The best gaming laptop under 1000

Gaming on a budget? We’ve got you covered. Our top fifteen list runs through the best gaming laptops under £1000. Take your pick — they’re all budget-friendly.

Some folks think that gaming on a budget isn’t possible and that good gaming laptops under £1000 are few and far between. While it’s wise to invest in a computer or gaming system that offers the very best performance, it just isn’t realistic to expect us all to drop over £2,000 on a laptop. Besides, you can still have an excellent gaming experience from one of the best budget gaming laptops under £1000.

If you’ve got a budget of up to £1000, then you’ve got enough cash to get something with a powerful processor and discrete graphics card — right where you want to be for playing your favorite games at max settings.

Ready to start gaming without breaking the bank? Let’s dive into the top 10 best gaming laptop under 1000 on the market.

Top 10 best gaming laptop under £1000 in 2021

1. Lenovo IdeaPad 3 14″

Try as you might, you won’t find a new laptop for under £500 with dedicated graphics. Still, integrated graphics have come a long way in recent years, and some light 1080p gaming is possible given the right chip. The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 features AMD’s Radeon Vega 8 graphics, which are about as good as integrated graphics get.

This laptop also comes equipped with a 3rd gen Ryzen 5 processor and 8GB of DDR4 RAM. This is a great option for fans of games like Minecraft looking to get their foot in the PC gaming door without spending beaucoup bucks.

The best gaming laptop under £1000 in 2021
The best gaming laptop under £1000 in 2021

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2. HP Pavilion Gaming 15

Gaming laptops like the HP Pavilion Gaming 15 are getting ever more popular, and it’s not hard to see why. Think about it: who wouldn’t want a portable device that can play the best PC games on the road?

The HP Pavilion Gaming 15, announced at Gamescom 2019, builds on the newfound popularity of gaming laptops, by launching at a low price point. It’s able to do this thanks in large part to the inclusion of AMD Ryzen mobility processors and Nvidia GeForce GTX graphics. That does mean this won’t be the most powerful gaming laptop on the block, but it we can expect some excellent performance for the money.

The best gaming laptop under £1000 in 2021
The best gaming laptop under £1000 in 2021

3. Acer Nitro 5

If you’re looking for a gaming laptop for a ridiculously cheap price, look no further than the Acer Nitro 5 (AMD, 2020). For just under $700 the Nitro 5 offers class-leading battery life, a powerful AMD Ryzen 5-4600H processor and a comfortable keyboard. But this laptop’s real claim to fame, like most modern AMD-laden laptops is the battery life. The Nitro 5 clocks in at 11 hours and 9 minutes, a time previously unheard of in a gaming laptop.

Thanks to the AMD processor, the Nitro 5 offers serious performance, especially for a laptop in its price range. The Nvidia GTX 1650 GPU means that you’ll have to play your AAA titles at lower settings to get decent frame rates. You’ll make a few compromises, like a dim display, but for a sub-$700 gaming system, there are more hits than misses.

The best gaming laptop under £1000 in 2021
The best gaming laptop under £1000 in 2021

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4. Lenovo Legion 5i

The starting price for the Lenovo Legion 5i is $999 and it features a 2.5-GHz Intel Core i5-10300H CPU with 8GB of RAM, a 128GB PCIe NVMe SSD, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 with 4GB of VRAM, and a 15.6-inch, 1080p display with a 60Hz refresh rate.

The unit we reviewed was $100 more due to an upgraded CPU, more storage and a better graphics card. It’s equipped with a 2.6-GHz Intel Core i7-10750H GPU with 8GB of RAM, a 512GB PCIe NVMe SSDan Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti with 6GB of VRAM and a 15.6-inch, 1080p display with a 120Hz refresh rate.

What we loved about the Lenovo Legion 5i is its impressive VR benchmark score, which blew all of its other budget-gaming laptop rivals out of the water. If you’re in the market for a cheap, VR-ready laptop, the Lenovo Legion 5i is the way to go. The Lenovo Legion 5i is also perfect for gamers with minimalist tastes — if I didn’t know any better, I’d just think the Legion 5i is a thicker-than-usual business laptop. The only hiccup the Legion 5i has is its dim display.

