Portability is one feature that sets this type of personal computers above a desktop. Some years back, a high-performance gaming laptop only existed in the player’s imagination.
Today, however, there are several such laptops with high-end graphics and processor performance.
Nevertheless, affordability has remained an issue with these laptops. Players always have to sacrifice the high performance in desktops for portability.
There are several laptops branded for gaming on the market today. Consequently, you may have a problem figuring out which one is the best in the market.
This guide provides all the information you need to know when choosing a gaming laptop in 2018. It also kick-starts your journey by comparing 15 best gaming laptops in 2018.
First, let us look at some of the terms you will frequently meet in your search for a laptop and this guide as well.
- Gaming Laptop Related Terms
- Gaming Laptop Guide Part I: Benefits of gaming laptops
- Gaming Laptop Guide Part II: Types of Gaming Laptops
- Gaming Laptop Guide Part III: What makes a gaming laptop good or the best?
- Gaming Laptop Guide Part IV: Tips for Finding the Right Laptop
- Comparison Table of the 15 Best Gaming Laptops
- Best Gaming Laptop: Taking Everything Into Account
- The Best Gaming Laptops (2017 Update)
- Top 5 Best Gaming Laptops Under $500
Gaming Laptop Related Terms
Here is a glossary of the terms that you should be acquainted with before you start hunting for a gaming laptop. They are arranged in alphabetical order, so you can skim through to the term you have had problems with in the past. Remember, the list contains the most common words, and the definitions are nothing close to the long wound classroom versions
It describes using the laptop to do the necessary things such as run Ms. Office applications, search a few pages on the web, watch a movie, research for a term paper among others.
It describes how long a battery can last under a given load. It tells you of the lifespan of the power cell when it is not connected to a power supply.
It was the in thing in the days when you had to burn CDs and DVDs if you were to own a movie or a song. However, it is nearly obsolete today with the emergence of online movie stores, cheap internet connections and increased demand for lightweight laptops. The drive makes the laptop bulky and unnecessarily heavy.
Full HD resolution
A resolution, as you will see below, is a measure of the number of pixels present on the screen of a laptop. Full High Definition displays have a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. There is also an HDi which offers the same resolution, but the horizontal line is split into two 540 lines, hence the “i” which implies “interlaced.”
Full HD resolution is also written as 1080p to showing that the horizontal lines are progressive.
It is laptop hardware that is responsible for the quality of images on your screen. It also determines the number of frames that can be reproduced per second. Consequently, a high-end graphics card provides a better gaming experience than the others do. It is discussed in details when discussing the features to consider when selecting a laptop for your gaming desire.
HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface)
It allows the transmission of video, moving pictures and sound in the same medium. It is the most common interface these days in laptops as the VGA slowly becomes a technology of the past. Settle for a computer with the latest HDMI port if you plan to add a monitor to your gaming rig. Most of the latest gaming monitors only have HDMI ports.
In-Plane Switching is the latest screen technology used in LCDs. It solves the disadvantages of the TN and VA panels such as color reproduction and viewing angles. It provides a viewing angle of up to 178 degrees. However, it has a relatively low contrast ratio compared to VA panels.
It is an operating system such as Windows and Mac OS. One advantage of this OS over the mainstream ones is that it is open-source software. You can download it or free, and anyone can help in developing.
Media or SD card Slots
The media card slot allows you to connect your SD card (memory card) to the computer. It comes in handy when you need transfer pictures, movies, work reports and other files from to or from your laptop.
Do not let the name trick you into expecting more than realistic from a laptop bearing the name. A notebook is just a fancy name for laptops. What you should be concerned about is a Netbook, which is a smaller version of the notebook and does not have a DVD or CD drive. Additionally, it is only for average use.
It is what make facilitates the communication between the hardware and software parts of the laptop. The most common OS among gamers are Windows and Mac.
The term defines the type of screen used in a laptop. There are three main types of panels that are used in liquid crystal displays (LCDs). They are Vertical Alignment, (VA), Twisted Nematic (TN) and In-Plane Switching (IPS) panels. The IPS is the latest and the best for high-resolution screens.
