Buyer Guide Gaming

Best Gaming laptops under 1200 – 2020 Buying Guide

Best Gaming laptops under 1200
Written by Dawn Richard

People generally think that powerful laptop means an expensive one, but it is partially true. Because, you can find many best gaming laptops under 1200 right now available at the market. As performance of a laptop is totally dependent upon its hardware, therefore, your main focus should be on the specs not the price. So, the ideal gaming laptop is one which provides equivalent performance as the gaming desktop, along with mobility at the same time. In addition, all the modern laptops are equipped with best configuration in order to deliver premium gaming performance.

However, to get a right laptop in reasonable budget you will need to gather some additional information. So, to save you from the extra hard work, we are here with the top 10 contenders which are outstanding in performance, also they won’t burn a big hole in your pocket. These laptops will ensure such experience of video games the way they are meant to be. On top of that they sport the latest and powerful CPUs and GPUs currently available. Hence, give a thorough read to each and every laptop included here to get the required information and buy accordingly.

Tips for Playing Games Efficiently

Gaming on a laptop is never as perfect as on a PC. Some inevitable compromises are made in order to make gaming possible in a portable device like a laptop. But that does not mean that gaming on a laptop is not a worthwhile quest. So, below are a few important tips mentioned in which case gaming can be improved up to a greater extent.

Decide Your Resolution

For better performance on high-end games, it’s better to turn down screen resolution. After all, it’s better to have smooth movements instead of a stunning slideshow. So, turn down the display resolution as much as you can go, also go to the game menu and get rid of fancy effects. In this way, you can defeat your opponents very easily.

Keep Things in Order

With the passage of time, your laptop gets slow as you install more games and software. So, you should clean your disk at a regular interval, as a result, Windows will run faster. Along with this make sure that any other app or software is not running while playing a game. Because these additional apps can utilize resources which the game could use. It is also necessary that your hardware is up-to-date, particularly GPU.

Control Matters

Instead of playing with the built-in keyboard, a mechanical keyboard and high-end gaming mouse will give you much better control over the game. Although the built-in keyboard is also not bad at all but two things are not in gamers favor. First, most of them do not offer RGB back-lighting. Second, key travel is less compared to proper keyboards, which might annoy you at times.

Prolong Battery Life

In gaming what annoys the most is that the battery soon runs out of juice. But you can prolong it by simply lowering the screen brightness. Moreover, you can buy a portable battery charger for a notebook to give a longer gaming period while on the move.

Best Gaming Laptop Under 1200 2020 Reviews

1. HP Omen 15″

A good gaming notebook with vivid display and amazing sound for a fascinating play period. The lid is divided into four quadrants, two made of carbon fiber and two of plastic. The deck is made of aluminum which makes it much strong and durable. By removing a small vent on the bottom, RAM and the hard drive can be easily accessed for an upgrade. Upon lifting the lid, you will see 15.6 inches screen with thick bezels. The keyboard is full-sized with number pad, also the buttons are black with red sides. The weight of the laptop is 5 pounds due to which it is a bit heavier, but an inch thickness also makes it thinner compared to other gaming laptops.

The 15.6 inches display comes with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The panel also does a nice job while gaming and 313 nits of brightness make display more luminous. This notebook sports 8th generation Intel Core i7-8750H processor and 12GB of RAM. What makes intensive gaming possible is the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics card. For storing data the laptop comes with 1000GB hybrid hard drive including 128GB SSD. The nicer and louder speakers of Omen 15 gives clear and next-level sound quality. In competitive games, you can easily detect approaching enemies from footsteps. Moreover, this best gaming laptop under 1200 2020 is run by Windows 10 Operating system.

