October 21, 2021

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The 6 Best Gaming Laptops under $500 Reviews & Buying Guide

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Unlike what you would expect, even a budget modern laptop can be used for playing most of your favorite PC games. This is due to the reason that with improvements in laptop CPUs and GPUs, even entry-level laptops are highly powerful. And so, you can find a few of the best gaming laptops under $500 later on in this listicle that offers the following features:

  • CPU: Whether you are gaming or using your laptop for any other task, having a powerful CPU is highly important for a smooth and snappy computing experience. And while most budget laptops come with either the Intel Core i3 or AMD Ryzen 3 CPUs, you can also find a few powerful options that include Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5.
  • GPU: The primary benefit of going with a gaming laptop is that you get a powerful graphics card inside. As for budget laptops under $500, they come with powerful iGPUs like Intel UHD G1, AMD Vega 8, AMD Vega 3, and others which are fairly decent.
  • RAM: Even though a laptop with 4 GB RAM can be used for simpler computer usage, you need higher RAM capacity for gaming. Hence, most gaming laptops under $500 include 8 GB DDR4 RAM for a smooth gaming experience.

While these factors are quite important, there is still much more that you should know. Thus, the different budget gaming laptops stated here also have their details like features and specifications explained along with an extensive buying guide. With these, you can easily pick the best gaming laptop under $500 by the time you make it to the end.

Best Gaming Laptops under $500

Best Gaming Laptops under $500 Reviews

1. Acer Aspire 5 A515-55-56VK Gaming Laptop

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Acer is known to offer highly feature-rich laptops that can be a great option for using at work as well as for gaming thanks to the powerful hardware present inside it.

The Acer Aspire 5 A515-55-56VK gaming laptop comes at the 1st position of this list since it is a highly versatile gaming laptop. Because this laptop uses the Intel Core i5 10th Gen 1035G1 CPU along with 8 GB DDR4 RAM and the Intel UHD G1 graphics, you get excellent gaming performance from it. Unlike most other budget options, this one comes with a high-performance 256 GB NVMe SSD which is to be expected at the given price.

You will also find a large and vibrant 15.6-inch FHD screen in this laptop that uses a high-quality IPS panel making it great for media consumption and gaming. Another benefit of going with a slightly premium gaming laptop is that you get features like backlit keyboard, fingerprint reader, and WiFi 6. Apart from WiFi 6, you also get other connectivity ports like USB Type C, USB Type-A, HDMI, ethernet, and an audio port.

Best Features:

  • Uses the Intel Core i5 10th Gen 1035G1
  • Offers 8 GB DDR4 RAM
  • Comes with 256 GB SSD storage
  • Powered by Intel UHD G1 graphics
  • Includes a 15.6-inch FHD display
  • Offers USB Type C, USB type A, HDMI, ethernet, and audio port
  • Rated battery life of 8 hours
  • Comes with a 1-year waranty

Pros:

  • Great laptop for work and gaming
  • Offers high-speed WiFi 6 connectivity
  • Includes pretty powerful hardware

Cons:   

  • Slightly expensive than $500

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2. Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming Laptop

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Unlike most other laptops from Lenovo that are generally ideal for office work, the one mentioned here makes for a great gaming laptop under $500.

Lenovo’s IdeaPad 3 81W0003QUS gaming laptop comes at the 2nd position of this listicle as it is the most powerful option present here. Starting with its processor, it uses the highly powerful AMD Ryzen 5 3500U CPU. This is paired along with the AMD Radeon Vega 8 GPU and 8 GB of RAM resulting in excellent gaming performance. To store all of your favorite games, you can use its high-performance 256 GB SSD.

Opposite to what you would expect, this high-performance gaming laptop is fairly compact due to its 14-inch FHD screen which is great for portable usage. Although, its battery life is a bit limited at up to 5 hours long. Coming to the connectivity options of this gaming laptop, you will find USB Type-A ports, HDMI, audio port, and even an SD card. Unfortunately, it does not come with a USB Type C port unlike most other options out there.

