10 Best Gaming Laptops Under $1200

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Gaming laptops can vary in price from as low as $500 all the way up to $3,000 or more, but if you want to get a decent model that can run the latest releases without any issues, you don’t really need to spend any more than $1,200.

At this price range, you’ll find a great selection of high quality gaming machines, equipped with some of the latest and greatest processors and graphics cards. These laptops will be more than capable of running popular modern titles and upcoming AAA releases, and often come with cool extra features like VR functionality, high fidelity IPS displays, backlit keyboards, and plenty more.

Budget
best-budget-gaming-laptop-under-1200
ASUS ROG Strix Hero Edition
4.5/5.0
Graphics Card: GTX 1050 Ti (4GB)
CPU: Intel i7-8750H
RAM: 16GB RAM
Built with professional gaming in mind, it can handle anything.
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Best Value
best-value-gaming-laptop-under-1200
MSI GP73 Leopard-609
4.5/5.0
Graphics Card: GTX 1060 (6GB)
CPU: Intel i7-8750H
RAM: 8GB RAM
An exceptional processor and the strongest GPU in this price range.
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Top Pick
top-value-gaming-laptop-under-1200
Acer Predator Helios 300
4.4/5.0
Graphics Card: GTX 1060 (6GB)
CPU: Intel i7-7700HQ
RAM: 16GB RAM
16GB of RAM and impeccable gaming performance.
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We’ll be taking a look at ten of the best laptops you can buy for $1,200 or less, but before we get onto the list, let’s check out the key components and features you’ll want to focus on when investing in your next gaming laptop.







Now you know what to look for while shopping for your next gaming laptop, let’s take a look at ten of the best models you can order today for $1,200 or less. The simple comparison table below shows the prices and basic characteristics of each model, in order from most to least expensive.

Gaming Laptops Under $1200 Comparison Table

Make and ModelGraphics CardCPURAMPrice
HP Omen 2018GTX 1050 (4GB)i7-7700HQ16GBCheck Price
Eluktronics N870HP6 Pro-XGTX 1060 (6GB)i7-7700HQ16GBCheck Price
ASUS ROG Strix Hero EditionGTX 1050 Ti (4GB)i7-8750H16GBCheck Price
MSI GV62 8RD-034GTX 1050 Ti (4GB)i7-8750H8GBCheck Price
ASUS VivoBook ProGTX 1050 (4GB)i7-8550U16GBCheck Price
MSI GP73 Leopard-609GTX 1060 (6GB)i7-8750H8GBCheck Price
Dell G5GTX 1050 Ti (4GB)i7-8750H16GBCheck Price
Acer Predator Helios 300GTX 1060 (6GB)i7-7700HQ16GBCheck Price
MSI GL62MGTX 1050 Ti (4GB)i7-7700HQ8GBCheck Price
Dell Inspiron 700GTX 1060 (6GB)i5-7300HQ8GBCheck Price

1. HP Omen 2018

HP Omen 2018View on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.4/5

Like a lot of gaming laptops around this price range, the HP Omen 2018 immediately catches the eye with a very attractive design. The sleek, modern keyboard with bright red WASD keys is a really nice feature, and the chassis seems like it wouldn’t look out of place on the deck of a spaceship. It’s a really futuristic, stylish laptop, so if good looks are an important factor for you, this is a great machine to choose.

Of course, aesthetics don’t have any direct effect on functionality, so let’s take a look under the hood and see what’s powering this particular machine. The HP Omen 2018 is fitted out with a quad core i7-7700HQ processor and GTX 1050 graphics card. The 1050 is more than capable of running any modern game on high settings, but this is the priciest laptop on our list and cheaper models can be found with stronger 1050 Ti or even 1060 GPUs. If you’re looking to get the best bang for your buck in terms of gaming performance, you might be better off looking elsewhere.

The GPU might be slightly lacking, and the lack of an eighth generation processor is slightly disappointing due to the laptop’s high price, but the Omen makes up for these issues in the RAM and storage departments. This laptop is fitted out with an enormous 16GB of RAM, along with a 256GB SSD and 1TB hard drive, offering more than enough space to store your games while also providing the speed advantage of the solid state drive.

All in all, the HP Omen 2018 is an attractive gaming laptop in more ways than one, and does just about enough to justify its lofty price tag. It is possible to find newer processors and better GPUs for less cash, but the overall package, complete with those stunning RAM and storage options, as well as a very impressive battery, really set this model apart.