HP Omen 15 includes all the ports necessary for a gamer. The left side of the notebook contains an HDMI port, a Mini Display port, a USB 3.0 port, an Ethernet slot, Thunderbolt 3 port, headset, and mic jack. On the right side, only an SD card reader and a pair of USB 3.0 ports are present. The battery can last up to 10 hours during mixed usage, up to 5 hours while wireless streaming and up to 3 hours while playing the game. Apart from gaming, the 1080P webcam is very brighter and color accuracy is amazing. Omen 15 is HP’s best gaming laptop, having superior design and offers powerful performance.

2. Acer Predator Helios 300

Every laptop company claims that their notebooks are the best, but Acer is actually proving especially with their gaming laptops. Similarly, Helios 300 comes with a strong GPU, powerful performance and long battery life. The body is made of aluminum and plastic, but plastic is much cheaper compared to the aluminum. With 5.5 pounds weight and 1.1 inches thickness, the notebook is not as portable as one would expect. Upon lifting the lid, you will see the backlit keyboard which is comfortable but less responsive. The keys here, can travel 1.6 mm vertically and require a pressure of 79 grams to mobilize. In addition, the touchpad response is very accurate to Windows 10.

The 15.6 inches screen offers FHD (1920 x 1080) display. Although it gives sharp images brightness is not satisfactory. Along with this, color accuracy is also not very impressive. The best part of this top gaming laptop under 1200 is the powerful CPU and GPU. As it sports 4.1GHz Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia Geforce GTX 1060, so intensive gaming will not be an issue. Moreover, due to 16GB DDR4 RAM, you won’t notice any lagging. On top of that 256GB SSD is very faster, as it takes only 27 seconds to copy up to 4GB mixed data, resulting in a transfer rate of 188 megabytes per second.

Like good gaming laptops, Helios 300 also offers a wide range of secondary connections. An Ethernet slot, an HDMI port, a USB Type-C, a USB 3.0 port, and an SD card reader is located on the right side. While on the left side you will have an audio jack and a pair of USB 2.0 ports. Furthermore, TrueHarmony speakers generate crispy and fresh sound. A series of a profile like music, movies, and game modes are offered due to preinstalled Dolby Audio app. In the meantime, up to 7 hours of battery life is certainly impressive for such a powerful machine. Last but not least, the PredatorSense app enables you to check CPU and GPU speed along with fan control for optimum performance.

3. MSI GV62 8RD-276

Sleek design, solid performance, and comfortable keyboard have included MSI GV62 in the list of good gaming laptops under 1200. Although the design is stunning due to minimal exterior the build quality is disappointing because the manufacturer has used plastic instead of aluminum. The keyboard is comfortable due to red backlit and extremely soft chassis. Along with this, the keys travel 1.7mm and the pressure requirements for activation is 74 grams. The touchpad response is also accurate and acceptable. The overall weight of the notebook is 4.4 pounds and comes with a 1.2 inches thickness, so portability is also acceptable.

The screen size of the MSI GV62 is 15.6 inches, which in turn offers a Full HD IPS display. Moreover, it is fairly bright and also provides wide viewing angles. The secret behind the power of this beast is Core i7-8750H processor, Nvidia Geforce GTX 1050 Ti GPU and 16GB of RAM. Mighty storage capacity is due to its 1TB hybrid hard drive with 128GB SSD. You may know that gaming increases the laptop’s temperature but GV62 two fans and two exhausts keep things cool. The special feature of this laptop is the Dragon Center app which maintains power usage of processor and GPU, along with cleaning up the Memory and Disk space option. In addition, the VoiceBoost feature handle sound between game and voice chat.

Ports required by most gamers are included in the best gaming laptop under 1200 2020. Most of the ports are located on the left side that is RJ45 port, an HDMI port, a USB 3.1 port, a Mini DisplayPort and separate jacks for microphone and audio output. On the right side, only the SD card slot and USB 2.0 port are present. The most troubling part of GV62 is battery life because it can last only for up to 3 hours. Along with this gamer who thinks of streaming should get external webcam because its images are grainy and impure. In spite of that, overall performance is outstanding and there is no other such feature that will disappoint you.

