Since you are reading this article, we are assuming that you wish to indulge in a top of the line gaming experience with your brand-new gaming laptop purchase. When you go past the 1000-dollar price tag, you are getting into premium gaming laptop territory. These machines will pack the latest and greatest in terms of graphics power as well as processors. Expect the 7th generation Core i7 7700HQ quad core processor from Intel to be a standard inclusion in laptops costing between 1000-1500 dollars, as well as a mid-high range NVIDIA Pascal series GPU such as a GTX 1060 6GB or even a GTX 1070 8GB.
How do these laptops compare in terms of performance to machines costing less than 1000 dollars? Well, to begin with- they perform anywhere between 30-40% better in most games. They also tend to be built from premium material and feature better displays with features such as G-SYNC and VR compatibility.
You will also find that premium gaming laptops offer better customization in the form of overclocking, RGB gaming keyboards, and superior built-in audio. Most of these machines either have extremely powerful stereo speakers with virtual surround, or even a 4/ 5 speaker setup with one or two subwoofers. You don’t find this kind of built-in audio if you look at low-mid range gaming laptops under a thousand bucks. You get more than just raw performance when you buy one of these high-end gaming laptops, you also get gaming specific features and a much better overall experience in the form of sound and display quality.
So, without any further ado, let us take a look at some of the best gaming laptops in the 1000 to 1500-dollar range. We have included laptops based on their price to performance ratio, consumer reviews, build quality, and overall features.
Acer is no stranger to making amazing gaming laptops, and the Aspire VX15 is a work of art. We say “art”, because performance is not the only amazing thing about this beauty. It looks as stunning as it performs, and is sure to attract a lot of eyes as it sits majestically on your desk, running the latest AAA game titles on maximum details.
So why should you buy one of these? What do you get for nearly 1000 bucks? We shall discuss all of its unique features and specifications in the forthcoming sections, but the main reason we have put the Aspire VX15 in this list is because of its insanely good price-to-performance ratio. The amount of value that you are getting in the form of high performance hardware, solid build quality, and artful design is simply too hard to pass up. So, let’s take a look at what lies beneath the hood of this beautiful gaming laptop.
Firstly, the processor- underneath the sleek black keyboard panel of the Aspire VX15, you will find a 7th generation Intel Core i7 7700HQ processor. This quad core, hyperthreaded CPU is part of the Kaby Lake processor family. It boasts a base speed of 2.8 GHz, and can automatically ramp up its clock speed up to 3.8 GHz with the help of Intel’s Turbo Boost technology.
There are 4 physical cores and 8 logical cores, meaning that you can multitask effortlessly and play any game you want at the highest possible details. The processor is equipped with 6 MB of L3 cache, allowing it to access recently opened programs and data with relative ease. This should shorten up loading times as well as make the desktop experience much smoother no matter how many windows and browser tabs you have opened at the same time.
Moving on, let us examine the graphics chip installed in this laptop. After all, a superb processor must be paired with an equally amazing graphics chip if you want to enjoy the latest games in all their glory. And Acer did not disappoint- they have equipped this 15.6” gaming laptop with a GTX 1050ti graphics card.
It is not the most powerful of the GTX 10 series cards, and is classified as a mid-range GPU. But that doesn’t mean you cannot play games at high settings. It just means you cannot play at ultra. But hey, if people could play everything at ultra by spending less than 1000 dollars, all the high-end gaming laptops would have no place in the market, and many brands would be out of business.
So tune down the settings to high on most current generation AAA games, and you will enjoy a smooth 60 fps average at 1080p. However, there are quite a few last generation titles which can easily be played on ultra-settings with some tweaks to the anti-aliasing and texture settings.
Battlefield 1, COD Infinite Warfare, Prey, Witcher 3, DOOM, The Division, etc. can be played at “high” settings and 1080p. Games such as Rainbow Six Siege, CS GO, DOTA 2, World of Warcraft, LoL, Overwatch, Rocket League, etc. can be easily played at ultra-settings and 60+ fps.
One of the features that might get overlooked by many is the display. It is just another 15.6” 1080p panel, but hold on- this one is not a TN panel. The display is actually an IPS display, and it serves as icing on the cake.
We do not know how Acer managed to cram all of these goodies into one laptop for such a low price, but there you go- colors are amazing, contrast ratio is brilliant, and viewing angles are good enough for you and all your buddies to enjoy games/ movies together on the same screen.
