“I just want a laptop to play recent games in high performance without lags and which will last at least 2-3 years!”. We’ll help with such a choice and save you tons of hours of research and comparison.
Although gaming laptops are ruthless to the wallets, and you can buy a gaming beast for $ 1,500 only if you know what exact specs it should have.
Just deciding on the processor, video card and memory will not be enough, since there are many nuances, such as, how all the parts will work together, especially in a thin laptop case.
Make sure that your GPU, CPU, or RAM does not become a bottleneck and allow your laptop to run at full power.
So if you are confused or don’t want to waste time researching we suggest you choose from our List of The Best Gaming Laptops under $1500. We’ve selected the laptops with the best specifications (optimal for gamers) and tested them under real-world conditions to select only the ones that result best in gaming and working. Every laptop from our list was tested in the 8 most popular games and has performed excellently at over 60 FPS at high settings.
Take a look at our List of the Best Laptops Under $ 1,500, and let’s move on to take a closer look at specs that have the most impact on a laptop gaming power — Best Configuration For Gaming Laptop for under $1500 — CPU/GPU/RAM.
At a Glance: Top-5 Best gaming laptops for under $1500
Our experts have spent +40 hours of detailed research to compile this list, and have run +100 synthetic and real-life tests to select the ones with the best gaming and overall performance. We do not cooperate with any brand, therefore our rating is unbiased. We highly recommend all models for purchase, as we have selected the best price offers on the market and update them regularly.
MSI GL65 Leopard 10SFK-062: Best Overall Gaming Laptop up to $1500
Intel Core i7-10750H CPU | Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 | 16 GB RAM | 512GB NVMe SSD Storage | 15.6-inch FHD 144Hz 3ms IPS Display | Windows 10 | Per-key Backlit Keyboard | Weight 5.07 pounds
🕵️♂️ Expert’s brief:
With MSI GL65 Leopard you can expect +60 fps on ultra settings in almost all newest games thanks to the fantastic RTX 2070 graphics which is finally available in gaming laptops under $1500. And this is the rare occasion that our top pick is also the most affordable on the list. It’s incredible.
MSI GL65 Leopard 10SFK-062 is our top pick and just that rare case when for $1500 you get a laptop with Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 — the Full-fledged (rather than Max-Q) and is the most powerful graphics in the price range.
It is powered by the 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10750H processor paired with 16GB ofand the Fastest NVMe SSD 512GB Storage, which are the best specs on our list. Moreover, it shows the best gaming performance with the highest FPSs both in the synthetics and real-world gaming tests.
You’ll love its bright screen with vibrant colors, 144Hz refresh rate, and a 3ms response time, which is a must-have for a gaming laptop. However, it’s not the best display on our list and if you are a fan of 240Hz monitors look at ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 but note that it is equipped with up to 25% weaker video card (RTX 2070 vs RTX 2060 Max-Q). Anyway MSI GL65 Leopard’s 144Hz display looked great with very vibrant colors, smooth movement, and no stuttering. It has enough brightness to play outdoors, I saw a little glare, but it didn’t bother me.
MSI GL65 Leopard’s SteelSeries keyboard is comfortable for gaming and it is the only one with the per-key backlighting. Apart from beauty, this gives gamers some tactical advantage. For example, the backlight can be configured separately for each game — for shooters, it will light up only those keys that are needed at the moment (WASD, etc.). In addition, you can adjust so that a specific key or key area is highlighted when the player character runs out of ammo or health.
It weighs over 5 pounds (2.3 kg), which is heavier than competitors (the most lightweight Razer Blade 15) but not significantly and still not too heavy to carry it. It’s sturdy and well built. As for the cooling system, it works well, but it can be noisy under load.
MSI GL65 Leopard has one of the fastest RTX 2070 8GB video cards and great overall gaming performance, and the incredible fact that it has the lowest price add up to make it the absolute best option among best gaming laptops under $1500.
ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15: Best 240Hz Display, Ultra Slim & Lightweight Gaming Laptop under $1500
AMD Ryzen 7 4800HS CPU | Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 | 16 GB RAM | 1TB NVMe SSD Storage | 15.6-inch FHD 240Hz 3ms IPS Display | Windows 10 Pro | Backlit Keyboard | Weight 4.85 pounds
🕵️♂️ Expert’s brief:
ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 is the best combination of AMD processor, NVIDIA graphics, and the fastest refresh rate display 240Hz. And if it got the RTX 2070 video card (instead of the RTX 2060), it would definitely have no equal. And all the power in one of the thinnest and the lightest bodies with the longest battery life of over 8 hours.
ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 is the only AMD-powered on our list. All other laptops are Intel-based and feature Core i7-10750H processors. Zephyrus G15 is equipped with the Ryzen7 4800HS (8 cores/16 threads) which surpasses the Intel i7-10750H (6 Cores/12 Threads) in performance. In addition, Ryzen 7 gives better battery life and doesn’t run as hot as an i7-10750.
Unfortunately, ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 received RTX 2060 graphics and is still inferior in games to competitors with an RTX 2070 video card(MSI GL65 Leopard, HP OMEN 17), even despite a more powerful processor on board. But this does not mean that it will not launch your favorite games, you’ll be pleased with its gaming performance as it can run whatever game you want at 1080p and also 1440p resolution without bumping down any settings.
ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 has the 240Hz IPS panel which is the highest refresh rate display on our list (all the competitors have 144Hz max), and the largest 1TB NVMe SSD storage on the list. This is a rare capacity for gaming laptops under $1500 as most of them come with a 512GB maximum.
It is durable and one of the slimmest & lightest gaming laptops ever (but the most compact is still Razer Blade 15). But despite the thin case, the cooling is implemented perfectly and does not make noise. Such excellent cooling is provided by the ROG Intelligent Cooling System (liquid metal decreases CPU temperatures more efficiently compared to standard thermal paste), as well as the ErgoLift technology. When you open the lid, the base of the laptop rises and tilts at a slight angle for better cooling and a more ergonomic typing position.
ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 provides an ultra-fast visual experience with the fastest refresh-rate screen of 240Hz, the most powerful AMD processor paired with RTX 2060 graphics, best cooling management, the largest 1TB SSD storage, one of the thinnest and lightest cases, and great battery life. But be ready to lose 10-15% gaming performance over our top pick MSI GL65 Leopard with RTX 2060 video card.
HP OMEN 17: Best 17-inch Display and RTX 2070 Graphics Gaming Laptop under $1500
Intel Core i7-10750H CPU | Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 | 16 GB RAM | 512GB SSD Storage | 17.3-inch FHD 144Hz 3ms IPS Display | Windows 10 Home | Backlit Keyboard | Weight 7.07 pounds (3.21 kg)
🕵️♂️ Expert’s brief:
HP OMEN 17 features the full-powered NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 graphics and the largest 17.3-inch display. It provides the best gaming performance (similar to our top pick MSI GL65 Leopard), although it is the heaviest on our list, and lacks per-key keyboard backlighting.
HP OMEN 17 has the highest gaming performance on our list thanks to the most powerful RTX 2070 graphics card paired with an Intel i7-10750H processor, RAM, and blazing fast SSD Storage. The specs are similar to our top pick MSI GL65 Leopard, but OMEN 17 has the advantage of the largest 17-inch monitor.
The 17.3-inch screen is both an advantage and a disadvantage, as the laptop is the largest and heaviest on our list. It weighs 7.07 pounds which is over 2 pounds heavier than all the 15-inch competitors. Keep that in mind if you’re going to be playing a lot on the go.
The Omen’s display is not only the largest but also the brightest. The screen averaged 360 nits making it brighter than competitors’ 300-320 nits displays.
We did not notice a performance throttling under high loads. HP OMEN Tempest Cooling Technology: 3-sided venting and 5-way airflow. Although cooling works great, an additional vent blows on the right side and provides some discomfort for the mouse hand.
We expected the Omen 17’s keyboard to have a per-key backlit but it only has 4-zone one: 3 zones across the keyboard and WASD zone (special thanks to them for this). The keyboard features a 26-key rollover, which means how many keys can be pressed at the same time, and still be registered. That is crucial for hardcore gamers, and yet in most cases, you won’t need more than a 6-key rollover. We also liked the key sizing, spacing, and deep travel.
Another Omen’s advantage is that it is the most easily upgradeable laptop. It has single-panel access to Storage and RAM. So if you have a screwdriver, you can cope with this task yourself without a specialist.
HP OMEN 17 is the best 17-inch gaming laptop under $1500 as it has the most powerful RTX 2070 graphics onboard, and it’s lucky to get it for such a price. So if you are not worried about its weight (7.07 pounds) and short battery life (although this applies to almost all gaming laptops), then this laptop is a great choice for you.