Best Features:

  • Uses the AMD Ryzen 5 3500U
  • Offers 8 GB DDR4 RAM
  • Comes with 256 GB SSD storage
  • Powered by AMD Radeon Vega 8 graphics
  • Includes a 14-inch FHD display
  • Offers USB type A, HDMI, SD card reader, and audio port
  • Rated battery life of 5 hours
  • Comes with a 1-year waranty

Pros:

  • Excellent gaming performance
  • Fairly compact and portable laptop
  • Great looking display

Cons:   

  • Lacks USB Type C port

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3. Ghost Manta Lenovo Gaming Laptop

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Lenovo also makes comparatively cheaper laptops that can be a viable option if you are on a tight budget but still need something that can run PC games with ease.

This Lenovo IdeaPad 3 gaming laptop comes at the 3rd position of this article because it offers a great value for money to the buyer. Even at its given price tag, you get the AMD Ryzen 3 3250U CPU with it. Similar to more expensive gaming laptops, this one also offers 8 GB RAM and a decent 128 GB SSD. As for its GPU, the AMD Ryzen 3 includes the AMD Vega 3 GPU which is decent for most budget laptops.

To ensure that you can play games with decent performance even at the given price tag, Lenovo has included a lower resolution 15.6 inch HD screen. Similarly, the port selection of this laptop also reflects its lower price tag since you only get USB type A, HDMI, SD card reader, and an audio port but no USB Type C port for connecting modern computer peripherals.

Best Features:

  • Uses the AMD Ryzen 3 3250U
  • Offers 8 GB DDR4 RAM
  • Comes with 128 GB SSD storage
  • Powered by AMD Radeon Vega 3 graphics
  • Includes a 15.6 inch HD display
  • Offers USB type A, HDMI, SD card reader, and audio port
  • Rated battery life of 5 hours
  • Comes with a 1-year waranty

Pros:

  • Great entry-level gaming laptop
  • Fairly decent gaming performance
  • Large screen size for media consumption

Cons:   

  • Does not come with USB Type C port

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4. ASUS VivoBook F512DA Gaming Laptop

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Asus can be another great option if you are looking for a budget-friendly laptop that can be used for work as well as gaming if needed since it makes various entry-level laptops.

The Asus VivoBook F512DA is one of the cheapest gaming laptops available out there. And for the given price, you get the AMD Ryzen 3 3200U CPU inside it which is quite similar to the previous Lenovo one. Unfortunately, unlike the Lenovo one, this one only has 4 GB DDR4 RAM and a 128 GB SSD. Fortunately, you do get the AMD Radeon Vega 3 graphics for decent gaming performance.

While this gaming laptop may not offer the best gaming performance, it is certainly a great option for media consumption with its 15.6-inch FHD display. You also get a wide range of input and output ports including but not limited to USB type C, USB type A, HDMI, micro SD card reader, and an audio port. Similar to other gaming laptops in its class, this one also has a battery life of up to 5 hours on a single charge.

Best Features:

  • Uses the AMD Ryzen 3 3200U
  • Offers 4 GB DDR4 RAM
  • Comes with 128 GB SSD storage
  • Powered by AMD Radeon Vega 3 graphics
  • Includes a 15.6-inch FHD display
  • Offers USB Type C, USB type A, HDMI, micro SD card reader, and audio port
  • Rated battery life of 5 hours
  • Comes with a 1-year warranty

Pros:

  • Ideal for media consumption
  • Wide range of input and output ports
  • Fairly thin and light laptop

Cons:   

  • Only offers 4 gigs of RAM

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5. HP 14 Inch Premium Gaming Laptop

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For those of you who are looking for a compact and portable laptop that can also be used for casual gaming, then HP and its budget laptops can be a great pick.

