Best Gaming Laptops under $1200 in 2021 [Expert Guide]

If you need the best gaming laptop under $1200, here is our list of best gaming laptops under 1200 dollars available for purchase in 2021.

Have you set a budget of $1200 for your new gaming laptop? We are here to find you some of the finest options available in the range. A price tag of USD 1200 positioned very well between $1000 and $1500. This is a decent amount to pick a budget gaming laptop. However, there might be some shortcomings due to budget limitations. But, overall, in terms of performance, there shouldn’t be any major problem. The presence of some powerful dedicated graphics cards takes the gaming experience to the next level.

Subsequently, we will look forward to some powerful CPU options under $1200 because it is equally important to have a compelling processor to avoid any potential bottleneck while playing AAA titles. Taking into consideration the performance aspect, it is buttery smooth despite having some heating issues. That is a common problem with most gaming laptops. Without any further delay, let’s get started!

Recommended: Best Laptops under $1200 for Everyone

Best Gaming Laptops under $1200 in 2021

Here is our list of best gaming laptops available under 1200 dollars in 2021:

TOP CHOICE
Acer Nitro 5 AN517-41-R7FP Gaming Laptop, AMD Ryzen 5 5600H Hexa-Core Processor | NVIDIA GeForce RTX...
RUNNER UP
Lenovo Legion 5 15 Gaming Laptop, 15.6" FHD (1920 x 1080) Display, AMD Ryzen 7 5800H Processor, 16GB...
VALUE PICK
Dell Gaming G15 5511, 15.6-inch inch FHD 120Hz Non-Touch Laptop - Intel Core i7-11800H, 16GB DDR4...
Name
Acer Nitro 5
Lenovo Legion 5
Dell G15 5511
Processor
AMD Ryzen 5 5600H
AMD Ryzen 7 5800H
Intel Core i7-11800H
GPU
RTX 3060 6GB VRAM
RTX 3050Ti 6GB VRAM
RTX 3050Ti 4GB VRAM
Display
17.3-Inch
15.6-Inch
15.6-Inch
Refresh Rate
144Hz
144Hz
120Hz
FHD Resolution
RAM
16GB DDR4
16GB DDR4
16GB DDR4
Storage
512GB SSD
512GB SSD
512GB SSD
TOP CHOICE
Acer Nitro 5 AN517-41-R7FP Gaming Laptop, AMD Ryzen 5 5600H Hexa-Core Processor | NVIDIA GeForce RTX...
Name
Acer Nitro 5
Processor
AMD Ryzen 5 5600H
GPU
RTX 3060 6GB VRAM
Display
17.3-Inch
Refresh Rate
144Hz
FHD Resolution
RAM
16GB DDR4
Storage
512GB SSD
RUNNER UP
Lenovo Legion 5 15 Gaming Laptop, 15.6" FHD (1920 x 1080) Display, AMD Ryzen 7 5800H Processor, 16GB...
Name
Lenovo Legion 5
Processor
AMD Ryzen 7 5800H
GPU
RTX 3050Ti 6GB VRAM
Display
15.6-Inch
Refresh Rate
144Hz
FHD Resolution
RAM
16GB DDR4
Storage
512GB SSD
VALUE PICK
Dell Gaming G15 5511, 15.6-inch inch FHD 120Hz Non-Touch Laptop - Intel Core i7-11800H, 16GB DDR4...
Name
Dell G15 5511
Processor
Intel Core i7-11800H
GPU
RTX 3050Ti 4GB VRAM
Display
15.6-Inch
Refresh Rate
120Hz
FHD Resolution
RAM
16GB DDR4
Storage
512GB SSD

1
Acer Nitro 5 – Overall Best Laptop under $1200

Acer Nitro 5 is another gaming-centric laptop that comes with a slightly older CPU. We have picked this option due to its powerful graphics performance. The laptop comes with the latest RTX 3060, offering 6GB GDDR6 Video RAM. The provided GPU is barely available on few devices in this price range, which is a clear advantage for Nitro 5. It is backed by the AMD Ryzen 5 5600H processor belonging to the latest AMD 5000 family.

