Best Gaming Laptops Under $500 [2019 ] Newest Powerful Picks

As a solid in-between price point, sub $500 gaming laptops 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!

Picking The Best Gaming Laptop Under 500

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.

In A Hurry? Here’s The Winner From Hours Of Research

Editor’s Choice: Best New

HP Pavilion 15

HP Pavilion 15

Why is it better?

  • Quad core, 8th gen CPU
  • Full HD screen with 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • Includes RJ-45 port for wired gaming

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Editor’s Choice: Best Refurbished

2019 Dell Inspiron 5000

2019 Dell Inspiron 5000

Why is it better?

  • Best CPU you can find at the price
  • Spacious solid state drive for installing games
  • Includes optical drive

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30

Sources Researched

650

Reviews Considered

53

Hours researched

150

Products Considered

8

Products Reviewed

The Lineup At A Glance

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The Contenders For Best Gaming Laptops Under $500

1. HP Pavilion 15 – Best New Pick

HP Pavilion 15
  • High end CPU
  • Lightweight
  • HDD instead of SSD
  • No optical drive

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 Quality Video Output

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.

Hardware specifications for HP Pavilion 15
ProcessorIntel Quad Core i5-8250U
RAM8GB DDR4
Storage1TB HDD
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 620
Display15.6-Inch IPS touch screen display, 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home
Battery Life8 hours
Weight4.21 lbs
Other FeaturesTouch screen, RJ-45 jack

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2. 2019 Dell Inspiron 5000 – Best Refurbished Option

2019 Dell Inspiron 5000
  • Excellent CPU for the price
  • Largest SSD you can find at this cost
  • Heavier unit
  • Refurbished

Want the best possible specs while saving as much money as you can? If you’re willing to try out a previously owned device, Dell’s Inspiron line offers the best refurbished gaming laptop under $500 on the market.

High Performance On A Budget

Even by going refurbished, at this price point you still won’t be able to find a GTX 1050 dedicated card, unfortunately.

That means if you want to save money by picking a refurb unit, you need to make sure you are getting more RAM, a bigger SSD, and a better CPU.

That’s exactly what you get with this pick.

Hands down, this version of the Inspiron 5000 has the best overall specs of any of our contenders.

WIth this level of CPU combined with a solid state drive, you will get extremely fast speeds and excellent frame rates with most games.

Even without a dedicated GPU, you can expect to run nearly anything and get solid performance at low to medium settings.

Hardware specifications for 2019 Dell Inspiron 5000
ProcessorIntel Core i5-8250U Processor (6MB Cache, up to 3.40GHz)
RAM8GB DDR4
Storage256GB SSD
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics
Display15.6-Inch FHD display, 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home
Battery Life7 hours
Weight6.0 lbs

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3. 2018 HP 15.6″ Touch Screen Laptop – With Touch Screen

2018 HP 15.6 Touch Screen Laptop
  • Low price
  • Touch screen
  • Slower HDD
  • No power indicator light

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!

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.

Hardware specifications for 2018 HP 15.6″ Touch Screen Laptop
ProcessorIntel Core i3-7100U (2.40 GHz)
RAM8GB DDR4 RAM
Storage1TB HDD
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 620
Display15.6-Inch HD Touch Display, 1366 x 768 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home 64 bit
Battery Life7 hours
Weight4.6 lbs

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

2019 Newest HP 15.6 inch Touchscreen Laptop
  • Fast solid state drive
  • Touch screen
  • Lower screen resolution
  • Very small storage capacity

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.

All-In-One Solution

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.

Hardware specifications for 2019 Newest HP 15.6″ Touchscreen Laptop
ProcessorIntel Quad-Core i5-8250U processor (up to 3.4GHz)
RAM8GB DDR4
Storage128GB SSD
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 620
Display15.6 inch touch screen display, 1366 x 768 pixels resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home
Battery Life10.5 hours
Weight3.9 lbs
Other FeaturesTouch screen, optical drive

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

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Lenovo IdeaPad 15.6 Inch HD Laptop
  • More RAM
  • Good graphics for price range
  • Loud fans
  • Slower HDD
  • Off center touchpad

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!

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.

