If you are looking for the best gaming laptop for either yourself or someone special, you’re probably finding a lot of different information and opinions online. But how much of that information is truly digestible and user-friendly? If you’re in the market for a great gaming laptop but don’t want to dredge through all of the unnecessary fluff, you’re in the right place.
We have put together a fantastic list, populated with some of the very best gaming laptops on the market today. We’ll go over each laptop’s specifications, pros and cons, and overall appeal for serious gamers and casual players alike.
How to Choose The Best Gaming Laptop
Before you start looking at specs, you should figure out what type of gamer you are.
Are you all about portability? Or are you a hardcore gamer focused intently on immersion? Maybe your gaming style is casual and you don’t even need all of the bells and whistles?
Each category or style of gaming has totally different system requirements. So, we’ll talk about which category each laptop on our list fits in to as well.
Key things to consider when shopping for the best gaming laptop include:
The majority of gamers go big or go home on this one. Why? Anything under 15” can be a serious hindrance in most gaming scenarios. On the other hand, it might be reasonable to consider something more compact if you’re looking for portability over power.
Screen Resolution & Type
If you’re a gamer you should pay special attention to the quality of a laptop’s screen. Never go less than Full HD (1080) for gaming, it will decrease visibility significantly in darker games like dungeon crawlers or war games.
There are other things to consider as well, such as G-Sync vs Free sync, or IPS vs TN vs OLED. Not sure what the difference is? We’ll make it simple:
G-Sync vs Free Sync
Both G-Sync and Free Sync blow their predecessor, V-Sync, out of the water. Both technologies achieve the same basic end goal – they sync the rate at which your graphics card and your monitor refresh frames. It eliminates tearing, but each technology has its ups and downs.
AMD’s pet project, Free Sync, is a lot friendlier to gamers on a budget. Their adaptive sync technology is cheap and easy to integrate, and as a result, is found in a much wider range of gaming monitors. Overall compatibility is higher as well.
The only real potential downside here is the potential for restrictive frame-rates. Cheaper displays will have lower ranges (ex. 48Hz to 75Hz) and won’t work well for hardcore gamers that are looking for great detail.
NVIDIA’s version of adaptive sync technology is a lot harder on your wallet but they do ensure top-notch quality control in their product line. G-Sync displays sport additional features such as Ultra Low Motion Blur and refresh rate overclocking made simple.
IPS vs TN vs OLED
The technology behind the screen is just as important as the screen itself. Each of these three screen types has its own set of unique benefits which we’ll quickly go over.
IPS, aka In-Plane Switching, displays are notorious for having the very best viewing angles and color accuracy. They’re expensive, but popular nonetheless. However, in comparison to TN it has a slower response time.
TN, aka Twisted Nematic, display panels are by far the most common type found in home computing and gaming today. These are notorious for their lack of tearing and their short panel response time which results in significantly less ghosting. The downside to TN’s is their lack of color accuracy.
OLED displays are considered to be the top of line in today’s market. They aren’t very common, however, due to their price tag. Organic Light-Emitting Diode display panels take on a whole new approach to backlighting technology – in that there is no backlight. Each diode can be individually tweaked to provide the perfect level of light, color hue, saturation, etc.
The only downside to OLED displays is image burn-in; which results from having static imagery on the screen for too long.
Audio seems like a no-brainer at first glance but look again. Audio plays an increasingly large part in game immersion, particularly in VR and AR applications.
Gaming laptop designers have caught on to gamer’s enthusiasm for this feature and are really pulling out all of the stops these days. Before you settle for basic, flat, tinny sounding speakers take a look at what’s available. There isn’t any particular speaker type to keep an eye out for, just double check that it has the adjustability and sound quality and levels that you’re personally looking for.
The “Guts” (CPU, RAM, Storage, Etc.)
While all of these elements are very important, you won’t need to worry too much about the specifics when it comes to this list. Every single laptop mentioned here will be equipped with adequate storage and processing power for your gaming experience. Any exceptions will be mentioned in the pros and cons section. But, if curious, check this guide from TomsHardware.
11 Best Gaming Laptops to Buy in 2019
ASUS ROG Strix Scar II
The Best Asus Gaming Laptop
The ASUS ROG Strix Scar II is a gaming-centric laptop, boasting state of the art hardware and a compact design, which makes it perfect for both “domestic” and “on-the-go” use. Since the ROG particle stands for Republic of Gamers, the ASUS ROG Strix Scar II is one of the first machines on the market featuring the updated Nvidia RTX GPUs. In our particular case, we’re dealing with a NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 graphics card, which delivers enough performance to please the pickiest gamer.
