Gaming is more than just a pastime for many people. In recent years, many people have decided to turn gaming into a career! But to become a professional gamer, you must invest in gaming gear, such as a gaming laptop.
If you are not in the best place financially to invest in the best gaming gear on the market, we have you covered. Today’s guide talks about five cheap gaming laptops that are good enough to get you started on your path toward professional gaming. If you want to learn more about them, make sure to stick around!
Top 5 Gaming Laptops Under $500: Reviews
Without further ado, let’s get into the reviews of the top five gaming laptops under $500:
The Acer Aspire 5 is quite a bulky laptop, but it has a sturdy construction you don’t often see in budget laptops. The 15.6” full HD screen is large enough to make playing video games comfortable, whereas the battery life of nearly 10 hours can keep you playing for a long time.
On the sides of the laptop, you will find an array of ports that you can use to attach a mouse, external hard drive, USB, or anything else you need. The camera on the front is not the best but gets the job done, whereas the speakers offer average quality at best.
Even though the display is dimmer than we would like, we don’t mind it that much. There is no backlit keyboard, and the keyboard in general is not the most comfortable one we have tried. At least the laptop has enough RAM and a suitable graphics card to play most video games.
- Long battery life
- Full-HD large display
- Slim design
- Various ports included
- The display is a bit dark
- The keyboard does not offer good ergonomics
Overall, this laptop is suitable for beginner gamers on a strict budget. You can go with the AMD version to save a few bucks, but the Intel version with Intel UHD graphics is better for regular gaming.
The HP 15-ef2126wm is one of the lesser-known laptops from this company. When you think of HP, you often think of the Elitebook, Spectre, or Envy. While those are quite expensive lines of laptops, this one comes at an affordable price and has many great features gamers would love.
For example, the 15.6” screen is more than enough for professional or casual gaming. The laptop has 8GM RAM and 256GB SSD. You can choose between Intel or AMD, but you will get a great CPU and GPU either way. The only difference is in price, with AMD laptops being slightly more affordable.
Two more great features are the true vision integrated camera and the ergonomic keyboard that is convenient but not backlit. Still, it should be enough to keep your fingers gliding comfortably while playing your favorite games.
- Lightweight modern design
- Large screen with vibrant colors
- True vision camera
- Comfortable keyboard
- It might get laggy when used with demanding programs
- Could use better RAM
With a large screen, 9 hours of battery life, a comfortable keyboard, a good CPU, and an even better GPU, this laptop is a great choice for people on a tight budget. It comes with excellent capabilities, but you must keep it from overheating, as that might cause it to become laggy.
We reviewed an earlier version of the Aspire 5 above, but we also wanted to mention the newest Aspire 5 from 2023 that comes with a few fantastic updates. It still has a plastic and aluminum build and feels quite sturdy, but we did not like all the fingerprints showing on the aluminum parts. It makes the laptop look dirty.
The best thing about the laptop has to be the speakers, which can get quite loud and reproduce sound beautifully. The display is also a good size, but the colors are not the best. Designers and serious gamers should consider investing in a laptop with better color reproduction.
But the biggest letdown of the laptop is the battery life. With only 6 hours of battery life, the computer falls short of expectations. Most competitor laptops in this range come with at least 9 hours of battery life, so Acer should try to improve their batteries in the future.
- Various ports on the sides
- Great speakers
- Backlit keyboard
- Does not overheat easily
- Short battery life
- Aluminum chassis gets dirty easily
While not the sleekest or most powerful laptop out there, the Acer Aspire 5 from 2023 has many great features and an affordable price you will not want to miss. It can run the most popular games, which is enough for gamers to get started with their gaming careers.
Dell laptops often offer better quality for the price compared to other laptops. This model of Inspiron that we are reviewing today is an excellent day-to-day laptop you can use for semi-serious gaming. However, it might not be the best gaming laptop out there.
What we like about the laptop is the powerful processor that makes the computer quick and extremely responsive. There is also a dedicated graphics card that improves the overall visual performance of the laptop. The anti-glare display with LED backlights is also quite impressive, but it does not have touch functions.
At six to seven hours, the battery life is average at best. You might need to charge the laptop often if you plan to use it excessively throughout the day.
- Up to 32GB RAM
- Many SSD options are available
- Integrated AMD Radeon graphics card
- Battery life could be better
- The speakers are a bit too loud
The sturdy build with a metallic finish makes this laptop feel more luxurious than it is. There are various RAM and SSD options to choose from, while the laptop can come with AMD or Intel processor. Considering how versatile and customizable the laptop is, you will have no problem tailoring it to your needs.
