Best Gaming Laptops Under $600 2018 – Good & Affordable

For gamers on the go, finding a rig that won’t break the bank is harder than getting a #1 ranked win in PUBG.

There’s tough competition for the title of best gaming laptop under $600, but we’ve scoured the net to find the best of the best and help you buy your next computer!

Below we’ve rounded up five solid laptop contenders for budget-conscious gamers who need portability but still want to play the latest MMOs and shooters.

Picking The Best Gaming Laptop Under $600

Finding a cheap laptop isn’t hard, but finding a cheap laptop that will work well for gaming is a different story altogether.

While you can buy a great machine without spending a ton of money, at this price range there will always be games that will struggle to run ultra graphics settings without major lag.

You won’t be playing Battlefield V at the highest settings without any frame rate drops, but if your goal is to rack up a wicked kill count in Fortnite — or just be able to run GTA5 at a decent FPS – you can still find a laptop that fits your price range.

If your budget doesn’t allow for going over $600, there’s a delicate balancing act at play between system specs, and some brands walk this tight rope better than others in providing the most bang for your buck.

While other brand names will dominate when it comes to high end gaming laptops, Acer is the kind of the hill right now for budget builds that offer enough graphical power to run new PC games.

how to buy a gaming laptop

Tips: “Learning” before buying

If you are new to computing we suggest reading our gaming laptop buying guide for a low down on some questions you should be asking yourself before you make your final decision.

Verdict: Editor’s Choice

Acer Aspire E5-576G

In 2018, the Acer Aspire E5-576G comes out on top as the best cheap gaming laptop. It will take up every penny of your $599 budget, but the improved graphics card and increased processing power are worth the investment.

The contenders for best gaming laptop under 600

1. Acer Aspire E 15 E5-576G

  • Best graphics card in the price range
  • Expandable memory
  • Long battery life
  • Smaller hard drive storage capacity
  • Highest price

Should this be your choice?

Easily our top pick for a cheap laptop with NVIDIA graphics at the moment, this Aspire E series features the best budget graphics card available, long battery life, and a processor that will make gaming much smoother.

If you want to squeeze every last ounce of graphical output from your gaming library without spending thousands, this is the computer to pick.

Although there’s less overall storage space than the 1TB HDD laptops listed below, going with an SSD version means whisper quiet hard drive operation that’s both faster and more reliable.

Most importantly, this is a laptop with future upgrades in mind, as the RAM can be expanded up to 32GB so you don’t get left behind as the required specs on new games continue to increase. The DDR3 RAM used here is a bit slower than DDR4 variants, with a full rack of 32GB you won’t even notice the difference.

Hardware specifications for Acer Aspire E 15 E5-576G
ProcessorIntel Core i5-8250U Processor (2.50 GHz to 3.4 GHz)
RAM8GB DDR3 SDRAM
Storage256GB SSD
GraphicsNVIDIA GeForce MX150 (2GB)
Display15.6-inch Full HD widescreen LED-lit IPS Display, 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home 64 bit
Battery Life15 hours
Weight5.27 lbs

2. Acer Asprire E5-774G

  • Much bigger screen size
  • Great processor and graphics card for the price
  • Lower battery life
  • Heavier than other models

Should this be your choice?

While you trade off a slight amount of processing and graphical power from the smaller Aspire E series, the larger screen size more than makes up for the difference for all you resolution junkies. If screen size is your deciding factor, this is your pick.

When looking for a desktop replacement with a wide viewing area, Acer again has you covered.

With a bigger, brighter screen comes great power consumption, however, and the E5-774G has less than half the battery life of its smaller counterpart.

If you don’t mind being tethered to the outlet more often however, you can’t beat this screen size in the price range. The HDMI port means you can even hook the laptop up to a TV for the ultimate in wide screen viewing.

Hardware specifications for Acer Aspire E E5-774G
ProcessorIntel Core i5-7200U Processor (2.50 GHz to 3.1 GHz)
RAM8GB DDR4 SDRAM
Storage256GB SSD
GraphicsNVIDIA GeForce 940MX (2GB)
Display17.3-Inch LED backlight Full HD Display, 1920 x 1080 pixels Resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home 64 bit
Battery Life5.5 hours
Weight8.7 lbs

3. HP Pavilion 15 Flagship

  • Touch Screen
  • Increased RAM over other models
  • Bluetooth enabled
  • Refurbished
  • Higher price

Should this be your choice?

For running apps that work better with touch input rather than keyboard and mouse, the HP Pavilion should top your list of budget gaming PCs under $600. Be sure to take a close look at the warranty on these ones, however, so you can get the laptop serviced if you run into any problems with a pre-owned machine.

Hold up now, does that really say 15 inch touch screen in the specs there? That’s right, you can actually get a touch screen gaming laptop for around $569 depending on price fluctuations, although you have to go refurbished to do so.

Refurbished products have either been sent back to the manufacturer from the store unsold, or where shipped back from a user after having a hardware problem. They’ve since been fully repaired and tested to verify they work, but there is always a chance of a continued problem with a “used” product.

Normally this model would run you quite a bit more, and there’s no guarantee that refurbed models will remain in stock long, so this one’s a bit of a gamble. The specs here — from the higher RAM to the dedicated GPU  — more than make up for the possible issues involved with going refurbished.

