It wasn’t so long ago that gaming laptops were the worst way to get into PC gaming. Sure, they afforded you some level of portability, but at their core, they were a terrible value. Even half a decade ago, gaming laptops were heavy and bulky, sacrificing battery life for mobile GPUs that couldn’t hold a candle to their desktop siblings. Their designs would get you laughed out of any board room or business meeting, and the price tag often meant paying twice as much for half the performance of prebuilt gaming desktops—to say nothing of building your own.
Since 2017, however, gaming laptops have slowly become a great option for anyone who needs the portability of a laptop with the power of a desktop PC. Their design language has become far more neutral, with metallic blacks and accent colors instead of the extreme greens and reds of last year. Battery life isn’t quite as solid as you might find on an ultrabook, but in the best gaming PCs, you’re now able to squeeze out up to five or six hours of regular use, helping to make a gaming laptop actually feel like a laptop. Most importantly, mobile GPUs aren’t the laughingstock of PC gaming anymore. Nvidia’s Max-Q line of GPUs come close to rivaling their full-fledged counterparts, while some cards even reach desktop status without the requirement for throttling.
The price of gaming laptops has also changed, and it’s now possible to find a great gaming PC for well under $1,000. You shouldn’t expect 4K, ultra-high settings on these laptops, but for anyone looking to play modern PC games at 1080p, we’ve got you covered. Check out our guide to the best gaming laptops under $1,000.