8 Best Gaming Laptops Under $500 (In 2020) Reviews

Jordan Noland Updated on May 3, 2020
gaming laptop under 500

As a solid in-between price point, notebooks in the $400 – $499 range start to feature higher end specs and extra features. Below we break down eight different models perfect for nearly any gamer.

For dedicated WoW or DOTA 2 players, you can get everything you need without emptying your bank account. These computers won’t let you play AAA shooters on high settings, but they will get most games up and running at a stable frame rate.

Ready to see what’s available? Let’s get started finding the best gaming laptop under 500 in 2020.

Best gaming laptops under $800 – 2020

Picking The Best Gaming Laptop Under 500 Dollars 2020

Recommendations for May 2020

As a solid in-between price point, notebooks in the $400 – $499 range start to feature higher end specs and extra features. Below we break down eight different models perfect for nearly any gamer.

For dedicated WoW or DOTA 2 players, you can get everything you need without emptying your bank account. These computers won’t let you play AAA shooters on high settings, but they will get most games up and running at a stable frame rate.

Ready to see what’s available? Let’s get started finding the best gaming laptop under 500 in 2020.

Best gaming laptops under $800 – 2020

Picking The Best Gaming Laptop Under 500 Dollars 2020

The main draw of going to this price range is avoiding the need to pick a refurbished model. You can find great machines for work / school or casual gaming without having to buy something that was previously used.

A portable computer with 8GB of RAM and a 1TB HDD will be pretty standard when staying in the $400 – $499 range. The major differences between models will be in processor speed, screen types, number of ports, and keyboard layout.

Do you prefer a touch screen over a standard display? Want a laptop with an off-center touchpad instead of directly beneath the keyboard? Need an HDMI port for an external monitor?

These questions will help you narrow down the contenders to find your perfect gaming laptop. What’s perfect for a Sims player may not be as helpful for someone who prefers graphics-intensive RTS games, for instance.

10 Best Gaming Laptops Under $500 In 2020

1. HP Pavilion 15 – Best New Pick

HP Pavilion 15 15.6" IPS Touchscreen Full HD...
  • 15.6-Inch IPS Touchscreen FHD (1920x1080)
  • 8th Generation Intel Quad Core i5-8250U
  • 8 GB DDR4-2400 SDRAM

Want power and performance for your games without emptying out your bank account? Right now, the latest HP Pavilion is our top pick for the best new gaming laptop under $500 available online.

  • High-end CPU
  • Lightweight
  • HDD instead of SDD
  • No optical drive

When staying under $500, you won’t be able to find a high end graphics card. That means your focus should be on getting the best video quality possible with the other specs.

Most laptops at this price range will offer sub-par displays with a low resolution. This option from HP breaks that trend, with an HD IPS panel at the full 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution.

For gamers who want crystal clear images, that’s a huge bonus over the competition.

Between the lightweight design and Ethernet port, this is also a great choice if you like to take your laptop to LAN parties.

Any gamer will get great performance here though due to the 8th gen i5 CPU and 8GB of DDR4 RAM.

2. Acer Aspire E 15 – Best Value Pick

Acer Aspire E 15, 15.6" Full HD, 8th Gen Intel...
  • 8th Generation Intel Core i3 8130U Processor 2.2 GHz (Up to 3.2GHz)
  • 15.6 inches Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen LED lit Display
  • 6GB Dual Channel Memory, 1TB HDD and 8x DVD

With excellent specs and a price tag that is hard to beat, the Acer Aspire E 15 is our best value pick.

  • Huge storage
  • Budget friendly
  • All-day battery life
  • Bulky
  • Below average graphic card

The Acer Aspire has a huge 1 TB of storage space which is great for all those massive games you’ll be playing on it. At 6 GB of memory, you’ll be sitting pretty with great game speeds all day.

Perhaps the most enticing feature of this laptop is its price. Well under the $500 mark at the time of writing, the Acer Aspire has impressive specs for such a small price. 