Besides a top notch GPU, the ASUS ROG Strix Scar II comes with an 8th gen Intel Core i7-8750H CPU (a hexa-core variety respectively), 16 GB of RAM, a 512 PCIe NVMe SSD, a cool RGB keyboard and a 144 Hz 15.6’’ full HD 1080p display with 3 ms latency. Basically, Asus got everything covered with this beast, and then some, if you take into consideration the ROG Aura Sync system with RGB Keyboard, RGB logo, and RGB Lightbar.
Being a gamer’s wet dream, the ASUS ROG Strix Scar II features the company’s patented Hypercool Pro thermal system with dual 12V fans, Triple radiators, heatsink and anti-dust technology, which is designed to deliver top notch performance in any imaginable scenario. However, it must be noted that the laptop heats-up rather quickly under heavy loads, hence we’d advise you to buy a proper cooling-pad, especially for prolonged gaming sessions.
The premium CPU-GPU combo and the high-refresh-rate 144 Hz screen with a slim bezel are somewhat taken down by the laptop’s overall pedestrian design, making the ASUS ROG Strix Scar II a geekie high-end feature-rich gaming monster with a generic chassis.
- top notch GPU/CPU combo delivers outstanding gaming performance
- the display’s factory calibration is excellent
- good speakers
- smooth gaming experience on the low-latency Full HD display
- battery recharges very quickly
- compact and powerful
- feels sturdy
- Despite of what Asus claims, the display is actually an IPS grade Advanced Hyper-Viewing Angles (AHVA)
- Relatively expensive
- Bland design
- not impressive battery life even for a gaming laptop
- fans get loud (annoying rather) under heavy loads
- dubious track pad performance
- some users complain about build-quality issues
GIGABYTE AERO 15-X9-RT5P
Just like the ROG, the Gigabyte Aero 15-X9-RT5P is designed to be every gamer’s wet dream, and comes packed with the latest-gen NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 GPU, together with a high end Intel i7-8750H CPU (the same hexa-core 8th gen variety as the Asus), 16 GB of RAM, a whopping M.2 PCIe 1TB SSD and a colorful RGB Keyboard, everything packed in a cool metal chassis and powered by a strong 94Wh battery.
The matte 144 Hz Full HD display will definitely please gaming professionals, while the “All Intel Inside” combo of state of the art components in the Gigabyte Aero 15-X9-RT5 make this thin and light high-performance gaming laptop to be hugely desirable, provided you can afford the price-tag. Which is ample, to say the least.
The low latency (3 ms) high refresh rate IPS display is professionally calibrated out of the box via X-Rite Pantone technology, for delivering smooth images with a wider color spectrum and perfect color accuracy, as well as zero ghosting and jitter/lag.
- fantastic overall gaming performance via top-notch hardware
- picture perfect ultra-thin bezel anti-glare display, no light bleed
- impressive battery life
- slim and compact
- comes with Thunderbolt port
- stays relatively silent and cool even under heavy loads
- easy to upgrade
- very fast Intel storage technology
- sleek aluminum-made chassis, light and portable for a gaming laptop
- lots of bloatware out of the box
- the webcam is horrible
Razer Blade 15 RTX
VR Ready and Easily One of the Best 15 Inch Gaming Laptops
The Razer Blade 15 RTX is claimed to be the world’s smallest 15.6’’ gaming machine, yet despite its “petite” size, this baby comes loaded with all the bells and whistles one would expect in the “current year”, i.e. a fantastic thin bezel low-latency high-frequency 144 Hz IPS Full HD edge to edge display, Intel’s obligatory i7-8750H (hexa-core), 16 GB of RAM, an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU and a 256 GB SSD, everything packed in a high-end MacBook-like CNC aluminum chassis.
This Razer Blade gaming laptop really shines in terms of chassis, as it feels rigid and strong, and leaves an unforgettable impression at first sight. But looks aren’t everything, right? If you’re an avid gamer, it’s worth mentioning that the 2070 Max-Q GPU found in the Razer Blade 15 RTX is up to 15 percent faster compared to the Gigabyte Aero 15 X9’s “vanilla” RTX 2070, hence if you’re looking for the best gaming laptop money can buy, this is the “droid you are looking for”.
- high-end hardware delivers top-notch gaming performance
- RGB keyboard
- fantastic factory-calibrated display (LG Philips LGD05C0 144 Hz IPS 1080p panel)
- stays relatively quiet even under high-loads compared to its direct competitors
- arguably the best ultra-thin gaming machine so far
- stellar build quality
- highly portable
- no SD reader
- limited CPU turbo-boost
- gets hot at full power
ASUS ROG Zephyrus S
The Best Portable Gaming Laptop
The Asus ROG Zephyrus S is the company’s first gaming laptop to feature the new-gen Nvidia RTX 2080 GPU. On top of that, the ultra-slim yet not ostentatious ROG Zephyrus S comes with an Intel Core i7-8750H CPU (6 physical cores) under the hood, along with 16 GB of DDR4 RAM, a beefy 512 GB PCIe Nvme SSD, plus Asus’ patented Aura Sync RGB keyboard.
