Notebookcheck

Notebookcheck's Top 10 Budget Gaming Laptops

Florian Glaser, 👁 Douglas Black (translated by Andreas Osthoff), 11/08/2017

February 2020 Update. The following article contains a list of the best budget gaming notebooks reviewed by us. This overview will allow you to find the right notebook that fits your budget and requirements quickly and easily.

The following top 10 list of budget gaming notebooks contains the best notebooks reviewed by Notebookcheck that meet two criteria. First of all, given that this is a list of budget gaming notebooks the price shall not exceed 1500 USD/Euros (keep in mind that these are live prices, and that they are subject to change on a daily basis). And second, the laptop has to be equipped with at least an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 GPU. This entry-level GPU is what most games released in the last two years seem to require to run smoothly at around 30 FPS in FHD resolution (1920x1080) and a high level of details. Some of the notebooks at the top of the price bracket contain more powerful GPUs, like a GTX 1050 Ti or even GTX 1060. The former is usually capable of running the same games smoothly at more than 45 FPS in FHD and high quality. Other Notebookcheck top 10 lists for gaming notebooks:

The following table lists the best budget Windows-based gaming-capable notebooks reviewed by us in the last 12 months. In case of identical ratings we list the newer model first. The table can be sorted and rearranged by clicking on the headers, and can be filtered by using the input box above the table (e.g. “matte”).

Note: The cheapest street price at the time of the last revision of this article applies to the following list. The sales prices shown in the following table and in the price comparison with the individual articles are automatically updated daily and can therefore differ!

Best Budget Gaming Laptops as of August 2019

Pos.
Rating
Date
Image
Model
Height
Weight
Size
Resolution
Screen
Best Price
184 %
08/2019
HP Gaming Pavilion 15-dk0009ngHP Gaming Pavilion 15-dk0009ng
Intel Core i7-9750H
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
16 GB Memory, 256 GB NVMe
23.4 mm2.4 kg15.6"1920x1080matte
283 %
05/2019
Dell G5 15 5590Dell G5 15 5590
Intel Core i7-8750H
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile
8 GB Memory, 128 GB SSD
23.7 mm2.7 kg15.6"1920x1080matte
383 %
11/2019
Xiaomi Mi Gaming Laptop 2019Xiaomi Mi Gaming Laptop 2019
Intel Core i7-9750H
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile
16 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
21 mm2.6 kg15.6"1920x1080matte
483 %
08/2019
Lenovo Legion Y540-15IRH-81SX00B2GELenovo Legion Y540-15IRH-81SX00B2GE
Intel Core i7-9750H
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile
16 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
26 mm2.2 kg15.6"1920x1080
583 %
07/2019
Lenovo Legion Y540-17IRHLenovo Legion Y540-17IRH
Intel Core i5-9300H
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile
16 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
26.3 mm2.8 kg17.3"1920x1080matte
683 %
11/2019
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-79TYAcer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-79TY
Intel Core i7-9750H
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile
8 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
23.2 mm2.3 kg15.6"1920x1080matte
782 %
07/2019
HP Pavilion Gaming 17-cd0085clHP Pavilion Gaming 17-cd0085cl
Intel Core i7-9750H
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
16 GB Memory, 256 GB NVMe
25 mm2.8 kg17.3"1920x1080matte
882 %
07/2019
HP Omen 15-dc1020ngHP Omen 15-dc1020ng
Intel Core i5-9300H
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Mobile
8 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
25 mm2.3 kg15.6"1920x1080matte
981 %
02/2020
Schenker XMG Core 15 GK5CP6VSchenker XMG Core 15 GK5CP6V
Intel Core i7-9750H
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile
16 GB Memory, 500 GB SSD
26 mm2 kg15.6"1920x1080matte
1079 %
10/2019
Dell G3 3590Dell G3 3590
Intel Core i5-9300H
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Mobile
8 GB Memory,  SSD
21.6 mm2.5 kg15.6"1920x1080matte

1st – HP Gaming Pavilion 15

HP Gaming Pavilion 15
HP Gaming Pavilion 15

The Gaming Pavilion 15 is a 15-inch budget gaming notebook equipped with a powerful Core i7-9750H, a GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q, 16 GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 256 GB SSD. As such, it offers a lot for its low price. The cooling system is also well made, and so is the color-accurate 144 Hz display. Battery life is decent.

