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Best Gaming Laptops Under $1000 Reviewed

Gaming laptops have become more popular over recent years as they narrow the performance gap between desktop computers and notebooks. These laptops are getting better GPUs, costing less than before, and packing bigger batteries.

Many companies have also succeeded in fixing the heating issues that plagued gaming laptops of previous years.

Best Gaming Laptops Under $1000

Finding gaming laptops under $1000 can be a bit of a challenge. Many of them don’t offer enough power to run most modern games, while others have a poor build.

We’ve handpicked the 5 best gaming laptops under $1000 that don’t suffer from these problems, doing the hard work for you. To help you with your purchase, there’s also a buyer’s guide at the end with a FAQs section.

Best Overall

Best Overall

Dell G5

The Beefed Up Inspiron

Dell takes last year’s Inspiron gaming laptops and brings them with a new tag. The Dell G5 sits comfortably in the middle between the G3 and the costlier G7 as a fantastic option with a top-tier laptop GPU to provide great gaming performance at a competitive price.

The Dell G5 is our top pick for the best gaming laptop under $1000 because of its great GPU, great cooling, and overall reliable performance.

Great Alternative

Great Alternative

Acer Nitro 5

Fantastic Gaming Laptop at a Great Price

Acer is well know for offering great quality laptops at an affordable price. It’s no surprise that with the Nitro 5, they’ve come up with one of the best gaming laptops for under $1000. This laptop offers a Core i5 7th generation processor with extra 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, and a GeForce 1050Ti.

Given the specs and the performance of the Nitro 5, it’s quite incredible how affordable this gaming laptop is. It offers the best battery among the gaming laptops we’ve reviewed and also comes with more RAM and storage than all of them.

Dell G5

  • CPU: Intel Core i5
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4
  • Storage: 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD
  • Screen Resolution: 15.6” FHD (1920×1080)

Dell launched the popular Inspiron gaming laptops last year that were packed enough power to run most games on medium to high settings but were priced below the $1000 mark. Improving on the trends, Dell has launched the same models under a new series, the G3, G5, and G7. Out of the three, the G5 with the above specs is the best out of the lot because it comes with the superior Nvidia GeForce 1060 Max-Q.

The Max-Q is Nvidia’s attempt to bring desktop level GPUs to laptops. While it won’t run at the same speed, it is a considerable upgrade over other mid to high-end GPUs you can find in laptops.

The display on the Dell G5 is an IPS with anti-glare. This means that it’s not a gloss display, so you can enjoy your videogames without light reflection troubling you. The downside of matte displays is they lack color compared to gloss finished ones.

The design of the G5 is sleek without being excessively edgy. It also comes with a USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type- port that supports Thunderbolt 3 for high data transfers. The battery life is decent, lasting around 7 hours which is what you’d expect from most gaming laptops. During gaming however, the battery life takes a considerable hit, which is expected.

Pros

  • Good graphics card
  • Great value
  • Above average battery life for a gaming laptop
  • Good gaming performance
  • Good cooling

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Keyboard feedback isn’t great
  • Average display colors

Acer Nitro 5

  • CPU: Intel Core i5 7th Generation
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti 4GB
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4
  • Storage: 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD
  • Screen Resolution: 15.6” FHD (1920×1080)

The Acer Nitro 5 is one of the most loved gaming laptops in the market right now because of its combination of affordability and great specs. The powerful laptop comes with a slightly older Core i5 processor, but it makes up for it with extra RAM and more storage.

The 256GB SSD comes in addition to the 1TB hard drive for ample space for as many games as you’ll want to cram in it. The RAM is bumped up to 16GB compared to the market average of 8GB for this price point.

The combination of red and black speaks gaming laptop, and there are plenty of port options to choose from. The IPS panel on the Acer Nitro 5 is matte finished for better clarity and lower light reflection. Unlike most other matte-finished displays, the contrast of this panel is good. However, it does lack in brightness.

The touchpad is responsive and performs well. It’s one of the better touchpads among gaming laptops under $1000. The battery life is a great appeal of this laptop, as it outperforms all other products featured in this article be lasting up to 8.5 hours on a single charge. Of course, during gaming and heavier use this value will decrease dramatically.

Pros

  • Great value
  • Lots of RAM
  • Lots of storage space
  • Good battery life for a gaming laptop

Cons

  • Runs hot under heavy load
  • Slightly dark display

Acer Aspire 7

  • CPU: Intel Core i7 8th Generation
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti 4GB
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4
  • Storage: 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD
  • Screen Resolution: 15.6” FHD (1920×1080)

The Acer Aspire 7 is a great alternative to the Dell G5, and it is particularly superior for its offering of the Core i7 8th generation, though it does skimp on the graphics ability with just the 1050Ti. It just barely manages to be less than $,1000 in price point.

With the Acer Aspire 7, you get a powerful CPU which makes it ideal for individuals who want a great-performing laptop with mild gaming on the side. Aside from the improved CPU (but inferior GPU), the specs are very similar to the Dell G5. It offers similar performance overall and comes in a minimalistic look that you could get away with by taking to the office.

There’s also a fingerprint scanner integrated into the laptop for secure and easy access, with Windows Hello support. Additionally, you get a USB 3.1 Type-C with Thunderbolt 3 as well, which is a nice addition. The trackpad isn’t the best though and the Acer Aspire 7 gaming laptop can run a bit hot.

The battery life of this laptop is rated at 7 hours, and that’s what it manages to accomplish in regular tasks. As with most gaming laptops, expect it to drain battery faster when playing videogames.

