The Best Gaming Laptops For Under $1,500

The Ultimate Guide To Five Of The Best Gaming Laptops For Under $1,500!

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Picking a new gaming laptop can be as difficult as it is exciting. From RAM to CPU, to panel type and GPU, there are just so many things to think about. When you’re juggling all this information, it can be easy to lose track of what you really need and get caught up in a storm of incremental specs.

Having a strict budget is the best way to guide yourself through the market, but if you need a helping hand getting started, you’re in the right place. We’ve rated and reviewed five of the best gaming laptops you can buy for less than $1,500.

Our Top Picks

Best All-Rounder

WePC Editors Choice Badge

Razer Blade 15 (2020)

Best Build Quality

Dell Alienware M15 R1

Best Gaming Laptop for Under $1,500: First Look

Best All-Rounder

Razer Blade 15 (2020)
0 /5
Editor's Rating
4.9/5

This thing really has no right holding a price tag less than $1,500. Loaded with Nvidia’s state-of-the-art RTX 2060 GPU, a 6-core 10th gen core i7 10750H Intel processor, and expandable 16GB dual-channel memory; all packed beautifully into a super thin and durable aluminium chassis.

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The Razer Blade 15 Base is a dominant force in laptop gaming at the minute.

Featuring a 15.6” 1080p display with 100% sRGB color gamut and a bezel so thin you’ll hardly notice it’s there, the Razer is basically a portal into another dimension you fit in your backpack.

Best Build Quality

Dell Alienware M15 R1
0 /5
Editor's Rating
4.8/5

If you’re looking for a gaming laptop that’s not just got the goods on the inside, but looks the part too, then the Alienware M15 R1 is perfect for you. Featuring a full-metal chassis with the Alienware logo front and center on the lid, this Dell is a total head-turner.

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You’ll be happy to know this is one of the smallest Dell Alienware models ever, a refinement that’s been long overdue, but it’s still one of the larger gaming laptops currently on the market. It has a wider form factor than your Razers and your MSI GS 65s, but that extra space is cradling a 6-core 9th gen Intel processor, awesome graphics facilities, and Thunderbolt 3 and HDMI 2 connectivity.

Biggest Display

ASUS ROG Strix G17 G712LW
0 /5
Editor's Rating
4.7/5

With an epic 17.3” of FHD IPS screen real estate, the Strix G17 offers you one of the most immersive gaming experiences at this point in the market, but it’s not just big, that display is backed up by an RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU.

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Boasting 32GB of DDR4 storage and 1TB PCI-e NVMe SSD memory, the Asus Strix is a total gaming powerhouse. What’s more, the G17 features one of the most innovative factory cooling systems of all the laptops we review on this list, so if you like a cool, quiet performance, this should be a serious contender for you.

Best Value for Money

MSI GL65 Leopard 10SFK-062
0 /5
Editor's Rating
4.6/5

The MSI GL65 is the most affordable laptop on our list, but try as you might, you won’t be able to find where costs have been cut in terms of performance.

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It’s loaded with an RTX 2070 GPU, an Intel core i7 10750H, a 144Hz IPS 15.6” display with a near 100% sRGB color profile, 16GB RAM, and 512GB NVMe SSD storage.

On the other hand, with only a semi-metal construction that utilizes a great deal of plastic, it’s not quite as durable as some of the other featured laptops.

Best Visual Performance

Acer Predator Triton 500 PT515-52-73L3
0 /5
Editor's Rating
4.5/5

The Acer Predator Triton is right at the top of our budget here, but it’s packing one hell of a punch. It’s brimming with exciting prospects, but the most enticing of all is the lightning-quick 300Hz refresh rate display, making it top-dog for truly seamless gameplay.

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Within the full-metal chassis, making the most of that magical display, you’ll find an Nvidia RTX 2070 Super and a 6-core Intel i7 10750H CPU. Running over the specs, there’s certainly no doubt that this is a high-performance laptop primed and ready for some serious overclocking, and knife-edge gaming.

