Maybe you’re thinking it’s time to replace your low performing gaming laptop, or it’s your first time dipping your toes in the market. With so much on offer it can be a little daunting figuring out where to spend your money for the best gaming laptop under £1300 .
In this price bracket you are likely to see the familiar faces of the 1050/1060 GTX or the AMD RX 480 graphics cards, 8GB RAM and an i5 generation processor feature the most. But all these are absolutely capable of running today’s AAA games on high performance. The more prudent question is, when will they stop doing that? Exactly how future proof are gaming laptops in this price bracket?
I’m going to take you through some of the market leaders for the best gaming laptop under £1300.
Equipped with the mid range 1060 GTX, and 8GB RAM , this HP OMEN can run all but the most demanding AAA games on high to max graphics. How do I know? Well I happen to own one and rate it pretty high. Currently the 1060 GTX and 8GB RAM allocation is enough to see you through most games in 2019 on high settings.
It’s a little bit chunky, but its in all the right places. The gorgeous hood boasts the sleek Omen symbol in between a cross hair of carbon fibre. It looks the part. This particular model is connected with one solid hinge to the base, with a crimson display available on the keys that makes the additional power consumption worth it.
The size and weight of the Omen can be a turn off, weighing 3.4kg with a 44cm display size it can often feel like you’re transporting a tool set if you’re in the business of travel.
Facing a battlefield swarming with 7,000 troops on Total War: Warhammer 2 I was able to zoom in and watch as my legions of Dwarves were assailed by Orcs with stunning clarity. The detailed faces, blood covered chainmail armour and weapons brought the battle to life and added to the emotional investment.
The 1060 GTX delivers at it’s mid-range market. My AAA games offer great visuals with this GPU, although sometimes offering dim visuals during night time battles, sometimes making me question the above average 332 nits the 17” display boasts.
Is it future proof?
Before buying a gaming laptop, it is very important to rate how it is likely to perform with games in the future. After all its an investment. Aside from the RAM, most gaming laptops are difficult to upgrade the hardware yourself, unless otherwise specified at purchase or you’re a seasoned veteran.
The standard 8GB RAM found commonly in this price bracket is more than enough to play most recent AAA games on high graphics. If the RAM does fall short on the highest performance requirements you can upgrade this laptop, but the 1060 GTX and Intel Core Intel i7-8750H more than make up for it.
Now for the downside, if you open up the Omen laptop and get to the GPU, there is a lack of space to add in an extra GPU, besides the 1060 GTX lacks an SLI connection, preventing a power upgrade with a conjoined GPU when the time comes.
There’s more information on the Omen here.
For a long time, Alienware have been considered one of the top, if not the top gaming laptop provider. So when our budget is under £1500 is this still the case?
The new M15 is Alienware’s slimmest gaming laptop yet, and it looks fantastic. Dell’s new gaming laptop range has made its mark on the market, however beyond the aesthetics there isn’t actually much substance to the asking price in this budget bracket.
The new M15 starts at around £1,350, and what do you get for that? Well a graphics card that only rates slightly higher than the GTX 1050. Although we can’t deny it looks fantastic, you’re effectively paying for the brand. Dell’s entry level laptop mimics the performance of a 2016 laptop for an extra £500.
Although the M15 sports 8GB ram, and the Intel® Core™ i5-9300H 4 core turbo boosted processor, I would say it’s not the alpha in the under £1,500 market. It lacks significantly in the graphics department with a NVIDIA® GeForce GTX® 1650 4GB. There is a chasm in performance between NVIDIA’s 1650 and the 1060 GTX.
If you were to buy a laptop based on aesthetics alone, then the M15 would be a no brainer. The sleek M15 looks incredible, mimicking what I imagine a meeting full of boffins would have around a board meeting table at NASA. Making it a practical laptop for day to day use as well.
Alienware have always been known for their performance pedigree, with the approach has always been to tackle mediocrity. So what went wrong here? The mid-range market is a growing one, and Alienware seemed to have targeted the travel range, favouring light weight and practical over the old bulky gaming models
However with the sub par graphics card it can’t really compete with its competitors when you get over the looks. Unfortunately it doesn’t make up for it with their CPU and RAM allocation. So are Alienware expecting you buy this laptop on looks alone? Because this laptop doesn’t really offer much else in this price bracket.
Is it future proof?
On looks alone I can say with confidence this is where the gaming laptop market is heading, however with the new M15, Alienware have made it questionable whether they intend to compete in the mid-range market on value for money. The graphics card in this price bracket proves this.
No review list would be complete without featuring MSI. The MSI range can have a reputation of looking a bit dated and plain in a world where sleek and sexy is becoming the norm. However in terms of performance in 2019 MSI have upped their game by offering the powerful GS65 Stealth in a price range that blows it’s nearest competitors out of the water.
MSI produce some of the best and most reliable gaming laptops on the market. Again at the under £1,500 range the 1060 GTX tends to feature most heavily as the graphics, but MSI offer 16GB RAM which is a steal in this price range.
MSI also offer the ability to integrate your accessory lighting, such as the nano leaf with your gaming laptop, so you can sequence your own lighting themes. What a brilliant feature!
Like something from the late 2000’s. The MSI is rough and ready, with nothing fancy to tempt your shallower tendencies. It does what it says on the tin, and that’s deliver performance. The design may have been brain stormed by the Chuckle Brothers but who cares when it can outperform both the HP Omen and Alienware models in this price range.
16GB combined with the 1060 GTX means it can play your most challenging AAA games on highest graphics. This device is nothing but a bargain in the under £1500 range. The best gaming laptop under £1300… I reckon so. It was barely even a competition.
Is it future proof?
The MSI is the safest buy of the lot when looking long term. The 1060 GTX graphics card isn’t going to stop playing the latest AAA games any time soon, and the 16 GB RAM is amble memory for even the higher tier gaming laptops.
A disappointing Alienware range for performance in the under £1,300 bracket, and a HP OMEN that doesn’t quite deliver on the memory front means the MSI takes the medal for the best gaming laptop under £1300.