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Notebookcheck's Top 10 Budget Gaming Laptops

Florian Glaser, 👁 Douglas Black (translated by Andreas Osthoff), 01/25/2018

January 2019 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 January 2019

Pos.RatingDateImageModelHeightWeightSizeResolutionScreenBest Price
192%06/2018Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97WhDell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
Intel Core i5-8300H
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop)
8 GB Memory,  SSD
17 mm1.9 kg15.6"1920x1080matte
287%08/2018Lenovo Ideapad 720S-15IKB 81AC001AGELenovo Ideapad 720S-15IKB 81AC001AGE
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q
16 GB Memory, 512 GB NVMe
17.95 mm1.9 kg15.6"1920x1080matte
385%11/2018Lenovo Legion Y7000P-1060Lenovo Legion Y7000P-1060
Intel Core i7-8750H
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop)
16 GB Memory, 256 GB NVMe
26.9 mm2.4 kg15.6"1920x1080matte
485%12/2018Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0
AMD Ryzen 7 2700U
AMD Radeon RX 560X (Laptop)
8 GB Memory, 128 GB SSD
27 mm2.4 kg15.6"1920x1080matte
585%10/2018Lenovo Legion Y730-17ICH, i7-8750HLenovo Legion Y730-17ICH, i7-8750H
Intel Core i7-8750H
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop)
16 GB Memory, 128 GB SSD
21.95 mm2.9 kg17.3"1920x1080matte
685%01/2019Medion Erazer X6805-MD61085Medion Erazer X6805-MD61085
Intel Core i7-8750H
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop)
16 GB Memory, 256 GB SSD
33 mm2.5 kg15.6"1920x1080matte
785%08/2018Dell G7 15-7588Dell G7 15-7588
Intel Core i7-8750H
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q
16 GB Memory, 256 GB SSD
24.95 mm2.6 kg15.6"1920x1080matte
885%05/2018Xiaomi Mi Gaming Laptop 7300HQ 1060Xiaomi Mi Gaming Laptop 7300HQ 1060
Intel Core i5-7300HQ
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop)
8 GB Memory, 128 GB SSD
23 mm2.7 kg15.6"1920x1080matte
985%05/2018Asus GL703GE-ES73Asus GL703GE-ES73
Intel Core i7-8750H
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop)
16 GB Memory, 128 GB SSD
23.9 mm2.7 kg17.3"1920x1080matte
1085%04/2018Acer Nitro 5 Spin NP515-51-86CXAcer Nitro 5 Spin NP515-51-86CX
Intel Core i7-8550U
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop)
8 GB Memory, 256 GB SSD
17.9 mm2.2 kg15.6"1920x1080glossy

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1st – Dell XPS 15 9570

Ahead of its competitors: Dell XPS 15 9570
Ahead of its competitors: Dell XPS 15 9570

With a huge margin, the 2018 Dell XPS 15 landed in 1st place in our Budget notebook top 10 list. In addition to its great battery life, we also loved its narrow display bezels, its input devices, and the pleasantly slim high-quality case that helped the device to pull away from its competitors.

Even though strictly speaking the XPS 15 is an allrounder it managed to perform exceptionally well in our gaming benchmarks. The combination of Core i5-8300H and GeForce GTX 1050 turned out to be a perfect match for light and occasional gaming. Especially if you travel often and thus require a high level of portability. And don’t even get us started on the XPS 15’s great design.

Pricecompare

2nd - Lenovo Ideapad 720S

Serious outfit: Lenovo Ideapad 720S
Serious outfit: Lenovo Ideapad 720S

Priced at about 1460 Euros, the Lenovo IdeaPad 720S-15IKB just qualifies for this Budget Top 10 ranking. The 15-inch system looks like a regular office laptop at first, but it is quite powerful thanks to a Core i7-7700HQ and GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q.

The IdeaPad 720S only weighs 1.9 kg and manages long battery runtimes, so it is ideal for frequent travelers. The slim bezel design and the slim chassis (18 mm) should be mentioned as well. Lenovo should improve the port situation (no dedicated video output) as well as the cooling solution. The hardware tends to throttle during heavy workloads or hardly uses its Turbo potential, respectively.

Pricecompare

3rd - Lenovo Legion Y7000

Full of features: Lenovo Legion Y7000
Full of features: Lenovo Legion Y7000

Similar to the IdeaPad 720S, the gaming laptop Legion Y7000 offers a slim-bezel design. Potential buyers get a lot of features for about $1100 including a Core i7-8750H, GeForce GTX 1060, 256 GB SSD storage, and 16 GB DDR4 memory.

Great: Compared to similarly powerful laptops, the Y7000 manages pretty long battery runtimes. The drawbacks include the long response times of the 1080p screen, the somewhat complicated maintenance and the missing Thunderbolt 3 port.

