The best cheap gaming laptops can provide good performance while staying on budget, but finding them can be a daunting task. However, daunting doesn’t mean impossible.
And with AMD making a resurgence in the gaming laptop space and Intel releasing its 10th Gen Comet Lake H-Series processor, there are a bunch of viable choices to consider. And despite their prices, these cheap laptops can do just about everything their more powerful brethren can, including supporting VR headsets and playing AAA titles at solid frame rates.
AMD has recently launched its Ryzen 5000-series GPU while Nvidia has released its 3000-series graphics cards. Although laptops with these new components exceed our sub-$1,000 limit, that means the previous models should be seeing significant price drops over the next few months. That means, you can get a gaming laptop with last-gen’s specs, which are still plenty powerful, for a reasonable price.
We’ve compiled a list of the best cheap gaming laptops because we know gaming is an expensive hobby. With all the games and peripherals, it can get pricey really fast. And while everything else can cost a pretty penny, who says that the right rig has to cost an arm, a leg and the soul of your firstborn? Fortunately for the fiscally-conscious gamer, there are cheap gaming laptops that can run graphically-taxing games at solid frame rates without putting a serious dent in your wallet.
Over the course of a year, we review over 100 laptops covering every price point and use case. When it comes to cheap gaming laptops, we evaluate a number of criteria including gaming and overall performance, display, battery life and of course, value.
Whether you’re looking for a gift for the gamer in your life or want an affordable way to frag on the go, here are the best cheap gaming laptops under $1,000.
The best cheap gaming laptops right now
Dell G3 15 is currently our top overall pick for best cheap gaming laptop 2021. Looking for solid endurance? The G3 15’s got you covered lasting over 6 hours on our battery test. The latest refresh of the system, this new laptop offers powerful performance on the gaming front. And best of all, it comes with Alienware Command Center, so you can customize several features of the laptop.
Speaking of Dell, check our our review of the recently refreshed
Dell G5 15 SE. Although the all AMD gaming laptop is currently $1,199, we’re expecting a price drop in the near future. We’re excited about this system as it delivered stellar overall performance and battery life as well as solid gaming performance.
HP Gaming Pavilion 15-dk0046nr is a great combination of style, power and endurance. Plus, it comes in well below $1,000. We were particular impressed with its agile SSD and it stays cool why gaming and lasts almost 6 hours on a charge.
MSI Alpha 15 and Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15-inch) are our honorable mentions. The first features both an AMD processor and graphics card, it marks the chipmaker’s return to gaming laptops. While the other is equipped with an Intel Core i7 processor and the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 GPU. Both are great entries, but doesn’t hold up to the systems on this list.
See our picks for best cheap gaming laptops of 2021 below.
The Dell G5 15 SE (2020) is a great mainstream gaming laptop thanks to its wild CPU performance, awesome battery life and bright 15.6-inch display. With its AMD processor, the system continuously blew out the competition. The notebook also impressed with its battery life, lasting over 7 hours. Throw in an AMD graphics card that can hold its own on even the most demanding AAA titles and you’ve got a certified winner.
Plus, the laptop has a display that’s equal parts bright and vivid along with a seriously comfortable keyboard. And we’re fans of the iridescent silver paint slathered over the hood and the healthy port offering, which lets you attach all of your necessary peripherals. The Dell G5 15 SE (2020) is one of the best gaming laptops you can get for the price.
See our full Dell G5 15 SE (2020) review .
The HP Gaming Pavilion 15-dk0046nr is an entry-level gaming laptop with a powerful Intel Core i7 processor and an Nvidia GeForce GPU, with an agile SSD and great battery life, all wrapped up in a striking, fairly portable design. Its combination of specs, power and endurance earned the laptop a place on our top cheap gaming laptops under $1,000 page.
The Pavilion 15 is not to be slept upon simply because it’s a budget system. It packs some powerful specs which means the notebook can play games at good frame rates. And at nearly 6 hours of battery life, it’s got endurance to spare. It also manages to stays pretty cool, even while gaming. Still, if you’re looking for a surprisingly powerful entry-level system at a great price, the HP Pavilion 15 should be at the top of your list.
See our full HP Gaming Pavillion 15-dk0046nr review.