The Best VR-Ready Laptops

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Virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift 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.

A laptop 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. Nvidia has also rolled out its powerful RTX chips, the 2060, 2070 and 2080 (along with Max-Q variants), in a wave of all new laptops, like the Alienware Area-51m, MSI GS75 StealthAsus ROG Mothership and Dell's G-Series Gaming Laptops.

What this means for your new laptop is that it'll have stronger gaming performance and give you the option to enable ray-tracing (a realistic lighting system). Whether you get the thinnest laptop with 3 SSDs and an RTX 2080 Max-Q or a beastly gaming laptop that let's you easily replace its CPU and GPU, the year of RTX isn't simply a refresh but a complete redesign of the affected laptops.

VR Minimum Specs

1. Intel Core i5-6300HQ processor
2. Nvidia GeForce GTX 980, 1050 Ti (due to Oculus' Asynchronous SpaceWarp), 10601070 or 1080 GPU. RTX 2060, 2070 and 2080 are the stronger alternatives.
3. 8GB of RAM
4. Two USB 3.0 ports
5. HDMI 1.4
6. 1920 x 1080 display
7. Windows 8 or 10

If you're struggling to decide between RTX 2070 or GTX 1070 Max-Q GPU, we wrote a detailed break out for you, and if you're looking for an affordable VR-ready laptop, the MSI GV62 is currently on sale for $799 ($100 off). Also, check out our hands-on with Oculus Quest, aka the first standalone headset with Oculus Rift-level graphics.

The following are the best VR-ready laptops on the market based on size, price and use case. 

Best Value - Dell G3 15 Gaming

The Dell G3 15 Gaming is proof that budget isn't a bad word. The laptop offers a speedy 8th Gen Intel Core i7 processor comboed with a VR-ready Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q GPU — all for just $999. It also comes with a 128GB SSD and a 1TB HDD, delivering fast boot and transfer times and plenty of storage for your games.

Pros: Stylish interior; Solid performance; Good battery life; Decent audio
Cons: Dim and dull display; Low-travel keyboard; No gaming utilities

Key SpecsCPU: Intel Core i5/Core i7 | GPU: Nvidia GTX 1050/1050 Ti/1060 | RAM: 8GB/16GB | Storage: 1TB HDD/128G SSD + 1TB HDD/256GB SSD/512GB SSD | Display: 15.6-inch (1080p) | Size: 14.96 x 10.16 x 0.89 inches | Weight: 5.18 pounds

Best Splurge - Alienware Area-51m

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.

Pros: Stunning space station aesthetic; Excellent graphics and overall performance; Lightning fast SSDs; All major components upgradable
Cons: Exorbitantly expensive

Key Specs — 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

Best 15-inch - Alienware m15

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 GTX 1070 Max-Q GPU into this baby, and despite being Max-Q, it still blows away the SteamVR performance test with a 10.1. While it doesn't have a 4K display, its 144Hz panel with 150 percent sRGB color gamut and 284 nits of brightness is mesmerizing.

Pros: Sleek, lightweight design; Great overall and gaming performance; Stunning display; Comfortable keyboard; Long battery life for gaming laptop
Cons: Audio could be better; Bottom gets warm; Expensive as configured

Key Specs — CPU: Intel Core i7/Core i9 | GPU: Nvidia GTX 1060 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

Best 17-inch - MSI GT75 Titan (2019)

MSI’s GT75 Titan took a dip into the lazarus pit and has been reborn as the champion of Nvidia’s latest RTX 2080 GPU, maxing out the SteamVR Performance Test with ease and being able to nail 140 frames per second on the Hitman benchmark (Ultra, 1080p). At 10 pounds and 1.2~2.3 inches thick, the GT75 Titan also packs an overclockable 8th Gen Core i9 processor accompanied by a vivid 4K panel and a punchy mechanical keyboard.

Pros: Great overall and graphic performance; Excellent audio; Vivid, bright 4K panel; Super comfortable mechanical keyboard
Cons: Extremely expensive

Key Specs — CPU: Intel Core i7/Core i9 | GPU: Nvidia RTX 2070/2080 | RAM: 16GB/32GB | Storage: 256GB SSD/ 512GB SSD + 1TB HDD | Display: 17.3-inch (1080p/4K) | Size: 16.9 x 12.4 x 1.2-2.3 inches | Weight: 10 pounds

Best Lightweight - Razer Blade 15 (2019)

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.

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 | 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

Best Max-Q Design - MSI GS75 Stealth

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.

Pros: Slim, sexy design; Viciously vivid display; Great audio; Solid performance and graphics
Cons: Below-average battery life; Runs hot

Key Specs — 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

Best Workstation - Dell Precision 7730

The Dell Precision 7730 packs a beastly Nvidia Quadro P5200 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 211 percent of the sRGB color gamut and emitted 330 nits of brightness. On top of that, passed 15 MIL-SPEC durability tests and even has a super comfortable keyboard, which great for gaming when you're out of the virtual world.

Pros: Vibrant, sharp 4K display; Blistering performance; Comfortable keyboard; Durable, premium design; Powerful graphics
Cons: Below-average battery life; Runs warm; Top configs are absurdly expensive

Key Specs — CPU: Intel Core i5/Core i7/Xeon | GPU: Intel HD GFX or Radeon Pro WX 4150/7100 or Nvidia Quadro P4200/P5200 | RAM: 8GB/16GB/32GB | Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB SSD | Display: 17.3-inch (900p/1080p/4K) | Size: 16.3 x 10.8 x 1.2 inches | Weight: 7.5 pounds

New and Notable - Asus ROG Mothership

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, 1920 x 1080 panel.

