When it comes to gaming, you wouldn’t immediately think laptops. You’re more likely to think of consoles and desktop computers, but technology has advanced so quick that size is no longer a factor that can cause any sort of problem – so gaming laptops are a viable alternative for those who want the power of a desktop or a console, but also like the mobility and freedom a laptop can offer you. And let’s face it: if you’re travelling constantly and are also an avid gamer, there’s no way you’re not putting all that travel time to good use.
What is a Gaming Laptop?
A gaming laptop is just like your regular laptop, but it packs in more power than you’d normally find in a device which is more suited for basic tasks. This means it will feature high-end parts that can withstand the demands new games will push on your machine. From video cards, to better processors, more customizable motherboards which allow for a lot of memory and optional device slots on them are just a few of the requirements.
The second part that is crucial for a successful gaming laptop is how it feels and looks – specifically, how the big the monitor is, how well the keyboard and mouse pad are constructed and how long can it go through a heavy gaming session without getting overheated.
Buyer’s Guide for the Best Gaming Laptops in 2018
When buying your gaming laptop, you need to take a few things into consideration. The first of which is, what kind of a gamer are you? Some people like older games or simple little flash games they can play on Facebook or on other online resources. The casual gamers who aren’t really looking for performance as much as they’re just looking for a mobile device which can handle more than smartphone games, they don’t need to dish out the big bucks for high-end machines as they won’t be likely to use all of the performance available to them. If you’re a more serious gamer or a hardcore gamer already, then you probably already know that good parts make a good gaming laptop and investing in a good machine now is a great idea, as it will probably last you for a few years before you even have to upgrade it, let alone change it altogether.
But if we’re to get into the nitty-gritty, the most important two things a gaming laptop needs to have are a good processor and a good video card, or even multiple video cards. Processors are the main brain of the laptop, and an especially powerful one should come with good ventilation, as this small chip is responsible for most of the heat your gaming sessions will produce. Secondly, the video board or multiple video boards. There’s many to choose from, but the choice is simple: the more memory it has, the more processing power, the more capable your machine will be overall. A game is not processed solely in the processor – the video card does its part in rendering images and video, adding the textures in the right places. The processor and the video card work in sync to output a pleasurable gaming experience for you. Make sure the video cards are dedicated, otherwise they’ll use the processor’s power to do their job.
Aside from the processors and video cards, there’s also total memory available which is important, along with your storage options – solid state drives being a lot faster than your normal hard drives, for example. More RAM (random access memory) means the game’s files can be loaded and be made readily available to the processor and video card a lot faster. A good sound card is also important if you’re looking for that crisp, crystal-clear surround sound which can and will impact your experience immensely. And also, you need a good, modern and capable screen to show off your laptop’s performance through high available resolutions, along with a good, reliable keyboard and mousepad you can use on the go.
Table of The Best Gaming Laptops in 2018
But without further ado, here are the 10 best gaming laptops in 2018:
#1 Asus ROG Strix GL502
With an Intel Quad-Core i7-6700HQ 2.6 GHz processor, usable in Turbo mode up to 3.5 GHz, the Asus ROG Strix GL502 is a perfect ice breaker for this list. This gaming laptop only weighs 4.8 pounds (2.2 kilograms), and is an ultrathin model measuring only 0.98 inches (23.5 mm). This makes it easy to carry around with you in your backpack or even a messenger bag.
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M graphics card offers huge capabilities for your gaming needs, and the 16 GB of RAM it comes with makes that processor and video card shine. The display is 15.6 inches in diagonal, FHD panel. This gaming laptop also has USB Type-C connectivity and a mini display port for easy porting of your images to a larger monitor or a TV screen.
As far as input goes, the tactile keyboard is amazing to the touch. It features a 1.6-millimeter travel distance, making them extremely responsive exactly when you need them to be. The WSAD keys are highlighted to help your hand stay in the right place at all times. The built-in microphone filters background noise so even in a crowded space, your friends and playmates can hear you loud and clear on their end. This machine also gets the AsusAccidental Damage Protection for 1 year which allows you to get a replacement if you spill liquids on the laptop, experience a damaging electrical surge or drop the device.
#2 Alienware 13 R3
Alienware are known for their powerful gaming laptops, even though their prices are a bit high for most gamers, even in the hardcore spectrum. However, the Alienware 13 R3 comes at a reasonable price for what it offers. The Core i7 processor clocked at 3.8 GHz, along with the 16 GB of RAM offer high-end gaming experiences. Add to that the NVIDIA GTX 1060 dedicated graphics coprocessor, and you have a very potent machine on your hands.
As far as storage goes, this Alienware is packing a 512 GB flash memory solid state drive, meaning you get the best transfer speeds available at the moment. And with that RAM on it, you can be sure there will be no bottlenecks on your laptop’s capability.
