Getting a good gaming laptop on a budget is a challenge. However, if you’d prepared to make some compromises and accept that you’re not going to be able to run the latest releases on high settings, it’s perfectly possible to find some good options for less than $400.

These laptops won’t come equipped with the latest graphics cards and high-end processors, but they have enough power under the hood to cope with older games and independent releases, as well as plenty of modern titles that aren’t too straining on the system like CS:GO or PUBG.

Budget
best-budget-gaming-laptop-under-400
Lenovo IdeaPad 330
4.6/5.0
Graphics Card: Radeon R7
CPU: A12-9720P
RAM: 8GB RAM
Strong processing power and good quality graphics.
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Best Value
best-value-gaming-laptop-under-400
Acer Aspire E-15
4.6/5.0
Graphics Card: Intel UHD 620
CPU: i3-8230U
RAM: 6GB RAM
Incredible battery strength and an eighth-generation processor.
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Top Pick
top-value-gaming-laptop-under-400
Acer Aspire 3
4.4/5.0
Graphics Card: Vega 3
CPU: Ryzen 3 2200U
RAM: 8GB RAM
8GB of RAM and solid tech specs make this a great performer.
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Before we get onto the list of laptops, let’s check out some of the most important components and factors to consider when shopping for your next machine.

  • Screen size – Laptop displays can come in a broad range of sizes from just 11 inches all the way up to 17.3 inches. Bigger screens cost more money but offer more enjoyable visual experiences, while smaller screens are cheaper and make your laptop more portable. Most of the laptops on our list will have 15.6 inch screens as this tends to be the best size for gaming.
  • GPU – Also known as the video or graphics card, the GPU is what brings games to life, rendering the visuals as smoothly and crisply as possible. At this kind of price range, you can’t expend a high-end graphics card, but options like the Radeon R7 and Intel UHD 620 are good enough to run a lot of games.
  • CPU – The CPU works in conjunction with the GPU to run your games. A high-speed processor can help to compensate for a relatively weak GPU, so this is a key part of a low budget laptop.
  • RAM – Also known as memory, RAM is vital for gaming, with many modern releases requiring at least 8GB to perform at peak levels. Lower amounts can be sufficient, but may also result in slower performance for game playing and general computing.
  • Additional Features – Laptops can come with a wide variety of extra features like touchscreens, Bluetooth connectivity, DVD drives, and more. These features aren’t really essential but add to the overall experience and might be the X factor to help you decide between two similar models.

Now that you know the importance of each component, let’s take a closer look at the best laptops you can buy today for less than $400. These budget buys may have low price tags, but they often come with some relatively impressive tech specs and are capable of running a lot of good games. The table below shows a simple head-to-head comparison of all of the devices.

Gaming Laptops Under $400 Comparison Table

Make and ModelGraphics CardCPURAMPrice
2018 Dell InspironIntel HD 620i3-7130U8GBCheck Price
Lenovo IdeaPad 330Radeon R7A12-9720P8GBCheck Price
Dell Inspiron 11.6”Radeon R5A9-9420E8GBCheck Price
Acer Aspire E-15Intel UHD 620i3-8130U6GBCheck Price
Dell Inspiron 15 3567Intel HD 620i3-7130U4GBCheck Price
Acer Aspire 3Vega 3Ryzen 3 2200U8GBCheck Price
2018 HP 15.6”Radeon R5A8-7410U4GBCheck Price
HP Pavilion 15-cd002dsRadeon R5A6-92204GBCheck Price
Lenovo IdeaPad 320Radeon R5A9-9420E4GBCheck Price
HP 15.6” BrightViewRadeon R2E2-71108GBCheck Price

1. 2018 Dell Inspiron

2018 Dell InspironView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.4/5

Equipped with a 7th generation i3 processor and Intel HD 620 graphics, this 2018 Dell Inspiron isn’t a bad model for people in need of a good quality, reliable laptop that can also run some games. The i3 CPU isn’t going to offer the same performance levels as an i5 or i7, but it’s the next best thing and the graphics chip is strong enough to handle plenty of older games and less-intensive modern titles, even if it might slow down a little on technical titles.

As with many of the laptops on this list, the 2018 Dell Inspiron doesn’t come with an SSD, so if you’re used to computing with the presence of a solid state drive, you’ll notice slower general performance on this machine. However, at this price range, it’s almost impossible to find a laptop with an SSD, so this is just something you’ll have to accept when shopping for a budget device.

