Best Laptop under 1200$: High-End Best Value
The evolution of gaming notebooks is increasingly closing the gap to desktop PCs.
Nvidia in particular has made a major contribution to this, because ever since the GPU manufacturer launched its Geforce 1000 series for laptops, the performance difference between mobile and desktop graphics chips depending on the graphics chipset is hardly worth mentioning.
The performance values are often (especially in the 1000 generation) on a comparable level to the desktop models, which makes the purchase of a gaming notebook highly attractive – provided money is not an issue.
In this article we only focus on the best laptops under 1200 Dollar.
With the Geforce 2000 series, Nvidia has now brought its “RTX computing cores”, which massively accelerate real-time ray tracing, onto the market for mobile computers as well.
That a new generation doesn’t always have to be significantly better than its predecessor, however, is shown in our comparison test of the top models on our best list.
If you are looking for a conventional laptop, we can recommend our detailed laptop comparison.
We have summarized our tips for gaming notebooks for you in the following and will go into them in more detail in the following for the best laptops under 1200 Dollar.
Test Results: Best Laptops under 1200$: High-End Best Value
Ranking First: Acer Predator Helios 300
- 512 GB SSD
- High system performance
- Good battery life for a 17-inch gaming laptop
- Rather comfortable keyboard
- Only one free 2.5-inch slot available
Best performing laptop under 1200 Dollar
A notebook is classically more of a workhorse for users who want or need to work on a PC even when they are not at home or at a fixed workplace.
However, there are already a lot of gamers who do not want to or cannot (only) rely on a stationary PC and therefore rely on the performance of a notebook when it comes to computer games.
Of course, it is relatively difficult to accommodate gaming hardware in a laptop case because of the complex technology involved.
The surcharge compared to a comparably strong desktop PC is therefore usually very reasonable.
Nevertheless, gaming notebooks are very popular, so that there are also strong laptops that are cobbled together to meet gamer’s needs – such as the Predator Helios 300 (PH317-53-757Z) with a 17.3 inch display (with a refresh rate of 144 Hertz), Intel Core i7-9750H processor and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 graphics card, which we tested.
In September 2018, we had already tested one of the predecessors, the Predator Helios 300 (PH317-52-51M6 with Core i5-8300H processor, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics card).
Our current test model is thus a lot stronger and is also right at the top of the gaming predator rankings within the current model selection of the Predator Helios 300 notebook series and is a worthy candidate in our best laptops under 1200 Dollar test.
In general, entry is currently possible from about 900 Dollar (15.6 inch, Intel Core i7-8750H processor, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 graphic card), whereby we could find over 20 variants in the trade.
Nine of these models have the model code PH317-53 and offer an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, RTX 2060 graphics card or (like our test model PH317-52-757Z) an RTX 2070 graphics card, depending on the variant.
Predator Helios 300
The laptop model with the model abbreviation PH317-53-757Z from our review is currently not yet on sale, but similarly equipped Predator Helios 300 variants (also 17.3 inch, Intel Core i7-9750H processor and Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 graphic card) currently cost from about 1900 Dollar.
By the way, with a bit of luck you can also get a copy of the Predator Helios 300 (PH317-53-757Z) as part of our raffle, because Acer has provided us with a raffle copy – more about this at the end of the article.
But first we’ll come to our practical test and the technical data of the notebook, which we’ll partly refer to as Predator Helios 300 from here on due to its better readability.
Intel Core i7-9750H processor: Strong Intel CPU as basis
Our test model of the Predator Helios 300 series relies on Intel for the CPU – the Californians are the clear top dog in the notebook segment and also offer a good selection of processors, which on the one hand deliver their performance with low power consumption at a low clock rate, but can also be clocked very high if required.
This is also the case with the Intel Core i7-9750H processor, which is in our Predator notebook.
The processor of the Coffee Lake H family, manufactured in 14 nanometers, has six cores available and can manage 12 threads thanks to Hyperthreading, making it th best laptop under 1200 Dollar.
It clocks with 2.6 to 4.5 gigahertz, depending on requirements.
With its 12 megabytes of cache memory and a memory connection for DDR4-2666 RAM, it has a TDP of 45 watts.
The TPD does not correspond exactly to the power requirement, but serves as an indication of the maximum waste heat energy to be dissipated.
However, the TDP does give an indication of differences in power consumption – for comparison:
For a similar desktop CPU as the Core i7-8700 processor (six cores, 12 threads, 3.2 to 3.6 gigahertz), Intel has a TDP of 65 watts.
