After several hours of research and a dive into a detailed comparison of the different configurations of each model, I made my selection of the 6 best gaming laptops under $2000 currently available on the market.
In my opinion, the one that offers the best value at the time of writing is the Lenovo Legion Y530, which has many features of the great while remaining at a reduced price. But my favorite is still the Dell XPS 15, which is the most versatile of my selection.
At the end of this article, you will find a buyer guide that will help you find your way around this rather boring area at first glance, the laptop for gamers.
The Best Budget Gaming Laptops Under 2000 Dollars
With ever tougher competition in the entry-level portable gaming laptops, the quality of the models proposed by manufacturers is only improving from year to year.
1. Lenovo Legion Y530: The Best cheap
The first computer of my selection is quite recently on the market. Lenovo has launched the newcomer of its range of gaming laptops, and the Y530 Legion, intended to replace the excellent Y520, fulfills its promises!
Level design first, we see that the brand has made efforts: the plastic is a better bill, and the screen has been advanced to slide more connectivity at the back, and especially to promote better cooling. The rendering is a black and matte case, which gives a sober and elegant look, which is not often found in the PC gamer register.
The edges of the screen, they have been reduced, which allows a better visual comfort (against the Webcam, suddenly, was relegated to the bottom of the screen, which is not very flattering level taken when you play a network). It’s a Full HD screen, which may not satisfy the most demanding visuals, but which guarantees a little less power loss, as I explain in my buying guide. It is, unlike the Y520, anti-reflective, which is a more than welcome addition.
The keyboard is quite flexible, which is nice for extended gaming sessions. It is backlit, which is extremely useful for you to find your orders in the dark.
The Y530 is only available in a 15.6 “display, but you have the choice of components. The version to which I put the link to you offers an Intel Core i5-8300U processor and an NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1050 2GB graphics card. The RAM is 8 GB of RAM, and the hard drive is 1 TB, to which is added an SSD of 128 GB. In short, it has in the belly and will satisfy you for a very wide range of games.
You can still go to Core i7 versions, and/or hard drive SSD (faster, more economical and more reliable), depending on your needs.
Connectivity level, you will find 1 HDMI port, 2 USB 2.0 ports, 2 USB 3.0 ports, and a headphone input. These different ports are distributed at the rear, except two USB ports and the headphone jack, located on the sides for ease.
A final advantage of the device is its weight, very reasonable compared to all the equipment it embarks: only 2.3 kg, which makes it easily transportable.
Finally, the battery announced is 9.5 hours. For use in gaming, as I explain in my guide, you must, of course, have lower performance, but the result is very satisfactory.
In short, the Lenovo Legion Y530 most likely offers the best quality/price ratio of the moment among inexpensive gamer laptops. The Lenovo Legion Y520, which previously held the top spot in our comparison, is still available, and at a price even lower since the release of the Y530. Nevertheless, he found an excellent successor.
2. Dell Inspiron G3 15-3579: Robust and Powerful
Dell has released its G Series to offer an alternative to the prestigious Alienware range for players with a smaller budget.
The G3’s design is not the most engaging on the market, especially when you know the work that Dell can do in terms of design, especially with its Alienware range. However, we have a sober and relatively elegant, which is more reminiscent of a laptop than a gaming laptop.
But the main thing is the materials, and from this point of view, we are not disappointed. The plastic is visibly quality, the chassis is reinforced, and the hinges are robust. So you can carry it without worry, especially since it is relatively light with its 2.3 kg.
The LED screen with its 1920 x 1080 resolution does not offer the best images, but allows, as I explain in my guide, better optimization of the power. The edges are a little thick, but that does not prevent a good immersion. The keyboard, backlit, is rather nice, as is often the case at Dell.
In the version I propose to you, the screen is 15.6 “. It offers an Intel Core i7-8750H processor and a GTX 1050 Ti 4Gb graphics card. The RAM is 8 GB of RAM, and the hard drive is hybrid: 1 TB and an SSD of 128 GB. And if it was barely 3 months ago it was well over the 1000 euro mark, we can today find it at the same price as the Lenovo. That’s what I (and at the same time frightful) in the world of high-tech!
Connectivity level, there are 1 HDMI port, 1 USB 2.0 port, 2 USB 3.0 ports and 1 VGA port. For sound, it has internal speakers
The battery offers a battery life of almost 6 hours, which is honorable in the field of gamer laptops. Given its price reduction, the Dell Inspiron G3 today offers excellent value for money, without it being already considered outdated (far from it!). You can invest in it with your eyes closed.
