We have spent a long time focusing mainly on the splurge models of the laptops. With an understanding that not everyone can have the wallet large enough to achieve the ultimate gamers’ dream, to own the laptop that will feature the top-notch configuration, of the latest generation.
This article features something different. The release of the mobile version of the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti has forced the laptop giants to start manufacturing the flagship model series with the budget graphics card from the 10th series, based on the Pascal’s architecture. The downfall of this graphics card is that it doesn’t support the eligibility for the VR games. For people that are looking for a VR friendly laptop, we recommend our other articles, buying guides that will encourage your decision when it comes to purchasing the gaming laptop.
The GeForce GTX 1050 Ti works decently and is available in two version 2GB and 4 GB. We have mainly focused on laptops that have 4GB of dedicated memory, because we know that these differences in numbers can often mean a lot when it comes to choosing the right model of the laptop.
This article picked five best budget gaming laptops with the GTX 1050 graphics card. We have mainly focused on what this graphics chip delivers, how enhanced is the gaming experience with the 10-series graphics card compared to the 9-series budget model GTX 960M. Nvidia has invested a great value, and effort in order to make a near perfect graphics card, and in this article below, we will show you why is the GTX 1050 graphics card based laptop ideal for gaming within the budget.
Table of Contents
The Best Budget Gaming Laptops with the GTX 1050 Graphics Card 2018
We were put under a challenging task, the choice of the laptops was rich and outnumbered compared to the laptops that streamed the GTX 1060, and we had a difficult time picking. In our prior buying guides we have touched the topics of the GTX 1050 graphics card, but the laptop models that we reviewed, were there for some other, valuable feature.
After a long reviewing that lasted hours and days, we have once again opted for the Lenovo’s laptop, from the Legion series. We have already mentioned, but it doesn’t hurt to repeat the mighty power of the Legion series inspired after the Ancient Roman empire, with goal to demonstrate the might and the timelessness of their laptops, durable, and powerful just like the Roman empire itself. This time we have decided to take a thorough look at the second laptop from the series, the Y520, and show you what makes it stand out from the sea of the ordinary.
The Lenovo Legion Y520 grabbed our attentions pretty fast, and not too much time passed until we were completely convinced that it will make a perfect budget laptop, with still, powerful performance which holds its’ pace against the competitors and higher class.
You will fall in love with the new gaming-creed but not too much of a look-at-me design of the Lenovo Y520, along with the powerful Intel’s Kaby Lake processor, and the budget-friendly GTX 1050 Ti, that didn’t cease to amaze us with its’ capabilities. Does the Lenovo Legion Y520 live up to its’ purpose and the promised powers? Find out in this review.
There are different kinds of people, but when it comes to the gaming laptops, people choose between the casual laptop design, and the “look at me” style of laptops like the Asus ROG and Alienware laptops have. Lenovo has opted to go for both, but create a more discreet, subtle appearance in its’ “Legion” series of the laptops.
The laptop is colored in the black color, and in order to ensure a relative portability for a 15.6” laptop, it decided to go for the sturdy plastic with the woven pattern. Despite the plastic build, the Legion Y520 still feels solid and sturdy. There are still several rough lines which make the Y520 look powerful, and dangerous, but nothing that would make it less approachable.
The material used in this budget gaming laptop is rather unusual, but not bad. The Lenovo has ensured a perfect cut off in the price making the laptop affordable to every gaming enthusiast, while making laptop much more mobile compared to the competition in the process.
Once you open the lid, you will be greeted with the 15.6”, 1080p display, surrounded by a thick bezel, which gives the laptop a powerful look. There is a sinister red, backlit keyboard shaped into an island-style, along with the touchpad. The touchpad looks quite different compared to what we’re used to seeing, there is a red plastic which frames it in an odd shape of a trapezoid, which is far different given that the vast majority of laptops, either gaming ones and the regular ones has a touchpad shaped into rectangle.
