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5 best budget gaming laptops in 2021-22

The Legion series of gaming laptops (Image via Lenovo)
The Legion series of gaming laptops (Image via Lenovo)
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Aratrik Debnath

When buying a new gaming laptop, most people get one based merely on the brand, specs, and corresponding price. Although this isn’t wrong, it isn’t the best way because, unlike a desktop, a laptop is a single unit and should be purchased more like a smartphone.

That means not just buying it based on what CPU/GPU it has, but the overall build quality, durability, cooling, display quality, audio quality, upgrade-ability, service-ability, looks, and general feeling. The laptop is something you will physically interact with every day, unlike desktops, which will mostly stay stationary under your desk (or on top of it, depending on your setup).


What to look for in a gaming laptop

While there are multiple points to consider when buying any laptop, we will list the most important ones below:

1) CPU-GPU combo

The par for 2021 (or rather 2022) is an i5 9th gen along with a GTX 1650 (non-max q version, and preferably with Optimus disabled or with a mux switch) and with 8 GB of RAM (16 GB is preferred).

2) Display

The display should be given preference over other components since it is an integral part of our experience. A gaming laptop must possess a high refresh rate panel (120hz or above) and an FHD Display (1920*1080 at least) with preferably 300+ nits (cd/m^2) of brightness. Other required essentials are decent color accuracy (~50% NTSC is pretty good for gaming) and response time (<5ms GTG is good enough for 120hz).

3) Cooling and build quality

Many consumers skip over the value of good cooling and build quality, especially when buying budget offerings. This is imprecise because inadequate cooling (and thermal throttling) will bottleneck the laptop’s performance and damage its components over time.

It is also essential to buy a laptop with at least decent build quality as you will be physically interacting with your laptop day in and day out.

To summarize, you would be better off buying a slightly lower spec model with good cooling and build rather than a higher spec model with inadequate cooling and build quality)

4) Warranty period and customer service

Many folks forget about this aspect, and gaming laptop brands with bad service often capitalize on this by lowering their offerings and attracting more customers.


Most impressive budget gaming laptops around $1000

5) Lenovo Legion 5 ($823)

The Lenovo Legion 5 (Image via Google)
The Lenovo Legion 5 (Image via Google)
BrandLenovo Legion
CPURyzen 5 5600h
GPUGTX 1650ti
RAM8 GB DDR4 3200mhz
Storage256 GB SSD, 1TB HDD
Display15.6" 1920x1080 120hz IPS
OtherWin 10, 2.45 kg

While other similarly spec-d (on paper) laptops are available at lower prices, the build quality and cooling on this laptop outclasses them all by miles. Due to the efficient cooling, the GPU comes overclocked by +50mhz, further increasing to +200mhz via Lenovo vantage.

That, coupled with the fact that it comes with Optimus disabled (the laptop display is directly connected to the Nvidia GPU), makes the GTX 1650ti perform better than a desktop 1650.

Get this gaming laptop here


4) Lenovo Ideapad gaming 3 ($680)

The Lenovo Ideapad Gaming 3 (Image via Google)
The Lenovo Ideapad Gaming 3 (Image via Google)
BrandLenovo Ideapad
CPURyzen 5 5600h
GPUGTX 1650
RAM8 GB DDR4 3200Mhz
Storage256 GB SSD
Display15.6" 1920x1080 120hz
OtherWin 10, 2.25 Kg

A relative of the Legion series, Lenovo’s Ideapad Gaming 3 comes with better specs at roughly the same price point, albeit at the lower build quality and average cooling.

But it’s not to be overlooked based on those facts, as it is incredible for the price, and with the beefier specs, this laptop gives tough competition to any other laptop in this segment.

Get this gaming laptop here


3) ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 ($1050)

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 (Image via Amazon)
The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 (Image via Amazon)
BrandASUS ROG
CPURyzen 7 4800h
GPUGTX 1650
RAM8 GB DDR4 3200 Mhz
Storage512 GB SSD
Display14" 1920x1080 120hz
OtherWin 10, 1.6 Kg

Big beefy gaming laptops are nice, but some people also need portability and sleekness, along with no compromise on gaming. That’s where the G14 comes in.

Weighing in at only 1.6kg, this laptop punches way above its weight, and with its 4th gen Ryzen 7 and 1650, it can very well hold its own against the other heavyweights, be it in gaming or productivity.

Get this gaming laptop here


2) ASUS TUF Gaming F17 ($850)

The Asus TUF F17 (Image via Amazon)
The Asus TUF F17 (Image via Amazon)
BrandASUS
CPUi5 10300H
GPUGTX 1650ti
RAM8 GB DDR4 2933 Mhz
Storage512 GB SSD
Display17.3" 1920x1080 144hz
OtherWin 10, 2.6 Kg

This laptop screams “gaming” from the X-like design and the redesigned TUF logo on the back, a stunning 17.3-inch display on the front, and the full RGB fest on the keyboard. It looks and talks gaming.

Equipped with the latest 11 gen CPUs from intel and the GTX 1650ti from Nvidia, this dawg not only barks but can also bite.

Get this gaming laptop here


1) HP Victus 16 ($958)

The HP Victus 16 (Image via Amazon)
The HP Victus 16 (Image via Amazon)
BrandHP Victus
CPURyzen 5 5600h
GPURTX 3050
RAM8 GB DDR4 3200 Mhz
Storage512 GB SSD
Display16.1" 1920x1080 144hz
OtherWin 10, 2.5 Kg

The latest gaming-centric series of laptops by HP is one of the best yet. Flaunting a bigger 16.1” display upfront, this one is a stunner and is the only laptop on this list with an RTX GPU.

With decent build quality and cooling, the Victus is a beast of a laptop at this price point.

Get this gaming laptop here


Note: This article reflects the author’s views.


Edited by Ravi Iyer
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