Finding the Best Cheap Gaming Laptops Under $300

Last Edited: March 27, 2018 by

Finding-the-Best-Cheap-Gaming-Laptops-Under-$300

Welcome to our weekly updated pro guide to the best gaming laptops under $300 based on reviews, specs, retail sales volume and retail discounts.

The gaming industry has grown exponentially in the last 2 decades and is now an over $40 billion a year industry with PC gaming being responsible for a large part of that. The problem is that being able to run all the latest games on full graphical settings is expensive and with a high end gaming laptop ranging anywhere between $1000 – $2500 many users simply can’t afford or cant justify spending large amounts of money on a gaming machine. We at Laptopninja have put together a comprehensive guide to budget gaming laptops for under $300 to help users who are just getting into gaming or are casual gamers and are victim to tough budget constraints. The following laptops should, in most cases, run older games on medium settings and newer games on very low graphical settings at very least. At this price range expecting 60fps at 1080p resolutions is out of the question however if you are happy with great day to day performance and some light gaming on the side then read on, we may just help you find your next device.

Introductory Laptop Buying Guide

A great place to start would be LaptopMag’s laptop buying guide which is a wealth of knowledge on all things laptop. Another great resource would be Notebookcheck who feature most laptop CPUs and GPUs with full benchmarks and comparisons so you can see exactly how each machine will run. You will notice we have already added links to Notebookcheck for the GPU and CPU of each laptop for your convenience. At this price point prices tend to fluctuate quite a bit so make sure to act fast and snap up one of these bargains.

Top Picks >> Runners Up >>

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Best Gaming Laptops Under $300 – Top Pick

HP 15-BA009DX 15.6-inch

HP 15-BA009DX 15.6-inch
While HP’s dedicated Omen gaming laptop range starts from just shy of a thousand dollars, the HP 15-BA009DX is a budget friendly alternative for those casual gamers who love their classic titles. Breaking the mould from the usual Intel Celeron or Pentium processors, the HP 15-BA009DX features an AMD Quad-Core A6-7310 processor which offers slightly higher benchmark scores than the current entry-level Intel processors. This also means that instead of an Intel HD Graphics based GPU, you will get an AMD Radeon R4 GPU based on the Beema architecture. While this will not win any awards, it will allow you to play classic titles such as Warcraft III, Age of Empires II and Command & Conquer Generals. You will also be able to play Counter Strike and World of Warcraft, which are both still widely played across the globe. If you are looking to play AAA gaming titles such as Battlefield 1 or Call of Duty: Infinity Warfare, then we recommend looking at a laptop with a dedicated NVIDIA graphics card as this laptop does not meet the required minimum specifications. While the 4GB of RAM will be sufficient for everyday tasks, it will struggle with more RAM hungry applications such as Google Chrome. Some gaming titles will also struggle with the limited amount of RAM and we recommend purchasing a second 4GB RAM module to increase the HP 15-BA009DX’s performance. While some budget friendly laptops feature tiny 32GB solid state drives, the HP 15-BA009DX comes standard with a 500GB mechanical hard drive. While this drive offers vastly more storage space, it will mean slower Windows boot and application launch times. Some users have mentioned the fact that the trackpad may not always be super responsive, we do recommend using a mouse while you play any games.

Pros

  • CPU performance
  • Radeon GPU
  • Minimalist design
  • Good amount of storage space
  • Price

Cons

  • Trackpad
  • Integrated graphics
  • No gigabit Ethernet or Bluetooth

Specs

  • AMD Radeon R4 (Beema) Shared [View Framerates]
  • 4GB DDR3L RAM
  • 500GB 5400 RPM HDD
  • 15.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixels (TN)
  • Windows 10 Home
  • 5.5 hours battery life
  • 4.8 lbs

Summary

The HP 15-BA009DX is a budget friendly laptop for the casual gamer who enjoys playing classic titles, however the integrated graphics will limit which games this laptop will run without feeling sluggish.