Razer Blade 15: World’s Smallest 15.6″ and Best Build Quality Gaming Laptop
Intel Core i7-10750H CPU | Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 | 16 GB RAM | 1TB NVMe SSD Storage | 15.6-inch FHD 144Hz 3ms IPS Display | Windows 10 Pro | Backlit Keyboard | Weight 4.85 pounds
🕵️♂️ Expert’s brief:
Best premium design and material quality — it’s all about Razer Blade 15. It provides excellent gaming performance, although it’s not the most powerful in the price range it is the lightest and the most durable gaming laptop ever.
Razer Blade 15 has the smallest size (even smaller than ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15) paired with great gaming performance, though about 15% less than our top pick MSI GL65 Leopard. Razer has the best premium feel design, it is the lightest still being the only all-metal product on our list as all competing laptops’ chassis mixed metal and plastic parts. The anodized case looks amazing, but be ready that it is easily soiled and all fingerprints are visible on it.
The Razer Blade 15 is equipped with an hexa-core Intel i7-10750H processor (like all models on our list, except for the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 with octa-core Ryzen7), and the RTX 2060 video card (15% weaker than RTX 2070 like in MSI GL65 Leopard and HP OMEN 17). It still delivers excellent overall performance almost similar to the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15, but unfortunately, the Razer didn’t get a 240Hz panel in the under $ 1500 price range. There is a 144Hz IPS panel with realistic colors and excellent detail, so there are no complaints at all. Well, except that the brightness of the screen is not enough for playing in the bright sun, but we do not think that this is such a problem.
Razer Blade 15, like its main competitor Zephyrus G15, did not receive a per-key backlit keyboard but only a single zone, though you can change its color you can by choosing any of 16 million colors unlike Zephyrus G15 all-white backlit.
When you buy a Razer laptop, you pay for the best build quality, the lightest all-metal body and premium feel design. We don’t mean that this is a weak machine, it shows excellent performance, but this is not the maximum that you can get for the money. Anyway, you get a premium product, and it’s not for nothing that Razers are called MacBooks among gaming laptops.
Acer Predator Helios 300: Best RTX 3060 Gaming Laptop up to $1500
Intel Core i7-10750H CPU | Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 | 16 GB RAM | 512GB NVMe SSD Storage | 15.6-inch FHD 144Hz 3ms IPS Display | Windows 10 Pro | Backlit Keyboard | Weight 5.5 pounds
🕵️♂️ Expert’s brief:
Finally, we have laptops with the newest RTX 3060 in the sub-$1,500 price bracket. The Acer Predator Helios 300 has everything you need to fight on any battlefield.
This is the only laptop on our list to feature the next-generation RTX 3060 graphics card, which is undoubtedly excellent given the price range. But it is worth noting that the RTX 3060 is an entry-level video card based on the Ampere microarchitecture. It is 80W TDP and has 6GB of video memory, which equates to RTX 2060, but 2GB less compared to RTX 2070 (8GB).
When it comes to performance, you will get a 20-30% FPS boost over the RTX 2060 laptops (Razer Blade 15, ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15). As for RTX 2070, not everything is clear. You get about 15% faster gaming performance, but 2 GB less VRAM (6GB vs 8GB). To be more precise the RTX 3060 will do better with ray tracing and lower settings/resolution, while the RTX 2070 benefits with better textures at higher resolution. So on the other hand, their performance is almost the same. Yes, 6GB is not a problem these days and is enough for almost all games at 1440p. But this will change in the next few years, and games simply won’t have enough 6GB of video memory.
Anyway, the choice is yours. You can achieve 10-15% more performance but be prepared for the fact that after a while you will feel a lack of video memory. Or sacrifice some of your productivity now and get insurance for years to come (even if not with the highest rates, but without freezing and lags).
We are satisfied with its overall performance. The screen is good although it’s not super bright. The cooling system works great and hasn’t risen over 75C on both CPU and GPU. However, fans work very loudly and especially in Turbo mode. The keyboard is comfortable, has a backlit but not per-key.
The Acer Predator Helios 300 with RTX 3060 has the newest and the fastest video card. But it slightly lacks VRAM (6 GB compared to 8GB in RTX 2070) which isn’t a bottleneck now but may not be enough for new games in the coming years.