How We Choose

At some point in each of our gaming lives at WePC we’ve been every kind of gamer imaginable. We’ve been total novices, intermediates, professionals, had strict budgets to work with, or splurged on expensive gear. We’ve had limitations, freedoms, and challenges, and through our first-hand experience, we empathize with the gaming community as a whole, utilizing this understanding to choose the best products for you.

Most importantly of all, we test every one of these computers ourselves. This way we can give you authentic and empirical information that will actually help you on your gaming journey.

Things to Consider

Let’s run over some of the essential criteria you need to look into when you’re shopping around for a new gaming laptop.

Display

Once you’ve settled on the display size you’re after, you need to contemplate panel type. IPS paneling is generally considered the best for gaming as it features greater image acuity and color depth.

Next, you’ll need to think about resolution, refresh rates, response times, and color gamut. You’re unlikely to find 1440 resolutions in this price range, but 1080 is often preferred for gaming anyway. The refresh rate should be at least 144Hz, and anything below 5ms is a suitable response time. In terms of color gamut, you should expect between 97-100% sRGB at this price.

Thermals

Being so small, gaming laptops can really struggle to stay cool sometimes. They just don’t have the space to incorporate thermal solutions the way desktops do, which is why it’s important to examine the fan system in place.

Even though the fans need to be small, a little bit of ingenuity on the manufacturer’s part, tweaking blade length, angle, speed, and location, can amount to an incredibly capable and quiet cooling system.

CPU

The CPU is essentially the control center of your gaming laptop. Combined with the memory configuration, it defines how fast your computer can operate and what sort of tasks it’s good for.

The key feature to look out for in CPUs is their core-count. Single cores are best for high-speed gaming, but multithreaded cores are best for parallelizing workflows. 4 cores are considered the minimum requirement for gaming, 6 are ideal, and 8 would be suited for heavy multitasking.

GPU

Your GPU processes graphical information and portrays the images you see on screen. A powerful GPU is essential for streamlined gaming. A weak GPU will amount to a low frame rate and ill-defined graphics.

If you’re torn between laptops with similar GPUs, consider their core-count, memory configurations, and clock speeds to ascertain which is best for you. You may also find laptops that have separate graphics facilities to back up the GPU, which can lead to even more impressive visuals and gameplay.

Memory

There are two types of memory you should be aware of: RAM and SSD. RAM is displayed in the “DDR” format. Modern gaming laptops in this price range should have at least a 16GB DDR4 memory type. RAM is fast-acting memory. It’s a huge contributor to system responsiveness and helps to boost frames per second.

SSD is your laptop’s storage system and is where all your files are kept. The standard at this level is 512GB, which is enough to install and play a good amount of games before an upgrade is required.

Build Quality

Being that laptops are so portable, they need to be able to handle the rigors of the road. Granted, you’ll probably have a quality bag to transport it in, but with all the picking up and placing down, and possibly even dropping, it still needs to be built well.

All-metal builds provide a lot of impact resistance and give the whole device a nice feel. Single-piece full-metal builds are even better. It’s best to avoid plastics where you can, but there are some great laptops out there with hybrid metal/plastic constructions. Strong hinges are also a must.

Best Gaming Laptops Under $1,500 For 2020 & 2021

Best All-Rounder

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1200px Razer snake logo.svg
Razer Blade 15 (RTX 2060 Max-Q)

CPU

Intel i7-10750H

GPU

Geforce RTX 2060 Max-Q

RAM

16GB DDR4-2933MHz

Storage Space

512GB SSD

Screen Size

15.6″ Full HD 144Hz

Dimensions (LxWxH)

19.9mm x 235mm x 355mm

Best Build Quality

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Biggest Display

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Best Value for Money

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Best Visual Performance

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Best All-Rounder

Razer Blade 15 (2020)
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Tech Specs

CPU

Intel i7-10750H

GPU

Geforce RTX 2060 Max-Q

RAM

16GB DDR4-2933MHz

Storage Space

512GB SSD

Screen Size

15.6″ Full HD 144Hz

Dimensions (LxWxH)

19.9mm x 235mm x 355mm

Pros

Incredibly thin and lightweight

Multi-threaded 10th gen i7 CPU

Great price

Solid aluminum build

Stays pretty cool

Easily upgraded

Cons

2060 is the entry-level RTX card

Expensive

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Featuring Intel’s hyper-threaded 6-core i7-107050H CPU with a base clock speed of 2.6GHz and a boosted rate of 5GHz, this machine has the goods not just for gaming, but for seamless multitasking too.

