When you are on a budget, it is hard to find some good gaming laptops under 500 dollars. However, we asked our gamers in the community to give some suggestions about this. Most of the people who are looking for a light gaming laptop are students. Keeping the price in our mind we compiled a list of best gaming laptops under $500 for college students and light usage.
Our review was focused on laptop hardware, software handling capacity, seller discount, and professional gamers’ feedback. you can buy laptops in the range of $300 to $500 for general purposes. But every unit is not a gaming machine. Having a high-end processor and basic graphic card is essential for any machine to run high-end games such as HALO or everyone’s favorite Counter-Strike.
Cheap gaming laptops are very rare as most pro gamers think that you need high-end graphics. This is true in a general sense BUT, with decent processing speed and basic INTEL graphics you can load any game in the machine and play it for hours.
From vigorous testing and several hours of gameplay we now have the list of budget laptop ideal for gaming.
- 1 Best Gaming Laptops Under 500 Dollars – Top Choices
- 1.1 1) ASUS VivoBook F510UA – Best Gaming Laptop
- 1.2 2) Acer Aspire E 15 – E5-576-392H – Value For Money Laptop for Gamers
- 1.3 3) Acer Aspire E15 High-Performance Laptop
- 1.4 4) HP J9148A – Best For Light Gaming
- 1.5 5) HP Premium High-Performance Laptop PC
- 1.6 6) Acer Aspire 5 FHD 1080p Gaming Laptop with SSD Under $500
- 1.7 7) ASUS VivoBook 14 E403NA-US21 FHD Thin and Lightweight Laptop
- 1.8 8) HP Pavilion 17.3 – Good Gaming Laptop Under 500
- 1.9 9) Acer Chromebook R 13 Convertible Laptop – 13.3-inch Full HD Touch Display
- 1.10 10) HP Star Wars Special Edition 15-an050nr – Decent Gaming Laptop
- 2 Features You Should Look For Before Buying A Gaming Laptop
Best Gaming Laptops Under 500 Dollars – Top Choices
1) ASUS VivoBook F510UA – Best Gaming Laptop
Asus F510UA is one of the best laptop you can buy for playing games and college use. It is under your budget and comes with all the high-performance hardware. This Asus ViviBook will cost you around $500 which make this unit fall into the range of affordable and cheap gaming laptop.
If you are a student or light gamer then this is best for you. It comes with built-in Intel UHD 620 integrated graphics capable enough to run high-end games. To make it more appealing for gamers Asus has added 8th generation Intel Core i5-8250U processor for top performance.
This budget laptop comes with a 15.6 inches anti-glare Full HD display which will give you amazing gaming experience. The protective reflective screen is more helpful for heavy gamers.
This gaming machine is also powered with 1 TB of the hard disk which is enough for large storage space. You can install and play multiple games without having any trouble.
It comes with a fingerprint sensor that will allow you to add an extra layer of security to your system. Windows 10 is pre-installed so you don’t have to worry about the operating systems.
2) Acer Aspire E 15 – E5-576-392H – Value For Money Laptop for Gamers
Acer Aspire E 15 series has been one of the best budget laptops for light gaming. Don’t worry, with its 8th generation intel i3 processor you can also play top-level games. All thanks to 6 GB RAM which is capable enough to handle any type of buffer you can through at it.
Acer Aspire E5-576-392 is another good gaming laptops under $500. Its large 15.6-inch display gives you an amazing gaming experience. The screen is FULL HD with 1920 x 1080 resolution. This widescreen LED display will enhance your graphics performance.
If you are a college student looking for all-purpose laptops under 500 dollars then it is a good fit for you. It will support most of the medium level pc games without any problem.
Long battery life is really very important for people who travel a lot. The high-end lithium battery in this Acer laptop will give you 13 hours of battery backup on moderate usage. In playing mode, you can still expect 7-8 hours of battery life. All in all, it is one of the best gaming machines that you can buy for a cheap price.
3) Acer Aspire E15 High-Performance Laptop
Once again in our review, we found this Acer machine to be ideal for playing pc games. Intel 7th generation i7 process will deliver the best gaming experience. With 3.50 GHz processor speed you can possibly run every laptop game. Thanks to built-in intel GPU it can handle high-end game graphics without any issues.
We tested this laptop by playing Warcraft 3 and HALO 3 and to our surprise, there was no issue of laptop hanging or freezing. But, yes there was no other application running behind.
