The idea of a “cheap” gaming laptop isn’t as mythical as it once was. Of course, while the industry has come a long way, you’ll still need to be a little loose on the definition of the word “cheap.” We’re going to give you a list of gaming laptops that should be able to get you where you need to go.
The fact of the matter is that if you’re looking to spend under $200 for a gaming laptop, you’re either going to be A.) out of luck, or B.) limited to mobile gaming. If you’re okay with this, your best bet is to look into a Chromebook vs. a Windows machine for a couple of reasons. First is that Chrome OS is a much more lightweight operating system than Windows. Second is that many Chromebooks coming out today ship with the Google Play Store, allowing the user to download apps and games. The third is that once Google Stadia is available, even the cheapest of Chromebooks should be able to play games with little to no issues.
Chromebooks comes in a variety of hardware configurations, but it’s almost hard to find one that costs as much as a Windows machine (if you ignore Google’s own Pixelbook). In fact, $600-800 is really where a good chunk of Chromebooks top out. This means that the difference between a $200 Chromebook and a $800 Chromebook isn’t as dramatic in the spec department vs a Windows machine.
If you’re looking for a big screen with a small price, the Acer 15.6 inch Chromebook is a good place to start. That large display is pushing a resolution of 1366 x 768, so don’t expect anything too fancy in the pixel density department. Powered by the Intel Celeron processor, 4GB RAM, and 16GB, this is good beater laptop.
ASUS is responsible for some of the best laptops in the world, hands down. It also has a large footprint in the Chromebook market, with the Flip being a fan favorite. This particular model ships with a rather small 10.1-inch 1200 x 800 display, 2GHz quad-core Rockchip CPU, 4GB of RAM, and 32GB of internal storage. Plus, it’s signature feature is that the keyboard can flip back all the way, turning your Chromebook into a (thick) tablet.
While you won’t be doing any real gaming on the laptop itself, it should be able to tear through anything the Google Play Store has to offer with ease.
So we can get into some more serious gaming laptop, we flashed forward by $500 with the 15.6-inch HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop. The 15.6-inch panel ships with a Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 and a 144Hz refresh rate. Running the show is the Intel 8th-Gen Core i5 8300H processor, NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti, 8GB RAM, 1TB hard drive, and Window 10 Home.
The NVIDIA GTX 1050Ti gives this laptop a big leg up in terms of gaming. While it’s not the most powerful GPU, it’ll certainly best Intel’s HD Graphics found on the Core i5. You’ll be able to play a good chunk of your PC games at low to medium graphics settings.
When you start getting near the $1500 mark for a gaming laptop, it’s hard to call it cheap, but you can easily spend more. However, if you’re looking for a solid laptop that provides a great gaming experience for under $1500, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus is a fantastic choice.
This laptop ships with a 15.6-inch Full HD (1920x1080) display with a 144Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time. While it won’t technically make your gaming experience better, the bezels surrounding the display are a mere 6.5mm, making for a more immersive experience, at the very least.
Specs include 8th-Gen Intel Core i7-8750H CPU, GeForce GTX 1070, 16GB DDR4, 512GB PCIe SSD, making this a very powerful gaming laptop. Not to mention, well worth the money.