It is probably the most important feature in any computer system. It is the brain of the computer and focuses on carrying out calculation on the input to bring out relevant output. The bigger the processor, the higher the rate of calculations and the faster your PC will be.
A gaming laptop should have a strong and large processor.
RAM (Random Access Memory)
It is the part of your computer’s memory that temporarily stores files used by a currently running application. The special storage makes it easy for programs to read the instructions they need without having to go through all the files each time the set of instructions are required.
Games run several instructions simultaneously. Therefore, gaming laptops should have large RAM for a smooth gaming experience.
It is a measure of the number of resolutions that can be displayed on the screen. The higher it is, the better the quality of the image. The standard resolution requirement for gaming laptops is the already mentioned Full HD. However, you can opt for, higher options such as the 4K, which has 3840 x 2160 lines. The other resolution in the Ultra HD series is the 8K UHD, which provides 7680 x 4320 lines.
Solid State Drive SSD
While the RAM is primarily for temporary storage, the SSD is a permanent storage memory. You are probably used to the Hard Disk Drive, HDD storage. Both serve the same purpose, but the SSD is taking over, and for good reasons.
It is way much faster than the hard disk. Hence, faster boot times and load times. However, they are costlier than the alternative. Nevertheless, if you are looking for a faster and dynamic gaming experience then, it is a path worth taking. Just remember to keep an HDD nearby for the occasional videos and movies you may want to download.
Twisted Nematic display is one of the oldest technologies used in Liquid crystal displays (LCDs). It has serious limitations such as poor color reproduction and small viewing angles. Consequently, it is not used in high-quality gaming monitors. IPS and VA have taken its place
Universal Serial Bus is an interface through which you can transfer files from another device to the laptop. It can also be used to charge connected peripheral devices such as phones. The main USB ports worth considering when buying a laptop is the USB 3.0. However, there is the type C, but it is still a work in progress though there are already impressive results.
Vertical Alignment panel is another screen technology for LCDs. Its key advantages over the TN panels include high brightness, color reproduction, and viewing angles. It also has a higher contrast ratio than the IPS panels. However, IPS still offers wide viewing angles.
Some call it Wireless Fidelity; others will tell you that the acronym does not mean anything. However, the meaning of Wi-Fi does not matter as long as your laptop can connect to an internet router wirelessly because that is what is for. Having the latest Wi-Fi technology in your laptop guarantees a fast connection.
It is important to talk about this even though you probably know it is the latest version of the Window’ operating system. Knowing about it is vital because most gaming laptops cite it as one of their important features. So just how important in Windows 10?
The importance of Windows 10 lies in a technology called DirectX 12. It defines how the computer processor communicates with the graphics card. Spend some time reading about this technology before giving in to the “Windows 10 enabled” sales pitch.
You will understand the importance and use of most of these terms as you read this guide. Therefore, do not worry if you found the definitions shallower than that in computer science classes.
Let us now look at the benefits of having a gaming laptop even if you are not into playing computer games.
Gaming Laptop Guide Part I: Benefits of gaming laptops
You probably never thought of it, but you can buy a gaming laptop even if you do not intend to play a single game. They offer several benefits in terms of structure and performance.
As their name implies, gaming laptops are made for playing games. Thus, they are built to support performance and graphics intensive games. As a result, these computers come with quality sound, clear pictures, enough memory and super-efficient processors.
Due to the high performance, the batteries of these laptops are for power-hungry applications. Consequently, they last longer when used in average use. Some can deliver up to eight to ten hours during ordinary activities such as Ms. Office applications and browse the internet.
Easy to upgrade
With gaming laptop, you can easily upgrade, unlike regular computers. You only have to swap out the parts. Just the way you change tires on any vehicle of your choice. As you know, you will only need to change the tire of your vehicle when the current one is not reliable as a new one could be. It is just the same when it comes to gaming laptops.
When your computer is not running as it used to when you first bought it, then you will have to get into the computer shop and check what it could need. This possibility provides an opportunity to save cost on high-end performance. That is you can buy a mid-range laptop with say, a RAM of 8GB and then upgrade it to 16GB or more. The cost of the upgrade will be much lower than that of buying an ordinary laptop with a 16GB RAM.
