Are you interested in PC gaming but worried about the costs of gaming laptops? We have you covered. Even though top-of-the-line laptops and desktop gaming computers cost thousands of dollars, you can still game on a budget. Today we’ll cover the best gaming laptops under $800 for 2022.
You can find plenty of laptops that feature premium components and features that will have you running your favorite games with ultra-high graphics settings.
Below we’ve covered 11 of our favorite gaming laptops and picked the Nitro 5 from Acer as our top pick overall. This affordable gaming laptop under $800 has a great mix of premium components and an excellent design. In addition, you should have no issues running recent games with this laptop.
If you want to learn why it’s the best, we’ve included a buying guide that shows what you should look for in a gaming laptop.
Best Gaming Laptops Under $800 Reviewed
Ready to learn about the best gaming laptops under $800. Below are our top 11 picks. We picked a wide range of laptops that can meet the needs of all types of gamers. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting, you can find a gaming laptop that meets your needs below. So let’s get onto the list.
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-55-53E5 (Best Gaming Laptop Under $800 Overall)
Our pick for the best gaming laptop under $800 has to be the Acer Nitro 5. This laptop has impressive specs and provides excellent performance for the price.
The star of this laptop is its GPU. Sporting an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050, you should have few problems running most AAA games at ultra-resolution. It’s also plenty of power to run the latest virtual reality games. The included ray-tracing cores, tensor cores, and steaming multiprocessors ensure you’ll have excellent framerate and minimal latency during gaming.
To back up the GPU, the Nitro has a 10th Gen Intel i5-10300H processor, 8GD DDR4 memory, and a 256GB SSD for storage. You can expand the memory up to 32GB and there is an additional hard drive bay available to increase your storage space.
The display on this laptop is stunning as well. You can play all your favorite games at 144HZ which helps relieve eye strain and can improve your experience in competitive gaming. The resolution is a respectable 1920X1080 which looks great on the 15.6” LED-backlit IPS display.
Budget gaming laptops tend to run hot. This can cause performance problems and damage to the laptop. Luckily this Acer features Acer CoolBoot technology that improves thermal performance by up to 25%. Even under the most brutal ultra-graphics gaming experiences, your GPU will stay nice and cool.
You won’t find a better gaming experience on a 15” laptop for the price.
Overview: The Nitro 5 from Acer is filled with features and has specs that rival more expensive gaming laptops. With this gaming laptop, you should have no problem running the latest games smoothly.
|The installed ethernet port and Intel Wi-Fi 6 ensure you have a fast internet connection.||you may want to upgrade for additional storage.|
|Plenty of ports for keyboards, gaming mice, and external displays.||The 144Hz refresh rate might be overkill for some gamers|
|The sleek and stylish design compares to laptops costing twice as much.|
Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (Best AMD CPU Under $800)
If you prefer AMD’s Ryzen processor over the Intel counterpart, this laptop from Lenovo is a great pick.
The AMD Ryzen 5 5600H is a workhorse and the backbone of this laptop. It features a Hexa-core processor running at 3.30 GHz. Graphics processing is handled by an Nvidia GeForce 3050Ti mobile GPU processor.
This combo gives you a 120Hz refresh rate and resolution up to 1080p FHD. You’ll experience minimal latency and smooth framerates at this resolution and refresh rate.
We enjoyed using the IdeaPad’s keyboard for gaming. It has excellent tactile feedback and has 1.5mm of essential travel. It’s comparable to using an external mechanical keyboard and you shouldn’t have any issues with key presses and response time while using this keyboard.
The white backlight on the keys gives this laptop a unique style. It looks great and is easy on the eyes while gaming in dark conditions.
Overview: AMD’s Ryzen CPUs are an excellent alternative to Intel and perform great under high-performance gaming situations. The IdeaPad Gaming 3 is an excellent option for fans of Ryzen chips and AMD.
|The 512GB SSD has plenty of room for all your games.||Short battery life of only 8 hours.|
|The keyboard is excellent for gaming.||There are only 2 USB 3.0 ports on the laptop.|
|The 120Hz refresh rate is ideal for high-performance and competitive gaming.||The keyboard is not an RGB keyboard|
HP Pavilion Gaming 15 (Best Battery Life)
The HP Pavilion Gaming 15 has you covered if battery life is important to you. This sub-$800 laptop has good specs, looks stylish, and has an impressive 12.5-hour battery life.
