For the longest time, there was a stereotype that gaming on laptops was expensive. That is no longer true as these days you can get an entry-level gaming machine for under $400 for playing basic and older games.
Just as game-ready consoles can be sold for $400, so can laptops. Of course, these machines will not be able to run modern AAA titles – think your Call of Duty or Battlefield, but these gaming laptops will definitely allow you to play light games like Minecraft, older retro games like Super Mario or e-sports games like CSGO at a nice 30-40 FPS. A $400 gaming laptop is about the cheapest you can go for a reasonable experience.
- Best Gaming Laptops Under 400 Dollars [Quick Summary]
- 1. Lenovo IdeaPad S145 (Best Gaming Laptop Under $400 – 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)
Best Gaming Laptops Under 400 Dollars [Quick Summary]
|Lenovo IdeaPad S145|
Best Slim Laptop
|HP Ryzen 3|
|Acer Aspire E 15|
Best for Students
|Lenovo IdeaPad 130|
Best Battery Life
|Lenovo IdeaPad S145|
|Acer Aspire 14|
Best Slim Laptop
|Acer Aspire 5|
Best Battery Life
|ASUS VivoBook 15|
Best for Students
|HP 2019 Premium|
|Lenovo IdeaPad Premium|
Best for Students
|2019 ASUS VivoBook|
Here is the GizmoFusion list of the top eleven gaming laptops at this budget price point.
1. Lenovo IdeaPad S145 (Best Gaming Laptop Under $400 – Can play some entry level games at around 30 FPS)
CPU: Intel Pentium Gold 5405U | Graphics: 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 processor suited for entry-level processing tasks and not much 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 games like Minecraft, CSGO, and Dirt Rally that 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 a regular Adobe Photoshop file open or have several tabs open on Chrome like YouTube for music and Wikipedia for research.
Storage on this 400 dollar gaming 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 some 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. This is our choice for the best gaming laptop under 400 dollars as it has a decent GPU, a lot of RAM, and large storage capacity making it 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 out the best performance possible.
2. HP Ryzen 3 (Second Choice – a good option for low level gaming)
CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 3200U | Graphics: 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 $400 gaming laptop from HP 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, CS:GO, Fortnite, and others.
The laptop has a huge amount of RAM, a whopping 20GB of memory. This amount of RAM does help a lot with multitasking and increases productivity a ton. You can have several Chrome tabs, word documents and Spotify all at the same time without a hitch.
This 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 quickly, but it’s enough to start off with and it’s user-replaceable with just a couple screws and serve you well with its speeds. It’s rare to find a cheap gaming laptop under 400 dollars with this memory capacity, but it does come at the cost of other components like storage.
The laptop has an average 768p display which is fine for HD videos on YouTube or Netflix’s “Basic” plan. 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 that is pleasing to the eye, although it is a bit bulky. Generally, this laptop will work for light gaming and is great for multitasking thanks to the amount of RAM it has.
3. Acer Aspire E 15
CPU: Intel Core i3-8130U | Graphics: 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
Full HD display
Great battery life
Only 6 gigabytes of RAM
HDD boot-up times are slow
This Acer laptop has a nice 8th Gen Intel Core i3 processor for tasks that require only a dual-core processor. It’s better than most CPU’s on this list as it has a modern architecture with hyper-threading and integrates Intel UHD Graphics 620 which is more than capable of running low-end games; such as Minecraft or well-optimized games like FIFA with low settings at around 30-50 FPS.
The laptop has 6GB of DDR4 RAM. It’s worth noting that 8GB of DDR4 RAM 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.
The Acer Aspire E15 has a huge 1TB hard drive. Sure it isn’t an SSD, but HDDs 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.
Moreover, it’s ideal for gaming laptops under $400 to have at least 512GB as many games these days take up a huge amount of space. Plus, it’s a nice quality of life improvement not having to constantly go through your files and check what you can delete in order to save something from the web or download a new game.
Another remarkable thing about this budget gaming laptop is the great display it has. As was mentioned before, most laptops at this price range are 768p. However, this laptop has a 1920 x 1080 (1080p) full HD display. Images will appear crisp without any blur. While it’s not ideal to play games at this resolution, it’s a great bonus for those who have a “Standard” Netflix plan or consume a lot of content on YouTube or Twitch as the extra detail really helps with content immersion.
