A guide to getting the best gaming laptops for under 500 can be a little challenging to compile. Well, we all know gaming laptops to be an expensive affair, costing over $1000 for the entry level, yet we find ourselves in situations when we need to play games on a tight budget. For Pro-gamers, they have flexible options with machines like the Razer Blade 15 or Asus Zephyrus S, or anything that their deep pockets can buy.
Then, there are those who need a gaming laptop but not as the primary device. We’re talking of students, a household, office users, or a developer. This category has a unique taste about gaming, they first use the laptop for work, and can occasionally play a game or to during their free time.
With such needs, getting a $2000 gaming laptop is just an overkill. In that case, you can easily snag a $500 gaming laptop, that lets you work, play and save a few hundreds of dollars. Looks easy at first, until you hit the road, then you realize not all laptops can be justified as gaming machines. And, not everyone can afford the most expensive gaming laptops around.
Therefore, in this guide we bring you the best available budget laptops in the shelves today that are ideal for gaming and can also be used for day-to-day productivity tasks.
Here is something we think you should know first…
However, the 500 dollars or less, can easily get you a functional, performant and practical machine for casual gaming and daily productivity. One thing you won’t be sacrificing is build quality and design.
There are several gaming laptops under $500 that are power packed to play older games like League of Legends, CS Go, Minecraft, etc.
If you stay with those borders, you’re in for an enjoyable gaming experience. What a $500 gaming laptop can’t promise, however, is butter-smooth playability on modern AAA titles like Fortnite or GTA 5, because such games require discrete graphics cards, something you’re not getting at this price.
Again, there’s a possibility some budget gaming laptops can play these games, but they can’t deliver smooth gameplay.
If you must play these newer games, we can only recommend that you adjust your budget to at least $800 of which you can easily score a capable gaming laptop for under $1000 that will run most modern games at better graphics detail. That said, if your budget can’t extend beyond the $500 mark, finding a laptop at that budget is still possible. Only that it requires some patience and a skill to identify what really goes into your laptop of choice.
In our best gaming laptops under 500 list, our team of experts have curated 5 laptops from the thousands we’ve reviewed over the years, only that we are focusing on those released in 2019, as they offer more value thanks to newer hardware and refreshed components. In the list, we believe that every laptop justifies every penny you spend on it. So, based on your needs and tastes, you can easily go ahead and pick any laptop from our list below and get playing your favorite games.
Cheap Gaming Laptops Under 500 Dollars — Our Top Picks
1. Acer Aspire 5 Gaming Laptop
The Acer Aspire 5 lineup is quite popular with students and employees, but rarely do you consider it for gaming. In 2019, Acer did refresh its all-time great budget category with some new machines that have an appealing spec sheet, but remain well below the $500 mark. From the list of six machines in the Aspire 5 Series, we easily picked the Acer Aspire A515-54-51DJ to be our ultimate cheap gaming laptop under 500.
This laptop sports a simple, attractive lid with a chrome interior around the keyboard deck, something it inherits from the expensive Acer Swift 5 Series. Looks aside, it packs a 15.6-inch 1080p (1920 x 1080) resolution display, an 8th Generation Intel Core i5-8265U processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB solid state drive.
For gaming, an integrated Intel UHD 620 graphics card that handles causal gaming with ease. The fact that Acer throws in a solid-state drive at this price point adds to the laptop’s exciting features set. If you will be using it away from home, the battery will give around 8 hours 35 minutes, something you rarely find in a budget notebook. For the price, although a few pennies above $500, it easily earns our thumbs up for the impressive design, solid overall performance and long battery life.
See Full Review: Acer Aspire 5 Review
2. Lenovo IdeaPad 330 Laptop: Best Gaming Laptop Under 500
Lenovo’s new IdeaPad 330s are a range of affordable 14, 15 or 17-inch notebooks that you can easily configure to meet your needs. Lenovo has been around, making excellent business laptops including the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, only that they’re back this time with budget, yet powerful laptops.