HP’s 14-DK1003DX-500 gaming laptop is one of the smallest and most portable gaming laptop options available out there. Although, if you want a highly powerful gaming laptop, then you should look elsewhere since this one comes with the AMD Athlon Silver 3050U CPU. Its integrated AMD Radeon Vega 2 GPU is not powerful enough for running heavy AAA games. That being said, you do get 8 GB DDR4 RAM and 128 GB SSD with this laptop which is always great to have.

To offer a small footprint, HP has used a 14 inch HD display in this laptop which is to be expected at the price. Despite having a fairly compact form factor, this laptop still manages to include USB type C, USB type A, HDMI, audio port, and even an SD card reader. With this portable laptop, you get a battery life of up to 5 hours which is on par with most other options.

Best Features:

  • Uses the AMD Athlon Silver 3050U
  • Offers 8 GB DDR4 RAM
  • Comes with 128 GB SSD storage
  • Powered by AMD Radeon Vega 2 graphics
  • Includes a 14 inch HD display
  • Offers USB Type C, USB type A, HDMI, SD card reader, and audio port
  • Rated battery life of 5 hours
  • Comes with a 1-year waranty

Pros:

  • Versatile port selection
  • Highly compact and portable
  • Decent RAM capacity for multitasking

Cons:   

  • Mediocre gaming performance

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6. ASUS F512JA-AS34 VivoBook 15 Laptop

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Asus also makes highly affordable gaming laptops that can be a great option for buyers on a tight budget since you still get decent performance out of it.

This Asus VivoBook 15 ASUS F512JA-AS34 gaming laptop is the cheapest option stated in this list. And for the given price, its Intel Core i3 10th Gen 1005G1 processor offers great performance. You also get the Intel UHD G1 graphics as well as 8 GB DDR4 RAM with this laptop resulting in decent gaming performance. However, its 128 GB SSD does fall behind a bit in terms of storage capacity.

Unlike most other entry-level gaming laptops, this one offers a large 15.6-inch display that also offers high image quality with its FHD resolution. You also get handy features like a backlit keyboard and a fingerprint sensor with this laptop. Talking about its connectivity options, you will find USB Type C, USB type A, HDMI, a micro SD card reader, and a combo audio jack on the sides of this laptop.

Best Features:

  • Uses the Intel Core i3 10th Gen 1005G1
  • Offers 8 GB DDR4 RAM
  • Comes with 128 GB SSD storage
  • Powered by Intel UHD G1 graphics
  • Includes a 15.6-inch FHD display
  • Offers USB Type C, USB type A, HDMI, micro SD reader, and audio port
  • Rated battery life of 5 hours
  • Comes with a 1-year waranty

Pros:

  • Excellent for budget buyers
  • Decent gaming performance for the price
  • Large high-resolution display

Cons:   

  • Limited storage capacity

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Buying Guide for the Best Gaming Laptops under $500

Playing PC games on your laptop can be a great way to have some fun time with your online friends, thanks to the various multiplayer games available out there. Thankfully, despite being on a tight budget, you can still find various capable entry-level options like the best gaming laptops under $500 discussed above.

We have also stated their major details and specifications that allow you to play games. Although, picking the right laptop can be quite confusing due to the various factors to be considered. Therefore, make sure to check out this detailed buying guide for the best gaming laptops under $500:

CPU

One of the most important components of any desktop or laptop is its CPU or processor. It is responsible for handling all of the various tasks being run on your laptop. And as you would expect, this also includes playing modern PC games that require you to have powerful processors.

Due to this, a few gaming laptops under $500 come with the highly powerful Intel Core i5 and AMD Ryzen 5 processors which should be more than enough for your gaming needs. Other entry-level laptops may come with AMD Ryzen 3 or Intel Core i3 CPUs which are still decent enough for playing games at lower resolution.

GPU

Apart from the processor of your laptop, another internal component of your laptop that can heavily affect the overall gaming performance and experience is the graphics card or the GPU. Just per the name, it is responsible for rendering all the 3D graphics used by modern PC games.

