Best gaming Laptops under $1000

Hi all

This is a recommendations list for gaming laptops under/around $1000, which is currently the sweat spot for gaming laptops with high performance/price ratio for most. You can now get a GTX 1060 equipped laptop for as low as $700 from time to time (Dell 7577), regular GTX 1060 for around $900-$1000 and a GTX 1050 Ti equipped laptop for around $650-$700.

I didn’t include all the laptops I walked through, but only those that are recommended and their direct competitors. The laptops shown here chosen by several parameters, mainly gaming performance (for this price point), screen quality, build quality, temperatures and noise level and additional value (like a larger HDD). At this point, this list is not complete, and is being updated.

Currently, I would suggest waiting a bit for the new version with the Intel Coffee-Lake CPUs, like the I7-8750H, I5-8400H and I5-8300H. Watch for the Dell G3 series (3579 model) which is a less “gamery” model with good specs.

Pros and cons are relative to what I consider a high quality for the system segment.

Prices are a typical low, meaning that it’s a low price for the model, but the laptop should be easily found for this price from time to time.

In the near future, eGPUs systems will be added to that comparison.

AllGLJ RecommendedPerformerUltraportableSmallLightweightPhotoediting
* = FPS mark based on external benchmarks for same model** = FPS mark based on GLJ benchmarks for roughly similar model
Performer
Lenovo Y720
542172Metro : Last Light, Very high:76.000Deus Ex : Mankind Divided, High:40.000Gears Of War 4, Highest:40.000Battlefield 1, Highest:73.000Tom’s Clancy The Division, Highest:52.000Tom’s Clancy The Division, Highest:43.000
GTX 1060 6GB (laptop), I7-7700HQ
No significant advantage and some important drawbacks compared to the direct competition
speakers
keyboard
ports selection
thermals
mediocre IPS
542172
5.452.127.27
247

Lenovos’ latest high midrange gaming laptop. The basic version comes with an I5-7300HQ/I7-7700HQ Kaby Lake, GTX 1060 6GB GPU, 1080p IPS display (45% NTSC, no GSync), Thunderbolt 3, slow 1TB 5400 RPM HDD.

The thermals/throttling of the Y720 are a mixed situation. The chassis itself remains pretty cool even under high load. However, the CPU/GPU get throttled under high load with very high CPU temperatures. Under usual gaming load, the situation isn’t that bad, but perhaps with the right game/app, thermal performance won’t suffice. The Acer Helios 300 does better in this regard.

The basic HDD is quite slow for general use, but it can be replaced or accompanied by an M.2 SSD.

For weight, the Y720 is a bit heavy at around 3.2kg + power adapter.

The 1080p display of the Y720 is even worse than the competition when it comes to color coverage with around ~37% adobeRGB and ~60% sRGB coverage. This is worse than the Acer Helios 300, Clevo N850HP/N950VR and more.

Battery running times are relatively good. Actually, my tests showed average results (around 4.5 hours for normal web browsing workload), but the NBC test showed much better results – perhaps thanks to the NVMe Samsung 961 SSD compared to the 5400RPM HDD in my tests.

Finally, the Y720 adds another option to consider for around $1000. I can't really vouch for the Y720 due to its disappointing thermals and display and generally no real advantage over the others. Some [sometimes] cheaper GTX 1060 3GB models (Asus FX502/503, MSI GP63MVR) could be considerably more cost effective while not leaving much behind compared to the Y720. For the non-basic version, the Acer Helios 300 for $1000-$1050 would be preferred.

Performer
Clevo N850HP6
542172Metro : Last Light, Very high:76.000Deus Ex : Mankind Divided, High:40.000Gears Of War 4, Highest:40.000Battlefield 1, Highest:73.000Tom’s Clancy The Division, Highest:52.000Tom’s Clancy The Division, Highest:43.000
GTX 1060 6GB (laptop), I7-7700HQ
battery
keyboard
display (relatively)
Thermals (internal + case)
Sound
Build
542172
62.338
300

The Sager NP7850 / Clevo N850HP6 is a Clevo top midrange gaming laptop. It’s packed with a GTX 1060 6GB GPU, I7-7700HQ CPU and the usual 1080p LG LP156WF IPS display w/o GSync.

