Best Gaming Laptops 2019
Thanks to their powerful graphics, gorgeous displays and great audio, gaming laptops provide an immersive entertainment experience in a portable package. Many also offer stylish designs, desktop-quality keyboards and the ability to use high-end VR headsets. And your laptops are getting even more powerful, as Nvidia's mobile RTX GPUs are rolling out to dozens of top gaming notebooks. That's why we've compiled a list of the best gaming laptops to help you start gaming faster.
Several companies have announced some exciting new gaming laptops in response to Intel's new 9th Generation H-series CPUs and Nvidia's new GTX 16-series GPUs. Check out our review of the Asus ROG Mothership a detachable desktop replacement that earned 4.5 stars and an Editor's Choice award for its mix of power and innovation. And if you're looking for a system with an OLED panel, check out our face-off between the Razer Blade 15 and Alienware m15 and our Best OLED Laptops page.
But if you're not ready to spend exorbitant amounts of cash, check out our roundup of the best gaming laptops under $1,000 and our list of the best free PC games. And in case you need a regular notebook, check out our best laptops page. However, keep in mind that gaming laptops are also great candidates for video editing. And for the latest news on deals check out our Best Gaming Laptop Deals page.
Best Overall: Alienware m17 R2
The Alienware 17 R2 packs impressive raw gaming performance and a big honkin' 17-inch screen into its new Legend design that's both sexy and intergalactic. Armed with an overclockable Core i9 processor and RTX GPU its perfect for fragging your enemies in virtual reality or watching movies with friends. A revamped cooling system sports quieter fans and a cooler gaming experience. Factor in the integrated eye-tracking technology and stunning display and you've got a certified powerhouse.
Key Specs - CPU: Intel Core i5/Core i7/Core i9 | GPU: Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti/2060/2070/2080 Max-Q | RAM: 8GB/16GB/32GB | Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB SSD | Display: 17.3-inch display (1080p) | Weight: 5.7 pounds
Most Powerful: Alienware Area 51m
Meet the most powerful gaming laptop we've ever tested. The Alienware Area 51m's stunning, one-of-a-kind design houses a desktop grade Intel Core i9 CPU and a full Nvidia RTX 2080 GPU, allowing it to tear through demanding games without breaking a sweat while supporting every possible bell and whistle -- including ray tracing. Better yet, the Area 51m's arresting magnesium alloy chassis is fully future-proof, allowing you to swap out key components such as the GPU and CPU to keep the system fresh over time. Factor in a stunning 1080p G-Sync display, customizable RGB lighting and booming front-firing speakers, and you've got the ultimate battlestation for gamers willing to splurge on sheer power.
Pros: Stunning space station aesthetic | Excellent graphics and overall performance | Lightning-fast SSDs | All major components upgradable
Cons: Exorbitantly expensive
Key Specs - CPU: Intel Core i7/Core i9 | GPU: Nvidia RTX 2070/2080 | RAM: 8GB/16GB/32GB/64GB | Storage: 256GB/512GB SSD | Display: 17.3-inch display (1080p, G-Sync) | Weight: 8.5 pounds
Best Under $1,000: Acer Nitro 5
Gaming can be an expensive habit, but it doesn't have to be. Starting at $699, the Acer Nitro 5 offers solid overall and gaming performance in a slick, albeit chunky chassis. The laptop also offers a bevy of ports, stays cool when gaming or working and costs less than $1,000. With your savings, you'll have a lot more money for games.
Pros: Solid specs for a budget laptop | Stays cool under pressure with customizable fan controls with customizable fan controls | Plenty of ports for peripherals
Cons: Bulky size | Finkicky trackpad | Weak audio
Key Specs - CPU: AMD Ryzen 5/Intel Core i5 | GPU: Nvidia GTX 1650 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256/512 SSD | Display: 15.6-inch 1080p display | Weight: 5.7 pounds
Best Under $1,500: Lenovo Legion Y7000
Getting quality gaming at an affordable price is not impossible. The Lenovo Legion Y7000 is proof that you can get an affordable gaming laptop with premium features. Selling for $1,099, the laptop features a strong Core i7 CPU and GTX 1060 GPU packed into a stylish chassis with a comfortable keyboard, a wildly colorful 15.6-inch display and above-average battery life.