The integrated RTX 2060 GPU is no less impressive. It may be the entry-level RTX card, but matched with the Razer’s 15.6” 1080p resolution with a 144Hz refresh rate, it’s still going to average well over the 100 frames per second mark across most titles.

We’ve all endured the infuriating ‘other’ content that seems to take up most of our storage, but Razer’s Zero Bloatware system helps to reduce unnecessary applications so you enjoy the full effect of your 16GB DDR4 storage and 512GB NVMe SSD.

In terms of cooling, you should rarely breach the 80° zone and the fans do a great job of keeping the keyboard cool without reaching obnoxiously loud volumes.

Perhaps even more impressive than any individual aspect of this Razer is that all these components are packed neatly into the single-piece, super-thin, 4.7lbs CNC aluminum enclosure, making it the perfect laptop for gaming on the go.

Best Build Quality

Dell Alienware M15 R1
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Tech Specs

Processor

Intel Core i7-9750H

RAM

32GB DDR4 2666 MHz

Display

5.6″ FHD (1920 x 1080) 240Hz Anti-Glare IPS

Weight

4.78 LBS

Pros

Built like a tank

RTX 2070 GPU

Thunderbolt 3 and HDMI 2.0 connectivity

32GB DDR4 RAM

Runs pretty cool

240Hz refresh rate

Cons

I7 CPU is 9th gen

Too bulky for some

Top and bottom bezels are quite thick

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We’ve all seen Alienware laptops around, and that’s because they’re impossible not to see. Historically, these things are huge beasts of computers, but the M15 R1 is a much more compact design. It’s still notably larger than standard thin-line laptops, but it’s certainly more portable than ever before.

What the R1 one has carried over from previous iterations apart from the decidedly sci-fi aesthetics and the signature Alienware logo is the insane build quality. The chassis is all-metal construction, but they haven’t thinned anything out to reduce weight; that’s not Alienware’s style. This metal is thick, rigid, and built to last.

Inside the tank-like exterior, the M15 R1 is packing a 9th gen Intel 7i, which unfortunately means it will exhibit slightly diminished ICP facilities compared to the 10th gen i7 CPUs, but it’s probably pretty negligible in terms of just gaming. The GPU, on the other hand, does not fall short. If you choose the R1, you’ll be the proud owner of an RTX 2070 graphics processor optimizing that 240Hz, 15.6” IPS, FHD display.

With excellent thermal performance, 32GB DDR4 memory, and unique aesthetics, the M15 A1 could be the slick, biomechanical nightmare of your dreams.

Biggest Display

ASUS ROG Strix G17 G712LW
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Tech Specs

CPU

Intel Core i7-10750H

Graphics

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q

RAM

32GB

Storage

1TB SSD

Screen Size

17.3″

Max Refresh Rate

144Hz

Pros

ntel Core i7-10750H CPU

17.3” display

32GB RAM

1TB SSD

Extensive adjustable LEDs

Cons

no webcam

loud under load

no SD card reader

no Thunderbolt support

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The Asus ROG Strix is the perfect way to indulge in a larger display if that’s the route you wish to take for your gaming. At 17.3”, the IPS 144Hz 1080p resolution is insanely inviting.

Other than the expansive display, the thing we really love about this laptop is the integrated RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU. This is some really high-end hardware to have in a gaming laptop under $1,500, and it’s going to introduce you to a whole new world of in-game graphics potential.

With a 10th gen 6-core i7 CPU at the helm, supported by 32GB of DDR4 RAM and 1x M.2 SSD, the ROG is ready to shoulder intensive parallel workloads, so if you’re a content creator or you like to stream while you game and have a few tabs on the go, this laptop is a solid choice.

