- A great gaming laptop offers a decent design and strong performance for uninterrupted gaming, which is exactly why we’ve chosen the Dell G5 15 as our top pick.
A great gaming laptop can change the way you game. With the right device, you’ll stop experiencing dropped frames, and you’ll be able to play at higher resolutions, making for a more immersive gaming experience. Unfortunately, given how demanding some games can be, many gaming laptops are very expensive because they include top-tier hardware.
Thankfully, even if you’re on a budget, there are plenty of great gaming laptops available. A budget of $1,000 should be more than enough to get you a great gaming laptop that can handle the vast majority of games you’ll want to play for years to come.
When you’re buying a gaming laptop, there are a number of things to consider. For example, you’ll want to think about the processor, amount of RAM, and storage on offer, but you’ll also need to consider the graphics card and the resolution of the screen, especially if you’ll be playing high-performance games.
Because there are so many gaming laptops in the sub-$1,000 price range, it can be tough to find the right one for your needs. That, however, is why we’ve put together this guide to the best gaming laptops for under $1,000.
Here are the best gaming laptops under $1,000:
- Best gaming laptop under $1,000 overall: Dell G5 15
- Best 13-inch gaming laptop under $1,000: Asus ZenBook 13
- Best 17-inch gaming laptop under $1,000: Dell G3 17
- Best gaming laptop under $800: Dell G3 15
- Best gaming laptop under $700: HP Pavilion 15
The best gaming laptop overall
The Dell G5 15 is a powerful computer with plenty of ports and the ability to handle the vast majority of games that you’ll play on it.
Dell is a serious force in the computer world, and while the company does own the Alienware gaming brand, it actually also makes some pretty decent gaming laptops in its Dell-branded lineup — like, for example, the Dell G5 15. In fact, we would argue that the Dell G5 15 is the best gaming laptop under $1,000.
The Dell G5 15 is available in a sleek black color, and it measures 0.95 inches thick, which is a bit thick, but not overly so for a gaming laptop. When it comes to ports, the laptop has a HDMI port, three USB 3.1 ports, and an SD card slot. Some versions of the laptop also offer a USB-C port and a Mini DisplayPort.
Of course, it’s what’s under the hood that’s even more important. The base model of the laptop has a 9th-gen Intel Core i5 processor, along with 8GB of RAM and two hard drives — a 128GB solid-state drive, and a 1TB hard disk drive. There’s also an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card, which is a pretty powerful GPU.
The laptop can be upgraded to a 9th-gen Intel Core i7 processor with up to a 1TB solid-state drive, 16GB of RAM, and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 GPU. Of course, those upgrades will make for a much more expensive laptop. The display on the laptop sits in at 1,920 x 1,080 pixels.
So what are the downsides of this laptop? Well, the computer doesn’t necessarily have the most modern look, and it is a little heavy, but if you can move past that, it’s a solid and reliable laptop with a lot to offer.
Pros: Powerful specs, good battery life, good display
Cons: Slightly big and heavy
The best 13-inch gaming laptop under $1,000
The Asus ZenBook 13 may not be the most powerful gaming laptop out there, but if you’re looking for a 13-inch laptop that can handle basic gaming, it has a lot to offer.
Perhaps you need something a little more portable, in which case it’s worth looking into a 13-inch laptop. There aren’t a ton of 13-inch gaming laptops, but there are some — even if they’re a little less powerful than their larger siblings. The Asus ZenBook 13 is perhaps the best laptop for those who want a more portable gaming laptop.
The ZenBook 13 is a powerful computer, but not quite as powerful as some of the others on this list. It has an 8th-gen Intel Core i5 processor, along with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage — though that storage can be upgraded to 521GB.
It also has an Nvidia GeForce MX150 graphics card, which should be able to handle most basic gaming. It won’t be able to do the heavy lifting for more intense games, but for on-the-go gaming, it’s capable enough. Port-wise, the laptop has an HDMI port, USB-C port, MicroSD card reader, two USB ports, and a headphone/microphone combo jack.
The laptop is a nice one, but it’s not perfect. The keyboard isn’t the best out there, and the USB-C port isn’t Thunderbolt 3. As mentioned, it’s also not the most powerful. If you’re a hardcore gamer you might need to stick with something a little larger.
