Budget gaming laptops are always hard to find, especially since there are so many different configurations and brands to choose from. When you try to buy a budget laptop, you often have to choose certain features over the other- for example, you can’t have performance and a good battery life at the same time.
Also, when it comes to affordable laptops, it is all about compromises. Which features are you willing to forfeit in order to gain better performance in other areas? Budget laptops tend to use cheaper, lower-end Core i3 processors or AMD A10 APUs. Mobile processors are designed to run on extremely low amounts of power, at the cost of performance.
We don’t suggest these laptops for serious gaming, although you can definitely play some older AAA titles from 2010-2014 after you turn down the graphics to medium. There are laptops on our list which come with dedicated graphics chips, these offer lower battery life than the ones which use Intel HD series onboard graphics, and they also generate more heat.
However, you won’t notice the difference in battery life unless you travel a lot with your laptop and game on the move. If you are a college student and wish to get a laptop for studies and casual gaming, then we suggest that you get one with either an AMD A10 APU, or a laptop with a NVIDIA GeForce series dedicated GPU.
If you are into content creation, then we suggest a laptop with an I7 processor and at least 8 GB of RAM. All of the laptops on our list were chosen after looking at customer reviews and price-to-performance ratio. Take a good look at the specifications, as well as pros/ cons of each model. Everyone has unique needs, and that is why you need to choose a laptop that suits you the best.
Simplistic, yet elegant- the Dell 15.6” Inspiron laptop is equipped with a Core i5 7200U processor which is a low power mobile 7th gen Intel i5 CPU. This super-efficient processor allows you to use the laptop for more than 7 or 8 hours while running light applications such as MS Office, Chrome, VLC media player, etc.
This laptop also features the latest in WIFI technology- 802.11 ac and has a 1TB hard drive which gives you plenty of storage space for all your favorite games, movies, and software.
A super-efficient dual core 7th gen Intel CPU, 8GB of high speed 2400 MHz DDR4 RAM, and a 1TB hard disk drive loaded with Windows 10 Home 64-bit. This is the 15.6” Dell Inspiron laptop, perfect for students, casual gamers, and pretty much anyone who does everyday stuff on computers like using MS Office, browsing, watching movies, playing free to play games, or programming.
It isn’t the fastest machine in its price range, nor does it look like a gaming laptop. This laptop was built for efficiency and portability, it is extremely light and weighs just 4.85 pounds. The Intel Core i5 7200U mobile processor allows it to sustain a battery life greater than 7 to 8 hours on average, while running light applications such as videos, web browsers, etc.
The i5 7200U is a dual core, 4-thread CPU with a 2.5GHz base clock and 3.1 GHz boost clock. It also features 3MB of SmartCache, and an average TDP of just 15 watts which means that Dell could get away with a smaller cooling unit and a lower capacity battery which still makes the laptop run longer than models that come with high capacity lithium ion cells.
All of this helps keep the price low, so that just about anybody can purchase this laptop and enjoy doing everyday stuff like watching movies, making presentations, programming, or playing games such as LOL and DOTA 2. It does however have a significant drawback- the display resolution is 1366 x 768, which is a setback if you were planning on running modern AAA games or HD movies.
Other than the poor display resolution and lack of a dedicated GPU, there isn’t anything wrong with this laptop. It does what it is supposed to do and is built very well. Easy to carry around, long battery life, and some really nice audio quality- the Dell Inspiron 15.6” laptop is definitely worth considering if you just plan to play free to play games, or older AAA games. It has 8GB of DDR4 RAM and is equipped with a 1TB HDD, so you should have no issues with storing documents, movies, and photos inside your laptop without the need for an external drive.
