10 Best Budget Gaming Laptops of 2018
Finding the best budget gaming laptop on the market in 2018 is really easy, generally speaking. All that a consumer has to do is to find the most expensive one with the best hardware built into it. While this may be a valid method for a small percentage of us, many people will have the biggest restriction will be their budget. Laptops in this price range are difficult to differentiate between sometimes, and finding the best laptops can be somewhat tricky.
Luckily for us, there is a burgeoning middle of the road, 2018 midrange selection of laptops that maximizes performance in the class of hardware that they are being contested at. This means that for less money, more enjoyment can be extracted from the best laptops chosen our list of the best budget gaming laptop.
Table of Contents
- Best Budget Gaming Laptop Reviews
- 1. ASUS ZX53VW 15.6″ Gaming Laptop, NVIDIA, GTX 960M
- 2. Eluktronics N850HK1 Pro Premium Gaming Laptop
- 3. Acer Aspire R 15 Convertible Laptop, 7th Gen Intel Core i7
- 4. Acer Aspire E5-573G 15.6-Inch Gaming Laptop
- 5. Dell Inspiron 15.6″ Gaming Laptop
- 6. PROSTAR Clevo Gaming Laptop N850HK1 15.6″ FHD IPS
- 7. Acer Aspire VX 15 Gaming Laptop, 7th Gen Intel Core i7
- 8. MSI Computer GL62 6QF-1446 Core i7-6700HQ Gaming Laptop
- 9. ASUS K501UW-AB78 15.6-inch Full-HD Gaming Laptop
- 10. Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop, Intel Core i7
- Buyers Guide Questions
- Do all Gaming Laptops come with Integrated Graphics Cards to Handle all Games?
- What are the Different Displays Usually Found on Gaming Laptops?
- Do you need to buy an External plug-n-play Keyboard and Mouse with the Gaming Laptop?
- Do Laptops have all the Features Required for Gaming?
- What are the Ideal Specs for Gaming Laptops?
- How do you Choose the best Gaming Laptop on a Budget?
- Top Pick
- Premium Choice
- Great Value
Best Budget Gaming Laptop Reviews
The best way that this is accomplished, is by using hardware from previous versions of flagship hardware. This is possible because flagship hardware is normally overclockable and tweakable, meaning that these products are fine tuned for the best performance for laptops. Laptops that seem to sell the best in 2018, especially the best budget laptops, will have the best mix between performance and affordability.
Another way that these products make themselves affordable is by using cheaper, more efficient versions of a gaming hardware platform. These laptops offer fantastic value for money for gamers that are on a tight budget. We will look at 10 of the best budget gaming laptops.
1. ASUS ZX53VW 15.6″ Gaming Laptop, NVIDIA, GTX 960M
Read Customer Reviews Here »
Gamers are very picky when it comes to choosing a mobile gaming solution, and with good reason. Games require superior hardware specifications and higher quality components, which usually increases the cost of a unit, but this need not be the case.
This is a great unit from Asus in the mid-range segment of the market. It features gamer-friendly i5-6300HQ CPU. Users can activate the Turbo feature which overclocks the CPU up to 3.2GHz. The graphics are handled by an NVidia GTX960M, which is a capable gaming option, despite it being the older version of the mobile chipset. The Asus features an HDMI port, 3 USB ports and a Thunderbolt connector.
This laptop features a matte finish on the screen, which means that it has antiglare properties on the LCD. Antiglare is great for people who find themselves with sun light exposure in their work area. Asus has applied their usual high standards of build quality to this laptop, and have created a great performing laptop at a good price. For those that are working in low light settings, the Asus unit also has a backlit keynoard. There is a 512GB SSD as well, meaning that the transfer rates are going to be excellent as well.
Despite this being a mid-range laptop, there is a lot to like. Some of the hardware is starting to age a little, but if you can snag one of these laptops when they go on sale, then you are going to be getting an excellent gaming solution to match your budget. The discrete graphics, a super quick SSD hard drive and Windows 10 software will give you a great DirectX12 gaming experience as well, with mid to high levels of graphical capabilities.
Why We Like It
- Intel Core i5-6300HQ 2.3GHz CPU
- 8GB DDR3 RAM 2400Mhz (16GB Max)
- 512GB SATA HARD DISK DRIVE
- 15.6-Inch wide screen
- Comes with Windows 10 operating system (OS)
Asus has long been known as a computer parts manufacturer with a fantastic track record. Asus makes many different peripherals as well, which means that they have an excellent understanding of what it means to make the best budget gaming laptop for your buck.
