Here is the buyer’s guide that you have all been waiting for. After numerous tests and comparisons of gaming laptops, we have established a final ranking for 2018.
1 – Razer Blade Pro: maximum performance, minimum size!
I found the Razer Blade Pro’s “go anywhere” look, combined with its light weight and its high-level performance characteristics to be very attractive. Soft to the touch, this laptop has an Ultra HD display which provides incredible rendering.
Its Nvidia GTX 1080 graphics card, 7th generation i7-7820HK processor, 32 GB of DDR4 RAM and 512 GB SSD make this computer capable of competing with most of the desktop gaming computers on the market.
Equipped with a mechanical keyboard and a trackpad which can serve as a tablet, the Razer Blade Pro is capable of satisfying all sorts of graphics-based work and leisure needs. Its modern connectivity (USB 3.0 with Thunderbolt technology) is also capable of accelerating data transfer.
With its customizable backlit keyboard and its 4 hours of battery autonomy, the Razer Blade Pro is a truly exceptional laptop!
2 – Asus FX502VM: good performance at an affordable price
The Asus FX502VM is from the ROG product line and except for a few minor details, it is a really nice small and discrete computer. It has a 15.6″ Full HD display with an anti-reflective coating which allows for gaming indoors or outdoors.
With a powerful Intel i7 processor, this gaming laptop is virtual reality compatible thanks to its Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics card. Equipped with a 256 GB SSD in addition to a conventional 1 TB hard drive, it is very responsive and provides fluid rendering.
Its 3 hours of battery charge places the Asus FX502VM among the average of professional gaming laptops in terms of battery autonomy. Its attractive price makes it a good alternative for demanding gamers.
In terms of gaming PCs, Asus’s ROG line is a good place to start since it offers a good quality to price ratio. The Asus ROG FX753VD is the perfect example.
Selling at a good price point, the Asus ROG FX753VD is equipped with an Intel i7 processor and a Nvidia GTX 1050 graphics card. It is not able to run the latest games in Ultra-high detail, but it remains a good choice for casual gamers.
It also offers better audio quality than its competitors, placing it at the high end of our ranking. It is a highly versatile computer which can be used equally well for gaming as for watching videos.
With a very acceptable weight and a 17” display, the Asus ROG FX 753VD (ROG Strix GL753VD) is definitely worth considering.
4 – HP Omen 15: discrete and ultra-high definition
The latest HP, the Omen 15, is a portable ultrabook geared towards gamers. Compact and discrete, it can easily be transported in any bag without taking up much room.
With an ultra-high definition 4K display, it provides incredible graphics rendering. This computer is perfect for doing graphics-based work; this silent laptop is an ideal companion for doing outdoor activities and attending classes.
Equipped with an Intel i7 processor and a Nvidia GTX 1050 graphics card, it is capable of running almost all of the newest graphics engines in ultra mode.
Soft to the touch and aesthetically pleasing – you can read more about the HP Omen specs here.
5 – Acer Predator 15: great performance
This heavy-weight (6 kilos) among professional gaming laptops leaves no one indifferent. With its unique design and high-performance characteristics, no gamer will be able to resist this truly original laptop’s appeal.
This computer borrows all of its competitors’ unique features and combines them into one great device; its appealing price makes this computer one of our favorites. Its 5 hours of battery autonomy is also higher than the average.
Equipped with an Intel Core i7 processor and a Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics cards, this Acer Predator 15 is a good starter gaming computer which can also be easily upgraded.
What characteristics should a good gaming laptop have?
In order to choose the best gaming laptop for your needs, you will need to analyze the following characteristics.
In order to be able to play almost any game, you will need an i7 Quad Core processor. This is the minimum processor required to properly run heavily resource-dependent VR-compatible games.
If you are interested in a more affordable gaming laptop, you could opt for an i5 processor so long as you combine it with a powerful graphics card.
Do not choose an i7 Dual Core over an i5 processor; the difference in performance between them does not justify the difference in price between them.
Lastly, you should take the processor’s ability to be overclocked into consideration when making your purchase. Overclocking can allow you to boost your computer’s performance for a limited amount of time.
Professional gaming laptops require a powerful graphics card, one capable of running virtual reality compatible games. This type of graphics card is capable of rapidly performing many computations without bogging down the rest of the system.
Nvidia and AMD are the world leaders in terms of graphics cards. As far as Nvidia cards are concerned, the GTX 1050 is the minimum for any new professional gaming laptop.
If you are interested in having a graphics card capable of delivering very high performance on a 4K or Full HD display, the 1080 Ti would be a better choice. Ideally, either of these graphics cards should have 3 GB of RAM – 1 GB being the minimum.