The Bmax X14 is an impressive laptop from this fairly new Chinese company. It comes with a fantastic screen-to-body ratio and thin bezels on the sides of the screen. The 14.1 full HD screen would be better if it was an inch bigger, but we’ll take what we can get for such an affordable price!
This is an AMD laptop with an 8-core GPU that makes gaming more fun and more convenient. You can play any game on this laptop and be taken aback by the fantastic graphics, the swiftness of the laptop, and the responsiveness of the keyboard and trackpad. This is an outstanding laptop, no matter how you put it!
The laptop weighs just above two pounds, making it one of the lightest laptops on the market. If you are a gamer who likes to travel often, you can certainly use a laptop such as this one.
- Lightweight design
- 178-degree wide viewing angle
- Backlit keyboard
- Quality display with full sRBG coverage
- Creaky hinges might be a bit troublesome
- The keyboard is not very comfortable
The laptop’s overall design and all capabilities make it a great contender within this price range. It might not be the most popular laptop out there, but it certainly deserves a closer look.
Selecting the Best Gaming Laptop on a Budget
We know how difficult it can be to find a high-quality, affordable laptop. When it comes to cheap gaming laptops, there are five main features you look into. These features can ensure you get the quality you are looking for. Here is a bit more on those features:
- GPU: The graphics processing unit is essential for gamers who want to get the most from their laptops. While most cheap laptops come with low-quality or no integrated graphics card at all, ensure that your laptop comes with a dedicated graphics card from AMD, NVIDIA, or other well-known companies.
- CPU: In addition to a powerful graphics processing unit, you need a powerful computer processor. It would be best to look into the newest, fastest CPU with more than 2 GHz speed. Also, ensure you get quality parts from world-renowned brands like Intel or AMD.
- Display: Another thing we recommend you look into is a vibrant display that does not always seem dimmed. The perfect size display is about 15 inches, but you can also go for a 17-inch display if you want a bigger one. As for the resolution, it should be at least 1368 x 768. Anything less will not suffice for some of the new, demanding games.
- RAM: RAM, or the computer’s random-access memory, goes hand in hand with the CPU and GPU. To play some of the newest games, you will need at least 4GB of RAM. Some gamers go as far as adding 32GB of RAM to their computers. If you want to go for less from the get-go, ensure the laptop you get allows you to upgrade the RAM over time by having an available memory slot you can use.
- SSD: Finally, we recommend getting a laptop with at least 1TB SSD. If you can afford it, consider getting a 2TB SSD to make the laptop faster. Having a quality SSD as part of the laptop ensures no drive crashes or loss of valuable data.
Best Affordable Gaming Laptop Brands
Before we wrap up this guide, we want to tell you more about the brands that create the best budget gaming laptops. Here is more on the four brands whose laptops we reviewed in today’s article:
- Acer: Acer is a company established in the 1970s in Taiwan. Over the years, it has created numerous lines of desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and other devices. It is currently considered one of the top five PC vendors in the world as of 2022.
- HP: HP is an American company with a long tradition and many satisfied customers. They have created some fantastic laptops for gaming and also have several branches that deal with all kinds of equipment for gaming. If you are interested in HP, make sure to also look into their HyperX and OMEN.
- Dell: Dell began in 1984 as a project that student Michael Dell worked on in his dorm room. Several decades later, this American company is one of the top tech manufacturers with lines of high-quality computers, other electronics, accessories, etc.
- Bmax: Bmax is a lesser-known tech company in China. Over the past several years, it has produced a number of laptops, portable desktops, tables, and mini PCs that have captured the attention of buyers. If you are interested in personalized digital products, you should look into this company.
FAQ on Gaming Laptops Under $500
Is a $500 laptop good for gaming?
While most high-quality gaming laptops are worth several thousand dollars, you can also find cheap gaming laptops for $500 or even less. However, they might not come with many high-quality parts or be that durable. If you plan on being a professional gamer or using a laptop for gaming every day, it would be best to look into gaming laptops worth more than $500.
Can I play games on a normal laptop?
You can always install and play games on a standard laptop if you do not have or cannot afford a gaming laptop. However, the graphics or sound might not be the best, and your games might lag if the computer does not have the proper CPU or RAM.
Which brand is best for a gaming laptop?
Although most well-known computer companies offer at least some gaming laptops, the best gaming computer brands are ASUS and Razer. You can also look into Dell, MSI, Lenovo, and other companies to learn more about gaming laptops or purchase one.
Thank you for reading this review of the best gaming laptops under $500. While there are many amazing cheap gaming laptops from the companies mentioned above, we recommend looking into Dell and HP for top-quality budget computers.
Remember to look into the education section of this review when on the market for an affordable laptop you can use for daily gaming. If you know or have experience with other budget gaming laptops, please share it with us in the comments below. We cannot wait to read about it!