There are plenty of things to consider when on the market for a respectable gaming laptop. You need a capable CPU, a graphics chip that is powerful enough to deliver your games as the developers intended them, enough system RAM to keep applications stored in memory, high-capacity and fast storage drives to hold games and other files, a sizeable and decent-resolution screen to view the action on, and a good chassis to bear all these components.
With that in mind, we’ve broken down our buying advice by component to help you figure out what to look for – though you can also just skip straight ahead to our selection of the best gaming laptops.
Oh, and if you’re open to buying a powerful laptop that’s not been designed specifically for gaming, check out our guide to the best laptops of 2018.
1.Acer Predator 17
The 17-inch Acer Predator is a powerful monster, which is appropriate given its name. But we mean that in the best way possible. This Windows 10 laptop roars to life with a 6th generation Intel Core i7 processor, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 GPU, 16GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD hard drive and a 1TB HDD hard drive. This model also has a 1080p widescreen LED-backlit IPS display and four built-in speakers to fully immerse you in whatever game or task you are doing. For ports, it features a Thunderbolt 3, Display Port, HDMI and four USB ports.
Keep in mind that this beast is big (it measures 16.6 x 12.7 x 1.6 inches and weighs 9.3 pounds) and only has three hours of battery life. So it’s not something you’ll want to take with you on the road and would likely be the centerpiece in your home gaming setup. But as long as you’re fine with the size and battery, you’ll be happy to own this.
2.Asus’s ROG Zephyrus GX501
Asus’s ROG Zephyrus GX501 gaming laptop ushers in an entirely new age of gaming on the “small screen” with a 0.7-inch design that’s best described as awesome. Whereas most powerful gaming laptops are unwieldy and not fit for moving around all that much, the ultra-thin and ultra-lightning fast Zephyrus is made for gaming on-the-go.
Powered by a GeForce GTX 1070 8GB graphics card with Max-Q design, a Core i7 processor, 256GB SSD and 16GB of RAM, there’s little question this Asus laptop can handle today’s games and those well into the future. A machine this powerful requires a highly managed system to keep it cool and the ROG Active Aerodynamic System improves airflow up to 40 percent and cooling overall temperatures by up to 20 percent.
The 15.6-inch Full-HD 120Hz display offers outstanding color performance, while the ROG Zephyrus Smart Amp technology delivers superb sound performance and protects the speakers from any influence by the laptop’s overall temperature during heavy gaming sessions. With the latest SSD drives for fast access times, USB Type-C for ultra-fast connectivity and VR-ready hardware for both the HTC Vive and Oculus, the Asus Zephyrus is an exceptional choice for a gaming laptop.
3 Lenovo’s Legion Y520
Gaming laptops don’t come cheap, especially if you prioritize performance. Luckily for gamers on a budget, Lenovo’s Legion Y520 makes surprisingly few compromises. Housing a 2.8-GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU; 16GB of RAM; a 256GB PCIe SSD; and a 2TB, 5,400-rpm HDD, this gaming laptop puts other similarly priced machines to shame on standard benchmark tests. It comes equipped with a Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti with 4GB of VRAM, which will run your favorite games at over-average frame rates and at 1080p.
At 15 x 10.4 x 1 inches and 5.6 pounds, it’s a fairly portable laptop, though you’ll need to tote along a charger because the battery life is quoted at an underwhelming four hours. Although the chassis is made of plastic, it has a sleek and solid build. The 15.6-inch, 1080p display falls a bit short when it comes to brightness and it covers just 68 percent of the sRGB color gamut, but it performs well on color accuracy, with a Delta-E score of 0.2 (0 is ideal). But if the display disappoints, the red, backlit keyboard makes up for it. With 1.8 millimeters of vertical travel and 77 grams of force required to press the keys, it’s easy to fire off complex combinations. So if you’re on a tight budget, don’t despair: the Legion Y520 is your performance powerhouse savior.
4 ASUS FX502VM-AS73
Made with “Gaming On-The-Go” in mind, the ASUS FX502VM-AS73 is a 4.9-pound, 15.6-inch full HD gaming laptop that packs a punch. It’s loaded with the latest 7th Generation 2.8 Ghz Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor that can be overclocked to 3.8 Ghz in case you want more speed. The lightweight gaming laptop also uses a powerful NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 with 3GB of discrete graphics that’s capable of running any PC game.
Don’t worry about its size – the ASUS FX502BM-AS73 has 1TB of SATA hard drive storage with a 128 SATA3 solid state, so you’ll have enough room for big file-sized games. It’s cooled by a dual fan system that sucks the heat from both its CPU and GPU independently. Its 16GB of DDR4 RAM assure you that you’ll be able to play the most hardware-demanding PC video games without any stall. The gaming PC is also bundled with a load of ports such as HDMI connectivity, mini Display, USB 3.0, Wi-Fi dual band and even an SD card reader.
5 Acer Aspire VX 15
There’s no mistaking this 15.6-inch Acer Aspire VX 15 for anything but a gaming machine; it has two large fan vents in the back and bold red details on its chassis. The spacious keyboard has iron-red backlighting to let you play all through the night.
But this computer also walks the walk: It has a 7th generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor and GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics with 4GB of GDDR5 Video Memory to back up its powerful look. The GPUs can’t handle VR, but can run a modern game at 60 frames per second at full HD, which is conveniently the max resolution for the VX 15’s IPS display. It runs Windows 10 and supports all of the multi-touch gestures. For a budget laptop, its audio is surprisingly good, thanks to Acer TrueHarmony and Dolby Audio Premium. And its battery lasts a commendable six hours. At the end of the day, the VX 15 is a refreshing reminder that being on a budget doesn’t always mean making major sacrifices.