There’s a reason why many gamers choose to invest in expensive computers rather than sticking to consoles alone. The most beastly rigs can be upgraded, tweaked, and offer the best performance – dramatically outstripping even the latest consoles on the market. But buying a gaming laptop is significantly more complicated, and costly, than purchasing a console.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide. We’ve picked out 12 contenders for the best gaming laptop under $1500 so you don’t have to do a deep dive performing the research yourself. We’ll also hook you up with some information regarding the specs and features that you should be paying attention to when shopping for a budget to mid-range price gaming laptop.
Quick Look: 12 Best Gaming Laptops under $1500
- Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop
- MSI GL65 Leopard Gaming Laptop
- ASUS TUF505GT Gaming Laptop
- Alienware M15 Gaming Laptop
- Razer Blade 15 Gaming Laptop
- Asus ROG Strix G Gaming Laptop
- Lenovo Legion Y545 15.6″ FHD Gaming Laptop
- Sager NP8957 0.78 Inches Thin and Light Gaming Laptop
- HP Omen 2019 15″ Gaming Laptop
- Dell G5 15 Gaming Laptop
- ASUS ROG Zephyrus S Ultra Slim Gaming Laptop
- MSI GF65 9SEXR-250 Gaming Laptop
1. Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop
Our choice for the best gaming laptop under $1500
If you know much about computer hardware (and the costs involved for each), you may be surprised to check out the spec sheet for the Acer Predator Helios 300. This is a gaming laptop through and through with a ninth generation Intel CPU and a 144Hz display. It's not going to offer you the sort of crisp graphical quality you'd get with a 4K laptop, but it's a best choice if you play multiplayer games where responsiveness is critical.
This is a powerful laptop, but fortunately it's also the laptop with arguably the best cooling system around. of 4th generation Aeroblade 3D fan technology. And since it's an Acer machine, that means you get access to the unique PredatorSense control panel. Whether you're looking to monitor your fan speed or create separate game profiles, PredatorSense makes it easy for you to configure the best gaming experience for your needs.
2. MSI GL65 Leopard Gaming Laptop
Features the best graphics card in our gaming laptops under $1500 list
If you're shopping for the best gaming laptop, going with a brand that's synonymous with gaming is usually a great choice. MSI is one of those bands, and the GL65 Leopard offers some of the best and most well balanced performance for just a few hundred dollars more than the Acer Predator Helios 300. While it sports a slightly older version of the Intel i7 CPU, the graphics card is a significant step up.
In terms of refresh rates, these two are pretty comparable. The GL65 Leopard is the most powerful gaming laptop on our list and also sports a 144 Hz display and boasts a refresh rate of over 60 fps when running in Full HD. Both the CPU and the GPU are kept cool by the Cooler Booster Trinity+ which can boost airflow and air pressure without having to ramp up the RPM. And its battery life is some of the best around, at least in the arena of gaming laptops.
3. ASUS TUF505GT Gaming Laptop
Comes well within the gaming laptops under $1500 budget
The ASUS TUF makes a few interesting compromises to squeeze as much performance out of its budget gaming laptop price, and they succeed - at least for the most part. One such cost cutting measure is using a more affordable AMD CPU rather than the Intel alternatives, but it's a change that mostly shouldn't hurt your performance when gaming. The graphics card itself, meanwhile, is the same as the comparably priced Acer Predator Helios 300.
But if the specs themselves are relatively average for the price range here, ASUS is at its best when you pay attention to the interface. The keyboard is significantly better than the underwhelming alternatives that occupy most other gaming laptops for under $1500. Also exceptional is the cooling system, which works remarkably well given how lightweight and ultra thin this gaming laptop really is.
4. Alienware M15 Gaming Laptop
Alienware is a name that's synonymous with high end and substantial gaming specs, but it's also synonymous with a uniquely chunky design aesthetic. Chances are that you'll either absolutely love or absolutely hate the look of the Alienware m15, but it's hard to argue that it doesn't deserve a seat as one of the best gaming laptops at this price point. If you've been reading our guide up until now, the specs will be par for the course. But there's a lot going on beneath the surface here.
That's because the design choice here isn't purely aesthetic. The m15 is one of the sturdiest gaming laptops around, so you can confidently travel with it without having to worry about it getting damaged in the transport process. And this is a model optimized for a competitive gaming experience thanks to the quality of both the front facing webcam and the array of built in microphones.
