A decent gaming laptop doesn’t have to break the bank. Luckily, there are still manufacturers entering the market with some affordable gaming laptops that offer decent performance and are a great bang for your buck. So, it isn’t crazy to think that one could actually have a decent gaming experience without paying more than they can actually afford. If you’re in the market for just the thing; we can guide you through all the details and help you make an informed decision in getting the best cheap gaming laptops. Here’s what you’d get from this guide:

Our Top Picks

Dell G15
Best Overall Functionality Laptop

SPECS

Intel i5 10th Generation Turbo boost upto 4.1GHz
Nvidia RTX 3050 4GB GDDR6
8GB DDR4 RAM running at 3200MHz
512GB NVMe SSD
15.6” FHD 120Hz Refresh Rate

PROS

Faster CPU than the others
All-rounder
A lot of ports

CONS

Heavier than the competition
Display isn’t the best
The base model has a much smaller battery
$1198
Acer Nitro 5
Best Performance Laptop

SPECS

Intel i5 10th Generation with Turbo boost
Nvidia RTX 3050 4GB GDDR6
8GB DDR4 RAM at 2933MHz Memory
256GB NVMe SSD
15.6” FHD 144Hz Refresh Rate

PROS

Good Battery Life
Cheaper than the competition
Decent screen refresh rate

CONS

Not the best Graphics
Mediocre Speaker Quality
RAM is slower than the competition
$768
HP Omen 15
Best Overall Screen Laptop

SPECS

Intel i7 9th Generation with Turbo boost Technology
Nvidia RTX 1660 Ti
8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR4 RAM with a speed of 2933MHz
256GB NVMe SSD
15.6” FHD 60Hz Refresh Rate

PROS

Decent Display for the money
Sleek Design
Good GPU performance

CONS

Poor Webcam Quality
Average Battery Life
Not the best refresh rate when compared to the competition
$719
MSI GF65 Thin
Best Slim and Trendy Design Laptop

SPECS

Intel i7 10th Generation Turbo boost upto 4.1GHz
Nvidia RTX 3060 6GB GDDR6 with Max-Q
16GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4 RAM running at 2666MHz
512GB NVMe SSD
15.6” FHD 144Hz Refresh Rate

PROS

Slim and Lightweight Design
Solid Performance figures
Best Screen

CONS

Costs more than the others
Poor Battery Life
Plastic Build
$5791
Lenovo Legion 5
Best Budget Laptop from Lenovo

SPECS

AMD Ryzen 5 5600H
Nvidia RTX 3060 6GB GDDR6
8GB DDR4 RAM at 3200MHz
512GB NVMe SSD
15.6” FHD 120Hz Refresh Rate

PROS

Excellent Display
Upgradable Components like the RAM and the storage
Good value for money

CONS

Runs Hotter than usual
Poor mic and speaker setup
Webcam is limited at 720P
$1189

What makes a gaming laptop ‘Cheap’?

When it comes to gaming; everything sounds expensive, partly because it is. From the hardware to the games, and the fancy gadgets we’re all used to, end up costing way more than most of us can comfortably afford. Gaming laptops have been one of the most expensive gadgets of them all, and people seem to be going nuts over them.

And why wouldn’t they; the performance of a full Desktop PC packed into a case you can carry in your backpack? Yes please! But what if you don’t want to spend a huge chunk of change on (let’s be honest) just a laptop? Well there’s still hope for you. Entrants like the ASUS TUF Gaming A15, the Acer Nitro 5 and the HP Omen 15, offer a solid gaming experience at a very affordable price. Affordable gaming laptops are all the craze right now, and it makes perfect sense. If you could get some decent gaming out of a super affordable laptop, what more could you ask for?

We’ve rounded up some bare minimum specs that a good gaming laptop should have, in our case; good and cheap gaming laptops.