Are lightning fast
Speed is one feature that makes people fall in love with gaming laptops. Most of them today come with high-speed storage such as PCle SSD and even NVME PCle Gen 3×4 SSD storage. As a result, the boot time is in the range of microseconds
They are great for quick business or meeting presentations. It only takes few seconds to open the programs on the laptop. The gaming laptops are capable of handling more data at a go, unlike regular computers. They neither lag nor freeze. It becomes hectic for one, especially when editing videos with a slow running PC. Gaming computers have the best speed that you will love.
Still easy to use
One thing that everyone should know is that gaming laptops work precisely just as usual standard PCs work. You can have all the other applications such as Chromebooks, Ms. Office, QuickBooks and Multimedia player apps on the computer. The layout is similar to that of ordinary computers for various applications. In fact, there is no much difference apart from the gaming apps.
Gaming computers last longer than regular PCs. They are built for durability. The enhanced technology that is incorporated when it comes to gaming laptops surpasses that of other laptops. The gaming laptops in the markets today are built to last nearly a decade, delivering high performance and futuristic technology.
A major problem with ordinary laptops is that their technology gets obsolete so fast. Why go through such inconveniences yet you can secure your data and get guaranteed relevance in the technology market for the next half a decade or so?
A worthy investment
People do not just go for gaming laptops. It is because one much thinks of the price. When it comes to cost, it is not easy to rationalize high price tag of something. It is difficult, especially, when it comes to paying for it.
Therefore, the most important thing that one should put as a priority as an investment plan is the benefits. Remember, one gets what they pay for. In most cases, one goes for a new computer after every five years.
Surprisingly, a gaming computer serves you twice as the lifespan of the standard PCS. Without forgetting that it saves you more time as well as upgrading process. Gaming laptops are more convenient and reliable because of the innovative technology used to build the computer.
If you buy a regular laptop on average price, it would just serve you for that the period it was designed to. On the other side, when you buy a cheaper gaming laptop, it will assure you long and satisfactory services when it comes to work and other additional benefits that are only in gaming laptops.
Just one limitation
There is only one limitation of buying a gaming laptop if you are not planning to game. It is the temptation to play a game on it. If you are buying this PC for workplace purpose, you may have to create an administrator limitation on what users install on the computer.
Additionally, you might be tempted by the high speed to try a game or two. This might limit your productivity and your college grades or workplace performance my take the hit. However, this is not something worth worrying about. All you need is a strong sense of purpose and enough self-control to help you prioritize your tasks.
Let us now take a swing at the three main categories of gaming laptops.
Gaming Laptop Guide Part II: Types of Gaming Laptops
Laptops are not the same; even gaming ones are designed for specific user needs. The type of a laptop depends on the fundamental things that one checks before making the purchase. Features such as extra space, need for cooling and many other things are essential but not essentials. You need to look at critical features such as screen size, battery life, specific gaming features and weight. Here are three main categories in which these portable gaming PCs fall.
Laptops for Hardcore Gaming
Most hardcore gamers know what exactly they should consider before buying gaming laptops that will suit them comfortably. You find that they look for the most powerful computer with many features. Though, at some point, they forget to consider other important features such as weight and portability.
Hardcore gamers go for laptops such as Alienware 17 R4, Aorus X7. These laptops provide great performance but are very bulky and heavy. Their standard screen size is approximately 18 inches.
However they are capable of running dual video cards, extra memory storage and support different hard drives with ease. Their cost concedes with that of high-end gaming PC. Their battery life lasts for around two hours. Therefore, you will have to keep it plugged into a power source in case you get blacked-out at the climax of your favorite game.
Laptops for Casual Gaming
The best gaming laptop for casual gamers is one with mid to high-end range hardware. The screen of such a computer should range between 15 to 17 inches. Casual games do not care about getting the newest gaming laptop that comes with high system demand requirements. Instead, they enjoy playing the games.
Besides, such laptops are portable and arrive at a pocket-friendly price. Even more, they are rarely heavy. The battery lasts for around three hours or more, especially when on power saving mode. The best examples of casual gaming laptops are the Acer Aspire V17 Nitro and Dell Inspiron 15 7000 gaming.
