Most of us dream of building a high-end gaming PC someday. However, that’s a distant prospect for most of us, and more to the point: most of us don’t need that kind of kit.
Did you know that the average gamer can fully enjoy most games on a budget gaming laptop? You don’t need to invest thousands in building some super-slick setup. Your dubious Twitch stardom can wait: we’ve put together a guide to help you find a new gaming laptop that does everything you need and more. And all for under $600.
Read on to discover more about the most important qualities to look for in gaming laptops under $600, and our list of recommendations. If you want to enjoy your gaming experience with great graphics, a responsive keyboard, and minimal lag, we’ve got exactly what you’re looking for.
Best Gaming Laptop Under $600: Buyer’s Guide
Below is our selection of the best gaming laptops under $600. Remember that while the stats are important, finding the best laptop for your needs is also a personal choice. Take a good look at the aesthetics of each model before you make a buying decision – and don’t forget to check out the keyboard!
Asus VivoBook 15
Leading the charge is the Asus VivoBook 15. We consider this perhaps the best gaming laptop under $600 for a few reasons:
- The quad-core Ryzen 7 processor provides amazing stability and power
- The 512GB of storage makes this far more versatile than 256GB models
- The Vega 10 dedicated graphics card means your framerate will be higher than many other laptops in this price bracket
- The full HD IPS display offers a sumptuous visual experience
The Asus VivoBook 15 boasts a significant dedicated GPU courtesy of its powerful graphics card, meaning that you’ll be able to enjoy your gaming experience on high settings without worrying about dropping frames.
Let’s move onto the quad-core processor. The powerful CPU offers excellent stability and means that you can move above medium settings while still experiencing superior performance.
While it’s never going to match a processor like the 9th generation Intel Core i5 9300h in terms of pure speed, it gives the CPU Intel core i5 a run for its money in terms of value. This makes the Asus Vivobook 15 one of the best gaming laptops on the market today, pound-for-pound.
Its 15.6″ screen with the gorgeous NanoEdge bezel display gives a heady feeling of professionalism. And that’s before we get to the 512GB of storage. If you want to switch to laptop mode, this amount is a massive advantage. You can store so much on this model while still enjoying a flawless gaming experience.
|Ryzen 7 CPU with amazing stability and power||Slower CPU than Intel Core i5 9300h|
|Best graphics card in the price range||Soldered on 4GB RAM|
|Large SSD||Unresponsive touchpad|
Lenovo IdeaPad 3
Forget the best gaming laptop under $600 – the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is available for less than $500. This makes it one of the best laptops for anyone on a tight budget, and it has more than decent specs for such an affordable model.
The Vega 8 graphics are enough to ensure decent performance on most games. Plus, the powerful AMD Ryzen 5 processor means you’re unlikely to experience lag unless you’re playing online at a super-high ping rate. The 256GB of storage is nothing to be sniffed at, meaning that you can use this for more than just gaming.
The only drawback of this model is that its screen is 14″. Mind you, that’s a full HD display that will deliver great visuals combined with the strong powerful GPU.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is an excellent choice for anyone working on a tight budget and to whom screen size isn’t the biggest issue. It has clear key separation, meaning that you won’t have to worry about dragging or hitting hotkeys by accident.
|Good keyboard||Small Screen|
|Excellent AMD Ryzen 5 CPU||Exterior is prone to fingerprints|
|Cool abyss blue color||The screen has poor color coverage|
Acer Aspire 5
The Acer Aspire 5 offers one of the best visual experiences in this price bracket, with its full HD IPS display providing incredible clarity and color quality. Its AMD quad-core R5 3500u processor for high-level performance, while the Vega 8 graphics offer plenty of dedicated GPU.
Overall, the AMD-powered Acer Aspire 5 is one of the most solid affordable gaming laptops around. You’ve got 256GB to play with in terms of storage, meaning that you can play all your favorite games on one computer.
