Finding one of the best gaming laptops under $900 feels a bit like trying to locate a needle in a haystack. It seems that for every feature you need, you’re forced to sacrifice something else to keep the laptop in line with your budget.
It’s frustrating, no doubt, but there are excellent options out there. We’ve put all the best gaming notebooks under $900 to the test to help you narrow the field and find a machine that checks every box and provides everything you need in an affordable gaming laptop.
Read on as we share the seven best gaming laptops under $900, and take a closer look at the factors you’ll want to consider before deciding on the ideal laptop for you.
Without further adieu, let’s take a closer look at the best of the best to help you select the ideal gaming laptop under $900:
The Top 7 Gaming Laptops Under $900 Reviewed
Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (Best Overall)
The new IdeaPad Gaming 3 from Lenovo provides tons of value, an industry-leading processor, and lightning-fast SSD storage, making gaming on it a compelling choice.
While the IdeaPad Gaming 3 could benefit from being a bit brighter, it’s still excellent. The bezels are low-profile, and it boasts a 120Hz refresh rate, ensuring crispness and clarity from the newest games.
The laptop comes stock with 8GB of ram and a 512GB SSD hard drive. You can expand both by unscrewing the bottom of the case to add additional memory or HD storage. Even in its stock configuration, the Gaming 3 has no trouble performing with tons of browser tabs and programs open.
A full keyboard with a surprisingly satisfying feel and a 1-megapixel 720P webcam with shutter add credentials to this powerful all-purpose laptop. If you’re looking for a gaming machine that can easily transition to an office workstation, the IdeaPad Gaming 3 is a great option.
The IdeaPad Gaming 3 has a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 4GB graphics card, which is by far the most popular graphics card for laptops in this class. It’s a proven powerhouse, but the latest games are beginning to push past the edge of their capabilities, and you may need to dial back the settings for best performance.
Overall, the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 is an excellent machine for most purposes, and it boasts a solid display and lightning-fast storage.
|120Hz refresh rate||Mediocre battery life|
|Sleek and streamlined design||The keyboard feels a bit cramped and takes some getting used to|
|Fast SSD storage|
Lenovo Legion 5 (Best Battery Life)
The Legion 5 from Lenovo is a powerful all-purpose machine with serious gaming credentials that make it worthy of consideration.
The display is solid and typical for a gaming laptop in this price range. You’ll get a 120Hz refresh rate, 45% NTSC and 250 nits, and the bezels are unobtrusive. It’s a great-looking screen. However, it could stand to be brighter.
This model comes standard with 8GB of ram, 256GB SSD, and both are expandable. One of the things that make the Legion 5 a contender for the best gaming laptop under $900 is the keyboard: The backlit Legion TrueStrike keyboard delivers a satisfying punchiness and an excellent layout, given the limitations of placing a full keyboard in a 15.6″ laptop. Gameplay and typing both feel natural and satisfying.
The Legion 5 delivers up to eight hours on a single charge, which is impressive, and it offers Rapid Charge Pro, which can charge the battery from 0-50% in half an hour.
Like the IdeaPad above, the Legion 5 offers an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 GPU, and it’s subject to the same limitations we discussed above. For some of your favorite games from the last few years, it delivers in spades. However, the latest AAA games will require you to dial back from maximum settings for performance sake.
A powerful gaming machine that delivers unbeatable battery life and ultra-fast charging, the Lenovo Legion 5 is a compelling choice for gamers on a budget.
|120Hz refresh rate||A bit heavy and clunky|
|Excellent battery life and rapid charging||The speakers lack bass|
|The entire keyboard doesn’t feel cramped or unnatural|
MSI GF63 (Most Portable Gaming Laptop Under $900)
The sleek and lightweight GF63 from MSI is a powerful gaming machine with a high-end look and a solid array of performance and usability features.
The GF63 provides a serviceable 60Hz refresh rate, and it offers ample brightness and color accuracy. Granted, this display still represents a step up from budget laptops, but it’s not as impressive as what the latest gaming laptops offer.
This laptop includes 8GB of ram and a 256GB SSD drive from the factory, and both are expandable. Even without boosting the ram, this laptop is among the fastest we’ve tried. It boots up quickly, and it handles multitasking with ease. It’s also the lightest gaming laptop under $900, and it offers a slick look that few can rival.
An Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 powers the graphics and delivers a solid performance.
If you’re looking for a powerful multitasking machine with excellent gaming credentials, the MSI GF63 is a compelling laptop to consider.
|Lightweight and sleek look||Loud fans when gaming|
|Excellent processing speed||Poor touchpad|
|Delivers 7-hour battery life|
Acer Nitro 5 (Most Affordable Option)
When it comes to affordable gaming laptops, you have to make quite a few concessions to stay on budget. The entry-level Acer Nitro 5 comes in at about $100 cheaper than most competitors while offering nearly identical specs across every category, making it even more impressive.
