The 7 Best Gaming Laptops Under $500

Gaming is a popular pastime that continues to gain fans. It is a great way to relieve stress, hang out with friends and relax. Laptops offer the ability to take your gaming with you – no longer are you tethered to TV’s and consoles.

But you shouldn’t just use any laptop for your gaming experience. There are certain features that your gaming laptop should have in order to have the best possible experience. And while usually you might think this could be more expensive, we have found some great gaming laptops for you that cost under $500.

Acer Aspire A315Acer Aspire A315

This laptop has the features to be a good gaming laptop. It has an i5 dual core processor, and SD card and a 15.6 screen. This laptop comes with Intel HD graphics and 256 GB of SSD.

Pros

  • Uses Windows 10
  • Intel Core i5 processor
  • 6” HD screen
  • 256GB SSD
  • Includes and SD Card
  • Package includes both the battery and adapter

Cons

  • This laptop only has 12GB memory
  • Battery life is 6.5 hours
  • Laptop weighs 4.63 lbs
Purchase

Dell Business High Performance LaptopDell Business High Performance Laptop

This Dell laptop has a lot of great features and at a super price point. This Dell laptop is powered by a seventh generation Intel Core i5-7200U mobile processor Smart dual core processing for HD quality computing. Perfect for gaming. It features Integrated Intel HD Graphics which is perfect for gaming and streaming. The included HDMI port allows you to connect your laptop to a TV, if you want to take your gaming there.

Pros

  • This Dell laptop uses an Intel Core i5 processor
  • Features Integrated Intel HD Graphics card
  • HDMI port allows you to connect laptop to the TV
  • Uses Windows 10
  • Screen size is 15.6 inches
  • Packaging includes the batteries

Cons

  • Battery life is 8 hours
  • Laptop weighs almost 5 lbs.
Purchase

2018 Dell Inspiron2018 Dell Inspiron

This Dell Inspiron Laptop is a great option for those looking for a basic gaming laptop. Some of the great specs with this laptop are the 15.6” screen display with good resolution and the integrated graphics chips, the AMD Radeon R4. This chip helps to enable great performance and allow for multitasking.  It has 4GB of system memory and 500GB of memory for files.

Pros

  • The screen is a nice 15.6 “
  • The integrated graphics chip helps performance and multitasking abilities
  • Includes memory sticks
  • This laptop weighs 2.65 lbs.
  • Power adapter is also included in the packaging
  • Uses Windows 10

Cons

  • Hard drive is only 500GB
  • Processor is only 2 GHz, although the graphics chip helps with this
  • RAM is only 4 GB, but could possibly be upgraded at a later date
Purchase

Lenovo 320-15 - 15.6Lenovo 320-15

This Lenovo laptop is another nice option for a beginner gaming laptop. It has some great features including a 15.6” screen. It has 8GB of RAM, which can be expanded to16GB at a later date. The Lenovo 320-15 also includes and HDMI port so you can hook up your laptop to your TV.

Pros

  • This laptop has a 15.6” screen
  • Includes 8 GB RAM which is expandable to 16GB
  • Includes an HDMI port to connect to your TV
  • Uses Windows 10

Cons

  • This laptop weighs 5.5lbs
  • This laptop tends to freeze up and will need to be restarted
  • Uses an AMD processor
Purchase

Acer Inspire E 15Acer Inspire E 15

The Acer Inspire E 15 is a serious gaming laptop at an incredible price. This laptop has several great gaming features. It includes a 7th generation intel Core i3-7100U processor. It has a 15.6” HD full screen with an LED backlit display. It has 4GB of memory and the battery life is 12 hours.

Pros

  • Batteries included in the package
  • Laptop has a 15.6” HD screen with color blast technology
  • It includes 4GB of memory, which could possibly be upgraded at a later date
  • Battery life is 12 hours
  • Uses Windows 10

Cons

  • This laptop weighs 5.25 lbs.
  • The processor speed is 2.5 GHz
  • Uses an integrated card to help with graphics
Purchase

Dell InspironDell Inspiron

This Dell Inspiron is a nice model laptop for a beginner gamer. It has several qualities that make it the perfect introductory laptop. It is a 15.6” screen and has Intel graphics. The laptop features a dual core i3 processor and has 8GB memory which can be expanded up to 16GB. You will also find a media card reader.

Pros

  • It has a 15.6” screen
  • Is preloaded with Intel graphics
  • 8GB of memory can be expanded to 16 GB
  • It includes a media card reader
  • Batteries are included in the packing
  • Has Windows 10 included

Cons

  • This laptop has an i3 processor, which is a little slow
  • The laptop weighs 5lbs
  • Uses an integrated chip for graphics
Purchase

2017 Acer Aspire High Performance2017 Acer Aspire High Performance

This Acer Aspire High Performance Laptop is a very good option for gamers looking for a great laptop at a great price. The 15.6” screen is constructed with CineCrystal Glossy Screen technology. This ensures that your photos and videos retain their vivid colors. It has a dual core A9 processor. This Acer laptop uses AMD Radeon A5 graphics and includes and HDMI port to connect your laptop to a TV.

Pros

  • 6” screen with CineCrystal Glossy Screen technology ensures vivid videos
  • This laptop uses a dual core A9 processor
  • Includes and HDMI port to connect laptop to TV
  • This laptop supports SD cards
  • Includes Windows 10
  • Weighs 4.3 lbs. and is 1.1” thick
  • Batteries are included in the packaging

Cons

  • Batteries last 5.5 hours
  • Laptop tends to run a bit slower
Purchase

What makes a great gaming laptop?

