Gaming laptops are part of the fastest-evolving segment of the gaming hardware world.
As parts get smaller and it gets easier to access the internet outside of the home, more gamers are looking for portable solutions that will allow them to play their favorite games on the road.
There’s a big difference between a computer that claims it is good for gaming and a good gaming rig. The best gaming laptops have a combination of excellent design features, superb hardware, and the kind of portability you need for gaming on the go.
If you’re looking for a great gaming computer that’s powerful enough for the year’s top games but still portable enough for travel, you’ll need to take a look at some of the laptops on this list:
ASUS ROG Zephyrus S
ASUS has traditionally held a fairly prominent spot on the roster of high-end laptops, putting out not only a host of consumer-friendly models that won’t break the bank but also a few higher-end machines that push the bounds of what generally expects from this sort of laptop. The ROG Zephyrus S is definitely more of the latter than the former, providing players with excellent performance and utility despite its relatively middle-of-the-road price point. It’s a solid piece of work that’s equipped not only for top-tier game-play but also for the type of utility that makes portable gaming possible.
Convenience is a very important word when it comes to this particular laptop. There are a lot of features here that aren’t just dedicated to making it a more powerful computer – and it’s plenty powerful – but that are dedicated to user-friendliness. From the excellent fan system that actually adjusts output based on the computer’s needs at the time to the host of extra connection ports, this is probably one of the most friendly gaming laptop on the market today. It does drop a little bit of performance in exchange for that friendliness, but not so much that it really impacts that machine’s utility.
While it’s not necessarily the most important factor to consider, there’s a lot to like here on the aesthetic side. The unit’s Aura Sync technology actually makes it one of the best-looking laptops on the market today, not just because of the color-sync ability but because of the design work that went into making it stand out. This is a great computer even if you’re only interested in what’s inside, but you’ve really got to give a hand to the manufacturer for creating something that absolutely looks like it’s a top-of-the-line gaming computer. This is a great example of how form and function can co-exist peacefully.
- Plenty of extra connection ports
- Excellent RGB aesthetic and lighting system
- Great cooling system
- Really solid performance across the board
- Sacrifices some performance for utility
- Definite issues with the screen
- A little slower than most of its price-point peers
- Relatively small hard-drive
Acer Predator Helios 300
Acer has managed to do something very unique in the gaming space. Not only does it consistently make laptops that are good for gaming in general, but it’s got a fair selection of laptops that hover around the thousand dollar range and consistently perform as well as several laptops that cost hundreds of dollars more.
While you couldn’t quite call the Predator Helios 300 a budget model with a straight face, it’s one of the best choices you can make if you don’t want to spend much more than a thousand dollars. What’s surprising, though, is that the lower price point doesn’t come at the expense of the components inside.
The real selling point for this computer is what’s on the inside. When you’re looking at gaming laptops that are at this price point, the most important thing to figure out is what got sacrificed to keep the price so low. In most cases, the answer is probably going to be the GPU – it’s an expensive part, and it’s one that can be easily downgraded without too much of a performance issue. That’s why it’s nice to see that Acer kept in the GTX 1060, a card that probably belongs in a slightly more expensive machine. Though the computer could have a slightly faster processor, it’s very clear that Acer really piled in as much as they could here.
The good news continues with the overall shape of the machine, which is incredibly easy to lug around. It’s fairly light even for a laptop, and you’re never going to have to worry about straining to bring it along with you. The only downside here is that the external shell gets very dirty quickly, largely thanks to the same design choices that keep it so light. Beyond that, though, you’re looking at one of the best gaming laptops for those who want to stick to a budget and still want to feel like they’re getting their money’s worth.
- Friendly price point for the build
- Includes a surprisingly good GPU
- Very portable
- Short on USB ports
- Very hard to keep clean
- Set-up is much more involved than it needs to be
Razer Blade 15
It’s a bit on the odd size to see the term ‘small’ used as a major marketing point for a laptop geared towards games, but Razer’s Blade 15 really is billed as one of the smallest portable gaming computers on the market. While you’d generally expect that the small size would be meant to be coupled with small expectations, the truth is that the computer is actually really solid. What you’re going to have to decide, though, is what’s more important to you – how fast your games run or how easy it is to bring your laptop with you on the go.
