The best gaming laptop under 800 (top 7 reviewed)

 

 

cover - best gaming laptop under 800Gaming laptops are great. They manage to pack in just about all the functionality of a gigantic, high-end desktop gaming rig in a compact package, suitable for travel, portable play, and convenient transportation to LAN events, or just day-to-day use. These backpack titans often manage to cram in full-size gaming GPUs and powerful processors with large, bright displays, at full-HD or sometimes even higher. However, given the popularity of these laptops, it’s no surprise that the marketing blitz surrounding higher-end gaming laptops is confusing to no end.

Do I need a SSD? What’s the difference between a mobile GPU and a full-size GPU? Is an i7 always better than an i5? Why are all these laptops only using Intel chips? Is 8gb RAM enough to play new games? What’s the desktop resolution? Is a big screen always better?

These sorts of questions are not uncommon when you’re looking for a gaming laptop, and making a purchase like this is a big investment – you’ll want to know that you’re getting the best bang for your buck – not just a big ol’ hunk of plastic with a slick marketing campaign targeted towards gamers.

This is especially important when you’re looking at lower-end gaming laptops – after all, some of these specially-designed gaming rigs can easily push the $3K mark – when in the market for gaming laptops under 800, you’re going to have to compromise on some things in order to get a smooth, exciting gaming experience.

So in this article, we’re going to take a look at the basics. What gaming laptops offer that others don’t, what you really need when gaming, and what’s just nice-to-have. We’ll take you through some frequently asked questions, the basics about the hardware, and end with some product recommendations that you may be interested in if you’re just entering the gaming laptop world, or are looking to replace a rapidly-aging gaming notebook that you’ve had for years, and can’t keep up with the latest hot releases.

 

Here’s a quick summary of our two top picks:

  1. For hardcore gamers, we recommend the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 series, 7559
    • This laptop is a great blend of performance and affordability, and can be configured to give you one of the single best gaming experiences possible to achieve on an $800 machine.
  2. For those who need a multitasker, we recommend the ASUS K501UX-15.6
    • This high-end ASUS gaming laptop offers great build quality, a lightweight design with high battery life, and great internal components that can handle mid-range gaming sessions. It’s a great combination of convenience and gaming power, and it’s best for anyone who’s looking to buy a laptop that can do everything.

 

With those two out of the way, let’s get into the details about what to look for when you’re buying a gaming laptop under 800.

 

 

What should I be looking for in the best gaming laptop under 800?

When you’re looking at gaming laptops that are on the lower end of the spectrum, pure power should always be your priority. A long battery life, slim profile, and other features like touchscreens are nice to have, but if you truly want a great gaming experience at a bargain price, you should prioritize raw processing power and speed above everything else.

Otherwise you risk being stuck with a pretty, lower-end laptop that can barely chug along with DOTA 2 even on low-settings. It may be easy to transport and easy to carry, but it won’t have the top performance that gamers need. So let’s take a look at the various components that make up a gaming laptop.

NOTE – These are listed by priority of quality – in other words, the farther down the list you go, the less important the component is. This is not to say that the components that are last are unimportant, per se – just that they have less impact when you’re gaming (which is why you want to buy a gaming laptop, right? Right!)

 

Powerful graphics card

Okay, this one isn’t exactly a shocker. When you’re buying a gaming laptop, the first thing on your mind should be the quality of the graphics card, or in industry terms, the GPU. The GPU is responsible for the high-intensity rendering of 3d graphics that takes place in every modern videogame, and because of this, it’s the primary “bottleneck” of any given gaming computer.

A bottleneck, for those unfamiliar,  is the component of a piece of hardware – such as a gaming laptop –  that limits the performance of the rest of the device once it has reached maximum capacity, or “load”.

Basically, all of that is to say that (in general) the faster and more efficient your graphics card is, the better your system will perform overall.

This is because modern processors and RAM are generally quite high quality and efficient, even in lower-end systems that aren’t gaming-specific laptops, so the CPU is rarely a bottleneck for a gaming laptop. This isn’t true in every case, but it’s very rare for a computer with a high-end graphics card to have a low-end CPU – because that would significantly impact performance, and computer manufacturers understand that.