However, an Intel Core i7-9750H processor is in any case a very good basis for gaming, and streamers or other users who have other software running in parallel to a game could also profit from the many threads.
Important for the final performance is above all the graphics card – we’ll look at this and other technical data on the next page.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 graphics card and other features
The Intel CPU is joined by an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 graphics card with 8GB video memory in the Predator Helios 300.
This is a GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q graphics card adapted for mobile gaming, which is only slightly inferior to a desktop version of the GeForce RTX 2070 graphics card.
It performs a bit less than the desktop version, but it also consumes less power and can be cooled more easily.
In addition, two overclocking levels are available for games on the fly via Acer’s tool, so that the graphics card performs better than in standard mode & is truly worthy for the best laptop under 1200 Dollar.
In addition, there is 16 GB of RAM and an SSD with 1000 GB of storage space.
The SSD is a fast M.2 NVMe SSD. Windows 10 Home is pre-installed on the notebook.
The Predator Helios 300 has a 17.3 inch (44 cm) diagonal display and a refresh rate of 144 Hertz.
Thanks to the IPS panel, even rich colors and contrasts are no problem.
Processing and exterior
The workmanship of the Predator Helios 300 leaves a positive impression, as you expect for the best laptop under 1200 Dollar.
We don’t see any carvers in the fits, the material provides a noble design by a light structuring.
The cover is completely made of aluminium. The keyboard plane is framed by a thin metal frame.
During operation, the Predator logo glows in blue on the back of the display, and the keyboard is also illuminated in blue ex factory, but can also be adjusted via software, which we’ll look at in more detail below.
The RGB keyboard’s keys make a good impression and give a nice typing feedback.
The WASD and arrow keys are highlighted with a brighter glow.
The touchpad is placed centrally in relation to the letter keys, but because of the number pad area, the touchpad is clearly offset to the left overall.
The area with the touchpad is kept very generous, the actual keys only take up a little more than half of the keyboard area’s depth – the large, free area helps to cool the hardware because it can emit heat to the surroundings.
If you want to upgrade the notebook with a 2.5 inch hard disk, respectively a 2.5 inch SSD, you can do so – for the latter purpose, a suitable adapter is included with the notebook, and zwae including a written note that in case of a claim under warranty, there could be problems if you do the upgrade yourself and not through an Acer authorized service, as expected for the best laptop under 1200 Dollar.
Practical tests everyday life
Before we get to the games, let’s have a look at how the notebook behaves in everyday life.
The initial setup is done within 15 to 20 minutes, followed by possible Windows and driver updates, the duration of which naturally depends on what new updates have been available since the laptop was produced.
After we had installed all updates as well as already some tools and game clients and games, we shut down the laptop completely to test a “cold start”.
Here we noticed the fast M.2 SSD, because in less than 10 seconds we were greeted by the start screen of Windows, where we entered the user password.
In office mode or even when surfing or watching movies, we perceive the ventilation as a quiet hissing sound.
The typing feel of the RGB keyboard is very good despite the flat keys, as they don’t seem too soft, but have a certain resistance, which doesn’t get tiring in the long run.
There is a pre-installed app for gaming as well as for adjusting the RGB keyboard’s LED lighting, for which there is even a separate key in the number pad area.
In the app you can change the color of the keyboard illumination, highlight certain areas of the keyboard with brighter light and adjust other colors or color effects.
For gaming, the area of the app is important, where you can determine how much throttle the graphics card should be able to give, and the ventilation can also be adjusted individually in a menu item.
Among other things, we tested the Predator Helios 300 in everyday use by writing parts of this article on it, also using battery power and without darkening the display for the purpose of saving energy:
After about three hours of working with Word and surfing the Internet, the battery has about 10 percent remaining battery life left, which shows the power of the best laptop under 1200 Dollar.
Thus, those who also have to work with the notebook on the road will have a decent battery life available for a gaming notebook with a large display.
Thanks to the IPS display, the colors are also rich and contrasty when working and playing.
Practice and performance test gaming
Let’s focus on what is the more important factor for our magazine: the gaming performance and how the notebook behaves during games.
For this purpose, we have installed and tested five popular and current game titles on the notebook:
Battlefield V, Need for Speed: Heat, Star Wars: Fallen Order and Tom Clancy’s: The Division 2.
We conducted our game tests with the default setting of the previously mentioned Acer tool – but exemplarily we also increased the performance of one game (Need for Speed: Heat) to “faster” in order to observe the performance increase.