5. Razer Blade 15 Gaming Laptop
If there's one thing that's true about Razer gaming laptops, it's that they look consistently good. Everything from the outer chassis to the comprehensive RGB lighting customization on the Razer Blade 15 is top notch, but that wouldn't mean much if there wasn't hardware to match. Fortunately, Razer knows what they're doing when it comes to optimization.
And while the Blade 15 may occupy the entry level category of gaming laptops, it's pretty solid across the board. Razer has squeezed in both a ninth generation Intel i7 processor as well as a hybrid hard drive. While it doesn't offer the biggest storage capacity available in our list of the best gaming laptops under $1500, it should be enough for all but the most obsessive game hoarders.
6. Asus ROG Strix G Gaming Laptop
ASUS' "Republic of Gamers" line has emerged as one of the titans of gaming computers and accessories, and the ASUS ROG Strix G is proof that they know how to deliver some of the best performance available while still delivering within the budget of more financially strapped gamers. The CPU of the ROG Strix is a little above average, the GPU a little below, but the specs here are generally about par for the course.
And while most gaming laptops offer some pretty strong cooling systems (a necessity given how much power the latest AAA games demand, the ASUS ROG Strix offers some of the best customization around. Different fan settings let you shift seamlessly between high end gaming, work productivity, and more resource light activities like streaming movies or listening to music. Adding a little visual flair to the proceedings in the ASUS ROG Strix is the ASUS AURA lighting system which provides multiple preset lighting effects and a ton of different colors.
7. Lenovo Legion Y545 15.6″ FHD Gaming Laptop
The Lenovo Legion Y545 offers what at least comes close to approaching the best value for a gaming laptop under $1500. In fact, the core specs (or at least the ones you should be paying attention to when shopping for a gaming laptop) are identical to the Acer Predator Helios 300. But the RAM and storage are a little more generous .This gaming laptop makes great use of the $1500 limitations by using a hybrid drive and offers double the RAM of the Helios.
And while this gaming laptop runs a little hot for an under $1500 model, it's one of the most quiet around. This is a slick looking gaming laptop too. It's stylish without being too ostentatious and sports chunky corners while still maintaining a very small profile overall. The keyboard isn't as good at that on the ASUS TUF, but it's still one of the best for under $1500.
8. Sager NP8957 0.78 Inches Thin and Light Gaming Laptop
Sager isn't exactly a household name among the average laptop buyer. But more in the know PC gamers recognize them as a company that produces some of the best gaming laptops around: for a price. Getting the NP8957 for under $1500 will require a little smart shopping, but the quality central processor, beefy graphics card, and 144 Hz 1080p display tell the story of a confident gaming laptop that exceeds its price in terms of value.
A fully illuminated keyboard is included to help you customize an experience that matches your personality or game better in the dark, and the wide viewing angles of this IPS display ensures that everything will look great even when you aren't looking at things head on. This is also a very compact laptop for gaming. It weighs less than five pounds and sports a thickness of under an inch.
9. HP Omen 2019 15″ Gaming Laptop
If you've been following our review list for the best gaming laptops under $1500, you're probably already very comfortable with the specs offered by the HP Omen 15. It sports a 15 inch FHD screen along with a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti processor that includes a full 6 GB of VRAM for optimal performance while playing your favorite games. The inclusion of a ninth generation central processor is a nice surprise but not outside the ordinary for a gaming laptop under $1500.
The display here is great. It offers a high level of brightness, so it can perform well even if you decide you want to game at the local park. And when buying a budget laptop, a lot of value comes down to how much it can be upgraded. There's easy access to the RAM as well as the HDD and SSD, so it has a lot of growth potential.
10. Dell G5 15 Gaming Laptop
The Dell G5 15 is one of the bulkier gaming laptops on our list, but it's paradoxically one of the better choices for travel on the road. While it may take up a little more space in your bag, you can count on this laptop to provide you with a full eight hours of battery life on a single charge, and its bright screen will look great even if you take it to the park in the middle of the day.
The Intel Core i7 processor draws from the ninth generation, so it won't be outdated any time soon, and it makes use of a dual cooling system so it won't overheat even if you're trying to game with this laptop actually positioned on your lap. It also makes use of a hybrid hard drive that can provide you with the best of both worlds: high storage capacity and fast speeds.
