Virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift S and the HTC Vive promise incredibly immersive experiences, including 360-degree games, apps and videos, but you'll need the best VR-ready laptop capable of handling all that power.
The best laptops with the proper specifications such as Nvidia's 10-series GPUs or the company's Max-Q GPUs, which essentially make even the smallest laptops a virtual reality powerhouse, will do the trick.
But Nvidia's latest RTX chips, the 2060, 2070 and 2080 (along with Max-Q variants), will give you stronger gaming performance and the option to enable ray-tracing (a realistic lighting system). The era of RTX isn't simply a refresh of our best gaming laptops, but a complete redesign of the best VR-ready systems. At CES 2020, we saw a ton of awesome VR-ready laptops like the new MSI GS66 Stealth. We also recently reviewed the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX502, and while it has some cool features, it's not the best performer.
VR Minimum Specs
- Intel Core i5-6300HQ processor
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 980, 1050 Ti (due to Oculus' Asynchronous SpaceWarp), 1060, 1070 or 1080 GPU. RTX 2060, 2070 and 2080 are the stronger alternatives. Here's how to check your GPU.
- 8GB of RAM
- 4GB of VRAM. Here's how to check your VRAM.
- Two USB 3.0 ports
- HDMI 1.4
- 1920 x 1080 display
- Windows 8 or 10
The following are the best VR-ready laptops on the market based on size, price and use case.
Here are the best VR-ready laptops
- Alienware Area-51m
- Lenovo Legion Y7000
- Alienware m15 OLED
- Asus ROG Mothership
- Razer Blade 15
- MSI GT76 Titan
- MSI GS75 Stealth
- MSI WS65 9TM
The best VR-ready laptop you can buy
CPU: Intel 8th Gen Core i7/9th Gen Core i7/Core i9 | GPU: Nvidia RTX 2060/2070/2080 | RAM: 8GB/16GB/32GB/64GB | Storage: 1TB HDD or 512GB/1TB/2TB SSD | Display: 17.3-inch (1080p/4K) | Size: 16.1 x 15.9 x 1.1~1.7 inches | Weight: 8.5 pounds
If you want to put a hole in your bank account, this is the way to do it. For $5,099, the Alienware Area 51-m will offer you all the power you could ever need with its 9th Gen Core i9 desktop processor and RTX 2080 GPU. This baby maxed out the SteamVR Performance Test without breaking a sweat. Along with the Area 51-m’s awesome power, you get a gorgeous sci-fi inspired chassis that packs lightning fast SSDs and a solid 17.3-inch, 1080p panel. To top it all off, its major components are completely upgradable.
See our full Alienware Area 51m review.
The best budget VR-ready laptop
CPU: Intel Core i7 | GPU: Nvidia GTX 1060 | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 256GB SSD 1TB HDD | Display: 15.6-inch (1080p) | Size: 14.2 x 10.5 x 1.1 - 0.9 inches | Weight: 5.3 pounds
The Lenovo Legion Y7000 is an absolute steal for just $1,099. It's armed with a Core i7-8750H processor, a VR-ready Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU, 16GB of RAM,a 256GB SSD and a 1TB 7,200-rpm HDD. It tore through games like Rise of the Tomb Raider on Very High settings at 1080p for 37 frames per second. On top of its power, it features a sexy sports car design, a display that covers 153% of the sRGB color spectrum, a keyboard with 1.4 millimeters of travel and a battery that can last up to 4 hours and 28 minutes on a charge.
See our full Lenovo Legion Y7000 review.
The best 15-inch VR-ready laptop
CPU: Intel Core i7/Core i9 | GPU: Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti or RTX 2060/2070/2080 | RAM: 8GB/16GB/32GB | Storage: 1TB HDD/256GB SSD 1TB HDD/512GB 1TB HDD/1TB SSD/2TB SSD | Display: 15.6-inch (1080p/4K) | Size: 14.3 x 10.8 x 0.8~0.7 inches | Weight: 4.8 pounds
In an effort to cut down on its beefy gaming laptops, Alienware developed the Alienware m15, a 0.7-inch slim speed demon. You can cram an 8th Gen Core i7 CPU and RTX2070 Max-Q GPU into this baby, and despite being Max-Q, it still blows away the SteamVR performance test with a perfect 11. It also has a bangin' 4K OLED display that covers 265% of the sRGB color gamut and emits 376 nits of brightness.
See our full Alienware m15 OLED review.
