For gamers with a budget of around $1,500, there’s going to be some quality options available. However, knowing which way to go with your gaming laptop can be tricky, so here at Choosist, we’ve not only gathered a brilliant list of potential laptops to choose from, we’re also highlighting everything that you need to know.
If you're confused about what you need your gaming laptop to do but you don’t know your RAM from your GPU, don’t panic. You don’t need to know what all the technical terms mean, but you do need to know what to look for. So this is the guide is ideal if you're looking for the absolute best gaming laptop under $1,500.
Not only are more people than ever before playing computer games, but they are also playing them in a wide variety of ways. From Playstations and Xboxes to phones, PCs to laptops, it seems as if everyone is playing a game in some way. How you choose to play your games will affect your whole gaming experience, so it’s important to know the key differences. There are inevitable arguments whenever you try to discuss which game-playing machine is better, but many of the pros and cons will come down to personal preference.
Consoles: Powerful enough to play the latest games, consoles come with many benefits. From strong online communities to lower costs than dedicated PCs and laptops, consoles have a lot of positives. They are simple to set up, and even the least technically minded gamer will be able to pick up a controller and learn which buttons do what very quickly. Multiplayer is simple to achieve, and you will never have to worry about upgrading your hardware either.
PCs: For hardcore gamers, there’s never any comparison; they will argue to the death that nobody should own anything less than the most expensive PC available. It’s easy to see why. Gaming often feels like a very different experience on a PC, especially if you've set your gaming space up like some kind of high-tech battle station. Prices are higher for gaming PCs, but the look and sound of your games will be incredible.
Laptops: Falling in between consoles and PCs, a good quality gaming laptop will let you play some of the best games in the world, wherever you prefer to play. If your budget means that you're looking for the best gaming laptop under $1,500 then you're going to get a lot of power for your money. Laptops are nowhere near as big as PCs, so they don’t have a lot of internal space to play with, so there will be compromises on power and capability. If you can afford to go a little higher in price, then you might want to check out the Choosist list of the best gaming laptops.
In this price range, you're going to have a lot of options and you’ll need to make a few decisions regarding what you want to prioritize. Whether you know what RAM is or not, you need to know that you're probably going to get about 8GB of it, which will make it easy to play most (but not all) of the games in the charts right now as well as the vast majority of classics too. In terms of graphics, you’re going to be getting a good-quality mid-level graphics card. These are pretty powerful, so don’t think that mid-range means you’ll be getting 8-bit graphics on Witcher 3. Your games are going to look very good. For the overall speed of your gaming laptop, for under $1,500 you’ll be able to get a very good processor in the mid-to-high range. This is going to make your gaming much more enjoyable. Storage could be an issue because you’re going to have to choose between two different types of drive.
Those drives are going to be the key to your loading times. There are two types of drive that you’ll have to choose from - the hard disk drive (HDD) and the solid state drive (SSD). In the under $1,500 price range, your gaming laptop will have one of these two options, but don’t worry about knowing how these two drives differ too much. All that you really need to know is that an SSD is typically more expensive than an HDD, but is noticeably faster. That means that your games will load much more quickly and there will be less waiting time between scenes. Of course, if you opt for a slower HDD, then you might be able to shuffle that saving to another part of your laptop, like increased RAM or a better graphics card. If loading speed is a priority, then the SSD-loaded laptops will be the one for you, but you may have to compromise on other aspects.
Game response is going to be very good at this price, but that doesn’t mean that you should dismiss the need for the best graphics cards you can justify. Don’t prioritize the graphics card over the RAM, but it might be worth giving it more priority than your drive type. For the best gaming laptop under $1,500 you should expect to be looking at something like a GTX 1050 or below on average. In rare cases, you’ll be able to get yourself a GTX 1060 which will be more than enough to give you a great frame rate and some eye-bleedingly good visuals. Your screen resolution will be the final decider on how good those images are going to be, but the better your graphics card, the more you’ll appreciate the look of a game.
