10 Best Gaming Laptops Under 500

Wally Nowinski
editor

Our experts used the PerfectRec decision engine to comb through our laptop database and find the best gaming laptops under 500 available in 2024. Here are our top picks.

Our criteria for the best gaming laptops under 500:

  • 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 small budget of $500, which should cover an entry level, budget gaming laptop on sale.
To consider others factors, try the PerfectRec decision engine to get your personalized laptop recommendation
Get your personalized recommendations

10 Best Gaming Laptops Under 500

1
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
2
Dell 15.6”

Inspiron 15 3511

BEST RATING
General Use:
4.3
Gaming/AI: 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
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
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
5
Acer 15.6”

Aspire 5 15

BEST RATING
Portability:
4.3
Gaming/AI: 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
6
Lenovo 14”

IdeaPad 3 14"

BEST RATING
Operating Noise:
4.9
Gaming/AI: B
Size: 14"
Overall Performance: Fair
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
7
HP 15.6”

Victus 15

BEST RATING
General Use:
4.2
Gaming/AI: 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
8
Acer 14”

Swift 3

BEST RATING
Battery Life:
4.7
Gaming/AI: 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
9
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 laptop that offers good general use and gaming capabilities at a lower midrange price. It has a decent processor and graphics card suitable for playing games and handling everyday tasks. The screen is a 15.6-inch IPS panel providing clear images with a high refresh rate, enhancing gaming and video experiences. It is not very light but should be portable enough for occasional transport. Battery life is moderate, suggesting you may need to stay close to a power outlet during long sessions. The laptop has a full-size backlit keyboard with a number pad and a good port selection including Ethernet and HDMI, but no Thunderbolt support. It's designed with a gaming appearance and released in late 2021, indicating relatively recent hardware. Its sound and webcam quality is good, while the build and heat management are fair. If gaming and general use are your priorities and you're okay with the weight and average battery life, this laptop could be a suitable choice.
Pros
  • Affordable gaming laptop
  • Decent performance for general use
  • High refresh rate screen
  • Good portability for a gaming device
  • Backlit keyboard with number pad
Cons
  • Basic build quality
  • Mediocre battery life
  • Limited RAM and storage
  • Modest screen color performance
10
HP 15.6”

15" Laptop

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




Expert Summary
The HP 15" Laptop offers a balance for those on a budget, providing a large 15.6-inch screen with touchscreen capabilities, albeit at a lower resolution. It's not the lightest is, but still reasonably portable. This laptop is equipped with a considerable amount of RAM and a sizeable storage capacity. It runs on an Intel i3 processor with integrated graphics, which is sufficient for general use, but may lack the necessary power for intensive 3D rendering, gaming, or engineering applications. Battery life is adequate for typical use, and the keyboard includes a number pad, although it is not backlit and there are no biometric security features. The build and heat management are fair and it has a variety of ports including USB-C, but lacks Thunderbolt support. Suitable for general use and those who prioritize budget and screen size over high performance and screen resolution.
Pros
  • Spacious storage
  • Large RAM capacity
  • Touchscreen available
  • Decent battery life
  • Good heat management
Cons
  • Basic processor model
  • Low screen resolution
  • Mediocre portability
  • Limited color coverage