Best cheap gaming laptops in 2022: Top budget alternatives

Looking for the best cheap gaming laptops in 2022 can be a daunting task, but we’ve rounded up our top picks for gaming on the go, saving you all of teh hassle.

Getting a gaming laptop for some of the top games doesn’t always mean you have to shell out for a Razer Blade, or even some of the mid-ranged laptops we usually recommend.

However, you’ll have to take into consideration a few things before going budget and even just going with a laptop in general. While your gaming laptop – especially the ones recommended in this article – will be lasting longer than ever before, you’ve got no real way to upgrade.

Going the desktop route for gaming on a PC is always almost preferable, but at the end of the day, not everyone has the space to house a desktop.

With this in mind, you’ll also want to consider that the GPUs and CPUs inside, while close enough to the full-fat desktop variants, will always be a smidge less powerful due to being shrunk down. Nvidia, Intel, and AMD have gotten better about this, but there’s also cooling to be concerned over. A lot of chips and devices will throttle – even on desktops – if they notice things are getting too hot.

However, with the recent advancements from companies like Nvidia and AMD around mobile gaming, we’ve seen a lot of improvements.

We’re aiming for under $1000 for each laptop on this list, be sure to check our updated list of gaming laptop deals to find a steal.

The best cheap gaming laptop: Acer Nitro 5

Acer Nitro 5

Key specs

  • GPU: RTX 3050 Ti
  • CPU: Intel i5-12500H
  • Storage: 512GB NVMe
  • Panel: IPS, 1920×1080, 144Hz
  • Where to buy: Best Buy

Ideal for esports, as well as some light 1080p gaming (essentially, stick things on medium and work from there), this laptop punches far above its weight class.

Combining an i5, 16GB of RAM (there is an 8GB version, but always go with a minimum of 16GB), and an RTX 3050 Ti, it’ll pretty much handle a lot of games from the last few years without much hassle.

You’ll hear us talking about laptops lasting a few years out and that’s what we aim for when we’re recommending them. These laptops, while being cheaper than the rest on offer, require the confidence that the next big game won’t run on them for some reason.

We’re confident in the fact that the 3050 Ti inside the Acer Nitro 5, along with the rest of the spec, will be helped by supersampling, whether from Nvidia’s DLSS or AMD’s FSR. This tech should stretch what you can play on the go, by miles.

In recent tests on similar systems, with DLSS 2.0, we’ve seen the 3050 Ti get a huge boost, with up to six times the performance gained during Time Spy’s intense benchmarks.

Acer Swift X

Acer Swift X featured image with CS:GODexerto

Key specs

  • GPU: RTX 3050 Ti
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 5825U
  • Storage: 1TB NVMe
  • Panel: IPS, 1920×1080, 60Hz
  • Where to buy: Amazon

While we gave it a middling review, when you consider the specs are fairly similar, outside of using a last-generation AMD chip, we still managed to get a decent amount of performance out of the device.

Estimates from 3D Mark saw the 1080p Ultra, without DLSS reach 45FPS on average on GTAV and Battlefield V. Apex Legends saw a potential for 75FPS.

A lot of the review focused on the generic, and middling hardware that encased the device, rather than its actual internals which impressed us thoroughly.

Asus TUF A15


Key specs

  • GPU: RTX 3050 Ti
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 6800H
  • Storage: 512GB NVMe
  • Panel: IPS, 1920×1080, 144Hz
  • Where to buy: Best Buy

If we could put a fat asterisk on this, we’d recommend that you get an additional stick of RAM with your order. The ASUS TUF A15 comes with this great spec, of DDR5 memory, the latest AMD 6000 chip, and an RTX 3050 Ti. It, however, only comes with 8GB of DDR5 memory, which we don’t recommend you rely on for too long.

While DDR5 is a lot faster than DDR4, and the 8GB would presumably still allow you to play a lot of games, but you always want a bit of overhead.

Outside of this one caveat, this laptop will – much like the other RTX 3050 Ti-enabled laptops, bring a surprising amount of punch when gaming at 1080p. While you’ll have to turn some stuff down here and there just to hit that desired 60FPS.

The A15’s modern spec and full integration with Nvidia and AMD’s new laptop tech to assist with the best performance when gaming on the go, should dominate a lot of lower-end games.

Best budget alternative to a cheap gaming laptop: Steam Deck

Steam Deck featured imageDexerto

If you want a device that is strictly for gaming on, we can’t recommend the Steam Deck enough. In our review, we said that working with SteamOS and a few of its odd issues can be an issue for newcomers, but using the vast community behind it, you’ll figure it out.

To be frank, the price for the performance it gives on some of the newest, AAA games, is astounding for the price. Starting at just $399, and topping out at $649 for a 512GB version, it’s a no-brainer for the gaming enthusiast that wants to just be moving all the time. Or in bed. Or on the toilet.

With production ramping up on Valve’s end, placing your order today will see you get yours by the end of the year.

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