The Best Gaming Laptop Under $500: 5 Budget Gaming Laptops in 2021

In This Article, We Have Compared And Discussed Five Of The Best Gaming Laptops For $500 In 2021

Best Gaming Laptop Under 500

This article will help you find the best gaming laptop under 500 USD to meet your needs. Each of the five gaming laptops listed has different strengths and weaknesses, as well as different retail prices. Our reviews focus on specifications such as GPU, CPU, memory, and display to help you decide between them. If you want to get the very best mobile gaming platforms available, regardless of price, then take a look at our best gaming laptop page.

Is The Best Gaming Laptop Under 500 USD Worth Buying?

When looking for the best gaming laptop under 500 USD, one needs to be aware of the various restrictions that such a budget puts on your available options. At this pricing, you really are only going to be able to get entry-level gaming performance, though if you’re only going to be playing older, less demanding games, this may not be a problem.

We suggest you have a quick skim through our Things To Consider When Buying A Gaming Laptop Under $500 section below to get a quick overview of the market in this price bracket so you can make the best choice.

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Our Top Picks

01
Editor's Choice
HP Pavilion Gaming 15
hppav

HP Pavilion Gaming 15 (Intel 15-9300H, Nvidia GTX 1050)

02
Runner up
ASUS F512DA-EB51 VivoBook
03
Enthusiast Pick
Asus TUF FX505DT

Best Gaming Laptop for Under $500 : First Look

01
Editor's Choice
HP Pavilion Gaming 15
hppav

HP Pavilion Gaming 15 (Intel 15-9300H, Nvidia GTX 1050)

0 /5
Editor's Rating

The HP Pavilion is one of the more expensive laptops we have featured on this list. It has a 15.6” FHD IPS screen. It has one of the more interesting designs, it is black with a green HP logo. The keyboard is backlit and features green edges on the keys.

This uses the Windows 10 operating system and has an average battery life of six hours. It uses an Intel Core i5-9300H processor and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 GPU, both of which are great for gaming.

The laptop has a backlit keyboard, which also features a numeric keypad. Its Hard disk size is 256GB and it is a particularly lightweight gaming laptop.

02
Runner up
ASUS F512DA-EB51 VivoBook
ASUS F512DA EB51 VivoBook

ASUS F512DA-EB51 VivoBook 15 Thin And Light Laptop

0 /5
Editor's Rating

The Asus F512DA-EB51 VivoBook is a reasonably priced gaming laptop that has a Windows 10 Home operating system. Asus is a popular laptop brand, this model has a 15.6” full HD display.

It features an AMD CPU and AMD Radeon Vega 8 GPU. With a backlit keyboard and slate gray design, this is a sleek and modern laptop. Its ErgoLift design improves typing position, which will make long gaming sessions more comfortable.

It is lightweight and easy to transport. With 8GB RAM and speed, and storage of 256GB, it is a great choice overall.

03
Enthusiast Pick
Asus TUF FX505DT
tuf

Asus TUF FX505DT

0 /5
Editor's Rating

The Asus TUF FX505DT is the most expensive gaming laptop we have featured in this article, however, it is certainly great value for money. It is all black and uses a backlit keyboard.

The Asus runs on a Windows 10 Home operating system and features an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 GPU. The CPU is an AMD Quad-Core Ryzen 5 3550H.

It has a computer memory size of 8GB, and the screen size is 15.6”, with FHD Display. The Asus TUF uses DTS surround sound and has a hard disk size of 256GB.

04
Also consider
Lenovo - IdeaPad L340
lenovo Ideapad L340 Gaming Laptop

Lenovo IdeaPad L340

0 /5
Editor's Rating

The Lenovo IdeaPad L340 gaming laptop has a 15.6” Full HD display, with a 1920 x 1080 resolution. It is all black and the keyboard buttons have blue edges which add a pop of color.

It features a windows 10 operating system and has a computer memory side of 8GB. The Lenovo uses a 9th Gen Intel Core i5-9300HF mobile processor. The graphics card is an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650.

Weighing only 6.93 pounds it is fairly lightweight. It has a 256GB solid-state drive and is created by a popular laptop brand.