Gaming performance is top for the price and on par with the competition.

For connection/storage port, it has mDP v1.3 (and another v1.2) and NVMe port. The basic version comes with no OS pre-installed, 1TB 5400RPM HDD and 8GB DDR4 RAM.

The display is not a lot different from the competitors offerings and also lacks from the colors aspect, with around 55-60% adobeRGB coverage. This is the same as the Helios 300, but better than the Lenovo Y720.

Thermals aren’t great according to the linked Notebookcheck review. The body gets pretty hot, also compared to the competition. Under highest stress load, the GPU throttles heavily, and although it’s the same for many other in gaming laptops in this category, the Acer Helios 300, for example, does a lot better.

So, the N860HP6 package offers around the same as other machines for the price and hardware. Advantaged in connection ports, but lacking thermals makes it a less interesting machine than the Helios 300, in my opinion. However, it sometimes is available for lower prices and perhaps worth it for some.

So, the N860HP6 is probably a nice machine with a good basic package of CPU + GPU + display. It has advantages over the competitors and it’s relatively cheap. However, the temperatures aspect remains unclear at this point. The Lenovo Y720 doesn’t have this problem, but it does have a mediocre IPS display with 45% NTSC coverage, which is rather low. But, screen can be replaced, while thermal performance less so, for the common user.

Dell Inspiron 7567
4148Metro : Last Light, Very high:50.000Deus Ex : Mankind Divided, High:32.000Gears Of War 4, Highest:32.000Battlefield 1, Highest:54.000Battlefield 1, Highest:49.000Tom’s Clancy The Division, Highest:34.000Tom’s Clancy The Division, Highest:29.000
GTX 1050 Ti (laptop), Intel I5-7300HQ
thermals
battery
low noise
Ports selection
keyboard
display (some variants)
4148
5.866.86
580

The new Dell 7567 tries to ride the popularity of the previous generation Dell Inspiron 7559 (GTX 960M) which was cheap, fast, equipped with an IPS display and had good set features. However, the 7567 doesn’t add much in my opinion, beyond the obvious GTX 1050 Ti upgrade, but the feature-set hasn’t been upgraded as well.

Connection/storage ports selection is lacking with nothing special added (NVMe, mDP, Thunderbolt 3) beyond the quite mandatory HDMI 2.0 and USB 3.0.

The display is a basic IPS for the current US models. The 7567 started with a bad TN display, but that was ditched off.

Storage is a 1TB SSHD or 256GB SSD for the same price (like the 7559 before it).

Thermal performance is ok. Even the I7 version can almost max out the GPU and CPU clocks under the highest load (at the cost of high CPU temps). The I5 will do a bit better.

Battery running times are very good for the I5 version, also thanks to the high capacity of the battery (74Wh) and can reach 10 hours of typical web browsing workload and 6-7 hours of 1080p youtube video watching.

Looks are acceptable, ditching much of the typical “gamer” look of laptops with such hardware in this category – easier to use it in public places, in my opinion.

Keyboard, in my opinion, was quite lousy. Check the review for more details.

Finally, Dell’s own 7577 adds considerably in performance and throws in a thunderbolt 3 port, sometimes for the same price. So, although the 7567 IPS + GTX 1050 Ti version is probably the best option in its price range and for its hardware, it’s being undercut by the competition of Dell’s own 7577 and the Asus FX502VM when available for this price.

401110062Metro : Last Light, Very high:47.000Deus Ex : Mankind Divided, High:31.000Gears Of War 4, Highest:33.000Battlefield 1, Highest:50.000Battlefield 1, Highest:48.000Tom’s Clancy The Division, Highest:36.000
GTX 1050 Ti (laptop), Intel I5-7300HQ
Noise
Wifi
Keyboard
thermals
401110062
6.151.6915.389.54

The Acer VX5-591G continues where the VN7-591G left. Again, it offers some nice features and performance for the same price as others.

Thermals are pretty edgy, even for the I5 version. Under highest load of Prime95 + Furmark, the CPU gets to 90C+ temps and the chassis reaches 45-50 degrees easily. I would recommend getting the I5 version and not the I7, unless you’re rendering 24/7.

