A gaming laptop can be pretty expensive, but it does not really have to be. The trick is to find the best value for the money. If you are on a tight budget, then there are some options for you, even under $400.
The simple answer for most of you out there is no.
If that is what you are looking for, then you have come to the right place. Here we are going to look into the top 10 best gaming laptops under $400 that you can buy right now. So let’s get into our favorite picks.
Top Rated $400 Gaming Laptops Comparison Table
The following are all the gaming laptops that we are going to look into here and some of their features that you might be interested in learning about at a glance:
|Lenovo IdeaPad 330||Intel Core i3-8130U||Intel UHD Graphics 620||8GB||1TB HDD||Check Price|
|HP Pavilion 15.6||AMD A6-9225||AMD Radeon R4||8GB||1TB HDD||Check Price|
|Acer Aspire E 15||Intel Core i3-8130U||Intel UHD Graphics 620||6GB||1TB HDD||Check Price|
|Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop||AMD Ryzen 3 3200U||AMD Vega 3||4GB||128GB SSD||Check Price|
|Dell Inspiron 15.6||Intel Core i3-7130U||Intel HD Graphics 620||8GB||128GB SSD||Check Price|
|HP Notebook Laptop 15.6||AMD A6-9225||Radeon R2||4GB||500GB HDD||Check Price|
|Samsung Chromebook 3||Intel Celeron N3060||Intel HD Graphics 400||4GB||64GB SSD||Check Price|
|ASUS VivoBook Max X541SA||Intel Pentium N3710||Intel HD Graphics||4GB||500GB HDD||Check Price|
|Acer Chromebook R 11 Convertible Laptop||Intel Celeron N3060||Intel HD Graphics||4GB||32GB SSD||Check Price|
|ASUS Vivobook 15 Thin and Light Laptop||Intel Core i3-8145U||Intel UHD Graphics 620||8GB RAM||128GB SSD||Check Price|
Now that we have got that out of the way, let’s look into each and every one of these options and talk about them in detail.
Here is what you need to know about our picks for the top gaming laptops under 400 dollars.
The Best Gaming Laptops Under 400 Dollars
1. Lenovo IdeaPad 330 – Best Gaming Laptop under $400
There are plenty of different models in the IdeaPad series by Lenovo. This is not the S model which means that it is much heavier a bit thicker and has a plastic body. But that is something that you will find to be common in this price range so we are not taking any points off for that.
The design is pretty clean and you have the Lenovo logo on the lid. The mat finish of the lid looks like metal but that is just for show. The weight is not going to be much of an issue if you are used to laptops that fall in this price bracket. Plus you will get used to it once you start using it.
The laptop does have some flex if you press down on the lid or the keyboard. The display has two different resolution options and there is an IPS display option with means great viewing angles and color accuracy. The performance of the non-IPS display is decent but nothing to brag about compared to the other options available in 2020.
The Lenovo Ideapad 330 is not a powerhouse but it is great value for money keeping in mind that price that you are paying and the hardware that you are getting inside. If you are looking for an inexpensive laptop then this is a great option to consider.
All the ports are on one side of the laptop and that can be an issue if you are using more than one of those at the same time. You do get plenty of connectivity options including HDMI, USB ports, audio jack and SD card slot.
The right side of the laptop has a cover for the optional optical drive but that seems like a waste of space if you did not opt for one. The keys are decent and you can do your day to day work on it but if you do a lot of typing then you will need a laptop with better keys.
Related: Good Gaming Laptops under $800
Talking about the hardware that powers this laptop, you have the Intel Dual-Core i3-8130U with Intel UHD Graphics 620 and 8 GB of DDR4 RAM. You also get a 1 TB HDD. With that in mind, performance is not going to be ideal in games but you can get away with playing some titles such as DOTA 2 and LOL. You can try playing Overwatch at 30 FPS but you will need to reduce the graphics settings and the resolution scaling as well.
2. HP Pavilion – Good Cheap Gaming Laptop
The laptop can handle day to day tasks but you should not expect too much from it. It does come with 8 GB of RAM and a 1 TB HDD for storage. The 1366 x 768 HD is not IPS so the colors are not ideal but you can still get work done and view content.
The laptop does have an optical drive, if you need it and loads of connectivity options including USB ports, HDMI, SD card reader and Ethernet port. While this is not the most modern laptop in the world it is priced under $400 and will get your daily tasks done.
3. Acer Aspire E 15 – Budget $400 Gaming Laptop
Next, we have an inexpensive laptop from Acer, the Aspire E15. It is powered by the Intel Dual-Core i3-8130U with Intel UHD Graphics 620 and 6 GB of DDR4 RAM. You also get a 1 TB HDD. With that in mind, performance is not going to be ideal in games but you can get away with playing some titles such as DOTA 2 and LOL. You can try playing Overwatch at 30 FPS but you will need to reduce the graphics settings and the resolution scaling as well.
