Best Gaming Laptops Under 800 Bucks
Most people enjoy playing video games. It is one activity which could improve your mood. You can go from sad to cheerful in minutes, just by playing a game.
While consoles are relatively commonplace, gaming laptops are rapidly gaining popularity. And they should since these devices are not restricted to gaming and don’t need any external displays.
But like everything in life, there is a catch. Gaming laptops don’t come cheap. For many, you might have to spend thousands of dollars. Not everyone can afford that.
In this piece, we will review the best gaming laptops under 800 dollars and things to consider before purchasing any.
Gaming Laptop Buying Guide
Before we look at the best gaming laptops under 800 dollars, a breakdown of worthwhile factor/features to look out for in a gaming laptop is important.
Gaming laptops possess unique attributes which put them in a different level compared to your conventional notebook. This shouldn’t be surprising considering the technological advancement typical of contemporary games currently available.
Here are some decisive attributes of a gaming laptop you should be aware of:
Gaming on a laptop will be dreadful if the display is below-par. A resolution says a lot in this regard. Budget-friendly laptops often come with a 1080p resolution. This should do just fine. But if you’re looking for something sharper and with quality visuals, laptops having the 4k capability with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 are certainly worth looking at.
Fast and precise transfer of information is essential in a gaming laptop. And this is where a graphics card shone brightly. Ignore the graphics unit often associated with the processor. You need a gaming laptop with a separate graphics processing unit (GPU). It should possess a dedicated random access memory often referred to as the Video-RAM.
Like everything else, the larger this distinct RAM is, the better. However, most gaming laptops have around 2-4GB of video memory is actually great.
Graphics cards are of different grades:
The high-end GPUs – They are the most powerful graphics cards. This makes them compatible with the latest technology in the gaming space. You can play all sorts of games on a laptop with such graphics cards without having to adjust any settings. The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 and 1080 are typical examples of graphics cards in this category. The only problem is they don’t come cheap. Best gaming laptops under $800 are not equipped with these graphics cards.
Affordable GPUs – These are what many budget gaming laptops possess. They are less expensive compared to the high-end category but come with a deficit in power. Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060, 1050 and its Ti variant belong to this category. Hardcore gamers might not be impressed with this set of graphics cards since settings on many games will have to be adjusted for performance purposes.
GPU technology has seen some tremendous improvement in recent years. And gaming laptops are the biggest beneficiaries. Some laptops can now combine several graphics cards leading to an all-round refinement in performance. Nvidia heralds this remarkable landmark. Its Scalable Link Interface ensures several graphics cards can work together on a single unit. This is regardless of the grade of the GPUs involved.
Keyboards and Touchpads
Your touchpad and keyboard make navigating certain parameters on your laptop possible. Yes, you might have a controller for gaming. But what good is that if your keyboard or touchpad is pathetic? Also, certain games require the use of your keyboard and/or touchpad.
Before settling for a gaming laptop, consider the following attributes of its keyboard:
The depth of the keys – You want keys which wouldn’t give you problems when navigating. When tapped, their depth should be above 1.5mm. It would be fantastic if it is closer to the 2.0mm mark.
Weight applicable – For you to use a keyboard, you have to apply pressure to the keys. Only consider a laptop whose keyboard doesn’t require excessive force to operate.
Backlight – Sometimes, gaming on a laptop goes beyond the device. It makes you stand out in the midst of conventional or gloomy-looking laptops. Besides design, backlights – common with the keyboards on most gaming laptops – do just that for you. Yes, a backlight isn’t exactly mandatory. But would you prefer it is lacking on your gaming laptop? Well, it’s your call.
Customization – Some games might need you to tap multiple keys to achieve a certain move. Many gaming laptops allow users customize their keyboards. You will have to decide just what sort of customization you’re looking for and settle for the laptop that offers exactly that or close enough.