The laptop itself weighs in at 5.8 pounds and the screen offers a maximum resolution of 1920×1080 pixels, LED-Lit technology and a total screen size of 13.3 inches. It runs on the Windows 10 Home 64-bit edition.
#3 Razer Blade
The upcoming Razer Blade will come packed with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 video card with a staggering 6GB GDDR5 VRAM, which is currently one of the best graphic cards money can buy. This card is fully compatible with HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift, so if you’re looking for a gaming laptop which can also offer you VR capability, the Razer Blade is the one you’re looking for.
As far as processing power goes, the Razer Blade has your top-notch 6th generation Inter Core i7 inside, and 16 GB RAM, along with a PCIe SSD of 1TB. You can choose your total storage though, and opt for the 256 GB SSD or the 512 GB one, depending on your specific needs. But remember that any standard hard disk will create a bottleneck.
The thin aluminum chassis measures only 0.7 inches, and makes the laptop weigh only 4.16 pounds. The IPS full HD display measures a total of 14 inches, and you also get the very best in terms of keyboards: the anti-ghosting Razer Chroma that offers 16.8 million colors for your keyboard. Killer Wireless AC will offer you a seamless wireless connection which will surely benefit your gaming needs and wants when no cables are available. Also integrated in the laptop you have USB-C through Thunderbolt 3, which also includes a DisplayPort.
#4 MSI GT72
From MSI, we have the MSI Computer GT72 DOMINATOR G-1227 17.3” Gaming Laptop. This beast sports one of the best screens on this list, with its super clear matte-type IPS w/G-sync technology, offering a brilliant 1920×1080 resolution, 17.3-inch diameter and one of the best image qualities notebooks can offer at this time.
Aside from that, you get the 6th Generation Intel Mobile Core i7-6820HK Skylake processor inside, offering you amazing processing power with great power management incorporated, so you can game longer even when unplugged from your power source. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M, which is already a staple of gaming right now, at 3GB GDDR5 with Optimus Technology offers the same reliance on low power as the processor, but with no sacrifice on its potential. The video card, however, is integrated.
As far as memory goes, you get 16GB of DDR4 at 2133MHz, and the motherboard will accept up to a total of 64GB if you need it. There’s the 1TB hard drive at 7200RPM, which you can upgrade to an SSD if you so wish. A total of 6 USB 3.0 ports will be available to you, and it will run Windows 10 out of the box. The laptop is on the heavier side, weighing 8.4 pounds.
#5 Gigabyte Aero 14
The 14″ QHD IPS 2560×1440 Wide Viewing Angle anti-glare display LCD on the Gigabyte Aero 14 is a great screen which offers up to 2560×1440 pixels in resolution for perfectly crisp gaming experiences.
What makes this machine shine is the new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 10 series GPU. VR-ready, it will offer you just about anything you’d expect from a high-end gaming laptop. No more staggering, no more framerate loss – just clear, fluid and beautiful visuals with no interruptions whatsoever. This video card complements the screen perfectly, offering you the best possible gaming experience on the road.
Another cool feature of the Gigabyte Aero is its amazingly powerful battery. Its total capacity is 94.24 Wh which is certainly surprising, considering the amazingly low footprint it has in terms of space requirement and weight. And the battery’s capacity is 50% bigger than other slim gaming laptops, so that’s also something to keep in mind with this model.
With the XSplit Gamecaster + Broadcaster!, along with the NVIDIA Ansel included, you can not only stream and broadcast gameplay directly from this laptop, but can also record in-game shots and then view them in 360. This is especially powerful since the laptop comes VR-ready, so it can support all of the modern VR headsets commercially available, and the games that work on them with no issues whatsoever.
With a slick, slim design and weighing only 4.2 pounds, the Gigabyte Aero 14 is definitely worth a look for those looking for a lightweight, but uncompromising in terms of power gaming laptop. And the VR-ready, streaming and recording features built-into it with proprietary software, this is great for die-hard dedicated gamers who may take their gaming skills to the level of a profession.
#6 Razer Blade Pro
One of the more expensive gaming laptops on this list, but also one of the most powerful overall, the Razer Blade Pro markets itself as a portable desktop instead of a gaming laptop. And with good reason: this laptop is indeed extremely powerful. With a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (8GB GDDR5X VRAM) and a i7-6700HQ Quad-Core Processor with Hyper-Threading 2.6GHz – 3.5Ghz (Base/Turbo), you can understand why this is the case.
And all that video processing power, along with the powerful Intel processor need a way to properly express themselves: and now they have it with the 17.3 inch IGZO 4k G-Sync touch display, which can offer a resolution of up to 3840×2160 – the biggest resolution on this list so far. This is a stunning screen, and if you think that it will compromise the whole idea of a laptop being portable, you’re wrong. The device weighs in at 7.8 pounds in total. Let’s not forget the RAM, which is at 32GB and you also get a capacity of up to 2TB PCIe SSD RAID storage.
