It used to be that the best gaming laptops were those that had Intel Core i7 processors, 8GB of RAM and any discrete graphics imaginable. Gaming laptops were so few and far between that it wasn’t a matter of whether they were good or not. Instead, the only question that lingered was, “Can it run Crysis?”
Fast forward to 2018, and the best gaming laptops look completely different than they did 10 years ago. There are ultra-thin portable solutions that use Nvidia MaxQ technology, while there are still clunky, powerful traditional behemoths that can power through any game. And, now that Intel has announced a bevy of new Coffee Lake laptop CPUs including the Core i9-8950HK, you soon won’t be limited to just i7 processors.
So, whether you’re looking for a laptop that’s just as good for work as it is for play, or you want a gaming-dedicated behemoth, we have the recommendations you crave. As we’ve tested, reviewed and subsequently ranked every gaming laptop on this list, we hope to provide trustworthy recommendations that promote the very best gaming laptops with the best value overall.
1. MSI GS65 Stealth
Thin. Beautiful. Powerful.
CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 (8GB GDDR5X VRAM, Max-Q) | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) anti-glare, wide-view 144Hz panel | Storage: 512GB M.2 SSD
Hailing in Coffee Lake to the world of the best gaming laptops, the MSI GS65 packs a ton of power into a very unassuming package. Rocking an 8th-generation Intel Core i7-8750H CPU and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 GPU, there’s nothing that can stand in the way of this laptop. And, what’s better, thanks to its subdued design, you’ll be able to bring this power out wherever you go without having to hide your nerdy pastimes.
Read the full review: MSI GS65 Stealth
2. Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501
Under an inch thick and still kicking ass
CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 | RAM: 24GB | 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
It’s almost as if Asus has initiated a new laptop category of its own with the Zephyrus GX501. That’s because, with the help of Nvidia’s Max-Q technology, the Republic of Gamers has crafted a hardy gaming notebook that measures no thicker than an Ultrabook. In fact, the only area wherein it’s not Ultrabook-esque is the battery, which struggles to attain a consecutive lifespan beyond two hours.
Read the full review: Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501
3. 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
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
Price: Starts at AED 4,700
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
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
Price: Starts at AED 5,300
5. Razer Blade Pro
Finally, a desktop replacement with portability in mind
CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR5) – 1080 (8GB GDDR5X) | RAM: 16 – 32GB | Screen: 17.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) 120Hz matte IPS – UHD (3,840 x 2,160) IGZO touchscreen with G-Sync | Storage: 512GB – 2TB PCIe SSD
At long last, Razer has introduced a true desktop replacement that won’t weigh you down. Measuring in at only 0.88 inches thick with the option between a 17-inch 1080p display running at 120Hz or a G-Sync-laden 4K touchscreen, 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 unusual trackpad placement that makes it comfier to boot.
Read the full review: Razer Blade Pro
Price: Starts at AED 10,500
6. Asus ROG G752VS
A hefty, punchy mobile PC gaming powerhouse
CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 | RAM: 32GB DDR4 | Screen: 17.3-inch Ultra HD 3840x2160 | Storage: 1TB HDD
If you're looking for an all-out gaming laptop to replace an aging desktop PC, you could do little better than the Asus ROG G752. With top-end specs, impressive build quality and stand-out looks on offer, there are few alternatives that offer quite so much power for the price. While there are slimmer and slightly more powerful alternatives available if money is no object, the G752 offers an awful lot for the money.
Read the full review: Asus ROG G752
7. Acer Predator 17 X
A monster gaming notebook that’s almost ready for 4K
CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M | RAM: 32GB DDR4 Dual Channel | Screen: 17.3-inch 4K UHD screen, 3,840 x 2160, with Nvidia G-Sync | Storage: 256GB SSD – 1TBHDD
When considering a high-end gaming notebook, you need to look at performance, features and style. Acer has all those bases covered, and even though it’s pricey for a notebook that’s still using a previous generation video card, all the packed-in features — including the 4K screen, an SSD and hard drive combo, and booming sound system — make it worthwhile.
Read the full review: Acer Predator 17 X
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 GDDR5X) | 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
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. Lenovo Legion Y720
Leading the next wave of virtual reality
CPU: 7th gen Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GTX 1060 | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Screen: 15.6-inch, (optional 17-inch & 4K display) | Storage: 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD
The Lenovo Legion Y720 looks to be a solid choice for a mid-range gaming laptop. While we’ve seen plenty of laptops break the bank for the best specs and performance, this 15.6-inch option starts at a refreshingly affordable AED 5,699 – and users on a tighter budget may want to consider the lower-end Legion Y520 that starts at AED 3,699.
Read our hands-on preview: Lenovo Legion Y720
10. MSI GT73VR Titan Pro
MSI’s portable gaming station could replace your desktop - if you can afford it
CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 | RAM: 64GB DDR4 | Screen: 17.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) | Storage: 512GB SSD + 1TB HDD
The MSI GT73VR Titan Pro crams top-of-the-line tech and a gorgeous 120Hz display into one sleek design – but top-tier power demands an equally top-tier price tag.
Read the full review: MSI GT73VR Titan Pro
Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article