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Tech Specs
Screen size: 15.6”
GPU: GTX 1050 (4GB)
CPU: Intel i7-7700HQ
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 256GB SSD + 1TB
Features: Backlit keyboard, VR ready
The Pros
Very stylish aesthetics
Built for gamers
Decent battery life for a gaming laptop
Great storage options
Huge amount of RAM
The Cons
Highest price
Weakest GPU at this price range
Quite heavy and chunky

2. Eluktronics N870HP6 Pro-X

Eluktronics N870HP6 Pro-XView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5

The Eluktronics N870HP6 Pro-X doesn’t quite have the same otherworldly sense of style of the HP Omen 2018, but it’s still a very good looking machine with a lot of firepower hiding beneath its unassuming exterior. Fitted out with a quad core i7-7700HQ processor and GTX 1060 GPU, this laptop actually has stronger tech than the Omen and offers better overall gaming performance.

At this kind of price point, the GTX 1060 is the best video card you can hope to find. With a whopping 6GB of dedicated memory, this is an exceptionally powerful GPU that can handle anything you throw at it. If you want lightning-fast frame rates and smooth ultra-high quality graphics, this is a great laptop to choose. It’s also fitted out with 16GB of DDR4 RAM for multi-tasking and future-proofing and a 256GB PCIe SSD for almost instantaneous boot-ups and transfers.

This laptop also comes fitted with a 17.3 inch screen, which is the largest display you can find on a laptop right now. With wide viewing angles and crisp visuals, the Eluktronics N870HP6 Pro-X IPS display is a technical marvel, but there is a downside: the large screen results in this laptop been quite large and bulky, making it difficult to carry around.

Another disadvantage comes in the storage options of this device. The SSD is a nice bonus, but there’s no hard drive, so some external storage is a must-have for owners of this laptop. Unfortunately, the device is inconveniently hard to disassemble and upgrade. Those minor drawbacks aside, there’s a lot to love about this laptop. The tech specs are fantastic, the battery is surprisingly strong, and the keyboard and trackpad are both comfortable to use.

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Tech Specs
Screen size: 17.3”
GPU: GXT 1060 (6GB)
CPU: i7-7700HQ
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 256GB PCIe SSD
Features: Backlit keyboard
The Pros
Huge screen
Best GPU at this price level
Decent battery life
Comfortable keyboard
The Cons
Large screen hinders portability
External storage needed
Complicated to disassemble and upgrade

3. ASUS ROG Strix Hero Edition

ASUS ROG Strix Hero EditionView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5

The ASUS ROG (Republic of Gamers) series of laptops are among the most prestigious devices in the gaming world, and it is perfectly possible to own a ROG for less than $1,200. This ROG Strix Hero Edition is fitted with an impressive 15.6″ display, an eighth generation CPU and a 1050 Ti GPU. There’s a lot of powerful tech in this laptop and it’s a real eye-catcher too, with an RGB backlit keyboard specially designed with gamers in mind.

The screen is one of the ROG Strix Hero Edition’s strongest components. With a 120 Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time, users can enjoy high fidelity visuals with minimal input lag and no screen-tearing or other visual flaws. The 1050 Ti GPU and i7-8750H processor also work in combination to bring your games to life and the screen displays every single frame with astonishing clarity.

As a ROG laptop, this machine was built for gaming, and it shows. The anti-dust cooling system is one of the best you can hope to find in a gaming laptop at this price range, keeping your components safe even during long-lasting, intense gaming sessions. On the downside, the fans can get a little noisy, and the laptop may start getting noticeably warm if you play for too long without letting it cool off.

The 128GB PCIe SSD and 1TB hard-drive combo, combined with 16GB of RAM, ensures this machine starts up quickly and has all the storage and memory it needs to run flawlessly for a very long time. Unfortunately, as is common in gaming laptops, the battery is quite poor in this device and can die within just a few hours. The touchpad is a little unresponsive sometimes too and can take some getting used to. Apart from that, the Strix Hero Edition is a terrific gaming laptop.

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Tech Specs
Screen size: 15.6”
GPU: GTX 1050 Ti (4GB)
CPU: i7-8750H
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 128GB PCIe SSD + 1TB
Features: RGB backlit keyboard
The Pros
Incredible display with 120 Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time
Efficient anti-dust cooling system
Eighth generation processor
Plenty of RAM
Excellent storage options
The Cons
Terrible battery
Can get very hot
Fan noise can get very lad
Touchpad can be a little laggy

4. MSI GV62 8RD-034

MSI GV62 8RD-034View on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.3/5

MSI is one of the leading brands in gaming laptops and PC hardware, and the GV62 8RD-034 is one of this brand’s best creations. Equipped with a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti GPU and eighth generation Intel i7 processor, there’s a lot of power hidden away beneath this laptop’s attractive chassis. With 8GB of RAM and an SSD rounding out the package, the GV62 is an excellent all-round performer.