Things we did not like about the device were its poor connectivity and the display lid’s sturdiness, or rather lack thereof.

Pricecompare

2nd – Dell G5 15 5590

Performance hit: Dell G5 15 5590
Performance hit: Dell G5 15 5590

Dell’s Dell G5 15 5590 managed to score second place in our budget gaming top 10 mainly thanks to its blazingly fast GeForce RTX 2060 with Raytracing support. In addition, our review unit also came with a fast six-core Intel CPU (Core i7-8750H) and two storage devices (SSD + HDD).

However, the display turned out to be a two-edged sword. While its black level and contrast ratio were decent its maximum brightness, color space coverage, and response times were anything but. On the plus side it features a backlit keyboard, a Thunderbolt 3 port, and a long battery life.

3rd – Xiaomi Mi Gaming Laptop 2019

Xiaomi Mi Gaming Laptop 2019
Xiaomi Mi Gaming Laptop 2019

The Mi Gaming Laptop by Xiaomi is what we would consider a typical underdog. Even though it was made for the Chinese market it might be worth purchasing as EU or US citizen despite import costs and a lack of software localization. After all, you can get a Core i7-9750H, a GeForce RTX 2060, 16 GB of DDR4 RAM and an NVMe SSD for less than $1,500. Cut corners include Thunderbolt 3 and no more than a single external video port as well as extremely high noise emissions under load.

In return, you get a solid good-looking well-made case with decent input devices, great sound, and a pretty good 144 Hz panel. Overall, its price-performance ratio is excellent.

4th – Lenovo Legion Y540-15

Lenovo Legion Y540-15
Lenovo Legion Y540-15

Thanks to a 6-core CPU and a powerful GeForce GTX 1660 Ti the Legion Y540-15 is one of the most powerful budget gaming notebooks. Our review model also featured 16 GB of RAM and a 512 GB large PCIe SSD. Maintenance options are decent, and the noise level is comparatively low. Sound performance is decent as well.

In order to receive a higher overall rating, we would have wished for a higher battery capacity and better connectivity (no Thunderbolt, no card reader).

Pricecompare

5th – Lenovo Legion Y540-17

Lenovo Legion Y540-17
Lenovo Legion Y540-17

Like the Legion Y540-15 the Legion Y540-17 offers a similarly astonishing price-performance ratio. While most manufacturers include no more than a GeForce GTX 1650 in their $1300 gaming notebooks the Legion Y540-17 features a powerful GeForce GTX 1660 Ti in addition to its 144 Hz display and its fast NVMe SSD.

The reasons why our overall rating was not any higher include the high level of noise under 3D load as well as the lack of Thunderbolt 3.

Pricecompare

6th – Acer Predator Helios 300

Acer Predator Helios 300
Acer Predator Helios 300

At around $1,500 the Predator Helios 300 barely made our Top 10 budget laptop gaming list. The 15-inch gaming laptop offers a Core i7-9750H paired with a GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, which should suffice to run all current games smoothly on high to maximum details on its integrated 144 Hz FHD display. All things considered the case is well made.

Battery life and connectivity, on the other hand, are in need of improvement.

Pricecompare

5th – HP Pavilion Gaming 17

Surprisingly quiet: HP Pavilion Gaming 17
Surprisingly quiet: HP Pavilion Gaming 17

While most gaming notebooks get fairly noisy under load the HP Pavilion 17 surprised us with a comparatively quiet system noise and low temperatures, which indicates a pretty decent cooling system. We also liked the 17-inch notebook’s sleek design.

Drawbacks include the lack of Thunderbolt 3, the lid’s overall rigidity, maintenance, and sound.

Pricecompare

8th – HP Omen 15

Amazing price-performance ratio: HP Omen 15
Amazing price-performance ratio: HP Omen 15

If you are in the market for a gaming notebook with an amazing price-performance ratio the HP Omen 15 should definitely be on your list.

Our review unit came with a Core i5-9300H, a GeForce GTX 1650, and a 512 GB PCIe SSD for just 1,000 Euros. Low emissions, decent battery life, and simple maintenance are also high on the list of benefits. Drawbacks include the dim display lacking in color space coverage as well as the lack of Thunderbolt 3.

