The Best Gaming Laptops For Under $800

We Hand Pick The Best 17 Inch, 15 Inch, 120Hz And 144Hz Gaming Laptops For $800 And Less

WEPC Laptop under 800 dollars Featured image 01

For the most power in your game-playing machine, you can’t beat a desktop PC, however sometimes the portability and flexibility that comes with a laptop wins out. Unfortunately, these features don’t come cheap, and $800 or less puts you firmly in the “budget” end of the spectrum when it comes to gaming laptops.

Below are the best gaming laptops you can buy for around and under the $800 threshold, organised relative to their main pros and cons. These selections come from a range of manufacturers and have different specs, but they all offer solid gaming performance for the price and would also make solid general use laptops too.

We would advise reading through the ‘Things To Consider’ section before getting stuck into the individual reviews. If you don’t find what you’re looking for here, check out our other guides for the best gaming laptops at different prices, which should be recommended alongside this page. Additionally you can have a look at our sister website Which Laptop for more detailed guides on the best gaming laptops for every budget.

Our Top Picks

Best All Round Gaming Laptop For $800
Best Graphics Card & Best CPU For The Price
Best Alternative Gaming Laptop For $800
An Intel-Powered Gaming Laptop With The Best Graphics Card For The Price
Best 144Hz Gaming Laptop For $800
The Best Display For Gaming With A Terrific Battery Life

The Best Gaming Laptops Of 2020 And 2021 For $800 Or Under

Best All Round Gaming Laptop For $800
Best Graphics Card & Best CPU For The Price
  • Gaming Performance 5.0
  • Screen Quality 4.7
  • General Functionality 4.8
  • Portability 4.8
  • 0 /5
    Editor's Rating

    This Lenovo Legion 5 comes with the best CPU and GPU combination you can get at this price. For non-color accurate workstation tasks, the AMD Ryzen 5 4600H offers great multi-core support and the GeForce GTX 1650 Ti is the top graphics card at this level.

    This Lenovo laptop may be lacking somewhat in terms of its screen – the color gamut is fairly narrow and the low maximum brightness limits its uses outside of darker lit spaces, however under the hood it packs a punch. The combination of the AMD Ryzen 5 4600H processor with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti graphics card means that in terms of FPS generating power, the area that typically matters most to gamers, it is the superior choice at this budget level, assuming you can get it for a good price.

    Best Alternative Gaming Laptop For $800
    An Intel-Powered Gaming Laptop With The Best Graphics Card For The Price
  • Gaming Performance 5.0
  • Screen Quality 4.8
  • General Functionality 4.7
  • Portability 4.8
  • 0 /5
    Editor's Rating
    1. The Dell G3 15 inch gaming laptop is the best option for those on a $800 budget who want to go with an Intel CPU. The GeForce GTX 1650 Ti is the best graphics card you can get at this price range and the laptop comes with a 512GB SSD and a 120Hz screen with solid color replication.

    The Dell G3 15 inch gaming laptop, kitted out with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti and Intel Core i5-10300H doesn’t quite match the power of the Lenovo Legion 5 in that the Intel CPU cannot match the AMD processor on multi-core performance. Besides this though it has an SSD of twice the size and a screen with a much wider color gamut, which may tip some people in its favor. Backlight bleeding can be an issue in darker spaces when viewing dimly lit footage/gameplay, however, the max brightness is better than the Legion 5 so it does better in more brightly lit spaces.

    Best 144Hz Gaming Laptop For $800
    The Best Display For Gaming With A Terrific Battery Life
  • Gaming Performance 4.8
  • Screen Quality 4.9
  • General Functionality 4.9
  • Portability 4.7
  • 0 /5
    Editor's Rating

    This ASUS TUF Gaming A15 comes with a quick 144Hz display, making it great value for the price. This is powered by a AMD Ryzen 5 4600H, which offers great multi-core performance, and GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card. A 512GB SSD and a great battery life round off a superb value laptop.

    Another ASUS TUF Gaming A15 makes it into one of our ‘best of’ lists, this time the GTX 1650 version with the Ryzen 5 4600H CPU. Although the CPU matches our top choice in this list, the Lenovo Legion 5, the graphics card for the TUF gaming machine is not as good as the Ti model the Legion or the Acer Nitro 5 comes with. The trade-off for this however is the benefit of a 144Hz screen and a 512GB SSD, not to mention a superior battery life, all of which are great features for the price.

