Here we have jotted down the best gaming laptop under $1200 for you, and trust me; you won’t be disappointed. A low budget is not a problem anymore; you can easily get a high-performance laptop with a relatively good spec range.
The laptop which wins the game (drumrolls!) is Acer Predator Helios 300.
Best Gaming Laptop Under $1200 – Acer Predator Helios 300
The Acer Predator Helios 300 has made it to the top in our best gaming laptop list for all the obvious reasons. It is a mid-range laptop claiming to provide a smooth 1080p gaming experience (every gamer’s ultimate dream).
Talking about the exterior and the design of the laptop, Acer Predator Helios 300 has a metal-coated body with a dark matte finish. It also has blue accents around the important buttons for the gaming and the touchpad. Overall the laptop is good in terms of design with subtle angles and edges. However, the only excessive part, in my opinion, was the air vents painted blue.
Moreover, it comes with a 9th generation Intel Core i7 processor, and that too at such an affordable price? Let’s be honest; it’s not less than a steal! Even though it suffers in a few areas such as the exterior and the keyboard, it is still comparatively better than the other options available in the market in the $1200 price range.
Acer Predator Helios 300 Specifications
9th Generation i7-9750H Processor
As we discussed earlier, Acer Predator Helios 300 provides a top-notch performance with the 9th Gen Intel i7-9750H, which is a 6-core 45watt processor. But there is more to this! The best thing about this laptop is it comes in a number of alternative specifications.
You can downgrade the processor to i5 9th Gen (9300H) and save yourself about $250.
GTX 1650 4GB GDDR5 GPU
Here comes the star of the show, the GPU of this laptop. It has a GTX 1660 Ti, which is Nvidia’s one of the newest chips (and more on an affordable side too). Moreover, it leaves behind the other cheaper option “Asus,” as the Acer’s chip comes with 1536 steam processors and 6GB memory with 1770MHZ.
Acer also offers a variant of this model with a 17-inch display, which is capable of taking up to GeForce RTX 2070 graphics with 32GB of memory.
512GB M.2 PCIe Gen3 SSD
About the storage, interestingly, there are various options available in Acer Predator Helios 300 (obviously, the price range differs). The basic storage option that it comes with is, 256 GB SSD. However, there are upgraded versions available as well, i.e., 512 GB SSD and 1 TB HDD.
8GB DDR4 (2666Mhz) RAM
For gaming, the RAM is equally important as the processor. Therefore, it has to go up to the point.
The Acer also provides you with RAM options (hats off to the friendly approach for user upgrades). You can opt between 8GB and 16GB.
If you ask our opinion, if you go for a 16GB option, there is no need for further upgrading.
The display of the laptop is FHD (1920 x 1080), and it comes with two options to select from 15.6 inches and 17.3 inches. Moreover, the Acer Predator Helios 300 is an IPS panel with a 3ms response rate and 144Hz screen refresh rate (which is one of the best for the gaming laptop).
Also, the display has to offer good brightness too, i.e., 343 nits, which means this Acer laptop can be very suitable in outdoor and bright artificial lights.
You can buy a variant with 17.3in with the options of Core i5 and i7 CPUs in a price range of $1299-$1499.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that battery life is middling when it comes to gaming laptops.
It works for 4h 30 mins with low-end applications. However, this laptop won’t be a perfect choice if you are buying it for better battery health.
Which games can this Laptop run?
Here is a list of Games with FPS we got while playing on Acer Predator helios 300.
** The numbers are representing FPS (Frames Per Second) in different games under different settings.
|Red Dead Redemption 2||65||48||40||29|
|COD Modern Warfare 2019||129||89||72||67|
IO Options in Acer Predator Helios 300
The Acer Predator Helios 300 has enough ports to connect all the necessary devices required for gaming.
On the right side of the laptop, there are the following ports:
- USB 3.0 port
- Type-C USB 3.1
- Full-size HDMI out
- Mini display port connection
And, on the left flank, the laptop contains:
- 2x USB 3.0 port
- Mini Ethernet Jack
- Audio Jack
Dell G5 15 5590 – An alternate if you don’t want Acer!
If you aren’t satisfied with the Acer Predator Helios 300 for any reason, here is one alternate for that. This gaming laptop marks second in our list because it is a bit above the $1200 range, and by a bit above, it’s just $99.
A Bit above the Budget!
Coming to the design of the laptop, one word: it is simply “robust.” The body is a mix of plastic and metal, and the keyboard is monochrome backlit as well. This laptop looks rock solid while being portable as well.
Dell G5 15, with i7-9750H CPU and RTX 2060 GPU may fill your stomach with happiness!
There is a wide range of ports on the Dell G5 15 5590. That includes:
- 3 x USB A Ports
- USB C with Thunderbolt 3 Port
- Mini display Connection Port
- HDMI Port
- LAN Reader
- SD Card Reader
Also to note, that most of these ports, as well as the power connector, are at the rear of the laptop, which makes the connection easier and avoids any clutters of wires.
