Best Gaming Laptop Under $1,000 [Top 5 Reviewed]
This post was last updated on: March 1, 2023
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Though in a previous post, we took a look at some laptops for gaming that were under 1500, we wanted some options for those of you who were looking for a decent and portable gaming experience, yet didn’t need the highest frame rates or the best graphics.
So we lowered the price ticket, and went on the hunt to find out what is the best gaming laptop under 1000. Not surprisingly, we found that at this price point there’s a plethora of options out there, many of which would give you significant bang for your buck.
But in typical TVGB fashion, we did a ton of heavy research, narrowed down the playing field even further, and compiled a list of the five best gaming laptops under 1000 that are currently available today. Laptops in this price category can still be categorized as high-end, and they don’t only look good, they perform exceptionally well, too.
All of the below devices will provide a very fast working experience, a top-of-the-line processor, lots of available video memory, a speedy solid state drive, and tons of upgrade options if you want to get crazy.
Granted, you won’t find the latest graphics cards in any of these – devices with those usually retail for over $1,200 – but you’re guaranteed to get a very decent gaming experience with any of the five choices below. You also won’t find any super cheap laptops here, either. For those who want something under the $500 price point range, we recommend you check out our other post covering the best gaming laptops under 500 here, or ones under $800 here.
Before we get on with it, we have to give you our standard disclaimer – the best option probably won’t be the same for everyone. You’re going to have to decide whether to go for a more sleek and lightweight design, a smaller 15-inch display, or a larger 17-inch device. Other characteristics, such as the amount of internal memory or the type of storage provided, might also be crucial determining factors if you’re not planning on only gaming on it.
We’ll also make sure to keep this list properly updated so that you’ll always be able to make an educated and informed choice. While most pc-gamers probably won’t be able to relate, it’s our experience that these gaming laptops provide more fluid gameplay and better graphics than both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles.
Our picks for the best gaming laptops under 1000 2016 & 2017 edition
Sleek, powerful, and affordable: Dell Inspiron i7559-2512BLK Gaming Laptop
A quick first glance at this particular Dell Inspiron 15.6-inch laptop and you wouldn’t think that this is a device that’s suited for gaming at all. Looks can be deceiving though, as the i7559 packs a very impressive Core i7 6700HQ processor and a fast GeForce GTX 960M graphics card, and is our choice as one of the best laptops under 1000 currently on the market.
Let’s talk a bit about the design of the Inspiron i7559. The 15.6-inch laptop has been given a sleek, and modern business-style exterior with a matte black finish. The anti-glare display is outfitted with a sharp Full HD resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels. Dell doesn’t use a particularly fast display here, but it does offer great viewing angles and great image quality as well thanks to the IPS-technology used in the panel.
For a 15-inch laptop, this Dell Inspiron is definitely a bit on the chunkier side. Total weight of the device is 5.70 pounds and at its thickest point we measure a thickness of exactly one inch. It seems like Dell has used a larger chassis in order to compensate for the powerful components. On the brighter side, build quality is definitely above average.
While image quality is important, for true gamers, audio is equally as important. Luckily, Dell has used its proprietary MaxxAudio Pro sound system with an included subwoofer for a better listening experience for music and better, more realistic and vibrant sounds in games. While you may be carrying earbuds or headphones for the best gaming experience – it’s nice to see that sound quality is very decent without any additional equipment.
In terms of gaming performance, the mobile GTX 960M definitely holds its own. You won’t find a better chip on the market in this price range that can deliver consistent gaming performance. It is based on older hardware architecture and you won’t get the latest features, but it’s ideal for playing recent games in Full HD with high or medium settings. Some of the more intensive games might require you to make some compromises in image quality or framerate, but nonetheless the GTX 960M provides a decent gaming experience. This version of the GTX 960M comes with 4 GB of video memory.
With a very affordable price point, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Dell hasn’t been able to outfit this laptop with a full-speed SSD. Instead, we get a hybrid combination of an 8-gigabyte cache-SSD and a regular 1TB hard drive. While the smaller 8 GB cache isn’t sufficient to boot Windows or run your most used applications, there is a noticeable performance boost over a regular hard drive as the cache can dynamically load data you use often.
The laptop comes with eight gigabytes of internal RAM-memory and you easily upgrade the capacity to either 16 or 32 gigabytes. In terms of connectivity, there are three available USB 3.0 ports and the laptop supports Wi-Fi via the faster 5 GHZ Wi-Fi ac connection.