Ultra-portable Gaming Laptops
Alienware M11x is one of the best ultra-portable gaming computers. They are lightweight with much smaller screens. These features make them ideal to carry them at wherever place you need them. The battery of this type of laptop lasts for three to seven hours. They cost less compared to the casual gaming laptops.
Ultra-portable gaming laptops use mid-range hardware. They are very portable but still guarantee you high gaming performance. Always check if your ultra-portable gaming laptop has an internal optical drive. It is because most low-end laptop systems exclude this feature. They leave it out so that they can fit larger video card or hardware inside. The price of ultra-portable gaming laptops is relatively constant. No doubt, they are worthy considerations.
Gaming laptops are of different varieties. Thus, any gamer will automatically find one that will suit their gaming needs and budget. Besides, you will find one that will offer you enough power to play more games of your choice. We believe the above features will help you find the best gaming laptop for your needs.
The next part of this guide looks into the different factors you should consider when choosing a gaming laptop.
Gaming Laptop Guide Part III: What makes a gaming laptop good or the best?
It is the most critical question when thinking of purchasing a gaming laptop. It becomes even more crucial given a large number of these laptops on the market today.
Here are eleven features that determine if a gaming laptop is worth the investment or not.
While this is by no means an intrinsic feature of a laptop, it obviously affects its fitness for your circumstance. The cost of the portable gaming machine should be sustainable. That is, you do not need to break a bank to get it. Nevertheless, this consideration comes with a compromise on some high-end features that take the gaming experience to an entirely new level.
Since gaming machines are stuffed with several high-end components, their price is higher than that of those that are made for average use. Again, the more money you are willing to spend the better the features you get. They come in terms of resolution, types of peripherals, storage and memory.
The Graphics Card and the GPU
The graphics, processing unit is almost more important in a gaming laptop than the processor. The only options for such laptops are AMD and NVIDIA. There are large collections and range of graphics cards to choose from in the two categories. The best way to know which GPU will meet your needs is by checking the performance benchmarks of each of them.
Nvidia is currently the leading GPU manufacturer with a 10-series Pascal microarchitecture that provides the same performance in laptops as well as PC desktops.
If you are looking for a 3D performance, then you are better off with a graphics card that has a higher model number in the series. An Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 produces better graphics quality than the GTX 1060.
Synchronization features offer another determinant for suitability of a laptop when considering the graphics. Image tearing or stuttering is common in laptops in which the refresh rates of the GPU is different from that of the screen. The only solution is to have an Nvidia’s G-sync or AMD’s FreeSync feature. They match and lock the GPU’s refresh rate to that of the screen.
Central Processing Unit (Processor)
The war is between Intel and AMD, just as with the GPU. Once more, Intel is very much ahead of AMD. Core i7 is the latest in that you will find in laptops at friendly prices. However, the i5 and i3 versions still perform well compared to AMD processors, but why settle for less if it is possible to acquire greater options.
On top of the i7 U, HQ and HK processors, there are rumors of the first even-numbered Intel processor after i2, the i8 to replace the Kaby lake series. AMD too is working on its Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 processors to bring them to the laptop sector from desktops where they have had significant success.
Persons with a worthwhile experience with gaming machines understand the importance of making an informed compromise between processor and GPU. Core i3 and low-level AMD processors can perform perfectly in most games. Therefore, if you are torn between a high-end graphics and a processor at the same level then simply choose the Graphics. It is prudent to have a gaming laptop running on core i5 with a GTX 1080 than a core i7 with a GTX 1060 graphics.
Your laptop’s temporary memory is important as it affects its multi-tasking ability. An 8GB RAM is sufficient for medium or casual gamers. It allows you to play several games smoothly while running some of the applications and loading a number of websites.
If your laptop is a high-end system, then a 16GB RAM is the best option. With it, you can smoothly run several programs simultaneously. It is cheaper to upgrade RAM than buy a laptop with a high RAM. However, it is important to point out that most new laptops cannot be upgraded. So, choose your desired RAM wisely as you may be stuck with it for a lifetime.
