Finding the finest inexpensive gaming laptops can be difficult, but they can deliver outstanding performance while remaining within your budget. But difficulty does not equate to impossibility. There are many good options to think about. These affordable Gaming Laptops can perform almost the same tasks as their more expensive counterparts, including supporting VR headsets and running games with acceptable frame rates.
And even while the most recent Gaming Laptops with the most potent components might be out of your price range, you can still get a gaming laptop with the last generation’s features that are still more than capable for a fair price.
Because gaming is a costly hobby, we have compiled a list of inexpensive Best gaming laptops. With all the games and accessories, the cost can quickly rise.
These three criteria determine the best gaming laptop:
Price, mobility, and performance. Therefore, your future gaming laptop should find a method to seamlessly integrate into your daily life, whether you need a massive workstation or a stylish, ultra-thin gaming notebook. Even though everyone would love the best gaming PC, some people don’t have the space (or the necessity) for a full-size PC and monitor setup.
It’s a terrific time to buy a laptop because of the ongoing CPU battle between AMD and Intel and the Cyber Monday gaming laptop deals(opens in new tab) that are now available. No, truly. The specs on the majority of Gaming Laptops are pretty excellent, and they are among the things that are currently being significantly reduced.
The performance of Intel’s 12th-Gen Alder Lake chips and AMD’s Ryzen 6000-series processors appear to be comparable. For entry-level laptops, at least, Intel Arc mobile GPUs are beginning to offer some solid competition for Nvidia and AMD on the GPU front. Despite AMD’s best efforts, Nvidia’s RTX 30-series mobile GPUs are hard to beat if you’re seeking a gaming laptop with a little more power.
If your budget permits, consider purchasing a gaming laptop with a quick NVMe SSD (at least 512GB). Even if you choose an entry-level GPU/CPU specification, SSDs offer a swift and dependable storage solution that speeds up game loading. If you’re a competitive gamer wishing to sharpen your abilities from virtually anywhere, some Gaming Laptops even boast high-quality displays that can catch your eye.
We evaluate dozens of Gaming Laptops every year. The items on the list offer the best value for your money. They provide your budget’s best performance, pricing, and portability combination. We know the finest configurations and laptops for each of our submissions.
Acer Nitro 5 AN517-54-79L1: The Ultimate Gaming Rig
Finding the ideal gaming laptop that won’t break the bank is challenging. Most cheap Gaming Laptops will have a maximum of 8 GB of RAM and 256/512 GB of storage to remain competitive. A model that offers a competitive price without sacrificing internals occasionally appears. Such is the case with the Acer Nitro 5 AN517-54-79L1 model in front of us today.
With the 11th generation i7 CPU, 16 GB of RAM out of the gate, and a fantastic 1 TB of SSD storage, Acer’s newest inexpensive gaming laptop is loaded with high-quality features. You have a gaming laptop that can handle almost anything combined with a Full HD display with a 144 Hz refresh rate and a user-controlled cooling system.
Is this the right gaming laptop for you, though? That is what this review of the Nitro 5 AN517-54-79L1 is focused on revealing.
Design, screen, and keyboard
Before discussing performance, let’s look at this notebook’s design features. From that perspective, it is safe to argue that Acer didn’t take many innovative risks by using a design that has become standard for low-cost Gaming Laptops. Although you won’t be overly startled when you take this notebook out of its box, it doesn’t mean the design is poor.
The 17.3-inch AN517-54-79L1 weighs approximately 6 pounds, significantly more than the 2.65 pounds of the Acer Swift 3 SF314-43-R2YY we just evaluated. It has a relatively hefty black design. It’s a good guess that Acer doesn’t anticipate you taking this device with you wherever you go.
Overall, the construction quality is good; even though it is made of plastic, it has a robust feel that is typical of models in this lineup.
The display offers little but significant innovation compared to other Gaming Laptops because it uses an IPS panel rather than a TNS panel. As opposed to the conventional 80o viewing angle on a TNS panel, you now have a 180o viewing angle.
It also uses a 144 Hz refresh rate, which is fantastic for gamers who enjoy action-packed games because it prevents the unsettling “blurry” image you would get with a conventional monitor.
The brightness could be better overall, but we can’t complain about the resolution, even with FHD (1920 by 1080p). Finding a gaming laptop with a 2K display without taking out a second mortgage is quite tricky. Since many gamers also link their computer to a 2K or 4K monitor, they aren’t all that prevalent.
Last but not least, using the keyboard is a pleasure. As with most Gaming Laptops, it has a red backlight, with the WASD and direction keys receiving a little extra light to make them more accessible for the gamer to locate.
It’s important to note that the keyboard also provides easy access to the NitroSense UI, enabling users to monitor component temperatures and make adjustments as necessary.
It should be noted that this laptop has two fans and four exhaust ports, which, when combined with Acer’s CoolBoost Technology, allow you to easily maintain the temperature of your components even while working on the most taxing jobs.
