If you’re a gamer, you’ll likely know that the quality of your laptop means everything when you’re playing PC games. Having something sub par simply won’t do, and it will only leave you frustrated by lag and poor quality graphics.
Naturally then, you want to buy the best gaming laptop so you can get the optimum experience. This isn’t always easy to do when you’re on a budget, as a lot of gaming laptops can cost a lot of money.
In this situation, it’s often best to look for the best gaming laptops for your budget. If you have a budget for $800 or less, we’re here to help. Read on for our top picks for laptops in your budget range!
What exactly makes a laptop the best? Well, it’s ultimately a subjective thing, but there are some key things to think about when shopping for a laptop if you truly want the best option for you.
In writing this guide, we’ve thoroughly tried and tested some of the most affordable laptops on the market to help you to make your decision. In doing so, we’ve considered how well the laptop performs – what’s the operating speed, what’s the RAM and how good is the CPU.
We’ve also considered other factors that will make your life easier, such as keyboard and mouse ergonomics, screen size and portability. Above all else, we’ve chosen laptops based on how well they can run various different games.
Best Gaming Laptop Under $800 in 2021
Works very well for gaming
Eye catching design
Fantastic connectivity options
The display could be better
Near enough everyone knows about HP. The brand is well known for its high quality laptops. This particular laptop is certainly one of the best options for under $800, for a plethora of different reasons. This affordable laptop is a fantastic choice if you’re looking for a powerful option for gaming.
For the money that you pay for this laptop, you will get 8 GB of RAM, a 512 GB SSD hard drive and an AMD Ryzen 5 3550H Processor. All of these things combine together to give you a good, reliable level of performance. You’ll also be pleased to know that the HP Pavilion laptop is also pretty attractive. It looks sleek and thin with an eye catching green backlit keyboard.
The laptop is also a solid option for gamers that want to play on the go too, thanks to the portable design. It weighs a mere 4.96 lbs – this isn’t the lightest laptop you’ll ever find, but it’s pretty decent for a gaming laptop. It has a bunch of connectivity ports to boot too.
Great display quality
Not a great deal of space
It’s pretty rare to find a high quality gaming laptop on a great budget. Yet, it’s something that the ASUS TUF FX505DT Gaming Laptop has managed to do flawlessly. With this laptop you will have an impressive display and an enjoyable gaming experience.
So what are you going to love about this laptop? For starters, the laptop features an AMD Ryzen 5 3550H processor that operates admirably well. It also has decent graphics thanks to the Nvidia GTX 1650 GPU. It’s a good size, with a screen at 15.6 inches and you will get a decent 120 Hz refresh rate. You are also going to love the durable construction. Thanks to this, you can expect the laptop to last you for quite some time.
In addition to all of this, you will get 8 GB of RAM and a high quality 1080p screen. The only real issue with it is that there isn’t a lot of storage – you’ll only have the Western Digital NVMe SSD that ASUS provides. This may mean that installing numerous games on the laptop could be a challenge unless you acquire an external hard drive.
Great cooling system
The red lettering can be difficult to read up against the black keys
If you’re on the market for a laptop with looks that are sure to impress, you should certainly give the Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop a try. This laptop has been on the market for quite some time but it’s still a solid performer that’s a great choice for anyone on a budget.
The Acer Nitro 5 laptop weighs around 5.5 pounds and features a 15.6 inch screen. Of course, this is undeniably heavy for such a small screen size, but this is not an issue if you’re looking for a laptop that will remain in one place. Part of this hefty size may also come down to the high quality cooling fans built into it. These help to ensure that the hardware on your laptop stays nice and cool even after hours of gameplay, something that’s especially important for ensuring that a laptop lasts a long time.
Planning on playing your games in the dark? The Acer Nitro 5 comes with a black keyboard and a red backlit keyboard, so you can see perfectly even in low lighting. Of course, the lettering is red and this can be difficult to see against the black keys in low light conditions unless you have the backlighting constantly on. As a whole though, it performs impressively well for a budget laptop that’s a few years old.
Display leaves a lot to be desired
With the Dell G3 laptop, you will get an impressive performance. It’s a great choice if you’re looking for a gaming laptop on a budget, and it has a lot to offer.
The laptop can run the vast majority of modern titles, which is exactly what you need in a gaming laptop. The laptop looks very attractive, with a sleek plastic lid and a smooth deck. The blue accents look particularly nice. You will also have great connectivity options, including a USB Type C, HDMI out, USB 3.1, power jack, Ethernet port and a jack for your headphones.
The laptop weighs 5.4 pounds, so it’s not super heavy. It features 8 GB DDR4 RAM, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card and an Intel Core i5-9300H CPU. All of these things combine together to make an incredibly powerful laptop that works stupendously for all sorts of games. The display is a little boring, but otherwise it’s a good choice.
Not ideal for running games on highest graphic settings
Gamers on a budget are sure to be impressed with the MSI GF75 Thin Gaming Laptop. As the name suggests, this laptop is very thin, yet it features a large 17.30 inch screen which is optimal for gaming.
The laptop has some pretty impressive specs, too. For starters, the Intel Core i7-10750H processor helps to ensure that your games will consistently run smoothly on the laptop. The laptop features a high quality NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile graphics card, and 16 GB DDR4 RAM.
