You don't even need to tell us what happened when you told your friends that you want to buy a gaming laptop. Their inner elitist got the best of them, and bashed you for not just outright building a gaming PC. But we get you. Building a gaming PC takes knowledge and dexterity that you just don't have or care to develop.
That's where the gaming laptop shines, as the fast lane to PC gaming. No need to build a case or even buy a monitor. Of course, that convenience comes with quite a price tag. Most vendors start their asking prices at around $1,400 (about £818, AU$1,492) for 13 and 14-inch products, whereas the biggest and beefiest 17 and 18-inch models can skyrocket upwards of $3,000 (around £1,753, AU$3,195).
If you consider that a gaming laptop will never come close to a comparably-priced gaming desktop, then your decision is already made. But again, the gaming notebook is a device of convenience and portability over raw power. Without further ado, here are our favorite gaming laptops that we've reviewed thus far.
10. MSI GS60 Ghost Pro 3K
One of the first 3K gaming laptops impresses
MSI and Nvidia have together proven that 3K gaming is possible on mobile setups, albeit with a few conceits to texture detail and other settings. Is it worth it? That's up to how much stock you put in resolution. What's important is that it can be done, and within reason.
This gaming laptop is a great value even at the high end, but starting at just $1,699 for the 1080p version with a GTX 860M is a steal in comparison. At the moment, the Ghost Pro is no doubt one of the 15-inch gaming notebooks to beat.
The MSI GS60 Ghost Pro 3K (starting at $1,699, £1,399, AU$2,549)is not only a beauty to behold, it offers more hardware in nearly as premium a package as the big boys. But unless you're seriously intent on getting into post-HD gaming right now, save yourself a few hundred bucks and opt for the 1080p version.
9. Asus ROG G751JY
The G751 combines top-end components with a great design
The Asus ROG G751 is a gaming tank in every sense. At 17 inches and 4.8kg, it's bigger and heavier than some other gaming laptops but sports a premium feel, great design and houses powerful components that justify the chunk.
Inside is a GeForce GTX 980M GPU, 32GB of main memory, a Core i7-4860HQ quad-core chip clocked at 3.6GHz in Turbo mode and tons of storage. The graphics card's 4GB of memory is a decent amount for playing games at high detail settings, which is helped by Asus's sensible decision to give the G751 a 1080p display.
For all of its horsepower, the G751 runs quietly with a gentle hum, which isn't something you always get with high-end gaming laptops. It's big, bold, perhaps even beautiful — and definitely a beast.
Read: Asus ROG G751JY review
8. Digital Storm Triton
A rare powerful and affordable gaming laptop
The Digital Storm Triton is an attractive, powerful and, most importantly, affordable gaming laptop. These are three qualities you don't often hear in the same sentence, making this machine special for pulling together such a rare combination.
Though it has a lackluster screen and trouble keeping cool, this Digital Storm laptop is still an incredible deal. It has enough computing power to play most modern games at 60 fps with just a few tweak in your graphics settings. What's more, the Triton has enough power to rival some of the biggest and baddest gaming machines we've reviewed.
For $1,620 (about £1,063, AU$1,974), the Digital Storm Triton is a powerful little machine that's definitely worth a look despite all its flaws.
7. Gigabyte P37X
A powerful 17-inch gaming laptop that's great in almost every way
As a rule, gaming laptops are not often light or thin with awful battery life and they can cost a small fortune. Gigabyte, however, has bucked this trend with its 17.3-inch powerful machine powered by Nvidia's latest and greatest GTX 980M GPU that's neither thick or heavy.
This is a powerful system backed up with a top-tier Intel Core i7 processor that won't even break into a sweat when playing Battlefield 4, but the real star is the display. The 17.3-inch IPS panel that looks absolutely superb whatever angle it's viewed at. For gaming, it's a lot better than a 14 or 15-inch screen, as it provides a great view of the action, although such a large screen means there's more chassis space to squeeze in more components and a bigger battery.
With plenty of external connectivity, straightforward upgradability, an included optical drive and Ethernet port, with a no-nonsense look about it and battery life that's pretty good, the P37X is just what a gaming laptop should be. All the performance and expandability, with none of the fluff.
Read: Gigabyte P37X review
6. Aorus X7 Pro
A lean and mean beast of a gaming laptop
Aorus has successfully put a hardcore gaming laptop into a chassis less than an inch thick, proving that you can indeed enjoy a high-performance machine that isn't a brick. In fact, the Aorus X7 Pro is one of the best performing machines we've ever tested. It absolutely crushed it in our suite of benchmark tests, setting all sorts of new records. In real world gaming, it easily plays modern titles at 1080p with all the graphical flourishes set to ultra.
Thanks to the Nvidia dual 970M setup, this machine easily outpaces Alienware 18 we reviewed last July, a massive gaming laptop that costs nearly double the amount and is also twice as thick compared to Aorus' thin mobile gaming offering. Even the similarly priced MSI GT72 Dominator falls well short of the X7 Pro even with a Nvidia 980, the best mobile GPU on the market currently.
