Are you looking for the best gaming laptop under $500 to fulfill your gaming demands? Laptops costing $500 or less are fine for casual gamers who only play less demanding games that don’t require much processing power. However, playing today’s most popular video games is still possible on a budget-friendly laptop as there are some options available in the market and we have listed our top picks below after analyzing different models. If you are in a search of a fine cheap gaming laptop and don’t have enough budget for a top-notch machine, we believe you will find a suitable laptop for yourself after reading this detailed buying guide. Moreover, you can also check out our picks for the best gaming laptops under $600 to get a more advanced system.
Gaming laptops have become a standard pick for informal and skilled gamers during the past few years and have also applied to change costs during this period. Although the most expensive models are now available with a heavy price tag of around $1500-$2000 or even more. But still, there are also a few affordable best gaming laptops under $500 available and they don’t impose much higher damage on your wallet. The good thing is that this category of laptops doesn’t even cut corners or disappoint its users.
If you want to buy an affordable gaming machine that can even play some modern games on low or medium settings without any trouble, the below-mentioned budget gaming laptops will do the job for you at their best. However, before moving further, we recommend checking out our gaming laptop buying guide as it will be beneficial for you and help you out in choosing the right option. After going through this article, we hope you can pick the best gaming laptop under 500 dollars according to your needs.
The Best Gaming Laptops Under $500
- Lenovo IdeaPad 3: Best Overall
- ASUS VivoBook 15: Best Windows Laptop
- HP 14 (2022 Model): Best Value
- Acer Aspire 5 Slim: Best Budget
- Lenovo IdeaPad 3: Best for Editing
- ASUS VivoBook 15 (F512DA-DB34): Best Thin & Lightweight
- Dell Inspiron 3505: Best Touchscreen Laptop
- Lenovo IdeaPad 3i: Best for Business & Study
- HP 14 (14fq1021nr): Best Portable Notebook
- Lenovo Ideapad L340: Best for Gaming
For a long time, gamers had to fork over a large amount of cash to have a good laptop. It’s not clear why this happened. Maybe the lack of demand or the absence of adequate improvements is to blame. The good news is that that is not an issue for now. All of the laptops given in this lineup of best budget gaming laptops under $500 are great value for the money and have excellent price-to-performance ratios. You can run classic as well as today’s popular PC titles on these devices without many problems.
1. Lenovo IdeaPad 3: Best Gaming Laptop Under $500
Whether you want to buy a laptop for your work or to run popular video games, you should first consider this Lenovo Ideapad 3. We have considered it our top pick for the best gaming laptop under 500 dollars because it comes with powerful hardware specifications at such a reasonable price tag. With the inclusion of a high-end AMD Ryzen 5 5500U CPU and AMD Radeon 7 GPU, this laptop can run the most popular games on lower to medium settings such as CS:GO, Valorant, Minecraft, Apex Legends, and more. These specs even allow you to perform multitasking with no hiccups.
In terms of storage, it comes with 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and a fast 256GB NVMe SSD. Well, don’t worry if you are thinking about how this fine $500 gaming laptop performs when running modern PC games. You can achieve 40-60 fps on most of the titles while can run old classic games at higher graphics. Additionally, the chassis is built to last and gives a very nice appeal. This Lenovo IdeaPad is a perfect all-rounder which allows you to use it for any purpose and is also lightweight to carry anywhere you go.
You may feel its 14-inch IPS display with broad viewing angles is good enough to use this laptop in an outer place. The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 performs smoothly for web surfing, study work, mailing, and other essential tasks. The presence of a USB Type-C port is another good feature. There is one drawback, its sound quality is not stellar. However, in order to keep the price reasonable, compromises had to be made. But, if you are looking for an affordable device that performs well and provides good battery life, this one is the right choice for anyone.
Read our full Lenovo IdeaPad 3 review.
- Good price-to-performance ratio
- Lightweight and portable
- Can run some modern games
- Powerful enough for multitasking
- USB Tyce-C is included
- Decent battery life
- Speakers are not top-quality
2. ASUS VivoBook 15 (R565EA-US51T): Best Windows Laptop for Gaming Under $500
Are you an Intel lover and don’t want to go with our top-pick Lenovo IdeaPad 3 laptop? Don’t worry, this ASUS VivoBook 15 is another best-pick laptop under $500 for gaming which comes with an Intel processor for those who don’t want an AMD CPU. Alongside the strong Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor, there is an Intel Iris Xe graphics card, 8GB of RAM, and a fast 256GB of SSD to make the performance better. These hardware configurations offer excellent processing speed so you can do your work swiftly and efficiently.