Because of this, your first priority should be a strong graphics card. Now, gaming laptops do vary from desktops in that they have their own style of graphics card – mobile graphics. Gigantic PCI graphics cards don’t fit inside laptops (there are some exceptions, but they cost upward of $3000), so graphics card manufactures have created different mobile graphics cards.

These graphics cards generally have the suffix “M” – such as Nvidia Geforce 1080M – indicating that, while they are made from the same architecture as their larger brethren, they have been specifically adapted for mobile use.

Higher end mobile processors are easily on par with their desktop-based brethren, and in general, the more expensive you go, the closer you’ll get to desktop-like performance.

There are many different websites on which you can compare various mobile and desktop GPUs, and videocardbenchmark offers one of the best tools with which to do so. There are many different metrics for performance, but this website breaks it down into one basic score – the performance on PassMark software, one of the best stress-testing options on the market. Suffice to say, the higher the score, the better the graphics card – there are very rarely exceptions. You’ll want to find the graphics card of the laptop you’re buying, and make sure it’s up to snuff.

 

Strong processor (CPU)

A good CPU is the next most important aspect of any gaming laptop purchase. While not quite as important as the GPU, it’s the next “bottleneck” of most gaming systems – if your GPU is way stronger than your CPU, you will suffer performance issues, even with the most high-end of graphics cards.

However, this isn’t usually an issue. Mobile processors of today are quite strong, and even feature hyperthreading and virtualization that further increases performance. However, these features are generally not used when gaming.

In the future, more games will make use of hyperthreading and virtualization to increase performance, but right now what is most important is single core clock speed. Most games only use 1 core, and because of this, it must be able to keep up.

Many CPUs in mobile devices are underclocked – they run under their stated clock speed (measured in GHz) to preserve battery power, and then they use dynamic overclocking to keep up with system demands when things get more intense. This is usually undesirable in a gaming laptop – you want a consistent, smooth experience when gaming, and if your processor is underclocked you may get stutters and jitters when it speeds up.

Most CPUs in gaming laptops don’t do this – they are built to run at a steady speed, and some of them even automatically overclock – so they perform smoothly and with good performance metrics under load.

A great website to check out the speed of the processor you’re looking at as it relates to gaming is the sister site of videocardbenchmark – cpubenchmark.net. On this site, you can see how each processor stacks up – not in terms of GHz, virtualization, number of cores, or number of threads – but as it has been tested in a gaming-specific benchmarking environment. The higher the score, the better, with rare exceptions.

 

Display resolution and quality

Display resolution and quality are the next two important metrics. A great GPU and processor are all well and good – but if the quality of your display is lacking, or you’ve got an odd resolution, your games still won’t look good.

In recent years, there has been a trend in mobile devices to increase screen resolution beyond full HD – 1920×1080 resolution. Some laptops are now even coming with 4k displays, which feature 4x the pixels per inch of comparable 1080p laptops.

Well, we’re here to tell you that anything beyond 1080p is a waste of your money. Seriously. Most laptops – even higher end gaming laptops – will struggle beyond 1080p. They simply aren’t built for it. The ones that are often cost upwards of $3000-4000 – a price at which you could build a top-of-the-line desktop computer with 4k support, and buy a MacBook Pro. The technology for mobile 4k gaming is not yet well developed, and it’s almost never worth it.

Instead, you should be looking at one of two popular gaming laptop resolutions. Full HD – 1080p, or HD – usually 1366×768 on gaming laptops. 1080p is the best of both worlds – it offers great display quality, especially on smaller 15.6” class gaming laptops, and it’s low-impact enough that generally you can find laptops that can output it with no issues for a decent price.

1366×768 displays offer less pixels-per-inch, and a much lower resolution, but they also only have about half the performance load of 1080p, and still look quite good on smaller screens, so they’re another standby option for lower-grade gaming laptops. You’ll still get a smooth, great gaming experience at a lower cost.

You can look beyond those two display sizes if you want – but you won’t find anything that can handle them in gaming laptops under 800.

