Author: Alexander Wade
Ask any avid gamer and they will tell you that not every laptop will give you a fantastic gaming experience. You need a high-performance gaming laptop that will satisfy your gaming needs.
If you are looking to save money, however, the cheapest laptop may not deliver the desired performance. Likewise, the most expensive laptop may not be the best for your gaming needs.
So what makes the best gaming laptop? Does it mean that you can’t find the best gaming laptop under $500?
While it is possible to get gaming laptops at $500, finding the best one can be a real challenge. But don’t worry, we’re here to make things easier for you. We’ve invested lots of time in research, rummaging the web, studying user reviews, and testing various laptops in a bid to compile a definitive list of the best gaming laptops under $500. But before we look at the list, let’s highlight the features that make the best gaming laptop.
When it comes to choosing a gaming laptop, it is imperative that you consider what’s inside the gadget. That means you need to understand the various specifications (commonly referred to as SPECs) that set the various laptops apart from each other.
Shall we explore the SPECs?
A great gaming laptop should have a good graphics card. Otherwise, the gaming experience will be nothing to write home about.
You should be alive to the fact that today’s games have graphics that deliver the kind of experience you would have in the movie theatre. So you need to get a device with the graphical capacity to handle such kinds of graphics. You don’t want to feel like you’re playing a game from the 20th Century.
A computer’s processing power plays an integral role in the smooth-running of a game. It is the CPU that drives the application that you are using, it determines the level of performance that a laptop can deliver.
While there are many processors out there, most gaming applications work best with Intel and AMD processors. And you should note that these processors are different. So you should know the requirements of the various games you’ll be playing before you choose a processor.
It’s advisable to always go for the best processor speed you can get. But a 2GHz processor will work just fine with most games.
Not so many years ago, games could work perfectly with just 4 MB of RAM. Conversely, most of today’s games require not less than 8 GB of RAM. You know what this means?
You need to choose a laptop that has sufficient amount of RAM for the games that you are planning to play. In fact, the laptop with the highest amount of RAM will normally deliver the best frame-rate in a game.
Laptop screen sizes range from 11 inches to a little over 18 inches. If you are a hardcore gamer, a screen size of at least 15 inches would be a great choice for you. Conversely, a smaller screen would be ideal if you normally play casually.
Likewise, if you are looking for a more portable gaming laptop, you would want to consider going for a device with a small screen. Something else you should consider when choosing a screen size is the resolution.
A 1920 * 1080-pixel High Definition (HD) Screen delivers an exceptional image quality. You should also realize that a 15-inch screen at HD resolution will deliver a better image quality than a 17-inch screen at the same resolution.
There are two options when it comes to laptop storage – Solid State Drive (SSD) and Hard Disk Drive (HDD).
A great gaming laptop should have an SSD. SSDs have no moving parts and are energy-efficient. They are also significantly faster than HDDs.
That doesn’t mean that HDDs are not good for gaming laptops. In fact, they are the most common and provides storage of up to over 1 TB. With HDDs, therefore, you are assured of adequate space even when installing games that are over 10 GB large.
While SSDs promise a better gaming experience than HDDs, they are much more expensive. This explains why laptops that come with SSDs only provide 64 to 256 GB storage capacity.
If you will be carrying your laptop to places where there’s no convenient power outlet for plugging in your device, then you need a battery that will last you a couple of hours while playing. You should aim for at least 6 hours so you are assured of a full-day usage away from a power outlet.
It’s also worth noting that other factors such as screen size, graphics, processors, and the applications you are running also affect the battery life of a laptop. Video games are especially notorious for consuming more power.
The keyboard of a good gaming laptop should be ergonomically designed and have an awesome tactile feel. And if you like playing at night or in places with poor lighting, you can find a laptop with backlit keyboard. Some laptops allow you to even customize the keyboard color, adding a personal touch to your gaming experience.
The laptop should be large enough and not overly sensitive to your movements. And if you like issuing commands using two fingers, then a multi-touchpad would be a great choice for you.
You might also want to know that a mouse is much easier to use and delivers better control than the touchpad when it comes to gaming. So, you can consider investing in a good mouse as well.
It is imperative that a good gaming laptop has great audio. It is hard to achieve an immersive gaming experience with poor audio quality.
