Best Gaming Laptops Under $500 [Ready For 2021]

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Looking for the best gaming laptops under $500?

We’re here to help.

Finding a laptop that can give you a neat gaming experience in this price range is going to be a challenge.

You have to make some compromises and may even have to settle for a lot less as this price point isn’t much to play with.

But we’ve made a ton of research to make your job simpler. With our research, you will save hours of your valuable time. Without further ado, let’s dive in.

Best Gaming Laptops Under $500

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Acer Aspire 5

The Acer Aspire 5 is our choice for the best gaming laptop under $500.

This laptop is not exactly below $500 but has a few more dollars to the final price tag. Though it doesn’t fit our budget, spending an additional $20 will give you this excellent laptop which is very good for entry-level gaming.

The processor that powers this 15.6” laptop is an AMD Ryzen 5 3500U chip. This is a quad-core processor from AMD and comes with a base clock frequency of 2.1 GHz. This processor has all the power you need to run entry-level and even some mid-range games without any issues.

The processor is also very good fit for stuff other than gaming. You will be able to browse the web freely, work on office documents, do a little bit of photo editing, and so much more as this processor can handle it. The processor can clock up to a maximum of 3.7 GHz which is a lot of power for most users.

The display we have on this Acer laptop is a 15.6” full HD display. This LED-backlit display is also an IPS panel which is very rare to find in this price range. The display is an excellent one for gaming and it presents beautiful colors that will give you satisfying gaming experience. The audio coming out of the laptop is not the best, but it will pass for an entry-level gaming device.

The memory management on this laptop is also pretty good. We get 8GB of RAM that is of DDR4 type. This RAM should be more than enough to meet your multitasking needs and will help you to do more in less time. This RAM also plays a very good role when it comes to running your favorite games.

The graphics card on this Acer Aspire 5 model is an AMD Radeon 8 graphics card. This is an integrated graphics card and comes with pretty decent graphics performance. You will be able to run flight games and even some mid-range games without any issues. When running light games, you may not have to reduce the settings but that is not the case as the complexity of the games go up.

The solid-state drive on this laptop comes with 256GB capacity. This is a pretty good solid-state drive with excellent reading and writing speeds. The solid-state drive boots up the operating system in just a few seconds and also launches games and applications very quickly.

The battery life of this Acer laptop is also fantastic. With light use, you should be able to squeeze out 7.5 hours of battery life which is very good for a budget laptop like this one. When gaming, you should be able to get a modest four hours of battery life since you will be mostly involved in light gaming. If you want to do something serious, then it is better to be plugged in so that you don’t have to worry about battery life.

In terms of connectivity, you get a very good selection of ports. There is a USB 3.1 Type-A port, a couple of USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI port, an ethernet port, and also a headphone jack. The laptop also comes with built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for excellent wireless connectivity.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3

The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is an excellent laptop under $500 that does a pretty good job when it comes to gaming.

This is a 15” laptop that comes with HD resolution. The pixel density on this laptop is not as good as a full HD display but you do get decent images that are quite good for the price. The display here is an antiglare display which helps you avoid annoying reflections even when you are in bright environments.

One of the advantages of this laptop is that you get a 10th generation Intel Core i3 processor. This is a dual-core processor that comes with an Intel Smart cache memory of 4MB and can clock up to a maximum of 3.4GHz. The processor does not lack when it comes to power and does a pretty good job when running games.

The memory department on this laptop is made up of 8GB of DDR4 RAM. This memory should be more than enough for entry-level users and even some mid-range uses. You will be able to run several apps simultaneously without impacting the overall performance of this device. The SSD on this laptop has a capacity of 256 GB which is an amazing value for the price.

The laptop does not come with a dedicated graphics card which means the integrated graphics card will be handling all your gaming loads. The gaming experience on this laptop is entry-level and you won’t be able to play graphically demanding games even after a ton of compromise. This laptop is an example of why we always ask you to spend a little extra so that you can get a gaming experience that is multiple folds better.

The laptop comes with a battery life of 7.5 hours which is very good for the price. Having said that, this number is only consistent when you are working on something light. If you are going to do some heavy lifting, expect this battery life to come down quickly.

ASUS F512JA-AS34 VivoBook

The ASUS F512JA-AS34 is one of the better laptops on this list. It comes with a price tag of under $500, and at the same time, it doesn’t have too many compromises for a laptop in this price range. It brings some interesting specs and satisfying user experience.