The best gaming laptop under £1000 in 2021
The best gaming laptop under £1000 in 2021

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5. MSI GF65 Thin

The MSI GF65 Thin is our top pick out of all the best laptops under $1000 for gaming. It has everything you could want in a gaming laptop at an incredible value. The GTX 1660 Ti is a great graphics card for a laptop at this price point, offering a 12% boost in speed over the basic 1660. Even CPU intensive titles like Rainbow Six Siege and Shadow of the Tomb Raider won’t have any trouble with the brand new 10th gen Intel i7 10750H behind the wheel.

The GF65 Thin is exceptionally lightweight despite its 15.6″ screen, making it ideal for travel. It has a clean, brushed black shell with a red LED backlit keyboard, giving it a classic gamer look that’s sure to please.

The best gaming laptop under £1000 in 2021
The best gaming laptop under £1000 in 2021

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6. ASUS TUF Gaming A15

Intel still rules single-core, but an AMD CPU is a better fit for those who need more multi-core performance. The ASUS TUF Gaming A15 has that in spades.

A GTX 1660 Ti, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD are all top-performing components, but the real reason you buy this laptop is for the CPU. The Ryzen 7 features eight cores with 16 threads and a 2.9GHz base clock. It has plenty of power for gaming and creative workflows.

The TUF features a brushed, black case with a gunmetal backplate, giving it an industrial look that stands out from other gaming laptops. The 144Hz refresh rate on the display certainly doesn’t hurt anything either.

The best gaming laptop under £1000 in 2021
The best gaming laptop under £1000 in 2021

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7. GPD Micro PC

Who needs a 17″ display? I want a laptop I can fit in my pocket! Admittedly, this one is kind of silly, but the GPD Micro PC is a surprisingly powerful little thing. It has an Intel Celeron Processor utilizing UHD graphics, 8GB of DDR3 RAM, and boots off a 128GB SSD.

MicroPC is a handheld mini Laptop developed and designed by GPD company for industry professionals and various mobile scenarios. ​It only weighs 440g which has many interfaces. It can perfectly replace traditional notebooks for people that work in the communication, electric power, exploration, mining, archaeology, education training, manufacturing, service chain, call center, business services, public institutions, government military. It weighs 440g and is only 6″ long! Take that, Nintendo!

The best gaming laptop under £1000 in 2021
The best gaming laptop under £1000 in 2021

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8. Dell G3 15 3500 Gaming Laptop

If you play more demanding games that require more processing power, it’s important to find a laptop that can keep up. This 15-inch Dell model is up to the task with a 10th-gen Intel Core i7-10750H processor and 16GB of RAM. It also sports an Nvidia GTX1650Ti GPU to manage more demanding graphics, and offers 512GB of PCIe NVMe SSD storage.

Since a gaming laptop needs to be usable in all kinds of situations, we also appreciate the sturdy FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS screen with an anti-glare coating and up to 300 nits of brightness. The powerful dual-fan cooling system will keep this machine chugging along even when things get busy, too. You also get access to Alienware software to tweak settings and save personalized gaming profiles for later use.

While the G3 15 is a highly capable laptop, you again lose out on a couple of the latest features at this cost point: There are plenty of USB 3.0 ports, but no USB-C, and once more you’ll be limited to Wi-Fi 5 instead of Wi-Fi 6.

The best gaming laptop under £1000 in 2021
The best gaming laptop under £1000 in 2021

Buy Now on Amazon

9. HP Omen 15 Gaming Laptop

Those interested in future-proofing their laptop for the long haul will appreciate that HP’s 15-inch laptop includes both Thunderbolt 3/USB-C and support for Wi-Fi 6, in addition to HDMI 2.0a and DisplayPort. The full HD and anti-glare display has a 60Hz refresh rate, and Bluetooth 5.0 is here if you prefer to use wireless accessories.

