10 Best Budget Gaming Laptops

Wally Nowinski
editor

Our experts used the PerfectRec decision engine to comb through our laptop database and find the best budget gaming laptops available in 2024. Here are our top picks.

Our criteria for the best budget gaming laptops:

  • Operating System: We limited the search to Windows laptops since there are more games available than on Mac.
  • Usage: We focused on gaming laptops.
  • Budget: We chose a medium budget of $500-750, which should cover an entry level, budget gaming laptop.
To consider others factors, try the PerfectRec decision engine to get your personalized laptop recommendation
Get your personalized recommendations

10 Best Budget Gaming Laptops

1
ASUS 16”

Vivobook 16

BEST RATING
General Use:
4.3
Gaming/AI: B
Size: 16"
Overall Performance: Fair
Portability: Med. thick, med. heavy
Battery: Good




Pros
  • Large 16-inch screen
  • High-capacity storage
  • Good battery life
  • Number pad on keyboard
  • Windows 11 Home pre-installed
Cons
  • Average portability
  • Moderate screen brightness
  • Non-touchscreen
  • Lower color space coverage
2
Acer 14”

Swift Go 14

BEST RATING
Portability:
4.7
Gaming/AI: B
Size: 14"
Overall Performance: Fair
Portability: Thin, very light
Battery: Good




Pros
  • Lightweight and portable design
  • Excellent battery life for typical use
  • High-quality, backlit keyboard
  • Clear, bright touchscreen display
  • Good build quality and heat management
Cons
  • Mediocre speaker quality
  • Limited port variety
  • Moderate performance for engineering tasks
  • No hardware ray tracing or DLSS
3
Lenovo 15.6”

IdeaPad Gaming 3

BEST RATING
Keyboard Quality:
4.4
Gaming/AI: B
Size: 15.6"
Overall Performance: Fair
Portability: Thick, heavy
Battery: Good




Expert Summary
The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 is a budget-friendly gaming laptop that comes with a decent storage capacity and moderate RAM. It's equipped with an AMD Ryzen processor and an Nvidia RTX GPU, which makes it suitable for gaming and other intensive tasks. The battery capacity provides a reasonable amount of usage time, and it sports a 15.6-inch display with a high refresh rate, suitable for fast-paced games, but it's an IPS panel which may not be the brightest. It's relatively heavy, affecting its portability, has a number pad, and features backlit keys, hardware ray tracing, and DLSS. Suitable for gaming needs, it may not be the top choice for very high-end gaming or professional engineering software but can handle general use and moderate 3D tasks well.
Pros
  • AMD Ryzen 7 processor
  • Nvidia RTX 2050 GPU
  • Backlit keyboard with numpad
  • Supports Ethernet connection
  • Available storage and RAM slots
Cons
  • Moderate battery life
  • No Thunderbolt or USB4
  • No touchscreen capability
  • Not very lightweight
4
Lenovo 16”

IdeaPad Slim 5i

BEST RATING
Keyboard Quality:
4.4
Gaming/AI: B
Size: 16"
Overall Performance: Fair
Portability: Med. thick, med. heavy
Battery: Good




Expert Summary
The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 5i, with a lower midrange price, offers a solid balance for everyday use with its Intel i5 processor, 16GB RAM, and 512GB storage; it should handle tasks like web browsing, office work, and media playback well. It has a 16-inch display using IPS technology for better viewing angles, and the resolution is sharp enough for clear visuals, although not the highest available. The battery life is average, not ideal for long periods away from power. This laptop is reasonably portable, but there are lighter options if portability is a priority. With a backlit keyboard and fingerprint reader, it includes features for convenience and security. Suitable for general use and lighter engineering tasks, this laptop won't excel in intensive gaming or complex 3D work due to its integrated graphics. If you're looking for a laptop to use primarily at a desk with occasional mobility, and your tasks are mainly productivity-focused without high-end gaming or professional creative work, the IdeaPad Slim 5i is a respectable choice.
Pros
  • High RAM capacity for multitasking
  • Backlit keyboard aids low-light use
  • Good portability for travel
  • Fingerprint reader for extra security
  • Decent battery life for daily use
Cons
  • Moderate storage capacity
  • Average speaker quality
  • Fair performance for engineering tasks
  • Display colors not very vibrant
5
Lenovo 14”

Flex 5 14

BEST RATING
Battery Life:
4.6
Gaming/AI: B
Size: 14"
Overall Performance: Fair
Portability: Med. thick, light
Battery: Very Good




Expert Summary
The Lenovo Flex 5 14 is a 2-in-1 convertible that can be used as both a laptop and a tablet, making it versatile for various tasks. It's priced in the lower midrange and offers a fair balance of performance and features. With an AMD Ryzen 7 processor and 16 GB of RAM, it's a good choice for general use and capable of handling some engineering and 3D tasks, though not optimized for intensive gaming. It has a 14-inch IPS touchscreen display, a decent battery life, and is lightweight for portability. It also features a decent spread of ports including USB-C, and it charges via USB-C as well, but it lacks a dedicated number pad, yet it includes a backlit keyboard and fingerprint reader for convenience and security.
Pros
  • Convertible laptop and tablet functionality
  • Good battery life for typical use
  • Backlit keyboard with fingerprint reader
  • Portable with very good portability score
  • Decent screen color and general use performance
Cons
  • Screen brightness not suitable for outdoor use
  • Limited color range for professional editing
  • No Thunderbolt or Ethernet ports available
  • Speaker and webcam quality are only fair
6
Dell 15.6”

