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We’re searching high and low to find the best cheap gaming laptop so you can enjoy your favorite games like Sims 4.
Unlike the best RTX 4090 laptops which cost an arm and a leg, we’ve found a selection of cheap gaming laptops that will help you stick to a tighter budget. Luckily for us, you can still get some pretty decent specs on lower budget gaming laptops, just don’t expect to be gaming in 4K. Instead, you’ll be seeing some brilliant value laptops from Lenovo, Acer and ASUS.
While there might be a few restrictions associated with a cheap gaming laptop, you can still expect an entry level gaming performance. You’ll hopefully find some helpful suggestions, particularly if you’re looking to prioritize battery life. However, as some of our suggestions come under the $500 mark, it’s definitely worth checking it meets the game’s minimum system requirements.
If you are worried about playing your favorite games on a less powerful gaming laptop, consider checking the best prebuilt gaming PCs under $1000, or else check out our selection of the best gaming laptops under $1000.
We’ve selected what we think are the best cheap gaming laptops on the market today, based on specs, price range, and anything else which we thought made them stand out from the crowd.
So let’s see if we can help you find the best cheap gaming laptop!
Best cheap gaming laptop under $500 – Acer Aspire 5 Slim
Acer Aspire 5 Slim
1920 x 1080
AMD Radeon Vega 6
Ryzen 3 3350U
- Decent battery life for price
- 16:9 aspect ratio and narrow bezels
- Windows 10 Home
- Small amount of RAM
The kind of specs available on budget laptops these days are pretty impressive, and this Acer Aspire 5 Slim is no exception. Offering a beautiful IPS display, good processing power, a competent graphics chip, and decent storage, it really is a steal at well under $500.
At the core of the Aspire 5 Slim is a Ryzen 3 3350U processor, which is a quad-core CPU running at a base frequency of 2.1 GHz. It also has a boost frequency of 3.5 GHz, meaning that you’ll be able to achieve some decent – if not mind-blowing – gaming performance from it.
In terms of the kind of library a laptop like this can handle, you’ll be able to easily get through AAA titles from 2016 and earlier, though mainly at lower settings. In terms of newer games, you’ll mainly be restricted to enjoying indie 2D games and other less-demanding applications.
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For graphics, there’s an AMD Radeon Vega 6 GPU, which is an integrated chip featured on all Ryzen 3 APUs. With 6 compare units clocked at 1100 MHz, it’s not a terrible chip, and it has full DirectX 12 compatibility. In terms of horsepower, it’s comparable to an Intel UHD 630 iGPU.
For storage, there’s a 128GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD. It’s not the largest SSD on the market, but it will allow you to install an OS and still have enough space left over to install a few of your favorite games. This can also be expanded fairly easily with a reasonably-priced USB thumbstick.
Physically, this is a nice, attractive laptop. Combining a nicely-textured matte silver case with black bezels, it really feels like a mature laptop and the backlit keyboard is large enough for comfortable typing, too.
As far as its connectivity goes, the laptop has a single USB 2.0 port, 2 * USB 3.2 Gen-1 ports, a USB 3.2 Type-C port, an HDMI 2.0 port, an RJ-45 port, and also a combination audiojack. It’s also bluetooth and WiFi 6 compatible.
All in all, this is a great gaming laptop for those of you who don’t have a limitless budget. It’s modern enough to provide decent gaming performance on the go, and should be able to keep performing satisfactorily for at least the next few years.
Best cheap gaming laptop under $300 – Acer CB315-3Ht Chromebook
Acer Chromebook CB315-3HT
Intel Celeron 15.6″
1920 x 1080
Intel HD Graphics 400
Intel Celeron N4020
- Up to 12.5 hours battery life
- Best suited to Chrome gaming
When Chromebooks first entered the laptop arena back in 2011, the idea of a cloud-based gaming PC seemed brave, if not a little peculiar. Nowadays, it’s not surprising to see someone using a Chromebook for gaming, and the Acer CB315-3Ht is as good a choice as any.
