After spending 120 hours in research and testing 29 gaming laptops, We’ve created a list of the best gaming laptops Under $500.
While you can’t expect an ultra high gaming performance from your $500 gaming laptop, however, the gaming performance would be good enough to play most games (at a reasonable frame rate.)
Let’s dive right in…
Best Gaming Laptops Under $500
|Product Name||Screen Resolution||Graphics Processor|
|ASUS VivoBook F510UA|
(Editor's Choice for 2018)
|1920 x 1080||Intel UHD Graphics 620|
|Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG Laptop ||1920 x 1080||NVIDIA GeForce 940MX|
|Dell 15.6-Inch Gaming Laptop||1920 x 1080||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M|
|Dell Inspiron 14-5000||1366 x 768||NVIDIA GeForce 940M|
|ASUS X555DA-WS11||1920 x 1080||AMD Radeon R6|
|Lenovo Z50||1366 x 768||AMD Radeon R7|
|HP Notebook 15-ay011nr||1920 x 1080||Intel HD Graphics 520|
Let’s consider some of the most important aspects you need to think about before making a purchase decision.
Editor’s Choice: ASUS VivoBook F510UA
1. Dell 15.6-Inch Gaming Laptop – Editor’s Choice.
The first laptop on our list is a gaming laptop designed by Dell. It is actually part of the Inspiron 15 700 series, which means that it was designed for optimal mid tier gaming and performance. It is only a little less than six pounds, but since it is designed for gaming, it is not meant to be lugged around on your back.
It has a 15.6- inch screen with a decent resolution of 1920 x 1080. It does not offer the best resolution available, but if you are not looking for 4K, then it will still be a great option. The screen settings can also be adjusted to work, gaming, or movie mode to help reduce eye fatigue.
The laptop also runs with a sixth generation Intel i5-6300HQ 2.3 GHz Quad Core as well as 8 GB of RAM to make sure that this machine has the highest performance level possible. In fact, this processor ensures that the laptop stays nice and cool, even after several hours of use.
- It has a backlit keyboard that is perfect for lower lighting.
- The audio system on the laptop is rather impressive.
- It has a pretty decent battery; in fact, light gaming can be done for four hours on one charge.
- There is no lag experienced with many of the games on the market, even at max settings.
- Good built quality
- The quality of the touchpad does not live up to the rest of the laptop. (But it doesn’t matter much as most gamers use an external mouse)
- Screen is fine for gaming but is not good for color accurate work.
2. Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG Laptop – 2nd Best gaming laptop under $500
The next laptop on our list is one that is designed by Acer. It is a semi-lightweight device that only weighs a little more than five pounds, though if you plan to travel with the laptop, there are lighter options that are easier to transport.
The screen is a full 15.6 inches, which makes it perfect for gaming, and it has a 1080p resolution that looks sharp, but the colors seem to be a bit off with this model. It comes complete with an Intel Core i5-6200U processor and 8 GB of RAM to make sure all of your games run smoothly. It can also accommodate video streaming so that when you want to catch a replay of your arena match, you can simply replay it.
As a gaming laptop, the Acer Aspire E5 is a purchase investment well worth making. It does cost slightly more than $500, but it has the perfect combination of hardware to provide you with a laptop that is great for both work and gaming. Even with the keyboard being shallow, you can see just how attractive this laptop is for a casual gamer.[/su_note]
- This laptop has a backlit keyboard that is ideal for gaming at night.
- This laptop has a great battery life.
- The RAM in the device can easily be upgraded.
- Runs several high-end games lag free at optimal settings.
- The laptop can become hot after a long gaming session.
- This laptop has shallow keys, which are not as responsive for gaming.
3. Dell Inspiron 14 5000 Gaming Laptop
Simply put, the aesthetic design of this laptop is great. It does not have all of the bells and whistles of some gaming laptops; the brushed metal look on the surface looks simply amazing. In addition, this model is also lightweight and easy to carry in a bag to LAN parties where you will need to take your gaming device.
