Buyer Guide Gaming

Best Gaming Laptops Under ($1500-$2500) 2020

The Best High-End Gaming Laptop Under $2500
Written by Dawn Richard

After several hours of research, I selected 6 best gaming laptops under $1500 to $2500 among thirty models currently popular on the market.

In my opinion, the MSI GS65 8RF is a safe investment for intensive gamers. It has a configuration at the forefront, while being offered at a price that is not too prohibitive (it must of course relativize in the field of notebook gaming).

If you want to make your own opinion about the laptop for gamer tailor-made for you, I invite you to read my buying guide at the end of the article.

Best Budget Gaming Laptops Under $1300

Let’s say it right away: a laptop for gamers is a big investment. This section devoted to cheap models also begins in a price range already around 1300 €.

If you want to get into the purchase of such a laptop but your means are reduced, I invite you to read preferably my guide dedicated to cheap gaming laptops.

The two models that I propose here have already enough to turn the most greedy games while being offered at a price that is still reasonable and offering a material quality and screen.

1. Lenovo Legion Y530: The Best Cheap

Best Budget Gaming Laptops Under $1300
PROS
  • Elegant design
  • Good performance
  • Lightweight
CONS
  •  Camera (poorly) positioned under the screen

The first computer of my selection should not be unknown to those who are interested a little in the field of PC gaming, in the sense that it is the 2018 version of the very famous Y520.

So of course, it is not, at this price, the most powerful notebook for gamers. Nevertheless, it is, in this area, the excellence of the entry-level, in that it avoids many pitfalls that are often found there: moderate temperature, beautiful finishes and consistency in the choice of components.

Level design first, the first thing that jumps in the eyes of connoisseurs of the Y520 is that the plastic bonnet is better billed and gives an impression of strength. Connectivity, it has been brought back, allowing a better cooling of the machine. The rendering is a black and matte case, which gives a sober and elegant look, which is not often found in the gaming laptops.

The 15.6-inch Full HD screen this time a welcome anti-glare during your intense gaming parties and avoids you to lock yourself in the dark like a vampire as soon as you want to give yourself a small part. The ratio edge / screen has also been optimized, which allows a better visual comfort.

On the other hand, know that if you are adept skype or streaming, the Webcam has been relegated to the bottom of the screen to optimize this ratio, which is not very flattering level shooting. Well, personally, I also do not find that it is most disturbing.

The keyboard offers enough flexibility, which is nice for extended gaming sessions. It also has backlight, very convenient for your night game sessions.

So of course, as is almost always the case with Windows PCs in general and PC gaming in particular, the model is declined with a multitude of combinations of components. I decided, throughout this article, each time to select a similar variant, with good consistency in all its components and sufficient to run the most greedy games and especially , do not be obsolete in the months that follow.

This model offers you an Intel Core i7-8750H (8th generation, which increases the speed of 10% compared to the 7th generation) combined with a GTX 1060 graphics card with a dedicated RAM of 6 GB, perfectly balanced thanks to a RAM of 8 GB, and offering a 1 TB hard drive and a 256 GB SSD.

Level connectivity, this variant of the Y530 offers 1 HDMI port, 4 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 easy access.

Finally, mobility level of the device, it is rather good: with only 2.2 kg and a 9.5 hours overall autonomy (obviously, if you perform intensive gaming, you can reduce this autonomy at least by two), it is rather easily transportable.

In short, the Lenovo Legion Y530 offers very likely one of the best quality / price ratio of the moment among inexpensive gamer laptops. And if you have a tighter budget and you do not play games too greedy, the version on Core i5, almost 300 € cheaper, could perfectly fill you.

2. Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming (PH315-51-78NP): More Powerful Than the Legion Y530, and Easy To Upgrade

Best Budget Gaming Laptops Under $1300
PROS
  • Powerful
  • Bon CPU/GPU
  • Very fast
CONS
  • Qwerty keyboard only

Among the Predator range from Acer, the Helios 300 series is one of the cheapest. It marks the will of Acer to also move, in its Predator range, to gamers with a more limited budget, while sacrificing the least possible performance.