Storage (HDD and SSD)
The next feature that determines whether a gaming laptop is the best is its storage capacity. The hard disk drive (HDD) has been on the market for years. However, its relevance is quickly fading away as Static Storage Device starts to take over. The price of the SSD has fallen significantly over time making them affordable.
SSD storage provides faster booting, wake up speeds and launching of games. However, due to the cost, most of the gaming laptops come with two storage slots, SSD and HDD. The laptop is configured in such a manner that the Operating System is on the SSD. The hard disk drive offers additional storage for movies and other games. Even then, a 7200-rpm HDD is a better deal than a 5400-rpm option.
Display and Screen size
There is always a trade-off between portability and gaming experience. Large screen size is more fun to play on, but it makes the laptop bulkier, bigger and very power hungry. A 15-inch display instead of a 17 inch will do your backbone better than a larger screen.
It is recommended that a gaming laptop have a resolution at least 1080op. Larger screens promise higher resolutions, which include QHD and UHD. 4K resolutions become common in gaming laptops as their prices have fallen significantly. 5K and 8K resolution are bound to come into the market in the coming years.
However, it is important pointing out that larger displays double the cost of the machine. First, the cost for the panel goes up followed by the cost of the graphics required to completely utilize the full potential of the high-end resolution. It worth pointing out that only the most powerful GPU can deliver the high performance of 4k screen in terms of playable refresh rates. Therefore, it is prudent to have a 1080p display than a 4K one unless you have the money for a high-end graphics card.
The other factor to consider when looking into the display of a gaming laptop is the type of the panel. There are three-panel types, TN, VA, and IPS. The TN is among the cheapest but has inferior color reproduction and small viewing angles. Vertical Alignment (VA) panels provide better color rendition and contrast ratio. However, they too have limitations in viewing angles.
The best panel is the IPS, which comes with 178 degrees viewing angle and unrivaled color rendition. The panel also supports high-resolution graphics, including 4K. However, you will have to pay higher for a gaming laptop with this feature. Since most games are played head-on, the viewing angles should not be an issue.
Weight and Size
The belief that thinner is better is only true when considering laptops designed for business class or other average use applications. While they provide great portability, thin laptops do easily heat up, an issue that no gamer wants to face. Again, they are also less powerful than their hugely built alternatives.
The size also affects the level of noise made by the laptop. As it heats up, the fan works harder to cool the machine. If you are looking for a medium level or casual gaming, then a thin one would do. Otherwise, a bulkier option is worth the investment.
Even though you will be using the mouse during your gaming, the trackpad is worth checking out. You will not only use the computer for games. Occasionally you may want to watch a movie, conduct research online and use Ms. Office packages. Trackpad features such as two-finger scrolling and pinch-to-zoom will come in handy.
You will have to feel the trackpad yourself to know how it sufficiently it meets your needs. If you cannot visit a physical store or test it on a friend’s laptop, then online reviews remain your best source of information.
The keyboard is essential to people who use the laptop for typing. However, a high-quality keyboard is beneficiary to the gamers too. A standard keyboard feels mushy, and you may keep on second guessing if every setting in a game is fine. Even more, some laptops come with backlighting which enables dark room gaming.
Gamers always keep their machines plugged into the socket for uninterrupted gaming. Nevertheless, occasionally you may want to take your thrill outdoors.
Most gaming laptops are power hungry, and it is understandable given their level of performance. A larger battery can extend the life of the power when not connected to the socket. However, it makes the machine bulky and big. A rechargeable power pack can help with a few more minutes.
Nevertheless, two to four hours battery life ensuring heavy gaming is sufficient for gamers. Eventually, you must accept to keep your gaming rig near the wall socket.
Well, this should not be such an issue, as you will, like most gamers use your gaming headset. However, it is worth pointing out that some laptops come with sub-woofers which can deliver a decent gaming experience when your headsets are spoilt or when you are planning to give you eardrum a break.
There are additional features that add the cost of the laptop that you may or may not need. The first one is the USB ports. Laptops with USB type C come at a higher price than those with only USB 3.0 or even the slower 2.0. If all you plan to connect to the machine is a mouse, then the Type C USB is an unnecessary luxury.