Usually, a higher resolution display will hurt battery life- that is not the case here though. The battery life on this laptop is 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. Although something to know is that while gaming, its battery life is generally shorter.
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.
Generally, this gaming laptop is terrific for 400 dollars. It has good specs for gaming, a great display, and storage to last for years. If display quality is the most important feature to you then this would be the best gaming laptop under $400 for you.
4. Lenovo IdeaPad 130
CPU: AMD A9-9425 | Graphiics: 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 400 dollar gaming laptop from Lenovo houses a dual-core AMD A9 processor, it’s a low to mid-range processor for tasks that require some processing power. It has AMD Radeon R5 integrated 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 gaming laptops, it can run light and old games at a decent framerate. As this processor is older, it’s reasonable to say don’t expect too much from it.
The laptop has enough memory for practically any single task you’d need, 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. This is the ideal capacity for laptops under 400 dollars all the way to over a thousand dollars.
The laptop also has great storage. Not only is it half a terabyte (512GB), it is also SSD storage. The drive combines spacious storage while keeping it fast. Boot times will be quick, and file transfers will be speedy. This is ideal for a laptop in this price range.
The display on this laptop is a regular 768p HD display, as most gaming laptops in this price range. It falls short of some alternatives on this list but all gaming laptops under $400 make compromises.
It has lots of connectivity, including an HDMI port, 3.5mm headphone jack and an ethernet port. It also includes a disc drive to allow you to watch movies.
It has a simple grey design for a more professional user who needs it to look understated. 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 made.
Overall, the laptop has everything you need in the $400 price range. It has nice specs if you want to play games and an ideal amount of RAM. Not to mention its fast, spacious storage that will last you for a long time.
5. Lenovo IdeaPad S145
CPU: AMD A6-9225 | Graphics: 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 integrated 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 but you will come across many games it simply can’t handle due to its low-end and older GPU.
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. As we’ve mentioned earlier, this is the ideal amount of memory for most mainstream laptops so it’s especially nice to see it in a gaming laptop under 400 dollars.
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 short time. In the short to medium term, you may need to be careful with managing your storage and it won’t be enough in the long term for most users but this is a compromise made for these kinds of laptops under $400.
With SSDs file transfer speeds are high, and boot times are fast but they are more expensive to add to laptops so the manufacturers play a balancing act. Overall, this isn’t a deal-breaker in our opinion.
The laptop has an average 768p HD display 15.6-inch size for viewing content at an acceptable resolution and the comfortable size. 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. The good news is, you do not have to pay to upgrade to regular Windows 10 Home.
In itself, it is a pretty basic laptop with no extras, in terms of design. That’s more ideal for people who don’t like the general gaming laptop aesthetic. 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 | Graphics: 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 gaming laptops on this list
This Acer Aspire laptop has some great specs that make it a good machine for playing games. It has an AMD A9 processor for tasks that require a little CPU power to be done. As with all of these gaming laptops, it is dual-core and has integrated graphics.
A good fact to know is a budget gaming laptop in this price bracket will not be able to accommodate a dedicated graphics card or a quad-core processor as they are reserved for more expensive machines due to costing more to manufacture.
For this cheap gaming device, the GPU is an AMD Radeon R5 Graphics which has been seen before on this list. The AMD Radeon R5 is a nice graphics chip to play games at 30 FPS on less graphically intense and older game titles will serve you well when you lower the graphics settings to minimum.
The laptop has an ideal 16GB of RAM for advanced multitasking and easy data access. As with every laptop with 16GB of RAM, it improves performance by not resorting to using the storage for memory which leads to hitching and a slow experience. This is an ideal amount of memory for any laptop for gaming.
The storage on the laptop is good with a 256GB SSD. A compromise on storage capacity has been made here as the Solid State Drive is fast and makes the usability of the gaming laptop day-to-day much faster and enjoyable but 256GB isn’t ideal as it will fill up in a short amount of time.
A 128GB SSD storage may be a deal-breaker but 256GB is usable it just requires managing your storage regularly.
The operating system Windows 10 Home uses about 32GB once everything is set up and formatting reduces the amount of usable space, to begin with, but you’ll still be able to fit a few games on there if you use the space efficiently. If you keep this device for years, you may struggle with this though.
On the bright side, file transfers will be very quick with an SSD and the boot times will be much faster than regular HDDs. There is no underestimating how much an SSD greatly improves the experience of a laptop.
