Best Gaming Laptop Under $1300 - 2018 Reviews and Top Picks

If you’re out trying to buy the best gaming laptop under $1300, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve done all the heavy lifting and research, so go ahead and pick one you like.

Finding The Best Gaming Laptops Under $1300

It turns out that the $1300 laptop price range is pretty competitive. We were able to find three different compelling options at this price range- each with different trade-offs, but all with amazing gaming performance.

The GTX 1060 in these laptops should perform as good as or better than the PS4 Pro’s GPU. Modern games at 1080p/high settings should be a breeze for all of these laptops, with many titles opening the way to Ultra settings as well.

All the laptops below are valid contenders for the best gaming laptop under 1300 dollars. Our personal choice is the Eluktronics offering, which we’ve affectionately named The Hero.

To determine whether that moniker is accurate and to learn more about our roundup, keep reading.

ASUS ROG GL502VM

Contender Breakdown

namestoragescreencpugpuramRating
The RivalXOTIC ASUS FX502VMXOTIC ASUS FX502VM128GB M.2 SSD + 1TB HDD15-inch matte display at 1080p  Quad Core Intel Core i7-7700HQNvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (3GB VRAM)16 GB DDR44.1/5
The UnderdogASUS ROG GL502VMASUS ROG GL502VM1TB HDD 15-inch “wide view” display at 1080p15-inch “wide view” display at 1080pQuad Core Intel Core i7-7700HQNvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (3GB VRAM)12GB DDR44/5
The HeroEluktronics P670RP6Eluktronics P670RP6128GB M.2 SSD+ 1TB HDD17-inch IPS display at 1080pQuad Core Intel Core i7-6700HQNvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB VRAM) 8GB DDR44.25/5
#1

XOTIC ASUS FX502VM

TECH SPECS

  • Storage
    128GB M.2 SSD + 1TB HDD
  • Screen
    15-inch matte display at 1080p  
  • CPU
    Quad Core Intel Core i7-7700HQ
  • GPU
    Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (3GB VRAM)
  • RAM
    16 GB DDR4
  • 3 USB 3.0 Ports
  • 802.11ac Wi-Fi
  • Windows 10

The Rival comes in hot. It’s the cheapest option on this list, but it manages to do so without sacrificing too much gaming performance.

We consider The Rival as one of the strongest offerings in this price range, thanks to its balance of budget and performance. It also combines an SSD with an HDD, a key feature of high-end PCs which allows users to enjoy fast storage alongside bulk storage.

Diving in deeper, the G-SYNC support ensures that even where games may stumble in performance, your viewing experience remains smooth and won’t suffer from screen tearing or input lag.

Unfortunately, its 3GB VRAM means it’s not quite the best performer in this price range. It also suffers from a curious absence of a Type-C port.

The biggest weakness of The Rival, though, is the fact that there isn’t an IPS panel powering this display. This means you’ll miss out on a lot of quality color and viewing angles.

Check Price on Amazon

#2

ASUS ROG GL502VM

TECH SPECS

  • Storage
    1TB HDD 15-inch “wide view” display at 1080p
  • Screen
    15-inch “wide view” display at 1080p
  • CPU
    Quad Core Intel Core i7-7700HQ
  • GPU
    Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (3GB VRAM)
  • RAM
    12GB DDR4
  • 3 USB 3.0 Ports, 1 USB 3.1 Type-C Port
  • 802.11ac Wi-Fi
  • Windows 10

The Underdog makes a few compromises but still makes an earnest effort at being the best. It starts by skirting an SSD entirely in favor of just an HDD.

The lack of an SSD means that boot times and loading times will suffer. But, realistically, this won’t hurt gaming performance in any capacity.

Since this is about finding the best gaming laptop under $1300, we can’t get too angry at it for not having an SSD. It makes up for the lack of an SSD with some great internals- an i7, a GTX 1060 and a whopping 12GB of DDR4 RAM- while also ensuring USB Type-C compatibility.

