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A budget of $1500 can net you an excellent gaming laptop, as long as you’re satisfied with (mostly high refresh rate) 1080p gaming, which shouldn’t be an issue on 17″ screens and smaller.
Today, we’re showing you the best gaming laptops under $1500. We have found a number of quality gaming devices that are more than capable of running current AAA games with high settings above 60fps. There are some really great deals below. At the end of the guide, you can find out more about Nvidia Optimus and the specs you can expect in a $1500 gaming notebook.
The MSI GL66 is the best deal for those looking for ultimate performance at this price point. The device packs an 85W version of the RTX 3070 along with the Core i7-11800H. This combo results in excellent 1080p gaming performance. You should expect more than 60fps on average in AAA games with high settings.
On the flip side, the TGP of only 85W is a bit low. Still, the 85W RTX 3070 is faster than the 130W version of the RTX 3060 on average. Add a faster CPU found on the GL66, and you should get better performance in all games compared to a 130W RTX 3060.
The screen on the MSI GL66 is pretty good. 72% NTSC coverage equals 100$ sRGB color gamut, precisely what you should expect at this price point. The IPS panel has a 144Hz refresh rate, but it isn’t the fastest around, resulting in ghosting when pushing the refresh rate to its upper limits. 16GB of dual-channel memory is just right for modern games, and you also get a 512GB SSD.
The GL66 comes with an extra M.2 slot, and the RTX 3060 version packs an empty 2.5″ SATA port, so we reckon the more powerful RTX 3070 version also comes with one. In other words, fantastic upgrade options. The downside is that you don’t get a MUX switch. This means you should gain an extra 10-15% performance in games by hooking the device to an external monitor.
The keyboard on this device is good but not great, the touchpad is small but precise, the speakers are average, and the battery life is below par. The build quality of the GL66 is pretty good, with an aluminum lid and the rest of the body made of plastic. I/O selection includes three USB-A Ports (two are 5Gbps), one 5Gbps USB-C port, one full-sized HDMI 2.0, and one RJ45 (LAN) port.
Finally, the cooling system is adequate, although some buyers noted that the laptop can get pretty hot, resulting in thermal throttling while playing games. Overall, this is a powerful gaming laptop that packs the best GPU in the ~$1500 market. The RTX 3070 found on the GL66 is a bit underpowered at 85W but still faster than the fastest mobile version of the RTX 3060 (130W).
ASUS ROG Strix G15: Best overall gaming laptop under $1500
Our next pick offers a better overall package than the GL66, albeit with about 10 percent slower gaming performance. The 130W RTX 3060 (closer to 110W in real-world tests) is just below the 85W RTX 3070, while the Ryzen 9 5900HX is a bit faster than the 11800H. The Strix G15 also packs 16GB of memory and a 512GB SSD.
Do note that some versions of the G15 (the all-AMD Advantage edition) have slower memory. With that said, this version of the G15 should come with regular memory. Another downside is that the G15 doesn’t come with a webcam.
The main point of difference between the G15 and GL66 is the screen. The ASUS machine has a 1080p IPS panel featuring a 300Hz refresh rate and 95% sRBG coverage. The screen has a relatively low response time and a max brightness of about 325 nits. Overall, pretty good at this price point and perfect for fast-paced multiplayer games.
The G15 comes with a chassis made of metal and plastic that has excellent build quality. The keyboard’s pleasant to type on, the touchpad is large and precise, speakers are loud and better than on most other $1500 gaming laptops. The battery can give you almost 10 hours of usage in light loads.
The cooling system is excellent, with pretty loud fans at max RPM. With that said, the G15 is fairly quiet during lighter loads. Sadly, the device doesn’t come with a MUX switch. The I/O includes three 5Gbps USB-A ports, one 10Gbps USB-C Port, one full-sized HDMI, and an RJ45 port.
Overall, the ASUS ROG Strix G15 is an excellent gaming laptop. If you don’t care about having the absolute best GPU you can find for $1500 or less, this is the device to get. You can upgrade the G15 to a 130W RTX 3070 for about 20 percent more cash. The RTX 3070 is a much better solution for users playing AAA games who need maximum performance.
MSI Crosshair17: Best 17-inch gaming laptop under $1500
Those looking for the best 17-inch gaming laptop for around $1500 should strongly consider the MSI Crosshair17. This device packs the Core i7-11800H CPU and an 85W version of the RTX 3060 mobile GPU.
Overall, not a bad package, but we are disappointed with the 85W GPU TGP. Still, this should be enough for 1080p 60fps gaming with high settings in most games, including the latest AAA titles. 16GB of memory is the sweet spot for modern games and the SSD storage caps at 512GB.
The Crosshair17 has a 1080p 144Hz IPS screen that has nearly 100% coverage of the sRGB color space. The keyboard’s fine, as are the speakers and the webcam. You should expect lower battery life than on 15-inch devices, which should translate to about 8 hours of moderate usage. As for the Optimus version and MUX switch, it looks like the device comes with the regular Optimus and without a MUX switch.