The laptop has a 768p HD display for viewing of high-definition content on the screen. Keep in mind that the display is 14 inches instead of the regular 15.6 inches that most 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 brushed plastic frame around the keyboard for a sharp look. Despite its smaller screen size than the others on this list, it isn’t a slim design but overall it’s one of many good gaming laptops under $400 on the market today.
Overall, the cheap gaming laptop will handle both gaming and productivity. It has nice specs for playing games, lots of RAM, and storage for all your normal lifestyle needs.
7. Acer Aspire 5
CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 3200U | Graphics: 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
Exceptional 15.6 inch Full HD display
Short battery life
This is another great Acer laptop, the Acer Aspire 5, with its specs being suitable for some smooth gaming experiences. The laptop houses a good AMD Ryzen 3 processor for medium to heavy workloads. The CPU is better than many others on this list.
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 if you stick to minimum settings.
The Acer Aspire 5 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. The operating system, Windows 10 Home requires a minimum of 4GB to be installed. Multitasking will be harder than usual due to this constraint. It is one of the compromises to be made to hit this budget.
The second compromise the Acer Aspire 5 made 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.
Speaking of the display it’s the star of the show! A 15.6 inch full HD display with an IPS panel. The display will produce high-quality crisp images. The IPS panel allows for brighter, more accurate, and more vivid colors while most importantly improving viewing angles.
When the display is looked at from the side the colors are retained rather than looking washed out or inverted. Ideal for sitting back and watching Netflix in bed with a friend/partner or gaming with a wireless controller.
The only downside would be the glossy display does attract fingerprints, though an anti-glare or matte screen protector could improve this if it really bothered you. 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 grossly overestimated.
It is a thin laptop with a silver design. A somewhat rare edition in this 400 price range is the Acer Aspire 5’s inclusion of a backlit keyboard for dark spaces.
A backlit keyboard is a nice addition but it’s worth noting that having it on consumes the battery faster, so disabling it could give a boost, so it’s relatively poor battery performance in normal use.
The speakers are on the bottom of the laptop, making it difficult to hear videos when on a surface. Although they are loud enough if required, there are very few laptops that do a good job with the speaker quality so this is something to expect.
It has all the ports you’d expect too, so you wouldn’t need to use the speakers; a Bluetooth, USB, or wired headset would all be much better alternatives.
Overall, the Acer Aspire 5 is reasonably performant and aesthetically pleasing. It has nice specs for some 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.
For gaming, this laptop is only recommended for those wanting to play puzzle games to distract you while you watch a presentation or something along those lines, due to its low storage and memory despite its pretty good CPU and GPU.
With that being said, if you’re willing to upgrade the memory and storage – this may be the best gaming laptop on this list.
8. ASUS VivoBook 15
CPU: Intel i3-8145U | Graphics: 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 8th Gen Intel Core i3 processor which can handle some CPU intensive tasks. It is a great CPU for this price range and works great.
The ASUS Vivobook 15 includes 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 for this $400 price range.
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 allowing practically all games to play without any RAM limitation. In our opinion, this is the ideal price-to-performance amount of RAM that laptops for gaming should have.
The laptop has a small SSD, coming in at only 128GB. It is not a lot and will fill up extremely quickly. The operating system windows 10 home will take up 32GB once everything is set up and along with a decrease due to formatting, it’s a substantial compromise. It is still an SSD, meaning that the read/write speeds are high and boot times are low. But even this will slow down once the storage reaches capacity.
The fact is a 128GB is just not enough for long-term usage of a laptop. It is recommended to have at least 256GB, ideally 512GB or more.
A solution to this problem would be to try to upgrade the storage yourself, which is relatively easy if you follow a YouTube video, or hire someone to do it. Without an upgrade, the ASUS Vivobook 15 won’t be ideal for playing games despite its other great features at this price point.
The display, however, is superb. It’s got 15.6 inches of 1080p IPS beauty; producing crisp, high-resolution images. It’s good to note that 1080p displays are uncommon at this price range with this laptop’s specs, so this is very good. The viewing angles will be great as well thanks to the ASUS’ inclusion of an IPS panel making games pop and movies on Netflix highly detailed.
The display is where the Vivobook 15 shines at the expense of the aforementioned storage issue. Due to only needing a simple and relatively cheap storage upgrade, it takes a well-deserved spot on our best gaming laptops list.
