It’s no secret that gaming is an expensive hobby, and so, to help minimise your spending, we’ve collected the best gaming laptops under $1000.
Gaming laptops are high-tech bits of kit. The best ones often include the latest mobile CPUs, either Intel 12th or 13th Gen, or Ryzen 5000 or 7000 series processors, the latest Nvidia or Radeon mobile GPUs, and ultrafast displays with full HD resolution.
As if that wasn’t enough, you then also want 16GB of RAM and an SSD. These high end components can all too quickly rack up and that’s before you even start looking for the best gaming mice and the best keyboards. This means that, with this list, you should be able to save both time and money.
We’ve covered a variety of gaming laptops here. Different games have different computing requirements. For example, the best laptop for SIMS 4, might look very different to the best laptop for Fortnite. We’ve covered a variety here, though all are high-spec enough to handle most games.
We’ve put together a showcase of the most affordable gaming laptops under $1000, featuring all the brands you’d expect like HP, GIGABYTE, Acer and MSI. So, whether you’re looking for a powerful all rounder like the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i, something with an RTX 3000 series GPU like the Acer Nitro 5, or anything in between we’ve got you covered. Let’s get this list rolling.
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Best gaming laptops under $1000
- Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i
- GIGABYTE G5 MD
- HP Victus 15.6″
- HP Omen 16.1 FHD Gaming Laptop
- Acer Nitro 5
- MSI GF63
Best overall laptop under $1000 – the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i
The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i is our overall pick for the best gaming laptop under $1000. This is thanks to its combination of physical build quality and processing power. It comes with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU, more powerful than the GTX 1650 found in many of the laptops on this list.
Meanwhile, the build quality is sturdy and durable, despite being all plastic. The keyboard is another stand out feature, it feels responsive and satisfying, which comes as a bit of a surprise for a laptop in this price range with these specs.
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It is, of course, not perfect, and just 8GB of RAM is slightly on the small side. However, with it’s combination of 12th Gen Intel Core i7 and a GPU from the RTX 30 series, it will handle most games you throw at it on decent settings.
Battery is another strong suit for the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i, it both diminishes slowly and replenishes quickly, thanks to Lenovo’s Rapid Charge technology. Of course, if you are playing a power intensive game with the laptop unplugged, it won’t last more than a few hours, however, for general computing needs it will easily see you through the day.
Its full HD display does not shake the earth but allows for beautiful visuals that the laptop can reliably generate at over 60fps.
Buy Now: Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i @ Lenovo
Best RTX 3050 Ti gaming laptop under $1000 – GIGABYTE G5 MD
What really sets the Gigabyte G5 MD apart from the other budget laptops on this list, is its RTX 3050 Ti GPU. This is a generation ahead of most of the other laptops and allows for ray-tracing.
Though the display is not especially high quality at 1080p, it manages to get the most out of it. It has satisfying contrast, very accurate colour reproduction and surprisingly high brightness. This makes it, for me, a better display than a washed-out dim but higher-resolution counterpart.
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It has an understated mature look with an all-black plastic but sturdy chassis and just a single colour of backlighting for the keyboard. Three of the cables, including the power cable, are around the back which is a nice touch, allowing for easier cable management
The most glaring downside is the short battery life, around 2 hours when playing a taxing game. Another small one is its volume, with the fans sounding at over 40 decibels when measured from an average distance.
However, it is still a very tempting offer. It is pretty remarkable to be able to buy a computer with an RTX 30 series GPU, capable of ray-tracing for just $669.
Buy Now: GIGABYTE G5 MD at Newegg
Best budget laptop under $1000 is the HP Victus 15.6-inch
Gaming laptops don’t get much more budget than sub $1000, but if you’re really looking to tighten your purse strings there are a few, still, very capable, laptops to cater to your needs. In our opinion, the chief among them is the HP Victus 15.
Coming in at just $649, it is unbelievably cheap, especially for what it offers. Do not let your expectations get away from you though, this gaming laptop is for casual gaming and will not be able to play the latest and greatest AAA games at the top settings.
That’s not to say it does not provide bang for its sub 650 bucks. The specs speak for themselves, with an adequate GTX 1650 GPU, and a 12 Gen Intel i5, rather than the quicker i7 seen on this list. Meanwhile its grown-up, sleek display means you can bring it to work inconspicuously. The all black chassis is made from plastic and doesn’t feel too flimsy.
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The display is crisp and well-defined, and you can really feel the 144Hz refresh smoothening up gaming play, the only real catch is a brightness lower than many would desire.
If you’re a casual but budget-conscious gamer the only thing that should give you real pause for thought are the other laptops on this list, some are pretty close in price and do offer a step up in graphic capabilities
Buy Now: HP Victus 15.6″ – $649 @ Newegg
Best gaming laptop for students is the HP Omen 16.1″ Full HD Gaming Laptop PC
The large screen on this laptop is part of it being an excellent gaming device that focuses on being able to be used in other computing contexts.
