When it comes to gaming laptops, you can typically expect to shell out upward of $2,000, if you're looking for quality specs. However, ahmed_173, one of our forum members, is on the hunt for a 15-inch gaming laptop with at least a 1080p display and a minimum 4 hours of battery life that can play games on at least medium settings for under $1,200.
After checking out some of our latest reviews and doing a bit of comparison shopping, I was able to narrow it down to a couple of choices for Ahmed: The Dell Inspiron 15 7000, the Asus ROG Strix GL553VD and the Acer Predator VX 15. Each laptop has its strengths and weaknesses, but manages to check off some or most of ahmed_173's gaming laptop wish list.
We recently reviewed the Inspiron 15 7000 (starting at $799, reviewed at $849), which fits perfectly within Ahmed's budget and offers solid overall and graphics performance. Thanks to its Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti GPU, the laptop consistently delivered a minimum 30 fps across all of our gaming benchmarks.
Equipped with one of Intel's new 7th-gen Kaby Lake processors, the laptop can handle its fair share of multitasking. As far as endurance goes, the laptop lasted an insane 11 hours and 23 minutes on our battery test, making it the longest lasting gaming laptop we've tested thus far. Plus, it's got that sweet Hibiscus Red chassis. However, our biggest gripe against the Inspiron 15 is its 1080p display ,which is dull, inaccurate and can put a damper on even the prettiest games. He could configure the system with a 4K display, but it would put him over his budget at $1,299.
My second choice is the Asus ROG Strix GL553VD. Priced at $1,099, the Strix is at the higher end of Ahmed's budget, but has some intriguing features that could make it worth his while. For a budget laptop, the Strix has an absolutely lovely display that is both vivid and accurate. We're also fond of the keyboard that's comfortable and customizable, although the touchpad can be finicky. This is also one of the few notebooks that still offers an optical drive, which would be helpful if Ahmed ever wants to watch a DVD.
The Strix is outfitted with a GTX 1050, which is Nvidia's entry-level GPU. That means ahmed_173 probably won't be able to play games on ultra, but it might be able to maintain 30 fps on high. He could spring for the iteration of the system with the GTX 1050 Ti GPU, but at $1,198, it's just on the cusp of his budget. When we tested the Strix's battery life, it lasted 3 hours and 41 minutes, which is below ahmed_173's requirement, but not so much that it's a deal-breaker.
And last, but certainly not least, you have the Acer Predator VX 15. Starting at $799, the Predator is a handsome machine even though it's made of plastic. Like its compatriots, it can potentially deliver a steady 30 fps, thanks to its Nvidia GTX 1050 GPU. And it's not too shabby on the productivity front with a 7th-gen Core i5 processor. It also has some surprisingly good speakers, and the keyboard is really responsive. Best of all, the laptop can last an impressive 7 hours and 8 minutes on a charge.
However, the bland display left something to be desired as did the storage options. The $799 version we reviewed has only a 256GB SSD, which a dedicated gamer can fill up with only a few titles. Acer does offer a version with a 1TB hard drive, but the prices jump to $1,050. We're also not too pleased with the amount of bloatware that comes with the system, including Priceline, Kindle and Dashline apps.
Looking at the options, I'm going to suggest that ahmed_173 go with the Asus Strix GL553VD. Although it falls a little below his battery-life requirement, the laptop offers solid overall and gaming performance with a beautiful display, a great keyboard and an optical drive to boot. If battery life is his biggest priority, than the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 gaming laptop is a no-brainer. But ultimately, I feel the Strix will give ahmed_173 the value and performance he's searching for.
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Sherri L. Smith has been cranking out product reviews for Laptopmag.com since 2011. In that time, she's reviewed more than her share of laptops, tablets, smartphones and everything in between. The resident gamer and audio junkie, Sherri was previously a managing editor for Black Web 2.0 and contributed to BET.Com and Popgadget.