Premium audio solutions is not a preserve of high-end laptops. You can get awesome audio options even on devices under $500.
If you want greater quality audio, nonetheless, you can still invest in headphones or connect your computer to a speaker system.
Now you know what to look for when shopping for the best gaming laptop under $500. And below is a definitive list of top 8 laptops under $500 available on the market today, which we promised you at the begging of this guide. You can simply choose one that best meets your gaming needs.
If you are a casual gamer, the HP 15.6 Inch Flagship Touchscreen Laptop would be a great buy for you. The device is powered by a 7th generation Quad-Core AMD A10-9600P processor. And its HD 1366 x 768 display delivers impressive visuals. It will allow you to enjoy scintillating colors while gaming.
The HP 15.6 Inch Flagship Touchscreen Laptop is equipped with 6GB of DDR3L RAM and 1 TB hard disk drive (HDD). It comes with a 7th generation Radeon R5 Bristol Ridge Graphics Processor Unit (GPU) with as much as 4.25 GB of shared video memory.
The R5 graphics has a GPU clock speed of 800MHz. With this speed, you can play some of the classic titles. If you are a serious gamer, however, this may not be your ideal gaming laptop, as its 5400rpm hard drive can be quite slow for you.
Also worth noting is the laptop’s responsive touchscreen. If you are more into browser-based gaming, you’ll find this feature helpful. You won’t need the laptop’s trackpad in order to enjoy your favorite games.
If you are looking for a gaming laptop with great specifications for its price, you might want to look at Lenovo IdeaPad 320 15.6-Inch Laptop. It is an interesting, budget-friendly gaming laptop.
Besides its large 15.6-inch glossy display, the device also features an AMD A12-9720P processor clocked at 2.7 GHz. This is teamed with 8GB of RAM and 1TB hard drive.
With the large storage, you have enough space to store all your favorite games. The laptop’s internal design is impressive and delivers a premium feel. With its integrated AMD Radeon R7 GPU, the IdeaPad 320 can handle graphic-intensive games effectively.
While the keyboard is not backlit, it has dedicated number pad and the keys are well-spaced to give you a pleasant typing experienced.
Dell has made a great name by producing some of the best budget-friendly laptops available on the market today. And the Dell Inspiron i5559-1747SLV 15.6-inch Laptop is no exception. It comes with a Skylake Intel Core i3-6100U processor clocked at 2.3GHz.
Skylake i3 processors are known to clock better speeds than some of the 4th and 5th generation i5 processors. What’s more, the processor is equipped with the newer and more potent Intel HD Graphics 520 chipset. You know what this means?You will be able to play latest gaming titles with satisfactory frame rates on lower settings. And you’ll enjoy playing older and classic titles on higher settings. Supporting the processor and graphics chipset is a 6GB RAM.
While the RAM is sufficient for casual gaming, you may need to upgrade it if you are looking to run more hardware intensive applications. And the Dell Inspiron I5559-1747SLV allows for RAM upgrades of up to 16GB.The device comes with 1TB of 5400rpm hard drive. Its 1366 x 768 pixels, touchscreen display delivers vivid colors and sharp details for a scintillating gaming experience. You’ll also enjoy a pleasant browsing and navigating experience, thanks to the responsive touchscreen.
If you are a serious gamer, however, you might want to look at other options as this laptop’s 5400rpm drive speed could be slow for you.
One of the best things about the Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM is that it is equipped with the latest Intel Kaby Lake processor. It is a 7th generation Intel Core i3-7100U processor. This is teamed with 4GB of DDR4 RAM.
That makes it a great machine for a casual gamer. If you are looking to run more hardware intensive apps, however, the 4GB of RAM may not deliver the desired experience. Fortunately, the E 15 E5-575-33BM laptop features an access panel that makes it easy to upgrade the RAM to up to 16GB.
While many gaming laptops under $500 come with 1366 x 768 pixels display, the Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM boasts a Full-HD 1920 x 1080 display. Coupled with Acer’s ColorBlast technology, the display gives you over twice as many colors as other low-priced laptops.