Dell is known for a certain level of quality and that brand’s trustworthy reputation and smart optimization techniques shine through on this modern laptop. The components have been chosen nicely to offer the best levels of performance for the price. This laptop ships with minimal bloatware, meaning it’s very easy to set up, allowing you to take it out of the box and start playing games and watching movies within a matter of minutes.

With 1TB of storage on the hard drive, you’ll have more than enough space to store a large library of games, and the included 8GB of RAM is the perfect amount for gaming and multi-tasking. Like the other laptops on this list, the 2018 Dell Inspiron wasn’t designed for gaming but it has the components and quality to function perfectly as a casual gaming device.

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Tech Specs
Screen size: 15.6”
GPU: Intel HD 620
CPU: Intel i3-7130U
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 1TB HD
Features: Bluetooth
The Pros
Strong processor
Dell standards of quality
Easy to start-up, minimal bloatware
Plenty of storage and lots of RAM
The Cons
Lack of SSD
Can slow down while running certain games
Highest price

2. Lenovo IdeaPad 330

Lenovo IdeaPad 330View on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.6/5

The first thing that stands out about the Lenovo IdeaPad 330 is its sleek, stylish design. The silver chassis is extremely slim and lightweight, with a nice black bezel surrounding the 1366 x 768 screen. Despite having a sizeable 15.6 inch display, this laptop folds down nice and neatly into a very compact package, perfect for people who move around a lot. If you’re looking for a highly portable device, this is a great one to choose.

In terms of gaming performance, it’s hard to find anything better than the Lenovo IdeaPad 330 at this price range. This laptop is fitted out with a quad-core A12-9720P processor Radeon R7 graphics card. The R7 is a low-level graphics card when compared to more expensive models, but at this price range, it’s one of the best options you can find and is more than capable of running titles like Fortnite and GTA V on medium settings.

The R7 and A12 combo is even strong enough to run some of the latest releases at steady frame rates of 30 or more, but you’ll need to turn the graphical settings down low in order to enjoy a smooth, playable experience. The high amount of RAM helps when it comes to gaming on this device, and the long-lasting battery is ideal for gaming sessions on-the-go.

On the downside, the IdeaPad’s display is relatively weak and colors can seem a little washed out while playing certain games or watching movies. You may have to configure the brightness and contrast settings to get a stronger picture. In addition, like many other laptops on this list, the absence of an SSD is a drawback, but the inclusion of a DVD RW drive is a nice advantage to make up for it.

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Tech Specs
Screen size: 15.6”
GPU: Radeon R7
CPU: AMD A12-9720P
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 1TB
Features: Bluetooth, DVD RW drive
The Pros
Strong processor
Attractive design
Great graphics card
Compact and lightweight
Long-lasting battery
The Cons
Display is a bit basic
Lack of SSD

3. Dell Inspiron 11.6”

Dell Inspiron 11.6” View on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.4/5

This is the only laptop on our list to feature an 11.6″ screen, and the way you look at that screen will be dependent on your own preferences and needs. Some people will call it too small and try to find a 15.6″ alternative, while others will appreciate the form factor of this device. The small display means you’ll have to be sitting pretty close to appreciate the visuals of your games and other media, but it also makes the Dell Inspiron 11.6″ extremely practical.

This is the smallest and most lightweight device on our list, so if you do a lot of traveling and like to take your laptop everywhere you go, this could be a smart option to consider. This laptop will fit snugly into small bags and weighs just over 3 pounds. When you add in the fact that it comes with a reasonably strong CPU and GPU combo, it starts to look like a really great deal.

The A9-9420E processor and Radeon R5 graphics card can handle a lot of older games and the smaller screen real estate results in less strain on the system. This means the battery will last longer and the visuals will be crisper than they would if you were performing the same tasks on a larger laptop. In short, the Dell Inspiron 11.6” has a lot of advantages and shouldn’t be dismissed without careful consideration.

It’s not the strongest gaming machine at this price range and it only comes with 500GB of hard drive space, which is one of the sacrifices the manufacturer made to fit everything into such a small, budget-friendly shell. However, this laptop is also fitted out with 8GB of RAM and the touchscreen, 2-in-1 functionality is another big benefit, perfect for people who want the convenience of a tablet and the precision of a laptop in one package.