Pricecompare

9th – Schenker XMG Core 15

Schenker XMG Core 15
Schenker XMG Core 15

Its RGB-backlit keyboard aside the Schenker XMG Core 15 is rather discreet overall. Its visually inconspicuous case does not make the slightest hint at the gaming prowess contained within. For around 1,500 Euros you get a Core i7-9750H paired with a GeForce GTX 1660 Ti. Thanks to its moderate weight and its small footprints (slim bezels) the 15-inch laptop is even somewhat portable. We also liked the very fast 144 Hz display.

On the flip side we find topics like connectivity, sound, and battery life. However, the biggest issue of them all are the Core 15’s high noise emissions under load.

Pricecompare

10th – Dell G3 15 3590

Dell G3 15 3590
Dell G3 15 3590

In order to keep keep the price as low as possible Dell’s G3 15 3590 is as barebones as it gets. The result is a Full HD panel with poor color reproduction housed in an all-plastic case.

On the plus side, the device offers long battery life thanks to support for Nvidia Optimus, and a decent gaming performance courtesy of a Core i5-9300H paired with a GeForce GTX 1650.

Pricecompare

Top 10 in Comparison

Size Comparison

405 mm / 15.9 inch 282 mm / 11.1 inch 25 mm / 0.984 inch 2.8 kg6.08 lbs399 mm / 15.7 inch 290 mm / 11.4 inch 26.3 mm / 1.035 inch 2.8 kg6.15 lbs365 mm / 14.4 inch 260 mm / 10.2 inch 26 mm / 1.024 inch 2.2 kg4.85 lbs364.3 mm / 14.3 inch 273.4 mm / 10.8 inch 23.7 mm / 0.933 inch 2.7 kg5.91 lbs365.5 mm / 14.4 inch 254 mm / 10 inch 21.6 mm / 0.85 inch 2.5 kg5.41 lbs360 mm / 14.2 inch 244 mm / 9.61 inch 26 mm / 1.024 inch 2 kg4.39 lbs364 mm / 14.3 inch 265 mm / 10.4 inch 21 mm / 0.827 inch 2.6 kg5.73 lbs360 mm / 14.2 inch 263 mm / 10.4 inch 25 mm / 0.984 inch 2.3 kg5.11 lbs361.4 mm / 14.2 inch 254.2 mm / 10 inch 23.2 mm / 0.913 inch 2.3 kg5.09 lbs360 mm / 14.2 inch 256 mm / 10.1 inch 23.4 mm / 0.921 inch 2.4 kg5.24 lbs