It should be no surprise that the Nitro 5 in question can handle almost everything you throw at it in terms of performance, given its internal configuration. This laptop can compete with even the most CPU-intensive tasks thanks to its powerful 11th generation octa-core Core i7 CPU, substantial 16 GB of the newest generation RAM, and 1 TB of NVMe SSD storage.
On the Acer Nitro 5 AN517-54-79L1, you can upgrade the RAM to 32 GB.
This laptop is ideal for virtual machines, Photoshop photo editing, creating 4K videos, web browsing, document editing, streaming video, etc.
The laptop’s internal temperature can be adjusted, so it won’t lag due to heat.
Killer WiFi, which combines WiFi 6 and Ethernet, ensures that the laptop never loses connectivity.
Batteries & Graphics
The AN517-54-79L1 uses an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti with 4 GB of dedicated VRAM to power its graphics. This tremendous graphic card will enable users to play nearly any AAA game at speeds of up to 70 to 90 frames per second or more modest titles at a simple 120 frames per second. Customers who have purchased this laptop have, in any event, extensively discussed this.
Forza Horizon 5, Riders Republic, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Far Cry 6 all reach 50 fps at high settings.
The battery life isn’t as good as the Asus TUF Dash F15 TUF516PE-AB73, which can run for over 8 hours.
This laptop’s battery life ranges from 2 to 4 hours, so Acer didn’t design it to be portable. From that perspective, it functions more like a desktop replacement.
There is only one piece of connectivity that we feel is lacking: an SD card reader. However, the most recent computers to enter the market frequently lack this reader.
Ethernet, HDMI, audio jack, and three USB Type-A ports; one supports power-off charging.
This laptop includes Bluetooth compatibility, WiFi 6, and a high-definition webcam.
Here, Acer has covered all the bases.
In conclusion, is the Acer Nitro 5 AN517-54-79L1 pricey?
The Acer Nitro 5 AN517-54-79L1 is a competitive and attractive laptop in its price category. We love its 16 GB of RAM, 1 TB of NVMe storage, and 144 Hz IPS display.
Overall, we can say that this laptop delivers good value for the money. We would have loved to see a more generous battery life, but that’s rarely the case regarding Gaming Laptops. A laptop that will likely satisfy even the pickiest gamers out there.
MSI Katana GF66
Gaming laptops are continually expanding breed, even more so in 2022 when machines with powerful graphics cards extend far beyond the traditional weighty devices with flashing RGB. You may feel that the MSI Katana GF66 is more stuck in the past, though not necessarily for the worst.
It’s a laptop intended for PC gamers who don’t want to spend much money on the best materials, design, and performance. There are some compromises to be made as a result.
Katana portrays itself as a bargain, but higher prices and a lack of low-end GPU options limit its appeal.
MSI Katana GF66 costs $1,399 (£1,399) and contains a GeForce RTX 3060, 1 TB SSD, and 16 GB RAM. The UK model I tested has a 240-Hz display, while the US model has a 144-Hz panel.
Both measure 15.6 inches, with the Katana GF76 being this device’s 17-inch variant. If you want the least expensive choice from this range, you can go as low as a $1,100 model and receive an RTX 3050, 512 GB SSD, and 8 GB RAM instead.
The main improvement in the new Katana GF66 over the previous model is a new 12th-Gen Intel chip. On Ultra settings at 1080p, graphically demanding games like Borderlands 3 and Ghost Recon: Breakpoint can comfortably achieve frame rates exceeding 60 fps. The same settings in Apex Legends were tested at about 110 frames per second. You must use lower Medium settings and down the resolution to 720p to fully utilize the 240-Hz display. The maximum frame rate for the 144-Hz model sold in the US should be achievable at about Medium settings at 1080p.
These results are 10 to 25% better than last year’s favorite budget gaming laptop, the Acer Nitro 5. Apex gives equal fps at 1080p Ultra and 1080p Low on the same device.
There is not much to criticize about the performance or some significant performance-related factors. Even when this laptop is working hard, the fans aren’t too noticeable; despite this, it never gets too warm to the touch. A powerful presentation matches the consistent performance. The 1080p resolution provides enough information, the 240 Hz display is smooth, and it’s bright enough for an indoor gaming laptop. Still, you won’t be using it outside.
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The affordability of this laptop’s lower-end variants contributes significantly to its appeal. Being targeted at a low-cost market, however, does not imply that non-horsepower components have been ignored. The keyboard is great for gaming, with plenty of travel and crisp, pleasant feedback. Despite the trackpad’s speed and clickiness, I predict gamers will use an extra gaming mouse. However, it will function adequately outside of games.