05
Budget Pick
Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop
Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575G-52RJ

Acer Aspire 5 A515-43-R19L

0 /5
Editor's Rating

The Acer Aspire 5 Laptop is thin in its design and sports a 15.6” full HP IPS display. It is the most affordable laptop we have featured but is not lacking in its specifications.

This laptop uses an AMD Ryzen 3 3200 Dual CPU and has an AMD Radeon Vega 3 Mobile Processor. It has a memory size of 4GB and runs on Windows 10. With a battery life of 7.5 hours, you can game uninterrupted for a significant amount of time.

Things to Consider When Buying A Gaming Laptop Under $500

Each of the below considerations should be taken into account when shopping for a gaming laptop under $500 specifically. If you are looking for a more general list of considerations that apply to gaming laptops of any budget, take a look at the ‘Things To Consider’ section of our Best Gaming Laptops page.

Realistic Expectations Of Gaming Performance

The unfortunate reality is that when you reach budgets of $500 for a gaming laptop, you are unlikely to get good FPS performance on even moderately demanding games. Most gaming laptops under $500 will come with integrated graphics (i.e. part of the CPU) instead of a separate, dedicated GPU, so you can’t expect the same level of performance.

Older games may run on decent Frames Per Second on medium-high settings, but for anything new, unless it has low requirements (e.g. map-based strategy games like Crusader Kings III), you will generally need to fork out more money. Our best gaming laptops for under $1,000 guide may be your best port of call. Alternatively, if mobility isn’t that big a priority for you, we’d suggest looking at desktop machines such as our $700 self-build gaming PC, or pre-build gaming PC for under $800. Ultimately you will nearly always get at least 50% more performance out of a desktop machine for the same price as you would from a laptop, as the power and cooling restrictions of the laptop chassis limit performance substantially.

Consider A Refurbished Laptop

Typically, we do not actually recommend refurbished products on WePC: although they’re usually worth considering, there is a general assumption you will almost always be able to get any product we recommend in a refurbished state for less money (unless it’s brand new of course) so to list them all would be redundant. We review products brand new – we leave it up to you to decide if you want to get them second-hand or not!

Nevertheless, as below budgets of $500 the FPS performing of laptops is severely restricted, we think it is occasionally worth suggesting the odd refurbished model for under $500 (that would retail for brand new above this price range), just to illustrate the fact it may be the better option here.

We would also advise looking at our Best Gaming Laptops under $600, $700, and $800 guides and seeing if you can find some of the options listed there at refurbished prices. Bear in mind that a refurbished gaming laptop will rarely come with a warranty or the other such benefits you would get with a brand new model.

Maximum Refresh Rate

At the time of writing, 120Hz gaming laptops are non-existent at budgets below $500 (unless you go refurbished of course). 60Hz is the norm at this price range, capping you at an effective 60 FPS performance in games. At such low Frames Per Second we could not recommend such laptops for competitive gaming use, though for slower-paced RPGs, strategy games, and adventure games where reaction time isn’t a problem then you will be OK, though you will find the overall experience a bit more janky and less immersive. If this isn’t for you then you’ll need to spend more money unfortunately (or buy a second-hand laptop).

Resolution

At $500 or less, you are going to be capped at 1920 x 1080 resolution for whichever gaming laptop you decide to go with. If you want 1440p or above you will have to spend at least $1,000, and likely more. Nevertheless, for many this won’t be a particularly major drawback – 1080p is still the ideal resolution for competitive gamers, and if your gaming laptop is 15” inch or smaller in size then it’s debatable as to whether a higher resolution screen is even worth the money (unless you’re also using it for visual workstation uses perhaps).

Hard Drive And RAM

You are unlikely to get a gaming laptop for under $500 with an HDD or SSD larger than 256GB, though the odd 512GB SSD model may occasionally appear on this page. At WePC we consider 256GB to be too small to be practical for the majority of gamers, with many new PC games needing over 50GB of disk space, not to mention the space taken up by the OS and other bits of software applications the average laptop user needs. We’d always suggest, where possible, to upgrade any 256GB SSD to 512GB or above, or to supplement it with an additional internal or external SSD or HDD.