The obvious place to start here is with the size of the laptop. It’s debatable as to whether this is the smallest gaming laptop on the market, but it is very small. It’s under five pounds and there’s virtually no wasted space anywhere in the design. While this surely makes it a lot less fun to work with if you have to deal with repairs, you’re certainly never going to have to worry about it taking up too much space. In fact, the relatively small size of the computer actually helps it to achieve a unique aesthetic that will attract many consumers.
There have definitely been some sacrifices made here to keep the size small, but they’re not as bad as you might fear. The computer actually has a fairly robust processor for its size category, actually outstripping what you’d find in many of its somewhat larger peers. The biggest lag issues are actually going to come from the slower-than-average HDD, but even there you’re getting the benefit of having a terabyte of space. This computer is a really good example of how a company can make the right kind of sacrifices to save space and to still come out with a product that’s a great fit for consumers that want a smaller laptop.
- Legitimately very small
- Runs very quietly
- Really good screen design and quality
- Fairly solid processor for a laptop
- Relatively short battery life
- A few reported weird software issues
- HDD is slower than average
MSI GV62 8RD-200
One of the worst parts about dealing with any gaming product is the price. While the cost of high-end components is always an issue, there are also many companies that tend to inflate their prices just because they know that gamers will pay more. The good news, though, is that MSI has provided a budget alternative that will not only run the latest games, but that will do so without over-charging the customer. Though this is far from the most powerful laptop on the market today, it might be the best choice for those consumers who want to have a great gaming experience but who do not want to spend over a thousand dollars on a piece of hardware.
There’s actually a lot more here to like than most would expect. You won’t get the most expensive components on the market in this build, but it’s very clear that a lot of thought went into making sure that everything worked well together. The computer gets every bit of performance out of every component, helping to give owners a gaming experience that really outstrips most of what you’re going to find in this part of the market. Thanks to MSI’s included software, you’re also going to get much more control over the hardware, with a control panel that makes things like overclocking a breeze.
With all of this said, it’s important to know exactly what kind of machine you’re going to be getting with this product. While it is absolutely one of the best gaming laptops for those who are on a smaller budget, you’re still not going to get the same kind of top-flight performance that you might get from some other, more expensive models. This isn’t a knock on the computer at all, though, but rather a warning to keep your expectations realistic. After all, this really is a laptop made for budget gaming, and it does a fantastic job of providing excellent performance at a very reasonable price point.
- Top-tier for budget gaming
- Very easy to customize performance
- Components are better than expected
- Some issues with hard-drive quality
- Can’t compete with more expensive builds
ASUS TUF (2019)
The best laptops for gaming tend to be those that can take a little bit of a beating. While it’s always important to make sure you treat your hardware well, the truth is that bumps and falls happen regularly enough that frequently-used laptops need to be rugged. Most laptops have some degree of ruggedness built into their design, but it is nice to see a gaming unit that places a premium on durability. If you need a laptop that can stand up to all the bumps and scrapes of daily life, the ASUS TUF might be the device for which you have been waiting.
Since the machine is marketed as being tough, it’s a good thing that it can actually take a beating. Though the phrase ‘built to military standards’ is a little overused today, this really is a very durable machine. It’s got a great case, some fantastic extras that keep the various components working, and even has fans that are able to deal with dirt and dust a little more efficiently than most of the machine’s counterparts. Despite all of the heavy-duty design work, though, the machine is still reasonably light and it’s actually very quiet. This is certainly a laptop that’s able to take a little punishment without missing a beat.
If you’re not looking for a particularly tough laptop, though, you’ll still find a lot to like here. Though most of the marketing (and the name) point towards the product’s durability, you’re still going to get a very solid gaming experience out of the computer. The highlight is the mobile CPU, which is actually one of the most advanced models that AMD has available today. That means that your games aren’t just going to run better now, but that your computer has a much better chance of running games well in the future. Though the computer is still a little underpowered when it comes to RAM, most will be happy to know that this is one laptop that really can stand up to daily use no matter how hard they are on the device.
