This is one of 3 articles dedicated to laptops for Gaming and Creative Pros:

1. Best Budget Low-cost Laptops for Gaming and Creative Pros
2. Best Mid-Range Laptops for Gaming and Creative Pros (this article)
3. Best High-End Laptops for Gaming and Creative Pros

Are you a Creative Pro that wants an Apple Macbook?

No problem, we have articles to help you find the best Macbook for your needs:
1. How you can choose the best Apple Macbook 12
2. How to choose the best Apple Macbook Air 13
3. How to choose the best Apple Macbook Pro 13
4. How to choose the best Apple Macbook Pro 15

Summary: Best Mid-Range Laptops for Gaming and Creative Pros

Click on any of these links to jump to the section that interests you, or scroll down to see them all, in this order.

  1. Best for Gaming under $1000
  2. Best for Creative Pros under $900
  3. Best of both worlds for less than $1200
  4. Best of both worlds for less than $1350

The Best Laptops For Your Money?

By that, I mean the laptops that offer the best gaming and overall performance at a given price. Because if you’re about to buy a gaming laptop, you want the one that offers the best performance possible for your budget, right?

If you have the time to do research… but who does?

You don’t have the time to read or the knowledge to understand detailed laptop reviews and specifications and just want the answers? In other words, what you want to know is:
What’s the best laptop for my budget and needs?

So if you don’t have the time, don’t worry. We’re here to help you with this article.

The features that we evaluate in order to make our recommendations:

1. Price
2. Performance: CPU, RAM, Storage, Video Card and Wireless Adapter
3. Screen: Size, Resolution, Finish, Panel type, Brightness, Contrast, Viewing Angles and Color Accuracy
4. Portability: Dimensions, Weight, Real-life battery life during average web browsing?
5. Usability: Keyboard: Layout, Key size, Travel/Pressure, Key Shape and any additional Function keys. Touch pad quality, trackpoint, backlit keyboard, numpad, Operating System, which ports are offered, Webcam resolution, sound quality, optical drive, noise levels.
6. Reliability: How solid is the chassis and the screen hinges? Are the temperatures under load reasonable? Is the keyboard spill-resistant? Overall manufacturer long-term reliability? Is it easy to service the laptop?
7. Warranty: Warranty length? What does the warranty cover?

We then recommend laptops that offer the best overall features, at various price points.

A reminder:

My recommendations in this article are based on the prices that I saw on October 24th 2018. Prices and availability change all the time. While I can’t keep up with ever changing prices, I do recommend to you what are in my professional experience the best laptops around a price point.

Leave a comment if you have a question, a suggestion and/or any feedback that you want to share.

Best Laptop for Gaming for less than $1000

About the Dell 15.6″ Inspiron 15 7000

Capable of handling games at 1080p (1920 x 1080 / Full HD) with high visual details.

With this gaming laptop, you can play pretty much any game at 1080p, with high or max details in most games. You may have to cut down visual quality a bit to get good enough frame rates, depending on how demanding the game is.

Nvidia Geforce GTX 1060 6GB + Intel Quad-Core CPU:
Equipped with a Nvidia Geforce GTX 1060, (6GB VRAM GDDR5) dedicated graphics card and a powerful Intel Core i5-7300HQ or Core i7-7700HQ Quad-Core CPU, the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 offers unheard of gaming performance at this price point.

The newer 10xx generation of Nvidia graphic cards, for notebooks, offer significantly better graphic performance than the previous 9xx series, allowing you to run games with higher levels of visual quality, higher framerates and higher FPS rate, thanks to the new Nvidia Pascal architecture featured in the Geforce 10xx series.

To give you an idea, the Geforce GTX 1060 6GB outperforms the old Geforce 980M!

The new 10xx series graphic cards are much closer to their desktop counterparts in terms of performance as opposed to the previous series which had to be significantly cut down in performance to be integrated into gaming laptops.

Available in multiple configurations:

What I love about this laptop is that you can buy it in multiple configurations, allowing you to choose the configuration that you prefer!

