10 best gaming laptops 2017: top gaming notebook reviews

Update: At long last, we’ve reviewed a budget gaming laptop that can truly run all of your favorite titles beyond their most modest settings. Read on to number 6 to find out why else the Gigabyte SabrePro 15 made our list!

No matter how much you want one, you might be a little standoffish when it comes to buying a gaming laptop. After all, we live in a world where most gamers will suggest you “simply” build your own PC. For the vast majority of us, though, it’s a lot more fun to cut straight to the part where we get to experience some of the best PC games at their loftiest settings. 

You could buy a pre-built gaming and accomplish just that. But what if you plan on traveling with your gaming rig? In that case, there’s no better option than scoring only the best laptop that tailors to your needs. The top gaming laptops come in all shapes and sizes, sporting various spec configurations while some even put the most rigorous stationary PCs to shame.

Whether you need a gaming laptop that runs everything in 4K or just anything you can use to run Prey at a stable frame rate, we’ve gathered the top gaming laptops in every category to help you determine your next big purchase. In an order based on our review ratings and awards, these are the best gaming laptops of 2017.

1. Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501

Under an inch thick and still kicking ass

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 (8GB GDDR5X VRAM) | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) anti-glare, wide-view 120Hz panel with G-Sync | Storage: 512GB M.2 PCIe x4 SSD

Astonishingly powerful
Innovative and quiet cooling
Laughable battery life
Poor keyboard and ergonomics

The Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 couldn’t have come at a better time. It’s made possible by Nvidia’s Max-Q technology, which the company promises will make laptops both thinner and faster simultaneously. That this laptop can exist at all is a feat, considering that its closest competition from Alienware is thicker and nearly twice as heavy. Though its battery only lasts two hours, the Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 is a massive step forward for gaming laptops.

Read the full review: Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501

  • This product is only available in the US and UK as of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Alienware 17 R4

best gaming laptop

2. Razer Blade

A gaming-ready MacBook Pro rival

CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6700HQ | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR5 VRAM) | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 14-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – QHD+ (3,200 x 1,800) IGZO (LED backlit, multi-touch) | Storage: 256GB – 1TB PCIe SSD

Impressive battery life
4K display option
Fans whir loudly under load
Limited upgrade options

For many gamers, Ultrabook is a four-letter word, but it doesn't have to be. The first time you get your hands on a Razer Blade, you'll be looking at a battery life of 7 and a half hours of non-stop video. While you could argue it does skimp as far as graphics are concerned, with the help of a Razer Core external GPU enclosure, you can strap an Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti to this thing down the road if you want. Plus, with the newly added 4K screen option, you may actually need it.

Read the full review: Razer Blade

Best gaming laptops

3. Asus ROG Strix GL502

It's hard not to love a gaming laptop this good

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 - 1070 | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Screen: 15.6-inch full HD 1,920 x 1,080 IPS | Storage: 128GB - 256GB SSD, 1TB HDD

Rocks Full HD gaming
Deliciously vibrant screen
Middling battery life

The Asus Strix GL502 may not boast the most innovative design, swapping out the usual black and red color scheme for one that makes it feel like Halloween year-round. 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. The battery life is janky, sure, but the screen, performance and onboard sound system more than make up for it.

Read the full review: Asus ROG Strix GL502

4. Alienware 13 R3

Gawk at the first-ever OLED gaming laptop

CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB DDR4 | Screen: 13.3-inch HD 1,366 x 768 TN – QHD 2,560 x 1440 OLED touchscreen | Storage: 180GB – 512GB SSD

Gorgeous OLED screen
Improved hinge-forward design
Unexpectedly dense
Short battery life

Unlike most laptops its size, the Alienware 13 R3 bears a hinge-forward design. By moving the heat sinks behind the screen, the chassis is allowed to be thinner, at 0.81-inch (0.22cm). Unfortunately, this means you won’t find many 13-inch laptop bags that will actually suit the Alienware 13 R3. While you may be tempted by the inclusion of a full-size Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060, it’s the OLED touch display that caught our attention. 

Read the full review: Alienware 13 R3

best gaming laptop

5. Razer Blade Pro

Finally, a desktop replacement with portability in mind

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 (8GB GDDR5) | RAM: 32GB | Screen: 17.3-inch, UHD (3,840 x 2,160) IGZO touchscreen with G-Sync | Storage: 512GB – 2TB PCIe SSD

Starboard trackpad placement
A desktop experience you can finally carry
Off-putting price
Less than 5 hours of battery life

At long last, Razer has introduced a laptop that can not only replace your desktop, but does so while packing less weight than most clamshells its size. Measuring in at only 0.88 inches thick with an onboard 17-inch, 4K multi-touch display, the Razer Blade Pro also introduces the company’s Ultra-Low-Profile Mechanical switches to a notebook for the first time ever. That’s a deal that’s only sweetened by an unusually comfy trackpad placement to boot.

