The 8 Best Gaming Laptops to Buy in 2018 for Under $1,000

You don't have to spend thousands to get the best gaming laptops

Lenovo Legion Y520

Playing the latest games on a laptop often requires some serious hardware (which translates to a hefty price tag), but fortunately, not all gaming machines have to cost a fortune. Sure, you may have to sacrifice having the latest graphics card, a 4K display or endless storage, but you’ll still discover something that’s more than capable of keeping you glued to your screen. Need a little help finding the best gaming laptop without breaking the bank? Keep reading to see our top picks for the best ones under $1,000.

Best Overall: Lenovo’s Legion Y520

The Lenovo Legion Y520 is powered by a 7th generation Intel Core processor, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics and has a 15.6-inch (1920 x 1080) HD display, as well as hybrid storage. Whether you’re using headphones or not, the inclusion of Harman Audio with Dolby Premium sound adds dual two-watt speakers designed specifically to immerse you directly into gameplay. The machine also has great customization settings, so you can choose your active keys,network priority and cooling features. Moreover, thermal engineering on the Y520 adds strategically placed fans and vents to keep hot air continuously moving out the underside of the laptop. As for dimensions, it's just 1.02 inches thick and weighs 5.3 pounds.

Best Value: HP Pavilion Power 15

If you’re looking for a gaming laptop that’s equally capable of being an everyday productivity machine, check out the HP Pavilion Power 15. With powerful internal hardware, including a Core i7 processor, 12GB of RAM, 1TB hard drive and an AMD Radeon RX 550 graphics card with 2GB dedicated memory, this machine plays the latest games and can easily run reports for work. The four-pound device offers 10 hours of battery life and has a 15.6-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS anti-glare display that offers viewing angles of up to 178 degrees.

Best Display: Dell i7559-5012GRY

The display on Dell’s i7559-5012GRY 15.6-inch 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels) gaming laptop has a 4K LED touchscreen that offers outstanding clarity with true-to-life colors. Beyond the display, the audio experience on the Dell is equally outstanding. Waves MaxxAudio Pro allows total control over the sound performance and it works even better when paired with the NVIDIA GTX 960M video graphics. Powering all of these features are a 6th generation Intel quad-core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 1 TB hard drive supported by an 8GB SSD for extra fast application loading. It weighs 6.1 pounds and has 10 hours of battery life.

Best Battery: Acer Aspire E15

With up to 12 hours of battery life on a single charge, Acer’s Aspire E15 gaming laptop is an excellent choice for gamers who are constantly on the move. Powered by a 7th generation Intel Core i5 processor, 15.6-inch Full HD widescreen display , 8GB of RAM and a NVIDIA GeForce 940MX with 2GB of DDR5 video memory, this Acer is a seriously capable mid-range gaming laptop. Extras such as 802.11ac wireless with MU-MIMO (multi-user, multiple input and multiple output) help increase network performance (up to three times faster), so you can maintain the strongest signal possible (this is especially important for online gaming). Even with the punchy on-board specs, Acer knows gamers love upgrades and the E15 has an accessible compartment underneath the laptop providing direct access to the SSD and memory, so you can easily install quick upgrades for faster performance.

Best Sound: Gigabyte Sabre 15G-KB3

When it comes to PC gaming, there’s no substitute for external speakers, but Gigabyte's Sabre 15G-KB3 comes very close. The Sabre’s Sound Blaster Cinema 3 offers gamers an exceptional audio experience on a laptop with a virtual surround sound that feels almost cinema-like. The in-game dialog is much clearer, especially during cut scenes with SBX Dialog Plus and Reality 3D, which adds 5.1/7.1 surround sound for an even more immersive audio performance.

Fortunately, the Gigabyte isn’t just about the sound. It has a 15.6-inch 1920 x 180 Full HD anti-glare display, a Core i7 processor, NVIDIA GTX 1050 gaming card with 2GB of onboard memory and a noise-eliminating microphone. Beyond hardware, the Gigabyte comes with dedicated software to broadcast through social media in real time (and both video and chat are available with just the click of a button).

Want more display space, the Sabre 15 is ready out-of-the-box to handle up to three external displays to really have you in the center of the action.

Best Storage: Dell Inspiron i5577

Dell’s Inspiron i5577 has 512GB SSD, which might not add as much storage overall as competitive models with 1TB of HDD space, but SSD performance far outpaces standard drive performance, so it's still an exceptionally attractive option. Other features include 16GB of RAM, an Intel Core i7 3.8GHz processor, NVIDIA’s GTX 1050 graphics card and a 15.6-inch Full HD display. Adding even more to the gameplay value is the inclusion of Dell’s MaxxAudio. Battery life is an underwhelming four to five hours and it weighs 5.7 pounds.

Best Splurge: MSI GL72M 7RDX-800

MSI’s GL72M 7RDX-800 gaming laptop offers an exceptionally powerful and beautiful machine that comes equipped a 17.3-inch (1920 x 1080 pixels) HD display. Under the hood is an Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, 1TB HDD and 128GB SSD for increased application loading time. Running NVIDIA’s GTX 1050 2G GDDR5 graphics card, the MSI is ready to handle high-definition games without batting an eye. You can even add up to two additional monitors for truly immersive gameplay (or multitasking) via the HDMI or DisplayPort connections. MSI also packed in Cooler Boost 4 tech that adds six total heat pipes among the GPU and CPU, so it handles the heat with aplomb.

Runner-Up, Best Sound: Acer Aspire VX 15

The sleek-looking Acer Aspire VX 15 supports the company's TrueHarmony technology and Dolby audio premium sound, which means a well-balanced and surprisingly powerful audio experience. Fortunately, the sound isn’t the only thing noteworthy about the VX 15. Its Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, 256GB SSD and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti with 4GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM also make for terrific performance. A red backlit keyboard illuminates for easy visibility in both day and night conditions, while dual fans help maintain performance levels and eliminate the chance of the laptop overheating. It weighs 5.51 pounds and has up to six hours of battery life.


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