2. Eluktronics N850HK1 Pro Premium Gaming Laptop
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A relatively unknown brand, Eluktronics have created a high performance, premium quality laptop for consumers to sink their teeth into. What we have here is an Intel Core i7-7700HQ with DDR 4 support that runs at 2400MHz. The graphics card is an NVidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, which means that it is a mid-ranged graphics card, but is still a very capable, current generation GPU.
The keyboard is a full RGB backlit device, and has a numeric keypad that will help users with productivity when they are not gaming with it. Security is covered by a Kensington slot, and the inclusion of a fingerprint reader helps to add to the premium feel of the Eluktronics N850HK1 Pro Premium Gaming Laptop.
Connectivity is achieved with multiple connector types which are; 2 Thunderbold 3 connectors, 2 USB 3 connectors, a USB type C connector, HDMI, LAN and a USB 2.0 connector. Storage is taken care of courtesy of a 256GB SSD that will provide users with the best of lightning fast read and write speeds, which equals faster load times for games and applications.
The overall aesthetic of this laptop is geared towards the 2018 gamer, with its sharp geometric lines and beautifully customizable RGB keyboard. The laptop itself requires quite a lot of power, and the PSU is a 120W rated charging device. The battery itself is a 6-Cell, 62WHr (Watt Hours) which will give gamers plenty of time to play games when they are away from a power outlet.
The device has dimensions that are just big enough to enjoy games, and small enough and light enough to be a portable entertainment solution. This is the best compromise when looking at gaming laptops. The total weight with battery is 5.6lbs and is only 1.06 inches thick. Pricing is reasonable when one considers the premium build quality and components, and upgrading options are available to boot. Laptops have really come a long way in recent years, providing some of the best gaming experiences on a mobile platform to date.
Why We Like It
- Ships with an Intel Core i7-7700HQ
- NVidia GTX 1050 Ti
- 15.6 inch IPS LED display
- 512GB SSD
- RGD backlit keyboard
Finding a premium laptop that has an attractive price tag is usually a difficult task to accomplish, but when looking at this Eluktronics budget gaming laptop, there is little doubt that there is great value for money in this package. It has great looks, quality materials and high performance components. It is not very heavy either, and has a very thin profile for such a powerful machine. This is a great budget 2017 game capable laptop with a premium feel.
3. Acer Aspire R 15 Convertible Laptop, 7th Gen Intel Core i7
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Here we have an interesting laptop from Acer, the Aspire R15 Convertible. This is a foldable laptop that can be used as both a tablet and a laptop, depending on what your application requirements are. There is a powerful Intel Core i7 CPU under the hood, as well as full DDR4 support, and is shipped with 12GB worth of this super fast memory. The graphics card is a slightly older, 2G NVidia GeForce 940MX that features GDDR5 VRAM, so is still going to be able to run games at medium to high quality settings without too much trouble.
The keyboard is not backlit, but there is a biometric fingerprint reader. There is an LCD touch panel that is capable of full HD resolution and is also an IPS panel. Acer has added a patented WiFi antenna that is built upon the ExoAmp design. This unit is also said to have up to 9 hours of battery life, which means that gamers will be able to get the most out of the mobility that this laptop offers. This is also great for those that are seeking higher levels of productivity when travelling as the time between charges will allow ample usage at airports, especially in tablet mode.
The main feature is the transformation function, which offers almost 360 degrees of
movement on the unit’s sturdy hinges. These hinges allow gamers to setup the laptop in a variety of configurations such as: Notebook, Display, Tent and Tablet. Your laptop can now be used in a variety of different ways to match your working, travelling and entertainment needs for 2018 and beyond.
The dimensions of this laptop are 14.6 inch x 10.1 inch x 0.8 inch, making it one of the thinnest that we have reviewed for this round up. It weighs around 4.7lbs with the battery loaded, which people might consider as being a tad on the heavy side for a tablet, however, not many tablets can boast having an Intel Core i7 CPU within.
Considering its features and overall price, the Acer Aspire R 15 Convertible Laptop is quite a compelling purchase for any PC gamer that values mobility and multiple configurations for their mobile game playing solution for 2018.
Why We Like It
- Intel Core i7 CPU
- Ultra-thin, 1.02 inches thick
- Ultra-light, 5,28lbs
- Harman speakers
- NVidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti
There is a lot to like with this gaming laptop from Lenovo, from it’s modern, mid-range graphics card, an NVidia GTX1050 Ti, to its 2.7GHz Intel Core i7 CPU. The overall build quality is fantastic, and the addition of the glass multi-touch screen certainly adds a level of functionality that not many laptops in this price segment can match. It is certainly one of the best in laptops on the market currently in 2017, and can easily be the best choice for consumers who have a tough time deciding between tablets and laptops.