The body of the “beast” is made using military grade magnesium alloy, which makes it harder than a coffin nail, yet incredibly light and slim, 0.62’’ slim respectively, and weighing a mere 4.6 lbs. These features alone are very impressive, but if you want to be really flabbergasted, take a look at the price tag, and then go check your credit score.
Joke aside, the ROG Zephyrus S is built and designed to deliver the ultimate gaming experience, and if you’re on an almost unlimited budget, this machine should rank high on your shopping list.
- amazing gaming performance due to its latest gen CPU/GPU combo makes this beast any hardcore gamer’s wet dream
- light and slim
- impeccable workmanship
- fantastic thin-bezel 144Hz/3ms IPS display with G-Sync and wide viewing angles
- can easily pose as a “business laptop” due to its sober and elegant design
- well designed and efficient cooling system
- unique keyboard layout
- more than enough ports and plenty of storage
- very expensive
- some screen bleeding issues with the first batches
- unimpressive battery life
- typing experience may be odd to some
Best Bang for the Buck
Alienware is a name synonym with professional gaming and high price tags, but the new M15 is regarded by many to be a Dell product that doesn’t disappoint in any way, shape or form, making for an amazing gaming machine with a practical side. Starting with the price tag, compared to other gaming-centric laptops in our review so far, the Alienware M15 is actually quite affordable. I cannot believe I said that about an Alienware gaming laptop, but that’s how things are in the “current year”.
Hardware wise, the portable and slim 15’’ Alienware M15 boasts high-end components, such as an i7-8750H CPU (hexacore 8th gen variety), an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max Q, GPU, a pretty cool 128GB NVMe SSD + 1TB SSHD combo and 16 GB of DDR4 RAM. The thin and light chassis (4.8 pounds 18mm thick) is made from magnesium alloy, and the full HD anti-glare IPS display is gorgeous.
- top notch components
- built like a tank, yet light and relatively slim for an Alien
- premium look and feel, excellent gaming keyboard
- Dell’s first slim gaming monster
- long battery life
- amazing value for money
- easily serviceable chassis
- older-gen GPU
MSI GT75 TITAN 4K-012
The Best 17 Inch Gaming Laptop
If you’re looking for the God Emperor of gaming laptops, the MSI GT75 TITAN is definitely the answer. This monstrous gaming-centric machine comes locked and loaded, and it’s ready for war. To begin with, there’s an Intel i9-8950HK (6 cores) CPU running the show. The “gaming” part is taken care of by the latest NVIDIA RTX 2080 8G GPU, working in “collusion” with a fantastic 17.3 inches wide 4K G-Sync display. On top of that, there are 16 gig of RAM and a 256 GB SSD, along with a cool RGB (per key) keyboard.
Are you drooling all over your keyboard, I know I am. But there’s a small problem with all this tech-porn: the price. Check out the price, and then weep; I mean, this extreme gaming laptop is so expensive, you’ll have to take a second mortgage on your house. But I reckon it’s worth it if you’re looking for desktop-level performance squeezed into a laptop form-factor.
- autistic-level hardware squeezed into a laptop chassis
- fantastic gaming performance
- fabulous display (3840*2160 resolution), 4K IPS-Level Adobe:100% RGB, which makes it perfect for both gaming and professional use
- G-Sync Monitor,Per Key RGB Keyboard, Thunderbolt 3
- mechanical keyboard
- sexy design (yes, we are talking about a big bad bulky gaming laptop)
- arguably the best gaming machine out there
- kind of expensive
- if you’re looking for a “portable” gaming rig, forget about it
- lacks DVD/CD drive
Dell Alienware 17 R5
The Best Gaming Laptop for the Money
Next in line, we have another Alienware, a Dell 17 R5 respectively (the 5th generation by the way), which makes for a full HD 17.3 inches wide gaming laptop, boasting a 6-Core i7-8750H CPU/GeForce GTX 1070 GPU combo, along with 16/32 GB of RAM and 256GB/512GB/1TB SSD 2TB HDD (everything’s customizable).
Now, compared to the MSI Titan, the Dell Alienware lags behind in all departments, including screen resolution and all that, but it’s also worth mentioning it costs less than half the price of the former. Despite being “last year’s breaking news”, the Alienware 17 R5 is a strong gaming machine, over-engineered to perfection and one of our favorite gaming laptops in its price category.
- high end/premium look and feel
- lot of configuration options
- stellar gaming performance for the hardware inside
- great thermal design keeps it cool and silent
- drop dead gorgeous IPS screen
- built like a tank
- revamped Alienware Command Center UI is excellent
- great value for money as desktop replacement
- autonomy could be better (hexacore CPU and overclocked GPU surely don’t help in this regard)
- kind of thick and heavy at ten pounds
MSI GS65 Stealth-002
The Best 15 Inch Gaming Laptop Out There
This razor thin and ultraportable gaming laptop from MSI is the ideal choice for people on the go, whether we’re talking about hardcore gamers or business professionals. The strong hardware inside the MSI GS65 Stealth is backed by a sleek and premium design, everything topped up by a very fast gaming display. Basically, this baby has it all, both looks and brains.
