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The Best Budget Gaming Notebooks

July 2021 update. These notebooks offer the best bang for the buck: maximum performance at a low price. They are thus ideally suited for beginners. Find your next gaming notebook that will balance your expectations with your budget below.
Christian Hintze 👁 (translated by Finn D. Boerne), 🇩🇪 🇹🇷 ...

To make this list, a notebook must meet two requirements first and foremost. First, given that this is a list of affordable notebooks its price shall not exceed 1,500 Euros. Keep in mind that the prices listed in the table below are updated daily and can thus differ from day to day. And second, these laptops must be equipped with a mid-range gaming-capable GPU, such as a GTX 1650 or an RX 5500M, capable of running most recent games in FHD (1920 x 1080) in medium to high details smoothly. More powerful GPUs, such as the GTX 1660 Ti or the RX 5600M, should thus be capable of running most current games smoothly in 1080p and maximum settings. Other gaming top lists:

The Best Budget Gaming Laptops

Position
Total Rating
Date
Image
Model
Height
Weight
Size
Resolution
Screen
186 %
06/2021
New!
Asus TUF Gaming F15 FX506HMAsus TUF Gaming F15 FX506HM
Intel Core i7-11800H
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Laptop GPU
16 GB Memory, 1024 GB SSD
24.9 mm2.3 kg15.60"1920x1080matte
285 %
07/2021
New!
Asus TUF Gaming A15 FA506QR-AZ061TAsus TUF Gaming A15 FA506QR-AZ061T
AMD Ryzen 7 5800H
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU
16 GB Memory, 1024 GB SSD
24 mm2.3 kg15.60"1920x1080matte
384 %
10/2020
Aorus 5 KBAorus 5 KB
Intel Core i7-10750H
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile
16 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
28 mm2.1 kg15.60"1920x1080matte
484 %
06/2020
Dell G5 15 SE 5505 P89FDell G5 15 SE 5505 P89F
AMD Ryzen 7 4800H
AMD Radeon RX 5600M
16 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
21.6 mm2.4 kg15.60"1920x1080matte
583 %
02/2021
MSI Alpha 17 A4DEKMSI Alpha 17 A4DEK
AMD Ryzen 7 4800H
AMD Radeon RX 5600M
16 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
28 mm2.6 kg17.30"1920x1080matte
683 %
07/2020
Lenovo Legion 5 15IMH05HLenovo Legion 5 15IMH05H
Intel Core i5-10300H
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile
16 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
26.1 mm2.5 kg15.60"1920x1080matte
783 %
11/2020
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-53-77N5Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-53-77N5
Intel Core i7-10750H
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile
16 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
22.9 mm2.5 kg15.60"1920x1080matte
883 %
05/2020
Asus TUF A17 FA706IU-AS76Asus TUF A17 FA706IU-AS76
AMD Ryzen 7 4800H
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile
16 GB Memory, 1024 GB SSD
26 mm2.6 kg17.30"1920x1080matte
983 %
01/2021
HP Omen 15-en0375ngHP Omen 15-en0375ng
AMD Ryzen 7 4800H
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile
16 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
23 mm2.2 kg15.60"1920x1080matte
1083 %
06/2020
Asus TUF Gaming A15 FA506IV-HN172Asus TUF Gaming A15 FA506IV-HN172
AMD Ryzen 7 4800H
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile
8 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
24.9 mm2.2 kg15.60"1920x1080matte

The table above contains an overview over the best budget gaming laptops for less than 1,500 Euros reviewed by Notebookcheck over the course of the past 12 months as well as still relevant and available older products. In cases of identical score the more recent device is listed first. All prices in above table and price comparisons are updated daily and can thus differ.
Link: all devices in this class reviewed

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Editors' Comments

Slowly but surely this budget gaming laptop list seems to awaken again. Laptops with RTX graphics have started to become affordable, and we find various new models in our list. Assuming that RTX 3050 and 3550 Ti-based laptops should be available soon we expect this list to change quite dramatically over the coming months.

1st – Asus TUF Gaming F15 FX506HM

Asus TUF Gaming F15 FX506HM
Asus TUF Gaming F15 FX506HM

The TUF Gaming F15 has almost no bells and whistles but offers a good performance at a low price. Equipped with an Intel Core i7-11800H and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Laptop GPU the TUF FX506HM offers a good price-performance ratio.

High CPU and GPU performance allow the FX506HM to stand out of the mid-range crowd.

