The 8 Best Gaming Laptops Under $1200 In 2022

Computer games can be used to develop someone’s creativity and critical thinking skills since a lot of computer games require problem-solving skills through game missions and stories. Gaming provides virtual opportunities to gamers to explore unimaginable fantasies which challenge their minds through risk-taking, patience, perseverance, strategizing, concentration, leadership, etc. without compromising their real-life safety and within the comforts of their four-cornered room.

With the opportunity to game in different places, gaming laptops can be an ideal alternative. However, since gaming laptops are more compact, they are also more demanding in the manufacturing process, and the usual limitation that gamers worry about is the price.

That’s why in this article, we will introduce our 8 best-recommended gaming laptops that are budget-friendly and under $1200 for this year 2022.

MSI Stealth 15M 1

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1. Acer Nitro 5

Acer Nitro 5
Specifications
CPU:AMD Ryzen 5 4600U / Intel Core i5 / Intel Core i7
GPU:Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 / GeForce RTXTM 30 Series
RAM:8 GB – 32 GB DDR4
Storage:256 GB – 2 TB SSD
Display:15.6” – 17.3”, 1920 x 1080
Weight:2.4 kg
Off-Grid Battery Life:8 hours at most
Latest Release:2021

Pros

Very Affordable

Efficient Processor

Great and Comfortable Keyboard

Good Webcam

Cons

X Dimmer Display

X Stiff Trackpad

X Heavy

Base Model Price (SRP)Around US$800 in Amazon
Our Rating9.6 / 10

The Acer Nitro 5, which is available in both 17.3 and 15.6-inch models, is one of the finest budget gaming laptops. A model option for a 17-inch display inexpensive gaming laptop is unusual among entry-level gaming laptops; most sub-US$1,000 gaming laptops have 15.6-inch screens, and the Acer’s bigger screen allows gamers to immerse themselves in their chosen gaming environment. Unfortunately, the bigger displays are now priced at slightly over US$1,000. This laptop has an Intel Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD.

While the display isn’t as brilliant as it might be, the keyboard is comfy, and there’s even a great camera. The AMD Ryzen 5 4600U processor was coupled with an Nvidia GeForce 1650 graphics card in our evaluation unit. There’s lots of potential for upgrades if you’re handy, but the price is a little high for an entry-level device.

With its low price combined with reliably powerful specs in a cool feature set, it’s undeniable that the Acer Nitro 5 is one of the most economical gaming laptops in existence. Although some sacrifices have to be compromised, none of these affect the laptop’s overall purpose enough to matter, that is to provide a satisfying gaming performance plus the savings it offers.

2. Dell G3 15

Dell G3 15,
Specifications
CPU:Intel Core i5 / i7
GPU: Nvidia GTX 1650 / Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti
RAM: 8 GB – 16 GB DDR4
Storage:128 GB – 512 GB SSD / 1 TB HDD
Display:15.6”, 1920 x 1080
Weight:2.4 kg
Off-Grid Battery Life:6.5 hours at most
Latest Release:2021

Pros

Attractive Low Price

120 Hz Display

Ports

Affordable Configuration Options

Cons

X Middling Processor Performance

X Difficulty in Stabilizing 60 fps gaming at high settings

X Limited to only 256 GB of storage is restrictive for gaming

Base Model Price (SRP)Around US$800 US Street Price
Our Rating7.7 / 10

Despite the difficulty of finding a budget gaming laptop without compromising specs, the Dell G3 15 delivers fantastic 1080p gaming for about US$1,000, and the battery is actually very good.

The thinner, sleeker design is the most notable change over the older models. The slimmer design, which has thinner bezels surrounding a 144Hz panel, offers it a more high-end feel. If you’re looking for a gaming laptop that doesn’t scream “gamer” as soon as you take it out of your bag, this is a good budget alternative. The display color, however, does not posses a rich color range compared to other budget gaming laptops under US$1200.

3. HP Pavilion Gaming 15

HP pavilion gaming 15
Specifications
CPU:AMD Ryzen 5 / Intel Core i5 / Intel Core i7
GPU:Nvidia GTX 1650 / Nvidia GTX 3050 Ti /
RAM:8 GB – 16 GB DDR4
Storage:256 GB – 512 GB SSD
Display:15.6”, 1920 x 1080
Weight:2.25 kg
Off-Grid Battery Life:7.5 hours at most
Latest Release:2020

Pros

Good CPU processor

Dedicated GTX 1650 GPU

Solid Design

Affordable Configuration Options

Cons

X Limited RAM and SSD

X Not Long-Lasting Battery Life Span

X Limited to only 256 GB of storage is restrictive for gaming

Base Model Price (SRP)Around US$710 in Amazon
Our Rating8.5 / 10

HP’s Pavilion laptops are less expensive than its premium notebooks, but they’re still worth considering and make excellent portable computers. If you want to unwind after a long day at work, there are a few gaming variants with dedicated GPUs.