And forget about the price tag; when you look so sexy and gorgeous from any angle, who cares about getting in debt for life, right? Joke aside, the MSI GS65 Stealth 002 boasts a razor-thin 15.6 inches wide fabulous display(144Hz 7ms latency), the obligatory Intel i7-8750H (hexacore), the latest-gen NVIDIA RTX 2070 8G Max-Q, a whopping 32 GB of RAM and a 512 GB NVMe SSD. Everything is at superlative with this sexy gaming machine.
- top notch hardware
- amazing gaming performance
- brilliant display
- minimalist/sober design makes it ideal for posing as a business laptop
- excellent battery life
- per key RGB
- amazingly thin and light
- beautiful silky glass touchpad
- stays cool under load
- dubious font keys
- speakers could be better for the price asked
HP OMEN 15-dc0045nr
The Best Affordable Gaming Laptop
The HP Omen is a well-known brand in the gaming community, and their latest 2019 FHD 15’’ gaming machine of doom is a pretty interesting choice, making for a crazy fast Intel i7-8750H/NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 powered monster, boasting a whopping 32 GB of RAM, a 512 GB SSD and a great 44hz GSync Display.
The price is also in the “affordable” range, at least compared to other gaming-centric laptops in our review so far, and if you’re looking for an “old school” reliable and easy to carry around gaming laptop, the HP OMEN 15-dc0045nr should rank high on your shopping list.
- excellent gaming performance
- premium look and feel
- works fine as a desktop replacement
- Omens are known for their legendary reliability
- great speakers
- amazing value for money
- outdated design
- noisy fans can get on your nerves pretty quickly
- tons of bloatware out of the box
- the GPU is not actually a full GTX, but a nerfed Max-Q variant
Acer Predator Helios 300
The Best Cheap Gaming Laptop
If you’re on a tight budget, the Acer Predator Helios 300 has your name on it. Why? Well, the most obvious thing about the Helios 300 is that it comes with an Overclockable GeForce GTX 1060 6GB. And by overclockable, we refer to the PredatorSense utility, which gives you a Faster/Turbo option to crank up the GeForce GTX 1060’s clock speed for improved gaming performance.
Here’s the short story about the GPU’s real-time monitoring performance:
- Normal mode: 1,442MHz to 1,468MHz
- Faster mode: 1,455MHz to 1,480MHz
- Turbo: mode: 1,480MHz to 1,531MHz
Yeah, we know, these are small bumps in terms of clock-speed, but in the real (as in gaming) world, they make a noticeable difference. Other than that, the Predator Helios 300 offers the now-obligatory Intel 6-Core i7-8750H CPU, 16 GB of RAM and a 256GB NVMe SSD. Bottom line, the Acer Predator Helios 300 will provide you with lots of bang for the proverbial buck, including a number of impressive features for a budget gaming-centric laptop.
- High-quality ultra-smooth FHD IPS w/ 144Hz display
- PredatorSense software allows you to customize basically everything, ranging from GPU clock speed to CPU fan speed and system temperature
- VR ready
- Solid gaming performance for a budget laptop
- Decent battery life
- Easy to upgrade
- Good value for money
- thermal throttling can become an issue if you don’t turn on CoolBoost and set the fans to Max
- unimpressive speakers
- the display can be brighter
Mystery Meat Anyone?
Last but not least, we have the Origin EVO16-S. Origin is actually a well-known brand and their latest EVO 16 makes for a rather strange (16.1 inches display, cmmon, who does that?) yet powerful gaming-centric laptop, boasting Intel’s Core 8th i7-8750H CPU, and Nvidia’s latest and greatest RTX 2080 with Max-Q GPU, 32 GB of RAM and up to 8 TB of storage, depending on the configuration and the budget.
The unique 16.1’’ Full HD 1080p 144Hz narrow bezel screen is clearly the most distinctive feature of the EVO16-S, along with its incredibly thin and light profile, i.e. this gaming-centric machine weighs a mere 4.5 pounds and it’s 0.78 inches thick.
- strong gaming performance in a sexy chassis
- brilliant display
- sleek/slim design
- powerful and highly mobile
- lots of ports, plenty of storage options
- custom laser etching design
- premium look and feel
- multicolor backlit keyboard
- none really at this point
When choosing a laptop for gaming check its size, screen resolution and type, audio, CPU, RAM, storage and of course graphics card. We have listed for you 11 best gaming laptops of 2018 from different manufacturers with the different price range.