7 Budget Gaming Laptops for Back To School (And a Little Gaming, Too)

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A new school year is literally just around the corner. And that means your student might just possibly need a brand-new laptop. You know, for all the education they're about to shove into their brains. But to add a slight wrinkle to that formula, you might also want to kill two birds with one stone by getting a laptop that can also play a few video games. 

Well, lucky for you, we've got a list you might be interested in. Now, most of these computers aren't going to play the newest AAA games at ultra settings -- and some might struggle to play them at normal settings. But that's the beauty here: you won't have to worry (as much) about your student playing Fortnite during school hours. 

Usually, laptops made specifically for gaming are more expensive than PC configurations, which is understandable since laptops have different architectures. However, in this article you will learn about seven of the best gaming laptops that will make your wallet happy -- while still being able to play some of 2018's new games.

All laptops are sorted in order from "worst" deals to "best", but even the worst ones are worth taking a look at. So let's begin, shall we?

7. MSI CX62 

This MSI CX62 laptop has enough power to run all the latest games, and for a reasonable price. It is based on a dual-core Intel i5 processor and a mobile GeForce 940MX graphics card.

The only issue is that the screen doesn't support full HD resolution, meaning that its max resolution is 1366 x 768. But the battery holds up to 5-6 hours, and the cooling system is really quiet.

  • Graphics Card: 2 GB NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
  • CPU: 2.5 GHz Intel Core i5
  • RAM: 8 GB DDR4
  • HDD/SSD: 1,024 GB Mechanical Hard Drive
  • Inputs/Outputs:
    • 802.11 A/C
    • Bluetooth 4.0
    • Card Reader
    • USB 2.0
    • 2x USB 3.0
    • Mini DisplayPort
    • HDMI
    • Headphone output
    • Microphone input
    • USB-C
  • ROM drive: DVD-RW
  • Screen Size: 15.6"
  • Screen Type: HD LED
  • Refresh Rate: 60 Hz
  • Battery: 6-cell Lithium ion

6. Dell Inspiron 5000

Here's a gaming laptop based on an AMD processor with four cores and a 4 GB graphics card. Due to the inclusion of the AMD processor, it is a bit cheaper than the previous model but it already shows better performance.

Such a powerful combination also means that it requires powerful cooling, so you may get a bit distracted by those fans. Also, the battery isn't particularly strong and will hold for only about 2 hours when running games.

  • Graphics Card: 4 GB AMD Radeon RX 460
  • CPU: 2.6 GHz AMD A-10 9630P Quad-Core Processor
  • RAM: 8 GB DDR4
  • HDD/SSD: 1 TB Mechanical Hard Drive
  • Inputs/Outputs:
    • 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wireless LAN 
    • Bluetooth 4.1
    • 3 x USB 3.0
    • 1 x HDMI
    • 1 x Headphone Jack
    • 1 x Microphone Jack
    • Card Reader SDXC
  • ROM drive: N/A
  • Screen Size: 15.6"
  • Screen Type: Full HD LED
  • Refresh Rate: 60 GHz
  • Battery: 6 Cell Li-Ion

5. Huawei MateBook D

The MateBook D from Huawei is a bit on the expensive side, but there is a reason for that. If sound in games matters to you, then you will be impressed by this, the world's first laptop to launch with the Dolby Atmos Sound System. Also, the package includes one free year of the Office 365 software.

The battery is really solid and holds up to 6 hours of runtime. If you're looking for a sleek-looking, lightweight, and thin laptop that can run both games and office applications, then this is a great choice.

  • Graphics Card: 2 GB NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
  • CPU: 2.8 GHz Core i7 7500U
  • RAM: 8 GB DDR4
  • HDD/SSD: 1 TB Mechanical Hard Drive
  • Inputs/Outputs:
    • IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
    • 2.4/5GHz 2x2 MIMO
    • USB 3.0 X 2
    • USB 2.0 X 1
    • Full Size HDMI X 1
    • 3.5mm Stereo Headset Jack X 1
  • ROM drive: N/A
  • Screen Size: 15.6"
  • Screen Type: Full HD IPS
  • Refresh Rate: 60 Hz
  • Battery: 43.3 Wh, 3800 mAh Lithium-Ion

4. ASUS VivoBook 15 X510UX

This ASUS laptop has everything you need for a fast gaming experience in a lightweight and thin form factor. The Intel dual-core processor and the mobile GeForce 940MX graphics card will provide enough power to run all the latest games, although not on highest settings.

It doesn't have an Ethernet port, so expect to only use a wireless connection here. The battery is non-detachable and runs for about four hours. But for this price, you won't find a better option.