The Gaming 15 uses an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 and an Intel Core i5-9300H to power its games. While not as powerful as others on this list, the GTX 1650 holds its own and meets recommended specs for many of the most demanding video games.
This combo provides gaming at 60Hz at 1008P resolution. 60Hz is fine for gaming, and most gamers won’t notice the difference between 60Hz and 120Hz gaming. Of course, if you prefer 120Hz or above, you may want to check out some of the other options on this list.
If you’re not ready to upgrade to Windows 11, this laptop comes with Windows 10. Both OS are fine for gaming, but if you prefer Windows 10, you won’t have to worry about the upgrade process.
Let’s talk about the battery. Gaming laptops can quickly run through battery life. This laptop is a rare exception and provides up to 12.5 hours of battery life. Recharging is incredibly fast, and you can go from zero to 50% charge in less than 45 minutes.
Overview: For gamers on the go, the 12.5-hour battery life of the HP Pavilion Gaming laptop lets you play unplugged all day. You have plenty of power to game from home or on the road.
|Great battery life||The GeForce GTX 1650 can only handle gaming up to 60Hz|
|The full-size backlit keyboard features a numeric keypad||This laptop can have difficulty with ultra-high settings on some demanding games|
|Ideal for gamers that want to use Windows 10|
Lenovo Ideapad L340 (Best Speakers and Sound)
The sound design can be just as important as the game’s graphics. If you don’t want to use external speakers or headphones, this laptop provides great sound quality and volume. You’ll have no problem experiencing the sounds and music in-game on the Ideapad L340.
The laptop is packed with impressive components as well. Inside you’ll find a 9th-gen Intel Core i5, 8GB DDR4 RAM, 512GB SSD, and an Nvidia GeForce GTX1650 GPU. This package lets you handle many games at the highest resolutions. Unfortunately, you’ll have to lower the graphics settings on some of the most demanding games.
Still, the 15.6” IPS display looks great and can deliver full HD at 1920×1080 resolution.
We also liked the design of this laptop. It feels lighter than its counterparts but feels durable and tough as well.
The blue-backlit keyboard is bright but not obnoxious. The keys feel great and work great while playing demanding games like Fortnite or PUBG. Of course, if you want a full RGB experience, you’ll have to check out other laptops.
The IdeaPad also features a power-saving option that is quite impressive. Quick mode is ideal for gaming and runs the laptop at its full potential. Quiet mode is best for non-gaming sessions like streaming videos or working on spreadsheets.
As we said above, the speakers sound fantastic on this laptop. Whether you are streaming Netflix or playing World of Warcraft, the sound will immerse you.
Overview: This minimalist-designed laptop looks and sounds great. The Dolby audio setup adds to the gaming experience and gives you excellent sound without using headphones or external speakers.
|The Dolby Audio speakers sound amazing||The GTX1650 will have a hard time running some modern games on ultra-high settings|
|Minimalist styling with blue LED backlit looks great||The 9th Gen CPU is slightly outdated compared to some other models|
|Compact and thin design|
HP Victus Gaming Laptop (Best Immersive FHD Display)
If your laptop doesn’t have a good display, it can’t take advantage of its internal components. The HP Victus has one the best displays we’ve seen for a budget-friendly gaming laptop.
This IPS display features a 178-degree wide viewing angle and FHD (1920×1080) resolution. It also features a non-reflective, low gloss design that helps eliminate glare in bright lights or outdoors. This means you’ll have an easier time gaming or working in bright sunlight.
The internals of this laptop is equally impressive. Sporting a 12th Gen Intel CPU, you get excellent performance at a competitive budget. The Nvidia GTX 1650 is one of the best budget-friendly GPUs on the market and has no trouble running the latest games at high graphical settings.
