Best Laptop for Gaming Under $500: Top Picks for Budget Gamers in 2023
Gaming laptops have seen major improvements throughout the years, becoming increasingly popular among gamers who want the convenience of portable performance.
In the past, the idea of a budget gaming laptop seemed impossible, as gaming systems typically demanded high-quality hardware and powerful components that came with hefty price tags.
However, the market has continued to evolve, leading manufacturers to offer more affordable options, catering to gamers on a budget.
For gamers looking to get the most bang for their buck, a gaming laptop under $500 can provide a satisfactory experience without breaking the bank.
While you might not have the top-of-the-line components, these budget-friendly options are still capable of running popular games with decent performance.
By focusing on pivotal aspects such as the graphics card, processor, and RAM, shoppers can find the ideal compromise between quality and affordability.
When searching for the best gaming laptop under $500, it is crucial to focus on aspects such as display quality, hardware specifications, and build quality.
Equally important is considering factors like battery life and cooling systems, which contribute to prolonged gaming sessions and overall user experience.
It’s essential to remember that sacrifices will need to be made in terms of ultra-high graphics settings and cutting-edge performance, but getting a budget-friendly gaming laptop is not impossible.
We have thoroughly researched and tested several gaming laptops in this price range with these considerations in mind.
Our goal is to help you find the most suitable option that fits your budget and gaming preferences.
So, let’s dive into our top picks and find the best gaming laptop under $500 that will bring joy to your gaming adventures.
Best Gaming Laptops Under $500
We have compiled a list of the best gaming laptops under $500 for you to enjoy a great gaming experience without breaking the bank.
Lenovo 2022 Newest Ideapad 3 Laptop
If you’re looking for an affordable gaming laptop under $500, the Lenovo Ideapad 3 brings a great balance of performance and value.
- Impressive 11th Gen Intel Core i3 processor
- Smooth multitasking with 8GB RAM
- Fast boot and data transfer with 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD
- Screen resolution limited to 1366 x 768
- No backlit keyboard
- Average battery life at 7 hours
Upon first use, we instantly noticed how snappy the laptop felt, thanks to its 11th Gen Intel Core i3 processor and 8GB of RAM.
Running multiple applications and browser tabs simultaneously was no issue, providing an efficient experience for both work and play.
The 15.6-inch HD touchscreen made navigating through Windows 11 a breeze, although we would have appreciated a higher-resolution display.
Gaming was decent with the integrated Intel UHD Graphics, but more demanding titles might require lowered settings to run smoothly.
In terms of build quality, the Lenovo Ideapad 3 is lightweight and has an attractive almond color.
However, the lack of a backlit keyboard might be a downside for some users.
The battery life is average, offering up to 7 hours of use, which should suffice for on-the-go gamers or working professionals.
SGIN 17 Inch Gaming Laptop
We highly recommend the SGIN 17 Inch Laptop for budget-conscious gamers seeking a device with a vibrant display and decent performance.
- Impressive 17-inch FHD IPS display
- Smooth performance with expandable storage
- Long-lasting 5000 mAh battery
- Not suitable for high-end gaming
- Only 4GB RAM
- Integrated graphics instead of dedicated GPU
We recently tried the SGIN 17 Inch Laptop and were amazed by its beautiful, large display.
The FHD resolution showcased stunning colors and incredible contrast, perfect for enjoying games, movies, and photos.
The laptop’s Windows 11 operating system and Intel Celeron N4020 dual-core processor allowed us to run multiple applications without any lag.
Despite the 4GB RAM, the performance was fairly smooth, and the 128 GB SSD storage can be expanded up to 512 GB.
This laptop enables quick file transfers and efficient software loading.
One of the standout features of this laptop was its long-lasting battery life.
The 5000 mAh battery gave us up to 8 hours of uninterrupted gaming and browsing, perfect for all-day usage during travel or continuous classes.
However, keep in mind that this laptop isn’t designed for high-end gaming, and its integrated graphics might not satisfy hardcore gamers.
Acer Aspire 5 A515-46-R3UB
If you’re on the hunt for an affordable yet powerful gaming laptop under $500, the Acer Aspire 5 A515-46-R3UB should definitely be on your radar.
- Desktop-class performance with AMD Ryzen 3 processor
- Vivid 15.6-inch Full HD IPS display
- Backlit keyboard and fingerprint reader for added security
- 4GB of RAM might require an upgrade for more demanding games
- 128GB SSD storage may fill up quickly
- Lacks a dedicated GPU, relying on AMD Radeon Vega 6 Graphics
Having used the Acer Aspire 5 ourselves, we can attest to the desktop-class performance provided by the AMD Ryzen 3 3350U processor, making it a great choice for budget-friendly gaming.