Unfortunately, this Underdog isn’t getting its Rocky-style redemption story. We ultimately consider it to be the weakest of the roundup, even if it may be right for you.

Check Price on Amazon

#3

Eluktronics P670RP6

TECH SPECS

  • Storage
    128GB M.2 SSD+ 1TB HDD
  • Screen
    17-inch IPS display at 1080p
  • CPU
    Quad Core Intel Core i7-6700HQ
  • GPU
    Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB VRAM)
  • RAM
    8GB DDR4
  • 3 USB 3.0 Ports, 2 USB 3.1 Type-C Ports
  • 802.11ac Wi-Fi
  • Windows 10

The Hero arrives.

Boasting a great IPS display (backed by G-SYNC), the viewing experience on The Hero is already the best you can get for its price. It also gains a few inches- it’s a 1- inch display, not a 15-inch one!

It gets even better when you realize it still has the same powerful specs- an i7 and a GTX 1060. Except, wait...there’s a few differences.

The i7 in this laptop is marginally less powerful than the other i7s, but it makes up for that by doubling the VRAM in its 1060.

The added VRAM in the GTX 1060 allows the card to handle higher resolutions and higher texture settings with less hiccups. Since a lot of modern games expect a large amount of VRAM, across-the-board performance should see some increases too.

In addition to the boosted VRAM, this laptop also boasts an RGB backlit keyboard and a crazy amount of USB3 ports (Type-C included!). Are there any downsides besides the marginally slower CPU?

Yes and no.

The only other real downside is that there’s just 8GB of RAM in this laptop compared to the 12+ that others like to tote. But, in reality, no laptop user is ever going to use 12GB of RAM.

For gaming and multitasking, 8GB is more than enough. The fact that the manufacturers didn’t go for an arbitrarily high RAM number shows that they know where the money actually counts- build quality and gaming performance.

The Hero is our overall winner for the best gaming laptop under $1300. The only real downside here is its price...which is just barely under $1300.

Check Price on Amazon

What do I want in this price range?

Before deciding on what you want, be sure to consider these factors.

Gaming Performance

The GTX 1060 is a powerhouse, no matter which one of these builds you choose. However, there is a meaningful difference in performance between the 3GB VRAM model and the 6GB VRAM model, especially if you’re going to be playing the latest games.

While older titles won’t use nearly as much VRAM, newer games are starting to use VRAM a lot more, thanks to the current-gen consoles being reliant on it for so much. Settling for 3GB VRAM  or less can force you to lower settings or stuttery performance in some games.

Build Quality

Is the laptop you’re spending over a thousand dollars on well-constructed? Is it reliable?

Take a look at the reviews for the laptops that interest you most as well as the specs. Are there any interesting hardware features, like RGB backlighting or an IPS display, that catch your attention?

Once you climb higher into prices, laptops start getting really interesting with their hardware offerings. Keep your eye out.

Storage Solutions

Here’s a quick guide, in case you’re new to this.

SSD = Fast, but expensive. Best used to store your OS, programs and a few of your favorite games.

HDD = Cheap, but lots of storage space. Best used to store your games, movies, music, etc.

SSD + HDD = The best thing you can ask for in a laptop. You will need to make sure to keep your SSD clean of all but your favorites/essentials. But, aside from that, it’s an amazing experience.

Just An HDD = Liveable and worth it if the sacrifices balance out. Do they?

How do I choose?

Ultimately, here’s how we break it down.

For the best savings and price-performance, The Rival should be your go-to option.

If you own a Type-C device and don’t mind dealing with an HDD’s speeds, The Underdog may be the right choice for you.

If you want the absolute best build quality and gaming performance and have the money to afford it, go with The Hero.

What you choose is up to you. There’s no wrong answer.

What’s Your Choice?

Ours was The Hero, though. Use the comment section below to tell us what yours was.

See all Gaming Buying Guides