Gone are the times when a perfect gaming machine used to cost you a whole fortune. You won’t get a top-notch gaming machine on a budget but there are still some that allow you to game without spending thousands of dollars.
Although not as strong as gaming machines with a super-efficient dedicated graphic processing unit and a mighty processor, budget gaming laptops offer graphics decent enough to allow gaming for playable frame rates.
However, by gaming, we purely suggest casual and older games. Within this budget, it’s almost impossible to find a decent gaming laptop that has enough power to run modern gaming titles like Battlefield, Apex Legends, PUBG, and Call of Duty.
Gaming laptops that match a price line are indeed very rare and finding them on the internet is a difficult task. After plenty of research, we have listed the best gaming laptops under $500 in 2021 for you below. Let’s take a look at them:
Top 10 Gaming Laptops Under $500
“The Overall Best“
- AMD Ryzen 3 3250U Processor, 2 Cores, 2.6 GHz base frequency maxing to 3.5 GHz, 5MB Cache
- AMD Radeon Graphics
- Microsoft Windows 10 64 bits Operating System
- 8 GB DDR4 RAM
- 256GB PCIe NVMe Solid State Drive
- 17.3 inches FHD LED Widescreen Display with 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution
- 1 USB Type-A, 1 USB Type-C, 1 headphone/microphone jack combo, 1 HDMI, 2 USB 2.0 ports.
The 17-inch ultra-thin VivoBook by ASUS is a gaming-compatible widescreen computing gadget that wins on performance to price despite a few drawbacks.
The ASUS VivoBook 17 already holds a significant position among all large-screen laptops and is also our favorite pick in our list of the best gaming laptops under $500. What makes this piece of equipment unique are the compelling features packed at a very attractive price.
With the 17 inches large screen, ASUS has also done a great job in offering a more than average build quality. Despite this, the laptop manages to maintain an overall slim profile and lightweight body, making it a portable gaming machine that you can carry anywhere you like.
The laptop’s top shell comprises an elegant looking silver brushed design of metallic material. The body around VivoBook 17’s keyboard is not metal but it is designed to look like one giving the whole body a stunning profile.
The gadget also contains a decent amount of connectivity ports including an HDMI, USB Type-C port, two USB 2.0 ports to connect your peripherals, and a headphone jack. This array of ports is awkwardly placed at the front of the laptop, which is unusual but not as inconvenient as you expect it to be.
Coming to the display features, keeping the size of its display apart, the brightness, contrast, and viewing angles are not a complete wow but not a source of letting you down either. You are probably going to find the display quite natural once you get used to VivoBook 17’s display, making it much easier for you to get a good gaming vibe while you play your favorite ones.
Thanks to the excellent selection of hardware components, ASUS has made VivoBook 17 laptop a wonderful daily driver that can provide a nice combination of performance across gaming multimedia and productivity.
This laptop tends to perform pretty well, aided by the sufficient AMD Radeon Graphic Card and the 2nd generation AMD Ryzen Processor. The graphic card will also allow you seamless multitasking.
What’s more? The abundance of 8 GB DDR4 RAM paired with 256 GB of SSD storage gives you plenty of space to run several applications, open various Google Chrome tabs at once and store dozens of your most loved gaming titles.
The only thing which will let you down is the absence of a microSD card reader. Plus the keyboard might be a big no-no, especially for gaming as it appears to have a weak backlighting feature and doesn’t seem to work well in darkness.
ASUS should have chosen a bold color to display it’s keyboards’ keys instead of using transparent characters on the already glossy silverish keyplate. This combined with the meager backlighting feature makes no difference to make the transparent characters visible.
“A Good Desktop-replacement Laptop“
- Intel Celeron 4205U Dual-Core Processor, with 1.8GHz Base Frequency, 2 Threads, and 2 MB Smart Cache
- Integrated Intel Ultra HD 610 Graphics
- 8 GB DDR4 RAM
- 256 GB SSD Storage
- Microsoft Windows 10 Operating System
- 15.6 inch HD LED-Backlit Anti-Glare Display with 1366 x 768-pixel Resolution
- 1 USB 2.0, 1 power, 2 USB 3.2, 1 SD card reader, a Wedge-shaped lock slot, 1 HDMI port, and 1 headphone/microphone Combo Jack
The Dell Inspiron 15 3000 flagship laptop is a competent budget gaming laptop with decent storage, sufficient battery life to last for hours, and solid specs. It’s a perfect desktop replacement laptop that will give you an ideal gaming experience with all your tasks done with no-frill for a very acceptable price.
