Buying a gaming laptop in the past was a distant dream. Not long ago, laptops lacked the specifications needed for gaming, like high-quality graphics and sufficient processing power. As a result, desktops were the only legitimate option for gaming.
Now, modern laptops come with everything needed for gaming. They give a desktop-level experience and enjoyment, with the portability and convenience of a laptop.
Most of these gadgets are expensive, with a price tag generally exceeding $2000 (often by thousands of dollars). But you can still find gaming laptop under 1500.
Manufacturers work hard to provide capable gaming laptops for the budget-conscious buyer. These devices vary from one brand to another. If you’re not careful, you may end up buying a gaming laptop that is not up to the task.
That’s why we rounded up this article to give you an overview of the features needed for a good gaming laptop under 1500.
We will also discuss which features matter the most, and how to decide which one to buy. And of course we will discuss a few of the products that meet our criteria.
Let’s get started!
Gaming Laptop Features: Points to Consider
Before presenting the buying guide, we will provide a brief discussion of features that matter. Below the recommended product list, you can continue reading for an in-depth discussion of these features.
First, consider your budget. If you want to stay under $1,500, you need to decide if you want a fully-loaded gaming laptop for $1,400 – $1,500, or if you want a simpler laptop for $1,000 or less. Choosing the cheaper option will allow you to purchase peripherals (gaming mouse, keypad, headset, webcam, monitor, etc.) with the money you save. In the end, you may end up with a better gaming setup by choosing a cheaper laptop and surrounding it with premium gadgets.
Next, be sure that your gaming laptop has the needed features for gaming. These include:
- Capable processor
- Quality graphics card/GPU
- Sufficient storage & memory
- Long battery life
- 15″+ IPS screen with 120Hz+ refresh rate
- Quality build with lightweight materials
- Reliable brand
- Current operating system
- Webcam, RGB keyboard, and other gaming features that you need
Best Gaming Laptops Under $1,500: Buying Guide
This is a high-performance laptop with premium features for gaming enthusiasts. For less than $1,500, you can likely find it with 32GB RAM and a 1TB SSD. It features a 3.30GHz AMD Ryzen 5-5600H Processor. The 15.6″, 120Hz anti-glare screen looks crisp, and the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 6GB GDDR6 Graphics Card should be able to handle almost any kind of gaming.
This is cheaper than some of the laptops on our list, and comes in well under $1,500 at the time of publish. With the money you save, you can snag a gaming mouse, headset, or keypad. With 16GB RAM and a 512GB SSD, it isn’t the most high-powered device on this list. But the 4.6GHz Intel i7-11800H processor and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Laptop GPU ensure that your performance won’t suffer, either. The 15.6″ full HD display has a 144Hz refresh rate, and the laptop also has an RGB keyboard, which is a cool feature to have.
Lenovo has a number of quality Legion gaming laptops, and the Lenovo Legion 7 is also worthy of being included on this list. The Legion 5 gaming laptop has a 15.6″ full HD display, like the above products on this list. With a 144Hz refresh rate, you will love the smooth graphics, and you probably won’t ever be able to go back to a simple 60Hz monitor. The Legion 5 linked above has a 2.6GHz Intel Hexa-Core i7 processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 graphics card. With 24GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD and a 1TB SSHD, this machine has the memory and storage necessary for gaming.
The Acer Swift X is a good budget laptop for gaming, and you may be able to find it for significantly less than $1,500. The laptop features an AMD Ryzen 7 5800U processor and a NVIDIA RTX 3050Ti Laptop GPU. Having 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD, it is less powerful than some other choices on this list. RAM cannot be upgraded on this device, and the screen refresh rate is only 60Hz. It is marketed as a “creator laptop,” and it is a versatile device that can’t compete with premium gaming laptops. But for the price, you still get a lot of value. The screen is 14″, so the display size is smaller than the other options on this list. But along with the smaller screen, you get a very thin and lightweight device. The Acer Swift also has some cool features like keyboard shortcuts for fan speed adjustment.
HP Omen 15 has a 2.6GHz Intel Core i7 processor with 16GB of RAM and a NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 GPU. It also has a 512GB solid state hard drive and a 15.6″ full HD monitor with a 144Hz refresh rate. The laptop has a simple design that looks amazing without many bells and whistles, just as a result of how clean the design is. At nearly 5.5 lbs., it is a little heavier than some of the other gaming laptops on our list. And the 2.6GHz processor, although still plenty fast, can’t compete with some other products here. There really aren’t any knocks on this device, except for the fact that other laptops listed above are even more blazing-fast and ultra-lightweight than the Omen 15.
