Gaming laptops we recommend
Updated: With Skylake finally here, gaming hardware manufacturers have updated their laptops lineups, which include some models on this very list.
You don’t even need to tell us what happened when you told your friends that you want to buy a gaming laptop. Their inner elitist got the best of them, and bashed you for not just building an outright gaming desktop. But we get you. Building a gaming PC takes knowledge and dexterity that you just don’t have or care to develop.
That’s where the gaming laptop shines, as a fast lane to PC gaming. No need to build a case or even buy a monitor. Of course, that convenience usually comes with a hefty price tag. Most vendors start their asking prices at around $1,400 (about £901, AU$1,894) for 13 and 14-inch products, whereas the biggest and beefiest 17 and 18-inch models can skyrocket upwards of $3,000 (around £1,931, AU$4,059).
If you’re ready to accept that a gaming laptop will almost never be as affordable or offer the same level of performance as a comparably-priced gaming desktop, then your decision is already made. But again, the gaming notebook is a device of convenience and portability over raw power. Without further ado, here are our favorite gaming laptops that we’ve reviewed thus far.
1. Origin EON15-X
A desktop-grade CPU in an unbeatable gaming laptop
CPU: 4GHz Intel Core i7-4790K | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M (8GB GDDR5 RAM), Intel HD Graphics 4600 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 LED Backlit Matte Display | Storage: 240GB SSD; 1TB HDD (5,400 rpm) | Connectivity: Intel PRO Wireless AC 7265 + Bluetooth Wireless LAN Combo |Camera: 2MP Video Camera | Weight: 7.5 pounds | Dimensions: 15.2 x 10.31 x 1.40 inches (W x D x H)
Origin EON15-X is a real head turner. It packs a desktop processor into a fairly compact 15.6-inch laptop that, while smaller, offers even more performance compared to other, bigger hardcore gaming rigs.
What’s more, this extra CPU power is clutch for users who need to edit video and other processor intensive tasks that a mobile chip can’t handle. The larger CPU might lend itself to more processor-intensive applications rather than games. However, the extra kick of performance will come in handy no matter what game you’re running.
Origin has packed a ton of power into a much smaller 15.6-inch package that’s great in almost every way. This machine is definitely worth consideration over all others and now that Origin has updated this monster with a Intel Skylake processor, you can bet you’ll get even more performance mileage.
2. Aorus X3 Plus v3
A slim and light gaming machine
CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-4710HQ Processor | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M GDDR5 6GB | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 14-inch QHD+ 3200 x 1800 Wide Viewing Angle LCD | Storage: 2 x 256GB SSD, RAID 0 | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: HD webcam | Weight: 4.12 pounds |Dimensions: 12.9 x 10.3 x 0.9 inches
High-res gaming machines are a tough nut to crack whether you have a baller PC tower and even more so with portable laptops. So it comes as a pleasant surprise to see the Gigabyte build out the Aorus X3 Plus v3 as a machine that can fly even with a 4K screen in tow.
This 14-inch gaming laptop can pull off this feat largely thanks to its Nvidia GTX 970M graphics card packing 6GB of GDDR5 video RAM – whereas the the Razer Blade 2015 struggled to play anything at full resolution with only half the amount of memory for Ultra HD graphics. Thanks to RAID SSDs and the graphical power of the GeForce 970 GPU, the Aorus X3 handles the latest graphics-heavy games such as Elite Dangerous with ease at 60 fps even in the most frantic space combat.
3. MSI GT80 Titan
An outrageously sized and powerful gaming laptop
CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-4720HQ | Graphics: 2 x Nvidia GTX 980M SLI (16 GB GDDR5); Intel HD Graphics 4600 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 18.4-inch WLED FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-Glare Display | Storage: 256GB SSD; 1TB HDD (7,200 RPM) | Optical drive Blu-Ray Burner | Connectivity: Killer DoubleShot Pro 11ac + Bluetooth 4.1 | Camera: Full HD type (30 fps, 1080p) | Weight: 9.9 pounds | Dimensions: 17.95 x 13.02 x 1.93 inches
The MSI GT80 Titan goes above and beyond to give gamers a desktop experience in a notebook with a complement of high-performance parts to a built-in mechanical keyboard. However, weighing in at nearly 10 pounds and measuring roughly two-inches thick, this laptop is seriously pushing the limits of what you can call portable.