11. ASUS ROG Zephyrus S Ultra Slim Gaming Laptop
The ASUS ROG Zephyrus S currently retails for close to $2000, but if your budget is just $1500 or less, we think it's well worth waiting for a special. The NVIDIA GTX 1070 graphics card and the Intel Core i7 processor aren't exactly breaking new ground, but they're definitely a great core around which the rest of this laptop can build. And with a response time of only 3 milliseconds and a refresh rate of 144 Hz, you can count on this model to suit even the most competitive of gamers.
But ASUS hasn't sacrificed graphical fidelity for the sake of performance here. The Zephyrus offers a maximum resolution of 1080p, but the color reproduction here is very strong. ASUS boasts incredibly strong color reproduction. The cooling system is pretty efficient as well - not just siphoning off heat but also keeping passages clear of dust.
12. MSI GF65 9SEXR-250 Gaming Laptop
As is often the case with MSI computers, the GF65 9SEXR-250 is a beast. That's not to say it blows the other models on our list out of the water, but the specs here are certainly impressive. The Intel Core i7 processor draws from the ninth generation, but the star of the show here is the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card built in. Considering this model retails for less than $1500 without even having to wait on a deal is impressive.
But there's more at work here than just the latest Intel Core i7 processor and an impressive NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card. The cooling system here is top notch and manages to run quietly despite the extra power devoted to the RTX 2060 GPU. And GIANT speakers mean you won't have to hook up headphones to get a decent listening experience.
Shopping for the Best Gaming Laptop Under $1500
We’re certain that people will ask us what is the best gaming laptop under $1500. We’ve given you a full 10 of the best gaming laptops in response, though the perfect game laptops will vary somewhat depending on your need. We’re confident that all the gaming laptops here offer the top value for under $1500, after all. With most of these laptops, gaming is a priority, but they do approach the under $1500 price tag in different ways, and many offer variable specs – so even if a gaming laptop under $1500 doesn’t quite meet your needs, you can find an adjacent gaming laptop that does.
We strive to make sure our customers don’t just know what the best gaming laptops under $1500 are in 2020, but also why these laptops excel. We’ll help you understand all the most important specs below and also help you set your expectations for what you can reasonably get from a gaming laptop under $1500.
The two biggest hardware components to pay attention to when shopping for a decently priced laptop are the central processor ( CPU ) and graphics processor. The former serves essentially as the brain for your computer, handling all of the core calculations that make games run. And since the pricing on these is pretty set in stone, you’re going to see the same models over and over again.
An eighth or ninth generation Intel Core 7 is going to be the standard for the top gaming laptops at this price point. An Intel Core i5 isn’t going to be enough to handle the latest games, while an Intel Core i9 is going to blow any reasonable graphics card out of the water. In short, it’s too much power to do you much good.
NVIDIA is the only name you need to serious pay attention to when looking for the best gaming laptops at this price. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Ti is the standard here, but few less powerful NVIDIA graphics cards are going to be present, and quite a few are going to be more powerful. If you want the top graphics processor $1500 can get you, you’ll want to look at the NVIDIA GeForce RTX series, but the NVIDIA GeForce GTX will be capable enough for most gamers. It constitutes a pretty significant step up from the entry level gaming NVIDIA GTX 1060. The baseline NVIDIA GeForce RTX model is the NVIDIA RTX 2060.
At this price point, we generally don’t suggest investing in an AMD processor. While they make both graphics processor and central processor models and exceed in budget models, they’re largely outclassed by NVIDIA and Intel once you hit the price point we’re talking about with this guide to gaming laptops.
RAM and Storage
RAM (Random Access Memory, typically shortened to RAM), assists yor central processor with the task of computation. When you need to access the same bits of information regularly, it’s stored in your memory so it can be more readily accessed. As far as games are concerned, RAM tracks things like textures and object permanence to slow down load times and create better performance.
The storage capacity, by contrast, tells you how much space you have reserved for applications, folders, and files. Gaming is particularly hard on the storage capacity, because the latest laptop games require a pretty hefty amount of storage space, and even downloadable games often require a significant amount of your storage space to be dedicated to updates and additional files.
