We all know that gaming laptops can get extremely expensive. A mid-level machine can easily cost you over £2000, and unfortunately, not everyone can afford this – especially when it’s for entertainment.
But you should know that there are plenty of affordable machines out there that will give you great gameplay. You might not be able to play all games on top specs, but that’s ok. You should be able to get on with a machine that can play most games decently. Let’s take a look at a few things to think about when buying a budget gaming laptop.
Forget “Gaming Laptops”
The first thing you have to do is scratch off any machine branded as a gaming laptop specifically. Any laptop can play games, and companies place a premium on gaming machines because of the demand.
Sure, the design might be cool and everything, but this is not something you can obsess over when looking for budget gaming laptops. You have to be ready to settle for a nondescript machine as long as it can do the job.
GPU Over Everything
You can have the cheapest dual-core processor and the screen with the worst viewing angles and glare on the planet and still enjoy games, but you cannot have a cheap GPU. So, you need to write off machines that have an integrated graphics card and get a machine that has at least an RTX 30 or RX 6000 graphics card.
Everything else is negotiable. If a machine has this kind of GPU, you can expect everything else to be powerful enough. The screen is usually where things will let you down, but you have to be willing to make sacrifices. As long as you can view the action, you shouldn’t worry about OLED displays and refresh rates. You get what you pay for, so expect to get a decent to suboptimal screen if you’re going for a cheap unit.
RAM vs SSD
You will usually have to choose between faster SSD storage or more RAM when choosing a cheap laptop of any kind. While it can be tough to choose between the two, we suggest that you focus on upgradeability first and foremost. This way you can use what you have and make adjustments later on when you have the money.
Forget Backlit Keyboards
You have to be ready to deal with your middle-of-the-road chiclet-style keyboard on a budget laptop – and it’s best to assume that you won’t get the best travel and feel on the keys. You should also forget advanced features like backlight. Backlight adds significantly to production costs and these are passed down to the customer. While a non-backlit keyboard can be a nuisance, it shouldn’t be a deal-breaker since we assume you’re going to play near a light source most of the time.
A gaming laptop doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Once you know what to look for, you can decide where you need to spend and where you can take lower specs without it affecting your experience too much.