Find the best gaming laptop to suit your fragging needs
It used to be that the best gaming laptops were those that had Intel Core i7 processors, 8GB of RAM and any discrete graphics imaginable. Gaming laptops were so few and far between that it wasn’t a matter of whether they were good or not. Instead, the only question that lingered was, “Can it run Crysis?”
Today, the gaming laptop economy is vastly different than it was 10 years ago. There are ultra-thin and ultra-light options that use a proprietary cooling system known as Nvidia Max-Q while the clunkier, albeit more powerful, conventional gaming laptops still exist by their side. Not only do they use i7 chips these days, there’s also a report spreading that MSI is coming out with the world’s first Intel Core i9-powered notebook.
As such, whether you’re in dire need of a laptop that’s as qualified for work as it is play, or you’re in the market for a setup dedicated to gaming and streaming, we have exactly the recommendations that you crave. As we’ve tested, reviewed and subsequently ranked every gaming laptop on this list, we hope to provide trustworthy recommendations that promote the very best gaming laptops with the best value overall.
1. Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501
Under an inch thick and still kicking ass
CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 (8GB GDDR5X VRAM) | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) anti-glare, wide-view 120Hz panel with G-Sync | Storage: 512GB M.2 PCIe x4 SSD
Innovative and quiet cooling
Laughable battery life
Poor keyboard and ergonomics
Kicking Nvidia’s Max-Q technology off right, the Asus Zephyrus GX501 combines the heralded thinness of an Ultrabook with the performance of a gaming PC to bring the best of both worlds to your feet. Despite exhibiting subpar times in our battery life benchmarks, this svelte powerhouse of a notebook is one for the books when it comes to both portability and style. Plus, it’s virtually silent if noise is a cause for distraction in your everyday routine.
Read the full review: Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501
2. Razer Blade
A gaming-ready MacBook Pro rival
CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6700HQ | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR5 VRAM) | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 14-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – QHD+ (3,200 x 1,800) IGZO (LED backlit, multi-touch) | Storage: 256GB – 1TB PCIe SSD
Impressive battery life
4K display option
Fans whir loudly under load
Limited upgrade options
You may not be able to stick a bigger hard drive in it later, but the Razer Blade is otherwise built for stamina and, of course, high quality visuals. On top of boasting a battery life of over 7 and a half hours, it can handle up to 4K Ultra HD gaming with the help of a Razer Core V2 external graphics box and a spare monitor. Or you could opt for the more recently added integrated 4K display option. Either way, you’re in for a treat, we assure you.
Read the full review: Razer Blade
3. Asus ROG Strix GL502
It’s hard not to love a gaming laptop this good
CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 – 1070 | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Screen: 15.6-inch full HD 1,920 x 1,080 IPS | Storage: 128GB – 256GB SSD, 1TB HDD
Rocks Full HD gaming
Deliciously vibrant screen
Middling battery life
The Asus Strix GL502 may not boast the most innovative design, swapping out the usual black and red color scheme for one that makes it feel like Halloween year-round. But, it’s undoubtedly one of the best when it comes to gaming in 1080p. In fact, we were able to crank the settings all the way up in Overwatch without taking a hit below 60fps. The battery life is janky, sure, but the screen, performance and onboard sound system more than make up for it.
Read the full review: Asus ROG Strix GL502
4. Alienware 13 R3
Gawk at the first-ever OLED gaming laptop
CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB DDR4 | Screen: 13.3-inch HD 1,366 x 768 TN – QHD 2,560 x 1440 OLED touchscreen | Storage: 180GB – 512GB SSD
Gorgeous OLED screen
Improved hinge-forward design
Short battery life
Unlike most laptops its size, the Alienware 13 R3 bears a hinge-forward design. By moving the heat sinks behind the screen, the chassis is allowed to be thinner, at 0.81-inch (0.22cm). Unfortunately, this means you won’t find many 13-inch laptop bags that will actually suit the Alienware 13 R3. While you may be tempted by the inclusion of a full-size Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060, it’s the OLED touch display that caught our attention.