The built-in Intel UHD Graphics can easily handle light gaming and typical graphics tasks. Whether you want the laptop for professional work, home, office, or everyday use, and for light gaming, this system is perfect to handle all the processes. The 15.6-inch FHD 1080p IPS display provides wide viewing angles and better visuals for everyday chores and entertainment purposes like watching movies or playing games.
In terms of design and build quality, this notebook follows suit with the rest of the lineup as it has a traditional design, and the frame is constructed of plastic and aluminum (which may give a cheap feeling). Even though it is not very lightweight and weighs almost 4 pounds, you can still carry it anywhere you go by putting it into your laptop bag. Thanks to the thick metal bracing below the backlit keyboard, you can type and use the touchpad with great confidence. Additionally, it has all the necessary ports for any user. This ASUS VivoBook 15 is one of the competent cheap gaming laptops under 500 USD.
- 11th Gen Powerful CPU
- Great overall productivity
- Perfect for any type of use
- Backlit keyboard & decent touchpad
- Broad viewing angles
- Limited RAM & storage for gamers
3. HP 14 (2022 Model): Best Value Gaming Laptop Under $500
After sifting through plenty of high-priced models, here is a perfect cheap HP gaming laptop. You can use this HP 14 for casual gaming and all routine tasks. Considering the technical specifications, it features third generation AMD Ryzen 3 3250U processor, and a built-in AMD Radeon 530 graphics card. What is best about this model is its memory and storage, it includes 16GB of DDR4 RAM and a massive 1TB SSD storage. No other notebook in this list provides so much RAM and storage. These amounts are what you will find in high-end gaming laptops.
When it comes to actual gaming performance, both AMD CPU and GPU can together work amazingly to run the many popular but less intensive games like Fortnite, CS:GO, Minecraft, League of Legends, Dota 2, and so on, while maintaining a smooth fps. The laptop’s 14-inch 1080p anti-glare display has a full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) resolution. It only weighs roughly three pounds and is the most compact notebook with a wide screen for comfortable reading.
This HP laptop does not disappoint in terms of processing efficiency. You get a lot of value for your money with this budget gaming laptop. It has a fast boot time and has no issues with running applications. The sound quality is superb and can become rather loud if you want it to. Additionally, the keyboard is pleasant, and the laptop appears well-constructed and built to last for a long time. The battery can last for 8-10 hours when used for normal tasks, but the timing becomes short during gaming sessions. Lastly, it’s fully capable of meeting all of your needs priced at less than $500.
- Well worth the money
- Strong CPU and GPU combo
- Run less-intensive games smoothly
- Very light, thin, and portable
- Decent battery life
- Can get a little hot
- Body is made of plastic
4. Acer Aspire 5 Slim: Best Budget Gaming Laptop Under $500
It’s easy to underestimate low-cost devices such as the Acer Aspire 5 (A515-56-36UT) but we have chosen it as the best-value laptop for gaming in this list. Users go either with ultrabooks or Chromebooks to fulfill their demands depending on their budget for systems. Even though budget Windows laptops are a perfect investment for most buyers, the public generally overlooks them. This Acer Aspire 5 Slim has consistently cultivated this balancing, giving unique features and stellar results but maintaining the accessible cost according to its specifications.
The hardware includes the 11th Gen Intel Core i3-1135G4 CPU, integrated Intel UHD GPU, 4GB DDR4 RAM, and 128GB of NVMe SSD storage. There is enough strength in this laptop’s setup to handle typical daily tasks. Livestream, web surfing, simple video/photo editing, and video calls can all be performed relatively well. Moreover, it offers a good gaming performance. If you are looking to get a cheap gaming laptop under $500, you can’t go wrong with the Acer Aspire 5 Slim.
This system’s aluminum lid helps to protect it from everyday impacts and sports a 15.6″ bright 1080p display with good color replication. In sunlight, the panel seems dull, although it’s particularly fit for places with inadequate lighting. People with big hands can even type quickly on its larger backlit keyboard which also features a Numpad on the right. The laptop barely lasts about 5 hours on a single charge. In conclusion, if you are short on budget but still need a decent model to overcome your demands, this laptop really worth the value.