You can’t enjoy a game if the audio output of your laptop is below average. Many argue that the quality of the speakers in a gaming laptop can be sacrificed on the altar of more hardware components. Well, this might be true if you would only use headphones with your gaming laptop. But would you?
Should you seek units with quality speakers, brands like the ASUS’s Alienware, Lenovo, and MSI make the cut.
CPU and RAM
Every computer requires a random access memory (RAM) and a central processing unit (CPU) to function; a gaming laptop inclusive. Any operation which has no connection to graphics will depend on these two segments for execution.
Intel is the best
Only Intel processors are suitable for gaming. Avoid any AMD unit. They don’t work great in gaming laptops.
Besides the manufacturer, your choice in a CPU counts. Recently released processors are best. Your minimum should be a 6th generation processor. The first number in the model number should provide the necessary hint. For instance, a laptop with model number – i5 8502 has an 8th generation processor.
Your choice in a gaming laptop should be between an i5 and i7. Never attempt to cut cost by going lower. Frankly, the i5 is rather low for any hardcore gamer.
Clock speed should not be ignored. If you want games to run smoother, always seek out the processors with higher speed.
The core of your processor influences its performance. More cores are equivalent to a faster running of operations by the processor.
RAM Size – The random access memory of your laptop determines the number of operations achievable without hiccups. For gaming, you need more RAM. An 8GB RAM would do just fine. However, a 16GB RAM is an overkill.
A hard disk found on most conventional laptops, fall short of what is required on a gaming unit. Why? It is extremely slow. Everything in a gaming laptop is built on enhancing the speed of the unit. And a hard disk might be the clog in the wheels of progress. You certainly don’t want that. Well, there is an alternative. A solid-state drive (SSD) is a combination of a faster operation and storage. Like everything else, there is a catch. It comes much smaller compared to the hard disk and at a steep cost. Many budget-gaming laptops are equipped with only the hard disk storage.
Some gaming laptops offer a combination of both the solid state drive and the hard disk. You can dedicate the use of the hard disk to general operations while the SSD handles everything gaming.
Side by side, most conventional notebooks are compact, unlike their gaming counterpart. This is understandable considering the components of the latter. However, the portability of gaming laptops differs widely.
The size of the display often decides how portable the unit is. If you want something you can carry around and wouldn’t mind less powerful graphics cards, then you should consider a 13’’ or 14’’ laptop. They don’t weigh much and you wouldn’t have trouble using them while on-the-move.
Frankly, the financial implications of owning a gaming laptop can be incredulous. More money gives you more powerful components. This equates to more playable games without altering performance settings.
Display resolutions, storage, and graphics card are the most affected components of this cost factor. Most budget gaming laptops have a screen resolution of 1080p, hard disk storage (or a small SSD storage) and the lower grade graphics card such as Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M.
Whichever unit you opt for, ensure it has the right configuration you need for a smooth gaming experience.
Ten Best Gaming Laptops under $800
Our love for gaming has motivated us to go exploring for the best gaming laptops under $800.
And here they are in no particular order:
Few gaming laptops possess the mix of quality attributes and reasonable pricing which is seen in the HP Omen 15. Its black and crimson color gives this laptop a decent appearance. The lid is a combination of plastic and carbon fiber. While the carbon fiber feels great, the plastic appears to be a low-quality one. The deck has an aluminum upper segment and a plastic lower half. You will have to be extra careful when carrying this laptop around.
The Omen 15 weighs 5.68 pounds. It is lightweight compared to some other gaming laptops. With a thickness of 1.0-inch, you can fit it comfortably into any bag. A combination of its low weight and thickness makes it easy to carry around.
A display counts in a gaming laptop and the Omen 15 has a 15.6-inch screen in its favor. It works fluidly on most games at 1080 resolution. The G-Sync reduces distortions in the display – a common occurrence when playing games with a higher graphics demand. The 4k display makes streaming of high definition videos a flawless experience. Also, its brightness of just above 300cd/m2 is impressive surpassing the average of 255cd/m2.
