Best Gaming Laptops Under $1,000
Gaming laptops can put a serious dent in your wallet, with some of the fancier models costing upward of $3,000. But who says that the right rig has to cost an arm, a leg and the soul of your firstborn? Fortunately for the fiscally conscious gamer, there are some sub-$1,000 notebooks that can run graphically taxing games like Destiny 2 and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus at solid frame rates.
And thanks to Nvidia's 1050 Ti GPUs, you can hook up an Oculus Rift and jump into the virtual realm. However, some companies like Dell and Gigabyte are outfitting their rigs with Nvidia GTX 1060 Max-Q GPUs so fans of the HTC Vive can also get in on the fun. Or if you're not ready to make such a big financial or space commitment, you can hook up one of Microsoft's new MR headsets like the Acer Windows Mixed Reality AH101 headset, which has the added bonus of working with either discrete or integrated graphics. Whatever system you choose, you can start busting baddies in the virtual world. Best of all, you can use all that money you just saved to splurge on a top-notching gaming keyboard or mouse.
If you're curious how these laptops rank by brand, check out our Best and Worst Gaming Laptop Brands to see how notebook manufacturer handles gaming systems.
So without further adieu here are the best gaming laptops under $1,000.
Best Overall Budget Gaming Laptop: HP Omen 15
The HP Omen 15 has been redesigned with an eye-catching chassis; a clicky, responsive keyboard; and an easy-to-remove panel to upgrade the hard-disk drive, solid-state drive and RAM. Add in a bright, vibrant display and some nice, loud speakers, and you have a gaming notebook that will enthrall you.
Key Specs: CPU: 2.8-GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU * GPU: AMD Radeon RX 550 GPU with 2GB of VRAM * RAM/Storage: 8GB/1TB 7,200-rpm HDD * Display Size/Resolution: 15.6/1920 x 1080
Best Productvity: Origin Eon15-S
This 15-inch gaming laptop is fairly portable at 5.2 pounds and packs good overall performance, thanks to its Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics. You also get decent battery life and an understated design that stays cool while fragging. It's a great choice for gamers on a tight budget who don't want to make too many compromises.
Key Specs: CPU: 2.5-GHz Intel Core i5-7300 HQ * GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti with 4GB of VRAM * RAM/Storage: 8GB/256GB M.2 PCIe SSS with a1TB 7,200-rpm hard drive * Display Size/Resolution: 15.6-inch/1920 x 1080
Best Graphics Performance: Lenovo Legion Y520
For an entry-level laptop, the Legion Y520 and its Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti GPU can kick some butt. During our testing, the laptop delivered surprisingly high frame rates and was one of the few budget systems able to run the Metro: Last Light benchmark. In addition, it's got a sleek, tapered look and the strong performance of its Intel Core i7 CPU.
Longest Battery Life: Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming Laptop
The Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming laptop is known for its impressive battery life. This iteration lasted over 7 hours on our battery test. Thanks to its 7th-generation Intel Core i5 processor the Inspiron 15 7000 can multitask with the best of them. But the notebook's best feature is its Nvidia GTX 1060 (Max-Q) GPU, it's one of the first sub-$1000 gaming laptops that's truly VR-Ready. If you're looking for a gaming laptop that can deliver solid framerates without blasting a hole in your wallet, the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming laptop should at or near the top of your list.
Key Specs: CPU: 2.5-GHz Intel Core i5-7300HQ CPU * GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (Max-Q) 6GB of VRAM* RAM/Storage: 8GB/256GB SSD * Display Size/Resolution: 15.6-inch/1920 x 1080
Best Audio: Acer Aspire VX 15
Clad in black, red and silver, the Aspire VX offers a sturdy grip and a somewhat-premium look. In terms of gaming, the system's Core i5 CPU and Nvidia GTX 1050 GPU should provide solid performance on both fronts -- provided you don't try to use it with overly taxing games or work. But where the VX 15 really shines is its audio thanks to its speakers that are well-balanced and surprisingly powerful.
Key Specs: CPU: 2.5-GHz Intel Core i5-7300HQ CPU * GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 with 4GB of VRAM * RAM/Storage: 8GB/256GB M.2 SATA SSD * Display Size/Resolution: 15.6/1920 x 1080
Best Design: Alienware 13
What's imposing and badass on a 17- or 18-inch laptop is downright adorable on a 13-inch rig. The $999 configuration of the Alienware 13 keeps the trademark customizable lighting of its big brothers, including the gorgeous backlit keyboard. But this laptop is more than a pretty piece of tech, packing a 7th-gen Intel Core i5 processor and an Nvidia GeForce 1050 GPU, which should deliver good frame rates on its admittedly low-res 1366 x 768 display.
Key Specs: CPU: 2.5-GHz Intel Core i5-7300HQ CPU * GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 with 2GB of VRAM * RAM/Storage: 8GB/180GB M.2 SATA SSD * Display Size/Resolution: 13-inch/1366 x 768
New and Notable: Acer Nitro 5
Acer is giving gamers a happy compromise between pricing and specs with its upcoming Nitro 5 notebook. Starting at $799, the laptop will feature an AMD CPU and GPU with up to 32GB of RAM and 2TB of storage with a bright full HD panel. Wrapped in faux carbon fiber, this handsome laptop is sure to turn heads wherever it goes.
Key Specs: CPU: AMD Raven Ridge Ryzen 5 APU * GPU: AMD Radeon RX560X with 4GB of VRAM * RAM/Storage: up to 32GB/2TB hard drive * Display Size/Resolution: 15.6-inch/1920 x 1080