The display is the typical 45% NTSC LG IPS – nothing special and no real advantage or disadvantage over the competition. This is less suitable for photo editing.

Bottom line, that’s an average gaming machine, but as with the Dell 7567. Why get this model for $800-$900, when its bigger and better brother, the Helios 300, is selling for $900-$1050 and the Dell 7577 for less, with better performance and feature-set all around?

Lenovo Y520
401110062Metro : Last Light, Very high:47.000Deus Ex : Mankind Divided, High:31.000Gears Of War 4, Highest:33.000Battlefield 1, Highest:50.000Battlefield 1, Highest:48.000Tom’s Clancy The Division, Highest:36.000
GTX 1050 Ti (laptop), I7-7700HQ
Thermals
Build
Display quality
Display response times
401110062
5.711.5714.298.86
240

The Y520 is Lenovos’ low midrange gaming laptop. The GTX 1050 Ti variant is the top performer of them all.

Display is a low end IPS, much like the Lenovo Y720 (low color coverage, for example).

Connection ports selection, like in the Dell 7567, is quite limited. Expect the basic HDMI, one USB 3.0 Type-C and that’s all for “new” standards.

Gaming performance go is rather good for a GTX 1050 Ti equipped laptop, according to NBC tests.

Thermal performance is rather good in the Y520, with low chassis temperatures, GPU clocks at max and CPU clocks throttling to base clocks under highest load of Prime95 + Furmark. That is good behavior for gaming. With an I5 instead of I7, the thermals should be even better.

Battery running times are average with around 4 hours of typical web browsing workload.

Keyboard is considered to be good according to external tests.

I5 vs I7: with the GTX 1050 Ti, I would get the I5-7300HQ for gaming. Less heat, higher clocks, sometimes longer battery running times.

Bottom line, the Y520 is a nice package of performance and basic features (thermals, keyboard). However, like with other GTX 1050 Ti machines, why get this for gaming when you can get a GTX 1060 laptop, like the Dell 7577?

Radeon RX 560 (laptop), Intel I5-7300HQ
240

Please check the Y520 (1050 Ti) description.

This is the same machine, only with a AMD Radeon RX 560 GPU. Gaming performance should be between the GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti and perhaps requiring more energy.

So, for the same price more or less, I’d go with the GTX 1050 Ti version (or 1060). But, as with the GTX 1050 Ti version, it’s hard to recommend any of them at all, when laptops with a GTX 1060 3GB / Max-Q are available for around the same price from time to time.

MX150, Intel I5-8250U
weight
High contrast display
Low noise
Ports selection
Display colors
510

The new Swift 3 with the new Intel Coffee Lake I5-8250U is a slim and lightweight ultrabook with slick looks.

Gaming performance is high enough for low-medium/medium graphics settings in many less demanding games, like Team Fortress, Overwatch, Bioshock Infinite and more and more. If you are willing to play on 768p, then most games will run smoothly, including more demanding games.

Battery running times are very good, according to tests, showing around 8-8.5 hours of typical web browsing workload.

Display quality is disappointingly low for such a laptop. around 55% sRGB and 37% adobeRGB coverage are rather low and won’t suffice for photo editing and perhaps will even lack when watching typical movies. Response times are very high (bad). Contrast is relatively high, though.

Thermals are fairly ok, with low noise and chassis remaining relatively cool.

Bottom line, I wanted to recommend this machine very much, but the display is a too big drawback. If you are willing to change the display, I’d consider it. It’s annoying to see Acer going back from previous models (the old V7-482PG with its very good IPS), but that’s the way the news go.

MX150, Intel I5-8250U
SSD
Display colors and brightness
520

Low midrange gaming laptop from Acer. Comes with the new Coffee Lake I5-8250U CPU and Nvidia MX150 GPU. The $600 model comes with a 256GB SSD as a default.

Gaming performance is adequate for 768p high-ultra graphics settings, but will also suffice for low-medium gaming at 1080p, especially for less demanding games (Team fortress, World of Tanks and such).