Minimum Specifications for a Cheap Gaming Laptop

FactorsMinimum of
CPUi5 9th Generation running at 3GHz
GPUGTX 1660 Ti 4GB
Display15.6” FHD (1920 x 1080) 60Hz Screen
RAM8GB DDR4
Storage256GB NVMe SSD Stick

Dell G15 (Intel i5 Config)

Best Overall Budget and Functionality Laptop

  • Intel i5 10th Generation Turbo boost upto 4.1GHz
  • Nvidia RTX 3050 4GB GDDR6
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM running at 3200MHz
  • 512GB NVMe SSD
  • 15.6” FHD 120Hz Refresh Rate

Overview

Dell has come up with the G series once again and it’s one of the best options on the market right now. With a 10th gen i5 running at a clock speed of 4.1GHz, it performs amazing for what it costs. Of course, the most important thing in gaming; the GPU, and Dell has again impressed us by putting in an RTX 3050 with 6 gigs of GDDR6 VRAM goodness. There is a single 8 Gigabyte memory stick in the G15 and it is enough to run some of the major titles smoothly. To store all those games, the G15 comes standard with a 512GB NVMe SSD. The Dell G15 is one of the best choices you could go for when in the market for a cheap but good gaming laptop. It is for sure one of the amazingly cheap gaming laptops.

Pros

  • Faster CPU than the others
  • All-rounder
  • A lot of ports

Cons

  • Heavier than the competition
  • Display isn’t the best
  • The base model has a much smaller battery

Best Deal 

Buy Now at Amazon:$1198

Rating 

9/10

Acer Nitro 5

Best Performance Laptop

  • Intel i5 10th Generation with Turbo boost
  • Nvidia RTX 3050 4GB GDDR6
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM at 2933MHz Memory
  • 256GB NVMe SSD
  • 15.6” FHD 144Hz Refresh Rate

Overview

Acer has been one of the best laptop manufacturers that don’t cost as much as other brands do, and the Nitro 5, specifically the AN515, is no exception. The Nitro 5 comes with an i5 10th generation with upto 4.5GHz of clock speed. The i5 processor is paired with a RTX 3050  that can run titles like the GTA V at medium to high settings. You would be giving up a lot of battery life as the Acer doesn’t last long on it’s small battery pack. But the keyboard does provide solid feedback and an FHD 144Hz screen.

Acer has pulled of a gem in this list of cheap gaming laptops.

Pros

  • Good Battery Life
  • Cheaper than the competition
  • Decent screen refresh rate

Cons

  • Not the best Graphics
  • Mediocre Speaker Quality
  • RAM is slower than the competition

Best Deal 

Buy Now at Amazon:$768

Rating 

9.2/10

HP Omen 15

Best Overall Screen Laptop

  • Intel i7 9th Generation with Turbo boost Technology
  • Nvidia RTX 1660 Ti
  • 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR4 RAM with a speed of 2933MHz
  • 256GB NVMe SSD
  • 15.6” FHD 60Hz Refresh Rate

Overview

HP can’t stay behind can it. The Omen 15 is a great package with an affordable price tag. It comes with an Intel i7 9th Generation and a GTX 1660 Ti, those are some proper ingredients for a gaming laptop! But with all that performance, The Omen does suffer when it comes to battery life and the display isn’t as sharp as it’s competitors put into their rigs. The screen could be acceptable if you can focus on the refresh rate at 60Hz and not so much on the colors it puts out. But the Omen 15 is still a worthy contestant.

Hp always delivers the affordable, budget and cheap gaming laptops for its long lasting users.

