Best Gaming Laptops – Tested & Reviewed(April 2018)

No matter how precise your mouse is, or how well reliable your keyboard is. It won’t matter if you are continually lagging out or are being forced to play at the minimum graphics settings.

Nothing can make or break your gaming experience quite like the PC itself.

So today we are taking a look at the very best laptops currently on the market for gaming.

These laptops are primed for stability and performance first and foremost, which can be attractive traits for someone seeking even a standard laptop. Our comprehensive list of the best gaming laptops in the market, take into consideration different price points, as well as gaming levels. If you prefer desktops, we’ve got you covered as well.


ASUS ROG Strix Scar Edition

Best Overall Gaming Laptop

Image of Asus Rog Laptop for gaming

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ASUS’s Republic of Gamers laptops tends to feature on most ”best gaming laptop” lists and the Strix GL703VM we felt warrants a place on our list.

Specifications:

  • Intel i7-7700HQ 2.8GHz (Turbo 3.8 GHz)
  • Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB VRAM
  • 17.3” Display (120HZ)
  • 16GB RAM
  • 256 GB SSD & 1TB SSHD

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While definitely not in the budget category, this mid to high-end price point we felt was quite fair for the quality on hand. Let’s jump into the positives 1st.

We just have to start with the screen. Typically these panel type displays offer high frame rates but sacrifice a bit of richness when viewing streams, movies, and the likes. This particular screen is surprisingly good in both departments. The 5ms response rate is nowhere close to what you can get with typical gaming monitors but is quite decent for a laptop. The 120HZ refresh rate is particularly useful in FPS gaming scenarios.

The Nvidia GTX 1060 is a pretty solid graphics card, but we felt that for the price this was a slight letdown as we were expecting at least 1050 considering we are spending well over $1k on this laptop. The 7th Gen Intel 7700HQ coupled with 1060 makes for a quick machine however which can play most titles out there at very high-performance levels.

Its speed is also influenced by the presence of an SSD and an SSHD. The hybrid offers the right combination of speed and storage space. In case you were wondering, the SSHD is indeed faster than conventional hard disks but nowhere close to the performance that a proper SSD has on hand. There are plenty of USB ports too so if you like streaming or recording videos and need a bunch of devices to support your process then you have 3 USB 3.0, 1 USB type C and 1 USB 2.0 slot at your disposal.

Aesthetically, the Scar edition has a lot going for it. The RGB lighting is kind of what you expect for the price, but the exteriors are very polished and elegant. The keys have a 20 million keystroke life and do support anti-ghosting which we thought was very cool. The profile is also super slim for a 17.3-inch laptop. While this usually is pretty good, this laptop does have some niggling cooling issues.

Speaking of cooling issues that’s where some of the downsides of this laptop start to show. Despite the dual fan setup and heat pipe design, we found this laptop can get a tad hot when gaming. Many users also mentioned having throttling issues during prolonged sessions. This sadly seems to be a common theme among many ROG series laptops. Not all laptops have cooling issues, but the Stealth pro by MSI which topped our old list is known to have excellent cooling and falls into a similar price point.

Another con is the battery life. Yes! We all plug our laptops and play to get max performance anyway, but the computer does chew up its charge rather quickly even in non-gaming or simple multitasking scenarios.

The design of this laptop is quite friendly for those who like to upgrade components like their hard drive of SSD yearly. If you feel that the 1Tb or 256 GB SSD isn’t enough then the design drive bays are very easy to access. Overall, the numerous positives definitely make this a worthy contender in our eyes. The excellent display and storage on offer mustn’t be overlooked, but a marginally better cooling system and the 1070 card would make this a truly awesome laptop.

Asus ROG GL703VM Scar Edition
8.2 / 10 Editors
The Good
+ The 120Hz display is great for gaming & surprisingly good at displaying colors
+ Fast performance which competitive gamers will love
+ Plenty of storage room
+ Has a slim profile for a 17incher
+ Many USB ports including a type-C
The Bad
- Battery life isn’t the best
- Tend to get very hot after extended use
Review Score

Acer Predator Helios 300

Best Budget Laptop

Picture of great budget gaming laptop from Acer

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If you are looking for a laptop that lets you play the latest Triple A titles without breaking your budget, then the Acer Predator Helios 300 is definitely one of our favorites.

