Best Gaming Laptops Under $500

After spending hours in research and testing 29 gaming laptops, We’ve created a list of the best gaming laptops Under $500 for you to choose from.

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

These are the top gaming laptops we recommend.

Product NameScreen ResolutionGraphics Processor 
Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG Laptop
(Editor's Choice)
1920 x 1080NVIDIA GeForce 940MX Check Price
Dell 15.6-Inch Gaming Laptop
(Editor's Choice)
1920 x 1080NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M Check Price
Dell Inspiron 14-50001366 x 768NVIDIA GeForce 940M Check Price
ASUS X555DA-WS111920 x 1080AMD Radeon R6 Check Price
Lenovo Z501366 x 768AMD Radeon R7 Check Price
HP Notebook 15-ay011nr1920 x 1080Intel HD Graphics 520 Check Price
HP 15-d020nr1366 x 768AMD Radeon HD 8330 Check Price
ASUS VivoBook E403SA-US211920 x 1080Intel HD Graphics Check Price
HP 15-an050nr
(Star Wars Special Edition)
1920 x 1080Intel HD Graphics 520 Check Price

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.

Insofar as graphics, this Dell comes with a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M and a 256 GB SSD to store your gaming information. In addition, there is also a webcam available on this device in case you want o video chat on Skype with your friends while you are playing a game.

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.

Summary

This laptop is actually priced at over $500, but if you are not working on a tight budget, this model is a great option. It is Amazon’s Choice and it is also the highest performing laptop on this list. It meets a lot of the requirements set forth by mid ranged game developers, so if you are a casual gamer, this is perfect for you.

PROS

  • 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

CONS

  • 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.

This laptop also has a NVIDIA 940 MX graphics card to optimize your viewing experience. This means that you can stream Amazon, Netflix, or YouTube without much of an issue. In fact, you will rarely experience any type of slow down, even on games with demanding graphics.

Summary

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]

PROS

  • 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.

CONS

  • 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.

Some gamers may find the keys to be a little less responsive than they like, but it does support multi-touch; so you can input up to four buttons at once. If you are looking to listen to music as you play your favorite game or simply chat with a friend online, then the Waves MaxxAudio system in the unit is perfect for you.

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.

 

Summary

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]

PROS

  • It is a very portable device.
  • The audio integrated into this laptop sounds amazing.
  • The keys respond quickly when pressed.

CONS

  • 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.

The keyboard has keys that are designed in a chiclet styling, which tends to be very responsive, especially when you’ve been at the keys for a while. Long gaming sessions will also be made better by the fact that there is a number pad on the device. Sadly, there is no backlighting on the keyboard itself.

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.

 

Summary

The ASUS X555DA-WS11 is a great gaming option, especially if you play games that are somewhat casual. The processor, RAM, and the graphics that are provided by this device are great for this price point. There are not a lot of extra bells and whistles, but it will keep you in your budget. The only thing that may be an issue is the battery; it does not last that long, so LAN parties may be difficult.

PROS

  • 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.

CONS

  • 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 1 TB hard drive gives you plenty of space to store your important games and add-ons that you use to enhance the game. It also comes with a webcam that you can use to communicate with your friends as well as a great set of Dolby Advanced Audio speakers that are amazing, but there is also a convenient headphone jack that you can use when you need to keep the sound down.

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.

Summary

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]

PROS

  • 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.

CONS

  • 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.

This laptop features a dual-core 2.3 GHz Intel Core i5 6200U and 8 GB of Ram, which can process multiple applications at once without causing slowdown or lag while you are in the game. In fact, you can even keep a browser that has a plethora of tabs open while you engage in playing a game with mid level graphics.

Summary

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]

PROS

  • 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.

CONS

  • 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 keyboard is comfortable to use, and the laptop is designed with a number pad, so if you use those keys during your gaming sessions, you are in luck. And if you like to communicate with your friends through a webcam, or make videos explaining your gameplay, then you will be happy to know that the unit comes with an HD webcam that works perfectly in any lighting.

