Best Gaming Laptops Under $1,500

Gaming laptops can be expensive, but they don't have to eviscerate your savings account. Over the last few years, some features that you only used to find on the most high-end gaming notebooks have trickled down to low and mid-level models. A PC with a speedy SSD, a high refresh rate display and a GPU good enough for gaming at 1080p can be had for under $1,500.

Tom’s Hardware reviews a large number of gaming laptops with different prices, features, and components. That gives us insight into what kind of performance, materials, displays, and other features you can expect with your budget set at $1,500 or below. Our goal is to highlight the gaming laptops that offer the most in this range.

Most gaming laptops under $1,500 will use Nvidia's GeForce RTX 4050 and RTX 4060 graphics cards. The majority of these systems should come with Intel and AMD's latest chips (Intel Core Ultra or Ryzen 7000 for AMD), though you may come across especially good deals if you're willing to take last gen tech. That being said, at this price point, try to avoid just 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. You should be able to do a bit better, especially on the high-end. As we head into 2024, we should start seeing mid-priced systems using Intel Core Ultra and AMD's Ryzen 8000 "Hawk Point" processors. Intel's 14th Gen Core HX-series chips are more likely to end up in more expensive gaming machines.

With one of the best gaming laptops under $1,500, you should be able to run intensive games at at least 1080p with smooth rates at high or possibly ultra settings, especially if you're considering esports. But if you get a gaming laptop under $1,000, you’ll have to sacrifice the settings or resolution except for on some esports games.

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Lenovo Legion Pro 5i (Gen 8): now $1,274 at Amazon (was $1,599)
The Lenovo Legion Pro 5i has an Intel Core i7-13700HX, 16GB of RAM,1TB SSD, and Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060, as well as a 16-inch, 2560 x 1600 display at 165 Hz.

The quick list

The Best Gaming Laptops Under $1,500

Best Gaming Laptop Under 1500 Overall

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Best Gaming Laptop Under $1,500 Overall

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i7-13700H
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050
Display: 16.1-inch, 1080p, 144 Hz
Weight: 5.15 pounds (2.34 kg)

Reasons to buy

+
Long battery life
+
Bright display
+
Comfortable keyboard
+
Mature design

Reasons to avoid

-
Need to find it on sale for best value
-
Speakers could use improvement

The HP Victus 16 combines solid gaming performance, a bright, 16.1-inch display and long battery life, making for a great laptop at its price point. We're also fans of its comfortable keyboard, which is great whether you're gaming or working.

The design is simple, but mature. Sure, it can game, but it won't stand out if you happen to bring it into the coffee shop or office. The display is nice and luminous, reaching 313 nits on our lightmeter, which is slightly higher than HP's claim.

The trick with the Victus is making sure you buy it at the right place and right time. HP's website can have good deals if you happen to catch a sale (the one we tested needs to be on sale to hit this price point). But there's an even more powerful version at Costco with 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD and a GeForce RTX 4060 that's regularly $1,399.99. So be sure to check different retailers to get the best price and configurations.

Read: HP Victus 16 Review

High Resolution with Long Battery Life

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
High Resolution with Long Battery Life

Specifications

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 7840HS
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060
Display: 16-inch, 2560 x 1600, 165 Hz, G-Sync
Weight: 5.29 pounds (2.39 kg)

Reasons to buy

+
Affordable starting price
+
Excellent battery life
+
Solid performance across all benchmarks

Reasons to avoid

-
Display could be brighter
-
Mediocre speakers

The Lenovo Legion Slim 5 starts at just over $1,000, and we saw our configuration with a Ryzen 9 7840HS and Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 on sale for around $1,149.99 — a great deal, which means you should wait if you see it over $1,500. But if you can get that price, you're getting an excellent deal considering the parts.

Those components offered strong gaming performance, with some of them performing well at the system's native 2560 x 1600 resolution. The screen goes up to 165 Hz and is G-Sync compatible.

The 80 WHr battery lasted for 7 hours and 21 minutes when we ran it through our battery tests, so it lasts longer than most gaming laptops in this price range.

Read: Lenovo Legion Slim 5 Review 

Best Design and Battery Life

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
A High-quality design with solid battery life.