The ventilation can also be regulated independently if required.
In the standard setting it already gives a good deal of gas, which isn’t surprising considering the notebook’s power, for the best laptop under 1200 Dollar.
The ventilation also keeps the graphic card at a maximum of 75 degrees – if you allow more temperature, you can of course also play with a quieter ventilation.
In notebooks with stronger graphics cards, the ventilation is of course never particularly quiet when gaming, as the graphics card has much less “air” around it compared to a desktop PC, and the heat sinks are also logically much smaller.
After all, a gaming notebook like the Predator Helios 300 is less thick than a normal desktop graphics card, even with the display closed:
Our test notebook is 1 inch high when closed, the area with the hardware is about 2.0 centimeters high – a desktop version of the GeForce RTX 2070 graphics card or even an RTX 2060 graphics card is more likely to measure about four centimeters in height.
But here are our test results, in which we tested the five above mentioned games in the native resolution (1920 by 1080 pixels, Full-HD) and the maximum possible default setting.
Additionally, we tested Battlefield V (96 FPS, up 55 percent) and Tom Clancy’s: The Division 2 (107 FPS, up 64 percent) in medium details. We also tested Need for Speed:
Heat with the Acer tool setting “faster” – the graphic card’s clock rate was about 9 to 10 percent higher than in the standard mode. Accordingly, we also achieved a similar increase in FPS, namely a good 80 FPS, a plus of almost 11 percent.
However, the fan does turn up more than in the standard setting, which is to be expected even for the best laptop under 1200 Dollar.
Verdict: Best performance for the best Laptop under 1200 Dollar
The Predator Helios 300 (PH317-53-757Z) offers a very strong gaming performance for the notebook sector and masters modern games on maximum details with more than 60 FPS.
The device also makes a good impression outside of games. We don’t know an exact price yet, but as already mentioned above, similar Predator Helios 300 models start at about 1100 Dollar.
You can’t get another 17.3 inch notebook cheaper at the moment if you ask for a modern Core i7 processor with 12 threads, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 graphics card, 16GB RAM and a fast M.2 SSD with a terabyte of memory.
In this respect, the Predator Helios 300 (PH317-53-757Z) is a very good choice if you are looking for a gaming notebook with the mentioned technical specifications.
It is definitely the best laptop under 1200 Dollar you can get right now.
Ranking Second: Asus ROG Strix G
- Good maintenance and repair options
- Eye-catching RGB lighting
- Supreme CPU speeds
- Runs old and new games extremely well
- Weak battery life
Best price performance ratio for the second best laptop under 1200 Dollar
With the Asus ROG Strix G, ASUS brings the successor of the Strix Scar II to the market after only half a year.
The new edition has even more RGB lighting and an NFC key called Keystone.
With it you can use Shadow Drive and link the ASUS software.
The cooling system is efficient even in turbo mode and the internal speakers are convincing.
There’s also plenty of power available. However, the gaming notebook is not only a further development. In our test it ranks as the second best laptop under 1200 Dollar.
We only had the ASUS ROG Strix Scar II in the test at the beginning of 2019.
At that time it was one of the first gaming notebooks with an RTX graphics card from NVIDIA.
The Scar II could score especially with many connections, a good workmanship and of course a lot of RTX performance.
However, the playful gaming design was a matter of taste and a bit too confused for me.
Moreover, there were no upgrade options for the Strix Scar II.
Meanwhile, some time has passed and the competition hasn’t slept, but has diligently thrown gaming notebooks on the market.
Now the Asus ROG Strix G is about to reaffirm its presence on the market and it is good enought to score second place in best laptops under 1200 Dollar. The ROG Strix G is equipped with the new Core i7-9750H, an RTX 2070 and 16 GB RAM.
ASUS apparently heard my weighty voice in the technology test landscape and revised the design in comparison to the Scar II. The price is currently 1200 Dollar.
The ROG Strix G is, apart from the tested equipment, also available with 8 GB RAM and without the 1 TB HDD – and thus currently at a price of 300 Dollar.
The gaming notebook is also available with a 15.6″ display. You can choose between the six-core Core i7-9750H and the eight-core Core i9-9880H, as well as a 120 Hz or a 240 Hz HDD display.
The RTX 2070 and the 16 GB RAM are built into all models. Amazing equipment yompared with the best laptops under 1200 Dollar.
Standard scope of delivery including ASUS Keystone
The scope of delivery of the ROG Strix G is clearly arranged.