The MSI is less recognizable than some of the other brands listed, like HP, Dell, and Acer. However, they have a reputation for making quality laptops. The thing I like most about this product is that it meets every requirement needed for a gaming laptop, and still comes in well under $1,500. This leaves you with a few hundred dollars to spend on peripherals to provide the perfect gaming setup. The GF65 has a 15.6″ 144Hz 1080p screen, and is powered by an Intel Core i7 processor and GeForce RTX 3060 GPU. With 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD, storage and speed will keep you gaming without delays. With the fast display and fast machine, this computer runs smoothly with no observable lag. The built-in fans are quiet and powerful, and the device will stay cool no matter how hard you work it.
Best Gaming Laptops Under $1,500: Features that Matter
High-speed processor (Intel Core i7 and above, or Ryzen 5 and above): This feature is vital for gaming, programming, and any other task you want to complete on your laptop. All the gaming laptops on our list have an Intel Core i7 or Ryzen 5 processor at minimum. This ensures that your computer won’t hold you back during gaming sessions.
High-end graphics card (GPU): When it comes to improving your in-game experience, the graphics are what matters most. A powerful processor alone cannot deliver on this front. AMD Radeon or NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards are ideal. The laptops on our list all happen to have NVIDIA GeForce GPUs, which is a safe choice.
Good battery life: Running out of battery never happens at a convenient time, for anyone using a laptop. For gamers, this is especially true. When you are running a powerful processor, cutting edge graphics card, and a high-definition screen with a fast refresh rate, you burn a lot of power. Having a battery that keeps up with you is essential.
Sufficient storage space: Modern games require quite a bit of storage space, and you want to be able to download and save files as needed while still leaving plenty of extra space on your hard drive. With at least 256GB of hard drive, you can save many games without worrying about running out of space. Every laptop on our “Best Of” list has a 512GB hard drive at minimum.
Screen size of 15+ inches: This is an obvious point, but important nonetheless. A monitor of 15+ inches will improve your gameplay experience, and be more comfortable for your eyes over long hours of use.
IPS display technology: This feature gives you more image clarity than normal laptop screens. These screens will minimize strain on your eyes, and also provide the best viewing angles. Traditionally, IPS displays had slower refresh rates, but new models are available with 120Hz+ refresh rates.
Fast refresh rate: A higher screen refresh rate is essential for gaming. If your monitor has a low refresh rate while your opponent’s monitor has a high refresh rate, he will see things before you do. Needless to say, this is a significant disadvantage for gamers. A simple computer monitor has a 60Hz refresh rate, which is too slow for games that require a rapid response, such as FPS (first-person shooter) games. 240Hz is considered the gold standard for monitors, but anything at 144Hz or higher should be great for gaming. 144Hz is probably the sweet spot for a gamer that wants high performance without throwing money away on premium features. Remember that a higher refresh rate is better. However, if you buy an ultra-fast monitor (240Hz, for example), check to be sure that your computer and processor are equipped to handle this fast refresh rate. There is no point in finding a monitor that is more capable than your computer, because your computer will then just downgrade the monitor to the refresh rate it is capable of processing.
Laptop weight: A good gaming laptop under 1500 should be portable. This is why it must have a light body, without sacrificing power or battery life.
Webcam: The best value gaming laptop should have a high-quality webcam that delivers high-resolution images. If your laptop doesn’t come with a 720p, 30 fps webcam or better, it may be necessary to buy an add-on webcam if you wish to stream.
Memory: Go for 8GB of RAM, at minimum, if you are looking for a cheap gaming laptop. They should support DDR4 RAM technology for increased processing speed. 16GB or 32GB of RAM is ideal, if you can find it in your budget.
Operating system: The latest Windows 10 operating systems are the best on the market regarding security, performance, and user interface. They deliver a far better experience when compared with other brands on the market.
Brand: There are many brands on the market. However, consider one with good reviews and a history of creating quality laptops for gaming like Lenovo, Acer, Dell, or HP. They make some of the best affordable gaming laptops under $1500.
The best gaming laptop under 1500 should have all of the features mentioned above. This will ensure that you have a great time using your laptop for games and other functions.
If you are anything like us, you can spend hours, days, or weeks geeking out about the features listed above. In fact, many of us enjoy hunting for the perfect gaming laptop nearly as much as we enjoy gaming, itself.
But if you want to get to the gameplay immediately, you can feel confident by choosing any of the devices on our “Best Of” list. They have all been vetted, and are more than capable even for hard-core gaming. The biggest decision is whether you want to max out your budget for a $1,500 gaming laptop, or whether you want to purchase a laptop for closer to $1,000 and spend the rest on peripherals and gaming gadgets.