Gaming laptops under 1200 dollars is a category where the game literally starts to change. This is where things start to get much more interesting and much more powerful.
Not only do you get a powerful gaming laptop, you also get laptops made out of premium materials, a variety of input/output ports, great sound, and value added software. Most of the laptops in this category are medium to large size and are stunners to look it. They scream performance!
In this section, I will be focusing on pointing out and recommending the best gaming laptops under 1200 dollars.
You can learn more about affordable gaming laptops here:
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Summary of the Best Gaming Laptops Under 1200 Dollars
Following is a list of all the best gaming laptops under 1200 dollars. You will find a mini description of the main features of the laptop. There is also a rating system based on the performance to cost ratio. This ratio determines how much power, performance, and utility the laptop offers for its price. A five-star rating means the laptop provides the best value for the money spent. A lower star rating points to flailing value.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Should I Focus On?
In this budget category, you should be primarily focusing on gaming laptops with the ability of render extreme graphics at high rates. Which means you should consider laptops with a minimum of Intel quad-core Core i7-6700HQ. This is THE best processor for gaming. Period. You should also know that Intel has released their 7th gen Kaby Lake processors. So getting a laptop with a Core i7-7700HQ you be the ultimate choice.
Also, you should be focusing mainly on laptops with discrete graphics cards. The best in this price category is the NVidia GeForce GTX 1060. You should not be entertaining the GTX 980M, 970M, or 960M as these graphics cards can easily be found in cheaper gaming laptop categories. Also, they are nowhere close to the performance of the Pascal-based 10 series of NVidia graphics cards. Remember, the idea here is to get a laptop with the best possible graphics card under a 1200 dollars budget.
Along with a powerful CPU and GPU, you should look for a laptop’s cooling system. This is imperative because a powerful processor and graphics card have a knack of running extremely hot when running for long periods of time. Luckily, most of the gaming grade laptops under 1200 dollars have a dual-fan copper piping based cooling system. This ensures your laptops stays cool even when playing games are ultra-settings.
Another aspect to consider is the screen size and resolution. The ideal size for any decent gaming laptop is 15.6 to 17.3 inches, with a minimum resolution of 1920×1080 (FHD). An added bonus to focus on is the laptops’ ability to upgrade internal components like the RAM and the storage. This ensures that your laptop will be future proof and last you a long time.
What Should I Not Expect?
You should never focus on long battery life when considering laptops under 1200 dollars. Laptops designed around $1200 are not made to last on battery. They are pure performance beasts. Also, please don’t focus on large amounts of RAM, but rather a fast performing RAM like DDR4. Having said that, most of the gaming laptops under 1200 come standard with a 12GB to 16GB of DDR4 RAM.
Another aspect you should NEVER compromise on is laptops with “U” based intel processors. The U stands for ultra-low power CPU, with only a dual-core processor. Which mean that a Core i7-7500U or 6500U would not be as powerful as a Core i5-7300HQ, which has a quad-core CPU, designed primarily for performance.
You should also not look at laptops with a generic 5400rpm mechanical hard drive. Such a storage option is simply not acceptable in gaming laptops under 1200 dollars as it lags in performance.
What Kind of Games Can I Play?
Gaming laptops under 1200 dollars have the ability to play almost every game in the market. Some newer titles with advanced graphics might work on medium to high settings, but most of the games should work flawlessly on high settings. Some games might even work on Ultra settings!
You can expect to play almost all the older/classic games, along with all the new titles like Call of Duty Infinite Warfare, Call of Duty Black Ops 3, Overwatch, Battlefield 4, Battlefield 1, Rainbow Siege 6, StarCraft 2, WatchDogs 2, Assassins Creed, Tomb Raider, No Man’s Sky, Barman: Arkham Knight and many many more.
Select Your Best Gaming Laptops Under 1200 Dollars
Here is a detailed description of all the laptops mentioned in the summary table above. You will get to see a complete analysis of every laptop’s specification and performance parameters.