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Tech Specs
Screen size: 11.6”
GPU: Radeon R5
CPU: AMD A9-9420E
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 500GB
Features: Touchscreen, Bluetooth, 360 degree hinge
The Pros
Compact and highly portable
Decent tech specs for such a low price
360 hinge and touchscreen functionality offer a lot of options
Plenty of RAM
The Cons
Small screen can be seen as a downside
Can struggle with certain games
Lack of storage space

4. Acer Aspire E-15

Acer Aspire E-15View on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.6/5

In terms of pure technical specifications and features at this price range, the Acer Aspire E-15 is almost flawless. In doesn’t have an SSD, so you’ll have to deal with relatively lengthy boot-up and file transfer times, and it has just 6GB of RAM as opposed to 8. However, in spite of these minor issues, it excels in almost every single other area.

This laptop is the only one on our list to be equipped with an eighth generation Intel i3 processor, offering the latest technological advancements and speeds. If you’re looking for a future-proof device that can see you through the coming years without any worries, this is a great option to choose. The presence of an Intel UHD 620 is another big bonus, offering crisp visuals and great performance on many modern and older games.

The tech specs of this device help it to offer a lot of value. Even when compared to more expensive machines like the 2018 Dell Inspiron, the Acer Aspire E-15 can rise to the challenge and perform admirably under almost any circumstances. It’s also one of the only devices on this list to come equipped with a Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution screen, offering high fidelity visuals for games and movies.

The speakers provide strong audio to match up with the visual quality of this device, and the battery is brilliant too. On a full charge, the Acer Aspire E-15 can run for over a dozen hours of daily computing or between 6-8 hours if you’re really pushing the system by playing games and running other software. It’s therefore a great option for users who don’t always have easy access to power outlets and like to do some gaming on-the-move.

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Tech Specs
Screen size: 15.6”
GPU: Intel UHD 620
CPU: Intel i3-8130U
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 1TB
Features: DVD RW drive
The Pros
Excellent battery life
Eighth generation processor
Full HD screen
Excellent speaker audio
Strong tech specs
The Cons
Just 6GB of RAM
No SSD

5. Dell Inspiron 15 3567

Dell Inspiron 15 3567View on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.3/5

We’re heading back to Dell for this one, and perhaps the most important place to start when discussing the Inspiron 15 3567 is the fact that it comes equipped with a 128GB SSD. It’s actually the only laptop on our list to have an SSD, so if you want the benefits of this technology at a sub-$400 price point, this might be your best option.

The SSD brings a lot to the table, including lightning-fast boot-up times and speedy file transfers. Unfortunately, it’s only got 128GB of space and there’s no regular hard-drive to compensate for that lack of storage. This means that any purchase of the Dell Inspiron 15 3567 will need to take into account the additional cost of some external storage. Without a bonus hard drive, you simply won’t have enough room to download games or any other big files.

In addition, this laptop also ships with an excessive amount of bloatware that really fills up the SSD right from the off, so the need for external storage is a big issue here. However, if you can look past that and some minor design issues like the trackpad, which can be a little tricky to use at times, there’s a lot to love about this machine. It comes with a great quality i3 processor and provides some impressive visuals on its TrueLife display.

It also comes equipped with Intel HD 620 graphics that can run plenty of older titles on medium settings or modern games on low. A DVD RW drive is another nice bonus, and this laptop performs well when it comes to daily tasks and regular computing. For people who need a good all-rounder that can also play the odd game from time to time, this is a fine option.

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Tech Specs
Screen size: 15.6”
GPU: Intel HD 620
CPU: Intel i3-7130U
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 128GB SSD
Features: DVD RW drive
The Pros
Strong processor
SSD for fast boot-ups and short load times
Good all-round laptop for daily use
Nice visuals on the TrueLife display
The Cons
Low amount of RAM
Major lack of storage
Chunky design and inefficient trackpad
Too much bloatware

6. Acer Aspire 3

Acer Aspire 3View on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.4/5

Here’s another interesting option from Acer for gamers on a budget. The Aspire 3 is a nicely designed laptop with some interesting tech under the hood. It’s the only entry on our list to feature AMD’s Ryzen 3 processor and Radeon Vega 3 GPU. The Vega 3 is a decent low-tier graphics card offering roughly the same levels of performance as something like an R5, but is much more recent and optimized for modern games.