HP 15-BA009DX 15.6-inch
$287.98$284.88
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from Amazon.com
(as of 12-04-2018 07:38 UTC) Details

Best Gaming Laptops Under $300 – Runners-Up

Lenovo IdeaPad 320 80XR00AGUS 15.6-inch

Lenovo IdeaPad 320 80XR00AGUS 15.6-inch laptop
The Lenovo IdeapPad 320 80XR00AGUS offers durability for travellers and students. While it is not as lightweight as some of the Chromebooks we have featured in this guide, it is light for a laptop that comes with a 15.6-inch display. The LED matte display has a resolution of 1366×768, which is a fairly standard resolution for laptops in this price range, and most customers enjoyed it large size, especially for media consumption. Lenovo have included a large, 1TB HDD, allowing you to save a lot of multimedia, but be warned, the 5400RPM mechanical hard drives are slow. Chromebooks, such as the Acer R11 CB5-132T-C7R5 11.6-inch usually offer fast SSD type storage within this price range, but you’ll only be able to save a handful of files. The slower hard drive of the IdeapPad 320, combined with its underpowered Intel Celeron N3350 CPU, will inevitably lead to an underperforming system. This has been confirmed by numerous customers who found it to be slow for anything but basic task handling. It does run Microsoft Office and QuickOffice well enough, however, and some even noted that the Intel HD Graphics 500 allows for some decent gaming when it comes to running the classics, such as WarCraft III, Diablo II and the older Call of Duty games. The battery life is not that great, lasting only 4 hours 30 minutes for most users, which again, is a lot less than we see with the Chromebooks, which usually run a lot more efficiently when it comes to power consumption. So if you are planning on spending the day at the office or at lectures, then be sure to carry your power adapter around with you, and if that doesn’t sound ideal to you, then perhaps the ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02 11.6-inch will better serve your needs. The 4GB of RAM is modest, and for heavy Internet browsing and multitasking, it won’t quite make the cut. However, you can expand the RAM up to 16GB, which will give a significantly improved performance.

Pros

  • Expandable RAM
  • Build quality
  • Plenty of storage
  • Relatively lightweight
  • Large display
  • Spacious keyboard

Cons

  • Slow at times
  • Slow HDD
  • Below average battery
  • Speaker quality

Specs

  • Intel HD Graphics 500 Shared [View Framerates]
  • 4GB DDR3L RAM
  • 1000GB 5400 RPM HDD
  • 15.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixels
  • Windows 10 Home
  • 6 hours battery life
  • 4.85 lbs

Summary

The Lenovo Ideapad 320 80XR00AGUS is great for casual users looking for a laptop that runs Microsoft Office and that can play the older classics well, but it is slow according to most reports, which is to be expected from a laptop in this price range.

Lenovo IdeaPad 320 80XR00AGUS 15.6-inch
$269.00
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from Walmart
(as of 12-04-2018 07:57 UTC) Details

Acer Aspire 3 15.6-inch

Acer Aspire 3 15.6-inch laptop
With its Radeon R5 Graphics, the Acer Aspire 3 15.6-inch manages to run some solid titles such as GTA V and Overwatch on low settings, along with classics such runs the classics such as Diablo III and CS: GO on medium settings. The accompanying AMD A-Series Dual-Core Processor A9-9420 and the 6GB of DDR4 RAM are reliable for the most part, and basic task handling can be carried with general ease. Some complaints were directed towards certain aspects of its performance, with users finding that updates, boot times and application load times were a rather tedious affair, but this could be due to the 5400RPM hard drive, which is slow. It does have 1TB of space fortunately, so running out of space shouldn’t be much of a concern. The laptop feels slightly cheap according to most, but there were no real complaints relating to its long-term durability. The battery life of 5.5 hours is fairly average, so you would need to be near an outlet if you intend on using it all day. The screen’s resolution is 1366 x 768, but it may be quite reflective as it is a gloss display. The Aspire 3 is said to come preloaded with quite a bit of bloatware,which does take up a lot of space. We always recommend uninstalling bloatware, unless of course you legitimately use some of the preinstalled apps.