IPS FHD Display
This laptop has a 15.6-inch display with full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution. Also, the screen is anti-glare LED Backlight, which is ideal if you are operating the laptop in bright lights.
As much as this laptop has a killer combination of specs that makes it a strong gaming performance laptop, it lacks in some aspects such as the IPS panel is just satisfactory, and some configuration options are confusing.
The performing components of Dell G5 15 5590 laptops are perfect mix and match, to be honest. The processor is a top-notch 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H, which is the same as of the helios 300 above. Moreover, it includes 2.6 GHz base frequency, 12 MB cache and up to 4.5 GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Technology, which makes it one of the powerful candidates for a gaming laptop.
RTX 2070 GPU
The Dell G5 15 5590 contains the Nvidia’s new GeForce RTX 2060 graphics processor. This graphics card provides high-frame-rate Full HD gaming, which is like every gamer’s ultimate dream. Lesser lag is what we are talking about here.
However, we won’t regard this as “Buttery smooth,” for that you’ll need an extra powerful GPU and 120Hz refresh rate display. Also, the fans can be pretty noisy when there is excessive load on the computer, but that is pretty obvious for a gaming laptop.
It’s safe to say that this laptop makes its place in the best gaming laptop with a good battery life list. Dell G5 15 5590 has a 10-hour movie playback, which makes it actually fairly good for a powerful gaming laptop.
However, the point to be noted is, this laptop’s battery lasted 4h 45mins with a little bit of extensive usage of applications. But, it is still better than Acer Predator Helios 300, and what else do you ask for at such a price point.
When it comes to design, it is probably the best-looking and minimal-designed gaming laptop. Period. It is about 6 pounds in weight and easy to carry, which makes it a good laptop for gaming and school.
Low on Budget? XPC MSI GF65 can be the Best Option!
Wondering what makes it the best affordable gaming laptop? Obviously, the price is about $949 and the performance it offers is the best value for money. It is the slimmest option among the other two competitors we discussed above, i.e., 4.8 pounds and 0.7 inches thick, which makes it ideal when it comes to traveling.
The design is very sleek and elegant; the chassis of the laptop is made of black, matte sandblasted aluminum alloy. Also, the chassis contains the MSI black and gold emblem. The gold color can also be seen on the side vents and a lining on the touchpad and power button. The top-mounted vent on the keyboard is the talk of the show; it is a delicate floral design that catches the eye at first sight.
As much as the design looks very chic, the build quality is something that didn’t excite me. It is merely OK. So, if you are into sturdy, reliable laptops, this might not be the one for you.
Now, let’s talk about the real game, “performance” components. XPC MSI G565 comes with 9th Gen Intel Coffee Lake Core i7-9750H Six-Core, along with GeForce RTX 2060 6GB GDDR6 graphics card (a perfect combination for gaming).
However, one thing that ranks it the lowest in our list is that heats up fairly quickly and pretty excessively. The bottom of the laptop was tested to be recorded at 122 Fahrenheit degrees while playing an extensive game, and even with the movie playback, the recorded temperature was 102 degrees, which is fairly warm.
Still, the bottom line is that for $949, you are getting a great quality, high-performance gaming laptop along with a customizable keyboard and great audio system. Also, the weight and dimensions are a bargain too.
So, you can’t ask more at such a price point!
Gaming Peripherals you can buy!
We thought it’s more than a necessity to include gaming peripherals in this guide that are compatible with the laptops discussed. These peripherals are proven to give the best gaming experience.
With seven programmable buttons, the Razer DeathAdder Elite is one of its kind. It has a robust design and performance with high precision 16,000 DPI Optical Sensors. It works great with almost all the games as it offers accuracy in navigation and improved grip. Undoubtedly, it is one of the bestseller gaming mice when it comes to gaming.
The SteelSeries QcK was our pick with the laptops mainly because of the color. This Mouse Pad has a sleek black design that matches all of the above-mentioned laptops, making your gaming area more appealing.
Also, apart from the design, this mouse pad is best for high and low dpi. It is lightweight and can be rolled up easily. Also, the rubber at the bottom of the pad prevents the pad from sliding.
Kootek Laptop Cooling Pad can be easily incorporated with the above laptops as it is compatible with 12-17 inch laptops. This cooling pad comes with five fans that can handle any temperature you throw at it. It provides you with better controllability and adjustability, the number of fans working can be adjusted according to your preference. Also, the height can be adjusted as there are six levels for adjustment.
Along with the six programmable G Keys, Corsair K95 is a little on the high-end side for all the obvious reasons. The size of the keyboard is pretty big, and so is its features list. It looks extraordinary just by the look of it as it has dynamic multi-color backlighting. Also, now you don’t have to worry about wrist aches while having extensive sessions of gaming, as Corsair K95 has a detachable, long, and wide wrist rest.
Now that you are aware of the pros and cons of each laptop, it would be much easier for you to decide.
Even though the machines mentioned here are the best on the budget, however, there are still a few compromises to make when opting for these. Obviously, when you are cutting out the budget, you are cutting out on high-end features as well.
Make your decision wisely and select the one that fits your needs, preference, and budget the most. Happy gaming!