Update: The new Asus ROG Strix GL502 has made it onto our list, usurping Gigabyte's mighty P55W v5. See just why in spot #4 below.
Don't even bother telling your friends you want to buy a gaming laptop. "Just build a desktop," they'll suggest. But you know better. You have the money to spare and putting hours into building your own desktop is more trouble than it's worth. You want to get to the fun part: playing games. A warranty that covers the entire product rather than a small set of parts is simply an added bonus.
Being able to take your rig on the go, complete with a built-in monitor and keyboard, however, isn't cheap. A decent gaming laptop starts at about $1,400 (about £900). That's on the low end. If you want to play 4K games at a consistent frame rate, you can expect to pay over $3,000 (around £1,900, AU$4,000) for qualifying hardware. Fortunately, this could soon change thanks to AMD's low-cost Polaris GPUs and Nvidia's insanely powerful-for-the-price Pascal cards.
Factor in the cost of your monitor, keyboard, mouse and potential hazards, and a gaming laptop might be more suited to your needs. We know you eat, sleep and breathe gaming, but fiddling with cables and being tied down to a desk sporting an encumbering brute of a machine can be intimidating.
Gaming laptops are sleeker and more powerful than ever, with many of them featuring full-fledged desktop GPUs. What's more, some of them even have the battery lives to support the massive workload. Here you'll find the gaming laptop that's best for you, from the ever-evolving Razer Blade to the ostensibly immortal Alienware 17.
1. Origin EON15-X
A desktop-grade CPU in an unbeatable gaming laptop
CPU: Intel Core i5 - i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 - 1070 | RAM: 8GB - 64GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) - UHD (3840 x 2160) LED Backlit Matte Display | Storage: 120GB - 1TB SSD; 500GB - 2TB HDD; 1TB SSHD
The Origin EON15-X is a real head turner. Packing a desktop Skylake processor into a fairly compact 15.6-inch notebook that, Origin's greatest offers even more performance than some full-size gaming rigs.
This 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.
Read the full review: Origin EON15-X
2. Gigabyte P35X v5
Underneath the plain exterior lies a 4K gaming beast
CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M 8GB GDDR5 | RAM: 8GB - 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) - UHD (3840 x 2160), IPS LCD | Storage: 256GB SSD, 1TB HDD
The Gigabyte P35X v5 is a monumentally capable, 4K gaming laptop equipped with specs nearly high enough to support it. While even most desktops lack the strength to pull off 4K gaming, this 15-inch rig is as close as you'll get with a laptop. Upgradeable to an Intel i7 processor and 8GB Nvidia GTX 980M, the P35X v5 may sound like a workout technique, but it can actually handle 4K gaming if you're willing to tone down the graphics settings. Plus, it even packs a battery life longer than the considerably less powerful Ghost Pro and Acer Predator 17. If Ultra HD gaming without being tied to a desk is your goal, look no further.
Read the full review: Gigabyte P35X v5
3. Lenovo Ideapad Y700 15-inch
An attractive and long lasting 15-inch gaming laptop
CPU: Intel Core i5 - i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M 2GB - 4GB DDR5 VRAM | RAM: 8GB - 16GB DDR4 (2,133MHz) | Screen: 15.6-inch FHD LED AntiGlare Backlit Multitouch (1,920 x 1,080) | Storage: 128GB - 512GB SSD, 1TB HDD (5,400 RPM)
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. It's an inexpensive machine that stands out amongst other budget gaming machines with its all metal chassis and included SSD. It also comes packed with enough power to run modern games at decent settings.
Read the full review: Lenovo Ideapad Y700 15-inch
4. Asus ROG Strix GL502
It's hard not to love a gaming laptop this good
CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M - 980M | 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 a Halloween-ish black and orange. 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.
A game like Overwatch, however, is nothing without its bright, flashy color scheme and we have to say, the ROG Strix GL502 bolsters this well thanks to an impressively vibrant screen saturated with color and complete with deep blacks. And that goes without mentioning its onboard sound system, which makes demonstrates gaming at its most immersive. Sure, the battery life pales in comparison to the Razer Blade, but with performance like this it might not matter.