- Incredibly durable
- Very quiet
- Has a high-performance mobile CPU
- Built-in battery
- A little low on RAM
- Very limited ports
Lenovo Legion Y530
If you’re picking a laptop for gaming, it’s usually good to know exactly what kind of features you want before you start shopping. For some, the most important thing is always going to be pure performance. For others, it’s durability. Some even want a computer that looks cool enough to show off. If you’re looking for something that does a little bit of everything, though, you might like this offering from Lenovo. The Legion Y530 has a lot going for it, but perhaps its best feature is that it manages to do everything fairly well at the same time.
What you’re really getting from this machine is, more than anything else, solid performance. There are certainly more exciting computers available at this price point, but relatively few that are as solid. The components used within are certainly not the most expensive, as you might guess from the price, but they are among the most reliable. That means that you’re going to be able to play virtually any modern game without having to worry about how well your hardware is going to hold up to the challenge. For many, that alone is worth the price of admission. If you’re looking for something that’s going to let you game without worry, this might be the best computer on the market for you.
With that said, there are a few nice little touches that help this laptop to stand out. It actually looks very nice, with a good screen and a great exterior. It also has plenty of extra ports, so you can plug in all of your accessories without having to go out and buy an extra USB hub. Those are nice extras, but the selling point for the machine is still the fact that it simply works. If you’re looking to get a laptop that’s going to run modern games and won’t give you trouble, you can do a lot worse than this model.
- Very nice design
- Performs well across the board
- Has plenty of ports
- The graphical capability could be better
- Not really all that exciting
2019 Dell Alienware 17 R5
There was a time when Alienware was the be-all and end-all of gaming computers. Once the company was bought by Dell, though, the brand’s reputation took a fairly deserved hit. In the last few years, though, Dell’s been doing a lot of work to rehabilitate the brand’s image. Some of its most important work has been done not with desktop computers, but with laptops.
If you’re looking for a laptop that’s going to give you blazing-fast performance and that will keep you playing on ultra settings for years to come, there’s a very good chance that will be the computer for you.
It’s probably a good idea to start with the internal components of this laptop because that’s where it really shines. Though it is ‘only’ boasting an i7, the laptop’s 4.1 gigahertz performance speed more than outstrips most of its competition. 32 gigabytes of RAM also makes the machine incredibly responsive. You won’t even have to worry about storage because the laptop has both a 1TB HDD and a 256GB SSD onboard. The specs are capped off with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 8GB GPU, helping to ensure that you’ll always get the kind of graphical performance that’s come to be associated with this brand. Simply put, the internals here aren’t just good for a high-end laptop – they’re good for any kind of gaming laptop.
The only places to quibble here are with the case design and the price point. On the former, you’re not actually getting a bad case – in fact, the case itself is very nice. What’s weird, though, is how bland it looks. Given that Alienware has always had a reputation for style, you might find that lacking here. The price point is also closing in on two thousand dollars, something that’s hard for many consumers to expect. The price point is more than fair, though, considering what you’ll find inside. If you want an outstanding computer that is perfect for gaming, it’s going to be hard to beat Alienware on this one.
- Exceptional hardware
- Great GPU
- Fantastic screen
- Looks a little boring for an Alienware computer
- Price point is a little high
2019 Lenovo Legion Y7000
If there’s one thing that unites Lenovo’s Legion line across the board, it’s reliability. These computers are priced right at the border of being budget models and being truly impressive machines, requiring consumers to spend a little extra in order to get the kind of quality one would want from an excellent gaming rig. Lenovo’s eschewed a lot of bells and whistles in order to build something that works very well, though in doing so it’s probably given up any claims to dominating a single part of the market. That’s not a bad thing, though, especially if you’re on the lookout for a laptop that’s able to do it all.
Internally, this is a pretty impressive machine. It has an excellent GPU for its price point, though you could spend a few hundred dollars more to get a laptop with a card that’s much better. It has a very impressive processor, as well – not exactly one of the newer i7 or i9 models, but an i5 that can run up to 4.0 gigahertz. Every part in the machine seems to be focused on reliability and squeezing a little bit of extra power out of parts that aren’t quite at the top of the heap. It’s a good design though, one that’s proven to work.