Still, despite the downsides, the laptop has gotten some pretty great reviews — CNET gave the laptop 8.2/10, while Laptop Mag scored it an impressive 4/5.
Pros: Nice design, powerful specs for its size, plenty of ports
Cons: Could use Thunderbolt 3, the keyboard isn’t the best out there.
The best 17-inch gaming laptop under $1,000
The Dell G3 17-inch gaming laptop offers powerful specs with an impressive GPU, plus it has a nice, big 17.3-inch screen that should make for an immersive experience.
If you’re a hardcore gamer, you might want to enjoy those games with a slightly larger display — and if you want a laptop with a 17-inch display, then the Dell G3 17 is the way to go.
The laptop is actually very powerful considering its price. The G3 17 comes with an 8th-gen Intel Core i5 processor coupled with 8GB of RAM, along with a dual 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD.
It even boasts an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card, which should be more than powerful enough for most gaming on the go. Port-wise, the laptop comes with three USB 3.1 ports, a USB-C port, and an HDMI port.
The main reason to buy a laptop like this would, of course, be its larger 17.3-inch screen. The resolution comes in at 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, which is quite good.
So what are the downsides to the laptop? Well, the main one is that the build of the laptop isn’t the most impressive out there, and the battery life, while fine, isn’t all that great. Still, despite those issues, the laptop has gotten some great reviews — and it has an average rating of 4.1 stars on Amazon.
Pros: Relatively powerful, nice big screen size, plenty of ports
Cons: Battery life isn’t amazing, build could be better
The best gaming laptop under $800
The Dell G3 15-inch has a smaller screen than the previous laptop, but it still boasts reasonably good specs and comes at a pretty affordable price.
The Dell G3 17-inch isn’t the only laptop in the G3 range — there’s also a 15-inch model of the Dell G3, and it’s our top pick for gaming laptops under $800.
The laptop has a lot to offer, and while it’s definitely not the most modern laptop, it is functionally designed. It offers a sleek build, with plenty of ports, including a HDMI port, a USB 3.1 port, and two USB 2.0 ports. The laptop measures 0.85 inches thick, which is pretty slim for a gaming laptop in this price range.
Under the hood, the laptop is relatively nice for the price. The base model has a 9th-gen Intel Core i5 processor, along with 8GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive, plus an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card. However, it can be upgraded to offer solid-state storage and an Intel Core i7 processor instead if you’re willing to pay more. The graphics card can be upgraded to a GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, too.
The laptop has pretty great reviews. PCWorld gave the laptop 4 stars, while PCMag gave it a slightly more conservative, but still good, 3.5 stars. The main downsides? Well, the design may work fine but it’s not all that special, and the display isn’t that great either.
Pros: Powerful specs for the price, plenty of ports, very functional
Cons: Design is a little boring, display could be better
The best gaming laptop under $700
The HP Pavilion 15-cx0056wm may not be the most powerful laptop out there, but it’s actually not a bad offering in this price range considering its solid graphics card and multitude of ports.
If you’re on a serious budget, you may not be able to play games in the same way that you can with some of the higher-powered laptops out there, but you can still find a decent laptop in the sub-$700 price range for some super basic gaming. Like, for example, the HP Pavilion 15-cx0056wm.
The design of this variant of the HP Pavilion is a little bulky, but the laptop has a lot to offer for a gaming laptop in this price range. The device has a 15.6-inch screen, plus it has a USB-C port, plenty of USB 3.1 ports, and an HDMI port. It also has an RGB keyboard, which is a nice touch.
Under the hood, the laptop is pretty nice for the price. It has an 8th-gen Intel Core i5 processor, along with 8GB of RAM and 1TB of storage, plus it has an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics card, which should be able to handle a lot of basic games.
When you’re buying a laptop in this price range, there will be some compromises. The laptop has an average rating of 3.7 stars, which isn’t terrible, but the main issues seem to be that the display doesn’t get all that bright and the battery life isn’t great.
Pros: Good specs for the price, nice design, good graphics
Cons: Battery isn’t great, display could be better