- Best affordable laptop
- Perfect for study and light gaming
- Fast and effective response time
- A wide range of ports
- High-quality build
- Solid all-around performer
- Not much lightweight
- Lacks keyboard backlit
5. Lenovo IdeaPad 3 (81W0003QUS): Best Laptop for Editing
Many gamers simply look for a laptop that provides adequate performance within a budget that won’t force them to sell their parts. This Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is an example of Lenovo’s greatest seeks to clarify this area. A minimal appearance, such as the majority of the Lenovo series laptops offer, initially grabs the attention of this model. As we are talking about the best gaming laptops under $500, the 14-inch IPS display with small bezels on the side, and (1920 x 1080 pixels) 1080p FHD resolution are what this notebook offers, and all of these are fine for our needs, and good fit under this category.
There is 8GB of RAM, 256GB Solid-State Drive (SSD), and an AMD Radeon Vega 8 card combined with AMD’s Ryzen 5 3500U processor. This Lenovo notebook is a decent gaming laptop that can play the most popular and challenging games on low or medium settings. You will get 40-60 frame rates, and these are enough to enjoy your gaming experience. If you’re a serious gamer, you should have a more expensive and well-equipped model such as around $1000 or you can go with gaming laptops under $1500.
This system has a chiclet-style non-backlit keyboard that provides a good amount of travel distance. Furthermore, the notebook has an average battery performance of 4-6 hours when you run multiple programs. Unfortunately, there is no USB Type-C which is a standard port nowadays. But, you will get two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0, an SD card slot, an HDMI 1.4 port, and a headphone/microphone input jack in terms of connectivity.
- Very solid build
- Good performance in daily chores
- Nice and reliable keyboard
- Constructed to last
- Great value for money
- No keyboard backlighting
- Missing USB Type-C port
6. ASUS VivoBook 15 (F512JA-AS34): Best Portable Gaming Laptop Under $500
The ASUS VivoBook 15 (F512JA-AS34) is a low-cost solution for anxious buyers looking for an affordable gaming laptop. ASUS VivoBook 15 is the other best laptop for gaming under $500 that lets you engage yourself in what you have been doing. In terms of performance, it’s a little faster than many of its rivals in this price range and has good battery life. Alongside Intel’s Core i3-1005G1 CPU and Intel UHD Graphics, it comes with 8GB of RAM and a 128GB fast SSD. These specifications make it a competent gaming machine.
Many popular video games such as League of Legends, Fortnite, Dota 2, and Valorant can run smoothly on this laptop’s low to medium settings or even a few on higher graphics while providing good frames per second. But, it’s not for the latest high-end titles or demanding graphics/editing work. You can easily do anything from surfing the web to watching videos to office work on this notebook. Even though the 15.6″ Full HD 1080p LCD screen is not a terrible addition to the build, it’s still not as much impressive.
The unit weighs 3.75 pounds and has dimensions of 14.1 x 9.1 x 0.78 inches. To carry it with you, you can easily put it into your laptop bag as it is very slim and thin, making it a good portable laptop. The overall build has a definite vibe and the chassis is totally made of plastic. If you are careful with the use, you can get a few hours of use out of the battery. A full charge should last for at least 6-7 hours on regular use. Furthermore, the fingerprint sensor and keyboard’s backlit are the other notable features of this laptop. It’s the lightest 15-inch laptop under $400 that can handle the most you throw at it.
- Competent overall results
- Thin, lightweight, and easy to carry
- Backlit keyboard and fingerprint reader
- Decent battery life
- Good ports collection
- Bad audio quality
- An average LCD display
7. Dell Inspiron 3505: Best Touchscreen Gaming Laptop Under $500
Dell Inspiron 3505 is also a good choice to be considered an ideal 500-dollar gaming laptop. It comes equipped with powerful hardware components necessary for a gaming system. This laptop is a steal of money in terms of performance. Even though it appears to be an average-looking device, this unit is built to last. It has many connectors for external devices like a mouse, external keyboard, separate monitor, or gaming headphones.
AMD Ryzen 5-3450U processor may even run some intensive video games very well by working together with the AMD Radeon Vega 8 graphics card. It means you will get at least 60 fps during most of your gameplay. The inclusion of 8GB of RAM and 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD is another plus point that increases the startup times for programs. When we talk about the best gaming laptop under $500 for budget users, you should agree on some limitations; this laptop also has a few. The display visuals of this machine are not realistic enough to be used for anything that demands a true representation of the real world. But I think it’s not a severe problem to consider.
