After many hours of research and the in-depth examination of some twenty models, we have selected the 5 best cheap gaming laptops of the moment. Among them, it is the MSI GL63 8RD that wins our preference.
Its performance in games (even the most demanding) and its interesting configuration make it an excellent gaming tool, especially since it includes a keyboard optimized for this purpose.
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How did we choose?
The games coming out on the market is more and more greedy, it is sometimes difficult to find a laptop gamer sufficiently powerful on all aspects, at least without spending at the (strict) minimum 1200 $.
To find the most balanced models of the market, various factors were examined:
- The graphics card (GPU): this is one of the areas in which the games are more greedy, but also what quickly raises the price of computers. And at the moment, you may end up with a computer quickly obsolete if you invest in a GPU older than the GTX 1050. Nevertheless, on cheaper models, it is often on this criterion that it is necessary to make concessions in favor of a good processor.
- The processor (CPU): it is necessary to invest in a processor capable of running your GPU without a hitch. If a seventh-generation Core i5 or Seventh-Gen Core i7 processor is enough for a GTX 1050 (if you make any concessions on the graphics), it is strongly recommended, when possible, to invest in an eighth-generation Core i7, which will prevent your GPU from rowing.
- RAM: RAM will determine the ability of your computer to multitask. At present, 8 GB is generally recommended to run the majority of games. And unless you invest in a more powerful graphics card, 16 GB will be superfluous.
- Heating management: It is not because you are investing in a less powerful GPU and CPU that their combined operation will not release heat. Check the cooling system with which the PC is equipped, if you do not want to have to invest in an external cooler.
- The hard drive: nowadays, and again because of the gluttony of current games, it is highly recommended to invest in a PC with a partial SSD, allowing faster installation and reduced loading times. An optimal configuration in the field of cheap PCs consists of a 256 GB SSD.
- Display quality: a Full HD display is optimal for a 15-inch screen (configuration in which we find most of the cheap gamer laptops). A 4K screen, besides the extra cost it represents, is a battery drain and tends to drop the IPS, making your parts unplayable if the GPU / CPU junction does not follow. Also check the refresh rate: the higher it is, the smoother the animation will be. A minimum of 60 Hz is recommended for gaming use.
- The keyboard: If you buy your laptop from a gaming perspective, the comfort and responsiveness offered by the keyboard are important factors to consider.
- Mobility: While the mobility of gamer laptops was initially almost non-existent, with heavy machinery and very little autonomy, this is something that manufacturers are looking at more and more. Thus, excellent gaming laptops become usable, for example, as laptops for the student.
Examination of these various parameters through specialized sites has allowed us to pre-select twenty PC gamers proposed at less than 1200 € and currently popular on the market. We then eliminated those we thought were least relevant to this list of criteria.
We then decided the 10 remaining models by focusing on the in-depth analysis of user feedback from these PCs to determine how they really behave in practice.
This is how we selected the 5 best cheap gaming laptops of the moment.
The best inexpensive gamer laptops
In this first section, devoted to PCs under 1000 €, we have retained only one model, which has imposed on us by its control of the heater and its bright and contrasting screen.
On the other hand, a concession is to be made on its processor which is inferior to the other ranges but remains amply sufficient for many games.
We open our selection with a computer almost become legendary in the world of gaming, in a version released in 2018, allowing it to be offered today at a very reasonable price given the performance it offers.
In terms of design, it is in line with the Predator range, with an assertive gaming look, both in its colors and shapes. With its metal frame, it is very solid. But suddenly, it weighs all the same 2.7 kilos.
Its 15.6 ” Full HD screen is quality and displays a good contrast and excellent brightness. Its colorimetry, lacks a little honesty, as on any computer gaming but it is quite well controlled, and never pulls to yellow or red. It is especially at this level that it differs from the immediate competition.
Because, on the component side, it is very similar to what is usually found at this price: Intel Core i5-8300H 4-core processor, GTX 1050 Ti 4 GB, 8 GB of RAM, and 1 TB hard drive and 128 GB SSD Note that for demanding games, an Intel Core i7 processor of the 8th generation will be more suitable than an i5, but that is enough. Moreover, the heater is very well controlled.