4. Lenovo Legion Y530-15

Best gaming laptops under 1200 should be sleek, slim and have enough graphics power to play demanding games & So is Legion Y530. Although build material is plastic but still, look and feel is premium. When you will lift the lid for the first time, you will be astonished by the thin bezels surrounding the screen. Moreover, 5.2 pounds weight and 1-inch thickness makes it a portable one, compared to entry-level gaming notebooks. The keyboard of Legion-530 is island-style and is great for typists. However, gamers will be disappointed, as it does not offer tactile feedback like classical gaming keyboards. But 2mm key travel and 63 grams activation pressure compensate for this shortcoming.

The 15.6 inches Full HD display looks stunning and eye-catching. In addition, the screen brightness can reach up to 266 nits. So, during gameplay pictures are sharp, without missing any details. The laptop is powered by the 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor and 16GB of RAM. To give you the next-level experience of games, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti will be in action, but don’t expect from it to play virtual-reality games. For storing huge games 1TB hard drive with 7200 RPM is housed inside. On top of that, the big separated dual fans do a nice job of keeping the system cool during intense gameplay.

Secondary connectivity ports of Legion Y530 are also acceptable. You will have a USB Type-C port, a mini DisplayPort, an HDMI port, a Kensington lock, and Gigabit Ethernet. Moreover, the two Harman-tuned speakers generate crisp and clear sound both in games as well as listening to music. The 720p camera of Y530 is pretty good but it is below the display. So, to bring it in action you have to push the lid back to at least 135°. Fortunately, battery life is nice, as the system can last up to 5 hours. Thus, if you are looking for a laptop that is suitable for both work and play, Legion Y530 should be your choice.

5. Acer Aspire 7

Although both Aspire 5 and 7 share identical chassis, 7 is more performance-centric, suitable for multimedia as well as gaming. A quick glance at the design, the lid is made of aluminum. Though it attracts smudge and fingerprints in the meantime also very durable. The hinges are little overly tightened but opening the lid with one hand is still possible. The keyboard features nice key travel, tactile feedback and slightly concave keycaps for comfortable typing. Similarly, the touchpad’s response is accurate, less jumpy and a fingerprint reader is embedded in the upper left corner of it. The overall weight of the laptop is 5.15 pounds, although it’s a bit heavier with 0.9-inch thickness, it is thinner as well.

The notebook is equipped with a 15.6 inches FHD IPS display, which offers sharp and detailed pictures. Also, the dark parts of an image are well reproduced by the display. So, this quality will give you an extra advantage in gaming over your competitors. Moreover, it sports an 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti. So, intensive tasks will not be an issue. For storing your data a hybrid hard drive with 1TB HDD and 128GB SSD is available. The powerful a machine perform, the faster it gets heated. But thanks to the cooling system, containing two fans and two shared heat pipes due to which the system stays cool.

In order to save you from sticking out all the cables from one side, ports are well distributed on both sides. So, on the left side an HDMI port, RJ45 slot, a USB Type-C, and an SD card slot is located. Meanwhile, on the right, two USB 2.0 and an audio jack is positioned. Talking about audio performance, the sound generated by the speakers is nice with enough clarity in the low, mid and high frequencies. The average battery life is about 7 hours, which is simply amazing for such a gaming laptop under 1200. So, if all you want is solid performance in a reasonable budget, Aspire 7 should be your go-to choice.

6. ASUS TUF FX504

TUF FX504 is a budget gaming laptop with solid audio and performance. Build material is plastic and aluminum, which is acceptable for such an affordable laptop. Upon lifting the lid, you will see that the interior is pretty much the same. The 15.6 inches screen is surrounded by thick bezels. The keyboard is backlit and comes with a Numpad, but don’t expect a full RGB keyboard at such a price range. In addition, the vertical travel of keys is 1.4mm and requires 76 grams of force for activation. Along with this, the touchpad response is accurate with Windows 10, but during navigation, the plastic feels slippery and cheap. With 5.07 pounds weight and 2.6 inches thickness, the notebook is a bit thicker and heavier.

