When you need a gaming laptop, you want the best. And when it comes to the best gaming laptops, there’s no question that you want to get your hands on one as soon as possible.

But how do you find the best gaming laptop? It can be overwhelming! Luckily for you, we’re here to help. In order to take the stress out of shopping for a gaming laptop on a budget, we’ve curated a list of excellent gaming machines that all come in under $1,500. Our recommendations are based on extensive experience and hands-on testing. So without further ado, let us show you the best options below.

To learn more about our selection process for the best gaming laptops, take a look at the how we test section following our best picks. For an even greater array of options check out our roundup of the best gaming laptops at all price points, or if you want to save even more, check out our best gaming laptops under $1,500.

1. HP Victus 16 (16-d0097nr) – Best overall

1. HP Victus 16
proscons
Very good valueBudget RTX GPU
Surprisingly comfortable keyboardAudio doesn’t feel quite right
Large 16-inch 1080p screen with a high 144Hz refresh rateDisplay hinge is a bit flimsy

The HP Victus 16 is a solid gaming laptop that’s not only affordable, but also has some of the best specs for its price. The 16-inch 1080p display has a high refresh rate of 144Hz, and there are a wide range of configuration options. Although the GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU falls on the lower end of the spectrum, it still delivers solid 1080p gaming performance. Plus, the subtle design makes it a suitable choice for either work or play.

We tested the top-tier configuration, which is still relatively affordable at $1,250. However, as we mention in our review, these models can go as low as $730. The cheaper models use the older GTX 1650 GPUs, which lack DLSS and ray-tracing support. With that being said, these laptops should still provide decent gaming performance at lower graphics settings.

2. Acer Predator Triton 300 SE – Most portable

Acer Predator Triton 300 SE – Most portable
proscons
Slim, sub 4-pound designNo G-Sync support
Solid gaming and ray-tracing performanceNo wired ethernet
Three-zone RGB keyboard backlighting
Impressive battery life

The Acer Predator Triton 300 SE is a great laptop for work and play. It has plenty of power for intense gaming sessions, but its battery life is surprisingly good. During our battery test, which loops 4K video, the 60 watt-hour battery died at the nine-hour mark. That’s definitely more than a full work day. And at a little over three pounds, this is a fairly lightweight machine. Between its slim profile and decent battery life, the Triton also makes for a good work/travel laptop. The design is subtle, too—you wouldn’t mind taking this into a work meeting with you because the minimalist aesthetic doesn’t draw much attention to itself.

3. Swift X (SFX14-41G-R1S6) – Best for students

Swift X (SFX14-41G-R1S6) – Best for students
proscons
Stellar ultraportable performance.Display feels cramped for creative work.
Sneaky gaming laptop with RTX 3050 Ti graphics.Fan gets loud during heavy workloads.
Impressive battery life considering high-end parts.Poorly placed Pg-Up and -Down buttons.

When you’re looking for a laptop that can handle demanding tasks and light gaming, it’s important to remember that not all models are created equal.

The Swift X is a prime example of this concept.

At first glance, the Swift X may not look all that threatening—after all, it doesn’t have any particularly big features or impressive hardware specs. But when you dig beneath the surface, you’ll find that it has some seriously powerful components. This ultraportable is packing an AMD Ryzen 7 5800U processor, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU, and 512GB of PCIe NVMe SSD storage. In our review, the Swift managed “48 frames per second at the Highest preset” when running Shadow of the Tomb Raider at 1080p. There are a few downsides, though. The fans get loud under heavy loads and the keyboard runs a little warm. But if you can live with those shortcomings and you’re looking for strong CPU and GPU performance at an affordable price? The Swift X will deliver.

4. HP Envy 14 14t-eb000 (2021) – Longest battery life

HP Envy 14 14t-eb000 (2021) – Longest battery life
proscons
Good value for the moneySlightly quirky keyboard layout
Fantastic battery lifeWebcam’s signature feature is ineffective
Quiet fan, with no detectable performance throttling
Thunderbolt 4 support

When we first looked at the HP Envy 14, we were skeptical. After all, it’s not a traditional gaming laptop. But boy were we surprised!

The Envy 14 is an excellent option for content creation and modest gaming. The configuration we tested features an Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor and an Iris Xe/Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q graphics card. It also has a 15-hour battery life, which is an impressive feat for a laptop of this caliber.