Our pick for budget gaming is the 15-inch Lenovo IdeaPad 330, a slick budget laptop that’s only 0.9-inches thin and weighs 4.85 pounds, with a thin and lightweight footprint targeted for anyone who commutes daily but needs to tag a system along.
The IdeaPad 330 in a sleek platinum gray frame that makes it look like an out of range candidate for our cheap gaming laptop under 500 list. It is a premium looking piece of hardware, but priced below competitors. It is powered by a dual-core Intel Core i3-8130U processor, 8GB RAM and 1TB hard drive storage. A dedicated AMD Radeon R7 graphics chipset adds to the already solid feature set. On this laptop, you can do all your college/office tasks and do some gaming on the side.
See Full Review: Lenovo IdeaPad 330 Review
3. ASUS VivoBook F510UA-AH50 Laptop
The Asus VivoBook F510UA-AH55 is designed for the office/college ecosystem, but it lacks enough muscle for gaming on the side. The system is equipped with a quad-core 1.6GHz (turbo up to 3.5GHz) Intel Core i5-8250U processor and 8GB of RAM, plus Intel graphics. This is the same configuration we’ve seen on the ASUS ZenBook UX330UA-AH55.
On the VivoBook is the integrated UHD 620 graphics, typical to midrange ultraportables, which don’t provide much room for 3D gaming. For older games, this graphics option steers the Asus AH55 into the short list of laptops that can run games for pennies. Its battery life isn’t the best in this class, but it will easily last a full day at the office or college, something most budget notebooks don’t struggle to achieve.
See Full Review: ASUS VivoBook F510UA Review
4. HP 14-CF0014DX Gaming Laptop
This budget friendly gaming laptop from HP promises to deliver strong productivity performance, but the features it packs under the hood easily make it a casual gaming dynamo. We are looking at a 14-inch laptop outfitted with an 8th Generation Intel Core i3-8130 U processor, 6GB of RAM and 1TB hard drive storage. Graphics comes via Intel HD Graphics 620, which is like standard for budget notebooks.
To wrap up things, if you’re looking for a small laptop that easily fits into a backpack but powerful enough for gaming, this option from HP is definitely worth a long look. For college students looking to buy a 14-inch laptop, and don’t consider a Chromebook, the HP 14-CF0014DX is a small sub-$500 gaming laptop.
5. Acer Aspire E 15 (E5-576-392H)
The Aspire E 15 is top-value budget laptop designed for the masses. Its main selling point is long battery life, lasting well over 10 hours on a single charge. It can’t get better than this. It packs a 2.2 GHz (up to 3.4GHz) Intel Core i3-8130U processor, 6GB RAM and Intel UHD Graphics 620 graphics.
The CPU is an eighth-generation power efficient chip designed for notebooks and Ultrabooks based on the Kaby Lake Refresh architecture (and not Coffee Lake). Like its peers, uses an Intel UHD Graphics option, that lets us play older games with ease. If you need a value laptop for the home-office productivity and gaming in-between, this might just be right for you.
See Full Review: Acer Aspire E 15 (E5-576-392H)
As mentioned earlier, budget gaming laptops under 500 dollars don’t readily offer the best graphics around, but they will let you play casual games for much less. All laptops in our list face competition from Chromebooks, some that now ring premium design, only that the Chrome OS limits their ability to run Windows-based games.
Thus, as you shop around for an affordable gaming laptop, kindly consider the operating environment it uses — Windows or chrome OS.
Each laptop in the list above comes with a number of advantages over the rest, ranging from build quality, performance, storage options, battery life and portability. One thing they share, is that they offer unmatched value for daily productivity with the added benefit of gaming under 500 dollars.
The best budget gaming laptops under 500 dollars don't readily pack the best discrete graphics card, but they somehow manage to offer real value in modest measures, backed by strong day-to-day productivity, performance, long battery life and reasonable pricing.
- Great value for money
- Strong day-to-day performance
- Reasonable pricing
- Almost all-day battery life
- Entry level graphics cards
- Not tuned for AAA games