Specifications:

  • Intel Core i7-7700HQ 3.6 GHz processor
  • Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB VRAM
  • 15.6” FULL HD IPS display
  • 16GB RAM & 256GB SSD
  • Average battery life: 3~4 hours

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The main competition in terms of price on our list is the Lenovo Y700 but the Predators 7th gen processor and the NVidia GTX 1060 more than ensures that the Predator Helios 300 trounces the Y700 regarding performance.

Let’s start with the good stuff. This is one of the cheaper laptops containing the NVidia 10 series cards. The computer is also VR ready which makes is one of the things that makes it among the most appealing budget laptops. The full HD IPS panel display is good for gaming and also for multimedia. You can very easily use this laptop for movies & streaming as the color quality is top notch too. The Acer Predator sense gaming control panel is pretty good, and you can customize things like fan speed, performance pre-sets, etc. Aesthetically this is one of the better ones out there as well. The trackpad was easy to use & the laptop weighs just over 5 pounds which is not too bad for its price class. Slimmer laptops tend to be pricier.

Heading into 2018 we can very easily treat the presence of an SSD or SSHD as a basic requirement on gaming laptops & desktops. The Helios 300 comes with a 256GB SSD which is very fast. This is a bit of pro & a con when you consider that you need another hard drive to store your games. So the space on offer is quite limited. Some games and a few orphaned windows update files, and you will feel the effects of the limited size very quickly. Cooling was not bad & we didn’t experience too much-overheating issues on shorter gaming sessions at least. The casing, however, does get hot during prolonged use.

Battery life was okay. While Acer does mention that the laptop has up to 7 hour’s battery life in practice we found this not to be the case. During gaming, we kept the computer constantly plugged into the power socket since we needed max performance. Otherwise when watching movies or performing browsing & other tasks we found that we were able to get a solid 3-4 hours of battery life which was not bad for a gaming laptop but still nowhere close to the 7 hours mentioned.
A minor con was that while the metallic exterior does give it a pristine look, your fingerprints can be clearly visible on the surface. An issue that was more of a pressing concern was that many users mentioned having problems with the compatibility of different drivers. Issues like the screen freezing, or stuttering performance happened a few times, and we thought Acer need to do a better job on this front regarding quality & support.

Overall, this is definitely a laptop that should be on the minds of gamers on a budget. You can pretty much run all of the latest titles shy of extreme settings in some cases. You might not be able to get the frame rates on offer by the GTX 1080 card, but 1060 is definitely no slouch. The main Achilles heel is that while the numbers are impressive on paper Acer need to do a better job of stringing all the components together, so there are no software conflicts or glitches in the long term. If you can find & stick to a stable configuration, this laptop will serve you will for a pretty long time.

Acer Predator Helios 300
8.5 / 10 Editors
The Good
+ The IPS display is rich and provides good viewing angles
+ Awesome value for money
+ One of the cheapest NVidia 1060 laptops around
+ The SSD makes it quite quick
+ VR ready
The Bad
- Not a lot of storage space
- Fingerprints are easily visible on the exterior
- Acer laptops are known to have slight driver issues
Review Score

Things to Consider before Buying a Gaming Laptop – Buying Guide

If a slew of specs mentioned everywhere about laptops has left you a bit confused, then we have compiled a list of things you need to look for when selecting your ideal gaming laptop. Unlike gaming desktops or towers, where they are always in a single place, laptops have portability elements that also have immense importance. Value for money is also of huge significance since a similar level gaming desktop is significantly cheaper. Here are some of the criteria we have considered during our evaluation.

Screen Size

Screen size is definitely a core element when it comes to gaming on a laptop. There is a massive difference between gaming on a 13inch screen to a 17inch display. The 15s are good as well. Hence we have considered only these two sizes on our list. We understand that this is a subjective decision, but if you are looking to game at a high level for more extended hours, the 17inch would definitely be preferred. A quick tip: Make sure you have a backpack that fits a 17inch laptop if you wish to carry it around to work or university.

Weight

The weight is probably one of the most crucial factors for people using regular laptops but not so much for gaming rigs. It’s always a trade-off for gamers between weight, and performance and we chose performance while paying some attention to the load. Between 5 and 6 pounds, we feel is the sweet spot. With newer slimmer variants like the MSI Stealth Pros hitting the market, you can begin to see even lighter gaming laptops in the future.