The laptop weighs around 5.6 pounds, and measures 15 x 10.4 x 1 inches in dimensions. These numbers make it extremely portable and eligible for the traveling. We believe that the Y520 is perfect guest for the LAN parties, as well, because it easily fits even in the travel bags and rucksacks.
When it comes to the ports and connectivity, the Legion Y520 comes with the Kensington lock slot. There are an Ethernet jack, USB 2.0 port, along with the headphone jack. If you switch to the right side, you will find the USB Type-C port, which is often seen on newer laptops as the time passes and the technology develops, there is an SD card reader, followed with a pair of the USB ports of the 3.0 version and an HDMI output.
Display is not perfect, but by far, it is ideal for the gaming laptop under $1000. If you want to take a good look of the picture, you will have to improve the brightness ratio, because the dim display won’t allow you to see anything less than the maximal brightness. The laptop has 15.6 inches, 1080p display.
We have watched several videos in order to test the color accuracy and the display responsiveness, the colors were accurate, vivid and rich. We have enjoyed the vibrant textures while streaming the full-HD videos on YouTube. In terms of gaming, the colors are absolutely perfect, evoking the open world your character is inside.
We have tested the Witcher III and Mass Effect: Andromeda. Being known for the dark story, and high detail definition, we decided to use the Y520 with these games. We have noticed that the picture was extremely dark and that the character’s clothes color would occasionally jump out from the expected aspect ratio.
If you play with the dark shadows you will notice that the display gives it a nearly black color. Quite disappointing but there is nothing less that can be expected from a budget gaming laptop. There are certainly better displays, but with time, you will get used to its’ performance, and it will be sufficient for all of your needs.
The screen has an IPS LCD-LED panel that is backlit, the anti-glare panel features the 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution (FHD), this is perfect for the gamers that are looking the anti-glare display with amazing viewing angles of 178 degrees, not to mention that the IPS panel prevents the reflections.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The keyboards on gaming laptops have always been a compromise. You can’t expect anything perfect, but you can’t help but hope for no typing disaster. Some MSI models have featured the mechanical keyboards on their laptops, but it’s important to note that these models range over $4000. The Lenovo has always released the laptops with the good-quality, deep, and comfortable keyboards, the Legion Y520 is no exception from the group of gaming laptops, it is simply amazing to type on it.
There is a 1.8 millimeters of the travel time, and around 75 grams of force which are required in order to successfully click the keys. It’s needless to say that the keyboard is more than good, and every time I typed on it, it was an absolute pleasure to do so. If you are fast typists who uses the Microsoft Suite on daily basis, you are estimated to achieve between 110 and 120 words per minute. In my personal experience, I have achieved far more than the average typing speed.
The deck is also super-comfortable, and my wrists have conveniently rested while performing my typing endeavors. There is even a macro key which is handy if you like to record the videos while playing your favorite games.
The touchpad is quite odd whatsoever. Not only it features a trapezoid shape which is turned upside-down, which is quite different compared to the other models. I assume that Lenovo wanted to feature a completely new, futuristic, and more importantly, confusing design, which is here only because of the appearance. The touchpad is 4.1 inches long, while the bottom measures at 3.5 inches. There is a plastic lining which makes it hard to recognize the multi-gestures.
It is a shame for the design, because the touchpad is completely accurate, responsive, smooth and fast, as long as you don’t miss the touch. You won’t need it in games, because not even the Sims fans use touchpad for gaming.
The sound quality depends mainly on the genre of music you’re listening. The speakers are located next to the large hinge which is located in the middle end of the case. The music is detailed, deep, and warm, the bass is also strong and noticeable, more importantly rich.
We have listened great variety of songs and genres, and we were merely surprised with the quality. This is because, just like we have mentioned in our last article, the Lenovo Legion has invested in improving its’ music technology. The sound is very loud and crystal clear, it is comforting that the increasing the volume bar doesn’t make the sound quality suffer, neither does it cause a distortion strong enough to mind it.
