After many hours of research and in-depth review of fifteen models, we have selected the 5 best cheap gaming laptops of the moment. Among them, it is the Lenovo Legion Y530 that wins our preference.
If it reaches the threshold of maximum price that we have set for this comparison (1200 €), it does not propose less a configuration that remains very modern and will force you to less graphic concessions on the most greedy games, not to mention that it avoids most of the pitfalls that are generally encountered in entry-level PCs: moderate temperature, beautiful finishes, battery and consistency in the choice of components.
Why trust us
Laptops Consider‘ editorial team spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and comparing products to find the best value for money.
None of our articles are sponsored. We sometimes receive a commission when you buy a product through our links, which allows us to finance our work while remaining completely impartial.
How Did We Choose?
Games coming out on the market are more and more greedy, it is sometimes difficult to find a laptop computer performant enough to run smoothly without spending the (strict) minimum 1200 €.
We have set ourselves the challenge of finding the most balanced gamer laptops on the market below this price bar and in which you can invest without the risk of quickly becoming obsolete.
For this, various factors were examined:
- The Graphics Card (GPU): This is one of the areas in which the games are more greedy, but also what quickly raises the price of computers. And now, when a new generation of graphics cards is released on the market (the RTX 20), you may end up with a computer quickly obsolete if you invest in a GPU older than the GTX 1050 (even the GTX 1060 are beginning to struggle with the latest generation games).
- The Processor (CPU): it is necessary to invest in a processor capable of running your GPU without a hitch. If a seventh-generation Core i5 or Seventh-Gen Core i7 processor is enough for a GTX 1050 (if you make any concessions on the graphics), it is strongly recommended, when possible, to invest in an eighth-generation Core i7, which will prevent your GPU from rowing.
- RAM: RAM will determine the ability of your computer to multitask. At present, 8 GB is generally recommended to run the majority of games. And unless you invest in a more powerful graphics card or push the multitasking to its peak, 16 GB will be superfluous.
- Heating Management: It is not because you are investing in a less powerful GPU and CPU that their combined operation will not release heat. Check the cooling system with which the PC is equipped, if you do not want to have to invest in an external cooler.
- The Hard Drive: nowadays, and again because of the delicacy of current games, it is strongly recommended to invest in a PC with a partial SSD, allowing faster installation and reduced loading times. An optimal configuration in the field of cheap PCs consists of a 256 GB SSD.
- Display Quality: a Full HD display is optimal for a 15-inch screen (configuration in which we find most of the cheap gamer laptops). A 4K screen, besides the extra cost it represents, is a battery drain and tends to drop the IPS, making your parts unplayable if the GPU / CPU pair does not follow. Also, check the refresh rate: the higher it is, the smoother the animation will be. A minimum of 60 Hz is recommended for gaming use.
- The Keyboard: If you buy your laptop from a gaming perspective, the comfort and responsiveness offered by the keyboard are important factors to consider.
- The Possibilities of Upgrade: it is possible to make some savings in the short term by investing in a laptop with a minimum configuration, if you can then, through an access door, easily change the RAM and hard drive when those will become really obsolete.
- Mobility: While the mobility of gamer laptops was initially almost non-existent, with heavy machinery and very little autonomy, this is something that manufacturers are looking at more and more. Thus, excellent gaming laptops become usable, for example, as laptops for the student.
Examination of these various parameters through specialized sites allowed us to preselect about fifteen PC gamers proposed at less than 1200€ and currently popular on the market. We then eliminated those among them whose components were destined to relatively close obsolescence and those which had an unbalanced configuration, which could, in the long run, accelerate the aging of the PC.
We then decided the nine remaining models by leaning on the in-depth analysis of user feedback from these PCs, to determine how they really behave with games sometimes very recent and/or greedy, and their value over time.
This is how we selected the 5 best budget cheap gaming laptops 2019 of the moment.
The Best Inexpensive Gaming Laptops
It was difficult, in this first section, to look at a price range too low, inevitably sowed with pitfalls (unbalanced configuration, poorly managed heating, dubious material quality …). The first two PCs of our selection are therefore available in a budget of around 900 €.
And despite this price, they are very successful, even with gourmet games, as long as you do not mind to make some graphic concessions.
1. Dell G3 15 Gaming: the best very cheap
We open our selection with a computer proposed by Dell, which has the merit of avoiding a large number of traps usually encountered in this price range.
Despite its categorization gaming, it has a sober design, with a hull magnesium alloy rather qualitative for a PC at this price, matte black finishes decorated with light touches of blue, and a rather fine design that gives it a correct weight of 2.35 kg.
It has a 15.6-inch Full HD screen displaying a colorimetry rather well-controlled, even if it pulls to yellow. On the other hand, its antireflection coating is not very effective and its brightness a little feeble. As a result, it becomes almost unreadable in the sun. Its refresh rate of 60 Hz puts it just on the threshold of acceptability for use in gaming.