The 6GB of RAM is pretty odd as most laptops either come with 4GB or 8GB of RAM out of the box. You can upgrade the RAM down the line if need be as you will need it for gaming, even at the lower settings. Parts like the HDD can easily be replaced. You can get a bigger HDD or a much faster SSD if you are interested in getting fast boot times. You even havean empty M.2 drive for an additional SSD.
The Aspire E15 is a decent laptop for the price. You can easily replace the HDD and upgrade the RAM. You also have an empty M.2 slot for an SSD. You can get a lot done on this inexpensive device once you upgrade the RAM to 8GB.
The laptop has a decent battery life and will last you about 9 hours on average depending on that you are doing. If you stick to media consumption then you can get even better performance from the battery.
The laptop has plenty of ports and even includes a USB Type-C port, which is not common on devices in this price range.
Read also: Best Gaming Laptops under $600
4. Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop
The Acer Aspire 5 is a thin and light laptop that is powered by the AMD Ryzen 3200U CPU. This AMD chip comes with Vega 3 graphics which are much better than the integrated graphics that you get on Intel CPUs. It also comes with 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. Other features include a backlit keyboard. You get all this in less than $400 and that is impressive value for money.
The Acer Aspire 5 is a great laptop that comes with features such as a backlit keyboard, fast storage and decent build quality. If you upgrade to the full version of Windows 10 then this laptop is a great value for money and is highly recommended.
To give you an idea of the performance of the CPU, it can run games like Doom at more than 30 FPS with the settings tweaked. You might not be able to play graphics-intensive titles but you will be able to play some older titles at low settings.
The battery life is decent and you can get around 5.5 hours but that will depend on your usage and the brightness of the screen. It has all the ports that you would expect besides USB Type-C. One of the downsides is that the laptop comes with Windows 10 in S mode.
5. Dell Inspiron
Dell is known for making great laptops that are very reliable and are built to last. Here we have one of them. This one comes with the Intel i3 7130U CPU. This is not the latest generation CPU in 2020 but it is still great at this price and will get the job done. The laptop comes with 8 GB of RAM which is what you want ideally. The display has a resolution of 1366×768 and it is a touch screen, so another plus point there.
The integrated graphics are not mind-blowing but you can still play some light titles such as DOTA 2. For connectivity, you have 2 USB 3.1 ports and an additional USB 2.0 port. You also get an HDMI port and an SD card reader along with an ethernet port. This is a great budget option for you to consider. It runs well and is easy to setup. There is minimum bloatware installed out of the box, which is always a great sign.
The 128GB SSD can be limiting for some people but it can be swapped for a larger SSD. If you are only going to use the laptop for light gaming and content consumption then you might not need any more storage.
6. HP Notebook Laptop
HP has been in the laptop market for as long as I can remember and is one of the major players in 2020. This laptop is a relatively older model but it is still a great option to consider if you need a notebook under $400. The laptop is powered by the AMD Quad-Core E2-7110 APU which features Radeon R2 graphics. You also get 4GB of RAM out of the box and a 500GB HDD for storage.
The hardware inside this HP laptop is a bit dated but that is also one of the reasons why the price is so low. If you are interested in a basic laptop then this is a great option for you to consider.
This is not the most powerful or modern option on our list but it is still a very decent option in this price bracket. The laptop comes with all the ports that you would expect besides USB Type-C. The battery life is decent at around 4 hours depending on how you use it. The graphics solution is a bit old but you will still be able to run some older titles that are not too graphics intensive.
These models do tend to have random restart issues but those go away once you remove the bloatware that comes installed out of the box.
7. Samsung Chromebook 3
The Samsung Chromebook 3 is a small laptop with around 8 hours of battery life. It is powered by the Intel Celeron N3060 processor and comes with 4GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. This is a sleek device that also has a spill-resistant keyboard.
The device has a USB 3.0 port and a headphone jack on the side. This is a Chromebook so you do not get the functionality of Windows but you do get access to Android apps and games. You can also use Google Docs for word processing and work. This is not a very powerful laptop but it can still run mobile games such as Asphalt 8.
This is a small device so you can take it with you wherever you go. The sound and the display is decent as well. This is a great device for students that need to get some work done but you can also enjoy some light gaming in your free time.
The drawback with this device is that the CPU is an entry-level one, so if you try to do too much at the same time then the laptop will slow down.
8. ASUS VivoBook Max X541SA
Asus is known for making some great devices and here we have the VivoBook Max that is powered by the Intel Pentium N3710 CPU. You also get 4GB of RAM and a 500GB HDD. The laptop is relatively thin and light and comes in Black and Silver. The design is pretty clean and simple and I know that many people like that in a laptop.