And its badass name does it justice, as it's armed with an Intel Core i9-8950K 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. There's no word on pricing as of yet, but the ROG Mothership is launching sometime during Q2 2019.

Author Bio
Rami Tabari
Rami Tabari,
As soon as Rami Tabari sprung out of the College of Staten Island, he hit the ground running as a Staff Writer for Laptop Mag. He reviews every shape and form of a laptop as well as all sorts of cool tech. You can find him sitting at his desk surrounded by a hoarder's dream of laptops, and when he navigates his way out to civilization, you can catch him watching really bad anime or playing some kind of painfully difficult game. He’s the best at every game and he just doesn’t lose. That’s why you’ll occasionally catch his byline in Tom’s Guide, taking on the latest Souls-like challenge.
Rami Tabari, on
Add a comment
  • Eiffion Says:

    Are VRs comparable with Mac yet ?

  • SaraT Says:

    Hey there, I hope you can give me the ultimate advice I need for my 360 VR post-production workflow. I'm a Mac user but ready to go Windows. Which is the laptop that can compete with the latest Mac Book Pro 32 Gb Ram and Intel i9 6core 2.9 GHZ?
    Thank you folks!

  • SaraT Says:

    Hey there, I hope you can give me the ultimate advice I need for my 360 VR post-production workflow. I'm a Mac user but ready to go Windows. Which is the laptop that can compete with the latest Mac Book Pro 32 Gb Ram and Intel i9 6core 2.9 GHZ?
    Thank you folks!

  • NYgeno Says:

    Phillip I’m sorry to say but I don’t think your laptop will run the Vive very well. If you need to be sure, run the steam vr performance test

  • philip Says:

    Will this run the HTC Vive ? i really really really want one but im scared to spend that kind of money and it not run properly... here are my laptop specs

    HP OMEN 156 Laptop Intel Core i7 8GB Memory NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 1TB Hard Drive HP sandblasted hairline brushing and carbon fiber
    Model: 15-CE018DX
    SKU: 6123301

  • Russ Earwaker Says:

    Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming is not VR ready, the Rift does not work on it

  • Shaun Says:

    Story dates October 13 2017.

    Comments date back to March 2016...

  • Christopher Hogan Says:

    I actually got an Alienware 15 R3 with i7 7700HQ and GTX 1070 GPU for about a week. Out of 12 Apps I installed, it ran all but one flawlessly at regular settings (The Grand Canyon VR Experience is VERY demanding to run in max mode, so it stuttered.) Anyway, after listening to the fan running full blast continuously, and realizing that for what I paid for it, I could have gotten an even better desktop for less, I decided to take it back and get a desktop. I want to be able to take my Oculus on the road, which is why I initially went with a laptop, but even with a laptop, you still have to unhook and re-hook-up four cables, then you have to set up the sensors and calibrate the room, etc. So aside from hooking up the monitor and keyboard, the only disadvantage to a desktop is that the box is bigger. So I'll just put everything on a wheeled carrier and its just like a medium carry-on bag at the airport. But if you are okay with not running everything at max resolution and listening to some fan noise, there's nothing wrong with a good gaming laptop.

  • Anthony ONeal Says:

    Have you looked at Sager Notebooks? I would be interested to see a review including one of their desktop replacements.

  • stickemup Says:

    Theo!, have you checked out the Alienware 15? It might fit your needs.

  • Theo! Says:

    So after reading many reviews and searching throughout every webpage featuring the latest in available top tier gaming laptops, None are working upto par for what they are meant to do.

    If it isn't the fans not working properly, its the last years graphics card, or lack of proper screen brightness, or hdd optical error issues, and overheating/random crashes.

    Has anyone found a decent gaming laptop? Or should i just go for a effin desktop. I like the portability mainly because its easy to throw in a backpack and take off, i've had housing issues before, and if i want to leave my place i want evcerything to fit in a god damn bag on my back. I have issues apparently. I want a laptop with the gtx1070+ at least that doesn't overheat after hours of gaming/brightscreen/has a fan that isn't loud.

    Am i just dreaming or is this not available yet.

    if not im thinking a new laptop company is in order and i might be starting one, with custom built laptops designed for high performance, and carefully tested to not have these god awful problems.

    I may have missed an issue or two that is also common, but otherwise you get my point, please email for comment :

  • Jason Says:

    Asus ROG 'Oculus ready' flagship lollypop: actual real-world reviews state that it's not so ready, with 'minimum specs' warning popping up on the Rift.

  • Josh Larson Says:

    It's important - I'd argue crucial - to note that some laptops with NVIDIA Optimus are NOT Oculus Ready, which means they're only superficially "VR Ready". Both the MSI GS63VR Stealth Pro and the Razor Blade both have a lot of stuttering and frame drop issues due to how Optimus manages switching between the dGPU and integrated card. IMO that should immediately disqualify the Stealth. You don't mention this front-and-center, surely it's extremely important?! It makes me think you didn't actually try VR titles with these laptops, you're just analyzing numbers, which as every tech savvy person knows is often misleading.

  • Nateaaaaa Says:

    Also note that the MSI GT80 can't run in SLI for very long. Even when it's plugged in, that drains the battery.

  • Faisal Says:

    So which one is the best ignoring the price

  • Mike the Corrector Says:

    The price for the Origin PC Eon17-SLX is not right. That's the price with an I5 and a 970m. Not a great deal. With the I7 and the true 980, its $2991.

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