The battery life stands at 7.5 hours, which could be a drawback if you like to have the minimum number of wires connected when you’re playing. However, you’re going to have to live with a high drain rate if you’re looking for the best gaming laptop under $600 – keeping your powerpack nearby is as essential for the Acer Aspire 5 as it is for models like the Acer Nitro.
Acer is a fantastic manufacturer in terms of lasting quality, and the hardware used to build this gaming laptop is extremely high-performance for the price range. The Acer Aspire 5 is one of our top picks for the best gaming laptop under $600.
|Full HD IPS screen with great visuals||Battery drains quickly|
|Solid build quality||No memory card reader|
|Easy to upgrade|
HP 15 Laptop
The HP 15 laptop is a strong contender for the best gaming laptop in its price range. It boasts an AMD Ryzen 7 quad-core processor for superb stability, enabling you to perform multiple tasks like gaming while listening to music without worrying about glitchy sound or visuals.
It also benefits from Vega 10 graphics, meaning that your framerate will be above average for this price bracket. The full HD display enables you to enjoy the high specs stuffed into this nifty budget laptop in all their glory. At the same time, the narrow bezels mean that your visual experience is unimpeded by clunky surroundings.
Now let’s talk about the battery life. This gaming laptop has industry-leading battery life at this price bracket, with almost 11 hours of use before it expires. Combined with an impressive 256GB of storage, this means that you can double this model up as a general-use laptop while enjoying a stellar gaming experience.
The only drawback of this model is that its maximum screen resolution stands at 1366 x 768. How important this feature is to you depends on which games you’re planning to play, but it certainly still provides quality resolution at medium settings.
With its sleek design and all the high specs, the HP 15 is by far one of our top choices.
|Long battery life||1366 x 768 screen resolution|
|Sleek design||The letters on the keyboard can be hard to read|
|Fast performance||Loud fans|
Lenovo IdeaPad S340
The Lenovo IdeaPad S340 is one of the best designed models we’ve seen for under $600. Its keyboard is a thing of beauty, with neat spacing and good resistance on every key. Its backlit keyboard gives us the thrill we need, while its display has an anti-glare design – making it perfect for long gaming sessions.
It uses the integrated Intel UHD graphics 620, which is somewhat unique among the competition. While this graphics card doesn’t benefit from Intel turbo boost technology, it’s a powerful graphics card from one of the top providers in the industry. Many users prefer Intel graphics, so this could be considered a plus.
One area of concern is the storage space. 128GB of storage is fairly low compared with other models in this price bracket, but if you’re planning to use this model strictly as a gaming laptop, it shouldn’t be an issue.
The laptop also has multiple USB ports. If you’d like to double it up as a general-use computer, you can save all the data you need on external hard drives and then plug these into the USB ports when you need to.
It’s also worth noting that this model has a 1366 x 768 resolution. If you’re looking to play with high resolution, this could pose a problem. However, it’s more than adequate for most casual gamers, and the gorgeous design of the laptop offsets this shortcoming.
|Excellent design||Only 128GB SSD|
|Comfortable keyboard||Only HD screen resolution|
This model from Asus is one of the most lightweight and attractive models in our price bracket. Its ultra-thin bezels augment a gorgeous 15.6″ full HD LCD display, while it benefits from Radeon Vega 8 graphics for a very stable framerate. If your gaming preferences tend towards the more visually spectacular, this budget laptop is a great choice to enjoy that in full.
This laptop boasts one of the heaviest, best-defined keyboards you’ll find on a gaming laptop under $600. This feature is underrated: if you want to have a clear definition between actions and know when you’ve hit a key, this model could be for you.
If you need convincing about the advantages of heavier keys, watch pro gamers try switching to keyboards that cause less audio feedback on their Twitch stream. The trade-off is never worth it: you want that definition.
Let’s also talk about the 512GB of storage space this laptop affords. It’s more than you need as a gamer, and probably more than you need for most purposes. This slimline model has a well-placed audio jack so you can plug your headphones in without the wire getting in the way.