 

Screen size and type

Screen size is the next consideration. Generally, gaming laptops come in 15.6” chassis, or higher. It’s rare to find one smaller, as a good-sized laptop screen is quite important for visibility when gaming.

You can also find 17” class gaming laptops. These sorts of laptops are quite nice for gaming, but can be very unwieldy when using them for anything besides gaming – taking notes, working, or transportation.

Because of this, they make great desktop replacements – if you’re primarily going to be using this laptop at home on a desk, they’re great. However, they lack portability, and are usually quite large, heavy, and unwieldy.

15.6” screens are the most popular for a reason – they give you plenty of room both to play and work, and offer a more compact, versatile package.
The type of screen is also important. In the past, almost all laptops had TN (Twisted Nematic) or TFT (Thin-Film-Transistor) LCD screens, which offer good performance, lower power use, and good all-around picture – but more recently, IPS LCD and LED screens have been offered in laptops. These screens offer a more vivid picture, deeper blacks, and in the case of LED, lower power consumption, but at a higher cost.

Now, one isn’t necessarily better than the other – TFT and TN screens tend to have lower refresh rates, and still offer a good picture – but the differences between these are important to bear in mind when looking for a gaming laptop.

 

Type of hard drive – SSD, HSSD, or HDD

For ultimate performance, a solid state drive is required for your laptop. These drives are up to 10x faster than traditional HDDs, and offer great performance, high reliability, and lower power consumption and heat output.

These are found more often in high-grade gaming laptops, but smaller ones can be found in some bargain models. However, they are much more expensive per GB of storage, meaning you may have to sacrifice some storage space for performance when you’re on a budget.

Next up, there are “HSSDs” – hybrid SSDs that use a solid-state cache to speed up performance, while still relying on a physical platter drive to store long-term information. These options are found in some mid-grade gaming laptops, and offer a good mix of speed, performance, and low-cost.

Last, there are standard 2.5” HDDs. These physical devices are much slower than SSDs, but can offer decent performance if you don’t mind longer loading times. They also are much more inexpensive than either of the two other options listed, so if you have to sacrifice an SSD for a much more powerful graphics card or processor, it’s worth it.

Remember, what is most important when gaming is the bottleneck, and a hard drive will never be your primary bottleneck. It’s always worth it to upgrade your GPU and CPU before your hard drive – you will get better performance for you dollar.

In addition, you can upgrade your own hard drive later on almost all models of laptop. With very few exceptions, anyone with a bit of technical skill and a user’s manual can pop open their laptop down the line, clone their hard drive onto an SSD, and install. So if you don’t have the budget for an SSD right now, you can add one later.

Because of this, an SSD is nice to have – but not required for a good experience.

 

Heat management and good exhaust system

All the power in the world won’t help you if your system overheats and shuts off after two hours of gaming. This is why it’s important for your computer to have good heat management. If you don’t invest in a computer with good heat management, you lower the lifespan of your hardware, and you increase your risk of catastrophic component failure.

Now, laptops will always be hotter than desktops. Some desktop computers can achieve running temperatures of less than 40°C even when under maximum load. This is simply not possible on gaming laptops. Generally, running temperatures of 80-90°C are common, and the components are built to withstand this. However, good ventilation, design, and heatsinks can minimize the exposure of important parts to heat, increasing the lifespan of your device, so it’s a good thing to bear in mind when shopping.

You can alleviate high heat in some ways yourself – a solid surface to place your computer like a sturdy wood or metal desk can absorb some heat. Always make sure that your vents are exposed when gaming – don’t put your laptop on a soft or absorbent surface where they are blocked.

Finally, if you are very concerned (or just want peak performance when gaming) you can buy a gaming laptop cooler like this one. When placed upon this stand, the powerful, AC powered fans help draw air away from the chassis of your gaming laptop, increasing performance and longevity. This is a great investment if you primarily game in only one location.

 

RAM (in gb)

RAM is RAM. Nowadays, there aren’t many differences between RAM sticks, and just about every laptop on the market uses the DDR4 standard, which is fast, effective, and only sips power.