Pros

  • Price
  • Decent performance for basic tasks
  • Decent amount of RAM
  • 1TB HDD

Cons

  • Slower mechanical hard drive
  • Bloatware
  • Feels cheap

Specs

  • AMD Radeon R5 (Beema) Shared [View Framerates]
  • 6GB DDR4 RAM
  • 1000GB 5400 RPM HDD
  • 15.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixels
  • Windows 10 Home
  • 5.5 hours battery life
  • 4.63 lbs

Summary

Acer’s Aspire 3 runs some newer titles such as GTA V and Overwatch on low settings, and most have found it to perform reasonably well at handling the basics, but the slower 5400RPM HDD will make the machine slightly sluggish overall.

Acer Aspire 3 15.6-inch
$338.00
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from Amazon.com
(as of 26-04-2018 15:22 UTC) Details

Lenovo IdeaPad 110-15 15.6-inch

Lenovo 110-15 15.6-inch laptop
The Lenovo IdeaPad 110-15 15.6-inch is another entry level laptop that is more suited to running the classic titles such as Warcraft 3, Command & Conquer Generals, Counter Strike and World of Warcraft. It comes with a lower-tier A6-7310 Quad-Core processor and 4GB of RAM, both of which put up a respectable performance for basic tasks, but heavy multitaskers and those looking to run resource heavy applications should look elsewhere. It is suitable for multimedia purposes such as video streaming, photo viewing (even some basic photo editing), and word processing. It comes with a sufficient amount of storage space of 500GB, but the mechanical hard drive will make boot up times and applications loading times slow when compared to the loading times of the modern SSDs. The battery life is terrible to the say the least, lasting only around 3 hours, meaning that you will need to lug around a power cable if you intend on using it outside of your home or office. The 15.6-inch LED display is 1366 X 768, but most seem happy with the display despite it not being Full-HD.

Pros

  • Good for basic use
  • Decent design
  • Value
  • Plenty of storage space

Cons

  • 3 hour battery life
  • Slow hard drive
  • Not ideal for power users

Specs

  • 15.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixels (IPS)
  • Windows 10 Home
  • 8.5 hours battery life
  • 4.8 lbs

Summary

If you are a on a budget and you are looking for a laptop that gets the basics right, then the Lenovo 110-15 15.6-inch will meet all your needs. But be aware, the 3 hour battery means it will almost always need to plugged in.

Lenovo 110-15 15.6-inch
$276.00$275.98
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from Amazon.com
(as of 16-04-2018 15:25 UTC) Details

ASUS VivoBook X540SA BPD0602V 15.6-inch

ASUS VivoBook X540SA BPD0602V 15.6-inch
While most budget 15.6-inch laptops weigh in at over 5 pounds, the ASUS VivoBook X540SA is noticeably lighter and weighs in at just 4.41 pounds. Its sturdy plastic construction is quite rugged and will easily withstand being carried around on a daily basis. The battery life is also a lot better than some of its competitors and some users have reported run times of over 7 hours off of a full charge. Realistically you can look at 5-6 hours of web browsing or word processing and 3-4 hours while streaming videos. Powered by an Intel Quad Core Pentium N3700 processor and 4GB of RAM, the ASUS VivoBook X540SSA will easily cope with basic tasks at home or at the office. But the installed 4GB of RAM is soldered to the mainboard and you will only be able to install another 4GB RAM module. But 8GB of RAM is more than sufficient for the needs of most basic apps and for the limitations of the Pentium processor. While the processor ranks slightly lower than the one in the HP-15 F222WM, the GPU is slightly better. However this still won’t be powerful enough to run newer games, as even some 2009 releases only run at 6-8 frames per second. If all you are after are some classics such as the original Red Alert, Warcraft 3 and Age of Empires 2, then the HD Graphics Braswell GPU will cope just fine. If browser based games are more your thing, then you will easily be able to enjoy these in your favorite web browser. The display offers impressive image quality for video playback or you can comfortably stream videos at 720p. The superfast USB 3.1 Type-C port allows you to connect to a host of next generation devices and peripherals, which helps in future proofing the ASUS VivoBook X540SA.