It is not a speedy beast but it’s a far better performer than most of its other competitors. The laptop is a very basic looking gadget with a business black color body. The availability of only a few color and design options is a downside, but its solid features cover it.
The plastic body doesn’t look cheap, instead exhibits a shiny look. Overall, the whole build is pretty solid but there is a little too much flex as you open Dell Inspiron’s lid.
The 15.6-inch display of the Dell Inspiron 15 3000 with a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels is totally what you expect from a laptop under this price line. The display looks nice with sharp and wide viewing angles with minimum reflection.
Equipped with a 1.8 GHz Intel Celeron 4205U Dual-Core Processor, 8 GB of RAM, and an integrated Intel Ultra HD 610 graphics, performance is what you anticipate in a budget gaming price of equipment: not very fast, but without frequent and obvious lagging or freezes.
The battery life is also fair enough which can last about 8 hours after a complete charge and port-offering are decent too. This laptop is a well made fully functioned gadget that works with good speed at a low price point. There is no essential spec which you might lack with the Dell Inspiron 15 3000.
- 10th Gen Intel i3-1005G1 Dual-Core Processor, 1.2GHz base frequency, with Turbo Boost Technology and 4MB L3 cache
- Integrated Intel Ultra HD Graphic
- 8GB DDR4 RAM
- 256GB SSD Storage
- Microsoft Windows 10 Operating System0
- 1 USB Type-A 2.0, 1 headphone/microphone jack combo, 2 USB Type-A 3.0, 1 HDMI 2.0 port, 1 multi-format microSD card reader
- 15.6 inches HD Touchscreen with 1366 x 768-pixel resolution
In search of an incredible gaming laptop that can provide you the ideal amount of performance that you require to enjoy your favorite game? Then this model by Lenovo is the best pick for you. Though it’s pricey than the other contenders on this list, it is still a pretty good buy.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 can give you an outstanding speed execution due to the mighty 10th Generation Intel i3 Dual-Core processor with 1.2 GHz of the base frequency.
Due to the perfect selection of hardware components with the Intel i3 processor, Lenovo’s IdeaPad 3 performance is comparable to a gadget backed by the intel core i5. Additionally, this piece of equipment also contains the integration of Intel Ultra HD graphics.
Hence, the two strong specs when combined offer sufficient graphic quality for casual and decent gaming. Wild Hunt, PUBG, FIFA 19, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and Inside are some gaming titles you can enjoy on this Notebook.
Next comes the display features. Since it features an HD display, you might have to agree with its slightly lacking image quality. For instance, the display will lose its accuracy if viewed from different angles. However, this is not a big deal if you are a gamer whose utmost priority is budget and decent performance.
Besides, IdeaPad 3 contains adequate brightness of worth 200 nits and is easy on your eyes because of the absence of PWM flickering on the display screen.
After the performance and display quality, the design and build quality of a particular laptop matter the most for certain buyers. In case you are one of such consumers, then we are happy to tell you that the IdeaPad 3 by Lenovo is the best for you.
The thing that outclasses IdeaPad 3 from many other competing laptops is its Abyss blue color design. It is very rare and makes the overall profile of the laptop look magnificent. It is a Notebook made up of plastic rather than aluminum. However, this doesn’t make any difference and it overall has a nice build and a great design.
Lenovo is famous for offering the most comfortable keyboards embedded within their Notebooks. The case is pretty the same with the IdeaPad 3 Notebook too. Its keyboard won’t annoy you at all with stylish and amazing big keys.
The battery life is just spectacular, and if you optimize your brightness to a conserving level of 120 nits only, the laptop can even survive for a day after a full charge.
