Best Affordable Gaming Laptops

Spread the love

Best Affordable Gaming Laptops

Gaming laptops can make a serious hole on your wallet, with some premium models that can reach more than $3,000.

Luckily, for the budget gamer, there are some awesome alternatives:

like $1,000 notebooks that can easily play games likes Call of Duty and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

When you save that money on the computer you will be able to purchase top quality gaming keyboard or mouse.

 

Device Name Battery life
Origin Eon15-S
(Editor’s Choice)
Dell Inspiron 15 7000
Acer Aspire VX 15 (Editor’s Choice)
HP Omen 15t
Acer Aspire E 15
Dell Inspiron i5577-5335
Alienware 13
Lenovo Y700
Acer Predator Helios 300

1. Best Overall Budget Gaming Laptop: Origin Eon15-S

Jaybird X3 Review

Origin PC with its Eon15-S, with breaking new price ground for the custom-build company which traditionally sticks to pricier territory.

And based on the latest model of the Eon15-S, I’d say Origin does budget with style, even though a little more expensive than the competitors..

Several qualities differentiate the Eon15-S above the rest.

The Origin have a matte IPS display panel, which is a very nice bonus to the computer.

It has two – Mini DisplayPort connectors, one on the GPU bus and therefore capable of driving a G-Sync-compatible monitor.

Therefore it can support a total of 3 external displays, with the third on HDMI.

And the best part, it has a removable battery.

Of course, given the measly 4.3-hour battery life on our streaming video test, you may want to stock up on them.

Our $1,200 test configuration, with a quad-core Core i5-7300HQ and 8GB memory, performed super well.

As you can guess, Origin offers a variety of configuration options starting at $1,000 and which can take you well past the $4,000 mark.

For speed-addicted gamers, I think it’s worth spending a bit more, bumping up to 16GB of the 2.4GHz memory and a faster – or at least more consistently fast -Samsung 960 Evo SSD for your primary drive rather than the Intel model.

It only adds about $100 (£78, AU$135) to the price, but it will improve performance.

Origin PC Eon15-S (2017)

Price as reviewed $1,199
Display size/resolution 15.6-inch 1,920 x 1,080 display
PC CPU 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-7300HQ
PC Memory 8GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz
Graphics 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti
Storage 256GB SSD+1TB HDD; SD card slot
Ports 1 x Ethernet; 2 x Mini DisplayPort (1 x G-Sync); 1 x HDMI; 1 x USB-C; 3 x USB 3 (1 charging); mic; headphone/audio
Networking 802.11ac Bluetooth 4.2
Operating system Windows 10 Home (64-bit)

You can configure the Eon15-S on Origin PC’s Australia site, where it starts at AU$1,550, but that least-expensive setup is pretty limited.

US representative told us, the price of our test configuration should be roughly AU$1,650, but there didn’t seem to be a way to build one that cheap at review time.

The company doesn’t have a UK-specific site, but it will ship worldwide;

Our configuration would cost in the neighborhood of £931, and for an extra $41 (AU$53, directly converted £32),

it will pack the laptop in a padded wooden crate for safer shipping and that that your pet will adore after unboxing.

The Dispaly

The 1,920×1,080-pixel display is comparatively good, and with a 141 pixel-per-inch pixel density it’s pretty sharp.

But it’s still got some problems for fast-speed games, which tend to change by title.

As many laptop displays, the vertical refresh rate tops out at 60Hz, which presents a bit problem if you’ve got a game that hits inconsistent frame rates.

For instance, in Assasin Creed, it laged a bit at 90fps and beyond, and the intro sequence in Witchwild had a problem of the wobblies (though the game didn’t).

Plus, it doesn’t have a big dynamic range.

In order to be able to see while Artyom stuck to the shadows in MLL I had to increase the gamma way up, which explode some scenes out in a very bad way.

Other games, such as Doom, Bioshock Infinite and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided looked better with tweaked but more reasonable gamma settings, but in those games you don’t run around blindly turning off lights or setting on in high-contrast.

Connecting to a G-Sync external display solved most of the refresh and visibility issues, though. Through the G-Sync-enabled Mini DisplayPort, the laptop drove a 2,850×1,440 Dell S2417DG as high as 144Hz without issues and a 1,920×1,080 Acer Predator XB272 at up to 240Hz (as well as in Dynamic Super Resolution mode at a lower refresh).

The real play glitches result from the components.

In BI, I had to put the quality settings way down (to the low preset) in order to get smooth gameplay.

At higher settings there was tons of stutter, pausing and nonresponsiveness in unexpected places;

who’d who will guess serious dropped-frame issues in the no-action Hall of Heroes elevator?

Restarting between games seemed to help.

I think more memory and a faster SSD would have helped alleviate some of it. Plus, more than 4GB VRAM would help the quality issues, but the only way around that is to spend more and not buy a 1050 Ti-based system.

All of which ultimately means that the Eon15-S is pretty typical.

Like every system without high-end components, you’ll have to change the setting between games individually and you’ll get better results in some more than others;

there didn’t seem to be any unusual or endemic problems.

Overall, once I had at least semi-optimal settings for each, the gaming experience was awesome — a couple of lost weekends and some missed deadlines can attest to that.

The built-in speakers sound good quality for gaming, with satisfactory surround simulation;

they’re not quite as good for music and movies.

Closed, the black Eon15-S looks as subtle as a gaming laptop gets;

just a hint of bezeled diagonals on the lid and some stylized venting on the back.

And without the backlight enabled, the same goes for the inside.

The membrane keyboard doesn’t have the clicky feel of a mechanical, but it’s amazingly good;

it’s relatively quiet unless you really pound it, and if you need to use the Eon15-S for work as well as for play, I think the feel will hold up.

The Flexikey utility lets you customize the keyboard backlight with up to 3 preset color zones and the usual animated rainbow options as well as custom macro recording.

The control panel software doesn’t give you a lot of options, though you can set temperature rules to make work the fan operation.

The touchpad can be not stable, though;

sometimes it works fine and at other times became non responsive, and the embedded fingerprint reader has some sharp edges that made swiping uncomfortable.

It’s not to heavy for a 15-inch at 5.3 lbs/2.4 kg, but the brick is big and given the battery life you’ll need to carry it with you most of the time.

Reasonable compromises

For games that don’t want to replace quality for speed, or gamers that want to trade some quality for speed, I think this is a awesome option, especially given the multi connection options.

And while it’s not optimal for VR, there’s enough power and connectivity to let you get your dive into the virtual reality world.

Pros
  • The Origin PC Eon15-S includes some features you don’t see in a gaming system in its price class.
  • including support for three external monitors, including one with G-Sync support, a removable battery and optional custom paint jobs.
Cons
  • Sad battery life and a not comfortable touch-pad may really cant hurt your non-gaming experience.

2. Longest Battery Life: Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming Laptop

SENSO Bluetooth Headphones Review

 

The price is right

The price is what makes this Dell Inspiron 15 7000 so interesting.

