Best & Worst Gaming Laptop Brands 2018

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Gaming laptops are awesome. In some cases, they are highly configurable powerhouses with their own light shows, and in others, they are bargain machines that offer just enough oomph to play the latest and greatest PC games. But there's a lot to consider when purchasing a gaming notebook, and that includes the brand.


While specs are definitely an important part of the equation, consumers should also consider all the bells and whistles (or lack thereof) that the individual manufacturers offer when it comes to design, software, upgradability and warranty. Those considerations are especially important when you'll be paying potentially upward of $1,000.

To help you choose your ideal gaming laptop, we've evaluated the top nine gaming-laptop brands and rated them on a 100-point scale. Unfortunately, Samsung produced only one gaming laptop, the Odyssey, during the 12-month evaluation period, which wasn't enough to make the cut.

See how the best (and worst) gaming-laptop brands fared.

1. MSI (84/100)

There's a new sheriff in town, and its name is Micro-Star International, aka MSI. The company pulled a serious power move and rose to the top spot thanks to laptops with stunning new designs, like the ultraslim GS65 Stealth Thin and the GE63 Raider RGB with its captivating light show. It doesn't hurt that MSI has a massive library of gamer-centric software and an even bigger catalog of systems with a laptop for just about every size and budget.

Best-Worst-Gaming-Laptops-2018_MSI_675MSI Report Card

 

2. Acer (80/100)

A 21-inch laptop? A touchpad on the top of the keyboard deck? Acer took a lot of risks this year, and they mostly paid off, securing the company the second place spot. In addition to employing innovative design, as seen in the Predator 21 X and the Predator Triton 700, Acer offers a bevy of price-conscious systems that have a degree of upgradability, such as the Predator Helios 300 (17-inch).

Best-Worst-Gaming-Laptops-2018_ACER_675Acer Report Card | Our Top Acer Gaming Laptop

 

2. Alienware (80/100)

Alienware dropped into second place this year, but still managed a solid showing nonetheless. We like the slightly slimmer design on both the Alienware 17 R5 and the 15 R4 paired with incredibly powerful performance for gaming and multitasking. The company also revamped some of its most popular software, making it easier to use and adding a few new features. Alienware is going to have to offer even better designs next time around if it wants to reclaim the gaming-brand throne.

Alienware Report Card
 

4. Razer (79/100)

Razer continues to make some of the sleekest gaming notebooks in the land. The company landed in fourth place, thanks to the new 15-inch Razer Blade's futuristic-retro design. The Blade Pro's perpetually beautiful display and keyboard, along with powerful specs, help make it a standout system. However, the company still needs to work on expanding its portfolio of laptops, particularly notebooks for cost-conscious gamers.

Razer Report Card | Our Top Razer Gaming Laptop

 

5. Asus (78/100)

Asus finds itself in fifth place, but it's primed to make a run for even higher placement next year. The company stunned the PC gaming world with the incredibly thin ROG Zephyrus, one of the first laptops to incorporate Nvidia efficiency-focused Max-Q graphics cards. However, to break out of its holding pattern, the company will have to make sure that it doesn't turn every one of its gaming rigs into a Zephyrus lookalike and work on sweetening its warranty program.

Asus Report Card | Our Top Asus Gaming Laptop

 

6. HP (75/100)

Making the jump from last place to sixth is impressive. HP made the leap by serving up a daring redesign of its flagship line of laptops, including the Omen 15 and the Omen 17, complete with new proprietary software and a customizable keyboard. The company also beefed up its portfolio by introducing premium and entry-level systems. However, HP will have to work on ensuring display quality across the board, particularly in budget lines like the Pavilion Power 15t, if it hopes to make another jump next year.

Best-Worst-Gaming-Laptops-2018_HP_675HP Report Card | Our Top HP Gaming Laptop

 

7. Aorus/Gigabyte (72/100)

From laptops like the Aero 15 that look just as good in an office or a LAN party, to sleek flagships like the X9 that would give stealth bombers a run for their money, Gigabyte and its sub-brand Aorus have a lot to offer gamers. But for all their thin bezels and colorful visages, both brands are held back by dim displays and weak audio, which won't cut it with gamers.

Best-Worst-Gaming-Laptops-2018_AORUS-GIGABYTE_675Gigabyte Report Card | Our Top Aorus/Gigabyte Gaming Laptop

 

8. Origin PC (71/100)

Origin PC is sticking to what it does best: offering a ludicrous number of customization options. In addition to continuing its kitchen-sink approach to laptops, the company wasn't afraid to inject a little color into the situation with the Eon17-X or to slim things down with the EVO15-S. However, a lack of both gamer-friendly software and overall innovation prevented Origin PC from rising higher in the ranks.