The Best Mid-Range Gaming Laptops Under 2000
Here, we are just between the very inexpensive and the beginning of the mid-range. What to get affordable laptops, but with the necessary to run the latest games and greedy without worry.
3. HP Omen 15: The Best Midrange
The HP Omen 15 has come down as evidence. Light, small, powerful, affordable: its qualities are many … and its price very small depending on the version you choose.
The version that I present to you here is the HP Omen 15-dc0044nf, which has the advantage of being rather recent (autumn 2018), which guarantees you good durability of compatibility with the current games.
By its design, the Omen 15 tells us immediately its target audience: gamers. There is indeed a plastic shell of quality, with a grooved texture on the lid and around the keyboard, all in rounded shapes. But, above all, we find the keys of red colors, at the keyboard, and in the opposition of the logo on the shell, which is typical of gamer computers.
The keyboard, chiclet-style, is very responsive, and backlit. The screen is again a full-HD with anti-reflective treatment, but the edges are more present than on the Lenovo Legion Y530.
On the component side, here we have a 15 “display, an Intel Core i5-8300HQ processor, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB graphics card, and 8GB of RAM, with a hybrid hard drive: 1TB hard drive and 128GB SSD.
You are free to opt, depending on your needs, for a 17 “screen version, an i7 processor, an even more powerful hybrid card, etc. By way of information, the HP Pavilion 15-cx0023nf model, released at about the same time, also has some very interesting features, but for a much lower price, which brings it closer to the Lenovo Legion Y530 (compared to besides very comparable components): an Intel Core i5-8300H processor, a graphics card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 2GB, and 8 GB of RAM, a hybrid hard drive 1TB and SSD 128 GB.
Connectivity, it is rather provided: there are 1 HDMI port, 2 USB 2.0 ports, 1 USB 3.1 port, 1 combined headphone/microphone jack, 1 RJ-45 port, and 1 multi-format SD multimedia card reader. On this point, this PC wins the sleeve against the Lenovo.
Its weight of 2.4 kg makes it just as easily transportable. On the other hand, it is on the side of the autonomy that sins, with a maximum autonomy of 4.75 hours, half less than the Lenovo.
In the end, it is a laptop gamer cheap (depending on the version chosen) but modern and competent. It is mainly on the side of his reduced autonomy that since we are also talking here about the portable aspect. Nevertheless, it remains a safe choice.
4. Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315: Monster Of Speed
Everyone knows Acer and its many products suitable for all budgets. The Taiwanese manufacturer offers (very) good and not so good, and in terms of gaming laptops, he has managed to make a name especially through its Predator range.
The model that I am presenting here also came out in the fall of 2018 and is in some ways the improved version of the same model proposed a little over a year ago. It is therefore composed of more efficient components, and the practical side is that we already know that it remains good over time (the world of gaming advancing very quickly, it is sometimes difficult to step back on a device, because we barely had time to roam a little that the new version even more powerful comes out on the market).
On the design side, those who know the Predator range will have no surprises: we find the famous black chassis with red highlights, with the opposition of logo (rather stylish) Predator. Its weight, it feels a little: 2.7 kg (I know, the difference with previous models is not obvious, but it begins to feel in the backpack!).
This is a 15.6 “model running Intel Core i7-8750H and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060. It has 8GB of RAM, and a 1TB HDD and 128GB hard drive or SSD.
Connectivity level, it has an HDMI port, 2 USB 2.0 ports, and a USB 3.0 port. It should be noted that it does not have a CD player, so you can only play dematerialized versions or install an external CD player. This can be frustrating for a computer gamer.
Its autonomy, it is undoubtedly its biggest weak point: 3 hours. We see that this computer was not designed to be versatile (it is not intended, for example, to be used for taking notes in progress), but only for gaming, mainly on a sector (what his we already suggested).
Offering a lot of power thanks to its renewal, this Acer Predator makes it possible to run the vast majority of modern games without any worries and should perfectly meet the needs of more assertive gamers.
The Best High-End Gaming Laptops Under 2000
These computers offer performance that can easily run almost any game with graphics to the fullest. Streaming is even conceivable, but it will sometimes be necessary to slightly lower the quality of the graphics involved.
