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Top 5 Gaming Laptops Under $1500

HP Omen 17-an110nr
Best Choice

HP Omen 17-an110nr

4.9

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ASUS ROG Zephyrus S
Premium Pick

ASUS ROG Zephyrus S

4.7

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Acer Predator Helios 300
Best Value

Acer Predator Helios 300

4.5

View At Amazon

Not too long ago, you’d need literal bags of money to buy yourself a gaming laptop and while that’s still true to some extent, you no longer need to sell a kidney to get yourself a reasonably good one. Mid-tier or ‘budget’ gaming laptops have become really good, with a lot of them sporting the GTX 1060, a relatively powerful GPU that can even handle VR. Not only that but also late gen i7s, lots of RAM and an ok amount of storage.

So, forget buying yourself a Switch or a console, they’re both boring anyway and get yourself a gaming laptop instead.

So, what are the best gaming laptops under $1500? 💻 🎮

Best Choice: HP Omen 17-an110nr

Pros & Cons

  • Doesn’t run to hot
  • Solid build quality
  • Chiclet keyboard not that great
  • Display isn’t too bright

Specifications:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-8750H
  • GPU: GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB GDDR5
  • RAM: 12GB DDR4 SDRAM
  • Screen: 17.3", Full HD, 120 Hz, IPS
  • Storage: 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD
  • Battery: 86 Wh

Dell G7 Review

Drawing from the good old days of the computer, the HP Omen 17-an110nr is made almost completely of plastic and looks quite old-school to boot. Don’t let that fool you though since the hardware under the hood is actually quite powerful, and almost on par with the Zephyrus S coming up next. For this price range, it's one of the best gaming laptops out there.

Speaking of, the hardware is essentially the same, the only difference being slightly smaller storage and that the graphics card is 1050 Ti. That actually has a bit of a knock-on effect on the screen, and the brightness is sort of low. Similarly, the color gamut and quality are not that great, and it only hits about 68% of the sRGB spectrum.

That being said, less demanding hardware means less heat produced and the laptop generally runs quieter and cooler than most gaming laptops on the market.

Sadly, the keyboard isn’t that great, and the key travel might be a bit too shallow for some. You also lose out on the full-RGB, but at least you do have a blue backlight, so it’s not a total loss. All in all, the HP Omen 17-an110nr is essentially an awesome gaming laptop under $1500 and you won't make a mistake if you decide to get it.

Premium Pick: ASUS ROG Zephyrus S Ultra Slim

Pros & Cons

  • Great screen
  • Full RGB keyboard
  • Gets very loud
  • Battery life is less than ideal

Specifications:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-8750H
  • GPU: GeForce GTX 1070 8GB GDDR5
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4
  • Screen: 15.6", Full HD, 144 Hz, IPS
  • Storage: 512GB PCIe SSD
  • Battery: 50 Wh

ASUS ROG Zephyrus S Ultra Slim Review

All the high-grade gaming laptops from ASUS always possess impressive design and the Zephyrus S is no exception. The military-grade metal chassis, along with the glowing ROG logo, is minimalist, but lets people know that you can throw down.

The great design is mirrored with the hardware, with an 8th gen i7, 16 gigs of DDR4 ram, and most importantly of all, a GTX 1070. You’ll certainly need all that power though since the Strix Hero II supports a 144hz screen, as well as the IPS cherry on top. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have Gsync; probably to keep the price down.

Unfortunately, like most gaming laptops, battery life is abysmal and you should expect more than 2 hours or so out of it. Similarly, this laptop can get pretty hot and loud, especially when the fans go full power. There’s not really much that can be done about either unless you want to jerry-rig a bunch of extra fans onto the chassis (which I don’t suggest you do).

While laptop gaming can get expensive, the Zephyrus S allows you to have a relatively powerful gaming rig without breaking the bank, although your wallet will be empty for quite a while.

For more high-end options check out our guide on the best gaming laptops under $2000.

Best Value: Acer Predator Helios 300

Pros & Cons

  • Great value for the hardware
  • Fully-functional GTX 1060
  • Runs hot
  • Red-only backlighting
  • Lack of storage

Specifications:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-8750H
  • GPU: GeForce GTX 1060 6GB GDDR5
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4
  • Screen: 15.6", Full HD, 144 Hz, IPS
  • Storage: 256GB NVMe SSD
  • Battery: 3220 mAh

Acer Predator Helios 300 Review

In what seems to be a running theme of similar hardware, the Helios 300 comes in at one of the best budget gaming laptops to buy under $1500, but with one major problem which we’ll get into below.

