Finding the Best Cheap Gaming Laptops Under $300

Last Updated: November 27, 2016 by

Finding-the-Best-Cheap-Gaming-Laptops-Under-$300

Welcome to our weekly updated pro guide to the best gaming laptops under $300 based on reviews, specs, retail sales volume and retail discounts.

The gaming industry has grown exponentially in the last 2 decades and is now an over $40 billion a year industry with PC gaming being responsible for a large part of that. The problem is that being able to run all the latest games on full graphical settings is expensive and with a high end gaming laptop ranging anywhere between $1000 – $2500 many users simply can’t afford or cant justify spending large amounts of money on a gaming machine. We at Laptopninja have put together a comprehensive guide to budget gaming laptops for under $300 to help users who are just getting into gaming or are casual gamers and are victim to tough budget constraints. The following laptops should, in most cases, run older games on medium settings and newer games on very low graphical settings at very least. At this price range expecting 60fps at 1080p resolutions is out of the question however if you are happy with great day to day performance and some light gaming on the side then read on, we may just help you find your next device.

Introductory Laptop Buying Guide

A great place to start would be LaptopMag’s laptop buying guide which is a wealth of knowledge on all things laptop. Another great resource would be Notebookcheck who feature most laptop CPUs and GPUs with full benchmarks and comparisons so you can see exactly how each machine will run. You will notice we have already added links to Notebookcheck for the GPU and CPU of each laptop for your convenience. At this price point prices tend to fluctuate quite a bit so make sure to act fast and snap up one of these bargains.


Gaming Laptops Under $300 >> Refurbished Gaming Laptops Under $300 >>

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Lenovo B50-45 15.6-inch

Lenovo B50-45 15.6-inch

In today’s tough economy many users find themselves having to sacrifice on performance in order to afford a computer. Thankfully as technology progresses older machines tend to drop in price and the Lenovo B50-45 offers incredible value for the money although it is painfully obvious that the manufacturer had to cut costs. Featuring a Quad-Core AMD A6 APU running at 1.8GHz and 4GB of RAM day to day computing should not be a problem and the AMD Radeon R4 GPU is able to handle the games of yesteryear and even a few modern titles as long as graphical settings are kept to a minimum. With keeping hardware costs down a few sacrifices had to be made such as audio quality and a very cheap plasticky keyboard. The plastic chassis doesn’t feel too sturdy either. While not the most premium device on the market the Lenovo B50-45 does offer users who would otherwise not be able to afford a laptop a foot in the door to the computing world.

Specs

  • 15.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixels (TN)
  • Windows 7 Professional
  • 5 hours battery life
  • 6.6 lbs

Pros

  • Low Price
  • Good casual gaming performance
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • Windows 8.1 advertised but comes with Windows 7
  • Keyboard feels cheap
  • Poor sound quality

Summary

Offers good performance for basic tasks and older games however at this price the machine is anything but premium.

Lenovo B50-45 15.6-inch
from $269.99 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 16-01-2017 13:34 UTC) Details

Acer Aspire ES1-572-31XL 15.6-inchAcer Aspire ES1-572-31XL 15.6-inch

The cut throat budget laptop market has seen many great laptops being offered by most of the big name brands. Acer is no stranger to the budget market and has been releasing laptops for the budget conscious buyer for a number of years. What you won’t get with the Acer Aspire ES1-572-31XL is a high performance gaming laptop, but you will be able to play some of your favorite classics. The integrated Intel HD Graphics 520 graphics chip will even allow you to play Diablo III and CS: GO on medium graphics settings. But don’t expect to be playing the latest AAA titles on this machine, it’s more suited to the casual gamer. The Acer Aspire ES1-572-31XL is powered by a Skylake Intel Core i3-6100U processor and 4GB of RAM, which will cope with basic tasks with ease. But the 4GB of RAM is slightly underpowered with Windows 10 and it will struggle with certain games. Luckily Acer has made it quite easy to access the internal hardware to upgrade the RAM, we recommend at least 8GB of RAM for smoothest performance. The 1TB mechanical hard drive offers ample storage space for college papers, photos and even your videos. To cut costs Acer has used a 5400rpm drive, which for day-to-day use is more than acceptable, but users who are after faster Windows boot and app loading times can easily upgrade the hard drive to a hybrid or solid state drive.