Ports include two USB-A 5Gbps, one USB-A 2.0, one USB-C 5Gbps, one full-sized HDMI port, and the RJ45 port. Overall, the MSI Crosshair17 looks like a reasonably good 17-inch sub $1500 gaming laptop. It packs relatively powerful hardware, but we would like to see a more powerful version of the RTX 3060.
Acer Predator Helios 300: Best bang-for-buck gaming laptop under $1500
If you want the best possible specs for the least cash, the Acer Predator Helios 300 looks like the best gaming laptop for less than $1500. The price of the Helios 300 is lower than most other devices shown here. But looking at the specs, you would think the device is much pricier.
This version of the Helios 300 features the excellent Core i7-11800H and a 105W version of the RTX 3060. Other specs include 16GB of dual-channel memory and 512GB of SSD storage. These specs translate to excellent 1080p gaming performance.
The screen is an IPS panel with a 1080p resolution and 144Hz refresh rate. There’s some ghosting that you can remove by turning on the screen overdrive function, but then you’ll experience inverse ghosting. In the end, it’s better to leave overdrive off and get used to the less-than-ideal response time.
The keyboard on this device is rather pleasant to type on. The touchpad is rather small but usable if you don’t have a mouse available. The webcam is passable, as are the speakers. The cooling system keeps both the CPU and GPU at bay at the cost of increased noise.
The upgradeability here is excellent. You have two M.2 slots, two SO-DIMM slots, and even one 2.5″ SATA port. The I/O includes two USB-A 5Gbps ports, one USB-A 10Gbps, one USB-C with Thunderbolt 4 support, a full-sized HDMI, and an RJ45 port. Sadly, the Helios 300 doesn’t have a MUX switch.
Another downside is a disappointing battery life of fewer than 4 hours of video playback. Still, even with the negatives, the Acer Predator Helios 300 is an excellent device for the price that offers the best bang for the buck option in the ~$1500 gaming laptop market.
MSI Stealth 15M: Best thin and light gaming laptop under $1500
Now, thin and light gaming notebooks usually pack low-power CPUs and GPUs that have the lowest power limits available. This is the case with the MSI Stealth 15M, which comes with a four-core Core i7-11375H that’s basically a low-power CPU made for in-between laptop designs and a 65W RTX 3060.
Still, even with these relatively humble specs, the Stealth 15M is faster than other thin and light gaming devices found at this price point. Other hardware specs include 16GB of memory and a 512GB SSD. Finally, this is yet another laptop that doesn’t come with a MUX switch.
The gaming performance isn’t great, but it isn’t disappointing either. You can expect about 60fps in newer AAA games with high settings enabled. The display is, along with the CPU, the weakest part of the Stealth 15M. It covers way less than 100% of the sRGB color gamut, and it’s also pretty dim. With that said, we picked this laptop for its performance.
The device has excellent build quality, a keyboard that’s pleasant to type on, a small but precise touchpad, and below-average speakers. The webcam is also below par, but it’s at least usable. I/O includes two USB-A 5Gbps ports, one USB-C 5Gbps, and one USB-C with Thunderbolt 4 support. Next, we have a full-sized HDMI and a MicroSD card reader. Overall, pretty good I/O that only lacks an RJ45 port.
The cooling system is good when it comes to the GPU. On the CPU side, thermals are much worse. The battery is another negative, achieving shorter life than competitors. Overall, the Stealth 15M is the best gaming thin and light under $1500, but only if we look at the gaming performance. If you want a portable laptop that has both great specs and a great screen, look elsewhere.
Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED: Gaming laptop under $1500 with best screen
If you want the best possible screen on a $1500 gaming laptop, look no further than the Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED. As is stated in its name, this device comes with an OLED panel made by Samsung. This is a 60Hz 4K OLED panel with superb colors and a peak brightness of almost 450 nits.
Hardware specs include the excellent Core i7-11800H CPU and a 105W version of the RTX 3060. There’s also 16GB of memory and a 512GB SSD. Overall, excellent specs that are great both for gaming and productivity. If you’re a content creator who also likes to game, this is the convertible for you. Yes, it only has a 60Hz panel. But 4K resolution, color performance, and high peak brightness are worth it for users who need a color-accurate panel.
As for the other specs, the Aero 15 comes with a decent keyboard, usable trackpad, below-par webcam placed below the screen, and serviceable speakers. Ports found on the Aero 15 include three USB-A 5Gbps, one Thunderbolt 4, a mini-DisplayPort, a full-sized HDMI, RJ45, and a full-sized SD card reader. As for the cooling system, it’s not great. The Aero 15 can get pretty hot while also being pretty loud. Not the greatest combo.
The battery offers around eight and a half hours of moderate use. As for the upgradability, you get an extra M.2 slot along with two SO-DIMM slots. Overall, the Aero 15 has a superb display, excellent performance, solid battery life, and a subpar cooling system. But even with its flaws, this is the gaming laptop to get if you need a color-accurate and bright screen and don’t mind a 60hz refresh rate. Yes, it can be pricier than $1500 unless it’s on sale. But the fantastic OLED screen is worth going a bit over the budget.
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