Pricecompare

4th - Acer Nitro 5 AN515

AMD Power: Acer Nitro 5 AN515
AMD Power: Acer Nitro 5 AN515

Acer's Nitro 5 is a multimedia laptop with a gaming design and a 15-inch screen, which offers a lot of system performance for a fair price.

The design of the Nitro 5 AN515-42 screams gamer, but the manufacturer tried to find a good balance between an attractive price tag and solid performance figures for modern games. Contrary to the majority of manufacturers, Acer does not use an Intel/Nvidia combination, but AMD hardware. The Ryzen 7 2700U and the Radeon RX 560X are pretty much unbeaten for less than 1000 Euros. Great: RAM and HDD can easily be replaced via maintenance hatch.

Pricecompare

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5th - Lenovo Legion Y730

A heart for gamer: Lenovo Legion Y730
A heart for gamer: Lenovo Legion Y730

The Legion Y730 reaches long battery runtimes – which is rather unusual for this segment – and a surprisingly good sound quality.

Lenovo uses a dedicated GeForce GTX 1050 Ti in combination with a Core i7-8750H and 16 GB DDR4-RAM. The Y730 also offers two storage slots (M.2 & 2.5"), a 1080p screen based on the IPS technology, and a Thunderbolt 3 port. The case of the 17-inch system is quite subtle.

Pricecompare

6th - Medion Erazer X6805

Performance hit: Medion Erazer X6805
Performance hit: Medion Erazer X6805

Medion's Erazer X6805 is one of the most powerful gaming laptops in this Top 10 ranking thanks to the Coffee Lake CPU and the full-fledged GeForce GTX 1060. The other specs are good as well: The SKU for 1400 Euros is equipped with 16 GB RAM as well as 256 GB PCIe SSD storage.

Contrary to some rivals, the Erazer does not offer a slim-bezel design, but the 15-inch model scores with a sturdy chassis as well as mechanical keyboard including RGB illumination instead. You also get a decent sound quality and a fast Wi-Fi chip. A better place in the ranking is prevented by the battery capacity, the fan control as well as the port situation (no Thunderbolt 3 & USB 3.1 Gen.2). We would also like better maintenance options.

Pricecompare

7th - Dell G7 15 7588

Dell G7 15 7588
Dell G7 15 7588

Besides the Dell G5 5587 (P9), the Dell G7 15 7588 provides a great price-performance ratio. Other manufacturers only ship their sub 1000 Euro machines with quad-core CPUs and a GeForce GTX 1050 (Ti) at best, our review unit was equipped with the hexa-core Core i7-8750H as well as the powerful GTX 1060 Max-Q. The striking design and the comprehensive port selection (Thunderbolt 3) should also be appealing for gamers.

The 15-inch system manages good battery runtimes, despite the powerful hardware, which is pretty rare among gaming laptops. The chassis quality is also better compared to many rivals. A "very good" verdict is prevented by the mediocre keyboard, the weak sound performance, the slow card reader, and the low color gamut of the 1080p display.

Pricecompare

8th - Xiaomi Mi Gaming Laptop

Insider tip: Xiaomi Mi Gaming Laptop
Insider tip: Xiaomi Mi Gaming Laptop

The Mi Gaming laptop from Xiaomi offers the most powerful GPU in this comparison and manages to secure the first spot in our ranking.

The 15-inch system is designed for the Chinese market, but a purchase might still pay off for EU or U.S. citizens despite the import costs. Our test model for less than 1500 Euros is equipped with a Core i5-7300HQ and the GeForce GTX 1060. 8 GB DDR4-RAM and 128 GB SSD storage is not very generous though. We can see other cost-cutting measures at the ports (no Thunderbolt 3, slow card reader).

However, the Mi Gaming Laptop offers a sturdy, nicely designed and premium looking chassis with surprisingly good input devices and a more than decent sound. The 1080p IPS panel is not bad either except for the mediocre response times. Overall, the price-performance ratio is excellent.

Pricecompare

9th - Asus ROG Strix GL703GE

Coffee Lake update: Asus ROG Strix GL703GE
Coffee Lake update: Asus ROG Strix GL703GE

Asus' GL703GE with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti is designed for users that are not satisfied with average levels of performance. Asus also includes a good 1080p display for the 17-inch system.

The G-series is among the pioneers of gaming laptops from Asus. The manufacturer recognized the trend more than 10 years ago with the G1s and G2p and delivered suitable hardware for gamers. It was all about getting the highest levels of performance into a notebook and manage the emissions at first (the first G75x models were especially good), but nowadays it is all about tailor-made solutions for different user groups. The GL703GE is targeting users looking for a balanced package between performance, emissions, and price, without setting any benchmarks in one of the three disciplines.