Battery life is very often an issue with gaming laptops, and most of the time they don’t even last an hour under full load. Not so the case here (Pun intended. Get it? Case?) The hefty battery in the Dell i7559 is capable of providing several hours of screen-on-time. It does make it up for the weight.
- Very speedy processor
- Great and sleek design with high build quality
- Beautiful anti-glare IPS display
- GTX 960M 4 GB provides decent gaming performance
- Illuminated keyboard
- Great sound experience with included subwoofer
- Hybrid SSD + HDD combination
- Above average battery life
- Our pick overall for the best laptop under 1000
- Display isn’t particularly suited for fast-paced games and can feel a tad slow
- Quite hefty, especially for a 15-inch device
A great bang for the buck 17-inch gaming laptop: MSI GL72 6QF-405
A lot of the internal components of the MSI GL72 6QF-405 correspond exactly with the Dell Inspiron model above: we’re dealing with a very speedy Core i7 6700HQ processor, eight gigabytes of internal memory, a hybrid 8 GB cache-SSD, and 1 TB hard drive combination and the same NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M graphics chip. What’s the difference, you ask? Well, the MSI GL72 is aimed particularly at gamers and has a few unique tricks up its sleeve.
Although the GTX 960M is a somewhat older graphics card, it’s definitely more than capable of providing you with a very fluent gaming experience in Full HD. Unfortunately, MSI has chosen the model with 2 gigabytes of video memory. There’s also a GTX 960M used in laptops with a larger 4 gigabytes of memory that might come in handy for loading higher-quality textures, but this will only be a caveat for tech-enthusiasts and gamers who want the best of the best.
The design of the MSI GL72 definitely can be considered sleek with a sort of gun metal grey exterior and finish. The red gaming accents on this notebook are quite subtle. The larger 17.3-inch size has allowed MSI to make room for a DVD-drive and lots of connectivity options, including USB Type-C and Mini DisplayPort.
Another unique factor for the GL72 6QF-405 is the display. Although MSI doesn’t advertise it as such, this laptop uses a TN-panel. TN-panels usually have mediocre viewing angles and sub-optimal color reproduction, but they are faster and have lower input lag. In other words, it is great for gamers that rely on timing and fast-twitch reflexes. The keyboard is built by SteelSeries and provides a nice tactile feedback.
- Build quality
- Great and recent CPU
- Very affordable
- Fast TN-display
- Lots of connectivity options
- Has a DVD-drive
- SteelSeries-built keyboard
- 960M provides decent gaming performance…
- … An extra 2GB of video memory would’ve been nice
- Doesn’t have a solid state drive
Surprisingly fast and unique: ASUS ZX53VW 15.6” Gaming Laptop
Okay, we’ll admit: the exterior of the ASUS ZX53VM is pretty much your generic aggressive gaming laptop with a nice black and red look, but it’s really the interior of this device that makes it shine.
The 15.6-inch ASUS ZX53VM just focuses at doing everything right. In other words, it definitely isn’t a contender to break any speed records, but due to its very affordable price point and unique components, it’s a very solid gaming laptop.
Let’s start with some of the basics. The heart of this laptop and the processor is a Skylake-based Intel Core i5 6300HQ processor. A fast and speedy Core i5 processor such as this one is definitely more than capable of handling the latest video games. Unless you’re a very CPU-intensive user or plan to do heavy video-editing on this device, a 6300HQ will definitely suffice. The mid-range processor also helps to keep the price down, which is one of the most attractive factors of the ZX53VM.
Luckily (and most importantly), ASUS hasn’t comprised on the horsepower of the graphics card. As with most other laptops in this price category, a beefy NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M is installed in this notebook, which makes it great for mid-range gaming in Full HD. You’ll definitely be able to handle recent games fluently, and may only have issues with very demanding titles, in which cases you’ll have to tone down the graphics settings a bit.
ASUS has chosen the most powerful variant of the GTX 960M chip with the four gigabytes of video memory. Compared to the more common 2 GB versions, this will help in loading better textures at a faster speed.
There is 8 GB of internal DDR3 memory present and it’s easily upgradeable with an additional eight gigabytes or even more for a maximum of 24 gigabytes. The motherboard also supports Wi-Fi ac, and there’s a DVD-drive for us gamers who like to play games off a disc, too. One slight downside is the number of available USB 3.0 ports: there are only two ports alongside an additional legacy 2.0 port. On the bright side, ASUS has made this laptop quite future-proof by including a USB Type C-connector which is already being used on the latest mobile devices.