Specs

  • 15.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixels (TN)
  • Windows 10 Home
  • 6 hours battery life
  • 5.29 lbs

Pros

  • 1TB of storage space
  • Skylake i3 processor
  • Bright and sharp display
  • Easily upgradable

Cons

  • Only one USB 3.0 port
  • Heavy

Summary

The Acer Aspire ES1-572-31XL is a budget friendly laptop for basic home users and college students. Though the hardware is slightly underpowered for photo or video editing.

Acer Aspire ES1-572-31XL 15.6-inch
from $399.00 $299.00 Read Reviews Order Now
from Walmart.com
(as of 08-11-2016 05:50 UTC) Details

Dell Inspiron I5555-0012BLK 15.6-inchDell Inspiron i5555-0012BLK 15.6-inch

The Dell Inspiron i5555-0012BLK won’t win any awards for its hardware, but what it does offer is great value for money. Ideally suited for casual gamers who are on a tight budget, the Dell Inspiron i5555-0012BLK will perform day-to-day tasks with relative ease. Sporting a Quad Core AMD A8-7410 processor and 6GB of RAM the Dell Inspiron i5555-0012BLK will even be able to run apps such as Photoshop. The Radeon R5 Beema GPU is an entry level laptop graphics chip and will struggle with modern gaming titles. But it will be able to run games like Counter Strike: GO, FIFA 2016 and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 on the lowest of settings while still offering frame rates above 30fps. It will even run Diablo III on medium settings with frame rates above 30fps. While the 15.6-inch display offers average performance, users can connect a TV or monitor via HDMI for better resolution and image quality. The 500GB mechanical hard drive offers a decent amount of storage space for multimedia files and game installs, but the 5400rpm drive speed does bring down the overall performance.

Specs

  • 15.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixels (TN)
  • Windows 10 Home
  • 6 hours battery life
  • 5.4 lbs

Pros

  • Value for money
  • Quad Core processor
  • 6GB of RAM

Cons

  • Integrated graphics
  • Battery life
  • Average performance

Summary

While the Dell Inspiron i5555-0012BLK is not the most powerful laptop on the market, it does offer good value for money for those looking for a casual gaming machine.

Dell Inspiron i5555-0012BLK 15.6-inch
from $429.99 $249.99 Read Reviews Order Now
from Staples.com
(as of 07-08-2016 12:02 UTC) Details

Dell-Inspiron-i3541-2001BLK

Dell Inspiron i3541-2001BLK 15.6-inch

The Dell Inspiron i3541-2001BLK doesn’t have the grunt of a dedicated gaming laptop nor does it have the mean look or HD display. What it does have is incredible value for money and for the casual gamer on a budget could be a perfect match. Running an AMD 2.4 GHz Quad-Core A6-6310 APU the Inspiron is very capable of running day to day tasks such as browsing, streaming, email and word processing with relative ease although heavy multitasking is not advised. The APU features integrated AMD Radeon R4 (Codename Beema) which can run up to 800MHz and is based on based on the GCN architecture. The R4 utilises 128 shader cores across two Compute Units and does not have dedicated VRAM meaning it will need to borrow from the system memory(RAM). Surprisingly the R4 is capable of running newer games such as Metal Gear Solid V on the lowest settings at a frame rate of  26.2fps which is far from smooth but is still technically playable. Games such as Civilisation, Batman: Arkham Origins and F1 2014 had a playable 30 – 36fps on the lowest graphical settings and a resolution of 1024×768.

Specs

  • 15.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixels (TN)
  • Windows 8.1
  • 6.5 hours battery life
  • 6 lbs

Pros

  • Fast AMD processor
  • Crisp and bright display
  • Good battery life
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • Bulky and heavy

Summary

A good performer for day to day tasks. Not as portable as some of its competitors but will see you through the day comfortably.

Dell Inspiron i3541-2001BLK 15.6-Inch
from $298.12 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 16-01-2017 13:28 UTC) Details

Lenovo G50 80L000ALUS 15.6-inchLenovo G50 80L000ALUS 15.6-inch

For just over $300 the Lenovo G50-80L000ALUS offers a good combination of price, performance and features. The Dual-Core Intel Core i3-4030U processor runs at 1.9GHz and is very capable of day to day tasks and some light gaming, it also handles multitasking quite well provided its not pushed too hard. Speaking of gaming the integrated Intel HD Graphics 4400 GPU has a core speed of 200MHz and supports DirectX 11.1, OpenCL 1.2 and OpenGL 4.0 which translates into some gaming support for older games but most newer games will run at less than playable frame rates. Games like Fifa 14 and Alien:Isolation ran at an average of 30fps which is playable however that was achieved at low settings and a resolution of 1024×768. With basic gaming capability, an IPS display and a large 1TB hard drive the Lenovo G50-80L000ALUS really doesn’t feel like a cheap laptop and really stands out from its rivals. This machine is currently marked down so if you think this might be your best option we advise you to act quickly as prices tend to fluctuate often and the sale could end at any time.