The TUF FX506 series is currently not yet available in North America.

Pricecompare

2nd – Asus TUF Gaming A15 FA506QR

Asus TUF Gaming A15 FA506QR
Asus TUF Gaming A15 FA506QR

Admittedly the TUF Gaming A15 is slightly too expensive for this list but only marginally so. In return, you get a full-fledged RTX 3070. At a price of 1,529 Euros you get a great and powerful gaming laptop at an affordable price point.

The Asus TUF Gaming A15 offers good gaming performance and long battery life.

The TUF Gaming A15 is currently not yet available in North America.

Pricecompare

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3rd – Aorus 5 KB

Aorus 5 KB
Aorus 5 KB

Gigabyte’s Aorus 5 KB is based on barebone made by gaming expert Clevo. Our review unit’s compact 15-inch chassis encompassed a Core i7-10750H paired with a GeForce RTX 2060, 16 GB of RAM, a 512 GB large SSD, and a 144 Hz panel.

We liked the device’s maintenance options but were not particularly fond of its noise emissions under load, which turned out to be very high.

Pricecompare

4th – Dell G5 15 SE

Dell G5 15 SE
Dell G5 15 SE

After years of stagnation AMD is finally back in the mobile gaming segment. One of the best examples is the Dell G5 15 special edition. While its Radeon RX 5600M performs roughly on the same level as a GTX 1660 Ti the Ryzen 7 4800H is faster than almost every single one of its Intel competitors.

Unfortunately, the G5 15 suffers from high temperatures and noise emissions under load, which at least in part can be blamed on its poor cooler. In return, battery life was more than adequate.

Pricecompare

5th - MSI Alpha 17

MSI Alpha 17
MSI Alpha 17

Just like Dell’s G5 the MSI Alpha 17 comes with an AMD Ryzen 7 4800H paired with an AMD Radeon RX 5600M.

In this configuration, it performed very similarly to Dell’s competitor. Its main strengths are its powerful speakers, a decent battery life of around 7 hours when browsing the web at medium brightness, and its 17-inch 144 Hz panel. With that said we would have wished for a higher color gamut as the FHD display was only capable of covering 59 % of the sRGB color space.

The MSI Alpha 17 performs at a similar level as Dell’s G5 15 and benefits from its powerful AMD CPU and decent battery life.

The three available SKUs listed on Amazon differ in storage space and RAM and are available for $1,350 (16 GB/512 GB), $1,450 (16 GB/1 TB), and $1,800 (32 GB/2 TB).

Pricecompare

6th – Lenovo Legion 5

Lenovo Legion 5
Lenovo Legion 5

Thanks to its GeForce RTX 2060 the Lenovo Legion 5 15IMH is one of the most powerful gaming laptops in this budget top 10 list. The rest of its internal hardware is fairly impressive as well. Our review unit, priced at around 1,200 Euros at the time of writing, featured 16 GB of RAM, a 512 GB large PCIe SSD, and a 120 Hz panel. As a bonus, the 15-inch laptop offered decent battery life.

A better rating could have been achieved by improving connectivity (no Thunderbolt, no card reader).

Pricecompare

7th – Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315

Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315

At a price of right around 1,500 Euros our Acer Predator Helios 300 review unit almost did not make this budget gaming notebook list.

For your money, you get a powerful gaming combination consisting of a Core i7-10750H paired with a GeForce RTX 2060, 16 GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 512 GB large SSD. In our review, we particularly liked its 144 Hz display, its backlit keyboard, and its fast Wi-Fi. Downsides include the lack of Thunderbolt 3.

Pricecompare

8th – Asus TUF A17

Asus TUF A17
Asus TUF A17

Like many other notebooks in this top 10 list the Asus TUF A17 features an AMD Ryzen 7 4800H. Combined with a GeForce GTX 1660 Ti the laptop has no issues playing modern games smoothly. The 17-inch budget notebook also features a fast 120 Hz display and a large battery.

Downsides include among others the device’s very high noise emissions under 3D load and its poor color space coverage.

Pricecompare

9th - HP Omen 15

HP Omen 15
HP Omen 15

The HP Omen 15 has been a hot contender for this top 10 list for many years now. This time around, we would like to welcome the Ryzen 7 4800H and GeForce RTX 2060-equipped SKU. Its battery life was great, its 60 Hz display unfortunately was not. Other AMD-equipped models offer 144 Hz panels instead. In addition to poor color space coverage, it could have also benefited from a higher brightness and higher contrast ratio. We also find some other minor annoyances, such as a slow Wi-Fi modem and a rather wonky display lid.