In terms of hardware, the CPU and GPU are the same as the Strix Hero II, with the non-Max-Q GTX 1060. Storage is a bit on the premium though, and you may very well have to upgrade or carry around an external HD. Thankfully the screen is great though with both IPS and 144Hz, it’s actually pretty impressive for a laptop this cheap.

Now that the good stuff is out of the way, let’s get to the real problem; this laptop overheats a lot, probably much more than the Strix Hero II. As you’d expect, this also means that the fan can get pretty loud to keep everything cool, although the upshot is that you don’t get much thermal throttling.

Another issue the battery life, which is pretty abysmal and you’d be lucky to get more than an hour or two out of it, so you will need to get familiar with where the electrical outlets are. At the end of the day though, this is a pretty cheap gaming laptop for the hardware that you get. If you can get over the battery life and how hot this laptop runs, it’s well worth it.

Best 17-inch: Eluktronics MECH-17

Pros & Cons

  • 17 inch screen
  • Minimalist design
  • Poor quality speakers
  • Not a well known brand

Specifications:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-8750H
  • GPU: GeForce GTX 1060 6GB GDDR5
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4
  • Screen: 17.3", Full HD, 144 Hz
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Battery: 62.36 WHrs

Eluktronics MECH-17 Review

I don’t know what it is with this article, but here we have another pretty similar gaming laptop like the others. It may very well be that the 8th gen i7 and the GTX 1060 are a pretty good CPU and GPU combo for mid-tier gaming laptops. Anyway, let’s not dwell too much on the weird and actually take a look at the Mech-17.

In terms of style, it’s pretty minimalist, which means that you could take this to an office or other work environment and not immediately have people give you dirty looks for having a gaming laptop. Thankfully, the simple exterior belays the beast underneath, with the aforementioned 8th gen i7 and Non-Max-Q GTX 1060.

Honestly, it’s somewhat surprising that they managed to fit a fully powered GTX 1060 in that design without massive heat problems.

Of course, there are certain issues. Storage capacity isn’t great, and you’re likely going to have to add another SSD at some point. Also, battery life is pretty abysmal, and 2 hours is likely where this tops out; might even end up less really. Finally, there have been some issues with ghosted keys on the keyboard.

All that said though, this isn’t a bad gaming laptop by any means, especially if you’re looking for something with a 17” screen. Sure, you might have to roll the dice with the manufacturer, but given the price, and what you’re getting, the risk isn’t so bad. Although . . . it might be a good idea to get a good warranty with this one!

Best 4k: Dell Inspiron 4K

Pros & Cons

  • Solid build quality
  • 4k, IPS screen
  • 60hz
  • Antiquited look

Specifications:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-7700HQ
  • GPU: GeForce GTX 1060 6GB GDDR5
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4
  • Screen: 15.6", 4k, 60 Hz, IPS
  • Storage: 512GB SSD + 1TB HDD

Dell Inspiron 4K Review

Finally! A laptop which has a bit of different hardware . . . although not by much *sigh*. If you’ve seen the Dell G7 (which I know you have since it’s the first entry), you’ll find the design here familiar. It’s pretty much the same laptop, but with a 4k screen option, with it also having a 60Hz refresh rate and IPS panel.

Color gamut and color accuracy is good and should give you an excellent viewing experience regardless of the game you’re playing. Of course, this laptop does have similar issues to the G7 in terms of battery life. Similarly, the keyboard can be a pain to use, and it doesn’t have full RGB, going with red backlighting instead.

There really isn’t much more to say without going deep into repetition, since this really is just the Dell G7 with a 4k screen option. If you like the G7 and want a higher resolution (at the cost of lower refresh rate) then this is the laptop for you. Otherwise, you might want to consider dropping a bit of extra money on a gaming laptop with a better 4k screen.


Gaming Laptops Under $1500: Buying Guide

While laptops have been around for a couple of decades now, gaming laptops have only really started to bloom in the past few years. Even so, running gaming hardware is so demanding that there’s always some kind of compromise to be had. While I won’t go into too much detail in terms of the tech, I will cover some of the basic things you should consider before deciding to buy a gaming laptop.