With the laptop, you can enjoy gaming for long hours without being worried about eye strain, thanks to Acer’s BluelightShield feature. This feature helps to reduce eye strain by minimizing the amount of blue light that the screen emits. With features that you would expect to get only from high-end laptops, the Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM comes out as the overall best laptop under $500. In fact, it a bestseller on Amazon.
The Ideapad 310 is another high performance, yet budget-friendly laptop PC from Lenovo. It is equipped with the powerful AMD A10 series quad-core processor with a speed of 2.4GHz.
AMD A10 quad-core processors are known to offer a higher efficiency than Intel processors at the same price, thanks to their higher number of cores.
The processor is coupled with AMD Radeon R5 Graphics to give you an awesome gaming experience. With its 8GB of DDR4 RAM, you are bound to enjoy high performance, higher density, and impressive reliability. And its 15.6-inch HD 1366×768 resolution display delivers clear, crisp visuals for your games.
The laptop comes with 1TB of hard drive space, so you can be able to store all your favorite games.
The Inspiron 15 3000 is one of the best gaming laptops under $500 from Dell. It is equipped with a powerful processor and graphics card. With its 7th generation Intel Core i3-7100U Processor and 6GB of ram, the device assures you a worry-free gaming experience.
The Dell Inspiron 15 3000 runs with Intel HD Graphics 620 and offers a 15.6-inch HD LED display, so you can enjoy impressive visuals while playing your games. You also don’t have worry about space for storing your games, thanks to the laptops 1TB hard drive.
And the responsive touch screen ensures that you can easily multitask on your laptop, not only for gaming but also for numerous other tasks. Another remarkable feature of this laptop is the backlit keyboard. So you can have an enjoyable gaming experience even at low light places.
Many gaming enthusiasts would shy away from the HP AMD E2-7110 because of its fairly small, 14-inch display. However, you should realize that this laptop beats most of its under $500 contenders in terms of visual quality. It boasts a Full HD IPS UVWA display, with 1920 x 1080 resolution.
Thanks to the IPS display, it also beats most laptops under $500 in terms of color saturation and viewing angles. Its screen delivers an exceptional color accuracy, making it an awesome laptop for not only gaming but also watching movies. The pristine lifelike colors add to the thrilling gaming experience.
This machine comes with AMD E2 7110 QC processor, which has a reputation for high efficiency. The quad-core 1.8GHz processor is teamed up with a 4GB LPDDR3 SDRAM. If you feel that the 4GB RAM is not sufficient for your gaming needs, you can easily upgrade it to up to 8GB.
While the HP AMD E2-7110 comes with a 32GB SSD drive, it allows for an upgrade of up to 512GB SSD. So you can always add a larger drive if you feel the 32 GB storage space is not sufficient for you. With this laptop, you will have a great experience playing the last generation games. The device allows you to also play some of the latest games on lower graphics settings.
If you are a frequent traveler, then you might want to look at what ASUS VivoBook 14 E403NA-US21 has to offer. It is an ultraportable device, weighing only 3.3lbs. It’s also beautiful, thanks to the silver color finish.
The ASUS VivoBook 14 E403NA-US21 comes with a 14-inch Full HD display. With ASUS Splendid Technology, it delivers vibrant visuals for a scintillating gaming experience. It is worth noting however that you may not get the best viewing angles from this machine.
Inside the beautiful and tough body, sits a powerful Intel Pentium N4200 processor. The processor is paired with 4GB of DDR3 RAM for fast boot time and application performance.
With an ergonomically designed keyboard, the Vivobook assures you a comfortable typing experience. What’s more, it boasts a huge touchpad that delivers touchscreen like precision.
The machine also boasts an impressively fast 128GB of SSD. Also worth mentioning is the long-lasting 57WHr Li-ion battery that can offer you up to 12 hours of battery life. You don’t have to worry about playing your favorite games away from a power source.
A few years ago, gaming enthusiasts used to shy away from laptops under $500. They believed they were cheaply made and could struggle to deliver a pleasant gaming experience. Today, however, laptops under $500 come fully loaded, with powerful processors and great battery lives.
With the laptops on our list, you don’t need to break a bank in order to have a thrilling gaming experience. They are efficient and rival most of the expensive laptops in terms of performance. All you need to do is pick the machine that best fits your gaming needs, and get to enjoy a great gaming experience at an affordable price.