Nevertheless, we dare say its price-performance ratio is good. We also had the Intel SKU in review, see here.

HP's Omen 15 offers a good battery life and a powerful CPU/GPU combination. However, this particular 60-Hz panel is a major no-go.

The only currently available AMD SKU on Amazon comes with the slower GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU and costs $1,300. Our review unit SKU is available on Newegg for $1,500.

Pricecompare

10th – Asus TUF A15

Asus TUF A15
Asus TUF A15

The smaller 15-inch sibling to the TUF A17 is called – surprise, surprise – TUF A15, and its pros and cons are almost identical. Unlike the A17’s GTX 1660 Ti the A15’s similarly powerful GeForce RTX 2060 comes with support for Raytracing, although that might not be relevant for all gamers.

Similar to the A17 we liked the A15’s high-contrast 144 Hz display and its good battery life, and disliked its poor color space coverage and connectivity (no card reader, no Thunderbolt 3).

Pricecompare

Top 10 in Comparison

Size Comparison

399 mm / 15.7 inch 272 mm / 10.7 inch 28 mm / 1.102 inch 2.6 kg5.73 lbs399 mm / 15.7 inch 269 mm / 10.6 inch 26 mm / 1.024 inch 2.6 kg5.73 lbs363.1 mm / 14.3 inch 259.6 mm / 10.2 inch 26.1 mm / 1.028 inch 2.5 kg5.42 lbs361 mm / 14.2 inch 258 mm / 10.2 inch 28 mm / 1.102 inch 2.1 kg4.68 lbs365.5 mm / 14.4 inch 254 mm / 10 inch 21.6 mm / 0.85 inch 2.4 kg5.35 lbs363.4 mm / 14.3 inch 255 mm / 10 inch 22.9 mm / 0.902 inch 2.5 kg5.51 lbs360 mm / 14.2 inch 256 mm / 10.1 inch 24 mm / 0.945 inch 2.3 kg5.07 lbs359 mm / 14.1 inch 256 mm / 10.1 inch 24.9 mm / 0.98 inch 2.3 kg5 lbs359 mm / 14.1 inch 256 mm / 10.1 inch 24.9 mm / 0.98 inch 2.2 kg4.8 lbs358 mm / 14.1 inch 240 mm / 9.45 inch 23 mm / 0.906 inch 2.2 kg4.76 lbs