Performance

This is the essential factor for you to consider when choosing a high-end gaming laptop. We encourage buyers not to make too many compromises on the performance elements we have listed below. For us, the most critical performance-related factors were processing power, graphics, storage and memory speed.

As games these days are getting bigger and bigger facilitated by corresponding hardware price drops, you will need a reasonable amount of storage. The best way to achieve a high storage capacity nowadays is by using an SSD + HDD hybrid since higher capacity SSDs are still on the expensive side.

Core & Graphics Processing Power

Processors wise most gaming laptops nowadays come with an Intel i7-6700 or 6800. This processor is not the fastest in the market, but it performs great when paired with a great graphics card. AMD’s have some excellent processors as well, but we feel Intel is a safe bet in this space. If you are looking for something ultra-high-end, then the 6820HK seems to be a popular choice for laptops like the MSI TITAN.

NVidia’s 1080M currently stands as the best GPU in the market. If you are looking for a VR ready laptop, then anything above an NVidia 1060 will do you right. The 9 series’ 980M is also a great card to have in your laptop. 4 to 8GB graphics memory is quite sufficient as well. If you are looking at even higher graphics capabilities then SLI is an option, but it will severely hamper the portability of your laptop, and cooling needs to be improved significantly.

RAM wise anything from 8 to 16GB will do fine for most gaming laptops since almost all of the games can run on the 8GB. A 32GB PC looks monstrous on paper, but most of that RAM is redundant. Definitely something worth noting to keep costs down when you purchase. RAM speeds are worth noting as well and most come with 2133 MHz which is more than enough for gaming purposes too.

Storage Capacity & Access Speed

An SSD or Solid State Drive is just made up of microchips that hold all your data and does not have any mechanical parts to it. This is precisely why the SSDs are so much quicker than the HDDs which we will touch on in a bit. Multiple SSD variants are available with high read/ write speeds too. They also have an added advantage of durability. An HDD or hard disk drive has a mechanical arm that reads and writes data onto the disk. Since there is a mechanical function involved the time taken is slower. You might find an RPM number stated as part of the HDD specs which relates to the speed of the disk. The higher, the RPM the better. A 7200 RPM SATA is the most common one out on the market today. Since gamers are pushing the boundaries when it comes to speed and precision, we feel an SSD is an absolute necessity for a gaming laptop.

Cooling

A laptop without great refrigeration will definitely fail. If you are looking to game for significantly long hours, then you might want one with more than just one or two fans. You can always add auxiliary fan pads but go for a laptop that is inherently designed well. The Alienware and Asus laptops are known to get extremely hot as well.

Other factors

Buying a gaming laptop can sometimes be a complicated decision especially if you plan on using your computer extensively for other regular purposes as well. There is a constant trade-off between things like battery life, trackpad quality, and performance. You can always work around some issues by using headphones for better sound, a gaming mouse, etc. Another thing we feel is a must is multiple USB ports especially if you like to attach external drives, wireless headsets and more. So make sure you take all of these into consideration when making your decision. Our list will help you narrow down your options, primarily if you have fixed budgets.


Old Favorites – Best laptops of the past season

Note: The i7 Processor, USB 3.1 slot, and backlit keyboards are a common theme among all the laptops on this list. Also, if you are in need of a VR-enabled option, consider laptops that have an NVidia 10 series graphics card.

Acer Aspire E 15 Gaming Laptop

Best in 600-800$ Price Range

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If you are just beginning to explore the depths of your passion for gaming, then this entry-level gaming laptop might be a good fit for you. A solid choice for those looking for a laptop that doubles up for work and for gaming.

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The 12-hour battery life is something we liked very much. It gave us much more flexibility, albeit at the cost of some performance.

This Acer Aspire is the only one on the list that has a slightly lower spec i7 processor, but when playing titles like Call of Duty and Dying light the performance was still good.

The NVidia 940MX handled most games well, at normal graphics settings, the moment you ramp up the games to run on full graphics, this laptop struggles. You can run games like Overwatch, Heroes of Storm, and Ice Wind Dale, quite comfortably.