The combination of the i7-8750H processor and GTX 1050 Ti provides some fantastic levels of gaming performance, and MSI has included some useful features and functionality designed with the hardcore gamer in mind. In-built control centers allow you to fine-tune your GPU performance and other settings to get the best from this laptop, and the cooling fans do a really impressive job of keeping the GV62 running during intense gaming sessions.

The fact that this laptop has been the official model of the Cloud 9 e-sports organization tells you just how good it is for gaming. With a really impressive display, super tech, and a head-turning design, there are plenty of advantages to be found in the GV62. The screen is especially attractive, with bold colors that really pop out of the screen while running AAA games, and the SSD and HD storage combo provides fast boot-up times and huge space for your games and media library.

On the downside, this is a laptop that really needs to be plugged in at all times if you want to enjoy the most satisfying results. Like many gaming laptops, the GV62 sees some big performance drops when running off the battery, so it can’t be recommended for people who want to game on-the-go. Another drawback of this model is that, unlike the ASUS ROG Strix Hero Edition and other laptops listed above, it only has 8GB of RAM.

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Tech Specs
Screen size: 15.6”
GPU: GTX 1050 Ti (4GB)
CPU: Intel i7-8750H
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB SSD + 1TB
Features: Backlit keyboard
The Pros
MSI tech offers full control over your gaming experiences
Attractive design
Eighth generation CPU
Excellent cooling
The Cons
Can be a little complex to set-up and configure
Performance drops when running on battery
Only 8GB of RAM

5. ASUS VivoBook Pro

ASUS VivoBook ProView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.3/5

Unlike certain other laptops, like the Eluktronics N870HP6 Pro-X or HP Omen 2018, the ASUS VivoBook Pro was built with practicality and portability in mind. Despite featuring a large 17.3 inch screen, this cutting edge gaming laptop boasts a 0.8 inch profile and a total weight of just 4.6 pounds. So if you’re looking for a device that can be carried around with relative ease and used on-the-move, this isn’t a bad choice.

Unfortunately, the battery life of the ASUS VivoBook Pro isn’t good enough to support long gaming sessions away from an outlet, but it can survive for 4-5 hours of general use before needing a new charge. The eighth generation i7 processor provides impressive performance, and the GTX 1050 graphics card ensures that this laptop can cope with any modern AAA game on high graphical settings.

This particular laptop was designed with convenience and connectivity in mind; multiple useful slots can be found on both sides of the laptop, including a USB 3.1 Gen 1 port with a reversible design for rapid, easy connections with any other USB-compatible device. Sadly, this convenience doesn’t extend to the rest of the device; if you want to disassemble the VivoBook Pro to install any upgrades, you’ll find that the process is needlessly complicated.

However, with 16GB of RAM, an enormous 256GB SSD, and a 1TB hard drive, you really won’t need to think about any upgrades. ASUS has made big efforts to not cut any major corners with this laptop. It has a relatively simple aesthetic and the aforementioned issues, but it’s got some incredible tech specs to balance out its downsides and is certainly strong enough to go toe-to-toe with a laptop like MSI’s GV62.

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Tech Specs
Screen size: 17.3”
GPU: 1050 (4GB)
CPU: Intel i7-8550U
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 256GB SSD + 1TB
Features: Backlit keyboard
The Pros
Huge screen with crisp visual fidelity
Slim and lightweight
Lots of connectivity options
Great RAM and storage options
The Cons
Poor battery life
Difficult to disassemble for upgrades
Basic-looking design
Fan can get very loud

6. MSI GP73 Leopard-609

MSI GP73 Leopard-609View on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5

One of MSI’s latest and greatest creations, the GP73 Leopard-609 is taking the gaming world by storm. Beneath this laptop’s attractive exterior hides a highly impressive eighth generation Intel i7 processor and a GTX 1060 GPU. At this price range, these are the very best tech specs you can hope to find, and this laptop has also been fine-tuned and optimized for VR compatibility, so if you plan on doing some headset gaming, the Leopard will be able to handle it.