Similarly for memory: you will not find RAM specs above 8GB in this price range as standard and we almost always recommend upgrading this to at least 16GB where possible.

Color Replication

Even at budgets of $500 you can still get a sufficiently good color gamut if you’re only playing games. If you’re looking to do some light design work alongside your gaming, however, you’re unlikely to find 100% sRGB replication in laptop displays in this price range, and color accuracy won’t be up to scratch either. If you want a gaming laptop capable of such dual-use, you’ll have to spend considerably more money to get a suitable display.

The Best Gaming Laptops Under $500 For 2021

01
Editor's Choice
hppav

HP Pavilion Gaming 15 (Intel 15-9300H, Nvidia GTX 1050)

Processor

Intel Core i5-9300H

RAM

8GB DDR4 SDRAM

Graphics Processor

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 3GB GDDR5

Storage

256GB SSD

Display

15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS Widescreen LED-backlit Display

Weight

4.96 lbs

02
Runner up
ASUS F512DA EB51 VivoBook

ASUS F512DA-EB51 VivoBook 15 Thin And Light Laptop

CPU

AMD Quad Core R5-3500U

Graphics

AMD RX Vega 8

RAM

8GB

Storage

256GB SSD

Screen Size

15.6”

Max Refresh Rate

60Hz

03
Enthusiast Pick
tuf
Asus Logo 500x177 1

Asus TUF FX505DT

Operating System

Windows 10 Home

CPU Manufacturer

AMD

Screen Size

15.6 Inches

Computer Memory Size

8 GB

04
Also consider
lenovo Ideapad L340 Gaming Laptop
lenovo Ideapad L340 Gaming Laptop

Lenovo IdeaPad L340

Operating System

Windows 10

CPU Manufacturer

Intel

Screen Size

15.6 Inches

Computer Memory Size

8 GB

05
Budget Pick
Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575G-52RJ

Acer Aspire 5 A515-43-R19L

CPU

AMD Ryzen 3 3200U-Series

GPU

AMD Radeon Vega 3 Mobile Graphics

Screen Size

15.6-Inch Full HD Display

RAM

4GB DDR4

Storage

128GB NVMe SSD

Ports

1 USB 3.1 Gen 1 port, 2 USB 2.0 ports & 1 HDMI port with HDCP support

In-depth Review

01
Editor's Choice
hppav

HP Pavilion Gaming 15 (Intel 15-9300H, Nvidia GTX 1050)

Processor

Intel Core i5-9300H

RAM

8GB DDR4 SDRAM

Graphics Processor

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 3GB GDDR5

Storage

256GB SSD

Display

15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS Widescreen LED-backlit Display

Weight

4.96 lbs

Pros

Good Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 for the price

Good Intel Core i5-9300H CPU for the price

Cons

Expensive compared to other options on this list

On the heavy side

At the top of our list is the HP Pavilion Gaming 15, which comes in various different SKUs for different prices, but this particular configuration comes with an Intel Core i5-9300H processor, which is notably more powerful than some other options on this list, but it also secures the top spot thanks to coming with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 GPU. This graphics card is the best you can currently hope for in this price range for a brand new gaming laptop and should be able to play most older / less-demanding games at low to middling graphical settings without its performance suffering too much.

We say “this price range” but admittedly the HP Pavilion Gaming 15 is usually outside of the budget for this guide at full price, however, we have seen it discounted within its range. Ultimately this selection illustrates what you can get if you stretch your budget a little higher.

The 60Hz 15.6” FHD IPS screen isn’t anything to write home about but is about the best you’ll get for this MSRP. The hard drive is the standard 256GB sized SSD that most options here come equipped with, and we’d advise supplementing this with an external hard drive, or upgrading to a larger SSD if you don’t mind losing your warranty. The same can be said for the 8GB of DDR4 RAM (we’d suggest upping it to 16GB).

Weight wise the laptop is one of the heavier on this list, though it is still a portable machine at 5lbs. Finally, the keyboard of the laptop is backlit and the overall design has a degree of understated style that makes it suitable for a workplace laptop as well.

