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Lucas Miller
Lucas Miller

Gaming Laptops Under 300 Best Buy 2021

A few years ago, finding a good laptop under $300 was near impossible. These days, you can easily find inexpensive hardware that can play videos and browse the web smoothly and efficiently. Most laptops on this list are Chromebooks because Chrome OS is a much lighter operating system than Windows and macOS, meaning it can run on lower-end hardware. While laptops in this price range can handle most everyday and basic tasks, you'll be hard-pressed to find the best gaming laptops under $300, since for gaming, you need more powerful hardware than this price point allows for.

gaming laptops under 300 best buy

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We've tested more than 60 laptops. Below you'll find our recommendations for the best laptops under $300, or you can check out our recommendations for the best laptops under $400 and the best laptops under $500.

The best laptop under $300 we've tested is the Lenovo Chromebook C340 15 (2020), a 15.6-inch Chrome OS laptop. It feels well-built despite its budget-friendly price, and thanks to its thin and light design, it's easy to carry around. The battery lasts comfortably through a full workday, so you don't need to bring the charger around. Its 1080p display looks decently sharp and provides plenty of room for multitasking. The keyboard feels comfortable to type on, and the touchpad is small but responsive. As it's a 2-in-1 convertible, you can use the laptop in tent mode for media consumption or flip the screen around and use it as a tablet.

Our pick for the best Windows laptop under $300 is the Acer Aspire 5 15 (2020). It's an older model from 2020, so the price is much lower than when it was first released, so it's a good time to grab one. It's a little over $300, but it's worth spending a bit more as it's a well-built laptop with decent performance. This configuration has a 1080p display, an Intel Core i3-1005G1 CPU, 4GB of memory, and 128GB of storage. The Intel Core i3 CPU has no problems handling everyday tasks like web browsing, text processing, and video playback. However, 4GB of memory isn't much for a Windows machine, meaning you'll experience stutters and slowdowns if you have too many things running simultaneously.

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best laptops you can get for under $300. We factor in the price (a cheaper laptop wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no laptops that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).

Top retailers like Amazon, Best Buy and Walmart are offering great discounts on some of the best laptops of the year. This includes a Microsoft Surface Pro 8 for $899 at Best Buy (opens in new tab) and a new MacBook Air M2 for $1,049 at Amazon (opens in new tab). If you're a gamer, there's currently an insane $950 off this Gigabyte Aorus 17 Gaming Laptop @ Best Buy (opens in new tab). Speaking of insane, no deal is wilder than the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 for over $2,000 (opens in new tab) off!

If you're unsure which laptop you're looking for, check out our guide to the best laptops and best MacBooks on the market right now. If you prefer your notebook to transform into a tablet, check out our guide to the best 2-in-1 laptops , and if you need something capable of playing graphically intense PC gaming on the go, then check out our list of the best gaming laptops. For prospective Chromebook buyers, we also recommend our guide to the best Chromebooks. And if you can't find a laptop at the price you're after, do check out our roundup of the early Cyber Monday laptop deals.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14: was $1,399 now $899 @ Best Buy (opens in new tab)Save $500! The powerful Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is our pick for the best gaming laptop, and there's $500 off the normal price right now. This machine comes with Windows 11 and sports a 14-inch 1920 x 1080 144Hz display, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU, an AMD Ryzen 7 CPU, 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage. At $500 off, this is an epic deal.

There are plenty more deals available right now. Whether you're looking for the best Black Friday gaming laptop deals, for some gaming on the go, or the best Black Friday iPad deals and Black Friday tablet deals for anyone who would prefer something a little more mobile.

We regularly test the most promising laptops, from sleek ultrabooks to cheap Chromebooks to massive gaming laptops and beyond. Here are the best models you can buy in every category, along with advice on how to choose which type of laptop is right for you.

Where they fall short: Laptops with color-accurate screens and enough power for creative professionals are expensive, and even more so with add-ons like extra storage and memory. Editing laptops also tend to be larger and heavier than ultrabooks, with most weighing more than 4 pounds. The powerful processors in editing laptops generate lots of heat, as well, so some can get too hot to use comfortably on your lap, though our top pick stayed cool even under the heaviest workloads. In addition, the MacBook Pro is impossible to service on your own, but Apple provides excellent support.

Andrew Cunningham is a former senior staff writer on Wirecutter's tech team. He has been writing about laptops, phones, routers, and other tech since 2011. Before that he spent five years in IT fixing computers and helping people buy the best tech for their needs. He also co-hosts the book podcast Overdue and the TV podcast Appointment Television.