Acer Nitro 5
Acer Nitro 5

  • Display: 17.3-inch 1920 x 1080p (144Hz)
  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 5600H
  • GPU: NVIDIA RTX 3060 6GB GDDR6
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4 3200MHz
  • Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD

It has six CPU cores and 12 threads, ideal for multi-thread tasks running on a base clock speed of 2.6GHz and maximum boosted up to 4.5GHz. Due to the usage of the latest CPU, the laptop doesn’t seem to underperform and is capable of running all the AAA titles at high settings. As far as memory is concerned, it has sufficient 16GB DDR4 RAM, a decent capacity for a gaming laptop. Moreover, the storage of 512GB SSD remains to be on the acceptable side. But the good thing is that this computer arrives with additional slots to expand the RAM & storage straightforward.

To enhance the gaming experience, a single-zone backlit keyboard is provided with red backlighting. Of course, RGB lighting is always battered, but this is not bad either, looking at the competition. Other notable features are very well-managed thermals, decent sound output, and a 17.3-inch Full HD display having a 144GHz refresh rate. Considering all the features, this is the best laptop at this price range and the cheapest machine to arrive with the latest RTX 3060 GPU.

Pros
  • Top-Notch Graphics Card
  • Seemless Performance
  • WiFi 6 Support
  • Upgradable Memory
Cons
  • Bulky Plastic Design
  • Average Battery Life

2
Lenovo Legion 5 – Runner Up

Lenovo “Legion” series doesn’t need any introduction. Under the “Legion” lineup, the company has already launched some of the most successful gaming laptops, and there is no exception with Lenovo Legion 5. It is powered by the AMD 5000 series AMD Ryzen 7 5800H chipset and Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti GPU begging 6GB GDDR6 RAM. The graphics card is comparatively RTX 2060 but very well capable of delivering an immersive gaming experience. Almost all the games are playable, but you might face minor issues while running graphics-intensive titles.

Lenovo Legion 5
59 Reviews
Lenovo Legion 5

  • Display: 15.6-inch 1920 x 1080p (165Hz)
  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 5800H
  • GPU: NVIDIA RTX 3050Ti 4GB GDDR6
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4 3200MHz
  • Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD

Regarding the processor, Ryzen 7 5800H is an octa-core chip running on TSMC’s 7nm FinFET technology. Hence, it becomes highly power-efficient due to the small structure. The base clock speed is 3.2GHz, which can be overclocked up to 4.4GHz. Collectively, the CPU & GPU combination produces outstanding performance. Moreover, it packs 16GB DDR4 RAM at 3200MHz combined with 512GB SSD storage. You can sufficiently store large files, and a satisfactory amount of RAM helps to process data more efficiently.

The laptop features a 15.6-inch Full HD display, which runs at a 165Hz refresh rate, making it ideal for smooth gaming operation. It is a highly color-accurate panel with 100% sRGB coverage, which could be useful for Photoshop, AutoCAD, Video Editing, Photo Editing, and other productivity tasks. Overall, the display is okay, and there shouldn’t be any problem with gaming. Apart from that, it carries a backlit keyboard to enhance usability. The device is made of durable plastic material, and all the basic ports are available. The weight management is good, and it weighs under 6lbs, making it a lightweight gaming machine. By concluding, it is a worthy choice available under $1200.

Pros
  • Remarkable CPU & GPU
  • Dedicated 6GB VRAM
  • Sufficient RAM/Storage
  • Color-Accurate Display
Cons
  • Average Sound Output
  • Mediocre Battery Life

3
Dell G15 5511 – Best Value Pick

Dell is a well-known brand in the laptop industry, and different types of consumers widely use its laptops. The company has expertise in manufacturer laptops in each category, whether gaming, business notebook, or traditional laptops. In this section of best gaming laptops under $1200, Dell G15 5511 is one of the finest choices with extraordinary configurations and flawless performance.

Discount: $125.01
Dell G15 5511
Dell G15 5511

  • Display: 15.6-inch 1920 x 1080p (144Hz)
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-11800H
  • GPU: RTX 3050Ti 4GB GDDR6
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4 3200MHz
  • Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD

The front portion features a 15.6-inch Full HD display bringing 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution at 120Hz. For gaming, this is a suitable screen, but color accuracy is not that good. It offers good viewing angles and decent brightness. Regarding the processing power, it is powered by the Intel Core i7-11800H processor, belonging to the 11th generation i7 family.