Display quality is unclear to me. Reviews show it comes with an IPS display, but Amazon comments say otherwise, as well as Acer’s site. I’d say that the cheaper US model comes with a low quality TN panel.

Battery running times are very good with around 8-10 hours of typical web browsing workload. (SSD variant)

Bottom line, currently for $600, with a TN panel and an MX150 GPU, I’d suggest going with some of the little pricier GTX 1050 models, if you are ok with an HDD instead of SSD.

GTX 1050 (laptop), Intel I5-7300HQ
Thermals
No throttling
Ports selection
Display colors and brightness
390

HP’s basic low midrange gaming laptop. With an I5-7300HQ and a GTX 1050 (2GB). Cost is around $600-$650 before US tax.

Gaming performance is good for this hardware, thanks to maximal clocks under typical gaming workload. However, a GTX 1050 Ti will have around 35-40% performance advantage on this machine.

Display is a low quality IPS, like some other machines in this category. Around 57% sRGB coverage and low maximal brightness.  Response times are relatively high.

Thermal performance is sufficient. Under highest load of Furmark + Prime95, CPU temps remains around 80C and south, but CPU clocks zigzag between the maximum and heavy throttle. I guess that this behavior could be negated with Throttlestop and perhaps Intel XTU. Under gaming load, the temps are around the same and clocks are maximal.

Battery running times are ok with around 6-7 hours of typical web browsing workload. (SSD)

Connection ports selection is basic, but includes a USB 3.1 Type-C with DisplayPort 1.2 support. HDMI 2.0.

Maintenance is hard according to the NBC review.

Bottom line, for around $600-$650 this machine is a nice option thanks to good thermals and performance. However, including US tax, SSD and perhaps additional RAM, the price reaches the levels of much more powerful machines.

Small
401110062Metro : Last Light, Very high:47.000Deus Ex : Mankind Divided, High:31.000Gears Of War 4, Highest:33.000Battlefield 1, Highest:50.000Battlefield 1, Highest:48.000Tom’s Clancy The Division, Highest:36.000
GTX 1050 Ti (laptop), Intel I5-7300HQ
TB3
Small
GPU throttling
PWM
Relatively heavy
401110062
4.441.2211.116.89
320

Dell Alienware 13 is Dell’s take on a gaming laptop for those who prefer it small. The basic version comes with an I5 and a GTX 1050 Ti and sometimes can be found for $1000 or less, perhaps refurbished. Although relatively small, it’s not a slim machine nor it is lightweight.

Feature-set and connection ports selection are relatively good, including Thunderbolt 3, mDP (1.2), HDMI 2.0, Dell Alienware Amplifier and more.

Gaming performance is pretty good and on par with other GTX 1050 Ti equipped machines. Throttling is not an issue in most games, even demanding. However, the AW13 costs relatively high for this gaming performance.

Display quality is a typical for a 1920×1080 IPS display according to reviews, with high contrast and maximal brightness.

Throttling and temperatures isn’t an issue for gaming workload, but could be an issue under the highest load (Prime95 + Furmark) with CPU temperatures reaching 90C. The surface of the laptop’s body does get very warm and might be a problem for some.

Bottom line. I would consider this machine only if you are interested in this form factor. Otherwise, for the price it’s not cost effective.

Performer
asus-fx502vm
5974Metro : Last Light, Very high:77.000Deus Ex : Mankind Divided, High:48.000Deus Ex : Mankind Divided, High:49.000Gears Of War 4, Highest:45.000Battlefield 1, Highest:78.000Battlefield 1, Highest:72.000Tom’s Clancy The Division, Highest:55.000Tom’s Clancy The Division, Highest:54.000
GTX 1060 3GB (laptop), Intel Core I5-6300HQ
Thermals
display
connection ports
battery
5974
7.879.87
170

The FX502VM is/was a relatively low priced GTX 1060 3GB gaming laptop, with some cut features.

Gaming performance for the price is relatively good even compared to current models with bette CPUs. The I5 + GTX 1060 3GB performs pretty well for 1080p gaming and on average is very similar to GTX 1060 6GB models.

Display quality is low. The TN panel is pretty bad even for TN panels. Many have replaced it.

Connection ports are also lacking, with no mDP, no NVMe port, and no USB 3.1 gen2 / Type-C.

