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List of the Best Gaming Laptops Under $1500 in 2021

List of the best gaming laptops under $1500 most purchased 2021. The best gaming laptops under $1500 from major brands:ASUS, Dell, Lenovo, MSI, Microsoft, Computer Upgrade King, Acer. The best gaming laptops under $1500 : 2,612 objective consumer reviews.


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1
  • SCORE
    9.8
    AI Score

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  • Brand
    ASUS
2
  • SCORE
    9.0
    AI Score

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  • Brand
    Dell
3
  • SCORE
    9.0
    AI Score

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  • Brand
    ASUS
4
  • SCORE
    9.4
    AI Score

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  • Brand
    Lenovo
5
  • SCORE
    9.4
    AI Score

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  • Brand
    Lenovo
6
  • SCORE
    9.4
    AI Score

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  • Brand
    Lenovo
7
  • SCORE
    8.0
    AI Score

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  • Brand
    Lenovo
8
  • SCORE
    -
    AI Score

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  • Brand
    Lenovo
9
  • SCORE
    9.2
    AI Score

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  • Brand
    MSI
10
  • SCORE
    9.2
    AI Score

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  • Brand
    Microsoft

Last update on 2021-04-18 / Affiliate links / Images, Product Titles, and Product Highlights from Amazon Product Advertising API

5
3 ratings

Overview


Buying Guides

Laptops are meant to travel, and so not meant to be taken apart. When you buy a laptop, you mostly buy it as is, which means no upgrade, no amature replacement. Upgrading ability to laptops sometimes sounds impossible, especially to Macbook or Apple products.

1. The screen

The most important thing in a laptop should be the screen, because of two things:

  • First of all, upgrading the screen should not be possible because the brands would not let you do that. Taking apart the screens would mean breaking the integrity of the laptop, causing you to lose your warranty, and the screen has to be the same as the one that came with the laptop.

  • Secondly, the screen is the only way you can see how the inside of the laptop works. A good screen can fix the flaws the CPU makes and a terrible screen would just look bad even if you have the latest Core i9 CPU.

Here are the types of the screens for you to take a look:

  • HD screens: HD screens feature a resolution of at least 1280 x 720 pixels for each edge. HD screens are cheap, affordable to most people, and easy to replace because there are a lot of spare parts out there.

  • FHD screens: Believe it or not, this is the most popular resolution of laptops. Full HD screens are over two times more detailed than HD screens and it’s good enough to play games outside. I’m talking about laptops to carry and play outside. 

  • 4K screens: 4K screens are the premium kind of screen, which makes it harder to replace if yours is broken. Besides, for a gaming laptop that has a 4K screen, it would cost you at least $1000.

2. The CPU

The CPUs is one of the most power-consuming parts in a computer

To begin with, take a look at some popular CPU lineups:

  • Intel Tiger Lake (11th) Core i9

  • Intel Tiger Lake (11th) Core i7

  • Intel Xeon

  • AMD Ryzen 9

  • AMD Ryzen 7

To begin with, Intel CPUs used to be the king of CPUs. However, since AMD introduced its Ryzen 9 and Ryzen 7 lineups, Intel CPUs have been rated worse and less power-efficient than AMD CPUs. Two brands use two different socket architecture which might lead to different power consumption, thickness, replacement, and lots of other things. 

Intel CPUs are usually more expensive than their counterparts from AMD because Intel doesn’t only sell processors because of their power, but also sell CPUs out of compatibility. Intel CPUs are compatible with almost all the operating systems, games, and drivers in the market, while AMD CPUs aren’t always. 

3. Storage

Thinking only about RAM when buying a laptop is not wrong, but not enough. To give you a tour of the memories in a normal computer, take a look at the computer memory levels below.

  • The L1, L2, L3 cache: the first 3 levels of cache are the fastest memory spaces that can be accessed from the CPU - the former is faster than the latter - meaning if the CPU reads or writes a value into those spaces, it would be even faster than writing or reading on RAM.

  • The Random Access Memory (RAM): the term “Random Access” has meanings hidden. Unlike rotating devices, the traditional HDD for instance, the Random Access Memory can read and write a value to anywhere on its storage instantly. It’s different from the rotating devices, when you have to wait for the disk to rotate to the position you need. Then you’ll be able to read or write, which reduces dramatically the speed and most importantly the price of the storage. Therefore, RAM is expensive, so people don’t make these 512 GB RAMs to store your games, photos, but only 8GB or 16GB RAMs to store things temporarily to assist the CPU. A RAM has a bus speed, at which it communicates with the CPU, and the capacity such as 4GB, 8GB, 16GB or 32GB.

  • Read-Only Memory: It makes our developers so itchy when someone says the ROM capacity of the computer is 256GBs, which is ridiculous. The thing they were referring to is the external storage, which definitely is not ROM. ROM is the abbreviation for Read-Only Memory; read-only is suggested by the name. It’s the first ever code that every CPU has to read right after you press that power button. It contains every piece of start-up commands, BIOS settings of what operating system to boot, what the brand name is, … The BIOS size is typically small. Therefore, the quality of this memory doesn’t usually matter. However, you would not want your BIOS to fail during usage, so you’d better understand it.

