Best Gaming Laptop Under $1500

When you’re looking for the best gaming laptop under $1500, there are a lot of different factors to consider. What are the specs on the laptop, compared to how well it’s built? Is the screen high enough resolution for the size? How does the keyboard hold up over time? Lucky for you, Gadget Review is here to answer all those questions and more with our guide on the best gaming laptops you can find for under $1,500 today!

After we purchased the top 10 best gaming laptops under $1,500 we could find, we got to quick work, testing out all the features above while we played our favorite video games. When we had had our fill of fragging and saving the world, we easily came to the conclusion that the Acer Predator Helios 300 offers the best gaming experience when compared to its competitors. With an amazing display, excellent hardware and evocative design, this gaming laptop is perfect for avid gamers and casual gamers alike. Keep reading to learn more about the Helios 300 and its fellow top pics below.

Top 5 Best Gaming Laptops Under $1500 Compared

 #1  Acer Predator Helios 300

Award: Top Pick/Best Display

WHY WE LIKE IT: The Acer Predator Helios 300 is one of the best designed gaming laptops we’ve ever used and it features top-of-the-line gaming features, as well. With such power packed into a single, affordable package, the Predator easily tops our list.

Pros
  • Stellar 144Hz display
  • Powerful Intel Core i7 processor
  • High-quality build
Cons
  • Limited 256GB storage
  • Display has some minor backlight bleed
  • Battery not great while idling

The Acer Predator Helios 300 gives you everything you could ever need as a hardcore or casual gamer. As we played all our favorite games on this machine, we were consistently impressed by its overall performance, even while running games on high and ultra settings. You can thank the laptop’s snappy 16GB DDR4 RAM and 256GB SSD, along with the solid GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card.

But perhaps one of the impressive features on the Predator Helios 300 is its display. The IPS display features a whopping 144Hz refresh rate and full HD resolution. This means you’ll get very minimal motion blur, even during the most intense moments of your games. The end result is a stunning display that you won’t want to tear your eyes away from. There was a little bit of backlight bleed that was only noticeable on black screens, but we were able to give the Predator a pass when considering everything else. There’s no doubt about it, this is the best gaming laptop you can get under $1,500 today. If you want to go higher, read our best gaming laptop for the money under $2000.

 #2  ASUS ROG Strix Hero II

Award: Honorable Mention/Best Hybrid Storage

WHY WE LIKE IT: The ASUS ROG Strix Hero II is a beast of a gaming laptop that gives you performance that goes the extra mile, all packed up in one of the best designs we’ve ever seen. If you’re looking for an eye-catching laptop with powerful guts, the ROG is the gaming laptop for you.

Pros
  • Designed better than other options
  • Amazing 144Hz display
  • Impressive and comfortable keyboard
Cons
  • Onboard speakers could use some improvement
  • CPU can get hot during intense games
  • Battery life isn’t great

We have to be honest, one of the first things that stood out to us about the ASUS ROG Strix Hero II was its fantastic design. And while you can’t necessarily judge a gaming laptop solely by its design, there’s also something to say about a well-designed machine. ASUS made this laptop to turn heads and catch eyes, and we’re honestly totally on board with it. Featuring a fantastic 144Hz display and a bright, colorful keyboard, you’ll get a sense of awe every time you open the ROG up to play games.

Of course, the beautiful design isn’t the only great thing about this gaming laptop. On the inside, we were most impressed by the hybrid storage approach. The Strix Hero II features both a 256GB SSD and 1TB HDD so you can get maximum boot speeds and storage space in a single package. The Intel Core i7-8750H processor and GTX 1060 graphics card only add to the overall experience, giving you the opportunity to play games on high and ultra settings with ease. Overall, the ASUS ROG Strix Hero II is the most expensive option on our list, but it also packs one of the hardest punches. You won’t be disappointed if you purchase this gaming laptop. Also read the best gaming laptop for the money.

 #3  Acer Predator PH315-52-78VL

Award: Best Value/Best Processor

WHY WE LIKE IT: With a 9th-generation Intel Core i7 processor and premium graphics card, the Acer Predator PH315-52-78VL offers the best value out of any gaming laptops on our list. Combine that with a sleek and edgy design and you’ve got yourself a stellar gaming laptop that doesn’t disappoint.