A great all day battery life of 13.5 hours will let you focus on playing your best game while not worrying about the battery life of your laptop.

The laptop is rather bulky at 5.27 pounds but this should be expected for a gaming laptop at this price. Slimmer gaming laptops can rack up to $1000 or more and gaming laptops need the extra bulk for all the hardware they require to run games.

Be sure to check the recommended specs of the games you’re planning on playing because the Aspire has a rather below average graphics card for a gaming laptop. It likely won’t be able to run graphics heavy games at high resolution because of this.

3. HP 15.6″ Touch Screen Laptop – With Touch Screen

Temporarily unavailable

Don’t care about getting a quieter SSD and just want more storage space without giving up the touch screen functionality? This laptop should easily be your pick!

  • Low price
  • Touch screen
  • Slower HDD
  • No power indicator light

HP’s touch screen model features very similar specs to the flagship Dell Inspiron, and even has slightly better graphics. There’s a trade off to be made in exchange for that Intel 620 graphics chip, however.

You get the older hardware of a 1TB HDD with this machine, which adds noise and reduces boot speed. If you want more storage space right of of the box though, then this is the way to go.

For a notebook at this low a price, you also don’t get any bloatware, which is a serious anomaly. Most laptops under $500 will come laden with “trial” software you don’t need or startup programs that cause slow downs.

While they love the features available at this price, buyers often bring up the lack of a power indicator light. It’s an odd oversight in the design, as many users end up pressing the power button repeatedly thinking it hasn’t started booting up.

4. 2019 Newest HP 15.6″ Touchscreen Laptop – Multipurpose gaming laptop

2019 Newest HP 15.6" Touchscreen Laptop, Intel...
  • Display: 15.6 inches 1366 x 768 (HD)
  • Cpu: i5-8250U 1.6 gigahertz
  • Storage: 128G SSD/SD card reader card reader

Need a lightweight device that can do more than just gaming? This touchscreen model is the best multipurpose laptop that can work as your gaming rig or as your family’s main web surfing machine.

  • Fast SSD
  • Touch screen
  • Lower screen resolution
  • Very small storage capacity

For the family that does more than just gaming (or that shares a single computer), this should be one of your top picks.

With a touch screen, optical DVD-RW drive, and very nice overall specs, you get a little bit of everything here.

The solid state drive offers up faster speeds than the 1TB HDD options in our list, although you get less overall storage space for installing games.

To get the most use out of this model, make sure to find a large online storage site to keep your data and photos saved.

When possible, be sure to also store your save game data in the cloud through programs like Steam or GOG.

5. Lenovo IdeaPad 15.6 Inch HD Laptop – More Ram For Multitasking

2018 Newest Lenovo Ideapad 15.6" HD Premium High...
  • 15.6" HD display with 1366 x 768 resolution; AMD Radeon R7 graphics
  • AMD A12-9720P Quad core processor with 2.70 GHz in base, and Turbo to 3.6 GHz.
  • 8GB DDR4 memory; 1TB 5,400rpm HDD hard drive provides plenty of storage; DVD-RW

Want to start with more RAM instead of needing to upgrade the memory later? This should be your pick for the best cheap gaming laptop!

  • More RAM
  • Good graphics for price range
  • Loud fans
  • Slower HDD
  • Off center touchpad

Although similar in price to the other machines listed here, the IdeaPad has vastly different specs and design. With the change in hardware, this laptop may be more useful for your needs.

Another standard screen model without touch functionality, this Lenovo model starts with more RAM out of the box. When dealing with integrated graphics that draw on the system memory, that’s a boon for gamers that offers better performance.

Like with most of the other contenders in our roundup, you still get the slower HDD design here. Budgeting to upgrade to an SSD later on will give you even faster speeds, and reduce the noise levels.

That may not hurt the bank account as much as you’d expect. This notebook typically goes for a good deal less than the full $499 price, and frequently goes on sale.

Buyers most frequently mention the increased RAM for this price range and the addition of the full numeric keypad. There is an odd design choice to keep in mind, however, that could be a deal breaker.