The laptop comes with a 15.6” screen that has full HD resolution. Asus calls this the NanoEdge bezel display as the bezels are quite thin leading to a stunning Screen to body ratio of 88%. This is one of the best displays you can get at this price point which tells us something.

The display is a very good fit for gaming as it is a widescreen display that gives you a lot of screen real estate. It is also excellent for media consumption, thanks to the IPS panel and the excellent contrast ratio. The colors are quite vivid and you should have a pretty good viewing experience.

The processor that powers this laptop is an Intel Core i3 processor. This is a dual-core processor from the 10th generation of Intel chips. The processor comes with a base clock speed of 1.2GHz and it can go up to a maximum of 3.4GHz. It has an average CPU Mark benchmark score of 5253 which is quite good for a laptop at this price point.

The processor does a pretty good job when it comes to running graphically less intensive games. Both light and mid-range games run fine on this laptop as the processor handles them with ease. You will also be able to do other stuff apart from gaming, as this processor can bring some serious power to the shop.

The processor is well complemented by the 8GB of RAM in the memory department. This memory is quite impressive for a laptop at this price point. With this RAM, you will be able to run several tabs on your favorite browser and also run multiple applications simultaneously without affecting the overall performance of this Asus laptop.

The graphics card we have on this laptop has an integrated Intel UHD graphics card. This is not a dedicated graphics card as you can see from the name, but it does a pretty good job when it comes to handling games. With light and mid-range games, you will get a very good frame rate which is a surprise. You can make these games more fluid by reducing the settings further.

For storage, you get 128GB solid-state drive. This solid-state drive storage is a bit less when compared to other models on this list but the reading and writing speeds of this SSD make it worth it. Most users who want to run light games will not be bothered by the size of the solid-state drive.

Some of the additional features that surprised us were the inclusion of a backlit keyboard which is quite rare in budget laptops and also the presence of a fingerprint reader which helps you to log in to your user profile without the need to type your password every single time.

Dell Inspiron 14

This Dell Inspiron model is a slightly over our $500 price point but is one of the unavoidable laptops as far as gaming is concerned.

The laptop comes with a 15.6” LED-backlit display that has a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. This is only HD resolution but the quality of images on the display is quite nice and is suitable for gaming. This is also an antiglare display which means you won’t get a lot of annoying shadows even when using the laptop in a brightly lit room. Apart from gaming, the display is also a very good one for streaming videos online.

The processor that powers this Dell laptop is an Intel Core i5 processor. This is a quad-core processor from the 10th generation of Intel Ice Lake chips and it comes with a base clock frequency of 1.20GHz. The processor comes with eight threads and has a maximum clock speed of 3.7GHz which is more than enough power for most users. The processor also comes with an Intel Smart cache memory of 6MB which comes in handy during everyday activities.

The processor is a powerful one and does well when it comes to handling everyday applications and games. You will not have any problems and playing light and mid-range games on this device. If you want to play graphically intensive games, you will have to make the compromise of reducing the settings a bit.

The memory department on this Dell laptop comes with 4GB of RAM. This is the absolute minimum memory we expect a laptop these days and that is what this Dell laptop provides us. In terms of pure power, there is not a lot of memory to play with but this does help in running some games which are nice.

Another area where there is a slight disappointment is storage. We get 128GB solid-state drive for storage which is not a lot of space to play with. The most entry-level users will be happy with this amount of storage but if you have an existing library of information, then you might want to upgrade to the 256GB solid-state drive which does increase the price of this laptop.

The graphics card we have here is an Intel Iris plus graphics card. This is an integrated GPU and it does a pretty good job when it comes to handling light and mid-range games. You get excellent frame rates with these games and you can even play some high and once if you are willing to compromise on the settings a bit.

For A Bit More – MSI GF63 THIN 9SCX-005

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This MSI gaming laptop is a dedicated device that gives you excellent gaming performance. The problem with this model here is that it is going to cost you a little over $700 which is way above our $500 price range. We have included this gaming laptop on this list because we need to show what is possible if you’re willing to add some more money to the mix.