At US$1,249.99, the HP Pavilion Gaming 15 was a little bit more for budget gaming laptops. But its successor model, the HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop 15z-ec200, has a faster AMD Ryzen 5 CPU and a screen with a 144Hz refresh rate for e-sports players, and only cost US$790! A 60Hz variant of the 15z model is even cheaper at US$700.

However, the 15z-ec200 has a significantly slower GPU and limited storage, so although it may appeal to gamers on a budget, it falls short of the slightly less costly Acer Nitro 5 or the slightly more expensive MSI Bravo 15.

The HP Pavilion Gaming 15z’s basic model comes with an AMD Ryzen 5 5600H processor, a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of SSD storage. If you don’t mind lowering the graphic settings, this is more than enough to play even more demanding games.

4. MSI Stealth 15M

MSI Stealth 15M 1
Specifications
CPU:Intel Core i7 U-Processor
GPU:Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti with Max-Q Design / Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060
RAM:16 GB – 64 GB DDR4
Storage:512 GB – 1 TB SSD
Display:15.6”, 1920 x 1080
Weight:1.69 kg
Off-Grid Battery Life:4.5 hours at most
Latest Release:2021

Pros

WiFi 6 Support

Thunderbolt 4 Port

Elegant Aesthetic Design

Latest Hardware Specs

Cons

X Unstable Cooling Issues

X Short off-grid battery use

X Overheating risks

X Could be the costliest budget gaming laptop

Base Model Price (SRP)Can be as low as US$1200 in some stores
Our Rating9.3 / 10

The MSI Stealth 15M is a device with a wide range of features, from thunderbolt ports to WiFi 6. Its cutting-edge features will make you feel like Batman while using it. It’s also very relaxing to use due to the Carbon Grey chassis and the build’s finish is ideal for anyone looking for a laptop that matches their calm demeanor. Undoubtedly, the pictures are colorful, and there is a sense of clarity that is evident which you cannot deny. There is also a 144hz refresh rate that eliminates screen tearing.

Despite the slim casing, it features sophisticated hardware including a dedicated Nvidia Geforce RTX 3060 that can play practically every recent game. Furthermore, the 16GB RAM is more than enough for anyone who wishes to multitask and even execute demanding computational activities without experiencing delays.

5. Asus TUF F15

ASUS TUF F15,
Specifications
CPU:Intel Core i5 (4 cores) / i7 (6 or 8 cores)
GPU:Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 / 1650TM / 1650 Ti / 1660 Ti – all with 4 GB GGDR6
RAM:8 GB – 16 GB DDR4
Storage:256 GB – 1 TB SSD
Display:15.6”, 1920 x 1080
Weight:2.30 kg
Off-Grid Battery Life:12.5 hours at most
Latest Release:2021

Pros

Excellent Processing Power

Good Graphics Performance

Longer off-grid battery use

Good Screen Refresh Rate

Absence of Bloatware

Cons

X Occasional Heating Issues

X Few Thunderbolt Ports

Base Model Price (SRP)Around US$1,199 in Amazon
Our Rating9.5 / 10

The Asus TUF F15 is one of the best gaming laptops under US$1200 in the market. It comes with a Full HD 15.6-inch display with a 144Hz refresh rate. The laptop is powered by an Intel Core i7-11800H processor. This CPU is a quad-core processor that can reach a maximum clock speed of 4.8GHz while in Boost Mode. A powerful GPU is required to free up any potential bottleneck.

To address this need, it introduces the Nvidia RTX 3050Ti GPU with 6GB GDDR6 VRAM, which is the entry-level processor in the RTX 30 series, offering excellent performance at a more inexpensive price.

It also includes 16GB of 3200MHz DDR4 RAM. The random-access memory provided with it is extremely fast with plenty of capacity to tackle demanding programs and games. In terms of storage, it offers 512GB of capacity, allowing you to store larger files without difficulty. To reduce excessive heat buildup, the design is composed of plastic, exactly like other gaming laptops. It is also durable in physical aspects which increases its life span.