1. Core i5-7300HQ, i5-8300H or Core i7-7700HQ CPU
All three of them are quad-core CPUs. There are two differences between them:

The first difference is that the Core i7 CPU offers Hyper-Threading, so that it can handle 8 threads, while the Core i5 doesn’t have Hyper-Threading and is limited to 4 threads. That makes no difference in gaming performance, but if you plan on also using your gaming laptop for demanding programs, such as photo or video editing, 3D rendering, etc., getting the model with the Core i7 will provide additional performance.

The other difference is the frequency: The Core i5-7300HQ runs at 2.5-3.5GHz, the Core i5-8300H at 2.3-4.0GHz and the Core i7-7700HQ runs at 2.8-3.8GHz. Higher frequencies = higher performance

2. 8GB (1x8GB) or 16GB (2x8GB) of RAM
8GB is still good enough for gaming. You can easily add another 8GB stick of DDR4 SODIMM RAM if you want to upgrade in the future.

16GB (2x8GB) means that you get dual-channel memory, for twice the memory bandwidth. Gaming performance will get a slight boost (~5%) but applications that benefit from more memory bandwidth (think workstation type applications, rendering, 3D, video/photo editing, etc.) will get a significant boost in performance.

16GB will also ensure that you have enough memory to run multiple applications without running out of memory. If 16GB isn’t enough for your needs, you can upgrade to 32GB (2x16GB).

Get the Dell Inspiron 7000

Core i5-7300HQ, 8GB DDR4 2400MHz RAM (Refurbished) : – Click here to see the price on Amazon
Core i5-7300HQ, 8GB DDR4 2400MHz RAM (Brand new) : – Click here to see the price on Amazon

Core i5-8300H, 8GB DDR4 2666MHz RAM : – Click here to see the price on Amazon 
Core i7-7700HQ, 16GB DDR4 2400MHz RAM: B&H ($999.00) – Worldwide Shipping

Pros:

  1. Nvidia Geforce GTX 1060 dedicated video card with 6GB of GDDR5 memory.
  2. Powerful Intel Core i5-7300HQ Quad-Core 2.5-3.5GHz, Core i5-8300H Quad-Core 2.3-4.0GHz or
    Core i7-7700HQ Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.8-3.8GHz CPU
  3. Depending on your configuration you get either 1x 8GB or 16GB (2 x 8GB) of DDR4 2400MHz (2666MHz with Core i5-8300H CPU) RAM.
  4. 1 TB high capacity hard drive.
  5. Available configurations with a 128GB SSD which greatly improves the laptops responsiveness and booting speed.
  6. M.2 slot support both the lower cost M.2 SATA III SSDs and the higher performance, but more expensive PCIe M.2 SSDs
  7. Matte screen that doesn’t reflect light.
  8. RAM can be upgraded to 32GB (2x16GB DDR4 2400MHz).
  9. 1x USB 3.1 Type-C, with Thunderbolt 3 and Displayport 1.2 output
  10. 3x USB 3.0 ports
  11. Backlit keyboard
  12. Numpad
  13. Ethernet RJ45 port.
  14. SD card reader
  15. 1x HDMI 2.0a with support for 4K output at 60Hz
  16. Windows 10
  17. 720p HD webcam
  18. 1920 x 1080 1080p Full HD display
  19. IPS display panel which means you get a more accurate color reproduction, better contrast and large viewing angles
  20. 802.11ac WiFi
  21. Bluetooth 4.2
  22. Great keyboard layout

Cons:

  1. No optical drive
  2. Hard drive is a 5400RPM hard drive : slower than 7200RPM drives and SSDs
  3. Battery life is on the lower side, expect 5-6 hours of web browsing.

Best Laptop for Creative Pros under $1000

About the ASUS 15.6″ TUF Gaming FX504GE

Powerful 6 core Intel CPU, fast (SSD) and plentiful (Hard drive) storage.

With this gaming laptop, you can play pretty much any game at 1080p, with high or max details in most games. You may have to cut down visual quality a bit to get good enough frame rates, depending on how demanding the game is.

