The best budget gaming laptops can help you indulge your gaming hobby without breaking the bank, all while hitting the right balance between price and performance. After all, creatives need some downtime to get away from the grindstone, and a cheap gaming laptop is a great way to do that.
Gaming can be an expensive pastime, especially when it comes to buying hardware, with the best gaming laptops often costing thousands upon thousands in hard-earned cash. Yet it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’re in the market for an affordable gaming laptop, you’re in luck, as we’ve scoured the web to find the best gaming laptops that won’t blow a hole in your finances. Want to venture into development? Our guide to the best laptops for gaming development will help you out.
The best budget gaming laptops
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Few gaming laptops manage to offer the same blend of cost and capability as the MSI GF63 Thin. It can be configured to pack in an Nvidia RTX 4060 graphics card and a 12th-generation Intel Core i7 CPU, offering much more performance than you’d expect from a budget machine.
While those parts will undoubtedly push the price up, there are myriad other options lower down the spectrum that will help keep a lid on costs. In fact, you can regularly find models hitting the $700 or $600 mark, and even below that during sale season. It’s made all the sweeter by the laptop’s lightweight, portable design that is easy to carry around with you. That makes it an exceptionally well-rounded gaming laptop that doesn’t cost the earth.
Lenovo’s Legion 5 has options running the entire affordability spectrum, but even at its cheapest, it will likely blow you away with how much performance it offers for the price you pay. Inside its understated chassis are some performant parts, including an AMD Ryzen 7 5800H CPU and an Nvidia RTX 3050 GPU in the most budget model.
You can bump the graphics card up to an RTX 4050 if you want to push things a little further, all while remaining well within the bounds of affordability. And when you’re not gaming, you’ll get to enjoy its comfortable keyboard and excellent display – even the cheapest model gets a spacious 17-inch screen with a 144Hz refresh rate, which is far from common at this price point. Put together, this is a laptop that breaks out of its budget constraints and performs well beyond what you would expect.
While it can be configured up to a 13th-generation Intel Core i7 CPU and an Nvidia RTX 4060 GPU, that tips the scales a bit towards the pricey end. Sticking with the budget specs gives you a workhorse gaming machine that belies its low price. Dell offers a large range of customisation options, so you should be able to find the right configuration for your needs. An attractive display and great battery life are the icing on the cake.
It’s rare to find gaming laptops this impressive at this price point, yet the Dell G5 15 hits all the right notes. You’ll frequently find it on sale for $650 or less, yet it offers a surprisingly well-rounded package for the outlay. Unless you’re dead serious about your gaming hobby, there’s no need to spend more.
Look at the specs for this machine and you’d be forgiven for wondering how it was a cheap gaming laptop. And sure, max it out and you’re moving out of budget territory, but it just shows how flexible the Asus TUF Gaming A15 can be. If you want to splurge, it has options for you. But if you want to keep things affordable, it still comes up trumps.
Even with some of its cheapest configurations, you get an excellent 1080p display, rugged build quality, performant CPU and GPU chips, and long-lasting battery life. In fact, it’s well-balanced in almost every department. It’s not the absolute cheapest gaming laptop you can buy, but it’s still less than you’ll pay for many rivals that offer comparable performance.
HP’s Victus 15 is hardly a looker, but what it lacks in attractive design it makes up for in value for money. It’s an extremely affordable entry point if you’re looking for a gaming laptop, with the cheapest models flirting with the $500 bracket when they go on sale. That’s an almost unbeatable price considering you get a discrete ray-tracing graphics card, super-speedy NVMe storage, and a decent display with an ultra-fast 144Hz refresh rate.
Even when you start to buff up the specs, prices remain very reasonable, giving you plenty of leeway if you want a bit more power to play with. And when you’re done with gaming, it doubles up as a work machine (although don’t expect it to tear through multiple streams of 8K video footage, as it’s not designed for that). If you’re after a budget gaming laptop that still has lots to offer, the HP Victus 15 should be on your list.
Acer is well known for its range of gaming laptops, and the Nitro 5 shows exactly why the company has a good reputation in this field. This gaming laptop has plenty on show that won’t break the bank, yet it scales well to offer high performance that can handle both games and creative applications with ease.
Picking the right model can be tricky, since Acer has dozens of configurations to choose from on its website. But as long as you have a good idea of what you need, you should be able to find the right model for you. When you do, you’ll get solid performance for work and play, a speedy display with a high refresh rate, and a well-designed keyboard that’s pleasing to type on. Keep your eyes peeled for the sales and you could grab yourself a real bargain.