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13 Best Gaming Laptops Under $1000 in April 2021

When you think of a powerful laptop, it’s heavy, knobby, and hot; while when you think of a beautiful, lean designed laptop, it’s weak and capable of doing only office applications. We have walked ourselves through several online stores and we would like to introduce the best gaming laptops under $1000.

The 13 Best Gaming Laptops Under $1000 on the market are researched and tested by our prime experts to help you make the best choice. You will be interested in the Best Gaming Laptops Under $1000 in 2021. Listed below you will see major brands as: Acer, MSI, ASUS, Lenovo, HP, OMEN.


Showing  1 - 10  in  13 results
TOP Choice
1
  • SCORE
    9.4
    AI Score

    AI Score is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It from 0 to 10 are automatically scored by our AI Consumer Report tool based upon the data collected. This score has no relationship or impact from any manufacturer or sales agent websites.

  • Brand
    Acer
2
  • SCORE
    9.4
    AI Score

    AI Score is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It from 0 to 10 are automatically scored by our AI Consumer Report tool based upon the data collected. This score has no relationship or impact from any manufacturer or sales agent websites.

  • Brand
    MSI
3
  • SCORE
    9.2
    AI Score

    AI Score is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It from 0 to 10 are automatically scored by our AI Consumer Report tool based upon the data collected. This score has no relationship or impact from any manufacturer or sales agent websites.

  • Brand
    MSI
4
  • SCORE
    9.0
    AI Score

    AI Score is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It from 0 to 10 are automatically scored by our AI Consumer Report tool based upon the data collected. This score has no relationship or impact from any manufacturer or sales agent websites.

  • Brand
    ASUS
5
  • SCORE
    9.8
    AI Score

    AI Score is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It from 0 to 10 are automatically scored by our AI Consumer Report tool based upon the data collected. This score has no relationship or impact from any manufacturer or sales agent websites.

  • Brand
    Lenovo
6
  • SCORE
    9.2
    AI Score

    AI Score is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It from 0 to 10 are automatically scored by our AI Consumer Report tool based upon the data collected. This score has no relationship or impact from any manufacturer or sales agent websites.

  • Brand
    Lenovo
7
  • SCORE
    9.2
    AI Score

    AI Score is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It from 0 to 10 are automatically scored by our AI Consumer Report tool based upon the data collected. This score has no relationship or impact from any manufacturer or sales agent websites.

  • Brand
    MSI
8
  • SCORE
    9.6
    AI Score

    AI Score is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It from 0 to 10 are automatically scored by our AI Consumer Report tool based upon the data collected. This score has no relationship or impact from any manufacturer or sales agent websites.

  • Brand
    HP
9
  • SCORE
    9.0
    AI Score

    AI Score is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It from 0 to 10 are automatically scored by our AI Consumer Report tool based upon the data collected. This score has no relationship or impact from any manufacturer or sales agent websites.

  • Brand
    MSI
10
  • SCORE
    9.6
    AI Score

    AI Score is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It from 0 to 10 are automatically scored by our AI Consumer Report tool based upon the data collected. This score has no relationship or impact from any manufacturer or sales agent websites.

  • Brand
    OMEN

Last update on 2021-04-18 / Affiliate links / Images, Product Titles, and Product Highlights from Amazon Product Advertising API

4.4
7 ratings

Buying Guides

Unlike gaming laptops, gaming laptops are usually hard to upgrade. The components are designed to work well together like a machine. You’re not supposed to take it out and upgrade it. Some brands give you the ability to do that. But there’s not many things you can get your hands on. We will break the laptop down so you can have a look.

1. The screen

Inarguably, the screen is one of two most important things in a laptop, because of two things:

  • First, the screen is not upgradable, 99% of the time. The brands can let you replace or upgrade your CPU or RAM or your hard drives, but they definitely don’t want you to upgrade your screen

  • Secondly, the screen is the only way you can see how the inside of the laptop works. A good screen can fix the flaws the CPU makes and a terrible screen would just look bad even if you have the latest Core i9 CPU

Therefore, screens are important, and here are the types of the screens for you to take a look:

  • HD screens: This type of screens still exists, however, on low-budget computers. It is a little low to play games, but it is playable and cheap

  • FHD screens: Believe it or not, this is the most popular resolution of laptops. A 4K laptop is still rare to find in the market, while a 4K TV is even cheaper than 1080p TV. Full HD screens are more than two times more detailed than HD screens and it’s good enough to play games outside. I’m talking about laptops to carry and play outside. 