Test Results

Asus TUF Gaming F15 FX506HM
Asus TUF Gaming A15 FA506QR-AZ061T
Aorus 5 KB
Dell G5 15 SE 5505 P89F
MSI Alpha 17 A4DEK
Lenovo Legion 5 15IMH05H
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-53-77N5
Asus TUF A17 FA706IU-AS76
HP Omen 15-en0375ng
Asus TUF Gaming A15 FA506IV-HN172
Display
Display P3 Coverage
41.9
63.4
62.99
39.55
38.8
65.15
40.55
39.12
38.92
sRGB Coverage
62.9
92.85
90.07
59.15
57.76
92.31
59.68
57.62
58.47
AdobeRGB 1998 Coverage
43.3
64.77
64.12
40.86
40.09
66.32
41.89
40.42
40.22
Response Times
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
28.4 (15.6, 12.8)
12 (6, 6)
14.4 (7.6, 6.8)
20.4 (10.8, 9.6)
40 (19.6, 20.4)
26 (12, 14)
17 (9, 8)
22.4 (11.6, 10.8)
30.4 (16.4, 14)
34 (16, 18)
Response Time Black / White *
21.6 (11.6, 10)
8 (4, 4)
11.2 (6.8, 4.4)
10.8 (6.4, 4.4)
29.2 (15.6, 13.6)
17 (8, 9)
11 (6, 5)
19.2 (9.6, 9.6)
20.8 (11.6, 9.2)
24 (13, 11)
PWM Frequency
1250 (20)
198.4 (99)
200 (99)
Screen
Brightness middle
268.3
297
318
292
254
301
319
264.8
297
280
Brightness
257
268
298
290
254
277
294
253
275
254
Brightness Distribution
84
84
87
77
93
77
83
90
88
88
Black Level *
0.34
0.22
0.3
0.27
0.23
0.26
0.22
0.31
0.33
0.15
Contrast
789
1350
1060
1081
1104
1158
1450
854
900
1867
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
5.05
1.36
2.49
3.99
4.12
5.12
4.42
4.73
4.54
5.89
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
15.43
3.82
5.06
6.11
19.66
8.86
8.54
18.89
18.92
19
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 calibrated *
3.21
1.53
3.02
3.78
4.88
4.64
4.66
4.79
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
5.5
1.88
1.6
3.3
3.2
3.47
4.84
1.4
2.1
4.08
Gamma
2.35 94%
2.48 89%
2.211 100%
2.25 98%
2.179 101%
2.37 93%
2.39 92%
2.16 102%
2.066 106%
2.33 94%
CCT
7392 88%
6768 96%
6714 97%
7047 92%
6754 96%
7062 92%
6850 95%
6641 98%
6291 103%
7303 89%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
63
65
58.1
41
37
60
38.4
40
37
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
99
89
89.7
59
57
92
59.3
58
58
Noise
off / environment *
24.8
26
25
28
25
30.7
25.2
28.7
24
30.2
Idle Minimum *
24.6
26
26
28
31
30.7
25.2
28.7
24
30.2
Idle Average *
24.9
26
30
28
32
30.7
25.2
30.5
25
30.2
Idle Maximum *
24.9
27.4
34
28
33
30.7
25.2
32.5
37
30.2
Load Average *
27.1
46.6
53
28
38
36.6
43.5
42.5
45
40
Witcher 3 ultra *
46.4
51
50.6
46
47
53.1
50.1
48
49
Load Maximum *
49
49.3
56
50.6
54
50.9
56
53.4
51
49
Heat
Maximum Upper Side *
46.4
46.7
50
53
44
46.3
44.1
47.6
42
42.9
Maximum Bottom *
45.4
55.9
49
57.6
43
44.4
48
50.8
54
49.9
Idle Upper Side *
26
37.1
35
27.4
25
28.1
25.2
33
28
27.8
Idle Bottom *
27.4
38.1
31
31
24
29.4
25.7
29
29
27
Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle
660
1043
538
671
629
848
624
543
1200
587
WiFi v1.3
473
685
285
372
438
433
280
512
628
370
Load
119
145
58
87
91
84
108
196
108
116
H.264
554
338
322
Power Consumption
Idle Minimum *
9.5
10.2
8
6.5
9
3.2
2.9
7.4
4
5.4
Idle Average *
12.1
12.8
12
10.6
12
8.3
13.2
10.5
9
10
Idle Maximum *
22.5
15
21
11
18
8.7
19.8
17
22
10.5
Load Average *
99.5
130
128
84.1
76
82
105
103.7
102
135
Witcher 3 ultra *
157
137
138
152.9
136
151
127
128.1
119
144
Load Maximum *
173.5
184
217
180.4
222
195
177
183.2
182
147