The great thing about Chrome OS is the fact that its relatively light on processing requirements. This allows for the included N4020 Celeron chip to provide decent portable gaming at an affordable price tag.
With all this said, we’d recommend that you keep your expectations in check here. This Chromebook isn’t going to provide an exceptional Fortnite or PUBG experience, but it will do really well with less-demanding Android titles like Cut the Rope, Pixel Dungeon, Asphalt Nitro, and Fruit Ninja.
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If AAA gaming is a must-have for you, you’ll still be able to get great streaming performance out of this device using Project xCloud (for XBox games) or GeForce Now. Using either service, you can easily see between 30 and 60 FPS in even the most-demanding games.
As this is a budget laptop, the other specs are appropriately modest. There’s 4GB of RAM (definitely enough for Chrome gaming), and a 64GB hard disk drive which will be sufficient for installing Android titles, most of which don’t have large storage footprints.
Physically, it really is quite a beautiful device. Although the dimensions are fairly large, it’s very light at just 2.76 lbs. It’s equipped with 2 USB Type-C ports, a combination audiojack, HD webcam, and features Bluetooth 4.0 as well as 802.11ac compatibility for Wi-Fi.
Ultimately, you shouldn’t be fooled by the fact that this model is a Chromebook. For our money, it really is the best gaming laptop available for under $300, and we’d definitely recommend it to gamers on a budget.
Best all-round cheap gaming laptop – Lenovo Quad Turbo
Lenovo Quad Turbo
1920 x 1080
AMD Radeon RX Vega 8
- Good amount of RAM for gaming
- Great value
- Comes with Windows 11 Pro 64 + Office
- Keyboard is not backlit
A great gaming laptop, for those of you with no budget considerations, is this amazing Ryzen 5 3500U model from Lenovo. Combining solid processing power, competent graphics, and a lovely all-black design, it’s a great choice for anyone wanting to do some serious gaming on the go.
To start with, the Ryzen 5 3500U is a fairly formidable quad-core CPU. With 4 cores and 8 thread, AMD’s Simultaneous Multithreading is going to make a massive difference to your gaming experience. Those cores run at a base frequency of 2.1 GHz, but can ramp up 3.7 GHz under load.
The laptop also comes with a really nice 512GB M.2 Shock Prooof Secure SSD, which means that you’ll not only have some of the fastest and most reliable portable storage available, but enough of it to install a really respectable Steam library.
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Memory-wise, there’s 8GB of DDR4 RAM here, which is more than enough to handle Windows 10 gaming on minimum specs. If you’re really wanting to get the best experience possible, though, we’d advise you to look into adding more memory after purchase.
The display panel is a nice Full-HD 15.6” IPS screen, which is going to make games look fantastic at 1080p, and the laptop itself has a lovely matte black case which will be easier to keep clean. The weight is just over 2.5kg, meaning that it should be light enough to throw in a rucksack and take with you wherever you go.
This Lenovo model has Bluetooth, WiFi, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, and HDMI connectivity, plus 3.5mm audio jacks. Plus, the actual keyboard on this thing is very spacious, which will make it ideal for typing long documents, too.
This is a fantastic little gaming laptop, and one we would definitely recommend to anyone looking to spend a little more for the best portable gaming experience possible.
Best cheap gaming laptop for battery life – ASUS TUF Gaming A15
ASUS TUF Gaming A15
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
Ryzen 5 4600H
- Very good amount of RAM
- It has an ethernet port so good for streaming
- Most expensive on this list
Lastly, for a great affordable gaming laptop with exceptional battery life, we have to recommend this ASUS TUF Gaming model.
Packing a Ryzen 5 4600H processor with 6 cores, the base speed of 3.0 GHz is going to tear through most of your day-to-day use, while the boost frequency of 4.0 GHz means that high-intensity gaming is also going to be possible.
The laptop has a 15.6” 144Hz display panel, which is going to come in especially useful for twitch-based games such as Rocket League and League of Legends, which should run beautifully with the 1920 x 1080 default resolution.
