For the longest time, there was a stereotype that gaming on laptops is expensive. That stereotype has been proven wrong, these days you can get an entry-level gaming machine for under $400.
|1.||Lenovo IdeaPad S145||Intel Pentium Gold 5405U||Intel UHD Graphics 610||16GB DDR4||512GB SSD||Check Price|
|2.||HP Ryzen 3||AMD Ryzen 3 3200U||AMD Radeon Vega 3 Graphics||20GB DDR4||128GB SSD||Check Price|
|3.||Acer Aspire E 15||Intel Core i3 3-8130U||Intel UHD Graphics 620||6GB DDR4||1TB HDD||Check Price|
|4.||Lenovo IdeaPad 130||AMD A9-9425||AMD Radeon R5||16GB DDR4||512GB SSD||Check Price|
|5.||Lenovo IdeaPad S145||AMD A6-9225||AMD Radeon R4||16GB DDR4||256GB SSD||Check Price|
|6.||Acer Aspire 14||AMD A9-9420e||AMD Radeon R5||16GB DDR4||256GB SSD||Check Price|
|7.||Acer Aspire 5||AMD Ryzen 3 3200U||AMD Radeon Vega 3 Graphics||4GB DDR4||128GB SSD||Check Price|
|8.||ASUS VivoBook 15||Intel i3-8145U||Intel UHD Graphics 620||8GB DDR4||128GB SSD||Check Price|
|9.||HP 2019 Premium||AMD A6-9225||AMD Radeon R4||8GB DDR4||1TB HDD||Check Price|
|10.||Lenovo IdeaPad Premium||AMD A9-9425||AMD Radeon R5||8GB DDR4||1TB HDD||Check Price|
|11.||2019 ASUS VivoBook||AMD A12-9720P||AMD Radeon R7||4GB DDR4||15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080)||Check Price|
- Top 11 Gaming Laptops for Less than $400
- 1. Lenovo IdeaPad S145 (Editor’s Top Pick – Can play some entry level games at around 30 FPS)
- 2. HP Ryzen 3 (Second Choice – a good option for low level gaming)
- 3. Acer Aspire E 15
- 4. Lenovo IdeaPad 130
- 5. Lenovo IdeaPad S145
- 6. Acer Aspire 14”
- 7. Acer Aspire 5
- 8. ASUS VivoBook 15
- 9. HP 2019 Premium
- 10. Lenovo IdeaPad Premium
- 11. 2019 ASUS VivoBook
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Top 11 Gaming Laptops for Less than $400
Of course, these machines will not be able to run modern AAA titles, but these laptops will definitely allow you to play light games at a nice 30-40 FPS. Here is the GizmoFusion list of the top eleven gaming laptops at this budget price point.
1. Lenovo IdeaPad S145 (Editor’s Top Pick – Can play some entry level games at around 30 FPS)
CPU: Intel Pentium Gold 5405U | GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 610 | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Screen: 15.6-inch HD (1366 x 768) | Storage: 512GB SSD | Battery: Around 3-4 hours | Dimensions: 12.8 x 9.2 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 4.08 lbs
Nice amount of RAM
Lots of SSD storage
CPU isn’t great
Short battery life
Lenovo makes many laptops, from expensive workstation machines to budget laptops like this one. This is the first laptop on our list, the Lenovo IdeaPad S145.
The machine houses an Intel Pentium Gold CPU, a dual-core CPU suited for entry-level processing tasks and no more than that. In this price range, it is hard to find a great CPU, but this will still do the trick.
The CPU has an integrated Intel UHD Graphics 610 chip, this can handle some entry-level gaming. Games like Minecraft, CSGO, and Dirt Rally will run at around 30 FPS on the lowest settings.
The memory on this PC is great as 16 gigabytes of DDR4 high-speed memory is a lot. Lots of RAM means that multitasking is easier, you can have Adobe Photoshop open while watching a video on Chrome. Also, RAM helps a lot with file transfers, meaning that the CPU has to work much less, and since we have an entry-level CPU, the RAM helps very much to take stress off of the processor.
Storage on this laptop is also great coming in at 512 gigabytes of SSD storage. It is enough storage for all your files, games, and programs it will last you for a long time. It is SSD storage, meaning that file transfers and boot times are much faster than on traditional hard disk drives.
Something to note about this price range is that the laptop displays are usually 768p instead of 1080p. The HD displays will appear blurry compared to FHD displays, but it is still HD quality and the content on the screen will be easily readable.
The battery life on this laptop is also lackluster, coming in at only around 3-4 hours, but these are compromises to be made. The laptop has a decent GPU, RAM, and storage and will be a great, long-lasting, reliable machine for both gaming and productivity.
