Are you trying to find the best gaming laptop under 1200 dollars? With brand-new AAA games such as Battlefield V, Call of Duty Black Ops IV, Forza Horizon 4, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Just Cause 4, and Fallout 76 scheduled for release within the next couple of months, you need to ensure that your gaming system is capable of taking on the most demanding titles of this year. While entry-level gaming laptops can be purchased for under 800 dollars, those machines will lose their ability to run AAA games at a satisfactory quality within one or two years. Sure, you spend less money now but your investment will fail to deliver a good experience within just 2 years. However, we are not asking you to go out there and splurge 2000 or 3000 bucks on a top-of-the-line gaming laptop. That is something 90% of us cannot afford, and the higher you go in the price range, the fewer benefits you get for your money.
But what about the so-called “sweet spot” in the gaming laptop market? The prices for laptops like these can range from 900 to 1200 dollars, and they come with just the right amount of muscle to run AAA games at medium to high settings and 60 fps, for at least the next 2-3 years. If you consider value for money, midrange gaming laptops offer the most performance per dollar. And they are relatively lightweight, unlike their more expensive cousins. Ultra high-end gaming laptops require thicker bodies and more complicated cooling systems to take care of all the heat created by packing such powerful mobile CPUs and GPUs into a tiny space.
If you are stuck with an old gaming laptop that forces you to lower the graphical settings every time you play a new game, while in constant fear of the damn thing overheating and shutting down on you in the middle of an intense gaming session, it is time to invest in a new laptop. Fortunately, we have done all the research for you and created a list of gaming laptops, arranged in the order of increasing price. The most expensive one is under 1200 dollars and offers features such as an NVIDIA GTX 1060 6GB graphics card, and 144Hz IPS display. Please note that you will need a high refresh rate display if you are interested in competitive gaming. This applies to CS GO, Overwatch, DOTA 2, and League players. If you are serious about competitive gaming and aspire to become a pro, do not purchase a laptop featuring a display that has a refresh rate below 100Hz. Most expensive high-end models with >120Hz screens tend to cost upwards of 2000, but we managed to find a reasonably priced Acer gaming laptop for less than 1200 bucks that is equipped with a brilliant 144Hz IPS panel.
Without furtho ado, here are our top contenders…
So, what is the best gaming laptop under 1200?
Now that you have read about the pros and cons of each of our choices for a top gaming laptop under 1200 dollars, you must be thinking to yourself “hmm, all of these seem very compelling. How to decide which one is the best for me?” Well, let us make it simple for you. If you want the cheapest gaming laptop that you can currently buy and not worry about it becoming obsolete within the next year or two, get the MSI GV62. Even though it costs nearly 800 bucks, it is the most wallet-friendly option on our list and manages to deliver an amazing experience in the latest AAA titles without forcing you to turn down the graphical settings to a point where the game starts to look bad.
Now, let’s consider the laptop that provides maximum value for money- the Dell G5. It looks great, has an amazing IPS display, and packs a GTX 1060 6GB graphics card. You just can’t go wrong with this one. Whether you are a casual gamer, content creator, or college student, the Dell will serve you well. It is both sleek as well as powerful.
The ASUS VivoBook is a surprise package. It is sleek like a MacBook at just 0.8” thick and weighs under 5 pounds despite sporting a 17” IPS screen. But underneath the hood lies incredible power- an Intel i7-8550U processor and the NVIDIA GTX 1050 4GB graphics card. You can max out most AAA games on this laptop while maintaining 60 fps average framerate. And once you are done gaming, you can carry it over into office or college with enough battery life left over to power through the day. And just in case you need to recharge, remember that the battery goes from zero to sixty percent charge in just 49 minutes. And you won’t look like an edgy teenager while using this laptop, thanks to its subtle yet bold styling.
If you want the best of both worlds, try out the ASUS ROG Strix Hero edition laptop. It is both sleeker than its competition, and more powerful. Both this laptop as well as the Predator Helios feature Intel’s 2nd most powerful CPU ever to go into a laptop- the 8th generation Core i7-8750H. This processor is capable of running 4 to 5 different background programs while you are gaming and streaming at the same time. Coupled with 16GB of DDR4 RAM and a very capable GPU in the 1050ti, the ROG Strix is an impressive gaming machine. Oh, and let’s not forget its 120Hz IPS screen.
If you are willing to ditch the RGB keyboard of the ASUS ROG Strix laptop in exchange for something that truly affects your gameplay- get the Acer Predator Helios 300. It is THE BEST gaming laptop under 1200 dollars if you have the money for something like this. With a 144Hz display, Acer makes sure that even the most competitive of gamers are able to enjoy their favorite games while they are away from the gaming desktop in their homes. An RGB keyboard or edgy styling doesn’t make you better at games. Neither does a 144Hz display. But the 144Hz display means that you can’t blame your loss on lag, and it ensures that you are not limited by the hardware on your computer.
In conclusion, our pick for Best Gaming Laptop Under 1200 dollars is the Acer Predator Helios 300. It is the most powerful of the bunch, and features the best display- 144Hz IPS with 3ms response time. Your choice may vary based on your budget and needs, which is why we made sure to include 4 other machines on our list that each fulfills a different purpose for gamers.