Although the display is FHD IPS it is dim and lifeless. On the bright side, the screen is sharp so the picture offered is full of details. Moreover, the 8th generation Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM give solid computing performance. For superior gaming performance and multitasking Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 GPU will be in action. On top of that for even faster responses along with acceptable storage space, this notebook comes with 256GB SSD. Likewise, the thermal system does a nice job of keeping the machine cool during gameplay and intensive tasks.

All the secondary connectivity ports are located on the left side except the Kensington lock which is on the right. This includes an HDMI port, a pair of USB 3.0 ports, Ethernet and headphone jack and USB 2.0 port. What is astonishing, is the pre-installed app of the ASUS Splendid Utility app, which enables you to change screen color temperature for the late-night gaming period. If you hope to use FX504 for both work and play, think again because up to 4 hours of battery life might not be enough for you. But if gaming is your top priority then its overall performance and features certainly make it one of the best 1200 dollar gaming laptops.

7. MSI XPC GF63

GF63 offers outstanding performance compared to its price but the display and build material are hard to ignore. The plastic lid and deck attract smudge easily. Screen size is 15.6 inches and the bezels surrounding it are very thin. The keyboard is black in color with red trim around each key. Although it supports red backlighting RGB fans will be disappointed. Moreover, the keyboard is island-style and the keys can travel 1.4mm vertically, requiring an activation pressure of 71 grams. The touchpad is large and responsive but the left-right click buttons are disagreeable and don’t feel firm. The overall weight of the laptop is 7.9 pounds, though it is not very portable but at the same time very durable.

Full HD (1920 x 1080p) IPS display of XPC GF63 provides crystal clear images. However, it is dim and peaks just 246 nits of brightness. In addition, the Intel Core i7 processor gives you the required horsepower. Along with this 16GB of RAM and Nvidia Geforce GTX, 1050 Ti enables you to run programs and games smoothly. For storing photos, movies and games the laptop house a 1TB hybrid hard drive with 256GB SSD. Furthermore, the system remains cool while watching HD videos, but it starts heating up during the game due to a single cooling fan. Yet, the dual speakers of GF63 allow you to enjoy your media with an excellent sound.

Unlike ASUS TUF FX504 reviewed above, most of the secondary connections are located on the right side except USB 3.1 Type-A port which is on the left. So, the right side sports two USB 3.1 ports, USB Type-C port, an Ethernet port and separate jacks for mic and headphones. A single HDMI port is located on the back of the notebook for connecting a monitor. What will please gamers the most, is the pre-installed Dragon Center app which lets them monitor GPU and its usage along with adjusting voice control. As gaming laptops are notorious for their short battery life so is XPC GF63, its battery life is up to 3 hours. Thus, it is designed for users who want to play in a very limited budget.

8. Dell G3 Gaming Laptop

Stylish design, powerful performance, and acceptable battery life make G3 the best gaming laptop under 1200. The weight of the laptop is 8.12 pounds so don’t expect much portability from it. But due to 0.9-inch thickness, it is the thinnest entry-level gaming laptop. Upon lifting the lid, you will see a sleek inner chassis. However, bezels surrounding the screen have a distasting effect due to their chunky design. The keyboard is stylish and palm rests are incredibly soft. Moreover, it includes Numpad and supports blue backlit. On the other hand, touchpad captures all of the Windows 10 gestures but the matte texture is cheaply made.

Anti-glare, LED-backlit display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels on 15.6 inches screen simply looks amazing. Also, it is brighter compared to other laptops in this price range. Computing performance is due to the Intel Core i5 processor. Multitasking is made smooth by 8GB of RAM and realistic gaming experience is provided by Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050. 1TB hard drive having 5400RPM along with 16GB Intel Optane memory will store all your important data. In addition, Dell G3 speakers generate ear-pleasing sound both in games as well as listening to music or watching movies.