In addition to the notebook, the packaging also contains the power cord, the power supply unit, some paperwork and the keystone including a carabiner pendant.
So kids can always carry the part around on their belt and show their colours at school if they like it.
We’ll explain exactly what the Keystone does in the Software chapter.
Notebook and accessories are individually packed in plastic bags.
But as there are not too many accessories, the plastic keeps within limits.
Gaming design meets underbody illumination
When I unpacked the ASUS ROG Strix G for the first time, put it on the table and started it, I immediately felt transported back to the year 2003.
To a time when my 14 year old self played Need for Speed Underground on my home PC and celebrated the undercarriage lighting of the cars for Riders on the Storm.
Compared to its predecessor the ROG Strix G has a lot more RGB-illumination, fitting for the new best laptops under 1200 Dollar.
The strip goes completely around the front and both sides.
The gaming notebook also screams for gaming in other ways: brushed aluminum on the top and carbon look on the inside.
The somewhat out of place camouflage look of the predecessor has given way to a more stylish grey.
By the way, there is a large and illuminated ROG logo in the lid. Furthermore, the lid no longer extends over the entire surface.
A ribbed and air-intake neck spoiler now sits on the back and ensures that some connections could move to the back.
Also good: The reflective logo under the display has been rationalised away and replaced by a discreet ROG-STRIX lettering.
It’s a bit shifted to the left because the wide bezel has been designed asymmetrically and has a gap through which you can always see if all cables on the back are still connected properly.
The remaining frames around the display are nice and narrow.
The placement problem with the webcam is handled by ASUS confidently – and simply leaves it out.
The orange keystone is on the right side.
The keyboard has a meanwhile normal notebook layout:
A few special keys sit above the F keys like the power key, the space bar is also asymmetrical and the gnome-like arrow keys have been moved down.
All in all, the ROG Strix G looks like a real gaming notebook and comes along accordingly playful showing ot earned a place among the best laptops under 1200 Dollar.
Some age groups can certainly take pleasure in the underbody illumination.
However, with an asymmetrical design I immediately think of various BMW motorcycles.
Humans – and me too – perceive symmetry as a beauty feature, so I can’t understand this design philosophy until today.
Good processing and solid keyboard compared to the best laptops under 1200 Dollar
Apart from the aluminum lid, the case of the gaming notebook is completely made of plastic.
The workmanship is good: The gaps are even, there are no sharp edges and the top and keyboard are difficult to push in.
However, the chassis on the underside looks a bit rickety when you slightly tap the underside with your flat hand.
The display hinges look very powerful at first, but hold the display firmly in place.
The keyboard is good.
In opposition to the Schenker XMG NEO 15, ASUS doesn’t rely on mechanical keys, but the general typing feel is still pretty good.
Longer texts can be written on the gaming notebook without any problems.
Because hardly anyone works with the arrow keys anyway, the dwarf size is also negligible.
In order to start the ASUS software, there is a separate key next to the multimedia keys.
The touchpad is moved a bit to the left and has two mouse substitute keys with a stroke and good pressure point.
The pad could have turned out a bit larger on a 17″ device, though.
All in all, the ROG Strix G does nothing wrong in terms of workmanship, but I would have wished for more metal insert at a price of over 1200 Dollar.
The Keystone displaces more important connections
While the ROG Strix Scar II was still blessed with many connections, this is no longer the case with the ROG Strix G.
But now there are also connectors on the backside.
The keystone connector occupies the complete right side. On the left side there are three USB 3.1 Gen1 Type A ports as well as the combination jack connector.
All other ports have been moved to the rear.
There is a USB 3.1 Gen2 Type C, HDMI, LAN and power connection.
However, I would have wished for a 17-inch device to have a little more connections.
For example, the predecessor comes with a further USB Type A and a Mini DisplayPort connection as well as an SD card reader.
The Type C connector supports DisplayPort after all.
Fast 17″ display with good color space coverage compared to the best laptops under 1200 Dollar
The ROG Strix G has a 17 inch FHD display.
The display has a matt coating and therefore does not reflect.
So you could use it outdoors as well. It’s an IPS panel, so the viewing angles are very stable and the colours are nice and rich and natural.
The colour coverage is as good as its predecessor and most gaming notebooks with 96% of sRGB, 68% of NTSC and 74% of AdobeRGB.