In terms of pure game playing performance, the GP73 Leopard-609 is simply unbeatable, offering the same speedy frame rates and gorgeous graphics as more expensive models like the Eluktronics N870HP6 Pro-X. MSI’s custom software and extensive options menus also enhance the user experience, granting you full control over the performance and behavior of your device. In short, control freaks will simply love this laptop.

On the downside, this laptop does make some compromises in the memory and storage departments. It comes with just 8GB of RAM, which is more than enough for modern gaming but can’t match up to laptops like the ASUS VivoBook Pro. Additionally, the Leopard only has a 1TB hard drive, without any SSD. This means you’ll have plenty of space to store your games, but will have to wait a little longer for file transfers.

This is actually the only laptop on our list not to include an SSD. Nowadays, especially at this kind of price range, people expect to get a solid state drive as standard, so it’s definitely a disappointing aspect of this device. However, with a crisp, large display, phenomenal processing power, and all of those aforementioned control options, the Leopard is still more than worthy of a strong recommendation.

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Tech Specs
Screen size: 17.3”
GPU: GTX 1060 (6GB)
CPU: i7-8750H
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 1TB
Features: Backlit keyboard, VR ready
The Pros
Large, impressive display with fast refresh rate
Best GPU in this price range
Excellent MSI software and options
Great for control freaks
Very stylish design
The Cons
Only 8GB of RAM
No SSD is a big drawback

7. Dell G5

Dell G5View on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.2/5

One of two Dell laptops to feature on our list, the Dell G5 catches the eye immediately with a sleek, clean design. It doesn’t have all the sharp angles and edges as more elaborate-looking laptops like the ASUS ROG Strix Hero Edition or HP Omen 2018, but it’s got a subtle kind of elegant beauty that really shines through on closer inspection.

The backlit keyboard and red-frame touchpad, for instance, both look and feel very impressive, and the crisp, Full HD, IPS display bursts into life, especially when running games, with bright colors and anti-glare technology for wide viewing angles. Visual fidelity is an important aspect of any gaming laptop, and some models struggle to succeed in this area, but the Dell G5 has one of the very best displays of any gaming laptop in this particular price range.

Under the hood, the G5 is equipped with a GTX 1050 Ti with 4GB of dedicated memory and an i7-8750H processor. The GPU isn’t quite as strong as the 1060 seen in models like the MSI GP73 Leopard-609, but the tech specs of this laptop are more than a match for many more expensive options like the ASUS VivoBook Pro or MSI GV62.

Like most gaming laptops, the G5 can start to get a little toasty while running the latest, most intensive games, and the fan noise can start to become quite frustrating on long sessions. However, if you respect the device’s limitations and give it time to cool off, it’s a great all-round performer, equipped with a full 16GB of RAM, an SSD, and 1TB of additional storage. The only other flaw worth mentioning is that the G5 ships with an unnecessary amount of bloatware, so you may have to spend a little time cleaning up the hard drive.

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Tech Specs
Screen size: 15.6”
GPU: GTX 1050 Ti (4GB)
CPU: Intel i7-8750H
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 128GB SSD + 1TB
Features: None
The Pros
Excellent storage options
Cool, sleek design
Beautiful IPS display
Lots of RAM for future-proofing
The Cons
Lots of bloatware
Can get very hot while running certain games
Loud fan noise

8. Acer Predator Helios 300

Acer Predator Helios 300View on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.4/5

The only Acer laptop on our list, the Predator Helios 300 is a fantastic gaming laptop that can rival some of the more expensive rivals and is actually one of the cheapest options to come with a GTX 1060 GPU. It’s not quite as inexpensive as the Dell Inspiron 7000 seen at the bottom of the list, but it’s still an excellent value option for people who want the strongest gaming performance at the lowest price.

As well as impressing with its tech specs, the Predator Helios 300 really stands out in the aesthetics area too. Sharp corners and red lines striking through the black metal chassis give this laptop a stunning look. The metal shell does have its drawbacks, however, as it can quite quickly get smudged with fingerprints and other marks. This means that the Predator will need to be cleaned a little more regularly than other models, but that’s a small price to pay for such a good-looking laptop.

Aside from the 1060 GPU, this machine is also fitted out with a seventh generation i7 processor. It’s not as strong or fast as the eighth generation models we’ve seen in laptops like the ASUS ROG Strix Hero Edition or ASUS VivoBook Pro, but it’s still a very strong CPU that will be more than good enough to cope for the next few years without any significant slowdown.

The Predator is also equipped with 16GB of RAM, making it the cheapest laptop on our list to come with such a high amount of memory. It has a 256GB SSD as well, which is a big bonus, but the downside is that this laptop has no hard drive. It does come with an empty upgrade slot for a 2.5” internal hard drive, but that means you’ll need to add an extra cost onto the price of the laptop itself.