Other connection ports such as HDMI and Display port are only necessary for your plan to use an external display. Otherwise, you can save some cash by opting for laptops that have fewer ports and none of the latest ones.
The list above gives nearly all the feature that comes with a gaming laptop. You should have the first figure out which of the properties of a gaming laptop do you prefer. Then find the available laptops on the market that will deliver just what you.
Here are five tips on how to find the right gaming laptop.
Gaming Laptop Guide Part IV: Tips for Finding the Right Laptop
1) Trade-off between Processor and Graphics card
The compromise between the Processor features and graphics card come into play when you are purchasing a laptop for gaming purpose. Therefore, it is important to know when to make a trade-off. It is prudent, for example, to settle for an i3 or i5 processor and use the saving to buy a higher performance graphics card.
2) Image quality
The quality of the image is core to the choice of a gaming laptop. High-quality images are rendered by specific features such as display panel and resolution. The best display panel is the IPS as it provides better color reproduction than TN or VA panels. It also offers a high dynamic contrast of more than 5,000,000:1 for an 8-bit panel.
Image quality is also affected by the number of pixels on the screen or resolution. The 4K resolution provides nearly four times better image delivery than 1080p. However, the high-performance feature will increase your expense unnecessarily if you just a casual gamer.
3) Type of a gamer
As already mentioned, there are different laptop types for different players. The hardcore gamer will find the recommendable feature for casual gamers too mediocre. Again, gamers looking for ultraportable gaming machines will find the bulky version preferred by hardcore gamers too rugged for their smooth taste.
Gaming laptops have premium features hence cost a higher than the ordinary ones. The price speaks of more than affordability. The elements and compromise made in the design of the machine are indicated by the amount. ‘
Pricey gaming machines come with futuristic high-end features such as USB type C, latest Intel processor, GTX 1080 with Nvidia G-sync, 4K resolution, IPS screen, the latest version of the HDMI and much more. Reasonably priced options may have lower processors or AMD graphics card with only HDD storage.
Consequently, you should view the cost of the machine holistically to determine what you can or cannot do without. You do not even need some of the cutting-edge technologies at the end of the day.
How many things do you wish to connect to your laptop? Do you plan to use an external display or not? What are other complementary technologies available in case of support? The answers to these questions will determine whether you opt for a machine with 5 x USB 3.0 ports or the other with two USB 2.0 port and one USB 3.0 ports.
HDMI is becoming the most common multimedia interface. Ensure the laptop you opt for has a port for the same as it is gaining widespread use.
6) Customization and upgrades
Some laptop components are cheaper to replace or improvise than bought with new laptops. An example is a RAM. Ordering a laptop with a customized RAM will make it very expensive. You can save cash by buying a machine with a smaller RAM then upgrade to a higher size. Unfortunately, some of the new gaming laptops on the market are not upgradable.
7) Battery life
Most gamers know better than to use their machines source away from the power source. Nevertheless, it is important to buy a machine that can stay with you for at least four hours in normal working conditions and 90 minutes through adrenalin packed combat game.
It is probably the most overlooked factor when buying laptops. It provides security that in case you find the machine to be faulty or not performing as stated in the specs. Some vendors, retailers, and manufacturers offer a 3-year warranty on their products. Others, however, only provide a one-year guarantee on their products. Even more, some manufacturers do not offer to replace goods damaged in transit.
Finally, begin the search for a gaming laptop by checking the ones listed below
Comparison Table of the 15 Best Gaming Laptops
Now that you have come this far, we will simplify your search for a gaming laptop by suggesting 15 options which are the best in 2018. Their key specifications are also provided to help you make an informed decision faster.