Large storage capacity will allow you to store or install as many games as you like. The performance is also improved by 8 GB DDR4 RAM that can buffer all the gaming threads without crashing your machine.
It comes with a pre-installed official Windows 10 operating system. We also liked the ample number of connectivity options. Acer made sure that you get the best deal in the best budget.
Big display screen gives an amazing experience while playing games. You can change the screen resolution up to 1920 x 1080 for a better experience.
4) HP J9148A – Best For Light Gaming
Large screen size and high-end processor makes it one of the best budget gaming laptop under 500 dollars. This HP machine has a Full HD 15.6-inch touch screen which enable you to play touch screen PC games also. To make the deal sweeter, HP is offering 8 GB RAM and with that kind of active memory not only gaming but you can also use it for regular (business + College work) purposes too.
HP J9148A is very ideal for college students as not only they can play computer games but also it will be helpful in there studies. The built-in HDMI outlet allows you to present your story or PPT on a virtual screen through a 4K projector.
At a reasonable frame rate, you can play probably any game you want. However, on a medium frame rate, you can use it for casual gaming. The intel-powered processor provides 2.7 GHz speed to support high-performance demand.
Thanks to integrated Intel graphics the display will look flawless. The touch screen is an added advantage here – as it is hard to find a gaming laptop with a touch screen under $500.
Windows 10 ready and 1 TB of storage space is enough to make this one of the top-rated cheap laptops for playing games. In our view, you can use it for any kind of work. You are a student or a businessman or a pro gamer, this HP machine is suitable for all your needs.
5) HP Premium High-Performance Laptop PC
Powerful 7th generation Intel processor will boost the machine speed to support any PC game you want to play. This HP machine is also a good alternative to HP J9148A. With 6 GB of RAM and the high-performance processor, you can play most of the modern games such as Warcraft, Counter-Strike, IGI, HALO and more.
Modern applications now occupy a big space in your storage. HP made sure you don’t run out of storage space. 1 TB of HDD hard disk will allow you to store and install big games.
Plenty of RAM is also a cherry on the top. It enables multiple threads (back application) to run at the same time.
Amazing DVD/CD writer and reader let you install games from CD without any problem. It also works as CD/DVD burner that enables data writing in magnetic disks.
Large display – 15.6″ HD+ BrightView glossy screen maintains the vivid colors in your games, photos, and videos. Integrated Intel GPU will enhance the color scheme and you will enjoy amazing gaming graphics all together at the next level. We tested it and vouch that it is the other best cheap gaming laptop under $500.
6) Acer Aspire 5 FHD 1080p Gaming Laptop with SSD Under $500
Once again Acer laptop has made it in our cheap gaming laptops that you can buy for $500 or less. Here in this model, price becomes secondary as it has so much to offer in this budget.
Before we talk about specifications, let us share our gaming experience. We installed SIMS 3 and League of Legends and played them for several hours. As we expected there was no lagging, however, the frame rate could have been better. In addition to that, we played classic games such as VICE CITY, HALO, Counter-Strike, IGI, NFS(Need For Speed). And this Acer 5 series stood up to our expectations.
It has a 1080p resolution Full HD display that gives you amazing gaming experience. SSD (Solid-State Storage Device) is 20 times faster than any HDD which gives this notebook an edge over others in our review.
High-performance Intel 7th generation i3 process with fast disk speed, you can expect an output of 3.0 GHz processing speed. It is suitable for heavy gaming as it also features 8 GB DDR4 RAM. All these tech specs are awesome for any starter gaming laptop that you can get in the range of 500 dollars.
7) ASUS VivoBook 14 E403NA-US21 FHD Thin and Lightweight Laptop
We often see that cheap laptops are less attractive or durable. However, ASUS VivoBook E403NA-US21 has surpassed our expectations on the design factors with smooth finishing. Our effort was to list a thin laptop on which you can play PC games.
ASUS VivoBook has amazing processing power (2.5 GHz Turbo) all thanks to intel Quad Core N4200 processor. The only downside with this CPU is that you might not be able to play big games.
It is a good gaming laptop for beginners that you can buy in less than 500 dollars. Thin design with 12 hours of battery backup was one of the major factors that we included this in our list.
Don’t worry about connectivity the brand has not compromised connectivity due to slim design. It has lightning-fast dual-band 802.11ac dual antenna Wi-Fi keeps you connected through any congestion or interference.
