Most gamers will tell you that you need a dedicated gaming PC to get the best experience but take it from me, you don’t! I recently went through the process of buying a laptop for playing games and spent hours if not days researching which one was the best gaming laptop and more specifically which one was best for my budget and needs out with playing games.
Trying to decide which make and model to buy can be difficult. It’s why I decided to put together a comprehensive list so anyone looing for the best gaming laptops for 2018 doesn’t have to waste time reading reviews. Laptops don’t just need sheer processing power but they require a good battery, good screen and of course a cooling system that will keep it from overheating. That being said, any computer used for playing games will need a decent processor, a large amount of fast RAM, a quality graphics card and it must all fit into a portable and awesome looking shell which doesn’t weigh the earth.
The weight of a notebook can vary. I myself have a decent sized 17.3 Inch notebook for when I travel and it’s barely portable, I actually needed to buy a $200 ASUS ROG backpack because anything cheaper would just snap. At one point getting off a train a cheap backpack snapped on me! Thankfully everything was OK other than a few minor scratches. That was the day I learnt to invest in a good backpack.
Your laptop should pack all the power it can and also have a top quality screen, which provides the same quality as a high quality gaming monitor. In general speakers are often poor, or at best there OK so I would always suggest using headphones or buying a set speakers for your laptop. Some added features that make the difference between the good and great are back-lit keyboards, awesome case designs and powerful but quite cooling fans not to mention internal Blu-Ray drives, SSD and as much connectivity choices as possible. If you are like me you will want to pick up the reliable laser gaming mouse too, because let’s be honest no matter how good a trackpad is it’s not going to be anywhere near as good as a mouse dedicated to gamers.
Best Gaming Laptops
The PC has become the mainstay when it comes to gaming, but it does have a massive issue for some gamers – it’s not portable. Notebooks are great for getting work done, watching Netflix and even just doing some light game playing but running the latest AAA games is impossible for a normal laptop. This is why we now have gaming laptops which have processors powerful enough to run games, dedicated graphics cards like PCs and massive hard drives – preferably with the best SSD for gaming.
With the emergence of newer and smaller technology, it has meant that not only have notebooks caught up enough to really pack a lot of power for those resource heavy games but they are also affordable! Now, affordable to you might be expensive to someone else the same way cheap and budget friendly might be just right for one gamer and nowhere near the requirements for another. This is why we have taken the time to separate our notebooks lists into budgets. This way you don’t have to read about options that sounds great to realise its double what you want to spend!
Note: These vary in price on a daily basis so they may be a little cheaper or even more expensive depending on when you are looking to buy.
Best Under $1500
1500 is a lot of money no matter who you are its a lot of cash to put down on a laptop. That being said, the laptops you can get for that price will definitely get you gaming on the go.
Best Under $1000
When deciding a budget $1000 seems to be the most common answer and it’s certainly do-able. You need to be aware that technology moves quickly so your under $1000 might not be able to push 60FPS on the latest games ultra settings but it will certainly get you playing games at a high quality. Below we have put a list of the gaming laptops under $1000. Generally speaking the best value for money is often found between $1200 and $2000 for something that will keep you playing games for 2 years plus.
Best Under $700
I first started playing games seriously when I was at University and like all gamers, I gamed on a budget. I spent weeks hunting for the best cheap gaming laptop my money could buy! That means I needed to find a notebook that both suited my gaming needs as well as being enough to use for my studies. $700 is enough to get you a budget gaming laptop that will ensure you’re playing most of the latest games. Although, it won’t be enough to maintain high-quality graphics at high FPS. I actually still have it for when I go travelling as it runs most games, just with low to medium settings enabled.
Laptop Need to Knows
Below we have comprised a rough checklist of information you need to know when you buy your next gaming notebook.
Best Brands To Choose
It used to be the case that gaming laptops were very few and far between but with the latest technology they have their own section of the market. Brands like Alienware (Dell), Asus, CyberPower, MSI, Razor and Gigabyte have dedicated notebooks for gamers on the move. It has never been so easy to buy a laptop that will let you play new and future games.
What CPU do you need?
When you are looking at high-performance games you would ideally be looking at picking up a laptop with the latest Intel. Both dual and quad core processors will be fine, but ideally, you should be aiming at the quad core with a high clock speed (GHz) especially if you want to future-proof it a little better. Although reports show a 3.2GHz dual-core processor beating a quad-core of 2.8GHz when benchmark games there is a reason for that. Most games have been in development for years and have been tailored for dual core processors. There are increasing numbers of new releases that have been tailored towards quad-core processors, so going forward it makes more sense to use a quad core CPU.
Graphics card (GPU)
This is the MOST important part if your looking to game for a more than 12 months. It used to be the case that laptop graphics cards were always significantly under powered when compared to their desktop counter parts. Whereas now with the new 10 Series GTX graphics cards you will get almost the same performance as you would from a desktop! In most cases, when selecting a laptop you won’t have to do too much research as you will generally only have a choice of a few different models. Generally speaking your graphics card should complement your use case, for example if your a traveller then battery use and overall portability might be high on your list meaning notebook with a GTX 1060 or 1050Ti would suit you well. The counter to that is those cards don’t supply as much graphical power as the heavier and more power hungry GTX 1070 and 1080 graphics cards.
I will keep this part short. Look for as much memory as you can afford and make sure its high-quality laptop memory. We here use Corsair Vengence memory.
Usually when I speak to gamers they don’t care too much about battery life. The reason for that is they are usually plugged in when they game, but it’s always good to have the option of gaming on the battery for a few hours. Battery life is always shorter than “normal” due to the power consumption of your graphics and processor. I personally use a Fangbook from CyberPower and it can last about 3 hours of normal use and just under 2 hours of gaming.
SSD Hard drive for gaming
I always recommend getting yourself a good SSD for your operating system and the games you play a lot. SSD will not affect your graphics or in-game experience but it will decrease load times and laptop bootup times. It’s also great for those of us that use ours for work.
What else do you need?
Lets me honest, the touch pads is pretty crap for gaming. Especially those games that require a lot of mouse movement. A lot of gamers including myself have a bought dedicated gaming mouse as well as a dedicated keyboard.