To provide an optimal gaming experience, the laptop also includes a backlit keyboard with white lightning. The cooling system is also very well optimized to avoid overheating. Just like other laptops, no matter how good the cooling system is when playing high-end games, the unit becomes a little warm. A twin-fan liquid cooling system successfully regulates overheating.

6. Lenovo Legion 5

Lenovo Legion 5
Specifications
CPU:AMD RyzenTM 5 5600H Processor
GPU:Nvidia GeForce RTXTM 3060 6GB GDDR6
RAM:8 GB – 64 GB DDR4
Storage:512 GB SSD
Display:15.6”, 2560 x 1440
Weight:2.50 kg
Off-Grid Battery Life:8 hours at most
Latest Release:2022

Pros

Excellent CPU and GPU for the price

Dedicated 6GB Video RAM

Excellent Thermal Design

Accurate Colour Display

Cons

X Sound System

X No Card Reader

X Limited RAM although sufficient

Base Model Price (SRP)Around US$1,140 in Amazon
Our Rating9.0 / 10

The Lenovo Legion 5, sometimes called Legion 5 15, is a budget gaming laptop that doesn’t skimp on features like complete lighting, instead focusing on the essentials of gaming. A fast 165 Hz display is included in addition to the GeForce RTX 3060 and a current AMD Ryzen 5000 CPU.

Considering its powerful performance, you might not be bothered by the Legion’s thickness or unaesthetic appearance. It’s centered around a large 15.6-inch 2560×1440 display with a 16:10 aspect ratio, which lies between the more common 15.6- and 17.3-inch screens with 16:9 ratios.

The combination of excellent CPU and GPU outperforms its Intel competitors in multithreaded benchmarks and is a more practical alternative to Alienware m15 Ryzen Edition R5, which has the same CPU and GPU pairing. It could be a good, more economical choice if you’re prioritizing performance than aesthetics.

7. MSI GF65 Thin

MSI GF 65 Thin 1
Specifications
CPU:Intel core i5 / i7 10th Gen
GPU:Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti / RTX 3060 Mobile GDDR6
RAM:8 GB – 64 GB DDR4
Storage:512 GB – 1 TB SSD
Display:15.6”, 1920 x 1080
Weight:1.86 kg
Off-Grid Battery Life:7 hours at most
Latest Release:2021

Pros

Dedicated GPU

Excellent Processor

Aesthetically Attractive

Lightweight

Backlit Keyboard

Cons

X Despite being tagged as thin, it kinda looks bulky

X Quite Loud

Base Model Price (SRP)Around US$1,199 in Amazon
Our Rating8.9 / 10

The GF65 Thin moniker suggests that this MSI laptop is all about being slim and portable, although it looks kinda bulky compared to other slim models. It’s also competitively priced, especially given the specifications, which include an Nvidia RTX 3060 graphics card.

It has a 10th-gen Intel Core i7-10750H processor with 16GB of RAM and Nvidia’s RTX 3060 GPU. In desktop computers, those Nvidia 3000-series graphics are really hard to come by, so this laptop is a viable option if you want the power for beautiful graphics and stuff like ray tracing and DLSS.

Given that this laptop also has a 1080p panel with a 144Hz refresh rate, the graphics card is a great addition. The 3060 is also compatible with Resizable BAR, which makes the Intel CPU and Nvidia GPU work together more efficiently. This option enables more optimized communication between the two, as well as improved performance in some games.

8. Asus ROG Strix G15

ASUS Rog Strix G15,
Specifications
CPU:AMD Ryzen 7 5800H
GPU:Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 6GB GDDR6
RAM:16 GB – 32 GB DDR4
Storage:512 GB – 1 TB SSD
Display:15.6”, 1920 x 1080
Weight:2.30 kg
Off-Grid Battery Life:8 hours at most
Latest Release:2022

Pros

Powerful Processing Power

Good Audio

Optimized Multitasking

Good Off-Grid Battery Lifeod Webcam

Cons

X Significant heating during intensive gaming and multitasking

X No Webcam

Base Model Price (SRP)Around US$1,000 in Amazon
Our Rating8.8 / 10

The ASUS ROG Strix G15 is a gaming laptop with all-in-one provisions for other high-performing tasks aside from gaming and high-quality hardware. The laptop has a 15.6-inch with a 1920 x 1080p display. The display provides a refresh rate of up to 300Hz, which is a necessary feature for most gaming laptops. It uses an AMD Ryzen 7 processor with an octa-core CPU. This is a powerful CPU capable of handling high-end multitasking and gaming tasks.

