12 Best Laptops for Gaming in 2018
Any list involving the best laptops can be tough to get a handle on due to frequent model changes and a wide variety of tech. When it comes to the best laptop for gaming, it gets simpler as we are going for sheer power across the board. Well, that and an amazing display.
While there are always other things to consider when you are on the hunt for a new gaming rig, laptops are going to limit you in a few areas. Thankfully, graphics aren’t one of them, so you won’t find a single unit with integrated graphics on our list; this is one time where bigger is definitely better in all the key areas, but as we are dealing with gamers, there are going to be other things to keep in mind.
Before we get to our buyer’s guide, all of the laptops to make the cut are powerful and not what we could consider budget-friendly, but they are the best of the best and worth the asking price if you’re serious about your gaming technology.
Top 12 Laptops for Gaming Comparison Table
|Design||Name||Graphics Card||Display||Rating (1-5)|
|1. HP Pavilion 17t Touch 17.3” Premium Gaming and Business Laptop||GeForce Varies||Varies||4.7|
|2. Gigabyte Aero 14Wv7-BK4 14″ Notebook||GeForce GTX 1060||QHD||4.2|
|3. Acer Predator 17 Gaming Laptop||GeForce GTX 980M||Varies||4.2|
|4. MSI VR Ready GT72VR Tobii-031 17.3″ Hardcore Gaming Laptop||GeForce GTX 1070||FHD||4.2|
|5. Acer Aspire VX 15 Gaming Laptop||GeForce GTX 1050||FHD||4.1|
|6. CUK ASUS GL702VM ROG Gamer G-Sync Laptop||GeForce GTX 1060||FHD||4.0|
|7. MSI GS73VR Stealth Pro 17.3″ FHD VR||GeForce GTX 1060||FHD||4.0|
|8. The Razer Blade – HD Gaming Laptop||GeForce GTX 1060||FHD||4.0|
|9. MSI GE72 Apache Pro-070 17.3″ SLIM AND LIGHT GAMING LAPTOP||GeForce GTX 970M||FHD||3.9|
|10. Lenovo IdeaPad 700 15.6″ Full HD IPS Notebook Computer||GeForce GTX 940M||FHD||3.8|
|11. ASUS ROG G752VS-XS74K OC Edition Gaming Laptop||GeForce GTX 1070||FHD||3.8|
|12. MSI GT80S TITAN SLI-002 18.4″ GAMING LAPTOP||GeForce GTX 980M||FHD||3.8|
Gaming Laptop Buying Guide
Hardcore gamers already know what to look for in a machine, but if you are new to the scene, you will want to proceed with caution and look before you leap.
Display & Graphics
The graphics card and your display are two things that go hand in hand. While you can’t play high-end games without a great graphics card, it is essentially worthless if your display is less than stellar. For any real gaming, you are going to want a display with a resolution of at least 1,920 x 1,080 or FHD. QHD or 2,560 x 1,440 would be the next step up while 4K or UHD monitors are currently king of the hill. That’s roughly 4 times more pixels than FHD.
As for the graphics cards, the bigger, the better. NVIDIA and ATI Radeon are the main two cards you’ll find on our list and either will get the job done. All with come with dedicated memory or RAM as well, and again, the more the better if you want to run top-tier games at a full frame rate. If you have a particular game in mind you want to play, just check the system requirements for the graphics card in the laptop.
This comes down to the processor and memory. Intel processors are the top choice with the current-gen i7 chips being the ones to want if they are within your budget. Each year brings a new generation of chips as well, something to keep in mind when you see “gen” in a listing next to the processor.
Memory or RAM is one of the few components you may be able to add later on. That said, it’s one of the cheaper components, and most gaming laptops will come with 8-12GB at a minimum. Not our picks however, as we feel the best laptop for gaming needs to have at least 16GB under the hood although some will go as high as 32GB or 64GB.
Games can take up a lot of space; this is a fact. The better the game and graphics, the more space it’s up, and those little disks can hold far more than you think. That’s just the initial download. When it comes time to update (it will happen) things can get out of hand rather quickly, not to mention any add-ons or expansion packs. Needless to say, one game can easily run over 60GB which means space is important.
The Hard drives in the machines on our list will come with at least 500GB standard, and either have an SSD or HDD drive for storage. SSD stands for solid state which provides faster load times and is usually more expensive. It can be used alone or coupled with a hard disk drive or HDD. While not as snappy, they will certainly get the job done and ensure you won’t run out of space. If you are a heavy game, go for Terabytes or TB, not Gigabytes aka GB when it comes to storage.