The laptop comes with a 15.6” LED-backlit display that gives you IPS level performance. With full HD resolution, there is no lack of pixels on this display. The pixel density on this display is quite good and you will get crisp images and sharp text that makes your viewing experience much better. The narrow bezels also help in giving you much-streamlined gaming experience. In addition to gaming, the display also does a fantastic job with media consumption as well as other everyday activities.

The processor that powers this MSI laptop is an Intel Core i5 processor. This is a 9th Intel chip that comes with a base clock frequency of 2.4GHz and a maximum clock frequency of 4.1GHz. Being a quad-core processor, there is no lack of power with this laptop. The processor does well when it comes to handling games and can run even some demanding games without any hiccups.

With this Intel processor, even heavy tasks aren’t that demanding anymore. You will be able to run some serious stuff on this laptop, thanks to the firepower this processor brings to the table.

The processor gets good support from the memory department in the form of 8GB of DDR4 Ram. This memory is excellent for day to day use and should help you take your multitasking to the next level. As far as games are concerned, this RAM does everything it can to give you smooth gaming experience. The memory on this laptop can be upgraded in the future which is always nice to have.

The laptop comes with a 256GB solid-state drive as the storage option. This SSD makes this MSI laptop a fast one, thanks to its reading and writing speeds. You will be able to copy even huge files and move them around in just a span of seconds. The laptop boots up windows in just a few seconds which is nice. This solid-state drive also launches applications and games quickly and she was a few seconds of your waiting time.

The graphics card in this MSI laptop is an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card. This graphics card comes with a dedicated video RAM of 4GB that is of GDDR5 type. This is an upper mid-range graphics card and does a pretty good job when it comes to running even demanding games. You will be able to play right from entry-level games to the most graphically intensive games if you are willing to make some compromises along the way.

The laptop also surprises when it comes to battery life. With light use, you will get around 7 hours of battery life which is fantastic for a gaming laptop. However, this battery life will go down if you plan to play some heavy games for a long time. If you are going to start a gaming marathon, then make sure that the laptop is plugged in so that you don’t end up with a blank screen in the middle of a gaming session.

HP 15-dy1036nr

This HP model is slightly more expensive than our stipulated $500 price range, but we can spend those extra $30, we will have a laptop that gives us some premium features and also offers an excellent gaming experience for the price.

This HP laptop is a 15.6” device that comes with full HD resolution. The screen is one of the best features of this laptop and comes with thin side bezels that look great. The screen to body ratio is around 82% which is very good for a budget laptop like this one. The WebCam can be found at the top bezel while the bottom bezel is the home of the company logo.

The display does a very good job and reproducing colors and has a decent color accuracy. Playing games on this display will be a nice experience but the frame is just 60Hz which can lead to a bit of screen tearing here and there. This is not limited to this HP model but can be found in pretty much all the models except the MSI laptop mentioned on this list.

The processor that runs this laptop is an Intel Core i5 processor from the 10th generation of Intel chips. This is a quad-core processor and it does a pretty good job when it comes to handling games. With a maximum clock speed of 3.6GHz, you will get more than enough power to handle your games and other everyday activities. Most users will find the base clock speed enough for their simple, day to day activities.

The memory department on this laptop gives excellent support to the processor, thanks to the 8GB of DDR4 RAM. Along with the 256 GB solid-state drive, this ram and processor combination gives the user an excellent user experience without any lag whatsoever.

You will not find a dedicated graphics card on this laptop as all your gaming needs will be handled by the integrated Intel UHD graphics card. This graphics card is much improved when compared to the predecessors and does a pretty decent job and it comes to handling gaming. You will be able to play light games and some mid-range games without any issues which are nice.

Lenovo IdeaPad 330

The Lenovo IdeaPad 330 is a laptop that does a decent bit of light gaming with the price that falls well below our stipulated $500 price point.

This is a typical entry-level 15.6” laptop that comes with basic specifications that will not wow you. There are a couple of surprises that will make your experience a bit better but other than that, this is a pretty normal offering from Lenovo.

The laptop comes with a 15.6” antiglare display that has a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. This is HD resolution and without a doubt, it is not as good as full HD resolution. The pixel density is okay and should be enough for light gaming. Apart from gaming, that displays also a good one for media consumption and other everyday activities.

The laptop is powered by an AMD A9 9425 processor. This is an entry-level processor from AMD and it comes with a clock speed of 3.1 GHz that can be overclocked to a maximum of 3.7 GHz. This processor has 2 physical cores and does a neat job when it comes to handling light games and even some mid-range games. With this processor in place, the laptop can do a fair bit of heavy lifting.

