Gamers require something more from their machines, and that can be tough to find when you need a portable solution at a certain price point. The best gaming laptops under $1000 tend to open things up although there are features you may have to do without. Before we get to the top options under a grand, we’re going to talk about what you should expect from laptops in this class.
Things to Consider When Choosing Gaming Laptop Under $100
Are you a Casual or Hardcore gamer?
When you sit down for a gaming session, do you opt for E.V.E. Online or head over to Miniclip? How you game is the first step to finding the right laptop for the job. While every laptop on our list meets a specific set of requirements, you certainly won’t need 16GB of RAM if you play browser-based titles or PC classics.
No matter what types of games you play, there will be a few drawbacks in this range. While there aren’t as many cuts as you’ll find with laptops under $500, it’s rare to find a machine with a QHD panel or even a fingerprint scanner.
Gaming laptops used to be notorious for their underwhelming power. While you can find the best Intel chip in today’s portable PC’s, things aren’t as rosy in the memory department. That’s where the types of games you play should be taken into account along with the system requirements of your machine.
If you’re new to the scene, you’ll notice there is a huge difference at times between the minimum and maximum requirements listed on the back of the box or online. Those numbers make things pretty clear-cut, but other factors can dramatically increase or decrease performance as well. We’re not going down that rabbit hole today but will focus on two components instead with memory and the processor.
No laptop should fall into the “gaming” category unless it has at least 8GB of RAM. That’s our baseline and will cover a wide variety of casual titles. Obviously, some games require more power so look for laptops with 16GB or ones that allow you to expand if you play hardcore titles.
As for the processors, things are fairly simple as most gaming laptops under $1000 use Intel chips. While the generation matters, so does the cache and amount of cores. 8th generation processors are the newest, and the i7 lineup is their best, but you can compare processors for yourself with this handy tool from Intel.
Laptops in the gaming class generally top out around 17-inches although most have 15.6-inch displays. There’s a good reason for that, as bigger isn’t always better for gamers with laptops – especially if you’re on a budget. Unfortunately, the best gaming laptops under $1000 limit your choice of resolution as well. You won’t find any UHD panels in this class, so you’ll need to settle for FHD, otherwise known as 1,920 x 1,080.
NVIDIA treats their graphics cards like Intel does their chips when it comes to generations. When you’re trying to compare a GTX 980 to a GTX 1060, it can be tough if you’re new to the game. Thankfully, NVIDIA has plenty of tools that allow you to compare chips and there are resources online which benchmark the popular GTX 1050 Ti and every other processor under the sun.
Battery Life & Storage
Storage capacity for laptops in this class ranges from 256GB to 2TB. You’ll also get to choose between solid-state drives and HDD’s although the former is considerably faster than the latter. Hybrid options are a possibility, and you can always upgrade through external means if things get tight.
One thing you can’t upgrade is the battery. A laptop with quick charging capabilities is nice, but not when the battery goes flat in 4-hours. Battery life is one thing that’s sacrificed in the world of gaming laptops although there are a few exceptions to the rule. If you plan to game on the go where you’re away from a wall socket, have battery life at the very top of your list.
While every machine we chose for our list will have a USB 3.1 port, some will have several. USB Type-C ports are a possibility in this range as well, but you may be hard pressed to find one that’s Thunderbolt compatible. There are always trade-offs, and they tend to fall into the “Extra” category with budget-friendly laptops.
Gamers may not have much use for a fingerprint scanner, but ports are essential and so are webcams. It’s an overlooked area, and one to keep in mind if you plan to stream your gaming sessions and don’t have a dedicated Vlogging camera for gaming. The same goes for audio. Most gaming laptops will offer up something special in that regard although you can’t always believe the hype.
9 Best Gaming Laptops Under $1000 You Can Buy in 2019
HP Omen 15 15-dc0010nr
Gaming Performance and Looks
Also known as the 2018 HP Omen model, this gaming laptop features a more compact and lighter design. The chassis is still pretty aggressive in looks (with the red face and X mark), but you’ll notice a smaller bezel around the screen and an aluminum keyboard deck combined with a plastic bottom panel to make the laptop lighter and more portable.
The 1808p 15.6” FHD IPS BrightView WLED-backlit screen uses a 144Hz panel, which is amazing for games but also great for working with accurate colors (video and image editing). The display is supported by a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (4 GB GDDR5), which is not state-of-the-art but does a pretty good job with modern games.
Under the hood, you’ll find an 8th Generation Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-8300H Processor with Quad-Core that goes from 2.3GHz up to 4.0GHz for top gaming performance. Also, the laptop is equipped with 12 GB DDR4-2666 SDRAM (upgradeable) and two storage units: one 128 GB SSD and 1 TB HDD.
