A gaming laptop is a one-stop solution for those of us who want to enjoy the PC gaming experience but don’t have the time or the means to actually piece together a PC gaming rig. With a laptop, you can pretty much have everything you’d need in a gaming set up, but all in one neat package; a gaming laptop is equipped with the latest generations of processors and PCIe video cards as well as an HD monitor that allows you to really reap the most out of your gaming experience. On top of that, gaming laptops offer way more portability than a PC would.
The gaming laptops we’re going to talk about on our list are some of the best ones that you can buy in 2018, based on what they offer and popular user opinions and as such, you’re looking to spend around a little over a $1000 minimum to get a decent gaming laptop. First, we’re going to go over 10 of the best gaming laptops in 2018 and then we’ll come back for a little afterword on how you can pick out the best laptop for you, from our list.
Best Gaming Laptops 2018
1. ASUS ROG GL552VW-DH74
The GL552VW is a mid-high end gaming laptop by ASUS that offers a great gaming experience and looks spectacular too.
- Stylish Design
- Well built
- Decent backlit keyboard
- Good I/O
- Power button location
- Not the best Viewing angles
- DVD drive
Design and features
Let’s start by saying that the GL552VW gaming laptop remains true to ASUS’s gaming equipment and features a very neat red and black design that makes a lot of promises. On the top of the lid, there’s a centerpiece boasting an illuminated RG logo, that’s made to look like it’s brushed aluminum but I really just high-quality plastic like the rest of the laptop’s enclosure.
We’re very pleased with the build quality of the GL552VW gaming laptop; it’s durable (not that you’ll be dropping it) and its textured finish isn’t prone to fingerprints, which is good news for those of us who like keeping our things neat and clean. Towards the right-hand side of the enclosure, you have your mic and headphone jacks, alongside 2 USB 3.0 ports and a DVD drive, which might be good news to some but really, we don’t understand why a laptop would need a DVD drive anymore since it makes your laptop bulkier and you can always just connect one via USB when needed, but then again that’s just us.
On the left side, you get two more USB 3.0 ports, along with an HDMI port, a USB type C port, and a half Ethernet port. Under the lid, there’s a gorgeous backlit keyboard with raised ASDW keys. The keyboard of the GL552VW gaming laptop is a breeze to use despite being a regular laptop keyboard instead of a mechanical one. The only discerning thing about this keyboard is the fact that the power button is a part of it, right at the top right corner of the num-pad, making it susceptible to accidental presses while you’re holding your laptop from the corners or even using the num-pad.
The trackpad is nice and responsive and has a clicking function as well, making it nice and neat and the speakers on top of the keyboard are nice and loud so we don’t have any complaint there either.
The GL552VW gaming laptop is equipped with a Core i7 -6700HQ processor, coupled with a Nvidia GTX 960m, putting it right up there with all the performance gaming laptops out there, if not exceeding many of them (which is why it’s on our list). We were able to play Overwatch and Dark Souls 3 on it fairly well. At the highest settings, we got around 35 FPS on both games but we noticed that if you dial the graphics down a little bit, you can achieve higher frame rates, even 60FPS, which is the screen’s limit.
The screen on the GL552VW gaming laptop is vibrant and has great resolution but it falls short in viewing angles, which was a surprise to us since it is an IPS panel; at 170 degrees, we started seeing polarization across the screen which is a little discerning but then again, since this is a laptop and you’re going to be directly in front of it all the time, we don’t think this is too much of a problem.
2. MSI GE72 Apache Pro-070
The MSI GE72 is solid across the board, which great build quality, sleek and superb design and top-tier performance that’s right up there with the highest end gaming laptops available this year.
- Slim and sleek design
- Superb build quality and finish
- Steel series RGB backlit keyboard
- Removing back panel voids warranty
- ASDW area gets heated due to internal componentry placement
Design and features
The MSI GE72 is among the best gaming laptops that you could buy in 2018 for a handful of reasons and its design is definitely on top of those reasons. The brushed aluminum finish on this thing is spectacular both to look at and to the touch. The build quality of the enclosure is also pretty solid and not as prone to light scratches as most other laptops, unfortunately, are, in general.
On the sides, you get your USB 3.0 ports, alongside HDMI and Ethernet. One of the things that really stood out to us was the hinge of the MSI GE72’s lid; the hinge is pretty strong feeling, making it easier to adjust and keep at a specific angle. A lot of the best gaming laptops are so because of all that heavy hardware they’re loaded with, making them bloated and garnish but we’re pleased with how the MSI GE72 is way slimmer and more discreet despite being on par with the best gaming laptops out there.
The steel series keyboard is an absolute delight that any gamer would be pleased with; it feels just great to use and the RGB lighting makes it all the better, we had a lot of fun setting the lights to various color schemes and patterns and can see why it’s such a joy to have these. The only reservation we have here is that the ASDW keys tend to heat up after a bit of use; this happens because of some internal component directly under the keys and is nothing to be worried about but after spending so much money on this laptop, anyone would be worried.