Level design, the regulars of Predator will be there. I particularly like the brushed metal effect printed on the plastic of the hull, which gives it a slightly more noble appearance.

The 15.6-inch Full HD display is a nice surprise, with a higher color fidelity than the Lenovo Legion Y530. By cons, it lacks perhaps a little brightness if you like to play in a room lit.

The keyboard is rather comfortable, offering the ideal resistance to avoid errors while not being tiring to use. By cons, better to report it directly, it is proposed in Qwerty version. You could be destabilized by the positioning of the keys!

Let’s talk about what’s in his stomach now. It offers an Intel Core i7-8750H (8th generation), combined with a GTX 1060 graphics card with a dedicated RAM of 6 GB, 16 GB of RAM, and a hybrid hard drive of 1TB and 256 GB SSD.

The dedicated RAM of the graphics card means that it does not share its RAM with the rest of the components. This is optimal for running the most greedy 3D games and programs. By cons, it is felt on the ventilation: and this PC tends to heat more than the average.

Note however that if, after a while, the performance is not up to your expectations, you can quite easily change the graphics card and processor: there are two hatches under the computer that we can withdraw without difficulty.

Connectivity level we have everything you need: 1 HDMI port, 1 Ethernet port, 3 USB 2.0 ports, 1 USB 3.0 port, 1 USB-C port, an SD port and an audio / microphone output.

Finally, it still remains very mobile despite everything it embarks: it weighs only 2.5 kg and can hold, in normal use, up to 7 hours.

In the end, this PC could have obtained the first place of this section if it did not present this problem of heating. However, if we are warned and that we equip properly (with a good cooler, for example), it is an excellent PC gamer for a price that is still reasonable.

The Best Mid-Range Gaming Laptops Under $2500

In this category are in my opinion the most interesting models, in that it offers the right combination of power to run all current games and not become obsolete in the coming months.

We also make a leap in the material quality offered, with aluminum frames, a guarantee of strength and durability.

When we turn around 2000 €, what can we expect? I focused on powerful, fast, and strong models.

3. MSI GS65 8RF: The Best Midrange

Best Budget Gaming Laptops Under $2500
PROS
  • Powerful
  • Max-Q
  • Quality aluminum design
CONS
  • Heat

The MSI GS65 8RF is the first computer in my selection to offer an aluminum chassis, a guarantee of its increased strength.

And it must be said that the overall design is successful, in that it combines a sober side and a side you’ve seen, with the golden edges on the hood. Sufficiently discreet as to take it to the library, but original enough that to stand out from your neighbors’ PCs.

Its 15.6-inch Full HD screen is well balanced in colorimetry and has an excellent ratio compared to very thin edges. With a refreshing rate of 144 Hz, the visibility in play also withstands any test (almost zero remanence).

On the other hand, its backlit keyboard is not the most comfortable in that it offers an extremely short response time and therefore an increased tendency to typing errors. Nevertheless, some prefer this type of configuration.

On the performance side, it includes a 6-core Intel Core i7-8750H (8th generation) processor, a GTX 1070 with 8 GB of dedicated RAM, a Max-Q, 16 GB of RAM, and an internal memory of 1 TB with SSD 256 Go. In short, this is the best configuration of this section (you will see), and the MSI has no trouble turning all the big games of the moment.

Connectivity side, there is nothing wrong with him: 1 HDMI port, 1 USB-C port, 3 USB 3.1 ports, 1 Ethernet port, 1 DisplayPort port, 1 audio jack and 1 microphone jack.

Finally, with its small weight of 1.9 kg and 1.7 cm thick only, it is easy to carry, especially that its power supply is quite thin and light, if you want to take it to compensate for it. autonomy of about 7 hours.

If I have a reproach, it is that it tends to heat a little for my taste. So I can only recommend that you invest in a cooling system adapted to the house. By cons, it is almost noisy, which is quite pleasant to use.

In the end, it is an excellent laptop for gamer, who will withstand all the games you submit, and which is very mobile despite its performance. This is, in my opinion, the best quality / price ratio of the moment in terms of PC gamer really powerful.