The toned-down look makes it more reasonable to bring to work, while its excellent Bang & Olufsen speakers and 16.1″ and 1920 x 1080p display make it well suited to watching films or TV. This is what makes it our pick as the best gaming laptop for students.
All of this is provided without sacrificing too much gaming prowess. It’s capable of playing most AAA at high settings though you may have to lower it for some. You’ll get a smooth and consistent 165Hz, the highest on this list, and a 1440p display. The 512GB hard drive gives you a decent amount of space for installing games.
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The GTX 1650, and 8GB of RAM is a bit underwhelming, though can be excused for this price range, especially when you consider its screen size and refresh rate. It also comes with a SSD rather than HDD.
The battery life is not as good as some of the others on this list, but for the price range and screen size this is a reliable device, capable of both high end gaming and other computing needs.
Buy Now: HP Omen 16.1″ Full HD Gaming Laptop PC – $739 @ Newegg
Best Acer gaming laptop is the Acer Nitro 5
Now, we’ve been a little bit sneaky here, as it’s technically only a deal that is pulling this gaming laptop below the $1000 mark. However, it doesn’t make sense to write an article on the best Budget friendly gaming laptops and to not include the Acer Nitro 5.
For this slight increase in price, you get a slight level-up on most of the specs. The battery is genuinely good which is very uncommon for budget laptops, as you’ll have seen from our list. The GPU is more advanced than the GTX 1650 featured on most laptops on this list.
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The one currently on sale from Best Buy also comes with a 17.3″ display, the largest on this list. It’s got a fair bit of heft weighing in at 5.5 pounds, heavier than the average laptop but not too out of place for a gaming one.
The Nitro has won the hearts of many gamers and is often placed amongst the top of budget-friendly gaming lists so it’s definitely worth considering.
Best value laptop under $1000 is the MSI GF63
The MSI GF63 is our pick for those wanting a decent enough gaming laptop with a sturdy and reliable body. Avoiding the usual spiel that it won’t be getting consistent frame rates on top settings on top games, let’s focus on the positives.
In the act of balancing physical quality with digital ability, the MSI GF63 has leant slightly to the former. The sturdy body is complimented with a quieter than average fan and a weight of 4.1 lbs making it one of the lighter laptops on this list, despite its sturdiness.
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As you can see from the list, its specs are good but not amazing, coming with a GTX 1650 GPU, and 10th Gen i5 processor, it does boast 16GB of RAM which is rare in this budget category.
That said other laptops will perform better on more demanding games. The MSI GF63 will be able to handle them but just at less desirable settings. Overall for its price, it does offer a good return on investment.
Should I buy a cheap gaming laptop?
While $1000 is still a lot of money it is more affordable for many and, considering you can use your gaming laptop for your studies, job or casual computing they can be a very sensible investment compared to traditional gaming consoles like the PS5 or Xbox Series X.
On top of that, we will be linking to any deals we can find on these devices, potentially saving you more money.
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It’s also worth noting that these laptops are so pricey because We should also state that these are the most budget friendly laptops available and, as such, do lack the high end specs of their most expensive counterparts.
These are devices for casual to semi-intense gaming, they are capable of playing the latest games, such as MW2, God of War Ragnarok and Madden 23, though not always at the highest settings. If you consider yourself a serious gamer or want to future proof yourself for the next few years of gaming releases, it is worth considering a laptop in the mid to high price range.
Frequently asked questions
There are so many things to consider when looking for the best gaming laptop under $1000. Often it’s the same sort of stuff coming up again and again, so, to save time, we’ve tried to answer a few of them here.
How much RAM do I need for gaming?
You can get away with 8GB of RAM if you are happy o play on lower settings, though 16GB is really desirable.
Can gaming laptops be used for work?
Yes – gaming laptops’ processing power means they are very capable of computing all sorts of computing tasks. While sometimes the aesthetic of a gaming laptop can be loud and unprofessional, lately there have been plenty of subtler, more understated gaming laptop options.
Is a gaming laptop worth it?
A gaming laptop is your only option if you want portable, PC gaming. A normal laptop will imply not be able to handle any but the simplest of games. If you are a serious gamer it can be well worth going for a more expensive, and capable model.
Can you use a regular laptop for gaming?
A regular laptop will be able to play some games, such as SIMS 4. However, as they will lack a GPU, they will struggle with frames rates for more complex or demanding games. If you want to use your laptop for playing triple A games, or ones with detailed graphics, getting a gaming laptop is a good idea.
Which gaming laptop is equivalent to PS5?
PS5 delivers pretty premium specs when it comes to gaming, so a premium gaming laptop like the Razer Blade 15 or laptop like Dell G15 which is slightly more sensibly priced should deliver similar results.