
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.
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Hp Elitebook 8470p 141
The HP Elitebook 8470p is a 2013 laptop now being offered as refurbished for a great bargain.
It features a 2.60Ghz Intel Core i5-3320M dual-core processor, Intel HD Graphics 4000, a 128 SSD hard drive, 8GB of RAM and a great collection of ports including two USB 3.0 ports.
Users praised the Elitebook for its fast hardware and a hardy design that has clearly stood the test of time. That said, as with all refurbished units, the chances of getting a lemon or higher than new laptops, so be prepared to call on Amazons return policy if needed.
The SSD hard drive is definitely the cheapest you will get on a laptop, although its not very large so be prepared to get a secondary drive to add to it if needed.
Despite its performance, the 8470p suffers in the design department and has quite a dated bulky look to it where it starts to show its age a little bit. Some user also complained of poor speakers and a lack of HDMI port may also be off putting for some users.
All in all if you are looking for the most bang for your buck for in an ultra-budget gaming laptop, the 8470p sports better hardware for the money at its price point hands down.
Quick Gaming Laptop Shopping Tips
- Focus on the GPU: Most games are dependent on the GPU, and those arent upgradeable. If you splurge on a powerful GPU now, youll be gaming comfortably for a few years.
- You can upgrade some parts later: While CPUs and GPUs are almost always soldered down, most gaming laptops let you replace the RAM and storage, so you can buy cheaper now and add more memory and a bigger hard drive or SSD down the road.
- Battery life will probably be bad: Very few gaming notebooks get 8 hours or more on a charge, and you need the power supply to get the best gaming performance anyway. However, we’ve seen some strong times from AMD’s Ryzen processors, and Nvidia suggests its improved Optimus technology may help turn the tide.
Best gaming laptops at a glance
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
For enthusiasts who want a gaming laptop to replace a desktop, the MSI GE76 Raider has it all. It’s a performance gaming machine with up to an Intel Core i9-11980HK and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080, with a 360 Hz display that’s ready for esports like League of Legends or Dota 2.
Reasons to avoid
The battery life is also surprisingly long for a gaming notebook and the keyboard is clicky and comfortable. The fan, however, sometimes goes off even when just sitting on the desktop, and this system doesnt come equipped with a built-in webcam.
Reasons to avoid
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Is The Best Gaming Laptop Under 500 Usd Worth Buying
When looking for the best gaming laptop under 500 USD, one needs to be aware of the various restrictions that such a budget puts on your available options. At this pricing, you really are only going to be able to get entry-level gaming performance, though if youre only going to be playing older, less demanding games, this may not be a problem.
We suggest you have a quick skim through our Things To Consider When Buying A Gaming Laptop Under $500 section below to get a quick overview of the market in this price bracket so you can make the best choice.
Gtx 10 Series Gaming Laptops
The latest batch of mobile gamer rigs have full-on desktop GPUs in the build, qualifying them as VR-ready. Mobile gaming rigs with GTX 980 desktop cards hit market in the generation prior. Budget-minded gamers should check out SKUs with a GTX 1060 for VR gaming.
Lower-tier mobile gaming rigs use M-class NVIDIA cards, which are lighter in weight, energy consumption, heat emission, and performance compared to their desktop counterparts.
What about laptops with SLI? High-end gaming laptops have SLI graphics card configurations, NVIDIA jargon for connecting two or more graphics cards to a single motherboard. Capable of pushing pixels at 60+ fps onto ultra-high definition displays, elite models like MSI GTX 1070SLI and GTX 1080SLI laptops run two full-on desktop GPUs and command over $3,500!
If youre looking for SLI laptops under $1,000 check for refurbished deals. The prices get close to that mark for dual GTX 970M cards.
Are there any gaming laptops under 500? Tight-budgeted gamers find value in refurbished machines on sale under $500. They boast modest but legit gaming specsGTX 950M GPU and a 15.6-inch, 768-pixel display. Use the filters on the left side bar to specify price range, and usually a handful of choices will be present under $500.
Intels laptop CPUs have letter designations at the end that signify additional features:
- HQ High graphics Quad core
- HK High graphics unlockKed
- U Ultralow power consumption for longer battery
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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.
