Gaming laptops need to be equipped with the latest technology to run all your favorite titles at max settings. Without a killer graphics card and RAM, you’ll be lucky if you can play Candy Crush.
The good news is that getting a computer with these advances doesn’t have to break your bank. The best budget gaming laptop might cut corners in some areas but it will be able to play modern titles.
Are you not sure what you should be looking for as far as features go? We can give you a hand. Check out this guide to learn how to find a laptop to suit your unique gaming needs.
What to Look for in a Budget Gaming Laptop
Before we talk about the best budget gaming laptop 2020, let’s go over what features you should be looking for. First and foremost, you need to pay special attention to your graphics card.
The most important piece of hardware in a gaming computer is the graphics card. If it’s too weak, you’ll be lucky if you can play modern games at their lowest setting.
We will say that graphics aren’t everything when you’re playing games. Not having a player character that looks like a potato does help with the immersion though. If you’re only playing small indie titles, you might be able to skimp on this feature slightly but you shouldn’t set your standards too low.
When it comes to desktops you can always upgrade your graphics card at some point but it’s a little harder to do that with a laptop. So, it’s better to go big or go home.
CPU and RAM
Having a top of the line graphics card won’t matter much if your RAM is lacking. The RAM tells the graphics card how much detail it’s allowed to render.
It’s the heart and soul of the laptop and pretty much controls everything you do. It’s best to go with a computer that has 16GB of memory. You can go lower than 16GB but never go below 8GB.
Games files are a tad larger than photos than videos. Installing them takes up quite a bit of room. The more hard drive space you use, the slower the computer gets.
The problem is that big hard drives are also slow. SSD (Solid State drives) are a good choice when you’re looking for a laptop. It’s smaller but it runs faster than the big, bulky HDD (hard disk drives).
There are many factors you should look at when you’re choosing your display screen. The first is size. Most screens are between 13 and 18 inches.
We’ll say that the 18-inch models are going to be much more expensive than the 13-inch ones. They’re also bulky and not good for portability. Between 15 and 17 inches is the sweet spot.
If your resolution is bad, all your games will blurry and difficult to play. A laptop that offers anything below a 1920 X 1080 display isn’t worth your money.
If the display refresh rate is lower than 60hz, it won’t be able to keep up with what you’re doing in your game. You’ll experience serious lag.
Having a touch screen sounds cool in theory but it’s useless in practice. All it does is skyrocket the cost of the computer and bog down the battery life. You’re better off without it.
If you’re like most gamers, you’re going to be using your laptop for a few hours a day. That will be difficult if the keyboard isn’t comfortable to use. So, you want to look at the keyboard’s actuation.
The actuation is a measure of how hard you have to push the keys for it to register what you’re pressing. Unless you want to have to pound at the keys to get your game character to move, between 60-70 grams is the way to go.
Having a backlit keyboard is also a plus. It’s not necessary by any means but it does make it way easier for you to play your games in the dark.
Best Budget Gaming Laptop
Now that you know what you should be looking for in a computer, it’s time to talk about what’s the best budget gaming laptop. There are a lot of great ones on the market for you to choose from but here are a few that should have everything you need.
Acer Nitro 5
The Acer Nitro 5 comes in at a whopping 17.3 inches. It’s a little bigger than the 17-inch minimum we gave you but it’s still not large enough to be too bulky.
It’s less than 1000 dollars, which is pretty cheap considering the quality you’re getting. It’s got a powerful CPU but you still may have to play some of your modern games on a lower setting.
You shouldn’t have to go down so low that you have potato people, at least. The display can be dull, which makes it hard to see what you’re doing and the audio isn’t the best in the world.
The main place the Acer shines is battery life. You’ll get to enjoy around 11 hours of gaming until the computer starts to yell at you to plug it in. That’s a rarity when it comes to gaming laptops.
Lenovo Legion 5/5i
The Lenovo Legion also has a 17.3-inch screen but it’s light. You’ll have no problem carrying it around from room to room. It pretty much ticks all the boxes that we mentioned above.
It has at least 8GB of RAM, the display’s refresh rate is 60, and it has a 1080p resolution. It should be able to run any game you want to play. The only hiccup is that the screen can be dim.
This laptop is a little more expensive than the one above but there are always deals going on. Go to Lenovo.com to see what you can find.
Dell G5 15
The Dell G5 screen is only 15.3 inches but it’s still a bit bulky. If you can get past that, you’ll have a laptop that can run any AAA gaming title that you throw at it.
The CPU performance is out of this world. It blows some of the more expensive laptops out of the water. The powerful CPU pairs well with the computer’s strong graphics card.
The battery will last about 7 hours before you have to plug it in. That’s not as long as the Acer but 7 hours of gaming it’s still pretty impressive.
It’s got a comfortable keyboard too. You won’t have to press down on the keys too hard to make your character move around. No finger cramps for you.
HP Gaming Pavilion
HP Gaming Pavilion is a powerful computer despite being less than 1000 dollars. The processor and amazing framerate make it a great first-time gaming laptop.
The screen size is only about 15.6-inches which makes it easy to tote around wherever you go. The fans cause it to be a little bulky but they also work hard to make sure that the laptop stays cool. No matter how long you use the computer.
It’s only got 6 hours of battery life. That’s not bad but it’s not as good as some of the other laptops on this list. The display can also be a bit dim at times.
MSI GF63 8RB
If you’re more of a casual gamer, the MSI GF63 8RB will be your bread and butter. It has good specs for the price that you can get it at.
You may have to play around with your game settings but you should be able to play most modern games on this laptop. It’s slim and lightweight. So, you can game pretty much anywhere with it.
We will say that the keyboard isn’t the best. It’s a low-travel one so you might have some issues with lag. Again, this laptop is good for casual gamers but if you play on a daily basis, you might get more out of one of the other options on this list.
Acer Aspire 7
If you’re using your laptop for both business and pleasure, the Acer Aspire 7 will be a perfect fit for you. It’s not a gaming laptop per se but it can function as one.
It’s got a strong enough processor and graphics card to play whatever you want. The Aspire 7 can be a little clunky. If you want something slimmer we would say go with the Aspire 5 instead.
The 5 has most of the power of the 7 but it won’t be as awkward to carry it from room to room.
Choosing the Best Gaming Laptop for Your Wallet
Are you in the market for a new gaming laptop? Getting one with everything you need to play your favorite titles doesn’t have to be hard on your wallet.
Choosing the best gaming laptop for your bank account shouldn’t force you to compromise on quality either. Pick a model from this list and immerse yourself in the hobby that you love.