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The 5 Best Gaming Laptops Under $700 in 2023

Gaming on a budget used to mean settling for low performance and compromised experiences. But nowadays, you can get a capable 1080p gaming machine for under $700.

In this guide, we‘ll compare the top gaming laptops priced under $700 available right now. We evaluate their gaming prowess along with factors like display quality, battery life, design, and value.

Our Picks for Best Gaming Laptops Under $700

Model CPU GPU RAM Storage Display Battery Life
Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 AMD Ryzen 5 5600H NVIDIA RTX 3050 16GB 512GB SSD 15.6-inch 1080p 120Hz 5 hours
MSI Katana GF66 Intel Core i7-11800H NVIDIA RTX 3050 Ti 16GB 512GB SSD 15.6-inch 1080p 144Hz 7 hours
Acer Nitro 5 Intel Core i5-10300H NVIDIA GTX 1650 8GB 256GB SSD 15.6-inch 1080p 144Hz 8 hours
ASUS TUF Dash Intel Core i7-12650H NVIDIA RTX 3050 Ti 16GB 512GB SSD 15.6-inch 1080p 144Hz 7 hours
HP Victus AMD Ryzen 7 5800H NVIDIA RTX 3050 16GB 512GB SSD 15.6-inch 1080p 144Hz 5 hours

Below we‘ll compare the key specs and gaming performance of these laptops to help you decide which is the right pick for your budget and needs.

Gaming Performance Comparison

The most critical factor that determines gameplay experience is the graphics card (GPU). All laptops here pack NVIDIA‘s RTX 3000 series GPUs that deliver superb 1080p gaming:

  • NVIDIA RTX 3050 Ti – This newer GPU can handle the latest games like Elden Ring and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II at 60+ fps on high settings at 1080p. Some compromises may be needed for future demanding titles.
  • NVIDIA RTX 3050 – Slightly less powerful than the 3050 Ti. You may need to dial down quality for future releases, but most current games run very well at 60+ fps on medium-high settings.
  • NVIDIA GTX 1650 – The most budget-oriented GPU here. It can run esports titles like Valorant effortlessly and handle most games at 30-60 fps if you lower the settings. The most demanding games may be unplayable.

The processor (CPU) also plays a role in gaming performance. These laptops are equipped with latest gen chips from Intel and AMD that offer superb performance:

  • Intel Core i7 – Intel‘s fastest mobile chips that offer exceptional single and multi-core performance.
  • AMD Ryzen 7 – AMD‘s high-end laptop processors with excellent multi-threading capabilities.

In terms of real-world gaming prowess, the Lenovo IdeaPad and MSI Katana offer the best experience, followed by the ASUS TUF Dash and HP Victus. The Acer Nitro 5 is still highly capable but a notch below due to the GTX 1650 GPU.

Display Comparison

The display is what brings games to life, so it‘s an important consideration. Here‘s how the options compare:

  • Refresh Rate – Higher is better for smooth gaming. 144Hz enables much smoother motion than 60Hz displays. The MSI Katana features the highest 144Hz refresh rate.
  • Resolution – 1920 x 1080 (1080p) is the gaming sweet spot at this price point. Higher 4K resolution displays are not yet viable for gaming with these GPUs.
  • Panel Type – All models here use high quality IPS panels that offer vibrant colors and wide viewing angles essential for gaming. The Lenovo IdeaPad also has 120Hz refresh rate for very fluid gaming.

Overall the MSI Katana takes the lead here with its esports gamer-friendly 144Hz rapid refresh rate display, while the rest also enable smooth lag-free gaming thanks to 1080p resolution and high refresh rates.

Design and Build Comparison

Gamers demand durable and portable designs. Here‘s how these models stack up:

  • Premium build quality – The all-metal chassis MSI Katana and HP Victus feel the most solid and premium. The Lenovo, ASUS and Acer models have more plastic.
  • Thin and light form factors – The MSI Katana at under 5 lbs and Lenovo IdeaPad at 5.1 lbs are the most portable options for frequent travelers.
  • RGB keyboard backlighting – The MSI, ASUS and Acer models feature RGB backlit keyboards highly suited for gaming atmospheres compared to basic white backlighting on the Lenovo and HP.

If portability and quality builds are important, the MSI Katana and HP Victus have an edge. While the Lenovo Ideapad is also moderately light. For maximum gaming aesthetics, MSI, ASUS and Acer offer flashy RGB keyboards.

