Many laptops are made especially for gaming purposes, though they can be extremely expensive due to several features.
Yet, many gamers usually stick to a tight budget when purchasing a gaming laptop.
After examining the market for gaming laptops, we selected the 3 best gaming laptops under $500. In order to make these selections, we considered each device’s affordability, durability, performance, and unique features.
In this article, we give a brief overview of each of these gaming laptops under 500 dollars, emphasizing the benefits and drawbacks of each. Then, we compare these laptops to each other, noting which laptops we think are most worthwhile. Finally, we offer our thoughts about the future of affordable gaming laptops.
ASUS VivoBook F510UA 15.6” Full HD Nanoedge Laptop, Intel Core…
- Powerful 8th Generation Intel Core i5 8250U 1.6GHz (Turbo up to 3.4GHz) processor
- 14.2 Inches Wide, 0.8 Inches Thin and portable footprint with 0.3 Inches Nano edge bezel for a stunning 80% screen to body ratio
- 15.6 inches Anti glare full HD display with ASUS splendid software enhancement
The Asus VivoBook F510UA can be purchased on Amazon for $471.74.
This laptop has a 15.6-inch, full-HD display that features anti-glare technology.
Also, this laptop uses the 8th generation of Intel’s i5 processor, has 8GB of RAM memory, and a 1TB hard disk drive (HDD).
It comes with the Windows 10 Home operating system and has a battery life of up to 5 hours. It weighs 3.7 pounds.
- 15.6-inch screen
- 0.3-inch bezel
- Anti-glare technology
- Solid gaming performance
- Slow HHD
- Experience some inadequacies
- HHD’s are much slower than solid state drives
The Benefits of the Asus VivoBook F510UA
- This is one of the best gaming laptops under $500 because of its screen size. It’s hard to beat the 15.6-inch screen if you’re gaming, as this provides a level of immersion that is unprecedented. Each game will feel more realistic and all-consuming, making it easier to get into a flow state when playing.
- The screen seems bigger than the dimensions might indicate due to a 0.3-inch bezel. Additionally, since it allows full HD resolution, users can expect stunning graphics when they are playing.
- Also, the anti-glare technology on this screen means that gamers can play longer without irritating their eyes. Additionally, users who want maximum protection for their eyes can put the display on Eye Care mode.
- All of these features should appeal to any gamer focused on aesthetics. It’s hard to find another laptop with such a large and stunning screen at this price. For this reason, this Asus laptop is one of the best gaming laptops under 500 dollars.
The Drawbacks of the Asus VivoBook F510UA
- The main drawback of this gaming laptop is that it comes with a slow HHD. While these are often cheaper, they are also not ideal for laptops since they have moving parts.
- Thus, if you are a gamer that likes to play on the go, you might experience some inadequacies when using this Asus laptop.
- Additionally, HHD’s are much slower than solid state drives (SSD) when it comes to gaming. You might not notice the difference on some games, but many games will provide a more seamless experience when used on a laptop with an SSD.
An Overview of the Lenovo Ideapad 320
Lenovo HM-80XR00AHUS-V1 15.6″ All-in-One Desktop
- 15.6″ 1366 x 768 LED Backlight, HD Anti-Glare Display, Intel HD Graphics 500
- Intel Celeron N3350 Dual-Core processor, 1.10GHz (with Max Turbo Speed of 2.40GHz), 4GB DDR3L SDRAM system memory (expandable to 8GB), 1TB HDD
- 1 x DC-in port, 1 x Ethernet port, 1 x HDMI port, 1 x headphone/microphone jack, 1 x USB 2.0 port, 1 x USB 3.0 port, 10/100Base-T Fast Ethernet
The Lenovo Ideapad 320 can be purchased on Amazon for $249.99.
This laptop has a 15.6-inch screen and an Intel Celeron N3350 dual-core processor.
It weighs 4.8 pounds and comes with the Windows 10 Home operating system, which is ideal for gaming.