Although it is a budget-friendly laptop still manages to offer a wide range of ports for the secondary connection. On the left side an HDMI 2.0 port, two USB 3.1 ports, RJ-45 port, and an audio jack are positioned. Simultaneously, on the right side a Noble lock slot, a USB 2.0 port, and 2-in-1 SD/MMC card reader. Average battery life is up to 6 hours which is impressive for such an affordable gaming laptop. So, if all you want is good gaming performance in a stylish design with exciting battery life, Dell G3 should be your choice to invest in.

9. ASUS VivoBook Pro 15

Vivobook Pro 15 is slim, lightweight and a budget gaming laptop that offers exceptional performance. It weighs only 4.4 pounds and thickness is 0.8 inches, so it is the most portable gaming laptop included here. Pro’s lid is made of brushed metal, the manufacturer claims that it is scratch-resistant and their claim is absolutely right. Screen size is 15.6 inches, side bezels are thinner but the top and bottom bezels are thick. the keyboard is also acceptable but pro gamers may not like it. The reason behind it is 1.2mm key travel and 79 grams of pressure required for activation. Correspondingly, the touchpad’s responses are accurate and accept all the standard Windows navigation gestures.

This best gaming laptop under 1200 in 2020 features Full HD IPS display with 100% sRGB color gamut. In addition, the panel is very bright and can emit up to 277 nits. The solid performance of Pro 15 is due to the 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor with a turbo boost up to 4.1 GHz and 8GB of RAM. Smooth play of intensive games is made possible by Nvidia Geforce GTX 1050 graphics card. Although for storage it houses 1TB HDD the drive is boosted by Intel Optane memory. The powerful the machine is, the faster it gets heated. But ASUS’s cooling system consisting of dual copper and dual fans keep things cool.

Despite the fact Pro 15 is slim but still, it offers a wide range of ports. So, on the left side, you will find a USB 3.0 port, an HDMI port, an Ethernet jack, and a USB 3.1 Type-C port. Concurrently, on the right side, a pair of USB 2.0 port, an audio jack and an SD card reader are located. Battery life is on the downside as the system can last for up to 4 hours. However, it is still acceptable for such a powerful machine. Apart from this, there is no other such thing that will disappoint you. Let’s cut to the chase ASUS VivoBook Pro 15 is the best gaming laptop for 1200.

10. Dell G5587-5859BLK-PUS

The best gaming laptop under 1200 comes with unmatched excellence and power-packed performance. It proves to be the ultimate tool for staying ahead of competitors and is the best gaming technology around. The overall weight of the notebook is 6.28 pounds and is about an inch thick. Due to which, portability is in the mid-range. Lift the lid and you will see a full-sized keyboard with a number pad. On top of that backlit WASD keys and 1.4mm key travel will certainly please gamers. As the machine is run by Windows 10 operating system, the touchpad response is accurate, less jumpy and accept all Windows gesture.

Dell G5 takes visual delight with its 15.6 inches Full HD LED-backlit display. The screen is touch-sensitive and the anti-glare panel lets the game happen without irritating about the surroundings. Moreover, it can handle every level of stress with its 8th generation Intel Core i5 processor. 8GB DDR4 RAM upgradeable up to 32GB makes multi-tasking pure fun. In addition, the gaming experience is made extremely delightful, as the data appears in a blink due to 1TBHDD and 128GB SSD Boot. What keeps the system cool under extreme pressure is the dual fan technology and robust cooling vents.

Nvidia GeForce 1060 graphics enable gamers to see game elements precisely. Also, due to this innovative graphic support, the game design comes to life and gamers can easily understand the complete gameplan. For making secondary connections you will have three USB 3.1 ports, a USB Type-C, 2-in-1 SD/MMC reader, an audio jack and Gigabit Ethernet RJ45. The two tuned front-firing speakers of G5 enable you to experience every bit of action with improved clarity. on top of that, the battery charges so fast that in just 15 minutes you can obtain a 25% battery charge. Along with this, the system can last up to 6 hours which is just amazing.