The advantage of a professional gaming laptop is that it combines the computational power of a desktop gaming computer with a portable display. The quality of this display is, therefore, an essential factor to take into consideration since it will determine how enjoyable your gameplay experience will be.
First of all, a touchscreen is superfluous on a gaming computer. Although this type of display is useful when it comes to navigating your smartphone, it is pretty much useless in terms of gaming.
The size of the display is also important: if it is too small, you will not be able to see many details; too big and your laptop will become very difficult to transport.
For gaming purposes, we recommend a display size of around 15 inches. This size display allows the screen to be divided in half without making the details excessively hard to see; moreover, the power consumption of 15″ displays is quite good.
In terms of definition, HD is the bare minimum these days. In fact, why would you buy a professional gaming laptop if its display definition is any lower than HD?
Full HD and 4K are of course better, but you should ensure that the display’s power consumption and definition are proportional to its cost! The higher the definition, the more you will be expected to pay!
What type of finish should you choose? We recommend a matte finish and a wide-angle display. This kind of finish will allow you to play under any conditions without being subject to distracting reflections; wide-angle displays provide greater visual comfort.
In any case, try to choose a display with very good colorimetry and which is in line with your computer’s other components!
Weight and battery-life
If you are reading this guide, you are undoubtedly looking for a computer for gaming, but one that is portable! Why should opt for a laptop instead of a traditional desktop computer, given that for the same amount of performance it would cost less?
Firstly, if you work with graphics creation programs – either for work or for school, it would be more economical and more practical to purchase one good laptop instead of a fixed workstation as well as an inexpensive laptop.
One of the most important characteristics of any laptop is its weight. In principle, a laptop should be practical and should not be too uncomfortable to carry around!
Professional gaming computer vary widely in terms of weight: from only one kilo for the Razer Blade Stealth to more than 10 kilos for some MSI models!
You can now find very lightweight and easily transportable ultrabooks with very good performance characteristics. However, this portability comes at a cost and these are not the most affordable of computers!
In terms of battery life, the average duration for this type of gaming computer is around 4 hours – in general use. This low endurance can be explained in part by the high power consumption of the components contained within this type of computer: the more powerful the components, the more energy they consume.
Therefore, you should give some thought to what type of use you will want to make of your laptop before selecting one. If you are frequently required to do work away from home, you may want to consider sacrificing some performance in order to gain autonomy!
Storage and RAM
In this day and age, everything is being stored on the cloud. However, your computer will still require sufficiently fast and ample internal storage. Installing the OS on an SSD has become more or less standard practice – due to the increased speed of SSDs over conventional hard drives.
Why opt for an SSD as your primary storage device? Simply because its read/write speed can be up to 5 times faster than that of a conventional SATA hard drive.
Ideal for ensuring a fast start-up, this extra speed will also be much appreciated whenever you are transferring several GB of data at a time.
With the ever increasing file size of modern games, Steam updates, DLCs and mods, a good amount of internal storage is still indispensable. 2 TB of storage is considered to be a good amount in 2017 for a laptop geared towards gaming.
Be sure to purchase a laptop with at least 1 TB of storage capacity given that the Windows 10 operating system will already consume a large portion of your storage space.
As far as RAM is concerned, we recommend DDR4 type. Why not DDR5? Because, although it offers better performance, it is still excessively expensive.
The minimum recommended amount of RAM is 4 GB, however, you should be aware of the fact that when using Windows 10, you will have barely 2 GB of RAM at your disposal – which is not really enough to run the most resource-intensive video games!
If you are buying a new computer and you would like to ensure that it will be capable of running the games that will be released in the years to come, you should consider buying a model equipped with 8 to 16 GB of RAM. Most professional gaming PCs can be opened, mainly for the purposes of adding more RAM.
Connectivity is another important aspect of any laptop. DVD readers – Blu-ray or otherwise – are a luxury that very few manufacturers are willing to incorporate into their devices anymore.
In reality, in addition to allowing you to play older games and other forms of DVD content, these players are not really that useful. The lack of a DVD player should not be seen as a serious inconvenience given that external DVD players are readily available.
It is also recommended that you select a model with a minimum of 4 USB ports. Why so many?
Because once you have connected an external mouse, keyboard, and DVD player, you will only have one free port remaining. You should have a USB port for every device you intend to connect.
Since USB type C ports will become standard in the future, do not neglect this aspect either. You will encounter more and more devices using this standard and you will certainly miss not having a USB type C port when you go to connect your new smartphone.
USB 3.0 ports are also important in terms of data transfer speed. In fact, if you connect an external hard disk to your computer, you will have increased data transfer speed by using this type of connection, especially if it is a Thunderbolt 3.0 port.