Gigabyte P55WV6-PC3D | Best Gaming Laptop Under 1200
Price Scale: $1200. Built: Matte Black Finish. OS: Windows 10, Screen Size: 15.6 inches, Resolution: FHD (1920×1080), Processor: Intel Core i7-6700HQ quad-core up to 3.5GHz, RAM: 16GB DDR4 2133MHz, Storage: 256GB SSD + 1TB 7200rpm w/ m.2 PCIe Slot, Graphics Card: NVidia GTX 1060 (discrete), Graphics RAM: 6GB GDDR5 VRAM
Connectivity and Interfacing
Wi-Fi: Dual Band 802.11 a/c w/ WiDi, Bluetooth: 4.0, Ethernet: Gigabit, Optical Drive: None, USB Ports: 1 x 3.1 (Type-C), 3 x 3.0, Keyboard: 1.6mm Travel Backlit Chicklet, Full QWERTY w/ NumPad, Sound: Stereo Speakers w/ Dolby
Processing and Graphics
The Gigabyte P55WV6-PC3D is probably the most valuable and powerful laptop in the gaming laptops under 1200 dollars category. It’s one of those no thrills, no frills, seriously powerful gaming laptops. It looks very simple and mundane, without making any style statements. It does, however, pack a huge punch. It’s made mainly for gamers who just want their gaming laptop to play all graphics-heavy game.
Just like most of the laptops in this category, the Gigabyte P55WV6-PC3D uses Intel’s 6th gen Core i7-6700HQ processor. It comes in a quad-core configuration, with speeds reaching up to 3.5GHz per core. Coupled with the processor is a speedy, 2133MHz DDR4 RAM, which is upgradeable to 32GB. The combination of the high Core i7 processor and the 16GB RAM ensures optimal performance even at heavy loads.
The Gigabyte P55WV6-PC3D comes with NVidia’s desktop-class GTX 1060 GPU. With a large 6GB of GDDR5 RAM, the GTX 1060 delivers amazing performance at an incredible speed. Moreover, the graphics card is also capable of handling virtual reality systems like Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
Thermal dissipation is a bit of a downer on the P55WV6-PC3D. Unlike the dual cooling system available on the MSI gaming laptops, the Gigabyte only uses a single fan solution. That’s why the laptop tends to get a bit warmer than its counterparts.
Screen and Sound
The screen on the Gigabyte P55WV6-PC3D is a 15.6” panel. It’s a 1080p FHD IPS display, with a wide viewing angle that provides premium viewing experience. It has astonishing color accuracy and crystal clear images when screen sharing. The Full HD matte display panel diffuses light and eliminates reflections, enhancing your viewing experience and creating the most realistic gaming experience.
The sound on the Gigabyte P55WV6-PC3D laptop is powered by Dolby Digital Plus. It provides realistic gameplay by letting you hear every window smash and feel every explosion. The Surround Virtualizer technology also provides a virtualized surround sound experience out of stereo or multichannel content over the built-in speakers or headphones. Whether you’re playing games, watching Blu-ray movies, or streaming videos, the Gigabyte P55WV6-PC3D is a great entertainer.
Storage and Keyboard
The Gigabyte P57WV6-PC3D comes with a combo storage solution. The 256GB of SATA SSD provides speedy read/write speeds while the 7200 RPM 1TB drive stores all your data. There is an additional m.2 PCIe slot inside the laptop, providing 4x the speed of a generic SSD, with reading speeds of up to 2000 MB/s. This setup guarantees top notch performance, with the ability to upgrade your storage in the future.
For its keyboard, the Gigabyte P55WV6-PC3D utilizes in-house technologies to make the gaming experience uplifting. The keyboard comes with 2 level backlight with great tactile feedback and travel. It also has 30 rollover keys to eliminating ghosting. Overall, you get a great typing and gaming experience.
Furthermore, the Gigabyte P57WV6-PC3D comes with value added software like Smart Dashboard, Fan Tweak, XPlit Gamecaster, and TriDef SmartCam. All of these applications enhance your gaming experience to the next level and let you control every aspect of your laptop. This is by far one of the best gaming laptops under 1200.
MSI GE62VR Apache Pro-026 | Great Gaming Laptop Under 1200
Price Scale: $1200. Built: Brushed Aluminum Metallic Chassis. OS: Windows 10, Screen Size: 15.6 inches eDP Non-Reflective, Resolution: FHD (1920×1080), Processor: Intel Core i7-6700HQ quad-core up to 3.5GHz, RAM: 16GB 2133MHz DDR4 (upgradeable to 32GB), Storage: 128GB m.2 SSD + 1TB 7200rpmHDD, Graphics Card: NVidia GeFoce GTX 1060 (discrete), Graphics RAM: 6GB GDDR5 VRAM
Connectivity and Interfacing
Wi-Fi: Dual Band Intel 3165 Stone Peak 802.11 A/C, Bluetooth: 4.0, Ethernet: Gigabit Killer Gaming E2400, Optical Drive: DL DVDRW/CD-RW, USB Ports: 1 x 3.1 (Type-C), 2 x 3.0, 1 x 2.0, Keyboard: SteelSeries Multi Color Backlit with Anti-Ghost key + Silver Linining, Full QWERTY, Sound: : Nahimic Sound + Audio Boost w/ 4 Dynaudio Tech Speaker + Subwoofer
Processing and Graphics
The MSI GE62VR Apache Pro-026 can be considered a runner-up for gaming laptops under 1200. It uses intel’s Core i7-6700HQ processor and a fast DDR4 RAM. This brings substantial improvements to multi-tasking and delivers superb performance gains for gaming. The 12GB of DDR4 RAM improves your gaming and multitasking experience.