Before we look at individual laptops, let’s explore what features make a laptop good for gaming. Some specs that you should consider are: CPU, RAM, Storage, Size, Resolution, Proper Thermals to Keep Cool, Sync and Battery Life.

  • CPU- The processor is key for how well your games will be handled by the laptop. Most games will do well with a Core i5 processor or higher. The CPU is not upgradable, so be sure to check out what is in your laptop.
  • RAM-Since gaming is intense, it is recommended that your laptop have at least 16GB. The memory in your laptop is upgradeable, so you can change this in the future.
  • Storage-most laptops come with some storage included. Some laptops will come with an SSD though for additional storage. If you can get both, it will be a good feature.
  • Size-laptops are classified by the size of their screens. You can get a good laptop with a 15-17-inch screen. Larger ones are ok too, but will make the laptop heavier.
  • Resolution- The display on a gaming screen should ideally be 1920 x 1080 for the display.
  • Sync- If you are using a gaming card, some laptops have technology that allows the display to sync with the graphics card.
  • Battery Life- Most laptops need to be plugged in to get the best gaming experience. If you use it unplugged, you might only get a few hours at most from it. If the laptop does run longer while unplugged and gaming, it usually affects the display.

Things to Remember

When looking for a gaming laptop, it is important to realize that you will need to look for features that may be a bit different than an everyday laptop for work or school. A gaming laptop needs to have enough memory and processing power to support the graphics that games contain.

The first feature you should consider is the processor. This is going to be the CPU. It is important to realize that this aspect of a laptop cannot be upgraded. When you are considering a gaming laptop, you should look for a processor that is at least a Core i5 processor or better. Laptop that have an 8th generation or older core processor should be avoided if possible. The models numbers typically will start with an 8 so it makes it easy to identify. These older processors will have a lot less power

The next feature to look at is the amount of RAM your potential laptop has. Since gaming is intense with graphics, you need to be sure your laptop is equipped to handle them. It is recommended that a gaming laptop has at least 8GB, and 16GB is preferable. Most of the time RAM is something that can be upgraded in a laptop. You will simply need a screwdriver to remove the back cover and switch out the memory. If you can’t get 16GB now, be sure your laptop will support an upgrade in the future.

Storage is another important factor in a gaming laptop. Storage is available as either a hard or an SSD. Typically, an inexpensive gaming laptop will have 1TB in a hard drive. Many gaming laptops will include a small SSD as well. And like memory, storage can be upgraded. It is fairly easy to add a 2TB for storage or an HDD. Storage will affect loading time in a gaming laptop.

Screen size is another key component of a gaming laptop. The general recommendation is to stick with a screen that is between 15” and 17”. It may be tempting to go with a larger screen, but then that really starts to add weight to the laptop.

When buying a gaming laptop, resolution is another factor that should be taken in to consideration. Due to the intense nature of the graphics in gaming, the rule of thumb is to never get a laptop that has less than 1920 x 1080 resolution. If you have anything less than that, you may find that you need to turn down some other settings in order to optimally view the game.

Another factor to consider when buying a gaming laptop is the battery life. Laptops have varying degrees of battery life. Playing games is a drain on the batteries. When playing on your gaming laptop it is a good idea to always have your laptop plugged in. This ensures your laptop won’t die at a critical point in the game!

Along with battery life is the consideration of a touch screen or not with your laptop. It is generally advised to avoid a touch screen laptop for gaming. This is because the touch screen also uses the laptop’s battery and the combination of the touch screen with gaming will kill your battery at a fast rate.

And when you are considering a gaming laptop, the keyboard is a consideration too. It is a good idea to find a keyboard that has the keys raised a little bit higher than standard, if possible. It will help prevent you from hitting the keyboard frame when pressing down on the keys. You also want to look at the actuation, which is the force needed to strike a key down. A good number for this is between 65 and 70 grams. This helps your keys to be malleable, without being too soft.

And certainly, price is a factor. Gaming laptop can run the gamut. Adding extras in such as additional storage, memory, etc. will also affect your price. When you are starting out it is a good idea to purchase a basic gaming laptop that allows for expansion over time.

Purchasing Tips

When you are looking at buying a gaming laptop, cost is an obvious factor. It is a good idea to compare models and features. And it is also a good idea to consider a refurbished gaming laptop. While a refurbished model will not be brand new, it may make it easier for you to purchase a gaming laptop with upgraded features.

Another tip when purchasing a gaming laptop is to look at warranty information. Be sure to see if the seller or manufacture has warranty info and find out exactly what it covers; some might cover hardware and some might not, are the batteries covered, and what about the keyboard? These are all parts of the laptop that could have issues. You should also check and see what the warranty period is for your laptop and if you do have a problem, is there a customer support number or email to contact.

Final Thoughts

Gaming is a popular activity. It is a great way to relax beat stress and hang out with friends. Gaming laptops make it easy to be able to play games anywhere there is an outlet to plug in to.

There are many options and considerations when looking to purchase a gaming laptop. You should take into account your gaming level, especially if you are a beginner. And if you are on a budget you can look for a gaming laptop that will allow you to expand and upgrade over time and as your budget allows.

It is important to remember that gaming laptops have a different purpose and require different features than your everyday work or school laptop. You will need to have both kinds of laptop to make sure you are getting the full experience with gaming.

Spend some time before buying your gaming laptop and think about the features that are most important to you. Think about the types of games you enjoy playing. And then think about the features that are most important to you when gaming, and go from there.

With some planning and some looking, you can find the right gaming laptop for your gaming life. And hopefully it has features that can grow and expand as your gaming skills do. Hopefully your gaming laptop can bring you hours and hours of enjoyment.