Intel Core i5 7200U processor, dual core 4-thread and extremely efficient
8GB DDR4 2400 MHz RAM
1 TB HDD
Windows 10 Home 64-bit
Sleek design, long batter life
Low display resolution- 1366 x 768
Webcam isn’t very good
It costs a little more than the Dell Inspiron, but the Acer Aspire AS515 comes with a far more powerful processor, and an actual dedicated GPU. You will be able to play more than just f2p games and indie titles on this laptop, in fact it can even run modern AAA games such as Witcher III, Battlefield 1, Gears of War 3, Resident Evil Biohazard, etc. on low to medium settings and 1080p resolution.
The Acer Aspire AS515 is probably the most value for money you can get on any laptop between the 500 to 600-dollar price range. It is a tad bit cheaper than its brother, the Aspire E15 E5-576G-5762, which we shall review next, but packs some pretty impressive hardware nonetheless.
Powered by an Intel Core i5 7200U, the same dual core processor that is found in the Dell Inspiron, the Aspire AS515 is just as efficient and capable of multitasking as you would expect it to be, since it is powered by a dual core, 4-thread CPU that has a turbo frequency of 3.1 GHz.
However, unlike the Dell Inspiron, this laptop features a dedicated GPU which assists it in running games much better than an Intel HD onboard graphics unit can. The dedicated GPU we are talking about is the NVIDIA GeForce 940MX mobile graphics card which supports all the latest technologies such as DirectX 12, GPU Boost 2.0, Optimus, PhysX, etc. You will be able to play modern AAA titles on it at low settings, and full HD resolution (1920 x 1080).
One thing worth noticing on this laptop compared to the Dell Inspiron is that it features a full HD display, i.e. 1920 x 180 unlike the Inspiron which had a 1366 x 768 panel. This is a huge deal if you plan on watching movies, doing photo editing, or playing games in full HD resolution, which this Acer laptop is more than capable of, considering its dedicated GPU.
Other than that, it also has a 1 TB 5400 rpm HDD, and is loaded with 8GB of DDR4 RAM which can be upgraded all the way up to 24 GB if you wish.
Intel Core i5 7200U mobile process, extremely efficient, 4-threads for good multitasking
NVIDIA GeForce 940MX dedicated GPU
8GB DDR4 RAM
1TB 5400 rpm HDD
Full HD 1920 X 1080 display
Windows 10 Home 64-bit
Battery life drops significantly while gaming (about 2 to 3 hours max while gaming)
No CD/ DVD drive
A quad core, 8-thread 8th gen Intel processor, an NVIDIA Pascal based GPU, and a full HD display. No, we aren’t talking about some 800 or 1000-dollar gaming laptop– we are referring to the Acer Aspire E15 E5-576G-5762, an entry level gaming laptop which packs a significant amount of processing power for a relatively cheap price. You can multitask with ease and play any game you want as long as you keep the graphics setting on low.
When Intel released their Coffee Lake lineup of processors, they had one goal in mind- to deliver lots of cores and lots of threads while maintaining a high degree of efficiency. That is precisely what the Core i5 8250U CPU offers- 4 physical cores and 8 threads (thanks to hyperthreading), all while maintaining an average TDP of just 15 watts.
This is truly mind blowing, since the previous generation aka the 7th generation Core i5 7200U which is used in many laptops right now has 2 cores and 4 threads (half the cores and threads compared to the 8250U) but consumes the exact same amount of power. It is almost twice the multitasking power in certain applications, for the exact same amount of power consumed which is a significant generational leap in processor technology.
It is not just the processor which is so interesting, the E15 E5-576G-5762 also features a NVIDIA Pascal GT 1030 graphics card. Well, it isn’t called a GT 1030, but the MX150 is basically a mobile adaptation of the desktop GT1030 2GB graphics card, same hardware under a different codename.
The GT 1030 is the lowest end Pascal GPU, but we challenge you to find a single laptop on the market which costs less than 600 dollars and is equipped with an NVIDIA Pascal graphics card. You can’t, because this is the only laptop to do so, brand new and under 600 dollars with enough graphics horsepower to run modern AAA titles on low settings.