02
Runner up
ASUS F512DA EB51 VivoBook

ASUS F512DA-EB51 VivoBook 15 Thin And Light Laptop

CPU

AMD Quad Core R5-3500U

Graphics

AMD RX Vega 8

RAM

8GB

Storage

256GB SSD

Screen Size

15.6”

Max Refresh Rate

60Hz

Pros

Decent Radeon Vega 8 Integrated graphics for the price

Decent AMD Ryzen 5 3500U for the price

Lightweight and slimline

Cons

No SD card reader

This Asus F512DA-EB51 VivoBook packs an AMD Ryzen 5 3500U Quad-Core CPU and an AMD RX Vega 8 graphics card. Although these core components don’t match the power of our top pick, they’re nothing to be sniffed at, and are the main reason this configuration of the Vivobook achieves runner-up position.

The other major positive in this laptop’s favour is its lightweight and overall design aesthetic. At 3.50lbs it’s the lightest on this list by some margin, not to mention the most slimline, and has the best typing ergonomics on its backlit keyboard. Generally, the Vivobook is the best selection here in terms of a sleek office laptop that can do some light undemanding gaming, although it doesn’t come with an SD card reader, which some may find to be a notable drawback.

It features an AMD CPU and AMD Radeon Vega 8 GPU. With a backlit keyboard and slate gray design, this is a sleek and modern laptop. Its ErgoLift design improves typing position, which will make long gaming sessions more comfortable.

The 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD storage are standard at this price point, and we’d consider upgrading them if it’s an option (warranty allowing) or at least supplementing the SSD with an external HDD. The 1080p 60Hz display isn’t brilliant but it’s the best you’ll get for this price.

03
Enthusiast Pick
tuf
Asus Logo 500x177 1

Asus TUF FX505DT

Operating System

Windows 10 Home

CPU Manufacturer

AMD

Screen Size

15.6 Inches

Computer Memory Size

8 GB

Pros

Quad-Core processor

8GB memory size

DTS surround sound

Cons

It is more expensive in comparison to the other laptops we have featured

The Asus TUF FX505DT is a laptop created specifically with gaming in mind. It is all black and has a backlit keyboard. It is 14.17 x 10.31 x 1.02 inches in its dimensions and weighs a total of 4.85 pounds. It uses a Windows 10 Home operating system.

The processor count is 4 and it has 8GB of RAM. Its 15.6” display is FHD and has a resolution of 1920 x 1080. It has an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 GPU, and an AMD Quad-Core Ryzen 5 3550H processor. The processor has a speed of 2.1 GHz, and up to 3.7 GHz.

The computer memory size is 8GB, which is more than suitable for gaming with no issues. It uses DTS surround sound which will help to enhance your overall gaming experience. When looking at the price, it is the most expensive laptop we have featured.

04
Also consider
lenovo Ideapad L340 Gaming Laptop
lenovo Ideapad L340 Gaming Laptop

Lenovo IdeaPad L340

Operating System

Windows 10

CPU Manufacturer

Intel

Screen Size

15.6 Inches

Computer Memory Size

8 GB

Pros

8GB memory system

256GB hard disk size

15.6” Full HD Display

Cons

Heavier and thicker in comparison to the other laptops featured.

The Lenovo IdeaPad is black in its design and features blue edging on the keyboard that adds a pop of color. It is one of the more expensive laptops we have featured and it runs using a Windows 10 operating system.

It is 20.9 x 13 x 2.8 inches in its dimensions and is 6.93 pounds in weight. It is one of the heavier laptops, in addition to being the thickest. However, it is still fairly lightweight and easily transportable overall.

It has a hard disk size of 256GB, and a processor count of 2. It uses DDR4 RAM. When looking at the screen size, it is the optimum 15.6”, and has a Full HD display. The resolution is 1920 x 1080, and the keyboard is backlit.

When looking at its specifications, the Lenovo uses a 9th Gen Intel Core i5-9300HF mobile processor and has an 8GB system memory. The GPU featured is an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 and the CPU speed is up to 2.30 GHz.

