5 Best Gaming Laptops under $500 in 2017

Whilst finding a gaming laptop for under $500 is a tough ask, it’s not impossible. In the sub $550 range we were only able to find three laptops that have dedicated graphics cards, of those 3, only one has an SSD. Sometimes at budget prices, sacrifices need to be made and you need to consider whether saving up a little bit more is worth it in the long run. For those looking for something more expensive with better specs, I’ve also written up a guide for gaming laptops under $1000.

Despite the list being about the best gaming laptops under $500, we’ve included some $550 gaming laptops. The reason is because I firmly believe that you should save up an extra $50 to afford #1 on the list. It is miles better than any other laptop in this price range and perhaps the best value-for-money offering I have ever seen.

My advice to you is to not buy those coffees at work for a week, walk around the street looking for loose change or beg your parents/family for an extra $50 because the #1 pick is just that much better than anything else you are going to find on the market.

Top 5 Best Gaming Laptops under $500

1. Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG

Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG Front ShotWhilst this laptop isn’t under $500, if you can fork out an extra $50, then you can afford the Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG. The 53VG doesn’t deserve to be in this price range with the impressive specs that it has and is a great value-for-money investment.

In this price bracket, the Aspire is by and large the best value for money gaming laptop under $550.

Run by a speedy Intel Core i5-6200U 2.3GHZ CPU, this laptop is more than capable of running the latest games. 8GB of RAM ensures you can adequately multi-task programs and still retain responsiveness and safeguards you against any memory leak issues newer games may have.

The E5-575G-53VG has an impressive Nvidia GeForce 940MX with 2GB of DDR5 VRAM which is a powerful graphics card. Only released this year, the 940MX is a mid-range graphics card which has as much as a 24% performance increase over the previous 940M GPU.

The Acer Aspire is one of the only affordable gaming laptops to include an SSD hard drive in its specifications and it does so with a respectable 256GB one. SSD hard drives are essential in gaming laptops for quick loading screen times and fast operating system boot speeds.

Praises continue for this beast of a laptop with the fantastic inclusion of a 15.6” Full HD 1920 x 1080 display. To cut costs, cheap gaming laptops often have just a simple HD screen which can make games look average. To the credit of Acer, they’ve opted to include the Full HD resolution for the best possible picture clarity.

Just in case you thought this laptop’s specs in this price range couldn’t get any more surreal, Acer has decided they’re going to include a 6-cell battery instead of the normal 3-cell found in most laptops. This equates to a 12-hour battery life, are you kidding me!? All of this and it still manages to weigh just 5.3 lbs.

If you are a fan of thin, sleek, black laptop designs then you’re in luck with the E5-575G-53VG. Sporting a textured, metallic finish the Aspire is a good looker and pretty thin too. An additional backlit keyboard and optical drive make this laptop an absolute steal for the price range.

Remarkably, Acer has managed to fit best-in-category specs, a Full HD screen and a massive battery life in one package all whilst keeping the weight down and making the laptop look good. This may just be the best cheap gaming laptop of 2016. Props to you Acer.

Ports include, 1 x USB 3.1, 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x HDMI, SD Card Reader, Optical Drive, Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 4.1, HD Webcam.

Specifications

  • Intel Core i5-6200U
  • Nvidia GeForce 940MX
  • 8GB RAM
  • 256GB SSD
  • 15.6” Full HD 1920 x 1080 Display
  • Windows 10
  • 12-hour battery life
  • 5.3 lbs
  • [table width=”500″ align=”center” style=”table-bordered” colalign=”center|center”]
    Pros,Cons
    Cheap, Not a single complaint
    Great Specs,
    Battery Life,
    [/table]

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    2. Acer Aspire E5-574G-52QU

    Acer Aspire E5-574G-52QU Front ShotThe Acer Aspire E5-574G-52QU is the little brother of the 575G that sits #1 on this list. We’ve included it because it’s subjectively better in certain areas than the 575G for some users and it also has a dedicated graphics card, something which is a struggle to find in laptops under $500.

    Rather than focus on what the 574G has, I think I will instead compare it to the 575G seeing as they’re quite similar but also quite different in their own way.

    This Aspire model has the same impressive i5-6200U CPU as the 575G. You’ll also find the same 8GB of RAM, 15.6” Full HD display and they both tip the scales at a fairly lightweight 5.3lbs.

    But that’s where the similarities end. The next list of differences will either be better, or worse, depending on what you’re looking at getting out of a mid range gaming laptop.