After reading our buying guide, I recommend you visit our write-up on what's the best time to buy a laptop, it will certainly help you save some cash in the long run.

CPU/GPU

The main issue when it comes to gaming laptops is running high-end GPUs and CPUs. The more powerful they are, the more energy they draw, and the more heat they create. The energy issue isn’t as big of a problem since you can just plug it into the wall. On the other hand, the heat certainly is a big issue.

cpu chips floating intel ryzen

While most gaming computers tend to use thermal throttling to keep the heat down, they still need powerful fans that sound as if they’re about to take off. This tends to be the main compromise you have to make; either get better performance or get more heat and louder running fans.

Now, if you don’t really play the top-end, AAA games like The Witcher 3 or Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, buying a gaming laptop with a top-end graphics card makes very little sense. You’ll save yourself money and from the considerable issue of heating/fan noise. But just in case, check our guides on the best GPUs for gaming and the best CPUs for gaming.

Screen

While this tends to be a lot about personal preference, you should undoubtedly be aware that laptops can have both 144hz screen and IPS screens. In fact, most screens on this list usually have both. Again, I won’t go into much detail here, since it could be a whole article on its own, but I will say that you should aim for 144hz, with the IPS option not necessarily being that important.

MSI GT83 TITAN

You might also hear about Gsync, which is Nvidia’s proprietary frame syncing technology. The big issue with Gsync is that it can’t be used with Intel’s Optimus technology, so the battery drain is horrendous. The thing is, if you have a 144hz screen, you really don’t need Gsync that much, so I would suggest you don’t worry about that too much.

Alternatively, you can get an top-tier 240Hz monitor and connect it to your laptop using an HDMI cable. It brings up the expenses a bit but it's surely a nice way to game when at home.

Battery

And here is where you’re going to have most of your compromise. The thing is, high-end GPUs, even with Max-Q, tend to be incredibly power-hungry. So much so in fact, that the main purpose of Intel’s Optimus technology is to switch you between your GPU and the on-board GPU, just to save on battery.

Even though there’s been a certain amount of advances in the past year, don’t expect more than 2-3 hours of gaming on a laptop. Probably even less if you have everything running at full throttle.


Frequently Asked Questions

Will Gaming Laptop Prices Go Down?

Oh absolutely. In fact, the Dell 4k used to cost a whopping $4k! Price for technology always goes down because there’s newer technology to take its place. Combine that with having stock of high-end models that might not sell a lot, and you can get a gaming laptop for pretty cheap if you’re willing to buy a version that came out a year or two ago.

Can Gaming Laptops Be Used for Programming?

They can, although if you’re buying it only for programming, then it’s a big waste of money. You’re better off buying a laptop with a better CPU, rather than a GPU since programming doesn’t really need any GPU power. That being said, if you’re programming a game, then having a gaming laptop would be super useful...yeah computers are complicated.

Acer Nitro 7 Laptop

Are Gaming Laptops Worth it?

That’s a difficult question to answer, but I would say yes. Being able to game wherever you go is a handy thing to have. Even more so, a lot of people are replacing desktops with high-end gaming laptops for the added mobility. At the end of the day though, what you buy depends a lot on your needs and your financial situation.

Are Gaming Laptop Fans loud?

Yes, very, very, very loud. Well, truth is, they aren’t always loud, only when you’re running a graphically demanding game and the fans need to run at full throttle to cool the GPU down. For most of your general day to day use, the fans shouldn’t be too loud, and in some models, might not even be noticeable.

You can also make the fans less noisy. To do that, I recommend you first go through our articles on how to clean laptop fans.


Conclusion

So, as you’ve seen, you don’t really need to give up an arm and a leg to get yourself a gaming laptop. This is good, because gaming rocks and it’s a really nice way to get your mind of things or just generally destress.

Granted, mid-tier gaming laptops aren’t great and they have issues with battery life, fan loudness, and even weight, but if you consider that they can be $1k-$1.5k cheaper than high-end gaming laptops, it becomes an easier pill to swallow.

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Albert Bassili
Written by Albert Bassili

Albert’s been a gamer for about as long as he can remember. Ever since then, Albert has been hooked on games, even going as far as doing his bloody best to work on the game industry, whether it’s writing articles, or writing game stories. In between gaming, he also really loves to check up on the latest tech news and see what awesome stuff humanity has come up with. Favorite Games: Dune II, MGS 1, FF X, Mass Effect 2

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