Storage is another thing that we found was an issue, with Acer offering just a 256GB SSD. Granted, the SSD (Solid state drive) makes for a quick machine when performing routine operations, but the storage is simply inadequate. If you like carrying all your videos, music and games primarily on an external drive, then this laptop should suit you fine.

The laptop is not too heavy and can easily be carried around. Other than that, if the computer had come with an option to upgrade the RAM to 16GB, then it would have been great. Nonetheless, for its price, it’s still a trendy choice amongst entry-level gamers and videographers alike.

Specifications:

  • Weight: 5.3 pounds
  • Nvidia 940MX
  • 6th Generation Intel Core i5-6200U Processor
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM
  • Up to 12 hours Battery Life
  • 15.6” Display
  • 256GB SSD

Lenovo Y700 Gaming Laptop

Best in 800-1100$ Price Range

image of gaming laptop

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The feature that strikes everyone at first glance when looking at the Lenovo Y700 is the design of the screen. This laptop almost has an old-school look, thanks to the gap between the screen and the keyboard. The look of the laptop might be straight out of a movie from the 90s, but the performance is anything but.

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The Y700 delivers great performance for a lower mid-range option in the gaming segment. Featuring a full HD 15.6-inch screen and an NVidia GTX 960M, this laptop delivers solid performance regarding texture detail. However, the Y700 does not come with an SSD and instead has just a 1TB hard drive.

For gamers, looking for cutting-edge performance and highest frame rates when playing games like Battlefield and COD, this laptop can be a letdown.

The most significant negative from our point of view was the battery life. The average is around 4, which is usually something we find in high-end gaming laptops like the Razer Blade or MSIs. However, if this laptop is going to be spending most of the time on a desk, then it really shouldn’t matter too much.

Games such as Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, Far Cry, LoL, DOTA, FIFA, and Counter-Strike run exceptionally well.

On most performance benchmarks, we noted that the Lenovo Y700 performed much better than similar products like the Dell Inspiron i7559 and the Acer Aspire V Nitro. The keyboard, along with the whole chassis in general, feels great.

An aspect where this laptop excels is the sound quality. We were a bit surprised by how good the sound quality is.

The customizations for the Y700 include adding 8GB of RAM to the existing 8, as well as swapping the 1 TB hard drive for a 256GB SSD. The RAM option does make sense. However, the SSD – HDD trade-off can put off some folks from buying. Overall, a pretty solid choice for the MOBA or MMO entry-level gamer.

Specifications:

  • Weight: 5.7 pounds
  • 1 TB Hard Disk
  • 8 GB RAM
  • Intel Core i7-6700HQ 2.6 GHz Processor
  • 4-hour average battery life
  • Nvidia GTX 960M
  • 15.6” Display

ASUS ROG 17-Inch Gaming Laptop

Best in 1100-1400$ Price Range

image of Asus Gaming pc

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The three words that most accurately describe the Asus ROG GL552VW are “Value For Money.” This gaming laptop hits the sweet spot between a great price, and delivering great performance. The Asus ROG delivers super-fast performance, thanks to a combination of the NVidia GTX 960M, the Core i7 – 6700HQ and the 128 GB SSD that is present.

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For a gaming notebook that is somewhere in the mid-range segment concerning pricing, the graphics quality, and feel are something that you usually find amongst high-end devices.

The storage is quite adequate with the SSD + HDD combination offering quick loads for games and plenty of space for movies and music.

The laptop also comes loaded with the GameFirst 3 technology from Asus that promises to reduce lag during games.

Games like DOTA2 run at about 100fps which are fantastic. If you are used to gaming with ultra-high graphics settings, then this laptop is a perfect fit. You can run games like Fallout 4, Call of Duty Black Ops 3, Guild Wars, and Elite: Dangerous, etc.

As for negatives, we found that there were initial driver issues with the onboard graphics and Wi-Fi. However, fixes can be easily found on most forums for this. Annoying but certainly not off-putting.

Unlike the Alienware, this laptop does come with a DVD drive. However, it would have been better, if Asus decided to ditch the drive and improve cooling some more.

For a lot of folks, an investment of this kind usually makes them look towards the long-term. This device caters to that way of thinking too. You can easily upgrade the Storage and RAM as time wears on, to make sure the speed is as good as when it was new.