    The 574G-52QU has a Nvidia GeForce 940M compared to the 940MX of the 575G. The 940M is a little slower than the 940MX but is still capable of running games on medium settings.

    This laptop has a larger, but slower hard drive whereas the 575G has a smaller, but faster hard drive. Here we have a 1TB 5400RPM hard drive compared to the 256GB SSD. If more storage space is something that you are looking for then this is a good option for you.

    Something which may be noticeable is the halved battery life. The E5-574G-52QU gets a 6-hour battery life instead of 12-hours. Most gamers will keep their laptops sitting on their desks instead of using them like a traditional laptop, but if portability is your concern, then keep this in mind.

    Finally, the 574G is cotton white compared to the stealthy, black look of the 575G. The white design is definitely eye-catching and stands out more than the black. It contrasts nicely with the black keyboard and the metallic textured black lid.

    Ports include, 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x HDMI, 1x VGA Out, SD Card Reader, Bluetooth 4.0, Gigabit Ethernet, HD Webcam, Microphone/Headphone Jack.

    Specifications

  • Intel i5-6200U
  • Nvidia GeForce 940M
  • 8GB RAM
  • 1TB Hard Drive
  • 15.6” Full HD 1920 x 1080 Display
  • Windows 10
  • 6-hour battery life
  • 5.3 lbs
  • [table width=”500″ align=”center” style=”table-bordered” colalign=”center|center”]
    Pros,Cons
    Decent Specs, No SSD
    Full HD Display, Longer battery life in other laptops
    [/table]

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    3. Dell Inspiron i3543

    Dell Inspiron i3543 Front ShotThe Dell Inspiron i3543 is the last gaming laptop on our list that has a dedicated graphics card. In fact, it’s hard to find dedicated graphics cards in gaming laptops under $1000. If you can then you’ll often be sacrificing in other areas.

    The Inspiron i3543 has an Intel Core i5-5200U processor. It’s been preceded by the i5-6200U, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad processor, anything but. In actual fact, the i5-5200U actually beats out the 6200U in certain benchmarks.

    An adequate 4GB of RAM is enough for playing games, but you might struggle if you often multi-task games with other applications such as Chrome, Spotify etc.

    Slightly lacking is the 500GB hard drive, we’ve seen bigger (1TB) hard drives in laptops in this price range and faster (SSD) hard drives too which means the 500GB is a little lackluster in this department.

    One noticeable omission is the Full HD display. Dell has opted instead for a 15.6” HD 1366 x 768 display. Whilst you’re missing out on Full HD, it’s probably a blessing in disguise as you’ll get better FPS on 1366 x 768 resolution with this laptop.

    For a budget gaming laptop, the Dell manages a solid 6.5-hour battery life, giving you freedom to leave the house without a charger and at just 5.3 lbs you won’t have an issue carting it around with you daily. Windows 10 comes pre-installed on the laptop as well.

    A contrasting silver and black is the chosen look for the Inspiron, the silver lid going nicely with the black keyboard. One negative is that the keyboard isn’t backlit, making it difficult to see at night time.

    Ports include, 3 x USB 3.0, 1 x HDMI, 1 x SD Card Reader, Optical Drive, Ethernet Port, Headphone/Microphone Jack, 802.11ac Wifi Adapter.

    Specifications

  • Intel Core i5-5200U
  • Nvidia GeForce 820M
  • 4GB RAM
  • 500GB Hard Drive
  • 15.6” HD 1366 x 768 Display
  • Windows 10
  • 6.5-hour battery life
  • 5.3 lbs
  • [table width=”500″ align=”center” style=”table-bordered” colalign=”center|center”]
    Pros,Cons
    Good Processor, Lack of hard drive space
    Battery Life, HD not Full HD Screen
    Dedicated Graphics Card, 8GB of RAM would be better
    [/table]

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    At this point, we’ve exhausted the list of laptops in this price range with a dedicated graphics card. It becomes a bit of a stretch to consider a laptop without a dedicated graphics card a ‘gaming laptop’ but in the interests of variety, I will continue.

    The final two laptops in our top 5 list were chosen because they have terrific specs for the price range (albeit without a graphics card) and because they can still play some games on high settings.

    4. HP 15-ay013nr

    HP 15-ay013nr Front ShotFor our fourth gaming laptop on our list, we look at the HP 15-ay013nr. It lacks a dedicated graphics card, but can the other specs make up for this shortcoming?