Compared to the best laptops under 1200 Dollar with a refresh rate of 144 Hz, the display is fast and suitable for reaction-intensive shooters like CS:GO or Fortnite, but also MOBA titles like League of Legends or DOTA. We didn’t notice any tearing or ghosting during gaming.
Brightness and illumination of the display are good.
The display is brightest in the upper center with 296 cd/m².
The brightness drops a bit towards the two lower corners.
However, you don’t see this in everyday life and it is only slightly visible on a white background.
The average brightness is on a good level with 273 cd/m².
After the calibration, the display of the colors gets a bit warmer, whereby the brightness also decreases slightly. You can download the color profile here.
On the bottom line, the display makes a very good impression and convinces with high color fidelity, evenly narrow frames and butter-soft display of the content.
Bloatware, McAfee and ASUS software overdose
Windows 10 in the 64 bit version is installed on the gaming notebook ex works.
There is also the classic useless software overdose in the form of Candy Crush, Skype, Spotify and Xing.
Okay, Spotify has a right to exist in my case, admittedly.
Of course, the ever-popular McAfee is also part of the game and “animates” wet and unasked with pop-ups to buy the full version.
Various ASUS software is also included.
With GameFirst V you can monitor your network and prioritize applications.
With Gamevisual you can set different display presets.
In addition there is ROG MacroKey, with which you can – and here comes the surprise – create macros.
There are three profiles with five macros each available to you.
With Sonic Studio III you can edit the audio settings and start recording.
The latest and most comprehensive software is called Armoury Crate.
The program, which already sounds like a lootbox, is quite complex.
The software is quite extravagant, fitting to the notebook.
At the beginning it doesn’t look very clear, but with a little trial and error it will settle down.
With the tabs on the left side you can navigate through the submenus.
From RGB lighting settings to different profiles for gaming, recommended apps for downloading and a separate inbox, everything is included.
The program starts automatically when you insert the keystone into the notebook.
This is an NFC key in the broadest sense.
With it you can directly link the settings of the software.
Another feature is Shadow Drive.
A kind of secret partition that you can only access when the keystone is plugged into the notebook.
This only works if you have an ASUS account.
In itself, there is nothing wrong with the idea of a hidden memory.
But the implementation with the keystone, which you should always carry with you, seems questionable to me.
After deducting all the software, 438 GB of the 512 GB SSD are still available to you. Compared to the other best laptops under 1200 Dollar the good news is: You can completely uninstall all bloat and scareware.
I would also like to have a comprehensive program instead of five individual ones.
High performance including turbo mode
Except for the Core i7-9750H, the ROG Strix G has the same hardware as its predecessor:
RTX 2070 and 16 GB DDR4 RAM. The predecessor still had the Core i7-8750H built in.
However, the processor in a gaming notebook is rarely the component that really limits the frame rate.
The Strix G has three different performance modes:
Quiet, Power and Turbo.
We did all the benchmarks in silent mode and tested how performance changes with turbo mode in Ghost Recon Wildlands.
We tested current AAA titles with maximum details in Full HD (1920x1080px) and WQHD (2560x1440px) and with the third highest detail level in UHD (3840x2160px).
It deliberately doesn’t say “medium details” here, as “very high” is no longer the highest detail level in many games.
If there is still an “ultra” or “extremely high”, it’s also better to write in the press that the game still runs with high FPS on “high”, although “high” is far from the maximum details.
The automotive industry sends its regards. We’d rather not talk about raytracing at all – or two paragraphs later.
The ROG Strix G lands in FHD in about the same area as its predecessor.
This is not surprising because of the almost identical equipment. In FHD between 51 (Ghost Recon Wildlands) and 100 FPS (Rise of the Tomb Raider) are reached.
In WQHD the average frame rates are between 42 and 76 FPS.
So you should choose high details in WQHD. Depending on the title, this is also possible in FHD if you want to take advantage of the 144 Hz display.
This also applies to UHD, of course.
Here, the Strix G reaches an average of 36 to 55 FPS at the third highest detail level.
The bottom line is that the performance is sufficient for FHD at very high and WQHD at high details.
If you want to play in UHD, you should reduce the detail or FPS demands significantly – depending on the age and hardware hunger of the game. If you want to achieve more FPS, you can turn on the turbo.
Thus, the Strix G in Ghost Recon Wildlands achieves 5-10% more performance, depending on the resolution, and gets the same results as its predecessor.
However, the boost is not as strong as for example in the Schenker XMG NEO 15 (test).