This means that you can actually get some surprisingly good performance levels out of this laptop, and the inclusion of 8GB of RAM definitely helps with that. At this kind of low price, many models ship with 4 or 6GB of memory, so having the full 8 is a nice bonus that adds a lot of value to this particular machine.

The Aspire 3, unlike the Dell Inspiron 15 3567, doesn’t come with an SSD. The boot-ups are therefore a little longer on this model, but the 1TB hard drive provides all the space you need to store dozens of games and lots of other content like movies, audio files, photographs, and more. Good speaker audio and a good quality screen help to round out this laptop.

On the downside, the Aspire 3 doesn’t come with a DVD drive or any key additional features to speak of. It also has quite a short battery life, so it can’t compete with the likes of the Acer Aspire E-15 in terms of longevity. The CPU and GPU combo can also be a little inconsistent. They’ll run some games perfectly well, but users may experience some slowdown on other titles, so you have to be prepared for every eventuality with this device, but it’s a great value laptop overall.

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Tech Specs
Screen size: 15.6”
GPU: Radeon Vega 3
CPU: AMD Ryzen 3
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 1TB HDD
Features: None
The Pros
Impressive gaming performance
Strong speaker audio
Good all-rounder
Plenty of RAM
The Cons
Weak battery
Some slowdown while running certain games or programs
Absence of SSD and no extra features to speak of

7. 2018 HP 15.6”

2018 HP 15.6” View on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.2/5

There are clear pros and cons when it comes to this 2018 HP 15.6” laptop. A simple glance at the tech specs shows that this model is lacking in the RAM and storage departments, with just 4GB of memory and a 500GB hard drive. However, when it comes to the CPU and graphics card, this laptop has some decent options in the form of a quad core A8-7410U and Radeon R5.

This is the perfect example of a low budget laptop. Some corners have had to be cut to provide that attractively low price tag, but the manufacturers have cleverly included some reasonably powerful processing tech in order to offer some good performance levels. That means that this is only going to be a low-level gaming machine, but if you’re just interested in playing casual indie games or older releases, you’ll be more than satisfied.

The good quality screen offers crisp, high fidelity visuals and bold colors, while the in-built speakers provide some impressive audio feedback too. While running more graphically intensive games or software, this laptop might start to heat up and slow down a little, but if you respect its limitations then it can offer some very positive performances.

All in all, the 2018 HP 15.6” is a great option for casual gaming and daily computing. The inclusion of a touchscreen is a big bonus that works nicely with Windows 10, allowing you to interact with media and applications in fun new ways, and the DVD drive is another useful addition. The lack of storage and the low amount of RAM lower this device’s future-proof factor, but at this price point, it’s one of the better options available.

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Tech Specs
Screen size: 15.6”
GPU: Radeon R5
CPU: AMD A8-7410U
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 500GB
Features: Touchscreen, DVD drive
The Pros
Touchscreen functionality is a nice bonus
Good for daily use and general computing
Crisp visuals and audio
The Cons
Only suitable for low-level gaming
Can get quite hot and slow when pushed too hard
Lack of RAM and storage

8. HP Pavilion 15-cd002ds

HP Pavilion 15-cd002dsView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.3/5

The thing that really stands out about the HP Pavilion 15-cd002ds is how comfortable it is to use. With touchscreen functionality, a nicely laid-out keyboard, and a highly responsive trackpad, this is the sort of laptop that has been built with ergonomics in mind. Users will simply be able to open it up each day and perform all kinds of tasks and processes with minimal fuss.

The Pavilion 15-cd002ds also features an eye-catching design. While many of the laptops on this list are plain black and quite bulky in terms of construction, this HP model is sleek and stylish, with a smart black frame around the display and classy silver chassis. The look of a laptop has no bearing on its functionality, so this is only a minor factor, but if you like your hardware to look good, this is a nice option.

Under the hood, the Pavilion 15-cd002ds has its ups and downs. The quad core AMD A12-9720P is definitely the strongest component of this laptop, offering speedy processing power that shines through when performing regular computing tasks and running various programs. For gaming, the Radeon R5 is strong enough to cope with older titles and low-intensity modern games, but can’t handle anything too technical.