Pros

  • Decent Display for the money
  • Sleek Design
  • Good GPU performance

Cons

  • Poor Webcam Quality
  • Average Battery Life
  • Not the best refresh rate when compared to the competition

Best Deal

Buy Now at Amazon:$719

Rating 

8.6/10

MSI GF65 Thin

Best Slim and Trendy Design Laptop

  • Intel i7 10th Generation Turbo boost upto 4.1GHz
  • Nvidia RTX 3060 6GB GDDR6 with Max-Q
  • 16GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4 RAM running at 2666MHz
  • 512GB NVMe SSD
  • 15.6” FHD 144Hz Refresh Rate

Overview

What a surprise right? MSI and cheap don’t exactly go together, in fact, MSI makes some pretty expensive laptops. But, the brand does come out with a few ‘cheaper’ models once in a while. And this time, MSI has entered the market with their GF65 Thin. A 10th Generation i7 paired with an RTX 3060 with 6GBs of pure VRAM that offers a buttery smooth gaming experience. The GF65 comes with a 15.6 inch display that offers FHD at best with a 144Hz refresh rate. And just like the Dell; MSI has put in a 512GB NVMe SSD in the GF65.

MSI being an expensive and high end brand of gaming laptops delivers a punch in this category of cheap gaming laptops.

Pros

  • Slim and Lightweight Design
  • Solid Performance figures
  • Best Screen

Cons

  • Costs more than the others
  • Poor Battery Life
  • Plastic Build

Best Deal 

Buy Now At Amazon: $1579

Rating 

9.6/10

Lenovo Legion 5 (Gen 6)

Best Budget Laptop from Lenovo

  • AMD Ryzen 5 5600H
  • Nvidia RTX 3060 6GB GDDR6
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM at 3200MHz
  • 512GB NVMe SSD
  • 15.6” FHD 120Hz Refresh Rate

Overview

We had to mention Lenovo’s latest model in the Legion series line-up, the Legion 5 6th Generation.  The model we reviewed was specced on a budget, it had a Ryzen 5 5600H with a Max boost of 4.4 GHz, a RTX 3060 and a single 8GB RAM module. The storage showed some cost cutting in action as well, the rig was paired with a 256GB NVMe SSD. The Lenovo does have a great display. That always helps create a much more immersive gaming experience; the Legion 5 comes in with a 15.6 inch FHD screen with a refresh rate of 60Hz.

Lenovo promises ts loyal customers which are switching to gaming adventure a cheap gaming laptop in this era.

Pros

  • Excellent Display
  • Upgradable Components like the RAM and the storage
  • Good value for money

Cons

  • Runs Hotter than usual
  • Poor mic and speaker setup
  • Webcam is limited at 720P

Best Deal

Buy Now at Amazon:$1189

Rating

9.3/10

So now that you have all the options, let us guide you through what you need to look for in a cheap gaming laptop:

What should you look out for when choosing Cheap Gaming Laptops?

There are tons of things you have to look out for when selecting a gaming laptop on a budget. You want something cheap, but not cheap, and it has to be reliable enough to give you back your money’s worth. Well we went ahead and prepared a guide for you to look for things when selecting your next ‘low price’ gaming laptop.

The GPU

The first one isn’t really a surprise is it? The most important thing in gaming is the GPU, a good one for that matter. A slow GPU can ruin your gaming experience, so, the first thing you should keep an eye out for is the GPU. Nvidia offers the RTX series for pretty cheap now and its models like the 3050 and the 3060 can even be found in low price gaming laptops these days. These latest RTX cards now offer desktop GPU level performance in a much smaller size. This is necessary as the GPU is the main thing that can make or break your gaming experience.

GPU does play an integral role n the performance of the gaming laptop and especially in the case of your cheap gaming laptops.

This is the part where you spend the big bucks, you can’t go for a laptop with a smaller GPU, it wouldn’t serve its purpose as a ‘gaming laptop’. What about the display?

The Display

A good display is what lets you experience the crispy graphics your GPU is putting out. So that makes it an important one doesn’t it? The display entails three major concepts that are worth considering; the resolution, the size and the refresh rate of the screen. Cheap gaming laptops does not let you down in the display section look out the details we have mentioned for your help:

The Resolution

The resolution is what dictates the sharpness of the image, it is best to look for an FHD screen at 1920 x 1080, and that’s the best a budget laptop can have.