Thermals. In my review, I found that the I5-6300HQ version has rather good thermals. The I5-7300HQ should perform even better.

It was a popular model, but as of writing these lines, it’s not really available anymore for low price and I’d suggest waiting for a Dell 7577 discount instead.

LightweightPhotoeditingUltraportableSmall
Asus UX331UN MX150
MX150, Intel I5-8250U
Almost an easy choice, in my opinion, with the keyboard being the biggest problem. Otherwise, the UX331UN is a very good choice for those who look for a very lightweight/slim light-gaming or multimedia machine.
Display
Weight
Touchpad
Heat
Keyboard
Connection ports
Noise
Throttling
500

The Asus UX331UN is a new premium, very lightweight and slim ultrabook, with basic gaming capabilities. The basic, $1000 model, comes with a Kaby Lake I5-8250U, 8GB RAM (soldered), MX150 GPU and 256GB SATA SSD.

Display quality is rather good with good colors and high contrast. sRGB > 90%, 60% adobeRGB coverage. That should be enough for basic photo/video editing. On top of that, grey-grey response times are relatively low, according to NBC tests, which is good in general, and for gaming in particular.

Gaming performance is as expected for such a machine with an I5 + Geforce MX150 GPU. Throttling results in some performance hit, but generally less demanding games should run well.

Throttling and heat. Chassis temperatures do get warm under heavy workloads, but not alarming so. Throttling under high load will result in some performance hit, as said before.

Connection ports selection is lacking for a $1000 machine with 3xUSB 3.0 (1st gen) and 1xHDMI. No Displayport, thunderbolt 3, USB 3.1gen2.

Keyboard is considered to be low quality according to reviews.

Battery running times are relatively high, with 8-9 hours of WIFI browsing workload type.

Bottom line, the UX331UN is almost an easy choice, in my opinion, with the keyboard being the biggest problem. Otherwise, the UX331UN is a very good choice for those who look for a very lightweight/slim light-gaming or multimedia machine.

MX150, Intel I7-8550U
Strictly for those who look for bigger screen with good enough quality for typical photoediting/UI design work. It's not a powerhorse, but it should more than suffice as a general purpose machine.
Battery
Display
Thermals
Weight
Speakers
487

MX150, Intel I7-8550U

MX150, Intel I5-8250U | Intel I7-8550U

Dell’s 17.3″ low-midrange gaming/multimedia laptop. That’s a 2-in-1 convertible model, with a touchscreen.

This machine is mostly suitable for those who look strictly for a 17.3″ screen with good enough display for photoediting or for light gaming.

Display quality is relatively good, with very high contrast, brightness, and 60% adobeRGB, 92% sRGB color coverage. However, PWM mechanism is in use and flickering may be a problem for some.

 

 

GTX 1060 Max-Q, I7-8750H

Dell G3 3579
4651Metro : Last Light, Very high:55.000Deus Ex : Mankind Divided, High:33.000Battlefield 1, Highest:58.677Battlefield 1, Highest:50.775Tom’s Clancy The Division, Highest:35.000
GTX 1050 Ti (laptop), I5-8300H
Looks & design
Noise levels
IPS quality
Keyboard
Thermals & throttling
Sound
Ports
4651
6.397.08

The Dell G3 3579 is a new midrange gaming laptop. Its major traits are its lower size, weight and sleek looks.

This laptop is not as cost effective for gaming as other gaming laptops for around the price, namely the Dell 7577 (previous generation).

Display quality is relatively low for an IPS with low color palette coverage and low maximal brightness. Contrast is typical (around 1:750) and viewing angles are good.

Gaming performance is as expected for a GTX 1050 Ti 4GB. The Dell G3 performs as well or better than other GTX 1050 Ti I’ve tested. The gaming performance is adequate for gaming at 1080p, on high graphics settings. Even games like Metro Last Light will run at 50-60FPS on very high graphics settings.

Throttling and heat. A downside. Both the chassis and the CPU get quite hot quickly and remain so while the laptop is loaded. It seems that the cooling solution is not well designed.

Connection ports selection is lacking with only 1xUSB 3.1gen2. The typical HDMI 2.0 is the only video port.