Best-Worst-Gaming-Laptops-2018_ORIGIN_675Origin Report Card | Our Top Origin Gaming Laptop

 

9. Dell (67/100)

Dell knows how to make a premium laptop; just look at the Dell XPS or even the Alienware 17 R5. However, the company hasn't really been putting that know-how to use with its Dell-branded laptops, and that's why the company wound up in last place. Plagued by lackluster displays, shallow keyboards and a lack of onboard gaming software, Dell budget gaming systems such as the Inspiron Gaming 15 5000 are a far cry from their Alienware brethren. However, with their fresh new designs and entry-to-premium specs, the company's new G-Series laptops, such as the G3 15 Gaming, are the light at the end of the tunnel that Dell needs to lift its position.

Best-Worst-Gaming-Laptops-2018_DELL_675Dell Report Card

 

9. Lenovo (67/100)

Despite delivering one of the best gaming laptops we reviewed this year, the Legion Y920, Lenovo still finds itself on the bottom rung, because of the Y720's lackluster performance. The company really didn't offer much in the way of innovation or value selection. But Lenovo is in the process of updating and expanding its gaming lineup, as evidenced by the Legion Y530, a budget system that's sleek and powerful. Pair those upcoming systems with Lenovo's solid warranty, and the company has a real shot at moving up in the rankings next year.

Best-Worst-Gaming-Laptops-2018_LENOVO_675Lenovo Report Card | Our Top Lenovo Gaming Laptop

 

 

Correction: Due to an error, we initially published that Alienware earned a 6/10 in the Software section when it actually earned an 8/10. As a result, Alienware has moved into a second-place tie with Acer. We have updated the scorecards and copy to reflect this change. We regret the error. 

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11 comments
  • Rocky Says:

    i am using HP OMEN 17 Gaming Laptop and i love this gadget as it has 17.3-inch Full HD display and Intel Core i7 ,also it has VR-ready NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 graphics and a long 7 hours battery life. for more visit - https://www.hptechnicalsupportphonenumbersusa.com/hp-customer-support/

  • Hadrien Says:

    Hi... there is something I don't understand... concerning lenovo, you score their warranty prices at 2/5... and in the text just above, you affirm that they have a "solid warranty process"... could you take one side? Cause it is definitely not clear... please keep me in touch.

  • Marko Says:

    Why isn't Samsung on the list? They have their new Odyssey gaming brand now.

  • LOL Nice one! You almost had me there :P Says:

    LOL XD Good one guys.
    Though for people who didn't get the joke or maybe looking for a serious list, here's a proper ranking:

    1. MSI
    2. Clevo
    3. Gigabyte
    4. Asus
    5. Acer

    ... and that's it! No, other brands don't exist, at least not until they're worthy.

  • Arkoden Says:

    The fact that Dell, Acer and HP even made it on here is a laugh.. We were one of the first on board with an Alienware laptop and there is no support or drivers for them past windows 8.. Of the few people I know who have purchased an Alienware laptop, 100% of these devices have killed their graphics cards right at the end of the warranty period, and regardless of how ok Dell were with replacing them, the fact that they will die just as soon once the warranty has ended and you wont have that support.

    Going down to their general consumer devices, Dell, HP and Acer have always been unreliable at best, even when well cared for. Dont expect a laptop you buy from either of these brands to last you long past the warranty period, and consider yourself lucky if you do. I would still buy a Toshiba before I bought any of these three, and Toshiba have been dropping the ball lately also.

    Asus, MSI, Sony and Lenovo should be your Go To brands for laptops. Even if you have to pay a little bit more for them, generally the features and reliability make up for it. Don't trust my word on it, actually look for reviews.

    This list is rigged, and I'm with P White on the suggestion that the reviews here are cherry picked.

  • SixtyFPS Gaming Says:

    The fact that this review doesn't include Sager makes me angry. They are some of the most customizable and competitively priced gaming laptops on the market and I've owned 3 so far and would never buy any other brand.

  • Doesn't understand Says:

    Okay so I'm looking for a laptop and all I see on review sites regarding Asus, Lenovo, Acer and Dell/Alienware are similar to what "P White" said. Okay "P White" well if all of these laptop brands suck and all of their laptops overheat then what else is there besides Apple? Is there another laptop brand you would like to share with us that makes a perfect laptop that never gets too hot? Does another brand even exist? I doubt it.