Measurement Results

HP Gaming Pavilion 15-dk0009ng
Dell G5 15 5590
Xiaomi Mi Gaming Laptop 2019
Lenovo Legion Y540-15IRH-81SX00B2GE
Lenovo Legion Y540-17IRH
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-79TY
HP Pavilion Gaming 17-cd0085cl
HP Omen 15-dc1020ng
Schenker XMG Core 15 GK5CP6V
Dell G3 3590
Response Times
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
16.4 (8.4, 8)
45 (22, 23)
8.8 (4.4, 4.4)
8.8 (4, 4.4)
18 (8.4, 9.6)
15 (8, 7)
31.6 (14, 17.6)
40 (21.2, 18.8)
8.8 (4.4, 4.4)
46 (22, 24)
Response Time Black / White *
10.4 (5.2, 5.2)
30 (17, 13)
12 (6.8, 5.2)
12 (6.8, 5.2)
12.8 (7.6, 5.2)
9 (5, 4)
19.6 (10.8, 8.8)
29.6 (17.2, 12.4)
10.4 (5.2, 5.2)
32.4 (18.4, 14)
PWM Frequency
200 (98)
Screen
Brightness middle
345
234
316
299
286
325
299.6
251
324
276.2
Brightness
324
219
295
290
282
310
285
232
296
261
Brightness Distribution
86
82
87
89
87
82
86
76
88
86
Black Level *
0.42
0.17
0.23
0.29
0.19
0.255
0.33
0.17
0.27
0.24
Contrast
821
1376
1374
1031
1505
1275
908
1476
1200
1151
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
1.3
8.6
3.84
3.7
3.57
4.28
3.68
6.2
4.07
5.56
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
2.8
17.49
5.69
7
7.5
8.42
8.05
18.6
6.39
23.45
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 calibrated *
1.1
4.06
1.64
2
1.31
1.45
3.15
4.8
1.49
5.23
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
1.2
8.55
3.66
4.1
4.51
5.01
3.8
4.2
4.01
2.8
Gamma
2.31 95%
3.02 73%
2.62 84%
2.19 100%
2.36 93%
2.6 85%
2.12 104%
2.32 95%
2.6 85%
2.37 93%
CCT
6476 100%
7802 83%
7165 91%
7166 91%
7411 88%
7678 85%
7240 90%
7454 87%
7350 88%
6710 97%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
60.5
37
60
59.3
64
60
58.1
36.5
59
37.8
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
94.9
59
92
91.5
98
93
89.8
57.4
91
59
Noise
off / environment *
28.2
30.4
30
29.3
30
30.2
28.2
28.8
30
28.4
Idle Minimum *
29.3
30.4
31
29.3
30
31
30.1
28.8
30
29.2
Idle Average *
29.3
30.4
32
29.3
32
31
30.1
29.5
31
29.4
Idle Maximum *
29.3
33.4
42
29.3
34
31
30.1
31.1
33
29.4
Load Average *
32.3
42
52
35.7
44
41.5
34.2
35.2
48
39
Witcher 3 ultra *
34
59
44.2
50
46.7
34.2
35.2
51
49.5
Load Maximum *
41.2
48.7
59
45.6
52
46.9
43.8
41
51
49.7
Heat
Maximum Upper Side *
46.7
51.5
51
42.7
48
52
42.6
40.3
48
49
Maximum Bottom *
53.7
48.3
57
52.7
56
46.3
49
48.5
59
49.8
Idle Upper Side *
23.8
27.2
27
33.1
36
24.8
34
23.9
27
32.4
Idle Bottom *
23.7
27.4
25
41
38
25.4
39.4
24.6
28
35.6
Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle
522
890
370
240
311
298
695
951
364
810
H.264
317
506
202
202
482
WiFi v1.3
290
463
264
145
220
210
339
385
216
403
Witcher 3 ultra
60
59
Load
76
168
48
76
68
73
59
71
44
85
Power Consumption
Idle Minimum *
6.8
3.5
10
14.5
19
17.2
5.4
4.04
9
6.2
Idle Average *
10.7
6.9
13
18.5
22
22.6
9.2
7.2
12
8.4
Idle Maximum *
12.5
8.5
20
20
30
25.5
13
11.4
18
27.7
Load Average *
87.2
127
100
81.6
79
88
85.9
80.8
86
91
Load Maximum *
191.4
179
196
208.1
201
177
182.2
144.5
173
131.5
Witcher 3 ultra *
121
159
132
134
107.9
93.6
126
94.4

