Best gaming laptops under $800

This piece is about recommending a good gaming laptop under 800 dollars. In this price range, the best you can usually find are gaming laptops with a GTX 1050Ti and rarely GTX 1060 at this point. For the higher end of gaming performance I would recommend checking Dell’s offering – the previous generation Dell 7577 discounted via Dell Home Outlet or the newer Dell G3 (not as good, but looks better) or the Dell G7.

These laptops do not use the regular GTX 1060 (3/6GB) but the Max-Q version which is more TDP limited (basically meaning it’s allowed to use less power for long period), and in more system taxing cases, they may be automatically underclocked to meet the TDP requirements.

For more powerful GPUs and more options, check the $1000 gaming laptops page.

At the lower end of performance, gaming laptops with a GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti are available for as low as $600 and even lower with some deals, which results in quite high cost effectiveness.

Please refer to the GTX 1060 Max-Q benchmarks page as well as the 1060 MQ vs 1050 Ti and 1060 MQ vs regular 1060 to get a more complete picture of what are the differences. In short, the regular 1060 6GB is around 15-25% faster than the 1060MQ on average and the 1060MQ is around  30-50% faster than the 1050 Ti on average. So, a GTX 1060MQ laptop for $700-$750 is more cost effective than a $600-$650 GTX 1050 Ti laptop

As for what you get for your money. The GTX 1050 (link) will run well most of the more demanding games on medium graphics settings@1080p, including games like Battlefield 1, Middle-Earth : Shadow Of War, Gears of War 4 and more. For less taxing games like Bioshock Infinite, the 1050 will suffice for highest graphics settings@1080p. The 1050 Ti easily adds another 40-50% to that, meaning many heavier games that would run on 40FPS@1080p with the 1050 will now run at 60FPS like “Rise of The Tomb Raider” (medium settings). As said before, the 1060MQ adds another 30-50%, basically allowing most of the more 3D heavy games to run on 60FPS@1080p at highest graphics settings (again, like “Rise Of The Tomb Raider”).

If you must get a laptop now, then consider your needs. For example, if you need a good “amount” of 3D power, combined with a good display (some gaming + video/photo editing, for example), consider the HP Pavilion gaming with the 144HZ IPS + GTX 1050 Ti upgrade and use a coupon. If you want a the most 3D power you can get, simply follow the list ordered by “FPS Mark”.

Currently it’s better to wait for the next generation of Nvidia and AMD GPUs, both should start showing before the end of the 2018.

Please remember to check the deals list – sometimes it contains deals that are not showing here

AllGLJ RecommendedPerformerUltraportable
* = FPS mark based on external benchmarks for same model** = FPS mark based on GLJ benchmarks for roughly similar model
Lenovo Y520
401110062Metro : Last Light, Very high:47Deus Ex : Mankind Divided, High:31Gears Of War 4, Highest:33
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?

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.

HP Pavilion 15t gtx 1050
344573Metro : Last Light, Very high:39Deus Ex : Mankind Divided, High:28Gears Of War 4, Highest:25
GTX 1050 (laptop), Intel I5-7300HQ
Thermals
No throttling
Ports selection
Display colors and brightness
344573
5.47.1411.59
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.

Asus FX504
344573Metro : Last Light, Very high:39Deus Ex : Mankind Divided, High:28Gears Of War 4, Highest:25
344573
4.866.4310.43

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.

Dell Inspiron 7567
4151Metro : Last Light, Very high:50Deus Ex : Mankind Divided, High:32Gears Of War 4, Highest:32
GTX 1050 Ti (laptop), Intel I5-7300HQ
thermals
battery
low noise
Ports selection
keyboard
display (some variants)
4151
5.867.29
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.

Performer
Lenovo Y720
5420803728Metro : Last Light, Very high:76Deus Ex : Mankind Divided, High:40Gears Of War 4, Highest:40
No significant advantage and some important drawbacks compared to the direct competition
speakers
keyboard
ports selection
thermals
mediocre IPS
5420803728
5.452.028.083.742.83
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.

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.

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.

Acer Nitro 5 GTX 1050 Ti
4651Metro : Last Light, Very high:55Deus Ex : Mankind Divided, High:33Battlefield 1, Highest:59
Display
Battery
CPU Thermals
Connection ports
Display
4651
6.136.8
420

This is the current generation Acer Nitro 5, a basic midrange gaming laptop with a GTX 1050 Ti and I5-8300HQ 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. The good part is that the panel has very high contrast ratio. No PWM is in use, which is good (no flickering). Response times are typical which means they are not very high and are considered low for gaming purposes.

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

HP Pavilion Gaming 15t
4651Metro : Last Light, Very high:55Deus Ex : Mankind Divided, High:33Battlefield 1, Highest:59
Connection ports
Sound
4651
5.756.38

HP Pavilion 15T Gaming is its top midrange gaming laptop. It comes with the optional 144HZ IPS which is higher quality display compared to the typical IPS of the competition. This version has a GTX 1050 Ti and not a 1060MQ.

Gaming performance is good for mid-high graphics settings. The optional 1060MQ GPU is a good performance upgrade.

Display The 15T has an optional high quality 144HZ IPS for only $70. This upgrade is worth it for gaming and non-gaming tasks, because of its high contrast and good colors as well as low response times. That’s the main selling point of this laptop.

Keyboard is pretty good overall, for laptops in this segment. It is not of a high business class keyboard quality (like the Lenovo Thinkpad’s or Dell Latitudes’), but still a very good one according to reviews.

Thermal performance according to tests over the web (see links below), the 15T thermal performance is good enough for heavy gaming, maintaining with high Max-Q GPU and CPU clocks. For highest load of Furmark + Prime95, the system struggles and the GPU clocks throttle considerable.

Battery running times are not bad with around 6 hours of WiFi use. That’s pretty good for such hardware.

Connection ports selection is basic, with no DisplayPort, Thunderbolt 3 or even USB 3.1 gen 2.

Bottom line, like the 1060MQ version, the main selling point is the combination of fast enough hardware for gaming and professional use with good display and keyboard,  traits which is lacking in other models. This is a good option for semi-gaming purposes where high quality display is appreciated.

I’d say that the configuration with a GTX 1050Ti is should have less heat problems which is a plus.

Performer
Dell G5 G5587 GTX 1060
2029251207152Metro : Last Light, Very high:60Deus Ex : Mankind Divided, High:42Gears Of War 4, Highest:40
GTX 1060 Max-Q, I5-8300H
The G5 is a good option for the right price. Currently available refurbished for around $750-$800 from Dell Home Outlet, well specced, making it a good contender under $800.
Connection Ports
Battery
GPU clocks
Display
Keyboard
2029251207152
22.92.5127.15.2
510

The Dell G5 5587 is a midrange gaming laptop. Currently available for $750-$850 refurbished with high specs, it makes for a good gaming laptop under $800, with an I5-8300H, GTX 1060MQ, 16GB RAM, SSD + HDD storage configuration.

The I5 would be preferable over the I7 for gaming purposes as it’s not as hot and not as TDP limited.

Gaming performance is at the maximal point for a GTX 1060 Max-Q GPU, thanks to almost no throttling under high load. So, if you are considering a laptop with such hardware, the G5 is a good one to get.

Temperatures of the chassis can get pretty high under high load, but that’s typical for such gaming laptops in this segment. It does a lot better than the Dell G3, for example.

Bottom line, the G5 is a good option for the right price. Currently available refurbished for around $750-$800 from Dell Home Outlet, well specced, making it a good contender under $800.

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