Specifications:

  • Weight: 5.6 pounds
  • 6th-generation Intel Core i7-6700HQ 2.6GHz
  • 1TB HDD + 128 GB SDD
  • 16 GB RAM
  • 15.6” Screen
  • NVIDIA GTX 960M
  • 4-5 Hour average battery life

Alienware 15.6-Inch UHD Laptop

Best in 1400-1700$ Price Range

image of Alienware gaming laptop

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Alienware, along with MSI and Razer are probably the most recognizable gaming brands. A lot of the price tag is to do with the Alienware brand itself. Just one look at an Alienware can leave most people in awe. The metallic finish and the backlit keyboard exude class, but the device itself performs like a beast.

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The image quality was quite beautiful thanks to the Ultra HD screen offering resolutions as high as 3840x 2160.

The processor and the RAM are comparable to the Asus ROG. An NVidia GTX 970M card delivers the graphics, and does it very well. We, like a lot of other users out there were a bit disappointed that we weren’t getting a 10 series card that delivers even better graphics for the price.

Games like Shadow of Mordor, Doom, Dark Souls III and Battlefield 1 run extremely well.

Overclocking features are present that keeps internal temperatures cool within the carbon fiber chassis. Copper thermal modules also protect your graphics card from overheating, when you are gaming for many hours.

The laptop features no optical drive and has a 256GB SSD + 1 TB HDD combo that offers plenty of storage and quick load time. A high-end Windows 10 comes pre-loaded with this device too.

Another negative is the laptop’s weight. Weighing in at a whopping 7.1 pounds, this laptop can’t be carried around by most people for extended periods of time.

Like most other Alienware on the market, this laptop performs admirably, but we feel it is just shy of being truly great for its price range.

Note: An upgraded graphics card, processor, or even a 4K screen can make this laptop an ideal choice for a lot of gamers. Nonetheless, with stable and consistent cutting edge performance, this laptop will allow you to ascend to the next level.

Specifications:

  • Weight: 7.1 pounds
  • Intel Quad Core i7-6700HQ 2.6 GHz Processor
  • Nvidia Geforce 970M
  • 15.6” Ultra HD screen
  • 16GB RAM
  • 5-hour average battery life

MSI VR Ready GS73VR Stealth Pro

Best in 1700-2100$ Price Range

image of MSI VR ready gaming laptop

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As a laptop that is built for the hard-core gamer, the MSI GS73VR Stealth Pro does not disappoint. The first thing that stands out is the amazing sleek design that MSI has come up with for this laptop. It’s something that looks and performs like a beast, an avid gamers dream. The NVidia 1060 delivers some amazing performance.

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We found that you can play just about any game available in the market today. Games like Fallout 4, Street Fighter 5, and the Witcher III, etc.

Unlike, the Alienware the light weight of this laptop makes it highly portable. It will fit quite comfortably into most bags designed for 17-inch laptops, unlike other 17inch Alienware’ which has been designed to spend most of its time on the desk.

The Nahimic 2 Virtual Surround Sound tech is an exciting addition, the promises a super immersive gaming experience.

The MSI adopts a solid state drive and hard drive combo offering plenty of storage to download and store hundreds of games, with ease.

Stealth Pros over the years are known for its fantastic cooling capabilities, which allow you to game for hours on end without affecting performance. Well, this laptop has excellent cooling too! The only issues are that the fans can get a bit louder than other models. The SteelSeries keyboard, 16GB of super-fast DDR4 RAM and anti-ghosting keys make for a fully loaded laptop that gets your ready for any e-sports experience.

The 512GB SSD can reach read speeds above 2000 MB/s which is higher than most common SSDs found in the market. The laptop boots up in an instant thanks to this.

With VR taking center stage in the tech arena, this VR ready laptop can be a great investment for any gamer in the long-term. MSI also has a great reputation when it comes to handling Warranty repairs so that you can be confident of a positive experience.

Specifications:

  • Weight: 5.3 pounds
  • 16 GB RAM
  • 17.3” 4K VR ready display
  • Intel Core i7-6700HQ Quad Core Processor – 2.6-3.5GHz
  • 512GB SSD + 1 TB Hard drive
  • Nvidia Geforce GTX 1060 with 6GB VRAM
  • 3-hour average battery life