Gaming technology has seen incredible leaps and bounds in the past decade. Not that long ago, a laptop for serious gaming was a thing of fantasy. But now, they have become powerful enough to run most games seamlessly, providing you with an immersive experience. Past gaming laptops often compromised on battery life, graphics, and processing speed, but the latest devices perform almost as well as desktop gaming computers, thanks to updated processors, SSDs, and graphic cards.
Check out the quick reviews below of our top five gaming laptops, or scroll deeper for more helpful buying info and full reviews of those models plus other high-ranking options.
Features to Consider When Shopping
Due to the overwhelming amount of specs in each gaming laptop’s product description, shopping for the right model can get confusing fast. Here are the most important components you’ll want to pay attention to.
CPU: a.k.a. the central processing unit that makes the computer programing run. We recommend an Intel Core i9 or i7 for gaming.
Storage: Most laptops will have anywhere from 500GB to 3TB (3000GB). 500GB is ideal for a beginner gamer, but most have 1-2TB, which is more than enough for the average gamer.
RAM: There should be no less than 8GB of RAM (random access memory) in a gaming computer, but at least 16GB is recommended.
Resolution: This will have a big impact on the visuals of the game play. The higher the resolution, the crisper the image. 1920 x 1080 is a good bet, and is typical for most gaming laptops.
How We Selected and Rated Them
We researched 10 expert sources including Tech Radar, Consumer Reports, and PC Magazine, as well as 3,200 consumer reviews to select the top six gaming laptops of the year. Our Consumer Score represents the percentage of consumers who rated the product at least 4 out of 5 stars on retail and review sites like Amazon, Walmart, and manufacturers’ websites.
Total Expert Score: 86/100 | Consumer Score: 86% gave it 4 stars or higher
Lean, mean, and ready to game, this laptop is at the top of its game.
CPU: Intel Core i7 or i9 | Storage: 1-2 TB | Screen Size: 17.3” | RAM: 16-64GB | Resolution: 1920 x 1080
This laptop is a gamer’s dream. Although the Alienware Area-51m comes in at a hefty price over $2,000, you won’t be disappointed by lagging video or subpar image quality. One of the most powerful gaming laptops available, it even outperforms some PCs. Its somewhat chunky design is a giveaway that this is a gaming laptop, but it’s still fairly sleek—appearing more like a refined machine than a glorified toy.
“I’ve gone through a lot of laptops over the years,” wrote one reviewer. “Must say the A-51m is the best I have ever owned. I use it for work and gaming. The performance is mind blowing for a laptop and for the first time ever I’ve been able to max out the graphics settings in my games without any issues.” Critics claimed that its biggest downside is its heat and loud fan after playing for an extended period of time, but as far as sharp images and lightning fast processors go, the Area-51 can’t be beat.
Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX531GX
Total Expert Score: 84/100 | Consumer Score: 76% gave it 4 stars or higher
This portable Asus keeps its cool even during the most demanding of games.
CPU: Intel Core i7 | Storage: 1 TB | Screen Size: 15.6” | RAM: 24 GB | Resolution: 1920 x 1080
This laptop will almost keep your gaming habits a secret. With its 15-inch screen and slim appearance, it looks like most Windows laptops nowadays. But don’t let its size fool you, this Asus is ready to game. In addition to incredible performance, it has an innovative cooling system that keeps the laptop from burning up. For less than price of the Area-51, the Asus ROG Zephyrus offers similar power in a smaller body. However, it doesn’t have an HDR screen, making its graphics slightly less spectacular.
MSI GS75 Stealth
Total Expert Score: 80/100 | Consumer Score: 79% gave it 4 stars or more
With a 17-inch screen but thin design, this laptop best balances performance and portability.
CPU: Intel Core i7 | Storage: 512GB | Screen Size: 17.3” | RAM: 16GB | Resolution: 1920 x 1080
The MSI GS75 Stealth is well under one inch thick, but still powerful and ready to run the most intense graphics without a sweat. With a 144Hz screen, the gameplay moves seamlessly on the large 17-inch screen. Along with a great battery life, it boasts a more portable and slim design compared to some of MSI’s thicker models. Complaints centered around it having only 512GB of storage and a full HD display, but for average gamers who might want to use the laptop for work and play, it is sleek and unassuming (apart from the rainbow backlit keyboard).
Razer Blade 15
Total Expert Score: 86/100 | Consumer Score: 79% gave it 4 stars or higher
Razer has refined its Blade gaming laptop with more speed, battery, and style.
CPU: Intel Core i7 | Storage: 512GB | Screen Size: 15.6” | RAM: 16GB | Resolution: 1920 x 1080
The Razer Blade makes a statement in bright pink, but since bubblegum isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, it also comes in black. But the most notable features of this laptop are not the colors, but the specs. Razer’s Blade lineup has been at the top of the gaming laptop market for years it’s only gotten better with age. The latest model kept last year’s display, which is actually a good thing, since it was already 1080p and has a 144Hz refresh rate for smooth graphics. Coming in at just under $1,500 for the most basic model (not including upgrades), it may not exactly be budget friendly, but is more affordable than many gaming laptops.
Lenovo Legion Y740
Total Expert Score: 80/100 | Consumer Score: 90% gave it 4 stars or higher
This laptop processes even the most graphics-heavy games at lightning speed.
CPU: Intel Core i7 | Storage: 1TB | Screen Size: 15.6” | RAM: 16GB | Resolution: 1920 x 1080
The Lenovo Legion is a great laptop—just don’t leave home without your charger. Lenovo makes up for its wimpy battery life with an expert cooling system and the ability to individualize through applications. “It offers blazing fast performance, even with graphics hungry games, and couples it with a beautiful and bright 1080p display,” wrote Tech Radar. “And, it does all this in an elegant, if a little bulky, chassis.” It also comes at a more digestible price of $1,600. Depending on whether you care to use a webcam, it does have one possibly insurmountable downside: The webcam is placed at the bottom of the screen, which gives a permanent ‘accidental phone snapshot’ vantage point.
Lenovo Ideapad L340
Consumer Score: 87% gave it 4 stars or more
Inexpensive and unassuming, this laptop can still hold its own.
CPU: Intel Core i5 | Storage: 256GB | Screen Size: 15.6” | RAM: 8GB | Resolution: 1920 x 1080
This Lenovo Ideapad is bringing high speed, portable gaming down to a more reasonable price. For less than the iPhone 11 Pro, it can power just about any game, and it comes in a discreet package. It has a good, not great, display, but it’s more than adequate for the price. It is impressively light, weighing only 5 pounds—which is respectable for a gaming laptop under $1,000. PC Mag claimed that this Lenovo could also fit in as an everyday work laptop, writing that it has an “understated design that won’t look gaudy in public or in an office.” Obviously, this is not the best gaming device out there, but it is one of the best you can get for the price point, especially if you’re primarily looking for a work or school laptop that can also handle casual gaming.
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