In case you didn’t know already, IPS panels are far superior to TN panels as far as colors and viewing angles are concerned. Just compare the color quality of an IPS LCD TV to that of your average TN computer monitor and you will understand.
Talking of memory and storage, the Aspire VX 15 packs 16GB of DDR4 RAM along with a 256 GB SSD. Booting up hardly takes more than 5-6 seconds, and games load before you can get up to fetch a snack.
A HDD upgrade kit is available, it includes a 2.5” bracket along with a SATA and power cable. Contact Acer support to get a free kit. That way you can have super-fast storage for games and software, along with slower but larger storage for movies and songs.
1. Insane performance for price, Core i7 7700HQ processor and GTX1050ti 4GB graphics for less than 1000 bucks
2. 16GB of DDR4 RAM and a 256 GB SSD, games load extremely fast and booting up takes almost no time
3. Great multitasking as well as productivity potential thanks to the 8 logical processor cores and massive 16GB of high speed RAM
4. Beautiful 1080p IPS panel that accurately reproduces colors and features great contrast.
1. No mass storage, you need to contact Acer support in order to receive your complimentary HDD upgrade kit
2. Mediocre battery life
With its Core i7 7700HQ processor and GTX 1060 graphics card, the ASUS FX502VM-AS73 is fully equipped to deal with the most demanding AAA game titles that have been released in recent times. The GTX 1060 GPU is currently NVIDIA’s 4th most powerful gaming graphics card of all time, and it also delivers the most value for money out of all their different Pascal series graphics cards.
Apart from a powerful processor and graphics card, the FX502VM-AS73 also comes with a bunch of other gaming-oriented features such as a backlit gaming keyboard, super-fast storage in the form of an SSD, dual cooling fans for optimal heat dissipation, and some really good built-in audio for gaming or movies.
Just one look at the ASUS FX502VM-AS73 laptop, and you can immediately tell what it is intended for. That’s right- premium quality gaming. But you probably won’t be able to guess the price range that this laptop falls into. Most people won’t believe it when they hear that it costs less than 1500 bucks, since just a few months ago it was almost impossible to get this kind of gaming power for any less than 2000 dollars.
That’s right, the FX502VM-AS73 comes with a graphics card that is powerful enough to run any game at 60+ fps in 1080p resolution and high details. It also packs a quad-core hyperthreaded Core i7 7700HQ processor that is a multitasking beast and can handle any application with relative ease.
The Core i7 7700HQ processor inside this laptop can also be found in laptops ranging between 2000-2500 dollars, so there is no doubt that it is a very powerful CPU. The 7700HQ is a mobile version of the 7700, a desktop processor.
It packs 4 physical cores, and 8 logical cores thanks to hyperthreading. Base clock is 2.8 GHz, while turbo boost takes that number up to 3.8GHz when some extra power is required by an application. That application can be a AAA game title such as Battlefield 1, COD Infinite Warfare, Forza Horizon 3, or it can be a productivity oriented professional software such as 3DS Max or Adobe Premier Pro.
While it is insanely powerful and amazingly efficient, the Core i7 7700HQ requires a helping hand in order to run games. That helping hand is the graphics card. And the FX502VM-AS73 is equipped with a very fine graphics card- the GTX 1060.
This is the 6GB GDDR5 version of the 1060, not the scaled-down 3GB model. The 6GB edition packs all 1280 CUDA cores and has a whopping 1706 MHz boost clock speed. But this laptop has an incredible cooling system that allows the GTX1060 implementation to boost even further in this case. Why?
Because the way NVIDIA GPU BOOST works is, it automatically detects the core temperature and keeps on boosting the card until a certain predetermined limit is reached on the temperature. So, the cooler you can keep your NVIDIA GTX series card, the further it will boost. Of course, there is a limit to that since no silicon chip can infinitely keep on increasing clock speed. But the 1060 can hit 1800-1900 MHz with good cooling.
And talking of cooling, this laptop has tons of it. There are two dedicated cooling fans which spin independent of each other, one is for the CPU and the other is for the GPU. There are multiple super-thick copper heat pipes leading out of both the CPU and GPU sockets, and these heat pipes carry all of the heat to the fans, which are controlled by thermal sensors attached onboard the chips themselves.
This way, the fans can accelerate or decelerate depending on the real-time chip temperatures. This means that temperatures are always kept under check, while also minimizing noise output and power consumption through intelligent fan control.