Instead of making the workmanlike plastic laptop you’d expect from a 15-inch Inspiron, Dell has decided to see just how much gaming performance it can squeeze into a laptop that starts at just $799 in the US.

In some ways, it’s a very successful experiment, built around an Intel Core i5 CPU and Nvidia’s new GeForce 1050 graphics card.

For a little extra, the $899 model we tested trades up to the faster GeForce 1050Ti GPU (and that step-up model is currently on sale for $849 in the US).

International configurations differ slightly, but start at £899 or AU$1,699.

For a robust gaming laptop, those are pretty incredible prices.

Note that this is a special “gaming” edition of the Inspiron 15, and standard versions without the red design and graphics hardware are also available.

Dell tried a similar experiment in mid-2016, with a then-current Nvidia 960M GPU in an inexpensive Inspiron 15 body.

The biggest change here, aside from the updated components, is the design, which combines a matte red exterior with a black interior and some automotive-grille-like rear vents.

it frankly looks nicer than a lot of more expensive gaming laptops, which can veer toward overblown nonsense.

Dell Inspiron 15 7000

Price as reviewed $849
Display size/resolution 15-inch 1,920 x 1,080 display
PC CPU 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-7300HQ
PC memory 8GB DDR4SDRAM 2,400MHz
Graphics 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti
Storage 256GB SSD
Networking 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.2
Operating system Windows 10 Home (64-bit)

 Cutting corners

The flip side is that giving you those 1050 and 1050Ti GPUs at these prices requires some serious corner cutting.

The question becomes, just how many corners are you willing to cut to play PC games on the cheap?

It’s an especially important question, because some of the Inspiron 15’s shortfalls make it harder to use as an everyday midsize laptop.

The biggest trouble spot is the display, which has a standard FHD 1,920×1,080 resolution, but that’s about the only positive thing one can say about it.

The LCD screen looks washed out and lacks punch and contrast, and that’s when viewing it head-on, as one would while gaming at a desk or dining table.

It’s when you move even slightly to the side that the even bigger problems come to light.

The image immediately fades when viewed from even just a little off-center. This kind of problem with off-axis viewing is something very few laptops, even budget ones, suffer from any more.

I can’t recall the last time I ran into this kind of problem on a 15-inch laptop, and it’s even worse on a gaming/multimedia machine. It’s the single biggest issue that gives me pause about giving this system a strong recommendation.

The touchpad is another weak point, and with Windows laptops in general finally catching up to MacBooks when it comes to accuracy and multitouch gestures, this feels like a step backward.

It’s twitchy, it registers occasional false inputs (such as sensing a double-tap right click incorrectly) and it’s got a cheap-feeling plastic surface, which isn’t nearly as nice as the glass-topped touchpads we see in many modern laptops.

I found myself plugging a mouse in pretty much right away, but that did give me a chance to appreciate that this thing is packed with ports, including three full-size USB ports, HDMI, Ethernet and an SD card slot (but no USB-C).

Great gaming at a great price

The real test for any gaming PC is how it performs while running games.

Dell may have cut a few corners to get that Nvidia GPU inside at this rock-bottom price, but it’s a gamble that pays off in terms of pure gameplay.

Standard non-gaming benchmarks were low compared with other mainstream gaming laptops, because of the slower Intel Core i5 CPU here, but gaming tests were as good as laptops that cost much more.

Reliable standbys like BioShock Infinite and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided ran great, as did newer games like Battlefield 1, all at native 1,920×1,080 resolution and medium-to-high detail settings. I tried a just-released PC game, Ubisoft’s sword-fighting For Honor, and even though it’s still getting early PC patches, the game looked great and ran very smoothly at high detail settings and FHD resolution.

Where you run into some trouble is the screen and its very narrow optimal field of view. Even dead-on, it’s on the dull side, lacking the really colorful punch you get with more-expensive gaming laptop screens.

When moving your head just a bit to the side while playing, the image starts to fade around the edges of the display. That said, once I was in a good position, with the screen at the correct angle and a controller in my hand, I had a highly satisfying game experience, especially considering the price.

Battery life was another pleasant surprise, hitting 9-plus hours. But note that score is for video streaming, not gameplay, where you’re likely to get a couple of hours at best away away from a bug.

The Issue Of Spending A Little Bit More

The Dell Inspiron 15 7000 is the least expensive way I’ve seen to get this level of gaming performance in a laptop.

 

Pros
  • A cheap way to get a very decent graphics card for PC gaming.
  • The reworked design is fun and has a premium look and feel.
Cons
  • Investing in the GPU requires some cut corners, including a washed-out display and annoying touch pad.

3. New and Notable: Acer Aspire VX 15

Bose SoundSport Wireless Review

 

Starting at $800 and topping out at $1,100, the VX 15 is a really good fit for an entry-level gaming laptop with current-gen components.

Straying from the average Aspire designs, Acer gave the VX 15 body a “gaming system” look including two large stylized fan vents at the back to keep this system nice and cool.

The 15.6-inch laptop is available with either a 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 or 1050 Ti paired with either an Intel Core i5-7300HQ or Core i7-7700HQ processor.

The GPUs aren’t sufficient for VR, but provide enough power to run a modern game at 60 frames per second at full HD, which just so happens to be the max resolution for the VX 15’s IPS display.

The body is on most parts is plastic, but Acer did its best to make it look like metal, giving it a more premium look.

Another plus for the design: You can easily open it up and install up to 32GB of memory and put in a 2.5-inch HDD with a free mounting kit from Acer.

That’s good because the little 256GB SSD could fill up fast once you start installing games.

Acer to gave the VX 15 a spacious keyboard along with a small number pad.

The entire keyboard is backlit in red glow.

The WASD keys getting some extra light around the edges.

The touchpad gets the job done, but there’s room for it to be bigger.

It does support all of the multitouch Windows 10 gestures, though its palm rejection could be better.

Acer Aspire VX 15

Price as reviewed $800 (£850 in UK; AU$1,600 in Australia)
Display size/resolution 15.6-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 display
PC CPU 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-7300HQ (Core i7-7700HQ in Australia)
PC memory 8GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz
Graphics 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050
Storage 256GB SSD (128GB SSD+1TB HDD in UK; 1TB HDD in Australia)
Networking 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0, Gigabit Ethernet
Ports USB 3.1 Type-C (Gen 1), Two USB 3.0, One USB 2.0, SD card slot, HDMI out and headphone/mic jack
Operating system Windows 10 Home (64-bit)

The Acer’s IPS panel is much better for off-angle viewing, though it too looks washed out.

It’s also not very bright.

It’s the same screen regardless of if you spend $800 or $1,100 on the laptop.

For me, it isn’t a deal breaker.

Oddly, the speakers in the VX 15 are providing good sound.

It’s might be because I’ve come to expect the worst from speakers on cheap laptops, but these ones rock with high sound quality.

Gunshots and explosions sound full with a fair amount of bass and dialogue is clear.

Good gaming for budget conscious buyers

Acer offers many varieties of configurations of the VX 15.