Are you thinking about using your gaming laptop in a stationary capacity? If so, you should ensure that your laptop is equipped with the video output required by your external display.
People who regularly do coding know how convenient it can be to read documentation on one display and to have their terminal open on another. An HDMI port is the minimum connectivity required for connecting a secondary display.
HDMI ports can now be found on all modern displays, TVs, desktop computers, internet boxes…making this type of connectivity indispensable. It is also highly recommended to purchase a computer with a Display or mini Display port in order to connect it to a 4K display.
What gaming laptop should you choose?
There are three important elements to take into consideration when buying a gaming laptop.
Laptops geared towards video gaming are not inexpensive and price is oftentimes a deciding factor.
A laptop does not necessarily have to be very expensive in order to fulfill its purpose. While products from the leading manufacturers such as MSI and Alienware have an excellent reputation, their cost makes them inaccessible to most gamers.
A good gaming computer will cost, on average, around 1200€. You should make sure to choose a model with a good quality to price ratio, especially given how quickly high-end components become obsolete these days.
Given what I have just said, you may be wondering why I was raving about the rather expensive Razer Blade Pro earlier. This is due to the fact that, compared to its competitors, it offers the same level of performance at a lower price. It offers top performance which will serve you well for a long time.
Asus’s ROG product line also offers a good compromise between price and performance – these computers are both practical and compact.
As we mentioned before, graphics engines, especially those of video games evolve very quickly. You should, therefore, look at least 18 months down the road when buying your laptop.
Buying an inexpensive computer with a graphics card and processor that are already outdated is not very wise since after having spent a considerable amount of money to buy the computer you will need to invest in new hardware which will itself quickly become obsolete.
The calculation is simple: after a year and a half, you will have spent as much as if you had opted for a high-end computer in the first place.
The minimum recommended hardware configuration is, currently, an i7 processor, a Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics card and 8 GB of DDR4 RAM. This configuration will serve you well for at least 2 years.
Given that we are discussing professional gaming laptops and that you are likely to frequently carry your computer around with, build-quality is an important consideration.
First of all, in order to ensure that your computer continues to look good for a long time, make sure to select a model constructed out of a durable material which is not easily scratched and which does not pick up fingerprint smudges every time that you touch it. A case made out of slightly shiny brushed aluminum would be a good choice.
Good speakers, a decent microphone, and an excellent cooling system are other factors which could lead you to choose one model over another.
The computer that you select should also be easy to open in order to change out its components. While this factor is not very important for conventional laptops, upgradability is an important consideration when it comes to gaming laptops.
The last element to pay attention to is the size and weight of the computer’s power supply. If your computer is already quite heavy, you don’t want to have to carry around a heavy power supply as well.
Who should buy a gaming laptop?
If you frequently use software that requires a lot of RAM and processing power, this kind of computer is for you.
If you use a graphics tablet, a professional gaming laptop could be a good choice and is likely to cost much less than a conventional ultrabook or a Mac.
The same thing applies to people interested in eSport competitions. If you are a student who is always on the move, a laptop will provide you with the same level of gaming comfort as a desktop computer without the need to transport a tower, monitor, keyboard, mouse…etc.
However, if you only use your computer for simple office work or for playing games which are not very demanding in terms of system resources, you would be better off looking for a more affordable type of computer such as a Chromebook.
Chromebooks are a very good choice for this type of usage, especially given their affordability. Feel free to read our guide on the best Chromebooks in 2018 to get an idea of what is available.
There is a very wide selection of gaming laptops on the market, so many that choosing one can be confusing. Asking yourself what you intend to do with your computer could help you to narrow down your selection.
Don’t be afraid to sacrifice some performance if you are on a tight budget and if you don’t really need an i7 processor or a Pascale generation graphics card. While it is true that having an NVIDIA GTX 1080 Titan graphics card is badass, is it really necessary if you only play LOL?
While certain features like the Razer Blade Pro’s highly customizable backlit keyboard can be nice to have, they should not guide your decision to purchase one computer over another. Although I consider this computer to be a good all-around laptop, I don’t really have a use for it since I game on my desktop computer.
You should also not forget that although you may have to make a considerable initial expenditure, you are making a long-term investment!
Lastly, don’t forget to keep up to date with the latest developments in professional gaming laptops on our site! The fast pace of developments requires frequently updating your knowledge. You can count on us to keep you up to date with the latest information, best advice and great tips for leveling up in games!
I hope that this guide helped you gain a better understanding of professional gaming laptops and what you should look for when purchasing one. Let me know which gaming laptop you consider to be the best and what model you ended up buying after reading this guide.
Do you have any questions or comments? Would you like more information regarding any particular aspect? If so, leave me a comment and it will be my pleasure to reply to you as quickly and clearly as I can!