In comparison with the best laptops under 1200 Dollar we also tested to what extent activated DLSS and raytracing shadows in Shadow of the Tomb Raider affect the performance.
In FHD the average FPS drops by almost 35% from 81 to 53 FPS. In WQHD by about 27% from 55 to 40 FPS. In UHD the average frame rate even increases from 38 to 40 FPS on average thanks to DLSS.
All in all, the performance is thus on par with similarly equipped devices and slightly above the performance of notebooks with RTX 2070 Max-Q – such as the Lenovo Legion Y740 (test) or the Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED (test).
As always, you can take the values from the diagrams.
There it becomes clear that ASUS also uses a comparatively slow SSD in the Strix G.
This was already the case with the predecessor, which was also our best laptop under 1200 Dollar.
The gaming notebook achieves a runtime of a bit over 2.5 hours with the 66 Wh battery at a display brightness of 200 cd/m² or 86% brightness with the 66 Wh battery.
This is a good value. However, the results are hardly relevant for everyday use, because on the one hand the battery life shrinks to a maximum of one hour during gaming and on the other hand the performance in battery mode on every gaming notebook collapses strongly.
No throttling, but high-pitched whistling under heavy load
With 17″ form factor and a height of just over 2.6 cm, the ROG Strix G has enough space for an adequate cooling system.
Therefore the temperature management should not have any problems even under load – or should it?
In idle, the CPU and GPU temperatures average 52°C and 44°C respectively.
In the system stability test of AIDA64, the processor warms up 77°C on average and the graphics card 75°C.
Throttling does not occur.
The ROG Strix G has a turbo mode.
If this is activated, the CPU and GPU temperatures change to an average of 84 and 76 degrees in the stress test, which is still not critical, good even for a second best laptop under 1200 Dollar.
To test the gaming performance, I played a round of The Witcher 3 in UHD resolution and medium details.
In normal mode the processor reaches an average of 79°C and the RTX 2070 77°C.
The temperatures are not critical and there is no throttling. In turbo mode, the fans turn up fully and the temperatures even drop considerably with an average of 74°C and 68°C.
So, the notebook shows its advantage in terms of heat development with the higher construction.
Despite a lot of performance, there is no throttling.
Moreover, the gaming notebook doesn’t get really hot anywhere on the case. It can still be touched everywhere without problems and laid on the lap.
The gaming notebook becomes clearly audible during gaming.
It’s still acceptable in normal mode, but a very high-pitched whistling occurs mainly in turbo mode.
As always, I recommend the closed gaming headset.
The sound from the built-in loudspeakers is quite good and the subwoofer is also noticeable when the notebook is placed on a solid surface.
Hardware easily accessible, but no free slot for upgrading
With a large 17″ device there is usually still some space left in the housing.
At least that was the case with the ROG Strix Scar II, and it was also easy to open.
The disillusionment came afterwards, though. There were no free slots.
Existing ones could only be replaced by better ones. Unfortunately, the same applies to the ROG Strix G:
The eleven screws on the bottom can be easily removed except for the two on the front corners.
These two screws are secured to the case with holders.
With some feeling the fairing can be removed easily. A bit of caution is required because the RGB lighting on the bottom is wired to the mainboard.
Once inside, you get access to the SSD, the HDD, the RAM from SK Hynix and the battery.
In addition, the cooling system with the two radial fans can be seen. Compared to the other best laptops under 1200 Dollar in our test there is a positive: A heat sink in the form of a metal plate is mounted on the SSD.
There is no free port despite sufficient free space in the case.
A pity. So, if you need more memory or RAM, you have to replace the existing hardware.
After all, the battery can easily be replaced if the capacity decreases over the years.
Verdict: Best price performance ratio in best laptops under 1200 Dollar
You are fans of eye-catching design and Need for Speed Underground?
Then the ASUS ROG Strix G is exactly your device.
You can hardly be more conspicuous with a gaming notebook.
Brushed aluminium, carbon textures and the thick RGB underfloor lighting will surely not only cause amazed looks in the lecture hall.
But the notebook is also only conditionally suitable for high-end shizzle presentations in the meeting room.
Or let’s just say if the beamer can be synchronized with ASUS AURA SYNC.
The workmanship of the ROG Strix G is good, but I would like to see more metal in the case.
The keyboard offers a good typing feel and can also convince when typing longer texts, especially compared to the other best laptops under 1200 Dollar.
The scope of delivery includes the notebook and a snap hook with the ROG Keystone.
This is an NFC key with which you can access the Shadow Drive and link settings of the ASUS software – provided you have an ASUS account.