The first thing you’ll notice upon flipping the Strix lid is that you’re blasted in the face with LED power. This thing has light coming out the wazoo, but if you like more of a lowkey design, you can switch them all off. Holding all those lights together is a rigid, brushed metal build, with little to no flex, kept cool by a liquid metal thermal compound.

Best Value for Money

MSI GL65 Leopard 10SFK-062
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Tech Specs

Operating System

Windows 10 Home

CPU Manufacturer

Intel

Screen Size

15.6 Inches

Computer Memory

Size 16 GB

Pros

RTX 2070 GPU

144Hz 1080p display

Amazing price

Specs hold their own against more expensive laptops

Cons

Thermals aren’t the best

Enclosure is mostly plastic

Some bloatware

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Here’s a laptop that’s aimed largely at the beginner/intermediate market, so it’s not quite as dear, which is great, especially as it’s boasting some pretty intensive hardware such as a 10th gen i7 processor, and an RTX 2070 GPU. Where you will notice some cost-cutting is in the build quality. Don’t get us wrong, it’s not flimsy by any measure, but MSI has used their fair share of plastics for the enclosure.

Despite the stalking silence of its big cat namesake, the fans can run pretty loud on the GL65. That’s not to say they don’t do a terrific job keeping things nice and cool, they do, and the performance this thing puts out more than makes up for it. With a 15.6”, 144Hz, 1080p IPS display, and 16GB DDR4 memory, gaming is never anything other than buttery smooth.

It’s not a perfect machine, but the MSI GL65 is so good for the price, something doesn’t even feel quite right about it. It must be some kind of glitch in the matrix. Considering it shares a lot of the same specs with some of the more expensive laptops on our list, there’s no doubt that the GL56 offers you the most bang for your buck.

Best Visual Performance

Acer Predator Triton 500 PT515-52-73L3
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Pros

Hyperthreaded 10th gen i7 CPU

300Hz refresh rate 1080p display

RTX 2070 graphics card

Solid build

16GB DDR4 dual-channel memory

Tweakable RGB light display

Cons

Expensive

Keyboard could be more ergonomic

Top and bottom bezels are quite thick

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The Predator name is an absolute classic, and with a 300Hz 15.6” display and an RTX 2070 Super GPU, it’s the Triton that’s going to offer you the most visually stunning gaming experience of any of the laptops on our list, but the good news doesn’t start and end with visuals.

Featuring a 10th gen i7 10750H 6-core processor, and 16GB DDR4 memory, the Triton offers smooth performance for general computing, and thanks to the particularly rugged enclosure, it’s primed to handle the rigors of the commute.

The keyboard is of reasonable quality, but some might be put off by the single row enter key and the fact that the arrows are squashed in cheek to cheek with the other keys.

In terms of connectivity, you get a pretty impressive array with a single USB-C Thunderbolt port, three USB 3.2 ports, an HDMI 2.0 port, an ethernet port, and a mini display port.

This Acer Predator isn’t exactly cheap. Some would definitely rather forfeit some of the specs for a more affordable laptop. Things like the 300Hz refresh rate might be a little unnecessary for typical day-to-day gameplay, but that juiced refresh rate is the very thing that’s going to help you thrive in competitive gaming contexts.

Final Word

If this list’s proved anything, it’s that you don’t need to remortgage your house and sell your car to fund some truly mind-blowing gaming laptops. You may have noticed a lot of similarities between some of these laptops, and that’s because manufacturers like to pack in as much tech as is fiscally viable. It can make choosing a laptop a confusing process, but the good news is that there really aren’t any wrong answers.

The Razer Blade 15 is the best choice if you want a versatile machine, but it’s not so different performance-wise than, say, the ASUS ROG Strix G17. If refresh rates and silken graphics are your ideas of a great gaming computer, then the Acer Predator Triton 500 might be more suited to you, but the average gamer probably won’t appreciate the 156Hz difference. In terms of build quality, the Alienware M15 R1 is leagues ahead, but if you just want the best cost/performance ratio, the MSI GL65 Leopard is 100% the way to go.