Its chiclet keyboard, it has a fairly slow race, which does not make its use more enjoyable, both in gaming than office, but it is still correct and is offset by a soft and comfortable wrist rest, with elegant brushed metal finishes.
In this release, it features an eight-core 8-core Intel Core i7 processor, a GTX 1050 Ti, 8GB of RAM, and a 1TB HDD and 128GB SSD hybrid hard drive. This is a configuration that allows you to run all current games, even if graphics concessions will have to be made for the greediest if you want to maintain a correct number of IPS and a certain fluidity.
But we could say that even more than a laptop gaming, it is a versatile gaming-oriented PC. Indeed, it incorporates the Optimus technology, which allows switching to a configuration in which your battery saves a little for notebook use, the GTX 1050 Ti then leaving room for Intel UHD 630 energy-saving. You can thus reach approximately 6h30 of autonomy for a “standard” use.
In addition, it deserves more connectivity for gaming use: 1 HDMI port, 1 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0 and 1 VGA port.
Finally, it should be noted that during intensive gaming, it tends to heat up and make noise, but it is doing quite well compared to the competition at this level.
In the end, here is a PC that, although presented as a gamer, is nonetheless a versatile computer particularly suitable for gaming. Admittedly, it has some flaws, but it’s the best option in this price range.
2. Acer Nitro 5: Very Cheap Alternative
At Acer, the Nitro range has been developed to bridge the gap between desktop Aspire and Predator pure gaming. So here again, a versatile PC, but more focused on gaming.
Its is heavier than his competitor Dell, with 2.4 kg. It also gives a slightly more massive effect, with its black textured carbon effect coating and its very present screen edges. It remains relatively simple for a laptop dedicated to gaming if we except the few touches of red and the rear ventilation.
It displays a 15.6-inch matte screen. It offers a correct display but, with a colorimetry that is not the most accurate (we will avoid photo editing, for example) and brightness far from exemplary, it is probably its biggest fault. On the other hand, it also reaches only the refresh rate of 60 Hz.
This model features a Core i7-850H processor, a GTX 1050 graphics card, 8GB of RAM (note that a second slot is left free to add RAM if needed) and a 1TB HDD and 128GB hybrid hard drive SSDs. So it’s a configuration very similar to the Dell, but with a non-Ti graphics card, which will lead you to make a few more concessions on gourmet games.
On the other hand, with its cooling system Acer CoolBoost, its heating is rather controlled, as long as you do not go to really powerful games because the cooling is not distributed well enough.
Its autonomy, it is relatively correct at this price, since you can reach almost 6 hours in standard use.
Finally, on the connectivity side, there is again a taste of slightly too little, if you want to dedicate it to pure gaming: 1 HDMI port, 2 USB 2.0, 1 USB 3.0, 1 USB-C and 1 SD card reader.
In the end, here is an excellent alternative to the Dell G3, which has the merit of less heat (in standard use, at least). Nevertheless, Dell has taken the advantage with the integration of a GTX 1050 Ti, which will prove more efficient on greedy games, and a better-controlled battery thanks to the Optimus system.
The Best Cheap Gaming Laptops
In this second section, devoted to PCs around 1000 €, we have retained only one model, which has imposed on us by its control of the heater.
3. Dell G5 15 Gaming: the best cheap
Although it has many similarities with the G3 proposed in the previous section, the G5 does not show less interesting points that justify its price a little higher.
It should first be noted that despite a fairly similar design, it is heavier than the G3 (about 2.8 kg). This is because of a thicker construction, with a larger ventilation grille at the rear, which gives it a look a little more gaming.
Under the PC, there are two thick rubber bands that not only help keep the PC in place but also raise it slightly, distributing ventilation much better. So, this PC has a big advantage, on the two previous models, to almost no heat, even in gaming use.
Its Full HD matte screen, on the other hand, still lacks brightness, and displays a colorimetric drawing towards yellow and red. It also does not exceed 60 Hz refresh. This is probably his biggest fault because next, the wrist rest is still comfortable, but the keyboard (backlit) is more responsive, with a nice typing both in-office and gaming.
At the level of its components, we find a Core i7-8750H, a GTX 1050 Ti with 4 GB of dedicated memory 8 GB of RAM and a hybrid hard drive of 1 TB and this time 256 GB of SSD, which improves a bit its performance in gaming, both at startup and in loading times.
Its battery is always combined with the Nvidia Optimus technology, allowing it to reach nearly 6 hours in standard use, and just over 1h30 in gaming.
Finally, its connectivity is rather complete, with 1 HDMI, 3 USB 3.0, 1 USB-C and 1 SD card reader.