With the max volume, the sound easily fills the room with the powerful and surrounding side. Perhaps, they could’ve been slightly louder, but that would possibly result in the damage of the sound and a disturbing level of the distortion. It is not ideal for the parties, but if you’re gaming alone, you won’t need to replace the poor sound quality with the good pair of headphones, which is perfect.
Thanks to the decent audio quality, we have been able to focus on the audio capabilities presented in the ambient sounds and soundtracks inside the games that we were testing: Witcher III and the Mass Effect: Andromeda. If you are a fan of the fantasy MMORPG games, you will enjoy the ambient music that comes to life while gaming, it simply evokes the emotions and inspiration, necessary to take on the tough bosses and new levels.
It is also important to mention that the Legion laptops are the first laptops from Lenovo that stream the Dolby Audio application which sports couple of extremely useful and interesting audio profiles that you can choose among. This being said, we have given an in-depth audio tests in either movies and the games. However, we have been mainly satisfied with the default profile as it is the most versatile and it covers the largest range of audio to choose from. The Lenovo Nerve Center also offers audio options to choose from, which can help you choose the audio profile that is the most sufficient to your audio style.
When it comes to the gaming laptops, you have to choose between the portability and the laptop battery life. The battery life is mostly sacrificed in order to achieve the perfect level of the portability, but even so, the technology hasn’t reached that stadium where the battery is eligible for hardcore gaming without the charging cord.
The Legion is extremely portable laptop, as mentioned above, but the battery life isn’t as impressive either. The battery lasts between 3 hours and 40 minutes, up to 4 hours, depending on what you’re doing. The testing included browsing the internet via the Wi-Fi connection, but also streaming the videos on the YouTube. The average battery life for the all-in-one gaming laptops is about 7 hours, and unfortunately, we have to say that is far beyond the Legion laptop.
Heating and the Temperature
When it comes to the heating, the Lenovo Legion Y520 outperformed the competition. The model features an advanced ventilation system which channels the hot air outside in the separate airways, from the processor and the graphics card. The temperatures have stayed at the reasonable rates even during the most demanding gaming performance, at around 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Finding the laptop with the decent level of heating at this price is extremely difficult, the laptops can usually offer an advanced gaming performance, while taking away from the heating, the portable, slim, and sleek gaming laptops usually lack on the thermal protection, but the Lenovo Y520 is definitely an exception, alongside the flagship model Y720.
Let’s get started with the graphics card.
Just like the three flagship graphics card, the Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti is based on the Pascal’s 16nm architecture, but it lacks on the VR compatibility. However, this drawback has definitely not stopped the most demanding games from being run on this model, including the Mass Effect: Andromeda, Witcher III and Rise of the Tomb Raider, on high settings on 1080p. The game reasonably remained at 40 to 60 frames per second.
The Rise of the Tomb Raider has provided a sufficient performance with 50-ish frames per rate on ultra-settings.
When it comes to the overall performance, the Lenovo Legion Y520 is packed up with the 7th generation Intel processor, the Kaby Lake Core i7-7700HQ processor with 2.8 GHz speed which increases up to the 3.7GHz in the turbo mode. We have already had an opportunity to describe its’ powerful capabilities in the last article, when we reviewed the Y720 laptop, also from Lenovo. The 16 GB of RAM will make most of the operations run smoothly, and eligible for the multithreading.
When it comes to the storage, there is a 256 GB PCIe solid state drives and 2 TB of storage. Unfortunately the speed of the mechanical hard disc is only 5.400 RPM which is slower than the most of the gaming laptops in the competition, however, it doesn’t run too bad, if you have the operating system on the SSD. It has the necessary access and transfer speeds which make it extremely powerful and swift, ideal for rendering, and other sturdy and massive programs such as the photoshop, adobe after effect and similar software.