The 2-zone backlit keyboard is nice to use, with illuminated WASD keys so it’s easier to find them. Finally, the battery is supposed to hold for up to 10 hours (according to HP), but if you run demanding games, it will drop to about 5 hours.
- Badass design
- Solid build
- Internals are easy to access
- It’s easy to upgrade it
- Powerful configuration
- Runs modern games
- Audio supported by Bang & Olufsen
- Battery doesn’t hold as promised
- The charger tends to heat up
- The laptop also gets hot
- Keyboard lights can’t be turned off
MSI GV62 8RD-200
8th Generation Power
MSI is a well-known name in the gaming world, so it should come as no surprise they turned their talents to portable PCs. Unfortunately, most are out of the budget range with the exception of the MSI GV62 Performance Gaming Laptop.
This laptop is on par, if not a bit underwhelming when compared to other gaming machines in the power department. It doesn’t have an i7, but you’ll get an 8th gen i5 along with 8GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive. Not bad, but the real draw is the sweet Steelseries keyboard and the fact you can expand the memory up to 32GB. The cooling system is top of the line as well, and nobody will complain about enhanced audio.
MSI strikes all the right notes with the GV62 8RD-200, and it’s rare to find one of their machines at this price point. There are a few minor gripes with this one, but overall we feel it’s an excellent choice if you need gaming laptop that won’t break the bank.
- SteelSeries keyboard
- 16GB Intel Optane memory
- 15.6” Full HD EDP display
- Cooler Boost 4
- GTX 1050 Ti
- Can heat up quickly
- Not much RAM
Lenovo Legion Y530
Take your Gaming Everywhere
Featuring a rather unique design the Lenovo Legion Y530 is equipped with a powerful processor (Intel 6- Core i7-8750H (2.2/4.1GHz, 9MB)) and offers the option for an easy upgrade on RAM memory and storage space.
The laptop comes with Windows 10 64-bit Home edition and can be used to play all sorts of modern games. Moreover, the battery gives you up to 5 hours of wire freedom, so you can play your favorite game on the go.
The 15.6” 1080p IPS display with anti-glare property gives you ideal images in both artificial and natural light. Also, the colors are accurate, the action is smooth, and there is no lag due to the 4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Graphics card.
Another cool feature is represented by the 720p HD webcam that allows players to stay in touch with other players or participate in video calls. Add a pair of headphones and you’re set for a session of live streaming!
Finally, the laptop supports a broad range of connections due to the available ports: 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1, USB 3.1 Gen 1 (Always On), USB-C 3.1 Gen 1, HDMI, Mini DisplayPort.
- Powerful configuration
- Unique design
- Gorgeous display
- High-quality webcam
- Moves fast with demanding games
- Keys get squeaky in time
- The power adapter may be too weak
- The trackpad is not that good
Acer Predator Helios 300
Another Winner from Acer
Acer made waves when they first introduced their Predator lineup, and it’s still going strong today. The Helios 300 is an affordable version of their gaming laptop and one that’s built for VR straight out of the box.
The Acer Predator Helios 300 is in line with the best gaming laptops where it counts. It has a Core i7-8750H processor along with 16GB of RAM and is deemed “VR Ready” to boot. That’s due to the GeForce GTX 1060 which comes with 6GB of RAM. While the 256 SSD is a bit of a letdown, it does have an extra slot when you need to expand.
Other highlights of this PC include a 15.6-inch FHD panel, a Red backlit keyboard, and an excellent cooling system that will keep you gaming long into the night. The battery life is also solid on this one despite its specifications.
- GeForce GTX 1060
- Core i7 and 16GB of RAM
- VR ready
- Slick design
- Not much storage
- No Thunderbolt support
HP Pavilion 15-cx0020nr
An Excellent Mid-Range Solution
If you liked what our first option from HP brings to the table, but prefer a different hue, this Pavilion Gaming PC is well worth a look. While it does have a similar set of features, a few things make it stand out from the pack.
Pavilion PCs generally aren’t associated with gaming, but that’s changed in recent years. The 15-cx0020nr is an affordable solution with an 8th generation Core i5-8300H processor and 8GB of RAM. A 1TB hard drive will take care of your files, and a USB Type-C port for high transfer speeds. In a nutshell, it’s a well-built machine with plenty of pop thanks to Intel’s Optane memory system.
While not as powerful as our top picks, this laptop is quick and reliable. It’s also available in three other configurations if you prefer a solid-state drive or faster processor. On the downside, we hope you like Green as HP bucked the trend by switching the backlighting from Red on this one.