4. Razer Blade 15: Gaming Laptop Under $1500

Gaming Laptop Under $1500
PROS
  • Design and Sobriety
  • Light and compact
  • Performances
CONS
  • Heated
  • Noisy

In the field of a gaming laptop, here is a flagship model that has been taken a blow of youth recently: the famous Razer Blade. Yet this is not the newest version, touch, which I will talk about here. Indeed, in my opinion, the touch drains the battery without bringing anything to the game experience. So I will tell you about the traditional model.

On the design side, the remarkable point is that, once closed, it has a very sober and elegant look, with just the small green buttons on the logo on the cover and on the USB plugs, which means that it does not absolutely denote not if you use it in a more classical context, like the library. And, indeed, it will also be perfect as a notebook for a student gamer

It has a Full HD matte screen at 60 Hz refresh rate, with a very good brightness, which allows a good gaming experience in various conditions, even in complete darkness.

With its multicolored backlit keyboard, there is no need to say, it throws. It’s a keyboard with Razer Chroma technology, which gives each key an individual backlight, allowing unlimited customization options. Now, honestly, it certainly impacts the price, while I’m not sure everyone has any real value.

Let’s get right to the point by looking at the components: Core i7-8750H (8th generation), NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB (it’s very difficult to get the GTX 1070 version right now), 2TB HDD hard drive and SSD 512 GB. In short, nothing wrong, except that I would have preferred a GTX 1070 to place it on the same level of equality as its direct competitors.

On the other hand, its thickness of 1.78 cm and its weight of less than 2kg make it an ultra-portable model. And autonomy? We can count up to 6 hours of gaming, which is very correct. Attention though: although the PC itself is very light, its power supply, rather massive, is 800 gr! We must count this additional weight for transport.

So, is this the perfect laptop gamer? Not quite either. Many users notice a discomfort in the noise, but the opposite would be surprising in view of everything it embarks. No, what annoys me more, it is rather the heating which it shows with the use, more important than on the MSI. I strongly advise to invest in a cooling system worthy of the name if you opt for this PC and that you play intensively.

One last word for the road: know that it exists also in version 14 “and 17”.

5. ASUS ROG Strix SCAR II: Best Gaming Laptop Under 1500

best gaming laptops under $1500 to $2500
PROS
  • Design and Sobriety
  • Does not heat up
  • Quality screen
CONS
  • Poor Battery
  • No Max-Q

Here is another model from a very well known range in the gaming world, Asus ROG.

Design side, we recognize the leg of Asus, very famous for its very elegant looks, although I think the bright logo that stands out in the middle of the brushed metal is the most beautiful effect.

The keyboard has, like the Razer, a RGB backlight. The slightly curved shape of its keys makes it very comfortable to hit. By cons, I’m less a fan of the military print, which gives it a look masculine enough in my opinion (I know that the world of esport is mostly populated with testosterone, but still …).

The 15-inch Full HD screen, like the MSI, offers a refresh rate of 144 Hz. It has very thin edges, except the bottom one, where the webcam is located. As with the Lenovo Legion Y530, it is unflattering for the angle of view.

On the component side, it integrates a Core i7-8750H processor (8th generation), a GTX 1070 8GB, a 16GB RAM, a 1TB hard drive and a 256GB SSD. In short, compared to the MSI, he lacks only the Max-Q. No current game resists him.

Connectivity level, it is not left over, with 1 HDMI port, 1 USB-C port, 3 USB 3.1 ports, 1 Ethernet port, 1 mini-DisplayPort port, an SD player and a headphone jack.

Level mobility, cons, it still displays 2.6 kg on the scale, and a pitiful autonomy of 2 hours. That’s what made him lose first place, even though I recognize that it’s not important for all of us.

By cons, good surprise side, the three PCs of this section is the one that heats the least, with its high-performance ventilation system.

In the end, I really put it side by side with the MSI. What has tipped the balance in favor of the second are the lower mobility and lack of Max-Q of the Asus ROG Strix Scar II. Otherwise, level components, they are worth completely, and the Asus has the huge advantage of not heating up. I leave you free to judge what matters most to you.

