Gaming is one activity that has been growing in popularity ever since its introduction. Gone are the days when it was thought to be a pastime for young children and teenagers. Today, gaming is not just a hobby, but a career for many talented gamers of various age groups.
Are you one of those who is interested in immersing yourself in a virtual world for recreation? If yes, you must be pondering over whether to invest a considerable amount of money into gaming hardware such as laptops and consoles. Fret not, we are here to help you buy the best gaming laptop under $800.
How Are Gaming Laptops Different?
You might be wondering what makes gaming laptops different when compared to conventional laptops. Let me tell you, there is a world of difference between the two. For starters, the design itself will be quite different as gaming laptops usually have a peculiar design and backlit RGB keyboards.
A distinction can be made by looking at specifications too. Gaming laptops have powerful processors paired with dedicated high-end graphic cards. To keep such a powerful system cool, custom cooling systems and high speed fans will have to be provided. Also, unlike regular laptops, these are not built to give incredible battery life. Last but not least, there will be a significant price difference between gaming and conventional laptops.
Factors To Look For Before Buying A Gaming Laptop Under 800
Before selecting the best gaming laptop under $800, you would be better off by keeping in mind some of the features that are critical to consider prior to looking at the options. We have made a list of all such features in the section below for your reference.
The first and foremost thing to look for in the specification sheet is information about the processor used. A large chunk of the performance that you will get from your gaming laptop depends on the CPU provided. Most modern games take a large toll on the hardware and hence gaming laptops usually come with the latest generation of i5 and i7 Intel processors. To compensate for the loss of power compared to i7 processors, many companies provide dual core i5 processors in the lower end of the price spectrum. However, if given a choice, always prefer the i7 ones.
GPU might not matter that much while buying conventional laptops, but in gaming laptops, the case is entirely different. A game is rendered through graphics, and the GPU is the component that makes this possible in the first place. Hence it cannot be ignored at all. Over the years, it has become common knowledge that Nvidia produces the best graphics cards that your money can buy. Therefore, you must look for a gaming laptop with Nvidia GeForce GTX series of graphics cards inside it.
After confirming that the gaming laptop of your choice has the preferable CPU and GPU combination, it’s time to know about the RAM capacity. RAM is essential to keep your game progress in memory and render the next set of graphics accordingly.
Needless to say, the more the RAM capacity of your gaming laptop, the better will be its overall gaming performance. As a footnote, please make sure that any gaming laptop you buy has at least 8 GB of RAM. However, 12-16 GB will ensure the best gaming experience.
When you consider all the things mentioned above to ensure a smooth gaming experience but forget to consider the monitor, it will be futile. So, looking at display specifications is essential for a satisfactory gaming experience.
The minimum resolution that the best gaming laptops under $800 will have is 1920*1080, which translates to a Full-HD display. Some gaming laptops also support QHD and 4K resolutions. Nevertheless, most gamers will find Full-HD adequate to their needs.
5. Storage Capacity
I would not be wrong in saying that storage is important in any laptop, but in gaming laptops, its importance is amplified many more times. All your progress in a game is stored in the HDD or SSD. Also, since the games are usually of high resolution and no player buys a laptop to play just one type of game, they do take up a lot of space in the system. Hence, it’s of paramount importance to buy a gaming laptop with at least 1 TB of HDD storage in combination with a normal SSD storage.
6. Keyboard and Touchpad
The keyboard and touchpad are the ones you will use the most while gaming, so, it’s absolutely essential that you buy a laptop with a keyboard that you are comfortable with. We say that because it can directly affect your gaming performance. The important factor to look for in a keyboard is the travel that it offers. However, everyone will have different key travel preferences, so you should test them out or look out for this point in reviews before buying one.
7. Audio Output
To experience the game to the fullest, a great audio output through inbuilt speakers or through the headphone jack is crucial. Again, this can only be checked in person or through the words of a reviewer, so be all ears for that. A general rule of thumb is that the speakers shouldn’t be in areas which would lead to the audio getting muffled. Some come with stereo speakers, custom audio technology etc and these always provide the best output.