The provided GPU is a 4GB GTX 1650, which is still an extremely capable card for running recent games at medium specs. As you’d expect for a mobile graphics chip, it won’t offer much in the way of raytracing, but it will allow you to run lots of titles from the last 10 years at Ultra specs.
Again, there’s 8GB of memory here, which is going to be adequate for any eSports titles currently on the market, but this is expandable up to 32GB, which will allow you to run much more demanding games, too.
For storage, the 512GB PCIe SSD is fast, secure, and reliable, and will provide plenty of space to install your favourite on-the-go games. As with the memory, though, this is upgradeable should you decide that you want even more memory.
The build of the laptop is much-more in line with what you’d expect a gaming rig to look like (compared to the other items on the list). It has some beautiful backlighting, highlighted WASD keys, and a sturdy build-quality too. It is one of the heavier options on this list, though, at just over 5 pounds.
The laptop is 802.11ac and Bluetooth ready, plus it has 3 USB 3.0 ports, a single USB 2.0 port, an RJ45 port, and a combination audio jack, as well as a Kensington Lock switch.
This is an amazing laptop which will provide the ability to play really demanding games on the go for long periods of time. Everything from the included specs to the build quality are fantastic, and we really recommend it for anyone who’s going to be doing lots of mobile gaming.
Best cheap gaming laptop for Sims 4 – Lenovo IdeaPad 3
Lenovo IdeaPad 3
1366 x 768
Intel UHD Graphics
Intel Core i3-1115G4
- HDMI port to plug in external monitor
- Attractive design
- SD Card reader
- No USB-C port
- Low resolution
For those of you who are primarily concerned with playing The Sims 4 on the go, the IdeaPad 3 from Lenovo is a fantastic option. A modern processor, beautiful display, and generous SSD all make this a great casual gaming laptop.
The CPU provided here is the Intel Core i3-1115G4, which runs at a base frequency of 3.0 GHz. This can boost up to 4.10 GHz under load, though, and it also features Intel’s 11th-gen UHD integrated graphics technology, which is perfect for titles like The Sims 4. It can also output a resolution of up to 4096×2304 to an external HDMI display.
In terms of its other specs, the IdeaPad 3 has 8GB of DDR4 memory, enough for smooth Windows 11 performance. It also has a 256GB PCIe NVMe drive, which will allow for additional speed and reliability during gaming.
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Physically, this is a really well-designed model, combining a mostly silver brushed-metal case with a thick black bevel around the display. While this could have been a jarring aesthetic decision, we actually really like the contrast it provides. In its own way, it shakes up what could have been a bland presentation.
The display itself is a 15.6” HD touchscreen, which has a resolution of 1366 x 768. While this might not be a particularly impressive resolution, it will be good enough to allow you to play and work, and the touchscreen functionality can be handy for some quick art or design work.
For interfaces, it comes with everything you’d expect from a good Lenovo model. There are 2 USB Gen 3.2 ports on the left-hand side, as well as a single USB 2.0 port, and an HDMI port. On the other side, you’ll find a multi-format SD card reader, as well as a combination audio jack.
When we first picked up the IdeaPad 3, we weren’t expecting it to be such a capable gaming laptop for the price Lenovo are asking. With the exception of the display, it surpassed our expectations in every area, and we think it would be a fantastic purchase for anyone looking an enjoyable, portable Sims 4 experience.
Frequently asked questions
Are cheap gaming laptops worth it?
A cheap gaming laptop is only worth it if you know that it will meet the minimum system requirements of the games you wish to play. Don’t forget that you can always lower the graphics settings of your chosen game too.
Which budget gaming laptop should I buy?
The best budget gaming laptops we’ve found include:
- Acer Aspire 5 Slim
- Acer CB315-3Ht Chromebook
- Lenovo Quad Turbo
- ASUS TUF Gaming A15
- Lenovo IdeaPad 3