Best Gaming Laptops Under $1200 (Year 2018)

You shouldn’t have to pay a high price in order to get a good gaming laptop. You can get a great laptop that has fast processing, lots of memory storage, and a quality visual experience for a price that won’t set you back much money. We’ve selected the best gaming laptops for under $1200 to help you play your next Massively

We’ve selected the best gaming laptops for under $1200 to help you play your next Massively Multi Player (MMP), First Person Shooter (FPS), Virtual Reality (VR), or all the other games you’ve been wanting to play. We’ve compiled the best gaming laptops that cost under $1200 in a buyer’s guide so you’ll find gaming laptops easier to research.

We’ve compiled the best gaming laptops that cost under $1200 in a buyer’s guide so you’ll find gaming laptops easier to research.




Our Score


Top Pick



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MSI GL72 7RD-028


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MSI GP62MVR Leopard Pro-406


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Lenovo Gaming Y700


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MSI VR Ready GP62MVR Leopard Pro-218


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Why is it good for me to have a backlit keyboard?

If you’ve ever played PC games in the dark, or even in a room that has light in it, you know that seeing the keyboard can be difficult. You also know that this could mean the difference between losing and winning a round of your favorite game. Backlit keyboards are also aesthetically pleasing, giving your laptop a unique look in a variety of colors. Pay attention to the color of the keyboard you pick, as some can come with one or many colors.

Backlit keyboards are also aesthetically pleasing, giving your laptop a unique look in a variety of colors. Pay attention to the color of the keyboard you pick, as some can come with one or many colors.

What’s the difference between getting a laptop with a matte screen versus a regular glossy screen?

Matte screens are anti-reflective, so when you’re sitting near a window, outside on a bench, or are in a place with light, you won’t have that annoying light in your eyes and you’ll be able to see what’s on your screen better. That may seem really good for your gaming, but matte screens are known to have duller colors, which may be a dropping point for you. Regular screens are reflective in

Regular screens are reflective in nature, but have enhanced picture color and detail. They are susceptible to light being bounced back, which may cause you to miss some details of a game. If you like movies then you’ll like the regular glossy screen because details and colors are more vibrant in the dark than its matte counterpart.

Why do gamers need more storage space in their laptops?

If your computer is giving you warnings about low storage you’ll want to consider getting a laptop that has more storage space. You can get a solid state hard disk drive (SSD) or a hard disk drive (HDD) to boost your storage, as well as reducing your loading times for games and annoying wait times. Having both

Having both a SSD and HDD can be a benefit because you can use the HDD for storage and the SSD to run your games and programs. Also, if your HDD crashes you can have the SSD serve as a backup, so there’s minimum downtime.

1. MSI VR Ready GP62MVR Leopard Pro-218

Description: This laptop was a reader’s choice pick for It can run various PC games and can even support VR headsets. This laptop has the highest price out of our list.

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  • Watch you and your team fight other players on a 15.6 inch full high definition screen
  • Very lightweight, weighing in at 4.8 pounds, so it won’t be a huge deal to carry with you for work, or hanging out with your friends
  • Turn on your laptop on and easily cruise through your favorite Windows operating system programs
  • Comes with NVIDIA’s GTX 1060 3G GDDR5 graphics card, so you’ll be viewing colorful backgrounds, foregrounds, and character details the way the graphic artists meant them to be viewed
  • Has a terabyte of storage with a hybrid drive so you get the best of both HDD and SSD worlds
  • Have fun at your next get together by playing the newest in VR games
  • Has a backlit keyboard that is white, so it’s more luminous and neutral in color, compared to its more rainbow counterparts
  • Has Nahimic 2 virtual surround sound which works the best with a headset, so you’ll be able to hear whoever is creeping up behind you in-game
  • Overheating during intense and long game play is handled by four Cooler Boost fans so you won’t have to stop playing early


  • Looks like it could use more USB ports for all the plugs it would need to use multiple VR products, a headset, a mouse, and anything else that would need to be plugged in
  • You may not like the white keyboard and would prefer a different color
  • You may want a smaller screen that’s less than 15.6 inches
  • Depending on how you use the laptop it’s estimated battery life is 2 hours and up, which isn’t very long without the power cord nearby
  • The mouse cursor pad is at the base of the keyboard where your palms may rest, contributing to typing and mouse interference

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2. ASUS ROG Strix GL553VE

Description: This laptop is a little bit cheaper than the Leopard Pro, but not by much. However, it is thinner but weighs less than a pound more. A good gaming laptop that focuses on outstanding graphics and viewability for the price.


  • Has a good sized 15.6 inch screen that boasts that it has 178 degree viewing angles, which means that wherever you’re standing in that 178 degrees, you’ll have the same quality picture
  • Comes with an impressive 256 gigabyte SATA SSD and a 1 terabyte HDD for dual hard drive support for better storage and loading times
  • Has an Aura RGB rainbow keyboard that illuminates beneath the fingers while you quickly type in low lit or well lit areas
  • Has a 1050 4 gigabyte NVIDIA GeForce GTX Graphics card to quickly deliver real time graphics and video to the screen monitor
  • Is lighter weight at 5.5 pounds so you can carry it with you easier
  • Has Windows operating system installed already on it for easier use


  • Has a single fan cooling system which may not be enough for hard core gaming
  • Screen size may be too big for you because you like smaller 12 inch screens
  • You may not care that it has a 178 degree viewing angle because you won’t be getting up from the computer often during game play
  • You may not like the keyboard color, don’t worry there are other keyboards out there on other laptops
  • Audio may not be the best on this laptop, so you may want to invest in a good headset to boost sound quality
  • Navigation touch pad is at the bottom of the keyboard, so you’ll want to invest in a wireless mouse or a mouse you can plug into a USB port
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3. MSI GL72 7RD-028

Description: This laptop has a massive screen and a good chunk of storage to play large file PC games. It’s hybrid hard drive minimizes loading times for PC video game platforms and your favorite games.


