Gaming can be one expensive rabbit hole, especially when you’re determined to keep improving your skills. But if you’re a beginner or casual gamer who’s not quite ready to spend an exorbitant amount of money on gear, you can always start out with an affordable gaming laptop. To help you pick one out, we’ve rounded up the best gaming laptops under $500 including models from top brands like Lenovo, Dell, and HP. They can handle a wide variety of non-demanding games, making them ideal for gamers who just want to have some fun.
Best Gaming Laptops Under 500 Comparison Chart
The overall best gaming laptop under 500.
The HP 14 lands on the top spot of this list because it strikes a good balance between power and affordability. Under the hood, it has the AMD Ryzen 5 5500U processor, the Vega 7 GPU, a 256GB SSD, and 8GB of DDR4 memory. In addition, it runs on Windows 11 and has a 1080p display that measures in at 14 inches.
With these specs, it can run just about any non-demanding esports game such as League of Legends, Fortnite, and Dota 2. You can even crank up the settings to medium or high with a high frame rate. You can probably get away with playing more demanding games with the HP 14 although you’d have to be content with lower settings and frame rate. If you’re on a tight budget, we think it’s the best option out there that will let you play your favorite titles.
Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15.6
The best gaming laptop under 500 with a big screen.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15.6 is a close runner up to the HP 14 because they practically have the same specs. It’s equipped with an Intel Core i3-1115G4 processor with an integrated Intel UHD GPU and just like the HP 14, it also has an 8GB memory and 256GB of storage. It does have a leg up against its competitor though because instead of a 14-inch display, its screen measures in at a more impressive 15.6 inches. So if you’d like to experience your games with a bigger screen, it’s worth considering the Lenovo IdeaPad 3.
Do note, however, that its GPU doesn’t quite match up to the HP 14’s. So if your priority is quality gaming experience, it might still be better to go with the abovementioned. The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is also around $50 more expensive so that’s something else you need to consider.
Dell Inspiron 15 3525
The most powerful gaming laptop under 500.
The Dell Inspiron 15 3525 is just a little under $500, making it the most expensive model on this list. But it packs a lot of power which justifies the heavier price tag. It boasts of AMD’s latest processor, the 6-core Ryzen 5 5625U, which performs faster than the HP 14’s and delivers better fps. In addition, it’s the one of the very few gaming laptops in this price range that comes with an impressive 120HZ refresh rate. It’ll definitely give you the best gaming experience you can get with a budget gaming laptop.
That said, a couple of corners were cut to make way for its powerful performance. It doesn’t come with a backlight, a fingerprint sensor, or quick logins, plus it has an all-plastic build which doesn’t feel very premium to the touch. Still, it’s easy to overlook these shortcomings due to the exceptional gaming experience.
The most reliable gaming laptop under 500.
If you don’t care for any of the bells and whistles that gaming laptops usually come with and just want a reliable model you can game and work on, look no further than the HP 15-dy2024nr. It doesn’t have the most powerful performance nor does it come with extra features but it’s a bestseller for a reason.
It runs on the latest 11th gen Intel Core i5 processor, a quad-core chip with an impressive clock speed of 4.2GHz when it’s on turbo mode. And embedded on this chip is Intel’s latest integrated graphics, the Iris Xe. To top things off, it also comes with 256GB of storage and 8GB of RAM. With these specs under its wings, the HP 15-dy2024nr can easily manage daily work tasks as well as most modern games at 60fps.
Affordable gaming laptops are still capable in their own right.
Best gaming laptop under 500
Lenovo IdeaPad 3
While the under-500 gaming laptops on this list won’t be able to compete against the top powerhouses, they’re still capable in their own right and will allow you to enjoy your favorite titles. The best gaming laptop in this price range for us would have to be the HP 14 because of its impressive CPU and GPU that can run games on high settings and frame rate. The Lenovo IdeaPad 13 15.6 is a close second to the HP 14, equipped with similar specs and a bigger screen but slightly more expensive.
As for the Dell Inspiron 15 3525, it’s just slightly below $500 but the higher price tag is justified by its power and its impressive 120Hz refresh rate. But if you don’t really care for anything too fancy and just want something dependable, look no further than the HP 15-dy2024nr which can easily manage daily tasks and almost any current gen game you throw at it.
Given the HP 14’s specs, it can run just about any non-demanding esports game such as League of Legends, Fortnite, and Dota 2. You can even crank up the settings to medium or high with a high frame rate.
The Dell Inspiron 15 3525. It boasts AMD’s latest processor, the 6-core Ryzen 5 5625U, which performs faster than the HP 14’s and delivers better fps. In addition, it’s one of the very few gaming laptops in this price range that comes with an impressive 120HZ refresh rate.
The HP 15-dy2024nr runs on the latest 11th gen Intel Core i5 processor, a quad-core chip with an impressive clock speed of 4.2GHz when it’s on turbo mode. And embedded on this chip is Intel’s latest integrated graphics, the Iris Xe. It’s a bestseller for being an affordable yet reliable gaming laptop.
While the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15.6 doesn’t have the most powerful GPU, it’s still worth purchasing if you want an affordable gaming laptop with a big screen.