As the festive season begins, gaming laptop deals are becoming overwhelming with each vendor pushing its brand as the best. While there might be little difference between moderately priced gaming laptops, the variance in the high-end market is significant, just as is the competition. From our tests and specs analysis, these three premium-priced gaming laptops stand out as the best.
- Display: A 17.3 inch IPS screen with a resolution of 1,920 by 1080 pixels.
- Processor: Intel Core i7-6700HQ with 16GB RAM and a clock speed of 2.6GHZ.
- Storage memory: 256GB, SSD, and 1TB 7200rpm hard drive.
- Graphics card: Uses NVidia GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.1 and Wi-Fi, Four USB 3.0 and one USB-C ports, Ethernet jack, DisplayPort connector, HDMI and a slot for Kensington lock.
- Webcam: 1280 by 720 HD camera
Besides, these premium features, the Predator 17 is robust built and is relatively bulky, weighing 9.4 pounds.
However, it has one of the best cooling systems you can ever expect in the market.
First, its venting has been improved from the standard vertical grilles to a more complex triangular design. Second, it hosts a Cooler Master Fan module which comes in handy during long intensive gaming sessions.
Like most upmarket gaming laptops, the Acer Predator 17 allows for customization of macros. A simple tap on button 5 opens the PredatorSense GameBar which leads to several applications such as Xbox app, screen video recorders, and webcam.
Gamers who need a great sound system will find this laptop’s two subwoofers and four SoundPound speakers more than adequate.
- Display: 15.6 inches, Full HD antiglare screen with a resolution of 1,920 by 1080 pixels with NVidia G-sync
- Processor: 2.8GHz -3.8GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ with a 16GB DDR4 RAM 2400MHz.
- Storage memory: 512GB M.2PCIe x4 SSD
- Graphics card: NVidia GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card with 8GB GDDR5X VRAM and Intel HD graphics 630.
- Ports: 4 USB 3.0, 1 USB Type C, HDMI 2.0 and Headphone jacks
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.1 and Wi-Fi, Ethernet jack, DisplayPort connector
- Webcam: HD camera (1280 by 720 pixels)
While Acer Predator 17 belongs to the big and powerful category of gaming laptops, the Asus ROD Zephyrus takes the lead in the slim and portable class of high-end laptops.
It is stunningly slim, weighing only 4.85 pounds.
However, it is no weakling. The delicately designed laptop is the pioneering product in the new generation of Max-Q gaming machines. They offer the same powerful performance of a desktop gaming PC but in a portable package.
The Asus ROG Zephyrus is the gaming laptop of choice for those looking for a gaming machine that is ultramodern and classy in its design and aesthetics. However, Asus still needs to do more homework on this machine’s, battery life, and keyboard ergonomics.
- Display: 17 inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) 120Hz matte IPS – UHD (3,840 x 2,160) IGZO touchscreen with G-Sync
- Processor: Intel Core i7, 16GB-32GB RAM
- Storage memory: 512GB – 2TB PCIe SSD
- Graphics card: NVidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR5) – 1080 (8GB GDDR5X)
- Ports: 3 USB 3.0, 1 USB Type C, HDMI 2.0, ADXC card reader, headset jack and E2400 Gigabit Ethernet
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.1 and DoubleShot Pro Wireless- AC 1535.
- Webcam: 2MP camera.
Razer Blade Pro is designed as a replacement for desktop gaming PC. Despite its robust design and over the top performance, it only weighs 6.76 pounds.
It is significantly lighter than other desktop replacements such as the Origin EON17-X and Alienware 17 which weigh 8.6 pound and 9.74 pounds respectively.
It has a pixel-perfect 17-inch IGZO display with a 4k resolution that supports the entire Adobe RGB Spectrum, NVidia’s G-sync, and multi-touch control.
It also comes with dual-firing 2-watt speakers boosted with a preamp and a large speaker box. It has an additional pair of side speakers for enriched surround sounds. However, the gaming laptop is prohibitively expensive.
And the best gaming laptop for 2017 is?
The Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 is the winner for the best High-end gaming laptops in 2017.
Here is a detailed explanation why this futuristic gaming laptop takes the lead.
The fundamental reason for choosing a gaming laptop instead of a desktop PC is portability. The Zephyrus is the lightest in the category, weighing only 4.8pounds. Razer Blade Pro comes in close second with 6.76 pounds. The Predator 17 is a real backbreaker.
Even though both Predator 17 and Razer Blade Pro offer large screens, ROG Zephyrus’ 15.6 inch is still adequate for a high-end gaming laptop. It beats the Predator’s display with its G-sync ability. Gaming laptops without this feature experiences image stuttering as there is a disparity between the screen refresh rate and the rate of frames produced by the graphics card. You can avoid the increased cost of a 4K resolution and still enjoy premium image rendering.