Pros

  • Powerful CPU
  • Above average battery life for a gaming laptop
  • Decent gaming performance
  • Good key travel on the keyboard

Cons

  • Finnicky trackpad
  • Gets hot fast

Asus TUF FX504GE

  • CPU: Intel Core i7 8th Generation
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti 4GB
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4
  • Storage: 256GB m.2 SSD
  • Screen Resolution: 15.6” FHD (1920×1080)

The Asus FX504VM is a gaming laptop that is loaded with power. It comes with the latest Core i7 8th generation processor and the GeForce 1050Ti. The design of the laptop is a bit edgy with its exaggerated high contrast red and black color scheme. The logo and the keyboards are brightly lit red, so it’s easy to see that it’s a gaming laptop from a mile away.

The configurations of the TUF are a bit confusing and vary the pricing dramatically, but we find the Core i7 with the GeForce 1050Ti the best one overall. Asus is well known for its high quality hardware design, so it’s not surprise that this laptop has an excellent build quality.

The keyboard of the laptop is strong and durable which is ideal for gaming. The cooling system in particular is praiseworthy. The cooling system is designed to expel dust particulars from the innards of the laptop to keep it extra cool.

One of the most striking features about the higher end of the FX504 models is the support for 120Hz refresh rate. This ultra-fast refresh rate grants a much better gaming experience and break the 60fps barrier without screen tearing. Battery life is average at around 6 hours. Because of its fine mix of features and performance, this is indeed one of the best gaming laptops you can buy.

Pros

  • Powerful CPU
  • Wide array of configuration options
  • Decent gaming performance
  • Great cooling system
  • Great build

Cons

  • Dull display on lower end configurations
  • Red keyboard lights won’t work for everyone
  • Limited storage space

Lenovo Legion Y530

  • CPU: Intel Core i5 8th Generation
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti 6GB
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4
  • Storage: 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD
  • Screen Resolution: 15.6” FHD (1920×1080)

Lenovo released the Legion series of gaming laptops last year which did quite well. This year, they’ve released a new iteration of the Legion gaming laptops with a heavily redesigned construction. It’s one of the most aesthetically appealing gaming laptops out there, serving the modern minimalists well with the blackout color scheme.

This elegant beast comes win various configurations, but we like the one with the Core i5 and GeForce 1050Ti the best. This Lenovo gaming laptop offers a wide range of ports, all of which have been conveniently moved to the back side. The graphics card is solid for the price, so you’ll be able to run most videogames easily at medium settings.

The display comes with thin bezels that make the already-appealing design even more sleek. The display itself is matte finished, so the colors are duller than what you’d expect from a gloss-finished IPS. The keyboard is fast, and the audio is decent thanks to the Harman-tuned speakers at the bottom of the laptop.

Battery life is average at around 5 hours or slightly less.

Pros

  • Great value
  • Beautiful design
  • Decent gaming performance
  • Good port selection and location

Cons

  • Dull display
  • Awful webcam

Buyer’s Guide

    The two major components that will dictate the gaming performance of your gaming laptop will be the CPU and GPU – particularly the latter. RAM and drive speed also play a role in your laptop’s performance in videogames, but not as much as the CPU and GPU.

    You want at least a Quad core CPU for videogames. That is why we’ve limited the minimum acceptable specs for any gaming laptop under $1000 to a 7th generation Core i5. A Core i7 will allow for better performance.

    However, more important than the CPU is the GPU. You will notice a much bigger improvement jumping from a GeForce 1050Ti to a GeForce 1060 with the same CPU than you will from upgrading a Core i5 to a Core i7.

    Videogaming puts a huge load on your CPU and GPU, which can heat them up a lot. To ensure stable and safe function, elaborate cooling needs to be provided for these two processing units. You want to make sure the gaming laptop you are buying has an efficient cooling system that can keep your laptop running at adequate operating temperatures.

    Any gaming laptop that goes beyond the 90 degrees Celsius mark during videogaming doesn’t have a good cooling system. Make sure you thoroughly research which laptop can maintain a temperature below that. Safe operating temperatures for modern CPUs and GPUs are quite generous – around 106 Celsius – but it’s better to keep a generous factor of safety.

    Battery life isn’t as important in gaming laptops as it is in regular ones. Although gaming laptops often fitted with larger batteries, they fail to provide the same amount of run time as modern mid to high end laptops. This is because the CPU, GPU, cooling system, and HDD consume a lot of power.

    For this reason, battery life shouldn’t be an essential factor in your decision if you will use the laptop for gaming only. However, if you want a gaming laptop that doubles as a laptop for other tasks, then you should consider its run time on battery. Don’t expect anything close to 10 hours of battery life on gaming laptops though.

    On what settings will I be able to run videogames with gaming laptops under $1000?

    This depends on the graphics of the videogames and the specs. With a Core i7 and a GeForce 1060 6B, you could run most games on at least medium setting. With a Core i5 and GeForce 1050Ti (the most common configuration in gaming laptops under $1000), expect to run the most graphic intensive games on low to medium settings.

    Can gaming laptops match the performance of desktop computers?

    Gaming laptops have become more powerful than they were a few years back, but so have desktops. Even the best gaming laptops cannot match the performance of a mid to high-range PC in that way. The main reason gaming laptops are popular is because they provide more portability than PCs.

    Are gaming laptops good for work?

    When it comes to performance, gaming laptops are generally far superior even in day-to-day tasks than normal laptops. However, the difference is minimal with many mid and high-end ultrabooks dedicated for work.

    One main reason people don’t use gaming laptops for work despite their superior specs and performance is because of how heavy they are. Loaded with graphic cards, elaborate cooling systems, and larger batteries, gaming laptops can weigh twice as much as regular laptops and always come in larger form factors.

    Additionally, all the features take up more juice, so battery life of gaming laptops is often two to three times less than what you’d get from a modern ultrabook.

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