Updated: We've added the HP Pavilion Gaming Notebook to our list of the best gaming laptops money can buy.
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 building an outright gaming desktop. 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 a fast lane to PC gaming. No need to build a case or even buy a monitor. Of course, that convenience usually comes with a hefty price tag. Most vendors start their asking prices at around $1,400 (about £900, AU$1,900) for 13 and 14-inch products, whereas the biggest and beefiest 17 and 18-inch models can skyrocket upwards of $3,000 (around £1,900, AU$4,000).
If you're ready to accept that a gaming laptop will almost never be as affordable or offer the same level of performance as 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.
1. Origin EON15-X
A desktop-grade CPU in an unbeatable gaming laptop
CPU: 4GHz Intel Core i7-4790K | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M (8GB GDDR5 RAM), Intel HD Graphics 4600 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 LED Backlit Matte Display | Storage: 240GB SSD; 1TB HDD (5,400 rpm) | Connectivity: Intel PRO Wireless AC 7265 + Bluetooth Wireless LAN Combo | Camera: 2MP Video Camera | Weight: 7.5 pounds | Dimensions: 15.2 x 10.31 x 1.40 inches (W x D x H)
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, bigger hardcore 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 in no matter what game you're running. This machine is definitely worth consideration over all others.
Read the full review: Origin EON15-X
2. Aorus X3 Plus v3
A slim and light gaming machine
CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-4710HQ Processor | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M GDDR5 6GB | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 14-inch QHD+ 3200 x 1800 Wide Viewing Angle LCD | Storage: 2 x 256GB SSD, RAID 0 | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: HD webcam | Weight: 4.12 pounds | Dimensions: 12.9 x 10.3 x 0.9 inches
High-res gaming machines are a tough nut to crack whether you have a baller PC tower and even more so with portable laptops. So it comes as a pleasant surprise to see the Gigabyte build out the Aorus X3 Plus v3 as a machine that can fly even with a 4K screen in tow. This 14-inch gaming laptop can pull off this feat largely thanks to its beefy video card and dual SSDs. The Aorus X3 handles the latest graphics-heavy games such as Elite Dangerous with ease at 60 fps even in the most frantic space combat.
Read the full review: Aorus X3 Plus v3
3. MSI GT80 Titan
An outrageously sized and powerful gaming laptop
CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-4720HQ | Graphics: 2 x Nvidia GTX 980M SLI (16 GB GDDR5); Intel HD Graphics 4600 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 18.4-inch WLED FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-Glare Display | Storage: 256GB SSD; 1TB HDD (7,200 RPM) | Optical drive Blu-Ray Burner | Connectivity: Killer DoubleShot Pro 11ac + Bluetooth 4.1 | Camera: Full HD type (30 fps, 1080p) | Weight: 9.9 pounds | Dimensions: 17.95 x 13.02 x 1.93 inches
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
4. HP Pavilion Gaming Notebook
Gear up on a budget
CPU: 2.6Ghz Intel Core i7-6700HQ | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 950M (4GB DDR3L VRAM), Intel HD Graphics 530 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 IPS display | Storage: 1TB HDD | Connectivity: 802.11ac (1 x 1) and Bluetooth 4.0 combo | Camera: HP TrueVision HD webcam | Weight: 5.11 pounds | Dimensions: 15.2 x 10.4 1.13 inches
If you're looking to jump into PC gaming on a budget, the HP Pavilion Gaming Notebook offers a Intel Core i7 and discrete graphics without breaking the bank. While that might not sound like a lot to work with, you'll be able to play games at 30fps on Ultra. Going with a Nvidia GTX 960M configuration will also grant you enough power to hit the 60fps holy grail in almost any game so long as you knock your settings a peg or two below Ultra.
