10 Best Gaming Laptops under $1200 – 2017

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If you’re looking to buy a new high-end gaming laptop, then you better be prepared with at least $1200. I know for such price you can quickly build your customized high-end desktop PC, but not everyone wants to be at their home while playing games. Professional gamers have to travel frequently to cafes and different cities for tournaments and competitions. Anyways, if you’re ready to purchase a gaming laptop under $1200, then we have plenty of high-end options for you. These machines can handle top-notch games like GTA 5, Payday 2, Hotline Miami, Sleeping Dogs, etc. I know you can also find some decent laptops for under $1000, but you won’t believe how much you’re missing because of $200. Back to the topic, these devices are equipped with Intel Core i7 processor, great GPU, high-speed Memory and at least 15-inch display. If you’re low on budget, then you can also check our guides for best gaming laptops under $500 and $800. In this article, you’ll see machines from well-known laptop brands like ASUS ROG, Alienware, MSI, Dell, Lenovo, etc.

What to expect from a gaming laptop under $1200?

One thing I made sure is that all of them include a graphics card from NVIDIA that will help you run your games and programs with ease. I know any desktop for such price will offer a lot more power and speed, but it won’t provide portability, and you surely won’t be able to carry it around while you’re out. Anyways, these days some notebooks can compete with desktops and these kinds of gaming laptops can easily handle some of the most popular games like Batman: Arkham Knight, COD Infinite Warfare, Battlefield 4, Starcraft 2, Assassins Creed, etc. Processors included in these machines will be at least 2.5 GHz and Memory will be at least 8 GB. Battery life is usually an issue in most of the gaming laptops but we have tried to avoid those kinds of notebooks on our list. Also remember, investing in a gaming laptop might not be always a smart choice so if you want to lower your budget a little then we also have a guide of gaming laptops under $1000.

Our Top Picks for Best Gaming Laptops under $1200 in 2017

1. Asus ROG Strix GL702VM-DB71

Asus ROG Strix GL702VM-DB71

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The Asus ROG Strix GL702VM-DB71 sports an attractive look and is one of the thinnest and lightest gaming laptops under $1200. Usually, lightweight design and gaming laptops don’t go well together, but this one is totally an exception. One can buy this laptop from ASUS ROG series in two different sizes, and we recommend a 17-inch model, but if you’d like to have a compact version of 15-inch, then that’s also a good choice. Powered by an Intel Core i7-6700HQ 2.6 GHz processor, NVIDIA GTX 1060 GPU, 16 GB of DDR4 RAM and 1 TB HDD. You can also choose a laptop with an additional 256 GB SSD, but that will cost you extra $200. It’s extremely travel-friendly device, and it’s not only for gamers but also for video editors, graphics designers, and animators. It comes with a four-cell Li-ion battery which should last for 3 to 4 hours while playing a game or watching HD movies. Unlike most of the budget gaming laptops, you don’t have to worry about the heating issue as it packs three cooling fans within the device. Overall, it’s a perfect choice for an affordable gaming laptop, and less than 1-inch thick design is unbelievable.

  • Intel Core i7-6700HQ 2.6 GHz Processor
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM
  • 1TB 7200rpm HDD
  • NVIDIA GTX 1060 6GB Graphics card

2. MSI GE62 Apache Pro-014

MSI GE62 Apache Pro-014

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MSI’s laptops are defined as the most robust and reliable gaming laptops that are capable of handling almost any kinds of games. The MSI GE62 Apache Pro-014 is known for out of the box design and for being good value for money. It features powerful hardware including Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor, 16 GB of RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M GPU and 1 TB HDD plus 128 GB SSD. It comes with pre-installed Windows 10, and you will get the lifetime of updates for free from Microsoft. When it comes to benchmarks, it simply tops while playing games like World of Warcraft, The Sims 4, Minecraft, CS: GO, etc. So for all the gamers out there looking for a new budget gaming laptop under $1200, here’s your chance and you will hardly find something like this for such price-point. It undoubtedly offers the best value for money and other than gamers, we also recommend it to writers, coders, developers, etc. Overall, with 15-inch of full HD eDP display and a full color backlit keyboard, it beats all the affordable gaming laptops and is truly among most recommended gaming notebooks.