We were also impressed with this laptop’s ability to stay cool. For such a small form factor, there is plenty packed inside the laptop that heats up. The Victus features excellent cooling through its heat-pipe design that stabilizes temperatures even during the most demanding gaming sessions.
Overview: The 12th Gen Intel Core i5 inside the Victus 16 is a gaming powerhouse. You’ll also have a great view of the action thanks to the powerful GPU and the 178-degree wide display.
|The ultra-thin bezel FHD display looks fantastic in all types of lighting||There is only 1 USB 3 port|
|You’ll get next-level gaming performance from the modern CPU||Heavier than many of the other options on this list|
|This laptop should handle the most demanding graphics and game engines|
Dell Flagship G15 (Best Renewed Choice)
Don’t worry if you feel $800 is too much for a gaming laptop. We found this budget-friendly laptop from Dell that can still compete with more expensive laptops.
Inside this Dell, you’ll find an Nvidia RTX 3050 and a AMD Ryzen 5 5600H CPU. You also get 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD. If you need more RAM or storage, you can upgrade up to 32GB RAM and 1TB SSD space which should be more than enough for most current next-gen games.
Other exciting features include the Alienware-inspired thermal system and the Nahimic 3D audio speakers.
Don’t expect this budget gaming laptop to win any style awards. Its exterior is no-frills and resembles a work laptop more than a gamer laptop. It does have a backlit keyboard, but other than that, this laptop lacks in the style and aesthetic department.
Still, if you’re not concerned about style, this is a modest budget gaming laptop that should suit most amateur to professional gamers.
Overview: You won’t have to settle for inferior components with this laptop from Dell. This is probably the best budget gaming laptop under 800 that will give you an enjoyable gaming experience on a tight budget.
|One of the best ways to get 120Hz gaming for cheap||256GB SSD is small compared to other options on this list|
|The included AMD 6-Core CPU outperforms many i7 CPUs||The aesthetic design is dull and feels outdated|
|The 15.6” FHD display is ultra-bright and non-reflective|
MSI GF63 Thin 9SC-068 (Best for Gamers that Overclock)
As we’ve said previously, gaming laptops tend to run hot. Overclocking your laptop can make it run even hotter. While overclocking does improve performance, you need a laptop that has excellent cooling techniques. MSI has perfected a cooling system that keeps this laptop ice-cold during gaming.
The MSI GF63 features many of the same components as many of the other best gaming laptops under $800. You get the GeForce GTX 1650 GPU with an Intel Core i5-8300H CPU. A 256GB SSD handles the storage, and you have 8GB RAM to run games.
If you have future plans to upgrade your laptop, MSI lets you install up to 64GB of RAM. While most games don’t need this much memory, you can never have enough RAM. If you edit videos or work in graphics, the added RAM will significantly improve your productivity and rendering speeds.
Where this laptop shines is in MSI’s cooling technologies. MSI uses its patented Cooler Boost 5 components to cool the CPU and GPU. Inside, you’ll find two fans, four exhausts, and seven pipes cooling the laptop. This allows you to run them harder and you’ll get better and smoother gameplay thanks to your chips not overheating.
MSI is also known for its cool and sleek laptop design skills. This laptop looks like it costs a few thousand dollars. The 15.6” display has a thin bezel that gives you a great viewing experience. The aluminum casing looks amazing and feels great as well. If you want a laptop that looks like it’s made for gaming, this is a great option.
Overview: The MSI GF63 is a sleek designed laptop that offers excellent cooling systems to keep your CPU and GPU running smoothly.
|You’ll never have to worry about overheating your laptop||Almost 2lbs heavier than most of the other options we’ve showcased|
|The razor-thin bezel gives you more screen real estate||You only get an estimated 7 hours of battery life|
|MSI doesn’t disappoint with its sleek brushed aluminum design|
Asus VivoBook 15 (Lightest Gaming Laptop)
Coming in at only 3.7lbs, the Asus VivoBook 15 is the lightest gaming laptop on our list. Inside this 15.6” laptop, you get everything you need to play the latest videogames at high resolutions and framerates.