Hardware specifications for HP Pavilion 15 Flagship
ProcessorIntel Core i7-6500U Processor (2.50 to 3.1 GHz)
RAM12GB DDR3 SDRAM
Storage1TB Hard Drive
GraphicsNVIDIA GeForce 940MX (2GB)
Display15.6-inch SVA BrightView WLED-backlit Touchscreen Display, 1366 x 768 pixels Resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home 64 bit
Battery Life6 hours
Weight5.51 lbs

4. HP POWER 15t

  • Excellent graphics card
  • Green backlit keys
  • Thin and lightweight
  • No optical drive
  • Refurbished

Should this be your choice?

Even taking a hit on the battery life makes this rig worth considering, especially since this is a laptop with a dedicated graphics card under $600. If you don’t mind going refurbished, the light weight design combined with a high end video card make for a very attractive option.

With a slimmer design for easy carrying, and a killer GTX 1050 graphics card that would normally only appear in a much higher price range, HP has got a well-rounded laptop here that only comes with a few potential issues.

Once again, you have to go refurbished if you want this sort of gaming power at a lower price, so there’s always the possibility of hardware issues requiring repair. The battery life also takes a substantial hit over the other laptop contenders.

The striking green backlit keys and amazing graphical output for so cheap a laptop may make all of that a risk worth taking, however.

Hardware specifications for HP POWER 15t
ProcessorIntel Core i5-7300HQ (2.50 GHz to 3.50 GHz)
RAM8GB DDR4 SDRAM
Storage1TB Hard Drive
GraphicsGeForce GTX 1050 (2GB)
Display15.6-inch FHD IPS anti-glare WLED-backlit Display, 1920 x 1080 pixels Resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home 64 bit
Battery Life4.5 hours
Weight4.87 lbs

 

5. Dell Inspiron i5576

  • Backlit keyboard
  • Memory expandable to 32GB
  • No optical drive
  • Least powerful graphics card

Should this be your choice?

If you demand a particular aesthetic in your gaming laptop and want cool lighting with a sleek design, Dell is the way to go.

Considering the company owns Alienware, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that Dell has some killer gaming laptops, but unfortunately at this price range the options are much more limited than you may expect.

You lose out on the optical drive entirely with this Inspiron model — so no watching or burning DVDs — but that won’t matter much if you have a huge Steam library and don’t bother with install discs.

Although you get the lowest specs of the bunch with the Inspiron 5000, there is a key element here that sets it apart from the competition. The LED backlit keyboard gives you the look and feel of a high end gaming desktop while still having the portability and size of a laptop.

Hardware specifications for Dell Inspiron i5576
ProcessorAMD A-10 9630P Quad-Core Processor
RAM8GB DDR4 SDRAM
Storage1TB Hard Drive
GraphicsRadeon RX 460 (4GB)
Display15.6-inch FHDAnti-Glare LED-Backlit Display, 1920 x 1080 pixels Resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home 64 bit
Battery Life5.5 hours
Weight5.66 lbs

How To Choose?

No matter your price range, for gaming laptops the amount of included RAM, the processor speed, and the overall graphical power will be your major deciding factors.

When you have no more than $599 to spend however, there are big trade-offs on specs to keep in mind before the price gets outside your laptop budget.

Are you willing to give up the optical drive and a few ports in exchange for a better dedicated GPU? Do you prefer a bulkier machine with better specs or want to stay with a slim and light gaming laptop? Are you sold more on the bells and whistles like extra lighting, or do you just want the functionality of a fast processor?

Matching the raw power of a custom-built desktop rig isn’t going to be possible, but if you shop smart and prioritize you can find the right gaming laptop to perfectly meet your needs without breaking the $600 barrier.

What Features Do I Absolutely Need In A Budget Gaming Laptop?

Although you inevitably lose out on some of the most cutting edge tech by going under $600, there are a few baseline features that simply must be included if you want a worthwhile gaming experience.

First up, always go with an NVIDIA or Radeon GPU instead of a laptop with integrated graphics built directly into the motherboard. No matter how much money you end up saving, going with integrated graphics will absolutely lead to unacceptable gaming performance.

With that issue handled to ensure good frame rates, from there you need to decide what features are most important to you personally.

In terms of both high battery life and graphical power for getting great frame rates, Acer’s E5-576G  is easily the way to go. If you prefer a bigger screen size, then the Aspire E5-774G will be a better option, while those with the tightest budgets should pick the Asus VivoBook instead. If you want the unusual feature at this price of a touch screen, then HP’s refurbished Pavilion will be the laptop for you.

Other Features To Look Out For

You won’t be able to get a VR-capable laptop at this price point, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep pace with the increasing technology of newer AAA games.

A budget gaming laptop should be viewed as a long-term investment, so always be on the lookout for machines that can easily expand their RAM up to 16 or 32GB. By spending a little more money down the line, you can prevent your cheap gaming laptop from becoming obsolete in just a handful of months.

When shopping based on price rather than performance, be sure to carefully consider the user reviews from Amazon and Newegg as well. Cheap laptops in particular tend to frequently have wi-fi connectivity issues that must be resolved through driver updates, and that can be a major problem for online gamers.

Finally, keep an eye on the storage space and the ports for connecting external hard drives. At lower price ranges you can expect either a 256GB SSD — which doesn’t offer much space for big games — or a slower 1TB HDD. These issues can be mitigated by installing external USB hard drives or keeping a careful eye on your Steam library and deleting old games you don’t’ play as often.

Gaming Power At An Affordable Price

Which of these best gaming laptops under $600 will work out best for you? Leave us a comment below letting us know which one you are planning on picking up, and be sure to let us know if you’ve seen any other killer deals at this price range that we should add to this list!

Need something with a bit more power under the hood? Check out our roundup of our other posts

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