But what makes the ASUS ZX53VW truly special? It’s internal storage solution. As a matter of fact, the ZX53VW doesn’t come with a hard drive pre-installed but has a massive 512 gigabyte solid state drive. It gets even better: we’re talking about an M.2 SSD which is capable of delivering absolutely phenomenal reading and writing performance. Half a terabyte is definitely enough storage for the operating system and a decent number of games.
It wouldn’t be a good choice for gamers if it wasn’t expandable however, but you shouldn’t need to worry at all. There’s still room for a regular 2.5-inch hard drive (or additional SSD), so you can pop in a storage device of your choice at any time. It’s a pretty solid tactic by ASUS: keep the initial price point of the laptop low by not including a hard drive, and let the consumer choose which drive they’d like to install in the future.
The display of the ZW53VW is equipped with an anti-glare matte layer and uses an IPS-panel to provide the best possible viewing angles and great image quality. ASUS does know the importance of a fast display, so most gamers definitely won’t have an issue with input lag or response time here. Another benefit is the nice illuminated keyboard with a low-distance key travel specifically for gaming purposes.
For the design, ASUS has used a mixture of high-quality plastic and aluminum. It doesn’t look as nice or feel as solid as some other notebooks in this list, but it certainly doesn’t disappoint either. With 5.5 pounds, it unfortunately is on the bulkier side. Battery life also isn’t fantastic – expect about an hour of on-screen gaming time.
- Great-looking display
- Excellent price-performance ratio
- Well-built keyboard with backlight illumination
- Very speedy 512 GB M.2 SSD
- Additional space for a hard drive with no hassle at all
- Uses GTX 960M with 4 GB of video memory
- Includes a USB Type C-connector
- Has a DVD-drive
- Decent build quality
- Bulky exterior, doesn’t really feel portable
- Very mediocre battery life
- Core i5 processor is less suitable for other intensive tasks such as editing
The best gaming laptop under 1000: ASUS FX502 15.6”
Alright, alright. Technically, with a price point that’s only a couple of dozen dollars higher than the aforementioned $1,000 limit, the ASUS FX502 laptop doesn’t exactly fit right in. However, if you don’t mind spending the extra twenty dollars or so, this notebook is definitely worth checking out.
You’ll notice that the exterior design does look a lot like the ASUS ZX53VW we’ve discussed above. However, this device is slightly more high-end, and is also being branded with the Republic of Gamers style and logo. It does feature some similarities with ASUS’ cheaper 15.6-inch gaming laptop, but there are plenty of differences to discuss.
First and foremost, let’s talk about the absolute main event: the whopping GTX 1060 graphics card. The GeForce GTX 1060 is NVIDIA’s latest graphics card based on the Pascal technology and unlike the other mobile GPU’s in this comparison list, the GTX 1060 actually matches its desktop counterpart in terms of raw performance. That’s right – you’re getting a full-fledged desktop GPU coupled with the portability of a laptop. The best of both worlds has never been this good.
The Full HD display definitely does its best to keep up with the fast graphics card with a great IPS-panel and color reproduction. It’s also capable of reaching the full sRGB color gamut.
No mobile concessions were made for the GPU, except the slightly lower clock speed. This only results in a very marginal difference compared to the desktop chips however, truly providing you with a next-gen gaming experience. It’s also a chip that’s been rated suitable for use with virtual reality headsets such as the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift for immersive experiences.
Let’s talk gigabytes. Video memory coupled with the graphics card is three gigabytes, which is more than sufficient for Full HD gaming. Other variants of the GTX 1060 are available with 6 GB of memory, but those are substantially more expensive. The amount of internal memory included is quite impressive at 16 GB and there’s a 1TB hard drive to house all your games. It’s pretty fast too thanks to the 7200 RPM rotation speed. Unfortunately, no SSD is included, although you can install one without many issues.
The design of the FX502 is very sleek and it definitely deserves to wear the high-quality Republic of Gamers branding. Asus has used brushed aluminum for the majority of the exterior which not only looks great, it offers a pretty solid build quality as well. Thanks to the lower power consumption of the GTX 1060 chip, weight isn’t a huge factor at 4.9 lbs. Thickness is also very doable with a measurement of only 0.9 inches at its thickest point.