If your budget allows you to go up to $1,100, the top-end configuration includes a 1050 Ti GPU, a Core i7 processor, 16GB of memory and a 512GB SSD.

The $800 configuration, performs very good anyway.

Set to its full 1,920×1,080-pixel resolution and settings on high, older games like BioShock Infinite and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided ran with no issues.

The same goes for Battlefield 1, which taxed the system and its cooling capabilities.

If you’ve got older games that you’ve never been able to play at high detail, it’s worth trying them on the VX 15.

The Aspire VX 15 ran for 6 hours and 11 minutes on our streaming video test, which hits the 6-hour claim Acer makes for this system.

Doesen’t feel you are going on cheap computer

As entry-level gaming laptops go, the Acer Aspire VX 15 doesn’t feel like a compromise.

The body doesn’t feel cheap and plasticky.

The keyboard is large and comfortable. Even its biggest minus, the display, isn’t altogether to bad.

Pros
  • The Acer Aspire VX 15 is an attractive budget gaming laptop that’s well configured for the money. It’s possible to  add more memory and storage. It has an ample port assortment, including USB 3.1 Type-C.
Cons
  • The display is a little disappointing despite being an IPS panel. The base model has a little 256GB SSD that’s filled with preinstalled software and apps.

4. New and Notable: HP Omen 15t

Hearfuse Review

Design: Sleek and Light

When carbon fiber meets soft touch, magic happens.

The combination just feels so good on my fingers.

The deck is awash with a smooth black finish with a faux carbon-fiber pattern, around the keyboard and  touchpad.

Red lettering toward the bottom of the deck.

You’ll find that the power button sits in the top left corner of the deck next to the speaker grille.

The two chrome, plastic hinges are a bit on the chunky side and are a little out of place against the ebony beauty.

The Omen 15t has enough ports to support a small gaming station, including the USB 3.0 port, HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet, an SD card reader and a power jack on the right.

Along the left, you’ll find a pair of USB 3.0 ports with a headset jack and a secure lock slot.

Display

Somehow, the Omen 15t’s matte, 1920 x 1080 panel manages to deliver decent color despite its lack of brightness.

As I played Mass Effect: Andromeda, the normally vivid oranges and blues of Habitat 7 were somewhat not showing.

Details, however, were sharp enough that I could see the little details in Ryder’s shield as it reformed when I was taking a break from the action.

The Omen’s 15.6-inch display can reproduce only 71 percent of the sRGB color gamut, which is below the 95 percent mainstream average.

Still, it was enough to edge in front of the Acer VX 15 (65 percent) and the Dell Inspiron 15 (67 percent), but not the Strix, with its vivid 122 percent.

From my viewing experience, I wasn’t too surprised to discover that the Omen 15t’s screen notched a below-average result on the brightness test.

Audio: Where’s the Oomph?

Equipped with a pair of speakers and subwoofer along its undercarriage, the Omen 15t delivers great  audio.

It wasn’t enough to fill my bedroom with audio, even at maximum volume.

When I was in the midst of a heavy firefight during Mass Effect: Andromeda, I noticed that the normally robust blasts sounded a bit hollow.

Dialogue among the characters was clear, but the background music sounded somewhat submerged.

Keyboard and TouchPad: Mixed Results

As inviting as the glowing red backlighting on the Omen 15t’s black, island-style keyboard is, the actual typing experience leaves something to be desired. With 1.3 millimeters of travel (1.5-2mm minimum) and 61 grams of actuation force (60g minimum), the keyboard is shallow despite its slight clickiness. The lack of feedback made for a more deliberate typing pace, which dropped my typing speed from 65 words per minute to 56 wpm on the 10FastFingers typing test.

Some of my colleagues didn’t like the textured surface of the Omen 15t’s 4.7 x 2.5-inch Synaptics touchpad. But I really liked how the slightly grainy texture rubbed against my fingers. Thanks to the touchpad’s wide dimensions, I had no problem performing multitouch gestures like pinch-zoom and three-finger flicking, commands that elicited fast, accurate response. I did encounter a fair amount of cursor jumping as I wrote the review, however.

The bottom edges of the touchpad were a bit mushy, but they performed their left- and right-click duties fairly well.

Gaming: Good on Modest Settings

Yes, you can explore uncharted galaxies in Mass Effect: Andromeda on Medium with the Omen 15t’s entry-level Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 GPU and 2GB of VRAM. If you go for anything higher than Medium, you’re setting yourself up for blurry, stuttering disappointment.

The game played at smooth clip on Medium at 34 fps as I made my way through Habitat 7, dodging errant lightning bolts and fighting a hostile alien race. It’s not the ideal 60 fps, but it was slightly above our 30-fps playability threshold. When I dared switch over to High, the laptop averaged 28 fps. This didn’t produce serious stuttering, but there was definitely a lot of motion blur when I made any sudden turns. The frame rate rose to 40 fps on low, but who wants to play a game like this on such low settings?

Next, we ran our budget-laptop version of the Rise of the Tomb Raider benchmark (1080p with high settings with SMAA anti-aliasing) on the Omen 15t instead of the regular test (1080p on high).

On the less rigorous test, the Omen 15t notched 43 fps on Tomb Raider, which matched the GTX 1050 GPU-powered Aspire VX 15. This was enough to overcome the 39-fps mainstream average and the Strix’s 38 fps, but not the Inspiron 15 7000’s score of 49 fps, with its GTX 1050 Ti GPU.

During the regular test, the Omen 15t delivered only 22 fps, tying the Inspiron 15 7000, missing the 34-fps average and the playability threshold. Still that’s better than the 16 and 18 fps obtained by the Aspire VX 15 and the Strix.

When we ran the Hitman benchmark, the Omen 15t managed to turn in 32 fps on High at 1080p. It’s below the 57 fps average, but on a par with the Strix (30 fps) and the Inspiron 15 7000 (35 fps).

If you were hoping to get some VR time in with your Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, you’re going to be sorely disappointed, as the GTX 1050 GPU is by no means VR-ready. If you want virtual reality, you should invest in a system with at least an Nvidia GTX 1060 GPU.

When you’re not trying to liberate the galaxy or frag your foes, the Omen 15t switches over to its integrated Intel HD Graphics 630 GPU via Nvidia’s Optimus technology.

Overall Performance: Solid for the Money

Thanks to the Omen 15t’s 2.8-GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor with 8GB of RAM, you can multitask to your heart’s content. I had 18 open tabs in Google Chrome, including one streaming an episode of Chewing Gum on Netflix, while running a full-system scan in Windows Defender, and I saw only a hint of lag.

The Omen 15t hit 11,769 when we ran Geekbench 4, a synthetic performance test. That’s better than the 11,556 mainstream average as well as the 10,363 and 7,898 put up by the 2.5-GHz Intel Core i5-7300HQ-powered Inspiron 15 7000 and Aspire VX 15. That wasn’t enough, however, to top the Strix’s (2.8-GHz Intel Core i5-7700HQ CPU) score of 12,253.