Ultimately, though, they too are still well short of the performance of a discrete GPU found in a gaming laptop. The traditional $1,000 mark for budget gaming systems has gotten a bit murkier in 2023, with costs rising, but we'll run down what to look for, sticking as closely to that figure as possible. Read on for a breakdown of our current best budget gaming laptops, all given PCMag's thorough testing regimen, followed by a guide to what to look for in the right laptop for you.

This Legion is a little portly at 5.3 pounds, and its webcam, speakers, and keyboard are okay at best, but it's a slam dunk if you're a PC gamer shopping in the $1,500 ballpark. If you can stretch your budget a bit past most budget gaming notebooks, you'll be glad you did.

Looking for a genuine value among 15.6-inch gaming laptops? The MSI Katana GF66 gives you swift 1080p performance, a 144Hz screen refresh rate, an eight-core Intel Core i7 CPU, and a roomy 1TB solid-state drive (SSD) for just a bit over $1,000. (The starter model is suited for basic gaming and esports for a low $799.) The Katana even limbos under the five-pound line, a rarity among budget gaming laptops.

There are several first-rate budget gaming laptops that don't quite rate one of our Editors' Choice caps and T-shirts. The Predator Helios 300 is a fine example for reasons ranging from its 144Hz refresh rate to its attractive black aluminum chassis. If your budget is tighter than the MSI can afford you, then this Helios should make you a thoroughly happy gamer.

We have a longstanding like affair with Acer's Nitro 5 budget gaming notebooks (duh, there are two more of them on this list). The 15.6-inch model here is only $899.99 and, frankly, if you want 60-plus frames per second (fps) you should aim a little higher. However, this laptop's 12th Generation Intel Core i5 CPU and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU are a fine fit for its 1080p, 144Hz screen, and it gives you plenty of ports in a nicely understated package (i.e. it's not clad in garish red and black, like too many gaming rigs).

Take comfort, though, that times have changed. You don't necessarily need one of the top-line GPUs for solid gaming performance. With scarce compromise, you can enjoy some very respectable gaming at 1080p in machines a notch or two down from the GeForce RTX elite. Pricing fluctuates considerably in 2023, but these machines are available for just under or just above $1,000, depending on the retailer and any sales. Budget-priced gaming laptops are now an established category, not outliers, and have been embraced by the major players. We've tested models from Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and MSI.

That said, a maxed-out Core i7 or Core i9 CPU is less crucial for gaming than it is for processor-intensive tasks such as video editing and media-file production work. With the 11th Generation Intel CPUs that dominate budget gaming laptops at the moment (newer laptops will see more 12th Generation chips as the year progresses), you'll get plenty of pep even from Core i5 CPUs. A Core i7 of the same generation is actually a hefty six-core or eight-core processor that, we'd argue, is overkill for casual gamers who need to mind what they spend. A modern Core i5 chip will more than likely serve you just fine.

Intel's 11th Generation "Tiger Lake" processors took over in 2021 models, with even budget laptops like the MSI Katana GF66 utilizing the very capable H-Series Core i7 chips. The 12th Generation "Alder Lake" mobile processors arrived on more expensive gaming laptops early in 2022 and started to appear in the budget tier midway through the year. This is a similar pattern to what we saw with the Tiger Lake-H processors, which launched in more premium gaming laptops first. For now, plenty of the laptops you see in our recommendations will still use 11th Generation chips (that is, Core i7 processors whose names start with "11"), but newer releases will run on 12th Generation.

Even in the budget tier, most laptops are now using solid-state drives (SSDs) as opposed to hard drives (HDDs) in 2023. The occasional 17.3-inch-screen model might offer a small-capacity SSD boot drive alongside a secondary-storage platter hard drive, but by and large, standalone SSDs now reign supreme. (Note that most budget gaming laptops under a grand will be 15.6-inchers.)

You can still opt for this dual-drive approach if you can find it and afford it, but it isn't the norm any longer. If you can, the smaller, faster SSD would be home to the operating system and a few favorite games, and the larger, more economical hard drive would host the rest of your games and other programs that don't need quick loading times. (It's possible to split your Steam and other game libraries across drives.) Some larger-body budget gaming laptops let you add the second drive yourself inside an empty 2.5-inch bay inside. That can be the most economical choice, as 2.5-inch hard drives of significant capacity can be had for well less than $100. 041b061a72


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