The things we didn’t like
The display is absolutely dull and dark. If you’re looking for a proficient gaming laptop, with the powerful GPU, aside from the great performance, it would be highly appreciated to focus on the quality of the display. The screen has a mesmerizing panel, worth every penny, but it doesn’t make up for the dark display that makes gaming nearly impossible, given that the games of the latest generation are extremely brutal and dark. However, this is not a too big of a drawback, because the laptop is perfect for gaming, and if you remember to charge it in time, it will work perfectly with all the brightness settings maxed out.
The other thing that we didn’t like is the touchpad design. The trackpad itself serves an extreme value, and feels to run smooth and sleek when we maneuver with it. However, the red plastic lines that frame it by the side, and the shape of a trapezoid turned upside down can be quite confusing to the people who have been used on the rectangle shape for the years. The touchpad is fast and responsive nonetheless.
Other drawbacks include the low battery life, but it would be selfish to complain about this minor issue. The laptop was designed for the high-end gaming, and as such, it can’t promise the perfect, or solid battery life.
Reason for the Recommending
We have researched various benchmarks, and settings that were set across the internet. And currently, above the Dell and Asus, Lenovo is the leading laptop brand when it comes to either gaming, business, design and all-in-one use. The Lenovo laptops have set a new standard in the world of ever growing technology, rapidly increasing and building their brand name.
The Lenovo Legion Y520 is definitely not an exception in this rating. It works absolutely perfectly, and is one of the best gaming laptops in the sub-$1000 selection. There are certainly other options, but we believe that the Y520 provides the durability that lasts. The Lenovo has improved too many settings at once, including the keyboard, the audio settings, the thermal isolation settings, and more importantly, the gaming configuration.
Despite packing the budget GTX 1050 graphics card, the laptop promises a lasting, tremendous performance that can easily reach and even surpass some of the leading gaming laptops, the flagship models and much more.
If you’ve been looking for a budget gaming laptop with the gaming attitude and performance, Lenovo Legion Laptop is about to be released on Amazon. However it is already ready for the pre-ordering. If you’ve liked the configuration, and everything else that is in the box, you should definitely consider springing for it.
Once again, Inspired from the Roman Legions, the Y520 is a perfect gaming laptop for the students, and people in general who don’t have a large and deep pocket. We were surprised with the powerful performance, cool running and respectful temperatures. If you can live with the dim display, it will be a wonderful buy.
If you’re looking for better options with the VR capabilities, you should take a look at our other gaming laptops, but keep in mind that the budget will range higher than the laptops we have selected.
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The Runner Ups
The Lenovo Y520 is definitely not sold out yet, but based on the reviews, the popularity has grown overnight. In case you are too late with the order, below you can take a look at the other budget options that will perfectly compliment your deck, and stream the most popular games today have to offer. Below, take a look at the other 4 laptops that don’t differ too much in performance. However, the choice depends mainly on preference.
The Acer VX 15 is a perfect gaming laptop if you want to spend less than $1000 on playing high-end, demanding games. It is not much different than the Legion laptops in terms of design.
It is made out of the sturdy plastic, with the fake brushed aluminum lining that looks extremely realistic, there are the red lines that give the laptop a gaming design touch, which is perfect, not too little, nor too strong.
When you open the laptop, you will find the 15.6 inches display with the 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution with an IPS panel. Several complaints have been received that the Acer 15 VX has a similar dim and dark display just like the Legion model. I suppose that you can’t get a decent display for less than $900. There is an island style backlit keyboard with the highlighted WASD keys, numeric pad and a swift, responsive touchpad.
Instead of the i7 processor, there is the Intel Core i5-7300HQ processor wich boosts up to 3.5 GHz in the turbo mode, 8 GB DDR4 RAM. As expected there is the GTX 1050 Ti with 4 GB of the discreet GDDR5 VRAM. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of storage, except the extremely smooth 256 GB PCIe solid state drive. The battery lasts around 7 hours which is above average compared to the competition. All in all, it is a perfect gaming laptop within the budget.
