Technology

The 10 Best Gaming Laptop Under 500

Are you looking for the best gaming laptop under 500? You’d be glad to know that makers such as Asus and Lenovo have come out with affordable gaming laptops that can go toe-to-toe with more expensive models. From smooth gameplay, clear display, and portability, you’ll be able to find one that fits your budget best. Here are 10 of our top picks to help you choose.

 

Our Picks for the Best Gaming Laptop Under 500

 

1. Best Overall – Lenovo IdeaPad 3

Photo from Amazon.

What makes this budget-friendly laptop the best overall? Aside from the unbeatable price, it also comes with the latest AMD Ryzen 3 3250U processor and Radeon Vega 3 Graphics. You’ll find these same specs on higher-end models that cost twice their price, so the Lenovo Ideapad Gaming 3 certainly lives up to the hype. If there’s a catch, that’ll have to be the quality of its graphics—which might be a major flaw for picky gamers. For games such as Persona 4 Golden or Tetris Effect, you might want to keep a 60fps at 1080 to maintain a smooth frame rate. However, if you’re a casual gamer, this shouldn’t be an issue at all. You should be able to play Fortnite, Repacked games, and other Steam titles with minimal lag.

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Specifications:

RAM: 4GB DDR4 RAM (can be upgraded)

CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 3250U Processor

GPU: Radeon Vega 3 Graphics

Screen size: 15.6 inches

Storage: 128GB SSD

 

Pros:

Stable keyboard and trackpad

Fast processor and memory

120Hz refresh rate display

Cons:

Needs a better graphics chip

 

2. High Speed Storage and Memory – Acer Aspire 5

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For a gaming laptop under 500, the Acer Aspire 5 is one of the most functional. You would be able to open multiple tabs and apps without any hitches. If you’re in the market for a practical and budget-friendly laptop, this is a good option to look into. It isn’t half bad for a gaming laptop if you’re not running demanding titles such as Minecraft or PUBG. While you would still be able to play these, along with the likes of Fortnite and Apex Legends, expect a bit of lag. We suggest looking for the AMD model with a six-core AMD Ryzen 5 4500U, which sells for just a bit over $500. Still close to your budget, but the performance is much better.

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Specifications:

RAM: 4GB DDR4 RAM

CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 3200U

GPU: AMD Radeon Vega 3 Graphics

Screen size: 15.6 inches

Storage: 128GB SSD with one extra hard disk drive bay

 

Pros:

Affordability

Great audio

Backlit keyboard

Cons:

Design is a little flimsy

Below-average battery life

 

3. Long Battery Life – HP 14 Laptop

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Most gaming laptops under 500 tend to have a shorter battery life, which is detrimental if you’re using it for gaming. The HP 14 easily breaks that stereotype by offering good battery life without adding dollars to its price tag. Aside from having solid specs, it can also deliver up to 7 hours of use before you’ll need to plug it in. That said, there are certain limitations when it comes to the games you can play on it. Popular games like SIMS, Fortnite, PUBG, and Minecraft are a no-go. That said, 2D games and older titles run smoothly on the HP 14. Games such as Half-Life, Halo: Combat Evolved, Fall Out 3, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004) are compatible with this budget laptop.

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Specifications:

RAM: 8GB RAM

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5500U Mobile Processor

GPU: AMD Radeon Graphics

Screen size: 14 inches

Storage: 256GB PCIe M.2 SSD

 

Pros:

Long battery life

Comfortable keyboard

Cons:

Low-quality graphics

Limited games you can play

 

4. Best for Casual Gamers – Dell Inspiron 3000 15.6

Photo from Amazon.

For a general-purpose laptop within the $300 to $400 range, the Dell Inspiron 3000 definitely delivers. You would be able to do basic work or school tasks comfortably, even with its 4GB memory. On top of that, it can also double as an affordable gaming laptop, though you would need to keep settings modest, or the game would run sluggishly. Note that the specs for this model change often, so make sure you opt for an entry-level one. If you have a bit more cash to spare, get the Intel Core or AMD Ryzen version to boost your experience exponentially. On average, you should be able to run games such as GTA 5, Apex Legends, and Fortnite but on lower settings. If you don’t mind a bit of compromise regarding display quality, do check out the Dell Inspiron 15 3000.

