Not all laptops are made equal. Depending on what you use your laptop for and what you might want or need it to do, there’s almost no top or bottom price on what it might cost you. If the only reason you’d ever need to use a laptop was to browse the internet, you could buy a netbook or a Chromebook for a couple of hundred dollars. If you’re required to do occasional word processing or spreadsheet tasks for work, you might want to spend a few hundred dollars more and take that cost up to four or five hundred dollars. Some people need enormous amounts of central storage for things like pictures and video files, and that costs more again.
More expensive than all of those machines, though, are gaming laptops. These are high-performance pieces of kit with powerful graphics cards, cutting-edge processors, and enough memory to deal with the latest and greatest video games. Gaming laptops work hard and run hot, and they have to be built to last. That’s why the very best gaming laptops cost well over one thousand dollars.
A gaming laptop, by definition, is one that can cope with 4K graphics, doesn’t lag, and moves at a lightning-fast speed. Not all games require such high levels of performance, though. You wouldn’t need a gaming laptop if, for example, your gaming interests extended only to casino games or online slots websites. Such is the way those games are put together that, in most cases at least, you could play slots on a Chromebook. They’re designed to place almost no stress on the device they’re being played on, which is why and how online slots manage to reach such enormous audiences. For the latest “Assassin’s Creed” or “Call of Duty,” though, you’re going to need something with more raw power.
Given that the games themselves can be expensive, gaming on a PC can quickly become a very expensive pastime. We can help you with at least some of that cost, though. There are a few gaming laptops on the market that retail for less than one thousand dollars if you know where to look for them. We know where to look – and here they are!
Acer Nitro 5
Acer has a hard-earned reputation for making gaming PCs, and their people consider themselves to be the manufacturers of ‘extreme’ gaming tech. The Nitro 5 is a long way from being the most powerful of their creations, but it has some surprising attributes for a gaming laptop that sells for less than a grand. For a start, it has a 17.3-inch screen – or at least it does if you want it to. You can actually choose to have one with a smaller screen and pay a little over six hundred dollars for it, but in most cases, it makes more sense for people to have a larger screen to play games on. There’s space to upgrade both the memory and the storage capacity, and you can exercise direct control over cooling and power settings. You might not be able to use the maximum graphics settings on the newest of the new games, but nor should you expect to be able to do so if you’re paying less than four figures for your hardware.
Dell GC 15
To most people, Dell is better known for making business laptops than anything geared toward entertainment, but the company is trying to change that reputation. The business realized a long time ago that it would have to diversify to survive into the next decade, and so it’s trying to reposition itself as a viable choice for gamers. Machines like the Dell G3 15 will help them to do that. They sell their G5 model for well over one thousand dollars, but if you’re shopping with a budget, you won’t go far wrong with the G3. In truth, although Dell probably won’t thank us for telling you this, many of the components under the case are the same. It might not look as pretty as its more expensive sibling, but what the machine looks like is immaterial so long as games run on it smoothly. You’ll be missing a few features, and some reports we’ve seen on lines suggest that there might be the occasional concern about the build quality, but this is a nice, lightweight compromise option that can also be used for business purposes. After all, it wouldn’t be a Dell if it couldn’t do that.
Lenovo Legion 5i
It sometimes feels like Lenovo release a new laptop every month. They don’t, but they’re certainly one of the most prolific manufacturers on the market, and they make computers for every imaginable purpose. When it comes to gaming, the Legion 5i is the best option for those working within the constraints of a modest budget. The difference between the Legion 5 and the Legion 5i is the processor. You can pay a little less by getting the model 5 with its AMD processor, but without intending any disrespect toward AMD, you’ll get better performance and longevity by paying a little more and getting the 5i with its Intel chip instead. At the time of writing, the laptop retails for a little over $950. That’s very close to one thousand dollars, but it’s still below it, so it meets the brief we set for ourselves at the start of this article! If it’s a little too much for you, see if you can find a Lenovo Y540 instead. It’s an older model, but it’s still got potential so long as you don’t try to do too much with it at once.
While it might sound strange to describe anything that costs more than nine hundred dollars as ‘low cost,’ that’s the reality when it comes to gaming laptops. They’re expensive because they’re powerful, and in real terms, the best ones are far more powerful than even the latest Xbox or PlayStation. Whether they have a long-term future or not is another question. If cloud gaming of the kind that Google Stadia and Amazon Luna offer become popular, nobody will need to own expensive hardware to play games on anymore. Until that happens, though, gaming PCs will still be the vehicle of choice for gamers who don’t want consoles – and these are the prices you’ll pay for the best budget models.
Laila Azzahra is a professional writer and blogger that loves to write about technology, business, entertainment, science, and health.