If we think back a few years, the best gaming laptops weren’t always as easy to distinguish from any of the other best laptops. As long as you had an Intel Core i7 CPU, dedicated graphics and at least 8GB of RAM, you were good to go. However, these days, the best gaming laptops come in all shapes and sizes. That’s why we thought it’d be a great idea to dive into all the best gaming laptops you can buy today.
These days, you could easily gloss over top gaming laptops trying to pass themselves off as reserved office notebooks. Alternatively, you can pick up a gigantic desktop replacement that’ll brute force its way through everything. In 2018, there are a ton of portable replacements to the best gaming PCs – and there will be more once Nvidia launches its RTX Mobility GPUs.
No matter what kind of gaming laptop you’re after – whether it’s a traditional thick gaming behemoth, or a more thin and light notebook you can use for both work and play – we have the recommendations you’re looking for. And, because we’ve reviewed, tested and ranked the best gaming laptops ourselves, you can shop for a gaming laptop, confident that you’re getting something worth your while.
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
Sometimes, you just need to play some of the best PC games without anyone noticing, and that’s where the MSI GS65 Stealth comes in. Coming in at just .69 inches thick and featuring impressive hardware like Intel Coffee Lake processors and Nvidia GTX 10-series graphics, the MSI GS65 Stealth packs a ton of power into a very svelte package. There’s nothing you’ll be able to throw at this thing that’ll slow it down. And, thanks to its subdued design, you’ll be able to bring this beefy rig everywhere you go, making it the best gaming laptop on the market, bar none.
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 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
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
3. MSI GT75 Titan
The big one
CPU: 8th-generation Intel Core i7-i9 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 (8GB GDDR5X VRAM) | RAM: Up to 32GB | Screen: 17.3-inch FHD - UHD (1,920 x 1,080 - 3,840 x 2,160) | Storage: 1TB, 1TB HDD
If you’re looking for a gaming laptop that doesn’t pull any punches, and can run any game you can throw at it without a care in the world, you’ll want to look at the MSI GT75 Titan. It’s a titanic desktop replacement rocking 6-core Intel Coffee Lake CPUs, tons of RAM and GTX 1080 graphics. You’re not going to be able to carry it around with you, and it’s not going to be something you’ll want to be caught with in a coffee shop, but if raw power is what you’re after, look no further. Just be ready to break open your piggy bank.
Read the full review: MSI GT75 Titan
4. Asus ROG G703GI
CPU: Intel Core i7-i9 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 (8GB GDDR5X VRAM) | RAM: 64GB | Screen: 17.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080)144Hz | Storage: 3 x 512GB SSD (M.2, RAID 0), 2TB HDD
Thin and light gaming laptops are kind of in vogue in 2018, but if you reject all that and want to stick with a heavy, monstrous laptop that can demolish any title under the sun, the Asus ROG G703GI is for you. There’s no way around it – this is a massive – and expensive – laptop, but it backs its size and price with gaming performance that can rival some of the best gaming PCs. Just don't expect to be able to bring it to a coffee shop without its two power bricks – or awkward stares.
Read the full review: Asus ROG G703GI
- This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Razer Blade Pro
5. Razer Blade
A gaming-ready MacBook Pro rival
CPU: Intel Core i7-8750H | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 (8GB GDDR5 VRAM) | RAM: 16GB | Screen: Up to 15.6-inch UHD (3,840 x 2,160) 60Hz | Storage: 512GB M.2 SSD
The Razer Blade might still have an unbearably edgy name, but now that the 2018 version is here, it’s fitting – it’s still on the cutting edge. Beyond its insanely high-end specs and beautiful chassis, it can fit up to a 4K Ultra-HD display, with the specs to actually back it up. That’s not to mention the expandability that the Razer Core X opens up. It might be expensive, but if you’re a Razer fan looking for the best gaming laptop, it might just be for you.
Read the full review: Razer Blade
6. Dell XPS 15 2-in-1
Making power portable
CPU: Intel Core i5-i7 | Graphics: Radeon RX Vega M GL Graphics with 4GB HMB2 Graphics Memory | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, 4K Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) InfinityEdge anti-reflective touch display | Storage: 512GB PCIe SSD
If you want one of the best gaming laptops, but don’t want to miss out on the ultra-portable craze, you need to consider the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1. Packed with an Intel Kaby Lake G-series processor, this gaming laptop can keep up with its competitors rocking a GTX 1050 without featuring truly discrete graphics. And, when you combine that gaming horsepower with a chassis that looks this good, it’s a total win – even if you have to endure some fan noise to get there.
Read the full review: Dell XPS 15 2-in-1
7. 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
It may not boast the most innovative design, substituting the usual black and red aesthetic for one that makes it feel like Halloween all year round (no complaints here). But, it’s undoubtedly one of the best when it comes to gaming in 1080p. In fact, we were able to crank the setting s all the way up in Overwatch without ever straying below 60fps. It doesn’t feature the longest battery life, but the screen, power and onboard sound system more than make up for it.
Read the full review: Asus ROG Strix GL502
- This product is only available in the US and Australia at the time of this writing. UK readers: check out a fine alternative in the Alienware 17 R5
8. Acer Predator Helios 300
Great gaming on a budget
CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 3GB-6GB | RAM: 16GB-32GB DDR4 | Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) ComfyView IPS (144Hz refresh rate) | Storage: 128GB SSD; 1TB HDD
With the Acer Predator Helios, you’ll be able to get some gaming done on the go, and save some cash while you’re at it. At it’s asking price, you’re not going to find much better, thanks to its impressive GTX 1060 graphics and beautiful 15.6-inch 144Hz 1080p display. You should be able to play any of the best PC games on this thing, at a fraction of the price that something like the Razer Blade would charge. Keep in mind, though, that you’ll be running into some thermal issues with the Acer Predator Helios 300 – but you can fix that with some fan setting tweaking.
Read the full review: Acer Predator Helios 300
9. Gigabyte Aero 15
Thin. Light. Powerful.
CPU: Intel Core i7 8750H | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR5) | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) LCD anti-glare | Storage: 512GB SSD
It used to be that the best gaming laptops were thick, bulky devices that were necessary to experience the best PC games on the move. Those days are over. The Gigabyte Aero 15 packs a 6-core 8th-generation Intel Core i7 processor and a GTX 1060 into a package that allows it to pass as an Ultrabook. And, thanks to that beefy 6-core processor, it’s not just one of the best gaming laptops – it’s one of the best laptops, period.
Read the full review: Gigabyte Aero 15
10. Alienware 17 R5
Using the power of i9 to dominate the competition
CPU: Intel Core i9-8950HK | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 (8GB GDDR5X VRAM) | RAM: 32GB | Screen: 17.3-inch QHD (2,560 x 1,440)144Hz | Storage: 246GB PCIe M.2 SSD, 1TB 7,200RPM HDD
Ever since Intel unveiled its i9-8950HK, we just knew that it would find its way behind the best gaming laptops 2018 had to offer, and not even a full month later, and we’ve been proven right. The Alienware 17 R5 is a beast of a gaming laptop with the aforementioned CPU and an overclocked GTX 1080. If you’re willing to get an absolute tank of a laptop that weighs nearly 10 pounds, this hulking computer will demolish any and all games you throw at it. Just don’t expect to throw it in a bag without some severe back pain.
Read the full review: Alienware 17 R5
Watch the video below for the top 7 things to consider when buying a laptop:
Gabe Carey and Bill Thomas have also contributed to this article
- Want more choices? Check out our list of the best laptop 2018