4. Acer Aspire E5-573G 15.6-Inch Gaming Laptop
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We have another selection of laptops from Acer, this time in the form of the Aspire E5-573G. It features a 5th generation Intel Core i5-5200U processor, with Turbo Boost Technology allowing for on the fly overclocking from 2.2GHz all the way up to an impressive 2.7GHz. This will allow gamers to squeeze out a healthy dose of extra performance when playing the best games or working.
The screen comes in the form of a 15.6 inch Full HD Widescreen that features a ComfyView LED-backlit Display. It maxes out at a resolution of 1920 x 1080, with a 16:9 aspect ratio. Memory is taken care of by an 8GB DDR3L Dual Channel Memory DIMM, with expansion possible all the way up to 16GB. The graphics card that ships with this laptop is certainly better than most standard i5 laptops that are coming out today, but buyers should be aware that it is not a flagship GPU by any stretch of the imagination. It is a 2GB graphics card with GDDR3, which is a last generation VRAM solution. This is not to say that the laptop will not be able to handle any 3D applications, because it can, but those seeking a high detailed, high FPS experience may be slightly disappointed, especially considering some of the other 2018 options that are out there.
Connectivity is handled by an 802.11ac WiFi adapter that features MU-MIMO technology for blazing fast transfer speeds and superior streaming of data across your WiFi network. There is also an Ethernet port that provides auto sensing of 10/100/1000 Gigabit connectivity. Those with Bluetooth accessories will be happy to know that this unit ships with a Bluetooth 4.0 adapter and an HD webcam as well. This is not Full High Definition though, and it sports a maximum resolution of 1280 x 720.
Connections on this laptop include 2 USB 3.0 connectors, of which, one offers charging when the unit is switched off, 1 x USB 2.0 connector and 1 x HDMI connector with HDCP support.
Why We Like It
- Core i5-5200U 2.2 GHz with 3MB of Cache
- 8GB DDR3L
- 2GB GTX940M
- Full High Definition screen
- 1TB 5400 RPM HARD DISK DRIVE
Acer has shown us many great game oriented laptops recently, with this offering just managing to sneak over into the gaming ready territory that we are in with this review. This is by no means solely for playing games, but as an all-round solution it is one of the best options as far as laptops go. It is also high quality business machine with a 3D capable GPU, perfect for the consumer of 2017. The overall styling of this machine is sleek and smooth, and would not look out of place on your desk at work, or at home during a marathon session.
5. Dell Inspiron 15.6″ Gaming Laptop
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Dell has chosen to market its 2018 Inspiron range of laptops as a durable consumer item and has gone to great lengths to explain how the testing and quality assurance is done for this product line. This is reassuring to customers who are steadily becoming more aware to the need to choose the right Dell product for their best interest that will offer them maximum price vs performance and longevity, lasting well past 2018. The Inspiron range continues to impress, and it has really shown itself to be one of the best value laptops of 2018.
This particular Dell Inspiron 2018 model ships with an Intel Corei5-7300HQ Quad Core CPU, and it features 6MB of cache. Speed Boost Technology also allows for the CPU to be overclocked to the best frequencieson the fly. DDR4 is the memory standard being used on this laptop as it offers great performance and massive memory capacities, in this case up to 32GB in total, which gamers will find suits their needs the best.
The Dell Inspiron range of laptops storage is achieved via a 256GB SSD which means that your data will be written and read at very high speeds when compared to a non-flash memory based HARD DISK DRIVE. Mechanical hard drives are becoming less prominent in 2018, and as time goes by, and as SSD drives get cheaper and their capacities continue to grow, they will continue to get cheaper and cheaper, which is excellent news for consumers.
This particular Dell Inspiron unit also comes ships pre-loaded with Windows 10 Home 64-bit, so if you are wanting to connect to a domain such as a work network, you will not be able to do so. Dell allows for certain options to be swapped out on their Inspiron configurations, so if this is of major concern to you, just give Dell a call and see what they can do for you. It is always a good idea to contact Dell directly, and not go through a retailer. This normally yields the best results from Dell and their support teams.
This 2018 Dell Inspiron is clearly not a specific gaming device as it has excellent styling and a touch more refinement than one would expect to find in a full blown 3D capable laptop. There are no backlit keys either, which means that low light typing sessions are going to need a fair bit of touch typing skill, which is not the best option for consumers in 2018. Dell Inspiron laptops are steadily becoming more popular in 2018, and the best place to get the best deal is online through the Dell Inspiron section of their website.