For all the strain it’ll put on your back and wallet, though, this 18.4-inch gaming laptop is a truly amazing piece of technology that can easily take on everything you throw at it. The Titan will absolutely plow through almost any graphically intense game you try to run. Hardcore gamers will also feel right at home with the mechanical keyboard then add in the the excellent screen, and this is a great setup PC gamers can feel comfortable using wherever they are.
4. Gigabyte P35K v3
An excellent gaming laptop for budget-conscious players
CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-4720HQ | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 965M (4GB GDDR5 RAM); Intel HD Graphics 4600 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, FHD 1,920 x 1,080 Wide-Viewing LCD | Storage: 128GB SSD; 1TB HDD (7,200 rpm) | Optical Drive Super Multi DVD-RW | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: HD webcam | Weight: 5.07 pounds | Dimensions: 15.1 x 10.6 x 0.8 inches (W x D x H)
The Gigabyte P35K v3 is a nearly perfect machine through and through. It’s amazingly thin for a 15.6-inch gaming laptop that offers great performance and decent battery life. Compared to competing models in this affordable space, Gigabyte easily outpaces the Asus ROG GL551 and Acer Aspire V15 Nitro.
For $1,499 (about £973, AU$1913), the Gigabyte P35K v3 offers plenty of performance. Thanks to Nvidia’s beefier, entry-level GTX 965M GPU, gamers can expect to play most games on medium to high settings at a playable 45-to-60 fps range. You’ll even be able to play Far Cry 4 on Ultra without having to worry about the game slowing to a frame-skipping crawl.
What’s more, the P35K v3 features a colorful In-Plane Switching (IPS) screen. It renders hues brightly and accurately, while offering up excellent viewing angles up to an extreme 170 degrees making the Gigabyte laptop an excellent media device to share with some couch mates. Add in the immersive Dolby Digital Plus home theater technology, and Gigabyte has put together one of the nicest self-contained gaming platforms we’ve ever reviewed.
5. Alienware 17 (2015)
The Alienware 17 is an impressive refinement for this series of gaming laptops
CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-4710HQ | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M (4GB GDDR5 RAM), Intel HD Graphics 4600 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 17.3 inch, 1,920 x 1,080 IPS anti-glare display | Storage: 256 GB M.2 SATA SSD + 1TB HDD (7,200 rpm) | Connectivity: Killer 1525 802.11ac 2×2 WiFi + Bluetooth 4.1 |Camera: 2MP Full HD webcam | Weight: 8.33 pounds (3.78 kg) | Dimensions: 16.93 x 11.49 x 1.35 inches (W x D x H
Although you’re looking at spending $3,049 (£2,581, AU$4,547) for the full experience, the Alienware 17 is one of those few outrageously priced gaming laptops that’s actually worth it. The notebook is a fully capable gaming machine and, with the added power of an Nvidia GTX 980 inside the Amplifier, you won’t run into a game you can’t play on Ultra settings for a long time. And when you do, you can easily swap out the desktop GPU for a newer model. Alienware even says they’re working on adding support for Nvidia’s latest monster card, the Titan X.
Alienware has done the gaming laptop-desktop hybrid right with an even leaner 17-inch monster and its accompanying Graphics Amplifier. The ability to use the screen, plus not needing to plug in a keyboard and mouse makes it a much more sensible solution than the MSI GS30 Shadow. And if you’re looking for something smaller, the Alienware 13 also works with the optional GPU box.
6. Aorus X5
A compact gaming laptop that has it all
CPU: 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-5700HQ | Graphics: 2 x Nvidia GeForce GTX 965M SLI | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 15.6-inch 2,880 x 1,620 WQHD+ LCD with G-Sync |Storage: 2 x 256GB SSD, 1TB HDD | Connectivity: Killer LAN, Intel AC 7265 802.11ac Wireless | Camera: 720 | Weight: 5.51 pounds | Dimensions: 15.35 x 10.72 x 0.9 inches
The Aorus X5 is one heck of a package packed into a compact 15-inch laptop. It comes rocking one of the industry’s fastest processors, dual graphics cards, all topped off with an enhanced 4K display that reduces flicker and smoothes out your frame rate. Everything looks and runs beautifully on the Aorus X5 from vividly rendered photos to fluidly running modern games. The Aorus X5 is a worthy gamer status symbol you’ll want to show off to every single one of your friends.