One drawback of this model is that at maximum performance, its battery life leaves something to be desired. You’ll need to keep your powerpack close at hand to ensure you don’t get caught short. However, this tends to be the case for any affordable gaming laptop.
|Solid keyboard with NumPad||Below-average battery life|
|Beautiful screen with slim bezels||Dark screen|
Dell 2021 Inspiron Flagship 15 3000
Dell gets a lot of grief for the massive volume of amazing products the company puts out. The 2021 Inspiron Flagship 15 3000 is a case in point for why this manufacturer is worth your attention, even if “Inspiron” sounds like it belongs in the MCU.
This laptop uses a quad-core R5 3450U processor, which guarantees a smooth operating speed. Again: yep, it’s not what you’ll get in terms of the CPU intel core i5 processors provide, but it’s more than enough for a casual gamer. The quad-core is an important feature: it enables stability that you need when you’re not working with more expensive systems.
The Dell Inspiron Flagship 15 3000 may not have a backlit keyboard, but it has a great keyboard. Wonderful resistance without being stiff. Clear separation between keys. Neat design means that if you’re used to using a Windows laptop, you’ll easily adapt to the configuration, and your hotkey reflexes won’t throw you off.
One feature that we’re unsure about is the touchscreen – which isn’t even a drawback. We understand that with 256GB of storage, this laptop is practical for general use as well as gaming. Touchscreens can help with that.
Still, it’s uncommon with gaming computers, especially because the last thing you need when you brush a bit of dust off your screen is for your laptop to try to flip over to the last YouTube video you watched. It’s a pro if you want a model that doubles for standard use, and it’s barely a con at all. It’s just unusual.
|Reliable||The touchpad can take some time to get used to|
|Good for everyday use||No USB Type-C port|
|Fast SD card reader||The screen has dull colors|
What to Look for in the Best Gaming Laptops
Below are the most important requirements for a high-quality cheap gaming laptop.
Having enough dedicated GPU is a big concern when finding a good gaming laptop under $600: FODF (Fear of Dropping Frames) is the main reason so many of us get bullied into shelling out over $1k for technology we don’t strictly need. However, there are high-performing graphics cards that operate perfectly at 1080p and can handle 1440p surprisingly well.
The best graphics cards for gaming laptops under $600 are pretty much always going to come from AMD. Your choice will usually come down to which you think is better: the Radeon Vega 8 vs. Radeon Vega 10 graphics.
Higher number = better, right? Not necessarily. Some users consider 8 to represent better performance for the price. If you compare user benchmarks on Vega 8 vs Vega 10 you’ll see the vega has only 5% higher effective speed. You can find the Vega 8 GPU in a gaming laptop under $500, but the Vega 10 is only found in the 600 dollar price range and above.
Speaking of price, we know that someone is bursting to ask, “But what about the Nvidia Geforce GTX 1650 graphics? Where can I get those?” Unfortunately, you’re not likely to find Nvidia Geforce on a gaming laptop under $600. However, the Vega 10 is an affordable option that is more than capable of running most games smoothly on low – medium settings.
Furthermore, Radeon Vega 10 graphics tend to have a higher average framerate than Nvidea Geforce GTX 1650, and it’s a far more affordable option.
Casual gamers are typically looking for a cheap gaming laptop that allows them to play in 1080p smoothly. The Radeon Vega 8 and 10 series are both great options for this, with the Vega 10 boasting a slightly improved framerate.
The best gaming laptops under $600 also tend to use AMD processors. For anyone who has seen every laptop they’ve owned live and die using Intel Core processors, relax. Intel Core processors indeed offer great performance for individual tasks, but AMD processors are frequently better at multi-tasking.
If you want a cheap laptop that can support high-end games and, say, play music simultaneously, you should probably choose AMD. An AMD Ryzen processor is likely to give you better performance for your money than splashing out on a 9th generation Intel Core i5 9300h.