During the File Transfer test, the Omen 15t’s 1TB 7,200-rpm hard drive copied 4.97GB of mixed-media files in 2 minutes for a transfer rate of 42.4 megabytes per second. That’s well below the 192.7 MBps average as well as the scores compiled by the Strix (94.2MBps, 1TB 7,200-rpm hard drive), Aspire VX 15 (103MBps, 256GB SSD) and Inspiron 15 7000 (106MBps, 256GB SSD).

When we ran the OpenOffice Spreadsheet Macro test, the Omen 15t took 3 minutes and 48 seconds to match 20,000 names and addresses, beating th 3:58 category average. However, the Aspire VX 15, Inspiron 15 7000 and Strix were all faster.

Battery Life: Good But Not Great

The Omen 15t lasted 5 hours and 34 minutes on our battery test (continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi), which is short of the 7:04 mainstream average, but better than the Strix’s 3:41. Still, both the Aspire VX 15 and Inspiron 15 7000 lasted longer, at 7:08 and 11:14, respectively.

Heat: Pretty Cool

When you’re not gaming, the Omen 15t maintains a lap-friendly temperature. After 15 minutes, the touchpad, space between the G and H key, and bottom measured 82, 89 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Webcam: Meh

The 720p integrated webcam takes images and video that are relatively color-accurate, but plagued by graininess. You could easily make out the red and blue stripes on my shirt. However, the fuzziness throughout the whole of the shot made it hard to make out finer details like my eyebrows.

Software and Warranty: A Bit Much

Unlike most gaming laptops, the Omen 15t has quite a bit of preloaded software. The HP-branded apps include Recovery Manager, Support Assistant and Orbit, which allows you to transfer files between your laptop and mobile device.

The bulk of your gaming needs will be taken care of by Nvidia’s GeForce Experience, which offers a suite of apps including Game Optimization, Battery Boost and ShadowPlay in case you want to live-stream your gaming prowess.

The only other worthwhile app is Dropbox, which comes with 25GB of cloud storage free for a year. The rest of the software is pretty much bloatware: Facebook, Twitter, Asphalt 8, Candy Crush Soda Saga, Netflix, Sling, Paradise Bay and Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition.

Configurations: Get This Model

I reviewed the $849 base model of the HP Omen 15t, which has a 2.8-GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor with 8GB of RAM, a 1TB 7,200-rpm hard drive, an Intel HD Graphics 630 GPU, an Nvidia GeForce GTX GPU with 2GB of VRAM and a 1920 x 1080 display. The $1,299 version of the laptop doubles the RAM, adds a 128GB M.2 SSD to the hard drive, increases the GTX 1050 GPU’s VRAM to 4GB and upgrades the display to 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution.

HP also lets you tweak memory with a 128GB M.2 SSD and 2TB 5,400-rpm hard drive ($45), a 512GB NVMe PCIe SSD ($100), or a 512GB NVMe PCIe SSD with a 1TB 7,200-rpm hard drive ($170).

MORE: Best HP Laptops

To get the best specs possible while keeping things fairly affordable, I’d recommend upgrading to the $90 4K panel and the $190 Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti GPU with 4GB of VRAM. That brings the grand total to $1,089, which is slightly above the sub-$1000 threshold, but you’re getting a better display and more powerful graphics card.

Bottom Line

The HP Omen 15t has a few things going for it, the biggest of which being the price. For $849, you get a lightweight and stylish 15-inch system that can play games at 1080p on lower settings and can transition to a good productivity machine when you need it. However, a dim display, slow transfer speeds and below-average battery life are more hindrances than mere compromises.

If you want to stick to the sub-$1,000 budget, get the Dell Inspiron 15 7000, which, for the same price, offers nearly 12 hours of battery life with better overall and gaming performance. However, the Dell’s screen leaves much to be desired. If you’re interested in VR, I’d recommend the MSI GS63VR Stealth Pro. It’s more expensive, at $1,399, but has a beefier virtual reality-ready Nvidia GTX 1060 GPU with a lovely display in a slick 4.2-pound chassis.

If you want a system that can play games reasonably well without cleaning out your bank account, the HP Omen 15t is worth a look But there are better options.

Pros
  • Sleek, attractive design; Decent gaming and overall performance; Affordable
Cons
  • Dim display ; Sluggish transfer speeds; Below-average battery life; Shallow keyboard

5. Lenovo Y700 14-inch

SoundPEATS Bluetooth Headphones Review

Carbon fiber, powerful audio and an Intel Core i7 processor make the 14-inch Lenovo Y700 a formidable multimedia/gaming laptop. The only laptop on the list with AMD graphics, the Y700 doesn’t perform as well as its Nvidia-powered foes, but we do like the loud JBL speakers, which punch well above their weight class. If you’re looking for something portable and affordable, the Y700 is worth a look.

Key Specs: CPU: 2.6-GHz Intel Core i7-6700 HQ CPU * GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M with 2GB of VRAM * RAM/Storage: 8GB/1TB 5,400-rpm hard drive * Display Size/Resolution: 15.6-inch/1920 x 1080

 

Pros
  • Sleek, attractive design; Decent gaming and overall performance; Affordable
Cons
  • Dim display ; Sluggish transfer speeds; Below-average battery life; Shallow keyboard

6. Alienware 13

Anker SoundBuds NB10 Review

The tiniest terror returns — this time, with a 7th-generation Intel Kaby Lake processor. Now that Intel has finally launched the new chip for gaming laptops, the Alienware 13 (starting at $999; reviewed at $2,099) is that much more powerful.

Paired with its Nvidia 10 Series GPU, the laptop retains the crown as the smallest VR-ready laptop on the market. If that’s not enough, the laptop’s backlighting and audio also got an overhaul while keeping the oh-so-captivating optional OLED display. In short, if you want a portable, powerful, VR-ready gaming rig for a reasonable price, your buck should stop here.

Design

The baby of the bunch is growing up. The laptop that I once called “cute as a button” has shed its baby fat in favor of a leaner, more elegant profile, making this machine 21 percent lighter than the previous Alienware 13. At 5.4 pounds and 13 x 10.6 x 0.87-inches, it’s currently the smallest and lightest VR-ready notebook in the world. However, non-VR rivals like the Razer Blade (4.3 pounds, 13.6 x 9.3 x 0.7 inches), Aorus X3 Plus (4 pounds, 12.9 x 10.3 x 0.9 inches) and even 15-inch MSI GS63VR Stealth Pro (4.2 pounds 14.9 x 9.8 x 0.69 inches) are slimmer.

In addition to sporting a new, svelte frame, the Alienware 13 has undergone a makeover of sorts. The lid is still constructed from Alienware’s Epic Gray anodized aluminum, while the remainder is made of magnesium alloy. Unlike with previous generations, Alienware has toned down the light show on this machine, for a more mature take on the company’s galactic theme. Instead of a pair of glowing, intersecting LED lights on the lid, there’s only the center-mounted, illuminated alien head.