    Best 17 Inch Gaming Laptop For $800
    Great Value For A 17.3" Screen
  • Gaming Performance 4.7
  • Screen Quality 4.8
  • General Functionality 4.8
  • Portability 4.9
  • 0 /5
    Editor's Rating

    For a 120Hz 17.3 inch laptop at this price, the MSI GF75 is a bargain. For a gaming laptop it has relatively quiet fans and is quite lightweight, given the size of its screen. This laptop also comes with a 512GB SSD.

    The MSI GF75 17.3 inch version is one of the cheapest laptops of this screen size you will get that you can legitimately call a ‘gaming laptop’. Although the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 isn’t the most powerful GPU you can get at this price point, and the Intel Core i5-10300H processor does not match the AMD CPUs on this page for multi-tasking performance, for gaming it’s solid. The narrow color gamut means it isn’t suitable for any design work where color is important, but for games it’s fine. The 8GB of RAM isn’t ideal and upgrading it will break any warranty you have, so you need to consider this tradeoff. Besides this though this is a great value, light and portable 17.3” laptop.

    Also Consider
    A Cool-Running Alternative With An Impressive Battery Life
  • Gaming Performance 4.8
  • Screen Quality 4.7
  • General Functionality 4.8
  • Portability 4.8
  • 0 /5
    Editor's Rating

    This Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop comes with the multi-core power of a AMD Ryzen 5 4600H paired with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card. It has a very good battery life and remains remarkably cool to the touch for a gaming laptop.

    This version of the Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop isn’t the best laptop on this list but its still a solid performer. It does come with the superior AMD Ryzen 5 4600H CPU, meaning it can provide decent performance in workstation tasks as well as gaming, and the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 does the job. Whilst the 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD in particular are not really large enough, these features can be upgraded. The screen has a relatively narrow color space and not the best brightness, but for gaming in non-brightly lit environments it does the job. The superior battery life of this machine and the fact it remains cooler to the touch than most of its peers under stress does work in its favor.

    Best Gaming Laptops Under $800

    Best All Round Gaming Laptop For $800
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    Best Alternative Gaming Laptop For $800
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    Best 144Hz Gaming Laptop For $800
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    Best 17 Inch Gaming Laptop For $800
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    Also Consider
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    In-depth Review

    1.
    Best All Round Gaming Laptop For $800
    Best Graphics Card & Best CPU For The Price
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    Pros

    Nvidia GTX 1650 Ti graphics card

    AMD CPU good for low-level workstation tasks

    good contrast ratio

    Cons

    max brightness could be higher

    narrow color gamut

    The Lenovo Legion 5 comes in various versions, each with different price points. The version listed here is slightly beyond the budget of this list at the current RRP, but can frequently be found reduced to around the $800 mark.

    The reason this laptop is our best all-round pick, is that it comes with both the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti graphics card (more powerful than the standard GTX 1650) and also the AMD Ryzen 5 4600H CPU, which offers the best overall performance at this price point and lead the Intel competition in multi-core performance in particular. This is the best combination you will get on this budget and will give you the greatest amount of power when playing games.

    The 120Hz display has a good contrast ratio but suffers from a fairly low maximum brightness. Additionally, the color gamut of the screen is not particularly wide, rendering this screen unsuitable for any color-related workstation uses.

    The smaller 256GB SSD is mitigated somewhat by the additional 1 TB HDD that accompanies it. The 8GB RAM is not ideal, but this can be upgraded after purchase to at least 16GB and this is probably something we would advise doing, particularly if you intend to use it for light workstation uses. The battery life is fairly respectable though, at around 7 hours of strenuous use outside of gaming.

    2.
    Best Alternative Gaming Laptop For $800
    An Intel-Powered Gaming Laptop With The Best Graphics Card For The Price
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    Pros

    Nvidia GTX 1650 Ti graphics card

    512GB SSD

    wide color gamut

    stylish but reserved looks suitable for office use

    Cons

    battery life could be better

    backlight bleeding may be an issue

    Again the full listed price of the Dell G3 15 inch gaming laptop is somewhat beyond the $800 price range of this guide, however, we have seen it discounted from multiple retailers for less than this threshold value. If you can snap the variant we have listed here up for this price then we would definitely recommend doing so, given that it not only comes with an Nvidia GTX 1650Ti graphics card (most on this list only having the vanilla 1650 variant) but also a 512GB SSD.