Hence, it is always a great idea to go for a laptop that includes a powerful GPU like the AMD Radeon Vega 8. Talking about even cheaper laptops, they may come with Intel UHD G1 Graphics, AMD Radeon Vega 3, or even the AMD Radeon Vega 2. And while these GPUs are not the most powerful, you can still lower the graphics settings to enjoy your favorite PC games.

RAM

Whether you are playing a game on your laptop or using any other program, it gets stored in the RAM or the main memory. Because of this, if the RAM gets filled up, your laptop will get quite unresponsive even resulting in lag issues. Thus, it is always recommended to get a laptop with high RAM capacity if possible. Except for a few entry-level options, most gaming laptops under $500 include 8 gigs of DDR4 RAM which is quite decent for playing any PC game of your choice.

Storage

While the storage of your laptop may or may not affect the gaming performance, it is still an important factor to consider. Since most PC games are quite large in size, it is always a great idea to get a laptop with high storage capacity. Talking about the various gaming laptops under $500 present above, they all include SSD drives of either 128 GB or 256 GB capacity ratings where higher is better. Even though a hard drive offers much higher capacity than an SSD, you should still prefer getting an SSD since these offer much faster storage access speeds making your overall computing experience smooth and quick.

Display

The display of your laptop is something that you should not neglect if you wish to have an immersive computing experience. Starting with the image quality, it is always a great idea to get a laptop with a high-resolution display. Fortunately, almost all gaming laptops under $500 present above come with Full HD displays.

Moving over to their size, you can find both 14 inch and 15.6-inch screen size options. Out of these two sizes, the smaller 14-inch screen size results in a more compact and portable laptop. On the other hand, the larger 15.6-inch screen size offers an immersive experience while playing gaming or watching movies on your gaming laptop.

Battery

If you are going with a gaming laptop over a gaming desktop, then it is highly likely that you wish to use it for work as well while on the go. As a result, whether you want to take your laptop to your class or to your office, having one with a long battery life is always a great idea. Generally, you will find budget gaming laptops under $500 to offer a battery life of up to 5 hours or similar. Although, a few models may even offer up to 8 hours of battery life which should be plenty for all-day usage.

OS

To play any given PC game on your laptop, it is highly important to confirm that they are compatible with your laptop’s operating system. And if you are familiar with PC gaming, then you know that Windows 10 offers the best support in terms of the number of games that you can play on it. Hence, all of the gaming laptops stated above includes Windows 10 installed in them out of the box.

Conclusion

A great thing about getting a laptop is that you can use them for both work and play. This is especially true for gaming laptops that have powerful hardware inside allowing you to play any modern game of your choice.

Thus, we have already discussed some of the best gaming laptops under $500 earlier in this listicle. Keeping all of this information in mind, here are some of our ideal picks for the best gaming laptops under $500:

  • Despite being smaller in size than most other laptops due to its 14-inch FHD display, the Lenovo Ideapad 3 81W0003QUS is the most powerful option stated above. It includes the highly powerful AMD Ryzen 5 3500U CPU and AMD Radeon Vega 8 GPU. When combined with its 8 GB DDR4 RAM and 256 GB SSD, you can expect great gaming performance out of it.
  • Those of you who are on a highly tight budget can consider the Asus VivoBook 15 F512JA-AS34. Even though it is highly affordable, you get the fairly new Intel Core i3 10th Gen 1005G1 CPU paired along with 8 GB RAM and Intel UHD G1 graphics. Unlike other laptops in its class, it also includes a large 15.6-inch FHD display for media consumption and gaming.
  • While it may be a bit expensive than other gaming laptops present above, the Acer Aspire 5 A515-55-56VK certainly makes for a great work laptop as well. One of the best things about this laptop is that you get an 8-hour battery life with it. You also get a 15.6-inch FHD display, WiFi 6, fingerprint reader, and much more with this Intel Core i5 10th Gen 1035G1 CPU. It combines this along with a 256 GB SSD, 8 GB DDR4 RAM, and Intel UHD G1 GPU.
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