To get the absolute best performance out of this or any other gaming laptop on this list, I suggest you read these 18 tips on how to optimize a gaming laptop. These tips will help you squeeze the best performance possible.
2. HP Ryzen 3 (Second Choice – a good option for low level gaming)
CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 3200U | GPU: AMD Radeon Vega 3 Graphics | RAM: 20GB DDR4 | Screen: 15.6-inch HD (1366 x 768) Touchscreen | Storage: 128GB SSD | Battery: Around 3-4 hours | Dimensions: 12.8 x 8.9 x 0.8 inches | Weight: 3.25 lbs
Tons of RAM
Short battery life
This HP laptop houses a Ryzen 3 dual-core processor for simple tasks like browsing the web and navigating the operating system. The processor integrates AMD Radeon Vega 3 Graphics chip which won’t be able to run AAA titles at all, however, it can run low-end games such as Minecraft, League of Legends, CSGO, Fortnite, and others.
The laptop has a huge amount of RAM, a whopping 20GB of memory. This amount of RAM does help lots with multitasking and increases productivity a ton. It helps with many file transfers and takes stress off of the CPU.
Speaking of file transfers, the laptop has a fast SSD for storage for fast boot times and quick read and write speeds. It only has 128 gigabytes of it though, this amount of storage will run out fairly quickly, but it will still last a while and serve you well with its speeds.
The laptop has an average 768p display which adds convenience. The battery life on this laptop is also an average of 3-4 hours.
The laptop also has all the ports you need, including an Ethernet jack. The laptop also has a sleek silver design which is pleasing to the eye, although it is a bit bulky. Generally, this laptop is great for light gaming and multitasking, especially with the amount of RAM it has.
3. Acer Aspire E 15
CPU: Intel Core i3 3-8130U | GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 6GB DDR4 | Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) | Storage: 1TB HDD | Battery: Around 9-10 hours | Dimensions: 14.9 x 9.8 x 0.9 inches | Weight: 4.41 lbs
Lots of storage
Great battery life
Only 6 gigabytes of RAM
HDD boot-up times are slow
This Acer laptop has a nice Intel Core i3 for tasks that require a little CPU power. It’s better than most processors on this list and it integrates Intel UHD Graphics 620 which is more than capable of running low-end games such as FIFA and Minecraft at low settings at around 30-50 FPS.
The laptop has 6GB of RAM. 8GB is the standard, even for this price range, however, 6GB will make only a small difference. The RAM will still be enough for some multitasking and taking stress off of the CPU.
The laptop has a huge 1TB hard drive. Sure it isn’t an SSD, but HDD are much cheaper, allowing for much more storage. A whole terabyte will last you for a very long time. It can fit tons of files, programs, and games that you can store without worrying about running out of storage. Just keep in mind that boot times for the laptop will be much longer, reaching over a minute sometimes.
Another remarkable thing about this great laptop is the great display it has. As was mentioned before, most laptops at this price range are 768p. However, this laptop has a full HD 1080p display. Images will appear crisp without any blur.
The laptop has all of the connectivity that you need, including an ethernet port and a disc drive. It has an all-black design with a textured cover.
The battery life on this laptop is also great at 9-10 hours of work time. That is exceptional, you can work and game on the laptop on long trips or just generally for a long time without recharging which is very convenient.
Generally, this laptop is terrific and reliable. It has great specs for gaming, a great display, and storage to last for years.
4. Lenovo IdeaPad 130
CPU: AMD A9-9425 | GPU: AMD Radeon R5 | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Screen: 15.6-inch HD (1366 x 768) | Storage: 512GB SSD | Battery: Around 3-4 hours | Dimensions: 14.8 x 10 x 4.6 inches | Weight: 5.71 lbs
Tons of RAM
Huge SSD storage
Short battery life
A little on the heavier side
This Lenovo laptop houses a dual-core AMD A9 processor, it’s a low to mid-range processor for tasks that require some processor power. It has AMD Radeon R5 graphics. The laptop can run games such as FIFA and Rocket League at very low settings at around 30 FPS, as with all of these laptops, it can run light and old games at a decent framerate.
The laptop has enough memory for literally anything possible, 16GB is huge. You can multitask without any slowdowns, and switch between apps seamlessly and quickly. The RAM works well for quick data access and generally improves the performance and productivity of the machine.
The laptop also has great storage. Not only is it half a terabyte (512GB), it is also SSD storage. The drive combines spacy storage while keeping it fast. Boot times will be quick, and file transfers will be speedy.