The display is only 14 inches, which is on the smaller end for a gaming laptop, but it is sufficient for most games, and it is easier to carry. It is also a touch screen device, so it is easier to select items in your game menu or in your inventory in the game. In addition, the keyboard is backlit so that you can easily play in the dark, and it is also spill resistant for those gamers who like to snack during those long gaming sessions.
This laptop features quite a powerful set of hardware. It has an Intel Core i7-5500U with 2.40 GHz Turbo Boost and 8 GB of RAM to keep the game from lagging at crucial points of time. Insofar as graphics, the NVIDIA GeForce 920M provides you with an amazing graphical display.
This thin and lightweight laptop is ideal for both gaming and daily use. It doesn’t have the perfect design; in fact, the screen quality can actually be quite annoying in some lighting because of the glare it can create, but if you are in the proper lighting, then you will find that it is a great laptop to invest in, especially when you consider the hardware.[/su_note]
- It is a very portable device.
- The audio integrated into this laptop sounds amazing.
- The keys respond quickly when pressed.
- There is no optical drive on this laptop.
- There is no number pad on the keyboard.
4. ASUS X555DA-WS11 15.6-inch Laptop
Looking at the aesthetic design of the next laptop on our list, which is the ASUS X555DA-WS11, it may be difficult to tell that it is a powerful device that is up to playing high-end games without any slowdown. The screen of this device is 15.6 inches, which is ideal for a gaming laptop, and it has a superior HD resolution that is accommodated by the backlighting in the display.
The processor in this device is the AMD Quad Core A10-8700P, which is able to stand up to any challenge that you throw at it. It comes with a full 8 GB of RAM so that you never experience any lag during highly demanding fights. Games like Witcher III even run flawlessly.
This laptop comes with a 1 TB hard drive that provides you with plenty of space to store your games and your files. There is no SSD, but this size of an HDD is enough for most. There is a disc drive for games, so you will not need to download every game that you play directly from their site. There is also a webcam to use for video chatting, but unfortunately, it is not HD quality.
- There are plenty of ports where you can attach a mouse, a headset, or other gaming accessories.
- The processor is rather impressive.
- The keys have a great feel when they are pressed; they are responsive and great for gaming.
- It has great sound, whether you use a headset or not.
- The battery only lasts a few hours at best.
- The color seems to be less vivid on this model.
5. Lenovo Premium Built High Performance 15.6 inch HD Laptop
The next laptop on our list is from Lenovo, which is a company that has not been featured on our list thus far. Lenovo’s high performance 15.6 inch HD laptop is a great option for casual and mid-tier gamers to make use of. The screen is designed with a fully backlit display that will make gaming at night more convenient.
It has an AMD processor that is powerful enough to multitask while you are gaming. It can easily play back clips that you record and lag will not be an issue that you need to worry about. It also comes with a full 8 GB of RAM to help improve the performance of the laptop.
The design of this laptop is sleek and stylish, especially when the light hits it just right so that the curved design stands out. It has a small, lightweight design that makes it easy to carry, which is great for gaming at a friend’s house. The one issue with the laptop is that the battery life does not last as well as it should for gaming.
Overall, this laptop is a great option for most games on the market. It may lag a tiny bit with some of the high-end offerings, but if you lower the in-game settings slightly, the laptop will be able to handle the graphics without an issue. When these high-end games are played, the laptop does run a bit hot, so make sure to have an alternate cooling method on hand. As long as the device stays plugged in, it is perfectly acceptable for gaming.[/su_note]
- It has great graphics; in fact, Far Cry 3 provides a frame rate over 30 pretty consistently.
- Video playback on his laptop is great.
- The audio system that comes with the laptop is a high-quality system that is perfect for gaming.
- It runs a bit hot when you are playing games with demanding graphics.
- The battery drains rather quickly, especially if you are playing games while unplugged.
6. HP Notebook 15-ay011nr 15.6-Inch Laptop
This model is a lightweight option that is perfect for gaming at a friend’s house. It comes with a 15.6-inch screen that is ideal for most games, and it has a great resolution of 1920 x 1080, which is higher than some similar models that are sold at a higher price point.
