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A dim screen and below-average battery life don’t take away from the fact that the HP Omen 15 has one of the best displays on a budget. While its Core i5-8300H CPU may be weaker than some of its upper-tier competitors, its 1080p screen with 144Hz refresh rate makes games look crisp and smooth. The sound quality is great, too, as the HP Omen 15 includes Bang & Olufsen speakers designed to immerse you in your game world. The advanced cooling system utilizes a three-phase motor to keep your laptop cool while you play. It also makes the Omen one of the quieter options out there, a big plus if you’re sensitive to noise.
The 1080p screen is not completely anti-glare, but for the price, it looks vivid and sharp, even when you're gaming outdoors. The laptop ships with 12GB of RAM and a 1TB spinning hard drive. The frame rate exceeds expectations for a budget gaming laptop, hitting around 50fps in games like Rise of the Tomb Raider at very high settings. If you can get past the dim screen, the HP Omen 15 is the best option for high-end gaming on a budget.
Courtesy of Best Buy
This Dell rig runs Windows 10 on a 15.6-inch, 1080p display. Games run smoothly, thanks to the onboard NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics and 8th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, but some users have reported issues with screen brightness. The display can appear dim, especially when playing at night. The G7 runs modern games at 60fps, something that can’t be said of all laptops in this price range.
Touch capabilities are lacking on the LCD screen, but you can easily plug a mouse into one of its three USB 3.1 ports. Dell included plenty of ports on the G7, with a USB-C option, a headphone jack, HDMI out, Ethernet, and an SD card reader. As for storage, the Dell G7 has 128GB of SSD flash storage and a 1TB mechanical hard drive. There are a few shortcomings on the Dell G7, but the high amount of ports and solid game performance make this laptop worth your consideration.
Lenovo has produced high-quality gaming laptops since the introduction of its Legion line in 2017, and the Y530 is no exception. Among the most eye-catching aspects of the Y530 are the paper-thin bezels surrounding its screen. When designing the Legion Y530, Lenovo was able to maximize screen size without sacrificing portability, cramming over 2 million pixels onto its 15-inch screen. At 5.1 pounds, it’s also lighter than many other options on the market, which makes it easy to take with you on the go.
Unfortunately, the battery life leaves something to be desired, which is disappointing for a laptop that’s so easily transportable. That said, you won’t be disappointed with the smooth visuals provided by the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics. The on-board storage is satisfactory, too, with a 1TB hard drive and a 256GB SSD. As for framerate, the Y530 averages between 38 and 50fps for more modern games, and it’ll only get you 60fps on older, less technically demanding games. The Y530 is perfect if you’re looking for a laptop that can run games and serve as a laptop you can take to work.
Though less affordable than its closest rivals, those partial to its tasteful design language and premium build quality might find that the upgraded, 13.3-inch Razer Blade Stealth is well worth its price of admission. This laptop has a lot of style — you can even customize your keyboard backlight color by choosing from millions of options. The Razer Blade Stealth is a hybrid of a gaming laptop and an ultrabook, as it attempts to combine the features and specifications of a proper desktop gaming rig into the form factor of a MacBook Air. In reality, it serves much better as a casual laptop than a hardcore gaming machine.
The 13.3-inch display is smaller than some other budget gaming laptops, but its 3200x1800-pixel resolution packs a bigger punch as a result. Plus, the 178-degree viewing angle offers stunning visual clarity from almost every direction, making it easy to share your screen with others. The Razer Blade Stealth comes with a maximum Turbo clock speed of 4.6GHz and 16GB of RAM, though it, unfortunately, drops to unplayable framerates while trying to run technically demanding games, like Shadow of the Tomb Raider. However, if you primarily play indie games or older games, the Razer Blade Stealth can keep up just fine.
The ASUS ROG G531GT doesn’t come with the most features, but its sleek design makes it look like a high-end gaming laptop. The tight black corners and red backlit keyboard will make you feel like a professional gamer, and the laptop has specs to back it up, too. For the price, its performance is exceptional as well. In addition to the Intel 9th-generation Core i7 processor, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 drives its graphics.
If you’re looking to stream games online, keep in mind that this laptop does not have a built-in video camera. Additionally, it has 8GB of RAM, which falls short of the recommended 16GB for streamers. Fortunately, you can upgrade the RAM to 32GB if needed. There are some definite hoops you may need to jump through, but if you’re looking for a satisfactory, mid-range gaming laptop, you should consider the ASUS ROG G531GT.
Good performance and a mediocre display make the Acer Nitro 5 land on the cheaper side of the aisle. For a comparatively low price, you’ll get 8GB of RAM, Bluetooth, Ethernet, and more. Muddied colors make the Nitro’s display a disappointment, and the screen can only display 69 percent of the sRGB color spectrum, well below the 92 percent average for entry-level laptops. The battery life is middle-of-the-road, coming in at around five hours of usage time, which is the average for laptops in this price range.
Rather than using NVIDIA and Intel, the Nitro 5 opts for AMD Radeon RX 560 graphics and a Ryzen 5 processor, also from AMD. Still, it’s able to run graphically intensive games to a satisfying degree. Despite the difference in price and internal hardware from most other gaming laptops, the Nitro 5 is a strong entry point for families or new gamers.