7. Origin EVO15-S
Peak performance from a super slim gaming laptop
CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-4710HQ | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M (6GB GDDR5 RAM), Intel HD Graphics 4600 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 eDP Wide View Angle Matte Display | Storage: Dual 128GB M.2 SATA SSD in RAID0 (256GB Total); 1TB HDD (7,200 rpm) | Connectivity: Intel PRO Wireless AC 7260 + BT Wireless LAN Combo | Camera: Built-in 720P Video Camera | Weight: 4.3 pounds | Dimensions: 15.35 x 10.47 x 0.78 inches (W x D x H)
There’s plenty to like about the EVO15-S, and while it comes at an expensive premium, it’s one of the few laptops that are well worth the expense. This Origin machine is one of the thinnest and lightest gaming laptops you possibly buy.
Meanwhile, it does not skimp at all with some of the latest cutting edge parts, an excellent 1080p panel for all types of media, three storage drives and 16GB of RAM. Plus there’s also the option to throw on a 4K screen for a marginally priced upgrade.
In time, more and more gaming PCs will be outfitted with Nvidia’s latest GPUs, but for now, the Origin EVO15-S is one of the best-performing gaming laptops for a reasonable price.
8. HP Omen
A most sophisticated and attractive gaming laptop
CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-4720HQ | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M (4GB GDDR5 RAM), Intel HD Graphics 4600 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 Full HD WLED-backlit IPS touchscreen | Storage: 512GB SSD | Connectivity: Intel 802.11ac WLAN and Bluetooth | Camera: HP TrueVision Full HD WVA Webcam with Dual Digital Microphone | Weight: 4.68 pounds | Dimensions: 15.07 x 9.67 x 0.78 inches
If you want a machine that doesn’t follow the crowd with glowing alien heads and flaming decals, the HP Omen has a style unto its own. Steeply tapered edges give way to a plenty of lights and other little details to make this one of the industry’s most sophisticated and attractive gaming laptops.
Beyond the skin deep beauty, the HP Omen packs enough processing brains to handle anything from everyday task to hardcore PC gaming. As a mid-range system, it straddles the line of excellent power efficiency while still offering enough performance to handle the latest games.
9. Digital Storm Triton
A rare powerful and affordable gaming laptop
CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-4710HQ | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M (3GB GDDR5 RAM), Intel HD Graphics 4600 | RAM: 8GB DDR3L (1600MHz)| Screen:15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 (Anti-Glare) LED-backlit Matte Display | Storage: 120GB SSD; 750GB HDD (7,200rpm) | Connectivity: Intel Wireless-AC 7265 + Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 2MP 720p webcam | Weight: 5.5 pounds | Dimensions: 15.16 x 10.67 x 0.98 inches (W x D x H)
The Digital Storm Triton is an attractive, powerful and, most importantly, affordable gaming laptop. These are three qualities you don’t often hear in the same sentence, making this machine special for pulling together such a rare combination.
Though it has a lackluster screen and trouble keeping cool, this Digital Storm laptop is still an incredible deal. It has enough computing power to play most modern games at 60 fps with just a few tweak in your graphics settings. What’s more, the Triton has enough power to rival some of the biggest and baddest gaming machines we’ve reviewed.
For $1,620 (about £1,063, AU$1,974), the Digital Storm Triton is a powerful little machine that’s definitely worth a look despite all its flaws.
10. Asus ROG G751JY
The G751 combines top-end components with a great design
CPU: 2.4 GHz Intel Core i7-4860HQ | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M 4GB | RAM: 32GB DDR3L (1600MHz) | Screen: 17.3-inch 1080p IPS display |Storage: 1TB hard disk, 512GB SSD | Optical drive: Blu-ray | Connectivity: 2×2 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 720p | Weight: 10.5 pounds |Dimensions: 16.3 x 12.5 x 0.79-inch (W x D x H)
The Asus ROG G751 is a gaming tank in every sense. At 17 inches and 4.8kg, it’s bigger and heavier than some other gaming laptops but sports a premium feel, great design and houses powerful components that justify the chunk.
Inside is a GeForce GTX 980M GPU, 32GB of main memory, a Core i7-4860HQ quad-core chip clocked at 3.6GHz in Turbo mode and tons of storage. The graphics card’s 4GB of memory is a decent amount for playing games at high detail settings, which is helped by Asus’s sensible decision to give the G751 a 1080p display.
For all of its horsepower, the G751 runs quietly with a gentle hum, which isn’t something you always get with high-end gaming laptops. It’s big, bold, perhaps even beautiful — and definitely a beast. What’s more, Asus has a new ROG G752 waiting in the wings with an new sleeker design plus Skylake processors.