Regarding the other features of this system, its keyboard contains a Numpad, and there is reasonable spacing between the keys for convenient typing. A cooling pad or external laptop stand can be a good idea if you have been gaming for a lot longer and your keyboard becomes hot. This Dell Inspiron’s workload efficiency is outstanding, its build is solid, and its boot and load speeds are rapid. No doubt, it’s an excellent device for the price.
- Strong processor & graphics card
- Good performance for the price
- Fast 256GB SSD is a plus point
- Features touchscreen display
- Display visuals are average
8. Lenovo IdeaPad 3i: Best for Business & Study
When it comes to a great price-to-performance ratio, you should also need to look at this Lenovo IdeaPad 3i. With a retail price of just above $400, it includes solid hardware components to deliver excellent overall productivity whether it’s business/study work or to have some fun playing games in your spare time. This Lenovo laptop features Intel Core i3-1115G4 (can boost up to 4.1GHz), built-in Intel Iris Xe Graphics along with 8GB of RAM, and 512GB of quick SSD to store your data.
If you are a fan of FPS shooting and action games, you may not get the best results from this model because it can’t fulfill the high power demand those games require. However, role-playing or strategy games are not packed with intense action and don’t take a lot of processing as in the case of shooters, this low-cost gaming laptop can run such titles without much problem. Maybe, you don’t get what you expect in your gaming experience, but it’s one of the best laptops for college students and business activities.
To give you the best possible visual experience, its 15.6-inch 1080p display is fine inclusion for this price tag. The maximum brightness is 220 nits means you can even put a load on it even if you are outside of your home. There is also a fingerprint sensor to further enhance your device’s security. Sadly, this notebook lacks a USB Type-C port but there is an HDMI port, USB Type-A, SD card slot, and audio/headphones jack available to attach external devices.
- Nice appealing look
- Strong CPU and GPU combination
- 512GB of fast-speed SSD
- Lightweight portable laptop
- Contains fingerprint reader
- Lacks US Type-C port
- The battery is just on par
9. Lenovo Ideapad L340: Best for Gaming
If you want a pure gaming laptop with a limited budget, then we have picked Lenovo Ideapad L340 in this list and will recommend you buy it. Actually, it costs more than $600 and you need to spend $150-$200 extra to grab this laptop. It is equipped with 9th Gen Intel Core i5-9300H in combination with Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 GPU. No other model in this list has an i5 processor and dedicated card that this machine offers. These specs demonstrate that you can even play some of your modern intensive games on this system such as action, adventure, and shooting titles.
Considering the other important hardware components, Lenovo Ideapad L340 comes with 8GB of DDR4 RAM and 512GB of SSD. According to gamers’ demands, the memory is limited but you can upgrade it to 16GB as per your wish. The amount of storage is enough for an entry-level gaming laptop at such a price bracket. Moreover, you don’t have to sit in a single place to have some fun, you can bring it during your travels and use it anywhere in the world.
You’ll have plenty of speed and power to compete at the top level. This is an excellent laptop with several good attributes: the IPS screen provides excellent depth of field, the SSD allows programs to load faster, and the blue backlit full-size keyboard provides an excellent typing experience. The battery can last around 5-6 hours on normal use when GPU is not utilized, but it will drain faster during gameplay. The overall look of this model is very nice. This device isn’t designed for intense gaming sessions, although it’s perfect if you need something for work that can also handle light gaming.
- Perfect for casual gamers
- Nvidia GeForce dedicated GPU
- Full-size backlit keyboard
- Well worth the money
- Limited USB ports
- Not for high-end games
Things to Consider Before Buying a Gaming Laptop Under 500 Dollars
If you are looking for one of the best gaming laptops under 500 dollars, this guide can help you learn everything you should know to make an informed choice. Assuming that you’re willing to pay a few hundred bucks, a laptop is an excellent purchase. Consider the following things before buying a cheap laptop for gaming in this price range.
A computer’s processor is the most crucial part of the system because this factor influences the processing speed. The CPU has a significant influence on your gaming experience and performance. A computer’s overall productivity is mainly determined by the number, complexity, and speed of programs the processor can run simultaneously in its internal memory (RAM).
It means that before you invest your cash in a gaming laptop under $500, you should check its CPU. Intensive games often require a minimum Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 3 processor to run smoothly. But, this will not rule out the possibility of using an old chipset to compete in video games. You can still play on the previous chipsets such as Core i3; however, it won’t be as enjoyable as playing on an i5 processor.