Intel core processors often struggle with balancing tasks compared to AMD processors. But, they get away with it because of the enduring association with Microsoft: everyone just blames the Windows operating system. To be fair, that’s usually a good call.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find gaming laptops under $600 offering 16GB of RAM. When choosing a gaming laptop make sure it has at least 8GB RAM. 8GB is standard and more than enough to handle demanding games (unless you’re playing at the pro level). RAM is less of a concern for budget gamers because 8GB is almost always what you’ll get. Though if you find a gaming laptop under $600 offering 16GB of RAM, let us know!
The keyboard is often overlooked but is hugely important. For example, if you’re playing fast-paced RTS games with an abundance of hotkeys, you need the proper definition between your keys and enough resistance to give you confidence that you’ve landed.
Super-flat, soft keyboards are great for typing but less ideal if you want to play games. You don’t want stiff keys (they can be equally confusing), but the best cheap gaming laptop should have a tactile keyboard that lets you know where you are.
The key layout varies oh-so-slightly between different models, too: check out the pictures and see if it looks “right” to you.
Of course, for many of us, it also has to be a backlit keyboard. Sure, we don’t need to buy Razer’s entire stock of sleek gaming hardware at our level, but we’re still gamers. It feels cool, alright?
We’re kidding – it’s a matter of personal preference, and you don’t want to pass up on the best budget laptop because of a trivial issue. If you prefer not to have a backlit keyboard, there are many great options available.
As a general rule, you can’t expect great battery life from budget gaming laptops. Anywhere between 8-10 hours tends to be a good outlook, but remember that the battery life will drain faster when playing certain games. The main takeaway is that you need to keep your powerpack nearby.
Nvidia Geforce GTX
Gamers on a budget get very excited about Nvidia Geforce GTX 1650 graphics, but the truth is that Nvidia Geforce technology pays you back according to scale.
Cheaper options (such as Nvidia Geforce GTX 1650) will handle most games on medium-high settings but you need a higher-end product to really hit 60 fps on ultra. The higher end of Nvidia products are attractive options, but those are usually found in gaming notebooks under $1500.
Display Options for Budget Gaming Laptops
The display is so important when you’re looking for the best gaming laptop under $600. Cheaper models tend to have smaller screens, and you can’t afford to sacrifice too much. However, there are other concerns, such as the refresh rate, that you should consider.
Gaming laptops under $600 tend to max out at around 15.6″ on the screen, which is more than adequate even for more demanding games. Bezel width varies by model but tends to come in on the narrow side – which is a good thing. Besides the slimline look improving the aesthetics of the unit, wide bezels can make your screen feel cramped.
Those looking for a budget laptop with a wider display might consider a refurbished Acer Nitro 5, but it’s still likely to weigh in at almost $1k. We feel that the extra $400 for the Acer Nitro isn’t worth the extra 2″.
Decent specs for casual players are 1080p with a 60Hz display. Good news: this feature is standard for our selection of the best gaming laptops under $600.
You’d need to invest heavily in GPU if you wanted your gaming experience to benefit from higher refresh rates (up to 360Hz! But you just don’t need that), which somewhat defeats the point of finding the best gaming laptop under $600.
Ideally, you don’t want to go below 1920 x 1080 for your screen resolution. While it depends on what kind of game you’re playing, this resolution is considered optimal for visual quality in the budget range.
There’s one deciding factor for most gamers – but it’s rarely the same factor. Some of us want a smooth framerate more than anything. Some of us want the best graphic experience (in which case you’re in luck – all the models listed above have superb graphics for the price).
You may want some extra storage space. You may want substantial battery life. You may want a clearly defined keyboard that lets you know when you’ve hit a hotkey. The options are all there for you: you have to remember to shop for you, and not for the fancy technical terms that turn our heads and encourage us to fork out for a more expensive gaming laptop.
You know the options. You know what you want. Browse our recommendations to find the best gaming laptop under $600 on Amazon that perfectly suits your needs.