The Alienware 13’s interior is all about the lighting. The glimmering, backlit keyboard and touchpad are swimming in a sea of luxurious black, soft-touch material.

The keyboard now resides at the top of the deck, forcing the glowing power key disguised as an extraterrestrial’s head to a spot over to the top right of the deck.

Looking at the rear of the laptop, I discovered the Alienware 13 has grown a bit of a caboose. In order to slim down the system, the company added a protruding edge to house some of the specs and ports, including a Thunderbolt 3 port, mini DisplayPort, HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet, the power jack and Alienware’s proprietary port for the Graphics Amplifier. On the right, you’ll find a USB 3.0 Type-C port, which is primarily used for fast transfers, and a single USB 3.0 port. There’s another USB 3.0 port on the left with and a secure lock slot and a pair of jacks for headphones and mic.

Display

Prepare to be mesmerized. The Alienware 13’s optional OLED display continues to offer the most vibrant output of any laptop on the market. The color on the 13.3-inch, 2560 x 1440 touch panel is glorious to behold. Bright green plants were slowly encroaching upon the ruined red brick wall in a breathtaking shot during the 4K film Tears of Steel. Details were sharp enough that I could clearly see the aged brown watermarks etched into a dingy gray wall.

Battling against a troublesome noonwraith in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was at once thrilling and disturbing. As I dodged and struck at the shrieking specter, the unfortunate creature’s bones, green with age and algae, peeked through her shredded wedding gown. Aside from a few desiccated flaps of skin, the only tissues left were from her long gray tongue, which she used to try to poison me.

While OLED technology is known for its exquisitely vivid shades, nothing prepared me for the screen’s ability to reproduce an incredible 220 percent of the sRGB gamut. That’s well above 100 percent, which we consider excellent, and it also tops the 89 percent average for thin-and-light notebooks. The Blade (115 percent), Stealth Pro (111 percent) and P55W (110 percent) seem pale by comparison.

Scoring 5 on the Delta-E test (0 is ideal), the Alienware 13’s color accuracy fell well short of the 1.98 category average. The Stealth Pro hit 1.96, while the Blade and the P55W notched 1.5 and 1, respectively.

Tallying 254 nits on our brightness test, the Alienware 13 is definitely bright. It beat the 246-nit average as well as the Stealth Pro’s 242 nits. However, both the Blade and the P55W were brighter, at 289 and 321 nits, respectively.

The Alienware 13’s 10-point touch-capacitive display offered fluid responses as I made random squiggles in the Paint app.

The Alienware 13’s 10-point touch capacitive display offers fluid, accurate response as I discovered by using the Google Halloween doodle. Scribbling the prompts on the screen helped me keep the attacking ghosts at bay and get a high score of 75,150.

Audio

Somehow, Alienware found a way to improve on its already stellar audio quality. Thanks to the extra space provided by the hinge-forward design, the company had more room to revamp the speaker design. As a result, the side-mounted speakers delivered audio that was more than loud enough to fill the test lab, but clear enough that I could hear the synthesized strings, crisp percussion and full bass on Bruno Mars’ “24K Magic.”

That full-bodied sound also carried over to my Witcher 3 play-through, letting me enjoy the grisly pleasure of hearing metal hitting flesh against a backdrop of frantic tambourines, yelping women and a lively fiddle. When gaming, I found that the Role Play setting in the Alienware Audio control panel gave me the best-sounding result for Witcher 3, but the multimedia-centric Music setting delivered the dynamic audio effects best suited to listening to music or watching movies.

Keyboard and Touchpad

I could type on Alienware’s steel-reinforced TactX keyboard all day, every day. Every key felt like a springy mattress against my fingers, thanks to the 2.1 millimeters of key travel with 53 grams of force actuation required. The bounciness helped me achieve 70 words per minute on the 10fastfingers.com typing test, topping my usual 60 wpm.

When I wasn’t typing, I was gawking at the keys. The font is larger and easier to read, and Alienware added a new lighting-diffusion system for a sharper, brighter keyboard. It’s not as bright as the Blade’s Chroma keyboard, but man, does the Alienware 13 look pretty in the dark. The backlighting is capable of producing 20 different colors that can be programmed with the AlienFX software.

The 3.8 x 2.1-inch touchpad glows when you touch it, like a happy, futuristic pet. My fingers glided along the surface effortlessly, performing three- and four-finger flick and swipes with ease. My actions were met with quick and accurate responses.

Alienware Command Center

Alienware’s proprietary settings suite has been streamlined down from five apps to three . The remaining apps include AlienFX, which lets you create custom backlighting profiles for your system. You can tweak the power settings with Alien Fusion, while AlienAdrenaline allows you to create custom shortcuts, monitor performance and adjust the Graphics Amplifier if you have one handy.

Gaming, Graphics and VR

The Alienware 13 is the smallest VR-ready system on the market, thanks to its Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU with 6GB of VRAM. Yep, you read that right: This itty-bitty rig is a lean, mean VR machine. Just add an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, and you’re set for on-the-go VR.

When tested for VR readiness, the Alienware 13 notched 6.9 on the SteamVR performance test, beating the 6.4 average for thin-and-light notebooks. Compared against other systems equipped with GTX 1060 GPUs, Alienware’s machine narrowly edged out the P55W’s 6.6, but not the Stealth Pro’s 7.4.

To test the Alienware 13’s gaming prowess, I ran across a nest of ghouls as I made my way through The Witcher 3. In a four-on-one fight, I deftly avoided brutal swipes by quickly rolling behind the beasts and connecting with a heavy sword strike. It wasn’t long before a sickly pink arm went flying through the air at 2560 x 1400 at 56 frames per second on High settings, only to land on the forest floor with a thud. The frame rate rose to 61 fps when I dropped the settings to Medium and finished the battle with a well-placed Dancing Star bomb.

The Alienware 13 put on a hell of a show during our gaming benchmarks, starting with a score of 49 fps at Very High and 1080p on the Grand Theft Auto V test. That was enough to beat the Stealth Pro and P55W, which scored 48 fps and 33 fps, respectively. When we switched the resolution to 2560 x 1440, the Alienware 13’s frame rate dropped to 29 fps.

We saw even better results on the Hitman test, with the Alienware 13 delivering an impressive 63 fps, besting the Stealth Pro and the P55W, which were in a near dead heat at 58 fps and 57 fps. At 1440p, the Alienware 13 saw a score of 45 fps.

There are occasions when you won’t need the awesome power of discrete graphics. For those moments, the Alienware 13 switches over to its Intel HD Graphics 630 GPU.

Performance

The Alienware 13 is the latest laptop to make the jump to Intel’s 7th-generation Kaby Lake processor, which Intel claims will deliver noticeable performance gains and power efficiency. Equipped with a 2.8-GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU with 16GB of RAM, the Alienware had no problem streaming an episode of “Voltron: Legendary Defender” on Netflix with 20 additional tabs open in Google Chrome while running a system scan in Windows Defender. I finally hit a bit of lag when I started playing The Witcher 3 in another window.