Honestly, there’s not too much you can complain about here, either. The external design might not be anything special, but the case is built very well and it can stand up to some bumps and scrapes. The screen could be a little better, but it’s by no means bad. This is a really good example of what you’re going to find at the lower range of this price category, and if you’re not willing to spend much more than a thousand dollars you aren’t going to find anything that’s much better. If you want reliable performance, the 2019 Lenovo Legion Y7000 was made for you.
- Plenty of internal storage
- Very reliable computer
- Good GPU for price
- Good processor
- Case isn’t attractive
- Not as impressive as some other laptops in this category
2019 Acer 17.3″ FHD
There are quite a few things that gamers need to prepare for when it comes to the future. While everyone is presently worried about upgrading to 4K and getting the most out of their traditional games, it’s wise to remember that virtual reality is becoming more and more popular in the gaming space. As such, anyone who relies primarily on a laptop for gaming really does need to start thinking about whether or not they have a VR-ready device. The good news is that Acer’s already got users covered with their 17.3″ FHD model.
The one thing that this computer can boast – and that many similar laptops can’t – is that it is already ready for VR. This doesn’t just mean having the fastest processor or even coming loaded with the best GPU, but also being designed to work well with the headset hardware itself. Though the unit’s certainly got it where it counts in terms of raw processing power, it’s also nice to see that it has enough ports and the right kind of positioning to easily work with most of today’s VR units. If you’re looking to take a step in the future of gaming, you’ll be happy with how this laptop is set up.
If you’re like the vast majority of gamers who haven’t quite decided to adopt VR, there’s still a fair bit to like here. The computer has a really nice i7 processor that’s a little ahead of the curve for gaming machines under fifteen hundred dollars and it’s got enough RAM to keep your programs running smoothly. It also has a 6GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 GPU, which is a very nice addition albeit one that could stand to be just a little more powerful. What you’re really getting here is a great computer for a relatively low price point, though it does feel like users might be paying a few dollars more for the trustworthy Acer brand name.
- Good storage features
- Excellent display
- Slightly less impressive GPU than expected
- Pricier than some similar brands
ASUS ROG Zephyrus M
When you start to get to the price point that ASUS ROG Zephyrus M sits at, you start to expect quite a bit from laptops. You’re not looking at an ultra-expensive build, of course, but you do want to see most of the bells and whistles. The good news here is that ASUS absolutely delivers with this model, packing in an awful lot of power into what’s a remarkably small package. In fact, the biggest issues that most will have with the computer have very little to do with how it works and more with what gamers would prefer to see if the unit cost just a few hundred dollars more.
If you’re into technical specs, you’ll love this computer. The GTX 1070 is not only powerful enough to run games at ultra settings on the laptop’s native 1080p screen, but it can still run games at very high settings in 4K when you use an HDMI output. The i7-8750H core is also incredibly fast for this kind of machine, with an onboard GPU that will let you handle plenty of smaller graphical tasks even while your primary GPU is handling your games. The 16GB of RAM is probably the only letdown here as you could easily imagine an upgraded model with 32GB, but even 16 is more than enough for most gaming purposes.
It’d be very nice if the computer had a native 4k screen or more RAM, but the truth is that you’re already looking at a very powerful machine for the price. If you’re looking for something that’s not only good for basic usage but also for running some of the most popular games on the market, you’ll love this device.
Note that it is a little on the loud side when you’re running graphically intensive games, but you can actually play around with the settings to give up some of your power for a bit of quiet. No matter what settings you choose, this is still one of the more impressive laptops you’ll find.
- Thin design is excellent
- Unique power-saving scheme is great for battery life
- Excellent GPU
- Incredibly fast processor
- Some physical build problems
- Very loud
ASUS ROG Strix Scar II GL704GW
At this point, it should come as no surprise that ASUS’ ROG label is capable of putting out some truly amazing computers. As you’ve already seen on this list, it seems to have a model to dominate at almost every price point. If you’re really willing to go up to the two-thousand-dollar threshold, though, you’ll get an experience that’s unmatched across ASUS’ product line. The Strix Scar II is not just a great laptop for gaming – it’s one of the best computers for gaming money can buy at all.