This HP gaming laptop has a different keyboard than we are used to from the manufacturing company. The keyboard comes with a depth of 1.2mm which falls short of the 1.5mm average required for a moderately pleasant typing experience. Also, you will need to apply a pressure of at least 70g which is not bad.
Its small touchpad might appear inconvenient, but it works great. The only problem is the buttons on the touchpad are tiny. You might take some time becoming accustomed to it.
This laptop is powered by an Intel Core i7-6700HQ. The quad-core processor delivers a smooth gaming experience. A RAM of 8GB works just fine for any combination of tasks before the computer. It comes with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M graphics card. This might work great for some games with high graphics demand. But most games will run only smoothly at moderate settings. With this unit, you have a 4GB video memory which is good enough for a flawless gaming time.
This gaming laptop stands out for its storage facilities. A 1TB hard disk having a 7200rpm combined with a 128GB solid-state drive should be more than you need. You can store games in the SSD storage. Multimedia files and documents can be placed in the hard disk.
On the side of this laptop, there are 2 USB 3.0 ports, 1 USB 2.0 port, a card reader port, earphone jack and an HDMI port.
Heating is a problem in many gaming laptops. The Omen 15 uses a highly effective fan to manage the heat generated. You can play games, surf the web and watch videos without having to close any application to minimize the heat produced.
This laptop uses a Li-ion Prismatic battery. Sadly, it has an average battery life of just above 3 hours. You will need to plug it into an outlet everytime you intend gaming.
Another budget gaming laptop is the Lenovo Legion Y520. It is the first in the Legion series for Lenovo. Its plastic chassis gives this laptop an appearance which might not necessarily turn heads. The shape of the screen, however, could do exactly that. The eye-catching vents occupy the area just beneath the lid of the laptop. You certainly can’t miss them.
The 15.6 inches with a 1080p resolution of the Legion Y520 is similar to the Omen reviewed earlier. But unlike the latter, it has a poor display. Viewing the events on the screen is a tough ask. You will need to adjust the brightness to the highest level. Also, there is the lack of color coordination to worry about. It doesn’t cover all the various shades of color available. This is a letdown for this gaming laptop.
The screen brightness of this unit is around 220cd/m2. This is below the average of 255cd/m2 needed for a convenient visibility of the events on the display.
Its 5.3 pounds weight improves the portability. Its thickness of 1.01 inch says a lot about how easy the laptop is to carry around.
Just like the Omen 15, this laptop has 2 USB 3.0 ports, 1 USB 2.0 port, an earphone jack, an SD card port, and an HDMI port. In addition, there is an Ethernet port and a USB type C port.
The Lenovo Legion Y520 has two variants. The i5-7300HQ variant lacks a hard disk, but it comes with a 256 solid state drive and an 8GB RAM. The i7-7700HQ variant has a 2TB hard disk and a similar solid state drive like its i5 counterpart. Unlike the latter, it is equipped with a 16GB RAM instead. However, it goes beyond the $800 mark.
The keyboard of this laptop is great. Its keys possess a depth of 1.7mm above the average of 1.5mm needed for a comfortable use of the keyboard. You will need to apply a weight of 75g to the keys when typing. It is both comfortable and functional. Crimson backlight ensures the keys can be seen in the dark. There’s a dedicated button for capturing your entire gameplay effortlessly.
Lenovo seems to favor appearance above performance for the touchpad of the Y520 gaming laptop. Its overly awkward touchpad performs woefully. The use of unbalanced plastic for the mouse buttons makes it inconvenient to use.
Audio output on this laptop could be better. It uses Harman speakers coupled with the renowned Dolby premium experience. The speakers are located on each side upper segment of the deck. But they are not loud enough. You will need to strain your ears to distinguish sounds produced. While you can adjust the audio output using the available profiles, the standard settings will probably be your best choice.