With the MSI GE62VR Apache Pro-026, you get a category leading dedicated GPU solution. The laptop housed NVidia’s latest Pascal based series 10 graphics card. The NVidia GeForce GTX 1060 with a whopping 6GB of VRAM provides desktop class performance without losing any performance. This allows for smooth, FHD gaming experience, even at ultra-settings.
Screen and Sound
The MSI GE62VR Apache Pro-026 come fitted with gorgeous 15.6 inch Matte FHD display. MSI’s True Color Technology guarantees close to 100% sRGB color output, which looks just amazing on the 1920x1080p panel. Couples with MSI’s Matrix Display technology, you can connect up to two additional screens through the HDMI and mini-display Ports.
Sound reproduction on the MSI GE62VR Apache Pro-026 is controlled by Nahimic 2 Engine, which deepens gameplay by improving bass and reducing noise pollution for the best in-game voice clarity. Furthermore, the laptop comes with a 4.1 speaker system offered by Dynaudio, along with Audio Boost 2 tech for amplifying gaming headphones.
Storage and Keyboard
With the MSI GE62VR Apache Pro-026, you get a dual storage setup with a fast mechanical drive and an ultra-fast solid state drive. The 7200 RPM 1TB mechanical drive, combined with a 128GB m.2 SSD, provide you an all-around performance.
Unlike other competing laptops, the MSI GE62VR Apache Pro-026 uses a dedicated SteelSeries gaming keyboard. This keyboard comes with 30 Anti-Ghosting keys, silver lining, and multi-color RGB backlight. All in all, you get a laptop that is geared for gaming enthusiasts and shines among gaming laptops under 1200.
If you are content with the internal specs of MSI GE62VR Apache Pro-026 but desire a large screen, MSI has you covered. Just look at MSI GE62VR Apache Pro-024 gaming laptop. It gives you a screen real estate of FHD 17.3 inches, with a little additional moolah.
You can also opt for the MSI GT72VR-063 Dominator gaming laptop. The Dominator series by MSI features their flagship laptops. Although they are a bit bulky compared to the Apache or Leopard, MSI Dominator gaming laptops house better cooling system, sound, built, and G-SYNC ready screens. For a little more cash, you can get an MSI GT72VR-063 Dominator gaming laptop with a 17.3” screen and the exact same internal specs as the MSI GE62VR Apache Pro-026.
MSI GP62 Leopard Pro-406 | Good Gaming Laptop Under 1200
Price Scale: $1200. Build: Slim & Portable – Brushed Aluminum Metallic Chassis, OS: Windows 10, Screen Size: 15.6 inches, Resolution: FHD G-SYNC Ready (1920×1080), Processor: Intel Core i7-7700HQ quad-core up to 3.8GHz, RAM: 16GB 2400MHz DDR4 (upgradeable to 32GB), Storage: 256GB m.2 SSD w/ extra 2.5” SATA Bay, Graphics Card: NVidia GeFoce GTX 1060 (discrete), Graphics RAM: 3GB GDDR5 VRAM
Connectivity and Interfacing
Wi-Fi: Dual Band Intel 3165 Stone Peak 802.11 A/C, Bluetooth: 4.0, Ethernet: Gigabit Killer Gaming E2500, Optical Drive: DL DVDRW/CD-RW, USB Ports: 1 x 3.1 (Type-C), 2 x 3.0, 1 x 2.0, Keyboard: SteelSeries Backlit with 45 Anti-Ghosting keys + Silver Lining + 1.9mm key travel, Full QWERTY + Numpad, Sound: : Nahimic Sound 2 Technology + Audio Boost 2 w/ 4 Dynaudio Speakers + Subwoofer
Processing and Graphics
The MSI GP62 Leopard Pro-406 sports the most powerful processor in the gaming laptops under 1200 category. It uses Intel’s latest 7th generation Kaby Lake Core i7-7700HQ quad-core processor and an ultra-fast 16GB 2400MHz DDR4 RAM. This brings significant improvements to multi-tasking and delivers superb performance leaps for extreme gaming. Even though the laptop comes with the latest processor, it only brings about 10% better performance than its predecessor, the Core i7-6700HQ.