Best Configuration For Gaming Laptop for under $1500 — CPU/GPU/RAM/Cooling
In the price range of $1300-1500, the most popular and the best option for Intel processors is Core i7-10750H (6 cores/12 threads base clock at 2.6GHz, max speed at 5GHz). In any case, do not settle for something weaker, since even this processor will not allow your video card to open up to 100% (the minimum you should consider is RTX 2060).
As for AMD processors, you should not go to anything weaker than the Ryzen 7 — same or better performance as Intel Core i7 CPUs, but for a lower price.
Discrete video card only, no one integrated graphics will provide the required level of gaming performance. In the price range for under $1500 we don’t have a big variety of video cards, we have three or four options to consider:
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti — it fits, but there are better options in the price range up to $1500
When looking for a gaming laptop under $ 1500, this graphics card will be a popular option, and while it can provide a pretty good level of gaming, we still recommend avoiding it. As you can buy a laptop with a 15% faster RTX 2060 for almost the same money.
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 — optimal video card, don’t settle for anything less productive
We recommend this or a better video card for gaming laptops under $1500. Almost all of the laptops on our list are equipped with RTX 2060 and perform well in gaming tests.
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 — perfect video card for gaming laptop up to $1500
Well, it is 15% more productive than the RTX 2060, but there are not so many laptops with RTX 2070 available in the price range under $1500 (just two options on our list: MSI GL65 Leopard, HP OMEN 17).
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 — most powerful but rarely available in the price range under $1500
The newest NVIDIA Ampere Architecture video card (prev RTX 20 gen based on Turing microarchitecture). RTX 3060 Mobile is the most powerful GPU for gaming laptops under $1500 as it shows 10-15% better performance vs RTX 2070 (like in our best overall MSI GL65 Leopard). It’s a rare offer up to $ 1,500, but in 2021 you can already find such deals (check if it is available now). But watch carefully TDP (wattage) as since RTX 30 gen it’s no more Max-Q marking used for the low power options.
As for the Max-Q versions, there are both adherents and opponents. We remain somewhere in the middle, as due to a decrease in performance by 10-15%, we get a lighter and thinner case. Yes, the performance is lower, but this does not mean that it will not be enough for your game. Therefore, before buying any laptop, you need to test it, which we always do when we put together the best laptop for you.
Max-Q — indicates reduced power consumption and, as a result, performance. Measured by the TGP: Total Graphics Power, which is rarely specified on the listings, but which can halve the performance of a video card with all other specs being the same. This means that two laptops with the same specs and video cards (but with different TGP) will have different gaming performances.
Note: since RTX 30 gen video cards there’s no more Max-Q mark used for the low power options.
16GB in dual-channel is highly recommended —2 sticks installed in separate sockets. For 16 GB RAM — 2x8GB, this will raise the RAM performance compared to single-channel mode (1x16GB stick installed in one socket).
For all the latest laptops, an SSD disk is a must-have.
And also don’t forget to take into account a cooling system, because even the most powerful hardware can’t work productively without proper heat dissipation. Of course, this is not all, and there are still a lot of conditions that affect the laptop’s performance.
🤓What is the best gaming laptop for under $1500?
Must-have specs: Processor Intel Core i7-10750 or better/ AMD Ryzen 7 4800HS or better; Video Card RTX 2060 or better (avoid Max-Q versions), at least 16GB Dual-Channel RAM.
Our top picks: MSI GL65 Leopard, ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15, HP OMEN 17. See more models and reviews in the article.
🧐What impacts the most on gaming performance in laptops under $1500?
Several factors affect gaming performance: Video Card (GPU), Processor (CPU), and RAM have the most impact on FPS. Choose the optimal combination of equipment so that none of them has been a bottleneck. See such laptops on our list.
🤓What is the Max-Q version of a video card in a gaming laptop under $1500?
Max-Q is allowing laptops to be thinner, quieter, and more energy-efficient due to reduced TDP wattage which hits the performance. As for gaming laptops, it’s better to avoid Max-Q versions as they perform worse than full versions.
😎Is an RTX 3060 video card worth it in a gaming laptop under $1500?
RTX 3060 has the newest and the fastest video card. But it slightly lacks VRAM (6 GB compared to 8GB in RTX 2070) which isn’t a bottleneck now but may not be enough for new games in the coming years.