Pros

  • Price
  • USB 3.1 Type-C
  • Decent battery life
  • Light

Cons

  • 4GB of onboard RAM can’t be removed
  • Slightly underpowered processor
  • Slight keyboard and display flex
  • Only two full size USB ports

Specs

  • Intel HD Graphics (Braswell) shared [View Framerates]
  • 4GB DDR3L RAM
  • 500GB 5400 RPM HDD
  • 15.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixels (TN)
  • Windows 10 Home
  • 6 hours battery life
  • 4.41 lbs

Summary

The ASUS VivoBook X540SA offers great value for money and even features a USB 3.1 Type-C port. But the Intel Pentium processor is slightly underpowered for more intensive multitasking and you only receive two full size USB ports.

ASUS VivoBook X540SA BPD0602V 15.6-inch
$272.00$268.00
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from Amazon.com
(as of 12-04-2018 08:07 UTC) Details

Acer Aspire ES1-572-31KW 15.6-inch

Acer Aspire ES1-572-31KW 15.6-inch
The cut throat budget laptop market has seen many great laptops being offered by most of the big name brands. Acer is no stranger to the budget market and has been releasing laptops for the budget conscious buyer for a number of years. What you won’t get with the Acer Aspire ES1-572-31KW is a high performance gaming laptop, but you will be able to play some of your favorite classics. The integrated Intel HD Graphics 520 graphics chip will even allow you to play Diablo III and CS: GO on medium graphics settings. With almost a quarter of all Overwatch players using integrated graphics, it comes as no surprise that you will be able to play this fun and fast paced shooter. However, don’t expect to play more demanding titles such as Battlefield 1 or Fallout 4 on this machine, as it’s more suited to the casual gamer. The Acer Aspire ES1-572-31KW is powered by a Skylake-based Intel Core i3-6100U processor and 4GB of RAM, which will cope with basic tasks with ease. But the 4GB of RAM is slightly underpowered with Windows 10 and it will struggle with certain games. Luckily Acer has made it quite easy to access the internal hardware to upgrade the RAM, we recommend at least 8GB of RAM for smoothest performance. The 1TB mechanical hard drive offers ample storage space for installing games, saving photos and even your favorite videos. To cut costs Acer has used a 5400rpm drive, which for day-to-day use is more than acceptable. However, users who are after faster Windows boot and application loading times can easily upgrade the hard drive to either a hybrid or a SATA based solid state drive.

Pros

  • Skylake-based i3 processor
  • Easy to upgrade
  • Ample storage space
  • Price

Cons

  • Only 4GB of RAM
  • Integrated graphics
  • 1366 x 768 pixel display
  • Only one USB 3.0 port

Specs

  • Intel HD Graphics 520 shared [View Framerates]
  • 4GB DDR3L 1600 MHz RAM
  • 1024GB 5400 RPM HDD
  • 15.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixels (TN)
  • Windows 10 Home
  • 6 hours battery life
  • 5.29 lbs

Summary

The Acer Aspire ES1-572-31KW is a budget friendly laptop that can be used by the casual gamer thanks to its Intel i3 processor and its HD Graphics 520 GPU. However, the hardware will not run current AAA gaming titles smoothly and is not suited for hardcore gamers.