Top 10 Best Gaming Laptops Under $800 in 2021
1. Asus TUF FX505DT Gaming Laptop
Asus has been a respectable brand in the gaming laptop segment for quite a while now and this is primarily because of the quality products that it offers to the consumers. The Asus TUF FX505DT is one such product that has won over people’s hearts as it provides one of the best gaming experiences in a laptop under $800. The great online reviews are testament to this and also highlight many key features, pros and cons of this product.
The TUF FX505DT comes with a quad-core AMD Ryzen 5 processor and the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 16 series GPU to back it up in the hardware department. Although the combination may seem unconventional, it doesn’t seem to affect the gaming performance of the laptop at all. In addition to this, it packs in an 8 GB DDR4 RAM along with a 256 GB SSD that will be adequate for all your needs.
Coming to the display of the TUF FX505DT, it has an IPS type panel with Asus’s nanoedge technology, which means the bezels on this laptop are extremely thin. This along with wide viewing angles and an impressive color range ensure that the gamer will have the best viewing experience. Also, it has a respectable refresh rate of 120Hz, allowing you to play games at 60fps with ease.
Like most gaming laptops, the TUF FX505DT also comes with a RGB keyboard having good travel, but by default, the background color is set to red. However, you can easily change it to your preferred one by downloading a simple software. The audio experience is also said to be immersive and won’t leave you wanting for anything better.
With such good performance you might be expecting that the laptop will heat up on heavy duty usage and produce noise, but that isn’t the case either. Asus has done well and put in place a nice layout to keep heating and noise at a minimum. However, one thing that does disappoint is the battery life. Many users have reported a screen time of just one and a half hours at best with heavy duty gaming.
All in all, we can say that this is the best gaming laptop under $800 as it provides the best bang for your buck.
2. Asus FX504 Thin & Light TUF Gaming Laptop
The second product on this list is also from Asus and again, it just shows how well-made the products from the Korean manufacturer are. The price of this laptop is a bit on the higher side when compared to other products on this list but the better specifications does justify it to some extent. There are a lot of unique features in this gaming laptop and also some advantages and few disadvantages, let’s find them out in the next section.
The FX504 comes with an 8th generation Intel i7 processor paired with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti GPU. This is an ideal combination for gaming and will ensure all the graphic intensive tasks are handled seamlessly. The RAM capacity is 8 GB DDR4 and it also comes with a 256 GB SSD and an optional HDD too. This is one of the best hardware combinations you can find in this price range.
One of the unique features of this product is that it comes with blazing fast WiFi standards, seldom found in other gaming laptops. This also helps you in having a complete experience incase you use the gaming laptop for daily mundane tasks too. Another unique feature of this product is the patented air flow technology from Asus that goes a long way in dissipation of heat.
The keyboard is an RGB type like with most laptops of this grade and it has an adequate travel of 1.8mm. Durability won’t be an issue at all with this keyboard as each key can be pressed at least 20 million times according to tests. In the audio department, Asus has left no stone unturned in giving the best possible sound output. The FX504 has authentic surround, DTS grade headphone support and Audiophile level equalizer settings.
One of the things that could have been better on this laptop is the display refresh rate of 60Hz. This slow refresh rate means that it will be difficult to play games at 60fps. Also, it would be unwise to expect a battery life of more than 2 hours on this laptop. These two have been the biggest cons we found on this device. At the end, we can say that unless you want to play 60fps games, this would be the most practical solution for your gaming needs.
3. HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop
HP is one of the leading laptop manufacturers in the world and it’s no surprise that it has a good selection of gaming laptops up its sleeve too. The current one we are reviewing here is quite popular in this price range and hence, an option for you as the best gaming laptop under $800. It is a credible contender due to the trusted brand name and good reviews it has obtained from consumers. So if you are wondering what makes us say that, read the rest of this section.
The Pavilion Gaming Laptop comes with an 8th generation i5 chip for the processing speed coupled with a discrete graphics card. According to online reviews, this laptop has enough firepower to run most games smoothly and can even run games at 80fps without hiccups.
So, we must say that HP has done a wonderful job in optimising it for gaming. Additionally, it has 8 GB DDR4 RAM and 1 TB HDD (Yes, it does miss out on a SSD card unfortunately, which can hinder game load times and storage of progress).