The display on this laptop is a regular 768p HD display, as most laptops in this price range.
It has lots of connectivity, including jacks for HDMI, headphones, and ethernet. It also includes a disc drive to allow you to watch movies.
It has a simple grey design for an understatement effect. Also, the battery life on this laptop is OK, coming in at around 4 hours. It would be nice to see a battery life longer, but it is one of the compromises to be made.
Overall, the machine is very reliable. The laptop has nice specs for light gaming and has huge amounts of RAM. It also has fast, spacious storage that will last you for a long time.
5. Lenovo IdeaPad S145
CPU: AMD A6-9225 | GPU: AMD Radeon R4 | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Screen: 15.6-inch HD (1366 x 768) | Storage: 256GB SSD | Battery: Around 4-5 hours | Dimensions: 9.9 x 14.3 x 0.8 inches | Weight: 4.08 lbs
Lots of RAM
Average battery life
Screen colors are weak
Windows S Mode
Note: the number one laptop on this list is also called the Lenovo IdeaPad S145, but this is an older model of it.
The Lenovo IdeaPad S145 is a nice laptop that can be used for some light gaming. It includes an AMD A6 processor for simple tasks that require processing power. Coupled with it is AMD Radeon R4 graphics.
The graphics processing unit can only play very old, or simple games at low settings. Some of those titles include Sims 4, FIFA, and Dirt Rally. It can reach up to 30-40 FPS in those games, which is nice and smooth.
The laptop includes a hefty 16GB of RAM for easy multitasking. It’s nice to find a large amount of RAM on a laptop in this price range, as multitasking is very important for every laptop. The amount of RAM also takes some stress off of the CPU, which this processor really needs.
The laptop has 256GB of SSD storage. A nice amount of storage coupled with the speed of the SSD makes for fast storage which will last for a while. With SSDs file transfer speeds are high, and boot times are fast.
The laptop has an average HD 768p display for viewing content at a decent resolution. The battery on this laptop is also nothing to write home about, coming in at an average of 5 hours. It isn’t bad, but it’s not anything that stands out.
The laptop has lots of connectivity, however, it does not have an optical drive or ethernet port.
The laptop comes out of the box with Windows S Mode, meaning that you can only use apps from the Microsoft Store and use Microsoft Edge for browsing the internet. You have to pay to upgrade to regular Windows 10 OS.
In itself, it is a pretty basic laptop with no extras. Other than that, the laptop is a nice machine for gaming and productivity because of the RAM and storage.
6. Acer Aspire 14”
CPU: AMD A9-9420e | GPU: AMD Radeon R5 | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Screen: 14-inch HD (1366 x 768) | Storage: 256GB SSD | Battery: Around 3-5 hours | Dimensions: 18.7 x 12.1 x 2.6 inches | Weight: 5.3 lbs
Lots of RAM
Short battery life
A little bit heavier than other laptops
This Acer Aspire laptop has some great specs that make it a great light gaming machine. It has an AMD A9 processor for tasks that require a little CPU power to be done. As with all of these laptops, it is a dual-core and has integrated graphics.
For this GPU it’s the AMD Radeon R5 which has been seen before on this list. AMD Radeon R5 is a nice graphics chip for light gaming at 30 FPS on older game titles and will serve you well when you lower the graphics settings to low.
The laptop has a huge 16GB of RAM for advanced multitasking and easy data access. As with every laptop with 16GB of RAM, it takes the stress off of the CPU, and any dual-core CPU needs the most help it can get.
The storage on the laptop is a great 256GB of SSD storage. As with all of these laptops, 256 gigabytes will last for a long while and is very fast because of the SSD.
File transfers will be very quick on the SSD, and the boot times will be much faster than regular HDDs. There is no underestimating an SSD as it greatly improves the experience of a laptop.
The laptop has a 768p display for viewing of HD content on the screen. Keep in mind that the display is 14 inches instead of the regular 15.6 inches that laptops have.
The battery life on this laptop is average, reaching 5 hours sometimes, but with gaming, it will stay around 3 hours.
The PC has an all-black design with a plastic brushed aluminum textured frame around the keyboard for a sharp look.
Overall, the machine is a nice reliable machine for both gaming and productivity. It has nice specs for light gaming and lots of RAM and storage for all your productivity.
7. Acer Aspire 5
CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 3200U | GPU: AMD Radeon Vega 3 Graphics | RAM: 4GB DDR4 | Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS | Storage: 128GB SSD | Battery: Around 2-3 hours | Dimensions:14.3 x 9.7 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 3.97 lbs
Short battery life
This is another great Acer laptop with specs suitable for some smooth and reliable light gaming. The laptop houses a great AMD Ryzen 3 CPU for processes that require some CPU heavy tasks. The CPU is better than some others on this list and is a very reliable CPU.