05
Budget Pick
Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575G-52RJ

Acer Aspire 5 A515-43-R19L

CPU

AMD Ryzen 3 3200U-Series

GPU

AMD Radeon Vega 3 Mobile Graphics

Screen Size

15.6-Inch Full HD Display

RAM

4GB DDR4

Storage

128GB NVMe SSD

Ports

1 USB 3.1 Gen 1 port, 2 USB 2.0 ports & 1 HDMI port with HDCP support

Pros

Cheap

Particularly lightweight and slimline

Cons

Fairly weak CPU and integrated graphics

Only 4GB RAM

Only 128GB SSD

Our final selection, the Acer Aspire 5 A515-43-R19L, is a true budget pick. At this price level you shouldn’t expect to be able to play anything other than particularly undemanding games (e.g. Roblox, Minecraft, Fortnite on low settings) and get an FPS which would make it worth your time. If these are the only sort of games you’re likely to play though, and you are after something dirt cheap, then this laptop could be right for you.

The Aspire uses an AMD Ryzen 3 3200 Dual CPU and has an AMD Radeon Vega 3 Mobile Processor. One of the major drawbacks of the machine is that comes with a memory size of only 4GB DDR4 RAM, which will severely hamper your ability to have many tabs open in your web browser, never mind have multiple programs running simultaneously. Similarly, the SSD is a mere 128GB, which is about 25% of what you’d really want on a decent gaming laptop. We would definitely, definitely advise upgrading both of these features to have any kind of decent experience with this machine, though this will probably affect your warranty.

In its favor though, the battery life of this Acer Aspire 5 is the best of any selection on this guide, lasting around 7 hours of normal, non-gaming use. At 3.97lb it’s the second lightest selection here, and is relatively slimline in its dimensions to boot. The 60Hz 1080p IPS display is about on par with the other selections here.

FAQs

What Is The Best Gaming Laptop Under $500?

The HP Pavilion 15-ec0000na is the best overall gaming laptop at the present time for those operating on a $500 budget in our opinion, though every selection on our list has its positives and negatives, depending on your specific priorities, needs and budgets.

How Good Is A $500 Gaming Laptop?

The reality is that for $500 the quality of the gaming laptop you are likely to get is going to be fairly sub-par. You cannot expect to be able to play any of the latest games at anything other than the lowest graphical settings, and even then, if the game is particularly demanding, a laptop at this price will likely struggle. Our advice would be to save up and buy a gaming laptop for at least $1,000 or, if portability is not your main priority, pick up a prebuilt desktop gaming PC for $500 or $800.

What Is A Good Budget Laptop For Gaming?

What constitutes a ‘budget’ laptop is not a clear-cut definition, though generally we’d say anything below $1,000 fits the bill. See our guides on the best gaming laptops under $800, $700, $600 and $500 to see which laptops we currently recommend within these respective prices ranges.

What Is The Cheapest Gaming Laptop?

Gaming laptops for less than $500 exist and are marketed as such, though it is debatable how suitable for gaming they actually are. Ultimately it depends on what games you want to play and at what level of graphical settings. If you want to play the latest AAA FPS games on medium settings at decent FPS then you will need to pay $1,000 at the very least. If you are interested in older titles, or in less graphically demanding games (indie and/or strategy games for example), then you may be able to get away with paying as little as $500, $600, or $700.

Final Word

This has been our best gaming laptop under 500 USD guide for 2021. All of the laptops chosen in this article are the best options currently available for gaming in this price range, though we definitely recommend checking out the gaming laptop guides that cover different price ranges under Custom Gaming PC in the top bar of this page, including the best gaming laptop under $600 and best gaming laptop under $700 guides.

Whilst these are the five best gaming laptops for $500 around at the moment, if it’s not essential for you to have a mobile gaming device, you may want to consider the extra power you can get for the same money from a desktop PC and have a look at our best gaming PC under $500 build page, and our best prebuilt gaming PC under $500 guide if you don’t fancy putting your own one together.

If there is a particular laptop you think should be included in this guide that isn’t, please do leave us a comment in the section below.

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The Author Who Worked On This Article

at
WePC
Steve is obsessed with technology and the difference it makes to everyday life. having grown up with PCs since he was a kid, he was fortunate to have parents who worked in the industry, giving him access to computers when he should have been outside more! Steve loves obsessing over comparing different types of tech and working out which performs better.

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