So, you want to buy the best gaming laptop ever conceived? Maybe you enjoy the flaming hot looks of a gaming PC, but prefer the portability of a notebook that can be brought along anywhere and everywhere. Admittedly, we don’t blame you. It’s easy to say you could get a better value if you simply built your own computer, but then you would be missing out on more than the time it would take to do so. You would be sacrificing that sweet, sweet mobility.
Of course, you could buy a Nintendo Switch or a 3DS (or … a Vita?) if on-the-go gaming is what you’re after. However, the best gaming laptop on the market has a leg up on just about every handheld money can buy. Instead of being limited to a library of games limited to the past five, or even one year(s), any mobile PC gaming rig will grant you immediate access to nearly every PC game that has ever been released. That goes without mentioning emulators of classic retro systems, legally ambiguous as they may be.
So, 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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Donning a 7th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, Nvidia Pascal-series GPU and a screen resolution that soars above 1080p, this laptop is more affordable than a comparably specced Razer Blade or Alienware 13 R3. At the same time, it fails to compromise in terms of portability and performance. Factor in the a reasonable battery life and 190-degree hinge, and it’s easy to see why the Gigabyte Aero 14 made the cut.
Read the full review: Gigabyte Aero 14
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.
In a world full of overpriced (and overcompensating) gaming laptops, the Dell Inspiron 15 Gaming is a breath of fresh air. An anomaly that ditches the Alienware moniker, Dell has crafted yet a gaming laptop that’s masked as one of its more productivity-centric machines. The discrete graphics options won’t blow you away, but the price certainly will. Plus with a battery life recorded at 7 hours and 38 minutes, it’s unparalleled in that department.
Read the full review: Dell Inspiron 15 Gaming
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
Watch the video below for the top 7 things to consider when buying a laptop.
Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article