The 15.6-inch Full HD IPS display, along with AMD Radeon Vega 6 Graphics, ensures that our games look superb even on a budget laptop.
One of our favorite features is the backlit keyboard, which allows for comfortable gaming even in dimly lit environments.
Combined with the fingerprint reader, our Aspire 5 feels both stylish and secure.
However, as with all budget laptops, there are some trade-offs.
With only 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, we had to consider upgrading the memory and storage for more demanding games and to store our ever-growing game library.
Despite these limitations, the Acer Aspire 5 A515-46-R3UB stands out as a fantastic option for gamers seeking an affordable yet capable gaming laptop.
ASUS Vivobook Laptop L210 (2021 Version)
This compact and affordable laptop is perfect for gamers on the go who need something under $500.
- Lightweight and portable design
- Efficient Intel Celeron processor
- Long-lasting battery life
- Lower graphics capabilities
- Windows 10 in S mode limitations
- Only 64GB eMMC storage
After trying out the ASUS Vivobook Laptop L210 ourselves, we found it to be a surprising little gem for gamers on a budget.
Its lightweight design and 11.6″ screen make it easy to carry around, perfect for those gaming sessions between classes or at a friend’s house.
The Intel Celeron N4020 Processor performs decently for its price point, allowing for smooth gameplay on less demanding titles.
However, the integrated Intel UHD Graphics 600 may not be enough for more advanced games.
The Windows 10 S mode ensures a secure and focused environment but limits the user to Microsoft Store apps, potentially excluding some gaming options.
The eMMC storage of 64GB can be limiting for gamers who like to have multiple games installed on their laptops.
However, the ASUS L210 compensates with a year of Microsoft 365 Personal, making it a versatile device for both work and play.
To summarize, the ASUS Vivobook Laptop L210 is a great budget gaming option for those who prioritize portability and efficiency over powerhouse performance.
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 12.4in Touchscreen
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go is a budget-friendly choice for gamers looking for portability and reliable performance.
- Impressive touchscreen display
- Lightweight and portable
- Good battery life
- Limited RAM (4GB)
- Minimal storage (64GB eMMC)
- Not suitable for more demanding games
We recently got our hands on the Microsoft Surface Laptop Go, and we were quite impressed with its sleek design and lightweight construction.
The 12.4-inch PixelSense touchscreen display provided a sharp and responsive experience during our gaming sessions.
One thing we particularly appreciated was the all-day battery life. It allowed us to carry the laptop with us and play games or attend online classes without worrying about constantly recharging.
However, we did notice that the laptop’s performance was limited by its 4GB RAM and 64GB eMMC storage.
We found the Microsoft Surface Laptop Go to be a solid option for casual gamers looking for a budget-friendly and portable device.
While it may not handle more demanding games, it performed admirably for lighter titles and everyday tasks.
Finding the best gaming laptop under $500 can be challenging, but we’re here to help you make an informed decision.
Let us walk you through some key factors to consider when choosing the best gaming laptop in this price range.
First and foremost, you need to evaluate the performance of the laptop you’re considering for gaming.
Analyze the processor, RAM, and graphics card, as these components will directly impact your gaming experience.
Look for laptops with at least an Intel Core i3 or AMD Ryzen 3 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a decent graphics card.
Storage and Upgradeability
Next, consider storage capacity and upgradeability.
A laptop with a combination of SSD and HDD storage will give you faster load times and ample space for your games.
Check if the laptop allows for easy upgrades, as this can ensure the longevity of your gaming laptop.
Display and Resolution
The quality of the display is crucial for an immersive gaming experience.
Ensure that the laptop comes with at least a 15.6-inch screen and a minimum resolution of 1920×1080 pixels.
Also, look for features like anti-glare and an acceptable refresh rate of at least 60Hz.
Keyboard and Trackpad
A comfortable keyboard and trackpad can make a significant difference in your gaming sessions.
Search for laptops with backlit keyboards and decent key travel.
Check the accuracy and responsiveness of the trackpad, as this will greatly impact your device’s ease of use.
Portability and Battery Life
Consider the laptop’s portability and battery life.
If you plan to use your gaming laptop on the go, choose a device with a compact design and decent battery life.
Keep in mind that gaming can be taxing on the battery, so don’t expect extended battery life during heavy gaming sessions.