Other gaming-oriented features of this laptop include a red backlit gaming keyboard, a 128 GB SATA III SSD, 802.11 ac Dual Band WIFI (2.4 and 5 GHz), as well as a full HD 15.6” display. There are lots of I/O options- USB 3.0, SD card reader, HDMI/ mini Display port, and USB 2.0. And it comes with 16 GB of DDR4 RAM, that can be upgraded up to 32 GB.
1. Lots of processing power because of a Core i7 7700HQ CPU
2. Premium graphics in the form of a GTX 1060 6GB
3. Very good cooling, intelligent fan control keeps the laptop quiet even under load
4. Nice red backlit gaming keyboard with short travel key switches
5. Sleek and futuristic looks
1. Low battery life
2. Display could have better out of the box contrast and color settings, although you can tweak the color and contrast with a built-in software utility]
This is probably the cheapest GTX 1060 equipped laptop on the market right now, as well as the second cheapest laptop on this list. You normally expect Acer to deliver more for less, but this time they truly outdid themselves.
What is even more astonishing is the fact that they still had enough budget leftover to install some really cool features that are otherwise exclusive to high-end gaming laptops. Read on to know more about the incredible Acer Helios 300 15.6” gaming laptop. It is one of a kind, and worth every penny of the price tag.
Well, if you thought that the ASUS FX502VM-AS73 gaming laptop is the only affordable GTX 1060 laptop on the market, you were very wrong. Acer offers the exact same specs, no- Acer offers slightly better specs for 10% less money. How is that possible? Well… compromises were made in areas that don’t affect performance while gaming.
For example, while the FX502VM-AS73 from ASUS has a pretty mediocre battery life, the battery life of the Acer Helios 300 is even worse. While the FX502VM-AS73 weighs only 4.9 pounds, the Helios 300 weighs 6 pounds (even though both are 15.6” laptops). So, there you go- the performance comes at the price of being slightly heavier and having a lower battery life.
But do you care about battery life and weight unless you travel a lot? No, because if you stay at home and just need a portable gaming station for playing in your bedroom or carrying over to your friend’s place for a LAN party, then you will most probably be using it on a desk and that too while it is plugged in.
Because lets fact it- even the best gaming laptops are renowned for having terrible battery. It is the law of nature, physics says that the more powerful a certain machine is (or in this case a silicon chip), the more energy it needs to run. Bigger engines need more fuel, bigger bodies need more food, and powerful graphics cards need… more power.
So, how powerful is the GTX 1060? Well, it is as powerful as last generations 2nd most powerful gaming graphics card that NVIDIA had to offer, the GTX 980. And yet, the 1060 consumes less than half the power of the 980. Surprised? That’s just how much PC technology advances in one year, a mid-range graphics card is as powerful as last year’s flagship model, for a fraction of the cost and consumes less than half the power too.
This is the full-fledged 6GB, 1280 CUDA core version of the 1060. So, you can rest assured it will run anything you throw at it on high details and 60+ fps. Battlefield 1, Prey, Witcher 3, GTA V, Rainbow Six Siege, CS GO, Overwatch, you name it- and the GTX 1060 will run it.
The 1060 is not alone though, the Helios 300 comes equipped with a 7th generation Intel Core i7 7700HQ processor. If you read the ASUS FX502VM-AS73 review, you know what this processor is capable of.
But wait- there is more. Acer has thrown in a massive 16GB of RAM along with a 256 GB SSD for ultra-fast game loading times. This is great, since the ASUS FX502VM-AS73 only had a 128 GB SSD. But there is a compromise- you get no HDD, whereas the ASUS model had a 1TB 5400 rpm HDD.
Although a HDD is very slow compared to an SSD, it is essential for storing large files such as movies or song collections. SSDs are fast but small in capacity, so you can’t store everything on them.
The Helios has an ace up its sleeve though- unlike the ASUS FX502VM-AS73 which had a regular TN display, the Helios comes with an IPS panel. This means that color quality is vastly superior on the Helios. It also features a very sporty black and red design, along with a metal chassis for added durability and premium feel. The keyboard is backlit in red, and feels very tactile as well as responsive while gaming or typing.