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Specifications:

RAM: 8GB RAM

CPU: Intel Celeron N4020

GPU: Intel UHD Graphics

Screen size: 15.6 inches

Storage: 128GB PCIe NVME SSD

 

Pros:

Offers plenty of configuration options

Solid keyboard

Ethernet and HDMI ports included

Cons:

Low-quality HD screen

No USB-C ports

 

5. Reliable Performance – Dell Inspiron 15 3000 (3511)

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The Dell Inspiron 15 3000 3511 is a great budget laptop if you’re in the market for a unit that can be used for both gaming and work. This model has a solid build, comes with Windows 11 operating system, and can multi-task without a hitch. It’s a step-up from most $500 gaming laptops and has entry-level specs that you can configure if you’re willing to spend extra. You can boost its RAM to 12GB, add an Iris XE graphics solution to improve its display and get up to 512GB in storage. These should be enough to run some of the more demanding games, though in a lower setting. While you can get better from Dell’s higher-end units, a laptop that costs below $500 serves its purpose well.

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Specifications:

RAM: 8GB RAM

CPU: Intel Core i3-1115G4 processor

GPU: Intel UHD Graphics Chip

Screen size: 15.6 inches

Storage: 256GB SSD

 

Pros:

Can multi-task smoothly

Affordability

Large screen display

Cons:

No USB-C ports

Lacking in sound quality

 

6. Best Display – Asus Vivobook 15

Photo from Amazon.

While not completely up to par with higher-end units, the sound and display on the Asus Vivobook 15 is definitely an upgrade among other laptops under $500. The colors are vibrant and accurate, with ASUS claiming that the Vivobook 15’s display has a color scope of 100% sRGB. This Asus gaming laptop has a 120Hx display refresh rate, perfect for gamers looking for an immersive experience. When it comes to gaming, it can run older games quite smoothly. Titles that require 4k resolution will come with a bit of lag and frame drop even at moderate settings. Games such as Valorant and Minecraft Java are compatible with the Asus Vivobook 15.

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Specifications:

RAM: 8 GB DDR4 RAM

CPU: Intel Core i3-1005G1

GPU: Intel UHD Graphics

Screen size: 15.6 inches

Storage: 128 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD

 

Pros:

Above-average display quality

Solid keyboard

Comes with both microSD and USB-C ports

Cons:

Could use more storage

 

7. Most Compact – HP Pavilion 15

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HP Pavilion 15 might be part of the brand’s mid-range line, but you’d be surprised at all the high-spec hardware it comes with. Of course, it falls short of the benchmark set by higher-end units, but it does well as a work, study, and gaming laptop. It doesn’t hurt that it’s also one of the better-looking models on our list. Aside from being slim and compact, its case is stylish and can compete with more expensive units. Though it’s one of the good gaming laptops available, it sn’t without its compromises There’s no keyboard backlight and the graphics could use some improvement. For casual gamers, however, this shouldn’t be too much of a hindrance when it comes to immersive and entertaining gameplay. If you don’t mind opting for lower settings, you can still get decent fps for games such as Cyberpunk 2077, Control, and Metro Exodus.

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Specifications:

RAM: 16GB RAM

CPU: AMD Athlon 3050U

GPU: AMD Radeon Graphics

Screen size: 15.6 inches

Storage: 256GB SSD

 

Pros:

Compact and stylish design

Good processing power

Cons:

Below-average battery life

 

8. Best for Multi-Tasking – Lenovo IdeaPad 3i

Photo from Amazon.

The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is a difficult model to top, but the 3i is a good budget gaming laptop alternative. As with all of their Ideapad 3 models, it comes with a Windows 10 S operating system, which is the basic version. This means you’re limited to only the apps available in their official store. You have the option of unlocking it and switching to the full version. That said, the Lenovo IdeaPad 3i can be used for both work and play quite seamlessly. This Lenovo gaming laptop can run multiple apps smoothly, and you can play older games with little to no lag. For a gaming laptop under 500, it can also handle demanding games such as GTA 5 and Fortnite at a lower setting.

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Specifications:

RAM: 8GB RAM

CPU: Intel Core i3-1115G4 3.0GHz

GPU: Integrated Intel UHD Graphics

Screen size: 15.6 inches

Storage: 256GB PCIe SSD

 

Pros:

Great for both gaming and daily tasks

Comes with a solid keyboard and trackpad

Cons:

Screen is a little dim

Short battery life

 

9. Best Entry Level Laptop – Teclast F15S Gaming Laptop

Photo from Amazon.