The battery life on the ASUS Vivobook 15 is 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 great modern design for the $400 price range.
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. Using a headset or earphones would be recommended for this product.
Overall, the ASUS Vivebook 15 is a beautiful product. 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 a little bit of memory and upgrading the storage to have a wonderful display, this laptop is for you.
9. HP 2019 Premium
CPU: AMD A6-9225 | Graphics: 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. The minimum that a laptop should have is 8GB to be useful for multitasking, and the laptop does reach it. It’s an ideal amount when measuring price to performance at least. 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.
It’s hard to understate how much faster an SSD would make this feel but for long-term usability, the hard drive will be appreciated thanks to its sheer capacity.
The display is a regular and average HD 768p screen, just like most gaming laptops in this price range.
The battery life on the laptop is not great, only reaching around 4 hours. It will be sufficient for leaving the charger behind to show someone something if they can’t come to you, for example. Something a desktop isn’t really capable of.
It has a plain black design and lots of connectivity including a disc drive. Its design is generally understated with no extras at all.
Overall, this HP laptop is a nice, high-quality, “bare-bones” machine for light gaming and some productivity. It’s not the best gaming laptop under 400 dollars but it’s a good all-round machine.
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 run older games at a playable framerate.
This Lenovo laptop also includes an average 8GB of DDR4 RAM. As mentioned before, it’s enough for some multitasking and is an ideal amount when considering price to performance. It would be great to have more than 8GB, though. Luckily, the RAM is upgradeable.
The laptop has a spacious 1TB HDD, which 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 with the HP laptop above, it is also very basic. A grey design with no extras, nothing much to write home about but that can be a good thing for those who want to take the laptop to Starbucks to do some work.
The Lenovo Ideapad is good for some light gaming with its CPU and GPU and great with the 1TB storage. It lacks in the RAM and battery life departments. As with the HP laptop, this isn’t the best gaming laptop but it is a good all-rounder.
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 doesn’t make it much better than Intel’s i3 offerings on this list as, without being too technical, they aren’t the standard four cores you’d see on a more expensive quad-core machine.
The processor also doesn’t have “SMT” (Simultaneous Multi-Threading), which Intel calls Hyper-Threading, so while it’s better at some processing tasks, it’s not universally better. The A12 is higher-end than other processors on this list, this is just something important to note to understand why the other compromises are made.
It is the AMD A12 CPU that can handle many tasks that require some light to 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. With Windows requiring a minimum of 4GB, fluid multitasking won’t be possible.
When trying to multitask, the RAM will run out and move files to the SSD (called the page file) instead, slowing down the whole experience as RAM is much faster than any storage drive. However, the RAM is upgradeable, so if you plan to buy this cheap ASUS gaming laptop a RAM upgrade would be highly recommended.
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 a 128GB of storage. It is not enough if you want to store games and files when the operating system, Windows 10 Home, takes up 32GB after everything is set up alone.
This is another thing that is upgradeable on this laptop, though. When considering the lack of RAM and storage capacity, it puts this at the bottom of our list of best gaming laptops as it will require two upgrades which when combined may make this gaming laptop out of your budget.
However, it has a great display, a 15.6 inch Full HD 1080p IPS display in this price range is rare, and it improves the experience of the laptop by a lot. Watching 1080p YouTube or Netflix with the Standard plan on this laptop will be a great experience. Since upgrading the display on any laptop is very difficult, it’s good to know that you won’t need to do that with this machine.
It has a textured silver lid with a black outline and a black keyboard. It’s all plastic of course but it still looks and works great. Connectivity, another non-upgradable part, is also great; an HDMI port, a USB type-C port, USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports will be all you practically need in average use.
The laptop also has some decent battery life, at 5 hours. This is beneficial for those who need the ability to use their laptop for short times away from the charger. It’s not the best on this list but it’s better than the average.
Overall, the laptop is great for light gaming and has a great display, but it doesn’t have great RAM and storage out of the box. It has the potential to be one of the best gaming laptops for 400 dollars but the compromises made here make it hard for us to recommend without the two, relatively simple, upgrades.
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 a lot of basic PC gaming with a $400 laptop. As long as you get a good value laptop, 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, 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.
We hope you have found this list of our best gaming laptops under $400 useful in your search but if you have not found a $400 gaming computer that you like the sound of, check out 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.