  • Graphics Card: 2 GB NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
  • CPU: 2.7 GHz Core i7 7500U
  • RAM: 8 GB DDR4
  • HDD/SSD: 1 TB Mechanical Hard Drive
  • Inputs/Outputs:
    • 802.11ac Wireless LAN 
    • Bluetooth 4.1
    • 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C (Gen 1)
    • 2 x USB 2.0
    • 1 x USB 3.0
    • 1 x HDMI
    • 1 x Headphone/Microphone Combo Jack
    • Card Reader SDXC
  • ROM drive: N/A
  • Screen Size: 15.6"
  • Screen Type: Full HD
  • Refresh Rate: 60 Hz
  • Battery: 3 Cells 42 Whrs Polymer Battery

3. Lenovo Ideapad Y700

Here is the first true gaming laptop on this list with a distinct predatory design featured in most high-end gaming laptops. It runs on an AMD processor of the latest generation, which means that its power consumption is lower. This in turn makes it possible to run games up to seven hours on a fully charged battery.

The sound quality also plays a huge role in the Lenovo Y700, which is equipped with its own built-in subwoofer. The last thing that should be mentioned about this beast of a gaming laptop is the inclusion of an external optical disc drive in case you need to install your games off of a DVD.

  • Graphics Card: 4 GB AMD Radeon R9 M380
  • CPU: 1.8 GHz AMD A10-8700P
  • RAM: 8 GB DDR3L
  • HDD/SSD: 1 TB Mechanical Hard Drive
  • Inputs/Outputs:
    • 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
    • Bluetooth 4.1
    • 4-in-1 card reader
    • 2 x USB 3.0
    • USB 2.0
    • HDMI
    • Headphone/microphone combo jack
  • ROM drive: External DVD-RW
  • Screen Size: 15.6"
  • Screen Type: Full HD LED
  • Refresh Rate: 60 Hz
  • Battery: 60 Wh 4-cell Lithium polymer

2. ASUS FX503VD

Here is another model from ASUS, but this time with a quad-core processor from Intel, which guarantees much more powerful performance. On top of that, the FX series includes a Hybrid HDD, which performs 6x faster than your typical HDD.

The most amazing feature is the GTX 1050 graphics card, which is perfect for running all the latest games on ultra settings. If you require a solid wireless connection, you will be extremely pleased with the dual-antenna wi-fi, which is 6x faster than traditional BGN. However, the battery isn't particularly good and holds only up to 2 hours.

  • Graphics Card: 2 GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050
  • CPU: 2.5 GHz Intel Core i5-7300HQ
  • RAM: 8 GB DDR4
  • HDD/SSD: 1000 GB Hybrid Drive
  • Inputs/Outputs:
    • 802.11ac 2x2 Dual-antenna WiFi
    • Bluetooth 4.1
    • 2x USB 3.1
    • 1x USB 2.0
    • 1x HDMI 1.4
    • 1x Mini DisplayPort
    • 1x headphone/Mic jack
    • 1x card reader
  • ROM drive: N/A
  • Screen Size: 15.6"
  • Screen Type: Full HD LED
  • Refresh Rate: 60 Hz
  • Battery: 64 Wh 4-cell Lithium ion

1. Acer Nitro 5

Now we take a look at the laptop with the best price/performance balance. It features the quad-core processor from Intel and a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics card, which has 4 GB of VRAM. That is already a sign of a genuinely powerful gaming station.

You may ask why the price is so low. The reason is because it hosts a 256 GB SSD, which may seem a bit underwhelming when taking into account that some modern games require up to 50-60 GB of disk space. But it's extremely fast and completely noiseless.

The battery performs a bit better than on the ASUS and holds up to three hours of non-stop gameplay.

  • Graphics Card: 4 GB GTX 1050 Ti
  • CPU: 2.5 GHz Intel Core i5
  • RAM: 8 GB DDR4
  • HDD/SSD: 256 GB SSD
  • Inputs/Outputs:
    • 1x USB 3.0
    • 2x USB 2.0
    • Network (RJ-45)
    • HDMI Output
    • 1x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C
    • 2 x Microphone
    • 1 x Speaker
  • ROM drive: N/A
  • Screen Size: 15.6"
  • Screen Type: Full HD IPS
  • Refresh Rate: 60 Hz
  • Battery: 48 Wh 4-cell Lithium polymer

If your budget is tight, then there's no better option than the ASUS VivoBook 15, but if you can spare an extra $100, then definitely buy the Acer Nitro 5. You can always add an external hard drive to host your other files and use the SSD for your favorite games only.

However, if you want a big HDD, then opt for the ASUS FX503VD, which is quite expensive for a laptop, but not too expensive for a gaming laptop. As a result, you will have both 1 TB of disk space as well as excellent performance. Not a bad deal for getting something for back to school and gaming. 

Remember: budget doesn't necessarily mean cheap! 

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That is all for the best current budget gaming laptops of 2018, but be sure to check out other shopping guides here at GameSkinny:

Published May. 18th 2018

Correspondent

I am a freelance writer and an avid gamer. I love researching and writing about video games of all sorts. Sharing my thoughts and experiences with others makes my job a real pleasure. GameSkinny is my new home and a great opportunity to give my readers the finest materials from the world of gaming.


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