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Tech Specs
Screen size: 15.6”
GPU: GTX 1060 (6GB)
CPU: Intel i7-7700HQ
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 256GB SSD
Features: Backlit keyboard, VR ready
The Pros
Stylish metal chassis
Best GPU at this price
Impressive cooling
Huge SSD
Relatively strong battery
The Cons
Can get dirty with fingerprints and marks very easily
Lack of storage

9. MSI GL62M

MSI GL62MView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.3/5

We’re back with MSI once again for another excellent, award-winning laptop. Both aesthetically and technically, the GL62M has a lot in common with MSI’s GV62 8RD-034, which we looked at earlier. Overall, however, the GL62M is a little cheaper and comes with a slightly older processor. So if you don’t quite need the absolute latest, cutting-edge tech and would prefer to save a little cash, the GL62M could be a great option.

Like the GV62, this laptop comes fitted with a 1050 Ti GPU with 4GB of dedicated memory, as well as 8GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD, and a 1TB hard drive, all housed in a very attractive design. As mentioned, the only major difference is the presence of an Intel i7-7700HQ as opposed to an i7-8750H. When put side-by-side, it’s clear that the GL62M is ever so slightly slower than its sibling, but the difference is relatively negligible.

This is a very slim and lightweight laptop, so it’s a good option for busy people who like to travel around a lot. However, the battery life of this MSI machine isn’t great. It can only cope for a few hours before needing to be charged up, and performance levels do drop when running off the battery, so it’s best to keep this laptop plugged in as much as possible.

Other downsides include the loud cooling fans and the fact that it can take a little time to get to grips with MSI’s software and configure your machine just the way you want it, but these flaws are relatively minor. With a high quality display, excellent speaker audio, a jaw-dropping physical design and some super tech, there’s a lot of reasons to love the MSI GL62M.

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Tech Specs
Screen size: 15.6”
GPU: GTX 1050 Ti (4GB)
CPU: Intel i7-7700HQ
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB SSD + 1TB
Features: Backlit keyboard
The Pros
Very slim and lightweight
Good audio and great visuals
Awesome MSI gaming features and controls
Excellent storage options
Very eye-catching design
The Cons
Needs some time to set it all up
Can quickly get covered in fingerprints
Relatively low RAM
Loud fan noise
Weak battery life

10. Dell Inspiron 7000

Dell Inspiron 7000View on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.3/5

Last but certainly not least on our list of gaming laptops is Dell’s Inspiron 7000. As the cheapest entry on the list, it’s no surprise that this laptop does make one or two compromises when compared with some of the flashier models, but it still has a lot of positive points worth talking about. If you’re shopping for a great gaming laptop and budget is a big part of your concern, the Inspiron 7000 could be just what you’re looking for.

Let’s get the negatives out of the way first of all. The biggest drawback of this device, when compared to the others on our list, is the processor. The Inspiron 7000 comes equipped with a seventh generation i5 CPU. It’s still a very strong unit, but all of the other models mentioned above can outmatch this model in the processing department.

Other minor gripes with this laptop include the trackpad, which can be a little unresponsive at times, and the relatively simplistic design, with a screen that doesn’t bend back as far as you might like. Aside from those little issues, we have nothing but good things to say about this Inspiron model, with the biggest benefit being that it comes fitted with a 1060 GPU. Even the most expensive laptop on this list, the HP Omen 2018, doesn’t have such a strong graphics card, so the Inspiron offers some massive value.

This laptop is also well-stocked in storage, with a super-fast 256GB PCIe SSD and 1TB of standard hard drive storage. 8GB of RAM are included too, and the Inspiron 7000 performs exceptionally well under pressure. Its cooling fans are much more silent than what we saw in laptops like the MSI GL62M, and it doesn’t get too hot at all, even on the latest games. All-in-all, it’s an awesome gaming laptop for a very appealing price.

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Tech Specs
Screen size: 15.6”
GPU: GTX 1060 (6GB)
CPU: Intel i5-7300HQ
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 256GB PCIe SSD + 1TB
Features: Backlit keyboard
The Pros
Lowest price, great value
Best GPU in this price range
Comfortable keyboard
Excellent storage options
Relatively quiet cooling fans
The Cons
Only an i5 processor
Basic aesthetics and plastic feel
Trackpad can be frustrating and unresponsive
Screen doesn’t bend back too far
0/50 ratings