On the synthetic overall performance test Geekbench 3, the Alienware 13 obtained 14,658, demolishing the 7,691 average for thin-and-light notebooks. Outfitted with Intel’s 6th- gen Intel Core i7-6700HQ CPUs, the Blade, Stealth Pro and P55W posted scores of 13,262; 13,454; and 13,530, respectively.

The Alienware 13’s 512GB PCIe solid-state drive duplicated 4.97GB of multimedia files in 12 seconds, which translates to a transfer rate of 424.1 megabytes per second. This laptop absolutely torched the 176.1-MBps category average as well as the P55W’s (128GB M.2 SSD) 124.1 MBps and the Blade’s (256GB PCIe SSD) 212.1 MBps. However, the Stealth Pro (256GB M.2 SSD) outpaced the competition, with 565.5 MBps.

During the OpenOffice Spreadsheet Macro test, the Alienware 13 paired 20,000 names and addresses in 3 minutes and 19 seconds, which is much faster than the 5:05 average as well as the Blade (3:47), Stealth Pro (3:38) and P55W (3:37).

Battery Life

Well, this is a shocker. I’m used to most gaming laptops conking out on our battery test (continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi) after 2 to 3 hours. Not so with the Alienware 13; this bad boy lasted an impressive 7 hours and 12 minutes, which is short of the 7:49 thin-and-light average but much better than other gaming systems. The Blade clocked out an hour earlier, at 6:12, while the P55W tapped out after 2:54.

The Blade clocked out an hour earlier, at 6:12, while the P55W tapped out after 2:54.

Heat

Moving Geralt around White Orchard in Witcher 3 really raised the Alienware 13’s temperature. After I spent 15 minutes adventuring, the touchpad measured 91 degrees Fahrenheit, while the center of the keyboard hit 107 degrees. That latter temperature is well above our 95-degree comfort threshold. The notebook’s undercarriage registered an even warmer 110 degrees. However, the blast of cool air coming from the vents allowed me to use the system in my lap without any discomfort.

The system was somewhat cooler on less-resource-taxing tasks, such as streaming a full-screen HD YouTube video. Fifteen minutes later, the touchpad and the space between the G and H keys reached 88 and 98 degrees, respectively. However, the bottom of the laptop hit a hot 112 degrees.

Webcam

The Alienware 13’s integrated 720p webcam is perfect for capturing images and videos with eye-catching color. The test shots I took in the office captured the exact hue of my orange and black sweater dress as well as my complexion. Details weren’t as precise unfortunately, which prevented me from reading the text on the box of wireless earbuds on my desk.

In addition to taking inordinately vivid images, the Alienware 13’s webcam is also Windows Hello-compatible, so you can log in to your computer with a quick facial scan.

Software and Warranty

Anticipating that the 512GB of storage is better spent on games than bloatware, Alienware kept the unwanted software to a minimum. Outside of the typical Windows 10 suite, the only third-party apps on the Alienware 13 are Twitter, Pandora, Royal Revolt 2, Asphalt 8: Airborne, Candy Crush Soda Saga and Drawboard PDF.

The system features Nvidia GeForce Experience, which consists of several game-optimization apps, including Battery Boost and GameStream for streaming games to your Nvidia Shield. There’s also the Share feature, which allows you to record or broadcast your gaming exploits. To ensure your games are running on the fastest network possible, the notebook also has Killer Network Manager.

The Alienware 13 comes with one year of Premium support, which includes 24/7 access to Alienware’s support techs, in-game repairs and troubleshooting.

Configurations

I had a lot of fun with our review model of the Alienware 13, which costs $2,099. That gets you a  2.8-GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU with 16GB of RAM, a 512GB PCIe SSD, an Intel HD 630 GPU, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU with 6GB of VRAM, and the 2560 x 1440 OLED touch display.

Our system is the minimum configuration you can buy with the OLED screen. If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line system, there’s the $2,674 model, which bumps the storage up to a 1TB PCIe SSD.

There’s also a $999 base configuration, which has a 2.5-GHz Intel i5-7300HQ processor, 8GB of RAM, a 180GB M.2 SATA 6Gb/s SSD, an Intel HD 630 GPU, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 with 2GB of VRAM, and a 1366 x 768 non-OLED display. The screen resolution seems a bit outdated, but gamers looking for the highest frame rate typically go for this display.

Bottom Line

The Alienware 13 maintains its place as the baddest 13-inch gaming rig in the land. Outfitted with an Intel 7th-gen Kaby Lake processor, the system is even more of a productivity monster than before. Its Nvidia GTX 1060 GPU means you can strap on an HTC Vive or Oculus, go on a virtual outing and, when you’ve had your fill of VR, get great frame rates on even the most taxing titles. And we can’t forget to mention its gorgeous 2560 x 1440 OLED touch panel, revamped keyboard and blistering transfer speeds. It’s well worth the price.

However, if you’re not ready to spend that much money, or you just want a bigger display, consider the $1,449 MSI GS63VR 6RF Stealth Pro, which has a lovely 15.6-inch HD panel, though that display doesn’t compare to an OLED panel.

You also get powerful overall performance, blistering-fast file-transfer speeds and a VR-ready GPU with shorter battery life. Overall, if you’re looking for a gaming laptop that’s equal parts brawn and beauty, the Alienware 13 is a no-brainer.

Pros
  • Slim, sleek chassis; Gorgeous OLED display; Super-comfortable keyboard; Powerful graphics and overall performance; Lightning-fast transfer speeds; Great battery life;
Cons
  •  Runs a bit hot; A tad pricey

7. Dell Inspiron i5577-5335 BLK-PUS Gaming Laptop

LG Electronics Tone Pro Review

REVIEW

I’ve noticed that in the last couple of years, laptop manufacturers have gradually started to steer clear of designing aggressive or flashy looking gaming laptops. The audience has matured since, and companies took notice. We can see this trend with the new Dell Inspiron i5577 series.

Unlike Alienware et al, Dell have opted for a more balanced look for their gaming device. And even if this is no flagship material, the amount and quality of gaming you’ll be able to achieve is impressive. Even moreso if we take into account the $1150 price tag (available at the time of this review).

So, this is a device that’s not screaming at you, but does keep some distinct pedigree ingrained within, such as red tinted cooling grills and speaker bar. Also, a red logo on its lid and outlined trackpad complete the discretely tuned-out look of this impressive notebook.

I personally believe that Dell have done a good job combining color accents with an otherwise traditional laptop look. It still looks different, and I don’t see anyone being ashamed of bringing it to the office or a co-working space.

PERFORMANCE

The Dell Inspiron i5577-7342BLK-PUS has some impressive hardware under its chassis. For starters, it features a quad-core, 7th generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor. This state of the art CPU has a base clock speed of 2.8 GHz, with a maximum of 3.8 GHz under turbo mode. Also, the 6 megabytes of cache will greatly help in dealing with the most intense tasks.