This screen delivers 1366×768 resolution and also features anti-glare technology.
- More accessible to a younger generation that often has a budget
- Slower speed
- May experience some glitches or lags
The Benefits of the Lenovo Ideapad 320
- This Lenovo laptop is one of the best gaming laptops under 500 dollars because it’s so affordable. Gamers will be able to take all the money they saved and spend it on other important gaming equipment, like a mouse or a keyboard.
- This Lenovo laptop makes gaming more accessible to a younger generation that often has a budget. For these gamers, savings of a couple hundred dollars is significant, as this allows them to buy several games as well as supporting accessories. This can catalyze their development and lead to more enjoyable experiences over time.
- Many people discover gaming later in life and regret all the time they could have spent gaming as a child. It’s critical that laptops support gaming for a younger generation in order to encourage the full development of all players. This development ideally takes place over a lifetime, not starting in your mid-40’s when a mid-life crisis leads to you quitting the monastery, growing out your hair, and starting to stream your meditative performances in Abzu.
- The price of this Lenovo laptop supports the development of young gamers, which is why it’s one of the best gaming laptops under $500.
The Drawbacks of the Lenovo Ideapad 320
- The main drawback of this laptop is its speed. This is a generally slower machine when compared with more expensive gaming laptops on the market. It can handle most basic gaming operations as long as your network is fast and efficient.
- But, if you want to game and also perform other functions at the same time, you would be better off with a more powerful machine.
- At the end of the day, you get what you pay for. For $250, you certainly won’t experience the most natural gameplay possible. You might experience some glitches or lags here or there.
An Overview of the Acer Chromebook R13
Acer Chromebook R 13 Convertible, 13.3-inch Full HD Touch, MediaTek…
- Chromebook runs on Chrome OS – an operating system by Google that is built for the way we live today. It comes with built-in virus protection, updates automatically*, boots up in seconds and continues to stay fast over time. (*Internet connection is required)
- All the Google apps you know and love come standard on every Chromebook, which means you can edit, download, and convert Microsoft Office files in Google Docs, Sheets and Slides
- With the Google Play Store, you can access a rich library of apps, games, music, movies, TV, books, magazines, and more, all from your Chromebook
The Acer Chromebook R 13 can be purchased on Amazon for $367.
It runs on Chrome OS, which is an operating system created by Google.
It features a 13.3-inch full HD touchscreen. This laptop can be transformed into a tablet, maximizing the use of the touchscreen.
This Acer laptop has a MediaTek Quad-Core processor and offers 12 hours of battery life.
It has a SD card reader that allows you to expand the memory on this device, though there is also 32GB of onboard storage.
This laptop weighs 3.28 pounds.
- Best deals on the market
- Ideal for gaming or streaming
- Weighs 3.2 pounds and has a smaller screen
- Not for gamers that require a powerful processor and an expensive graphics card
- Some gamers prefer a larger screen
The Benefits of the Acer Chromebook R13
- Hands down this Acer laptop is one of the best deals on the market, let alone one of the best gaming laptops under 500 dollars. For $367, users get all the benefits associated with a traditional laptop as well as those associated with a tablet. This is a unique combination that most laptops do not offer.
- In this sense, if you’re a gamer that uses his computer for other purposes, like web browsing or streaming, then this Acer laptop would be ideal for you. It would be perfect for traveling, as you would be able to play some games on the go using the tablet and other games using the traditional laptop form.
- Also, since it only weighs 3.2 pounds and has a smaller screen than many gaming laptops, this laptop is designed for portability. You can throw this machine in your backpack before hopping on a plane and easily access it once you are seated. The touchscreen makes it easy to start and stop gameplay, allowing for seamless immersion into the experience.
- Gaming on a touchscreen laptop prepares you for the future of gaming, which will be rooted in using your hand to control gameplay.
- Since this machine is so cheap, some gamers purchase this Acer laptop as a side computer to use since it’s so small and mobile. They use it to stretch their hands in new ways in between games while still engaging their mind and keeping their skills fresh.