“Features The Best Ergonomics“
- 10th Gen Intel Dual-Core i3-1005G1 Processors, Intel Dual-core i3, 1.2 GHz Base Frequency, 4 Threads, 4 MB cache
- Intel Ultra HD Graphics
- 8GB DDR4 RAM
- 128GB PCIe Solid-State Drive Storage
- Microsoft Windows 10 Operating System
- 15.6 inches Full HD Display with 1920 x 1080 pixel Resolution
- 1x USB 3.2 Type-A, 1x headphone/microphone jack combo, 1x AC adapter plug, 1x USB 3.2 Type-C, 1x USB 2.0, 1x HDMI, 1 microSD card reader
Besides the big laptop companies like Dell, Lenovo, and Hp, you can also get a variety of reasonable gaming specialist laptops via ASUS. The VivoBook 15 model is another Notebook by ASUS that is available for under $500 and can offer you a great entry-level to the intermediate gaming experience.
Though it doesn’t possess an Intel i5 and bigger processors that are known for their incredible performance marks, ASUS VivoBook 15 possesses an Intel Core i3 which allows you to play multiple games. Further, the Intel Ultra HD graphics card appears with a decent benchmark score, providing you steady graphics for gaming and other purposes.
In case you require a Full HD display, then this Notebook can accommodate you fairly well on that. It comes with an FHD 15.6 inches display to provide you a broad range of viewing angles, making your picture more vibrant. Also, it has a 1080 pixel resolution bundle with a 15.6-inch display giving you a superb display ideal for gaming and watching movies. Furthermore, the brightness is good enough to allow you to work on your laptop even in sunlight. With multiple nifty features at one affordable price, this Notebook is probably very hard to miss on.
Another thing that makes Asus VivoBook 15 unique is its slate grey coat instead of the usual silver aluminum one. The bezels around the display are also usually thin so that you make the fullest out of your 15.6-inch gaming laptop.
Its high-quality buildup further enhances the neat and expensive-looking profile of ASUS VivoBook 15. Plus all of these superb features are packed under a portable hood so you can carry ASUS wherever you want. Not to forget the easy-to-use keypad as well as the fast response time.
“Best Display Features“
- AMD Ryzen 3 3200U 2.60 Dual-core Processor, 2.6 GHz Base Frequency, 3.5GHz Overclocking Speed
- AMD Radeon Vega Graphics 3
- 4GB of Memory
- 128GB SSD
- Microsoft Windows 10 Home Operating System
- 15.6 inches Full HD Display with 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution
- 1 USB 3.1 Gen 1, 1 USB Type-C 3.1 Gen 1, 1 HDMI, 2 USB 2.0
Within the endless list of budget laptops launched by ASUS, the VivoBook is another gaming specialist Notebook packed with an excellent combination of hardware components to outcome the best performance in a budget.
The ASUS VivoBook F512DA budget gaming laptop offers a 15.6 inch full HD screen. The display is pretty vibrant and thanks to the 1080 pixel resolution which makes this mighty Notebook delivers a much more accurate and perfect color display.
Overall, VivoBook F512DA’s screen will provide you decent contrast, crisp images, and attractive visuals, boasting your experience whether you are interested in gaming or multimedia activities.
The VivoBook F512DA is housed with the AMD Ryzen 3 3200U 2.60 Dual-core Processor with whom you will face no problems while you sweep through your productivity chores. The base frequency of the processor is 2.6 GHz while the overclocking speed is 3.5 GHz.
To become stronger to give you the smoothest possible gaming experience, this Notebook by ASUS is also backed by a decent graphic card: the Radeon Vega 3 by AMD. Though running the latest games might be frustrating, casual or light gaming is a delight. The 4 GB of memory and 128 GB of Solid-State Drive storage further elevate the system’s seamless performance.
Coming next to the connectivity ports, ASUS VivoBook F512DA provides a great deal in this section as well. On the right-hand side of the Notebook, there is a headphone jack, a USB 3.1 port, and an HDMI port. The left side carries two microSD slots and two USB 2.0. However, the absence of a Thunderbolt 3 might put down many buyers.
“Best Design and Build Quality“
This model by Acer is one of the best budget laptops in terms of build quality and design. Despite being affordable, Acer doesn’t seem to have compromised with Swift 1’s body that’s entirely metal. You might get surprised while purchasing this Notebook, as a pure metal chassis at this price seems unbelievable.