What really sets this machine apart is its quiet operation during both CPU- and graphics-intensive loads. It doesn’t produce much fan noise either, which means you can watch your favorite YouTube videos or movies without having to keep your ear to the speaker grille (or the headphones).

5. Nitro 5 17-inch (2021) – Largest display

Nitro 5 17-inch (2021) – Largest display
proscons
Strong CPU/GPU pairing for the pricePlastic chassis is bulky
Roomy 1TB SSD with room to add second driveDim display &
Terrible webcam

The Acer Nitro 5 17 is a solid option for gaming on a budget. It delivers decent graphics performance, provides a wide variety of ports, and Acer even includes the bits and bobs (i.e., screws) for swapping out the storage or RAM. The plastic chassis won’t have anyone mistaking this for a premium product, but the display is fairly dim. As with most budget gaming laptops, sacrifices have to be made somewhere; if those trade-offs don’t bother you much, then the Nitro 5 is definitely worth considering. The entry-level model costs just under $1,400.

6. Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition – Best if you’re able to stretch your budget

Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition – Best if you’re able to stretch your budget
proscons
Outclasses every CPU in competing laptopsNo webcam
Radeon RX GPU outclasses similarly-priced GeForce GPUs in conventional gaming.Very bulky 280-watt power brick
Surprisingly good audio qualityNvidia GPUs outclass Radeon in ray tracing and content creation.

The Asus ROG Strix G15 Advanced Edition is an AMD laptop that can handle all your gaming needs.

With a fast CPU and GPU performance at a reasonable price point, it’s packing an AMD Ryzen 5900HX processor, an AMD Radeon RX 6800M GPU (with 12GB of GDDR6), 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of SSD storage. According to our review, the GPU “doesn’t outpace higher-wattage RTX 3080 laptop GPUs, but it’s a worthy competitor for conventional gaming tasks.” Unsurprisingly, the Strix G15 is one chunky machine—it measures 28mm at its thickest part. Although the additional thickness allows more space for cooling components, it’s not very portable. That said, so long as you don’t plan on taking this laptop everywhere you go, it’s a powerful gaming rig that’s well worth the money.

We understand that the $1,650 price tag isn’t “cheap” in the traditional sense—but this all-AMD laptop costs significantly less than other laptops of comparable power. If you look on Best Buy or Nvidia’s website for 3080 machines (which cost upwards of $2,200 to $3,000), they only have one model.

How we tested best quality in Laptop

To test the performance of our laptops, we run a series of benchmarks that test GPU and CPU performance, battery life, and so on. The idea is to push the laptop to its limits and then compare it against others we’ve tested. Below, you’ll find a breakdown of each test and the reasons why we run them:

  • We run Battery tests (video) on every Windows laptop to check for battery life. We use this test because it’s run by many journalists across the industry and has become an industry-standard in testing laptops’ battery life. We also include this benchmark in our reviews so our readers know how long their laptops will last between charges.
  • We also test the performance of all of our laptops using Futuremark’s PCMark 7, which evaluates several different factors related to overall system performance, including memory usage; disk access speed; video editing performance; web browsing performance; photo editing performance; and 3D graphics rendering performance. We use this benchmark because it’s widely used by other publications and is comparable to other tests like Cinebench or SunSpider.

Windows laptops

These help you perform tasks like web browsing, word processing, spreadsheets, and more. We do this by measuring how fast your computer can complete those tasks.

PCMark 10: PCMark 10 is how we determine how well the laptop handles lighter tasks like web browsing, word processing, spreadsheets, and so on. This benchmark is an important tool for testing the performance of new hardware and software.

HandBrake: HandBrake is more intensive than PCMark 10. It measures how long a laptop’s CPU takes to encode a beefy 30GB file. With HandBrake, you can do everything from simple drag and drop files to encode them, or use custom presets and settings to get the exact bitrate you need for your media format.

Cinebench:

Cinebench is a brief stress test of the CPU cores. It does this by rendering a 2D scene over a short period. Cinebench is the most popular benchmarking tool for evaluating processor performance, and it’s used by many game engines to render scenes quickly. The software generates two types of images: one for single-core and one for all cores at once.

3DMark: 3DMark is the benchmark for 3D performance. It runs graphic-intensive clips to check if your system remains consistent over time.

Video rundown test: To show you how long your laptop battery will last, we’re going to loop a 4K video using the Movies & TV app on Windows 10 until the laptop dies.