– $899.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

Pros: Intel Six-Core CPU, two tiers of storage + Nvidia Geforce GTX 1050Ti 4GB 
Equipped with an Intel Core i7-8750H Six-Core CPU that runs at 2.2-4.1GHz, with Hyper-Threading support, this laptop will have no problem handling very compute heavy workloads.

Storage wise, you have a 128GB NVMe SSD so that Windows and your most important/demanding programs load quickly and a 1TB hard drive to have plenty of storage capacity.

While the graphic card, a Nvidia Geforce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB, isn’t as powerful as the Geforce GTX 1060 6GB found in the model above, it’s powerful enough to run video games, you might just have to turn down visual settings in more demanding games. Its main purpose for creative pros will be to accelerate programs that support GPU hardware acceleration, such as the Adobe suite.

Now, on the downsides:
The screen doesn’t reproduce the whole sRGB color space, so if you’re doing color critical work, this isn’t the best option for you. I mean, the colors that it can produce are decently accurate, but it doesn’t cover much more than 55-60% of the sRGB color space. Then again, you can use an external monitor too.

It comes with only 8GB of RAM. This is fine for a single heavy program with a few open files, but if you want multiple heavy programs at once with many open files at the same time, 8GB isn’t going to cut it. The good news is that this laptop comes with a single 8GB stick of RAM and there’s an empty SO-DIMM slot for you to simply add a second 8GB stick of RAM. There’s no easy access hatch though, you must remove the entire bottom cover.

There’s also no card reader.

Build quality is decent but it’s plastic. It’s well put together, there’s minimal flex, but yeah, it’s plastic.

Pros:

  1. Nvidia Geforce GTX 1050 Ti dedicated video card with 4GB of GDDR5 memory.
  2. Powerful Intel Core i7-8750H Six-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.2-4.1GHz CPU
  3. 1 TB high capacity hard drive.
  4. 128GB SSD which greatly improves the laptops responsiveness and booting speed.
  5. Matte screen that doesn’t reflect light.
  6. RAM can be upgraded to 32GB (2x16GB DDR4 2666MHz).
  7. 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 and 1 x USB 2.0
  8. Backlit keyboard
  9. Numpad
  10. Ethernet RJ45 port.
  11. 1x HDMI 2.0a with support for 4K output at 60Hz
  12. Windows 10
  13. 720p HD webcam
  14. 1920 x 1080 1080p Full HD display
  15. 802.11ac WiFi
  16. Bluetooth
  17. Keyboard has a decent layout, decent key travel and feedback

Cons:

  1. No optical drive
  2. Hard drive is a 5400RPM hard drive : slower than 7200RPM drives and SSDs
  3. No USB Type-C
  4. Only 8GB of RAM, upgrading requires removing the entire bottom
  5. No card reader
  6. Build quality is only decent, with a plastic build
  7. Battery life is poor, expect 3-4 hours.

Best of both worlds for less than $1200

About the HP 15.6″ OMEN 15-dc0030nr

Capable of handling games at 1080p (1920 x 1080 / Full HD) with high visual details.

You like the Geforce GTX 1060 6GB of my first recommendation, but also want the powerful Intel 6-core CPU found in my second recommendation?

With the HP Omen 15-dc0030nr, you get the best of both worlds, as well as 16GB of RAM. This laptop can handle both the needs of gamers and creative pros!

Compared to both models above, you get a more solid build quality, with a metal chassis. Battery life, at up to 6h15mins, is more acceptable.

Gamers will appreciate the RGB backlit keyboard and decent sound quality coming out of the speakers.

Creative pros will appreciate the more accurate IPS panel of the display, the variety of ports, with Ethernet, SD card readers, 3x USB Type-A, 1x USB Type-C with Thunderbolt 3.
You can plug in three external displays, with HDMI, Mini Displayport and Displayport via the USB Type-C outputs.

– Click here to find the price on Amazon
– $1269.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

Nvidia Geforce GTX 1060 6GB + Intel Six-Core CPU:
Equipped with a Nvidia Geforce GTX 1060, (6GB VRAM GDDR5) dedicated graphics card and a powerful Intel Core i7-8750H Six-Core CPU, the HP Omen offers slightly better gaming performance and vastly higher performance all around, making this laptop ideal for gaming and heavy audio/video/photo/3D editing.

