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Under $1,500, the best gaming laptops include the best overall, most portable, and more.

It's not easy to pick the best gaming laptop for your needs. Especially if you're searching for something under $1,500. There are a lot of midrange laptops on the market, and it's not easy to go through all of them and choose the one that's right for you. Do you want to play the latest movies in 1080p with ray tracing? Or do you require an ultraportable notebook that can be used for both work and play?

Allow us to assist you if you are unsure where to begin. To make shopping for a gaming laptop on a budget easier, we've compiled a list of more-than-capable gaming laptops that cost less than $1,500. All of our suggestions are based on rigorous testing and hands-on experience. So take a seat, unwind, and let us show you the greatest options available below.

1. HP Victus 16 (16-d0097nr) – Best overall

Pros

Very good value
Surprisingly comfortable keyboard
Large 16-inch 1080p screen with a high 144Hz refresh rate
Cons

Budget RTX GPU
Audio doesn’t feel quite right
Display hinge is a bit flimsy

Best Prices Today: $843.31 at Amazon


When it comes to the HP Victus 16, you definitely get your money's worth. The 144Hz refresh rate on the 16-inch 1080p display is impressive, the keyboard is surprisingly comfortable, and there are numerous customising possibilities. Despite the fact that the laptop's GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU is on the low end of the range, it nevertheless manages to give respectable 1080p gaming performance. Furthermore, the understated style makes it appropriate for both business and play.

We evaluated the top-tier configuration, which costs $1,250 and is still reasonably priced. As we mentioned in our review, these devices may be had for as little as $730. The less expensive variants use older GTX 1650 GPUs that don't enable DLSS or ray tracing. Having said that, even at lesser graphical settings, these laptops should deliver adequate gaming performance.

2. Acer Predator Triton 300 SE – Most portable




Pros

Slim, sub 4-pound design
Solid gaming and ray-tracing performance
Three-zone RGB keyboard backlighting
Impressive battery life
Cons

No G-Sync support
No wired ethernet
Best Prices Today: $1299.99 at Best Buy

The Acer Predator Triton 300 SE is a versatile laptop that can be used for business and entertainment. Gaming and ray-tracing performance are good, and the battery life for a gaming laptop is astonishing. The 60 watt-hour battery expired after nine hours in our battery test, which looped 4K footage. That is unquestionably more than a full day's labour. With a weight of just over three pounds, this is a relatively light machine. The Triton is a superb work/travel laptop because to its small size and long battery life. The design is also understated. Because the minimalist look doesn't draw much attention to itself, you wouldn't mind bringing it into a work meeting with you.

3. Swift X (SFX14-41G-R1S6)



Pros

Stellar ultraportable performance.
Sneaky gaming laptop with RTX 3050 Ti graphics.
Impressive battery life considering high-end parts.
Cons

Display feels cramped for creative work.
Fan gets loud during heavy workloads.
Poorly placed Pg-Up and -Down buttons.
Best Prices Today: $996.56 at Amazon


Don't be fooled by the appearance of a laptop's case. The Swift X may not appear to be particularly dangerous at first appearance, but underneath the hood are some seriously powerful components. The AMD Ryzen 7 5800U processor, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU, and 512GB of PCIe NVMe SSD storage are all included in one ultraportable. When playing Shadow of the Tomb Raider at 1080p on the Swift, we got "48 frames per second at the highest preset." However, there are a few drawbacks. Under heavy load, the fans become noisy, and the keyboard becomes warm. However, if you're willing to overlook those flaws in exchange for excellent CPU and GPU performance, the Swift X will not disappoint.


4. HP Envy 14 14t-eb000 (2021)







Pros

Good value for the money
Fantastic battery life
Quiet fan, with no detectable performance throttling
Thunderbolt 4 support
Cons

Slightly quirky keyboard layout
Webcam’s signature feature is ineffective

For light gaming or content creation, the HP Envy 14 is a good pick. An Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor and an Iris Xe/Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q graphics card were used in the setup we evaluated. The most surprising aspect of this laptop, though, is its battery life. Gaming laptops aren't known for their long battery life, but the Envy 14 stands out in this regard. It lasted roughly 15 hours on a single charge in our tests. The Envy 14 also doesn't make a lot of noise with its fans. It was "very silent throughout both CPU- and graphics-intensive loads," according to our review.

5. Nitro 5 17-inch (2021)




Pros

Strong CPU/GPU pairing for the price
Roomy 1TB SSD with room to add second drive
Cons

Plastic chassis is bulky
Dim display
Terrible webcam
Best Prices Today: $1,899.99 at Amazon

The Acer Nitro 5 17 is a wonderful alternative if you're looking for a good deal. It has a good graphics performance and a wide range of ports to choose from. Acer even includes the necessary hardware (like as screws) for replacing the storage or RAM. However, the thick plastic shell won't fool anyone into thinking this is a high-end device, and the display is dull. As with most budget gaming laptops, some compromises must be made. If those trade-offs aren't a deal breaker for you, the Nitro 5 is a great option. The base model costs a bit more than $1,400.

6. Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition – Best if you're able to stretch your budget


Pros

Outclasses every CPU in competing laptops
Radeon RX GPU outclasses similarly-priced GeForce GPUs in conventional gaming.
Surprisingly good audio quality
Cons

No webcam
Very bulky 280-watt power brick
Nvidia GPUs outclass Radeon in ray tracing and content creation.
Best Prices Today: $1349.99 at Best Buy

The Asus ROG Strix G15 Advanced Edition is an all-AMD laptop with excellent CPU and GPU performance at a competitive price. It comes with an AMD Ryzen 5900HX processor, AMD Radeon RX 6800M GPU (12GB GDDR6), 16GB RAM, and 512GB SSD storage. The GPU "doesn't outperform higher-wattage RTX 3080 laptop GPUs, but it's a solid contender for normal gaming workloads," according to our evaluation. The Strix G15 is a big machine, measuring 28mm thick at its thickest point. Although the extra thickness allows for more cooling components, it is not particularly portable. That said, if you don't plan on carrying this laptop around with you all the time, it's a capable gaming rig that's well worth the money.

Although the $1,650 price tag isn't "affordable" in the classic sense, this all-AMD laptop is considerably less expensive than other laptops with equivalent performance. Prices for 3080 machines range from $2,200 to $3,000 at Best Buy and Nvidia's website.

How we tested


Every Windows laptop is put through a battery of tests by the PCWorld team, which includes GPU and CPU speed, battery life, and so on. The goal is to test the laptop to its limits before comparing it to other laptops we've reviewed. You'll find a breakdown of each test, as well as the reasons for running them, below.

Windows laptops


PCMark 10: We use PCMark 10 to see how well a laptop does common tasks like web browsing, word processing, and spreadsheets.
HandBrake is more time-consuming than PCMark 10. It essentially measures how long it takes a laptop's CPU to encode a large 30GB file.
Cinebench is a CPU stress test that lasts only a few minutes. It accomplishes this by producing a two-dimensional scene in a short amount of time.
3DMark: 3DMark runs graphic-intensive clips to see if 3D performance maintains consistent over time.
To test battery life, we loop a 4K video using Windows 10's Movies & TV app until the laptop shuts down.

What you should look for in a budget gaming laptop


When it comes to choosing the best gaming laptop, it all comes down to what you plan to do with it. Do you intend to play light indie games like Stardew Valley (no offence, I adore this game) or more visually demanding games like Cyberpunk 2077? Will you be using the machine for both work and play? You can get reliable performance out of a gaming laptop for under a grand, but you'll have to look at the individual components closely. 

For games like Fortnite, you don't require a strong GPU. My pals, the guts. That is what is important.

GPU: Because the GPU cannot be replaced out and updated later, you must be extremely picky about the one you choose, as this component will influence how well your machine runs games. Fortunately, you don't need the finest of the best to enjoy consistent gaming results. 

The GTX 1650 is a budget-friendly entry-level GPU that can handle 1080p gaming with medium-to-high graphics settings. Newer games will, however, have lower frame rates. If you need a little more oomph, a GTX 1660 Ti or higher, or a more recent RTX 30-series GPU, is the way to go.

CPU: The processor, like the GPU, cannot be updated, so you'll have to be picky. We propose an Intel Core i5 or i7 from the 11th generation. A Ryzen 4000 or 5000 processor from AMD is the way to go. A CPU with at least four cores is sufficient, but one with six or more is preferable.
RAM: At the very least, you'll need 8GB of RAM. If you can afford it, go for 16GB of RAM. You can usually upgrade your memory, so you can always swap it out and add more later.

Storage: The amount of storage on your laptop determines how many games and applications you can install. Storage, like RAM, is upgradeable and may be swapped out at any time. However, AAA games tend to take up a lot of space, so you should aim for at least 512GB of SSD storage plus a hard drive. 

Because data is stored on chips rather than spinning drives, SSDs load games faster.
At this pricing point, you can anticipate a 1080p display. Budget gaming laptops don't usually offer the finest displays because that's where manufacturers save money by cutting corners. You can always buy an external monitor to plug into if your screen is too dim.

Battery life: Gaming laptops are notorious for having a short battery life. This is due to the fact that they have a lot of power. They are also heavier than other laptops due to the additional space required for heatsinks and other cooling components. Most will last four to six hours on a single charge, depending on how they are used. There are, however, a few exceptions. During our battery test, the HP Envy 14 (seen above) managed to last 15 hours.


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