The main factor to consider with RAM is the amount of storage you need. Typically, gaming laptops come with a bare minimum of 6GB, and typically 8GB on mid-range options. Higher end options can have 16GB-32GB, which is tons of RAM for all of your multitasking needs. But when bargain-hunting, what’s the right amount of RAM for you?

Now, unlike SSDs, most RAM in laptops is soldered in – there are some laptops with upgradeable RAM, but they are generally more expensive. As a rule, you won’t be able to replace your RAM once you buy your laptop, so futureproofing is important.

If you need a bargain, 8GB of RAM is enough for gaming. It is incredibly rare for any properly-made game to require more memory than this to run – if it does, it’s usually a programming error – a memory leak. If you have a tight budget and need to get gaming, 8gb is enough.

However, 16GB is best if you have a little more money to spend. You can know you’ll be futureproofed and ready for just about anything if you have 16gb of RAM – even the most intense multitaskers will have problems using up that much RAM.

Overall, though, 8GB is a perfectly acceptable option if you’re on a budget – that’s what most of the products we’ll recommend contain.

 

Plenty of peripheral support

This is important if you like to game with external hardware – mechanical keyboards, joysticks, donges and wireless controllers, etc. Having plenty of USB ports is a great feature for a gaming laptop, and external monitor outputs such as DVI, VGA, and HDMI/Displayport can also be quite handy if you have a nice monitor or TV that you like to game on at home.

 

Weight and mobility

Now, just about all gaming laptops are going to be heavy, especially in the $800 price range, so this is the area you’ll probably make sacrifices. However, you should look for a laptop that you can at least carry with you occasionally – otherwise you might as well just build a gaming desktop.

A weight of under 7lbs is preferable, and usually achieved by most laptops. It may not sound like much, but more than that means you’ll be lugging around the equivalent of a dumbbell in your backpack all day, and if it’s a flimsy backpack, you actually risk damaging your laptop.

Most gaming laptops do come in quite a bit below that, but if mobility is a factor for you, you may have to shell out a bit more for a more streamlined design.

 

Battery life

This is the last metric on our list because it’s the least important. Okay, it’s not the least important if you plan on heavy multitasking with your laptop, but when it comes to gaming, it doesn’t really matter. When gaming on a laptop, you’ll chew through your battery life in no time given the amount of power consumed by GPUs and powerful CPUs, so you’ll almost never be gaming when disconnect from AC power, and if you are, your game’s performance will likely suffer.

So long battery life, especially in a budget gaming laptop, is nice to have – but if you have to sacrifice good battery life for better gaming performance when connected to power, it’s well worth it.

 

What gaming laptop is best for me? Our top 7 recommendations

Okay. We’ve talked enough about what’s important for gaming laptops. Let’s get to what you’ve probably been waiting for – product recommendations. These budget laptops combine quality hardware, good design, and great gaming performance into small, reasonably priced packages that are sure to please if you’re looking for a new rig.

Now, let’s temper your expectations. For under $800, you won’t find a top of the line rig that can run the latest releases with full settings. These laptops can all run modern games, but generally only at medium-high settings on their full resolution, and they will certainly be able to run AAA games for the next couple years if you downscale the resolution and graphics settings. And the best gaming laptops under 800 that can run these games smoothly at high settings make other sacrifices – such as low battery life, high weight, or bulky design. At this price range, you’ll have to make some tradeoffs.

This is not to say they’re bad computers. For the price, they’re fantastic, and they will easily satisfy anyone who wants to game on a laptop. Let’s take a deeper look at our 7 top picks.

 

 

The stylish multitasker: ASUS K501UX-15.6

01 best gaming laptop under 800, The Stylish Multitasker ASUS K501UX-15.6

This laptop from ASUS does an incredible job at combining the best of both worlds when it comes to gaming and everyday performance. It features an Intel i7-6500U processor that sips power when necessary, and boosts up to 2.5GHz clock speeds when things get demanding.

It also comes standard with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M GPU with 2GB VRAM, meaning that it can handle modern games at medium-low quality with ease, and at higher quality if you downscale the resolution, or sacrifice a higher framerate. The 15.6” matte 1080p display is bright, vivid, and looks great when gaming, web browsing, or watching videos.