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.

PROS

  • The sound is perfect for most gaming applications.
  • The touch screen is very responsive, which is great for scrolling through an in-game menu.

CONS

  • The battery does not last as long as it could for a gaming laptop.

Summary

The HP Touchsmart Notebook is a great laptop for someone who needs a device for day to day activities as well as gaming. It has a lot of great features for typing and searching the web, like the touch screen application, but it also has a lot of the gaming requirements that you would want for low to mid-tier games. It is a great laptop for a college student to use or someone who travels a lot.

8. ASUS VivoBook E403SA-US21 14-inch Full HD Laptop

Asus gaming laptop under $500The 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.

This model has an aesthetically pleasing design that features a brushed metal surface that is simply stunning. It is a very thinly designed laptop that is only 0.7 inches thick, and it weighs just over three pounds, which makes it easy to transport no matter where you are traveling to.

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.

PROS

  • 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.

CONS

  • 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.

Summary

Overall, this laptop is a great device, but it is not really designed for high-end gaming. That being said, it can run the most demanding games without much of an issue as long as you adjust some of the in-game graphics settings to a lower level to accommodate this laptop. This is the perfect laptop for someone who takes their laptop with them to travel. It is lightweight and easy to carry, and it can accommodate your work needs as well as your desire to play games.

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.

The battery of this laptop is quite sufficient. In fact, it can last up to seven hours while you are playing some casual games. It also has a 1 TB hard drive, so you will have plenty of space to store all of your game saves and add-ons.

PROS

  • It has an amazing aesthetic design.
  • The red backlighting on the keyboard is stunning.
  • It has a great battery that does not overheat quickly.

CONS

  • It only has 6 GB of Ram.
  • The touchpad is not as responsive as it could be.

Summary

All in all, this is a great laptop, especially if you are a Star Wars fan. You don’t have to play the darker characters in the games that you play, but you will always secretly be inspired by the dark side design of this laptop. It also has a lot of the processing power and graphic ability that you should have in a mid-tier game, so it’s time that you accept your fate.

Gaming Laptops Under $500 Buyer’s Guide

Let’s consider some of the most important aspects you need to think about before making a purchase decision.

Graphics

Graphics

As a gamer, one of the main things that you will want your new laptop to have is a good graphics card. If the graphics card is subpar, your gaming experience may look like you are playing a game from the 80s instead of a 4k game that should look amazing.

Many of the games on the market today have graphics that compare to movies that you would experience in the theater, so when your computer lacks the graphical capability to handle this type of graphics, you may need to lower your in-game settings to make the game more playable.

Processing Power

Processing Power

The processor of your laptop is going to be the heart of your machine. It powers the applications that you are using and decides the level of performance that you can get from the laptop.

Intel and AMD processors are the best for most gaming applications, but they are different from each other, so make sure that you know the requirements of the games that you are planning to play on this device. Cores are not important for most gaming experiences, so typically an Intel processor, which has higher speeds, is the processor that most gamers select for their laptop.

RAM

RAM

The next important consideration that you need to make is the amount of RAM that you want your new gaming laptop to have. Games a few years ago used to only require 4 MB of RAM, but today, most of the games on the market require at least 8 GB of RAM.

Make sure that your new laptop has an adequate amount of RAM for the games that you like to play. Typically, the more RAM that you have in your laptop, the better the framerate in the game will be.

Screen Size

Screen Size

A lot of games have amazing cinematics that you will enjoy during your time playing the game. They offer a movie-like aspect of the game that immerses you into the world like a movie would. Just like it is best to watch a good movie on a bigger screen, the same is true for games.

If you are looking for the optimal screen size, then look for something that is 17-inches, but a 15-inch screen will not hinder the experience too much. If you take your laptop to a lot of LAN parties, then you may want a smaller screen to increase the portability of the device.

Weight

Weight

Typically, the weight of a gaming laptop is not a major consideration, but if you take your laptop to different locations so that you can game with your friends, then you may want to make sure the laptop will not become too cumbersome on the trip. You don’t want to heavy of a device; simply decide your needs when it comes to your gaming experience.