In the end, the extra cost compared to the two previous models is justified in our view amply, if only by its control of the heater, but still thanks to its SSD 256 GB which brings a more appreciable in terms of the speed of the machine. Admittedly, it is a little heavier, but it will also force you to (a little) less graphic concessions.
The Best Budget Mid-Range Gaming Laptops
The two models selected here flirt with our maximum threshold of 1200 €, but amply justify the additional investment, one in particular by its more powerful graphics card, and the other by its keyboard optimized for gaming.
4. Lenovo Legion Y530: the best midrange
The first computer in this section is the 2018 version of the famous Y520.
And if it had already been able to make a place among our selection of the best PC gamer, it is simply because, despite its small price (for a laptop dedicated to gaming), it avoids all the pitfalls that we meet typically in the entry / mid-range PCs: moderate temperature, beautiful finishes, and consistency in the choice of components.
If its hood is made of plastic, it is of good quality, and more resistant than that of the Y520. Connectivity, this time, was brought back to better cooling.
Its Full HD screen incorporates a very effective antireflection. Moreover, the edge/screen ratio has been optimized compared to its elder, this increases its visual comfort. Unfortunately, suddenly, the webcam was relegated to the bottom of the screen, which is unflattering for the viewing angle.
His keyboard is considered one of the best in this price range, with a responsive race and good flexibility. Of course, it has a backlight.
In this release, it features an 8th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, combined this time with a GTX 1060 graphics card with a dedicated 6 GB RAM, 8 GB of RAM and a 1 TB HDD and 256 GB hybrid hard drive. SSDs. This is the model with the best graphics card of our selection, supported by a suitable CPU, to play all the games without making almost concessions.
Finally, it is pretty well-equipped level connectivity, with 1 HDMI port, 4 USB 3.0 ports, and 1 headphone input. These different ports are distributed at the rear, except 2 USB ports and the headphone jack, located on the sides for easy access and gaming configuration.
And mobility is not left behind, since it weighs only 2.2 kg and allows, in normal use, to reach the autonomy of 9.5 hours. This is far superior to the rest of our selection.
In the end, since its release, the Lenovo Legion Y530 is one of the best value for a money gaming laptop on the market, regardless of the configuration in which it is declined. If your gaming needs are less intense, it is still available in the Core i5 version, but we must accept that it will probably not be able to support the new outputs optimally.
5. MSI GF63 8RD: the mid-range alternative
We go down a notch below with the configuration of this mobile MSI. But it has the merit to stand out from the competition thanks to its keyboard optimized for gaming.
Design side, it is in this desire manufacturers to offer PC gamer to look less aggressive. Only the logo, the two grooves of the hood, the air grilles a little imposing and the red backlight tell you about its primary destination. He, too, does not weigh more than 2.2 kg.
It features a 15.6-inch Full HD matte screen that is well-crafted in anti-glare and lighting, but whose TN panel limits viewing angles, while the refresh rate is always at 60 Hz.
On the other hand, it differs from the direct competition thanks to its keyboard optimized for the gaming. This highlights the ZQSD area (for less typing errors of these often strategic keys), customizable macro keys, and an anti-ghosting resistance on 45 keys.
Component side, we come back to a couple of Core i7-8750H + GTX 1050 Ti, with 8 GB of RAM and a HDD 1TB HDD and 256 GB SSD, which allows him, again, to turn big games even as long as the graphical levels are lowered to maintain a correct number of IPS.
Finally, if it has the ability to switch quickly between Comfort, Sport, Turbo and Eco modes, it does not reach a range of more than 5 hours in standard use, and tends to heat up quickly out of Eco mode, despite the presence of Cooler Boost 5 cooling system, which automatically adjusts the speed of both fans.
Connectivity level, however, nothing lacks 1 HDMI port, 1 mini-DisplayPort, 3 USB 3.0 ports, 1 USB-C port.
In the end, this PC, despite its slightly higher price, is in the middle of what we have represented here in terms of display quality and performance in games but stands out thanks to its well-adapted keyboard intense gaming sessions.
In conclusion, which cheap gaming laptop to choose?
If we were to recommend only one model, it would be without hesitation the Lenovo Legion Y530, which stands out in our selection by its latest graphics card, its calibrated screen with a correct anti-glare and brightness, control of the heater and its great autonomy.
If your budget does not exceed 1000 €, the Dell G3 15 Gaming is the best low-cost option. It displays good performance in-game, and benefits from Nvidia Optimus technology, allowing it to switch to a more energy-efficient configuration when you do not use it in gaming.
However, the Dell G5 15 Gaming amply justifies, in our opinion, the price difference with the G3 model, because of its much better-controlled heating and its 256GB SSD hard drive that makes it a faster and more responsive PC.