Most innovative VR-ready laptop
CPU: Intel Core i9 | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 | RAM: 64GB | Storage: 3 512GB SSD | Display: 17.3-inch (1080p or 4K) | Size: 16.1 x 12.6 x 1.2 inches | Weight: 10.5 pounds
Asus is pushing innovation with this wacky new gaming laptop / 2-in-1 / detachable monster, otherwise known as the ROG Mothership. What sets this apart from most gaming laptops is its adjustable kickstand and detachable keyboard, so all of the components are actually behind its 17.3-inch,1080p panel. And its badass name does it justice, as it's armed with an Intel Core i9-9850HK processor, up to 64GB of RAM, three NVMe M.2 PCI SSD in RAID 0 configuration and a Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 GPU with 8GB of VRAM. It powered through Rise of the Tomb Raider (Very High, 1080p) at 86 fps. The keyboard's island-style keys are nice and big with good spacing. Meanwhile, its 1080 panel wasn't overly saturated and delivered warm, realistic color.
See our full Asus ROG Mothership review.
The best slim VR-ready laptop
CPU: Intel Core i7 | GPU: Nvidia GTX 1060 or RTX 2060/2070/2080 | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 128GB SSD 1TB/512GB SSD | Display: 15.6-inch (1080p/4K) | Size: 14 x 9.3 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 4.7 pounds
The advanced model of the 15.6-inch Razer Blade once again takes the lightweight crown. The Razer Blade 15 ($2,649) retains its 0.7-inch thin chassis while pumping an 8th Gen i7 processor comboed with the GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU through its VR-ready veins. Within its svelte design lies a battery that lasts over 5 hours, which topples competing companies like Asus and MSI in terms of portability. And when you’re not in VR, you get a colorful 144-Hz display surrounded by paper-thin bezels that make it that much more charming. You can also check out our face off between the Razer Blade 15 and the Aero 15 Classic.
See our full Razer Blade 15 review.
The best 17-inch VR-ready laptop
CPU: Intel Core i7/Core i9 | GPU: Nvidia RTX 2070/2080 | RAM: 32GB/64GB | Storage: 256GB SSD/ 512GB SSD 1TB HDD | Display: 17.3-inch (1080p/4K) | Size: 15.6 x 12.9 x 1.3~1.7 inches | Weight: 10 pounds
MSI’s GT76 Titan got a major redesign and looks as dazzling as it has ever been. It's still boasting Nvidia’s latest RTX 2080 GPU, maxing out the SteamVR Performance Test with ease and being able to nail 79 frames per second on the Shadow of the Tomb Raider benchmark (Ultra, 1080p). At 10 pounds and 1.3~1.7 inches thick, the GT76 Titan also packs an overclockable 9th Gen Core i9 processor accompanied by a vivid 4K panel. While it doesn't have a mechanical keyboard, the keys were large, generously spaced and offered bouncy feedback without a hint of bottoming out.
See our full MSI GT76 Titan review.
The best Max-Q design
CPU: Intel Core i7 | GPU: Nvidia RTX 2060/2070/2080 | RAM: 16GB/32GB | Storage: 256GB/512GB SSD | Display: 17.3-inch (1080p) | Size: 15.6 x 10.2 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 5 pounds
Nvidia has found a way to take the most powerful graphics card around, the RTX 2080, and work some Max-Q magic to fit it in the MSI GS75 Stealth’s 0.7-inch slim chassis. Its svelte stature is paired with a black aluminum chassis trimmed in a stunning gold accent, and its 17.3-inch, 144Hz panel is incredibly colorful. Not to mention that this baby has a great pair of Dynaudio’s top-firing speakers. And of course, the GS75 Stealth had no issue maxing out the SteamVR Performance Test.
See our full MSI GS75 Stealth review.
The best workstation
CPU: Intel Core i7/Core i9 | GPU: Nvidia Quadro T2000/RTX 5000 Max-Q | RAM: 16GB/32GB | Storage: 512GB/1TB SSD | Display: 17.3-inch (1080p/4K) | Size: 14.1 x 9.8 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 4.3 pounds
The MSI WS65 9TM packs a beastly Nvidia Quadro RTX 5000 GPU with 16GB of VRAM, which is more than capable of handling VR despite being designed for 3D modeling, video editing and engineering. Its 17.3-inch, 4K display is also ridiculously vivid, as it covered 251 percent of the sRGB color gamut and emitted 393 nits of brightness. On top of that, passed several MIL-SPEC durability tests and even has a decently long battery life for a souped up workstation.
See our full MSI WS65 9TM review.