This laptop is ideal for gamers that want a slim and lightweight portable laptop. Similar in size and shape to a MacBook, Asus still fits plenty of high-end components inside the VivoBook 15.
You’ll find an AMD Quad-Core Ryzen 7 3700U CPU and AMD Radeon Vega 10 CPU inside the laptop. While these options are far from the top of the line, most games will run on medium to high settings with this combination.
Storage comes as a 512GB SSD and you get 8GB DDR4 RAM included. The RAM is installed as 2 4GB sticks, but one is permanently soldered to the motherboard. This means if you want o to upgrade your RAM, you can remove one 4GB stick and replace it with an 8GB or 16GB stick. While 20GB is more than enough, the soldered 4GB is an odd design choice.
The keyboard is no-frills and features chicklet-style keys. Backlighting is provided by a white LED. For serious gaming, you may want to invest in an external mechanical keyboard to improve your performance in-game.
Overview: If you’re constantly on the go, you’ll want a light laptop. The Asus Vivobook 15 weighs only 3.7lbs and is the perfect lightweight gaming laptop option.
|The laptop is super-lightweight making it easily portable||4GB of the installed RAM is soldered to the motherboard and not removable|
|A fingerprint scanner adds extra security to the laptop||With this laptop, you’ll have a hard time playing games at high or ultra-high settings|
|The 88% screen-to-body ratio makes this display look huge|
Lenovo IdeaPad 3i (Best 11th-Gen Intel Laptop)
While many of the budget-friendly laptops we reviewed have 9th or 10th gen CPUs, the Lenovo Ideapad 3I uses the latest Intel 11th gen processor. These CPUs from intel are incredibly energy efficient and provide ample power for gaming and multitasking.
The workhorse inside the Lenovo IdeaPad 3i is the 11th-gen Intel Core i5 11300H mobile processor. This is a mid-range processor that outcompetes many older models. While outpacing them, it also consumes less energy and generates less heat. This lets you run the processor at max settings for longer gaming sessions.
An Nvidia GeForce GTX1650 handles graphics processing with 4GB VRAM. This lets the laptop run at full HD (1920×1080) and a 120Hz refresh rate. While you might have trouble at ultra-high settings, most gamers will enjoy a pleasant and beautiful gaming experience with this GPU and CPU combination.
Like most other gaming laptops in this range, you get 512GB SSD and 8GB RAM to run your games and software.
The casing is well designed and features a purple backlit keyboard that helps you play late into the night. The laptop also includes a USB hub that gives you plenty of extra USB ports for all your gaming peripherals.
Overview: If you’re concerned about energy consumption, this laptop from Lenovo might be the ideal green laptop. It features the latest 11th-gen CPUs that feature low power consumption and are excellent at gaming.
|The 11th-gen CPU is energy efficient and reduces heat production||Not suitable for heavy-duty video editing or other taxing programs|
|The anti-reflective FHS display looks amazing even in bright light||Average battery life|
|Good 120Hz display|
Asus ZenBook 14 (Best 14” Gaming Laptop)
If you want a compact laptop that can handle light gaming, check out the Zenbook 14 from Asus. This 14” laptop is much smaller than most other gaming laptops under 800 bucks.
The 14” IPS display is small, but you still get full HD at 1920X1080 resolution. As a result, movies and games look great even though you lose some screen real estate.
The laptop runs an entry-level set of components, including an AMD Ryzen 5 4500U CPU and Nvidia GeForce MX350. These components will let you run most modern games on low to medium settings. If you have a favorite game, you should check if this laptop meets the specs before investing in it.
Other specs include 8GB DDR4 memory and a 256GB SSD for storing your games and files. This is plenty of storage and RAM to get you started gaming.
The small form factor is what sets this laptop apart. This laptop can be a great gaming platform if you don’t need ultra-high graphics with ray-tracing. The silver color looks great, and the razor-thin bezel makes the display look larger than 14”.