Please note that they have been arranged in no particular preference except the alphabetical order.
|17.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) non-touch||Intel core i7||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 (8GB GDDR5X)||See lowest price|
|17.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – UHD (3,840 x 2,160) IPS anti-glare 300-nits||Intel Core i7||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (2GB GDDR5) – GTX 1080 (8GB GDDR5X)||See lowest price|
|17.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) 120Hz matte IPS – UHD (3,840 x 2,160) IGZO touchscreen with G-Sync||Intel Core i7||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR5) – 1080 (8GB GDDR5X)||See lowest price|
|17.3" QHD 2540x1440 IPS 120Hz G-SYNC Matte Display||i7 7700K Quad-Core 4.2GHz (4.5GHz TurboBoost)||NVidia GeForce GTX 1080 8GB VR Ready||See lowest price|
|17.3" QHD 120Hz Matte Screen||Intel Kaby Lake i7-7820HK||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 [8GB] VR Ready||See lowest price|
|17.3" 4K UHD 3840 x 2160 IGZO Anti-Glare||7th Gen Intel Quad Core i7-7820HK (2.9-3.9GHz)||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 SLI with 8GB + 8GB GDDR5||See lowest price|
|15.6″ Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen LED-lit IPS Display||8th Generation Intel Core i7-8550U Processor (Up to 4.0GHz)||Nvidia MX 150||See lowest price|
|15.6-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) LCD anti-glare||Intel core i7||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 (8GB GDDR5)||Not available|
|15.6-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) anti-glare LED-backlit||Intel core i5-i7||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR5)||See lowest price|
|15.6-inch Full HD IPS anti-glare LED backlight 1920 x 1080 display||Intel Core i7-7700HQ Quad-Core processor, 2.80 GHz with Turbo Boost Technology up to 3.80 GHz||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 with 6GB GDDR5||See lowest price|
|15.6-inch full HD 1,920 x 1,080 IPS||Intel Core i7||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 - 1070||See lowest price|
|15.6-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) anti-glare, wide-view 120Hz panel with G-Sync||Intel Core i7||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 (8GB GDDR5X VRAM)||See lowest price|
|15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) 120Hz 3ms 94% NTSC Display||Intel Core i7-7700HQ Quad Core Processor (6MB Cache, 2.8GHz-3.8GHz)||NVIDIA GeForce Max-Q 1070 8GB GDDR5||See lowest price|
|14-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – QHD+ (3,200 x 1,800) IGZO (LED backlit, multi-touch)||2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6700HQ||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR5 VRAM)||See lowest price|
|13.3-inch HD 1,366 x 768 TN – QHD 2,560 x 1440 OLED touchscreen||Intel Core i5 – i7||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060||See lowest price|
Best Gaming Laptop: Taking Everything Into Account
As time goes by, gaming laptops with high quality performance are becoming available even to gamers on a budget. Their capabilities make them worth investing in even for non-gaming purposes. However, several factors come into play when choosing the best laptop. A compromise between cost, processor and graphic performances is inevitable
Gaming laptops are the best for all computer users who are interested in quality and durability. Their layout is similar to that of normal laptops even though you can do more at the same time. The seemingly high cost is obviously worth it as it can last twice as much as an ordinary one. Even more, lightning fast speed in processing instructions and multiple commands is a plus for such laptops.
You as well save cost on your laptop by buying a cheaper gaming laptop instead of the pricey ordinary laptop. If you plan to use the machine for performance sensitive activities such as studies or work, then you need to learn to fight the urge to play when you have deadlines to meet.
The Best Gaming Laptops (2017 Update)
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’s 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.
|Acer Predator 17 Gaming Laptop Review||Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 Laptop Review||Razer Blade Pro Gaming Laptop Review|
|Gaming Laptops||Gaming Laptops||Gaming Laptops|
|9.26 pounds||4.9 pounds||7.7 pounds|
|16.65 x 12.66 x 1.56 inches||14.9 x 10.3 x 0.7 inches||11 x 16.7 x 0.9 inches|
|Read Full Review||Read Full Review||Read Full Review|
And the best gaming laptop is?
The Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 is the winner for the best High-end gaming laptops.
Here is a detailed explanation why this futuristic gaming laptop takes the lead.
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.
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’s a standard feature in the ROG Zephyrus. As a result, this gaming laptop beats its two close competitors where it matters most, graphics 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’s 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’s 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’s only a list of the best five.
With that said; let’s embark on our list of the best gaming laptops under $500.
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 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
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.
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’s 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’s 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’s not a top gaming laptop, it is still a premium option.