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
Dell Gaming G3 15 3500, 15.6 inch FHD Non-Touch Laptop - Intel Core i7-10750H, 16GB DDR4 RAM, 512GB...
VALUE PICK
Lenovo Legion 5 Gaming Laptop, 15.6" FHD (1920x1080) IPS Screen, AMD Ryzen 7 4800H Processor, 16GB...
BIGGER DISPPLAY
MSI GL75 Gaming Laptop 10th gen i7-10750H, 16GB RAM, 17.3" 144Hz Full HD Display, NVidia GTX 1660...
Name
Dell Gaming G3
Lenovo Legion 5
MSI GL75
Processor
Intel Core i7-10750H
Ryzen 7 4800H
Intel Core i7-10750H
GPU
RTX 2060 6GB VRAM
GTX 1660Ti 6GB VRAM
GTX 1660Ti 6GB GDDR6
Display
15.6-Inch
15.6-Inch
17.3-Inch
Refresh Rate
144Hz
144Hz
144Hz
FHD Resolution
RAM
16GB DDR4
16GB DDR4
16GB DDR4
Storage
512GB SSD
512GB SSD
256GB SSD + 1TB HDD
TOP CHOICE
Dell Gaming G3 15 3500, 15.6 inch FHD Non-Touch Laptop - Intel Core i7-10750H, 16GB DDR4 RAM, 512GB...
Name
Dell Gaming G3
Processor
Intel Core i7-10750H
GPU
RTX 2060 6GB VRAM
Display
15.6-Inch
Refresh Rate
144Hz
FHD Resolution
RAM
16GB DDR4
Storage
512GB SSD
VALUE PICK
Lenovo Legion 5 Gaming Laptop, 15.6" FHD (1920x1080) IPS Screen, AMD Ryzen 7 4800H Processor, 16GB...
Name
Lenovo Legion 5
Processor
Ryzen 7 4800H
GPU
GTX 1660Ti 6GB VRAM
Display
15.6-Inch
Refresh Rate
144Hz
FHD Resolution
RAM
16GB DDR4
Storage
512GB SSD
BIGGER DISPPLAY
MSI GL75 Gaming Laptop 10th gen i7-10750H, 16GB RAM, 17.3" 144Hz Full HD Display, NVidia GTX 1660...
Name
MSI GL75
Processor
Intel Core i7-10750H
GPU
GTX 1660Ti 6GB GDDR6
Display
17.3-Inch
Refresh Rate
144Hz
FHD Resolution
RAM
16GB DDR4
Storage
256GB SSD + 1TB HDD

1
Dell Gaming G3 – Overall Best Gaming Laptop under $1200

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 G3 is topping the chart with extraordinary configurations and flawless performance.

Dell Gaming G3 15 3500
437 Reviews
Dell Gaming G3 15 3500

  • Display: 15.6-inch 1920 x 1080p (144Hz)
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-10750H
  • GPU: NVIDIA RTX 2060 6GB GDDR6
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4 2933MHz
  • Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD

The front portion features a 15.6-inch Full HD display bringing 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution at 144Hz. 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 i7-10750H processor, belonging to the 10th generation family.

This is a prominent name for high-end gaming laptops with a Hexa-core CPU delivering the base clock speed of 2.6GHz, expandable up to 5.0GHz 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, 3D Rendering, video editing, etc. Without knowing the GPU, we can’t assess the gaming performance.

The laptop packs a compelling RTX 2060 graphics card with a dedicated 6GB 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 i7-10750H CPU
  • Best-in-Class Graphics Card
  • High Refresh-Rate Display
  • Outstanding Performance
Cons
  • Predictable Design
  • Average Battery

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 4000 series AMD Ryzen 7 4800H chipset and Nvidia GTX 1660 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
1,821 Reviews
Lenovo Legion 5

  • Display: 15.6-inch 1920 x 1080p (144Hz)
  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 4800H
  • GPU: NVIDIA GTX 1660Ti 6GB GDDR6
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4 3200MHz
  • Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD

Regarding the processor, Ryzen 7 4800H 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 2.9GHz, which can be overclocked up to 4.3GHz. 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 144Hz refresh rate, making it ideal for smooth gaming operation. It is an ordinary panel in terms of color accuracy, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense while playing games. 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
  • 300-nits Bright Display
Cons
  • Average Sound Output
  • Poor Battery

3
MSI GL75 – Best 17 Inch 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
39 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

4
Acer Nitro 5 – Powerful Graphics Card

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 RTX 2060, 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 Intel Core i7-9750H processor belonging to the 9th generation family at the CPU front.

Acer Nitro 5
2,788 Reviews
Acer Nitro 5

  • Display: 15.6-inch 1920 x 1080p (144Hz)
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-9750H
  • GPU: NVIDIA RTX 2060 6GB GDDR6
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4 2666MHz
  • Storage: 256GB NVMe SSD

The chipset is comparatively older yet powerful. 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. In spite of using the older chip, the laptop doesn’t seem to underperform and 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 256GB SSD remains to be on the lower 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 not bad either, looking at the competition. Other notable features are very well-managed thermals, decent sound output, and a 15.6-inch Full HD display having a 144GHz refresh rate. Considering all the features, you can consider this your new gaming machine as long as you don’t have any problem with an older processor.

Pros
  • Top-Notch Graphics Card
  • Decent Build Quality
  • WiFi 6 Support
  • Upgradable Memory
Cons
  • 9th Gen Processor
  • Lack of Storage

5
ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 – Lightweight Gaming Laptop

Asus ROG Zephyrus 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 14-inch Full HD display at standard 1920 x 1080p resolution. The panel supports up to 144GHz 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 Zephyrus G14
81 Reviews
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

  • Display: 14-inch 1920 x 1080p (120Hz)
  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 4800HS
  • GPU: NVIDIA GTX 1650 4GB GDDR6
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4 3200MHz
  • Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD

The GPU department is taken care of by Nvidia’s GTX 1650 graphics card with 4GB GDDR6 RAM. However, this is an ordinary GPU offering, but you can see a balanced performance due to the good software optimizations. The RAM capacity is 16GB DDR4 coupled with a 512GB 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 3.64lbs, 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

6
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 is 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
39 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-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

7
Asus TUF F15 – Value for Money

Asus TUF is another gaming laptop available under $1200. It arrives with a 15.6-inch Full HD display at a 144Hz refresh rate. The Intel Core i7-10870H chipset powers the laptop. This processor is an octa-core unit with a maximum clock speed of up to 5GHz 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 GTX 1660Ti GPU with 6GB GDDR6 VRAM. This is the best processing available in the “GTX” series, slightly less powerful than RTX 2060.

Asus TUF F15
16 Reviews
Asus TUF F15

  • Display: 15.6-inch 1920 x 1080p (144Hz)
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-10870H
  • GPU: NVIDIA GTX 1660Ti 6GB GDDR6
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4 3200MHz
  • Storage: 1TB 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.

Unlike other laptops, it supports an RGB Lightning keyboard to deliver a delightful gaming experience. 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 $1200 if you are looking for a powerful gaming laptop.

Pros
  • Influential Processing Power
  • GTX 1660 Ti GPU with 6GB VRAM
  • RGB Backlit keyboard
  • 144Hz Refresh Rate Screen
  • No Pre-Installed Bloatware
Cons
  • Minor Heating Issues
  • Lack of Thunderbolt Port

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
103 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 factor 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, Dell Gaming G3 is the ideal choice for gaming in this price range. It borrows a compelling RTX 2060 graphics card along with a 10th generation i7 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, Acer Nitro 5, and HP Pavilion. You can consider any of these laptops according to your convenience. Moreover, if you are fond of using a bigger display, the Asus TUF gaming laptop is there to serve you with a bigger 17.3-inch Full HD screen. In terms of portability, Asus ROG Zephyrus accumulates a smaller 14-inch screen fitting in a compact body. 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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