Amazon Prime Day is here, and while it’s easy to be cynical about the level of consumerism it ushers in, there are some decent deals to be had if you are in the market for a few pieces of tech for yourself and your loved ones. One trend I’ve spotted this year is that there are plenty of deals to be had on laptops, particularly on the more affordable end of the bargain spectrum—something that is usually overlooked in favour of the big-ticket items.
This year there are lots of decent gaming laptops that can be had for less than £1,000, all the way down to do £530 for the MSI GF64 Thin in fact. For just over a monkey you get a 10th-gen quad-core Intel CPU with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 GPU that will handle the vast majority of games with only a little setting manipulation. Okay, more recent titles may struggle a little bit, but for the money, it’s still an incredible deal.
There are plenty of other options as you climb the pricing ladder, so it pays to be aware of what the extra money gets you.
As ever, the defining component for gaming is the graphics card—in an ideal world, you’d want one of the latest 3000 series GPUs, although at 1080p the likes of the GTX 1650 and GTX 1660 can still put in good work. There are a few RTX 3050 TIs and RTX 3060s out there though, even if they are closer to the top of this price range.
You’ll notice you actually have a choice between Intel and AMD for the CPUs this year, which feels like a good thing to be able to say. They’re both on a fairly equal footing as far as gaming is concerned, so it’s down to how many cores are on offer, and what generation of chips are in the machines.
Intel has recently released its 11th-gen gaming mobile chips, so the vast majority of these reduce laptops will use 10th-gen Comet Lack offerings—which are fine chips. All the AMD laptops meanwhile are using the latest Zen 3-powered Ryzen 5000 CPUs, which are great if you need to do any serious number crunching as well.
One thing you’ll find in the sub-£1000 laptop market is 8GB is basically the norm. Not only is this a bit of a squeeze for some games, but it means the machine generally lays claim to half the bandwidth it is designed for, as this 8GB will generally be just a single SODIMM. Upgrading down the line is generally straightforward at least. You just need a stick of RAM to match what’s already in there.
SSDs tend to be on the smaller side as well, with 256GB being the norm, although there are a few 512GB drives to be found as well. Anything smaller than 256GB should probably be avoided, as games are getting bigger, and Windows 10 has a tendency to gobble up quite a bit for itself. You may be able to upgrade later on, although it’s worth checking this first.
Here’s a list of the sub-£1000 laptops that have caught our eye, and where you can get them.