Not every laptop can qualify as a “gaming” laptop. To be called a gaming laptop, a model must be equipped with the necessary hardware that is essential to run the latest and greatest AAA titles such as DOOM, Battlefield, Resident Evil 7, etc. However, everyone always has this misconception that you need to spend over 1.5 or 2 grands on a laptop if you want a decent gaming machine that can last you for at least two or more years. Well, not everyone has that kind of money to throw on a laptop, and if price to performance is what you’re after, then a desktop PC is the way to go since you can get much more power than a laptop for the same amount of money. So, what if you are looking for a gaming laptop at under 800 bucks? Well, there are plenty of laptops for less than 800 but few of them are gaming machines. Not every sub 800-dollar laptop will have the word “Gaming” plastered all over it, and budget gaming laptops don’t have LED accent lighting or RGB keyboards for you to play with either.
So, unless you know about PC hardware and the latest CPU as well GPU releases, it can be hard to pin down a certain model for purchase in the sub 800-dollar range based on its appearances and price alone. Fear not, because we have the perfect solution to that problem- we did all the research and came up with a list of six “gaming” laptops under 800 dollars that are better than any other laptop in this price range when it comes to gaming. Keep in mind the fact that these are not the best laptops under 800 dollars, rather these are the best “gaming” laptops under that range. So, what we looked for was processor and GPU performance, RAM size, storage space, cooling performance, and sound quality. We put battery backup and screen resolution on secondary priority, since those two are hard to get right for such a low budget, and you should know that even the most expensive gaming laptops barely last 1.5 to 2 hours while running heavy games on battery power alone. Take a look at the list, and decide which gaming laptop would be perfect for your needs, based on your budget and the type of games that you plan to play on it.
While buying any personal computer, the first piece of the specifications chart that you should always pay attention to before making a purchase is the processor. It is especially important in the case of portable gaming, since most modern ultra-slim laptops usually come with low wattage “U” series Intel Core processors these days that are optimized for efficiency and battery life instead of raw power and performance. The Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG however is an exception. It is both slim and lightweight as well as powerful, and costs less than 600 bucks. You are getting a 6th generation Intel Core i5-6200U CPU that boosts up to 2.8 GHz, and can comfortably handle any multitasking workload you throw at it thanks to the hyperthreaded cores which are optimized to deliver performance when it is needed, and can also save power whenever possible. Yes, this too is a low-wattage “U” series i5 CPU, but is still a somewhat highly clocked laptop CPU despite that. And in case you didn’t know, games love clock speeds- they rely on high single-threaded CPU core performance, and even two physical cores should be sufficient to handle most modern day AAA titles at low to medium settings, thanks to the hyperthreading that allows a single core to schedule and process more than one thread at a time (however, don’t even think about running Witcher 3 or Dues EX Mankind Divided on High or Ultra with a sub 600-dollar laptop).
In terms of graphical horsepower, the NVIDIA GeForce 940MX mobile graphics chip is packed into this machine, and it is a truly formidable low-mid end laptop GPU that can run just about any modern AAA title such as Battlefield 1 or Call of Duty Infinite Warfare on medium settings and 1080p at a smooth 40 to 50 fps average. The 8 GB of DDR4 RAM can be upgraded to 16 GB later with the addition of an extra stick, and the upgrade process should be simple thanks to the convenient placement of the underbelly RAM and SSD access hatch. You also get a 256 GB SSD, and although no hard drive is provided for storing your movies, songs, photos, etc. in large volumes, you can always buy an external for all of that, or just remove the optical drive and slide in a hard drive caddy in its place. Windows 10 Home comes preinstalled, and battery backup is about 12 hours thanks to the powerful 6-cell Li-Ion battery pack.
If you are willing to spend a little more on the laptop that you plan to buy for gaming, then the Dell Inspiron i7559-2512BLK 15.6” is the perfect choice for a sub 800-dollar portable gaming system. It packs a sixth-generation Intel i7 CPU, a 1 TB HDD, and a 8GB Hybrid SSD storage space that can be used for storing your OS or any apps that you use frequently and thus would like to access with increased speed. The processor used is the Intel Core i7 6700HQ, and this is the exact same CPU which is used in a bunch of 1000+ dollar gaming laptops. The 6700HQ packs 4 physical cores, and is hyperthreaded so it will excel at any multitasking workload you can possibly conceive for your laptop. Watching movies while downloading large files, and running virus scans at the same time barely put a dent in this machine’s performance. It can play the latest AAA titles at medium to high settings on its 15.6” 1080p TN panel, which is surprisingly vibrant for a TN panel in a budget gaming laptop.