Read the full review: Asus ROG Strix GL502
5. MSI GS60 Ghost Pro
The best thin-and-light gaming laptop
CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M 3GB - 6GB GDDR5 VRAM, Intel HD Graphics 530 | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Screen: 15.6-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) - UHD (3840 x 2160) eDP Wide View Angle | Storage: 128GB - 256GB SSD; 1TB HDD
High on mature styling and light on weight, the MSI GS60 Ghost Pro is one of the thinnest gaming laptops you can buy. Don't think this svelte machine has sacrificed performance for the sake of cutting weight. It still comes packed with a high-end Intel Skylake processor and graphics card to make it a one of the strongest platforms we've ever tested. Just make sure to stick with a 1080p resolution and medium to high visual settings.
Read the full review: MSI GS60 Ghost Pro
6. Asus ROG G752
This mobile PC gaming powerhouse throws a hefty punch
CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M - 980M | RAM: 16GB - 64GB DDR4 | Screen: 17.3-inch, full HD 1,920 x 1,080, IPS LCD | Storage: 128GB - 512GB SSD; 1TB HDD (7,200rpm)
The Asus ROG G752 has an aggressive design that sets it apart from many of the world's sedate gaming laptops. Instead of donning the typical appearance of black plastic, the ROG G752 sports a shell with brushed aluminium panels, angular lines and the glowing red segments. On top of its in-your-face styling this 17-inch gaming laptop delivers a hefty performance and it can play modern games at a smooth clip even if you put the graphical setting to max. The only thing the Asus ROG G752 is missing is the option of a high-res 4K display.
Read the full review: Asus ROG G752
7. Razer Blade
A gaming-ready MacBook Pro rival
CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6700HQ | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M (6GB GDDR5 VRAM) | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 14-inch QHD+ (3,200 x 1,800) IGZO (LED backlit, multi-touch) | Storage: 256GB – 512GB PCIe SSD
For many gamers, Ultrabook is a four-letter word. But, it doesn't have to be, and this is evident the first time you get your hands on a Razer Blade. Equipped with high-end, albeit Maxwell, graphics, you might expect the battery to die out in under two hours. Luckily, this isn't the case, as the Razer Blade managed nearly 6 hours in our video test, or an estimated 3 hours and 35 minutes while gaming.
Moreover, if the onboard graphics aren't enough, the Blade is compatible with virtually any desktop-class graphics card by way of the optional Razer Core attachment. So strap a GTX 1070 on there and watch it fly!
Read the full review: Razer Blade
8. Origin EON17-SLX
The ultimate gaming laptop built with desktop-grade power
CPU: Intel Core i5 - i7 | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 - 1080 | RAM: 8GB - 64GB | Screen: 17.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) - UHD (3840 x 2160) IPS Matte Display with G-SYNC | Storage: 120GB - 4TB SSD, 500GB - 1TB HDD, 1TB SSHD
The Origin EON17-SLX takes gaming laptops to their ultimate conclusion of being portable desktops. This 17-inch notebook comes packed with a desktop-grade Intel processor and Nvidia GPU chip, 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 to in the media creation business.
Read the full review: Origin EON17-SLX
9. MSI GT80 Titan
An outrageously sized and powerful gaming laptop
CPU: 5th gen Intel Core i7 | Graphics: 2 x Nvidia GTX 980M SLI (16 GB GDDR5); Intel HD Graphics 4600 | RAM: 16GB - 24GB | Screen: 18.4-inch WLED FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-Glare Display | Storage: 256GB SSD; 1TB HDD (7,200 RPM)
The MSI GT80 Titan goes above and beyond to give gamers a desktop experience in a notebook with a complement of high-performance parts to a built-in mechanical keyboard. However, weighing in at nearly 10 pounds and measuring roughly two-inches thick, this laptop is seriously pushing the limits of what you can call portable. For all the strain it'll put on your back and wallet, though, this 18.4-inch gaming laptop absolutely plow 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 Nvidia GTX 980.
Read the full review: MSI GT80 Titan
10. Alienware 17 (2015)
The Alienware 17 is an impressive refinement for this series of gaming laptops
CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 - 980M | RAM: 8GB - 32GB | Screen: 17.3 inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) - UHD (3840 x 2160) IPS anti-glare display | Storage: 128GB - 512GB PCIe SSD + 1TB HDD (7,200 rpm)
The Alienware 17 is one of those few outrageously priced gaming laptops that's actually worth it. The notebook is a fully capable gaming machine on its own, but with the added power of desktop graphics through the GPU Amplifier it can play almost any game on Ultra settings.If you're looking for something smaller, the Alienware 13 also works with the optional GPU box.
Read the full review: Alienware 17 (2015)
Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article
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