For some reason the touchpad isn’t centered to the keyboard and is instead placed off to the left. That makes it very easy to accidentally click when you didn’t mean to, or to left click when you meant to right click.

The IdeaPad features internal Bluetooth for wireless devices though, so that’s not a problem if you want to use an external mouse.

6. Dell Inspiron 15 – High Budget Option

2018 Dell Inspiron 15 5000 Flagship Premium 15.6"...
  • 8th Gen. Intel Quad-Core i5-8250U Processor 1.6GHz, up to 3.4GHz, 12GB DDR4 2400MHz RAM, 1TB SATA Hard Drive,
  • 15.6" Touchscreen Truelife LED-Backlit Full HD (1920 x 1080) Display, Intel Integrated 620 Graphics
  • 802.11AC, DVD-RW, Bluetooth 4.2, HD Webcam, MaxxAudio Pro Audio

If you are able to splurge a little more and stretch your budget to just above $500, this Dell Inspiron is definitely one to check out. With a touchscreen feature and lots of memory and storage, this laptop will definitely get you through a large variety of games with ease.

  • Massive memory
  • Touch screen
  • Lots of storage
  • Sightly above budget
  • Below-average graphic card

This laptop is just over the $500 mark at the time of writing but it if you’re able to go past your budget just a bit, it will definitely be worth it in the long run. This laptop is a true beast of a budget gaming laptop. 

It has a huge storage capacity at 1 TB and spectacular memory at 12 GB. Its processor is a core i5 and is customizable depending on the speed of processing you would like (base is 1.6 GHz). All these amazing specs are going to run your games like a dream.

With all these specs, you’ll also be able to run your day to day activities with no trouble at all. No need to worry about large file sizes, here. It also has ports galore including a media card reader.

7. Acer 15.6 – Best Budget Choice

Acer 15.6" Laptop (6th Gen. Intel Quad Core N3710...
  • The Acer laptop is equipped with a super-fast Intel Quad Core processor, which provides more than enough power for office, home work and games.
  • A large and superfast 512 GB SSD provides more than enough space for your data and applications
  • Features: 8 GB DDR3 RAM, HD Webcam, HDMI, Headphones, Microphone, RJ-45, USB 3

The Acer 15.6” Laptop has decent specs for its price and will give you a good experience on low end games that don’t require a lot of graphics power.

  • Good storage
  • 8GB RAM
  • Media card reader
  • Below-average graphic card
  • Below-average screen resolution
  • Poor battery life

This Acer is not to be confused with the other Acer Aspire on this list. While it is still a great budget option, it does lack some of the key gaming features the other Acer offers. 

It will still play low end games with ease but, as always, be sure to check the recommended specs of the games that you want to play before considering this option.

It has a decent amount of storage and memory to play games. Its graphics card is integrated and is an Intel HD Graphics card so it will not be able to play graphics heavy games. However, do not be discouraged, it will still definitely be able to play a large variety of games on the market.

Its battery life is a pretty standard (at least for a gaming laptop) at 5-6 hours. For the games you’ll likely be able to play on this laptop, you may be able to squeeze 2-3 hours out of it off the charge while playing.

8. ASUS VivoBook F510UA Thin and Lightweight – Easy To Upgrade

ASUS VivoBook F510UA Thin and Lightweight 15.6”...
  • Powerful Intel Core i5 7200U 2.5GHz (Turbo up to 3.1GHz) processor
  • 14.2 Inches wide, 0.8 Inches thin and portable footprint with 0.3 Inches NanoEdge bezel for a stunning 80% screen to body ratio
  • 15.6 inches anti glare Full HD 1920x1080 WideView display with ASUS Splendid software enhancement

Want to get a great overall laptop at a low price but still have room to expand in the future when money is available? This is our top pick for the best easy to upgrade gaming laptop under $500.

  • Easy to upgrade
  • High resolution display
  • No SSD
  • 7th gen CPU instead of 8th

Asus know how to put out a quality thin laptop with a solid build, and it really shows with models like the VivoBook.