How to Choose Best Gaming Laptop Under 1200 2020

A gaming laptop is a kit on the go with the power to play games. So, while buying it you are not just looking at specs but the whole computer with built-in keyboard and display. Here are some important factors that you should consider while buying a gaming laptop, in order to get the best one according to your needs and budget.

GPU

Some games use CPU while the majority of the games are GPU bound. So, the most important thing in a gaming laptop is GPU. Most gaming notebooks come with Nvidia GeForce GTX or RTX graphics card, never go for AMD GPU. For casual games, GTX 1650 or 1660 will do the job, for mainstream gaming RTX 2060 is more than enough. But to enjoy gaming in VR and the highest setting then GPU should be RTX 2080 or 2080 Ti.

CPU

As we have mentioned that most games are GPU bound, so even the Core i5 processor will do the job for you. Depending on your budget, you can also have a powerful Core i7 or i9 processor. Keep one thing in mind that the processor is not upgradeable, so make the right choice in the first place.

RAM

Gaming can be RAM intensive so 8GB is recommended for even casual games. Gaming laptops that come with GTX 1050 or 1050 Ti usually have 8GB of RAM. But if the GPU is GTX 1060 then 8GB RAM will not be enough for you. However, the good news here is that if your budget is limited at the moment you can upgrade it later to 16GB or 32GB in which case the result will be remarkably different.

Storage

For storing data a laptop comes with two types of drive, either HDD or SSD. But nowadays most of the gaming laptops come with a hybrid drive that provides enormous storage capacity like HDD and also a small SSD boot for faster responses. So, the best combination will be 1TB HDD and 128GB boot SSD. Like RAM, it is also upgradeable hence if 1TB is not enough for you to opt for 2TB, in that case, you have to spend more.

Display

Displays are often ignored but they are very important. Unless you are connecting an external monitor, the built-in screen is all you are left with to see all of your games. The two important things to look in the display are size and resolution.

Size
Most gaming laptops are either 15 or 17 inches, though some are huge 18 inches while other is 14 inches. Choosing display size is a matter of personal preference but keep in mind that the larger the screen will be, the heavier and less portable the laptop is.

Resolution
Never grab anything less than 1920 x 1080 resolutions that are Full HD display. If your graphics card is GTX 1070 or 1080 you can also consider a 2560 x 1440 display. Don’t go for 4k because for that you will need RTX 1070 or 1080 GPU which is quite expensive. Also, you have to turn down some settings in order to play the game smoothly.

Keyboard

The keyboard plays a key role in making you, winner. So, consider the following factors in a gaming laptop’s keyboard.

Key Travel
It means that how far a key can travel vertically when you press it. The recommended key travel is 1.5mm but if you get 2mm that is even better.

Actuation
Pressure require to press the key down. The force between 65 to 70 grams is enough to provide resistance.

Backlighting
Most of the budget gaming laptops come with LED-backlit, but the best keyboards have RGB backlighting. Some do it by zone, others on a per-key basis, Some even enable you to change the lighting according to your game. But RGB backlighting keyboards are expensive and you have to spend more.

Battery Life

As gaming is an intensive task so battery soon drains out of juice. It will be better to play when your laptop is plugged in, in order to get solid performance out of your GPU. Even if your laptop lasts an hour gaming then you are lucky. Although some laptops last long but at the expense of display.

Conclusion
If all you want is solid gaming performance at an affordable price, then this article will guide you in the right direction to find such a gaming laptop that will fulfill all your needs. Also, keep visiting so that you don’t miss any updates.

About the author

Dawn Richard

Dawn Richard is a software engineer with a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver. He now works full-time managing LaptopsConsider while coding his own projects on the side.

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