Not only this, but the Acer Swift 1 also offers you a full HD panel and a fingerprint scanner option too. Then, coming to the performance. As you will switch on the Acer Swift 1 and start opening google chrome tabs as well as multiple applications, the laptop will prove all the aforementioned powers to be true.
Yes, you will get an Intel Quad-Core Pentium N3710 processor bundled together with 4 GB RAM and 64 GB flash storage. The memory and storage components are entry-level but thanks to the Pentium processor that these meager specs do not seem to struggle a lot.
You will not only find Acer Swift 1 similar to the Swift 5 series but it is also very comparable with the Apple’s MacBook Air series. A few years back, Swift 1 had wide bezels around its 14-inch display screen just like Apple. Following the same trend, Acer has altered Swift 1’s bezel thickness just after Apple modified MacBook Air’s look.
Rest assured, you can leave your laptop charge home as the Acer Swift 1’s battery is tested to last an average of 10 hours after one complete charge. The wide array of connectivity options and post also makes sure you don’t go through any issue while connecting your peripherals.
- Intel Gemini lake Dual Core N4000 Processor, with 1.1GHz base frequency and 2.6Ghz burst frequency
- Intel UHD 600 Graphics
- 8GB DDR4 SDRAM
- 256GB Solid-State Drive storage, up to 128 GB TF expansion
- Microsoft Windows 10 Operating System
- 14.1 inch Full HD Display with 1920×1080 pixel resolution
- Up to 9 hours of battery life
- USB 3.0 port, DC port for fast charging, microSD card reader, M.2 SSD expansion, micro HD, headphone/microphone jack combo
This laptop is what you need to play 4K recordings, type up reports and messages, indulge in casual gaming activities, and get on the web. Also, it provides a perfect battery to back your computing tasks all day, and a compact plan, and a satisfying screen.
The CHUWI HeroBook Pro carries a 14.1 inch Full HD display panel with a more comprehensive vision and the top quality resolution of 1920×1080 pixels provides diverse subtleties. Furthermore, the shading settings and dark mode will help to prevent eye strain.
The CHUWI HeroBook Pro is powered by the Gemini lake Dual Core N4000 Processor by Intel bundled with the 600 Ultra HD graphics by Intel again. This Graphic processing unit is by far the most dominant player in the realm of providing perfect illustrations and handling 4K videos.
Thanks to the 8 GB of memory and 256 GB of storage, one can easily open and store multiple applications in a flash.
Moreover, the Notebook is furnished with USB 3.0, a quick charging DC port, a microSD card reader, rapid M.2, Micro HD, and an earphone jack, increasing the level of HeroBook Pro’s adaptability. The brilliant lithium polymer battery of 37Wh makes the HeroBook Pro last more than 8 hours.
“Best Portable Notebook“
- 10th Generation Intel Core i3-1005G1 Processor, up to 3.4 GHz, 4M Cache
- Integrated Intel Ultra HD Graphics
- 8 GB DDR4 Memory
- 128 GB NVMe PCIe M.2 SSD Storage
- Backlit keyboard with a fingerprint scanner
- Microsoft Windows 10 in S mode
- 15.6-inch FHD NanoEdge bezel display with 1920×1080 pixel resolution
- USB 3.2 Type-A, HDMI, USB 3.2 Type-C, USB 2.0
The F512JA VivoBook is another good part of ASUS’s already vast computing gadget lineup. Given the powerful features and affordable price it comes with, it won’t be untrue to mention that this laptop is another big surprise for gaming fans from ASUS.
The ASUS F512JA VivoBook 15 is furnished with a 15.6 inches full HD display panel that lets you relish your gaming contests in impressive gaming visuals. The appearance is vivid, sharp, and crisp that will make you admire the laptop’s display.
Also, you will not find any difference in contrast when you look from different angles, instead, the images remain consistent. Due to wide viewing angles, the F512JA exhibits a top-notch display.
Coming to the performance, this model by ASUS will probably boost your spirits which you play your favoring gaming title. Under the hood, you will get an Intel Core i3 10th generation processor paired with the integrated Intel Ultra HD graphics that together bring out a top-notch performance.