Specifications

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 6800H
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060
Display: 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080, 165 Hz
Weight: 5.53 pounds (2.5 kg)

Reasons to buy

+
Attractive, high-quality chassis design
+
Long battery life when not gaming
+
Strong gaming performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavier than the competition
-
Storage performance could be better

It's often assumed that even mid-range laptops don't have great construction. That's not the case. In fact, one of the standout aspects of the Alienware m15 R7 is that while its chassis is made of plastic, it feels extremely solid. This is a laptop that can be taken places to game (if you don't mind a bit of extra weight).

In our tests, the combination of an AMD Ryzen 7 6800H and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 traded blows with Intel-based machines using the same GPU, but it's clear that you can play just about anything on this with the right settings.

The Alienware also proved to be efficient in non-gaming tasks. It ran for 8 hours and 57 minutes on our battery test, which involves browsing the web, streaming video and light graphics work. That's far more than most gaming laptops get these days.

There are some knocks — Intel laptops have the AMD-equipped Alienware beat on productivity benchmarks. But if you want a luxury feel and a high refresh rate, this laptop is a serious contender under $1,500.

Read: Alienware m15 R7 Review

Best Connectivity

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Subdued Design, Lots of Ports

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i7-12650H
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060
Display: 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080, 144 Hz
Weight: 4.96 pounds (2.23 kg)

Reasons to buy

+
Solid, classy white design
+
Good overall gaming performance
+
Wide variety of ports

Reasons to avoid

-
Mediocre webcam and poor audio
-
Fans are loud under load

For under $1,400 ($1,349.99 at the time of review), the MSI Sword 15 has a subdued white design and a wide variety of ports to plug in plenty of peripherals and external storage.

A combination of an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 and an Intel Core i7-12650H proved potent for gaming, though you have to be willing to deal with some the loud fans that MSI is using to keep the components cool. You can try to adjust them in MSI Center.

There's a bit of room for upgrade potential with this device, including a second M.2 PCIe SSD slot if you want to upgrade your storage down the line.

While the Sword 15 wasn't at the top of our productivity benchmarks, it's still powerful enough for some work when you're not playing. You'll still want to keep it plugged in most of the time, however.

Read: MSI Sword 15 Review

Best Sub-1000 Gaming Laptop

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Best Sub-1000 Gaming Laptop

Specifications

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 7640HS
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050
Display: 16-inch, 1920 x 1200, 165 Hz, G-Sync
Weight: 5.95 pounds (2.7 kg)

Reasons to buy

+
Competent gaming performance 
+
Bright G-Sync screen
+
Solid battery life
+
Quiet fans
+
Lots of ports, including USB 4

Reasons to avoid

-
Subpar webcam
-
Hollow speakers
-
Lots of bloatware

The Acer Nitro 16 takes strong performance, a bright display, and long battery life (for a gaming laptop, anyway) and crams them into a system that costs just under $1,000.

Our $999 review unit included an AMD Ryzen 5 7640HS and Nvidia Geforce RTX 4050, which did well enough in our benchmarks. We loved the 1920 x 1200, 165 Hz display with G-Sync support, which is great for esports at high frame rates. It was also brighter than competitors at 371 nits on our light meter. It also includes USB 4, the latest version of USB Type-C.

Even though this is a budget laptop, we would still like to see better speakers and an improved webcam.  But for less than $1,000, the Nitro 16 is a solid package.

Read: Acer Nitro 16 Review

Another Great Sub-1000 Gaming Laptop

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Another Great Gaming Laptop Under $1,000

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i7-13620H
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050
Display: 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080, 144 Hz
Weight: 5.51 pounds / 2.5 kg

Reasons to buy

+
Strong 1080p gaming performance
+
Good speakers
+
Excellent value

Reasons to avoid

-
Short battery life
-
Washed-out display

The MSI Katana is a budget gaming notebook that will leave some breathing room in a $1500 budget. We tested a model with a Core i7-13620H and Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 offering strong 1080p performance for just $999.

You still get 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage for that price, though the chassis could be a bit nicer.