The laptop also includes AMD Vega 3 graphics. With all of the graphics chips on this list, you can game on low settings on some light or older game titles. Some of them include Fortnite, Dirt Rally, FIFA, and similar titles reaching 30-40 FPS in some cases.
The laptop falls behind in the memory department with only 4GB of RAM. If you plan on getting this laptop it is recommended to buy an extra 4GB, as 4GB is not much. Multitasking might be a little bit harder than usual. More stress is also put on the CPU because of the lack of RAM. It is one of the compromises to be made.
The second compromise is the storage. While it is fast SSD storage, it is to be noted that there are only 128GB of it. That amount of storage will fill up in a couple of months since games are taking up a hefty amount of storage. It is another compromise to be made for the display that the laptop has.
The display is the star of the show. A full HD resolution 1080p display with an IPS panel. The display will produce high-quality crisp images, and the IPS panel allows for brighter, more accurate, and more vivid colors and most importantly improves viewing angles. When the display is looked at from the side the colors are retained rather looking washed out.
It does attract fingerprints, though. This is where all the compromises add up to this exceptional display.
The battery life on this laptop is horrific as it only reaches up to 3 hours. It is advertised as 7.5 hours, however, that is greatly overestimated.
Overall, the laptop is very reliable and aesthetically pleasing. It is a thin laptop with a silver design. The laptop has a backlit keyboard for dark spaces.
The speakers are on the bottom of the laptop, making it difficult to hear videos when on a surface.
The laptop has nice specs for light gaming and a brilliant display for productivity, however, it lacks in the amount of RAM and storage it has. It also is very eye-catching, as the design looks very sharp.
8. ASUS VivoBook 15
CPU: Intel i3-8145U | GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB DDR4 | Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) | Storage: 128GB SSD | Battery: Around 5-6 hours | Dimensions: 14.1 x 9.1 x 0.8 inches | Weight: 3.75 lbs
Long battery life
Average amount of RAM
The Asus Vivobook 15 is a beautiful, lightweight laptop with an Intel Core i3 which can handle some CPU intensive tasks. It is a great CPU for this price range and works great.
It integrates Intel UHD Graphics 620 which is a nice graphics chip that can run many older games such as CSGO at around 40-50 FPS which is great.
The RAM this laptop has is average, coming in at 8GB. It is an adequate amount for multitasking and generally is acceptable. It isn’t a huge amount like 16GB, however, it still works great at helping the CPU by taking stress off of it.
The laptop has a small SSD, coming in at only 128GB. It is not a lot, and will fill up in only a couple of months in many cases. It is still an SSD, meaning that the read/write speeds are high and boot times are low.
128GB is just not enough for long term usage of the laptop. It is recommended to have at least 256GB. A solution to this problem would be to try to upgrade the storage yourself or hire someone to do it.
The display, however, is superb. A 1080p display which produces crisp, high-resolution images. 1080p displays are uncommon at this price range with this laptop’s specs, so this is very good.
The battery life on this laptop is also great, coming in at around 6 hours of work time. The laptop has a thin, sleek, and sharp design that is pleasing to the eye.
It has a fingerprint scanner for easy unlocking. The speakers on this machine are poor. They’re quiet, vibrate a lot, and just overall sound blown out.
However, the laptop is a nice and reliable machine. It has a nice CPU and GPU combo for light gaming and a great display. It also has a long-lasting battery for long periods of working/gaming. If you don’t mind sacrificing memory and storage to have a wonderful display, this laptop is for you.
9. HP 2019 Premium
CPU: AMD A6-9225 | GPU: AMD Radeon R4 | RAM: 8GB DDR4 | Screen: 15.6-inch HD (1366 x 768) | Storage: 1TB HDD | Battery: Around 3-4 hours | Dimensions: 14.8 x 9.7 x 0.9 inches | Weight: 4.41 lbs
Lots of storage
Short battery life
Average amount of RAM
This is an HP laptop that has some nice specs for light gaming and productivity work because of the AMD A6 CPU which can handle some light CPU dependent tasks. It has an AMD Radeon R4 graphics chip that can run older games in the 30-40 range of FPS. It’s a nice chip that can definitely run lighter games at a playable framerate, even considering its age.
The laptop has an adequate 8GB of RAM for some multitasking. 8GB is the minimum that a laptop should have to be useful for multitasking, and the laptop does reach it. It would be nice to have more, though.
