March 11 2019

Best Budget Gaming Laptop

Gaming laptops have become increasingly popular due to their convenience and portability, but not everyone can afford them. Setting a budget is important when it comes to most things you wish to purchase, and although everyone’s budget is different, there are some important factors that everyone must consider when buying a new gaming laptop on a budget: CPU, GPU, VRAM, resolution, and RAM.

We know everyone’s budget is different, and with the massive gaming laptop market, choosing the right one can be difficult. That’s why here at Next Gaming we have reviewed some of the best budget gaming laptops available right now.

If you can’t afford a gaming laptop with your budget, we suggest saving up a little more or pushing your budget higher for a better computer to ensure you can play the games you want to play and get the most out of your money. So, let’s get stuck into our list.

Best Choice: Acer Predator Helios 300

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Pros & Cons

  • Extra empty expandable hard drive slot for 2.5″ hard drives
  • Great specs for the price point that are upgradable
  • Runs intense/graphically taxing games well
  • Single USB port
  • USB C is not Thunderbolt 3

Having a higher budget is a must for the Acer Predator Helios 300, but it is definitely one of the best gaming laptops on our list; the specs are upgradable and perfect for lag-free sessions on the majority of games.

Key Features:

  • RAM: 16 GB
  • CPU: 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8750H 6-Core
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (6 GB)
  • Display: 15.6″ (1920 x 1080)
  • Weight: 5.95 lbs

Acer Predator Helios 300 Review

With an extra empty expandable hard drive slot (2.5” hard drive), you know you will never run out of space to store all of the copies of GTA you have been collecting over the years. You won’t have to worry about accidentally throwing your backpack on the ground and forgetting the Helios 300 is in it – this is a sturdy laptop that isn’t the thinnest, yet for almost $1,000 on a budget, you’ll want it to hold up.

Unlike most gaming laptops, the speakers on the Acer Predator Helios 300 are actually pretty darn good, so you know you’re getting your money’s worth, especially if you’re an audiophile. What’s also good is the display which features a matte finish allowing for almost no reflectivity – you won’t have to stare into your own soul during loading screens on this Acer.

The downside of this Acer is when it comes to the port selection is there is only a single USB port, and the USB C connector does not support Thunderbolt 3 – surprise surprise.

Premium Pick: HP OMEN 15-dc0030nr

Pros & Cons

  • Comfortable keyboard with softer keys
  • Build quality
  • Heat management controlled
  • Poor battery life

Key Features:

  • RAM: 16 GB
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-8750
  • Storage: 128 GB SSD + 1 TB HDD
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (6 GB)
  • Display: 15.6” (1920 x 1080)
  • Weight: 5.56 lbs

HP OMEN 15-dc0030nr Review

We know that $1189 isn’t everyone’s idea of a “budget gaming laptop”, but we must consider those higher budgets out there. The price tag on this laptop can be found in the specs which boost overall performance for the more hard-core gamers out there. If you’re looking for something more expensive, you might want to check out the best gaming laptop under $1500.

This HP’s CPU is Intel Core i7-8750, furthermore, both the SSD and an HDD are present. All this combined with 16 GB of RAM makes this HP Omen model great for games with higher system requirements.

The downside for many gaming laptops is the size of the screen. If you’re traveling or on-the-go in general, you won’t be plugging a laptop into a 32-inch screen, and with this laptop, you won’t have to – the bezels are almost non-existent, allowing for a larger screen.

You’ll really feel like you’re in the game you’re playing with a larger screen, while color accuracy on this Omen contributes to that feeling. The keyboard is comfortable, easy to get used to and features a number pad for those who require one.

You won’t feel like you’re in the game for too long as, like almost all gaming laptops, the battery doesn’t last very long at all. Regardless, you know you’re going to get the smoothest gameplay from graphics intensive games – even on max settings – due to the GTX 1060 GPU, which is one of the best graphics cards for gaming available. The price point on this beast might just be worth pushing your budget up for.

Best Value: ASUS FX504

Pros & Cons

  • Super fast laptop (M.2 SSD)
  • Great GPU for the price
  • The build isn’t very sturdy for its price
  • Speakers aren’t the best

Key Features:

  • RAM: 8 GB
  • CPU: 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8750H
  • Storage: 256GB M.2 SSD
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (4 GB)
  • Display: 15.6” (1920 x 1080)
  • Weight: 5.07 lbs

ASUS FX504 Review

The ASUS FX504 is a speedy piece of kit that will easily run recent, high-graphics games well. The clock rates sit at 2.2 GHz which isn’t optimal, but with the GTX 1050 Ti, you know you’re going to get great results in the benchmarks despite this being an under $1000 laptop.

Sometimes, maxing out your laptop’s capabilities can cause temperatures to rise, but don’t worry, your laptop won’t explode as the ASUS FX504 features some great cooling options. The great thing about laptops is portability, and a downside is the sunlight. If you’re in a very bright area – worry not, as the anti-glare screen will ensure you have a clear view of this ASUS.

The only downside is the build; the hinges are sturdy, but the matte finish plastic case on the ASUS FX504 is not only fingerprint-prone, but it is also a little flimsy for its price-point – we expected a bit of a better build for the price. The typical red backlit keyboard color also can’t be changed, but this shouldn’t be a problem when it comes to buying a laptop for under $900. If you’re interested, you can look at some of the best budget gaming keyboards to use with this laptop.

