This guide will lay out all you need to know if you’re looking for the best gaming laptop under 600 USD. We have listed five of the best gaming laptops in this price range, which each offer something different for the consumer. Each review goes through the core specifications of GPU, CPU, memory, display quality, etc. to help you pick the right one in this price bracket. If your budget can stretch to whatever it needs to be to get the ideal mobile gaming machine, then instead read our best gaming laptop page.
Is The Best Gaming Laptop Under 600 USD Worth Buying?
Gaming laptops are the obvious answer to those who don’t fancy lugging a desktop PC around, though their size means sacrifices must be made performance-wise. The best gaming laptops under 600 USD are only ever going to be able to comfortably play less demanding or older games on the medium to high settings – newer, more demanding games will need higher budget machines.
We suggest you have a brief look through the Things To Consider When Buying A Gaming Laptop Under $600 section further down this page to get a quick overview of what you need to know when shopping for gaming laptops in this price range.
Our Top Picks
Best Gaming Laptop Under $600: First Look
This Acer Nitro AN515 comes with a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card and an Intel i5-10300H CPU. Though currently out of the price range of this guide, if you don’t mind picking up a refurbished laptop or waiting until it comes on offer (we have seen them go for around $600), this machine is highly recommended for budget gamers.
This Acer Nitro offers performance well above what you’d normally expect from a new laptop at this price point. The GTX 1650 GPU and Intel i5-10300H are a powerful combination for a budget build – even the mobile version of the Nvidia GPU offers performance above what you’d get from most integrated graphics. The 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD could do with upgrading and/or supplementing, but you won’t find higher CPU and GPU than this on any other machine at this price point. The color replication and brightness of the 60Hz screen aren’t particularly great, but they’re as good as anything else you will get for this price.
In this configuration the Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop has the best all round specifications you can expect from a new gaming laptop at this price. It has a good battery life, is lightweight, has decent color replication, good SSD storage and comes with an AMD Ryzen 3700U processor.
This AMD-powered Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop is a great option for those who want a bit of multi-tasking power for low-level workstation tasks. The onboard AMD RX Vega 10 graphics are some of the best you can get without having a dedicated graphics card, though they will still struggle on newer games on anything but the lowest settings, as is to be expected on this budget. The 512GB SSD however is an unusually strong feature at this price. The battery life of the machine is solid, and you can expect around 5+ hours of battery life for strenuous general usage (i.e. outside of games).
The ASUS F512DA-EB51 VivoBook 15 is great budget slimline laptop. It is the lightest on this list and comes with a sleek aesthetic.
The ASUS F512DA-EB51 VivoBook 15 is the cheapest laptop on this list at current pricing. Although you will struggle to play any moderately demanding games at anything but the lowest settings with its AMD Quad Core R5-3500U CPU and AMD RX Vega 8 onboard graphics, it is still as powerful or more so than two others on this list, is slimline and lightweight, and provides good value for a new laptop at this price point. The battery life only runs to a few hours and there is no SD card reader, but besides this it comes with everything you’d expect.
This HP Pavilion 15.6” laptop comes with AMD Ryzen 5 3500U processors and onboard Vega 8 graphics. Although it lacks the power of the other laptops on this page, it does come with an SD card reader, runs quite cool even under stress and is the quietest laptop here.
At present pricing this HP Pavilion laptop is outcompeted by all the other laptops on this page, and we couldn’t really recommend it unless the price drops considerably. That being said it does have some advantages: for a gaming laptop its fans are quiet, even under stress they remain relatively non-noisy. Additionally the laptop remain quite cool to the touch under stress as well, although it does suffer from a low battery life. An SD card reader is another unusual and welcome addition to the standard array of ports. Ultimately though you will struggle to play anything but the least demanding games using its onboard Radeon Vega 8 graphics.
This Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop comes with a solid screen for this price point with decent color replication. It’s a fairly slimline and lightweight machine with sleek design aesthetics, though its gaming power leaves something to be desired.
The Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop A515-54-51DJ comes with a 256GB SSD, 8GB of RAM and your standard array of ports and sockets (though it does lack an SD card reader). It is fairly lightweight and slimline, and the 60Hz display has decent color replication for this price point (though certainly not one we’d recommend using for any color related workstation use). Unfortunately the Intel Core i5-8265 and onboard Intel UHD Graphics 620 are both fairly weak and only suitable for undemanding games.
The following is what you should think about when shopping for a gaming laptop under $600. For a more general list of considerations when shopping for a gaming laptop at any budget, please have a read of the ‘Things To Consider’ section of our Best Gaming Laptops guide.
Realistic Expectations of Gaming Performance
The portability advantages of laptops, coupled with the engineering challenges of putting powerful components into a laptop’s chassis and effectively cooling them, means you typically pay at least 50% more on a laptop compared to a desktop computer for the same Frames Per Second (FPS) in game.