The Legion Y520 i5 variant uses a 7th generation processor with a speed of 2.5GHz for a tranquil gaming experience. You can undertake several activities thanks to the 8GB RAM accessible on this laptop.
PCle SSD storage of 256GB improves the performance of the laptop. But it comes at the cost of a limitation in storage space. It might get filled up quickly especially if you don’t have a backup storage device. You can add a hard disk to improve storage.
This budget gaming laptop uses the Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti 4GB dedicated video memory. It is much better than the 960M which can be in the Omen 15. It is should do just fine for modern games.
Lenovo equipped the Legion Y520 with an application called the Nerve Sense. Every setting related to gaming can be fiddled with by accessing this application. It is analogous to the Control Panel seen in every Windows computer. But it is specialized to just gaming.
Heat management is well coordinated on this gaming laptop. The combination of a fully functional fan system and the adequately positioned vents keeps the unit cool.
The Lithium Polymer battery is greatly inadequate. It lasts a misery 3 hours. You will have to keep it plugged-in to an electrical outlet more often than not.
The Nitro 5 makes this list of budget-gaming laptops. With a black aluminum lid, Acer isn’t messing around with this one. The hinge’s red color is one which might pique the interest of an onlooker. It has the appearance of a gaming laptop albeit done subtly. Rugged vents can be seen just below the lid.
It has a resolution of 1080p which is common among gaming laptops. The brightness of the 15.6-inch screen is much better compared to the Legion Y520. Its 273cd/m2 surpasses the 220cd/m2 seen in the Lenovo and the general average of 255cd/m2. But its expression of colors lets this unit down.
A weight of 5.9 pounds indicates this laptop is heavy. Its thickness of 1.06-inch makes it compact. Carriage shouldn’t be a problem with such physical attributes.
The combination of Acer TrueHarmony and the Dolby Audio Premium could be anything but a dynamic duo. Their audio output is rather low. You will have to invest in a headset if you intend having a memorable gaming experience with this unit. It is more difficult discerning sounds on this device compared to the Legion Y520.
A dimly lit keyboard is provided for typing. The keys have a depth of 1.3mm. It is far below the 1.5 average needed for efficiency purposes. Getting anything done using the keyboard requires you apply a weight of 70g to the keys. This is not necessarily a problem.
Unlike the other gaming laptops considered earlier, the Acer Nitro 5 comes with 2 USB 2.0 ports. This is beneath what is expected in a gaming laptop. One USB 3.0 port, an HDMI port, an earphone jack, and Ethernet port are also visible on its side.
This unit uses a 7th generation processor. The i5Core unit has a speed of 2.5GHz which proves adequate for most tasks. One significant attribute of this laptop is its quad-core processor. It plays most games effortlessly. The 8GB RAM improves the multitasking capability of this device.
You can store games on its 256 SSD. This is faster than what’s obtainable with a hard disk. This device doesn’t come with a hard disk. However, this can be added to the laptop to improve its storage capacity.
Gaming is possible due to its 4GB Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti graphics card. It might not be the best out there, but it should prove sufficient for playing most games.
The Nitro 5 uses a Lithium Polymer battery. A battery life of about 3 hours is uninspiring, to say the least. Apparently, you will have to carry around a charger.
The Dell Inspiron 15 7000 is another laptop under $800. It has several attributes going for it. Frankly, with its matte black finish, you get a bland looking laptop. The crimson-colored Dell logo is perhaps the only eye-catching feature of this unit. Ribbed vents can be seen below the lid. They are surrounded on both sides by the hinge which supports the screen.
The 15.6-inch display has a resolution of 1080p; a common feature on budget gaming laptops. Its IPS screen gives the laptop an enviable expression of colors. The brightness, however, could be better. Its 232cd/m2 on the luminance meter is below the average of 255cd/m2 needed to deliver a decent amount of visibility.
A weight of 6.0 pounds points to how heavy the Inspiron 7559 is. You might have to reconsider moving this around.