Overview: If a 15” laptop is too big for your backpack, check out the Asus Zenbook 14. This 14” laptop packs excellent gaming components into a compact 14” gaming machine.
|Smaller and lighter than all our other laptop picks||The 14” display might be too small for some gamers|
|Good for everyday use||The battery has an estimated life of 5.5 hours|
|Good viewing angles|
HP 15-ef0022nr (Integrated GPU Option)
We’ve showcased several cheap gaming laptops on this list, and this one is the most affordable. An integrated GPU cuts hundreds of dollars off the price of the notebook computer. Unfortunately, it also reduces its power. Still, this laptop can be an ideal option for casual gaming and daily work.
Powering this rig is an AMD Ryzen 7 3700U. The laptop also features an integrated GPU instead of an additional processor. Both the CPU and integrated GPU share 8GB RAM and there is a 256GB SSD for storage.
This combo means your CPU and GPU share the same RAM and you won’t be able to run the most demanding games on the market. One other drawback is that the RAM is not upgradeable on this laptop.
Even with this drawback, many gamers can have fun with this laptop. If you play simple or browser-based games, you should have no issues. However, if you plan to run Cyberpunk 2077 or Battlefield, you’ll need to get a different laptop.
Overview: This decent gaming laptop from HP can handle simple gaming and daily work for gamers on an extreme budget. While you won’t be playing Fortnite in ultra-HD, you can still have fun with it.
|This laptop is incredibly affordable compared to the others on the list||The laptop can only handle 60Hz gaming and 1366 x 768 display resolution|
|The case design is aesthetically pleasing and feels well designed||The 8GB RAM is not upgradeable|
|You get a decent 10.75 hours of battery life from this laptop||You won’t be able to play the latest AAA game titles on this laptop|
Gaming Laptop Buying Guide
What makes a great gaming laptop? While many gaming laptops cost thousands of dollars, you can still find a good mix of components and affordability for under $800. Of course, you’ll want to do some research before investing in a new laptop, from the GPU to the HD displays. Here, we’ll cover what you should look for before purchasing a new gaming laptop.
When researching the best gaming laptop under 800, you’ll want to look for an affordable gaming laptop that has a dedicated GPU. The GPU (graphics processing unit) is the backbone of your gaming rig. It controls the display, how the graphics in the game look, and how the game reacts to your actions.
Today, high-end GPUs are incredibly expensive. Still, many manufacturers are installing great cards inside affordable laptops. You can find high-end GPUs from Nvidia and AMD in plenty of $800 gaming laptops.
One thing to note, GPUs are typically soldered to the motherboard inside a laptop and cannot be upgraded. You’ll want to find the best GPU you can afford to ensure your new laptop can play games for years.
Also, laptops with integrated GPUs have a hard time playing video games. They have to share RAM with the CPU making it more challenging for the computer to allocate resources to the demand of high-end graphics. These GPUs have a tough time handling modern games and won’t meet the minimum specs for most AAA games. Therefore, make sure to get a gaming laptop with a dedicated graphics card.
A fast and modern CPU ensures your laptop will run smoothly. A powerful CPU can complete tasks faster and give you an enjoyable experience playing games.
Today, Intel and AMD make excellent CPUs that can keep up with the most demanding gaming software on the market.
Storage and Memory
Games take up space and need plenty of memory to run smoothly. As a result, most laptops will ship with at least 256GB of hard drive space and 8GB of memory at this price point.
An SSD is preferable to a traditional hard drive. Solid-state drives (SSD) offer near-instantaneous response times making games run smoother. If you need more hard drive space, look for a laptop that offers an empty hard drive bay so you can install a second SSD.
For memory, 8GB is standard for a sub-$800 gaming laptop. Most laptops let you install additional RAM, often up to 16GB or 32GB.
Luckily, upgrading memory and storage space is relatively inexpensive compared to most other laptops’ upgrades.
At this price point, you should expect most gaming laptops to feature a 15.6” IPS display. Most of the laptops we showcased are capable of displaying full HD at 1920 X 1080 resolution.