* ... smaller is better

Benchmarks

3DMark - 1920x1080 Fire Strike Score (sort by value)
HP Gaming Pavilion 15-dk0009ng
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q, i7-9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
11615 Points ∼41%
Dell G5 15 5590
GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, i7-8750H, KBG30ZMS128G
13912 Points ∼49%
Xiaomi Mi Gaming Laptop 2019
GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, i7-9750H, Toshiba XG6 KXG60ZNV512G
15004 Points ∼53%
Lenovo Legion Y540-15IRH-81SX00B2GE
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile, i7-9750H, WDC PC SN720 SDAPNTW-512G
12884 Points ∼45%
Lenovo Legion Y540-17IRH
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile, i5-9300H, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
12263 Points ∼43%
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-79TY
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile, i7-9750H, WDC PC SN720 SDAPNTW-512G
12903 Points ∼46%
HP Pavilion Gaming 17-cd0085cl
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q, i7-9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
11904 Points ∼42%
HP Omen 15-dc1020ng
GeForce GTX 1650 Mobile, i5-9300H, WDC PC SN720 SDAQNTW-512G
8075 Points ∼28%
Schenker XMG Core 15 GK5CP6V
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile, i7-9750H, Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus 500GB
13267 Points ∼47%
Dell G3 3590
GeForce GTX 1650 Mobile, i5-9300H, Toshiba BG4 KBG40ZNS128G
8081 Points ∼29%
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
HP Gaming Pavilion 15-dk0009ng
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q, i7-9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
15913 Points ∼45%
Dell G5 15 5590
GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, i7-8750H, KBG30ZMS128G
16013 Points ∼46%
Xiaomi Mi Gaming Laptop 2019
GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, i7-9750H, Toshiba XG6 KXG60ZNV512G
18262 Points ∼52%
Lenovo Legion Y540-15IRH-81SX00B2GE
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile, i7-9750H, WDC PC SN720 SDAPNTW-512G
17291 Points ∼49%
Lenovo Legion Y540-17IRH
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile, i5-9300H, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
16162 Points ∼46%
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-79TY
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile, i7-9750H, WDC PC SN720 SDAPNTW-512G
16344 Points ∼47%
HP Pavilion Gaming 17-cd0085cl
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q, i7-9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
16005 Points ∼46%
HP Omen 15-dc1020ng
GeForce GTX 1650 Mobile, i5-9300H, WDC PC SN720 SDAQNTW-512G
11257 Points ∼32%
Schenker XMG Core 15 GK5CP6V
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile, i7-9750H, Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus 500GB
17351 Points ∼50%
Dell G3 3590
GeForce GTX 1650 Mobile, i5-9300H, Toshiba BG4 KBG40ZNS128G
11845 Points ∼34%
The Witcher 3
1920x1080 Ultra Graphics & Postprocessing (HBAO+) (sort by value)
HP Gaming Pavilion 15-dk0009ng
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q, i7-9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
53.1 fps ∼39%
Dell G5 15 5590
GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, i7-8750H, KBG30ZMS128G
60 fps ∼44%
Xiaomi Mi Gaming Laptop 2019
GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, i7-9750H, Toshiba XG6 KXG60ZNV512G
60.6 (min: 50) fps ∼45%
Lenovo Legion Y540-15IRH-81SX00B2GE
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile, i7-9750H, WDC PC SN720 SDAPNTW-512G
53.1 (min: 50, max: 58, 99th percentile: 51) fps ∼39%
Lenovo Legion Y540-17IRH
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile, i5-9300H, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
55.1 fps ∼41%
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-79TY
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile, i7-9750H, WDC PC SN720 SDAPNTW-512G
54.6 (min: 48, max: 62) fps ∼40%
HP Pavilion Gaming 17-cd0085cl
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q, i7-9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
48.5 fps ∼36%
HP Omen 15-dc1020ng
GeForce GTX 1650 Mobile, i5-9300H, WDC PC SN720 SDAQNTW-512G
37 fps ∼27%
Schenker XMG Core 15 GK5CP6V
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile, i7-9750H, Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus 500GB
54.2 (min: 42) fps ∼40%
Dell G3 3590
GeForce GTX 1650 Mobile, i5-9300H, Toshiba BG4 KBG40ZNS128G
36.2 fps ∼27%
1920x1080 High Graphics & Postprocessing (Nvidia HairWorks Off) (sort by value)
HP Gaming Pavilion 15-dk0009ng
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q, i7-9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
95.2 fps ∼38%
Dell G5 15 5590
GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, i7-8750H, KBG30ZMS128G
105.2 fps ∼42%
Xiaomi Mi Gaming Laptop 2019
GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, i7-9750H, Toshiba XG6 KXG60ZNV512G
113 (min: 95) fps ∼45%
Lenovo Legion Y540-17IRH
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile, i5-9300H, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
109.6 fps ∼44%
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-79TY
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile, i7-9750H, WDC PC SN720 SDAPNTW-512G
93 (min: 84, max: 103) fps ∼37%
HP Pavilion Gaming 17-cd0085cl
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q, i7-9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
92.1 fps ∼37%
HP Omen 15-dc1020ng
GeForce GTX 1650 Mobile, i5-9300H, WDC PC SN720 SDAQNTW-512G
62.2 fps ∼25%
Schenker XMG Core 15 GK5CP6V
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile, i7-9750H, Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus 500GB
101 (min: 84) fps ∼41%
Dell G3 3590
GeForce GTX 1650 Mobile, i5-9300H, Toshiba BG4 KBG40ZNS128G
65.9 fps ∼26%
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Notebookcheck's Top 10 Budget Gaming Laptops
Florian Glaser (Update: 2020-02-19)