Help Me, LAPTOP: I Need a Sub-$800 College Gaming Laptop

In 2017, every college student needs to own a laptop, even if they also have a powerful desktop PC at home. Forum user Modern_Mo is looking for a 15-inch college laptop that he or she can carry to school and use when their $2,200 home desktop isn't available. Modern_Mo needs the laptop get at least 4 hours of battery life, have fast Wi-Fi connections and be able to play "small level" games such as Unturned, an undemanding zombie game.

The good news is that it's easy to find a 15-inch laptop which meets these requirements. The
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 is probably the best choice. This gaming-centric laptop currently starts at $749 with a 1080p screen, Intel Core i5-7300HQ quad-core CPU, discrete Nvidia GTX 1050 graphics, 8GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive. We'd definitely spend the extra $50 to get a model with a 256GB SSD and Nvidia GTX 1050Ti graphics. There's also a brand new version of the Inspiron 15 7000 that has a better screen and starts at $999, more than Modern_Mo's budget.

No matter which configuration of the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 you get, the laptop has an attractive design, a comfortable keyboard and over 11 hours of battery life. Either the Nvidia GTX 1050 or 1050Ti card is definitely powerful enough to play Unturned, which has old-school graphics and very low-system requirements.

Like most modern laptops, the Inspiron 15 7000 has 802.11ac Wi-Fi with the ability to connect over either 2.4 or 5-GHz bands. In their original post, Modern_Mo said the he / she needs fast Wi-Fi to use remote desktop in order to access their more-powerful home computer. The key issue, when it comes to managing a remote connection, isn't Wi-Fi but internet bandwidth on both thedesktop and the laptop ends.

MORE: The Best Gaming Laptops

Modern_Mo could use a free remote control app such as TeamViewer in order to access their desktop PC, but if they want to play games, then using Nvidia Gamestream software, which works only with the company's graphics cards, is the best way to go. Considering that the Inspiron 15 7000 has plenty of power, there's really no need to use remote desktop or game streaming in the first place.

If Modern_Mo wants to spend far less than $799, the
Acer Aspire E 15 (E5-575G-57D4) is a good choice. This $579 laptop has a 1080p display, a dual-core Core i5-7200U CPU, a 256GB SSD and discrete Nvidia last-gen 940MX graphics. Best of all, the E 15 lasts nearly 11 hours on a charge. The 940MX graphics chip isn't particularly powerful, but should be ok for low-end games.

We'd also like to recommend Modern_Mo consider getting a smaller,
lighter laptop that's easier to carry to class. Our favorite college laptop overall, the $699 Asus ZenBook UX330UA, weighs just 2.7 pounds and gets over 10 hours of battery life. It sports a Core i5-7200U CPU, a 256GB SSD and a 1080p display, all good components. We've also got a list of best college laptops by major that students like Modern_Mo should check out.

However, for a great combination of performance, battery life and gaming process under $800, there's no better laptop right now than the Dell Inspiron 15 7000.

Credit: Laptop Mag

Avram Piltch
Online Editorial Director
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master's degree in English from NYU.