That said, also one of the hottest and loudest laptops we've ever reviewed as well. We've had a few machines with loud fans such as the Origin EVO15-S. The X7 Pro, however, is on a whole other level, as the machine sounds like a leaf blower on full load. The system also gets uncomfortably hot, even when simply web browsing and streaming video.
Read: Aorus X7 Pro review
5. Asus GL551
One of the best entry-level gaming laptops available
There isn't anything too surprising about the Asus GL551. It checks off all the boxes you'd expect from gaming laptops without breaking the bank. Despite the value-packed price, this laptop isn't lacking in power at all. It performs admirably playing just about any title on medium to high settings.
The Asus GL551 isn't the best looking gaming laptop around, however, it's mostly a joy to use and that's what really matters. The metal keyboard deck and palm rests is a solid platform for gamers to tap and click on well into the wee hours of the night. Plus the notebook comes with a decent set of tweeters. That saves you from having to invest in a headset to hear all of the splashy in-game explosions.
Sadly, our biggest (and only) hangup with the Asus GL551 is its downright awful display for day to day use whether you're gaming or just browsing the web. Save for the display, though, the Asus GL551 is a sweet package for its affordable price and one of the very best affordable gaming laptops currently out today.
Read: Asus GL551 review
4. Origin EVO15-S
Peak performance from a super slim gaming laptop
There's plenty to like about the EVO15-S, and while it comes at an expensive premium, it's one of the few laptops that are well worth the expense. This Origin machine is one of the thinnest and lightest gaming laptops you possibly buy.
Meanwhile, it does not skimp at all with some of the latest cutting edge parts, an excellent 1080p panel for all types of media, three storage drives and 16GB of RAM. Plus there's also the option to throw on a 4K screen for a marginally priced upgrade.
In time, more and more gaming PCs will be outfitted with Nvidia's latest GPUs, but for now, the Origin EVO15-S is one of the best-performing gaming laptops for a reasonable price.
Read: Origin EVO15-S review
3. Gigabyte P35K v3
An excellent gaming laptop for budget-conscious players
The Gigabyte P35K v3 is a nearly perfect machine through and through. It's amazingly thin for a 15.6-inch gaming laptop that offers great performance and decent battery life. Compared to competing models in this affordable space, Gigabyte easily outpaces the Asus ROG GL551 and Acer Aspire V15 Nitro.
For $1,499 (about £973, AU$1913), the Gigabyte P35K v3 offers plenty of performance. Thanks to Nvidia's beefier, entry-level GTX 965M GPU, gamers can expect to play most games on medium to high settings at a playable 45-to-60 fps range. You'll even be able to play Far Cry 4 on Ultra without having to worry about the game slowing to a frame-skipping crawl.
What's more, the P35K v3 features a colorful In-Plane Switching (IPS) screen. It renders hues brightly and accurately, while offering up excellent viewing angles up to an extreme 170 degrees making the Gigabyte laptop an excellent media device to share with some couch mates. Add in the immersive Dolby Digital Plus home theater technology, and Gigabyte has put together one of the nicest self-contained gaming device we've ever reviewed.
Read: Gigabyte P35K v3 review
2. Razer Blade 2015
A gorgeous 3K gaming laptop the world still isn't ready for
Razer continues offer the Blade with one of the most stunning displays in the industry. A vibrant and impeccably sharp, 3,200 x 1,800 IGZO panel that makes everything you look at better whether it's a webpage or a 4K video of some rough housing puppies. Thanks to a faster processor and an upgraded graphics chip, mobile 3K gaming is nearly approachable. If you manage your settings closely enough and level your expectations, that is.
For multiple reasons, though, you would be much better off getting the full HD model instead. A QHD+ monitor simply doesn't make much sense on a gaming laptop … yet. It's absolutely lovely to gawk at for your daily driver, as I've experienced handling the Dell XPS 13 or Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro. However, modern mobile GPUs are just not powerful enough (yes, still) to drive the 3,200 x 1,800 pixel count.
Read: Razer Blade 2015 review
1. Origin EON15-X
A desktop-grade CPU in an unbeatable gaming laptop
Origin EON15-X is a real head turner. It packs a desktop processor into a fairly compact 15.6-inch laptop that, while smaller, offers even more performance compared to other, biggerhardcore gaming rigs.
What's more, this extra CPU power is clutch for users who need to edit video and other processor intensive tasks that a mobile chip can't handle. The larger CPU might lend itself to more processor-intensive applications rather than games. However, the extra kick of performance will come in handy no matter what game you're running.
Origin has packed a ton of power into a much smaller 15.6-inch package that's great in almost every way. This machine is definitely worth consideration over all others.
Read: Origin EON15-X review