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With all the blockbuster games arriving this year, the gamer in your life is going to need a souped-up rig to handle the onslaught. But which laptop to get? Do you go for extreme portability, face-melting power or find that ever-elusive best-of-both-worlds machine? To help with your gifting decisions -- and what to get for yourself -- here are our top picks for gaming laptops.

 

 

Best Overall Gaming Laptop

Alienware 17 R3 (2016)

Editor's Choice

Alienware has updated its 17-inch gaming laptop for 2016 with an Intel 6th Generation Core i7 CPU and the latest Nvidia GTX 970M or 980M graphics.The Alienware 17 R3 also offers an optional 4K display that's brighter and more colorful than almost any other screen in its class. Sporting the company's attractive sci-fi chassis and customizable keyboard, the laptop starts at a relatively-affordable $1,500, but if you have money to spare, you can get an overclockable processor, a bigger SSD and Alienware's signature graphics amp, which brings the best desktop GPUs to the notebook world. 

Alienware 17 R3 Review

  • Best 14-inch Gaming Laptop

    Razer Blade (2015)

    Editor's Choice

    The 4.4-pound Razer Blade still sports a seductive black aluminum chassis with the glowing green accents that bring all the gamers to the yard. But it's the bright, vivid 3200 x 1800 touchpanel that's the real eye candy. Equipped Nvidia's fast GeForce GTX 970M graphics, the Blade is a must-buy for gamers searching for the ultimate thin-and-light gaming laptop.

    Razer Blade (2015) Review

  • Best Splurge Gaming

    MSI GT72 Dominator Pro Dragon Edition

    Editor's Choice

    One of the first laptops that's powerful enough to pair with an Oculus or HTC VR headset, This 17.3-inch gaming behemoth has a desktop-class Nvidia GTX 980 graphics card, overclockable Intel 6th Generation Core i7 CPU and speedy PCIe SSD. A gorgeous dragon-themed aluminum chassis makes the GT72 look as powerful as it plays.

    MSI GT72 Dominator Pro Dragon Edition Review

  • Best Gaming Laptop Under $800

    Dell Inspiron 15 7000

    Editor's Choice

    The $799 Dell Inspiron 15-7000 Series proves that affordable doesn't have to be a dirty word. While the sleek soft-touch chassis will definitely turn heads, it's the solid framerates from its Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M GPU and over 6 hours of battery life that will get gamers' attention. Throw in some respectable multitasking power and impressive audio quality and you've got a laptop that can play with the big boys, without breaking your bank account.

    Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Review

  • Best VR-Ready Laptop

    OriginPC Eon17-SLX

    Editor's Choice

    OriginPC packed an Intel Core i7 Skylake processor and an Nvidia 980 desktop chip into a redesigned frame, creating a tremendous beast of a gaming laptop. If that wasn't enough, you get a lightning-fast SSD, a lovely Nvidia G-Sync display, epic audio with whisper-quiet fans. But that desktop GPU isn't just for show. The Eon17-SLX will be one of the first gaming laptops capable of supporting VR headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive Pre, effectively making this laptop a door to a whole new virtual world. 

    OriginPC Eon17-SLX Review

  • Best 15-inch Gaming Laptop

    Gigabyte P25X v2

    This yellow is anything but mellow. Gigabyte's P25X v2's cheerful marigold frame belies the beast beneath. Packing a Core i7 processor and a top-of-the-line Nvidia GeForce GTX 880M GPU, the P25X will play even the most taxing games as smooth as butter. Throw in more than seven hours of battery life -- during web surfing -- and a crisp 1080p display and you've got a force to be reckoned with.

    Gigabyte P25X v2 Review

  • Best 17-inch Gaming Laptop

    Aorus X7 Pro-Sync

    The 17-inch Aorus X7 Pro-Sync is a svelte, lightweight notebook that doesn't just hit the sweet spot between performance and portability -- it destroys it. Rocking a pair of Nvidia GTX GeForce 970M GPUs in SLI configuration, the X7 Pro-Sync is  one of the most powerful 17-inch notebooks on the market. The slim device also takes advantage of Nvidia's G-Sync technology, ensuring smoother graphics and little to no input lag. It's a drop-dead stunner that packs the potent punch that gamers crave.

    Aorus X7 Pro-Sync Review

  • Best Lightweight Gaming Laptop

    Alienware 13

    At 4.5 pounds, 12.9 x 9.3 x 1.0~1.1 inches, the Alienware 13 is the thinnest, lightest notebook the company has ever released. Despite its svelte figure, the Alienware 13 can still power through some of the most graphically taxing games on the market, thanks to its Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M GPU. But if you want even better performance, hook the laptop up to its optional Graphics Amplifier. Harnessing the power of a desktop GPU, even the monstrous Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M card, the Alienware 13 transforms from formidable to beastly.

    Alienware 13 Review

  • New and Notable

    MSI GT72 Tobii

    In 2016, the gaming laptop watches you! Born out of a collaboration between MSI and Tobii, makers of eye-tracking technology, comes the GT72 Tobii. This new laptop combines the imposing might of MSI's GT72 laptop with its Core i7 processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M card with Tobii's innovative eye-tracker to create a laptop that can use your eye movement to move your character in games such as Assassin's Creed: Rogue and the upcoming Tom Clancy's: The Division. It's truly an eye-opening experience.

    Peekaboo! MSI Gaming Laptop Tracks Your Eyes