    The answer is, Yes. If you primarily play games which aren’t graphically demanding, such as League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive or Minecraft then the Integrated Intel HD Graphics 520 is going to be able to play on high settings with 60+ FPS.

    This is possible through the addition of a powerful Intel i5-6200U 2.3GHz processor and 8GB of RAM which are more than enough to run games of this caliber.

    A quick and responsive 128GB SSD is the hard drive of choice and will speed up the load screens of the aforementioned games, also helping your boot times.

    Just because the laptop lacks a graphics card, doesn’t mean the games you can play need to look bad. The 15.6” Full HD 1920 x 1080 display takes care of this, giving you more screen real estate to work with.

    The HP has horizontally brushed silver design, with a contrasting black keyboard. The touchpad can be a little stiff and I would’ve liked to see a more responsive one. Unfortunately, the keyboard is not backlit which makes seeing the keys at night a tough ask.

    Impressively, the Ay013nr gets a 7-hour battery life, giving you the freedom to take the laptop around with you without desperately searching for a charger and at 4.7 lbs you won’t have any issue carrying the laptop around. The laptop also ships with Windows 10 pre-installed.

    Ports include, 1 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x HDMI, SD Card Reader, DVD Burner, Headphone/Microphone Jack, Ethernet Port, 802.11ac Wifi Adapter.

    Specifications

  • Intel i5-6200U
  • Intel HD Graphics 520
  • 8GB RAM
  • 128GB SSD
  • 15.6” Full HD 1920 x 1080 display
  • Windows 10
  • 7-hour battery life
  • 4.7 lbs
  • [table width=”500″ align=”center” style=”table-bordered” colalign=”center|center”]
    Pros,Cons
    Speedy SSD, Lack of Storage
    Battery Life, No dedicated graphics card
    Full HD Display, Stiff touchpad
    [/table]

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    5. ASUS F556UA-AS54

    ASUS F556UA-AS54 Front ShotAs another laptop without a dedicated graphics card, you’re going to be hard pressed playing anything but lower graphically demanding games on the Asus F556UA-AS54, however, the games that it can play, it plays well.

    Just like the last laptop on our list, the F556UA-AS54 gaming laptop has an Intel i5-6200U 2.3GHz processor with 8GB of RAM, more than adequate for any games that you can play.

    Very decent is the 256GB SSD inside the laptop, giving you epic boot speeds of less than 30 seconds. It also has the additional benefit of making your game loading screens load quicker, giving you some extra time to choose your champion or buy your weapons.

    Despite having integrated Intel HD 520 graphics, the F556UA has a 15.6” Full HD 1920 x 1080 screen which makes the display look crisp and giving you plenty of desktop room with the larger resolution.

    Interestingly, the Asus comes in Icicle Gold color which is much different to any other laptop on the list. This is the first Gold laptop I’ve looked at so far and it’s actually a nice change and refreshing to look at from the usual black look. Known for their good looking laptops, Asus again delivers with this one with clean looks, slim profile, and a metallic brushed sheen to deliver an elegant look.

    A respectable 6-hour battery life should give you adequate time to search for a charger if you need it and you won’t have an issue carrying the F556UA-AS54 around with it only weighing 5.1 lbs. Windows 10 comes pre-installed with the laptop so you don’t need to worry about the hassle of installing it yourself.

    Ports include, 1 x USB 3.1, 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x HDMI, 1 x VGA, SD Card Reader, Optical Drive, Microphone/Headphone Jack, Ethernet Port, 802.11ac Wifi Adapter.

    Specifications

  • Intel i5-6200U 2.3GHz processor
  • Intel HD 520 Graphics
  • 8GB RAM
  • 256GB SSD
  • 15.6” Full HD 1920 x 1080 display
  • Windows 10
  • 6-hour battery life
  • 5.1 lbs
  • [table width=”500″ align=”center” style=”table-bordered” colalign=”center|center”]
    Pros,Cons
    Speedy SSD hard drive, No dedicated graphics card
    Full HD Display, No backlit keyboard
    Above average battery life, Average weight
    [/table]

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    Hopefully this has given you a valuable insight into the best gaming laptops under $500. It was definitely hard to research and come up with such a list, especially when only three options on the market had a dedicated graphics card.

    That being said, it is possible to get a budget gaming laptop for under $550 if you look hard enough. For those looking for something with better specs that are a bit more pricey, I would suggest our Best Gaming Laptops under $1000 guide.

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