  • Attached storage: traditionally, an HDD was used in this situation. Now that the SSDs are becoming more popular, the SSD is used for gaming. SSDs work just like RAM, for the Random Access thing, but at a lower speed. SSDs are connected to the computer by the laptopIe interface, which is the similar interface used to RAM and ridiculously fast, or the SATA, which is the interface used to be used for HDD, for a lower speed. The fact is, SSD is lightning fast, and HDD is super slow. For a gaming laptop, it should always be SSDs.

  • To play games and other stuff: games require a lot of space to store but not as much as video content, so 256GBs of SSD storage would be very enough for storing games.

  • Editing videos or photos: Editing videos takes a lot of space to store raw content, exported content, versions by versions. That’s why video editors usually get themselves a second HDD or a portable one for archiving.

 

The final type of memory you should care about is the dedicated memory for the graphics cards. Normal people don’t usually need to think about this, but for gamers, more RAM always means less swapping time, thus, more speed.

4. Cooling system

For a gaming PC, I would normally suggest the buyers go for a water cooling system; however, a water cooling system on a laptop is not an easy solution. Some brands might have tried to put liquid cooling systems on laptops, but it usually appears on high-priced ROG or MSI laptops. 

Editing videos or playing games are among others the most extreme tasks pressuring the computer. Consequently, the computer produces a lot of heat doing the tasks. The need now is to distribute the tremendous amount of heat to cool the system down, helping prevent the system from exploding, and performance dropping. These efforts are made to achieve one true goal, to keep the system performance stabilized. Two types of cooling system are used, which are:

  • Air cooling system: The noise you often hear when turning on the computer is the noise of the fan or fans. The fans are designed to make an air flow around the computer to distribute the heat and eventually for the heat to escape through the tiny holes on the mainframe. The aluminum case on some modern laptops also helps to do it because metals conduct heat better than plastic, and metals are thinner.

  • Water/Liquid cooling system: This type of cooling system results in a very big and monstrously designed laptop. Water cooling provides a silent solution to flow the heat out of the mainboard; it does that much more effectively than air cooling without making any sound at all. Heat is taken out of the CPU by a special type of liquid or on some cheaper version, water, that always flows around a closed set of tubes, carrying the heat outside. Again, this type of system has nothing to be criticized, but the drawback here is the price. It’s so expensive that it can’t be used in normal affordable computers.

5. The graphics card

The market is selling tons of graphics card options for gamers to choose from. Some of them are:

  • NVIDIA GTX3060, latest introduced graphics card

  • NVIDIA GTX2060, the predecessor - the one that preceded GTX3060

  • NVIDIA 1650Ti, the standard - affordable, stable and powerful

  • Radeon RX5500M - the beast of AMD 

  • Radeon RX860 - the budget choice for AMD-powered laptop.

For other playing needs, here are what you need:

  • For low-end normal games: Some games you can play at this level are the leagues of legends with the low graphics mode. This type of laptop is cheap, by the way.

  • For mid-range games: This type is slightly more expensive and laptops we categorize into this range are usually packed with a Core i7 or Core i9

  • For the highest performance required games: Built to play intense FPS or complicated games on the highest configurations. It can play well games in 4K or even 8K with the frame rate of 60 frames per second or even 120 frames per second. However, 8K is rare in laptops as I suggested, so this is more possible in PCs

6. Special requirements

  • HDR support: HDR (High Dynamic Range) produces colors that are much richer and brighter than normal color definition.

  • Fingerprint recognition: For recognizing your identity using Windows Hello, to log in faster.

  • Face recognition: This feature, along with the fingerprint recognition, is another way to log in to your computer.

  • Wi-Fi and Ethernet: Most laptops are getting rid of the Ethernet port because it takes space. However, brands still want to keep the port in gaming laptops because it helps a lot with reducing latency and increasing network bandwidth.

Webcam kill switch: Sometimes, you feel like you can’t trust the software to protect your privacy. You’re too above the point of taping your webcam, there’s a switch. HP Spectre is the first lineup to implement this. But it’s a little more than $1500.


The best gaming laptops under $1500

1. ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 14"

When you take a look at the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 14", you’ll notice that the screen’s refresh rate is set to be at 120Hz, which means the screen will refresh itself 120 times in a single second. Some other laptops, even cheaper, feature a 144Hz screen, which is 24Hz more. However, in our opinions, 144Hz and 120Hz aren’t doing much differently. Apart from that only downside, the laptop is powered by a Ryzen 9 4900HS, which is a true beast. It can easily take over the Intel Core i7-10750 that powers some of the products we introduce today. A 16GB capacity of RAM comes with the laptop, along with 1 terabytes of PCI express SSD, for the best speed. On the inside, the laptop pairs with the latest graphics card at the release time - NVIDIA GeForce GTX2060 Max-Q. Excluding the newly introduced GTX3070, GTX2060 is the most powerful in terms of computation. The laptop also comes with a FullHD screen, Wi-Fi 6, Dolby Atmos and a pair of 2.5-watt speakers.

