Gaming will always be here to stay. Whether you’re playing on a very powerful gaming PC or playing on the go with your laptop, people will always find a way to entertain themselves with their favorite games.
Now, gaming laptops have become quite popular since their inception, but some of the really powerful ones are really expensive. Heck, they are even more expensive than their gaming desktop counterparts.
If you are on the lookout for the best laptop at a given price point, specifically, under $1000, then you’ve come to the right place! In this article, I will talk about the 7 best gaming laptops you can buy that is under a thousand bucks.
Do note that the gaming laptops that are below the said price are the entry-level ones, but it doesn’t mean to say that you’re just going to get any crappy laptop, right? Read on to find out my top picks for the best gaming laptops under $1000.
7 Best Gaming Laptops Under $1000
|Name||CPU||GPU||RAM||Storage||Display Type||Price (Under)|
|MSI GL62M 7RD-058||Intel Core i5-7300HQ||Nvidia GTX 1050||8GB||128GB SSD+ 1TB HDD||IPS||$800|
|ASUS ZX53VW||Intel Core i5-6300HQ||Nvidia GTX 960M||8GB||512 M.2 SSD||IPS||$800|
|ASUS K501UW-AB78||Intel Core i7-6500U||Nvidia GTX 960M (2GB)||8GB||256GB SSD +1TB 5400 HDD||TN||$800|
|MSI GE62 Apache Pro-004||Intel Core i7-6700HQ||Nvidia GTX 960M (2GB)||16GB||128GB SSD +1TB 7200 HDD||IPS||$870|
|HP Omen 15t||Intel Core i7-7700HQ||Nvidia GTX 1050||12GB||512GB PCIe NVMe SSD+ 1TB 7200RPM HDD||IPS||$930|
|ASUS ROG GL552VW-DH71||Intel Core i7-6700HQ||Nvidia GTX 960M (2GB)||16GB||1TB 7200 RPM HDD||TN||$960|
|Acer Aspire VX 15||Intel Core i7-7700HQ||Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti||16GB||256GB SSD+ 1TB HDD||IPS||$1000|
7. MSI GL62M 7RD-058
Price: Under $800
Pros: New generation pascal GPU, SteelSeries keyboard, SSD+HDD combo
Cons: Single-channel Memory, No optical drive, No keyboard backlighting
The first on our list is a very good entry-level gaming laptop, the MSI GL62M 7RD-058. I do have to point out right now that most gaming laptop names are pretty long, so I will shorten their names by using their first names. In this case, I will refer to this gaming laptops as the GL62M.
Anyway, the MSI GL62M 7RD-058 is equipped with an Intel Kabylake processor in the form of the Intel Core i5-7300HQ and it also comes with the highly-efficient Nvidia GTX 1050. You might be surprised that the GPU doesn’t come with the “M” suffix anymore, but that is just because Nvidia has ditched the naming scheme when they’ve released their 1000 series Pascal graphics cards.
Now, both of these components are very energy efficient which means that it doesn’t drain too much battery. The Intel Core i5-7300HQ is clocked at 2.5GHz and it has a Turbo Boost feature that raises its core clock to a maximum of 3.50GHz only when it is needed.
The graphics processing unit, on the other hand, is the newest GTX 1050 from Nvidia. It has a minimum GPU clock of 1354MHz and it can boost its frequency up to 1493MHz. It also has a memory clock of 7000MHz which is considerable as well. It has 4GB of VRAM with a 128-bit memory bus width.
The GL62M has a 15.6-inch IPS display which has a pretty good color performance. For the most part, a 15-inch laptop is what’s considered as a “middle ground” for gaming laptops since it offers just enough screen real estate for you to enjoy your games without being too bulky.
Another great thing about this gaming laptop is that it comes with a 1TB HDD and a 128GB SSD combo. This means that you can install your operating system on the SSD and you can install the vast majority of your games on the HDD. You can have a much bigger capacity SSD or HDD, but you will need to dish out additional money.