The display isn't the most colorful, but it's fairly fast at 144 Hz, especially for competitive gamers.  We also appreciated the quality of the speakers for the price.
Read: MSI Katana 15 Review

Best All-AMD Laptop Under 1000

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Best All-AMD Laptop Under $1,000

Specifications

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX
GPU: AMD Radeon RX 6800M
Display: 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080, 300 Hz
Weight: 6.61 pounds / 3 kg

Reasons to buy

+
Strong performance
+
10+ hours of battery life
+
Stays cool to the touch

Reasons to avoid

-
No webcam
-
Mediocre SSD speeds
-
Display could be brighter

When we reviewed the Asus ROG Strix G15, it was just over $1,500. Recently, it's dropped a bit with the same AMD Radeon RX 6800M, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB storage drive that we reviewed it with.

The Strix G15 Advantage Edition showed both strong gaming and productivity performance on our tests, competing with laptops using Nvidia's GeForce RTX 3060 and RTX 3070 in our suite of games.

But what particularly impressed us was the battery life. It ran for 10 hours and 14 minutes on our battery test, which shamed almost all of its competitors and is longer than some ultrabooks we've tested recently. The laptop remained cool at most touch points. The display could be a bit brighter, but is not unusable. You'll have to bring your own webcam, however, as this laptop doesn't have one. For those who want their laptop to scream "gaming," the G15 is covered in RGB lighting, including a strip on the bottom. There are also a handful of AMD and Asus-themed easter eggs both on the computer's exterior and even inside the laptop, underneath the bottom plate.

Splurge Config: Available for around $1,600 at Amazon, there's a G15 Advantage Edition config with a 2560 x 1440, 165 Hz display and a faster, Ryzen 9 5980HX CPU. We haven't tested with those specs, but one can expect sharper images and tad more pep.

Read: Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition Review 

Quick Shopping Tips

What to Expect From the Best Gaming Laptops Under $1,500 

  • GPU: Your gaming laptop’s graphics card has the single biggest impact on its ability to deliver smooth frame rates with sharp details. If you find a laptop with an RTX 3070 card on sale for less than $1,500, consider it a steal. However, barring extraordinary sales or closeouts, the best graphics cards you can normally find in this price range are the AMD Radeon RX 6800M or the Nvidia RTX 4060. Both cards can deliver smooth 1080p gaming at high or ultra settings or solid frame rates with ray tracing enabled. The RTX 4050 can provide reasonably smooth performance at 1080p, but we wouldn’t recommend it for ray tracing. For the RTX 3050 (non-Ti) which is still for sale in some systems, expect to either play at less than the highest settings in 1080p, drop down to 720p resolution or settle for significantly lower frame rates.

  • Screen: Gaming laptop screen sizes range between 14 and 17 inches, though 15 inches is the most common. Expect 1080p resolution and a refresh rate between 120 and 165 Hz on the best gaming laptops under $1,500. Those are all fine numbers since the system won’t be powerful enough to play at higher resolutions or frame rates that outpace those refresh rates. Look for subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) differences in color quality and brightness. If you see a laptop with a QHD (aka 2K) display, consider it a bonus, but you'll be hard pressed to find that screen resolution unless the model is on a big sale or closeout.

  • CPU: Don’t be too picky about the CPU, as the GPU is much more important for gaming in this price range. You can usually find Intel Core i7 or AMD Ryzen 7 CPUs on sub-$1,500 systems, though you may find the best deals on laptops with chips that are a generation old – Intel 12th Gen Core or Ryzen 6000 series. You will also see some Core i5 and Ryzen 5 CPUs on cheaper systems, and those should be more than adequate for most people.

  • RAM: Expect to find 16GB of DDR4 or DDR5 RAM, which is more than adequate for everyone, in the best gaming laptops under $1,500. As you drop down to less than $1,000, you will see some models selling with 8GB of RAM. If you buy an 8GB model to save money today, strongly consider upgrading the RAM on your laptop with after-market DIMMs, which should cost you $40 to $80.

  • Storage: The best gaming laptops under $1,500 will likely come with 500GB NVMe SSDs that offer strong performance, but only enough storage space for a few games. If you can snag one with a 1TB drive, that's a huge plus.