- 8th gen Core i5
- Excellent build quality
- Good battery life
- 16GB Intel Optane memory
- Can’t upgrade the memory
- Not quite as nimble as other options
Dell Gaming Laptop G5587-5859BLK-PUS G5
The Best Dell Gaming Laptop Under $1000
Dell has an arm of the company dedicated to gamers, but you won’t find any Alienware machines on our list this time around. Instead, you’ll get the G5587, a gaming laptop in the middle of the pack with an i5 chip.
The Dell G5587 is a gaming laptop with lots of class. It also has plenty of vents which means it will run cool even when taxed. An 8th gen Core i5-8300H handles the power along with 8GB of RAM. The G5587 also has a 1TB HDD and a 128GB solid-state drive for quick boot times. The display is solid, but standard at 15.6-inches with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080.
This laptop is a mixed bag in a sense. We love the GTX 1060 but would have liked to have more RAM out of the box. You can kick the storage up to 32GB however, and we have you covered if you’re looking for the best RAM for your rig.
- Newer 8th gen processor
- Dual hard drives
- GTX 1060
- The touchpad
- Gets warm
- Performance when unplugged
Acer Aspire 7
Let the Games Begin
The Aspire 7 from Acer is not necessarily a gaming laptop, but it packs enough power to be extremely versatile. As such, it can be used for school projects, work, games, or a little bit of each!
Powered by an impressive configuration (the latest 8th Gen Intel Core i7 processor and high-performance NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics), the Aspire 7 helps you make your mark in the world using high-end technology.
This is a compact design, with a 15.6” FHD IPS screen that lets you see even the tiniest of details. Even more, with Acer’s TrueHarmony combined with Dolby Audio Premium, the sound is incredibly rich and powerful (impressive for such a tiny laptop!).
You may also like the fact that it supports twin wireless connection (advanced 2×2 MIMO wireless technology) for faster data processing and transmission. This way, you can play any online game you want, without worrying the connection will drop. The fast connectivity and data transfer are also supported by the USB 3.1 Type-C port.
Acer also made the Aspire 7 easily upgradeable with a special compartment door that gives you access to the storage and memory units. Finally, according to Acer, you should get about 7 hours of wire-free time.
- Powerful system
- Twin wireless connection
- Rich sound
- Vibrant images and flawless action
- Easy to upgrade
- Good port configuration
- Numeric keypad
- Trackpad is a bit weird
- It runs quite hot
- Build quality is average
- There is some bloatware
ASUS TUF FX504
Get Immersed into Your Gaming Universe
Most gaming laptops under $1000 can’t provide the same gaming experience you get from a desktop setting. However, the TUF FX504 from Asus comes pretty close due to the GTX 10-Series graphics card paired with an Intel Core i7-8750H Processor (Up to 3. 9GHz).
If you add the 8GB DDR4 high-frequency RAM memory and the 256GB SSD storage unit, you get a powerful gaming device. Moreover, the laptop also features dual fans with anti-dust technology for increased durability and a red-backlit keyboard rated for 20-million keystrokes.
Now, besides the fact that it features an impressive configuration and an advanced cooling system, the ASUS TUF FX504 laptop is also portable (especially for a gaming device). Weighing only 5.07 lbs., this badass laptop has it all!
- Impressive design
- Good processor & graphics card combination
- A wide range of ports
- Anti-dust cooling system
- Durable keyboard and overall design
- Highly portable
- Fast and versatile
- The hinge looks a bit flimsy
- No USB Type-C port
- Keyboard layout is a bit misleading
- Build quality is average
Dell G3 17 Gaming
A Fantastic Entry-Level Gaming Laptop
At 17.3” in diagonal, you may not have as much portability, but you do win some extra points due to the larger, more immersive screen. Also, the image and action are powered by an NVIDIA® GeForce® discrete graphics cards paired with an 8th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-8750H processor, which says a lot about performance and power.
The FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS Anti-Glare LED-Backlit display is absolutely gorgeous, with vivid images and smooth action that make the gaming experience a lot more interesting and fun. Moreover, the laptop packs two tuned speakers for complete immersion in the world of games, and a widescreen HF webcam with dual array digital microphone for live streaming sessions.
Moreover, the laptop supports up to 8GB DDR4 RAM memory and up to 128GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD in combination with 1TB 5400RPM 2.5 SATA Hard Drive. This means there is plenty of space for bigger games and enough RAM memory to support even some of the most advanced settings.
Finally, like any respectable gaming laptop, the Dell G3 17 has a fantastic port configuration with 1x USB 3.1 Gen 2, 1x HDMI 2.0, 2x SuperSpeed USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A, and 1x Headphone/Mic.
- Powerful processor-graphics card combination
- Can run demanding games
- Display is beautiful
- Rich and powerful sound
- Good port configuration
- Build feels a bit flimsy
- No USB-C port
- Case is plastic
- Battery life is mediocre