By the way, there are five different apps that are pre-installed.
Besides the typical bloatware, McAfee is also included.
The connection for the Keystone also makes sure that the ROG Strix G, despite the 17″ format, has only a few connections compared to its predecessor and other 17″ devices.
There isn’t a Mini DisplayPort connector and an SD card reader (anymore).
The matte 144 Hz display with IPS panel convinces with good color representation (74% AdobeRGB) and butter-soft display, proofing why this model made the second place in best laptops under 1200 Dollar.
There are no problems with tearing and ghosting in the gaming notebook.
ASUS also doesn’t make any concessions in the upgrade options:
The Strix G doesn’t offer free ports, although there is space in the easily accessible case.
Battery, RAM, HDD and SSD can be exchanged.
With the latter, a change to a faster and larger brand SSD could be worthwhile in the long run.
The ASUS ROG Strix G offers with an RTX 2070, the Core i7-9750H and 16 GB DDR4 RAM as much performance as its predecessor and comparably equipped notebooks.
The performance is best suited for FHD at very high, WQHD at high details and UHD at minimal details in current Triple A titles.
With Turbo mode, you can boost power by 5-10 percent in favour of higher temperatures.
However, neither the processor, graphics card nor the case become critically warm.
Worth mentioning throttling doesn’t occur.
Unfortunately, the turbo mode is accompanied by a high-pitched whistling.
The built-in loudspeakers deliver a sovereign sound, though.
Thus, the ASUS ROG Strix G is a solid gaming second best notebook for under 1200 Dollar with a few concessions, which one or the other can certainly overlook.
Ranking Third: Dell G5 15
- Stylish, premium design
- Long battery life
- Good graphics performance
- Full HD resolution
- Only 12 months of warranty
Third best in best laptops under 1200 Dollar
The Dell G5 15 is a powerful gaming laptop with RTX graphics card.
Externally, the G5 remains as discreet as an average office computer. You can find out if the device is convincing in the test.
The Dell G5 15 is a midrange gaming laptop.
What it lacks in optical gloss, it makes up for with its price-performance ratio.
Which compromises you have to accept for the comparatively low price can be found out below.
The Dell G5 15 5590 is offered in five different configurations on the manufacturer’s website. We have tested the cheapest model with a current RTX graphics card and list the main specifications below for an initial overview of our third place in best laptops under 1200 Dollar.
- Processor: Intel Core i7-8750H
- Video card: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060
- Working memory: 8 GB DDR4, Dual Channel
- Mass storage: 128 GB NVMe-SSD + 1 TB HDD
- Display: 15.6 inch, Full-HD, IPS, 60 Hertz
- Weight: 2.8 kg + 0.7 kg Power supply unit
Prices and classification of the Dell G5 15
Our Dell G5 15 costs almost 1,240 Dollar at the time of the online test.
The cheapest configuration is under 900 Dollar, but has Nvidia’s GTX 1050 Ti, a graphic card from 2017.
The same applies to the model with more memory for under 1.000 Dollar.
For around 1,560 Dollar there is no longer a mechanical hard disk, but instead 16 gigabytes of RAM and a 512 gigabyte SSD.
Dell itself also offers a configuration with RTX 2070 Max-Q, which costs 1.999 Dollar, though.
Dell covers the entry level, mid-range and upper mid-range with the G5 15 with the different configurations.
Newer models with the ninth Intel Core i7 generation and partly even 144 hertz displays with G-Sync are already offered for a bit more money on their own website.
Whilst the newer processor doesn’t offer a significant speed advantage, the G-Sync display could well be worth it for some. Not standard for one of the best laptops under 1200 Dollar.
Design of the Dell G5 15
The gaming laptop from Dell doesn’t look like much.
It could just as well pass for an older office notebook.
The case design is so unobtrusive that it already looks a bit too sober.
At a closer look, only the blue accents on the logo, the trackpad and the heatpipes are noticeable.
The screen frame and lid, as well as the cover on the bottom are made of black and slightly flexible plastic.
The black top case and display hinge on the other hand are made of aluminum and are relatively torsionally stiff.
With a weight of 2.8 kilograms and the 2.4 centimeter thick case, the Dell G5 is, casually speaking, a rather chunky chunk.
We have nothing to complain about on the keyboard. It offers a medium-long stroke and a good feedback when typing.
A number pad is also present.
The plastic trackpad didn’t convince us, though.