Running games on higher settings with GPU and experiencing latency on lower graphics are entirely different. An affordable gaming laptop for around $500 features a built-in graphics card meaning that all the latest high-intensive video games will be restricted to you. You have to get a dedicated GPU for a fantastic performance to get higher FPS. Prioritize a high-quality graphics card for your budget device because it can be challenging to choose the perfect one. GPUs from NVIDIA or AMD are sufficient to play all high-end PC titles.
The system’s internal memory, known as RAM, is another critical part of the hardware. The more RAM your system contains, the better performance you will get. It keeps the action from lagging and crashing. Most of the fine gaming laptops for under $500 come with built-in 8GB DDR4 RAM.
Although many inexpensive machines have limited memory, these devices often have straightforward upgrading possibilities that are usually best. Most people may think that expanding RAM on a laptop is doing something out of the box. While this sounds complex and time-consuming, it is relatively simple.
It would be best to think about the laptop’s internal storage size. Now we are in the advanced technical world, and if you are a professional gamer or eSports player, you know very well that almost all modern PC games require a large amount of space (heavy titles are expected to be 50-100 GB in size). So, you need to get enough storage on your laptop to download and install a lot of titles as well as store your private data.
Usually, a budget $500 gaming laptop come equipped with an SSD (solid-state drive). It is significantly quicker than a traditional hard disc drive (HDD). By including SSD rather than HDD, you’ll also get more battery life because it takes lower battery power. Hard drive upgrades are a little more complex than RAM upgrades, but they are pretty simple on some notebooks. Determine if you have an additional hard disc slot, or if you can only expand the storage by removing your previous drive and replacing it with the newer one, which has more space. But, it will necessitate a fresh Windows installation.
A laptop’s display and resolution are other important considerations when purchasing a notebook. The overall feeling would be much better with a sharper screen and brighter colors. It is also possible to perceive more detail in a visual with more pixels. Further, it will also help you in the gameplay where colors are used to identify foes, such as in role-playing games. When purchasing a 500 dollar gaming laptop, you should be able to acquire an HD display at the very least. Full HD (often 1920 x 1080 resolution) will leave a good impression.
One of the distinct changes between laptop displays is the color depth and brightness. Laptop makers use several display technologies to achieve this difference. LED-backlit displays use less energy and are brighter than other types of panels. Better viewing angles are provided by IPS screens, which maintain an accurate representation of color, no matter from which position you look at it. On low-cost models, TN panels are a standard feature. When viewed from certain angles, they appear washed out and less vibrant than IPS displays.
Due to heavy hardware components like embedded GPU, gaming laptops typically have longer battery lives than their more expensive counterparts. The battery life of high-end notebooks might be as little as two hours under heavy usage. Assuming you are using your laptop in a place with no power source available, you should hunt for machines with at least 7-8 hours of battery life in that case. The battery span of a laptop can be determined by reading consumer feedback or examining the reviews of reliable tech websites that conduct practical tests.
Is the Best Gaming Laptop Under $500 Worth it?
It’s important to recognize the limitations a low budget places on your possible selections if you buy a top-class gaming laptop. Despite the low price, you will only receive regular performance, which is not a concern if you are playing classic old games. If you’re looking for a decent gaming laptop under 500 USD that doesn’t compromise on performance or features, then you need to look at our above-mentioned models.
Affordable notebooks are obviously, a risk. A $500 price is not high when we talk about a gaming machine. As with most things in life, you get what you paid for. There are a few things to remember while searching for a laptop to play modern games with high or medium graphics settings and respectable FPS.
Nevertheless, many users rely on laptops for many reasons, including flexibility. The top 2 mentioned on this list are ideal for those on a limited budget who also need portability and would like to play some favorite titles. The other possibilities work well for you if you’re a casual gamer who usually does low-end gaming.
So, these are our top 10 recommendations for the best gaming laptops under 500 dollars that you can buy, and we hope you will be happy purchasing any one of them. Each laptop listed is an excellent choice for gaming at a decent cost. Take a brief look at the given details for each and choose the one that is right for you.
However, it’s essential to avoid making too many concessions when selecting a cheap gaming laptop. If you want to play many games, you’ll need a powerful processor, high-quality graphics, an effective cooling system, and outstanding audio.
Although they can not handle the new releases at their highest settings, these budget laptops are still a great way to spend your time playing while on the go. Whatever the case, you would be astonished about how few titles you can enjoy compared to how many there are, including classics and modern ones.
More on Laptops:
- What to Look for in a Gaming Laptop Before Buying
- What is the Best Display Resolution for a Gaming Laptop
- Tablet vs Laptop: Which One Should You Buy