  • edit1754 Says:

    Interesting. I've got a few nitpicks.

    Alienware/Dell: Some options are good. Dell Inspiron 7567 base model & in most countries all models, as well as all models of the Inspiron 5577, use pretty awful low quality TN displays with poor contrast and viewing angles. The 7567 is a fantastic all-rounder if you get an IPS model (or get either and DIY-replace the display), but I can only recommend it if you do that. Low quality displays in higher-priced laptops is a huge issue in the market today. Pay attention to it, folks. For Alienwares, I would price-check vs alternatives, and definitely be aware if you're a student you might not want something as large as their 17.3-incher for bringing to class.

    MSI: Thing about MSI is they have a lot of great models, and a lot of poor models. MSI is one of those brands that you especially have to be specific about which models are being talked about. For example, the MSI GT62VR has some of the best out-of-box cooling of GTX 1060 / 1070 laptops, whereas the GP62MVR/GP62MVRX is a high priced laptop with a poor quality display and not much else to show for it either. Same for the GL62M (alternative: Dell Inspiron 7567 with IPS). MSI GS63VR is good for a slim GTX 1060 model but you have to make sure to avoid the Best Buy versions (-001/-252) due to a poor TN display, and the 4K models aren't good since they use PenTile RG/BW not-true-4K displays (regarded deceptive marketing, more info in the http://reddit.com/r/SuggestALaptop/ sidebar; you can get true 4K for this price). And either way, you might consider a Clevo P950HP6 instead. More on Clevo a bit lower in this post.

    Razer: They have basically three models. Razer Blade I think is alright but be aware its 1060 is nerfed in order to work in the small chassis, and due to QC issues I might suggest to buy from Microsoft Store for good service and easy returns/replacements. Razer Blade Stealth is only good for gaming if you use the Razer Core or other eGPU, and I think the Razer Blade Pro is an all-around poor value in addition to its nerfed 1080.

    Origin: Origin is a Clevo OEM/reseller, and is commonly regarded to be not a very good one at that. They charge as much as the best ones (HIDEvolution, Obsidian-PC) without rivaling them in service quality. IMO this list should rank Clevo itself, not a particular OEM/reseller, and then suggest which OEMs/resellers are best to buy from. HID+Obsidian are great, LPC-digital is solid and is cheaper. Eluktronics is good for the N-series since they use higher-color-gamut displays than everyone else. Which one to buy from depends on your budget and which model you're picking.

    Aorus/Gigabyte: They have a number of solid models. Especially Aorus. The Gigabyte P35x has cooling issues but the P55w is good, the Gigabyte Sabre 15 is Clevo N850 rebrand that's all-around worse in specs and value than Eluktronics' offerings (lower-gamut display, smaller battery, higher price for the same GPU config). If you live in the USA, buy the Eluktronics N850, not the Gigabyte Sabre 15. But the Aorus X3/X5/X7 models from this company are definitely very solid choices I would say.

    Lenovo: Y520 is decent for its price (provided you're picking a model under $1000); Y720 is fine for either up to $1200 (Has TB3 but its IPS display is lacking in color gamut compared to most GTX 1060 laptops that are $1200+).

    HP: HP Pavilion with the GTX 1050 and IPS display is a fine value for a cheaper GTX 1050 laptop. The Inspiron 7567 if you get it with the IPS display I think would be better though. HP Omen 17 isn't the best GTX 1060/1070 laptop I don't think, in terms of cooling and build quality, and I'd really only consider it if you can get it particularly cheap. Also be aware if you were after a high-res display, HP Pavilion/Omen 15.6" '4K' displays are PenTile / not true 4K, whereas their 17.3" 4K optoins are the real deal.

  • P White Says:

    IDK who did the cherry picked reviews but all kinds of people are having thermal/QC issues with these laptops. Send me your sample if it's that good b/c I sent two of em back.

  • Phil Williams Says:

    Besides having a pretty keyboard, the AW15 & 17 are way oversized and heavy. They also are to hot to sit on your lap. I don't even think they look that nice.

  • Phil Williams Says:

    I strongly disagree with Alienware being the best laptop after purchasing the AW15 R3. AW15 & 17 have serious sound issues. Beings streams and vids are one of the biggest uses of gaming laptops I think this should destroy their score.

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