- Graphics performance
The 10-series Pascal microarchitecture-based NVidia GeForce Graphic cards are the unmatched leaders in the market today. As you go up the series, the graphic performance also goes up. Consequently, the GTX A1080 used in the ROG Zephyrus and the Razer Blade Pro provides better 3D performance than the A1070 graphics card used in the Predator 17.
Asus ROG hosts HD Intel Graphics 630 integrated GPU while the pricey Razer Blade Pro has the lower model, HD Intel Graphics 530.Even more, only the top models of the Razer feature the best graphics memory in the market, 8GB GDDRX VRAM. It is a standard feature in the ROG Zephyrus. As a result, this gaming laptop beats its two close competitors where it matters most, graphics performance.
- Processor Performance
Any high-end gaming machine worth the recognition comes with the best processor choice in the industry. All these best three laptops met this requirement. However, the Predator 17 falls a point lower with a core i7-6700HQ processor compared to ROG’s Core-i7-7700HQ. The effect of this difference on the performance is, however, dismal as it depends mostly on other specifications such as the processor’s clock speed.
Using the clock speed as the deal breaker sets the Asus ROG Zephyrus above the Predator 17 and at par with the Razer Blade Pro. It comes with a standard 2.8GHZ processor which can be overclocked to 3.8GHz for higher performance. Why pay more if you can achieve the same CPU power at a lower price?
16GB DDR4 RAM is the recommended memory for high-end gaming laptops. All the three leading machines meet offer it in their design. The Razer Blade Pro is providing a higher option, in top models but at a cost that you can avoid by opting for ROG Zephyrus laptop.
M.2 PCIe SSD storage is the fastest and the best storage technology in the market today. It is one feature that distinguishes high-end gaming laptops from the others. It allows faster boot time, wake up from sleep, game launch, and level loading. The 256GB SSD storage with a top speed 7200rpm HDD found in the Acer Predator 17 is sufficient. The other two leading portable PCs stole the show by having their storage completely SSD-dependent. The 512GB M.2PCle ×4 SSD found in the ROG is as efficient as 1TB SSD in the Razer Blade Pro.
- The point of compromise:
Given the extreme performance delivery of these laptops’ components, it is no surprise that they cannot offer a battery life longer than 5 hours. However, the Asus ROG fails dismally at this point. It is nevertheless, a worthy compromise point given the machine’s excellence in other areas.
While the Acer Predator 17 is a cheaper option of the three, it lags the ROG on almost all features. The Razer Blade would have taken the mantle as the king of upmarket laptops. However, its prohibitive price leaves the Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 as the best gaming high-end laptop of 2017.
Top 5 Best Gaming Laptops Under $500
Gamers understand that not all laptops are built the same. Similarly, manufacturers know that not all can afford a $1000 laptop. Here is where $500 gaming laptops come in.
First, it is worth pointing out that several laptops are going below $500. The ones featured on this list stand out regarding the features that matter to computer game enthusiasts namely: type of processor, memory size, storage, display, and yes, graphics. Again, it is only a list of the best five.
With that said; let’s embark on our list of the best gaming laptops under $500.
HP is known for its best gaming laptops in the market. The HP 15-ba043wm comes with a 7th generation Radeon R5 graphics. The Bristol Ridge GPU features a 4.25GB and a boosted clock speed of 800MHz. Its responsive touchscreen will enhance the gaming experience of online gamers. The visual of the display is great, but it is not the best for a full-HD experience. The best you can get with this laptop regarding HD display is a 1366 x 768 resolution.
A seventh generation quad-core AMD A10-9600P processor and an 8GB DDR3L RAM powers the machine. The storage is a massive 1TB hard drive. However, as with most budget laptops, the HDD is a slow 5400rpm drive. The DVD drive can be replaced by a fast SSD or HDD caddy for better performance.
It features a 15.6 inch HD with a resolution 1366 x 768 pixels. It is powered by AMD FX-7500 Quad-core 2.1GHz processor which can be turbo boosted to 3.30 GHz and a 16GD DDR3 RAM. It also comes with an AMD Radeon R7 GPU which is one of the best that one can find within this price range. The hard disk drive has a capacity of 1Tb.
3. HP Probook
It is truly designed for gamers. It sports a 15.6 inch HD display. The quality of pictures is enhanced by True Life technology. Its processor is an AMD A10-8700 APU that is complemented by a 16GB RAM. The graphics are powered by high-performance AMD Radeon R6 graphics. Like the preceding machines, it comes with 1TB hard disk drive storage. Additionally, the storage efficiency can be upgraded for a more efficient performance.
A key feature of this Acer laptop is its NVidia GeForce 940MX graphics cards with a 2GB dedicated memory. The resulting performance is more than double that of its competitors. It is powered by the latest generation Intel Core i5-7200U processor and GDDR5 video memory.
It also has a full HD display that provides vivid colors and high image quality for video streaming and gaming. Display resolution is 1920 by 1080 pixels which is one of the best in this category. Other features include a 256GB SSD, 8GB DDR4 RAM of 2.13GHz lock cycle speed.
