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
Acer 15.6”

Aspire 5 15

BEST RATING
Portability:
4.3
Gaming/3D: B
Size: 15.6"
Overall Performance: Fair
Portability: Med. thick, light
Battery: Good




Expert Summary
The Acer Aspire 5 15 is offered at a lower midrange price and is equipped with a 15.6-inch IPS screen with full HD resolution. It does not support touchscreen functionality. Powered by an Intel i5 processor with integrated Iris Xe graphics, it provides a balance of performance suitable for general use and can handle some light 3D and engineering tasks. It has a solid battery life but may not be ideal for intensive gaming, although casual gaming should be acceptable. With 512 GB of storage and 16 GB of RAM, it's capable of multitasking efficiently. The laptop is fairly portable at under 4 pounds and 0.7 inches thick and comes with a backlit keyboard, fingerprint reader, and a good array of ports including USB-C and HDMI. Its build and speaker quality are fair, while the keyboard and webcam are rated good. Overall, the Acer Aspire 5 15 well suits everyday tasks and modest design work.
Pros
  • Good portability and battery life
  • Performs well for general use
  • Full HD screen with backlit keyboard
  • Number pad and USB-C charging
  • Fingerprint reader for security
Cons
  • Not suited for advanced 3D or engineering tasks
  • Mediocre speaker and webcam quality
  • Average build and heat management
  • Limited color accuracy for professionals
2
Lenovo 16”

IdeaPad Slim 5i

BEST RATING
Keyboard Quality:
4.4
Gaming/3D: 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
3
Lenovo 15.6”

IdeaPad Gaming 3

BEST RATING
Keyboard Quality:
4.4
Gaming/3D: 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
ASUS 14”

Zenbook 14

BEST RATING
Portability:
4.6
Gaming/3D: B
Size: 14"
Overall Performance: Fair
Portability: Thin, very light
Battery: Good




Pros
  • High-resolution OLED screen
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Multiple USB-C ports
  • Good keyboard and trackpad
  • All-day battery life
Cons
  • Average speaker quality
  • Limited thermal management
  • Fair webcam quality
  • Moderate fan noise under load
5
HP 15.6”

Victus 15

BEST RATING
General Use:
4.2
Gaming/3D: B
Size: 15.6"
Overall Performance: Fair
Portability: Thick, heavy
Battery: Fair




Expert Summary
The HP Victus 15 is a reasonably priced laptop with 512 GB of storage, 16 GB of RAM, and is powered by an AMD Ryzen 5 processor paired with an Nvidia RTX 2050 for graphics. Its 15.6-inch IPS display offers a resolution of 1920 x 1080, with a high refresh rate but without touch capabilities. The battery capacity is decent, aiding in fair portability despite its somewhat heavy build. It excels in heat management, has a good-quality keyboard, and is targeted toward gaming with features like a backlit keyboard and hardware ray tracing. However, its color space coverage is on the lower end, which may not be ideal for color-intensive tasks. It runs Windows 11 Home and is endorsed as particularly suitable for gaming. With a combination of USB-C, HDMI, and Ethernet ports, it offers a variety of connectivity options. Released in May 2023, it's a good fit for general use and gaming but may fall short for professionals in engineering and 3D/machine learning due to moderate performance scores in those areas.
Pros
  • Good general performance
  • Decent gaming, ray tracing support
  • Backlit keyboard with number pad
  • Multiple ports including Ethernet, USB-C
  • Fairly good screen refresh rate
Cons
  • Average battery life
  • Fair portability due to weight
  • Limited color coverage on screen
  • Fair performance for 3D/machine learning
6
Acer 14”

Swift 3

BEST RATING
Battery Life:
4.7
Gaming/3D: B
Size: 14"
Overall Performance: Fair
Portability: Thin, very light
Battery: Very Good




Expert Summary
The Acer Swift 3 comes at a lower midrange price with a solid balance of features for general consumers. Its Intel i5 processor and integrated Iris Xe graphics offer good performance for everyday tasks and some light gaming or creative work but aren't optimized for more demanding 3D, machine learning, or engineering software. Equipped with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, it should handle multitasking and ample data. The 14-inch IPS display provides decent color accuracy and viewing angles, though it's not the best choice for color-critical work. The laptop is quite portable, weighing under 3 pounds, and has a good battery life that can support typical usage for around 12 hours. Additionally, build quality and heat management are rated good, making it suitable for mobility and use in different environments. With a variety of ports including USB-C and Thunderbolt, connectivity is versatile, but the absence of an Ethernet port might be a drawback for some. A backlit keyboard and fingerprint reader enhance usability, although if you're looking for a laptop with a higher refresh rate, better speakers, or dedicated gaming features, other models may be more fitting.
Pros
  • Large storage space
  • Sufficient RAM for multitasking
  • Latest generation Intel processor
  • Integrated high-performance graphics
  • Lightweight and slim design
Cons
  • Moderate battery life
  • Lacks number pad on keyboard
  • Speakers are of fair quality
  • Not designed for intense 3D tasks
7
Lenovo 15.6”