The Best High-End Gaming Laptop Under $2500

I had trouble deciding on this category. First, to filter the exuberance: I can not see the point of talking about computers with more than 7500 €, and it is difficult to do better than some competitive models between 1500 and 2500 € to justify such a jump in the price.

So with the price-quality ratio in mind, I retained only one model, which in my opinion brings enough innovations to the market and has enough power to justify a price above average.

6. Gigabyte Aero 15X V8: The Best High-End

best gaming laptops under $1500 to $2500
PROS
  • Excellent screen
  • Does not heat up
  • Good mobility
CONS
  • Average autonomy

The design of the Gigabyte Aero is probably what challenged me first: with its sober notebook look, it’s hard to believe that this is one of the most powerful gaming PCs of the moment. Its matte black aluminum coating is, in my opinion, the most beautiful effect.

On the other hand, if you really want to add the “gaming key”, you are free to activate the RGB backlight of the keyboard. As with the Asus, the slight concavity of the keys allows a comfortable typing, and the optimization of the place allows the integration of a keypad more than welcome.

The 15-inch Full HD display offers colorimetry that is perfect, and readable in all circumstances. Note that for the greediest of you, a UHD version is also available for investment a little more consequent. It too has a refresh rate of 144 Hz.

It also includes premium components: Intel Core i7-8750H (8th generation) with 6 cores, GTX 1070 Max-Q with 8 GB of dedicated memory, a RAM of 16 GB, a hybrid hard drive 1TB and SSD 512 GB. In short, it’s the best combo of my selection, while this model is not the most recently released PC on the market. Unsurprisingly, no current game resists him.

And if ever, one day, that was not enough for you, know that it is quite easily possible to remove the bottom cover by unscrewing, to upgrade (a location is even already planned to add a RAM strip directly).

There is nothing to report on the connection: 1 HDMI, 1 USB-C / Thunderbolt 3 port, 2 USB 3.1 ports, 1 compatible UHS-II SD player, 1 mini DisplayPort port, 1 Ethernet port and a headphone / microphone jack.

Finally, mobility level, the result is mixed. If its small weight of 1.9 kg and its smoothness (19 mm) can transport it easily, its autonomy does not last much more than 6 hours. It is nevertheless much more than the Asus, and a performance to highlight in view of all that it embarks.

The only flaw, finally one can really find it, is that it tends to heat up with use. It is closer, from this point of view, what can be observed with the MSI (so it is not too disabling, but better to provide a good cooling system if you want to see it last).

In the end, it is not for nothing that this PC has earned a place in my selection upscale. Resistant, powerful, with a screen quality close to perfection, and a reasonable autonomy, it is a PC that you can use to run the most greedy games, but also for your current note taking.

How To Choose Your Gaming Laptop?

With their performance components a bit confusing, their assertive design and their price (often) high, gamer laptops are from another world than conventional notebooks. But if you want to ship, for example, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey to a friend without having to move a tower, a screen, a keyboard, a mouse and a power strip in the trunk of the car, that’s the price to pay.

How much is the invoice? It varies between 800 and 5000 €. The weight ? Between 1.5 kg and 9kg. In other words, there is something for all tastes and all budgets. But there are some key points to keep in mind, no matter what your final choice.

And if you really do not find happiness in my selection because of your limited budget, I invite you to go see my comparison dedicated to “cheap” gamer laptops.

Components

If you want to be able to run games on your computer, especially recent games on the market, the criteria to be taken into account are obviously different than for a computer on which to take your course notes. Autonomy and mobility will more than likely be less essential criteria than the processor and the graphics card.

The Processor (CPU)

The processor is somehow the heart, or even the brain of your computer, responsible for processing and executing the instructions you give it.

The more greedy the game you use, the more powerful and responsive the processor will be.

Nevertheless, it is useless to invest in the latest ultra-powerful processor if you do not play big games. Before investing in a PC, check the minimum requirements for running your favorite game, and adapt accordingly.