Inspiron 15 3520

BEST RATING
Portability:
4.3
Gaming/AI: B
Size: 15.6"
Overall Performance: Poor
Portability: Med. thick, light
Battery: Good




Expert Summary
The Dell Inspiron 15 3520 is a budget-friendly laptop designed for general use. It's equipped with an Intel i3 processor, UHD graphics, and has 8GB of RAM along with 256GB of storage. The 15.6-inch IPS display has a full HD resolution and offers good color representation, although it's not touch-enabled. It offers a fair battery life and is fairly portable, albeit not the lightest at 3.65 pounds. This laptop includes a number pad, a backlit keyboard, and comes preinstalled with Windows 11 Home. It suits everyday tasks and can handle some engineering applications, but it's not ideal for intensive gaming or demanding 3D/machine learning tasks. Its construction and performance are adequate for its price point, and it manages heat well.
Pros
  • Solid battery life for typical use
  • Large 15.6-inch screen
  • Good general use performance
  • Has a number pad on keyboard
  • Lightweight for its screen size
Cons
  • Not backlit keyboard
  • Limited high-performance capabilities
  • Lower color accuracy for professional work
  • Mediocre speaker and build quality
7
MSI 14”

Modern 14

BEST RATING
Portability:
4.6
Gaming/AI: B
Size: 14"
Overall Performance: Fair
Portability: Thin, very light
Battery: Good




Pros
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Good general use performance
  • Backlit keyboard included
  • Supports USB-C charging
  • High screen pixel density
Cons
  • Low battery life
  • Mediocre for 3D and engineering
  • Limited high-speed port selection
  • Moderate color space coverage
8
Acer 14”

Swift Go 14

BEST RATING
Portability:
4.7
Gaming/AI: B
Size: 14"
Overall Performance: Fair
Portability: Thin, very light
Battery: Good




Expert Summary
The Acer Swift Go 14 is a laptop with a lower midrange price and comes equipped with 512GB storage and 16GB RAM, which should be sufficient for daily tasks and moderate multitasking. It features an Intel i5-1335U processor paired with Intel Iris Xe graphics, suitable for general use and light photo editing or casual gaming, but not for heavy 3D rendering or intensive gaming. The battery is fairly standard, ensuring around 8 hours of typical use. It has a 14-inch IPS display with good resolution and a 16:10 aspect ratio, enhancing productivity with more vertical screen space. The laptop doesn't have a touchscreen, but it offers good color accuracy and contrast ideal for web browsing, document editing, and movie watching. It's quite portable at under 3 pounds and just 0.59 inches thick, making it easy to carry around. It offers a good selection of ports, including USB-C with charging support, but lacks Ethernet and dedicated gaming features. The Acer Swift Go 14 also includes a backlit keyboard and a fingerprint reader for added convenience and security.
Pros
  • Lightweight and portable design
  • Good battery life for typical use
  • High-quality keyboard and webcam
  • Backlit keyboard with a fingerprint reader
  • Solid performance for general use
Cons
  • Limited high performance for 3D and engineering
  • Mediocre speaker quality
  • Display not ideal for fast motion
  • Graphics not suited for ray tracing
9
Lenovo 14”

IdeaPad 3 14"

BEST RATING
Operating Noise:
4.9
Gaming/AI: B
Size: 14"
Overall Performance: Poor
Portability: Med. thick, light
Battery: Good




Pros
  • Large storage capacity
  • Ample RAM
  • Good battery life
  • Decent general use performance
  • Lightweight for portability
Cons
  • Basic processor
  • Integrated GPU limits gaming
  • No USB-C or Thunderbolt ports
  • Subpar engineering performance
10
HP 15.6”

Envy x360 15"

BEST RATING
Operating Noise:
4.6
Gaming/AI: B
Size: 15.6"
Overall Performance: Fair
Portability: Med. thick, med. heavy
Battery: Very Good




Expert Summary
The HP Envy x360 15" is a midrange 2-in-1 convertible laptop, offering versatility as it can be used as both a laptop and a tablet. With a 512 GB storage capacity and 16 GB of RAM, it's equipped with an AMD Ryzen 7 processor and Vega 8 graphics that are suitable for general use and some demanding applications, but may not be optimal for intensive gaming, 3D rendering or machine learning tasks. The battery capacity is solid, and at 15.6 inches the IPS touchscreen display provides good color coverage, but it's not the top choice for color-critical work. Weighing around 4.43 pounds and around 0.72 inches thick, it balances portability with performance, and with a variety of USB-C ports including charging capability, it offers good connectivity. The keyboard is backlit and has a number pad, enhancing productivity, and the build quality is rated as very good. This laptop's release date was in April 2023, and it runs on Windows 11 Home.
Pros
  • Touchscreen with pen support
  • Convertible, laptop and tablet mode
  • Lightweight and portable design
  • Backlit keyboard included
  • Good for general use performance
Cons
  • Average screen color performance
  • Fair 3D/machine learning performance
  • Moderate battery life
  • No hardware ray tracing support