When it comes to gaming, there’s a specific set of needs which has to be met with your hardware. While laptops might not be the preferred platform for pros, casual gamers find the ability to take them on the go to be a huge advantage. Whether you’re just dropping into a coffee shop for a quick game or attending a LAN party, the ability to quickly and easily pack up your gaming device is awesome. Of course, with so many laptops on the market it really can be a pain to figure out which is the best gaming laptop. We’ve narrowed it down to five readily-available devices for you, so read on and we’ll show you which we think are the best.
For the average gamer, the Acer Predator Helios 300 is probably the best gaming laptop available for the money. For a bit over a thousand dollars you get a machine that will be able to play most games for a few years, and we think it represents the perfect price point before your dollar starts experiencing diminishing returns.
Overall, the Acer Predator Helios 300 is our recommendation for most people. It still costs a pretty penny, but spending more money than this is going to end up with rapidly diminishing returns as you begin to approach the edge of modern hardware.
Top 5 Gaming Laptops
|Acer Predator 17 Gaming Laptop||i7-7700HQ||NVidia GeForce GTX 1070||Check Price||32GB|
|Alienware AW17R4-7345SLV-PUS||i7-7700HQ||NVidia GeForce GTX 1070||Check Price||16GB|
|Acer Predator Helios 300||i7-7700HQ||NVidia GeForce GTX 1060||Check Price||16GB|
|Dell 15.6-Inch Gaming Laptop||i5-6300HQ||NVidia GeForce GTX 960M||Check Price||8GB|
|Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575G-57D4||i5-7200U||NVidia GeForce 940MX||Check Price||8GB|
1. Best for Technophiles
Acer Predator 17 Gaming Laptop
We’ve reached that point where what you’re paying for very well may not be worth it, but we couldn’t form this list without including the overkill monstrosity that is the Acer Predator 17. With an i7-7700HQ processor, the GeForce GTX1070, and an amazing 32GB of RAM it’ll run pretty much anything, anytime. And it’ll continue to do so for years to come. On top of that it has a programmable LED keyboard built right in and simply amazing cooling. Every piece of this non-essential hardware comes together to complete an amazing and stylish whole that is hard to even compete with, let alone beat.
The only real problem is this: at this level of price you’re not getting much more than what $500 less would get you. If you’re willing to drop the money for the ultra-edge, however, you’re in the right place.
While we don’t recommend spending this much for the average gamer, the Acer Predator 17 represents pretty much the ultimate edge of current laptop hardware and it’s a beautiful piece of work.
Pros and Cons
- Best laptop hardware available
- Superior cooling
- Programmable LED keyboard
- 32GB of RAM
- Super expensive
- At the far edge of diminishing returns
2. Best for the Serious Gamer
Alienware is a huge name in the world of gaming laptops, and for good reason: not only do they only use the best of the best when it comes to hardware they also include a bunch of software which is designed to improve your gaming experience. You’ll be looking at getting an i7-7700HQ processor with this laptop, along with 16GB of RAM, and the bleeding edge GeForce GTX 1070 on top of a 1TB hard drive.
If that’s not enticing enough, this Alienware offering also has a ton of extra features including Tobii eye tracking and an utterly fantastic cooling system.
If you’re willing to afford the cost, this Alienware computer is simply one of the best around. It’s expensive, enormous, and pretty much the perfect long-term companion for any serious gamer.
Pros and Cons
- Bleeding edge hardware
- Tobii eye tracking
- Awesome cooling system
- Huge 17.3” screen
- Specialized software for coaching
- Super bulky and large
3. Best Laptop for the Average Gamer
Acer Predator Helios 300
Boasting a 7th generation i7-7700HQ processor and the latest and greatest GTX 1060 GPU there’s a lot to be recommended for the Acer Predator Helios 300 if you’re looking for all of the power you’re going to need for a few years to come. You’ve also got 16GB of RAM, which is more than enough for most of the usual suspects and a 256GB SSD hard drive which is pretty much the standard among high-end laptops these days.
On top of that, the entire thing is built extremely well and features a snazzy red backlit keyboard which is attractive and will let you keep gaming even if the lighting gets bad.
This laptop also boasts a 7 hour battery life, letting you get in a pretty serious session when you’re not plugged in.
Pros and Cons
- Extremely fast CPU
- Top-of-the-line GPU
- 16GB of ram
- Red backlit keyboard
- Exceptional build quality
- Keep it plugged in for maximum performance
- Only one USB 3.0 port
4. Alternative Budget Gaming Laptop
Dell 15.6-Inch Gaming Laptop
This 15.6” gaming laptop is a little bit pricier than our first budget pick, but it’s a solid choice for those who are in the under $1000 bracket. It comes with an Intel i5-6300HQ CPU which is quad-core, as well as 8GB of RAM and a great GeForce GTX960M GPU which can handle most modern games. You might not be busting out with the ultra-high settings on some, but it’s not going to let you down for the next couple of years.
The hard drive is a 256GB SSD which is fast, solid, and provides enough space for quite a few games. Access is also pretty easy for those who like to perform their own upgrades, which is the primary reason to choose this one over our other budget option.