Acer Aspire ES1-572-31KW 15.6-inch
$319.99
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from Amazon.com
(as of 26-04-2018 14:38 UTC) Details

 

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Best Refurbished Gaming Laptops Under $300

Lenovo ThinkPad T430 14-inch Refurbished

Lenovo ThinkPad T430 laptop
The refurbished Lenovo ThinkPad T430 is geared towards business use, but there is no reason why it can’t double up as a gaming laptop. For under $300, this certified machine packs enough power to be useful to productivity orientated users. While the parts may be rather old, they are still powerful by today’s standards, with the ThinkPad T430 sporting a Dual Core i5 2.6Ghz processor and 8GB of RAM, which can be further upgraded to 16GB if really necessary. The older NVIDIA NVS 5400M GPU runs newer games on lower settings, but older classic titles should run with ease. Dota 2 and Overwatch fans will have little issues relating to graphics performances on medium settings. The 320GB of storage space is sufficient for most. The hard drive is mechanical 7200 RPM hard drive and not an SSD, however, so one can expect slower loading times and boot times. It has a durable build, but it has quite an outdated look, which some may find unappealing. The anti-glare LED-backlit display is also only 720p, but it is still said to be crisp. Some online reviewers suggested that the display is somewhat dim, however. The keyboard is said to be great overall, and they have used the island-style keyboard that is fitted with a trackpoint.. All-in-all, the refurbished Lenovo ThinkPad T430 offers users a decent overall performance, and older games will run with little difficulties, but newer games will need to be run at lower settings.

Pros

  • Exceptional keyboard
  • Great build quality
  • Reliable performance
  • No frills design

Cons

  • Outdated design style
  • No HDMI port
  • 720p

Specs

  • Intel HD Graphics 4000 Shared [View Framerates]
  • 8GB DDR3 RAM
  • 320GB 7200 RPM HDD
  • 14 inch, 1366 x 768 pixels
  • Windows 10 Pro
  • 10.5 hours battery life
  • 4.78 lbs

Summary

While the Lenovo ThinkPad T430 may look fairly bland, it drives solid a performance, and its 13-hour battery life is great.

Lenovo ThinkPad T430 14-inch Refurbished
$258.99
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from Amazon.com
(as of 26-04-2018 15:20 UTC) Details

HP 15-f387wm 15.6-inch

HP 15-f387wm 15.6-inch
The gaming industry has grown into a multi-billion industry, however, not everyone is interested in playing the latest AAA gaming titles. Some just want to play classic titles or even browser based games. You will be able to play games such as Counter Strike: Go, Diablo III and FIFA 2014, however, this is pretty much pushing the limits of the Radeon R5 graphics card. Thanks to the HP 15-f387wm’s touchscreen display, you can play some of your favorite browser based games without needing to use the laptop’s trackpad. While the Quad Core AMD processor won’t win any awards, it does outperform most of the Intel Celeron and Pentium processors that it competes with. The AMD A8-7410 processor and 4GB of memory will cope with most daily tasks and classic games, however, it will leave this laptop feeling sluggish when using more intensive applications. While you can run the extremely popular Google Chrome browser on the HP 15-f387wm, we do recommend upgrading the memory to at least 8GB as Chrome is extremely resource hungry. You get 500GB of storage space, however, the HP 15-f387wm uses a slower 5400rpm storage drive which will mean slower boot times and will mean that applications will take longer to launch. You also will not get a Full-HD display as these are generally reserved for more expensive laptops. Instead you get a standard entry-level display which will still allow you to enjoy your favorite movies and series in 720p. The HP 15-f387wm is a Certified Refurbished product and comes with a 90 day warranty.

Pros

  • Quad Core processor
  • Decent amount of storage
  • Touchscreen display
  • VGA webcam

Cons

  • Integrated graphics
  • Not for hardcore gamers
  • Only 4GB of RAM
  • Slower storage drive

Specs

  • AMD Radeon R5 (Beema/Carrizo-L) Shared [View Framerates]
  • 4GB DDR3L RAM
  • 500GB 5400 RPM HDD
  • 15.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixels (TN)
  • Windows 10 Home
  • 6 hours battery life
  • 5.67 lbs

Summary

The HP 15-f387wm has been refurbished for a new lease of life and will allow you to play some of your favorite classic or browser based games.

HP 15-f387wm 15.6-inch
$269.00
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from Amazon.com
(as of 20-03-2018 07:07 UTC) Details

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