For the gamers, you get great specs for the price, but there are two major factors here that might make this your top pick:

  • An ultra thin bezel for more viewing area (even though the overall size remains the same as other laptops)
  • It’s extremely easy to upgrade this model

With an M.2 slot, swapping out that 1TB HDD with a faster solid state drive is a snap. 

You can also bump up to 16GB of RAM when your programs start slowing down, so this machine can be future proofed with a little effort.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Downsides To Laptops In This Price Range?

When you go above $400, you are no longer scraping the bottom of the laptop barrel. You don’t need to sacrifice nearly as much on the hardware specs to save extra money.

That being said, manufacturers are still going to cut corners in some ways here. For the absolute cutting edge of hardware, you need to look at a higher price bracket.

While you can find a decent gaming rig at this price, you can’t expect to get all the features of more expensive notebooks.

Most notably, you generally won’t find backlit keyboards or any extra bells and whistles aimed at the gaming crowd. The multi-quadrant RGB lighting typical of gaming machines just aren’t available without increasing the price.

Don’t expect to get much in the way of overclocking support or high end speaker sound quality, either.

This is also the upper limit of the price range where you will see laptops without 1920 x 1080 screen resolutions. If you want the best HD visuals for streaming videos or playing games, you may need to bump up to a higher price tier.

What Sort Of Graphics Card Should I Expect For Under $500?

All of the contenders listed here have respectable offerings in terms of RAM and processor speeds. Unfortunately, laptops at this price will still suffer on the graphics front.

You will have to deal with integrated motherboard graphics if you aren’t willing to go any higher on the price tag. Dedicated laptop graphics cards like the 940MX and MX150 won’t typically show up in this price range at all.

Because the graphics cards are on the lower end, it’s important to get the best you possibly can while staying within budget.

Unless you get something in return like an SSD, anything beneath the Intel HD 620 or Radeon R7 should be out of the running. The Radeon R4 or Intel 500 series just aren’t up to snuff for this price range.

You won’t be able to run newer games at high settings with laptops in this price range. With an HD 620 and 8GB of RAM you can expect to play CS:GO, GTA V, and League Of Legends, however.

Can I Save Even More Money And Still Get A Gaming Laptop?

We scoured the web to find the best deals available and cover every possible range of specs in this price range. It is possible to get even lower prices if you are willing to play the waiting game.

In particular, be on the lookout for clearance models while browsing Amazon or manufacturer websites.

Previous year’s models tend to drop in price as new machines come out, so you can end up with higher specs for the same price. Previous year editions don’t stay at that price for long, but you can save a bundle if you keep an eye out for a deal.

That isn’t the only way to lower the price, either. In some cases you can save yourself $100 and still get the exact same specs by going with a refurbished model.

Are these laptops going to be able to do other things besides run games? Like multitasking, managing large files, etc.

Yes, absolutely! A great advantage to owning a gaming laptop is its ability to run everyday tasks like a breeze. Gaming laptops make for great college and work laptops because you get all the power you need for work and play.

Are these laptops upgradeable?

Some of them have upgradeability but most are customizable from the start. The difference being: an upgradeable laptop is one you buy and add new parts to later; a customizable laptop allows you to customize the hardware to your liking before purchase, so you don’t have to upgrade as soon. Upgradeability normally comes in the form of memory and storage and sometimes graphics cards but normally not processing. Future friendly laptops are normally a little more expensive because of that feature.


What did you think of our picks for the absolute best gaming laptops under $500? Let us know which of these machines you intend on buying!

Be sure to also drop a line if you find any other killer deals on gaming rigs we need to know about.

Jordan Noland
Article by:
Jordan is a tech wiz with several years of hands on experience researching and testing new products. Whether it’s a killer new gaming rig, a college laptop sure to last you your whole degree, or a sleek new tablet, Jordan has the know-how to get you started on your way to new and exciting tech adventures.

Leave a Comment