Battery Life Comparison

Gaming laptops are notorious for poor battery life compared to mainstream laptops. But thanks to efficiency improvements, models here can last respectable times away from the charger:

  • 8+ hours video playback – The Acer Nitro 5 delivers class-leading battery life, managing over 8 hours of light use. Makes it the most travel-friendly pick.
  • 6-7 hours mixed use – The MSI, ASUS and Lenovo last between 6-7 hours with general multitasking. Enough for most of a work day without charging.
  • Under 5 hours gaming – Battery drains faster with intensive gaming usage on all laptops here. The HP Victus has the lowest gaming endurance of just over 4 hours.

If maximum away-from-outlet usability is most important, the Acer Nitro 5 is easily the longest-lasting machine with over 8 hours of light use.

Upgradeability Comparison

Entry-level gaming laptops make some compromises, but user upgradable components can future-proof them. Here is the upgrade scenario:

  • RAM – The memory on all laptops here can be upgraded to 32GB to comfortably multi-task heavy games and applications.
  • Storage expansion – Only the Lenovo IdeaPad and Acer Nitro 5 provide easy 2.5" HDD expansion, the rest require external USB drives.

Overall, the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 provides the most accessible upgrades with user-replaceable RAM, storage and WiFi. Others have some limitations.

Which Should You Buy?

Best Overall: Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 strikes the best balance of performance, display quality, design and upgradability at this budget.

Games play very smoothly on high settings thanks to the potent RTX 3050 GPU and AMD Ryzen 5000 series processor. The responsive 120Hz refresh rate display also enables fluid visuals. Weighing just 5 lbs, it‘s quite portable too.

Future-proofing upgrades are facilitated thanks to accessible RAM and storage expansion slots. Making this a smart investment for budget gamers.

Best Display: MSI Katana GF66

Serious gamers who crave ultra-fluid visuals for competitive play will love the MSI Katana GF66.

It matches rivals with a capable RTX 3050 Ti GPU, Intel Core i7 processor and large 512GB SSD. But where it pulls ahead is the rapid 144Hz refresh rate display that ensures lag and blur-free gaming during fast-paced action.

The premium metallic chassis also looks and feels like a premium gaming machine built to last years. For those seeking a true high-fidelity gaming experience on a budget, the Katana delivers.

Longest Battery Life: Acer Nitro 5

Road warriors and students who need to use their gaming machine all day without constantly hunting for power outlets need to consider the Acer Nitro 5.

While its GTX 1650 GPU and display are less impressive on paper, a staggering 8+ hours of real world battery life gives it unrivaled portability. You can comfortably game or work on long trips without worrying about the battery.

It also offers ample storage expansion unlike rivals, facilitated by an empty 2.5" drive bay ready for an HDD. Making it one of the most travel-friendly picks here.

What To Look For In a Sub $700 Gaming Laptop

Focus on these aspects when choosing an affordable gaming laptop:

GPU – The graphics card plays the biggest role in gaming performance. Prioritize laptops with NVIDIA’s RTX 3000 series or GTX 1600 series GPUs that provide the best blend of performance and value today.

CPU – Get a latest 10th or 11th gen Intel Core i5/i7 chip or equivalent latest gen AMD Ryzen 5/7 processor. This ensures the CPU keeps pace with the GPU allowing you to game unfettered.

Display – Look for a good quality 1080p screen with high refresh rates (120Hz+). This enables smooth, fluid visuals key for immersive gaming. IPS panels also offer the best viewing angles.

RAM – 16GB DDR4 RAM is strongly recommended for smooth gaming and heavy multitasking. 8GB could cause slow downs in demanding games.

Storage – Get a fast PCIe SSD over a traditional hard disk for much quicker game and app load times. 512GB capacity is ideal for storing multiple game libraries.

Cooling – Gaming rigs produce a lot of heat. Prioritize laptops like the MSI and ASUS TUF series here that offer advanced cooling solutions so you can game lag and throttle-free.

The Bottom Line

Gaming laptops under $700 today pack serious power. NVIDIA‘s RTX 3000 series graphics cards enable highly immersive 1080p gaming in the latest titles with some compromises. Beefy CPUs and rapid displays also contribute to highly enjoyable gaming.

Carefully consider your performance, portability and budget needs. The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 gets our vote for the best overall package with excellent gaming abilities paired with good battery life and upgradability. But alternatives like the stunning MSI Katana or enduring Acer Nitro 5 merit consideration for shoppers valuing their specific strengths.

Whichever you pick rest assured it will handle the latest games in splendid fashion and also tackle intensive creative workloads like video editing as a productivity machine replacing an aging desktop. Getting a versatile machine like this for just $700 demonstrates why there has never been a better time than now to get into PC gaming.