Undoubtedly, what ASUS offers via F512JA are good but not mighty enough to let you play graphic intensive gaming titles. It is a budget-friendly laptop that is ideal for casual gaming. It will certainly offer you a lag-free and smooth experience of titles like League of Legends.
Also, ASUS has housed 8 Memory of RAM with 128 GB of storage in it. The RAM is super substantial within this price line but you would probably require extra storage to keep all your applications in F512JA.
On the connectivity options and port front, ASUS has done a nice chore by including all the basic requirements so that you relish your favorite games via your most loved peripherals.
With all the impressive features embedded within one gaming machine, ASUS hasn’t compromised in providing a sufficient battery as well. Overall the F512JA VivoBook by ASUS is a perfect choice for gamers.
“An Elegant-Looking Laptop“
- AMD Dual-Core Ryzen 3 3200U Processor, up to 3.5GHz
- Integrated AMD Radeon Vega Mobile Graphics 3
- 4GB DDR4 RAM
- 128GB NVMe PCIe Solid-State Drive
- 15.6 inches FHD LED-backlit widescreen IPS display with 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution
- Microsoft Windows 10 in S mode
- Up to 7.5 hours of battery support
- 1x HDMI port supported by HDCP, 2x USB 2.0 Ports, and 1x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Port
Throwing out another wild card entry of this list, we have the Acer Aspire 5 laptop for you. Acer has once again seized the show with its decent and not-so-premium yet practical gaming laptop.
It comes with a colorful and bright screen that is 15.6 inches wide. To portray even tiny screen details and offer crystal clear images, Aspire 5 slim laptop withholds 1080p resolution. In the case of display, this laptop exhibits a perfect experience.
Due to the IPS panel display, you won’t get a distorted view while streaming multimedia with various viewing angles. Additionally, you will enjoy its bright and vivid colors whether you are playing games, watching shows, or editing content.
Equipped with the AND Dual Core Ryzen 3 processor, Acer Aspire 5 is strong enough to tackle all your computing chores. Coming to the graphics processing unit, this piece of equipment features an integrated AMD Radeon Vega Mobile Graphics 3 that makes games load and run pretty nice.
Though you won’t be able to enjoy games on high frame rates, the GPU best serves the purpose of smooth gameplay. Also, Acer houses 4GB DDR4 memory and 128GB NVMe PCIe SSD storage.
You won’t be disheartened in terms of connectivity too as Acer ensures to provide you an adaptable gaming laptop with a fair number of ports. Another factor that makes Aspire 5 the best budget gaming laptop is its exceptional 7 hours of battery life.
“Lightest Gaming Laptop“
- Intel Celeron N3350 1.10GHz Processor, 2 Cores, up to 2.4 GHz and 2M Cache
- Intel HD 500 Graphics
- 4GB LPDDR3 RAM
- 64GB eMMC Storage
- 11.6 inches HD Anti Glare 45% NTSC Display Panel with 1366×768 pixel Resolution
- 2 USB 3.0 Type-A, 1 HDMI, 1 Micro SIM card reader, 1 headphone/microphone COMBO jack, 1 USB 3.0 Type-C, 1 AC adapter Plug
- Microsoft Windows 10 in S Mode
The ASUS VivoBook E12 laptop is a budget lightweight laptop that one can carry anywhere around. Besides, the laptop’s design is very stunning which combined with its 11.6 inch HD display screen will probably make you stand apart from the crowd carrying other laptops. The screen offers vivid accurate images for you to relish your games as well as movies.
ASUS allows you to open its lid back to the table due to its super convenient 180-degree hinge. Next, coming to the connectivity options and ports, the ASUS VivoBook E12 contains Wireless LAN and Bluetooth version 4.1 both. Moreover, it is pre-equipped with sonic master speakers and a built-in microphone too.
The VivoBook E12 is housed with an Intel Celeron Processor paired with the LPDDR3 RAM worth 4 GB to assist you in completing your daily computing chores. Moreover, it also has an in-built storage of 64 GB which allows you to store a decent amount of software.