Using the keyboard is not overly comfortable. With a depth of 1.5mm for the keys, you will probably get an average typing experience. To use the keys, you have to apply a weight of around 60g.
The touch is what it should be – roomy. It might not have the alluring appearance of that on the Lenovo Y520, but it gets the job done. Mouse buttons are super-responsive. Multiple gestures can be achieved with minimal error.
It is equipped with an Intel Core i5 6300HQ CPU. You can open browsers, play games, and watch videos without worrying about a drop in performance. Also, there’s an 8GB RAM aimed at making multitasking stress-free. Its storage facility is a 256GB SSD. It amplifies the pace of operation within the gaming laptop.
Gamers with a not-so-deep pocket will enjoy the 4GB Nvidia GTX 960M graphics card. Yes, it will not play hi-tech games in the highest settings, but you can still enjoy most games without shelling out huge sums.
This Dell laptop handles heat production through a well-designed cooling system. Cooling fans, vents, and exhaust form the components of such a system. It delivers a smooth performance regardless of your use of the laptop.
The Lithium-ion battery of this device is remarkable. Depending on usage, it could last as much as 6 hours. It dwarfs the Acer Nitro 5’s mediocre 3 hours.
Another Acer makes this list. The Nitro has a classy black appearance. The aluminum lid is brushed for aesthetic purposes. Its brightly colored hinge accentuates that. Talking about the hinge, its movement is rather rigid. Add this to the fragile state of the lower section of the screen, and you might have to be extra cautious with this laptop.
This gaming laptop features a 15.6 inches screen. It comes with the same 1080p on the other units considered earlier. It comes with an in-plane switching (IPS) capability. This makes the colors you see on the display more vivid. Also, viewing angles are much higher. You don’t have to strain your eyes in a brightly lit environment.
The Acer Nitro Flagship weighs a heavy 5.9 pounds. It has a thickness of 1.01-inch giving it a slim build. Regardless of its significant weight, it is actually portable.
There is no solid state drive here, but a 1TB hard disk provides ample storage. Its 2.3GHz speed is certainly not the best, but it works fine. An Intel Core i5 with a 7th generation chip powers this system. Its 8GB RAM means you wouldn’t have an unpleasant experience executing multiple tasks on this machine.
A brightly lit keyboard adorns the deck of this device. The depth of each key is around 1.5mm. Typing on the keyboard is neither difficult nor fantastic.
The speakers on this laptop are situated at the two ends of the bottom half of the deck. Quality of the sound produced is not good enough. Sounds with low pitches are not captured adequately. Frankly, the only sound this device manages to represent properly is the vocals.
The 4GB Nvidia GTX 1050 graphics card of this laptop makes elite gaming possible. You can run just about any game but at limited settings.
Heating of this machine is kept at a reasonable level through an effective cooling system. You can place it anywhere and it won’t get out of hand. The only problem is that a substantial amount of noise is generated. This is mostly observed when playing games due to the cool boost technology embedded into the laptop.
Don’t even think of using this device without connecting it to a power source. The Lithium-ion battery will only survive a low 3 hours before going off. However, what use of the laptop will ultimately decide how long it lasts.
This is another under $800 gaming laptop worth considering. It has a plastic casing with a black finishing. Unlike the brightly colored appearance typical of gaming laptops, this MSI device can be mistaken for a conventional notebook.
One stand out attribute of this unit is its well-spaced ports. This is uncommon in most of the big names. Also, the keyboard lacks the conventional backlight seen in most gaming laptops.
Its 15.6-inch screen has a max resolution of 1080p which should suffice for many games. The best attribute of this device is its full high definition screen. Colors are well represented. Its 94% efficiency on color space says a lot about the quality of this laptop’s display.
It has a weight of 5.29 pounds. This is smaller than what is seen on many gaming laptops. You won’t call this MSI product bulky considering its 1.02-inch thickness.
It uses a 7th generation processor. The i5 Intel Core subunit is a quad core. You can run most games smoothly though settings will have to be altered depending on the game.