Hardware specifications for Lenovo IdeaPad 15.6 Inch HD Laptop
ProcessorAMD A12-9720P (2.7GHz)
RAM12GB DDR4 RAM
Storage1TB HDD
GraphicsAMD Radeon R7
Display15.6-Inch Widescreen HD Display, 1366 x 768 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home 64 bit
Battery Life5.5 hours
Weight4.85 lbs

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6. Top Performance Dell Inspiron – Budget Option

Top Performance Dell Inspiron 15
  • Touch screen
  • DVD-RW Drive
  • Low price AM
  • Slower HDD
  • Off center touchpad

Want to save yourself some serious cash while still getting a touch screen and decent graphical capability? This laptop should be your first pick!

When you need to save money instead of getting faster hardware, this Dell model has you covered.

You get a different configuration here than with the flagship Dell Inspiron model listed above. Rather than a smaller solid state drive, this Inspiron includes the standard 1TB HDD.

While the hard drive is louder and slower, the Intel 620 is essentially the best graphics chip you can get before jumping above $500.

If price is your biggest concern, this one features the lowest starting price at just over the $430 mark. For that price you still get a touchscreen, which can be worth giving up the SSD.

There is a potential issue to keep in mind here if you are using this for both work and gaming. The Inspiron is another model with the left-of-center touchpad placement, which is often cited as the main complaint by buyers.

With the touchpad off center from the keyboard, you may just end up using the touch screen more often than the pad.

Hardware specifications for Top Performance Dell Inspiron
ProcessorIntel Core i3-7100U (2.4GHz)
RAM8GB DDR4 RAM
Storage1TB HDD
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 620
Display15.6-Inch HD Touch Screen Display, 1366 x 768 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home 64 bit
Battery Life5.5 hours
Weight5.07 lbs

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7. Lenovo 15.6’’ Signature Laptop – No Bloatware

Lenovo 15.6’’ HD LED Signature Laptop
  • DVD-RW drive
  • No bloatware
  • Highest price
  • Driver issues with wireless card

Looking for a great gaming laptop with absolutely no bloatware and a DVD-RW drive? This should be your pick!

This particular Lenovo will run you the full $499 of your budget, although you can find it with free shipping pretty easily. What all do you get for that premium cost?

First off, this one still includes an optical drive, which are becoming increasingly rare at any price point.

This model is part of Lenovo’s signature edition line, which features absolutely no bloatware. That’s right, there are no 3rd party trial software or memory-eating startup programs at all!

Although it costs more, you can save quite a bit of time by going with a signature edition. You won’t have to spend the afternoon removing programs or immediately performing a clean install of Windows.

On the gaming front, the processor is slightly slower than with several other contenders. Between the 8GB of RAM and the Radeon R7 graphics though, you’ll be playing titles like Sims 4 or CS:GO without any problems.

Unfortunately you don’t get the full 1920 x 1080 screen resolution here. Lenovo’s signature edition instead features a 1366 x 768 pixel display that is typically found on lower resolution touch screen models.

Buyers often discuss liking the well designed keyboard with quiet keys, but nearly all of them mentioned frequent wi-fi connection issues. Be sure to update the wireless card driver as soon as you get through the Windows setup process to eliminate that issue.

Hardware specifications for Lenovo 15.6” Signature Laptop
ProcessorAMD FX-7500 (2.10 – 3.30 GHz)
RAM8GB DDR3 RAM
Storage1TB HDD
GraphicsAMD Radeon R7
Display5.6-Inch HD Display, 1366 x 768 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home 64 bit
Battery Life5 hours
Weight5.15 lbs

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8. ASUS VivoBook F510UA Thin and Lightweight – Easy to upgrade

ASUS VivoBook F510UA Thin and Lightweight
  • Easy to upgrade
  • High resolution display
  • No SSD
  • 7th gen CPU instead of 8th

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.

Power & Upgrade Compatibility

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.

Hardware specifications for ASUS VivoBook F510UA
ProcessorIntel Core i5-7200U 2.5GHz (Turbo up to 3.1GHz)
RAM8GB DDR4
Storage1TB HDD
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 620
Display15.6 inch display, 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home
Battery Life8 hours
Weight3.7 lbs

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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.

Great Gaming At A Low Price

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.

Still Can’t Find What You Are Looking For?

A: Check out these awesome resources:

  1. How Often Should You Replace Your Laptop? (And Signs That You Need A New One)
  2. How To Buy A Laptop With Confidence? (A Laptop Buying Guide)
  3. What To Look For When Buying A Gaming Laptop?  (A Trusted Buying Guide)
  4. Cheapest Laptops To Run Every Major Game (Including Fortnite, Fallout..)

Or Let us know on the comment section below/send us a message here.

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