Keyboard is of low quality, in my experience with low response, feedback, travel depth and stability.

Battery running times are relatively average, with 4-5 hours of WIFI browsing workload type.

Bottom line, the G3 looks good, but disappoints in many other areas. For current price, it’s hard to recommend. Gaming performance is as expected for a laptop with a GTX 1050 Ti.

 

 

 

GTX 1060 3GB (laptop), I5-8300H

Wait for reviews, but my guesstimation is that it provides no gaming performance improvement over previous GTX 1050 models with a Kaby Lake I5 or I7 CPU.

MX150, Intel I5-8250U

Still no in-depth review

Performer
Acer Nitro 5 GTX 1050 Ti
401110062Metro : Last Light, Very high:47.000Deus Ex : Mankind Divided, High:31.000Gears Of War 4, Highest:33.000Battlefield 1, Highest:50.000Battlefield 1, Highest:48.000Tom’s Clancy The Division, Highest:36.000
GTX 1050 Ti (laptop), Intel I5-7300HQ
Thermals
Display
Connection ports
401110062
6.151.6915.389.54

This is the previous generation Acer Nitro 5, a basic midrange gaming laptop with a GTX 1050 Ti and I5-7300HQ CPU.

The GTX 1050 Ti performance (link) is adequate for high to very high graphic settings @1080p gaming, even in most demanding games. The “Ti” variant adds another 20-30% over the non-Ti variant.

Thermals are ok to good, with the CPU temperatures reaching 90C+ for highest load on base clocks (2.5-2.6GHZ) and GPU clocks at max (no throttle). Chassis temperatures remain relatively low for high load, which is good.

Connection ports selection is very basic and you won’t find Displayport, Thunderbolt, USB 3.1gen2 and only 2xUSB 3.0.

Display quality is typical for such a gaming laptop, which means you get a basic IPS with low color palette coverage, limited brightness. Black levels are relatively low and contrast is high, which is good. No PWM is in use, which is good (no flickering).

Battery running times are relatively good with 6-7 hours of typical web browsing.

For $650 this It's a good deal, since usually the most you’ll get for such a price is maybe a GTX 1050 or even an MX150. Getting an NVMe SSD adds to this deal compared to others as well. The Dell G3 already available for $700 after discount, with a GTX 1050 Ti, but with no SSD + no reviews yet. Just remember that if you want more power than that, for $150-$200 you’ll get the GTX 1060 Max-Q.

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Ahmed Abbas
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Ahmed Abbas

hi junky ,
first of all thanks very much for all your efforts and for this amazing site 😉
i have a question for you ; do you think that there will be any laptop with 970m but below 1200$ ?

Azmartha
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Azmartha

Hello Junky,

Dell released a brand new Inspiron 14 7000 yesterday

– 4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-4710HQ processor (6M Cache, up to 3.5 GHz)
– 8GB Dual Channel DDR3L 1600MHz (4GBx2)
– 1TB 5400 rpm SATA Hybrid Hard Drive with 8GB Cache
– NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 850M 4GB DDR3

My questions are,
1. Will this be a good laptop for gaming?
2. Can I play BF4 on Ultra Setting with this laptop?
3. How far is the difference between GTX 850M DDR3 and GTX 850M DDR5?

Thank you in advance.

Manuel Perez
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Manuel Perez

So the only big problem with the Lenovo that i can see is the screen, which can be replaced for 70-90 dollars? I’m looking to get it for playing MMOs and league of legends, and overall would use it heavily, how long would it last?

sebastian
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sebastian

Hey Junky,
I was wondering if having a gtx850m in a 1000 dollar laptop would lower its overall life span. Also, many people seem to think that gogabyte and sager are less than trustworthy as laptop manufacturers. What are your experiences with the gtx850m?

Akshat Thakkar
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Akshat Thakkar

Hi junky. I need a laptop with 3d screen of 14-15′. My budget is hardly $1000. What do you recommend? I know that I won’t get 4th gen i7 and stuff, but I am a casual gamer( i play fifa and dota, not big FPS games like CoD and others) so I need a decent performance in gaming too. Thanks in advance!