The ASUS VivoBook E12’s keyboard is surprisingly deep with 1.7mm of average travel time. The touchpad on the other hand is much more responsive as it is backed by the Windows 10 gestures and has plenty of room for your hand to rest upon.
Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best Gaming Laptop Under $500 Budget
The Central processing unit is the most significant part of any computing device. It is the sole body that determines how quickly a computing system fetches or executes data. It also influences the quality of how your game runs.
Thus, it is crucial to study the CPU before paying for the laptop. We recommend you spend money on a laptop that contains at least an Intel i5 processor to manage your games properly. This doesn’t imply that the older processors won’t do your work. You can still play games, but you will not have a good experience as i5 offers.
In gaming laptops under $500, this is closely what you will get with almost all the options. Anything more than this will cost you far more than your price line. For that reason, you must choose the nicest CPU that you can within this price.
The next most crucial part of a computing gadget, especially the one supposed to function as a gaming machine, is its graphic card. Most people also recognize the graphic card as a graphics processing unit (GPU).
To make your game buttery smooth your laptop should contain a dedicated graphic chip that enables you to play at a higher framerate. Finding a dedicated graphics card is a real chore as budget laptops usually tend to have integrated graphics cards.
A decent graphic card bundled together with adequate RAM ensures smoothness in your game. We recommend you to go with NVIDIA or AMD graphic cards that are the most popular chips embedded within a budget laptop and support almost all the popular games.
The third most important task for you once you have finished looking for an ideal graphic card and processor is determining what RAM will best fit you. The greater the RAM, the more apps your laptop can hold and run at one time.
The bare minimum requirement in the year 2021 is 8 GB of RAM. Don’t worry because there are several gaming laptops under $500 too that will offer you 8 GB. Anything lower than that can not prevent the gameplay from slight glitches or lagging.
The next thing you should consider the most in the laptop you are planning to buy is the type and capacity of storage. Adequate storage in a gaming laptop is probably a must-have spec primarily due to the latest games of 2021 that occupy no less space than 50GB to 100GB.
The type of storage is again something you should take into account. We advise you to choose SSD instead of HDD storage when choosing a gaming gadget. Solid State Drives tend to make loading and processing time considerably faster and possess higher transfer rates.
Anyhow, it’s important to look for at least 256 GB if you are going with SSD and 500 GB if you are going with HDD.
Another important aspect that you need to bring into account is the laptop’s resolution and other display properties. A display screen with more vivid colors and a brighter display will make your computing and gaming experience greatly satisfying.
Similarly, with more pixels per inch, you would be offered a clear and crisp display so that you determine clearly what’s happening in the game. If the display is HD then that would leave a far bigger influence on how the screen displays your game. A full HD display is an even greater win-win situation.
You might also come across touchscreen displays within the $500 price line. However, we think manufacturers would like to compromise on offering a touchscreen to pack more gaming pro specs under the hood. Additionally, the touchscreen feature is not recommended for gaming purposes.
The last most crucial thing that you need to look for is the laptop’s battery life. No one would like to plug in their laptop after every two to three hours of charging as it’s very problematic and completely kills the intention of buying a portable device for gaming rather than a bulky desktop rig. Anything over 4 to 5 hours of average battery life is more than enough in this budget.
Next, you need a laptop specialist in gaming that has enough array of ports to connect with your other devices. You would certainly need a piece of equipment that carries the evolving standard port: the USB Type-C port.
Micro SD card reader, ethernet port and an HDMI port, and some other connectivity ports like the very basic headphone/microphone combo jack are some others that you might have to consider.
To conclude, you don’t require a massive investment to get hold of a decent gaming laptop. Although the high-end gaming laptops that support even the big gaming titles are extremely pricey, there are more than a few best gaming laptops under $500 for 2021 too.
If you are new in the field of purchasing a gaming laptop, you will most probably come across a few major complications due to the tons of recent launches and changes in the realm of laptops in the past years.
However, we hope that your confusion might have gone away with the piece of information above. Not that you are aware of all the must-have specs and latest designs, you are all set to choose the best fit for your purpose.
With this list of all the best options under a price line, make sure you select the perfect fit among them and enjoy the nicest gaming experience of your life.