  • Ryzen 9 4900HS

  • 16GBs of RAM

  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX2060

  • 120Hz screen

  • FullHD screen, Wi-Fi 6, Dolby Atmos

2. Lenovo Legion Y540 Gaming Laptop

Lenovo has been famous for the series of ThinkPad for decades, as well as the Legion series for gamers. The first thing to be noticed about is its 144Hz screen. What it means by that is that the laptop screen changes the images 144 times per second to make the motions as smooth as possible. Check out the Legion laptop: Lenovo Legion Y540 Gaming Laptop

The resolution is standard 1080p, manufactured in a 15.6 inch display with an IPS panel. As for the processor, the laptop is powered by an Intel Core i7-9750H, which is one of the best CPUs at the time. The built-in RAM has the capacity of 16 GBs, being backed by a 512 GB NVMe M.2 SSD. Just like the ASUS ROG, the Legion Y540 comes pre-installed with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX2060 with 6GBs of dedicated memory.

The final thing about this laptop is the backlit keyboard, helping you see in the dark and play at any time of the day.

  • Ryzen 7 4800H

  • NVIDIA GTX 1660Ti 6GB dedicated memory

  • 512 GB SSD

  • Gigabit Ethernet

3. Dell G3 15 3500 15 Inch FHD

Dell G3 15 3500 15 Inch FHD stands as an alternative to these two above. This laptop is manufactured by Dell, which you have already known to be the preferred choice for people who need performance and durability instead of beauty. The G3 is an actual beast that Dell introduced last year. It is run by the Intel Core i7-10750H, 16GBs of DDR4 RAM. The data will be saved in a 512GB NVMe SSD. The display is 144Hz as well and the graphics card is also NVIDIA GeForce GTX2060 with 6GBs of RAM. One different thing about this laptop is it offers you some other options, if you’re not the guy who would benefit all from the powerful GTX2060 or 16GBs of RAM. There’s a slightly lighter option that offers you 8GBs of RAM and GTX1650Ti.

  • NVIDIA GTX2060/NVIDIA GTX1650Ti

  • 16GBs/8GBs of RAM

  • Intel Core i7-10750H

  • 512GBs of SSD

4. MSI GF65 Thin 10UE-047

At the first look, you could say that this is the most powerful laptop we introduce today. However, it is a new model and it needs testing. The MSI GF65 Thin 10UE-047 is processed by an Intel Core i7-10750H, the same CPU that powers lots of laptops in the price range. 

However, what differs this laptop from others is the NVIDIA GeForce GTX3060, which is the latest graphics chipset introduced by NVIDIA. It comes with 6GBs of dedicated RAM, along with the 16GBs of pre-installed RAM to be 22GBs of RAM. Besides, you can upgrade your RAM capacity to 64GBs anytime you want. 

As for the display, it’s the standard 15.6-inch 144Hz FHD screen; for connections, we can see a Wi-Fi 6 built-in network card and Bluetooth 5.1 network card. 

  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX3060

  • Intel Core i7-10750H

  • 16GBs of RAM

  • 512GBs of SSD

  • 144 FHD screen


FAQs

1. Can I upgrade my laptop’ configurations?

It’s always yes for PC, but for a laptop, when the manufacturer allows you too. Check with your laptop’s specifications and you’ll see whether you can take apart your laptops without losing warranty. In most cases, it would not be possible for both taking apart and keeping the warranty.

2. How do I set up the computer after I get it?

There are two cases:

  • If your laptop comes with Windows, turn it on, fill in the information and your account credentials, you’ll be all set

  • If your laptop comes with an operating system other than Windows, you might need to install Windows before doing the steps above. Check with your repair store for more information on this.

3. What about the warranty?

Typically, laptops are warranted for at least 1 year by the brand, but to my personal experience, they aren’t likely to break within the first two years. The reason for that is, truly, laptops made these days are so good.

4. How do I save battery to play games?

The longest time playing games I have got with a laptop is 6 hours. That’s sad but that’s the thing you have to compromise to have a gaming laptop. To save your battery and get a better life out of it, follow as much as possible:

  • Turn off the keyboard backlight

  • Set the screen brightness to at most 40%

  • Turn on auto-sleep mode, set the time interval to under 15 minutes

  • Use headphones instead of speakers

  • Preferably use LAN, Wi-Fi over broadband; the former the better

  • Avoid background tasks, such as Windows Update, or Steam game downloading.

5. What operating system comes with the laptops?

All the computers we have recommended include Windows 10 operating system OOB. Sometimes, the brands don’t want to do that. Some others cut the cost of the laptops by installing freeware operating systems, Ubuntu for instance. 

If you have bought a Linux pre-installed laptop, you'll probably end up with buying a genuine version of Windows because games built to run on Linux operating systems are not many. Fortunately, Steam has been available to Linux users for a while, despite the fact that many games on the platform are only available to Windows users.


Final Thoughts

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