The Size

The screen size is honestly completely up to you, the most common screen size you will get in this budget is 15.6 inches. That is a decent screen size for gaming. 

The Refresh Rate

Another thing that really matters to a good gaming experience, is the refresh rate, luckily all of our contestants have a decent refresh rate. So go for at least 60Hz. A high refresh rate is what makes your gaming experience smooth. So avoid the ones with a low refresh rate if you don’t want a laggy gameplay. So a good display and GPU, what about the CPU?

The Processor

Can’t forget the processor can we. Budget laptops like the ones we considered up there, all come standard with Intel’s i5 9th generation or AMD’s Ryzen 5. Both of these are pretty decent performers when it comes to handling the latest titles like the Halo infinite, the Forza Horizon 5 and the Psychonauts 2 as well. These are some power hungry games and all of our contestants seem to be handling them pretty well. So anything short of the latest i5 from Intel or AMD’s Ryzen 5 doesn’t need to be considered. Speaking of performance, what should be the RAM?

The RAM   

This one’s pretty simple. None of the laptops we reviewed had anything smaller than a 8GB stick, and to be fair, 8GB of RAM is the bare minimum for some games. We suggest at least 16GB of RAM in your gaming laptop. A decent RAM is necessary in order to multi-task and to handle all the cache. Anything short of 8GB, would make it impossible to run the latest games. For a smooth experience, consider going for the ones with 16GB of memory; like the MSI GF65 Thin. Have we talked about Storage yet?

The Storage

You need someplace to store all these games right? So the storage is another thing you should look for. This one isn’t as important as the others because storage is always expandable and you can swap them out for a better one anytime. But, do look for at least 512GB SSD to run your Windows and Games at the same time, and smoothly as well. NVMe SSDs are the latest trend in gaming laptops, and luckily, manufacturers are putting these into their budget rigs as well. Definitely avoid the ones without an SSD; it’ll end up slowing your whole system down.

So, to round it up, we’ve put the bare minimum specs that make a gaming laptop worth considering into a chart to help you look in the right place, take a look at the chart (link to the minimum specifications chart)

Let’s get into the Buyer’s guide for the best cheap gaming laptop:

Techywired’s Buyer’s Guide

Best Performer (MSI GF65 Thin)

We’ve made a thorough guide for you to buy a gaming laptop on a budget. We’ve listed what they’re best at and where they lack. Out of all these contestants, the one that stood out for us, is the MSI GF65 Thin. To us, it’s the best performer given the limited budget. MSI also added some characteristics from it’s premium gaming models into the GF65’s DNA; the chassis for instance. MSI also offers a ton of options when it comes to speccing the rig. 

You get a variety of processor and GPU options to spec your desired laptop. The price is a bit higher than the others  but for what it costs, we think the GF65 is the best choice for you if you want to game on a budget. It ticks all the right boxes for a gaming laptop and the fact of the matter is, it provides a much better value for money than the rest of the contestants. With its blistering fast i7 10th Generation, along with a turbo boost option, it outperforms nearly everything. The RTX 3060 has more than enough VRAM to run all the latest AAA titles at max settings. 

It’s truly one of the best performer in the category of cheap gaming laptops.

Even the memory is double than the competitors; 16GB of RAM is more than enough to provide you with a smooth gameplay. MSI has built this thing on a budget but that doesn’t show anywhere in the build quality or the firepower they put into this thing. It’s slim, sleek and much easier to carry than gaming laptops should be. Though the battery isn’t perfect and they could’ve gone for an aluminum build rather than plastic, but for what it costs; you can’t ask for more. What about something that lasts a full day?

