Choosing a budget gaming laptop may seem like a daunting task. It can be hard to analyze all the options available and decide on which machine will deliver you the best bang for your buck. Luckily for you, we’ve done all the work for you and come up with the five best gaming laptops under $800.
These laptops will never provide the same grunt as you will get from a high-end desktop gaming PC. However, they will most certainly run the same games with the added benefit of portability.
The best gaming laptop we could find that met our criteria was the Dell Inspiron i7559. This laptop delivers what you want from a gaming PC, all within a package of a laptop at a generous price. Not to mention, it easily has the best gaming performance out of all the laptops we looked at.
Table of Contents
- How we chose the best gaming laptop under $800
- The five best gaming laptops under $800
- The most important consideration when choosing the best gaming laptop under $800
- Other considerations when choosing the best gaming laptop under $800
- The best laptop for gaming under $800
- The four other four gaming laptops under $800 we tested
- The bottom line
How we chose the best gaming laptop under $800
We started by listing down gaming laptops currently on the market that sell for less than $800. Next we researched each of the laptops online, checking out their specs and user reviews.
When we chose the best gaming laptop under $800, we considered the features that most affect gaming experience. These are:
We determined our five finalists by determining the laptops that stood up best in the five areas mentioned above.
The five best gaming laptops under $800
The most important consideration when choosing the best gaming laptop under $800
The graphics processing unit (GPU) is undoubtedly the most essential feature of a gaming laptop. The better the GPU, the higher the 3D performance will be. We looked to find a laptop with 2GB of VRAM at the very least, and ideally containing 4GB.
The market leader in this space is NVIDIA. They are known to provide reliable GPUs, with unique graphics options such as Temporal Anti-Aliasing (TXAA). As it turns out, our top five laptops all contain NVIDIA GeForce GTX GPUs.
You will find that the latest graphics cards will usually be the best and quickest. Most laptops will however give you the option of upgrading the graphics card later on.
A solid graphics card is not only critical for gaming performance. It is also a major factor in the performance of video editing, and 3D/HD television.
If you are considering spending some extra money for better gaming performance, always aim to upgrade on the GPU. Should you insist on better performance than our recommendation of the Dell Inspiron i17559-763BLK, you will need to consider spending more than $800 for a gaming laptop.
Other considerations when choosing the best gaming laptop under $800
We’d recommend going for a laptop with at least an Intel i5 processor. While an i7 would be ideal, don’t compromise on your GPU to spend more money on your processor.
AMD CPUs are very rare when it comes to gaming laptops. As a result, all the laptops we looked at and have recommended contain Intel processors.
These days, you should really aim to have at least 8GB RAM to run games. Assuming that the laptop is upgradable, you can upgrade RAM relatively easily later on.
Having 16GB RAM would of course be more ideal, but having a fast CPU and graphics card are more crucial in terms of performance.
An SSD would be preferable to cut down on load times; they are also tougher and allow marginally more battery life. However, we would not say that an SSD is essential and this is one area where you can save money by going for an old school spinning hard drive.
It would be preferred if the laptop had a configuration featuring both an SSD and a mechanical drive. However, it is easy to get away with simply having an external hard drive to store away extra files.
Again, having a good GPU will be the priority so don’t be too greedy when it comes to storage space.
15-inch displays seem to be the norm for gaming laptops these days. While you may be tempted to go for larger screens to enhance your experience, keep in mind that this requires a more expensive GPU.
Ideally, you’d like at least a 1080p to play today’s high-end games. While the 4K trend is picking up speed, it is not currently an option we can consider for this category of laptops – you will be looking at a GeForce GTX 980M card for that.
The best laptop for gaming under $800
The #1 pick here is definitely the Dell Inspiron i7559. This laptop delivers an amazing value-for-money package for gamers.