  • 4K screens: 4K is premium at the moment, and under $1000, it’s definitely not possible to find a laptop with 4K screen. However, I just leave it here for references. 4K features 4 times as many pixels as FHD screens do. Therefore, it presses the CPU and GPU so much that not only the prices increase by the screen quality, they also get pushed by the prices of the components that produce the images.

2. The CPU

When it comes to the CPUs of the laptops, the first thing brands think about is not performances, or the latest technologies, but the power consumption. Laptop components rely on battery power to work, and even in the situation of being plugged in, the CPU can’t draw unlimited power from the tiny power controller. The CPU also has to deal with the requirements of being anti-theft, personal encryption and other mobile devices’. 

To begin with, take a look at some popular CPU lineups:

  • Intel Tiger Lake (11th) Core i9

  • Intel Tiger Lake (11th) Core i7

  • Intel Xeon

  • AMD Ryzen 9

  • AMD Ryzen 7

When I talk about PCs, I usually put the sockets of two brands into comparison; however, we can’t do it here, because most laptops come with a socket and a CPU being assembled together and hard to break up. The thing I want to talk about is what and why some CPU lineups can and can not be put into a laptop.

The K or HQ lineups from Intel are usually famous for performance; however, we rarely use those CPUs in a laptop, for, first, the laptops are gonna be super hot and produce lots of heat, second, the battery wouldn’t be strong enough to run. Therefore, CPUs you often see should be an M or a U member. M CPUs are weak but cheap, while U CPUs are more expensive, but more powerful and power-efficient. On gaming laptops, the type of CPU you see is often an H CPU. Sometimes, you can see some Dell laptops that are packed with K CPU; however, don’t take a look at them. You know what I mean.

Typically, an AMD CPU is cheaper than an Intel CPU relatively. You might somehow see that the AMDs are priced more than the Intels, but if you put in the performance perspective, the AMD chips are slightly cheaper than the Intel ones with the same performance. In exchange for that, we get better compatibility and other exclusive features on the Intel name as Intel has been around for more than anyone in the field, and it’s been collaborating with a lot of companions. 

3. Storage

Many customers think of RAM for what they consider when buying a computer. However, when you walk in the programmers’ shoes in this, there are a lot of things to think about. L1, L2, L3 cache storages are the first things the CPUs come in contact with, which means if the speed and capacity of those storages are good enough, the performance of the computer would be significantly improved. To help you understand the differences, take a look

  • The L1, L2, L3 cache: the first 3 levels of cache are the fastest memory spaces that can be accessed from the CPU - the former is faster than the latter - meaning if the CPU reads or writes a value into those spaces, it would be even faster than writing or reading on RAM.

  • The Random Access Memory (RAM): the term “Random Access” has meanings hidden. Unlike rotating devices, the traditional HDD for instance, the Random Access Memory can read and write a value to anywhere on its storage instantly. It’s different from the rotating devices, when you have to wait for the disk to rotate to the position you need then you’ll be able to read or write, which reduces dramatically the speed and most importantly the price of the storage. Therefore, RAM is expensive, so people don’t make these 512 GB RAMs to store your games, photos, but only 8GB or 16GB RAMs to store things temporarily to assist the CPU. A RAM has a bus speed, at which it communicates with the CPU, and the capacity such as 4GB, 8GB, 16GB or 32GB.

  • Read-Only Memory: It makes our developers so itchy when someone says the ROM capacity of the computer is 256GBs, which is ridiculous. The thing they were referring to is the external storage, which definitely is not ROM. ROM is the abbreviation for Read-Only Memory; read-only is suggested by the name. It’s the first ever code that every CPU has to read right after you press that power button. It contains every piece of start-up commands, BIOS settings of what operating system to boot, what the brand name is, … The BIOS size is typically small; therefore, the quality of this memory doesn’t usually matter. However, you would not want your BIOS to fail during usage, so you’d better understand it.

  • Attached storage: traditionally, an HDD was used in this situation. Now that the SSDs are becoming more popular, the SSD is used for gaming. SSDs work just like RAM, for the Random Access thing, but at a lower speed. SSDs are connected to the computer by the laptopIe interface, which is the similar interface used to RAM and ridiculously fast, or the SATA, which is the interface used to be used for HDD, for a lower speed. 