Click to learn more about the Dell on Amazon »

Being a powerful processor has one downside, however. It will drain your battery faster than a normal one. Overheating shouldn’t be an issue thanks to a dedicated heatsink and superior heat management technology employed by Dell.

System memory is rated at 16 gigabytes of DDR4-2400 SDRAM. It comes as a dual channel setup (two memory modules of 8 gigabytes each). I think this should prove plentiful for most gamers and power users. However, I haven’t been able to check if this amount can be further upgraded by the user.

Still, 16 gigs of system memory will allow you to handle very large data sets, play all your games without having to suffer from bottlenecks or glitches, and multitask with ease while also using RAM-intensive software, like Photoshop, Illustrator or CAD.

The Dell Inspiron i5577-7342BLK-PUS comes with a new-generation 512-gigabyte PCIe NVMe M.2 Solid-State Drive. This is an SSD which is several times faster than older generation drives, and up to 15 times more fast and (arguably) reliable than a traditional Hard Disk Drive. Anyone who needs more storage space than what this laptop comes with either should invest in an external hard drive or already has multiple storage systems in place already.

GRAPHICS AND DISPLAY

Being a gaming laptop means that the Dell Inspiron i5577-7342BLK-PUS comes with a dedicated graphics card. While not being the best of the bunch, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX1050, with its 4 gigabytes of GDDR5 memory will allow you to play games such as COD: Infinite Warfare, Titanfall 2, CIV 6, Battlefield 1 or FIFA 17 at high settings close to 60 fps. On the other hand, games like Mass Effect Andromeda or Watch Dogs 2 will hover at around 30fps @ FHD and high settings.

Therefore, while not being the absolute best graphics card you can have, the compromise isn’t that high after all. Getting to play almost any AAA title that’s been launched this year is what a gaming laptop should be able to achieve. And this one, the Dell i5577 does it at a reasonable price, nonetheless.

Check the latest price at Amazon.com »

Now, the display quality, as is the case with many other non XPS Dell devices is a bit lacking. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t bad at all, but it could have been better. The 15-inch screen sports a FHD AG LED-Backlit display. Notice the lack of IPS technology.

However, I must also mention that you’d be hard pressed to find a fantastic display in an affordable gaming laptop, so this is a quite a necessary tradeoff. If you want exceptional quality, you should plug in an external monitor while at home.

INTERFACE AND CONNECTIVITY OPTIONS

Interface options are plentiful for avid gamers, and not only. I have no complains over the fact that it doesn’t feature a USB-C port, or a mini-Display port for that matter. You’ll be able to hook up to three peripherals and one external monitor to the Dell Inspiron i5577-7342BLK-PUS. Here are the available ports:

  • 3 x USB3.0 (one with SleepCharge)
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x RJ-45
  • 1 x COMBO audio jack
  • 1 x SD card reader

Connectivity is also rather standard:

  • 10/100/1000 Ethernet
  • Dual Band 1×1 802.11ac
  • Bluetooth 4.2

PORTABILITY AND BATTERY LIFE

As is the case with almost all gaming laptops that haven’t been designed with improved portability in mind, the Dell Inspiron i5577-7342BLK-PUS is on the heavy side of things. It weighs 5.7 pounds, which isn’t what anyone would call “lightweight” in 2017. Considering that it’s also 15.6 inches diagonally and 1 inch thick, I can safely state that it isn’t much of a portable device. At least not in this context.

However, it’s worth noting that although it’s quite heavy, it doesn’t look big at all. It seems as if it’s thinner than it really is.

Battery life is also not impressive. A full charge will likely take you no farther than 6 hours of use before needing to plug it in.

Summary

All in all, despite some  issues such as portability, battery life and display quality, the Dell Inspiron i5577-7342BLK-PUS is a solid gaming laptop.

One that should be considered if your budget is hovering around $1000 – $1200.

Very good specs

solid build, A superbdesign and an attractive price make this notebook a good choice for folks who’s on a budget.

Pros

Very reasonably priced for a gaming laptop.

Smooth 1080p gaming. Attractive design.

Cons
Display is a bit subpar. Would do with a USB Type C port.

8. Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575G-57D4 Cheap Gaming Laptop

Samsung Level U Pro Review

Design

The Aspire E5-575G-53VG is damn handsome.

The black, plastic chassis features a pattern with a finish somewhere between shiny and matte.

As a result, the device looks rather unremarkable, which is probably exactly what heavy-duty productivity users want.

Because the whole system is made of plastic, don’t expect any elegant metallic touches or accents.

The Aspire E5 weighs 5.27 pounds.

The size is 15-inch screen: 15.0 x 10.2 x 1.2 inches.

An SD card reader on the front and a writable DVD drive on the right side.

My only complaint is that two of the USB ports are quite close to each other, making it hard to attach multiple dongles if the attachments are even a little bigger than average.

Display

The Aspire E5’s 15.6-inch screen features a reasonable 1080p resolution, but despite very strong synthetic test numbers, it provides poor color accuracy.

When we tested the E5-575G-53VG with our colorimeter, the laptop reproduced an impressive 143 percent of the sRGB color gamut.

That’s miles ahead of the Notebook 15 and F555UA, which clock in at 63 and 64 percent, respectively, as well as the 89-percent category average.

Unfortunately, in this case, the gamut number doesn’t tell the story.

In practice, the screen is quite dull, with just 195 nits of brightness.

Considering that the category average is 250 and competitors like the Notebook 15 (220) and F555UA (223) are much brighter, the E5’s panel makes for some disappointing video.

Likewise, the Aspire E5’s gamut number does not transmute to good accuracy.

The machine scored a Delta-E error rating of 3.26, where closer to zero is better.

To be fair, that score bests the 4.44 category average and the 3.5 showing by the Notebook 15, but falls behind the 2.3 rating on the F555UA.

After testing and retesting the color gamut, my co-workers and I were surprised that the screen looked so inaccurate.

However, we did all agree that the colors looked radically different with the screen tilted even slightly backward or forward, and that when viewed head-on, everything was a little washed-out.

Chalk it up to the low brightness and high Delta-E score, but the display is just not great.

There aren’t many screen options aside from adjusting general brightness, so what you see is pretty much what you get — and you won’t see much if you angle yourself more than 45 degrees away, incidentally.

The Aspire E5’s screen still gets the job done, for the most part.

Audio

If you dish out a just few hundred dollars for the Aspire E5-575G-53VG, you may as well keep your wallet open for a good pair of headphones to go with it.

The speakers are passable, but I couldn’t imagine using them for anything but streaming video with one friend. (Two or more friends would strain the screen’s unimpressive viewing angles.)

The speakers are capable of producing fairly loud noise, at least. I tried them out with a variety of song More serious than that, though, was the profound lack of bass and the almost piercing focus on treble.

While lyrics and high voices were clear, lower tones got muddled and sucked a lot of the joy out of both music and dialogue.

Keyboard and Touchpad

The respectably sized, 4.1 x 3.0-inch touchpad on the Aspire E5 looks inviting enough, but looks can be deceiving. Touch this keyboard, and you’ll find that it’s rubbery and entirely too resistant.