Teclast may be a lesser-known brand compared to others on our list, but it is one of the best laptops under 500 that you shouldn’t miss. The Teclast F15S does well in multi-threaded tasks thanks to its four cores. It is great for both work and gaming, providing an unexpectedly solid performance considering its price point and hardware. One key point is the easy storage space expansion via SSD, which boosts it up to 1TB. Heftier games might need to be adjusted to a lower setting, and expect lagging even then. However, it does well with streaming services such as Stadia. Considering the value for money, it is a great entry-level gaming laptop under 500.

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Specifications:

RAM: 8GB LPDDR4

CPU: Intel Quad Core N4120

GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 600

Screen size: 15.6 inches

Storage: 256GB SSD

 

Pros:

Easy storage expansion

Accurate trackpad

Great for mixed use

Cons:

Takes almost 3 hours to charge

Available RAM is DDR3

Audio could use some improvement

 

10. Best ValueCHUWI HeroBook Pro

Photo from Amazon.

Whether you’re doing work, running drawing or design apps, or using it for gaming, the CHUWI HeroBook Pro can provide reliable performance with minimal to no lags. Aside from having high-speed storage, this budget laptop comes with a pretty powerful CPU when compared to others in the same price range. For gaming, the Intel UHD integrated graphics can support 4k decoding, though you might need to choose more moderate settings to run heftier titles. Streaming should work smoothly, however. If you’re looking for the best affordable laptops that can upgrade easily, the CHUWI HeroBook Pro is one of the best value options you have.

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Specifications:

RAM: 8GB RAM

CPU: Intel Gemini-Lake N4020 Quad Core

GPU: Intel UHD Graphics

Screen size: 14.1 inches

Storage: 256GB SSD

 

Pros:

Extra M.2 SSD Slot

Good battery life

Cons:

Doesn’t come with a  full HD screen

 

What to Look for in a Cheap Gaming Laptop Under 500?

If gaming is your primary purpose, there are a few important things you must keep in mind. Note that because you’re working with a limited budget, some compromise is inevitable. Some units are upgradeable, but these are the basics to look for.

Powerful Processor

For gaming, the power of your processor is key. This is especially true for MMORPG games that  demand quite a lot. That said, avoid overbuying and making this your sole focus. Even the 10 Generation Intel CPUs that can be found in your basic gaming laptop under 500 can deliver decent gameplay. If you’re a casual gamer, choose a Core i5 or an i7 chip with four true cores if the option is available.

System Memory

For a gaming laptop under 500, we suggest opting for a minimum of 8GB RAM. This is adequate for casual gaming and moderate multi-tasking. You can also go for 4GB, which is the most common for budget laptops. However, don’t expect it to run as quickly as higher-end models. Some units allow for upgrades, though it is always best to get what you need from the get-go.

Storage

Solid State Drive or SSD is the most common for the basic gaming laptop under 500, but you’ll also find regular hard drives being offered in some models. The latter has better capacity but tends to be more sluggish than SSDs. With that in mind, if you can find dual-drives then that is what you should opt for. The SSD would hold your OS and some of your favorite games, while the larger hard drive holds the rest of apps that don’t require quick loading. Note that you can split your Steam library and your other game library between these two drives.

Display

When looking at a laptop’s display, check the following: screen size, refresh rate, native resolution, and panel type. Most affordable laptops have a 15.6-inch screen, which is a good compromise for gaming. As for resolution, 1080p is the norm for your average gaming laptop under 500. This is because the higher the number of pixels, the greater the graphics card power you need. Something that most cheap gaming laptops, in general, tend to sacrifice. It’s still a fair exchange as long as you can run fast-paced games such as Overwatch, DOTA 2, and Fortnite even at a lower fps.

Graphics Processor or GPU

Fact is, a dedicated graphics card chip can make or break your experience. It is the backbone of any gaming machine, and as such, you must choose yours well. The best cheap gaming laptop would have the NVIDIA GeForce GTX line, typically the 1650 and 1660 Ti models. These are good enough for casual gaming, but if you don’t mind spending a bit more, then opt for NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 and RTX 3050 Ti. Even on an entry-level laptop, you’ll be able to game at high settings with these GPUs.

 

A Gaming Laptop Under 500 is Best for Casual Gamers

Finding the best budget gaming laptop can be challenging, with most rigs priced at a few thousand and up. However, with a bit of compromise and some research, you’re bound to find one that would fit your needs well. Note that a gaming laptop under 500 works best for casual and beginner gamers. They are more likely to play games that require less processing power. If you’re a gamer in need of heftier specs, consider investing in upper-tier machines.

If you’re not limited by a budget, here are 15 of the best gaming laptops you can check out.