This laptop comes with an 8GB DDR-2400 RAM. Although 8GB is respectable, you do have to note that it only comes in a single-channel configuration. This means it performs a bit slower when compared to a laptop with dual-channel RAM. But, you do have the option to increase its RAM, but again, you have to spend more money.
The MSI GL62M 7RD-058 also partnered with SteelSeries to give you an amazing keyboard. It has a nice response when you press on it and it doesn’t feel mushy. The sad part is that the keyboard is not illuminated.
There is another thing that you need to be aware of as this can put off some people. This gaming laptop does not have any optical drive. Most games nowadays do not come with CD installation discs anymore, but there are some people who still want an optical drive for their music and movies discs. Before buying this laptop, do keep this in mind.
If you want a nice entry level laptop that costs below $800, then the MSI GL62M 7RD-058 is a good choice.
6. ASUS ZX53VW
Price: Under $800
Pros: 512GB M.2 SSD, Gamefirst technology
Cons: Touchpad is a fingerprint magnet
When it comes to great gaming laptops that do not break the bank, Asus never fails to disappoint. The ASUS ZX53VW is one great budget gaming laptop. This laptop has the 6th generation Skylake Intel Core i5-6300HQ. It is a quad-core processor with a base clock of 2.30GHz and has a turbo boost frequency of 3.20GHz.
As for its GPU, it comes with the GTX 960M. It has a base clock of 1097MHz and a boost of 1176MHz. In most respects, this card is a good performer when you’re playing in 1080p. You may have to tone down a couple of settings, but it should be okay in most games at the said resolution.
One thing that made this laptop a consistent recommendation is because of its included SSD. It doesn’t come with a hard disk, but it does come with a 512GB M.2 SSD. For those of you who do not know, an M.2 SSD provides up to 10x faster read and write speeds compared to the conventional HDD. That being said, you can load up your favorite applications and games in just a few seconds! The good thing about this is that you can even expand the storage if you want to!
For its ports, it has (2) USB 3.0 ports, (1) USB 2.0 port, and the new USB 3.1 Type-C port. It even has one Mini DisplayPort and an HDMI port for VR headsets. The laptop also has 8 GB of RAM in dual-channel configuration (2x4GB). It only uses DDR4-2133MHz, however, but RAM speed is not that important considering that DDR4 is already a speedy RAM.
The company also included a nice chiclet keyboard that feels amazing when you type on it. It provides that nice clicky feel, but it is important to note that it is not a mechanical gaming keyboard. It also has some red LED lighting which compliments that all-black exterior of the laptop.
Its screen is a 15.6-inch IPS display with a maximum resolution of 1920×1080. It also has an anti-glare coating which protects it from unwanted glare so you play games anywhere, even when you’re outside with the sun shining brightly.
There are a lot of online games nowadays and so, the company included their Gamefirst technology. Essentially, this feature prioritizes gaming packets over anything else so that lag will be significantly diminished.
If there is one problem with this laptop, it would be that its touchpad, albeit responsive, is a fingerprint magnet. Smudges will be apparent, but it can easily be cleaned off. Other than that, this is another great budget gaming laptop that is just under $800.
5. ASUS K501UW-AB78
Price: Under $800
Pros: Thin form factor, Professional Design, Intel Core i7
Cons: Trackpad’s buttons are not soft to the touch, 2GB VRAM on GPU
If you value form factor when it comes to gaming laptops, this next one will appeal to you. The ASUS K501UW-AB78 is a thin gaming laptop with the following dimensions: 10in x 15.6in x 0.8in. Also, this laptop only weighs 4.4lbs which take its portability to a whole new level.
Despite its slim form factor, the laptop does pack some powerful specs inside. It is powered by Intel’s Core i7-6500U. It is a dual-core processor with hyperthreading that essentially adds two additional threads. It is clocked at 2.5GHz and has a turbo frequency of 3.10GHz.