Why We Like It
- Core i5-7300HQ Quad Core CPU, 6MB Cache
- NVidia GTX 1050
- 15.6 inch Antiglare display
- 256GB SSD
- 8GB 2400MHz DDR4, MAX 32GB
Office dwellers with a penchant for part time gaming would do well to take a look at a solution such as this from Dell. Dell offers all of the best in traditional styling elements, combined with some great internal features. The Antiglare LED Backlit display from Dell is crisp and clear, and will not be too negatively affected by any ambient light that may fall upon it during your busy work day due to its antiglare properties. This is one of the best Dell laptops that you can find in the Inspiron range, and the best materials and best quality components ensure that 2017 is a good time to get yourself one of these awesome laptops. Gamers on a budget are living at the best time, with 2017 being an amazing year for the technology market, especially for these Inspiron laptops.
6. PROSTAR Clevo Gaming Laptop N850HK1 15.6″ FHD IPS
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We have another great mid ranged budget gaming laptop in our midst, this time from Prostar. The Clevo gaming laptop features a Full High Definition 15.6 inch LED screen with a matte finish and has some great display output options, namely an HDMI port, and 2 x Mini DisplayPort 1.2 ports. This means that gamers can expect some multiple display madness options in their future if they decide to pair off with this fantastic budget gaming laptop option.
The engine room is crammed to the rafters with an impressive Intel Core i7-7700HQ that is clocked at 2.8 when at stock frequencies, and can be boosted via the Max Turbo Frequency feature up to a toasty 3.8GHz. This is a screamer of a CPU to have inside a gaming laptop, and its 6MB of Smart Cache will keep things moving along smoothly. On the graphical front we have a powerful NVidia GeForce 1050Ti with 4GB of GDDR5 VRAM, which is more than enough for some medium to high detail graphical settings, and will allow for some fun gaming action when you are out and about and need a quick gaming fix.
System RAM is made up of a single 8GB DDR4 DIMM, clocked at a delectable 2400MHz for massive performance gains over the previous DDR3 architecture that is found in some other gaming laptops. Storage is handled by a speedy, albeit relatively small, 120GB M.2 SSD drive, which means that your gaming load times are about to get a lot shorter, which is an excellent thing!
There is a wireless card as well as Bluetooth for your connectivity options, and 1 x USB 2.0 for legacy devices, and 2 x USB 3.0 type A ports, and 1 x USB 3.0 type C port. Extra features include a full RGB programmable backlit keyboard as well as a 2.0M FHD webcam. Software that is preloaded on this particular system is none other than Windows 10 Home, and the unit ships with a 1-year warranty.
This is a great budget gaming laptop, and it has some solid hardware within its stylish confines. There is a real gaming aesthetic to this unit, and the full RGB backlit keyboard will tell anyone who sees it that you are all about the gaming side of life.
Why We Like It
- NVidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti
- 8GB DDR4 2400MHz RAM
- Intel Core i7-7700HQ, 6MB Cache
- 120GB M.2 SSD
- RGB backlit keyboard
This is a great example of a gaming laptop that has been done right, and will surprise a few people with its price. There is a fine mix between its premium features and the quality of its components and finish. For gamers that don’t want to break the bank (or rob one) there are not too many options out there that are as reasonably priced for the features that it presents.
7. Acer Aspire VX 15 Gaming Laptop, 7th Gen Intel Core i7
Read Customer Reviews Here »
If you are looking for the best laptops that combine the looks and appearance of a fighter jet with the ruggedness and tough façade of a battle tank, then this could be the laptop for your budget gaming needs. This range of the best laptops features a black finish with red vent accents, which gives a modern and stylish appearance to the overall gaming aesthetic that Acer was after when designing the Aspire VX15 Gaming Laptop.
Processing duties are handled by the ever popular Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU chip, which features 2.8GHz standard clock speeds which can be Turbo Max Boosted all the way up to 3.8GHz when the occasion requires the extra CPU horsepower. The graphics card of choice for this fine specimen of budget gaming laptop is none other than the NVidia GeForce 1050 Ti, which has found favor with manufacturers that are seeking to deploy budget gaming laptops in this segment of the market, with its potent price to performance ratios.
The screen is not the biggest, but at 15.6 inch of wide angle IPS goodness, it’s not exactly the smallest screen out there, either. It manages to push out Full HD resolutions that will make your games really shine, and a decent gaming experience is definitely achievable with the screen and GPU combination that Acer has selected here. Acer laptops are some of the best budget gaming laptops available on the market.
System RAM is supplied by a generous helping of 16GB of DDR4 2400MHZ DIMMS, and system storage comes in the form of a 256GB SSD. The keyboard is backlit with a red color scheme that compliments the rest of the unit, and cooling is handled by a dual fan solution inside the laptop.
Why We Like It
- Core i7-7700HQ CPU
- NVidia GeForce 1050 Ti
- 15.6 inch FHD Widescreen IPS display
- 16GB DDR4 2400MHz
- HARD DISK DRIVE Upgrade Kit available for no charge
Acer continues to show off its gaming laptop design prowess with its recent releases, and the Acer Aspire VX 15 Gaming Laptop is another fine example of this budget gaming laptop subtype. It is hard to believe that this kind of value exists in the gaming sector, but our round up shows you where the most bang for your hard earned buck can be found.