1. Premium look and feel (metal chassis)
2. Super-fast SSD storage (256 GB)
3. Gorgeous IPS display (15.6”)
4. Great cooling solution (dual intelligent fans)
5. Solid gaming performance, thanks to a Core i7 7700HQ processor and NVIDIA GTX 1060 6GB graphics
6. Lots of connectivity options, including dual-band 802.11 ac WIFI
2. Low battery life
We don’t want to spoil it all in the overview, but here is the short rundown of what we intend to say- if you are only interested in performance and value for money, then stop reading and go buy this laptop right now. Seriously, we mean it. This is the best bang-for-the buck machine on this whole list if you talk just about performance and features. It is also the only laptop on this list with a RGB keyboard. Oh, did we mention it features SoundBlaster X-FI onboard audio? Well, why don’t you take a look at the specs yourself and you will know what we mean.
You may not have heard of this gaming laptop manufacturer, but trust us when we say this- the P650HP6 is a masterpiece as far as 15.6” midrange gaming laptops are concerned. It is all about performance, with little to none unnecessary features. The laptop looks very ordinary and is somewhat on the heavier side due to its bulky chassis, but the upside to having a larger chassis is that there is more room for airflow. Meaning that the laptop stays cooler when you are engaged in a 12-hour gaming marathon.
The body might look boring and uninspiring, but are you going to be looking at the laptop while you game? No, you will be watching the display! And that is why they decided to use the budget on a super awesome screen instead of wasting it on making the laptop look like a spaceship or sports car. The result? A 15.6” full HD, anti-glare IPS panel that delivers stunningly accurate colors.
But wait, there is more to this laptop than a stunning display and powerful hardware. Most gaming laptops manufacturers stick with the conventional dual-fan design. One intelligent cooling fan is assigned to each processor- the CPU and the GPU. These fans are controlled by independent heat sensors on either chip that can regulate fans speeds based on live temperature readings, meaning that the average noise and power consumption stays low.
Eluktronics took this concept one step further- by adding a third intelligently controlled fan. This means that the P650HP6 runs cooler than any other laptop on this list, and it even comes with the ability to overclock on demand, all you have to do is trigger overdrive mode through the software. Better cooling means that you have greater headroom for overclocking the CPU or GPU.
This laptop is powered by a Core i7 7700HQ processor, quad core with hyperthreading. It has a base clock of 2.8 GHz and a boost clock of 3.8 GHz. Graphics is handled by a 6GB GTX 1060 from NVIDIA. There is 16GB of DDR4 RAM running at 2400MHz, along with a 256 GB M.2 SSD for ultra-fast loading times.
The keyboard is a work of beauty- unlike most competitors who provide red backlit keyboards, Eluktronics have installed a fully customizable RGB keyboard. There is even a silver lining around the keyboard, just to make things prettier. Mass storage is handled by a 1TB HDD. There is dual band 802.11ac WIFI onboard, along with Bluetooth 4.2 and Gigabit LAN for high speed connectivity.
1. Best performance for the money in its class
2. RGB gaming keyboard
3. SoundBlaster X-FI audio
4. Dual band 802.11 ac WIFI with Bluetooth 4.2
5. 15.6” anti-glare IPS full HD display
6. Triple cooling fan
7. Gigabit ethernet
8. 256 GB M.2 SSD (faster than conventional SATA III SSD)
9. 1 TB HDD for mass storage
1. Heavy and bulky
2. Exterior looks boring
3. Bad battery life
While it is the 2nd costliest laptop on this list, the ROG Strix GL702VM is still priced at less than 1500 dollars and comes with some very impressive hardware inside that sleek metallic grey body. The main feature of attraction though, has to be the 17.3” display. Not only is this a full HD display, but it is also equipped with NVIDIA G-SYNC. G-SYNC is a feature implemented through proprietary NVIDIA hardware.
There is a microprocessor chip mounted inside the display circuitry board that automatically synchronizes the refresh rate of the display with the frames outputted by the graphics card in real time. For this, the display needs to be capable of varying its refresh rate very rapidly across a wide range (say between 20 to 60 Hz), hence not all panels are certified as G-SYNC panels.
There is a strict testing and regulation procedure for a display panel to be G-SYNC approved, which is why we are pleasantly surprised to find a G-SYNC laptop at this price.
Everything about this laptop screams quality- from the impressive metal chassis to the large 17.3” G-SYNC 60Hz display, the Strix GL702VM is a gamers dream come true. It is equipped with a beefy graphics card, and an equally powerful 7th generation Core i7 processor from Intel.
There is 16GB of high speed DDR4 RAM, along with a 128 GB SSD that serves as the boot drive for ultra-fast boot times (barely 5-6 seconds needed from pressing the start button to opening the Windows desktop). You can store your favorite games on the SSD, although there is a 1TB 5400 rpm HDD for storing larger files such as less frequently played games, or movies and songs.