  • This MSI has a huge 17.3 inch screen so you can have a bigger and wider view of your competition and area of attack
  • For having a huge screen, it only weighs 5.95 pounds and is of medium thickness
  • It comes with Windows installed on it so you won’t have to go and buy it
  • It has a 1024 gigabyte hybrid SSD and HDD hard drive to boost your loading times and reduce waiting and give you more space to buy and store more games during seasonal sales
  • It comes with its body in the color black and the body has red accents on the back and the top of the laptop company’s icon
  • The laptop’s temperature will stay cooler with Cooler Boost 4, so you won’t have to deal with noisy overheating


  • Less storage than the ASUS ROG Strix in #2
  • Doesn’t come with a backlit keyboard of any kind, so good luck playing in the dark
  • May be bigger or thicker than you need a laptop to be for your needs
  • Could weigh more than what you’d want to carry in a bag
  • Doesn’t have a touchscreen or stylus for other types of swipe to play games
  • Doesn’t come with virtual reality (VR) capabilities, so you’ll have to consider the other laptops like the Leopard Pro above at #1 if you want that in a laptop
  • Could use more USB ports for headsets, chargers, and other cords going into the laptop

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4. Lenovo Gaming Y700

Description: This is a thin powerhouse of a laptop that has a full high definition display as well as prominent sound quality. This laptop has more storage on it and has the power to access info faster and reduces game start times.


  • Full high definition 15.6 inch screen so you won’t see smudges instead of your opponent
  • Has a matte finish screen so get rid of glare from light that could get in the way
  • Has an IPS panel display, so if you move the angle of the screen there’s less distortion of what you’re looking at
  • Has JBL and Dolby Home Theater speakers with a subwoofer for immersive sound during game play and can be improved by using a headset
  • Weighs 5.07 pounds and is much thinner of a model than the previous laptops
  • Windows operating system is on it so you won’t have to relearn how to navigate programs
  • Dual drive that has a 1 terabyte HDD for more game storage space and a 256 SSD for quicker game loading
  • 16 gigabytes of RAM lets you run games and other programs like video streaming happen at the same time
  • Comes with a 4.5 hour long battery life, which is good but could decrease depending on how you are using it
  • Has an aluminum outer casing that looks cool and a black topped but red underlit keyboard that lights up at customizable levels
  • Has a lot of different gaming ports so you can customize your game play
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  • The screen may look good but it has that anti-glare screen that dulls colors
  • The IPS panel display may have less distortion at the edges of the computer, but a computer that has dull colors is more of a distortion for me
  • You won’t be able to use touch screen games on this laptop
  • You’re going to have to buy a wireless mouse because playing a first person shooter (FPS) would be impossible to play using the mousepad it comes with

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5. MSI GP62MVR Leopard Pro-406

Description: This is the bigger version of the Leopard Pro-218, or the laptop in the first slot of this comparison. This one costs less than the rest because it’s big, heavy, and has a smaller hard drive. On the positive side it’s got VR abilities that may seem like a good deal, but you’ll end up having to pay more for later.


  • Has a 15.6 inch full high definition screen that has quality color and rich detail
  • The 170 degree view from both sides of the screen, allowing players in split screen games the same quality as looking at one screen
  • Comes with a backlit keyboard in luminous white
  • Keeps heavy duty gaming cooled off with Cooler Boost 4
  • Has an NVIDIA GTX 1060 3G GDDR5 graphics card for quality images and processing
  • Has Windows installed so you won’t have to do that yourself
  • You’ll be able to plug in a virtual reality headset and experience modern game play
  • Comes with Nahimic Audio Enhancer, which while used with headphones or a headset, will help you hear the important details in the audio part of the game


  • A huge con comes from the laptop only coming with a 256 gigabyte SSD, which isn’t very much hard drive space to both store and run big file games
  • You may have to get an external hard drive if you need more space but can’t afford a complete hard drive upgrade
  • This is not a touchscreen laptop, so you won’t be able to swipe or use a stylus for certain games that require that
  • Using the VR, you may have to shell out more money on purchasing the VR kits to use it
  • This laptop weighs an astounding 9.6 pounds, doubling in weight compared to its Leopard Pro counterpart

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The choice that is the better computer for under $1200 is the Leopard Pro-218 because it has a suitable screen that’s big enough for game play, but isn’t going to hurt my back with it’s weight. It has a good terabyte of HDD and SSD storage space for your favorite PC games and reduced waiting and loading times.

It comes with a practical, neutral, backlit keyboard, and is VR ready. It has a Nahimic 2 virtual surround sound so you won’t get weak audio when you really need clear, quality audio. Internal thermal conditions will reduce with the Cooler Boost fans. The main complaints are that the battery life is too minimal and that the mousepad is too close to the keyboard to be effective in game play.

The main complaints are that the battery life is too minimal and that the mousepad is too close to the keyboard to be effective in game play. Hopefully, this has helped you make a more informed decision on your hunt for a new laptop.