The ASUS FX502 uses the same CPU and display as the ZX53VW above, so we won’t discuss those further in detail. It is worth mentioning however that the FX502 features both full-speed USB Type C and Thunderbolt, making this device ready for future peripherals.
- Fantastic amount of gaming performance for the price
- Plays any game at 1080p without issues
- Good for entry-level VR-experiences
- Great design and build-quality
- Decent display capable of reaching full 100% sRGB color gamut
- Fairly portable
- Lots of internal memory
- No SSD pre-installed
- Core i5 isn’t ideal for other intensive purposes such as editing
A great entry level all-rounder: ASUS R516UX 15-inch
Who says stylish and thin laptops can’t handle gaming? ASUS definitely does its best to debunk this claim with the R516UX notebook. It looks like an ultrabook, is priced as a budget-laptop and performs very well for gamers on a budget. In other words, there are plenty of reasons to give the R516 a closer look.
Now in terms of horsepower, it’s not realistic to expect the same amount of performance as the other notebooks in this list, but the R516UX can manage itself pretty well. ASUS uses a slightly older Core i7 6500U processor which can definitely handle the more intensive stuff, but also manages to be light on the battery as well.
Graphics-wise, this laptop is powered by the GeForce GTX 950M with 2 GB of video memory. While it is indeed somewhat slower than the more common GTX 960M chips, it’s still very much capable of performing well in Full HD. Granted, you’ll probably have to take the graphics settings down a notch or two, but it’s definitely possible to play games decently on this device. Visuals look great on the sharp 1080p display.
With a sleek aluminum look at a low weight of 4.4 pounds, you wouldn’t expect the R516UX to be a capable notebook at all. But even for us gamers, it’s best not to always judge a book by its cover.
Other specifications include eight gigabytes of internal DDR3L memory and a 1TB hard drive. Unfortunately, a fast and fluid solid state drive is missing, but that is reasonable given the lower price point. Battery life is great thanks to the many battery-saving components of R516UX.
- Significantly cheaper than other options
- Decent display
- Excellent and lightweight design with good build quality
- GTX 950M is the best performing GPU in this price range
- Great processor
- Good battery life
- No solid state drive
- Some recent games can require lower graphical settings in order to run fluently
- Can be quite focused on delivering a larger battery life instead of more performance
The top gaming laptops under 1000: a buyer’s Guide
We’ve taken an extensive look at five of the best and most popular gaming laptops currently on the market, all with their unique benefits and caveats. One laptop may be more tailored for a certain person than the other, so how do you pick the right model?
There’s a bit of bad news for gamers who prefer the larger 17.3-inch screen size, especially in this price range of sub-$1000 notebooks. The market of the smaller 15-inch devices is much more lucrative and a lot of notebook options simply aren’t available in a larger 17-inch variant. If you do want to get a larger notebook by any means however, definitely check out the GL72 by MSI.
One major element that you’ll see a lot is the mobile GTX 960M graphics chip. It’s the most popular choice and with good reason – it provides very decent gaming performance for 1080p displays without having to sacrifice a lot of graphical settings or a more fluent framerate. The Dell Inspiron i7559 is a great and affordable laptop that houses a GTX 960M. If you don’t mind gaming at a slightly lower image quality, you’ll be fine with a GTX 950M device such as the R516UX. If you’re a bit more demanding however and can afford to spend just a bit more, it’s best to choose ASUS FX502 which has the very beefy GTX 1060 GPU.
Processing power is fairly similar nowadays and for gaming, anything above an Intel Core i5 will surely suffice. While Core i7 CPU’s naturally provide an even better performance, you likely won’t notice the difference unless you’re planning on running other intensive applications such as rendering tasks or heavy editing. Also, keep an eye out on your storage options – a laptop with an SSD gives you a blazing fast experience – the ASUS ZX53VW definitely comes to mind. And if you don’t mind getting your hands a little bit dirty, purchasing a notebook with a regular hard drive and installing a fast SSD as an upgrade is definitely an option too.
Researching and compiling this list was no easy task. New models are released all the time, and every manufacturer is focusing what they can do to improve upon each of their previous models.
But with that being said, we hope our extensive review compilation gives you a great bird’s eye view of the pros and cons of the good gaming laptops under 1000 on the market today. If you have any remarks, additional questions, or if even you have another option in mind that would fit in this list, please let us know in the comments below.