HP has tried to keep the bezels as minimum as possible which results in a sleek looking design. This combined with a Full-HD IPS will give an immersive experience while gaming. Also, the keyboard has green RGB backlight and satisfactory travel for those picky consumers. The audio output is also said to be quite immersive.
The main USP of this HP laptop is it’s multi-face capabilities and huge battery life when compared to others on this list. It is the perfect PC for those who want it to act like a normal laptop when they need and also provide adequate power to ensure they enjoy their gaming sessions too. So this is one laptop that should definitely be on top of your list.
The one disadvantage that might be a deal-breaker for some users is its heating issue. HP hasn’t taken enough measures to prevent excessive heating. Therefore, most users who are using this gaming laptop suggest to buy an additional cooling pad for those times when you will test its processing capabilities.
4. Asus TUF FX505DY
We have already seen 2 Asus products make it to this list and the FX505DY makes up the 3rd product. There are a lot of similarities between the three, but also a good number of differences. Let’s look at some of those features which set the FX505DY apart from those below it in the list.
This entry level gaming laptop from Asus comes with an all AMD hardware as both the CPU and GPU are from the microchip maker, AMD. Although this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it goes against conventional knowledge that Intel and Nvidia are the best when it comes to CPU and GPU combination respectively. However, there is no reason to panic as a majority of its users are more than satisfied with every performance aspect of this gaming laptop.
Just like the previous two Asus laptops, even this one comes with a combination of 8 GB RAM and 256 GB SSD storage. So, naturally, it’s a disadvantage that it doesn’t have a HDD. Further, it boasts of having the gigabit WiFi that is hardly found in gaming laptops. A point worth mentioning is that the side bezels on this laptop is ultra thin, making it easier on the eye while gaming.
Coming to the audio experience and keyboard responsiveness, both are said to be more than satisfactory according to the majority of online reviewers. A point that might not be of too much importance to many who are into gaming is that the FX505DY has all the ports that you would ever want in a laptop. However, just like the other Asus gaming laptops on this, even this has dismal battery life.
5. Dell G3 Gaming Laptop
It would be an understatement to say that Dell has been a pioneer in the laptop industry. They have a good set of gaming laptops in their range too. The Dell G3 is one of them and a tough competitor in the $800 price range. One of the first things you would notice about the G3 is that it doesn’t look like a conventional gaming laptop due to its sleek and flat design.
The interiors of the G3 consist of the typical i5 8th gen Intel processor coupled with the powerful Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060. The graphics card has a whopping 6 GB capacity, making it one of the most powerful gaming laptop hardware in this price category. Additionally, it also has 8 GB of RAM, 1 TB of HDD, and 128 GB SSD.
The biggest selling point of this Dell laptop has to be it’s huge screen. The company has provided a 17.3 inch Full HD IPS panel with anti-glare technology. Also, the bezels are quite small too, leading it to being arguably the best screen you can get in any gaming laptop. This makes it a strong candidate for the best gaming laptop under $800.
The keyboard is backlit in blue but according to user reviews, it does not have the adequate feel and travel. Furthermore, both the keyboard panel and the lid of the laptop are said to feel a bit flimsy. This isn’t expected from such a well known brand as Dell. Additionally, the battery is also said to be sub-par as it provides only about 2 hours of screen on time.
Overall we can say that the Dell G3 is a solid choice if you are looking for a gaming laptop in this price range if you can excuse some of it’s obvious flaws.
6. Acer Nitro 5 (2021)
Just like HP, Dell and Asus, Acer has also carved a niche for itself in this area. The product we are reviewing here looks like any typical entry level gaming laptop with its aggressive design language and superior specifications. As with any other product, it has its own set of unique features, advantages and disadvantages. We hope the next few paragraphs will throw more light on it and help you make a decision.
Although the hardware combination of Intel i5 8th generation processors and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050ti is very common in this price range, what sets it apart from the competition is its whopping 12 GB RAM capacity. This is sure to provide an edge over its rivals in the performance department and the online reviews are testament to this fact. Additionally, the processor can be overclocked to 4.0 GHz if the user requires even more juice out of this laptop.