It comes standard with a hyperfast 256GB SSD, and 8GB DDR4 RAM, so it’s top of the line in that regard as well.

The gaming performance isn’t up to par with some of our other choices – but this laptop also features a beautiful, lightweight aluminum construction that weighs in at a paltry 4.4lbs, and isn’t bulky or inconvenient to carry around.

This same aluminum construction also helps increase cooling efficiency – very important for long gaming sessions, and helping extend the longevity of the hardware.

This laptop also features a great battery life considering the power contained within – up to 5 hours, and beyond with light use.

For that reason, it earns high marks from us. You can game on it one night, and bring it to a business meeting the next, with its low-key, efficient, stylish design.

 

PROS

  • Beautiful, lightweight design
  • Can run most newer games on low-medium graphics
  • Useful for everyday computing
  • Easy to transport
  • High battery life

CONS

  • Not as powerful as dedicated gaming machines
  • 256GB SSD is a bit small
  • GPU only has 2gb RAM – less than some other choices

 

 

The most powerful and convenient gaming laptop: Dell Inspiron 15 7000 series, 7559

02 gaming laptops under 800, The Most Powerful and Convenient Gaming Laptop Dell Inspiron 15 7000 series, 7559

If you’re looking for a customizable laptop with tons of gaming power, this offering by Dell is certainly one of the best options.

It’s available in two primary options – one with 8gb of RAM, a core i5 2.3 GHz quad-core processor, and a 256gb SSD, and one with 16gb RAM, a Core i7-6700HQ 2.6GHz processor, and a 1tb hybrid-SSD hard drive.

Both of these options come in at under our price point, and if we were forced to choose one, we’d go with the 1TB, Core i7 model with more ram. The SSD is nice to have, but not totally necessary, especially since the high quality 1TB HDD comes with a solid-state cache, speeding up boot and load times.

Combined with the GTX 960M GPU with an industry-leading 4GB VRAM, the i7 processor and 16gb of ram in this laptop will give you incredible gaming performance, and it will look great on the 1080p LED-backlit screen.

All of this performance does come at a cost – this laptop is bulkier than some, and weighs in at over 6lbs. It’s also got pretty poor battery life – usually 3.5 hours max.

However, the build quality is great, gaming performance is insane – expect to run most games at high settings on full resolution – and there’s also a free SATA drive port if you feel like upgrading to an extra HDD or SSD in the future. The RAM is also user-serviceable, so you can replace the 8gb or 16gb with even more in the future.

With all those factors considered, this laptop by Dell is certainly one of the best choices you can make for raw gaming performance.

 

PROS

  • Customizable – you can choose if you’d like an SSD or not, a better processor, and more RAM.
  • Powerful graphics – Nvidia GTX 960 GPU offers 4GB VRAM
  • Great Processors – the i7 processor can handle even the most intense gaming sesions
  • Quality screen – LED backlit for great color

CONS

  • Heavy – over 6lbs
  • Low battery life – 3.5 hours max
  • The highest-end gaming model comes with an HDD, not an SSD – though the user can upgrade it

 

 

The best desktop replacement: MSI GL72 6QD-001

03 best laptop under 800, The Best Desktop Replacement MSI GL72 6QD-001

This laptop by MSI is what we were talking about above – a purpose-built desktop replacement computer, that can move when it needs to.

It’s built with a high quality Intel i5-6300HQ processor which develops up to 3.2GHz clock speeds, 8GB high quality DDR4 RAM, a 1TB HDD, and a top-of-the-life Geforce GTX950M with 2GB VRAM. All of these hardware features together mean great, smooth gaming performance.

The highlight of this laptop, however, is the screen. The beautiful full HD LCD eDP non-reflective screen is 17.3” of gorgeous, edge-to-edge beauty. It’s bright, vivid, and great for gaming, given the generous space and roominess of the large display.

This all comes at a cost of weight – tipping the scales at over 6lbs, and battery life – you’ll be lucky to get 3 hours out of this behemoth while you’re on the go, and its gigantic size makes it tough to carry around.