The screen is average, offering a 60Hz refresh rate and 250 nits of brightness. It’s serviceable but far from earth-shattering. The bezels are also quite large, which is another characteristic of most laptops in this price range.
A 9th-gen Intel Core i5-9300H processor delivers reliability and speed, and the Nitro 5 includes a 256GB SSD drive and 8GB of ram. Additional ports allow you to expand both ram and storage to configure the laptop to your needs.
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 card helps bring today’s games to life, and it’s easy to tune the display and graphics to your needs with the helpful [N] button on the number pad.
The Acer Nitro 5 might not set the world on fire in terms of gaming performance. Still, with powerful processing and capable NVIDIA graphics, it’s probably the best budget gaming laptop in the price range.
|Unbeatable price||Middle of the road performance|
|Comfortable backlit keyboard||Mediocre display|
|WavesMaxx Audio delivers impressive onboard sound|
Asus TUF Gaming F17 (Most Rugged Gaming Laptop Under $900)
The ASUS TUF Gaming F17 is a viable contender in the gaming laptops under $900 category. It provides a powerful gaming platform that’s built to stand up to anything you can dish out.
The Asus Tuf gaming laptop boasts an expansive 17.3″ display and a lightning-fast refresh rate of 144Hz. It’s an immersive gaming experience that few other laptops in this price range can rival. With a 144hz screen, you can play games such as Dota 2, where higher frame rates can give you the advantage to win the game. The bezel is also relatively thin, which further improves the gaming experience.
The 512GB SSD provides ample storage, but there’s still room for an additional hard drive and memory. The F17 includes 8GB of memory, to begin with. The GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card provides smooth performance for all but the most demanding games.
The larger size of this laptop allows Asus to include a more comprehensive array of keys, and the full backlit keyboard is comfortable and offers an excellent feel under your fingers. There’s also plenty of ports, so you shouldn’t run into any connectivity issues.
The F17 has undergone rigorous drop testing, and it’s been subjected to extreme testing environments, which makes it an excellent choice for gamers who put their gear to the test.
A rugged laptop for the most extreme gamers, the F17 offers an impressive display, it’s built like a tank, and it provides capable graphics, making it a solid choice for a budget gaming laptop.
|17.3” screen with 144Hz refresh rate||Mediocre battery life|
|Rugged and built to last||Would benefit from a faster processor|
|Comfortable fully backlit keyboard|
MSI GF75 (Best 144hz Screen Gaming Laptop Under $900)
The beefed-up brother of the GF63, the GF75 offers a monstrous display with the same sleek design and lightweight build.
The most notable improvements to the GF75 are the screen, which is larger and significantly faster, boasting a refresh rate of 144Hz, making it a perfect fit for more demanding games.
A 512GB SSD drive and 8GB of ram come standard, and like the GF63, the GF75 offers impressive power and speed, booting up faster and handling multitasking more quickly than most gaming laptops in the sub-$900 range.
The NVIDIA graphics are serviceable, although you’re going to be hard-pressed to enjoy the benefits of this powerful display when running AAA games at their max settings. Even when reduced to 60Hz, the GF75 still delivers crisp graphics with impressive color accuracy in most modern games.
A massive display with an ultra-fast 144Hz refresh rate, the GF75 is an excellent gaming machine for under $900. Add to that its sleek, lightweight design and serviceable graphics and processing power, and you have a machine any gamer can get busy with.
|17.3” display with 144Hz refresh rate||Lacks the graphics power for the latest AAA games|
|Light and streamlined||Mediocre battery life|
|Comfortable backlit keyboard|
HP Pavilion 16 (Best Graphics in a Gaming Laptop Under $900)
Best Graphics in a Gaming Laptop Under $900: HP Pavilion 16
With its edgy design and powerful specs, the Pavillion 16 gaming laptop from HP delivers the crispest and most immersive graphics of any gaming laptop under $900.
The Pavillion 16 offers a 144 Hz, 72% NTSC, 300 nit screen, incredibly crisp and sharp, and a bit brighter than most of the other laptops that make the cut in this price range. The added brightness is a welcome addition, and the Pavillion 16 offers the best display under $900.
This model ships with a 512GB SSD drive and 8GB of memory, and you can add more of either to suit your needs. The 10th gen Intel Core i5 processor makes intense multitasking a challenge, but it doesn’t hamstring gameplay. The keyboard is backlit and laid out well, and while it doesn’t feel quite as good as some other models, it’s still more than serviceable.
The Pavillion 16 again stands above the pack in the graphics department, leveraging the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti to provide noticeably better performance than others that use the 1650 card. For the latest games, the HP Pavillion 16 is going to allow you to run them at full bore with better results than you’ll have with other laptops in this price range.