The display is a Full-HD IPS panel with a respectable size of 15.6 inches. However, the thick bezels does look out of place in today’s gaming laptops. Also, the panel isn’t a true LED display, rather a LED backlit LCD. This will count as one of the major disadvantages for consumers while evaluating their choices.
Having said that, a few things that buyers can be happy about is the battery life and audio output from the laptop. Although a backup of 5.5 hours isn’t out of this world when it comes to laptops, it is one of the best in the gaming niche. The audio output is also reported to be class leading due to the presence of stereo speakers and Acer’s patented TrueHarmony plus technology.
7. MSI GL63 8RCS-060
If we had to pick one brand that is synonymous with gaming laptops, it would have to be MSI. Such has been the influence of this brand that it has previously brought out many innovations into this niche that have now become commonplace in other gaming laptops. The MSI GL63 8RCS-060 is its latest foray into the entry level gaming laptop segment and has rave reviews online. Let’s find out the reason behind those reviews in the next few paragraphs.
Although this product is one of the cheapest offerings in this list, the specifications don’t indicate that at all. We say that because it also comes with identical hardware to most other gaming laptops of this category, that is, i5 8th gen processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050ti. As we have seen, this combination is more than sufficient to handle most of your gaming needs. Additionally, it also has a 256 GB SSD for storage reasons.
The display quality has received good ratings and generally there have been no complaints about it. It is a typical Full-HD IPS LED panel with a size of 15.6 inches. We have to mention that the battery isn’t the best in-class but isn’t too shabby either. Users have reported a 4 hour screen on time, which is quite sufficient. MSI has given special attention to keep the laptop cool by providing 2 fans, 2 exhausts and 7 copper pipes.
One thing we found common among user complaints is the quality of the touchpad. The build material is said to feel cheap and doesn’t give adequate feel. However, it’s quite a small issue and bit of compromise from the user side will keep everyone happy. All in all, considering the price, the MSI GL63 8RCS-060 gives a good fight for others in the battle to declare the best gaming laptop under $800.
8. Lenovo IdeaPad L340
Lenovo is definitely a household name when it comes to consumer electronics. It isn’t particularly known for its gaming laptop range but the great specifications and reviews of the IdeaPad 340 means that it definitely deserves a place in this list. Keep reading to find more about this laptop.
From a design perspective, it is not at all obvious that this laptop belongs to the gaming niche. We say that, because you won’t be able to differentiate between a conventional laptop and this on the basis of looks. This might be an advantage or a disadvantage and totally depends on the buyer’s perspective. However, the keyboard is backlit in Blue and you also get an option to adjust its brightness.
The internal hardware, however, does make it obvious that this is built for gaming. It has the preferable i5 9th gen processor with Nvidia GeForce GTX 16 series. What sets it apart is the massive 512 GB SSD it comes with. This will provide it an edge in game storage and retrieval.
Dolby is a very respectable name in audio tech and the remarkable thing is, Lenovo has been able to bring that audio experience to a laptop. Additionally, there are two modes, one for gaming called quick mode and another called quiet mode for normal work. This feature helps in optimising battery performance. You can expect a good 5 hours of backup on a single charge.
The disappointing thing is that a lot of users have reported that there will be a longevity issue with this laptop due to the use of lower quality materials in the build. This might become a deal breaker for some.
9. MSI GL63 8SC-059
We have already raved about how good MSI is when it comes to manufacturing gaming laptops and the GL63 8SC-059 takes the baton forward. This product is priced slightly higher on the spectrum but also brings with it an improved set of hardware and additional features. It does have that signature MSI design that makes it stand out in a sea of conventional laptops.
MSI has provided the best in class hardware for this product as it has the unmatchable Intel i7 8th gen processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX 16 series GPU. This combination is seldom found in other laptops priced even a bit above this in the spectrum. Additionally, it does have 8 GB DDR4 RAM and 256 GB Nvme SSD. In the end, we can say that MSI has left no stone unturned inorder to provide the best hardware.
It also houses 5 giant speakers in order to provide a satisfactory audio experience for the users. The display also uses anti-glare technology combined with the Full-HD IPS panel. One thing to note about the display is that it has the NTSC color range to ensure a vivid display of colors whenever you use the laptop.