First of all, we can say that somehow it looks like Apple MacBook Air due to its lightweight and slim design. All in all, we find this model to be a decent gaming laptop under $500.
8) HP Pavilion 17.3 – Good Gaming Laptop Under 500
If you are looking for a big-screen decent gaming laptop then try this HP Pavilion model. It has a 17.3 inches large HD display which will make your gaming experience even better. High-performance 5th Gen Intel Core i5-5200U will let you install and run top computer games.
Integrated Intel HD graphics support high-end display technology to give you a fine detailed picture. You can even run high frame rate applications without any problem.
Loud gamers are going to love B&O PLAY with dual speakers. The sound quality is quite good and clear. HP Pavilion 17 has 6GB RAM that can handle multiple games builds without crashing your computer.
At full charge, you can go on a gaming marathon for 8 hours. Such a long battery backup is very rare nowadays on any cheap laptop.
9) Acer Chromebook R 13 Convertible Laptop – 13.3-inch Full HD Touch Display
For traveler and light gamer this Acer Chromebook is the best choice that you can buy under 500 dollars. The display is flexible which can turn back at 180 degrees. It supports Chrome OS which can limit your gaming experience. But as we said it is suitable for casual gameplay.
More often you will be using it for student work or business work. To support your nomadic nature it has long battery life. Fast booting time and quick shutdown process is what we like most in this notebook.
The display size is 13.3” Full HD Touch Display that will give you great visual effects. Though it only has eMMC support of 32 GB which is a kind of limitation. However, you get 100GB of cloud storage by google for free when you buy this cheap laptop.
Integrated Imagination PowerVR GX6250 Graphics and 4 GB of RAM will allow you to play light games without any problem. However, finding games for chrome OS might get tough.
We suggest you buy this notebook only if you are a light gamer and looking for a laptop that can be used by a student or businessmen for both purposes.
10) HP Star Wars Special Edition 15-an050nr – Decent Gaming Laptop
Star wars are one of the biggest SCI-FI franchises in the world. Not just the movies, but also the star wars game is awesome. Thanks to HP who understand the need of launching a pro gaming laptop that you can buy for $500. The body of the laptop is quite attractive and gives you the feel of a customized notebook.
Looks are not everything because to play games you have to have good processing speed and basic GPU engine to support the graphics. HP 15-an050nr is powered with an Intel CPU that runs at a speed of 2.3 GHz. To support the gameplay it is backed by 6 GB DDR RAM and 1 TB of HDD for smooth action.
As they say, “Fully armed and Operational, There is no other Notebook like this in the galaxy” which we believe is true. Why? we ordered it and played games for more than 10 hours a day.
It has a dark side design, which gives you the feel of heavy machines. Red LED backlight and sturdy frame structure will keep it the same and make it shine like a monster in the dark. The full HD display is powered with intel integrated GPU that bring out pixel color excellently.
Complete Your Gaming Experience with:
Features You Should Look For Before Buying A Gaming Laptop
Processor Speed or CPU
Most of the gaming laptop hangs because of slow processing speed. New gamers often install PC games in any machine and try to make it work. You can run-heavy game on a low frame rate but you can not run them on a slow processor. Even for small size games, your machine should have 1.6 to 1.8 GHz speed in order to make your game work. Otherwise, the game will crash your operating system or in other words, you will end up with a recurring frozen laptop.
RAM (Random Access Memory)
Any moderate to heavy game generates numerous thread (back application) which requires real-time memory. Your system must have at least 4GB of RAM in order to handle moderate thread spread. Anything less than that will again cause your laptop to freeze frequently.
Graphics or GPU
Graphic cards are one of the most essential parts of any gaming machine. To play heavy games such as HALO, SIMS 3 or WARCRAFT you need to have high-performance graphics. Above listed laptops are integrated with INTEL GPU. Anything bigger than INTEL 4000 GPU or Intel 420 is good enough to run big games. However, if you have the large budget go for Nvidia Gforce GTX graphic card series or cheaper version of Radeon graphics driver.
FIFA 2018 size is 44GB on disk, so you understand that large storage capacity should be in your preference list while buying gaming laptops. As the budget is only $500, still most of the laptops now feature 1TB HDD which is enough to store as many games as you want. If you are a FAN of FIFA game only and need fast processing speed then go with laptops with SSD.
Above listed laptops is one of the good laptops for gaming under $500. After testing and reviewing 23 notebooks we found the best of the best among them. They are under budget and you can use them for college work or business purposes too.