However, if you’re looking for a high-quality desktop replacement laptop, this offering by MSI won’t disappoint.

 

PROS

  • Huge, beautiful 17.3” screen
  • Great gaming performance with quality hardware such as the GTX 950M – expect to play most modern games at high settings
  • Upgradeable RAM and hard drive
  • Vivid LCD eDP matte screen is great even in bright light

CONS

  • The enormous screen and bulk of the laptop make it hard to store and transport
  • Weighs in at over 6lbs
  • Battery life is poor – less than 3 hours at best

 

 

A great all-purpose laptop: Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575G-76YK

04 best laptops under 800, A Great All-Purpose Laptop Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575G-76YK

If you’re looking for an all-purpose laptop at a great value with enough power packed in for gaming, you’re going to want to check out the Acer Aspire. It’s built in a low-key clamshell design out of a quality plastic, and weighs in on the lighter end of the scale for gaming laptops – about 5.3lbs.

It comes with a good quality GPU – the NVIDIA GeForce 940MX with 2GB VRAM, and pairs it with an Intel i7 6500U processor that overclocks to up to 3.1GHz. Combined, this hardware ensures good gaming performance on new games if they’re downscaled, or with lower settings – it’s not going to handle, say, The Witcher 3 at max settings, but if you adjust your expectations, you’ll get smooth performance for mid-range gaming.

It also comes with a 256GB SSD, which means faster load times, speedier performance, and a smooth all-around experience, as well as lower power consumption, and 8GB of RAM and a 1080p display round out the important hardware of this laptop.
Now, since this laptop only offers moderate gaming performance, you may be wondering why it’s on this list. Simple. It’s one of the most versatile products out there. You can game on it, but you can also easily carry it with you – it’s smaller than most 15” class laptops, and weighs in at featherweight (for gaming laptops) 5.3lbs, and offers 10 hours of battery life – 300% more than some of our other picks on this list.

All these features combined make it perfect if you’re a more casual gamer who needs a more versatile laptop, and we highly recommend it for that purpose.

 

PROS

  • Versatile and useful both for gaming and everyday computing tasks.
  • Incredible battery life compared to most gaming laptops – 10 hours or more depending on what you’re doing on the computer.
  • High quality graphics card and internal components for medium-intensity gaming
  • Lightweight for a gaming laptop – 5.3lbs
  • Low-key design compared to most gaming laptops – suitable for business applications

CONS

  • Not as powerful as some other purpose-built gaming laptops.
  • Plastic clamshell design – comparable products are built of all-metal clamshells.
  • Intel i76500u sometimes underclocks, which can lead to more poor gaming performance
  • 256gb SSD may run out of space after only a few games.

 

Stylish design, great performance: Lenovo Y700

05 best gaming laptops under 800, Stylish Design, Great Performance Lenovo Y700

The Lenovo Y700 is another example of tremendous design meeting terrific performance. In a relatively small, aggressively designed package, and at a low cost, it packs top-of-the-line components – a GeForce GTX 960M graphics card with 4GB VRAM, a 2.6GHz Intel i7 processor, 8GB DDR4 RAM, a 1080p IPS screen which is absolutely gorgeous, and a 1TB, 5400rpm HDD.

The hard drive is really the only component in this laptop that’s not top-of-the-line, but it can easily be replaced with an SSD later on down the road, and its impact on gaming performance is quite negligible, given the speed and quality of all the other components.

And despite its high quality, powerful hardware, this laptop weighs in at 5.5lbs – not bad considering the slim design – and boasts 4+ hours of battery life, which is much more than some other purpose-built gaming machines on the market.

If you love the aggressive style, and don’t mind missing out on an SSD, this is a fantastic choice for you.

 

PROS

  • Powerful hardware in a small chassis.
  • Top of the line GeForce GTX 960 with 4GB VRAM can handle all modern games
  • Powerful Intel i7 processor
  • IPS screen is beautiful to look at, and clear.
  • 4+ hours of battery life
  • 5lbs – quite light weight for a gaming laptop.