Read the full review: Alienware 13 R3
5. Razer Blade Pro
Finally, a desktop replacement with portability in mind
CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR5) – 1080 (8GB GDDR5X) | RAM: 16 – 32GB | Screen: 17.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) 120Hz matte IPS – UHD (3,840 x 2,160) IGZO touchscreen with G-Sync | Storage: 512GB – 2TB PCIe SSD
Starboard trackpad placement
A desktop experience you can finally carry
Less than 5 hours of battery life
At long last, Razer has introduced a true desktop replacement that won’t weigh you down. Measuring in at only 0.88 inches thick with the option between a 17-inch 1080p display running at 120Hz or a G-Sync-laden 4K touchscreen, the Razer Blade Pro also introduces the company’s ultra-low-profile mechanical switches to a notebook for the first time ever. That’s a deal that’s only sweetened by an unusual trackpad placement that makes it comfier to boot.
Read the full review: Razer Blade Pro
6. Gigabyte SabrePro 15
A budget rig that won’t end up in the bargain bin
CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 | Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS wide-viewing angle display | Storage: 1TB HDD, 256GB SSD
Excellent keyboard and touchpad
Below average battery life
Underwhelming speakers and display
For less than a grand and a half, you might not think it, but the Gigabyte SabrePro 15 is a bargain. In its price range, you won’t find a laptop with this level of performance. Although it’s only available in one configuration, the GTX 1060 is a nice change of pace considering most affordable gaming laptops struggle to run triple-A games beyond medium settings. That goes without mentioning the fantastic RGB keyboard and Microsoft Precision Touchpad.
Read the full review:
7. Alienware 17 R4
Restoring honor to the Alienware name
CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (2GB GDDR5) – GTX 1080 (8GB GDDR5X) | RAM: 8GB – 32GB | Screen: 17.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – UHD (3,840 x 2,160) IPS anti-glare 300-nits | Storage: 128GB SSD, 1TB HDD – 2TB SSD, 1TB HDD
Obnoxiously loud fans
So-so battery life
To be frank, Alienware hasn’t been a name typically associated with value. That seems to be changing with the Alienware 17 R4, which bears so many different customization options when it comes to specs that you can practically name your own price. Bespeckled with all of the signature elements we’ve come to expect from the brand, such as RGB backlit-accents and tons of ventilation, our only real qualm with the Alienware 17 R4 is a disappointing battery life.
Read the full review:
8. Asus ROG G703
Welcome to the big leagues, gamers
CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 (8GB GDDR5X) | RAM: 32GB DDR4 | Screen: 17.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) non-touch IPS | Storage: 512GB SSD, 1TB HDD
Superb performance throughout
Heavy and thick design
Poor battery life
If you prefer your laptops to be thin, light and inexpensive while featuring lengthy battery life performance, the Asus ROG G703 isn’t for you. This hulking gargantuan of a gaming notebook takes the specs of a desktop PC and condenses them ever-so-slightly into a package that can more or less be carried anywhere. At 10.6 pounds (4.8kg) and with a 17.3-inch screen, it won’t fit in a backpack, but its graphics card and processor will impress, as will its excellent inputs.
Read the full review: Asus ROG G703
9. Gigabyte Aero 15X
Thin, light and out of sight
CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 (8GB GDDR5) | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) LCD anti-glare | Storage: 512GB SSD
Strong performance for price
Amazing battery life
A little pricey for the hardware
Serious touchpad problems
For those uninitiated, there are few names in gaming hardware as positively recognized as Gigabyte. The Aero 15X is further proof that all the credit is well deserved. It’s expensive, but no more so than the bulk of gaming laptops we see using Nvidia’s Max-Q design technology today. That means that the Gigabyte Aero 15X packs an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 into a frame that’s under 0.8 inches thick – thin enough to qualify as an Ultrabook.
Read the full review: Gigabyte Aero 15X
10. Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming
Max-Q for minimum dollars (or pounds) spent
CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR5) | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) anti-glare LED-backlit | Storage: 256GB SSD – 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD
Solid graphics performance
Reduced battery life
Poor speaker placement
It’s not the laptop it used to be, but the latest Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming is still worth mentioning as a result of its low-cost barrier to entry and relatively high specs considering its innovative design. Mind you, it’s powered by Nvidia’s Max-Q technology, which makes it thinner than ever, even if it’s simultaneously heavier than its predecessor. As long as you opt for one of the higher storage configurations, you won’t be disappointed by this budget gaming laptop’s hardy specs.
Read the full review: Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming
Watch the video below for the top 7 things to consider when buying a laptop.