Moving on, the Aspire E15 E5-576G-5762 also comes with a full HD 1920 x 1080 display which is excellent for both gaming as well as watching movies. The E15 E5-576G-5762 is also one of the most compact 15.6” laptops around, measuring 15.02 x 10.2 x 1.19 inches and weighing in at just 5.27 pounds with the battery installed.
Average battery life is around 11+ hours with moderate usage, which is insane considering that this is the most powerful gaming laptop you can find for less than 600 dollars. It is the most expensive option on our list, but not by a huge margin. If you have the money, then ask no questions and go for it. No other manufacturer makes a laptop for less than 600 dollars which features an i5 8250U and NVIDIA MX150 2GB graphics. The 256 GB SSD ensures lighting fast boot times and super quick loading times in games.
Intel Core i5 8250U quad core 8-thread processor
NVIDIA MX150 2GB Graphics
8GB DDR4 RAM
256 GB SSD with Windows 10 preinstalled
Full HD 1920 x 1080 display
Touchpad on this particular model seems to be a little buggy
Comes with some bloatware installed
This is an amazing low-budget multimedia/ college laptop from Dell. It is well-built, packs a highly efficient processor, upgradable with the option to go up to 16 GB of RAM, and sports a 1 TB HDD for mass storage. Casual gamers who like to play older games/ indie games and watch movies will love the 1080p True-life LED backlit display.
When Dell decided to go ahead and create a budget-friendly multimedia/ student oriented laptop, they had to consider several things- an efficient as well as reasonably powerful processor, ample RAM, a good display, and solid batter life. Well, with the i5567-0927PRP 15.6” laptop, they got it all right.
This laptop doesn’t sport a dedicated GPU unlike the Acer model that we reviewed previously, but it does have a few advantages of its own that make this a very compelling purchase option if you are a gamer on a budget, or student.
To begin with, it features one of the best displays on any laptop under 600 dollars- the True-Life 1080p display uses an IPS touch panel that displays colors very accurately. It is the brightest display of any laptop on this list, and has amazing contrast.
Images appear sharp and well-lit, watching movies or playing games on this display is an absolute treat. It is also touch-capable, so content creators and students are going to love this. If you plan on using Photoshop, Lightroom, etc. then the touch display will help out quite a bit.
There is 8 GB of DDR4 RAM onboard, along with a 1 TB 5400rpm HDD for mass storage. The core i3 7100U processor doesn’t win any awards for raw power, but it is the least power hungry CPU on this list, meaning that you will often get 10-13 hours out of the battery on this Dell laptop. The Intel HD 620 graphics isn’t exactly powerful, but gets the job done with esports titles and older AAA games from 2-3 years ago.
Extremely efficient Core i3-7100U CPU
8GB of 2400 MHz DDR4 RAM
1 TB HDD
1080p IPS touch display
1 Year Premium On-site Service
No backlit keyboard
This is the laptop that we recommend to content creators and gamers who are on a budget. It is powered by an Intel Core i7 6500U processor, which despite being last generation is pretty powerful at multitasking and general computing tasks.
The Intel HD 520 graphics is not that far behind the Intel HD 620 series onboard graphics found on current-gen Skylake CPUs, and the 1080p 15.6” display does an excellent job of displaying colors accurately.
With the Intel Core i7 6500U processor and 12 GB of DDR3 RAM, you will be able to breeze through daily computing workloads as well as most last generation AAA games. There is no dedicated graphics chip, so you are stuck with the Intel HD 520 series onboard graphics solution.
Frankly, it is not the best that you can get at this price, since there are competing laptops which offer either AMD APUs or NVIDIA GeForce 900 series mobile graphics. But what this laptop does offer you, is an Intel Core i7 processor. This CPU is not a full-fledged 4-core mobile i7, rather it is a lower power “U” series SKU that packs 2 hyperthreaded cores, for a total of 4 threads.