For such an affordable price, you really can’t go wrong with this laptop. It is not without its flaws, however. The main thing worth noting here is that it’s not the best choice if you want to play your games in the highest resolution settings – you may need to reduce the settings in order to get the most out of this laptop.
Things To Consider
We’ve mentioned all of our favorite gaming laptops under $800, but how exactly are you supposed to choose the model that’s best for you? The last thing you want to do is just pick any old laptop without considering your personal gaming style and how a laptop fits in with that. With this in mind, here are a couple of things that you should think about when buying your gaming laptop on a budget.
You know how they say the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell? Well, the processor is essentially like the mitochondria of your laptop. It’s not the only essential part of the laptop, but it is most certainly one of them. The quality of your processor can have a huge impact on how it performs overall. For this reason, one of the main things that you should think about when buying a laptop for roughly $800 is how good the processor is and how that’s going to affect your gaming experience.
Consider the kinds of games that you’re going to be playing too. For instance, a AAA game is going to require a core i5 processor at the absolute minimum. If you’re just going to be playing something like Minecraft then perhaps this isn’t a concern to you, but for more demanding games you need a processor that can keep up.
Thankfully, you will be pleased to know that you can often get Core i7 processors for around this price. This is ideal and certainly justifies paying that little bit of extra money for your laptop. You should also think about the generation of the processor, since this can also affect how well it works.
When choosing the best gaming laptop for you, you should also be thinking about the amount of RAM on offer. To put it simply, if your laptop has more RAM then it means that it will work much faster and be more efficient at completing tasks. That’s ultimately what you want with any laptop, but it’s even more important on a gaming laptop that may need to deal with a lot of demanding tasks. The more RAM that you have, the easier it is to multitask on the laptop. This is certainly important if you’re one of those people that likes to have about 13 browser tabs open at once on their search engine (we won’t judge!).
If you’re looking to pay $800 or less, you should be able to get a decent laptop with around 8 GB of RAM. This is more than enough for most gaming tasks, and this is usually the minimum amount of RAM that most games will require. You also need to think about the type of RAM that you’re getting. For instance, DDR5 is a really good option if you have a higher budget. You are more likely to find DDR4 on the market though.
You can also make life a lot easier for yourself by opting for a laptop that has upgradeable RAM capabilities. This way, if you have a bit more money to play with later down the line, you can simply improve your RAM.
Since gaming is a visual medium, it’s also vital that you consider the graphics card with the laptop too. A poor graphics card will likely result in awful, blurry graphics, meaning that your experience won’t be as enjoyable. You will also likely find that the game doesn’t run as smoothly in general and the frame rate per second is nowhere near as good. For these reasons, it’s certainly in your best interest to make sure that you purchase a laptop with a high quality GPU.
So what kind of thing can you expect to get when you’re spending around $800? Well, you should ideally be looking for a laptop that comes with at least an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti or more, and it should have 4 GB of VRAM at the minimum. If you get a laptop with these kinds of specifications, you can expect a smooth performance and the graphics card should serve you well for at least a few years too.
Resolution and Display
If you want a high quality gaming experience, you should take some time to think about the display and resolution of your laptop. You may expect to get a screen that’s around 15.6 inches big at this budget and it would usually have a FHD display with 1920 x 1080 pixels. This isn’t the case for all laptops however so you should certainly keep an eye out on the specifications. There are even some laptops that allow you to alter the picture quality, which is very beneficial.
Video games can take up a significant amount of space on your laptop. In addition to this, many people will use their laptops for other things such as listening to music or doing work, so you really need to think about the amount of storage on the laptop. In an ideal world you should be looking for a laptop with an SSD hard drive disk – you should be able to find this without much problem on a lot of laptops at this price point. With an SSD, your transfer speed is generally faster, and as a result your games are likely to load significantly faster. It’s worth keeping an eye out for 256 GB SSDs for this price.
It’s also worth noting that some laptops come with expandable storage options, so it’s worth looking for this when you’re deciding which laptop to buy. Other laptops may give you both an SSD and a HDD, and these are especially handy for extra storage capacity.
There are also a number of other factors that are worth considering when you are looking to buy a laptop. For instance, consider the battery. Can it last for a while without needing to be plugged into power? This factor may not be awfully important to you if you plan on keeping the laptop mainly in one place, but if you are going to be moving your laptop from one place to the next all the time, such as for school or college, then getting a laptop that can hold its own when it isn’t connected to power is a very good idea.
Likewise, on the subject of portability you should think about the size and weight of the laptop. You don’t want to be carrying around a heavy laptop all the time if you’re also using your laptop for school, but many gaming laptops can be a little heavier.
There are some other things that are also worth thinking about. Look out for laptops that have things such as backlit keyboards. These are very handy in the event that you enjoy playing during the nighttime hours or in the dark. Think about the connectivity too – how many devices can you connect to the device at any given time? It’s also a good idea to think about the cooling system of the laptop. Laptops can get overheated very easily when you’re gaming, and a cooling system helps to ensure that your laptop can last for longer periods of time as it is well maintained.
Finding the right laptop for gaming for you doesn’t need to be difficult! It’s just a matter of knowing where to look. Hopefully, with the help of our guide you can enjoy all of your favorite games without having broken the bank to do it!