Its backlit keyboard is rather responsive, with a short stroke, and this is an important aspect for gamers. There is no RGB backlight system.
Nevertheless, its connectivity is a bit weak for a PC exclusively thought for the game: an HDMI port, two USB 2.0 ports, and a USB 3.0 port. It’s a shame not to find USB-C.
Its autonomy, finally, is rather average, since it reaches about 5 hours. However, this remains reasonable compared to other gamer laptops offered at this price.
In the end, this laptop is certainly not the most powerful on the market, but it has the merit of almost no heat, and have a screen brighter and contrast than what is usually seen at this price, which may be more comfortable for extended play sessions.
The best cheap gaming laptops
Between $1000 to $2000, we have selected two models that are very powerful, even with gourmet games, as long as you agree to make some graphic concessions.
This model proposed by Dell belongs to the Inspiron range, which is often distinguished by its versatile and powerful computers.
It has a sober design, with a solid and qualitative shell, matte black finishes decorated with light touches of blue, and a ventilation grille a little thick at the back, giving it an average weight of 2.8 kilos. Aesthetically speaking, we are far from what we usually see on a PC gamer.
On it, there are two thick rubber bands that help keep it in place, but also raise slightly, to convey better ventilation. So, it has the big advantage of almost not heat, even in gaming use.
It has a 15.6-inch Full HD screen displaying a colorimetry rather well controlled, even if it pulls to yellow. However, its antireflection coating is not very effective and its brightness is a bit feeble. As a result, it becomes almost unreadable in the sun.
Its keyboard, on the other hand, is backlit, responsive and pleasant to use both in office and gaming.
In this release, it displays an Intel Core i7-8750H processor, a GTX 1050 Ti with 4GB of dedicated memory, 8GB of RAM and a 1TB HDD hybrid hard drive and 256GB SSD. This is a configuration that allows to run all current games by ensuring a correct number of IPS and a fluid practice, even if graphic concessions will have to be made.
Connectivity side, it is complete with an HDMI, three USB 3.0, a USB-C and an SD card reader.
In fact, it would be more accurate to say that the Dell Inspiron G5 15 is a versatile gaming-oriented computer. Indeed, it integrates Optimus technology, which allows a saving of your battery for a notebook use. You can reach about 6 hours of autonomy for a “classic” use, and a little over 1h30 in gaming.
In the end, here is a PC that, although presented as a gamer, is nonetheless a versatile computer particularly suitable for gaming and has the merit, for this price range, not much heat and have a connection very complete.
HP Omen 15: The Cheap Alternative
The HP Omen 15 remains a reference. The version that we offer here is the HP Omen 15-dc0044nf, which dates from autumn 2018, which guarantees compatibility not out of date with current games.
Lightweight (2.4 kg) and small, the HP Omen 15 presents a gamer design. There is indeed a plastic shell of quality, with a grooved texture on the lid and around the keyboard, all in rounded shapes. But, especially, the keys are red, at the keyboard, and in the affixing of the logo on the shell, which has long been a characteristic of the gamer computers.
It displays again a 15 ” Full HD screen, with a fairly effective antireflection treatment. His keyboard is backlit and very responsive.
On the component side, this time it includes an Intel Core i5-8300HQ processor, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB graphics card, and 8 GB of RAM, with a hybrid hard drive 1 TB and 128 GB SSD. If the graphics card remains as powerful, the processor is a little less, so concessions will be made faster on more demanding games.
Its connectivity is rather well supplied: there is an HDMI port, two USB 2.0 ports, a USB 3.1 port, a combined headphone/microphone jack, an RJ-45 port and a multi-format SD multimedia card reader. On the other hand, we will emphasize the absence of USB-C.
However, its autonomy is far too low compared to its competitors, with a maximum resistance of 4.75 hours in “normal” use.
In the end, if a Core i7 processor is not a must for you, this laptop is an example of balance, which will allow you to play many games without making too much concessions. If you like the more exuberant look of gaming, you will be seduced by its design.