The vast majority of gamers will have very few problems when it comes to being able to play their games of choice on the best laptops under $1,500. Casual and light gaming is going to be more than doable, and laptops in this price range won’t even start to break a sweat when playing some of the most popular games in the world.
Games like Fortnite will run very well, and even games like FIFA 19 will be smooth, crisp, and clean. If it’s just Fortnite that you want to play, then it might be worth having a look at the Choosist list of the best laptops for playing Fortnite. Games that require little in the way of hardware will look and feel pretty amazing on a laptop in this price range. Hardcore gamers may start having a few issues with higher-end titles, so it’s important that you have some idea of the types of game that you prefer.
You’re going to have a lot of options for even the more demanding game types currently available. There will be limits to what games even the best gaming laptop under $1,500 will be able to play well, but these are going to be few and far between. Sometimes, those games will still be playable, but you may have to play with the in-game settings to get smoother gameplay.
It’s an odd conundrum with gaming laptops that the better they are, the less portable they become. If portability is your main concern, then you're right to be worried about the weight of gaming laptops under $1,500. These laptops are absolutely packed with hardware, so you’re going to be exchanging power for portability. If you’re going to focus on more lightweight machines, then you’re going to be looking at higher prices. Finding the right balance is obviously important.
Don’t worry too much if you’re not sure what all of the techy words mean. All you really have to know is what they represent. For gaming laptops in this price range, you're going to get some pretty awesome specs. Here’s what you should be looking at.
Even if you prefer an added joystick or control pad, chances are that you’ll be getting a lot of use from your keyboard. For those with less of a budget, there are some potential problem areas to keep an eye out for when it comes to the best keyboards. For those looking for the best gaming laptop under $1,500, you're not going to have many issues, and your final choice will most likely come down to aesthetic preferences. However, it’s worth checking your keyboard or checking the reviews. Some laptops, even in this price range, will need more force to press the keys, and may not allow for multiple buttons to be pressed simultaneously. That could have some noticeable effects on your gaming, especially if you like to hit as many buttons as possible during a one-on-one battle.
The speakers that you’ll find on gaming laptops in the $1,500 price range will mostly likely have some good quality speakers. They may not be good enough to justify replacing your home music setup, but they will certainly do the job. However, there’s a reason why so many hardcore gamers opt to use headphone and headsets: immersion. Games are supposed to be immersive experiences, and if you're being distracted by the sounds of your flatmates, partner, or parents, then you're not going to enjoy your gaming as much.
Look for a headset with a retractable mic (so that you can taunt your rivals) and comfortable ear pads. Preferably, you want the ear pads to completely cover your ears so that you reduce the potential for aching after a solid few hours of quality gaming. Game designers are placing more of a priority on sound in games, so even if it’s not a factor you've considered, it might be time to start thinking about it.
Some people really panic over the technical specs of the laptop touchpad. They worry about the sensitivity and response factor, but really, your touchpad is going to be largely irrelevant. Trying to play a game on your laptop by using your touchpad is going to be awkward at best. Look to the professionals and take their advice: use a mouse. There are some fantastic mouse models available that are specifically designed for gaming, but you don’t need to prioritize those. Any mouse that you choose is going to be better than using your touchpad. Whether you opt for wired mouse or Bluetooth or prioritize sensitivity over grip, it will depend on you and the types of game that you prefer. A mouse is widely considered as the first peripheral that you invest in after the gaming laptop itself.
Once you decide on your gaming laptop and get playing, you’ll start to wonder about the best ways to improve your gaming. There are some great peripherals available that go beyond headsets and choosing the right gaming mouse. If you’ve saved money on buying the best gaming laptop under $1,500, then you might want to consider the following:
Gaming laptops have come a long way. With the growing popularity of gaming culture, laptop designers are doing all that they can to give gamers the specs and designs that they need. The best gaming laptop under $1,500 is a great upgrade or entry level machine if you’re planning to spend more time on your game playing. Check out the Choosist list of the best laptops in this price range. If you find yourself getting confused, then have a play with the Choosist Wizard to narrow down the best choice for you.
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