Storage Space

Storage Space

With a gaming laptop, an SSD is an ideal option for optimizing your space, but an HDD will work as well as long as it is at least 1 TB. This ensures that you will have enough space for all of your games and your game data without sacrificing the performance of the laptop.

Battery Life

Battery Life

If you take your laptop to LAN parties, there is always a chance that there will not be a convenient outlet nearby so that you can plug in your device. If you are unable to keep your laptop charged, having a good battery that can last for a while will allow you to play for a bit without plugging in. If there is a plug nearby, take advantage of it though because games can be taxing on the battery.

Audio Quality

Audio Quality

When you are playing a game, the immersive experience depends greatly on the images that you see as well as the sound that you hear. Having great audio is paramount for a gaming laptop. Of course, you can use a headset to play your games, but having the option to listen to the audio through the speakers on occasion important.

Microphone

Microphone

A lot of the games that you may want to play on your new laptop offer modes that allow you to team up with your friends. If you like to engage in this type of gameplay, then you will need to use a microphone to coordinate your strategy for the game. When you play games like World of Warcraft, a microphone is extremely useful for arena battles as well as during a dungeon clear.

Keyboard

Keyboard

Your keyboard needs to feel right under your fingers. Having keys with a nice bit of bounce back can make your game feel more responsive. Also, if you use the number pad when you play on your desktop, then you will want to look for a laptop that has the same functionality. Some laptops do not have a number pad, which can be inconvenient.

Having a backlit keyboard is great for playing games. Gaming sessions can last a long time, and the lighting situation may not always be the best, so having a backlit keyboard can help you see the keys. You can customize the lighting on the keyboard to accommodate your playstyle with LED lights if you wish.

Popular Gaming Laptop Brands

Popular Gaming Laptop Brands

When you are looking for a gaming laptop there are some brands that perform better than others. If you are unfamiliar with the different brands, take a look at this guide to help you decide which option is best for your needs. Some of the most popular options are:

  • MSI
  • Acer
  • Asus
  • Razer
  • Alienware
Removed from best gaming laptops under $500 list

Acer 15.6″ Flagship Full HD Laptop

The next gaming laptop on our list is a 15.6-inch model that is developed by Acer. The display has an HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 that will look amazing with most games, and the screen is backlit to make it easier to see.

Insofar as the graphical capabilities of this device, it comes with a NVIDIA GeForce GT 940M, which will give you a remarkable display that creates an immersive gaming experience. There is also a fully functional HD webcam that you can use to communicate with your teammates in any game. It also comes with 8 GB of RAM

The processor is a powerful component; in fact, it is a sixth generation Intel Core i5-6200U, which is capable of providing up to 2.3 GHz of speed. The hard drive provides 1 TB of space, which is great for gaming, but the only issue is that there is not an optical drive on this laptop, so you will need to have all of your gaming information on the hard drive.

Pros

  • The battery of this laptop lasts for a while without needing to be recharged.
  • It comes with relatively fast Wi-Fi technology that makes it easy to game on the go.
  • The graphics card comes with 2 GB of memory that is dedicated to the graphical needs of the laptop.
  • It has a great screen size for a gaming laptop.

Cons

  • The mouse pad makes a loud clicking noise when in use.
  • Game downloads take a long time to complete on this laptop.
  • The keyboard is not backlit, so even though you can see the screen, it may be difficult to see the keys at night.

Summary

Even though this laptop is not designed for top end gaming, it is more than sufficient for the casual gamer to enjoy. It has good graphics and a processor that is capable of handling the strain of demanding games without causing excessive lag or slowdown during the gaming experience. For the price, which is under $500, you get a great machine that comes with a lot of great features.

Final Thoughts

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.

 

Credits:

  1. Video Review 1 – Dave Lee.
  2. Video Review 2 – Active Tech Review.
  3. Video Review 3 – Nebraska Furniture Mart.

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