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Best budget gaming laptop deals of the week - 8th October 2020

There’s been a surge of great gaming laptop deals for under £1000 / $1000 in the last week or so, which is good news for anyone looking for a more portable way to play their favourite PC games around the house that doesn’t break the bank. While most laptops in this price range will find it difficult to play games on max settings, there are still a couple of RTX 2060 laptops to be found here, as well as plenty with high refresh rate displays and good specs. So, to help you get the best budget gaming laptop deal, we’ve put together this list of what we think represents the best value for money. Whatever you’re after, these are the best budget gaming laptop deals happening in the UK and US right now.

A lot of the very best gaming laptops still cost several thousands of pounds / dollars these days, but as long as you’re happy playing games on lower quality settings or just want something that will let you tend to your Stardew Valley crops on the go, then you can do all that and more on a machine that costs a heck of a lot less.

Naturally, the more you spend on a gaming laptop, the more you’ll be able to get out of it, as more expensive models have more powerful components. At this end of the price spectrum, most gaming laptops only tend to come with GTX 1650 or GTX 1660 Ti graphics chips, although there are still a few with more powerful RTX 2060 chips to be found if you look hard enough. Even so, both of the GTX chips should be more than enough for popular online shooters, 2D indie games and older 3D titles as long as you keep the quality settings in check. We’re also starting to see more entry-level AMD-powered gaming laptops in this price range, too, thanks to their RX 5500M and RX 5600M graphics chips. You’ll also find more information about what to look out for in a gaming laptop at the bottom of the page, but for now, here are the best budget gaming laptop deals around right now.

Best budget gaming laptop deals in the UK

If you’re looking for a thin and light gaming laptop, this MSI GF63 is one of the lightest 15.6in laptops around under our £1000 budget mark. It also comes with one of Intel’s new Core i5 processors, and a free copy of Marvel’s Avengers, and is almost £100 cheaper than it was last week. It has very similar specs to the Lenovo below, but if you value a thin and light design, this is the budget laptop to buy.

Lenovo’s Series 3 is a great bargain for those after a low-cost gaming laptop on a strict budget. You won’t fit many big games on its 256GB SSD, all told, but you get a modern Core i5 processor, a modern selection of ports and an unassuming design. For just another £30, the MSI below is arguably better value, but if you want to spend as little as possible, this is worth considering.

This AMD-based gaming laptop puts in a pretty good showing for £729. You not only get one of AMD’s new 4th Gen Ryzen CPUs, but you also get a 120Hz refresh rate display with full AMD Freesync support for super smooth, tear-free gaming, and a light 1.8kg chassis.

A less powerful version of the Lenovo Legion 5 at the bottom of this UK list, this model has a very similar spec to the MSI above. The only real difference is that it swaps AMD’s RX 5500M chip for an Nvidia GTX 1650, and has a slightly fancier design. I was a big fan of Lenovo’s Legion 7, which shares the same chassis as the Legion 5, and its display was absolutely gorgeous, too. A worthy consideration.

The graphics chip on this HP Pavilion may not be the most powerful in the world, but the rest of this laptop’s specs are pretty darn great considering the price. You get a brand-new 10th Core i5 processor, a good amount of storage and a sleek design that you wouldn’t be embarrassed to use in public.

This large 17.3in Asus laptop is more expensive than some of the other laptop deals on this list, but that’s the price you pay for such a big chassis. Yes, you’ll get more powerful components for less with some of the smaller laptops here, but if it’s a big laptop you’re after, this is one of the cheapest around.

Then again, if you are in the market for a jumbo laptop, this HP gives you a lot more for your money for just another £50. There’s buckets of storage here, as well as a newer 10th Gen Core i5 processor. If your budget can stretch the extra £50, this is a great buy.

The more affordable cousin of the excellent Legion 7i, the Lenovo Legion 5P is a pretty great price for the specs. It only has a Core i5 processor, but it’s one of Intel’s brand-new ones so it should still be perfectly capable of delivering fast gaming speeds when paired with its powerful RTX 2060 graphics chip. Plus, its display has a fast, 144Hz refresh rate. It’s a touch heavier, but this is still an exceptionally well-specced laptop for the money.

Best budget gaming laptop deals in the US

$20 cheaper than last week, this Asus TUF FX505GT is a great entry-level gaming laptop for those on a budget. While its processor and graphics card aren’t as new / powerful as the Acer Nitro 5 below, this is still a decent deal if you’re looking to spend as little money as possible on a portable gaming machine.

Down from $1300, this GTX 1660 Ti-powered Asus laptop offers a good mix of processing power and graphical grunt to make the most of its 120Hz refresh rate display. Why consider this instead of the similarly priced Acer below? While I haven’t tested this particular Asus model, the quality of their displays is usually excellent, and the Nitro 5 we tested failed to leave much of an impression in this department. Depends how much you value accurate-looking colours.