Cooling of the laptop is achieved through MSI’s cooler boost technology. Several pipes in the device channel heat produced towards the vents located just beneath the hinge. This ensures the excess heat is transferred to the exterior.
The storage of this unit is a 256GB solid-state drive. A RAM of 8GB means you can switch between applications without any lags. However, unlike the other laptops reviewed earlier, this one uses a 2GB Nvidia GTX 1050 graphics card.
Regardless of the decent attributes, this device has its flaws. The loud noise generated during usage is a problem. Having a gaming headset is a must with this laptop.
The screen of this Dell laptop has an angular design. With its fancy matte black casing, it is attractive. The screen measures the 15.6 inches common with laptops in this range. It has a resolution of 1080p which is suitable for most games.
This Inspiron 15 7567 variant comes with an Intel i5 Quad Core. Storage is a 1TB hard disk drive which might be slower than its SSD counterpart. The 8GB RAM should cater for all your multitasking needs without unnecessary delays.
You can play lots of recent games with substantial graphics thanks to the Nvidia GTX 1050 graphics card and its 4GB dedicated video memory.
The appearance of this budget laptop is different from what we are used to in a gaming laptop. No fancy casing or brightly colored keyboard. What you get is a regular looking laptop.
With the familiar 15.6 inches and 1080p display, you get the same average viewing experience as any other budget laptop. But the portability of this unit is perhaps its stand out attribute. It has a weight of 5.1 pounds and a thickness of just 0.8-inch! Certainly, you can carry this laptop with ease.
This unit doesn’t offer an IPS display but colors still appear to be vibrant. But of course, the viewing angle possible with this machine is greatly affected.
It is equipped with an Intel Core i5-7300HQ processor with a base speed of 2.5GHz. There are four cores in this model improving the overall performance of the laptop. Its 8GB RAM which appears to be the norm with budget gaming laptops. You can execute several applications simultaneously.
A 256GB solid state drive provides storage while reducing delays common with the conventional hard disk.
This gaming laptop uses a 2GB Nvidia GTX 1050 graphics card. You can play most games but with alterations in performance.
Heat production is the downside of every gaming laptop. How each manages this negative by-product of improved performance, decides the efficiency of the device. This laptop uses two fans connected to heat pipes to bring about the cooling of its components. Also, the speed of these fans can be adjusted to suit your need.
Another Lenovo product which makes the cut is the Y700. It comes with a metal lid and plastic casing.
The 15-inch screen has a 1080p display. It is brightly colored and offers a much better viewing capability compared to the others on this list. Its 5.7 pounds weight is heavy, but it is not a bulky laptop.
The Lenovo Y700 works on an i5-6300HQ processor with a base speed of 2.3Hz. Storage is a small 128SSD which might be fast but deficient in capacity. Its 8GB RAM delivers a perfect virtual environment for multitasking.
Your gaming needs are satisfied with the Nvidia GTX 960 4GB dedicated memory.
The Pavilion is the only recently produced laptop on this list. The appearance is typical of the Pavilion series. An aluminum chassis anchor a black colored plastic area around the screen.
The screen is the usual 15.6 inches coupled with the all-too-familiar 1080p resolution. Its weight is a low 4.67 pounds making it easier to carry around. Add a thickness of 0.8-inch and you have a portable unit.
Its stand out feature is its processor. It uses the 8th generation Intel Core i7-8550U processor. But the base speed is a mediocre 1.8GHz. Its storage is a 2TB hard disk which offers a massive capacity to store your games.
High tech gaming is possible due to its Nvidia GeForce 940X graphics and a 4GB dedicated video memory.
All the above budget-friendly gaming laptops have their strength and weaknesses. The ASUS M580VD-EB54 Vivo Book stands out from the pack. Besides affordability, it has a remarkable keyboard, efficient cooling system, and delivers a premium quality gaming experience. What more could you want from a gaming laptop?
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