  • Intel Core i7-6700HQ Quad Core Processor
  • 16GB (8GB x2) DDR4 RAM
  • 128GB SSD
  • 1 TB HDD
  • NVIDIA Geforce GTX960M 2G GDDR5 GPU

3. Alienware AW13R2-8344SLV

Alienware AW13R2-8344SLV

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The Alienware AW13R2-8344SLV is one of the best-selling gaming laptops in 2017, and it will cost you around $40 more than $1200. I know this guide is all about best gaming laptops under $1200, but I figured $40 shouldn’t be a big deal for gamers, and they can’t afford to miss a deal such as this. Alienware certainly is the favorite laptop brand of more than 90% of players worldwide. Although the device doesn’t include an optical drive, it packs all the required ports and these days most of the gamers prefer downloading games online rather than installing offline. It packs a 13-inch WQXGA touch screen display with 3200 x 1800 resolution, Intel Dual Core i7-6500U processor, 16 GB DDR3L SDRAM, 8 GB SSD plus 500 GB HDD and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M GPU. In case you’re confused about its design, it features a conventional Alienware design and other than its size there’s no difference between high-end Alienware laptops and this one. All in all, this affordable gaming PC was specially designed for gamers who can sacrifice on screen size and still want an Alienware device.

  • Intel Dual Core i7-6500U 2.5 GHz Processor
  • 16 GB DDR3L SDRAM
  • 256 GB SSD Storage
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M

4. ASUS ROG GL752VW-DH74

ASUS ROG GL752VW-DH74

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ASUS ROG is known for their line of high-end gaming laptops that are popular among casual and budget gamers. So if you are someone who needs a powerful gaming PC with specifications like 6th Generation Intel Core i7-6700HQ, 16 GB DDR4 RAM, 1 TB HDD plus 128 GB SSD and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M GPU then the ASUS ROG GL752VW-DH74 is an excellent choice for under $1200. The 17-inch machine also features a GameFirst 3 technology as well as perfectly spaced keys for gamers. Like most of the gaming machines, this one can also be used for multi-tasking and to run programs like Adobe Photoshop, Sony Vegas Pro and much more. For under $1200, you’re getting a PC with incredible looks, latest hardware, super-fast performance and two years of warranty. Unlike MSI, ASUS ROG keyboards only have a single color light which is ASUS ROG’s color, red. Overall, its sleek design, stylish keyboard, and vivid display make it a great option for gamers who need an affordable gaming laptop.

  • Intel Core i7-6700HQ Quad Core Processor
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM
  • 128GB SSD
  • 1 TB HDD
  • NVIDIA Geforce GTX960M 4 GB GPU

5. HP Pavilion 17 Touch Gaming Laptop

HP Pavilion 17 Touch Gaming Laptop

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The HP Pavilion 17 is a custom built gaming laptop by Computer Upgrade King for those who want all the latest hardware at an affordable price. This particular machine will cost you exactly $1200, and it comes with 17-inch full HD IPS display and Intel Core i7-6700HQ which is currently the best processor in the market for gaming. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M GPU offers the benchmarks that are required by most of the newer games and with 16 GB of DDR4 RAM, there’s no game on earth that this laptop can’t run. Other than games, its hardware can handle tasks like video editing, music production, game development and animation. With five stars rating on Amazon and almost 100% of positive reviews, this laptop is certainly a good option to consider while looking at affordable gaming laptops under $1200. Since it’s a custom built notebook, you can’t compare it with laptops from MSI, ASUS ROG, and Alienware. This PC is truly a great value for money and comes with everything that you might expect from a branded machine including pre-installed Windows 10 OS.

  • Intel Core i7-6700HQ Quad Core Processor
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM
  • 128GB SSD
  • 1 TB HDD
  • NVIDIA Geforce GTX960M 4 GB GDDR5 GPU

6. Alienware AW15R3-0012SLV

Alienware AW15R3-0012SLV

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The AW15R3-0012SLV is another one of the best gaming laptops under $1200 from Alienware. However, this 15-inch notebook has pretty mixed up reviews due to its 6th generation Intel Core i5-6400 processor. I understand most of the gamers desire an i7 processor but since your budget is limited you have to sacrifice at some point, and with this machine, you will be getting an i5 processor. Budget users mostly care about the specifications and other than processor it packs everything top-notch like NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 GPU, 1 TB HDD and 8 GB DDR4 Memory. It comes with a full HD IPS display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels which is pretty less considering it’s an Alienware gaming machine. While we were testing it, we found some pros like a responsive touchpad, light keyboard, no heating issues, brilliant display and long-lasting battery life. Overall, it’s an affordable and reliable option for not only gamers but also for college students and programmers.