Buy Now MSI GF65

Best Battery Life (Lenovo Legion 5 Gen 6)

If you want your laptop’s battery to last for a decent amount of time; we suggest you go for the Lenovo Legion 5 Gen 6. Out of all these competitors; the Lenovo lasted the longest with it’s 4 Cell 80Whr Lithium-ion battery pack. This might not seem a lot to Ultrabook users and business laptop users, but for gaming laptops; this is an amazing battery backup time. The legion allows you to game for 7 hours straight, what more could you want? So if battery’s your main concern; TechyWired suggests the Lenovo Legion 5 Gen 6.

Lenovo does promise a very good battery health in the cheap gaming laptops section.

Buy Now Lenovo Legion 5

Best All-rounder (Dell G15)

What if you’re looking for a laptop for your everyday use but want it to have the capability of a full gaming laptop when you want to game? For us, it was the Dell G15. It has ample performance under its hood and if you go for one of the more expensive models; you can get a decent battery that would easily last you your work hours. The G15 also has a sturdy chassis and it seems much more reliable to us than the rest of the competition; as Dell has proven in the past. 

But durability is not the only thing that it offers. Since Dell bought Alienware a while back; the gaming hardware manufacturer, their laptops have started to show some of that Alienware legacy in them. This has made Dell climb up the ranks of the gaming industry like never before. And the G15 is proof of that. So, if it’s an all-rounder you’re looking for, go for the Dell G15. If you have any questions about buying a cheap gaming laptop, head to the FAQ section.

Truly one of the best all rounders of the cheap gaming laptops out there.

Buy Now Dell G15

FINAL WORDS

Wow! You made it to the main conclusion of the article. We started this article with the simple thought of delivering the best of the best cheap gaming laptops to your end. We curated a perfect list of gaming laptops which were quite budget friendly, elaborated all the specs, pros and cons, and most importantly rated them with our experts. We also gave our list of top picks and distinguished them according to their best highlighted feature just for your sake.

FAQs

How much RAM should be enough for gaming?

Most of these inexpensive gaming laptops have a 8GB memory stick, and for the most part; it is enough. But if you’re looking for a buttery smooth gameplay and multi-tasking capabilities, we suggest you look for a laptop with at least a 16GB memory stick. In our experience 16GB is the sweet spot between the budget and the performance.

Does refresh rate matter in gaming?

Refresh rate is essentially the frequency of how quickly your screen can draw up an image. This rate is measured in Hertz, just like a frequency is. A high refresh rate is necessary for smooth gameplay as it dictates how quickly your laptop is showing you what’s happening in your game. So, avoid displays with a lower than 60Hz refresh rate if you actually want to game. It won’t matter if your reflexes are the sharpest if your display can’t keep up with everything.

Do I need to buy windows with these laptops?

The latest edition of Microsoft Windows comes standard with all these laptops. You don’t need to pay anything other than the rig itself. Each of these laptops are ready to play out of the box.

Is key travel a factor in considering a gaming laptop?

Technically, it shouldn’t matter to most people, but for veteran gamers; key travel is one of the most important things that make or break their gaming experience. Key travel is the distance our fingers have to travel between the keys of the keyboard. But there is something as short as a key travel; you might end up pressing a bunch of keys when there’s an enemy ahead. So, find the right one that suits your own style. Of course, you could always buy an external keyboard with your cheap gaming laptop.

Which is the best budget gaming laptop?

We’ve given you the tools to select the best laptop that suits you. If you’re looking for an all-rounder, we recommend that you go for the Dell G15. But, if it’s gaming you’re looking for; the MSI GF65 Thin is the best choice for you to game while keeping the cost low. MSI has a gaming legacy and that shows in the GF65.

Can cheap laptops run games?

Yes, of course, they can. As long as they meet the minimum criteria we mentioned in our guide; they can easily run the latest games without skipping a beat. Just make sure you get one that has at least the minimum specs we listed.

Thanks for reading our article, if you want to read more of our articles we got so much more just for you guys. Keep sharing it with your folks!

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