Pros
  • Latest gen Intel processor
  • Best graphics card on the list
  • Easy to upgrade, if desired
Cons
  • Some backlight bleed on display
  • Shorter battery life than we like
  • Gets hot fast during gaming

Acer makes some of the best gaming laptops available today, and the Acer Predator PH315-52-78VL is clear evidence of that. To start, this Predator gaming laptop features the latest in processing power with an impressive ninth-gen Intel Core i7-9750H. Pair that with the best graphics card on our list – the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660Ti – and you’ve got yourself a laptop that can run even the most intense games on ultra settings. One downside to all this power is that running these kinds of games tends to heat the Predator up too fast for our liking, although the built-in fans do pretty well at managing it.

We really enjoyed the overall design of this Acer gaming laptop, as well. With black casing and subtle blue accents, this isn’t a design that gets in your face. We were also very impressed with the full HD IPS display that gives you an excellent 144 Hz refresh rate for an even smoother gaming experience. If you’re looking for a gaming laptop that offers the most bang for your buck, you can’t go wrong with the Acer Predator PH315-52-78VL. To learn more about laptops, check out the best gaming laptop brands.

 #4  Lenovo Ideapad L340

Award: Best for Office Gaming

WHY WE LIKE IT: The Lenovo Ideapad L340 is one of the most affordable gaming laptops we’ve ever reviewed. It gives you excellent gaming performance without too many sacrifices and features a toned-down design that’s perfect for gaming in offices.

Pros
  • Top-of-the-line IPS display
  • Long-lasting battery life
  • Keyboard is high-quality
Cons
  • Wi-Fi speed could use some improvement
  • Doesn’t include a memory card reader
  • Trackpad could use some work

Gaming laptops are becoming much more affordable in today’s world. In fact, prices are steadily declining, making the bar for entry into laptop gaming much lower. Gone are the days of spending thousands of dollars on a good gaming laptop, as is evidenced in the Lenovo Ideapad L340. This superb gaming laptop somehow manages to pack itself full of hardware and features that you’d typically see in machines twice or three times the cost of this one. They may not be the highest performing components, but they’re sill good enough to keep up with most games.

The Lenovo makes small sacrifices in terms of CPU and graphics, only giving you an Intel Core i5 processor and GeForce 1650 graphics card, but we didn’t find ourselves overly frustrated with poor game performance. These small downgrades are easily overlooked and can actually be upgraded later in the laptop’s life if you feel like you need more juice to play your favorite video games on higher settings. All in all, if you’re on a budget, you can’t go wrong with the Lenovo Ideapad L340. On top of overall good performance, the subtle design of the laptop fits well in both your home and the office. Also read about the best laptop for photo editing.

 #5  MSI GL63

Award: Best Budget/Best Lightweight

WHY WE LIKE IT: It used to be that MSI was a relatively unknown brand in the gaming laptop world, but that has quickly changed. The MSI GL63 is the result of the company’s efforts to offer the same power as mainstream competitors, featuring a high-end processor and graphics card for a budget price.

Pros
  • Lightest laptop on the list
  • Snappy Intel Core i5 processor
  • Upgrades are easy
Cons
  • Less-than-average battery life
  • Graphics card isn’t the best
  • Display could be brighter

The MSI GL63 is designed with a subtle gaming appearance: all black casing and deep red accents. We love the design, and frankly, the laptop could have made it onto our list on that basis alone. Of course, we also considered overall performance and hardware, but the GL63 made it easy with a current-gen Intel Core i5 processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card. And while these are the top of the line in terms of hardware, they are excellent additions when you consider the budget price of this gaming laptop.

If you find that these pieces of hardware, along with the 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD, aren’t enough for your needs, the MSI GL63 is one the easiest laptops to upgrade that we’ve experienced. The machine is easy to open up and swap out hardware, something that can be hard to find in today’s world of ever-complicated computers. We also loved that this laptop was lighter and slimmer than any of the others we tested, making it more portable and flexible for playing games on the go. If you’re looking for a solid budget gaming laptop, consider the MSI GL63. Check out the best Chromebook while you are here.

