Best gaming laptops 2018: the 10 top gaming laptops we've reviewed

Best gaming laptops

So, you want to buy the best gaming laptop ever conceived? Maybe you enjoy the flaming hot looks of a gaming PC, but prefer the portability of a notebook that can be brought along anywhere and everywhere. Admittedly, we don’t blame you. It’s easy to say you could get a better value if you simply built your own computer, but then you would be missing out on more than the time it would take to do so. You would be sacrificing that sweet, sweet mobility. 

Of course, you could buy a Nintendo Switch or a 3DS (or … a Vita?) if on-the-go gaming is what you’re after. However, the best gaming laptop on the market has a leg up on just about every handheld money can buy. Instead of being limited to a library of games limited to the past five, or even one year(s), any mobile PC gaming rig will grant you immediate access to nearly every PC game that has ever been released. That goes without mentioning emulators of classic retro systems, legally ambiguous as they may be.

So, whether you’re in dire need of a laptop that’s as qualified for work as it is play, or you’re in the market for a setup dedicated to gaming and streaming, we have exactly the recommendations that 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. 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

Kicking Nvidia’s Max-Q technology off right, the Asus Zephyrus GX501 combines the heralded thinness of an Ultrabook with the performance of a gaming PC to bring the best of both worlds to your feet. Despite exhibiting subpar times in our battery life benchmarks, this svelte powerhouse of a notebook is one for the books when it comes to both portability and style. Plus, it’s virtually silent if noise is a cause for distraction in your everyday routine.

Read the full review: Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501

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

You may not be able to stick a bigger hard drive in it later, but the Razer Blade is otherwise built for stamina and, of course, high quality visuals. On top of boasting a battery life of over 7 and a half hours, it can handle up to 4K Ultra HD gaming with the help of a Razer Core V2 external graphics box and a spare monitor. Or you could opt for the more recently added integrated 4K display option. Either way, you’re in for a treat, we assure you.

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 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

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 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

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. 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

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

8. Asus ROG G703

Welcome to the big leagues, gamers

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 (8GB GDDR5X) | RAM: 32GB DDR4 | Screen: 17.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) non-touch IPS | Storage: 512GB SSD, 1TB HDD

Superb performance throughout
Rock-solid design
Heavy and thick design
Poor battery life

If you prefer your laptops to be thin, light and inexpensive while featuring lengthy battery life performance, the Asus ROG G703 isn’t for you. This hulking gargantuan of a gaming notebook takes the specs of a desktop PC and condenses them ever-so-slightly into a package that can more or less be carried anywhere. At 10.6 pounds (4.8kg) and with a 17.3-inch screen, it won’t fit in a backpack, but its graphics card and processor will impress, as will its excellent inputs.

Read the full review: Asus ROG G703

best gaming laptops

9. Gigabyte Aero 15X

Thin, light and out of sight

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 (8GB GDDR5) | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) LCD anti-glare | Storage: 512GB SSD

Strong performance for price
Amazing battery life
A little pricey for the hardware
Serious touchpad problems

For those uninitiated, there are few names in gaming hardware as positively recognized as Gigabyte. The Aero 15X is further proof that all the credit is well deserved. It’s expensive, but no more so than the bulk of gaming laptops we see using Nvidia’s Max-Q design technology today. That means that the Gigabyte Aero 15X packs an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 into a frame that’s under 0.8 inches thick – thin enough to qualify as an Ultrabook.

Read the full review: Gigabyte Aero 15X

10. Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming

Max-Q for minimum dollars (or pounds) spent

CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR5) | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) anti-glare LED-backlit | Storage: 256GB SSD – 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD

Minimalist looks
Solid graphics performance
Reduced battery life
Poor speaker placement

It’s not the laptop it used to be, but the latest Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming is still worth mentioning as a result of its low-cost barrier to entry and relatively high specs considering its innovative design. Mind you, it’s powered by Nvidia’s Max-Q technology, which makes it thinner than ever, even if it’s simultaneously heavier than its predecessor. As long as you opt for one of the higher storage configurations, you won’t be disappointed by this budget gaming laptop’s hardy specs.

Read the full review: Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming

Watch the video below for the top 7 things to consider when buying a laptop.

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article