If you don’t mind opting for an older 9th Gen Core i5 processor and slightly sub-par colours, this Acer Nitro 5 is a decent alternative to the Asus below. It’s arguably got a much better spec, including a higher 144Hz refresh rate, 16GB of RAM and buckets more storage, but based on previous experience you’ll get a much better quality display by opting for an Asus rather than this Acer.

This RTX 2060-powered laptop just about squeaks in under our $1000 price target, and it’s still a pretty damned good for the price. Sure, the screen only has a 60Hz refresh rate rather than something a bit beefier like 144Hz, but if you want those ray tracing effects, then 60Hz will do you just fine.

How to get the best budget gaming laptop deal:

To help you get a great budget gaming laptop deal, there are several things you might want to consider before clicking that buy button.

Size: Generally, gaming laptops come in two sizes – 15.6in and 17.3in. You may think that bigger is better, but we’d caution you against this. After all, the whole point of getting a gaming laptop rather than a desktop is portability, and 17.3in models just aren’t that portable. They’re fine if you’re after a proper desktop replacement that you’re not likely to move on a regular basis, but they do tend to be more expensive as a result.

CPU: Then there’s the age-old Intel vs AMD debate. As a rule of thumb, AMD CPUs tend to be (slightly) slower and (much) cheaper, while Intel CPUs are more expensive but nippier. Still, if it’s a choice between a Ryzen 5 and an Intel Core i3, then you should opt for the former. Intel CPUs are much more common in gaming laptops, but we’re starting to see more and more AMD processors coming through thanks to their brand-new line of Ryzen 4000 chips. It’s also important to watch out for the age of the processor.

Intel are currently on their 10th generation of mobile chips, such as the Core i5-10300H, but there are still plenty of older 9th Gen chips around if you’re after a bit of a bargain. These are styled like the Core i5-9300H. AMD, meanwhile, are on their 4th generation of Ryzen chips, which you can identify by the number ‘4’ in model names such as the Ryzen 5 4600H. Again, older laptops with 3rd Gen chips will be cheaper, but try and find a newer one if you can.

GPU: As for graphics chips, it’s a similar picture between Nvidia and AMD, too. Once again, AMD is the cheaper option here, but Nvidia chips are a lot more common (and more powerful to boot). We’d recommend a minimum of an AMD Radeon RX 5500M or an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti if you want your laptop to last a good couple of years playing games at decent speeds and quality settings.

RAM: You should also look for a laptop that has at least 8GB of RAM, and ideally 16GB if you can find one, although they do tend to be quite rare under £1000 / $1000. If you do opt for 8GB, dig into the details and see if you can add another 8GB stick yourself later on. This is the difference between a laptop with accessible RAM slots and those that have RAM soldered on.

Storage: Finally, it’s important to think about storage. Pretty much all gaming laptops come with fast SSD storage these days, but the amount included can vary wildly. Getting a 256GB model will undoubtedly be cheaper, but think about the kind of games you want to play and see how far that will take you. If you can, try and get one with two drives or a large, single SSD so you can have lots of games installed at the same time.

Displays: Gaming laptop displays also tend to be pretty weak on budget gaming laptops, even if their specs sound reasonable. If we haven’t reviewed the model ourselves, then look at customer reviews and see if common complaints emerge – screen ghosting, colour accuracy or low contrast.

Generally, IPS displays tend to have the best colour reproduction, while TN panels are fast and often considered better for esports and competitive games, but often aren’t as accuracy as their IPS counterparts. You can read more about all the different types of panel in our gaming monitor panel types explained article if you want to find out more.

Then there are other niggles like fan noise or excessive heat under the WASD keys. Again, if we haven’t reviewed it, look at other customer reviews to see if these are particular problems. There’s no gaming laptop that runs completely silently, but some are much louder than others. These are all things that might make you wish you’d spent a bit more in the long run.

Finally, while gaming laptops are great for portability, you may want to treat it like a desktop replacement when you’re at home. If you do, then why not have a read of our best gaming mouse, keyboard and headset guides as well to make sure you’re kitted out with the best peripherals to help you get the best out of it?

And if you’ve somehow made it to the bottom of this page and decided, ‘Nah, I’m going to stick with my PC for the time being,’ then be sure to check out our other regularly updated deals round-ups where we cover the best graphics card deals, gaming monitor deals, SSD deals and CPU deals of the last seven days.

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Who am I?

Katharine Castle

Hardware Editor

Katharine writes about all the bits that go inside your PC so you can carry on playing all those lovely games we like talking about so much. Very partial to JRPGs and the fetching of quests. She's also RPS' resident deals herald.

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