CONS

  • No SSD included, although the HDD is user-serviceable

 

Good multitasker at a low price: HP Pavilion 15 Notebook PC

06 Good Multitasker at a Low Price HP Pavilion 15 Notebook PC

The HP Pavilion 15 Notebook PC is another example of one of the best gaming laptops under 800 if you need to multitask. It features a 2.6 GHz Intel core i7 processor, a GeForce 940MX graphics card with 2GB of dedicated DDR3 VRAM, 8GB RAM, and a beautiful 15.6” full HD IPS WLED-backlit display.

All of these features give it quite good gaming performance for the price – just don’t expect to be able to use high settings on modern releases.

It also has a 1tb HDD, which isn’t exactly top-of-the-line, but is plenty for day-to-day computing needs.
Though it doesn’t offer top-of-the-line gaming performance, it’s inexpensive, versatile, and boasts a lighter weight and better battery life than exclusively gaming-focused laptops, so it’s a great choice if you’re not just gaming.

 

PROS

  • Inexpensive
  • Good design and light weight for day-to-day use
  • Full HD 15.6” IPS WLED-backlit display
  • Quality GeForce 940MX can handle intermittent gaming
  • Powerful Intel i7 processor

CONS

  • Won’t handle all games at max settings
  • No SSD included, just a 5400rpm HDD

 

MSI GL62 6QF-628

07 MSI GL62 6QF-628

This laptop by MSI can be thought of as the little brother of the gigantic MSI 17” we featured above – designed to perform just as well, but in a smaller and more convenient package.

It features an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M with 2GB GDDR5 dedicated VRM, a quad-core Intel i5-6300HQ that clocks at up to 3.2GHz turboboost, and a beautiful, vivid 15.6” class display that performs very well, with a beautiful color gamut and great refresh rate. It also has a 1TB 5400RPM hard drive upgradeable to SSD, and 8GB DDR4 RAM.

One of the best features of this laptop is its smart cooling design – due to plenty of ventilation and powerful fans, it will stay cooler longer during marathon gaming sessions, making it a great choice if you’re worried about overheating.

And despite its larger size, battery life is decent at 3+ hours. The weight, however, tips the scales at nearly 10 lbs, making this a poor choice for those of us using our laptops on the go.

 

PROS

  • GeForce 960m with 2gb DDR5 VRAM delivers smooth gaming experience
  • Intel i5 processor can overclock to handle just about any task
  • 6” display with high refresh rate – good for FPS
  • Smart design vents air efficiently and cools very well.

CONS

  • Heaviest option on our list by far – almost 10 lbs
  • Low battery life – 3 hours at max
  • Bulky design is a bit awkward to transport, despite smaller screen size.

 

Our verdict – the best gaming laptop under 800

If peak gaming performance is what you’re after, we have to recommend the Dell Inspiron i7559-2512BLK – the model with 16gb RAM, a hybrid SSD/HDD, and the Intel i7 processor, as well as the 4GB VRAM GeForce GTX 960. For the price, you’re not going to find a more powerful gaming laptop on the market, and forgoing an SSD is well worth it for the peak performance you’ll get from an upgrade processor and RAM. If you do so, you’ll certainly be buying one of the best gaming laptops under 800 on the market – it’s a true powerhouse.

However, if you are looking for a more versatile laptop on which to only play games occasionally, we recommend the ASUS K501UX-15.6 – the stylish, lightweight aluminum body and high quality internal components meet to create a laptop that’s as at home taking notes in a business meeting as it is for max fraggin in CS:GO. It offers a great combination of gaming performance balanced with a power sipping, lightweight, and attractive design that makes it a great choice if you’re not using your laptop exclusively for gaming, making it another great choice as one of the best laptops under 800.

However, each and every product on our list is great, and they each offer slightly different benefits – from larger hard drives, to better graphics cards, to higher quality and larger screens. And laptop technology is always changing. But if you read through our list of recommended features, product recommendations, and educate yourself further, you’ll be sure to make the right choice, no matter if the product is on our list or not.

So get out there. Get your laptop. And get your game on, whether at home or on the go.

 

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