Read the full review: HP Pavilion Gaming Notebook
5. Alienware 17 (2015)
The Alienware 17 is an impressive refinement for this series of gaming laptops
CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-4710HQ | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M (4GB GDDR5 RAM), Intel HD Graphics 4600 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 17.3 inch, 1,920 x 1,080 IPS anti-glare display | Storage: 256 GB M.2 SATA SSD + 1TB HDD (7,200 rpm) | Connectivity: Killer 1525 802.11ac 2x2 WiFi + Bluetooth 4.1 | Camera: 2MP Full HD webcam | Weight: 8.33 pounds (3.78 kg) | Dimensions: 16.93 x 11.49 x 1.35 inches (W x D x H
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)
6. MSI GS60 Ghost Pro
The best thin-and-light gaming laptop
CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7 6700HQ | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M, Intel HD Graphics 530 | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Screen: 15.6-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 eDP Wide View Angle | Storage: 128GB SSD; 1TB HDD | Connectivity: Killer N1525 Combo (2 x 2 AC) Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.1 | Camera: FHD webcam | Weight: 4.2 pounds | Dimensions: 15.35 x 10.47 x 0.78 inches (W x D x H)
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
7. Aorus X7 Pro-Sync
Fully-loaded machine with everything you'll ever need
CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-4870HQ | Graphics: 2 x Nvidia GTX 970M SLI + Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 17.3-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 Wide Viewing Angle G-Sync LCD | Storage: 512GB SSD | Connectivity: Wireless LAN: 802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 1MP HD camera | Weight: 6.6 pounds | Dimensions: 16.85 x 12 x 0.9 inches
The Aorus X7 Pro-Sync is a 17.3-inch gaming laptop that packs a ton into thin body. With no less than two graphics cards and a heady processor too, the X7 is overflowing with performance. What's more, thanks to some newly added Nvidia display technology, gamers can be confident they're getting the highest frame rates without any bothersome jitter and tearing issues. In the future, this Aorus X7 will come packing Nvidia's desktop graphics for even more performance.
Read the full review: Aorus X7 Pro-Sync
8. HP Omen
A most sophisticated and attractive gaming laptop
CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-4720HQ | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M (4GB GDDR5 RAM), Intel HD Graphics 4600 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 Full HD WLED-backlit IPS touchscreen | Storage: 512GB SSD | Connectivity: Intel 802.11ac WLAN and Bluetooth | Camera: HP TrueVision Full HD WVA Webcam with Dual Digital Microphone | Weight: 4.68 pounds | Dimensions: 15.07 x 9.67 x 0.78 inches
If you want a machine that doesn't follow the crowd with glowing alien heads and flaming decals, the HP Omen has a style unto its own. Steeply tapered edges give way to a plenty of lights and other little details to make this one of the industry's most sophisticated and attractive gaming laptops. Beyond looks, the HP Omen packs enough processing brains to handle anything from everyday task to hardcore PC gaming. As a mid-range system, it straddles the line of excellent power efficiency while still offering enough performance to handle the latest games.
Read the full review: HP Omen
9. Acer Predator 15
The ultimate over-the-top gaming laptop
CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6700HQ | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M (4GB GDDR5 RAM), Intel HD Graphics 530 | RAM: 32GB DDR4 | Screen: 15.6-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 Active Matrix TFT Color LCD | Storage: 512GB SSD, 1TB HDD | Connectivity: Killer Wireless-AC 1535 , Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 4.2 | Camera: Front-facing 1,280 x 720 webcam | Weight: 7.5 pounds | Dimensions: 15.4 x 11.8 x 1.5 inches
The Acer Predator 15 is a monster of a gaming laptop in both presence and performance. While most gaming notebooks have become thinner and lighter, this 15-inch rig buck the trend, opting to pack in some of the best graphics and CPU parts on the market today. Thanks to an modular DVD drive bay, users can choose between equipping this gaming notebook with either an optical drive or an extra fan for extra cooling.
Read the full review: Acer Predator 15
10. Origin EON17-X
Desktop performance in a 17-inch gaming laptop
CPU: 4.0GHz Intel Core i7-6700K | Graphics: Nvidia GTX 980M (8GB GDDR5 RAM), Intel HD Graphics 530 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 17-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 IPS matte display with G-SYNC | Storage: 250GB SSD, 1TB hybrid-hard drive | Connectivity: Killer Wireless AC 1535 dual band + Bluetooth | Camera: 2MP webcam | Weight: 8.6 pounds | Dimensions: 16.46 x 11.1 x 1.52 inches
The Origin EON17-X is a true desktop replacement packing desktop processor. As the EON-15-X's bigger brother this 17-inch notebook comes outfitted with a more spacious display and an even better sounding set of speakers plus an additional subwoofer. Equipped with a top-end Skylake processor you won't find many other mobile rigs or even desktops that can offer the same level of performance. That said, Origin has arguably made the most powerful portable gaming desktop by outfitting its EON17-SLX with a desktop Skylake processor and Nvidia GTX 980.
Read the full review: Origin EON17-X
- Windows 10 works well with games, too
Article continues below