At the heart of this machine is some very impressive hardware. On the GPU side, you get an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 8GB GPU, which is not just fine for running today’s game but is likely to be more than sufficient for the next several years to come. You also get an Intel i7-8750H processor, which is an incredible foundation for any type of gaming laptop. As you’d expect from an upgraded product, it’s also got some other nice upgrades – 32GB of RAM and a slightly bigger hard drive than you might expect, for starters.
The only real issue to point out is more of a mixed blessing than anything else. You can absolutely make this computer a desktop replacement due to its sheer power, but if you do so you might be annoyed by the fact that you’ve got to run the laptop through a second monitor for 4K gaming. If you’re willing to accept that this is still a laptop and that you’re going to have some limitations just because of technological constraints, though, you’re going to be wowed by what this computer is actually able to accomplish. If you’ve got the budget, it’s hard to beat this computer.
- Incredible amount of power under the hood
- Feels like a desktop replacement
- Upgraded features across the board
- Very loud
- Still just a 1080p screen
Asus ROG Strix Hero II
It’s always a good idea to step back and look at how much horsepower you can fit into a computer without breaking the bank. ASUS ROG label has made some great computers at every other price point, so it’s no surprise that it has one that fits in here. The Strix Hero II is a really good example of what you can do when you have a great budget but you still have limitations. It’s got most of the features you’d expect from more expensive computers but it still manages to be a little bit easier on the bank account.
For those who are concerned with sheer processing power, it’s hard to call this one anything other than a win. It’s got the same Intel i7-8750H processor as some of its more expensive siblings, so it’s actually got much more capability than you’d expect. It’s a little low on RAM at 8GB, but it’s still more than sufficient for most modern games. It also includes at NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB, so it can really go toe-to-toe with most of the desktop rigs in terms of its graphical quality. You can definitely see where the budget went to in terms of this computer’s design, but even the spots that are a step down are still really price category winners.
Thankfully, the usability of this computer is still really nice. Battery management is a breeze, the case looks great, and the computer has enough ports that you’re going to be able to use all of your accessories fairly easily. The computer is still loud, which is a problem with many different gaming models, but even that can be managed if you’re careful with your settings. At the end of the day, this is absolutely one of the best computers you’re going to find if you aren’t willing to go over the fifteen-hundred-dollar mark.
- Fantastic processor
- Really great hardware for the price point
- Looks great and is very usable
- Could use more RAM
- Still has a very loud fan
MSI GL63 9SDK-614
MSI tends to have a very good reputation for building technically competent but still aesthetically pleasing computers. Though there’s usually some kind of trade-off between the two in most other brands, MSI has found a way to achieve an admirable amount of balance. This computer packs in a lot under the hood, but it also manages to look great at the same time. If you’re looking for something that you can show off while still enjoying your games, you can do much worse than this model.
In terms of raw power, this is an astounding machine. The Intel Core i7-9750h can clock up to 4.5 gigahertz, which is not a number you usually see at this price point. The machine also has an NVIDIA GeForce GTX1660Ti 6G GPU, which means that you’re going to be able to play virtually any game on the market today at its maximum settings. At a very basic level, this is a computer that’s not only powerful enough to get you through the average gaming session but that’s got more than enough to work with to replace even most of the similarly-priced gaming desktop units.
It doesn’t hurt that MSI has put some work into making this computer look good as well. The keyboard is outstanding, but it’s even better when you’re actually using it. It’s not quite going to make mechanical keyboard fans happy, but it’s really one of the most responsive keyboards that’s available on a laptop. There are many other little aesthetic touches on this computer that really don’t do much for functionality at all, but they do help you to remember that the computer is actually fairly special. If you’re looking for something that looks fun and has enough power for your games, this is one of the best computers that you can choose.
- Excellent aesthetics
- Really good hardware
- Fairly easy to upgrade
- Disappointing battery life
- Easy to get dirty
- Screen tends to fade