Pricecompare

10th - Acer Nitro 5 Spin NP515

Comes with convertible features: Acer Nitro 5 Spin NP515
Comes with convertible features: Acer Nitro 5 Spin NP515

Acer's Nitro 5 Spin with Core i7-8550U, 1080p screen, and a GeForce GTX 1050 proves that convertibles can be used for gaming as well.

The 15-inch laptop is a really versatile system thanks to the 360° hinges. You can still use the Nitro 5 Spin for gaming thanks to the unusual concept. The mobility is also okay except for the glossy (but at least very bright) display. You will have a hard time to find a competitor with longer battery runtimes.

Pricecompare

Top 10 in Comparison

Size Comparison

Measurement Results

Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
Lenovo Ideapad 720S-15IKB 81AC001AGE
Lenovo Legion Y7000P-1060
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0
Lenovo Legion Y730-17ICH, i7-8750H
Medion Erazer X6805-MD61085
Dell G7 15-7588
Xiaomi Mi Gaming Laptop 7300HQ 1060
Asus GL703GE-ES73
Acer Nitro 5 Spin NP515-51-86CX
Response Times
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
49 (25, 40)
34 (15, 19)
42.8 (22.4, 20.4)
48.4 (24, 24.4)
36.8 (18.8, 18)
38.4 (18.8, 19.6)
38.8 (16, 22.8)
53.2 (26.4, 26.8)
11.6 (6, 5.6)
36 (18, 18)
Response Time Black / White *
30 (16, 14)
25 (14, 11)
36 (19.6, 16.4)
32.8 (18, 14.8)
24 (14, 10)
29.2 (16.8, 12.4)
26.8 (14.4, 12.4)
41.6 (23.6, 18)
8.8 (6, 2.8)
26 (15, 11)
PWM Frequency
961 (10)
25000 (40)
21740 (99)
20490 (99)
21550 (99)
26040 (25)
Screen
Brightness middle
413
332
312.9
299
328.7
270
250.9
283
331.1
345
Brightness
378
301
296
284
318
269
246
269
312
332
Brightness Distribution
86
83
88
88
91
86
89
87
86
92
Black Level *
0.29
0.29
0.37
0.24
0.51
0.32
0.34
0.23
0.31
0.28
Contrast
1424
1145
846
1246
645
844
738
1230
1068
1232
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
2.44
3.73
5.49
4.98
4.91
5.1
7.34
4.68
2.86
5.85
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
4.46
6.6
8.78
7.67
10.15
9.25
28.66
8
6.35
11.87
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 calibrated *
2.48
2
3.99
3.7
4.27
3.25
4.42
2.5
2.66
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
2.48
3.96
4.7
4.58
3.9
4.16
6.8
4.32
4.3
8.11
Gamma
2.43 91%
2.4 92%
2.29 96%
2.55 86%
2.13 103%
2.53 87%
2.164 102%
2.36 93%
2.268 97%
2.48 89%
CCT
7006 93%
6921 94%
6779 96%
6397 102%
6911 94%
6860 95%
6780 96%
7612 85%
7034 92%
6741 96%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
62
58
56.3
57
55.6
54
36
57
75
60
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
96
89
86.1
87
84.7
82
56
87
100
93
Noise
off / environment *
30.3
30.3
28.4
29
28
29
28.1
30
28.2
30.4
Idle Minimum *
30.3
30.3
31.1
29
28
29
29
30
28.2
30.9
Idle Average *
30.3
30.3
31.1
31
28
32
29
34
30
30.9
Idle Maximum *
30.3
30.3
31.2
32
31.3
35
29.2
38
32
30.9
Load Average *
37.1
39.3
43.2
36
33.4
45
40.6
44
36
42.6
Witcher 3 ultra *
43.3
45.3
44
42.8
47
49.8
50
48.8
Load Maximum *
43
39.6
50
46
46.2
56
49.8
55
48.8
45
Heat
Maximum Upper Side *
55
54.5
53.4
47
42
43
48.6
46
58.6
46
Maximum Bottom *
49.1
59.3
51
44
51.2
55
51.4
52
59.4
47
Idle Upper Side *
30.5
27.1
29.6
30
31.8
28
24
32
35
29.6
Idle Bottom *
28.7
27.8
30.2
28
35.4
30
26.8
32
37
24.6
Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle
1356
815
789
503
656
386
347
750
WiFi v1.3
942
588
346
340
402
270
452
275
286
397
Witcher 3 ultra
62
Load
114
102
49
52
98
132
80
47
113
H.264
665
265
371
Power Consumption
Idle Minimum *
2.9
3.7
4.9
7
6.3
10
5.5
10
12.8
4.1
Idle Average *
5.8
8
8.1
10
11
13
7.6
13
18.1
7.4
Idle Maximum *
7.5
9.8
16.5
18
11.5
21
9
19
24.7
8.6
Load Average *
77.5
85
109.2
79
89.8
101
94
68
98.4
66
Load Maximum *
107
92.4
175.2
128
130.7
176
154.4
136
114.6
87
Witcher 3 ultra *
84
124.6
98
102
126
116.3
110
122.5