Unfortunately when you reach as low a price as $600 for a gaming laptop, you cannot expect to get any sort of decent performance on even moderately demanding games. Most laptops at this price level come with onboard graphics only (i.e. part of the CPU) rather than a dedicated graphics card, which dramatically limits the FPS you can get when rendering graphically complex games.
You will possibly be able to play old games on medium-high settings, but for anything new, unless it has low requirements (strategy games like Crusader Kings II for example), you’ll have to spend more money. Take a look at our best gaming laptops for under $1,000 page) or alternatively consider a desktop PC you can build yourself for $700 or a prebuilt computer, for under $800.
Consider a refurbished laptop
Usually, we don’t recommend refurbished products on WePC, not because they aren’t a worthwhile consideration, but because it’s assumed you can generally get any product we recommend for cheaper if it’s refurbished – whether you do so or not is up to you!
Given this is an article on gaming laptops, however, the reality is that when you get below $600 the available power to play anything more than the least demanding of games, or the more demanding games on the lowest settings, is considerably reduced. We’d therefore seriously consider seeing if you could pick up a refurbished version of the laptops recommended in our other guides on the Best Gaming Laptops under $700 and $800. Additionally, we have listed below our ‘best refurbished gaming laptop’ pick below, as an example of how much more your money can get you if you do take the plunge into refurb territory.
Maximum Refresh Rate
Below $700 it becomes increasingly hard to find brand new gaming laptops with a 120Hz. Below $600 they are basically non-existent. The most common refresh rate you will find under $700 is 60Hz, and this is not suitable for competitive, fast-paced shooters – the maximum 60FPS will put you at a considerable disadvantage. Ultimately this limits laptops in this price range for use only if you’re into singleplayer shooters, RPGs, adventure games, strategy games and the like. If you want more than this, you’ll have to either pay more money, or consider buying a refurbished laptop with greater power.
1920 x 1080 is almost guaranteed to be the upper limit for all gaming laptops under $600 in 2021. In order to get 1440p or above, you will have to spend considerably more money. That being said, 1080p is still the resolution of choice for most competitive gamers who play fast-paced online shooters, so arguably this won’t be much of a negative, depending on what you’re using it for. Furthermore, if your laptop has a 15 inch or smaller screen, some of the higher resolutions are of debatable value anyway.
Hard drive and RAM
256GB is generally the best SSD you will get in a new gaming laptop if your budget is capped to $600. 256GB is in our opinion, too small a size to be practical for most gamers: many of today’s games require over 50GB of disk space, and the operating system and other necessary files will also take up a good amount of space. We’d advise, if possible, to upgrade your SSD to a larger one, or out in an additional SSD or HDD to supplement it.
The above also applies to RAM. You won’t find memory higher than 8GB at this budget and we’d recommend upgrading this to at least 16GB if possible.
Color replication past a certain point is of debatable worth to people who are only interested in gaming, as beyond a level of quality most people won’t notice much difference. You can certainly get a decent color gamut for playing games on under $600. For people interested in doing some light design work though, 100% sRGB replication is unlikely, as is much expectation for color accuracy. As a result, if you want to get a machine that can be used for color-dependent workstation tasks, you’ll need to spend more cash.
The Best Gaming Laptops Under $600 In 2021
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card
narrow color gamut
brightness could be better
only 256GB SSD
This Acer Nitro AN515 brand new is somewhat beyond the $600 mark in terms of its MSRP, though we have seen it come down to this point in both sales and as a refurbished product. Given it’s rare to find a dedicated GPU of this power in this price range, going for the refurb should definitely be considered.
The Nvidia GTX 1650 graphics card and Intel i5-10300H processor pack a big punch for a cheap machine, and will be able to generate FPS above 100 for games such as CS:GO when the graphics are turned down. The 60Hz display is less than ideal, though it’s the best you’ll get for this amount of money. Similarly, the 256GB SSD and 8GB of RAM are to be expected but can be upgraded further.
The ports on this machine are pretty much average, it also is heavier than many on this list but that is to be expected, given the more powerful components. The color gamut is limited, but if you want better you’ll have to spend more money. The brightness of the display could also be better. Overall though, given the power of the two main core components, there’s no reason you shouldn’t purchase this laptop if you can find it for around $600.
AMD Ryzen 3700U
good battery life
respectable color replication for the price
no SD card reader
The Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop A515-43-R6DE is an AMD-powered laptop that comes with the Ryzen 3700U processor as well as RX Vega 10 onboard graphics. As is typical with AMD CPUs, the multicore performance on the processor is better than the closest competing Intel processor, meaning that you will get superior performance in most workstation tasks. At this budget, you’re going to be limited in power for such workstation uses, but for a new gaming laptop for c.$600 this is the best you will get.