But it still features higher clocks than an i5, along with more cache. More clock speed results in higher framerates while gaming, and better general multitasking performance. The 12 GB of RAM also helps a lot, and allows you to edit high resolution photos, load 3D assets faster in blender, and you can play games with background programs running, since games rarely use more than 8 GB of system memory.
The 15.6” 1080p screen is an excellent addition- colors are accurate and the display is bright enough for outdoor usage during daytime. Battery life is pretty good, despite the 1080p display and 12 GB of RAM. It is around 9 to 10 hours on average, which is plenty for most college students or casual gamers.
There are 2 USB 3.0 ports along with a single USB 2.0 port, an HDMI port, and RJ-45 ethernet. Windows 10 64-bit is preinstalled, and the laptop features a 1 TB 5400 rpm HDD.
Intel Core i7 6500U processor
12 GB of DDR3 RAM
1TB 5400 rpm HDD
Windows 10 Home preinstalled
Good battery life
Webcam isn’t very good
Intel HD 520 graphics
This laptop from Samsung is the complete package- it has a highly efficient processor that is more than capable of carrying out daily computing tasks, ample RAM, a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce graphics chip for superior gaming performance, a touchscreen display, and solid battery life. On top of it all, the price is very appealing. If you are a gamer on a budget, this laptop should definitely be on your list.
Samsung went ahead and created a 15.6” touchscreen laptop with dedicated graphics from NVIDIA that costs less than 600 dollars. Yes, you heard that right- a laptop with touchscreen and dedicated graphics that costs less than 600. Surprising, right? Well, there is one catch- the display has a resolution of 1366 x 768.
While that might put off some aspiring buyers, gamers don’t need to bother since you weren’t on getting a premium gaming experience at this price anyways. When you are playing on a 15.6” display, the 1366 x 768 resolution won’t make a dramatic difference in terms of visual clarity. Gamers on a budget will probably be playing at low- medium graphics anyways, and you will gain more fps as the resolution decreases.
The CPU is an Intel Core i5 7200U. It is almost as good as the Core i7 7500U in terms of gaming performance, since both of these CPUs feature the exact same core count and use the exact same architecture.
The only difference between a low power laptop i7 and a low power laptop i5 is clock speed and cache size. The i7 runs faster and has a larger cache for more efficient multitasking and swifter application loading times.
There is 8 GB of RAM onboard, and the graphics is handled by a NVIDIA GeForce 920 MX card. This GPU is supported by 2 GB of dedicated GDDR5 graphics memory, and will run most modern AAA games at 60+ fps on low to medium graphics settings at 768. You will be able to play esports titles on high settings at ease, since they are not very hardware intensive.
There is a 1 TB 5400 rpm HDD for mass storage, and wireless connectivity is handled by a 802.11 ac WIFI adapter. The 3 cell Li-Ion battery has a capacity of 3780 mAh, resulting in a battery life of up to 8.5 hours. The touchscreen display is great for students and content creators, and it definitely allows you to enjoy the full power of Windows 10 which comes preloaded with the laptop.
Core i5 7200U dual core, 4-thread CPU
8 GB DDR4 RAM
GeForce 920MX 2GB graphics
1 TB 5400 rpm HDD
1366 x 768 display resolution
No optical drive
We hope that these reviews were informative and helped you in deciding which laptop you need to buy. Gaming on a budget is tough, but it can always be made easier if you purchase the right hardware. Get something that will last if you don’t plan on upgrading anytime soon, such as the laptop with a NVIDIA GT 940MX graphics unit.
If you are planning on upgrading to a better laptop or even a gaming desktop anytime soon, then you can manage with any one of the laptops which are powered by AMD A10 APUs or even a Core i3 based laptop that runs Intel HD graphics. Make sure that whichever laptop you buy has ample I/O and connectivity for your specific needs.
If you plan on using the laptop for school/ college work, resolution of the display is no big deal. Touch screen doesn’t matter for gaming, but it is a huge bonus for content creators or students. If you are planning on using the laptop as a portable media center, make sure it has a 1080p display and decent speakers built-in.