Apparently, hardcore gaming is directly correlated with high-end full tower PCs and expensive setups by a lot of people. But the beauty of PC gaming is the versatility available on hand. Maybe you don’t have the time or patience to build yourself a custom PC, or you are someone who moves around a lot and needs a portable powerhouse. In that case, you should consider buying a gaming laptop. Paired with powerful graphics, gorgeous displays, and long endurance, gaming laptops can easily provide a gaming experience that is just as enjoyable on a Desktop PC but in a much more portable package. There is a lot of variety on board here. These days you can get an absolute beast of a laptop with desktop size graphics but it probably won’t be as portable. Alternatively, you can also get some decent performance out of a fairly compact chassis. The real challenge here is finding a great laptop under a budget of $1000. In most cases, you will be sacrificing one aspect over the other. Some manufacturers will value battery life over performance or vice versa. Some of the laptops might have more focus on the display and some might be focused purely on portability. Whatever your criteria are, we have got you covered with this article.
Dell has been a huge name in the notebook market for a while now. Previously, Dell’s own Inspiron series represented the best value on the market for a gaming laptop and the G series is a direct successor to that. The Dell G5 offers an affordable entry into the world of gaming laptops. Powerful performance, great display, and just overall value make this one a tough competitor.
The G5 from Dell has more a stealthy look compared to most modern gaming laptops. At first glance, it seems like a regular everyday laptop you’d see on someone’s office desk. Depending on your taste, that’s not necessarily a bad thing even though the design might seem bland. In terms of build quality, most of the chassis is made out of hard plastic but it does not have any flex to it at all and seems put together very well. It is important to note that this is a thick and heavy notebook so portability is limited.
As for the keyboard, the keys have sufficient travel and feel great to type on. There is no RGB here but the keys are backlit, which is always handy. The trackpad is decent but the surface isn’t as smooth and responsive compared to others. But once we move onto to the screen, it’s apparent where Dell really cut corners. It’s not horrible by any means but compared to most displays, this one isn’t as bright or color accurate. It’s fine for gaming but do not expect it to dazzle you with visuals.
Where the G5 really shines is in performance. Paired with a core i5 8300H and a GTX 1060, the G5 can run almost any game in 1080p at ultra settings. This is what makes the G5 such a great value. Apart from that battery life is also great. It will easily last 5-6 hours on normal use and 3-4 hours of continuous gaming. This is nothing groundbreaking but good enough considering the performance. If the display doesn’t bother you as much, this is the best value for a laptop under $1000.
2. Acer Nitro 5
Our Rating: 9.6/10
- Backlit keyboard
- Great value compared to the competition
- Provides stable frames at 900P resolution in AAA games
- Mediocre keyboard performance
- Battery life isn't great
Display: 15.6 inch 1080p IPS | Processor: Core i5 8300H | RAM: 8GB | GPU: GTX 1050Ti | Storage: 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD
Acer is popular for their Predator lineup of gaming laptops. But, the next laptop on our list isn’t a predator laptop. It’s the Acer Nitro 5, another great value compared to the rest of the market. In fact, its value makes it so appealing that we considered putting it on the number 1 spot. But in terms of pure performance, the Dell G5 blows it out of the water. However, if you are looking for a steal basically, the Acer Nitro 5 will fulfill most of your needs at a slightly lower price than the Dell.
The Nitro 5 doesn’t feel anywhere near “cheap”. The top panel is made of brushed aluminum with the bottom being hard plastic. The hinge has a dark red shade which is also seen on the keyboard backlighting. The bottom panel does have a slight flex to it but nothing major. Overall, the Nitro 5 is designed to look good and build quality is decent for the price.
The keyboard and trackpad aren’t that impressive. The keyboard feels soft and quiet with not enough travel. It’s great for typing and gets the job done for gaming but is a bit of a disappointment. The trackpad also suffers from soft presses and doesn’t have the best feel to it. The screen is good enough for gaming but nothing mindblowing. It’s not very color accurate and not as punchy or vibrant compared to others. It’s fine by all means but compared to the competition it is pretty average.
Let’s get back to the good stuff. The performance is competitive for the price. It has the coffee-lake i5 8300H paired with an Nvidia GTX 1050Ti. It’s a good performer in most Triple-A titles at 1080p. No complaints here. As for battery life, its as you would expect. In normal use its 4-5 hours but for continuous gaming don’t expect more than 2-3 hours.
Overall, the Acer Nitro 5 packs great performance in a good looking chassis. Even though the keyboard might be a little soft for some people, and the battery life isn’t amazing, there’s not much complaining here for the price. You’d be hard pressed to find a better laptop at such a low price point
The HP Omen 15 might be priced a bit higher compared to others on this list. But it might be worth your money after you take a glance at the display. It’s the best screen out of all the laptops on this list. Pair that with great 1080p gaming performance and we’ve got a solid laptop for the third spot. Unfortunately, you have to pay for that gorgeous display and that premium makes it much more expensive than other notebooks on this list.