While it doesn’t boast jaw-dropping hardware, this is a solid gaming laptop that’ll work for a couple of years and still comes in at a great budget price.
Pros and Cons
- Solid feeling build
- 256GB SSD hard drive
- Highly portable due to smaller size and low weight
- Backlit keyboard
- Good cooling
- Hardware could be better for the price
- All plastic
5. Best Budget Gaming Laptop
Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575G-57D4
This laptop from Acer may not be the most high-end machine around, but for the cost you’re not going to be able to find anything close to this optimized for gaming. Boasting one of the best of the i5 series of processors and a fairly impressive GeForce 940MX it’s capable of running most games currently on the market. The price is the main draw here for the average person, gaming laptops don’t need to run into four figure in order to be a decent machine and this version of the Acer Aspire proves it.
On the bad side of things, it is a budget gaming laptop and the hardware isn’t quite up to par. If you’re willing to part with another couple hundred dollars you can get a lot more when it comes to performance.
But if you’re on a tight budget and still want to be able to enjoy games during your leisure time, this is exactly what you’re looking for.
Pros and Cons
- Cheapest decent gaming laptop, period
- Great GPU benchmarks
- Good keyboard
- Long battery life at 11+ hours
- 256GB SSD hard drive
- Looks and feels like a budget laptop
- Can’t compete with more expensive options
Who Needs a Gaming Laptop?
If you’re not going to be playing the latest game, chances are you don’t need to spend the extra money on a dedicated gaming laptop. Casual players, and even those who prefer older MMOs and MOBAs would be better served upgrading their peripherals as long as their current computer can run WoW or LoL or whatever else they may spend most of their time playing to their satisfaction.
On the other hand, those who are continually playing the newest and hottest games, or prefer extremely quick paced shooters and action games, want the best hardware available just to make sure that they can compete in the online world.
Basically, if you’re a competitive player or constantly searching for the next, best game it makes sense to ensure that you’ve got the hardware you need in order to keep playing the latest releases and run online games without any chance of graphics lag.
What to Look for in a Gaming Laptop
Most gamers will have a pretty good idea of what they need in order to ensure that they can play the games they love. On the other hand, if you’re new to upgrading hardware then you need to be aware of what you’re looking at in order to make sense of the long lists of specifications which are attached to laptops.
Graphics Processing Unit(GPU)
Your GPU is one of the most essential pieces of the laptop when it comes to playing games on the cutting edge.
Unfortunately, it can be hard to know exactly what you’re getting without checking the benchmarks of the individual device. If you’re just now upgrading and you’re used to just looking at the GPU’s RAM you’re in for a sore lesson.
You’ll either need to match off with the recommended GPU for your favorite games or check the benchmarks individually.
Central Processing Unit(CPU)
Your CPU is the main contributor to the speed of your computer. They’ve come a long way since the Pentium days when you could just take a look at the MHz or GHz of a processor. This is due to the multiple cores you’re likely to find along with a lot of other details we don’t have room for here.
For the most part, Intel makes the best processors these days. An octo-core i7 is sure to break the budget but is the top of the line, most gamers will be fine with a quad-core i5 from one of the last two generations.
RAM is, thankfully, a lot more linear than the other specifications used to determine how powerful a modern computer is. The higher the number, the better.
You’re going to want to aim for at least 8GB of RAM for modern games, but we recommend going to 12GB or even 16GB in order to future-proof your purchase a little bit. If you do opt for 8GB try to make sure that you’ll be able to upgrade it in the future as RAM can be a serious limiting factor in which games you’ll play.
While a bigger screen always makes for a more impressive display, those behemoth screens can seriously eat up a ton of your battery life. We don’t recommend anything smaller than 15” but be careful if you go much larger and are planning on playing on the go.
Of course, if you’re only going to be playing where you have plugs, bigger is better and the extra weight isn’t likely to hurt you as much either.
This is probably the single most important factor for most people, but even if you have an unlimited budget it’s something you need to consider carefully.
The fact of the matter is that the closer you get to the truly high-end of hardware, the less value you’re going to get for your dollar. In the mid-range a $50 boost in price will lead to a good bit of performance, at the high end of things even the last $200 might only get you a marginal amount of performance increase.
We recommend staying at the mid-to-high end of things if you’re not on a super tight budget. If you are, then our budget option is probably your best bet.
Features to Avoid
There are also somethings you’re going to want to avoid when you’re picking out your gaming laptop as well. Avoid any computer which boasts the following to maximize your dollar:
- Touch screens are a no-no outside of specialized usage. They eat battery like no other and most gamers aren’t going to get any real use out of them.
- Low resolution displays are bad for obvious reasons, things like 1920×1080 are just… bad when it comes to gaming.
- Super slim laptops have a tendency to have less cooling and get hotter. Save those for working, they’re not a great pick for gaming.
- Don’t use dated USB 2.0 ports if you can avoid it. It’s not a deal breaker, but the new 3.0 ports are a huge improvement.
Picking out the best gaming laptop doesn’t have to be a high stress event, with a little bit of know how you can make sure that you end up with the best product for your dollar pretty easily. Choose wisely, and you’re going to enjoy your gaming experience more than ever.