The fact is, SSD is lightning fast, and HDD is super slow. For a gaming laptop, you might not only use it to play games but also edit videos or designing:

  • To play games and other stuff: games require a lot of space to store but not as much as video content, so 256GBs of SSD storage would be very enough for storing games

  • Editing videos or photos: Editing videos takes a lot of space to store raw content, exported content, versions by versions. That’s why video editors usually get themselves a second HDD or a portable one for archiving

4. Mac or not Mac

For your information, gamers would laugh reading this. A Macbook laptop would not be suitable for gaming; however, if your needs aren’t just gaming, you can give this a thought. A Macbook is beautiful, light, powerful, but expensive, and runs MacOS. Not many games are built to run on MacOS, so this is the point gamers would laugh. One way to get around this is to install Windows on your Macbook, and sometimes, a Macbook can run Windows better than other Windows laptops. Anyway, give it a slight thought when considering your gaming laptop.

5. Cooling system

For a gaming PC, I would normally suggest the buyers go for a water cooling system; however, a water cooling system on a laptop is not an easy solution. Some brands might have tried to put liquid cooling systems on laptops, but it usually appears on high-priced ROG or MSI laptops. 

Editing videos or playing games are among others the most extreme tasks pressuring the computer. Consequently, the computer produces a lot of heat doing the tasks. The need now is to distribute the tremendous amount of heat to cool the system down, helping prevent the system from exploding, and performance dropping. These efforts are made to achieve one true goal, to keep the system performance stabilized. Two types of cooling system are used, which are:

  • Air cooling system: The noise you often hear when turning on the computer is the noise of the fan or fans. The fans are designed to make an air flow around the computer to distribute the heat and eventually for the heat to escape through the tiny holes on the mainframe. The aluminum case on some modern laptops also helps to do it because metals conduct heat better than plastic, and metals are thinner.

  • Water/Liquid cooling system: This type of cooling system results in a very big and monstrously designed laptop. Water cooling provides a silent solution to flow the heat out of the mainboard; it does that much more effectively than air cooling without making any sound at all. Heat is taken out of the CPU by a special type of liquid or on some cheaper version, water, that always flows around a closed set of tubes, carrying the heat outside. Again, this type of system has nothing to be criticized, but the drawback here is the price. It’s so expensive that it can’t be used in normal affordable computers.

6. The performance you need

Gaming laptops have to be intense. The exchange is the price, sky-high. That is when you have to play highly detailed games with high frame rates on a high resolution. Examples for that might be the latest Metro Exodus or the Hitman, and those aren’t meant to play on computers under $1000. You can get around with that somehow, but you wouldn’t get a decent playing experience.

  • For low-end normal games: Some games you can play at this level are the leagues of legends with the low graphics mode. This type of laptop is cheap, by the way.

  • For mid-range games: This type is slightly more expensive and laptops we categorize into this range are usually packed with a Core i7 or Core i9

  • For the highest performance required games: Built to play intense FPS or complicated games on the highest configurations. It can play well games in 4K or even 8K with the frame rate of 60 frames per second or even 120 frames per second. However, 8K is rare in laptops as I suggested, so this is more possible in PCs

7. Special requirements

  • HDR support: HDR (High Dynamic Range) produces colors that are much richer and brighter than normal color definition.

  • Fingerprint recognition: For recognizing your identity using Windows Hello, to log in faster.

  • Face recognition: This feature, along with the fingerprint recognition, is another way to log in to your computer.

  • Wi-Fi and Ethernet: Most laptops are getting rid of the Ethernet port because it takes space. However, brands still want to keep the port in gaming laptops because it helps a lot with reducing latency and increasing network bandwidth.

  • Webcam kill switch: Sometimes, you feel like you can’t trust the software to protect your privacy. You’re too above the point of taping your webcam, there’s a switch. HP Spectre is the first lineup to implement this. But it’s a little more than $1000.

Read more: Best Prebuilt Gaming PCs Under $1000.


Reviews

1.Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop, 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060, 15.6" Full HD IPS 144Hz Display, 16GB DDR4, 256GB NVMe SSD, Wi-Fi 6, Waves MaxxAudio, Backlit Keyboard, AN515-54-728C

It’s fun to talk about brands, because they categorize their products into brands. Acer has a lineup of Swift for portability and good design lovers. On the other hand, Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop is made for games. 

We all notice that when we see an Ethernet port built-in compared to the removed in the Swift a long time ago. The Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop is powered by a Core i7-9750H, which is one of the most powerful 9th mobile processors, and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060. With 15.6 Full HD IPS 144Hz screen,

Those are supported by 16GBs of main RAM and 256 GBs of NVMe SSD. As I said, there’s an Ethernet port, and a Wi-Fi 6 network card made by Intel. Finally, as a budget choice for today, it has a backlit keyboard to light up the way for you in the dark. However, the backlit keyboard is one of the worst factors that drain the battery of your laptop, so be noted.