The MSI GE72 Apache gaming laptop rocks a core i7 2.6GHz CPU, alongside Nvidia GTX 960m and 8 Gigs of RAM which are pretty many standard specs that you’d expect to see in a high-end gaming laptop. We played Dragon’s Age inquisition on the MSI GE72 for quite a few hours and across all tiers of graphics settings and here’s what we found out.
On the highest settings, the power ceiling of the GTX 960m is reached and your frame rates can go down to 35 but with medium settings, you can achieve 60 FPS on this laptop. The user experience is great, just what you’d expect from MSI. One can always remove the back panel to upgrade hardware and reap even greater performance from the MSI GE72 but unfortunately, there’s a warranty seal on the back which doesn’t allow you to make any such upgrades for two whole years. That aside, if you have the budget for it, the MSI GE72 is a no-brainer over many other gaming laptops out there within the same price bracket.
3. Alienware AW15R2-6161SLV
The Alienware AW15R2-6161SLV is a gaming laptop that’s built to perform on par with many desktop rigs despite being a portable 15-inch machine, we really can’t find much to complain about with this gaming machine.
- Aesthetically pleasing design
- Top tier performance
- Impressive battery life
- Surface smudges too easily
- No number pad on keyboard
Design and features
The Alienware 15 is a high-performance machine, impressively packed into a sleek enclosure of matte black plastic with a silver textured lid. There are a few cuts, edges and slopes on the lid and under the laptop that give it that edge stylish look that you’d expect to see in a gaming laptop so overall, the Alienware 15 is very good to look at.
Towards the sides, there are three USB 3.0 ports, audio ports, an HDMI port and an Ethernet port, which is an absolute necessity in gaming laptops. There’s a ventilation shaft on either side and there’s a set of ventilation fans on the underside as well, which really help keep things cool when running on high power.
Under the lid, there’s a lot of RGB lighting all over; the keyboard, the Alienware logo and even the trackpad all light up according to whatever color you assign them, this really adds to the aesthetic value of the Alienware 15 gaming laptop. The 15’’ touch screen is another thing that we really appreciate about this laptop, it may be a little too glossy for some of us but it’s really nice to have a 4K screen with touch input.
However, there are two things under the hood that can be filed under shortcomings: the fact that the keyboard lacks a Number pad and the fact that the plastic finish attracts a lot of smudges from your fingers. The later isn’t really a shortcoming but if you’re also a neat freak like us, these smudges can be an annoyance.
The Alienware 15 gaming laptop is equipped with a core 17 4720, which is an older version of the processor but when coupled with its GTX 970m and a whopping 16 gigs of RAM, the AW15 really is a performer. We played GTA V on the highest settings and managed to get 60FPS, which was more than what we were expecting. It’s safe to say that this machine is ready to run most games you can throw at it.
Another thing that really stood out to us was the battery life of the AW 15, which was impressive considering that most gaming laptops don’t last very long on battery, but with the Alienware 15, you can expect to game on the go for a handful of hours before you’re either saving and quitting or running around, looking for a wall socket.
4. ASUS ROG G752VY-DH78K
The ASUS ROG G752VY-DH78K is overpowered and feature-rich, making it an absolute beast amongst gaming laptops. This laptop focuses on performance more than portability or maintaining a good battery life.
- Very generous amount of RAM
- Powerful GPU
- Matte 17.3’’ IPS panel
- Sleek design
- Very power demanding
Design and features
Equipping a laptop with a heavy duty GPU normally means that the laptop will have to be bulky no matter what. The ASUS ROG G752VY-DH78K begs to differ; this gaming laptop is only 1.9’’ thick despite the fact that it has a very rich spec sheet. The G752VY has a very aesthetically pleasing design with a brushed aluminum finish on top of the lid and on the borders of the keyboard plate just under the lid. There’s a massive ventilation shaft at the very back, where the laptop is its thickest. These vents are necessary for any laptop this powerful and in the G752VY’s gaming laptop case, they add to the cutting edge look.
There are a total of 4 USB 3.0 ports along with an HDMI port and Ethernet, along with the sides and under the hood, there’s a backlit keyboard with accented ASDW keys and a set of Macro keys that you can assign various tasks to so that you can perform those without interrupting your gaming. The speakers of the G752VY gaming laptop are located under the keyboard instead of being just above it, minimizing the distance between the keys and the 17.3’’ IPS screen. The 1080p screen has a matte finish that blocks out access light and the viewing angles are very wide, making your gaming experience all the more immersive.
No matter how you look at it, the G752VY gaming laptop is designed to perform; perform what exactly, you ask? Well, pretty much anything that you could do to a very high spec desktop gaming rig and maybe a little bit more. The G752VY gaming laptop rocks a Core i7-6820HK processor with a base clock speed of 2.7GHz and a turbo function which automatically overclocks it to 3.1GHz if (ever) needed. On top of that, there’s a GTX 980m card with 8gigs of Video RAM, making it possible to hit that 60 FPS mark on games like Overwatch and Dark Souls 3, without having to compromise the graphics.