IdeaPad 3 15"

BEST RATING
Operating Noise:
4.9
Gaming/3D: B
Size: 15.6"
Overall Performance: Fair
Portability: Med. thick, light
Battery: Good




Expert Summary
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15" is a budget-friendly laptop with an Intel i5 processor and integrated graphics, suitable for everyday tasks and light productivity. It comes with a 512GB storage drive and 8GB of RAM, a combination that offers a decent balance for general use. The 15.6-inch IPS display offers clear images at a standard 1920 x 1080 resolution, but it isn't touchscreen. The battery life is modest, making it more suited for use where charging options are accessible. Weighing 3.59 pounds and measuring 0.78 inches thick, it's relatively portable but might feel bulky compared to ultrabooks. It includes a numeric keypad, backlit keyboard, and a good variety of ports including USB-C and HDMI. The IdeaPad 3 is not designed for intensive gaming, 3D rendering, or machine learning tasks, but it's a good match for more straightforward engineering software. Overall, this laptop is a good choice for students or home office use where high performance is not a critical requirement.
Pros
  • Solid build quality
  • Good portability
  • Decent general use performance
  • Backlit keyboard and number pad
  • Ample storage capacity
Cons
  • Moderate battery life
  • Average display for color work
  • Not ideal for 3D/machine learning tasks
  • No hardware ray tracing or DLSS support
8
Dell 15.6”

Inspiron 15 3511

BEST RATING
General Use:
4.3
Gaming/3D: B
Size: 15.6"
Overall Performance: Fair
Portability: Med. thick, light
Battery: Good




Expert Summary
The Dell Inspiron 15 3511 is a laptop with a lower midrange price, offering a solid general use experience with an Intel i5-1135G7 processor, integrated Iris Xe graphics, 1024GB of storage, and 32GB of RAM. It has a 15.6-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080, not touch-enabled, providing decent color accuracy and fair performance for fast motion. With a weight of 3.7 pounds and a thickness of 0.74 inches, it's relatively portable, but it compromises on battery life, offering around 6.5 hours of typical usage. It includes convenient features like a number pad on the keyboard and available slots for RAM and storage upgrades. While it's not designed for intensive gaming or engineering tasks due to its integrated graphics, it still delivers good performance for everyday general use and moderate multitasking. The build quality is fair, and the laptop handles heat effectively, which is good for prolonged use. It was released in January 2021 and runs Windows 11 Home.
Pros
  • Ample storage space
  • High RAM capacity
  • Solid general use performance
  • Effective heat management
  • Has number pad
Cons
  • Mediocre battery life
  • Average build quality
  • Not very portable
  • Lacks high performance graphics
9
Lenovo 15.6”

IdeaPad Gaming 3

BEST RATING
Keyboard Quality:
4.4
Gaming/3D: B
Size: 15.6"
Overall Performance: Fair
Portability: Thick, heavy
Battery: Good




Expert Summary
The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 is designed for gaming enthusiasts on a lower-midrange budget. It pairs an AMD Ryzen 5 5600H processor with an Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti graphics card, delivering solid performance for gaming and other demanding tasks. The device sports a 15.6-inch IPS display with a 1920 x 1080 resolution, a refresh rate that suits fast-paced games, and is not touchscreen. Expect a decent color output but not top-of-the-line, with moderate screen brightness and color space coverage. Storage and memory are on the lower end, but with available slots for upgrades. The laptop comes with a numeric keypad, a backlit keyboard, and supports hardware ray tracing as well as DLSS, enhancing gaming visuals. It doesn't excel in portability due to its nearly 5-pound weight and average battery life, but it includes a good array of ports, including Ethernet and USB-C. With Windows 11 Home installed, it's a capable machine for gaming and engineering applications, but its weight and battery life make it less ideal for on-the-go use.
Pros
  • Solid performance for gaming
  • High refresh rate screen
  • Backlit keyboard with number pad
  • Good build and heat management
  • Ample ports including Ethernet
Cons
  • Limited battery life
  • Moderate storage capacity
  • No thunderbolt or USB4 support
  • Not very lightweight or compact
10
MSI 14”

Modern 14

BEST RATING
Portability:
4.6
Gaming/3D: 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