8. MSI Computer GL62 6QF-1446 Core i7-6700HQ Gaming Laptop
Read Customer Reviews Here »
MSI brings us another solid gaming option for laptop lovers that need a budget friendly solution for their mobile needs. This unit features some slightly older internals but this is offset by the slightly lower price point that this product comes in at. Laptops such as this will provide all of the best gaming and productivity capabilities tucked into a single solution.
We have an Intel Core i7-6700HQ CPU, which is still a decent processor in its own right. It features the same over clocking options that are available on similarly aged Core i7 systems, so it isn’t a damp squib by any stretch of the imagination. The graphics card is again, a slightly older solution, with the GPU being a last generation solution from NVidia: the GeForce GTX960M. The mobile derivative of these chips is ever so slightly hamstrung when compared to the fully fledged desktop equivalent, so buyers should be aware of this slight disadvantage.
System memory is up to date with a DDR4 slot configuration, and our review example comes with 8GB of it. All together this system still performs very well, with medium to medium-high game settings providing the best trade-off between visuals and gaming performance.
Absent from this system are the RGD and backlit keyboard options that gamers have become accustomed to on some of the other laptops, and this may be a good thing for some, and a setback for others. On the one hand, people that are looking for a budget friendly, high performance laptop for work will not be disappointed with this laptop. As a primary laptop, this unit offers some compelling performance advantages over some of the more expensive laptops in our list.
The hard drive is a mechanical 1TB device, but this can be upgraded to a SATA SSD if your budget allows. There are 2 USB 3.0 ports, and there is 1 USB 2.0 port on the laptop which makes it a capable device for everyday use.
This is a great power user’s laptop that perhaps does not have gaming on the agenda as a primary objective. There is a lot to like on this unit, but the overall weighting of its features and performance when compared to its competitors might not make for a fantastic gaming experience when compared to some of the other examples in our awesome budget gaming laptops round up.
Why We Like It
- Core i7-6700HQ CPU
- 8GB DDR4
- 1TB 7,200 RPM HARD DISK DRIVE
- NVidia GeForce GTX 960M
- Windows 10
This is another great laptop for budget conscious gamers that are in search of a bargain. There is a lot to like here on the MSI, but ultimately the slightly older specs may let this unit down somewhat. The lack of a gaming theme or an RGB backlit keyboard also seems to keep this laptop at arm’s length from the budget gaming laptop category, which may or may not be a plus for you, depending on your requirements. When it comes to budget friendly laptops, this is one of the best options out there.
9. ASUS K501UW-AB78 15.6-inch Full-HD Gaming Laptop
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Asus brings us the K501UW-AB78 for our reviewing pleasure. This laptop is a bit of a gaming sleeper in the aesthetics department. Much like a street racing car that has had no work done to the bodywork or paint job, it is only when the machine is called upon to perform its primary task that the competitors will have any clue as to what lurks beneath the hood of your vehicle, or in this case: laptop. Laptops like this bely the fact that they house within them some exceptional gaming parts, not normally seen in laptops but rather in a fully-fledged gaming PC.
And that is a good thing: as the CPU is an Intel Core i7-6500U that is based on the Intel Skylake architecture and will allow for some pretty fantastic gaming grunt on the computational processing end of things. The graphics card is based on NVidia’s GeForce 960M chip, which means that GPU performance, though not stellar, is still acceptable to a casual gamer that is looking for a laptop such as this for secondary gaming as well as for using for every day usage and at the office, this is due to the nature of the DirectX 11 limitations that the hardware is experiencing with newer titles.
There is a full sized, backlit keyboard that keeps the lines of communication open, and the trackpad is thoughtfully placed on the system’s palm-rest, slightly off centre and to the left. Acer offers applications to assist gamers with overclocking and managing their system settings, with some tweakable options also available in the BIOS for gamers to play around with. The graphics cards come equipped with NVidia’s Optimus technology, which automatically overclocks or under provisions graphical resources depending on the current tasks that the laptop is performing, freeing gamers up to play more than they have to spend time fine tuning their systems.
This is another good budget gaming laptop for consumers to consider, but its aging graphics card and processor might dissuade some users from giving it a try, considering the unit’s price and age. We can see more laptops like this becoming very popular among mobile gamers that need laptops to conduct their daily activities.
Why We Like It
- Intel Core i7-6500K
- 8GB DDR4
- NVidia GeForce GTX 960M
- Matte FHD screen
- 512GB SSD storage
Asus are masters of the PC component world when it comes to gaming: they make some of the best graphics cards and motherboards on the market, and their mobile offerings are not different. The Asus K501UW-AB78 is a great entry level to mid-range gaming laptop that has a great matte finish LCD and is sure to be popular with both professionals and causal gamers alike, depending on the intensity of the graphical requirements.
10. Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop, Intel Core i7
Read Customer Reviews Here »
The Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop features a 15.6 inch Full HD gaming LCD with vibrant colours and great pixel density. The screen has an angular top bezel that looks very much like a gamer’s screen, and the bezels are quite pronounced on the top, bottom and sides. It is capable of a Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080, with an aspect ratio that is a widescreen.
The keyboard is not shy about telling you that it has been designed with the gamer in mind, and features a stylised, highlighted WASD configuration in red. The keyboard offers sufficient tactile feedback and is great for gaming. Like so many full sized laptops that are available, this laptop features a full keyboard with a number pad. The keys are backlit with a red LED.
The same angular shape carries through to the palm rest which completes the angular look of the device. The track pad is slightly off-centre and has a silver and red border around it which looks great.
The CPU is the ever popular Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor, which overclocks to a healthy 3.8GHZ. It also features 6MB of cache which helps it to complete its tasks much quicker than previous versions of CPU with smaller cache. Graphics are handled by a NVidia GeForce GTX 1060, and it has its own dedicated 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM, which allows it to process graphics ludicrously fast for a laptop, and textures can be loaded into memory for easy access by the GPU, which means quicker loading times on games that have high textural detail.
There is plenty of memory that comes shipped with this unit, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, to be precise. Storage is not overly capacious, but is 256GB worth of solid state hard drive, meaning that speed takes precedence over capacity. (Which is just how gamers usually like it.)
Acer has shown itself time and time again to be more than capable of producing the goods when it comes to creating decent budget gaming laptops, and this is no exception. We gaming hardware that is easily on par with desktop machines, and those that decide to go with a unit such as this are sure to get many hours of gaming fun out of the mobile system.
Why We Like It
- Intel Core i7-7700HQ
- NVidia GTX 1060 6GB
- 7 Hour battery life
- 256GB SSD HARD DISK DRIVE
- 16GB DDR4 RAM
A great looking product with top notch features, such as a blazing fast Intel Core i7-7700HQ with an NVidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU to handle the graphical side of things. The Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop manages to give us all of the great features that gamers need to be able to perform at their best, while not sacrificing style for a loud colour scheme and unit shape. This is an overall balanced budget gaming laptop that is sure to be popular with man gamers.
Buyers Guide Questions
Do all Gaming Laptops come with Integrated Graphics Cards to Handle all Games?
Unfortunately, the answer here is a resounding ‘no’. While this would be the case in an ideal world, integrated (and standalone) graphics solutions present many challenges when they are chosen to be used in a laptop. The first and most obvious is the cost of the unit. Because a GPU is so advanced and packed full of features, using one adds significantly to the cost of manufacturing a gaming laptop, and as with all things in life, the higher the quality, the higher the cost.
The next consideration is heat dissipation. Once a graphics card kicks into high gear, it generates a lot of heat, which needs to be absorbed and ejected from the system. This is done a few different ways, normally by using copper heat pipes, heat spreaders and heat sinks, in conjunction with a high volume fan to move hot air out of the system. In premium laptops, water cooling solutions are often employed, but this is much less common in laptops, and is more relevant to gaming desktop PCs.
These added components add additional complexity and cost to a laptop, so manufacturers will often include only a very basic and rudimentary GPU that is physically soldered onto the motherboard, as part of the system’s chipset. These graphics cards have difficulty rendering graphics in 3D and are more suited to 2D applications such as productivity suites like Microsoft Office and internet browsing (click here for a full guide on wifi adaptors), or watching videos online.
Luckily for you though, we have put together a decent list of some of the best in budget gaming laptops, so that you, the consumer, can make the best decision when selecting your budget gaming laptop.
What are the Different Displays Usually Found on Gaming Laptops?
When it comes to finding the best gaming laptops of 2018, there are many different types of displays to consider when trying to find one that suits your particular needs. We have LCD (Liquid Crystal Displays) being the most common, due to its low cost and ease of manufacture, so we will look at the different variants of this type that are available, mainly the coatings that cover the screen.
IPS is perhaps the most desirable and the best of the two as it offers better color reproduction and vibrancy of colors, while also giving better viewing angles at the same time, but there is a reduction in frame rates which means that gaming can be affected in some rare instances, but this is not necessarily true of all IPS panels.
TN coating is the panel type that you are probably looking at right now while reading this article, if you are an average laptop user, anyway. It provides a duller, less vibrant color representation, with more acute viewing angles, and is seen as being the cheaper of the two. This screen type does provide better refresh rates and also frame rates seem be quite stable on these displays. Laptops are starting to feature some pretty amazing screen technologies, making laptops an indispensable tool in the modern day gamer’s arsenal.