Read the full review: Razer Blade Pro

  • This product is only available in the US and UK as of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Alienware 17 R4

6. Gigabyte SabrePro 15

A budget rig that won’t end up in the bargain bin

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 | Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS wide-viewing angle display | Storage: 1TB HDD, 256GB SSD

Affordable price
Excellent keyboard and touchpad
Below average battery life
Underwhelming speakers and display

For less than a grand and a half, you might not think it, but the Gigabyte SabrePro 15 is a bargain. In its price range, you won’t find a laptop with this level of performance. Although it’s only available in one configuration, the GTX 1060 is a nice change of pace considering most affordable gaming laptops struggle to run triple-A games beyond medium settings. That goes without mentioning the fantastic RGB keyboard and Microsoft Precision Touchpad.

Read the full review: Gigabyte SabrePro 15

7. Gigabyte Aero 14

An Ultrabook that’s first-rate in performance and value

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR5) | RAM: 16GB – 32GB | Screen: 14-inch, QHD 2,560 x 1,440 anti-glare IPS | Storage: 512GB – 1TB SSD

Lightweight and thin design
Competitively priced
Battery life under-delivers
Loaded with bloatware

Donning a 7th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, Nvidia Pascal-series GPU and a screen resolution that soars above 1080p, this laptop is more affordable than a comparably specced Razer Blade or Alienware 13 R3. At the same time, it fails to compromise in terms of portability and performance. Factor in the a reasonable battery life and 190-degree hinge, and it’s easy to see why the Gigabyte Aero 14 made the cut.

Read the full review: Gigabyte Aero 14

8. Alienware 17 R4

Restoring honor to the Alienware name

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (2GB GDDR5) – GTX 1080 (8GB GDDR5) | RAM: 8GB – 32GB | Screen: 17.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – UHD (3,840 x 2,160) IPS anti-glare 300-nits | Storage: 128GB SSD, 1TB HDD – 2TB SSD, 1TB HDD

Wildly powerful
Swanky looks
Obnoxiously loud fans
So-so battery life

To be frank, Alienware hasn’t been a name typically associated with value. That seems to be changing with the Alienware 17 R4, which bears so many different customization options when it comes to specs that you can practically name your own price. Bespeckled with all of the signature elements we’ve come to expect from the brand, such as RGB backlit-accents and tons of ventilation, our only real qualm with the Alienware 17 R4 is a disappointing battery life.

Read the full review: Alienware 17 R4

9. Dell Inspiron 15 Gaming

This gaming laptop won’t leave you penniless

CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 – 1050 Ti | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, FHD 1,920 x 1,080 – UHD 3,840 x 2,160 anti-glare LED backlit | Storage: 1TB SSHD 8GB – 1TB HDD, 128GB SSD

Stellar battery life
Ports for days
Trackpad is touchy
Screen is lacking

In a world full of overpriced (and overcompensating) gaming laptops, the Dell Inspiron 15 Gaming is a breath of fresh air. An anomaly that ditches the Alienware moniker, Dell has crafted yet a gaming laptop that’s masked as one of its more productivity-centric machines. The discrete graphics options won’t blow you away, but the price certainly will. Plus with a battery life recorded at 7 hours and 38 minutes, it’s unparalleled in that department.

Read the full review: Dell Inspiron 15 Gaming

best gaming laptops

10. HP Omen 17

A premium desktop replacement sans the premium cost

CPU: 6th gen Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 (8GB GDDR5); Intel HD Graphics 530 | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Screen: 17.3-inch 4K (3,840 x 2,160) IPS with G-Sync | Storage: 1TB - 2TB HDD, 128GB SSD

Affordable price
4K, G-Sync Display
Plastic-y build
Large physical size

Like the GameCube of laptops, the HP Omen 17 has the build quality of a children’s toy. However, when you see what it can do, you’ll wonder why it didn’t cost more. Weighing 7 pounds, you’ll have to forgive this mobile behemoth if you want to take advantage of its 17-inch QHD display paired with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070. It may be similar to the Gigabyte P57X, but the the Bang & Olufsen speakers on the HP Omen 17 might tip you over the edge.

Read the full review: HP Omen 17

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article