The CPU and GPU have been given separate cooling solutions with around 7 copper pipes for heat absorption. We would say that this has been effective as no user has reported a heating problem during intense gaming sessions. There have been no issues reported with the battery performance as well, which means it is a well rounded laptop in every aspect. Hence, it does deserve be the best gaming laptop under $800.
10. Acer Nitro 5
The last product we are about to review is the Acer Nitro 5. No no, don’t get it confused with the other Nitro 5 from Acer that we reviewed earlier in this article. This is the older brother to the 2020 model that we recommended. Having said that, this is no weak contender too, considering the price point at which it’s available. Come let’s have a brief look at some of it’s important aspects.
Acer says that it tried to give a futuristic look to this laptop and we have to note that they have been spot-on with that. Although, the model is a bit old now, it still has that killer look, which can turn heads. Although the bezels might be thick by today’s standards, the screen quality is at par with the competition. Many users have specifically pointed out this fact.
One thing that potential customers should note is that the i5 processor used is a generation older than what is considered to be the standard today. This will definitely affect the performance of the gaming laptop. However, there is no reason to fret too much about it as you can play most heavy games, on lower graphic levels. This has been made possible due to the presence of the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050ti and 8 GB of RAM.
One thing to note is that the heating issue has not been addressed properly in this laptop. Although it looks like there are separate vents for CPU and GPU, that isn’t the case. In this scenario, heat won’t be dissipated at a fast rate. One advantage however, is the above average battery backup of 4 hours. We would say this is more than adequate for a gaming laptop.
After looking at all the factors, we can say that if you are on a very tight budget for a gaming laptop, this purchase will make sense. Otherwise, there are definitely better options at a slightly higher price point that most people should consider. We say that because gaming laptops are a one time investment.
Best Gaming Laptop Under $800 – What’s Your Pick
So that’s that folks, a comprehensive review of the best gaming laptops your 800 bucks can buy in today’s market. As we have seen, you can easily be spoilt for choice even after going through this thorough list. To make matters more simple, let us just summarize which laptops are suitable for which kind of user.
If you are in the market for a gaming laptop but also want to multitask and do some office or college work, then you should opt for the ones from HP, Dell and Lenovo. On the other hand, if you want a laptop just for the pure gaming experience, the Asus FX505DT, Acer Nitro 5 (2020) and the ones from MSI should take the cake.
If, however, you are on a very tight budget and are not looking forward to spending too much, the MSI GL63 8RCS-060 and Acer Nitro 5 should be your choice. The 2020 model of the Acer Nitro 5 and the Lenovo IdeaPad L340 do have the best battery backup incase that is your priority. Although looks are definitely subjective, aesthetically the most pleasing to the eyes are definitely the Asus range of gaming laptops that give the perfect gaming vibe.
We hope that this brief conclusion and recommendations have helped you to clear any more queries about which is the best gaming laptop under $800 for you.
1. What are some of the top gaming laptop under $800 brands?
The leading gaming laptop brands currently are Micro-Star International(MSI), Dell, Acer, Alienware (which is a subsidiary of Dell and usually serves the high-end market) Razer Inc, Hewlett Packard (HP) and Asus. If you are in the market for a gaming laptop, it’s better to buy one from these well-recognized brands.
2. How long do gaming laptops last?
You would be surprised to hear that gaming laptops will easily last you at least 5 years if you take good care of them. After that, you would have to play games at low graphics settings with reduced frame rates. However, you could still continue to use it for basic tasks.
3. Why are gaming laptops so expensive?
Gaming laptops need to have the top hardware to perform at the best possible level. Further, these incredibly powerful components need to be placed in a compact shell which requires ground-breaking technology. Hence gaming laptops are expensive.
4. Can gaming laptops be used for normal work?
Yes, definitely. Gaming laptops are just overpowered and costly laptops that run the same software as any other conventional laptop. However, they generally have very poor battery life, are quite heavy to carry around and look out of place in a corporate environment. If you are okay with these negatives, then there should be nothing stopping you from buying a gaming laptop. Infact, gaming laptops will perform better on tasks like video editing or high level software development.