If you're looking for a budget gaming laptop under $500, the Gateway gwtn156-3bk is worth considering. It offers a fast Intel processor, a solid 14-inch full-HD display, a comfortable keyboard and a strong port assortment to hook up all your peripherals. However, it's not without its flaws. Its meager 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD are half the size that most other gaming laptops offer in this price range, and you'll be itching to upgrade them soon. The loud fan noise detracts from everyday use, too.
As for the 1080p, 120Hz BOE NV156FHM-NX1 display, it isn't as sharp or vibrant as what you'll find on more expensive gaming laptops. It's also not as bright or fast at responding to input, and the color saturation seems a bit off. It's a good enough display for gaming, but you'll want to upgrade to a higher-resolution panel at some point, especially if you plan on using the laptop for other tasks.
The speakers, which are on the front two edges of the chassis, sound flat and nasal at the low end, but have adequate volume. Adding a headset or external speakers will improve the audio experience.
The battery lasted a little over four hours during our video-streaming test, which is shorter than the average entry-level gaming laptop. The ASUS Strix G15 lasted an hour longer and the Acer Nitro 5 nearly three hours. It stayed relatively cool during testing, but the fans became irritatingly audible after 15 minutes of continuous use.