Gaming is growing in popularity, and what used to be limited to large desktop computers is now available for mobile play anywhere you want to game. Whether you want to take your skills to a professional event or you just want a way to save space in your home, a laptop is a powerful and competitive option you can take anywhere.
What makes the best gaming laptop? In addition to a powerful processor and graphics, the right model should be open to upgrades that you can perform without having to go to a computer repair pro. The laptop must also have compatibility with an entire suite of gaming accessories and peripherals. It should look slick and be comfy to play for hours, too.
While you have many brands to choose from in laptop gaming, not all offer the combination of performance and price. When it comes to HP gaming laptops, however, you can have it all. Here are our best gaming laptop picks for under the $2,000 price tag along with some things to keep in mind as you start shopping.
Features of the best gaming laptop
Before you shop, you need to know what it takes to run today’s most popular gaming titles. Don’t even think about buying a laptop that doesn’t meet these minimum specs:
- Quad-core or higher processor
- Graphics card with dedicated memory (GPU)
- Full-sized, backlit keyboard
- Ultra High Definition (UHD) or Full High Definition (FHD) display
- Ample ports for external monitors, gaming mouse, and VR accessories
- Ability to upgrade RAM or the graphics card as needed
- Adequate cooling features
- Battery life of at least 7 hours
- Fast-charge capability
Not every model of gaming laptop will have all of these features. Look for one that embraces most items on this list to get the best overall playing experience. You’ll also want to make a note of personal style preferences, weight, and comfort.
Gaming laptops under $2,000
Now that you know the essential features a gaming device should offer, here are the best of the bunch. All five of these HP® picks meet the above requirements while providing incredible reliability and excellent customer service support.
1. HP OMEN 17t gaming laptop
If a bold display is what you crave, you have to check out the HP OMEN 17t gaming laptop
. The powerful hardware and striking appearance let others know you’re serious about your gaming equipment - and that you play to win. A full-sized, backlit Dragon Red keyboard gives you all the room you need to maneuver without taking up more space than a typical laptop. Plus, the clever 26-key rollover anti-ghosting feature makes sure every stroke counts.
HP OMEN laptops feature the 8th Generation Intel® i7 processors you can depend on. The cooling fans will make sure you game as long as you need to without overheating. Dedicated graphics ensure no lag, no stutter, and simply great-looking games.
Because dedicated graphics are necessary for today’s level of game detail, you can count on NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 10 series products to get you through. Choose from breathtaking 4K play scenarios, VR, and more. It’s perfectly suited for the advancing technology behind every new title release.
To get even more satisfaction from your gaming laptop, be sure to upgrade to the optional Intel Optane™
memory package. It gives you more performance from your laptop without stressing your hard drive. It’s designed to learn the way you use your computer and adapt as needed.
Do you like seeing everything in stunning detail? The 17.3-inch screen is large enough to make a difference, but it doesn’t add unnecessary bulk to the laptop itself. Weighing in at just over 8 lbs, it’s still portable enough to replace your desktop.
2. HP OMEN 15t gaming laptop
For a slimmer version of the HP OMEN with all the perks, go with the HP OMEN 15t gaming laptop
. It boasts a 15.6-inch diagonal FHD display and a weight of just 5.26 lbs. The 144 Hz refresh rate provides sharp and clear views of every stage of gameplay. Gamers love the narrow bezel display that has practically no edge, so it won’t interfere with your view.
It also features a built-in SD card reader and lots of ports. Hook up to all your necessary accessories with a single HDMI 2.0, 3 USB slots, a headphone/microphone combo, mini DisplayPort™, RJ-45, and a single Thunderbolt™ 3 port. You can also connect to virtually unlimited wireless options, thanks to the 802.11 (2x2) WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2 technologies.
Plug in your favorite gaming headset and go. The laptop supports Headphone:X technology but also has outside sound perks in the B&O dual speakers with HP Audio Boost. This laptop is a gaming essential that fits into a carrier bag for last-minute gaming battles away from home.
3. HP OMEN 17-inch gaming laptop
If gaming is a way of life for you, the HP OMEN 17-inch
ENERGY STAR gaming laptop is a must-see option. It features a truly exceptional body style that is as durable as it is stylish. It’s also incredibly easy to upgrade. Unlike other laptops that must be exchanged for better-performing models, this laptop can grow with you. The single, see-through panel can be opened to give you a simple way to upgrade, check for problems, and remove dust and debris on your own.
Let’s talk about power. An incredibly responsive Intel Core i7-8750H handles today’s gaming with agility and ease. Take advantage of the next level, 2.2 GHz base frequency with up to 4.1 GHz via Intel Turbo Boost Technology, 9MB cache, and six cores of processing. It pairs perfectly with the discrete NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 that boasts a full 8GB of dedicated graphic memory.
There’s no need to buy more memory to start. This model comes standard with two separate 16GB RAM solutions for a total of 32GB DDR4-2400 SDRAM. Combined with the monster 2TB primary hard drive and 256GB secondary storage drive, you have more than enough to download all your favorite RPGs, zombie shooters, and platformers, too.