Colors are very accurate and the LED-backlit True Life display is better than any other display in competing laptops at this price range. In terms of graphics, you get a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M, which is most definitely the best laptop graphics chip that money can buy for this price range. It will handle even the heaviest of games at 1080p on medium to high settings and will easily deliver 60+ fps for a buttery smooth gaming experience. And that’s not all, you also get a backlit keyboard which helps out a lot during those low light nighttime gaming sessions. The overall construction and build quality feel pretty premium too, and the looks don’t scream out that this is a “gaming” laptop, but it still looks elegant and sleek thanks to the bold edges and slim body that is equipped with a red chassis and matte black finish.
If you are a fan of Lenovo, or have at least owned a Lenovo laptop before then you should know that they come with some of the best keyboards that you’ll find on a laptop. And in the sub 800-dollar price range, few companies actually care about the keyboard they put on their laptop or the cooling system that they use. The manufactures just assume that anyone buying a budget laptop will not be a power user or a hardcore gamer, otherwise they would just spend an extra 1000 bucks and buy one of the certified “true gaming laptops” instead. However, we the consumers, know better than anyone else that money doesn’t grow on trees. And when you do spend your own hard-earned cash on something, it better be the best that you can get for that exact price. Lenovo excels at delivering value for performance, which is why we are a huge fan of their products. It’s not just about the specs- you also need to focus on the build quality and cooling solutions. HP and Dell machines are notorious for sub-par cooling on the low budget range, and HP laptops in particular, tend to have flimsy chassis designs that often tend to crack open at one side, especially near the hinge that attaches the screen to the rest of the body.
Don’t panic, it does not mean that HP doesn’t make great machines, it is just that we can’t recommend any of their sub 700-dollar laptops owing to quality issues. The CPU is an Intel Core i7 7500U, a 7th generation i7 that comes with 4 physical cores and hyperthreading. It is about 5% better than the previous generation equivalent, the core i7 6700HQ that is installed on the Dell Inspiron i7559-2512BLK. You get a generous 12 gigs of DDR4 to play all your favorite games in medium to high graphics settings at 1080p, and you can even use this machine for some light video and photo editing thanks to the extra little bit of RAM that you’re getting. Premier Pro and Photoshop as well as Sony Vegas should load and operate like a charm thanks to the i7 CPU and 256 GB SSD that truly enhances boot times and application loading times. Windows doesn’t feel slow no matter how many tabs or applications you have opened simultaneously (it also boots up within 10 seconds), applications load up as soon as you click them, and games run at 1080p, 60 fps on medium to high settings because of the NVIDIA GeForce 940MX dedicated mobile graphics chip.
With a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M, 512 GB of SSD storage, an Intel Core i5-6300HQ, and 8 GB of DDR4 RAM, this is the maximum performance that you can pack into a sub 800-dollar laptop, one that even comes with Windows 10 preinstalled. The Core i5 CPU in this beastly laptop can turbo up to 3.2 GHz when you need that extra boost of performance while playing the latest and most demanding games, and you also get all the connectivity options that one could possibly ask for with a slew of interfaces such as- HDMI/DSUB/USB Type C, 802.11 a/c Wi-Fi, and a SD card reader. The 15.6” full HD display is extremely sharp and vibrant, colors appear natural and games look gorgeous at 1080p and 60+ fps.
The metallic finish enhances durability and gives this laptop a very premium feel for the price. The red backlit gaming keyboard feels seamless and extra-smooth since it is integrated into the main body of the laptop itself. Key travel is just 1.8mm, which means that you will get a bit of tactile feedback with every key press, but will also be able to execute split-second actions while playing games. The ultra- fast M.2 512 GB SSD enhances booting speed and drastically reduces game load times to the point where you don’t even see that loading screen as often. Sonic Master Audio provides for a pleasant music and movie watching experience at home, while the exclusive Asus GameFirst III technology that is integrated into the Ethernet hardware serves to decrease lag and improve your online gaming experience.
The HP ProBook 450 G3 is a sort of fusion between a high performance ultra slim laptop, and a feature packed budget gaming laptop. You get the best of both worlds with the 450 G3, and its 256 GB SSD as well as backlit keyboard are both features that you will surely love to have. The full HD 15.6” display is powered by a dedicated AMD Radeon R7 2GB graphics chip that is more than sufficient to run any game at low to medium settings at 1080p resolution and 60+ fps. You will love this laptop if you primarily play MMORPG games or MOBAS, and competitive first person shooter such as Counter Strike or Quake. The high-fidelity display produces rich and vibrant colors, while the keyboard feels great to type on, better than any other keyboards on HP laptops within this price range.
This laptop is also equipped with 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi. Windows 10 comes pre-installed on the 256 GB SSD, and you get an amazing 16 GB of DDR4 RAM running at a super-fast 2133 MHz, a true boon for anyone who wants to do some video editing, light CAD work, or photo editing on this laptop. Everything is supervised and controlled by a 6th generation Intel Core i7-6500U CPU, that is excellent for both multitasking as well as gaming. This particular set of hardware caters to both creative professionals and gaming enthusiasts, which is the reason we included the HP 450 G3 ProBook on this list.