Top 5 Best Laptop for Gaming Reviews
Our top choice for the best laptop for gaming comes from an unexpected source. It isn’t MSI or Alienware, but HP with a professionally upgraded Pavilion 17t Premium Gaming Laptop. While the company isn’t necessarily known for their gaming prowess, they bucked the trend with this model, and it comes in several different configurations as well. It’s also a little bit of an oddball.
If you want a UHD display on this laptop, you will get a beast. This model comes with a 17.3-inch display sporting a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 and is powered by the Intel i7-6700QH quad-core processor. That’s backed by 16GB of RAM which ensures you can run anything and run it well when you factor in the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M which has 4GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM. Not impressed? How about a 2TB hard drive with a 128GB SSD for speedy access?
That’s just the top-tier model, but if you are willing to go down to an FHD display, you can get even more horsepower. There is a version with 32GB of RAM and the Intel Core i7-7700HQ. You still get 2TB of storage but get more choices with the SSD, and you’re getting a different graphics card with the GeForce GTX 1050. Both models will get the job done, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the Bang & Olufsen sound system and the OS which is listed as Windows 10.
If you don’t dig HP as a brand and want something that looks like a gaming laptop, prepare to meet the Gigabyte Aero. It’s actually one of the smaller machines on our list with a 14” display, but it is of the QHD variety, so those pixels will pop. The games will look great as well thanks to the GeForce GTX 1060 with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM.
When it comes to extras, you will receive XSplit Gamecaster & Broadcaster, a USB Type-C port, HDMI 2.0 and a TriDef SmartCam. Those features along with Windows 10 are standard on all models, but you can choose how much power you want. There are two main variations with an i7-6700HQ and the i7-7700HQ, both of which come with 16GB of RAM. They all come with 512GB solid state drives although three models with the 6700 sport the GTX 965M instead of the 1060.
Either way you roll, the Gigabyte Aero is a solid gaming laptop with better battery life than most. You can think the slightly smaller display for that along with the 94.24 Wh battery.
Acer’s Predator laptops have gained ground over the past year, and while they didn’t take our top spot, they are the winner when it comes to design. The sleek gaming machine looks great in Red & Black with the Predator logo on the lid and an advanced cooling setup in the back. Needless to say, this one will stay cool as you game long into the wee hours of the morning.
If you appreciate a laptop with options, this one is you. The display runs between a 15.6” FHD model all the way up to a 17.3” UHD display while the RAM is listed between 16GB and 32GB depending on which base model you choose. Both 32GB options come with a 1TB HDD and a 512GB SDD while the 16GB variant offers up a 1TB HDD and options of either 128GB, 256GB or 512GB for the solid state drive.
While you will get great performance out of this one, the battery life is just so-so at around 5 hours depending on the setup and usage. All versions will run Windows 10 out of the box, but the graphics card varies between the GTX 980, the 1060 and 1070. Other feature to note include Killer Wireless-AC 1535 with Mu-MIMO tech, four USB 3.0 ports, and a TrueHarmony Hi-Def sound setup.
MSI is a name you will see several times on our best gaming laptop list, and for a good reason: they make amazing gaming rigs. This one is the VR Ready GT72 Tobii-031 which is dubbed a “hardcore” gaming laptop. After looking at the specs, we totally agree, and this one comes with an Eye-Tracking sensor as an additional perk.
As with the rest of our laptops, this one is all about what you want under the hood. In this case, you get the i7-6700HQ processor across the board, but get an option of either 12GB, 16GB or 32GB of RAM. A 1TB hard drive is standard, but you do get a choice with the solid state drive and graphics card which will be the GTX 1060 or GTX 1070. Appreciate a great keyboard? Then you will dig this one as it’s the Steel Series that sports a full-color backlight and anti-ghosting keys.
The only downside to this particular PC is the fact you can’t get a UHD display, so you have to roll with an FHD panel at either 15.6” or 17.3”. Your battery life will certainly improve, but it is a bit of a downer considering everyone is moving to 4K.
Acer managed to crack our Top 5 for a second time with the Acer Aspire VX 15 Gaming Laptop. As the name implies, this one is a 15.6” laptop which puts it on the small side, but it is also one of the most affordable options on our list. The FHD display is part of the reason as it certainly isn’t the design or what you will find under the hood.
This one is ready to roll as-is, so there are no options to choose from. That’s a good thing for plenty of folks, and we don’t think you will be disappointed by the 7th gen Core i7-7700HQ and 16GB of RAM. A 256GB solid state drive will take care of your storage while a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti with 4GB of GDDR5 VRAM will handle the graphics.
While affordable, this one still has all the bells & whistles you’ll want with a dual-fan cooling setup, backlit keyboard, and the company’s TrueHarmony sound system. The battery life is rated at around 6 hours, and there are a wide variety of ports including a USB Type-C, two USB 3.0 ports, USB 2.0 and HDMI out.