The processor is an Intel Core i7 7700HQ, this is a quad core hyperthreaded beast of a laptop CPU with 8 logical cores for effortless multitasking and lag-free gaming. Base clock speed is 2.8 GHz, while turbo boost allows the 7700HQ to go up to 3.8 GHz. There is 6MB of L3 cache for effortless multitasking, and applications startup as soon as you click on the launcher.
You can browse the web, run a demanding AAA game title, have a song running in the background, while also streaming via OBS or NVIDIA GameStream- all at the same time, thanks to the power of the Core i7 7700HQ which is not only fast but also incredibly power efficient.
Graphics is handled by a NVIDIA GTX 1060 6GB graphics card, this has 1280 CUDA cores and sports a 1706 MHz boost clock. But thanks to the triple-fan cooling system in the Strix GL702VM, you will find that the GTX 1060 implementation in this laptop is capable of boosting even further than the factory-designated boost clock limit.
The way NVIDIA CPU BOOST 3.0 works is that, it dynamically increases clock speed based on core temperature. So, the cooler you can keep your Pascal series graphics card, the harder it will boost. There is no game on Earth which you cannot run at maximum settings and a smooth 60 frames per second, and we believe that the 1060 will stay relevant for at least another 2-3 years.
1. 17.3” NVIDIA G-SYNC 1080p display with 160° wide viewing angle
2. GTX 1060 6GB graphics
3. Powerful 7th generation Core i7 CPU
4. 128GB SSD with 1TB HDD
5. Backlit keyboard
6. Slim 0.9” body, metal chassis gives added durability and a premium feel
1. Heavy, at almost 6 pounds
2. Comes with a bunch of proprietary ASUS bloatware preinstalled
It costs slightly less than the Strix GL502VM, but features a very similar chassis and the exact same processor. However, this is not an ASUS branded laptop since the chassis has been upgraded and customized by CUK (Computer Upgrade Kings). These guys take a barebones chassis manufactured by an OEM such as ASUS or MSI, then they customize the exterior looks and upgrade certain internal components such as the RAM and storage.
In this particular case, you are getting a 15.6” laptop with a massive 512 GB NVMe SSD drive and 1TB of HDD space. It is also equipped with a monstrous 32 GB of RAM. Although the overall design and hardware specs indicate that this is a gaming laptop, we would also recommend it to graphics developers and video/ photo editors because of the huge amount of RAM and 512GB ultra-fast NVMe SSD.
The ROG GL553 by CUK is designed to take on all kinds of demanding workloads, be they professional tasks such as 4K footage editing and graphics design, or gamer specific such as running GTA V on 1080 and ultra-settings at 60+ fps.
No matter what the task, you can rest assured that the CUK GL553 will be able to perform it with relative ease. It is equipped with 32 GB of DDR4 RAM and a massive 512 GB NVMe SSD.
In case you don’t know what is the difference between a NVMe SSD and a normal (SATA III) SSD, let’s just summarize it by telling you that a NVMe SSD can write and read data about 2-3 times faster than a standard SSD. And a standard SSD is about 5 times faster than a regular 5400 rpm HDD found in most laptops. So, you do the math, imagine all the things you can do with 1GBPS of transfer speed on your hard drive.
You can play games on this laptop, but you can also do much more than just gaming- the massive 32 GB of memory allows you to load and render 4k assets inside a 3D modelling and graphics design program, and you can use the super-fast SSD storage to edit high resolution DSLR photos or you can do special effects for movies on Premier Pro, Vegas, etc. There is also a massive 1TB HDD for storing video collections, songs, high-resolution photos, game installers, etc.
The laptop is powered by a 7th generation Intel Core i7 7700HQ processor and graphics is handled by a NVIDIA GTX 1050ti 4GB graphic card. The 1050ti is about 60-65% as powerful as the GTX 1060 6GB model, and can run most games on maximum settings and 1080p.
There are plenty of I/O options as well- USB Type C, USB 3.0, USB 2.0, HDMI, mini Display Port, SD card reader, Optical disk drive, and RJ45 Ethernet. For wireless, you have 802.11 ac WIFI and Bluetooth.
1. Tons of RAM and super-fast NVMe SSD storage
2. Lots of I/O options
3. Backlit keyboard
4. Solid build quality with a premium metallic finish
1. Poor battery life
2. Audio quality is mediocre