This is a prominent name for high-end gaming laptops with a Hexa-core CPU delivering the base clock speed of 2.3GHz, expandable up to 4.6GHz using Intel’s Turbo Boost technology. As you might be aware, Intel “H” series processing tends to handle high-end tasks, such as gaming, AutoCAD, Game Development, 3D Rendering, 4K video editing, etc. Without knowing the GPU, we can’t assess the gaming performance.

The laptop packs a compelling RTX 3050Ti graphics card with a dedicated 4GB GDDR6 VRAM. This is the best offering you can get in this price range, which allows you to run AAA titles at a high setting without any major problem. It also shines in the memory front with 16GB DDR4 RAM and 512GB SSD storage. Other notable features include WiFi 6 support, backlit keyboard, thunderbolt port, and Bluetooth 5.1. Considering all the specs, this is an undisputed contender of being the best laptop under 1200 dollars.

Pros
  • Mighty Intel Core i7 Processor
  • Dedicated Graphics Card
  • High Refresh-Rate Display
  • Ultimate Performance
Cons
  • Predictable Design
  • Average Battery

4
ASUS ROG Strix G15 (2021) – Lightweight Gaming Laptop

The ASUS ROG Strix G15 (2021) is a lightweight gaming laptop; also, you can finish other productivity tasks. It is an all-in-one gaming machine with solid hardware. The laptop features a 15.6-inch Full HD display at standard 1920 x 1080p resolution. The panel supports up to 300Hz refresh rate, which is a must-have addition for any gaming laptop. Considering the main hardware, it employs AMD Ryzen 7 processor with an octa-core CPU. As we have already discussed, this is a mighty processor that easily manages high-end multitasking and gaming operations.

ASUS ROG Strix G15 (2021)
80 Reviews
ASUS ROG Strix G15 (2021)

  • Display: 15.6-inch 1920 x 1080p (300Hz)
  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 5800H
  • GPU: NVIDIA RTX 3050Ti 4GB GDDR6
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4 3200MHz
  • Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD

The GPU department is taken care of by Nvidia’s RTX 3050 graphics card with 4GB GDDR6 RAM. However, this is not the best GPU offering, but you can see a balanced performance due to the good software optimizations. The RAM capacity is 16GB DDR4 coupled with a 1TB SSD. We must applaud the storage offering, which allows you to store large gaming files and other important documents.

The support of WiFi 6 enhances the connectivity by allowing faster internet speeds. Further, it has god a sturdy body construction. This is probably one of the lightest gaming laptops in this price range in terms of weight distribution. The laptop weighs only 4.63lbs, making it the lightest gaming machine in this category. A backlit keyboard surrounds the front side, and all the basic ports are present. Overall, this laptop could be a choice for those seeking a complete package to do some gaming along with productivity stuff.

Pros
  • Superior Processing Power
  • Good Weight Distribution
  • Enhanced Portability
  • Adequate Storage
  • Above Average Battery
Cons
  • GPU could have been batter
  • Heats Up during Intensive Gameplay

5
Asus TUF F15 (2021) – Value for Money

The Asus TUF F15 (2021) is another gaming laptop available for under $1200. It arrives with a 15.6-inch Full HD display at a 144Hz refresh rate. The Intel Core i7-11370H chipset powers the laptop. This processor is a quad-core unit with a maximum clock speed of up to 4.8GHz while running into Boost Mode. As you know, along with a capable processor, a powerful GPU is necessary to available any potential bottleneck. To fill this gap, it bring s Nvidia RTX 3050Ti GPU with 6GB GDDR6 VRAM. This is the base processor available under the RTX 30 series, easily comparable to the last generation GTX 1660Ti.

Asus TUF Dash 15 (2021)
267 Reviews
Asus TUF Dash 15 (2021)

  • Display: 15.6-inch 1920 x 1080p (144Hz)
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-11370H
  • GPU: Nvidia RTX 3050Ti 4GB VRAM
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4
  • Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD

Furthermore, it adds 16GB DDR4 RAM at 3200MHz. The provided Random Access Memory is super fast and sufficient amount to handle high-end tasks. It provides 512GB of storage space in terms of storage, which lets you store bigger files without any problem. The design is made of plastic material, just like other gaming laptops, to avoid excessive heat generation. Although it is a durable construction, it shouldn’t be any problem to use it for a longer period.