The RX Vega 10 onboard graphics are again superior in this AMD machine, but you’ll still be limited to playing newer, more demanding games on the lowest settings. As is to be expected, the display is limited to 60Hz but actually has a decent color gamut for a budget machine, though it’s not suitable for color-accurate work.
In all other respects the Aspire 5 comes specced out with the best you can expect: it has a good battery life (expect at least 5 hours for intensive general usage i.e. non-gaming), and is pleasingly lightweight and thin, making it nicely portable. This combined with its reserved look make it a great choice for an office machine. The 512GB SSD is very nice at this price level, though can be updated further should you wish. An SD card reader would have been nice, but overall, this is a solid value machine.
no SD card reader
battery life could be longer
This configuration of the ASUS VivoBook 15 is the best laptop you will find on the lower end of this price range at the time of writing. It has the usual selection of ports, although lacks an SD card reader, comes with a 720p webcam, and is the most lightweight and slimline laptop on this ist. It has a 256GB SSD and comes with 8GB of RAM which can be upgraded.
Battery-wise you can only expert to get a few hours out of this Vivobook doing strenuous, non-gaming tasks, and the fans are about as loud as you’d expect for a gaming laptop. The 60Hz display has about average brightness and color replication for this price point – i.e. nothing to write home about.
Regarding the most important point: gaming power, there is no getting around the fact that the AMD Quad Core R5-3500U CPU and AMD RX Vega 8 onboard graphics won’t be able to produce playable frames on the latest games unless your graphics are turned right down. Even then some titles may be unplayable on this machine – generally we’d advise sticking to slightly older, less demanding games. Nevertheless, this is not any different from any new laptop at this price point, and the ASUS F512DA-EB51 VivoBook 15 offers the same, if not better components than many of the competition and at a cheaper price.
SD card reader
decent cooling performance
weak onboard graphics
only 128GB SSD
battery life could be longer
max brightness could be better
This version of the HP Pavilion 15.6” laptop comes with a AMD Ryzen 5 3500U CPU and onboard AMD Radeon Vega 8 graphics, neither of which are particularly powerful. Although you’ll be able to run undemanding games decently on this machine, everything else will have to be on the lowest settings. The 60Hz display is more or less what you’d expect at this price point, with a poor max brightness and not so great color gamut, but not significantly worse than most other selections on this page.
The 128GB SSD is wholly inadequate for gaming usage, and you’ll likely only be able to fit a few games on it following the installation of your OS. That being said, the inclusion of the 1TB HDD is a welcome form of compensation, and you’ll want to put as much of your non-gaming files on here as possible to maximize your limited SSD space.
The laptop does have some things in its favour however. It runs quite cool for a gaming laptop, and yet still has remarkably quiet fans: though you will notice the noise under load, they’re a lot quieter than most gaming laptops. Unfortunately this probably contributes to the draining of the battery, which you can only expect to last around 3 hours under strenuous loads.
At present pricing then, we can’t really recommend this laptop for gaming compared to other examples on this list, which come switch significantly more for around the same price, or in the case of the ASUS F512DA-EB51 VivoBook, with the same CPU and GPU but for substantially cheaper and with a 256GB SSD (although it does lack an SD card reader).
respectable color replication for the price
weak onboard graphics
no card reader
In many aspects, this laptop is similar to the other version of the Acer Aspire laptop reviewed above, except this version comes with an Intel CPU and onboard graphics, rather than AMD. This particular version however only comes with a 256GB SSD, which is unfortunate, and something we’d recommend upgrading at a later point. Besides this, as with the other version, there is a decent array of ports, and the weight of the laptop is fairly light. The 60Hz IPS screen also has good color replication for this price point. As before, there is no SD card reader.
Generally, we’d recommend going with the AMD version of the laptop rather than this one, unless you are a hardcore Intel fan, as both the Ryzen 7 3700U CPU and onboard Vega 10 graphics are much more powerful in that version, not to mention the additional disk space. Indeed, both the CPU and onboard graphics performance in our Budget Pick the ASUS F512DA-EB51 VivoBook are superior, despite only coming with Vega 8 graphics. The only real advantage is that you will find this Intel Core i5-8265 version for a slightly lower price, though relative to the performance and utility you lose out on, we’d say this particular saving isn’t really worth it.
So there you have it, this has been our list of the best gaming laptops for under $600.
To reiterate, the Acer Aspire 5 A515-43-R6DE Slim Laptop is the best option if you’re looking for something new, but we’d consider going with a refurbished model such as the Acer Nitro AN515 if you actually want to get some decent gaming performance, as the specifications you can get for the same price are much more powerful.
Please see the side of this page for recommended laptop guides for different budgets if you didn’t find what you’re looking for here.
If there’s any particular laptop you’d like us to cover that we haven’t already, please also leave a comment below.