With the MSI GP62 Leopard Pro-406, you get a class leading discrete graphics card solution. The NVidia GeForce GTX 1060 is a powerhouse graphics card, that performs almost 100% better than the 960M. While most of the laptops in this category come with 6GB of GDDR5 RAM, the MSI GP62 Leopard Pro-406 only has 3GB. This is the primary reason why MSI GP62 Leopard Pro has been placed at the end of this category. While this might be a deal breaker for some who do 4k gaming, it’s not much of a concern for FHD gamers. The graphics card allows for smooth, full HD gaming performance, even at high settings.
Coupled with the powerful CPU and GPU combo is a class leading cooling system. MSI’s Cooler Boost 4 cooling system utilizes dual thermal modules. It allocates 6 heat pipes for both the CPU and the GPU. This ensures amazing thermal dissipation and a flawless gaming experience.
Screen and Sound
The MSI GP62 Leopard Pro-406 comes fitted with gorgeous 15.6 inch Matte FHD display, with 94% color accuracy and 1920 by 1080 resolution. Combined with MSI’s Matrix Display technology, you can connect two additional screens via the HDMI and mini-display Ports.
Audio on the MSI GP62 Leopard Pro-406 is handled by Nahimic 2, which intensifies gameplay by boosting bass and reducing exterior noise pollution for optimum in-game voice clarity. Furthermore, the laptop comes with an industry leading 4.1 speaker system offered by Dynaudio 2. As if that wasn’t enough, MSI packs the gaming laptop with Audio Boost 2 technology, which houses 3 amps for amplifying audio on gaming headphones.
Storage and Keyboard
With the MSI GP62 Leopard Pro-406, you get a single storage setup through an ultra-fast 256GB solid state drive. You can also utilize the empty 2.5” SATA bay to install a mechanical drive of your choice. This kind of upgradeability gives the MSI GP62 Leopard Pro-406 an edge. Unlike other competing laptops, the MSI GP62 Leopard Pro-406 uses a dedicated SteelSeries gaming keyboard. This keyboard comes with 45 Anti-Ghosting keys, silver lining, backlight, and a superior 1.9mm key travel. All in all, you get a laptop that is engineered primarily for gaming enthusiasts, and it the father of all gaming laptops under 1200!
This is by far the cheapest of all the noteworthy gaming laptops that fall under the 1200 dollars category. That’s why it brings tremendous performance value for its price point.
This is the end of my selection of the best of the best gaming laptops under 1200 dollars. As you may have noticed in this article, a 1200 dollar budget can get you a really powerful gaming laptop. Apart from the superior performance, you also get laptops made out of premium grade materials, advanced i/o ports, and a solid ability to upgrade the storage or the RAM.
In all gaming laptops under 1200 dollars, you get an ultra-fast quad-core i7 processor and a super-fast DDR4 RAM. In the graphics department, you get a powerful desktop-class NVidia GeForce 1060 graphics card with 3GB to 6GB of GDDR5 RAM. This can handle almost any game. Another great feature in all of these laptops is the additional m.2 slot which provides additional storage. You also get the option to upgrade RAM to 32GB on all of them. Furthermore, most of these laptops are made with premium materials and are really nice to look at!
As for gaming, you need not worry. Gaming laptops under 1200 dollars can handle pretty much any game you throw at them. You can expect to play them flawlessly under high settings.
A Gaming laptop under 1200 dollars is made to perform like a champ. Thus, It will definitely last you for a long period of time!
If you wish to further upgrade your gaming laptop, following are links to amazing deals:
Graphics, RAM, and Screen
With a Thunderbolt 2 port, you can opt for an external graphics by buying the Ankitio Thunder2. If the screen size on your laptop is not to your liking, you can find great deals on external LCD monitors over here. Gaming grade RAM deals can be found here.
Storage Upgrade Solutions
For cheap and large laptop HDDs, click here. If you are looking for larger or additional gaming SATA SSDs, click here. Super speed m.2 PCIe SSDs can be found here. Hybrid Solid State Drives (SSHD) deals can be found here.