The one downside is that the screen does not provide the same crisp, clear image from an angle that you would get looking at the screen straight on. The keyboard is comfortable to use; it is very responsive, and there is a number pad that makes gaming more convenient. There is no backlighting with this model, so make sure you know which keys you need to press if you cannot see the keyboard adequately.
All in all, this laptop is a great mid-tier device that is perfect for gamers to use. It may not run the most demanding games on the market with ease, but that is to be expected in this price range. It is a touch screen model that has a lot of other features that would make this a great option for a student who needs the laptop for class as well as their gaming experiences.[/su_note]
- The RAM can be expanded to 16 GB.
- The battery can last several hours while a game is being played.
- The keys on this laptop feel great as you play games or type upon them.
- There is a lot of storage on this model; in fact, it has a 1 TB hard drive.
- The up and down arrows on the keypad are a bit smaller than on a standard keyboard.
- It tends to heat up quite fast when playing more demanding games.
7. HP 15-d020nr 15.6-Inch Touchsmart Notebook
The next model on the list is the second HP laptop that we have considered for gaming. It has a 15.6-inch screen that provides a resolution of 1366 x 768 to give you the best possible images, and the surface of the device has a shiny black finish that looks great.
It comes with an AMD A-Series processor that can perform at speeds of up to 1.5 GHz, and there is also 4 GB of RAM included in the device when you purchase it. This unit only has 500 GB of storage space, but there is a DVD/CD burner that can help you transfer your data.
The laptop also features HP connected music so that you can find the tune that fits the in-game actions that are happening. Don’t forget to use the HDMI port to connect to a larger television to replay your gaming videos.
- The sound is perfect for most gaming applications.
- The touch screen is very responsive, which is great for scrolling through an in-game menu.
- The battery does not last as long as it could for a gaming laptop.
8. ASUS VivoBook E403SA-US21 14-inch Full HD Laptop
The first thing that you should notice about the ASUS VivoBook was the fact that it has a 14-inch screen, which can be a bit limiting for some games.
However, it is more than a sufficient screen for most of the games that you will want to play.
It comes with an excellent Intel Quad Core N3700 processor that is capable of performing at 2.4 GHz. It also has 4 GB of RAM, which is actually smaller than most laptops in his price range, but it is still able to perform well with limited memory.
In addition, this ASUS VivoBook has a great battery; in fact, it can last up to 14 hours with several applications open. Don’t forget that gaming can take a toll on the battery as well, so when you are actively playing a game, it may last for a shorter period of time.
- This is a very portable device.
- It features a full sized keyboard that is comfortable and very responsive.
- It has a great battery that does not overheat with extended use.
- The brushed aluminum is truly beautiful.
- Wide viewing angles do not offer the most vivid image.
- It only comes with 4 GB of RAM, and it is not an upgradable piece of hardware.
- The keyboard is not backlit.
9. HP Star Wars Special Edition
The final laptop on our list is a special edition Star Wars laptop that comes from HP. It has an Intel Core i5-6200U that is powerful enough to process all of your gaming and application needs as well as the rest of the galaxy. It has 6 GB of RAM, which is actually a bit lower than most of the laptops on this list, but it is still sufficient enough for mid-tier games.
It features a 15.6-inch screen that comes complete with an impressive design that strikes fear in the hearts of many throughout the galaxy. It comes with wallpaper, screensavers, and the original storyboards of the Star wars Archives for you to examine. The keyboard is even backlit with an eerie red glow so that you can game in darker lighting situations.
- It has an amazing aesthetic design.
- The red backlighting on the keyboard is stunning.
- It has a great battery that does not overheat quickly.
- It only has 6 GB of Ram.
- The touchpad is not as responsive as it could be.
As you can see from our guide, gaming laptops under 500 dollars are plentiful. They may not be the best for the top of the line gaming graphics, but if you are willing to lower your game settings slightly, these machines will all be excellent choices.
Hopefully, this guide has helped you decide which features are the most important to you; maybe you even purchased a new gaming laptop. If you have made the decision, enjoy your game time on your new laptop.
- Video Review 1 – Dave Lee.
- Video Review 2 – Active Tech Review.
- Video Review 3 – Nebraska Furniture Mart.