Buying a laptop that doesn’t cost the earth is getting easier and easier nowadays, but finding one that can play the latest games without wheezing under the strain is much, much harder. Indeed, spending over £1000 on a gaming laptop used to be a foregone conclusion to get something that’s in any way competent, but that’s no longer the case – and to prove the point, here’s a quick roundup of five gaming laptops I’ve found that won’t break the four-figure barrier. As you might expect, the pricier the laptop, the better the performance, but you may be surprised at what you can get for your money.
The cheapest one that’s worth writing about is this Acer Nitro 5 laptop, available for £599 from Currys. For that money, you’re getting specs which should play most things for the immediate future, although you’ll probably have to drop the quality settings or resolution on the most demanding games. It’s got an AMD Ryzen 5 3550H processor, 8GB of RAM and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphics chip.
If you’re prepared to pay an extra £51 and wait a little bit, this HP Pavilion 15 gaming laptop offers the same specs with a slightly better processor (the Ryzen 5 4600H) for £650 at Amazon. I’d personally say it’s worth the extra cash for the aesthetic improvements alone – I mean, really, why does ‘gaming laptop’ have to mean gaudy RGB lighting everywhere?
You get a significant boost in performance by upgrading to an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics chip, though, and you can get this by spending around another £200. Two options jump out from our deals hunting, depending on whether you prefer an Intel or AMD processor, and whether you value screen size over screen quality.
First up, is the Dell G7 – a 17.3in beast for £850 at Currys. It’s packing an Intel Core i5-9300H processor, 8GB of RAM and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics chip. The listing reckons you’ll get at least 120fps in Battlefield V, which isn’t too shabby.
Alternatively, you might favour the 15.6in Asus TUF Gaming FX505DU, also for £850 from Scan. Although the screen is smaller, it is a 120Hz model, which makes it a good choice for those who value frames per second above everything else. This one comes with an AMD Ryzen 5 3660H processor, 8GB of RAM and that aforementioned GTX 1660 Ti chip.
Alas, Katharine hasn’t tested these specific gaming laptops, but other GTX 1660 Ti laptops she’s benchmarked in the past have normally been able to hit a smooth 60fps on Medium to High graphics settings in most of today’s biggest games, such as Shadow Of The Tomb Raider, Final Fantasy XV and Monster Hunter: World, but you’ll likely hit much higher frame rates in less demanding games such as Valorant or CS:GO.
However, if you want to really step things up in the quality department and have a better chance of hitting 60fps on High to Ultra settings on today’s most demanding games, then your best bet is probably the MSI GF65, which takes us all the way up to the ceiling at £999 from Currys. It’s a big price jump from the cheapest ones I’ve listed above, but you get upgrades across the board, with an Intel Core i7-9750H processor, 8GB of RAM and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 graphics chip. The 15.6in screen is 1080p, like the others, but it’s also 120Hz so you should really be able to push the higher frame rates – unless you prefer to sacrifice some frames for those fancy ray tracing effects.
All of these will offer decent performance today and are by far the best specs we’ve been able to find for less than £1000. Indeed, most RTX 2060 laptops will set you back closer to £1200 elsewhere around the internet, so the MSI GF65 is almost certainly as good as you’re going to get right now for the money here in the UK.
As for our US friends, we’ll be putting together a proper gaming laptop deals hub next week much like our current Graphics card deals, SSD deals, CPU deals and Gaming monitor deals pages, so stay tuned for more gaming laptop deals on your side of the pond very soon.