Are you ready to embark on an epic gaming journey without emptying your wallet? Look no further! In the pixelated world where battles are won and quests are conquered, having the right gaming laptop can make all the difference. Whether you’re a cunning strategist in the world of real-time strategy games or a fearless adventurer exploring open-world landscapes, you need a laptop that delivers on performance – at a great price. That’s where the best gaming laptop under $1200 comes in.
We’ve scoured the digital realm to bring you the ultimate list of gaming laptops that pack a punch without breaking the bank. All of our picks have been evaluated against the categories that matter the most to gamers: processing power, graphics quality, performance, speed, and battery life. So grab your snacks, put on your headset, and let’s venture into the realm of the best gaming laptops that redefine what it means to play hard, without being hard on your pocket!
Product Comparison Table: Best Gaming Laptop Under $1200
|Best in class
|GIGABYTE Auros 15G XC Gaming Laptop
|ASUS TUF F17 Gaming Laptop
|HP 15″ Full HD Laptop
|ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14
|Best for Developers
|Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-54-760S Gaming Laptop
The GIGABYTE Auros 15G XC Gaming Laptop comes equipped with a NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 card. It also has one of the most powerful processors in this article, the Intel Core i7-10870H, which can cope with practically any triple-A game at high FPS. The 240Hz screen offers fluid and responsive gameplay, even when playing fast-moving games like Overwatch or Fortnite. Despite this, however, it lacks G-Sync compatibility; you may experience some screen-tearing if you try and push this laptop past 240FPS.
There’s also a number of features that give the Auros a distinctly “PC-like” feel: a generous 32GB of RAM, solid color reproduction from the IGZO display, and a unique mechanical-style keyboard with a satisfying clunk. You may have to upgrade the 512GB SSD eventually, though.
- Powerful processor and generous RAM
- Display handles high FPS
- Responsive mechanical-style keyboard
- No G-Sync compatibility
- May need to upgrade SSD eventually
If you’re a competitive gamer, you need a powerful altop with the latest technology – but you don’t want to waste too much of your hard-earned winnings on unnecessary extras. That’s where the GIGABYTE Auros 15G XC Gaming Laptop comes in. This affordable machine offers the performance of a much more expensive laptop – including liquid-smooth gameplay, a responsive touchpad and keys, and vivid visuals – at an unbeatable price.
Sometimes, you need a bigger screen to enjoy your games to the full, and you won’t get a more immersive experience than a 17″ screen. Even heavyweight online RPGs beautifully on the ASUS TUF F17 Gaming Laptop, even on the most demanding graphics settings. This powerful Windows 11 gaming laptop well and truly earns its place as the best widescreen laptop under $1200 for gamers.
The ASUS TUF F17’s narrow bezel IPS-type panel conceals a patented ADC (Anti-Dust Cooling) system, 83-blade LCP fans, and multiple heat pipes to combat the gamer’s worst nightmare: overheating. Alongside the latest 11th Gen Intel Core CPU, GeForce RTX GPU and superfast NVMe PCIe SSD, the TUF F17s killer components deliver a gaming experience that feels more luxurious than its price tag.
- State-of-the-art system that prevents overheating
- Military-grade construction
- RGB keyboard and backlighting
- Widescreen 17″ display
- Unspecial (but increasable) memory capacity
- Runs Windows 11
It’s not often that a laptop can boast MIL-STD-810 military standard construction and still qualify to show up on a list called ‘the best 17 inch laptop under $1000’. The winner of our gaming category is TUF by name, and TUF by nature – and it might sting like a bee, but Adaptive Sync tech means the graphics float like a butterfly too.
The HP 15” Full HD Laptop is much cheaper than the other gaming laptops in this list, coming in at below a third of this article’s $1200 budget. In terms of display, its 6.5 mm micro-edge bezel display that delivers crystal-clear visuals with a vibrant 2 million pixels. Images on the screen are crisp, colourful and bright to the extent that even desktop backgrounds look pretty.
The HP’s not just a pretty face either. The 11th Gen. Intel Core processor, long battery life and HP Fast Charge technology is more than convenient, boosting your productivity in conjunction with the multi-touch supported touchpad that makes navigation easy. It feels fast, sharp and capable for the price, and boosts up fast thanks to a snappy solid state hard drive.
- Great value low price
- Bright and beautiful display
- Speedy startup
- 8-hour battery life
- Large and a little cumbersome
The HP 15” Full HD Laptop is our best gaming laptop under $1200 in the budget category. Despite coming in at below $400, the graphics and display technology wowed us – staying true to HP’s reputation for quality and dependability. The HP’s fab display and processing power lets you enjoy a more immersive experience while watching TV or movies on your laptop, even if it is a little large to carry around.
The ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14’s AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS CPU, with 8 cores and 16 threads, effortlessly handles the latest AAA games. On top of this, the 14″ WQXGA 120Hz Display provides a spacious workspace with vibrant visuals. With dual-channel DDR5 4800MHz system memory, multitasking is a breeze, too. The PCIe Solid State Drive ensures speedy file access and ample storage. Moreover, AMD SmartShift Max optimizes power for gaming and content creation, while AMD Smart Access Memory maximizes performance.
Despite its powerful features, the G14 weighs only 3.64 lbs and measures 0.73″ thin, making it highly portable. With robust connectivity options, including USB ports and WiFi 6E, you can stay connected seamlessly. The ROG Intelligent Cooling system dynamically adjusts cooling modes based on task demands, and that’s not to mention the exceptional battery life: over 11 hours per charge.
- Light and portable
- Super long battery life
- Great processing power
- No CD/DVD drive
- Heats up when plugged in
Sometimes, it’s nice to get out of the house. If you’re one of those game devs who loves working in your local coffee shop, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 is the ultimate laptop for you. With excellent battery life, you’re good to crunch all day in any location you please. Some users have reported that the laptop gets hot when plugged in – but considering the battery life, you probably won’t be using it plugged in that often.
The Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-54-760S Gaming Laptop promises extreme performance – we think it delivers. As we get into the mid-market definition of best gaming laptop under $2000, it becomes clearer that we got what we paid for when it comes to performance. The speed of the 11th Generation Intel Core i7-11800H processor, featuring 8 cores and 16 threads, was deeply impressive.
Memory-wise, the Predator’s NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 (6GB dedicated GDDR6 VRAM) is powered by award-winning Ampere architecture, including Ray Tracing Cores, Tensor Cores, and streaming multiprocessors supporting DirectX 12 Ultimate. There’s no need to mention the IPS LED-backlit display with 144Hz refresh rate and 3ms Overdrive response time; when you’re playing, its superiority is obvious!
- Impressive speed on intensive games
- Crisp, clear display
- Concurrent WiFi and Ethernet capability
- Speakers could be better
- 16GB memory needs changing for higher capacities
The Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-54-760S Gaming Laptop ranks among our best gaming laptops under $1200 for its killer performance. Two features cinched it for us. The Predator’s Intel Killer DoubleShot Pro system lets you use Wi-Fi and Ethernet at the same time, so you can maximize speed, throughput, and control on your own terms. No throttling from the Acer Helios 300 5th Generation AeroBlade Fan either – it’s got 89 blades.