The GPU that is inside this gaming laptop is the Nvidia GTX 960M. Do note, however, that the one that’s used in this laptop is the 2GB VRAM model which can be limiting in some games that have very high texture packs. But, if you’re not planning on playing games that are too demanding on the GPU, then this should be fine.
The K501 has a professional looking design. It has a brushed aluminum cover and the color scheme on the main surface area of the laptop is metallic gray. It just looks absolutely amazing and does give you that professional look.
The screen is another 15.6-inch display, but instead of using an IPS panel, this laptop makes use of a TN panel. For those of you who do not know, TN panel screens suffer from poor viewing angles, but they are the fastest displays on the market. It does have a full HD resolution, though.
Its inputs include (2) USB 3.0 ports, a USB 2.0 port, an HDMI-out, an RJ45 LAN port, a 3.5mm combo jack, and an SD card reader. Furthermore, it supports the latest 802.11 ac Wireless standard which enables faster speeds and it also has a Bluetooth 4.0 feature as well.
Asus really intends this laptop to be a gaming laptop and they know that the laptop heats up when you’re gaming. Therefore, the company includes a dual fan cooling system which will help in cooling the laptop. The laptop still heats up, but it is much cooler compared to the other gaming laptops at this price point.
The battery life is also pretty good as the laptop will last for up to 7.5 hours. Do note that the more strenuous the tasks you do on the laptop, the lower the battery life is going to be.
The keyboard is completely illuminated thanks to the embedded white LED. The trackpad is also quite responsive, but the buttons are the biggest complaint so far. According to some people, the trackpad is just not soft to the touch and sometimes give you that crunchy feeling whenever you press it. Whether it is just a quality control issue or not, it is still worth noting.
Despite its 2GB VRAM GPU and its sometimes dodgy trackpad buttons, the ASUS K501UW-AB78 is still a pretty good budget gaming laptop. It’s got some sleek looks and a thin and light form factor so you can play anywhere.
4. MSI GE62 Apache Pro-004
Price: Under $870
Pros: IPS Display, RGB backlit keyboard
Cons: Touchpad’s texture is rough, annoyingly big power brick
Now, we move into the realm of the RGB. The MSI GE62 Apache Pro-004 sports an RGB backlit keyboard which is pretty common nowadays. The keyboard is made by SteelSeries and they actually feel really good to the touch. They have a nice response and the keys do not feel mushy at all (other chiclet keyboards feel too soft).
The design of this laptop is pretty simple. It has a brushed aluminum dark-colored cover and the main surface of the laptop is predominantly made of plastic. Do not worry as durability is there, you just have to make sure that you do not drop the laptop or use excessive force (i.e. fits of rage).
This particular gaming laptop has a lot of variants, but this one comes with the Intel Core i7-6700HQ and the GTX 960M GPU (2GB VRAM). The processor has four cores and it has eight threads thanks to the company’s “Hyperthreading” feature. It has a clock speed of 2.60GHz and it can reach up to 3.5GHz thanks to the Turbo Boost.
I don’t normally talk about the laptop’s speakers because I find them to be too muddy, but I was really impressed with the speakers of the Apache pro. It provides a well-balanced soundstage that I cannot find on other gaming laptops at this price. Add to that the included support for the Nahimic audio software, and you can tweak the sound according to your preference. Just don’t expect too much bass as no laptop in the world can support that.
Anyway, the MSI GE62 Apache Pro-004 comes with a 15.6-inch Full HD (1920×1080) IPS panel screen. The IPS panel is an amazing display because it produces amazing colors. MSI also incorporated their “True Color” technology which meant that they calibrated the screen to have a 100% sRGB performance. This is by no means an editing laptop, so the colors might not be 100% true sRGB. But, I can really tell that it produces vivid images and punchy colors; perfect for gamers who play MMOs and adventure games.
For storage, the Apache Pro comes with a 128GB SSD and a 1TB 7200RPM HDD. This is their basic configuration, but you can also opt for a much higher storage capacity with an added cost, of course.