Moving the cursor across the desktop takes forever, and clicking felt shallow.

At least the touchpad handled two-, three- and four-fingered gestures with fidelity.

The keyboard is the real offender here. With only 1.65mm of key travel and 58-gram actuation, these keys sound perfectly passable by productivity-laptop standards;

the F555UA is comparable, while the Notebook 15 is much shallower. Numbers can be misleading, though, as typing on this machine was profoundly uncomfortable

Using TypingTest.com, I scored 123 words per minute with two errors, compared to 130 words per minute with six errors on my normal keyboard.

Those numbers don’t sound too different, but the pushback on the Aspire E5 is profound.

The keys hit rock bottom the instant I pressed them, but felt stiff each time I started again.

It doesn’t help that the layout flexes, too. I can’t imagine wanting to type for long periods of time, which could be a problem if you need the machine primarily for word processing.

Performance

The Aspire E5-575G-53VG features an Intel Core i5-6200U processor with 2.3 GHz of dual-core power, as well as 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD hard drive.

While it’s by no means the most powerful laptop out there, it handles everything up to and including midrange gaming with ease.

At one point, I had active video streams in Netflix, Hulu, Twitch, Amazon and YouTube going at the same time while performing a typing test in another tab and playing music in the background.

The CPU was often working at 100 percent load, but still managed to keep everything running with an absolute minimum of slowdown.

In terms of raw power, the Aspire E5 scored 5,663 on the Geekbench 3 test, which evaluates a machine’s overall performance. The HP Notebook 15 (5,784) scored only a little higher, but the F555UA (6,933) beat the Aspire E5 handily. In the latter’s case, that’s not surprising, since the F555UA uses an Intel Core i7 processor, but the Notebook 15’s processor is identical to the Aspire E5’s.

Similarly, the Aspire E5 lagged behind in a productivity test to see how long it would take to match 20,000 names to addresses. While the Aspire E5 clocked in at 5 minutes and 57 seconds, the HP and Asus laptops each took 4 minutes and 30 seconds.

On the other hand, the Aspire E5 outperformed both other systems on the File Transfer Test, which involves copying 4.97GB of data. Both the Notebook 15 and F555UA achieved a rate of roughly 30 Mbps, while the Aspire E5 soared ahead, with 73 Mbps.

Graphics

One of the Aspire E5-575G-53VG’s best features is its Nvidia 940MX discrete graphics card. Featuring 2 GB memory, this card is not the latest and greatest model in Nvidia’s arsenal, but it elevates a fairly standard work machine into a pretty decent gaming rig. While you won’t be able to run The Witcher III in 4K with the textures cranked up, I had plenty of fun with less demanding games like Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Marvel Heroes and Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition.

In fact, if you plan to do any gaming, the Aspire E5’s discrete graphics card is a huge advantage; neither the Notebook nor the F555UA possesses one. As such, the Aspire E5 scored 76,982 on the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited test, while the HP and Asus machines scored 51,066 and 66,786, respectively. (Higher scores indicate more powerful gaming performance.)

Battery Life

The Aspire E5-575G-53VG is one of the longest-running 15-inch laptops we’ve tested this year, especially in its price range. On the Laptop Mag Battery Test, which involves web surfing over Wi-Fi, the notebook lasted 9 hours and 43 minutes, which is more than the average workday and all but the longest international flights. The HP Notebook 15 and the F555UA lagged far behind, offering 5:51 and 5:39, respectively.

Heat

While the touchpad and the keyboard don’t get too hot (88 and 94.5 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively), the underside of the Aspire E5-575G-53VG can reach a blistering 105 degrees Fahrenheit, as it did when I streamed Hulu video for 15 minutes. Considering that laptops tend to get uncomfortable around the 95-degree mark, this could make working anywhere but a desk rather uncomfortable. It’s not hot enough to really sear your nether regions, but you won’t want to keep this laptop in your lap for long.

Webcam

The Aspire E5-575G-53VG’s webcam is, in two words, not good. Photos taken in a brightly lit room were blurry, fuzzy and entirely too sensitive to bright light. While the colors seemed fairly accurate, I wouldn’t use this camera for anything beyond casual Skype conversations.

Configuration Options

Acer’s Aspire E5 series encompasses a very diverse range of over 40 different laptops, with screen sizes ranging from 14 to 17 inches, with both AMD and Intel processor options, different screen resolutions, and a variety of colors, including white, blue, red and black.

The model number we reviewed was an E5-575G-53VG, which offers an Intel Core i5 2.3 GHz processor, a GeForce 940MX GPU, 8 GB RAM and a 255 GB SSD, all for $550. There were four other models of 575G, which range from $500 to $700. The cheapest model, the E5-575G-52RJ, was identical, save for a 1TB-standard hard drive rather than the 256GB SSD. The most expensive model, the E5-575G-76YK, used an Intel Core i7 2.5 GHz processor, but was otherwise identical to the one we tested.

There’s a tremendous variety of configurations available, so if the Aspire E5 is on your radar, your best bet is to check the website for yourself.

Software and Warranty

The Aspire E5-575G-53VG doesn’t come with much in the way of preinstalled software, which is a good thing. The few Acer programs aren’t tremendously useful, though. Auto Backup does what it sounds like, while Updater will update both Windows 10 and Acer software. Power Save can turn off your computer after a period of inactivity. Windows already has programs that do each one of these things, so there’s no reason to use the Acer software, or to keep it installed.

Bottom Line

Aside from its uncomfortable keyboard and touchpad, the Aspire E5-575G-53VG is an attractive laptop for the price. It looks good, lasts a long time on a charge, and performs well for both productivity and light gaming.

Among competing-value notebooks, the HP Notebook 15 offers a more attractive design but less endurance, while the Asus F555UA sports a faster, Core i7 CPU but suffers from a lower-res, 1366 x 768-pixel screen. Ultimately, the Aspire E5-575G-53VG is a competent machine that offers a little more than I expected, and that’s enough to earn it a recommendation.

 

Pros
  • Good productivity and gaming performance; Long battery life; USB-C port
Cons
  • Uncomfortable keyboard and touchpad; Dim screen; A bit heavier than other 15-inchers

9. Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop

Sony Wireless Review

Acer is adding more to the range of gaming laptops, filling in every oppurtunity.

The Helios 300 range, which takes the form of both 15.6-inch and 17.3-inch laptops, is a step up from the Aspire VX 15 machine I reviewed on the start of this article, but is still in the mid-range.

There’s the sharp edges and red highlights, but it feels relatively quality made.

 

Pros
  • Nice quality and not very aggressive on the gaming accents
  • good IO
  • good keyboard and trackpad
  • excellent performance
  • runs cool and quiet with daily use
  • fairly good speakers, but not very loud
Cons
  • heavier and larger than expected
  • rather dim and color deficient screen
  • the low travel keyboard won’t appeal to everyone
  • runs very hot under load
  • only gets a 48 Wh battery