You don’t need to spend a ton of money to have a great portable gaming experience. Yes, we’d all love the ginormous MSI GT75 Titan or the ASUS ROG G703GX-XB76 (be still my heart). But sometimes funds have to go to those silly things like rent and food. Not to worry though because we’ve got some of the best gaming laptops here that are going to give you an affordably powerful performance. You might want to wishlist these for the upcoming 11.11, Black Friday and Christmas sales for serious price reductions.
Acer Predator Helios 300
The Acer Predator Helios 300 has been one of the best selling gaming laptops and there’s no doubt why. Now its latest model is even better, with a 9th-gen Core i7, GeForce GTX 1660Ti, 16GB RAM and 15.6 inches Full HD and get this, the only laptop in this list with a 144Hz screen! This will ensure your smooth competitive gaming and win you all dat glory.
Acer’s Predator Helios 300 easily justifies its popularity. It’s hands down the best value for money laptop on the market that makes all the other manufacturers jelly. Clocking in at 5.07 pounds or 2.3kg it’s sleek and thin in comparison to its more chonky brethren. The only thing that you don’t get is an additional hard drive at this price but you can easily remedy that and slotting in your own 1TB hard drive which should just make it good to go.
ASUS ROG Zephyrus GA502
The Zephyrus GA502 is an entry to mid-level machine that’s sleek, slim and unassuming. In an unholy matrimony, Asus has paired an AMD Ryzen 7 3750H with Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1650. While the mashup might upset purist fans of Team Red or Team Green, it makes for a gaming laptop with solid mainstream gaming performance. When it comes to its other specs you’ll find it extremely decent with 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD Storage. The same size as our previous entry at 15.6 inches, the Zephyrus GA502 is a little lighter at 4.63 pounds and 2.1kg.
Some concerns when you buy this laptop though:
- It doesn’t have a webcam. So if that is important to you for some streaming friendlies at opportune points, you won’t have it.
- The GTX 1660Ti is a Max Q and is not a Ti which means you don’t get that performance level. It is still better than a regular 1070 but a 1070 MaxQ still outperforms it.
- You have only one configurable ram slot, the other is soldered on.
If you can overlook these things, the Zephyrus is still a good gaming laptop for its price and can rival last generation’s Acer Predator Helios 300 sans the overheating features that the last generation Helios was prone to.
Lenovo Legion Y530
The Lenovo Legion Y530 is the Porsche of budget gaming laptops. Outside of its stately good looks, you get a gaming notebook that offers a wide range of ports and a solid graphics card. The Lenovo Y530 comes with an Intel Core i7-8750H processor, 8GB of RAM, and massive amounts of storage. Powered by the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti the laptop boosts performance in high-definition and supports DirectX12 features to deliver super-fast, smooth and power-efficient gameplay. It is an ideal choice for first-person shooter games especially if you taking gaming to an online platform. Like the rest of the laptops on this list, it has a 15.6-inch display and weighs 5.07 pounds or 2.3kg.
There is a newer Y540 in the market that you can consider too and with certain holiday sales coming in you could be looking at a decent deal to get the Y540 with upgraded GTX 2070 as well. However, at this price range and this budget, the Y530 continues to impress.
Dell G5 15
The Dell G5 series is one of the best mainstream gaming laptops you can find thanks to its strong performance, a variety of component options and a more journey- and user-friendly design. The G5 15 runs on a 9th gen Intel Core i5-9300 and Nvidia’s new GeForce GTX 1650. While it’s nice to have the latest CPU, you won’t see significant performance gains. The GTX 1650 benefits are a little more noticeable, giving you better frame rates than the older GTX 1050 Ti but for about the same price. You’ll have 128GB SSD with 1TB HD on top and a solid 8GB of RAM. Definitely up your budget to get the latest 2019 i5 processor rather than sticking with last year’s model.
There have been some comments about the heat dissipation in the G5 models but they have mostly solved those issues in the later batches which should be getting.
The Dell G5 is the heaviest on our list at 15.6 inches and 6.26 pounds or 2.8kg.
Acer Nitro 5
I’m being a little sneaky here but am introducing you to the option of a refurbished Acer Nitro 5 on Amazon. Please note that with refurbishes you’ll never be 100% sure you’re going to have a tip-top laptop but at this price with this performance, I believe that it’s a justifiable risk! And having owned an Acer Nitro in the past, I can speak with some confidence on this.
So, what exactly are you getting at this price? A lot of the problems in the previous Acer Nitro 5’s have been solved and aesthetically you are looking and using a better laptop. First, off some small things, they shrunk the bezels so you’re not looking at a chunky screen. It’s also lighter and thinner too! They’ve also finally put in a proper RJ45 ethernet port so you don’t need a stupid dongle to connect to the internet.
Some of the bigger changes are in how you would potentially upgrade this laptop. In the past, you would have had to use this weird slot system that you would take out the back and replace. It was meant to make things easier for people but now they just have it so you can unscrew the back. And once you unscrew it you’ll get the following:
- Full size 2.5 1TB HD with 128GB SSD (also an extra M2 slot for further upgrades bringing drive use to 3)
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650
- Core i5 9300H
- 15.6” 60hz screen
Performance-wise, it’s a good laptop and even runs better than some of the other laptops on this list with similar games (looking at you G5). The weird thing about this laptop though is that while they have improved the heat dissipation with extra heat pipes on the side, they have neglected to separate the processor and the graphics card from the same bay which means that this laptop will run a little hotter in intense gaming sessions.
Actual retail price on this sits at $829 which brings this to the Zephyrus pricing.