Now, there are two main issues regarding the Apache pro. First is that its touchpad has a rough texture and it can be pretty annoying to use for prolonged periods of time. Second is its annoyingly big power brick. This can present a problem, especially if you want to carry the laptop with you all the time.
But other than those issues, the MSI GE62 Apache Pro-004 is great. It has a nice keyboard with RGB illumination, a solid build, and some pretty good speakers.
3. HP Omen 15t
Price: Under $930
Pros: Solid performance, Room for upgrades, Nice Keyboard performance
Cons: Non-RGB backlit keyboard, Touchpad could be improved, Mediocre audio performance
HP’s Omen series gaming laptops have been a consistent frontrunner. The HP Omen 15t is a new and improved version and it now uses the new Intel Kabylake processors, specifically, the Intel Core i7-7700HQ. This processor has a minimum frequency of 2.8GHz and it can boost up to 3.8GHz. It is a quad-core processor with eight threads thanks to Intel’s Hyperthreading technology.
For the graphics processing unit, this laptop comes with the Nvidia GTX 1050 graphics card. You can choose between the 2GB or the 4GB variant, but the one I am going to talk about is the 4GB version. The GTX 1050 graphics card is very energy efficient, thus, helping you improve the laptop’s overall battery life. Furthermore, this card performs admirably well in 1080p and you can pretty much play all games with nearly maxed out settings at a consistent 60 frames per second.
Speaking of the display, this variant has the 15.6-inch Full HD IPS display. You can opt for the 4K display, but since this laptop only comes with an entry level graphics card, I highly advise that you stick with the 1080p resolution.
This version also comes with 1 TB 7200RPM HDD and an amazing 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD. The SSD is a very great addition at this price point. It is blazingly fast and the operating system is already installed on the SSD.
The keyboard is pretty good as it has a 1.2mm actuation point which makes it great for games. It is also illuminated, but it only comes in one color (Red). For the price, I would’ve liked it to have an RGB backlit keyboard, but considering that it comes with a 512GB SSD, I really couldn’t complain.
As with other entry-level gaming laptops, the HP Omen 15t also suffers from a bad touchpad. The touchpad is made of plastic and it is not as accurate as the others. Also, there are no dedicated buttons at the bottom of the touchpad and it doesn’t have that clicky response found in other gaming laptops.
If you want to purchase this gaming laptop, you will be given a lot of options for expandability and upgrades. As mentioned previously, you can opt for a 4K display, a GTX 1050 Ti, and you can also add in another storage drive if you want.
For the price of under $930, you get to have an Intel Core i7 processor which is capable of handling multiple threaded applications nicely, a modest graphics processing unit in the form of the GTX 1050, 12GB of RAM, and a fast 512GB SSD. The HP Omen 15t is definitely one of the best gaming laptops under $1000.
2. ASUS ROG GL552VW-DH71
Price: Under $960
Pros: Pretty good 1080p performance, Intel Core i7-Processor, Great Keyboard
Cons: Screen could be better, Touchpad is not gear to the touch
The ASUS ROG GL552VW-DH71 is part of the company’s “Republic of Gamers” products and if you’re familiar with them, you know that this laptop is going to receive that “gamer” aesthetic. And, true to its form, the GL552VW dons a predominantly black chassis with the inside of the laptop having a red color scheme.
Its design is pretty good with the Asus brand name embedded in the center of the cover as well as that familiar Republic of Gamer’s icon. The cover has a predominantly black color scheme with a brushed aluminum design to complement the aforementioned decals.
The performance package of this laptop is pretty good. It comes with the Intel Core i7-6700HQ and the modest Nvidia GTX 960M (2GB variant). You might think that the GPU is holding back the performance of the processor, and in some cases it does. But for the most part, it can handle any game at 1080p quite well.
Since this laptop comes with the Core i7 processor, this product is also targeted for people who use the laptop for purposes other than gaming such as editing, content creation, etc. Of course, you will be better off using a desktop for this kind of job, but it can be great to do some editing while you’re in a coffee shop, for example.