Problematic Battery Life
The keyboard and trackpad may be helpful when not used for gaming, but the battery is not. Gamers won’t want to take advantage of this device’s good portability because it won’t be connected to a charger, hindering them. However, even when performing productivity chores, battery life is a problem if you consider purchasing this as an all-arounder. Depending on your work, you will only receive four to six hours.
MSI faces intense competition and rising laptop prices with this gaming machine. We haven’t compared the 12th-Gen model to rivals like the Acer Nitro 5 and Lenovo Legion 5 yet.
Katana GF66’s lower price range is limited by the lack of non-RTX cards like the GTX 1660 Ti, 1650 Ti, or 1650. The $1,100 model has a Core i5 processor and 3050 Ti, low specs for $1,000.
Although you would find little difference in a simple price comparison, this isn’t always reflected in the pricing. US and UK products are priced more similarly than ever, but you’ll often find UK devices priced higher. Consider the recently released Apple MacBook Air M2, which has a price of $1,199 in the US and £1,249 in the UK.
Nevertheless, in 2022, individuals who value will likely pay attention to Gaming Laptops that choose non-RTX graphics cards. This is the best option if you want a portable device for higher-refresh-rate PC games and want to save money. The MSI Katana GF66’s high price and poor battery life make tradeoffs difficult.
ASUS TUF Gaming F15
Who says powerful midrange Gaming Laptops can’t be found? Asus’ TUF Gaming F15 is a mid-range laptop with a 12th-gen Intel i7-12700H CPU and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 graphics. Still, this laptop can play the newest games at 1080p without any hitches.
Because it has critical components doesn’t mean the webcam, touchpad, and speakers are good.
The Asus TUF Gaming F15 is among the best intermediate options for 1080p gaming. It’s one of the finest gaming laptops under $1,500 since it’s also productive.
The Asus TUF Gaming F15’s design
The Asus TUF Gaming F15 comes in dark gray (or white) and fits any formal or informal situation. The Gaming F15’s lid features only a TUF shield.
The 720p webcam is located in a notch that is accessible when you lift the lid of the device. The laptop’s left side has Ethernet, HDMI 2.0, USB 3.2 Type-A, a 3.5 mm jack, USB 3.2 Type-C, and Thunderbolt 4 ports. There is a single USB 3.2 Type-A port on the right side.
The Asus TUF Gaming F15 is 4.41 pounds heavy and has dimensions of 13.94 x 9.88 x 0.78 inches. Competitors with dimensions of 14.19 x 10.67 x 1.06 inches and weighing 5.51 pounds include the Acer Nitro 5. The Alienware x14 R1, in contrast, measures 12.66 x 10.35 x 0.57 inches and weighs 4.06 pounds. The MSI Pulse GL66 weighs 4.63 pounds and is 14.13 x 10.20 x 0.94 inches.
ASUS TUF Gaming F15 Features
Examined: Asus TUF Gaming F15 (2022), with Intel Core i7-12700H processor and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU. The Gaming F15’s GPU has 6 GB of GDDR6 memory and 140 W of graphics power, making it ideal for 1080p gaming. Acer Nitro 5 (2022) and Alienware x14 have RTX 3050 (4GB, DDR6) and 3060 (8GB, DDR5) GPUs.
The Hitman 3 game performed 54 frames per second on ultra settings in 1080p. I effectively killed enemies while acting as Agent 47 and traveled around Colorado’s fields without any stutter. I used RTX and DLSS to downscale Control to 720p. This used 99% of the GPU while maintaining smooth gameplay at a constant frame rate of 56. Control’s frame rate decreases to a jerky 30 fps without DLSS.
The Asus TUF Gaming F15 is a low-cost gaming laptops that plays 1080p games smoothly. Though its speakers and webcam might use some improvement.
- Excellent 1080p gaming
- Powerful productivity skills
- Great value
- The speakers, touchpad, and webcam are subpar.
- On display, some games seem washed out.
ROG Flow X13 Ultra Slim 2-in-1
The Asus ROG Flow X13 looks different from previous Asus ROG gaming laptops, which have massive chassis and large displays.
You may upgrade this 13-inch ultraportable 2-in-1 gaming laptops with an external graphics card (eGPU).
Although Razer Blade 14 has been made recently and eGPUs are not new, the two advantages coexisting is rare.
The XG Mobile eGPU upgrades the Flow X13’s GTX 1650 to Nvidia’s RTX 3080 and offers USB, Ethernet, and DisplayPort connectivity.
Sadly, the eGPU was not included in our review unit. Thus this evaluation will only consider the ROG Flow X13’s independent performance.
The Asus ROG Flow X13 (2021) has a lot of potentials, but it falls short of competing products on the market without the ROG XG Mobile eGPU. Even so, it’s perfect if you want a portable gaming laptop that is extremely small.
- Flexible 2-in-1 design
- Plays game admirably on GTX 1650
- fantastic 16:10 display
- Without the eGPU, the underside can become quite warm, and the battery life is disappointing.
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