Which Laptops Are Suitable For Running Games
Though there are no specific laptop models for running high laptops, the following laptops might be suitable for running games, theyre:
- Asus ROG Zephyrus
- Dell G5 15
- Lenovo Legion Gi
A 4K resolution gaming laptop requires a powerful CPU processor, NVIDIA GTX graphics memory, and in-built 4GB+ VRAM. If you find all these things available in a laptop youre planning to buy for gaming purposes then the product is a worth buying deal indeed.
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The Best Gaming Laptops In 2021
The best gaming laptop for your needs can be hard to find, and the search used to be an undertaking fraught with compromises: you could get a lightweight laptop with anemic performance or a powerful machine that really pushed the boundaries of what can really be called a laptop. But gaming laptops have improved a lot over the past few years, most notably thanks to more powerful and efficient GPUs from Nvidia and AMD.
You can even get gaming laptops that are slim and slick that can run modern triple-A games at high settings. Of course, if you still want a very powerful gaming laptop thats designed more as gaming desktop replacement, there are plenty of great options.
- Looking for a desktop? Check out the best gaming PCs
- Ultimate back to school guide 2021: Laptops, Chromebooks, headphones and more
In short, its now easier than ever to pick one of the best gaming laptops around. Granted, there are still some things to weigh up, but take a look at our picks below and youre sure to find a machine that suits your needs.
The Best Cheap Gaming Laptop Deals Under $1000 For September 2021
No matter your budget we’ll find the machine for you
Our handy guide to this week’s best cheap gaming laptop deals is here to help you find the right machine for your needs – plus save you some cash too. We’ve tirelessly searched all the nation’s retailers to come up with a list that we think, in our opinion, offers the best bang for the buck this week. No matter whether you’re just starting out or looking for that next upgrade, our gaming laptop deals roundup looks to cover all the bases. Plus, we’ve also reviewed and tested many of these machines personally so you’re getting some picks directly from the experts right here.
Our cheap gaming laptop deals recommendations focus on sales from trusted retailers like Amazon, Dell, HP, Best Buy, and a few other wild-cards as well. Of course, we’re always scanning these retailer’s pages every week so we don’t miss a single sale and we’re always comparing and contrasting their offerings to weed out any sub-par choices.
If at any point you get stuck or need a bit of additional guidance, simply scroll down to our cheap gaming laptop deals FAQ section. Right there you’ll find completely unbiased advice and expertise from TechRadar’s experts to get you up to speed if you don’t know your Nvidia’s from your AMD’s. It’ll also help you out if you’re not sure how much to spend.
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System Memory: In This Range Go Eight
Given an around-$1,000 budget, 8GB is the minimum RAM you should settle for. Most sub-$1,000 machines with dedicated graphics won’t go any higher, but that’s a perfectly adequate amount for most moderate use and mainstream gaming. The occasional cheap gaming laptop manages to squeeze in 16GB of memory these days, but it’s still the exception to the 8GB norm in this price range.
Whether the laptop’s RAM is user-upgradable later on, and what the ceiling is, are further facets to investigate. That said, even if you can upgrade the memory, the laptop may come with memory modules occupying both slots, which would mean replacing them both when upgrading later. It’s best to get what you need up front.
How We Test Gaming Laptops
When we bring a laptop into our laboratory, our goal is to see how it would work if you brought it into your home or office. While we use a number of industry standard benchmarks such as Geekbench and 3DMark, we focus heavily on real-world tests that we have developed in-house. But in the case of gaming laptops, we also make sure to run a number of synthetic gaming benchmarks, using our chosen titles integrated tests. We also game for several hours to established real-world results.
To test endurance, the Laptop Mag Battery test surfs the web at 150 nits of brightness until the system runs out of juice. To judge pure processing power, we use a giant spreadsheet macro that matches 65,000 names with their addresses, a video transcoder that converts a 4K video to 1080p and the Geekbench 4 synthetic test. We measure graphics prowess with both 3DMark Ice Storm / Fire Strike and a series of actual game titles.
We use a colorimeter to measure screen brightness and color gamut while other instruments help us determine a laptop’s key travel and ambient heat. See this page on How We Test Laptops for more details on our benchmarking procedures.
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