The laptop further supports a backlit keyboard with white Lightning to deliver an optimal gaming experience. But it could be RGB backlighting; it seems the company has cut the cost to make it more affordable. Along with that, thermals are optimized very well to avoid overheating. Obviously, it tends to become slightly hot while running high-end games. But it is normal for any gaming laptop. But it successfully manages the overheating with a twin-fan liquid cooling system. Collectively, this is a decent choice under $1000 if your pocket doesn’t allow you to use the full quota of $1200.

Pros
  • Influential Processing Power
  • Good Graphics Performance
  • RGB Backlit keyboard
  • 144Hz Refresh Rate Screen
  • No Pre-Installed Bloatware
Cons
  • Minor Heating Issues
  • Lack of Thunderbolt Port

6
MSI GL75 – Bigger Display Gaming Laptop under $1200

If you are looking for a bigger display gaming laptop, you don’t have a better choice than to pick the MSI GL75. Not just a bigger display, but from the hardware perspective, it makes its name in our list of best gaming laptops under $1200. Starting with the display, a 17.3-inch display sports Full HD resolution at a 144Hz refresh rate. The panel is extremely smooth, with a faster 3ms response time. So, real-time rendering becomes even smoother.

MSI GL75
42 Reviews
MSI GL75

  • Display: 17.3-inch 1920 x 1080p (144Hz)
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-10750H
  • GPU: NVIDIA GTX 1660Ti 6GB GDDR6
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4 2666MHz
  • Storage: 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD

The laptop is backed by the 10th generation Intel Core i7-10750H SoC, the top-of-the-line chip from Intel, made for heavy multitasking and gaming. Further, it combines the Nvidia GTX 1660Ti graphics card with 6GB GDDR6 RAM. Undoubtedly, this combination is perfect for any gaming laptop in this price category. But it would have been great if provided with RTX 2060, what we have seen in other laptops for the same category.

Anyway, it doesn’t compromise with a performance by any means, and you can throw heavy tasks without any major lag.  The memory offering is 16GB DDR4 RAM along with 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD combination. The SSD drive you can use primarily for OS installation, and HDD is there to store other data. Besides, there is a Backlight Keyboard with Anti-Ghost Key + Silver Lining; however, it is not RGB. All the essential connectivity options are present. Altogether, this is the ultimate choice for people looking for a gaming laptop with a big screen.

Pros
  • Bigger 17 Inch Display
  • Lots of Storage
  • Prominent Processor
  • Flawless Performance
  • Backlit Keyboard
Cons
  • Somehow Bulky
  • Average Battery Life

7
HP OMEN – Prominent Player

Omen is gaming series from prominent laptop player HP, and we have already seen some great gaming laptops under this lineup. Being an older series, we can trust its durability and HP brand value also there. Regarding the specs, this laptop features a 15.6-inch Full HD display at 1920 x 1080 resolution coupled with a 144Hz refresh rate. The provided panel produces good image quality and sharp visuals; especially, a higher refresh rate allows smooth gameplay.

HP OMEN
43 Reviews
HP OMEN

  • Display: 15.6-inch 1920 x 1080p (144Hz)
  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 4800H
  • GPU: NVIDIA GTX 1660Ti 6GB GDDR6
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4 3200MHz
  • Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD

The laptop is powered by a very common AMD Ryzen 7 4800H chipset, which produces immersive power using its octa-core CPU. Apart from being extremely powerful, this chip is power-efficient either using the TSMC’s 7nm architecture. Besides, the laptop approaches with 8GB DDR4 RAM and 512GB SSD. The memory department is very ordinary with pre-supplied only 8GB DDR4 RAM. But storage offering is satisfactory.

Regarding the design, it is surrounded by a durable frame using plastic body construction. At the front, it begs RGB-supported backlit lighting and HD Webcam for video conferencing and live video streaming. Other than gaming, it fits into productivity tasks due to the good accuracy provided by its display. The front panel provides 72% NTSC or 100% sRGB coverage and 300-nits brightness. The collective offering of above-average specifications makes it an ideal gaming laptop under $1200.