You get Windows 10 so you can do a lot more than just light gaming on the go. The laptop has a single USB 3.0 port and a pair of USB 2.0 ports. It also has a headphone jack and HDMI port but no USB Type-C.
The VivoBook Max is impressive value for money keeping in mind what you are getting for the price. It is not the most powerful laptop in the world but is a great option to consider if you are on a tight budget.
The laptop has a relatively small footprint so it is easy to carry. You can take it with you wherever you do. The price is under $300, which makes it great value for money. This might not be very powerful but it can get you through your day.
The 4GB RAM is limiting and you will find then if you are going multiple things at the same time then the laptop will start to get slow. While the laptop is great value for money the battery life is not great and you will need to take the charger with you.
9. Acer Chromebook R11
This is a budget convertible laptop comes with ChromeOS. You do not get the functionality of Windows 10 with this option but you go get 100GB of Google Drive storage for free. This can be used to backup your files or work online.
The laptop is powered by the Intel Celeron N3060 CPU and comes with 4GB of RAM out of the box. You also get 32GB of storage which can be a bit limiting but if you are doing most of your work in the cloud then you are not going to need much anyways.
The Chromebook R11 is a cool little convertible for the price. It can fold all the way back and has a touchscreen. If you are interested in such features and can make do without Windows 10 then this is an option that you can look into.
This is not a thin or light device and the bezels around the display are pretty thick but that is something that is common at this price point. You get all the ports that you would expect from a device in this price range but there is no USB Type-C.
The touchscreen works but at this price range to no expect it to blow your mind or anything like that. If you are interested in getting an inexpensive laptop and can make do without Windows 10 then this is something that you can look into.
10. ASUS Vivobook 15
Here we have another product from Asus, the VivoBook 15. This is a thin and light laptop that comes with the 8th generation i3 CPU. You also get 8GB of RAM and a 128 GB SSD for storage. The design is sleek and stylish. The bezels around the screen are slim and you also get a fingerprint scanner for quick access to the device via Windows Hello.
The VivoBook 15 is a great thin and light laptop for work and play. You do need to buy the full version of Window 10 but other than that this is the complete package for less that $400 which makes it great value for money.
Asus even offers one year accidental protection for free. Unlike other devices on this list, this one comes with a 1080p display. The notebook has a screen-to-body ratio of 88%. Which is very impressive indeed. The battery life of the device is also great. It can easily last you 8 hours depending on your use case. It also comes with fast charging so you can get 60% charging in 50 minutes.
The laptop only weighs 3.5 pounds, so you can easily take it with you wherever you go. The device comes with all the ports you would expect including USB 3.1 Type-C , USB 3.1 Type-A, USB 2.0, and HDMI. One of the drawbacks is that the device comes with Windows 10 in S mode and you will need to pay to get the full functionality of Windows 10.
How to Pick a Gaming Laptop Under 400 Dollars
Out of all the options that we have looked into, the Lenovo IdeaPad stands out to be the top laptop for $400. It comes with a modern design and a relatively modern CPU that performs well and does not consume a lot of power. The laptop has 8GB of RAM which is ideal in 2020 and also has fast SSD storage for quick booting of Windows.
The laptop comes with a fingerprint scanner which not only provides easy access to the device but an increased level of security as well. The 1080p display has thin bezels which increase the immersion when playing a game or consuming content. The thin and light design allows you to take it with you wherever you go.
Are Gaming Laptops worth it?
Back in the day, gaming laptops used to be thin and poor value for money. You needed to pay a massive premium in order to be able to game on the go but that is no longer the case. A lot has changed since then and in 2020 you can get a decent laptop which is thin and light, but also delivers impressive gaming performance for a reasonable price.
Back in the day every laptop would be around $1500 or at least around that price point but now, you can get a decent gaming laptop for $700 and you can get mid-range laptop that can run pretty much any game at 1080p for around $800.
New technology like the Max-Q graphics cards have allowed gaming laptops to become thinner and lighter than ever. You do need to pay a premium for thinner models but you do have the option if you can afford it. Laptops in 2020 also come with desktop parts and can perform similar to desktops.
All things considered, you get a lot of options for less than $400 and the Asus VivoBook 15 even comes with a year of accidental protection. That should give you some peace of mind, incase something goes wrong.
A gaming laptop can be pretty expensive but it does not really have to be. The trick is to find the best value for money. If you are on a tight budget then there are some options for you even under $400. We have provided some of the most reliable options on the market right now for less than $400.
If you are confused regarding which model you should go with then VivoBook 15 is a great pick. It has a lot to offer for less than $400 like a fingerprint scanner.
You also have an efficient CPU, 8 GB of RAM and fast SSD storage. This is a great option for daily use and you can do some casual gaming on it as well. The design is modern and the laptop is portable so you can take it with you anywhere you go. The display is a crisp 1080p panel and the bezels around the screen are slim.