In terms of storage capacity, there are really two options. The solid state drive is the new standard for laptops because they’re quicker, more reliable, and less likely to get damaged from bumping up against anything. That obviously makes them a strong choice for a laptop you want to travel with. That said, some models include a hybrid drive. Since more traditional hard drives offer more storage space for less money, a laptop that combines an SSD with an HDD provides the best of both worlds.
Unless you’re streaming games or playing mostly indies, we generally recommend you get at least 8 GB of RAM or 16GB for optimal ( as discussed in our gaming laptops under $2000 guide ) and a half terabyte of storage. But fortunately, you don’t need to stress out too much about how much storage capacity is available. Most laptop models allow you to upgrade both at little cost and with little hassle, so we suggest yo prioritize the graphics processor and central processor over both RAM and storage capacity for that reason.
In the past, every gaming laptop you’d find would be a bulky and unwieldy thing. That’s changed significantly in the past few years. As technology allows more power to be packed into tinier pieces of hardware, gaming laptops are growing slimmer and slimmer.
Finding a gaming laptop that weighs under 5 pounds and sports a thickness of less than an inch isn’t that hard these days, and that makes laptop gaming on the go far easier. You’ll just want to make sure that a slimmer form factor is accompanied by a serious cooling system, as the hardware in a gaming laptop still eats up a whole lot of power.
Speaking of the amount of juice a gaming laptop uses, battery life tends to take a serious hit. While more productivity minded laptops and Chromebooks often promise a battery life of half a day or more, the top gaming laptop models tend to offer around 9 hours tops. And the more powerful a laptop is, the more likely it is to run through its battery with a quickness. Top of the line graphics don’t come easy, after all. Battery life should take a back seat to graphics, RAM, and processor power, but you’d be foolish to not take it into consideration at all.
The latest Intel Core i7 processors and NVIDIA GTX graphics cards eat up a whole lot of power, and high power usage means a lot of heat. At best, an overheating computer means it’s a little more uncomfortable to handle. At worst, it can cause serious damage to your RAM cards, graphics card, or Intel processor. We’ve noted which models tend to run hot when possible, but all of them should be safe to operate without having to worry about frying your top of the line NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 processor or causing damage to your RAM.
Good fans are about more than just keeping your computer cool too. Good fans redirect air flow and minimize heat to your graphics card, Intel Core i7 processor, and RAM bank, but they also help slough away dust and debris and prevent buildup that can cause long term harm. If you’re serious about optimizing your machine as much as possible, you should potentially look to models that offer a software solution. Many laptops allow you to change the settings of your fans and even automate them based off of the power drain of specific games and apps. You may want to invest in a laptop cooling pad too.
On the surface, it may seem like stacking on a load of peripherals runs counterproductive to the convenient portability that a laptop provides, but some peripherals will be necessary for certain players. Every gamer is going to want to get the best gaming mouse. While the trackpads that come on these laptops are generally highly functional, they aren’t great for the needs of any serious games. Check out our guide to the best gaming mice to direct your search.
Investing in an external gaming keyboard will be a matter of personal preference. While keyboard build is one of the first considerations a manufacturer cuts when thinking about budget, these mid-range models offer pretty solid options by and large. But you won’t find the satisfying cadence of a dedicated mechanical keyboard out of the box, and many keyboards catered specifically to gamers offer great quality of life features like dedicated macro buttons. Consider a wireless keyboard if you want to keep your gaming desk minimal and cable free.
Headsets and headphones are a little more situational. If you’re a pro gamer or looking to coordinate in any serious multiplayer game, you’ll absolutely want to get a gaming headset. If you’re a single player gamer who finds themselves regularly in crowded situations (or is simply looking for a more immersive gaming experience), you may want to seriously consider investing in a solid pair of headphones. There are many inexpensive and compact models tailored to the needs of gamers. Check out our list of the best gaming headset for more info.
Gaming on a laptop offers an experience that can go far beyond even the best capabilities of a gaming console, but it’s going to cost you significantly more. Fortunately, the best gaming laptops for under $1500 still offer impressive performance when compared to the current generation of consoles.
If you want to be future proofed for the next generation of games, you can get the results you want for $1500 or less, but we suggest that you carefully consider not just what you need now, but what you need a few years down the line. So what gaming laptop should you buy? That’s up to you, but now you have the tools to shop smarter. Laptops for gaming are available in abundance, but they’re definitely an investment that requires some foresight.