The given chipset has a basic clock speed of 2.9GHz. The chipset is built on the 7-nanometer processor node, making it exceptionally power-efficient. The Nvidia’s RTX 3060 with 6GB of GDDR6 VRAM provides a balanced performance due to excellent software optimization.

So, which stands the most among these best gaming laptops under $1200?

Since we have already introduced our 8 best-recommended gaming laptops under $1200, we will summarize the specifications of each model through tables for a clearer comparison:

SpecsAcer Nitro 5Dell G3 15HP Pavilion Gaming 15MSI Stealth 15MAsus TUF F15Lenovo Legion 5MSI GF65 ThinAsus ROG Strix G15
CPUAMD Ryzen 5 4600U / Intel Core i5 / Intel Core i7Intel Core i5 / i7AMD Ryzen 5 / Intel Core i5 / Intel Core i7Intel Core i7 U-ProcessorIntel Core i5 (4 cores) / i7 (6 or 8 cores)AMD RyzenTM 5 5600H ProcessorIntel core i5 / i7 10th GenAMD Ryzen 7 5800H
GPUNvidia GeForce GTX 1650 / GeForce RTXTM 30 SeriesNvidia GTX 1650 / Nvidia GTX 1660 TiNvidia GTX 1650 / Nvidia GTX 3050 Ti /Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti with Max-Q Design / Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 / 1650TM / 1650 Ti / 1660 Ti – all with 4 GB GGDR6Nvidia GeForce RTXTM 3060 6GB GDDR6Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti / RTX 3060 Mobile GDDR6Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 6GB GDDR6
Memory8 GB – 32 GB DDR48 GB – 16 GB DDR48 GB – 16 GB DDR416 GB – 64 GB DDR48 GB – 16 GB DDR48 GB – 64 GB DDR48 GB – 64 GB DDR416 GB – 32 GB DDR4
Storage256 GB – 2 TB SSD128 GB – 512 GB SSD / 1 TB HDD256 GB – 512 GB SSD512 GB – 1 TB SSD256 GB – 1 TB SSD512 GB SSD512 GB – 1 TB SSD512 GB – 1 TB SSD
Display15.6” – 17.3”, 1920 x 108015.6”, 1920 x 108015.6”, 1920 x 108015.6”, 1920 x 108015.6”, 1920 x 108015.6”, 2560 x 144015.6”, 1920 x 108015.6”, 1920 x 1080
Weight2.4 kg2.4 kg2.25 kg1.69 kg2.30 kg2.50 kg1.86 kg2.30 kg
Off-Grid Battery Life8 hours at most6.5 hours at most7.5 hours at most4.5 hours at most12.5 hours at most8 hours at most7 hours at most8 hours at most
Latest Release20212021202020212021202220212022
Base Model Price (SRP)Around US$800Around US$800Around US$710Can be as low as US$1200Around US$1,199Around US$1,140Around US$1,199Around US$1,000

Wrapping it up and based on our own unbiased ratings on a scale of 1-10, we best recommend the Acer Nitro 5. Acer computers are known to be cheaper than most laptop brands, yet they are good performers. This is the same for their gaming laptop, Acer Nitro 5.

Traditionally, legitimate gaming laptops have been pricey, large, may deteriorate faster, uneconomical for the specs, and sometimes, worse than expected once used for actual games. However, as technology advanced and the demand increased, computer manufacturers and developers were able to innovate laptops such as the superb Acer Nitro 5. Although this gaming laptop is in the mid-range, it offers some great specs for playing the newest PC games without hurting your pocket.

For a base model, we get either an AMD Ryzen 5 4600U or an Intel Core i5-10300H CPU, at least an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650, 15.6-inch 144Hz 1920×1080 display, 8GB DDR4 RAM expandable to 32 GB, and at least 256GB NVMe SSD. The RAM and SSD aren’t very impressive, but you can always upgrade them up to 32 GB DDR4 and 2 TB SSD respectively. It may cost more but is still economical for such upgraded specs.

This is not to say that the other models are less advantageous. As you can notice, we scored all of them with high ratings because they are all, indeed, excellent for gaming and at the same time, economical costing less than US$1200. All these models are cool in their own unique charming ways and they have some similarities too.