In addition to these options, there are also options when it comes to LCD screens: Matte vs Glossy finishes. These two options are widely seen as being the most important screen characteristics when it comes to gaming on the go, as a matte screen is generally seen as the best when it comes to reducing glare when outside or near a big window. Glossy displays are great for presentations and for general productivity, and offer greater clarity in some cases, making colors pop.
Higher end gaming displays are now employing NVidia’s GSYNC technology, which prevents frame tearing and on-screen artifacts from appearing mid game, and this allows gamers to enjoy a more seamless and clear graphical experience on-screen.
Ultimately these decisions will come down to personal preference and what feels like a better fit for the consumer, but these tips will help you find what works best for you, and will help you to find the best in laptops for 2018.
Do you need to buy an External plug-n-play Keyboard and Mouse with the Gaming Laptop?
The keyboard end of this question is up for debate. There are many people that consider the laptop keyboards that their system comes equipped with as being more than sufficient, while PC gaming purists may find the idea of gaming on a laptop keyboard as being less than ideal.
Having a gaming keyboard that is connected to your laptop is not a bad idea, if you have hands that are bigger than usual and find that the confines of a laptop keyboard are not working for you, but this is not necessarily a problem for everyone. If you have a big enough laptop bad for carrying an external keyboard around with you then it shouldn’t be too much of an extra burden for you to manage, but it probably won’t be necessary.
Using the trackpad for gaming is not really an option as it was not designed to be used as a gaming peripheral. Even with multi-touch enabled trackpads there just isn’t enough versatility to allow players to get the most out of their experience with a track-pad. In this instance it is definitely worth the extra effort of carrying around a primary gaming mouse that you can connect up to your laptop’s USB port, or if you have a Bluetooth mouse, you can connect wirelessly to your laptop.
Carrying a mouse around in your laptop bag is not much of a hassle, so this is definitely recommended for anyone that finds themselves needing to game a little while they are out and about. Laptops are not meant to be used as gaming controllers, so a mouse and keyboard is a must.
There are many great gaming mouse models on the market, and many of them feature advanced features such as macros and DPI sensitivity settings that can be used in real time while you are in-game, which means that you can adapt your style of play while without having to interrupt the gaming action.
Do Laptops have all the Features Required for Gaming?
No. Many laptops have only the most basic functions built into them. This is because laptops are more likely to be used as a business tool or a home office/educational tool than for gaming. This is especially true with the lower costing laptop models on the market, as they ship with fewer features and their build quality and style are normally very plain, and are aimed at basic computer users.
A gaming laptop must have a great processor (Central Processing Unit) in order to load games and application quickly. Many newer games are finally starting to use multi-threaded tasking, which allows for games to take advantage of multiple processor cores. Having multiple cores working in unison creates a parallel work flow within your system, which means that tasks can be run simultaneously. This allows your laptop to run faster and finish loading games and applications much, much quicker.
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Another major requirement for a gaming laptop is a decent graphics card (Graphical Processing Unit) which is the single most important component when it comes to rendering your games’ graphics in 3D. Your GPU uses advanced mathematical equations and formulas to help it to calculate advanced geometrical shapes such as polygons, which are the building blocks of modern graphics in PC games.
Fast system memory (Random Access Memory) is another important factor that is needed for a gamers laptop. The frequency that the RAM runs at is also known as a clock speed, just like your graphics card and CPU, and the higher this clock speed or frequency runs, the more cycles of operations it can complete per second. RAM also needs to be plentiful, the more RAM in your gaming laptop, the better. That is why laptops should not consider anything less than 8GB of RAM to run games smoothly.
What are the Ideal Specs for Gaming Laptops?
Unfortunately, there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to this problem, and it comes down largely to what your personal preferences are, as well as what you are wanting to do with your laptop, other than gaming.
Generally speaking, an Intel Core i5 CPU should be fine for casual game-play on your laptop. An i5 possesses all of the features that a PC gamer needs, multiple cores, great system cache and high clock speeds. If gaming is the not the only thing that you are doing with the system then you should be looking at a more powerful CPU like an i7, especially if you are doing a lot of processor intensive operations such as CAD and other design software.
RAM for playing should be a minimum of 8GB with the way that today’s modern titles are designed, with many games seeing benefits from as much as 16GB of RAM. Anything above 16GB starts to become a bit too subjective for people to accurately see any benefits while playing, and benchmarking software yields similar results.
Gamers will want their graphics card to be the single most powerful component in their laptop. This is because not many laptops allow for graphical upgrades, because most of the time the GPU is built into the motherboard and is not a replaceable component.