You’ll also notice most of the laptops have a razor-thin bezel that gives you plenty of added screen real estate.
If you plan to game in bright or harsh lighting, you’ll want to look for a display that is non-reflective and bright. This will ensure you can see the screen even if the sun is shining overhead.
Finally, many of the displays feature a wide view angle. While not necessary for gaming, this can make watching your laptop more enjoyable if you are far away from it.
60Hz or 120Hz?
Gaming requires a fast refresh rate, high resolution, and a bright screen. If your display can’t keep up with the game’s graphics, you’ll have a poor gaming experience.
Most gamers can enjoy gaming at 60Hz. However, many of the options on our list feature a 120Hz refresh rate and some up to 144Hz. The higher the refresh rate, the smoother motion you’ll notice on the screen. This also means less latency, and you’ll have a more responsive gaming experience.
Even though 120Hz is not a requirement for gaming, it will be hard to go back to a lower refresh rate once you start playing at this refresh rate.
Gaming uses battery life up quickly. Even if you plan on running your affordable gaming laptop connected to an outlet, it’s always nice to have longer battery life.
Whether you’re headed to the local coffee shop or want to watch a movie in bed, an extended battery makes a laptop easy to transport.
Still, all the best gaming laptops under $800 on this list offer at least 6-8 hours of battery life, which should be more than enough for most users.
Ports and Connections
While you can play games with a laptop’s keyboard and touchpad, most gamers will opt for an external mechanical keyboard and mouse. This combination gives you better control over the game.
Of course, wireless keyboards and mice exist, but you can’t beat the speed and accuracy of a wired connection. For a wired keyboard and mouse, you’ll need extra USB 3.0 ports.
If you plan on using an external monitor or virtual reality headset, you’ll also need HDMI ports.
Wired internet is always faster than a Wi-Fi connection. If you plan on playing competitive online games, you’ll want a laptop that features a fast ethernet connection besides Wi-Fi connections.
Don’t overlook the number of USB, HDMI, and ethernet ports on a gaming laptop.
You may have noticed that every laptop on this list uses Windows. While you can game on a Mac or Linux-based laptop, video game companies concentrate on PC gaming. As a result, Windows 10 or 11 are the go-to choice to play the latest releases and the best AAA games on the market.
If you plan on using the laptop keyboard, you need one that is well designed and can handle the added stress of gaming.
Many manufacturers make excellent keyboards that work great for gaming. You won’t get a traditional full-size keyboard, but you should have no problem playing most games on a laptop keyboard.
You’ll want to look for keyboards that feature at least 1.5mm of key travel. This gives you tactile feedback while playing a game and provides excellent in-game response time.
RGB or backlit keyboards also make playing at night much easier. They also have the added benefit of looking cool.
Upgrading a Laptop
Unfortunately, upgrading a laptop is not as straightforward as upgrading a desktop. Almost every laptop has extra room for more storage space and memory. But, most of the other components in a laptop are not upgradeable.
For example, you can’t upgrade the CPU, GPU, motherboard, display, and many other important components. You should consider this before buying a new gaming laptop.
Since most of the expensive components of a laptop are not replaceable, a good warranty can save you thousands of dollars.
Problems or damage can happen, and if your laptop came with a good warranty, you won’t have to worry about replacing it. This can save you hundreds of dollars compared to buying a new laptop.
Gaming Laptops Under $800, Final Thoughts and Conclusion
As you can see, there are plenty of options out there for gamers on a budget. The picks above give you an excellent bang for the buck. In addition, they have powerful specs that should keep you up to date with the latest games for a few years.
The Acer Nitro 5 is our pick for the best gaming laptop under $800 in 2022. Of course, all our other picks are great alternatives, and who knows what manufacturers have coming up for the rest of 2022?
Finally, don’t forget to focus on specs concerning the GPU, as this is the most crucial part of a gaming laptop and can’t be upgraded. If you have a choice to splurge on a high-end GPU but have lower memory, go for it. You can always upgrade the memory later.