Pros:

  1. Nvidia Geforce GTX 1060 dedicated video card with 6GB of GDDR5 memory.
  2. Powerful Core i7-8750H Six-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.2-4.1GHz CPU
  3. 16GB (2 x 8GB) of DDR4 2666MHz RAM.
  4. 1 TB 7200rpm high capacity hard drive.
  5. 128GB PCie NVMe SSD which greatly improves the laptops responsiveness and booting speed.
  6. M.2 slot support both the lower cost M.2 SATA III SSDs and the higher performance, but more expensive PCIe M.2 SSDs
  7. Matte screen that doesn’t reflect light.
  8. Small screen bezels
  9. RAM can be upgraded to 32GB (2x16GB DDR4 2666MHz).
  10. 1x USB 3.1 Type-C with Thunderbolt 3
  11. HDMI 2.0 and Mini Displayport outputs
  12. 3x USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports
  13. Multicolor RGB Backlit keyboard
  14. Numpad
  15. Ethernet RJ45 port.
  16. SD card reader
  17. Windows 10
  18. 720p HD webcam
  19. 1920 x 1080 1080p Full HD display
  20. IPS display panel which means you get a more accurate color reproduction, better contrast and large viewing angles
  21. 802.11ac WiFi
  22. Bluetooth 4.2
  23. Two dedicated mouse buttons
  24. Metal chassis
  25. Bang & Olufsen Dual Speakers

Cons:

  1. No optical drive
  2. Battery life is on the lower side, expect 6 hours of web browsing.

Best of both worlds for less than $1350

About the HP 17.3″ OMEN 17-an120nr

Very similar to the HP Omen 15″ recommended above, but basically with a larger 17.3″ screen that has a 144Hz refresh rate and more ports for support for 3 external displays (HDMI, Mini Displayport and Displayport via USB Type-C).

If you are looking for an even more powerful laptop, check out The Best High-end Laptops for Gaming and Creative Pros.

– $1339.00 on B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

Pros:

  1. Nvidia Geforce GTX 1060 dedicated video card with 6GB of GDDR5 memory.
  2. Powerful Core i7-8750H Six-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.2-4.1GHz CPU
  3. 16GB (2 x 8GB) of DDR4 2666MHz RAM.
  4. 1 TB 7200rpm high capacity hard drive.
  5. 128GB PCie NVMe SSD which greatly improves the laptops responsiveness and booting speed.
  6. M.2 slot support both the lower cost M.2 SATA III SSDs and the higher performance, but more expensive PCIe M.2 SSDs
  7. 17.3″ Matte screen that doesn’t reflect light.
  8. Small screen bezels
  9. RAM can be upgraded to 32GB (2x16GB DDR4 2666MHz).
  10. 1x USB 3.1 Type-C with Thunderbolt 3
  11. HDMI 2.0 and Mini Displayport outputs
  12. 3x USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports
  13. Multicolor RGB Backlit keyboard
  14. Numpad
  15. Ethernet RJ45 port.
  16. SD card reader
  17. Windows 10
  18. 720p HD webcam
  19. 1920 x 1080 1080p Full HD display
  20. IPS display panel which means you get a more accurate color reproduction, better contrast and large viewing angles
  21. 802.11ac WiFi
  22. Bluetooth 4.2
  23. Two dedicated mouse buttons
  24. Metal chassis
  25. Bang & Olufsen Dual Speakers

Cons:

  1. No optical drive
  2. No card reader
  3. Battery life is on the lower side, expect 7 hours of web browsing.

Conclusion

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this article on the Best Mid-Range Laptops for Gaming and Creative Pros!

I invite you to leave a comment, let me know what you thought of this article.

Do you think that I forgot a pro or a con for a laptop?

Perhaps you believe that there’s a better option than my recommendation and want my professional opinion.

A laptop might no longer be available or you may have some questions.

Just leave a comment below now and I’ll get back to you.