The keyboard is also a very important aspect of a gaming laptop, and fortunately, the ROG GL552VW has an awesome keyboard. It has an actuation point of 1.5mm and it is quite suitable for fast-paced games. Although, you have to be a bit cautious when using this keyboard for typing as it has a shorter actuation point and mistyping can be plenty. Furthermore, the keyboard also comes with Red backlighting, but RGB fans will not be pleased as the LEDs are only of one color.
Again, this gaming laptop also suffers from a horrible touchpad. Although it has a considerable size to it, the feedback, response, and the overall feel of the trackpad are just not that great. At least, most gamers would opt to use a dedicated gaming mouse when playing.
For its display, it has a 15.6-inch TN panel display with an impressive response time. But, as with all other TN panel displays, it suffers from poor viewing angles and colors aren’t as punchy when compared to laptops with IPS displays.
This gaming laptop also has a wealth of IO including two USB 3.0 ports, one USB Type-C 3.1 port, an HDMI port, a 3.5mm combo jack, and an optical drive. It is nice to have that newer Type C connector as most other gaming laptops already have them.
The ASUS ROG GL552VW-DH71 is a solid 1080p performer and it comes with a pretty nice keyboard. It is just held back by its touchpad and its screen, but other than that, this is another great gaming laptop at a sub $1000 price point.
1. Acer Aspire VX 15
Price: Under $1000
Pros: Solid performer, Wealth of IO ports, A lot of RAM
Cons: Heavy, Subpar battery life
Gaming laptops have become quite good, especially those that costs less than $1000. The Acer Aspire VX 15 is definitely a pretty good gaming laptop at a sub $1000 price because of its upgraded specs. It now has the Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor that has a minimum frequency of 2.8GHz and a boost of 3.8GHz. Furthermore, this laptop is now fitted with a more enhanced GTX 1050 Ti which should prove to be a good card when playing at the 1080p resolution.
The Aspire VX 15 has a 15.6-inch Full HD IPS display which produces punchy and vivid colors. This is perfect for people who frequently play games that have amazing design and graphics. Don’t worry, fast-paced games will not suffer because of lower response times. This laptop is a good performer at 1080p, so do not worry about response times as it has a low value at 6ms only.
Acer knows that gaming on a laptop can be pretty hot, so they’ve also included their dual cooling fan solution to help dissipate heat more effectively. It still runs hot, but compared to other gaming laptops that only have a single fan configuration, this stays much cooler.
The design of this gaming laptop, like the Asus laptop mentioned above, also has that “gamer” aesthetic. The laptop has a brushed aluminum cover that is painted black with some red accents. There are also some red accents on the inside of the laptop as well, but not as bold as the outer ones.
I appreciate the entire setup being powerful and all, but one of the things that I do not like about the VX 15 is its pretty heavy for a 15.6-inch laptop. This laptop weighs 2.6 kilograms! This may not be a problem if you do not move this gaming machine often, but it is a huge issue for people who are always on the go.
The keyboard is pretty good, though. It is red backlit and has that amazing feedback when you press them. Furthermore, the touchpad is a great step up over the previous recommendations, but I would have loved if it included some left and right buttons as well.
Another thing of note here is the battery life is subpar. Its battery is rated to last up to 6 hours, but upon testing, it only lasted a good 3 hours and 30 minutes while playing the Witcher 3 at high settings. Again, this isn’t a huge deal for people who have access to an electric outlet because they can just charge the laptop at any time. But, in terms of portability and playing on the go, this can be a huge dealbreaker.
Lastly, this laptop comes with a 256GB SSD drive with 1TB HDD. It also has some IO ports including a USB 3.1 Type-C, two USB 3.0 ports, a USB 2.0 port, an HDMI, and a 3.5mm combo jack.
With its impressive gamer aesthetic, great 1080p performance package, and its dual cooling fan solution, the Acer Aspire VX 15 is definitely one of the best gaming laptops under $1000.