5. HP X116DX
It is another high-performance gaming laptop that features an amazing 17.3 HD LED screen. Its resolution is not as high as the others with only 1600 by 900 pixels. It is powered by the latest Intel Core i5 generation with a maximum frequency of 2.5 GHz. Consequently, it can handle any game and other tasks as well. Besides the ubiquitous 1TB HDD storage, the laptop sports an 8GB RAM. There is an extra slot that allows RAM extension to a more efficient 16GB RAM.
Just like all other HP laptops, the HP X116DX has an efficient cooling system hence does not heat up easily during intensive gaming sessions. It is also recognized among the best gaming laptops under $500 that sports a 17 inch.
The above list shows five best gaming laptops under $500. However, as earlier mentioned, not all machines are built the same, even if they fall in the same price bracket. The high-performance laptop that stands out in the list of budget gaming machines is the Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575G-57D4.
We now take an in-depth look at the features of this machine.
For a laptop in its category, the Aspire E15 strikes a unique balance between affordability and cutting-edge performance. It comes with the 7th generation of Intel’s i5-7200U with a base clock frequency of 2.55GHz. As a result, it is a high-performance gaming laptop that can handle some of the most demanding games and intense multitasking.
The processor’s turbo boost can rev up the frequency up to 3.1GHz to help it handle performance-intensive tasks. In spite of its high performance, this gaming laptop is one of the most power efficient in its class. Its 2800mAh 6-cell Li-ion battery is advertised as able to sustain operations for 12 hours but this drop to about 4-6 hours during CPU intensive process games. This, nevertheless, is still better than the other best gaming laptops under $500.
Memory and Storage
The Aspire E15 does not come with a 1TB hard disk drive which has become a base standard for laptops today. Instead, it comes with 256GB solid-state drive storage. The main advantage of SSD storage is that it is faster and more efficient. While the standard HDD has a speed of 5400rpm, the SSD offers higher speed of 7200rpm. The results include faster booting, read and write, and program loading.
Together with the more efficient storage is an 8GB DDR4 RAM. The laptop consequently has better multitasking abilities. 8GB RAM, however, is not a primary advantage of the Aspire E15 as most laptops in its category have it. However, unlike most of its competitors, it allows the upgrading of the RAM to an amazing 16GB for a better gaming experience.
Display and Graphics
When it comes to displaying, Aspire E15 again excels most of its competitors. First, the full HD 15.6-inch gaming laptop comes with a resolution of 1920 by 1080, the highest one can find in this price category. Acer’s BluelightShield feature helps minimize the straining of the eyes by cutting back the screen’s blue light emissions. It is, therefore, possible to play games for long hours on the laptop.
If one does not find any significant importance of the above features, then one should consider graphics. This gaming laptop features a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce 940MX graphic chipset. The powerful graphics set up puts the Aspire E15 above its competitors.
Graphics performance has been enhanced by the addition of a dedicated discrete 2GB video memory. Though the laptop does not offer optimum frame rates, it can reliably and easily handle the latest games hardware intensive games and apps.
Nothing enhances a gaming experience on a high-performance laptop than a great audio system. Aspire E15 comes with Acer’s True Harmony high-quality sound system. It has dual stereo speakers placed at the laptop’s bottom front corners.
Faster DVD Drive
Several laptops are designed in a bid to make them lighter and slimmer are doing away with DVD drives. Aspire E15 is among the few gaming laptops under $500 that still have one. However, it has outpaced the trend by offering a fast built-in DVD/CD drive.
Ports and Peripherals
The Acer comes with four USB ports two of which are USB 3.1 ports and one USB 2.0 port. The other USB port is the USB-C port. It is USB gaining traction though seemingly not as fast as electronics manufacturers expect it too. Other peripheral connection ports include VGA port, HDMI, headphone jack, Ethernet port, and SD card readers.
Besides these, the Aspire is equipped with the latest Bluetooth 4.1 and 802.11ac wireless technologies.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The trackpad of the E15 offers better precision than the other laptops in its caliber. Acer has also implemented the latest trend in laptop touchpads of using the whole trackpad as a clickable space. It gives the trackpad a unified, sleek look. Additionally, it comes with dedicated numerical keys which significantly ease gaming.
The absence of touchscreen capability in the Aspire E15 is possibly one of the main limitations of this laptop. However, it’s rarely a necessity during serious gaming. Some have also complained about the keys being too close to each other. Again, this is only an issue during typing but not for gamers.
Summing it all
Finding gaming laptops for less than $500 is possible. However, they are mostly limited in terms of processing speed, RAM, and graphics. Again, for better performance, it is advisable to upgrade the HDD to a more efficient SSD. Acer’s Aspire E 15 E5-575G-57D4 is currently the best gaming laptop under $500. Even though it is not a top gaming laptop, it is still a premium option.