Specs

  • 15.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixels (TN)
  • Windows 8.1
  • 3 hours battery life
  • 4.63 lbs

Pros

  • Plenty of storage space
  • Great Value

Cons

  • Lots of bloatware
  • Cheap plastic finish
  • Windows 8.1

Summary

The Lenovo G50-80L000ALUS provides great value for money with 1TB of storage. Unfortunately, with the low price comes a cheap finish and lots of Lenono bloatware.

Lenovo G50 80L000ALUS 15.6-inch
from $389.99 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 16-01-2017 13:38 UTC) Details

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Best Refurbished Gaming Laptops Under $300

HP 15-af113cl 15.6-inch laptopHP 15-af113cl 15.6-inch

Getting a gaming laptop for under $300 is quite rare, but there are refurbished units that offer more value for money than brand new laptops for the same price. A Certified Refurbished laptop from Amazon come with a 90 day warranty and feature more powerful hardware than competing laptops at the same price point. The HP 15-af113cl is powered by an AMD A8-7410 processor, with 6GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive. The processor and RAM combined with Windows 10 offer a great day-to-day experience, with browsing the web, watching movies or listening to music all running smoothly. The HP 15-af113cl features an integrated R5 GPU with shared graphics memory up to 3328MB, but this GPU is not designed to offer high frame rates for newer titles. It will however run games such as Counter Strike GO, Dirt 3 and Diablo 3 on medium settings, while still offering frame rates of over 30fps. Classic games will run on medium to high settings. The BrightView WLED-Backlit display offers average colors and a maximum resolution 1366×768. While the viewing angles are average due to the TN display technology, it does however offer good image quality while watching movies or browsing the web. The island-style keyboard with numeric keypad is what you would expect on cheaper laptops, but does offer a fair bit of responsiveness while typing up blog posts or working in Word.

Specs

  • 15.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixels (IPS)
  • Windows 10 Home
  • 5 hours battery life
  • 4.7 lbs

Pros

  • 1TB of storage
  • Quad-Core processor
  • Solid build quality
  • 6GB of RAM

Cons

  • Battery life
  • Average display
  • Shared graphics memory
  • 5400rpm hard drive

Summary

A good all round budget laptop from 2015, the HP 15-af113cl handles everyday tasks while offering a gaming experience for casual gamers.

HP 15-af113cl 15.6-inch
from $629.99 $299.99 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 18-04-2016 12:28 UTC) Details

Lenovo Thinkpad T420 14-inch

Lenovo Thinkpad T420 14-inch

To get a machine with a little more power than the normal sub $300 laptops you may want to consider looking at a refurbished machine. Amazon certify refurbished machines that are sold on their website so you can buy with confidence knowing there is a 90 day warranty from Amazon directly. The Lenovo Thinkpad T420 is designed and sold as a business machine at its core however with its fast and powerful Intel Core i5-2520M processor running at 2.5GHz(capable of 3GHz with Turboboost) you will be able to run most demanding software with ease such as photo editing or digital design applications. The Core i5-2520M happily runs HD media and multitasks without breaking a sweat. In the GPU department the NVIDIA NVS 4200M handles older games with ease such as Dirt 3 with a frame rate of 36fps at 1024×768 resolution or Starcraft 2 with a frame rate of 149fps at a resolution of 1024×768. Newer games will struggle to achieve a stable frame rate even on the lowest graphics settings however some of them may run depending on the requirements of the game in question. The square display is not ideal for gaming and we recommend an external display connected via DisplayPort or HDMI. The T420 is slightly over the $300 mark however we feel it should definitely be considered if your budget can stretch slightly.

Specs

  • 14.1 inch, 1600 x 900 pixels (TN)
  • Windows 7 Professional
  • 10.5 hours battery life
  • 4.5 lbs

Pros

  • Very long battery life
  • Good performance
  • Compact design
  • Great price
  • Solid build quality
  • Great keyboard
  • Good sound

Cons

  • Fairly heavy
  • 4 years old

Summary

An icon in the business computing world the Lenovo Thinkpad T420 is still going strong 4 years down the line.

Lenovo Thinkpad T420 14-inch
from $287.61 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 16-01-2017 13:33 UTC) Details