5. Dell XPS 15: The Best High End Gaming Laptops
From the outset, we could not believe that the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 is a laptop designed for gaming. With its sober and compact look, its (very) light weight for this type of PC (1.8 kg), it has everything of the notebook. And yet, he has some in his stomach!
Its gray aluminum frame, of good quality, is very solid. He is sober and elegant, which will allow you to easily take him in the middle of a library or a meeting without going for a big geek.
The frame is very thin, which allows, despite a 15.6 “screen, to have a computer whose size is close to a 14”. It is a Full HD screen, whose colorimetry was well worked. The keyboard, backlit, is nice and, despite the small size of the PC, remains easily manipulated.
Side components, it is well optimized: Intel Core i5-8300H 8th generation (which increases the speed of 10% compared to the 7th generation), Intel GTX1050 4Gb graphics card, a 1TB hybrid hard drive, and 256 GB SSD … What more? We have here a beast of speed, which allows to play the most greedy games or to stream without incurring lags.
Connectivity is also well supplied: 1 HDMI port, 3 USB 3.0 ports, 1 VGA port. Well, we would have appreciated a USB-C but we will be satisfied.
Compact, lightweight … would we have found the laptop that is really portable, as seems to announce its name? I think so, because it also has the best autonomy of this comparison: up to 16 hours in “normal” use (a little office, a little game, a little streaming …).
It represents, in my opinion, the ideal companion of the student who wishes a computer allowing him to take his notes, of course, the day, and to geek his evenings. At a reasonable price, it has everything to seduce.
6. Acer Predator Helios 300 G3-571-77QK: Beast Of Speed
So I come to the second Acer computer of our selection and this time, I highlighted the latest version of a model that has largely proven itself in recent years, the Acer Helios 300.
The design is still that of the Predator range, nothing to complain about it. By cons, Acer has made a little effort on the side of the weight of the machine: 2.5 kg.
With its 15.6 “screen, this laptop is the first of our selection to have 6 hearts, which combined with its other components, makes it an extremely fast and powerful machine, able to run your games more of 60 FPS and allowing you to stream without having to sacrifice graphics quality.
Its processor is the Intel Core i7-850H (8th generation, so faster), and its graphics card is the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060. Its RAM is 16 GB and it has a hard disk SDD 256 GB with a possibility of extension.
Connectivity level we have everything you need: 1 HDMI port, 1 Ethernet port, 1 USB 2.0 port, 1 USB 3.0 port, 1 USB-C port, an SD port, and an audio/microphone output.
Well, it has a big “default” by cons: it is only available in QWERTY.
I still introduced it in my comparison because it is a super powerful machine, suitable for all those who seek the speed of treatment. The most impressive on this model is that despite its great power, it manages to maintain a very correct autonomy of 7 hours in normal use.
Admittedly, it is one of the highest priced computers in this comparison, but it is surprisingly cheap for such a powerful machine. With him, I do not think any game will resist you.
How To Choose Your Gaming Laptop?
You want to become more active in gaming, but you can not afford to invest in the latest beast of compete ‘exit on the market? No problem, I’m here to help you!
Prior to your purchase, here are the points that need your attention.
Buying a laptop for gaming is not the same as investing in a computer on which to take your class notes. Some components need to be thoroughly examined so that your computer is able to run as many games as possible.
The risk, if you show too stingy on the components, is to have to reinvest in a new computer in six months, because the one on which you have made your choice will be unable to run the latest games on offer on the market.
Note, before anything else, that if you want to invest in a computer in order to play a specific game, it is possible to see on the Internet the minimum required configurations and recommended configurations. This saves you from investing in a device and discovering when finally installing your new game, that it is actually much more greedy than you thought.
The processor is, for short, the heart of your computer, responsible for processing and executing instructions.
You should know that the more powerful the processor, the more greedy it is. It is therefore autonomy that takes a hit. You have to choose the right compromise between the power and the autonomy you need.
Note that an Intel processor is often the guarantee of fast performance over the long term.
But which processor to favor for gaming? It all depends on the games you play, and whether you are a casual player or what could be called a real geek. To do (very) simple, here are some tips:
- For versatile use (office and casual gaming), a low-power processor from the Core i5 should do the trick.
- For versatile use with more gaming, opt for a classic M, H or Q series processor, the most versatile being the Q Core i7
- For pure gaming use, choose a Core i5 or i7 series M or H processor. The Quad Core is favored because more and more games are developed to make the most of it. If you find a model 6 hearts affordable, it’s a jackpot.