    The 8GB of RAM is to be expected at this price point but this can always be upgraded later on, should it become needed. The Intel Core i5-10300H does the job, although it won’t match the AMD Ryzen 5 4600H (as listed here on some other models) for multi-core performance. Ultimately whether you go with the Dell G3 over the Lenovo Legion 5 depends on how much prioritize having a larger SSD as standard over the multi-core performance of the latter.

    The 120Hz screen the laptop comes with has solid color replication in the sRGB space and solid contrast ratio as is often the case with Dell, however, backlight bleeding is an issue if you’re using the laptop in underlit spaces and looking at darker footage/gameplay.

    The laptop is not the lightest, but neither is it the heaviest. Battery life is pretty much average for a gaming laptop, at around 6 hours of strenuous non-gaming use. Aesthetically speaking, although such matters are clearly subjective, we have to say that both color variants of this laptop manage to be both stylish but subdued enough to be suitable for office use. All-in-all: a great budget laptop.

    3.
    Best 144Hz Gaming Laptop For $800
    The Best Display For Gaming With A Terrific Battery Life
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    Pros

    AMD CPU good for low-level workstation tasks

    144Hz screen

    512GB SSD

    very long battery life

    Cons

    not thin or particularly portable

    narrow color gamut

    The ASUS TUF Gaming A15 comes in a variety of SKUs (i.e. specific configurations) at the budget level, and this version comes with a Ryzen 5 4600H processor and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card. The Ryzen processor is the best available on this budget, though it should be noted that the GTX 1650 Ti is superior to the vanilla GTX 1650 this machine comes with, which means this laptop cannot claim to have the best gaming performance in terms of FPS at this price point.

    However, the 144Hz display is a feature that is hard to come by for a c.$800 machine. Whilst you will not be able to play the latest, most demanding games at speeds that touch 144FPS, older games such as CS:GO or COD will certainly be able to reach these levels if you don’t mind playing on medium-low settings. This means for gamers interested in playing competitively on these fast-paced titles for whom effective frames are paramount, the ASUS TUF Gaming A15 is a very attractive contender.

    On top of this, the 512GB SSD and very long battery life (expect around 8 hours doing taxing non-gaming tasks) also put it ahead of some of the other offerings on this page, assuming you don’t mind the somewhat chunky build of the laptop.

    Finally, the color gamut of the screen may be somewhat narrow, making it unsuitable for color work, however, the contrast ratio is good and brightness levels do the job, making it a fine machine for gaming.

    4.
    Best 17 Inch Gaming Laptop For $800
    Great Value For A 17.3" Screen
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    Pros

    17.3” display for a budget price

    512GB SSD

    relatively quiet fans

    relatively lightweight

    Cons

    narrow color gamut

    upgrading RAM breaks warranty

    The MSI GF75 17.3 inch version is a fairly rare sight at under $800 in that it has a larger screen than you’d commonly get for this price on a laptop with the hardware to play games. It would be nice if the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 was the more powerful Ti version, but the Intel Core i5-10300H CPU at least offers powerful single-core performance. Ultimately what you are paying for is the 17 inch, 120Hz display, and for gaming purposes, it’s a solid screen. The hardware should be able to handle demanding games on the lower settings, and on less demanding games you will be able to reach the 120 FPS cap.

    The color space on the display is somewhat narrow, rendering it unsuitable for any color-focused workstation uses, however it’s perfectly adequate for games. Perhaps the biggest annoyance is the fact that the 8GB RAM (below what we’d generally advise using) cannot be upgraded without breaking the warranty – so you will have to calculate the risk of this trade-off. Fortunately, the 512GB SSD the machine comes with, means upgrading the SSD is not such a big priority.

    This MSI GF75 is surprisingly light for a laptop with a 17.3” display, and for a gaming laptop it actually has relatively quiet fans, even when under moderate loads. Both of these features adds to its usefulness as a portable working/gaming machine, though as with all gaming laptops you’ll need to plug it in to have good performance on any moderately demanding game. All of this makes the MSI GF75 a cracking option for a budget gaming laptop.