Things that we liked
- Fast touchpad
- Long Battery Life
The things that we didn’t like
- The dim display
- Too little storage
Reason for the recommending
The Acer 15 VX is an ideal gaming laptop for everyone who is looking for a laptop with a beyond average battery life. It has nearly the same capabilities like the Legion Y520, and looks slightly better thanks to the faux brushed aluminum lining. It provides a safeguard performance, lasting durability, and great thermal isolation which result in optimal gaming temperatures.
The Acer 15 VX is a solid gaming laptop, which is a wonderful buy. Its biggest drawbacks are a poor display quality and not enough space to support your favorite titles. However, if you have slightly more money, you can upgrade the storage in order to get a more powerful configuration, or opt for a better, more powerful laptop. In the end of the day, Acer 15 VX is worth every penny.
The design features a combination of grey and silverfish color, while the regular HP sign which is etched in the middle has gotten a new touch. Instead of the silver logo, there is a logo with the black background, while the HP sign remained the same.
Needless to say, the laptop is slim and very thin, which makes it perfectly eligible for the backpacks, rucksacks, and other kinds of bags which make it eligible for the travelling.
When we opened the case, there was a 15.6 inch display which was mainly improved in terms of responsiveness and the color accuracy, the keyboard either, it is deep, comfortable, and allows us to reach the high level in typing speeds without making too many typos.
The audio has been enhanced either and is loud enough to fill the medium room with the good quality sound.
The upgraded laptop sports newer configuration which consists out of the Kaby Lake i7-7700HQ, quad-core processor with 6MB cache, with the speed that ranges between 2,8 GHz and 3.8 GHz in the turbo mode.
There is 16 GB of DDR4 RAM which is extendable to the 32 GB of RAM. There is also a 1 TB mechanical hard drive, with decent transfer and accessing speeds. The GTX 1050 allows most of the games to be played on this model without a problem, with perfect FPS and great scores on stress tests.
Things that we liked
- The keyboard’s comfort
- Respectful Battery Life
- Solid performance
Things that we didn’t like
The heating system lacks on functionality because the laptop is too thin. If you want to play games with the temperatures under 80 degrees, you will have to purchase a portable cooling pad which makes optimal temperature ratio. The laptop gets hot mainly on the numeric pad part of the keyboard, moving near the speakers that are located above the keyboard.
Reason for Recommending
The HP Pavilion 15 has always given an impression of an extremely versatile laptop. It has the style and appearance of a MacBook, but then again, inside it is a true gaming beast. The laptop stands on an extremely affordable price, and is recommended for its gaming features, ability to run even the sturdy programs, and provide decent all around performance.
HP Pavilion is a budget gaming laptop with decent gaming and all around performance. There could be several improvements in display and heating system, which results in having to constantly adjust the brightness and saturation, and a cooling pad in terms of cooling features. But in the end of the day, it is a gaming laptop with the fair budget performance.
The Inspiron i5577 is much more worth than its’ price. It has provided a performance which is nearly in the same class as the gaming laptops of the higher range.
The design features a plastic build, dark grey sturdy lining over the case, with the red DELL logo imbued in the very middle. When we opened the laptop, there was a 15.6 inches display with the 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution backlit LED panel.
At the 5.7 pounds of weight, we believe that the Dell Inspiron i5577 is eligible for travelling and a very welcome guest at the LAN parties, just make sure to have an additional power socket for the charging.
Inside the chassis, there are some premium components. The 7th generation of the Intel Core i5-7300HQ is perfect for gaming, and performing some multithreading tasks. The processor boosts an advanced performance of 3.5 GHz in its’ turbo setting. There are 8 GB of memory, which are easily extendable to 32 GB, making this laptop perfect for the video editing, multitasking, and more importantly, in combination with the GTX 1050, it works like charm when sporting for the high end games.