- For gaming and graphics use, I recommend a Core i7 Quad Core Q or K series.
In my comparison, except when it was impossible for me (either this version does not exist or a more powerful version, for reasons of supply and demand, is less expensive) I selected the Core i5 versions computers retained. Thus, you have a base comparable also in price, and you to opt for the more powerful versions according to your needs.
The Graphics Card
Level graphics card, the choice between NVIDIA and AMD is possible. I prefer, by habit and fidelity, NVIDIA, but AMD is also a mark of quality that is accessible.
An Nvidia GTX 960 graphics card is really the base of the base. Below obsolescence has already arrived for a good part of recent games. For games that are more than a year old or resource-hungry, you can go down in the range (for an even lower price).
Note that, unlike the processor, it is sometimes possible, according to the PC, to change your graphics card if necessary (but I advise you, if you’re not a hacker at heart, to call a pro before open your computer).
Well, I guess if you’re looking for a portable gaming computer, you want to carry it around and occasionally play wireless. So, battery is obviously a criterion to take into account.
Of course, the manufacturers always announce a certain duration of use. This is usually for a “classic” use: office, a little streaming, a little game … If you spammed your latest FPS, obviously do not rely on such autonomy.
The Cooling System
To preserve all your components, a good cooling system is essential. If the computer does not have such an integrated system, invest in an external machine that plugs in, for example, via USB.
It is often overlooked on this accessory, which is essential when your machine is aging. Indeed, for having experienced the case, the heat produced by the components can rise so high that the welds melt.
The Build Quality
Far too often, cheap rhymes with cheap and insubstantial materials. How not to make you have?
Examine its composition. A black plastic (also very convenient to clean), sometimes lacks strength.
The aluminum, brushed or not, is on the other hand very solid and makes it possible to lighten the computer. Nevertheless, as it is a metal that is expensive to weight, it can quickly impact the price of your computer.
Also, check the flexibility of the hull: if it bends easily, you may see it break over time.
Opt for a keyboard with a good response. The chiclet keyboard (flat keys and well spaced) will be more enjoyable for a gaming experience.
No need to opt for a keyboard offering to activate 30 keys at the same time. Unless you are a professional e-sports player, you will not use it.
It is tempting to crack for a Full HD screen or 4K / UHD (and indeed, with some games, it brings a big plus in terms of the graphic feeling). Keep in mind, however, that a conventional LED display saves you power since you require less power conversion to your power supply.
From a practical point of view, see if your laptop battery is removable or if it supports at least the simultaneous charge-discharge. The mobility of a laptop gamer being limited, you thus preserve your capital!
How much will you use on your computer? Are you really going to get on the train or the subway, or is it just to have a mobile station at home?
If you plan to walk miles with your laptop, try to pick one that is between 2 and 3 kilos maximum. Indeed, the more your laptop will be heavy, the greater will be the risks that you make it fall by fatigue or that you deposit it anywhere.
If you just intend to move from your living room to your room to watch the latest GoT, weight matters little in this regard. Do not be afraid to buy a monster since you will have to suffer this congestion only during a limited time.
You can buy an older model of a portable gaming laptop if it opens easily, preferably with an access door allowing you to change the graphics card, RAM or motherboard in due time.
Be careful, however, when making this change, to check the compatibility of the components in place with the one you intend to install. Nothing is more frustrating than finally receiving the graphics card of his dreams and realize, once the ignition is launched, that it is not recognized.
Of course, if you find yourself here, it is that you are looking for a cheap gamer laptop. However, keep in mind that investing in a laptop at the reduced price is good, but it does not matter if it makes the device mediocre or obsolete within six months.
This is where I will disappoint more than one. Admittedly, it is possible nowadays to find quality laptops for 350 €. But for more intensive use in gaming, you must rely on an entry level around 750 € minimum.
This is usually the minimum price to put in relation to the components necessary for an optimal experience, and you will see it yourself by making a cost calculation: with the processor, the graphics card and the RAM, you easily reach an amount of 500 € if you had to buy the pieces separately. Add to that the screen, the keyboard, the mouse, the chassis, plus the price of the OS if you want a Windows 10, the total can rise very quickly to more than 1300 €!
A good cheap gaming laptop is therefore usually in the range of 750 € to 1200 €, depending on the desired characteristics. Below, you will have a machine already or almost obsolete. Above, you enter the medium or even high-end, for more luxurious options but often superfluous unless you are a (very) serious gamer.