The majority of users will connect an additional gaming mouse when playing games anyway.
Dell hasn’t spared in terms of connections.
On the left there is a USB 3.0 port, a headphone port and a USB C port with Thunderbolt 3.
On the right there is a full-fledged SD slot as well as another USB 3.0 port.
On the back you have access to another USB port, Ethernet, HDMI, Mini-DisplayPort and the charging jack.
Display of the Dell G5 15
The laptop’s 15.6 inch display is matt and has a Full-HD resolution.
As it is an IPS panel, it offers good contrast, but the color reproduction is relatively inaccurate.
Furthermore, the screen isn’t extremely bright, which is particularly noticeable during the daytime when playing dark gaming scenes. G-Sync is not supported and the refresh rate is only 60 hertz.
However, the graphic card of our test device exceeds this frame rate in many games, which leads to picture errors without limitation, not typical for a third best laptop under 1200 Dollar.
Dell G5 15’s performance and fan
The combination of the Intel Core i7 of the eighth generation and the current RTX 2060 is very well suited for current games in Full-HD.
All tested titles ran smoothly on Ultra.
In Rise of the Tomb Raider the laptop managed an average of 90 fps and Doom from 2016 ran on highest graphic settings mostly with over 100 fps.
The same applies to Fortnite.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Assassin’s Creed Origins were displayed in the test with almost 60 fps on Ultra.
The built-in graphics unit theoretically also supports raytracing, but already the benchmarks of Metro:
Exodus and Shadow of the Tomb Raider always crashed with activated raytracing.
Even the better RTX 2070 Max-Q has to struggle with this complex calculation of correct shadow and light effects in Full-HD.
Dell G5 15 5590: gaming benchmarks
Under load, the gaming laptop gets very warm in the area of the keyboard and a bit above it and the fans get quite loud.
The fans are usually deactivated in idle, but sometimes, for no reason, they turn up a lot for a moment.
By the way, the NVMe SSD’s read and write speed is comparatively slow at around 1,160 and 530 megabytes per second, respectively, great comared to the other best laptops under 1200 Dollar.
Fortunately, the storage units, i.e. RAM, SSD and HDD can be easily exchanged and upgraded.
But keep in mind that both slots for the main memory are occupied ex works.
Below you can see the results of regular benchmarks.
|Cinebench R20||2.611 Points|
|PCMark 10||5.059 Points|
|3DMark Time Spy||5.782 Points|
|3DMark Fire Strike||13.224 Points|
|VRMark Orange Room||6.833 Points|
Battery life and multimedia of the Dell G5 15
For a device with such energy-hungry hardware, the battery life is surprisingly solid in normal use.
Compared to the other best laptops under 1200 Dollar in everyday use with 50% brightness and activated energy savings mode, the Dell G5 15 lasted about eight hours without a power outlet.
We called up websites, wrote documents, played videos and edited tables in a mixed way.
You can also play on the laptop for over two hours without a connected power adapter until the battery power runs out without problems.
The built-in webcam is positioned above the screen and offers a good resolution.
It is definitely suitable for video conferences. Two speakers are also present and are located on the front outer edge of the case.
The sound is okay, but nothing unusual.
In view of the partly clearly audible fan noise, we would rather recommend the use of headphones during gaming anyway.
Verdict: Fair price-performance ratio for the third best laptop under 1200 Dollar
The Dell G5 15 5590 offers a high performance and costs relatively little money.
The tested configuration is very well suited for current games.
The good battery life is also positive. You have to make concessions on the display and the design.
Whilst the latter is not too dramatic, for some it might be worth the extra charge to the newer models with G-Sync and 144 Hertz.
The third best laptop under 1200 Dollar, which is a great place, especially as it is the cheapest model in our test.
Final Verdict: Best Laptops under 1200$: High-End Best Value
In conclusion, all the laptops in this test offer amazing performance in the category best laptop under 1200 Dollar.
If you want to go with the best performance at the lowest price you should go with the Acer Helios 300.
If you care most about a good price-performance ratio you should go with the Asus ROG Strix G. It is a great labtop under 1200 Dollar.
The Dell G5 15 is also a great laptop under 1200 Dollar and offers amazing equipment at a fair price. Very good for everyone needing a lot of storage as there is a 1TB HDD built in.
All in all, which laptop under 1200 Dollar you chose is up to you. We only give you a detailed picture of all the products and where they shine.
We regularly update this article with the newest laptops so you will get the best offers for the best laptops under 1200 Dollar.