    Many sub-$1,000 models will have a mere 256GB drive, which is barely enough for the operating system and may not be enough for space-gulping AAA games. In either case, consider upgrading with a secondary drive or new primary SSD, either of which should cost less than $100 for 1TB.

Bottom Line

There are noticeable differences even between gaming laptops with similar key specs. Two systems with the same graphics card and CPU may have some performance differences based on how good their cooling systems are, something you can’t tell just from reading a spec sheet or looking at the laptop in a store. A cooler-running system can jump up to and maintain higher clock speeds, which allow for higher frame rates.

Raw performance shouldn’t be the only factor in choosing the best gaming laptop under $1,500 for you. You also need to consider the design, feel of the keyboard and touchpad and screen quality. All of those things vary a fair amount between models, so it pays to do some research before pulling the trigger.

Discounts on the Best Gaming Laptops Under $1,500

Whether you're shopping for one of the best gaming laptops or another model that didn't quite make our list, you may find some savings by checking out our lists of Dell coupon codes, HP coupon codes, Lenovo coupon codes, Razer promo codes or Newegg promo codes.

MORE: How to Buy a Gaming Laptop

MORE: Best Gaming PCs

MORE: Best Ultrabooks and Premium Laptops

Andrew E. Freedman is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on laptops, desktops and gaming. He also keeps up with the latest news. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Tom's Guide, Laptop Mag, Kotaku, PCMag and Complex, among others. Follow him on Threads @FreedmanAE and Mastodon @FreedmanAE.mastodon.social.

With contributions from
  • g-unit1111
    The one thing I've always hated about Asus laptops is that their WASD keys stick out like a sore thumb. I use my laptop for things besides gaming and I take it to places, so I want a keyboard that is presentable. That keyboard design on that laptop just looks dumb and cheap.
    Reply
  • kyzarvs
    Gotta ask - did you test any Medion kit?
    I've had a Medion Beast (yeah the name sucks) for a couple of years as my work / gaming laptop. My first venture into non-mainstream brands. It's fast, thin, light, performs excellently and is styled subtley enough that it passes off as my work machine with little to no comment in front of clients. It's also survived several hundred trips out to clients, many UK holidays and 4 trans-atlantic trips. I've dropped it a few times and other than a couple of scuffs on the (metal) chassis, still looks and performs perfectly. I7, 32GB RAM, 1x 1tb Sabrent rocket nvme and 1 x 2TB Sabrent nvme and a max-p RTX 2070. 17" 144hz screen, I think all in I paid about £1300 as the drives and RAM were extras - even has RGB keys and a bar across the front. Speakers are woeful though. Not cutting edge any more, but a good, solid machine.

    I've asked this before - if you guys don't test machines like this, can you really say "Best for under x" and not "Best we've actually tested for x"?
    Reply
  • NoFaultius
    I bought the Asus Tuf 15 for my kid to take to college. Got it with the 3070 option. This machine is perfect for a college student to carry to class at only 4.4 pounds. It uses integrated graphics while on battery and automatically switches to the 3070 for 3D applications. It can be charged with the brick it came with or a small wall charger. I did a lot of research before I bought this laptop and I concur that it deserves to be on the "best" list.
    Reply
  • sinclaj1
    Snagged a Lenovo Legion 5i Pro (gen 7) with 3070ti, 16GB RAM - $1329 from B&H a few months ago.
    Amazing machine for the price, definitely a steal.
    Reply
  • oofdragon
    $1500? I just saw it for $1000 at ebay...............

    And rlly, what's the point of buying anything over a $700 6700m? They are all the same lvl despite the names. If it's at least 8gh it's ok for a note, I'm looking at you 3060m
    Reply
  • newtechldtech
    ... for udner $1500 you can find RTX 4070 notebooks , and tons of RTX 4060 gaming notebooks ..

    example for RTX 4070

    https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1750892-REG/acer_an16_41_r7fa_16_16_10_wqxga_165hz.html
    Reply
  • phxrider
    The Asus G15 Advantage edition with the 6800M DESTROYS anything near the price. You can find these for well under $1500, I bought mine for about $1200. It's insane what a good deal these are. 12GB of GPU memory too.
    Reply