* ... smaller is better

Benchmarks

3DMark - 1920x1080 Fire Strike Score (sort by value)
Asus TUF Gaming F15 FX506HM
GeForce RTX 3060 Laptop GPU, i7-11800H, SK Hynix HFM001TD3JX013N
19131 Points ∼49%
Asus TUF Gaming A15 FA506QR-AZ061T
GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU, R7 5800H, SK Hynix HFM001TD3JX013N
20237 Points ∼52%
Aorus 5 KB
GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, i7-10750H, ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro (ASX8200PNP-512GT)
15034 Points ∼38%
Dell G5 15 SE 5505 P89F
Radeon RX 5600M, R7 4800H, Samsung PM991 MZ9LQ512HALU
16652 Points ∼43%
MSI Alpha 17 A4DEK
Radeon RX 5600M, R7 4800H, Kingston OM8PCP3512F-AB
14806 Points ∼38%
Lenovo Legion 5 15IMH05H
GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, i5-10300H, Samsung PM991 MZALQ512HALU
13745 Points ∼35%
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-53-77N5
GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, i7-10750H, WDC PC SN730 SDBQNTY-512GB
14732 Points ∼38%
Asus TUF A17 FA706IU-AS76
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile, R7 4800H, Intel SSD 660p 1TB SSDPEKNW010T8
14010 Points ∼36%
HP Omen 15-en0375ng
GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, R7 4800H, WDC PC SN730 SDBPNTY-512G
14526 Points ∼37%
Asus TUF Gaming A15 FA506IV-HN172
GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, R7 4800H, Kingston OM8PCP3512F-AB
14757 Points ∼38%
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
Asus TUF Gaming F15 FX506HM
GeForce RTX 3060 Laptop GPU, i7-11800H, SK Hynix HFM001TD3JX013N
23461 Points ∼55%
Asus TUF Gaming A15 FA506QR-AZ061T
GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU, R7 5800H, SK Hynix HFM001TD3JX013N
23459 Points ∼55%
Aorus 5 KB
GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, i7-10750H, ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro (ASX8200PNP-512GT)
18491 Points ∼44%
Dell G5 15 SE 5505 P89F
Radeon RX 5600M, R7 4800H, Samsung PM991 MZ9LQ512HALU
21400 Points ∼50%
MSI Alpha 17 A4DEK
Radeon RX 5600M, R7 4800H, Kingston OM8PCP3512F-AB
19927 Points ∼47%
Lenovo Legion 5 15IMH05H
GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, i5-10300H, Samsung PM991 MZALQ512HALU
17255 Points ∼41%
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-53-77N5
GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, i7-10750H, WDC PC SN730 SDBQNTY-512GB
17684 Points ∼42%
Asus TUF A17 FA706IU-AS76
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile, R7 4800H, Intel SSD 660p 1TB SSDPEKNW010T8
18607 Points ∼44%
HP Omen 15-en0375ng
GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, R7 4800H, WDC PC SN730 SDBPNTY-512G
18798 Points ∼44%
Asus TUF Gaming A15 FA506IV-HN172
GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, R7 4800H, Kingston OM8PCP3512F-AB
17390 Points ∼41%
The Witcher 3
1920x1080 Ultra Graphics & Postprocessing (HBAO+) (sort by value)
Asus TUF Gaming F15 FX506HM
GeForce RTX 3060 Laptop GPU, i7-11800H, SK Hynix HFM001TD3JX013N
75.3 (73min - 79max) fps ∼43%
Asus TUF Gaming A15 FA506QR-AZ061T
GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU, R7 5800H, SK Hynix HFM001TD3JX013N
78 fps ∼45%
Aorus 5 KB
GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, i7-10750H, ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro (ASX8200PNP-512GT)
57 (47min) fps ∼33%
Dell G5 15 SE 5505 P89F
Radeon RX 5600M, R7 4800H, Samsung PM991 MZ9LQ512HALU
66.1 (62min - 70max) fps ∼38%
MSI Alpha 17 A4DEK
Radeon RX 5600M, R7 4800H, Kingston OM8PCP3512F-AB
61 (50min) fps ∼35%
Lenovo Legion 5 15IMH05H
GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, i5-10300H, Samsung PM991 MZALQ512HALU
68.3 fps ∼39%
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-53-77N5
GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, i7-10750H, WDC PC SN730 SDBQNTY-512GB
64.8 fps ∼37%
Asus TUF A17 FA706IU-AS76
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile, R7 4800H, Intel SSD 660p 1TB SSDPEKNW010T8
55.6 (53min - 60max) fps ∼32%
HP Omen 15-en0375ng
GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, R7 4800H, WDC PC SN730 SDBPNTY-512G
56.4 fps ∼32%
Asus TUF Gaming A15 FA506IV-HN172
GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, R7 4800H, Kingston OM8PCP3512F-AB
60.5 (51min - 68max) fps ∼35%
1920x1080 High Graphics & Postprocessing (Nvidia HairWorks Off) (sort by value)
Asus TUF Gaming F15 FX506HM
GeForce RTX 3060 Laptop GPU, i7-11800H, SK Hynix HFM001TD3JX013N
143.9 (136min - 155max) fps ∼42%
Dell G5 15 SE 5505 P89F
Radeon RX 5600M, R7 4800H, Samsung PM991 MZ9LQ512HALU
103.6 (92min - 110max) fps ∼31%
Lenovo Legion 5 15IMH05H
GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, i5-10300H, Samsung PM991 MZALQ512HALU
124.8 fps ∼37%
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-53-77N5
GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, i7-10750H, WDC PC SN730 SDBQNTY-512GB
110.7 fps ∼33%
Asus TUF A17 FA706IU-AS76
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile, R7 4800H, Intel SSD 660p 1TB SSDPEKNW010T8
103 (98min - 108max) fps ∼30%
HP Omen 15-en0375ng
GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, R7 4800H, WDC PC SN730 SDBPNTY-512G
107 fps ∼32%
Asus TUF Gaming A15 FA506IV-HN172
GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, R7 4800H, Kingston OM8PCP3512F-AB
105 (90min - 115max) fps ∼31%
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Christian Hintze (Update: 2021-07-22)