The first surprise we had is in the memory department. We have 8GB of RAM which is excellent on a budget device like this one. This memory helps you in playing the games you want and also improves your productivity during your everyday computing experience. You can also run several applications side-by-side without bringing any lag into the system’s performance.

The second surprise is the storage. For storage, we have a 256GB solid-state drive that has impressive reading and writing speeds. You can turn on the laptop and get into the operating system within a few seconds which is excellent for a budget laptop like this one. The frequently used applications also open at lightning pace, thanks to this solid-state drive.

The graphics card we have here is the integrated AMD Radeon R5 GPU. This is a pretty lackluster GPU when it comes to gaming. You will be able to play most light games and even some mid-range games without any hiccups. But if you want to play graphically intensive games, then this laptop will give you a frustrating time.

The overall performance of the laptop is very impressive considering the price point. The display is only HD but it is backed up by a good processor, more than adequate memory, and also fast solid-state drive storage. The battery life of the laptop is also pretty good making this one of the best entry-level laptops for gaming under $500.

Best Gaming Laptops Under $500 – Ultimate Buying Guide

If you want to look beyond the list of laptops we’ve provided, we understand and respect that.

We still don’t want you to travel alone which is why we’ve made this ultimate buying guide for the best gaming laptops under $500. This guide will hold your hand and explain what to expect and what you’ll guide.

Design

The looks of a laptop are important.

At this price point, you are not going to get a lot of options in picking the right looks.

Laptops are going to have a vanilla design and that might pretty much be the base model in most cases. Unfortunately, to get a better design, you may have to shell more dollars.

One thing you can control is picking the right size. The size of the laptop will affect you in a couple of ways. One, it will design the overall weight of the device giving you the freedom of portability or not. Two, it also decides the screen size.

If you are going for a 15.6” laptop, then you will have a decent-sized device that also has a nice weight to it. It will not be too heavy at the same time it won’t be lightweight.

Display

The display is probably the most important part of the gaming laptop. This is probably the only spec you will view all day long.

With a price range of $500, getting a splendid display is definitely a challenge.

In most cases, you will get an HD display with a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. This resolution is called HD resolution and will be okay for the price. The pixel density is pretty good and you will get nice images that are perfect for gaming on a budget.

The brightness of your display is another factor you should consider. If flagship laptops come with the brightness of 500 nits, then laptops in your budget will have around 200 nits. This brightness is good for playing indoors. If you want to play outdoors, then this brightness will not be enough.

Getting an antiglare screen will also come in handy as it will reduce the number of reflections you get. When you are playing in a brightly lit room, this screen will help reduce distractions and lets you concentrate on your gaming.

We usually recommend full HD displays for gaming. But at this price point, you may or may not get a full HD display. If you want a full HD display, which gives you a much is superior gaming experience, you should spend a few dollars more which we highly recommend as it enhances the overall gaming performance.

We would also recommend staying away from gimmicks like touchscreens. Touchscreens are useless on laptops and they are the most useless in a gaming machine.

Processing Power

Having a good processor is very important when you are going for a budget laptop. This is mainly because you will not get a dedicated graphics card in this price range so the integrated graphics card that comes along with the processor will do most of the heavy lifting.

The processor should also be able to handle the games you want to play.

Do keep in mind that in this price range, you will be able to do mostly light gaming and some mid-range gaming. The processor in your laptop should be able to run these games without any hiccups. When you try running high-end games, the processor on your laptop will struggle and you will notice it.

In this price range, you will mostly get an Intel Core i3 processor or an equivalent AMD processor. We usually recommend at least an Intel Core i5 processor for gaming laptops, but at this price point, it may not be possible.

Both Intel Core i3 and AMD processors will do a pretty good job as long as you stick with light gaming. You might even have some luck in playing competitive online games.

If you are willing to spend $100 more, the number of options you have will exponentially increase and will give you more models that have much better processors and you may even get a dedicated graphics card.

Storage

Storage is another important part of a gaming laptop.

The cheaper the laptop comes, the cheaper the type of storage you get.

For a laptop under $500, you are not going to get a solid-state drive which is our preferred storage option. You, in most cases, will get a mechanical hard drive that is spacious but very slow for modern gaming.