The 1TB hard drive is standard for this kind of model, offering twice as much storage space as the 2018 HP 15.6” laptop mentioned above, so you’ll have plenty of room for games and media. However, there’s only 4GB of RAM, which is definitely a downside. In addition, the battery isn’t built to last and this machine needs to be plugged in and charged up often, making it more of a home-based laptop than a travel companion.

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Tech Specs
Screen size: 15.6”
GPU: Radeon R5
CPU: AMD A12-9720P
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 1TB
Features: Touchscreen, DVD RW drive
The Pros
Touchscreen adds versatility and functionality
Surprisingly good gaming performance
Attractive two-tone design
Comfortable keyboard and trackpad
The Cons
Lack of RAM
Weak battery
Fan can get loud
No SSD

9. Lenovo IdeaPad 320

Lenovo IdeaPad 320View on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.2/5

We looked at the Lenovo IdeaPad 330 earlier on, but if you’re looking for a laptop on a budget, it’s worth checking out the slightly older 320 model too. Equipped with a seventh-generation AMD A9-9420 processor and Radeon R5 graphics card, this laptop is one of the cheapest options for casual, low level gaming. In terms of tech specs, it can’t quite compete with the likes of Acer Aspire E-15 or Lenovo IdeaPad 330, but it has the power to handle older games and some modern titles.

This laptop is a high value option that makes some sacrifices but still manages to offer a wide array of options and features. It isn’t easy to find a laptop in this price range that is capable of running games and also offers quite an attractive design, Bluetooth functionality as standard, a crisp anti-glare screen, and a DVD RW drive, but the IdeaPad 320 pulls it off.

In order to offer those features and functions, this laptop loses out in the RAM department. It only has 4GB, which is enough for casual computing and light gaming, but will lead to some slowdown if you push the laptop too far and try to run lots of processes at once. If you have the patience to deal with some relatively long loads and delays from time to time, this isn’t a bad budget laptop at all.

Like the HP Pavilion 15-cd002ds, the battery in this laptop is quite a low grade option that won’t last for too long. Even on a full charge, you’ll struggle to get more than a few hours out of this device, so it’s not a great option for people who are always on the move but is perfect for anyone who tends to do most of their gaming and computing at home.

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Tech Specs
Screen size: 15.6”
GPU: Radeon R5
CPU: AMD A9-9420
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 1TB
Features: Bluetooth, DVD RW drive
The Pros
Very slim and lightweight
Sleek design
Attractive anti-glare screen
Great value
The Cons
Poor battery performance
Lack of RAM
Can experience some slowdown due to older tech

10. HP 15.6” BrightView

HP 15.6” BrightViewView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4/5

Not everyone wants to play the newest releases or even older AAA games. If you’re only interested in basic titles with low tech requirements, a laptop like this HP 15.6” BrightView could be the right option for you. It comes with some older tech and the weakest GPU on our list, but it’s also the cheapest option and could prove sufficient for people who just need a functional laptop for casual use.

As a budget laptop, this HP model has a relatively cheap feel to it and cuts corners in some areas, like the 500GB hard drive and relatively old processor, so why does it make our list? Well, it’s one of the cheapest laptops you can find to possess 8GB of RAM, and that’s a big bonus. While models like the HP Pavilion 15-cd002ds and Lenovo IdeaPad 320 make do with 4GB, this laptop has twice as much memory for multitasking and low level gaming.

If you can overlook some of its issues, this isn’t a bad laptop at all for the price and brings a lot of value to the table. The inclusion of a DVD drive is another advantage for anyone looking to play some older disc-based PC games or burn their own DVDs, and the backlit BrightView display provides some very crisp visuals.

The speaker audio is surprisingly impressive too, and it’s easy to see that there’s some good tech in this particular laptop. It’s an older machine with older components that any of the others on our list, but it’s also got the lowest price of all. If you’re looking for a good laptop for less than $400, budget is clearly one of your primary concerns, so if you want to get the best price and a solid laptop that will provide a few years of reliable service, you could do worse than this one.

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Tech Specs
Screen size: 15.6”
GPU: Radeon R2
CPU: Intel E2-7110
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 500TB
Features: DVD RW drive
The Pros
Great value
Plenty of RAM for multi-tasking and fast gaming
DVD drive is a nice bonus
Good video and audio quality
The Cons
Low-grade tech
Only suitable for basic gaming
Cheap plastic feel
Lack of storage
0/50 ratings