Inside, you’ll find a highly capable 10th-gen, six-core Intel Core i7-10750H processor, 8GB of RAM, and 512GB of PCIe NVMe SSD storage. This is another model where two memory slots are included for future upgrades if you want to add extras!

We’ll also note that the Omen 15 has a very similar physical design to the HP Pavilion model we covered above: It comes with a sturdy, full-sized RGB keyboard that includes a numeric keypad and offset trackpad. It’s a great setup but if you aren’t used to the numeric keyboard design it may take a little repositioning to get the best feel for it.

The best gaming laptop under £1000 in 2021
The best gaming laptop under £1000 in 2021

Buy Now on Amazon

10. MacBook Air with M1 Chip

Including a Mac on a list of gaming laptops might seem like sacrilege to some of you, but the truth is that gaming is only one part of the reason most people buy a computer, and there are a lot of Apple fans in the world. Their laptops have good cameras, long battery life, quality displays, and macOS.

Their newest MacBooks are particularly interesting. Apple is moving away from both Intel and AMD in favor of creating their own components from top to bottom. The new MacBook Air features Apple’s M1 chip, which has its own integrated graphics. Apple claims this chip is more than twice as powerful as other leading integrated graphics, making it more than capable of some quality gaming performance, though not much independent testing has been done on this yet.

Of course, you can get much higher specs for the price in a PC, but gaming on a Mac isn’t the pipe dream it once was.

The best gaming laptop under £1000 in 2021
The best gaming laptop under £1000 in 2021

Buy Now on Amazon

Things To Consider When Buying A Gaming Laptop For $1,000

For an in-depth list of what to consider when looking for a gaming laptop in general, have a quick scan of this section on our Best Gaming Laptops For 2021 page. Below is a quick summary of what you should bear in mind when shopping to a $1,000 budget specifically.

Realistic Expectations of Gaming Performance

Gaming laptops are expensive on a price-to-performance basis. You pay a very significant markup when buying a gaming laptop compared to a desktop PC, purely for the convenience of being able to carry it in your bag: it is after all quite difficult to cram in all those same components and keep them from overheating into a fairly narrow space.

Consequently, when you start looking at gaming laptops under $1,000, you cannot expect great performance in the latest games. As a (very) general rule of thumb, you can expect to get around 80-100 FPS on GTA V on high settings on many of the laptops below. Newer, more demanding games would need you to be playing on low or medium settings in order to achieve FPS this high. If this is too low for your needs then we would advise you take a look at our best gaming laptops for under $1,500 page, or alternatively consider a desktop PC you can build yourself or a prebuilt computer, for under $1,000.

Resolution

Under $1,000 your choice is limited entirely to 1080p resolution screens. This is the standard resolution for competition gaming anyway, which many people on higher budget would choose regardless. Furthermore, it is of questionable benefit to get a higher resolution display unless you are looking for a laptop with a screen size above 15 inches.

Hard drive and RAM

It’s rare to find a gaming laptop in this price range that comes with a hard drive (usually an SSD – i.e. Solid State Drive) above 512GB. Fortunately, most laptops can be upgraded in this area, and a better / additional SSD put in to increase the storage capacity. You should check to make sure that the laptop you want does indeed allow you to do this before you purchase it.
It’s a similar story with memory capacity – you won’t find a gaming laptop in this price range with more than 16GB RAM, and will some have less. Fortunately, this is an easily upgradeable component.

Ports & Connectivity

Typically ports and sockets are one of the things which get sacrificed in more budget-priced laptops. It’s rare to find Thunderbolt support or SD card readers for instance in laptops under $1,000, although they do crop up on occasion.

Summary

This has been our Buyers’ Guide to the best gaming laptops in 2020 and 2021 for $1,000 or under. We hope you have found it useful in making your choice as to which laptop to buy.  If you know of any specific laptops you would like to see reviewed that we have not covered, please let us know in a comment below.

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