  • Intel Core i5-6300 3.2 GHz Processor
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 with 6GB GDDR5 Graphics Memory
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM
  • 1 TB HDD

7. Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro Black Edition

Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro Black

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Acer might not be a favorite brand among gamers, but the Acer V 15 is surely a laptop to look at while considering a gaming notebook under $1200. It’s mostly used by power users like businesspeople, college students, developers, etc. and I don’t see why gamers shouldn’t use it. It’s powered by Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor, 15-inch IPS full HD display, 1 TB HDD, NVIDIA GeForce 960M GPU, 256 GB SSD and 16 GB DDR4 RAM. It boots up pretty quickly thanks to its fast CPU and SSD. It boasts a design that includes DustDefender which blocks all the dust from getting inside the machine. Its touchpad has some minor issues, but I don’t think that’s a problem for gamers as you guys will be using your favorite mouse. Another great thing for gamers is that it comes with a backlit keyboard that glows red in dark rooms and unlike its touchpad, the keyboard is very comfortable and spacious. It might not be a gaming laptop, but it’s equally good as any other gaming notebook in this guide.

  • Intel Core i7-6700HQ Processor
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M with 4GB GDDR5 VRAM
  • 16GB DDR4 Memory
  • 256GB SSD
  • 1TB Hard Drive

8. MSI GE62 Apache Pro-004

MSI GE62 Apache Pro-004

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MSI might not always be into manufacturing laptops that are good value for money, but if you look into gaming laptops under $1200 deeply, you can surely find a gem like this one. It’s yet another one of the best notebooks that come with impressive specifications like Intel Quad Core i7-6700HQ processor, 16 GB DDR4 RAM, 1 TB HDD and NVIDIA GTX 960M GPU. If you look at the build quality of this particular machine, you will notice it’s extremely tough, and it can take more than normal wears and tears. Anyways, it has its fair of issues like dull trackpad but nothing serious. If you compare it with Asus GL552VW-DH74, both of them have a great design, but in the end, MSI offers better specifications for the price. It boasts Dynaudio high fidelity speakers that are ideal for delivering loud sound and amazing bass. It also has a Cooler Boost 3 feature which will keep the device cool for hours and also a SteelSeries gaming keyboard that’s accurate and fast. This is an ideal gaming laptop for gamers who want a laptop for all their games, programs and multi-tasking.

  • Intel Core Core i7-6700HQ Quad Core Processor
  • 16 GB RAM
  • 1 TB HDD
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M 2 GB GDDR5 GPU

9. HP Pavilion 17t

HP Pavilion 17t

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When it comes to gaming laptops, people don’t usually prefer going with HP Pavilion as these machines are built for day to day tasks. However, the HP Pavilion 17t is an exception, and it’s a great PC for playing high-end titles. If you compare the HP Pavilion 17t with others on this list, you will notice that it is slightly better when it comes to specifications since it comes with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 4 GB GPU, 7th generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor with 4 cores, 16 GB DDR4 SDRAM, 128 GB SSD plus 1 TB 7200rpm HDD and a full-size backlit keyboard. It boasts every single thing that you might ask for in a gaming laptop including a SuperMulti DVD drive which is rarely found in laptops these days. Its silver color keyboard with black surroundings matches perfectly with the device. It’s also recommended for business users, video editors, and college students. It’s an all-rounder, and any user can take advantage of its power for such nominal price.

  • 6th Gen Intel Core i7-7700HQ
  • 4GB GDDR5 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050
  • 16GB DDR4-2133 SDRAM
  • 1 TB HDD
  • 128 GB SSD

10. Lenovo Y700

Lenovo Y700

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Lenovo is not far behind when it comes to manufacturing gaming laptops, and the Lenovo Y700 is a perfect mixture of power and portability. Built using the latest and powerful 6th generation Intel Quad Core i7 processor and 16 GB DDR3L SDRAM, it’s able to perform like never before. Its sporty look is yet another reason to consider it, and it also comes with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M GPU that will easily handle your favorite games. When it comes to storage space, you have the option to choose between 1 TB HDD or 256 GB SSD. Well, if it were me, I would choose SSD for better performance and quick booting. For storing games, one can use an external hard drive, and you can easily carry it around in your laptop bag. It packs enough power to handle all your demanding tasks and a battery life that can effortlessly last for up to 5 hours. It includes speakers from JBL and also surrounding system from Dolby. Although it is specially made for gamers, it can also be used by business and multimedia users.

  • 6th Generation Intel Core i7 processor
  • 16 GB DDR3L SDRAM
  • 1 TB HDD
  • NVIDIA GeForce 960M

So these are our recommendations for best gaming laptops under $1200, and you must select the one that suits you. They all have powerful GPU and processor to handle the latest games you will be playing on it. Also note, that SSD is always an optional and you play most of your games pretty smoothly without it. Most of the budget gaming notebooks in this list have almost similar specifications and I believe it’s all about the brands. It’s important to go with a laptop brand that you like as they all have their own unique features that you’ll be using while playing your games.

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