This sleek looking machine features a GeForce GTX 960M graphics card with 4GB of VRAM, an Intel i5-6300HQ 2.3GHz processor, and 8GB of RAM. This is enough to run high-end games with high settings.
The 256GB SSD will help minimize your load times, though you may have to consider buying an external hard drive if you plan on having a big load of games and other software.
You will find that the screen is bright enough at the maximum settings, and viewing angles are quite good. This laptop will give you around 6 hours of battery life on average. If you’re playing high-end games on full brightness, expect around 3 hours. The shallow keyboard and off-center touchpad may put off some users, but is not a major drawback.
If you’re playing a high-end game you will notice the fan noise can be a little disturbing, though they do a good job of keeping the laptop cool.
In conclusion, if you’re looking for a budget gaming laptop that will run all your favorite games, look no further than the Dell Inspiron i7559.
The four other four gaming laptops under $800 we tested
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to push the settings on high-end games with these other laptops as compared to the Dell Inspiron i7559-763BLK. But you will find that they will run under good settings and perhaps their other features may appeal to you.
The Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG is another great value option for a budget gaming laptop. It provides excellent gaming performance, as well as a solid battery life.
Compared to the Dell Inspiron i7559-763BLK, it falls short with its graphics card (sporting GeForce 940MX graphics compared to the Inspiron’s 960MX graphics). However, this does not prevent it from running high-end games.
In terms of battery life, this laptop is a standout, allowing you to continuously surf the web for over 9 hours.
The 15.6-inch screen is unfortunately relatively dim with narrow viewing angles. Like the Dell, this laptop also features an unattractive offset touchpad.
This laptop is an absolute steal at under $600. So if you’re looking for an even cheaper option, this laptop is well worth a go.
Another contender not far away from the top is the super lightweight Asus K501UX laptop. Here you’ll find a high speed Intel Core i7 processor and GeForce GTX 950M 2GB DDR3 graphics card.
Again, this laptop allows you to play most games at 1080p resolution. Though it has an inferior GPU, you probably won’t notice the difference between the performance of this and the i7559 until you start pushing both to their limits.
This laptop has the best feeling keyboard out of the top five. Its speakers and touchpad are also excellent.
If you’re after portability and solid gaming performance, the Asus K501UX could be the right machine for you.
Considering the performance you get for the price, the Acer Aspire V3-572G-70TA is certainly worth considering. It features an Intel i7 2GHz Processor, 8GB RAM, and a GeForce 840M GPU with 2GB VRAM.
You should have no issue handling most hardware intensive tasks on here. However, due to the older graphics card, you may have to settle for medium settings on today’s high-end games. The machine is without an SSD so expect game load times to be a bit longer.
A huge drawcard for this machine is its relatively large 1TB hard drive. The laptop also promises a 7-hour battery life.
Overall, there are many performance factors that work in this machine’s favor. However, we couldn’t put this at the top due to its weaker GPU.
While it doesn’t quite stack up to same performance levels as the Inspiron and the Acer, the Asus X555LB is an excellent machine that will take care of your gaming needs quite well.
It features an Intel Core i5 2.2GHz processor, 8GB RAM, and a GeForce GT 940M 2GB graphics card. The fan can be audible with heavy use, but the cooling system ensures the laptop doesn’t reach high temperatures.
Some users may find the narrow viewing angles on the screen disappointing. The longer load times due to a lack of SSD could also prove to be a source of frustration to gamers.
This laptop may be missing the GeForce GTX 960M graphics card our top recommendation has, however it will still provide a good overall package for the average gamer.
The Dell Inspiron i7559-763BLK is certainly the standout in terms of gaming performance for the laptops we looked at.
When you consider its price and how it possesses excellent graphics, a fast processor and a speedy SSD, this machine delivers unreal value!
Some of the other options may have a better battery life and storage capacity. However, in terms of quality 3D gaming performance, the Inspiron wins.
If you are considering one of the other four, do not despair! All five laptops listed here should run your games fine.