Disregarding all personal bias, we should all be able to agree that PC gaming would be undoubtedly superior to everything else if it weren’t for the headache that comes with it. Of course, we’re talking about the assembly and upgrading of components, not to mention the driver updates and frustrating workarounds required to play certain games on certain hardware.
Fortunately, those complications disappear when we start talking about the best gaming laptops. For those not in the know, these machines prioritize mobility – sometimes making concessions to performance, albeit rarely these days. Because we now have the benefit of more compact graphics and cooling solutions, inferior gaming laptops are now a concern of the past. What’s more, we’re seeing more and more gaming laptops with improved battery lives and lower weights as well.
It’s for that reason that we’ve taken it upon ourselves to find only the best gaming laptops for your budget. 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 content 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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
7. Gigabyte Aero 14
An Ultrabook that’s first-rate in performance and value
CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR5) | RAM: 16GB – 32GB | Screen: 14-inch, QHD 2,560 x 1,440 anti-glare IPS | Storage: 512GB – 1TB SSD
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
8. 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
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.
9. Dell Inspiron 15 Gaming
This gaming laptop won’t leave you penniless
CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 – 1050 Ti | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, FHD 1,920 x 1,080 – UHD 3,840 x 2,160 anti-glare LED backlit | Storage: 1TB SSHD 8GB – 1TB HDD, 128GB SSD
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
10. MSI GS63VR Stealth Pro
A high performer that aces portability
CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 – 1070 | RAM: 16GB – 32GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) 120Hz, 3ms, HDR – UHD (3,840 x 2,160) wide-view IPS | Storage: 256GB SSD; 2TB HDD – 512GB HDD; 2TB HDD
In defiance of the stigma that gaming laptops simply can’t shake their heavy duty form factors, the MSI GS63VR 7RG Stealth Pro is an anomaly that deserves your attention. Although it owes much of its strength-meets-mobility design to the same Max-Q graphics technology leveraged by the Asus ROG Zephyrus, the Stealth Pro does more than lean into Nvidia’s engineering approach. It gives you a handsome array of ports, a gorgeous screen and more.
Read the full review: MSI GS63VR 7RG Stealth Pro
Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article