In terms of design, HP hasn’t held back for their OMEN 15. This laptop has its own unique look with a brushed metal top lid along with the huge red OMEN logo. It also has a tonne of ports including three USB 3.0 ports, USB Type-C, HDMI 2.0, MiniDiplay Port, Ethernet, Dual audio jacks and an SD card reader. That’s a lot of connectivity and inside a reasonable chassis. It’s still a chunky laptop and not the most portable notebook around.
Moving onto our favorite part of this machine, the display. It’s a 15.6″ 1080p IPS panel with an anti-glare coating. The colors look vibrant and punchy and color accuracy is pretty decent here. The display is perfect for media consumption and definitely shines in gaming. Considering the screen, battery life isn’t all that disappointing either with 4-5 hours of continuous use.
The Keyboard and trackpad are good enough compared to the competition. The keyboard has enough travel to not feel mushy or quiet and works well enough for gaming. The trackpad isn’t the most responsive in the world but gets the job done. As for performance, it’s about as good as you’d expect. With an i7 8750H paired with a GTX 1050Ti, it runs most Triple-A games in 1080p at high settings.
Overall, the OMEN 15 brings a unique design and beautiful display paired with decent performance. But for the price, we would have loved to see a faster GPU, as it is simply priced higher than the competition. However, if you want a unique design and a great display, the OMEN 15 might be worth your money.
4. MSI GV62
Our Rating: 9.6/10
- Red Backlit Keyboard
- Simplistic design
- High-quality keyboard
- Okayish battery timing
- Fan is noticeably loud under load
- 2 hour set up time
Display: 15.6 inch 1080p IPS | Processor: Core i5 8300H | RAM: 8GB | GPU: GTX 1050Ti | Storage: 16GB Optane SSD + 1TB HDD
MSI is a big name in the high-end region for gaming laptops. Surprisingly though, their GV62 is a 15.6″ laptop that packs a lot of power in a sleek package. There are a lot of good things about this laptop. From the keyboard to the performance. Unfortunately, it cuts a lot of corners that might drive people away.
In terms of design, the GV62 is the sleekest looking notebook on our list. It is mostly made of hard plastic all around but the build quality is solid and holds up well. There is a bit of flex on the top lid which might prove to be an issue for durability down the line. The good thing about the design is that this is one of the more portable laptops. It’s not very heavy nor is it very bulky so it’s more manageable to carry it around.
The GV62 has a great keyboard that is made by SteelSeries. It’s not mechanical by any means but it does have plenty of travel and tactile feedback. It’s one of the best keyboards you can find on a laptop under $1000. The trackpad is also smooth and responsive.
The display is where MSI has cut a few corners. It’s an IPS 1080p display but it doesn’t really stand out from the crowd. It’s not a bad display by any means, but colors are a bit washed out here. Despite that, the display isn’t our biggest complaint. That happens to be the battery life which is very short. For a laptop that’s designed to be portable, this is a huge disappointment. The fans are also quite loud under load.
This is not a bad laptop by any means, but the average display and short battery life might be dealbreakers for a lot of people. Even though it has a great keyboard and a great design, we doubt many people will look past the short battery life.
5. ASUS TUF FX504
Our Rating: 9.5/10
- Dual fans with anti-dust technology
- Also available with TN panel which reduces the price
- Provides choice for a lower-end graphics card
- The display quality is not very good
- Substantially bad battery life
Display: 15.6 inch 1080p IPS | Processor: Core i5 8300H | RAM: 8GB | GPU: GTX 1050 | Storage: 1TB SSHD
The ASUS TUF FX504 seems to fall in the same situation as the above mentioned MSI GV62. It’s an affordable gaming laptop that performs well for the price, looks decent and is an overall decent package at first glance. Unfortunately, a deeper look reveals the same short battery life and dull display on board. Just because its last on our list doesn’t mean it’s a horrible laptop, it just means we’d have a hard time recommending it over anything else on the list.
The TUF FX504 promises powerful performance in a sleek package. It does deliver on the first promise but it’s not exactly a sleek package. It’s your regular bulky and heavy gaming laptop. Build quality is decent enough. There is hard plastic all around but durability shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
As for performance, the i5 8300H and the GTX 1050 make this an awesome performer for 1080p gaming at a low price. As you’d expect it can run almost all titles smoothly at medium settings. Unfortunately, the TUF FX504 makes too many compromises. First off is the horrible display quality, the colors are simply washed out and the images on screen just look dull and bland. The second sacrifice made for the price seems to be the battery life, which is just below average and doesn’t last very long.
The TUF FX504 promises a lot of performance at a great price. It does fulfill the performance end of things but there are simply too many corners cut here in the display and battery life. It’s not a horrible laptop by any means, it’s decent for the price but the screen and battery life could be major dealbreakers.
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Prices taken/valid at the time of review.