    5.
    Also Consider
    A Cool-Running Alternative With An Impressive Battery Life
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    Pros

    AMD CPU good for low-level workstation tasks

    very good battery life

    remains cool even under stress

    Cons

    narrow color gamut

    only 256GB SSD

    brightness could be better

    The Acer Nitro 5 with AMD Ryzen 5 4600H CPU and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card is a solid choice, even if it comes with a weaker GPU than our top two picks on this list.

    The 120Hz display has a fairly narrow color gamut and isn’t particularly color accurate, so we wouldn’t advise relying on it for color-related workstation uses, but for other workstation tasks, the multi-core AMD processor punches above its weight. Color-wise the screen is also fine for gaming on, although the low max brightness means it won’t perform best in brightly lit environments.

    The 8GB RAM and 256GB aren’t ideal, though both can be upgraded post-purchase, nevertheless, this should be factored into your overall cost and budget when considering the Acer Nitro 5.

    One of the biggest selling points on this laptop is the battery life. The battery on this laptop is comparable to the ASUS TUF Gaming A15 – you can expect to get up to 8 hours during strenuous usage outside of gaming. We can also say that this version of the Acer Nitro 5 remains unusually cool even under prolonged gaming usage, so if you’re prone to getting sweatier hands when typing, or will be using it in a warmer environment, this is an often-overlooked advantage you may want to consider.

    Things To Consider When Buying A $800 Gaming Laptop

    For a more thorough look at what to think about when shopping for a gaming laptop generally, have a quick scan of this same section on our Best Gaming Laptops For 2020 & 2021 page. Below is a quick summary of things to consider when shopping to a $800 budget specifically.

    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.

    Limiting your budget to $800 unfortunately means you cannot expect to be able to play the newest releases on high settings and get a good FPS. At this level, even medium graphical settings on demanding may be a stretch, though certainly low settings will be feasible. At this price point and lower if you want decent FPS on high settings you will need to stick to somewhat older games, or at least newer ones that have less graphical demands. Broadly speaking, you could probably expect to get around 70-90 FPS on GTA V on high settings on most of the laptops listed below. If you want more than this then we would advise you either consider spending more and have a look at our best gaming laptops for under $1,500 page, or alternatively consider a desktop PC you can build yourself or a prebuilt computer, for under $800.

    Maximum Refresh Rate

    At around the $800 mark, 144Hz screens become uncommon, and the typical maximum is 120Hz. Having said that, 144Hz do occasionally crop up on this budget, though usually they sacrifice some other aspect.

    Resolution

    Under $800 the best native resolution you can hope for in a gaming laptop is 1920 x 1080. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as 1080p is the resolution many competitive gamers who play fast-paced online shooters would use anyway, no matter their budget. On top of that, unless you are looking for a screen side above 15 inches its debatable how much you’d get out of higher resolution screens anyway.

    Hard Drive & RAM

    Typically we’d say 256GB for an SSD in a laptop or desktop PC is too small a size to be practical. Many of today’s games can reach 50GB plus, and once you’ve installed the operating system this doesn’t leave a lot of room. Unfortunately at under $800, 256GB becomes much more common. If the laptop you have your heart set on only has 256GB then we’d advise upgrading the SSD to a larger one or adding an additional SSD or HDD.
    Similarly, 8GB RAM becomes common in laptops at around $800. We’d strongly advise upgrading this to 16GB where possible.

    Color Replication

    At this price point, screens with a wide color gamut become hard to find. 100% sRGB replication is unlikely, as good color accuracy, although there may be at least one example on this page which has this in its favor.

    Ports & Connectivity

    Ports and sockets are usually at the bottom of a customer’s priorities, hence manufacturers of budget laptops tend to sacrifice them first before other components. Hence, you’re unlikely to find SD card readers or Thunderbolt support in laptops under $800, and the amount of USB coverage may not be as extensive.

    Final Word

    This has been our guide to the best gaming laptops in 2020 and 2021 for those on a $800 budget. We hope that this has helped you decide which gaming laptop is right for you. If you are thinking of spending a bit more or a bit less on your laptop purchase, take a gander at our other laptop guides for different budgetary constraints which are listed in the recommended articles alongside this page.

    If you are having second thoughts about choosing a gaming laptop over a desktop PC, take a looksie at our guides on high-end desktop builds for under $1,000 and also the best pre-built PC for under $1,000.

    If there are any particular laptops you would like to see reviewed that we have not yet covered, do let us know in a comment below.