What to look for in a gaming laptop?
Although my recommendations are pretty solid at a sub $1000 price point, there are obviously a lot more choices on the market. Heck, you might even have a lot more than $1000 to spend on a portable gaming machine.
So, if you want to buy a great gaming laptop depending on your budget, here are the things you need to look for when you’re going to get one:
1. Display/Monitor Size
This is one of the most important things you need to look for in a gaming laptop as it will ultimately decide if it is going to be a portable one or a powerful, but heavy gaming machine. If you want a highly portable one with modest specs, you can opt for a gaming laptop that has either a 13 or 14-inch screen. If you want a powerful gaming machine, but at the cost of portability, then go for the 17 or 18-inch ones. But, if you want to have that sweet spot, then definitely choose the 15-inch laptops. Fortunately for you, all of the laptops I’ve mentioned above all have 15-inch screens.
The CPU is the brains of the laptop and for gaming, you would want to have a quad-core processor. An Intel Core i5 is good in most cases, but if you can afford one with an Intel Core i7, then it would be great! As of now, AMD hasn’t played a role in the gaming laptop niche. Their new Ryzen desktop CPUs are pretty good and energy efficient and I hope to see laptop versions of their processors in the near future.
Of course, this is what you will need if you want to play games on your laptop. If you can afford it, buy gaming laptops that have the new Nvidia Pascal-based GPUs like the Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti. They are highly efficient and they are friendly on battery power. Furthermore, their performance and thermals have been vastly improved thanks to its smaller FinFet technology (16nm).
Another important thing to consider, RAM is also needed in games. For most games at 1080p, having 8GB of RAM is sufficient. But, if you want to play the latest titles which demand more, then have 16GB of RAM. If you’re using a Skylake/Kabylake processor, you will be using the latest DDR4 RAMs which are faster and more reliable.
5. Screen Resolution
Some gaming laptops nowadays sport a 4K resolution display and although this is going to be the new standard in a couple of years, I would still advise you to veer away from it, at least, for now. Having a 4K display is good, but it requires a lot more processing power and a lot more battery to sustain. Maybe the laptops’ batteries will be further improved in the coming years. But until then, stay at the 1080p or 1440p resolution.
SSDs have become cheaper nowadays and a lot of companies like Asus and MSI offer various storage options when you order their laptops. An ideal setup would be at least one 250GB SSD for the OS and important applications and an HDD for the majority of your games.
7. Battery Life
One reason why people buy gaming laptops is they want to play anywhere and one way that a laptop can achieve this is by having a good battery life. Battery life is a bit harder to quantify as it will depend on the applications/games you run. Some games and applications require more power while others don’t. Your other laptop components will also play a huge role in your laptop’s overall battery life. To have a better grasp of the battery life of a particular laptop, read up on user reviews. Aim to have a laptop that can last at least 3 hours and 30 minutes when gaming.
IO stands for “Input/Output”. Things such as the USB ports, jacks, and HDMI ports are part of what constitutes that laptop’s IO. Decide for yourself how many USB ports you’re going to need. If you want to play VR games, you would want a laptop that has an HDMI port.
Some laptops allow you to upgrade some components like storage and RAM. If you want the laptop to last for a good couple of years, you would want to have a gaming laptop that has room for upgradability.
10. Accessories/ Warranty
Lastly, some gaming laptops come with additional accessories. Although they are optional, it would be nice to have them, right? Furthermore, you want to have a laptop that has a good warranty. A 2-year warranty should be good enough.
Gaming laptops are highly portable machines that allow you to play games on the go. Although they are pricier than their desktop counterparts, it doesn’t mean that you cannot snag one with some pretty good specs.
If you’re looking for a great gaming laptop under $1000, then I hope that this article has helped you. I’ve also included some tips on what to look for when you’re going to buy a laptop that is priced much higher. My point is that I want you to get the best gaming laptop no matter what your budget is.
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