Pros
  • Comprehensive Processor
  • RGB Backlit Keyboard
  • Easy Handling
  • Decent Display Quality
  • Satisfactory Ports
Cons
  • Ordinary Design
  • Only 8GB RAM

8
HP Pavilion – Optional

This is the traditional “Pavavilion” gaming laptop series from HP. Under this lineup, the HP Pavilion 16 arrives with gaming-centric configurations. As the name suggests, it has a 16-inch Full HD display. The laptop disappoints with a standard 60Hz panel, which means no fast refresh rate support. But the display quality is good, and there shouldn’t be any problem with normal 60Hz gaming. Under the hood, it packs a compelling 10th generation Intel Core i7 processor, an ideal pick for any gaming laptop.

HP Pavilion 16
107 Reviews
HP Pavilion 16

  • Display: 16-inch 1920 x 1080p (60Hz)
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-10750H
  • GPU: NVIDIA GTX 1660Ti (Max-Q)
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4 2933MHz
  • Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD

Along with powerful processing, it adds a GTX 1660Ti graphics card. A dedicated 6GB VRAM reduces the reliance on traditional memory. It is worth noting that it is a Max-Q design GPU, a slightly underclocked version of standard GPU. If we talk about the design, it is a uniquely constructed body with a typical HP gaming look.

The front side is surrounded by a single-zone backlit keyboard, which is definitely doesn’t support RGB effects. In terms of I/O, it accumulates all the basic ports and other connectivity options. The RAM capacity is 16GB DDR4 combined with 512GB SSD storage. All in all, it delivers good performance along with decent onboard specifications.

Pros
  • 10th Generation Core i7 CPU
  • Decent RAM & Storage
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Unique Body Construction
  • Acceptable Battery
Cons
  • Standard 60Hz Panel
  • Underclocked Max-Q GPU

Buying Guide – How to Choose a Best Gaming Laptop under $1200?

Here we have discussed some important points, that could be deciding factors to choose the best gaming laptop under 1200 dollars:

A Powerful Processor – As you are known, a processor designates the heart of a computer machine and pumps the blood in producing data. Hence, a powerful processor is the primary requirement of a good gaming laptop. It helps to process data as its name suggests. With the price of $1200, we strongly recommend going for the Intel Core i7 or AMD Ryzen 7 Processor. Both of these chipsets produce excellent performance.

Dedicated Graphics Card – The Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) is another component that significantly affects the graphics performance. Gaming, being a graphics-hungry task, requires a potent dedicated graphics card. The dedicated GPU brings additional VRAM to boost up the graphics performance. So, it is essential to have a dedicated GPU on a gaming laptop. Under the given price range, the minimum required GPU is GTX 1660 Ti and RTX 2060 is even better.

Sufficient RAM & Storage – RAM majorly requires processing data more efficiently. It is eventually a temporary memory of a laptop, that helps to remind which task is being executed. To generate a flawless performance, a gaming laptop relies on RAM. So, it is essential to have a decent amount of RAM, at least 16GB RAM given a decent budget of $1200. On the other hand, the storage drive grants to store data. In this price range, you should accept at least 512GB SSD storage or an additional 1TB HDD drive.

High Refresh Rate Display – The display visualizes the output of internal components. It essentially works like human eyes to display the brain output. A computer machine is more or less inspired by the human structure. To describe the refresh rate, it actually represents the number of times visual refreshes in each second, something like 60Hz, 120Hz, or 144Hz. For a gaming laptop under $1200, we recommend you to find at least a 144Hz refresh-rate display.

Final Verdict – Which is the best gaming laptop under $1200?

Wrapping it up, after reading the whole story, you might have made your fair opinion on which gaming laptop suits your requirements. We have tried to list some of the most powerful gaming laptops with high-end configurations. In our opinion, Acer Nitro 5 is the ideal choice for gaming in this price range. It borrows a compelling RTX 3060 graphics card along with AMD 5000 series Ryzen 5 processor. I don’t think you can make a better choice than this. The only major drawback we found is its ordinary design. It doesn’t look attractive at all.

Some other notable choices are Lenovo Legion 5 and Dell G15 5511. You can consider any of these laptops according to your convenience. Moreover, if you are fond of using a bigger display, the Asus TUF G15 (2021) gaming laptop is there to serve you with an affordable price range. In terms of portability, Asus ROG Strix G15 (2021) accumulates a compact body in order to serve you with great portability. Collectively, we have mentioned all the worthy choices leaving the rest of the work on your necessity. If you have anything else to ask? The comment section is open for you!

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