These mechanical hard drives can take a lot of time when launching games and even when loading the operating system. The one good thing about them is that they are cheap and can give you more storage for a lot less.

If you want a smoother user experience, then we recommend going for at least 128GB SSD. Even if you can’t get 128GB solid-state drive, at least try to add a flash drive that can improve the overall performance of the laptop which will also affect your gaming.

Since you will be getting a mechanical hard drive, it is important to get one with 7200RPM. This is faster than the 5400RPM hard drive which is the lowest you can get on the market.

Graphics

For a gaming laptop, the graphics card is the heart.

At this price point, getting a dedicated graphics card is a chance of one in 10,000. You are going to get a laptop with an integrated graphics card which is going to be the most common outcome.

At this point, it is better to find out if the integrated graphics card on your preferred laptop can do some serious gaming.

If you are going for an Intel i3 processor, then you can have some assurance that the graphics card will do a decent bit of gaming. The 10th generation Intel Core i3 processors come with much-improved graphics and can help you do some decent gaming without any hiccups.

If you are going to get a laptop with an AMD processor, then be sure to check the performance of the integrated graphics card. The advantage with AMD processors is that you can get a much better chip for the same price as an Intel chip. This means better gaming per dollar if you go with the right AMD processor.

If you had noticed, we are dealing with a pattern here. With a $100 more, you can find gaming laptops with a dedicated graphics card. These graphics cards will help you do much better gaming and will offer a smoother gaming experience. If you are buying this gaming laptop for your children, then we highly recommend spending the extra money so that they get a decent laptop with good gaming abilities.

Connectivity

Having several connectivity options on your gaming laptop is always a good thing.

You need to make sure that you get all the essential ports on your laptop so that you can meet your connectivity needs without having to buy any adapters.

Make sure that your laptop comes with USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 or 3.1 ports so that you can plug your joystick in for your games. These ports will also come in handy for transferring data and other external connectivity needs.

If your laptop comes with an HDMI port, you can easily hook it up to an external monitor and have fun playing on a much bigger display.

For a modern laptop, we always expect it to have a USB Type-C port. This port will be the standard in a few years from now and having it on your laptop will futureproof it like crazy. Not to mention, the sports are super fast and are very versatile. The same port can transfer data, charge your laptop, and also helps you connect with external monitors.

At this price point, it is going to be very hard to find laptops that come with a USB Type-C port which is a shame.

Your laptop also needs to have good wireless connectivity options. Make sure that your laptop has 802.11ac Wi-Fi built-in so that you can access the internet and get really good speeds. Having Bluetooth built in your laptop will also give you the option to connect with Bluetooth-enabled external devices without using any wires.

Battery Life

The only good thing about finding a gaming laptop under $500 is the battery life.

Since you won’t be getting high-end processors or dedicated graphics cards, the battery life of the laptops in this price range is usually much better than a dedicated gaming laptop.

Having only HD displays or full HD displays at best is another advantage which also helps you to improve your battery life.

Most laptops in this price range will have a battery life of around 5 to 8 hours depending on the model. With light use, you should be able to get the higher end of the spectrum but with gaming or other heavy tasks, the battery life of the laptop will fall down drastically.

We always recommend going for laptops with good battery life for several reasons. But if gaming is the only reason why you are getting this laptop, then you don’t have to worry about battery life as you will be plugged in most of the time.

Input Devices

Having a good keyboard and touchpad is often underrated.

We have seen people work with laptops that had an imperfect processor or graphics card. But we have not seen people who work with bad keyboards attachments. If it goes bad, you immediately replace it or return it.

That’s exactly why you need to make sure that you get a laptop with a good keyboard and touchpad. Having a good keyboard is important as you will be using it for most of your gaming needs. The keyboard needs to have a good layout and the keys should be well spaced offering you enough freedom.

A backlit keyboard is definitely an advantage, but at this price point, it is going to be very hard to get one.

The touchpad on this price point will be touch and go. You might not get Windows precision touchpad at this price point which will put you at a disadvantage but there are no complaints in the $500 range. Again, if you’re willing to spend a little bit more, you will get much better laptops.

Did you find the right gaming laptop for you under $500? If yes, do share it with us.

We hope this buying guide was of some use to help you understand the gaming laptop market.

If you’re still struggling, then do let us know what’s the problem and we’ll try to find a solution.

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