2. ASUS TUF Gaming Laptop, 15.6” 120Hz FHD IPS-Type, AMD Ryzen 7 3750H, GeForce RTX 2060, 16GB DDR4, 512GB PCIe SSD, Gigabit Wi-Fi 5, Windows 10 Home, FX505DV-ES74

As you all know, Asus is famous for the ROG, or Republic of Gamers, which is the dedicated laptop lineup for gaming. In a lower price range, we got ASUS TUF Gaming Laptop, also claimed to be made for gaming, but obviously, it can’t be compared with a ROG laptop. 

The laptop is designed to have a 120Hz Full HD IPS screen, an AMD Ryzen 7 3750H processor, a GeForce RTX 2060, and 16 Gigabytes of RAM. The storage is 512 GB PCIe SSD. T

The keyboard is backlit and tested to work over 20 million times, for the best of gaming. Finally, it comes with a combo Gigabit Wave Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth network card..

3.Lenovo Legion 5 Gaming Laptop

While Lenovo ThinkPad is meant to be laptops for businessmen, Lenovo Legion is made for gamers. The first thing to be noticed about Lenovo Legion 5 Gaming Laptop is its 144Hz screen. What it means by that is that the laptop screen changes the images 144 times per second to make the motions as smooth as possible. 

The resolution is standard 1080p, manufactured in a 15.6 inch display. As for the processor, the laptop is powered by an AMD Ryzen 7 4800H, which is said to be equivalent to some of the Core i9 processors. The built-in RAM has the capacity of 16 GBs, being backed by a 512 GB NVMe M.2 SSD. It also comes with the graphics card named NVIDIA GTX GeForce 1660Ti for your favorite games and other intense tasks. 

The final thing about this laptop is the trademarked Lenovo Cooling feature called Lenovo ColdFront 2.0, advertised by Lenovo.

  • Ryzen 7 4800H

  • NVIDIA GTX 1660Ti 6GB dedicated memory

  • 512 GB SSD

  • Gigabit Ethernet


FAQs

1. Can I upgrade my laptop’ configurations?

Sometimes. For PCs, it’s always a yes. But for a laptop, brands don’t want you to break down the product and replace parts with something else. Sometimes, you can but you have to be sure to check with your brand about the warranty policy before really taking it out.

2. How do I set up the computer after I get it?

The truth is, nothing. Most of the products come with Windows pre-installed, so you don’t usually get to be worried about setting up: Just power it up, type in your name and password, then it would be alright.

Some products, to reduce the price, come with the Linux operating system, with which not many people are familiar. In that case, you might want to install Windows before playing your games.

3. What about the warranty?

Typically, laptops are warranted for at least 1 year by the brand, but to my personal experience, they aren’t likely to break within the first two years. The reason for that is, truly, laptops made these days are so good.

4. How long can batteries last for gaming?

Not much. That’s an honest answer. The longest time playing games I have got with a laptop is 6 hours. That’s sad but that’s the thing you have to compromise to have a gaming laptop. The CPU takes up lots of power even in the idle state, the GeForce eats electricity like breakfast, so you would want to plug in your laptop when playing for a long time.

5. What operating system comes with the laptops?

All the computers we have recommended include Windows 10 operating system OOB. Sometimes, the brands don’t want to do that. Some others cut the cost of the laptops by installing freeware operating systems, Ubuntu for instance. 

If you have bought a Linux pre-installed laptop, you'll probably end up with buying a genuine version of Windows because games built to run on Linux operating systems are not many. Fortunately, Steam has been available to Linux users for a while, despite the fact that many games on the platform are only available to Windows users.


Final Thoughts

Gaming is the need for many people. However, we can’t always carry around a 30-pound gaming set along with a portable electricity generator or probably a network router everywhere, a laptop is the solution. However, laptops might be expensive and heavy as well. To conclude, these are the best gaming laptops we have selected:

Thank you for reading my recommendations today. Good gaming laptops are hard to choose and sometimes expensive, but my advice is to buy a gaming laptop from a respected brand because of the respected warranty policy, well assembling process, and unique design.

Thuy Tran
Thuy Tran
As a technology enthusiast, Thuy Tran has many years of researching and using AI with Big Data to support in the field of Digital Marketing. In his free time, he often plays games, writes reviews and shares his own experience in technology.