However, the laptop has lots of storage, a whole terabyte of hard disk drive storage in fact. A whole terabyte will last you for years. It can fit all of your games, programs, and files. Yes, it is hard drive storage instead of an SSD, meaning that it will run slower, but if you need lots of storage for a cheaper price, HDD storage is the way to go.
The display is a regular and average HD 768p screen, just like most laptops in this price range.
The battery life on the laptop is not great, only reaching around 4 hours. It has a plain black design and lots of connectivity including a disc drive. It generally is very basic with no extras at all.
Overall, the laptop is a nice, high quality, “bare-bones” machine for light gaming and some productivity.
10. Lenovo IdeaPad Premium
CPU: AMD A9-9425 | GPU: AMD Radeon R5 | RAM: 8GB DDR4 | Screen: 15.6-inch HD (1366 x 768) | Storage: 1TB HDD | Battery: Around 2-3 hours | Dimensions: 14.8 x 10 x 0.9 inches | Weight: 4.41 lbs
Lots of storage
Average amount of RAM
Short battery life
This is another Lenovo laptop on this list, it has the typical A9-9425 CPU. It’s a good CPU that’s suitable for light tasks that require processor power. It integrates the AMD Radeon R5, a great GPU for light gaming around 30-40 FPS. It’s a capable GPU that can easily run older games at a playable framerate.
The laptop also includes an average 8GB of DDR4 RAM. As mentioned before, it’s enough for some multitasking and helps the CPU with processing data and files, therefore improving the laptop’s performance. It would be great to have more than 8GB, though. Luckily, the RAM is upgradeable.
The laptop has a spacy 1TB HDD, that is a huge amount of storage for everything you want to store, and it will last you for a very long time, potentially years. It isn’t fast SSD storage, so file transfers and boot times won’t be as quick as with a solid-state drive, however, if you value capacity over speed, this is better.
The laptop has a regular 1366 x 768 HD display and a horrible 3-hour battery life. As the laptop above, it is also very basic. A grey design with no extras, and nothing much to write home about.
The laptop is great for light gaming with its CPU and GPU and great with the 1TB storage. It lacks in the RAM and battery life departments.
11. 2019 ASUS VivoBook
CPU: AMD A12-9720P | GPU: AMD Radeon R7 | RAM: 4GB DDR4 | Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) | Storage: 128GB SSD | Battery: Around 4-5 hours | Dimensions: 14.2 x 10.1 x 0.8 inches | Weight: 5.52 lbs
This ASUS VivoBook is a great laptop that has some eye-catching details worth discussing. It has a quad-core processor, which is very rare for this price range.
It is the AMD A12 CPU that can handle many tasks that require some light-medium processing power. It has a great AMD Radeon R7 GPU for gaming on some older games at 30-40 FPS. This is a powerful combination for gaming, and will definitely work great.
The RAM, however, is not great, it only has 4GB of DDR4 memory, which doesn’t help with multitasking. When trying to multitask, the RAM will run out and the processor will be utilized for this. However, the RAM is upgradeable, so if you plan to customize the computer, this would be one thing to keep in mind.
Something else to keep in mind is the storage. Yes, it is an SSD, so it will work fast. More importantly, though, it only has 128 gigabytes of SSD storage. It is not enough if you want to store many games and files. This is another thing that is upgradeable on this laptop, though.
The laptop also has a great display, a 1080p display in this price range is rare, and it improves the experience of the laptop by a lot. It has a textured silver lid with a black outline and a black keyboard. It looks great and works great too.
The laptop also has some decent battery life, at 5 hours. Overall, the laptop is great for light gaming and has a great display, but it doesn’t have great RAM and storage.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is a $400 laptop worth it?
$400 won’t get you a top-of-the-line gaming laptop. But on a tighter budget, you can still enjoy gaming with a $400 laptop. As long as you get the best specs possible, a $400 laptop is worth it.
Why are gaming laptops expensive?
Gaming laptops are expensive because you are paying for the portability, compact packaging, custom-designed motherboards, and cooling solutions, and the research and development that goes into making it all work well despite space constraints. They are expensive because you’re paying for the convenience of taking powerful performance with you everywhere.
What is the best laptop for gaming under 500?
If you can stretch your budget another 100 dollars then I suggest you read our reviews of the best gaming laptops under 500 bucks here. You will find reviews of all the best options at that price.
If you have not found a $400 gaming computer that you like the sound of on this list, check out many more gaming laptops reviews here.
James Cosgrove has been the lead writer at GizmoFusion since 2019. He has a huge passion for the latest technology and gadgets. He loves to talk and write about this interest. He hopes that visitors to the website will find his reports informative and helpful when it comes to making the best choices for their needs.