Best for Work: Acer Nitro 5

Pros & Cons

  • Full HD
  • Great port selection
  • Cool boost technology
  • Ghosting during some gameplay
  • Weak touchpad
  • Heat management

Key Features:

  • RAM: 4 GB
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-7300HQ (3.5 GHz)
  • Storage: 1 TB
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (4 GB)
  • Display: 15.6” (1920 x 1080)
  • Weight: 5.95 lbs

Acer Nitro 5 Review

Not only is the Acer Nitro 5 one of the best gaming laptops under $1000, but it also makes this list. We just can’t get enough of this laptop and its worth-your-money features. The Nitro 5 is available in different configurations for a higher price, but for the current specs and price, you really can’t go wrong.

This $749 laptop is a monster for its price as it can run most games smooth with high FPS on ultra-high settings, without heating up like a volcano. As discussed in our “Under $1,000” article, minor ghosting occurs during gameplay due to the low display response time, but for $749, it isn’t noticeable enough to not consider buying if it fits into your budget.

If you’re easily distracted by ghosting then opting for a higher priced version of the Acer Nitro 5 could be worth it – after all, you want to get the most out of your money. The build is where the lower price comes into play – the plastic casing can be easily scratched, so if you want a laptop you can travel with often, then invest into a padded laptop case or backpack.

Despite the cool boost technology, long sessions on the Acer Nitro 5 cause it to get quite warm which could cause thermal throttling after a while. The touchpad is also weak, and if you’re looking for a mouse to use with your value laptop, check out the best budget gaming mouse to ensure you stay on budget with everything you’ll need for a smooth gaming experience.

Best for MMOs: MSI CUK GL173

Pros & Cons

  • Anti-glare
  • Runs demanding games easily
  • Heats up very fast
  • Loud fan

Key Features:

  • RAM: 8 GB
  • CPU:  Intel Core i7-8750H (4.1 GHz)
  • Storage: 256 GB SSD
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (4 GB)
  • Display: 15.6” (1920 x 1080)
  • Weight: 4.78 lbs

Another MSI product? Absolutely! MSI offers some of the best, budget-friendly gaming laptops on the market. If you’re a fan of MSI, you should check out the best MSI gaming laptop around, it’s also not that expensive! Bumping the price up a little, the configurations on the MSI CUK GL173 are unbeatable for its price.

Its Intel Core i7 CPU allows not only for impressive gameplay on CPU-heavy games like MMOs but for a speedy boot-up time for those gamers who want to access their games fast – there’s no waiting around with this MSI.

The Steel Series tactile keyboard is extremely responsive to ensure you get accurate results when hammering W, S, A, D keys. The anti-glare screen allows you to game on-the-go with ease, and at 4.78 lbs, it’s a very portable laptop.

There is an arrange of ports on the CUK GL173, except for Thunderbolt 3 which seems to be a common theme with budget gaming laptops. Like many computers, the speakers aren’t the best and the fans can be loud, but if you’re wearing some of the best gaming headsets during intense gaming sessions, who really notices?


Best Budget Gaming Laptop: Buying Guide


Opt for at least an Intel dual-core i5 processor. For lag-free sessions for more intense gamers, we suggest searching for a laptop with an i7 quad processor. Most models can have their CPU replaced, so if you decide to get an upgrade, check out the best processors for gaming before making a buying decision.


NVIDIA GeForce GTX is the most common GPU to go for, a GTX 1050 is acceptable. If you’re looking to change/upgrade your laptop GPU, while being on a budget, you should take a look at some of the best graphics cards for gaming under $100.


The higher the RAM and VRAM, the better. Look for a laptop with at least 8 GB of RAM.

two rgb g skill ram sticks mounted

See our article explaining what RAM does for gaming for more information on why RAM is important, even on a budget.


You’ll notice almost every laptop on our lists are 1920 x 1080, and that’s because this is the minimum resolution you should be searching for. However, you can always connect an external monitor to your laptop, if you enjoy having a larger screen. This can be extremely enjoyable if you have a strong laptop combined with one of the best gaming monitors out there.

Best Budget Gaming Laptop: Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Best Gaming Laptop Under $1,000?

We have covered the best gaming laptops under $1,000 previously, here are some:

  • HP Pavilion 15-cx0020nr
  • MSI GV62 8RD
  • Lenovo Y520

How Long Will a Gaming Laptop Last?

How long something lasts depends on how it’s used or treated. When it comes to gaming laptops, anywhere between 5 and 10 years, however, performance could lower sooner.

Although some of the gaming laptops on our list were pricey, everyone’s budget differs. Sometimes, it is best to splash a little more cash for a better piece of equipment, than to waste money on a bulky laptop that won’t run games well.

Final Thoughts

Having a portable machine that can run the latest titles whether you’re home or at a friend’s house can be expensive. However, it doesn’t have to be. Take your pick from our list and get yourself the best budget gaming laptop there is. If you’re in doubt, just go with the Acer Predator Helios 300 – I promise it’s extremely awesome.


  1. Lenovo Tips for Laptops, Lenovo Support
  2. HP Notebook FAQ, HP Support


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Courtenay Smith