NVidia has been dominating the mobile GPU landscape for some time now, so any sincere recommendation on that fron would have to be one for the green team. Older graphics cards such as the GTX 960 and GTX 980 are still capable cards, but the risk with buying previous generation hardware is that your platform is that much closer to obsolescence than a current hardware platform. GTX 1050 Ti, GTX 1060 and GTX 1080 cards are the sweet spot currently in 2018.
How do you Choose the best Gaming Laptop on a Budget?
When looking to choose the best gaming laptop of 2018 on a budget, there are many factors to consider. The best approach to take is the one that we outlined previously, make sure that the graphics card in your system is the highest and best rated in the range that you are looking at. If there is an option between an i7 CPU with a lower rated graphics card, or an i5 with a higher rated graphics card, always go with the best rated graphics card option as this will provide you with the best gaming platform.
This will allow your games to run at the recommended resolutions and detail levels which will provide you with a better gaming experience overall. After you have narrowed your search by following these criteria, start to look at what your needs are for beyond 2018.
Will you require lots of drive storage for your movies and music? Or is speed a move valuable commodity for your laptop gaming requirements? If the latter is your main concern, then an SSD Hard Disk Drive will be the best option for you, while the former would necessitate the use of a standard SATA mechanical Hard Disk Drive with higher storage capacity.
Best bang for your Buck
The best 2018 budget gamer laptop for you will be the best overall package that is offered at a price that is compatible with your needs and your budget. Quality construction is also a concern, so make sure that the laptop that you decide to get will last you for the duration of its warranty, at the very least.
Choosing a unit with the best warranty is also an excellent idea, especially if you are worried about component failure, you really want your laptop to last long after 2018 has passed. Replacing hardware on a laptop that is out of warranty is an expensive exercise, so make sure that your warranty is in place and if you have the option to extend your warranty, it is probably for the best.
Make sure that the laptop that you choose is one that you really like, as a choice like this is apt to stay with you for at least a year or two past 2018. This is because even though we are looking at budget gaming laptops, they are still pricey items to fork out your hard earned cash for, so it is best to choose the laptop that suits you the best.
Our 2018 Top Pick comes in the form of the Asus ZX53VW 15.6 inch gamer laptop. It comes with an NVidia GTX 960M, an Intel Core i5 and 8GB of DDR 4, 2400MHz RAM. On the face of it, the Asus looks to be a great budget laptop, and the specs confirm it. The overall design of the laptop lends itself well to gaming, and the keyboard shows this with its great backlit keyboard.
The WASD keys are highlighted for extra precision when playing your favourite titles. It offers great cooling via its system fans, and there are wide air vents to help expel hot air as the system starts to warm up while gaming. There is also an optical drive that will allow for CDs and DVDs.
If glare on your screen is a concern, then you may be pleased to know that the Asus ZX53VW 15.6 inch Gaming Laptop features a matte LCD display. This is a capable gaming laptop, and with its reasonable pricing and great looks, gamers will be hard pressed to find another laptop with these specifications for the price.
Our 2018 Premium Choice appears to also be one of our best priced Intel Core i7-7700HQ quad core based budget gaming laptops. The Eluktronics N850HK1 Pro Premium Gaming Laptop has DDR 4 memory, which makes this one of the fastest laptops in our round up.
It offers a full HD IPS display, which is powered by a GTX 1050 Ti graphics card to provide all of the gaming graphical power that is needed to render 3D games at great frame rates and at optimal refresh rates.
The hard drive is a 256GB SSD which offers phenomenal read and write speeds for data transfers. That means that when booting up the PC into the Windows Operating System there will be almost no waiting time at all, with lightning fast load times. The laptop has a style that gamers will appreciate as it has a full RGB LED backlit keyboard that will provide many different lighting customizations.
The Acer Aspire R 15 Convertible Laptop, has a 7th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU and also runs with 12GB of DDR 4 RAM. This is an interesting laptop because it is the only one in our list that has a touch screen, as well as an almost 360 degrees of motion on the LCD hinge.
This means that it can be ‘folded’ into the shape of a tablet as well, making it a versatile and very useful gamer laptop. While it doesn’t have the most powerful GPU in our round up, the NVidia GeForce GTX 940MX is still able to play games at medium detail at Full HD resolutions. It has a dedicated 2GB of GDDR5 VRAM.
The touch screen is covered in a solid glass top that runs all the way across the screen, giving it a premium feel and a durable touch surface. The battery can last up to 9 hours which means that users can enjoy a full work day out of the device before having to charge it again.
Security is handled by a fingerprint reader, meaning that your device will be safe from prying eyes. The device’s versatility means that it can be used in 4 different configurations: Notebook, Display, Tent and Tablet.