Everything blends together in this laptop so well that you won’t believe you’re not actually on a desktop PC. With the Killer DoubleShot Pro you can stream immediately, and you have smart connectivity with Thunderbolt 3 and the SDXC card reader, both of which offer unmatched speeds for transfer rates.
But like its predecessor on this list from Razer, this laptop also shines in its keyboard: the Razer Chroma, ultra-low profile mechanical keyboard with anti-ghosting technology. This part of the laptop is what brings this gaming device to the forefront: highly sensitive, but insanely accurate keys, with over 16 million colors available in the background and the ability to push as many as you want without losing the signal whatsoever.
This is truly a desktop PC compressed into a light, portable and highly potent laptop.
#7 Acer Predator 17 X
Back to a more reasonably-priced gaming laptop, the Acer Predator is nothing out of the ordinary for a 2017 gaming laptop, but it doesn’t particularly shine either. It sports an Intel Core i7 processor, clocked at 2.6GHz, but overclocking is possible up to 3.5GHz. The screen is an IPS display, full HD, a 1920×1080 resolution and a diameter of 17.3 inches. This puts this particular laptop in the bulkier ones, weighing a total of 9.2 pounds.
It features a total of 16 GB of RAM, and 1TB of storage on a SATA hard drive, and a 256GB SSD in RAID 0 configuration. The video card is an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 with 8 GB of dedicated VRAM (GDDR5). This is really the only part of this laptop that is worthy of mention, as the video card makes it a very decent gaming machine for its price. It can take up to 64GB of RAM on its motherboard.
Another thing which makes this laptop stand out is its overall design. Even though it’s a bit heavier than its counterparts, it makes it work by smooth edges and dark colors. This model also still offers a HD webcam, an SD reader and a DVD drive – you don’t usually get optical drives anymore with laptops, which may be a downside to some people who still need them from time to time.
#8 HP Omen 17
From our friends over at Hewlett-Packard, we have the HP Omen 17 gaming laptop. The 17 stands of course for the 17.3 diagonal UHD IPS UWVA anti-glare WLED-backlit display, powerful enough to offer resolutions of up to 3840×2160. This gaming laptop comes with once again the i7 quad-core processor from Intel and has 16 GB of DDR4, running Windows 10 Home x64 edition.
The graphics card is the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 at 8GB, which makes perfect use of the display this laptop comes with. No screen tearing, minimal input lag and detailed gameplay come as results from this paring. For storage, this model offers a 512GB SSD. Battery life is up to 9 hours, meaning you can do more with no power around you – great for people who need to travel a lot.
#9 Origin EON17-X
Nearing the end of our list, we have the Origin EON17-X. Again, the 17 stands for the 17.3-inch display which is full HD, sporting a 1920×1080 resolution. This laptop is the first on this list to be powered by the i5-6600 quad-core 3.5 GHz processor from Intel, boost mode up to 3.9GHz. The VR-ready dedicated graphics card is the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M and it has a 250GB SSD alongside a 1TB 7200Rpm hard drive for storage.
This again is a laptop on the more bulkier sides, weighing a total of 8.6 pounds. It runs Windows 10 and it has 802.11abg wireless compatibility. The average battery life is 2 hours, and it has a total of 3 USB 3.0 ports available on it.
All in all, this is nothing spectacular when it comes to gaming laptops, especially considering your other choices on this list. But it has a decent processor, a good screen and the backlit keyboard which some of you might be interested in. The design is great as well, so if you like how this gaming laptop looks, it’s definitely worth its price for what it can do.
#10 Aorus X5 v6
Last on our list, we have the rather high priced Aorus X5 v6. With a 15.6-inch, 3K WQHD display, with anti-glare and support for NVIDIA G-Sync, capable of displaying a resolution of 2880×1620, this laptop looks and works beautifully.
It has the popular 6th Gen Intel Quad Core Overclocked i7 6820HK processor, and features the GeForce GTX 1070 GDDR5 8GB NVIDIA card. It has two 8GB RAM cards, and a 256 SSD PCIe, along with a 1TB HDD at 7200rpm.
Again, like most on this list, this laptop comes with a full Windows 10 Home 64-bit edition. It also has a cool keyboard: the AORUS RGB Fusion keyboard. You can also find a USB type-C, HDMI slot and fan control for the laptop.
And there you have it – a complete guide to buying the best gaming laptops in 2018. Remember that each of these models may look somewhat similar at first glance, but it’s what’s under the hood that really counts. Make sure you pay attention to the carefully-detailed specs in the list above for a full description of what these machines are able to do. Once you get a general idea of their exact price versus what they’re capable of, you can choose the machine which best fits your needs. Some are more tailored for gamers looking to play their games solo, others are better tailored for those gamers who like an audience through streaming and broadcasting their gameplay. So now that you’ve got all the details readily available to you, it’s time to make a decision on which is the best gaming laptop for you. Happy shopping!