The best mid-range gamer laptops
Between $800 and $900, two models are distinguished, one by its keyboard optimized for gaming and the other by its more powerful graphics card.
MSI GL63 8RD: The Best Midrange
The MSI GL63 stands out from the competition thanks to its keyboard optimized for gaming, while maintaining, of course, the MSI quality.
In terms of design, the manufacturer shows a desire to offer PC gamers with a more sober and less exuberant look. Some clues can still see that it is a gaming tool (logo, ventilation grids, backlight …). Level weight, it weighs 2.2 kilos.
It features a 15.6-inch Full HD matte screen that is well-crafted in anti-glare and lighting, but whose TN panel limits viewing angles, while the refresh rate is still at 60Hz.
As we told you, its keyboard is optimized for gaming. It avoids typing errors thanks to a strategic key layout. You also get customizable macro keys, and an anti-ghosting resistance on 45 keys.
On the component side, this model opted for a Core i7-8750H processor as well as a GTX 1050 Ti graphics card, with 8 GB of RAM and a 1TB HDD and 256 GB SSD hard disk, allowing it, once again, to run big games even recent, provided to lower the graphic levels to maintain a correct number of IPS.
Connectivity level, there is everything you need: an HDMI port, a mini-DisplayPort, three USB 3.0 ports, a USB-C port.
Finally, the different modes (Comfort, Sport, Turbo and Eco) can influence the state of the battery whose autonomy struggles to reach 5 hours in standard use. It tends to heat up quite quickly out of Eco mode, despite the presence of the Cooler Boost 5 cooling system with two fans.
In the end, this PC, despite its slightly higher price, is placed in one of the best quality/price ratios of the market of the gamer laptops, in particular, thanks to its quality of display and its performances in games, but it is with his keyboard well suited to the intense gaming sessions he stands out the most.
Lenovo Legion Y530 : The Mid-Range Alternative
The second computer in this section is the 2018 version of the famous Y520. Since the model with i7 processor exceeds the budget of this article, we decided to fall back on the one composed of a processor i5, cheaper but still providing you with the correct performance.
Its design is successful thanks to beautiful finishes. The hood is made of plastic but is stronger than its predecessor.
Its 15 ” Full HD screen incorporates a very effective antireflection. In addition, it runs along the edges of the computer leaving a small space and offering better visual comfort. Unfortunately, suddenly, the webcam was relegated to the bottom of the screen, which is unflattering for the viewing angle.
His keyboard is considered one of the best in this price range, with a responsive race and good flexibility. Of course, it has a backlight.
In this release, it features an Intel Core i5-8300U processor, combined, this time, with a GTX 1060 graphics card with a dedicated RAM of 6 GB, 8 GB of RAM and a hybrid hard drive of 1 TB HDD and 256 GB SSDs. It is, therefore, the model presenting the best graphics card of our selection, supported by a correct CPU but no more.
The Y530 is pretty well equipped with a HDMI port, four USB 3.0 ports, and a headphone input. These different ports are distributed at the rear for better cooling, except two USB ports and the headphone jack, located on the sides for easy access.
And the mobility is not bad, since it weighs only 2.3 kilos and allows, under normal use, to reach the autonomy of 9.5 hours. This is far superior to the rest of our selection.
In the end, since its release, the Lenovo Legion Y530 is one of the best quality / price ratio on the market, regardless of the configuration in which it is declined. We appreciate its autonomy, the layout of its connectivity, the comfort of its keyboard and its beautiful finishes. The only reason we’ve placed it as an alternative is its less powerful processor, which is not the most suitable for intense gaming.
Dell G5 15: This lower-performing version of the G5 deserves its place among honorable mentions because of its excellent value for money. A version on Core-i5 may soon show its limits for newer games, but if you are a casual player and your budget is limited, this is an option to seriously consider.
Dell XPS 13 : it is a little apart in this selection in that it is a computer mainly thought for office use but, between its 13-inch screen, its lightweight of 1.2 kilos and its autonomy of 10 hours in standard use, it’s a great PC for a student who needs a high-performance notebook while enjoying playing at his spare time (but beware: it will not be suitable for games too greedy, if only level of its more standard graphics card).