As you may already know by now, gaming laptops are usually very expensive by nature. On average, gaming laptops can cost as much as $1,000 or more; or at least the ones that you can expect yo run most modern games with all the settings maxed out. Having said that, there is really no reason why you should pay that much for a decent gaming laptop, especially if you have a good understanding of technology and the way gaming platforms behave.
Although you may not afford the best high performance laptop out there, you can still buy yourself a decent machine if you take the time to learn about what makes a good gaming laptop and what to look for.
First of all, a good gaming laptop should definitely have a good processor. When it comes to gaming laptops,they usually boast the latest technologies available, even in terms of processing power, meaning that they usually drive up the price of the actual machines quite a lot. Even so, a $500 laptop can still pack a decent processor nowadays and this is mainly because of the rate at which new technologies emerge.
Although you cannot really afford the latest in gaming technology, you can still get a laptop with 8 GB of RAM for a reasonable price. While most games nowadays require at least 4 GB of RAM to run properly, you’re quickly going to be left behind by newer games unless you invest in a laptop with at least 8 GB of RAM. There is also the issue of RAM frequency to consider, of course, but for the most part, you should first ensure that you cover the basics.
Ask anyone who knows a bit about computers and they will tell you that it’s not as much about the system configuration when it comes to gaming laptops as it is about the features they pack. In fact, it is common for good affordable laptops to boast good connectivity standards, which is definitely something to look for in a modern laptop. You are also advised to consider not only the model but the processor’s generation as well, because most of the time, the difference between a first generation i5 and a sixth generation i5 can be considerable.
While the main thing to consider when buying a gaming laptop is the actual configuration, you shouldn’t disregard the importance of a good build. We say this because you don’t want your keyboard to fail you after a few months, nor do you want to deal with an unreliable touchpad. In this respect, you should also make sure to choose a laptop with a full HD display, one that preferably doesn’t use LED technology.
Best Cheap Gaming Laptops Under $500 Reviews
(Updated January 2017)
10Dell Inspiron 7000 Series 15.6 Inch Touchscreen Pro Laptop
The 7000 series from Dell stands out by having a state of the art touchscreen, a feature most gaming laptops simply do not have. It also features an impressively large 1 TB hard drive, a 15.6-inch high resolution LED Backlight, a powerful Intel Core i5-5200U Processor, and 8 GB of DDR3L SDRAM. Interestingly enough, this particular laptop is equipped with a very accommodating motherboard that allows you to upgrade the laptop almost any way you wish. At the same time, it also supports the latest 802.11ac wireless standard which is bound to improve your connection’s range and speed.
– Surprisingly fast
– Windows 10 compatible
– Large storage space
– Possible issues with the touchpad
– Quite heavy
– Might experience connection issues with some providers
9HP High Performance Premium 15.6 Inch Laptop
What’s interesting about this particular laptop is that it features a 6th generation Intel Core i5-6200U processor, which is quite impressive in this price range. It also has 8 GB of DDR3L RAM with a frequency of 1600 MHz and a 256 GB SSD. Combine this with a 15.6-inch Diagonal HD Display with anti-glare technology and you have yourself a pretty decent gaming laptop. Not only that but it also comes with an HD webcam, a headphone / microphone combo, a multi DVD/CD burner, and a 3-cell 2800 mAh lithium-ion polymer battery designed to last. On top of all this, it comes with a preinstalled Windows 10 OS, which is definitely a big plus.
– Decent picture quality
– Good cooling
– Quite fast
– Keyboard might feel awkward at first
– Touchpad doesn’t have clear delimitations
– Disk space could be bigger
8Acer 15.6 Inch Flagship Full HD Laptop
Apart from the 15.6-inch screen, the Acer Flagship Full HD Laptop can be considered just as good as any high-end gaming laptop out there at this point in time. In fact, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to compare it with some of the best i7 laptops out there. We say this because it features a powerful 6th generation Intel Core i5-6200 CPU, 8 GB DDR3L 1600 MHz SDRAM, a Nvidia GeForce GT 940M graphics card, a 720p HD Webcam, and a 1 TB 5400 RPM HDD. So feature-wise, this particular laptop is definitely top-notch. On top of all this, the Flagship comes with an 802.11ac ultra-fast WiFi connection with a MIMO technology, a LAN feature, and a Genuine Windows 10 64-bit preinstalled.
– Decent battery life
– Good graphics card
– Large hard drive
– Possible software issues
– No optical drive
– May have WiFi problems
7Asus 17 Inch High Performance Laptop
The great thing about this particular laptop is that it features a 17.3-inch LED-backlit HD+ display a feature you don’t usually benefit from in this price range. It also uses a powerful i5-5200 processor that will run almost any video game or application, 8 GB of DDR3L RAM, a 1 TB Hard Drive, and a DVD-RW drive. Combine all these features with an 801.11/b/g/n WLAN, Bluetooth 4.0, and a 100/1000 Ethernet, and you have yourself a pretty decent gaming laptop. Not only that but it also comes with a preinstalled Windows 10 Home 64 bit and a long-lasting battery life.