Key Factors and Features to a Good Gaming Laptop Under $1500

Processor

  • As per the standard these days, all the best gaming laptops we’ve recommended in this list come with Intel’s quintessential workhorse – the Core i7-6700HQ.
  • This processor is popular because it gets the job done and is highly optimized for almost all games currently on the market.
  • While AMD does offer similarly powerful CPUs, the amount of optimization built around the sixth-gen Core i line of processors is enough to keep them firmly in first place.

RAM

  • While most mobile gaming enthusiasts will tell you that 8GB is “fine” for what you need it to do, optimally you’ll want to include 16GB of RAM in your next laptop.
  • It’s not required and doesn’t matter as much on the gaming side, but if you want to do a lot of tasks at the same time (Netflix and Hearthstone, for example), having a little extra RAM to go around never hurts.

Graphics Card

  • When shopping under the $1,500 range, the best GPU you could hope to get at that price point is going to be the GTX 970M with 3GB of DDR5 memory.
  • Like the i7-6700HQ, Nvidia’s line of “M” branded graphics cards are full on workhorses, and are extremely well-optimized for the task of gaming on the go.
  • Although it may not seem like much, the gulf between the 960M 4GB and 970M 3GB is pretty substantial, with around 75% more power generated by the latter.

Storage

  • If you can, try to get an SSD (solid-state drive) for your next gaming laptop.
  • While they aren’t an absolute necessity, they’re great for speeding up your loading times between maps or levels, and can also survive more punishment if your laptop happens to take a fall.
  • Either way, you should always have a backup HDD that’s at least 500GB (1TB preferred) to hold all your games.

Screen

  • This is a bit of a divisive area for most gamers, due to one big question: how much time will you really spend gaming on the road?
  • If you game at home a lot, you can always save money on your machine by plugging into an external monitor
  • If you’re going to game on the road often however, you might want to invest more in the screen so you have the best viewing/gaming experience possible no matter where you are.
  • In the end, this is only a question that you can answer on an individual basis, so make sure you consider all your options before making a final purchase.

Build Quality

  • In general, the build quality of a machine will encompass three different features: the keyboard, the trackpad, and the case.
  • Both the keyboard and the trackpad need to be solid and capable of taking a lot of abuse, because unlike the hard drive or RAM, replacing the keyboard on your laptop is next to impossible without buying a new unit altogether.
  • Last, you want to be sure the actual shell of your laptop is made from solid plastic, or optimally a combination of plastic and aluminum. These materials can withstand a lot of punishment over the years, and won’t give out the next time you accidentally shove your laptop off the table and onto the floor.

Mistakes to Avoid

Cheap Build Quality: All the high-end specs in the world won’t mean much if the build quality of your laptop is so poor that the whole system breaks after one drop. Laptops need to be able to survive the risks of the road, and when shopping on a budget it’s important to strike a balance between the specs you want and the quality you know you deserve.

Don’t Splurge on the Screen: As we’ve noted in previous articles on the subject, one of the biggest mistakes people make when buying a new laptop is spending too much on a screen they may only end up using half the time. Yes, laptops are made for mobile, but gaming laptops can also work just as well on your desktop as they do at the local coffee shop. As such, remember that you’ll have a screen back home to plug into, and as long as that monitor is high quality you can save money on the laptop by outputting the video signal to compensate.

Which Gaming Laptop Under $1500 is Right For Me

Each gaming laptop under $1,500 on this list has its ups and downs, and none are going to be 100% perfect for every type of gamer. If you want a solid all-around experience with minimal worries about build quality, the Acer Predator 17 can do almost no wrong.

If you’re dead set on a 4K display the ASUS ZenBook could be the right choice, and if all you care about is raw power for the price, the Alienware 17 fills out that niche all the same. Inevitably it all comes down to the features you care about most, and which laptop is able to tick off the most boxes on your checklist!

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Chris Stobing

Chris Stobing is a writer and blogger from the heart of Silicon Valley. Raised around tech from birth, he's had an interest in PC hardware and networking technology for years, and has come to Gadget Review to contribute his knowledge on both.

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