Investing endless hours finding all the right components and locking them into place sounds like a chore. You don’t want to build a computer. You want to skip to the fun part: actually playing game. Luckily, there are more than enough gaming laptops on the market to choose from.
The convenience of taking your rig on the go, complete with a built-in monitor and keyboard isn’t cheap, however. On the low end, a decent notebook will set you back around $1,400 (about £900).
For the best PC games at a 4K resolution with consistent frame rates, you can expect to shell out over double for sufficient hardware. That’s assuming, though, that the games themselves are optimized enough to run properly. Fortunately, if you’re in the market for VR, lower system requirements equate to a greater swath of gaming laptops you can choose from.
The Origin EON15-X is a real head turner. Packing a desktop Skylake processor and a full-size Nvidia Pascal-series GPU into a fairly compact 15.6-inch notebook, Origin’s greatest offers even more performance than some hardy gaming towers.
The extra CPU power is handy for users who need to edit video and other processor intensive tasks that a mobile chip can’t handle. You’ll also get an extra kick of performance no matter what game you’re running. Combined with a powerful GPU and a not-so-shabby battery life, the Origin EON15-X is definitely worth consideration over all others.
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.
Entry-level gaming laptops are a great introduction into the glorious world of PC gaming, and from performance to looks, it’s hard to beat the Lenovo Ideapad Y700. Considering its modest price-point, the Y700 stands out among the rest, in terms of budget gaming machines, thanks to a metal chassis and included SSD. It even comes packed with enough power to run modern games at decent settings.
With a knack for style and a featherlight exterior, the MSI GS60 Ghost Pro is among the slimmest gaming laptops money can buy. That said, don’t confuse thinness with lackluster performance. The Skylake Core i7 CPU featured in the GS60 perfectly marries the still-impressive GTX 970M, so long as you’re playing at 1080p on medium to high graphics settings. Sure, it’s not a top-end pick, but in the end, your wallet will thank you.
Like the GameCube of laptops, the HP Omen 17 has the build quality of a children’s toy. However, when you see what it can do, you’ll wonder why it didn’t cost more. At 7 pounds, you’ll have to forgive the weight of the HP Omen 17 if you want to benefit from its 17-inch Quad-HD display. Of course, although the GTX 1070 is more of a 1440p performer than a 4K one, you can still expect a consistent 30 fps in games like The Division at the highest graphical settings. Overall, the HP Omen 17 is HP’s Gigabyte P57X equivalent, but with Bang & Olufsen speakers that might tip you over the edge.
The Asus ROG G752 bears an aggressive design that sets it apart from the many, more sedate gaming laptops that inhabit the world. Instead of donning the black plastic shell typical of hardware in its class, the ROG G752 sports a shell brushed with aluminum panels, angular lines and glowing red segments. On top of its in-your-face styling, this 17-incher delivers tremendous performance, running modern blockbusters at max settings and with ease. The only thing missing is a 4K screen.
For many gamers, Ultrabook is a four-letter word, but it doesn’t have to be. The first time you get your hands on a Razer Blade, you’ll be looking at a battery life of 3 hours and 35 minutes in-game (or six hours of non-stop video). While you could argue it does skimp as far as graphics are concerned, with the help of a Razer Core external GPU enclosure, you can strap an Nvidia Titan X inside if you want.
The Origin EON17-SLX gives new meaning to portability. This 17-inch notebook combines the power of a desktop-grade Intel processor and an Nvidia GPU, making it one of history’s most powerful mobile machines. Of course, it comes with the sacrifice of portability in both weight and battery life. If these are worthy trade-offs for greater performance, you won’t find a better machine whether you’re a hardcore gamer or a media creator.
The MSI GT80 Titan goes above and beyond to give gamers a desktop experience in a notebook with everything from high-performance parts to a built-in mechanical keyboard. Weighing in at nearly 10 pounds and measuring roughly two-inches thick, this machine seriously pushing the limits of what qualifies as portable. For all the strain it’ll put on your back and wallet, though, the 18.4-inch GT80 Titan absolutely plows through almost any graphically intense game you try to run. This gaming behemoth proved to be a monster with the best in class mobile GPUs so we can’t even fathom what it could do with a more up-to-date graphics card.
The Alienware 17 may be the outrageously priced gaming rig your mother warned you about, but hear us out – it’s actually worth it. The notebook is a fully capable gaming machine on its own, but with the added power of full-on desktop power through the GPU Amplifier, it can play any game at the highest settings. Just make sure you don’t skimp on the graphics card you attach to it. If you’re looking for something smaller, the Alienware 13 also works with the optional GPU box.
Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article