Pros: Sleek, sports car design | Colorful display | Comfortable keyboard | Strong overall performance and graphics | Decent battery life
Cons: Poor audio | Nose cam
Key Specs - CPU: Intel Core i7-8750H | GPU: Nvidia GTX 1060 | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 256GB SSD + 1TB 7,200-rpm hard drive | Display: 15.6-inch 1080p display | Weight: 5.3 pounds
Best Splurge: Asus ROG Mothership
Best 15 inch: Acer Predator Triton 500
The Acer Predator Triton 500 impresses with its slim and light chassis and packs a serious punch with a slew of powerful components, including an 8th Gen Intel processor and one of Nvidia's new RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics. It offers a great mix of graphics and overall power. And thanks to the Turbo option, you can squeeze even more power out of the GPU. If you want serious power in a nice portable design, the Acer Predator Triton should be at the top of your list.
Pros: Slim, portable design | Good overall and graphics performance | Comfortable keyboard | Seriously-fast file transfer speeds
Cons: Dim display | Runs hot with loud fans | Weak audio
Key Specs - CPU: Intel Core i7-8750H | GPU: Nvidia RTX 2060/2080 | RAM: 16/ 32GB | Storage: 512GB/dual 512GB NVMe PCIe SSD |Display: 15.6-inch 1080p display | Weight: 4.8 pounds
Best 17 inch: Razer Blade Pro 17
The Razer Blade Pro 17 is an absolute stunner and the epitome of sleek with its 0.8-inch thick black aluminum chassis. But the Blade Pro is more than just a pretty face. It boasts an Intel 9th Gen processor and an RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU, making for a formidable gaming laptop and content creation system. A pair of lightning-fast SSDs and a surprisingly effective cooling system only sweeten the proposition. The laptop deftly straddles the line between gaming and creative professionals, delivering strong overall and gaming performance, a swift pair of SSDs and a nice display to get it done.
Pros: Powerful gaming and CPU performance | Sleek, slim chassis | Great audio | Incredibly fast transfer speeds
Cons: Below-average battery life | Expensive
Key Specs - CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H | GPU: Nvidia RTX 2060/2070 Max-Q/2080 Max-Q | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 512GB SSD | Display: 17.3-inch, 1080p display | Weight: 6.1 pounds
Best Design: MSI GS65 Stealth Thin
Say hello to my skinny friend. At a mere 4.1 pounds and 0.7 inches thick, MSI's GS65 Stealth Thin is one of the company's slimmest gaming laptops to date. The laptop features Intel's new 8th gen, six-core Coffee Lake processor, which promises 20 percent more performance than its predecessor. But since this is a gaming laptop at its core, MSI squeezed an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q GPU into that slim frame. It's a true jack-of-all-trades system that should be at the top of your list.
Pros: Great overall and graphics performance | Barely-there bezels | Excellent audio quality | Slim, beautiful design | Impressive battery life
Cons: Gets hot while gaming
Key Specs - CPU: Intel Core i7-8750H | GPU: Nvidia GTX 1060 Max-Q/1070 Max-Q | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 512GB SSD | Display: 15.6-inch 1080p display | Weight: 4.1 pounds
Best Convertible: Acer Nitro 5 Spin
Twist it, turn it, anyway you want it. The Acer Nitro 5 Spin is a cornucopia of versatility, able to transform at the drop of a hat. In addition to its bendy antics, the notebook offers solid multitasking power, good battery life, a comfortable keyboard and an easily convertible design. An Nvidia GTX 1050 GPU means that you'll get good frame rates while gaming — just not at the highest game settings.
Pros: Stylish, versatile design | Comfortable keyboard | Bright, vibrant display | Good keyboard
Cons: Graphics could be better for price | Gets toasty while gaming
Key Specs - CPU: Intel Core i5/i7 | GPU: Nvidia GTX 1050 GPU | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB SSD + 1TB hard drive | Display: 15.6-inch 1080p | Weight: 4.9 pounds
Best Max-Q Design: Razer Blade 15
Starting at $1,599, the Blade is one of the lightest gaming laptops around, delivering strong performance and over 6 hours of battery life. This is also the first system in the Blade line to offer dual storage. And if that's not enough for you, Razer's also offering the notebook in a stunning Mercury White aluminum chassis that's sure to have all eyes on you when you make the winning play.