– Long battery life
– Quality screen
– Very fast
– Keyboard feels cheap
– Comes with a bit of bloatware
– Might experience a slight screen flickering after a few months
6Dell Inspiron 15 Inch i5555-2866SLV
This is perhaps one of the most affordable gaming laptops the market has to offer at this point in time. It is designed to be easy to use, easy to carry, and even easier to maintain by giving you access to all the drivers you could possibly need via Dell’s great customer support. In terms of specs, let us point out that it has 8 GB of DDR3L 1600 MHz memory, a 1 TB 5400 RPM Hard Drive, and a multitude of other interesting features. Among them, a fast WiFi connection, Bluetooth 4.0, an SD card reader, a Waves MaxxAudio Pro sound card, an HD Webcam, and a preinstalled Windows 10 OS.
– Good touchscreen
– Big hard drive
– Keyboard might show signs of damage after a few months
– Processor speed could be faster
– Annoying BIOS
5Lenovo 17.3 Inch IdeaPad 300 HD+
You can’t really go wrong with a 6th generation Intel Core i5 processor nowadays, which is the exact feature that makes this laptop stand out. It should be said that this particular device is designed not so much for gaming purposes but to run a wide variety of multimedia platforms, files, and software. It does so while using a high-quality 17.3-inch display, 8 GB DDR3L 1600 MHz memory, a 1 TB SATA 5400 RPM hard drive, and stereo speakers with Dolby Advanced Audio. At the same time, it comes with a quality multi-touchpad, good connectivity options to choose from, and a pretty decent battery.
– Fast processor
– Very good compatibility
– Runs quietly
– Stiff keyboard
– Strangely designed power plug
– Difficult to find the right drivers
4HP Premium 15.6 Inch FHD Laptop
Thanks to its 15.6-inch diagonal Full HD SVA antiglare WLED-backlit screen, this laptop can be used in almost any lighting conditions with relative ease. Specs-wise, let us point out that it uses a 6th generation Intel Core i5-6200U processor, 8 GB DDR3L SDRAM, a 128 GB SSD, and a Super-Multi DVD Burner for good measure. It also comes with a preinstalled Windows 10 OS, which is definitely a good feature to have. Not only that but it also benefits from a surprisingly long-lasting battery life that can last you up to 7 hours on a single charge.
– Good display
– Long battery life
– Packed full of useful features
– Storage could be bigger
– Keyboard looks cheap
– Takes damage easily
3Lenovo 17 Inch Premium High Performance Laptop
It is important for any laptop to have a large, clear screen, which is precisely what makes this particular laptop stand out. You see, this laptop from Lenovo features a crystal-clear 17.3-inch HD BrightView WLED-backlit display of the highest quality. It also features a 5th generation Intel Core i5-5200U mobile processor that should prove good enough to run most applications effortlessly. At the same time, the laptop comes with 8 GB of DDR3L 1600 MHz memory and a 1 TB hard drive, features you should expect from any decent laptop nowadays. Furthermore, it comes with a Windows 10 Home 64 bit OS, 802.11ac and Bluetooth connectivity, a multi-format SD media card reader, and a lot more.
– Sturdy build
– Decent speed
– Quality display
– Cables might show issues after a while
– Speakers are at the bottom of the case
– Touchpad could be better
2HP 15-AY013NR 15.6 Inch Full-HD Laptop
With this high-end laptop from HP, you can work, play, multitask, and browse the internet like never before. We say this because it comes equipped with a powerful Intel Core i5-6200U processor, a crisp HD screen, 8 GB of RAM memory, a fast 128 GB SSD, and a lot more. Unlike other laptops that you have to keep plugged in constantly to prevent them from dying out when you least expect it, the HP 15-AY013NR can last up to 7 hours on a single battery charge. Also interesting is the fact that it comes equipped with a quality DTS Studio Sound system designed to provide an immersive listening experience for music, videos, or games.
– Good display
– Quite fast
– Storage could be bigger
– Unreliable touchpad
– Case feels cheap
1Dell Inspiron 15 Inch i5558-5718SLV Signature Edition
What makes this device a good gaming laptop is the fact that it uses an Intel Core i5-4210U processor with Turbo Boost Technology, a quality TrueLife display, a backlit keyboard of the highest standard, a 1 TB 5400 RPM Hard Drive, 8 GB DDR3L 1600 MHz memory, and a multitude of other interesting features. Among them, a media card reader, Bluetooth connectivity, a wireless 802.11ac/a/b/g/n platform, an HDMI output, and much more. Interestingly enough, it also benefits from studio-quality sound guaranteed by its Waves MaxxAudio Sound System and a fairly decent battery life. Overall, it is perhaps one of the best laptops in this price range.
– Responsive keyboard
– Good compatibility with a lot of applications
– Great picture quality
– Unreliable touchscreen
– Cheap power cord
– Some degree of backlight bleed to be expected
After taking everything into consideration, it would be fair to say that you don’t really need to spend a lot of money to get yourself a decent gaming laptop. Although they might not be as good as the more expensive ones, they can still run most games and multimedia applications. Then again, you aren’t going to be buying yourself a high-end gaming laptop anytime soon if you’re on a budget, so you can at least take comfort in the thought that even gaming laptops under $500 can be pretty decent if you know what you’re buying.