For storage there is a 1 TB of SATA storage of 5400 RPM, which is the same like our first choice, Lenovo Y520. We expected that for this price, we will see the 7200 RPM mechanical hard drive, or at least a weak SSD. But, none the less, we believe that the Dell Inspiron i5577 is an amazing laptop for its’ purpose, gaming.
The things that we Liked
- Solid Performance
- The respectful Battery Life
- Reasonable Price
The things that we didn’t like
- Not too portable nor too heavy
- Poor Display
Reason for Recommending
Dell has always setting a standard in the gaming laptops, including its’ flagship series Alienware and Dell Inspiron. It is very powerful laptop, for the price that it has, it could have more RAM, faster mechanical hard drive and a better display, but you will be mesmerized with its’ overall performance. If you’re not too detail-oriented, you will like how the Dell Inspiron i5577 works.
Dell Inspiron i5577 is an entry-level, budget gaming laptop with the impressive performance, and a lovely design. It is slightly bulky, but definitely not too hard to carry through the transport. It has an impressive battery life, if you don’t force the max brightness and saturation, and offers good performance for the configuration that it packs inside.
The 7th generation i5 processor, and the powerful, but budget GTX 1050, will ensure that the Dell Inspiron takes onto every challenge without the sweat.
This article grabs onto the MSI GL62M, budget gaming laptop with the acceptable performance, let’s see what’s in the bag.
The design has been really thrown back to the ordinary, and unappealing style.
Taking a good look of it, you will see a black case with nothing else than the MSI logo, when you open it, there will be a disappointing lack of the backlit keyboard, and we know that MSI has always excelled with the RGB backlit keyboard on its laptops.
There is a full HD display with the 15,6” screen diagonal, with vivid colors and rich textures and details. The resolution measures up to 1920 x 1080 and it gives a sufficient picture when streaming the videos on the Youtube.
Just like the Dell Inspiron, the MSI opted for the Intel Core i5-7300HQ with the impressive performance in both terms of gaming and work, the GTX 1050 Ti ensures a solid gaming performance with the reasonable framerates, while the 8 GB of RAM makes up for the faster performance.
You won’t be able to store all of your games in the laptop, thanks to the only 256 GB SATA solid state drive, but you can easily upgrade it with some more money spent. It has a solid thermal features, just like the most of the MSI’s gaming laptop and reflects its’ pristine performance just like always.
The things that we liked
- Smooth gaming performance at 1080p
The things that we didn’t like
- Not enough storage
- Generic design
Reason for Recommending
If you’re looking for a laptop with the persistent thermal isolation which prevents the overheating, and a solid gaming performance, you will find everything you’re looking after in the MSI GL62M. It is easily upgradable and if you can afford sporting another hard drive, it will make a mesmerizing, and tremendous high end gaming performance.
The Kaby Lake processor, plenty of RAM, and a powerful gaming performance, make the MSI GL62M a wonderful buy and the 5th gaming laptop on our list. If you’re fan of a generic look which doesn’t loudly shout “look at me”, with very bold performance for the price, you will enjoy its’ features.
We forgot to mention that the MSI’s budget laptop is full of handy ports that could always come in use during the gaming, or video streaming moments. It also has a powerful display which makes it eligible for other uses, such as the video editing, and the programs as photoshop, illustrator and similar.
We have reached the end of this buying guide. We have started with the traditional, yet extremely powerful Lenovo Legion Y520 which has achieved outstanding gaming performance. It is not eligible for distribution yet but you can pre-order and see for yourself if you don’t trust our judge.
Other gaming laptops have similar configurations, nearly the same performance, and almost the same flaws which usually included a poor-quality display, and not as powerful battery.
In the end of the day, all of these laptops are eligible for hardcore gaming, even though the most of them costs reasonably less than the other flagship models.