You can also check out our face off between the Razer Blade 15 and the Aero 15 Classic.
Pros: Beautiful, head-turning design | Powerful graphics and overall performance | Solid battery life | Fast transfer speeds
Cons: Dim display | Weak audio | Runs hot when gaming
Key Specs - CPU: Intel Core i7-8750H | GPU: Nvidia GTX 1060/RTX 2070 GPU | RAM: 16GB/32GB| Storage: 128GB SSD + 1TB hard drive/512GB NVMe PCIe SSD| Display: 15.6-inch 1080p/4K display | Weight: 4.7 pounds
Best Display: Alienware m15 OLED
The Alienware m15 proves that everything is better than OLED. The 15.6-inch 4K panel is simply gorgeous. It's extremely vivid without relying on oversaturation and offers rich blacks and true contrasts. And whenever you manage to pull your gaze away from that lovely panel, don’t forget to appreciate the high-powered components underneath the hood including an 8th Gen Intel Core i7 and an Nvidia RTX Graphics. The laptop is a serious contender in the gaming space.
Pros: Beautiful OLED display | Good overall and gaming performance | Comfortable keyboard | Sleek, lightweight design
Cons: OLED severely impacts battery life | Bottom runs hot
Key Specs - CPU: Intel Core i5/i7 | GPU: Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti/RTX 2070 Max-Q | RAM: 8GB/16GB/32GB/64GB | Storage: 256GB SSD/1TB SSD + 1TB SSD| Display: 15.6-inch 1080p/4K display/4K OLED | Weight: 4.8 pounds
Best Keyboard: MSI GT75VR Titan
MSI's latest Titan, the GT75 is here to prove that bigger is definitely better. Housed beneath its massive frame sits a Core i9 processor and one of Nvidia's new RTX GPUs. That means there's very little that this laptop can't handle. Measuring an unbelievable 2.5 millimeters of key travel with 80 grams of actuation force, the keys feel better than any laptop keyboard laden with scissor-membrane switches.
Key Specs - CPU: Intel Core i7/i9 | GPU: Nvidia RTX 2070/2080 | RAM: 16GB/32GB/64GB | Storage: 256GB SSD/512GB SSD + 1TB hard drive | Display: 17.3-inch 1080p/4K display | Weight: 10 pounds
How We Test Gaming Laptops
Here at Laptop Mag, we test gaming laptops using a variety of real-world and synthetic tests to give consumers the most complete picture of how a product performs. Our current tests for gaming systems evaluate graphics performance, battery life, virtual-reality compatibility, overall performance and file-transfer speed and heat, to name just a few. We also judge the laptop based on usability criteria, such as keyboard comfort, design language, audio output and screen quality.
Quick Tips for Finding the Right Gaming Laptop
Depending on your budget, lifestyle and the games you want to play, you could end up spending anywhere from $800 to $5,000 on a system that's likely to weigh between 4 and 13 pounds. Here are some tips to help you find your ideal gaming rig.
- Don't buy a gaming laptop for low-end titles like The Sims or Candy Crush. These games can easily be supported by an integrated graphics card.
- The most powerful mobile GPU is Nvidia's RTX 2080, but you can get good frame rates from older models such as the GTX 1050. If you want to do VR, don't settle for less than GTX 1060. And be sure you know how to check your VRAM.
- Get a laptop with at least an Intel Core i7 processor and 8GB of RAM for gaming and multitasking performance.
- Avoid touch screens, 4K and OLED displays. They're more expensive and drain the battery.
- Get a laptop with at least a 60-Hertz refresh rate and at most a millisecond response time to ensure smoother images and cut down on input lag.
- 17- or 18-inch laptops are typically more powerful, but you can find some 15-inch systems with serious muscle. The more portable 13- and 14-inch models are easier to carry but often lack higher-end components.
- Make sure the keyboard is comfortable. If you can, take a trip to the store and try out the keyboard before you buy.
Credit: Laptop Mag
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