The Drawbacks of the Acer Chromebook R13
- Even though this is one of the most cutting-edge gaming laptops under 500, it’s certainly not ideal for some games.
- This Acer laptop is best for gamers that like to play applications downloaded from the Google Play Store, not for gamers that require a powerful processor and an expensive graphics card.
- Furthermore, some gamers prefer a larger screen because they think it makes each gaming experience more naturalistic. In this sense, the 13.3-inch screen on this Acer laptop could be seen as a limitation.
How Do these Gaming Laptops Compare?
- All of the laptops discussed above are ideal for gaming, though in different ways.
- When thinking of traditional gaming, Asus’ VivoBook is perhaps the best gaming laptop under 500, as it offers a large screen and a powerful processor. This makes it perfect for serious gamers who need an efficient machine with more firepower to support their performance.
- Even a slight improvement in a processor can result in a more fluid gaming experience, allowing a gamer to get into a flow state that leads to a more optimized performance. This also means that a single glitch or lag could disrupt a flow state.
- If you’re more interested in trendy games that are often played on tablet computers, then we think the Acer Chromebook R13 might be ideal for you. This laptop is dynamic and can be used as a tablet or traditional laptop, making it perfect for younger gamers.
- Also, this Acer laptop is cheaper than Asus’ VivoBook. However, if you are only interested in cost, then the Lenovo Ideapad 320 might be the best fit out of the group. Beginner gamers can invest in this Lenovo laptop and still have money left to buy a new game or in-game add-ons.
Our Thoughts on the Future of Gaming Laptops under 500
It’s clear that gamers want affordable laptops, though we think these will look much different in the future.
In the short term, we think gaming laptops under 500 will become faster, more dynamic, and more powerful machines. As new products are released, the price of older products drops, and customers are able to take advantage of many features that are still cutting-edge.
In the deeper future, we think touchscreen technology will dominate the market for gaming. We see this technology being integrated not only on screens but on keyboards, as many gamers like pressing buttons on a device that is away from the screen. For some games, using your hands could interfere with gameplay. This also makes a cursor and mouse necessary.
In this sense, we don’t necessarily think gamers in the near future will abandon traditional laptops but will rather want them in the form of hybrid laptops. This way they can play some kinds of games using the touchscreen and other types of games using a more traditional form.
Even further, we think gaming companies in the future might focus less on the laptop than on computer accessories. We envision keyboards and mice undergoing many innovations as soon as virtual reality technology takes off. Future gamers might want gaming accessories that are more hand-held and integrated with their body than ever before.
All of this is to say that it’s difficult to predict the direction of the gaming industry, as it’s dependent on whatever technology is available. Additionally, the gaming industry depends on developers actually making games for new platforms. It doesn’t matter if touchscreen technology is available if none of the games taking advantage of it are appealing to gamers.
Our Technology Can Be Addicting
In this sense, while we think some current laptops offer glimpses of the future of gaming, we don’t think you should become too reliant on their interfaces. This could lead to disappointment in the future if these interfaces are drastically altered in order to support new technologies.
This brings us to an important point regarding our relationship to technology. It seems that technology is neither good nor bad, but simply what we make of it. If we abuse it or depend on it too heavily, then it can do us harm and burn us. Similarly, if we form a balanced relationship with it, it will only benefit us, enriching our lives and giving us happiness.
Many modern gamers are in an abusive, volatile relationship with their laptop, hitting it and throwing things at it after some games but clinging to it desperately when it runs out of power. Furthermore, some gamers become so addicted to the games they play that the software starts controlling their life, resulting in degenerating health, damaged relationships, and poorly managed finances.
If your connection to gaming has developed in this way, it’s important to take a step back and consider a break. In this period, reestablish a balanced, grounded, and realistic relationship with your laptop and games.
Make these new intentions known whenever you game again, as repetition can lead to permanent change.