The multiple ports are designed to give you the station you desire. Hook up additional monitors, VR gear, and more. It features two Thunderbolt-certified USB 3.1 Type-C™ ports, 3 USB 3.0 Type-A ports, and an HDMI port. All of these are housed in a Shadow Black case that weighs just a bit more than 8 lbs.
4. HP Pavilion 15t Quad gaming laptop
Get much, much more for your money with this budget-savvy gaming laptop offering a quad-core processor from the dependable 8th Generation Intel Core processor series. Made to stream video, multi-task, and play the most demanding games, the HP Pavilion 15t Quad gaming laptop
is a dream for hobby and pro-gamers alike. Take it to the next level with up to 16GB of high-bandwidth DDR4 RAM. It’s easily upgradable, too.
Because today’s games take up more space on your computer than ever before, you can store all your favorite titles permanently with the extra storage capabilities. You can start gaming within seconds, too. The optional PCIe SSD gives you dual storage perks, along with traditional HDD reliability.
All of this comes in an attractive laptop body complete with a video camera, mic, and all the ports and plugs you need for various gaming accessories. It’s assumed you’ll probably use gaming headphones
, but if you don’t, the B&O front-facing dual speakers with audio boost will provide a rich sound experience.
Get faster streaming speed with an optional WiFi supporting 2 x 2 antenna. Even when gaming for hours, this HP Pavilion stays cool anywhere you go with dual fans and a lightweight but durable case.
Did we mention that this little laptop weighs less than 5 lbs? It’s small enough to take in a backpack
, but powerful enough to support the most demanding VR accessories
. Choose from three available color schemes including Ghost White, Acid Green, or Ultra Violet.
5. HP Pavilion 15t Hexa gaming laptop
This upgraded version of the previously mentioned HP Pavilion has more power. It features an 8th Generation Intel Core i7 processor plus an optional 16GB of PCIe NVMe Intel Optane to boost performance. Pursue your highest gaming goals by upgrading your graphics to NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 with Max-Q design, which has 3GB of dedicated graphics memory.
Pick between two striking color schemes, Ultra Violet or Shadow Black with Ghost White. Both themes have a full-sized keyboard with all the backlighting you need to play in even the lowest lighting conditions. Battery life is more than adequate, too. It provides up to 10 hours and 15 minutes with FHD display or up to 7 hours and 30 minutes with UHD display.
This HP Pavilion 15t Hexa gaming laptop
is priced well under a $2,000 budget. Use your extra cash to invest in accessories
, like the optional DVD drive or upgraded HP TrueVision FHD IR Camera with dual-array digital microphone. Because it has such a balance of performance and practicality, it makes the perfect tool for students, business owners, and anyone who wants a reliable laptop when they aren’t playing games.
Questions to ask when shopping
It helps to know how you’ll use your gaming laptop before you buy. Not everyone games the same. You may also want to use your laptop as a multi-purpose tool for browsing the web, creating documents, doing graphic design, and watching videos.
Use this list of questions to help guide your mission.
- Do I plan on upgrading memory or storage in the immediate future?
- What accessories will I want to use with my laptop?
- Do I want UHD or FHD display features?
- Do I want to use my laptop with external monitors?
- Is virtual reality important to me?
- What kind of storage do I want?
- How will I keep my laptop cool during gaming sessions?
- What battery life is needed?
- What other common tasks will I want to do with my laptop?
If you already use a desktop to play games, pay attention to what you like - and don’t like - about using one. Are there features you can’t live without? What would your ideal portable desktop feel like? Consider these preferences when taking any gaming laptop for a test drive.
Accessories for everyone
The right add-ons can take your gaming laptop to the next level. Spend just as much time researching which accessories to buy as you do on your machine. Items designed to elevate your gameplay include:
- Gaming headsets for transmitting sound and recording audio
- Gaming mouse, wired if possible
- Gaming mousepad for a smoother experience
- VR accessories for 360-degree realism
- Gaming backpack to keep your gear safe on the road
- External monitors to give you the best view possible
- Basic cables and connectors, from HDMI to USB
Gamers can require many additional gadgets and tools. For the easiest setup and to ensure compatibility, choose accessories from the same manufacturer as your laptop. Better yet, go with the same brand line.
The HP OMEN line
, for example, has everything you need from your laptop to your headset. Not only does everything play well together, but the consistent aesthetic across the items will make you look like a pro, too.
Whether you’re a first-person shooter fanatic or you enjoy the escape of an RPG in your spare time, today’s gaming laptops are efficient, powerful, and flexible for all gaming personalities.
Plus, many HP gaming laptops also come with the ability to buy an HP Care Pack
to protect your purchase against accidents, so it’s smarter than ever to take your gameplay on the road. The three-year plans, for example, come with the guarantee that if you don’t use the plan during the three years it’s in effect, you can submit for a full refund of the cost of the Care Pack.
You don’t have to be a pro to appreciate the possibilities of these devices. Even those without a future in eSports
have much to gain by picking from this list of the best gaming laptops under $2,000. With so many affordable options, there’s never been an easier way to start gaming while staying under budget.
About the Author
Linsey Knerl is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Linsey is a Midwest-based author, public speaker, and member of the ASJA. She has a passion for helping consumers and small business owners do more with their resources via the latest tech solutions.