* ... smaller is better

Benchmarks

3DMark - 1920x1080 Fire Strike Score (sort by value)
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 8300H, Lite-On CA3-8D256-Q11
5687 Points ∼21%
Lenovo Ideapad 720S-15IKB 81AC001AGE
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, 7700HQ, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
6175 Points ∼23%
Lenovo Legion Y7000P-1060
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 8750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
10343 Points ∼39%
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0
Radeon RX 560X (Laptop), 2700U, SK Hynix HFS128G39TND
5316 Points ∼20%
Lenovo Legion Y730-17ICH, i7-8750H
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), 8750H, Toshiba KBG30ZMT128G
7049 Points ∼26%
Medion Erazer X6805-MD61085
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 8750H, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
10351 Points ∼39%
Dell G7 15-7588
GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q, 8750H, SK hynix SC311 SATA
9936 Points ∼37%
Xiaomi Mi Gaming Laptop 7300HQ 1060
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7300HQ, Samsung PM871b MZNLN128HAHQ
9249 Points ∼35%
Asus GL703GE-ES73
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), 8750H, Kingston RBUSNS8154P3128GJ
7074 Points ∼26%
Acer Nitro 5 Spin NP515-51-86CX
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 8550U, Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN
4746 Points ∼18%
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 8300H, Lite-On CA3-8D256-Q11
7974 Points ∼26%
Lenovo Ideapad 720S-15IKB 81AC001AGE
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, 7700HQ, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
8250 Points ∼26%
Lenovo Legion Y7000P-1060
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 8750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
13743 Points ∼44%
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0
Radeon RX 560X (Laptop), 2700U, SK Hynix HFS128G39TND
7640 Points ∼24%
Medion Erazer X6805-MD61085
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 8750H, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
13648 Points ∼44%
Dell G7 15-7588
GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q, 8750H, SK hynix SC311 SATA
13296 Points ∼43%
Xiaomi Mi Gaming Laptop 7300HQ 1060
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7300HQ, Samsung PM871b MZNLN128HAHQ
11106 Points ∼36%
Asus GL703GE-ES73
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), 8750H, Kingston RBUSNS8154P3128GJ
9097 Points ∼29%
Acer Nitro 5 Spin NP515-51-86CX
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 8550U, Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN
6446 Points ∼21%
The Witcher 3
1920x1080 Ultra Graphics & Postprocessing (HBAO+) (sort by value)
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 8300H, Lite-On CA3-8D256-Q11
22.7 fps ∼18%
Lenovo Legion Y7000P-1060
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 8750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
37 fps ∼29%
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0
Radeon RX 560X (Laptop), 2700U, SK Hynix HFS128G39TND
20.6 fps ∼16%
Lenovo Legion Y730-17ICH, i7-8750H
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), 8750H, Toshiba KBG30ZMT128G
26 fps ∼20%
Medion Erazer X6805-MD61085
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 8750H, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
39.5 fps ∼31%
Dell G7 15-7588
GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q, 8750H, SK hynix SC311 SATA
37 fps ∼29%
Xiaomi Mi Gaming Laptop 7300HQ 1060
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7300HQ, Samsung PM871b MZNLN128HAHQ
40.3 fps ∼31%
Asus GL703GE-ES73
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), 8750H, Kingston RBUSNS8154P3128GJ
26 fps ∼20%
1920x1080 High Graphics & Postprocessing (Nvidia HairWorks Off) (sort by value)
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 8300H, Lite-On CA3-8D256-Q11
39 fps ∼18%
Lenovo Legion Y7000P-1060
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 8750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
73.1 fps ∼34%
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0
Radeon RX 560X (Laptop), 2700U, SK Hynix HFS128G39TND
33.2 fps ∼15%
Lenovo Legion Y730-17ICH, i7-8750H
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), 8750H, Toshiba KBG30ZMT128G
51 fps ∼24%
Medion Erazer X6805-MD61085
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 8750H, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
72.1 fps ∼34%
Dell G7 15-7588
GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q, 8750H, SK hynix SC311 SATA
62 fps ∼29%
Xiaomi Mi Gaming Laptop 7300HQ 1060
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7300HQ, Samsung PM871b MZNLN128HAHQ
72.8 fps ∼34%
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Notebookcheck's Top 10 Budget Gaming Laptops
Florian Glaser (Update: 2018-12-31)