Everything is relative, then, but I would tend to advise you, for a gaming use pushed, to turn to a processor Core i5 or i7 series M or H. If you have the means, you can turn to the Core i9, but at present, games that require such an investment are more than rare (it is usually reserved for streamers).

The Quad Core is to favor, because more and more games are developed in order to make the most of it. But if you find a model 6 hearts, or even 8, it’s even better.

The Graphics Card (GPU)

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.

At the moment, I would advise you to mimize a GTX 1050. A GTX 1060 is a good average, while a GTX 1070 starts to offer you really satisfactory results on games more nervous type FPS. Now, if you want something really comfortable in all circumstances the GTX 1080 is obviously an option of choice.

The Max-Q

It is possible that you meet this mention on the data sheets. Honestly, it’s more than interesting to watch, even if it is still often quite expensive.

This is a relatively new GPU design patented by NVidia, which significantly reduces the power consumption of the graphics card. Now, which means reduced consumption, says controlled temperature.

RAM

RAM is the RAM of your computer: it stores the information that your computer is actively using so that it can access it quickly. It depends on the computer’s ability to multitask and move quickly from one to the other.

It must be consistent with the rest of the components: if your processor is powerful but the RAM does not follow, it’s not worth it, your computer will be slow.

For gaming, it becomes difficult to navigate to less than 8 GB of RAM. But if you turn to a GTX 1060 processor or higher, I recommend you even 16 GB of RAM to take full advantage of all its advantages.

The Hard Drive

All notebook models in this selection are equipped with at least partial SSD storage. Why is it important? First for the installation time, which is much faster, but not that.

When a game is running, it picks up information from the internal memory. An SSD thus makes it possible, in particular, to reduce the loading time.

The Screen

Of course, it is useless to invest in a quality graphics card if the screen does not follow! Nevertheless, you should know that investing in a quality screen is usually an investment of minimum 1200-1300 € (exceptions exist, of course).

But how to make sure that the screen is of good quality?

The resolution must be at least 1920 × 1080 (Full HD), with a refresh rate of 60 or 120 Hz. If it has G-Sync or FreeSync technology, it’s even better, especially for FPS a little nervous.

As far as touch is concerned, I am personally against it. Some manufacturers put it forward saying that it is ideal for Candy Crush or other games rather mobile. However, in my opinion, it is above all a considerable drain of the battery, up to several hundred euros more on the bill, and a feature whose utility is generally limited to lovers of strategy games. See if you belong to it.

Screen Size

The size of the screen will depend on the place the manufacturer has to put good material in it. A 15 “computer will often have more heating problems and a lower performance graphics card. It is to this format that most manufacturers now seem to be looking after several years focused on the 17 inches.

A model 17 inches, if it offers a better immersion, is obviously less nomad, being much more difficult to put in a bag, and often much heavier. So you have to see how important you are to the mobility of your computer.

In Conclusion, Which Gaming Laptop To Choose?

It is tempting, when we are ready to put a price, to crack for the PC offering the most powerful components of the moment. Nevertheless, I tell you again, you do not need to empty your bank account if you play only games greedy.

The key is first to check the minimum requirements for the games you play and those you plan to buy in the coming months, and to go, if possible, to the recommended configuration (always listed in side of the minimum configuration).

But other questions must also arise, especially around the mobility of your device. If you do not expect to pack it often in a bag where it’s likely to hit, models with plastic chassis such as the Lenovo Legion Y530 and the Acer Predator Helios 300 will prove resilient.

Otherwise, crack for an aluminum model can be a guarantee of conservation over time. And in this case, opt for a weight of less than 2kg, as with the MSI GS65 8RF, the Razer Blade 15 or the Gigabyte Aero 15X V8 can be a wise choice.

As for the components, you will have noticed, it is often possible to find rather similar configurations for each PC. I invite you to determine what you absolutely need, select each PC in its version with this configuration, and then review the price.

They are all in a comparable range? The preference for a design or a brand can play here. Personally, my good experiences with Asus would probably lean me in favor of the Asus ROG Strix Scar II.

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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