With category-leading graphics processing and an impressive 144Hz refresh rate, the HP Pavillion 16 is the clear choice if you’re looking for the sharpest display and best gaming performance for the money.
|NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics||Could benefit from a bit more processing power|
|Fast refresh rate and excellent brightness||Screen has slightly inaccurate colors|
|Sleek and attractive look|
How to Find An Affordable Gaming Laptop
When you’re shopping for the best gaming laptop under $900, you’ll want to consider these key features and characteristics, as they’re critical if you want to get the best gaming performance for the price:
4 Key Factors to Consider
There are endless features and specs to dive into for gaming laptops, but how well a gaming machine will perform boils down to four primary factors. Here’s what to look for when you’re looking for a new gaming laptop under $900:
The GPU is the computer’s graphics processor, and it’s the most crucial aspect of the machine. You can’t upgrade it later, and it’s responsible for how games will look and perform.
Most affordable gaming laptops feature Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 GPUs, which provide ample power to run even the most demanding games. However, some newer titles are placing demands on the GPU that require you to dial back some display settings.
The CPU controls your computer’s processing power and how quickly and easily it can complete the work it’s being asked. Processing power is less critical than graphics when it comes to gaming, but a powerful processor is vital for virtually everything else you may do on your laptop.
If you’re using the computer exclusively for gaming, any processor from Intel Core i5 and up will be fine for you. However, if you use your laptop for intense multitasking, an Intel Core i7 or i9 processor will be a better fit.
A quality display ensures you’ll see a crisp, clear picture with colors that display accurately. Displays are available with refresh rates as high as 360Hz, but only pay dividends with a top-of-the-line graphics card.
As long as the display offers a refresh rate of at least 60Hz, you shouldn’t have any issues. Many of the latest games will need to be dialed back to 60Hz to run correctly on a gaming laptop under $900, anyway. Higher refresh rates do translate to a more beautiful picture, and you’ll be able to see a difference in at least some of the games you play.
Lastly, you’ll want to consider the keyboard, which is another aspect of the laptop that you can’t customize, and one that you’ll need to use every time you play a game.
Most gaming laptops offer a complete keyboard layout, but it’s a challenge to provide a full keyboard in such an intimate setting. Some brands do a better job than others of laying out the keyboard, and it’s mostly a matter of personal preference.
Look for laptops that provide at least 1.5mm of key travel , which help prevent you from bottoming out on a key and improve the feel under your fingertips. If you like to customize the look of your keyboard, look for a model with full RGB backlighting.
Not sure where to start when selecting the best gaming laptop under $900? Stick with the information below, and you’ll be well on your way to choosing the ideal gaming laptop for your needs.
Virtually every aspect of a gaming laptop is upgradeable or expandable. The two areas where you’re tethered to what you bought initially are the CPU and GPU. When it comes to gaming, even decent CPUs which are several years old can still hang with the big boys. However, a top-of-the-line graphics card is of the utmost importance.
The quality of your GPU is the most critical thing to consider when purchasing a laptop. You need to be confident that the GPU inside the computer can deliver the gaming experience you’re after.
With the best gaming laptops under $900, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 is the industry standard, and you’ll find it in nearly all the laptops in this class. AMD’s Radeon line of processors also appears in a few of the best models in this price range.
Make no mistake, the GTX 1650 and its Radeon equivalent are excellent graphics cards capable of delivering a captivating gaming experience. However, these GPUs are outclassed by the higher-level graphics cards on the market found in gaming notebooks under $1000 and gaming laptops in the $1500 price range. If you happen to find a laptop in this price range with a nicer graphics card than the GTX 1650, you should snap it up.
Many gamers fall into a trap where they consider their laptop’s battery life with the same weight they consider graphics or processing power. Meanwhile, can you even remember the last time you used your computer for six hours or more without access to power?
Sure, excellent battery life is undoubtedly a positive; it just doesn’t come in as handy as you may think.
We’d all love to purchase a laptop that includes everything we’ll ever need right out of the box. However, unless you have a limitless budget, this isn’t always possible.
Compared to a cheap gaming laptop under $700, the laptops in this price range can almost always be upgraded. Considering that virtually every aspect of a new laptop can be upgraded, focus your energy more on graphics and processing power. Worry about upgrading the hard drive or memory when your budget allows.
When it comes to performance-driven laptops on a budget, gamers are always going to have to make some tradeoffs. As performance specs continue to soar into the stratosphere, it’s getting easier for manufacturers to produce excellent laptops without the four-figure price tags.
Regardless of your budget, gaming laptops always come down to graphics processing power, which does take some of the challenges away from selecting the best gaming laptop under $900. Consider the features most important to you, and look towards the models that offer the best GPUs in this price range, and you’ll be well on your way to selecting the ideal laptop for you.