The G752VY also houses 64 gigs of DDR4 RAM which is by any standard, the textbook definition of the word ‘overkill’. This much RAM (or even half of it) is enough to handle all the multitasking you could ever do on a personal computer. Being this powerful comes at a very understandable price for most high-end gaming laptops: they need a whole lot of power. Naturally, the battery life of the G752VY is only enough for you to move from one socket to another (while gaming) so you can game around the place but that much is to be expected from any almighty gaming laptop so we don’t dock down too many points for battery life.
5. Acer Predator 17
The Acer Predator 15 & 17 are both high-end gaming laptops that are equipped with hardware that makes your gaming experience all the better, inside-out.
- Large and vibrant screen
- Easy to upgrade components
- Stylish design with nice finish
- Powerful performance
- Impressive battery timing
- Surface prone to scratches
- Limited keyboard lighting options
Design and features
The Predator 17 gaming laptop has some seriously powerful components, all housed in a plastic enclosure with red grilles and a soft touch rubber coating, which is nice to touch but also prone to some really bad scratches if not careful, sadly. The design itself is very nice and edgy, with a predator logo on top of the lid, which lights up when the laptop is functioning. On the bottom, we have a couple of ventilation fans alongside the speakers and subwoofers. There’s also a removable panel, underneath which you find all the slots for upgradable components such as the RAM and HHD drive.
Under the lid of the Predator 17 gaming laptop, there’s a full keyboard lit with two colors, red across the alphabets and blue under the number pad. You get the option of toggling the lights of various keyboard zones on and off but unfortunately, there’s no RGB lighting that lets you change colors as well. There’s a button next to the trackpad that allows you to turn the trackpad off altogether when gaming using a mouse. This is actually a pretty great option since most FPS games require you to use a mouse.
Finally, along with the sides of the Predator 17 gaming laptop, there are 4 USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port an Ethernet as well as a DVD drive that is ejected; you can replace it with an extra fan called a frost core, which makes a little bit of difference but not too much.
The Predator 17 is equipped with a Core i7-6700HQ, clocked at 2.6GHz and a GTX 980m with 4 gigs of VRAM, putting it right up there with some of the best gaming laptops out there this year. What’s more is that the system of the Predator 17 is very well cooled, so you don’t have to worry about overheating your machine during intensive gaming sessions. The fans don’t make a lot of noise but if you’re running on full power, they can get very noisy.
The Predator 17 gaming laptop can run games like Overwatch on Ultra settings at a steady framerate of 40 FPS, which is excellent, considering that we’re talking about ultra-high settings on a laptop here. The 17’’ IPS screen really brings the most out of the games you play and has decent viewing angels too. The battery timing of the Predator 17 is impressive (near 5 hours) for a gaming laptop since these machines have very power demanding hardware and aren’t really meant for you to take them to the park for gaming.
6. MSI GS60 Ghost Pro-002
The GS60 by MSI is a very powerful and stylish gaming laptop that’s capable of a lot more than what meets the untrained eye. Unlike many other gaming laptops of the same caliber, the GS60 is very discreet looking.
- Sleek and stylish design
- RGB lighting option in keyboard
- Powerful performance
- Keyboard doesn’t follow ISO format
Design and features
The GS60 gaming laptop is almost as slim and discrete looking as any regular premium notebook, with a black brushed aluminum finish all around, giving it a very premium look and feel. The whole thing looks very minimalistic, asides from the MSI and illuminated dragon logo on the top of the lid, which confirms that this is indeed a gaming laptop.
On the sides, you get your usual USB 3.0 ports with the addition of a USB 3.1 type C port, which isn’t a very common feature yet, so we’re glad to have that. The rest is your regular Ethernet, HDMI, and SD card slot ports. There’s a vent on either side and under, to manage the temperatures of the internal components.
Under the lid, we have an absolutely gorgeous IPS panel with great color reproduction and wide viewing angles, a loud and clear speaker system and an RGB backlit keyboard with three zones that you can set the colours of; the keyboard feels good to use but since it doesn’t follow the ISO format, users in the UK might have a hard time adjusting to it. Other than that, the keyboard is even embedded a little deeper in the plate, so that the keys don’t touch the screen when the lid is down and everything else feels very premium.
The Core i7-6700HQ chip of the GS60 gaming laptop and the GTX 970m allow it to play most games at 60 FPS at even ultra-high settings but of course, the more recent and heavier games might drop down to 40 FPS at ultra-high and that’s expected.
Altogether, the gaming experience on the GS60 gaming laptop is superb and despite its slim build, the laptop still manages to keep its temperatures in check unless you’re sitting in an incredibly hot room, which you shouldn’t anyways. The slim enclosure is made possible by not adding too many fans for ventilation, which also means much less noise. The GS60 gaming laptop is very silent for the amount of power it holds.
7. Razer Blade 14
The 2016 Razer Blade 14 gaming laptop enjoys a few upgrades from the outgoing model but also keeps all the goodies we liked on its predecessor in the ring.
- Thin and minimalistic
- Good speakers for a thin laptop
- Chroma lighting on keyboard
- System can get heated
- RAM can’t be upgraded
Design and features
The Razer Blade 14 gaming laptop is a well-designed and well-built laptop for those of us who prefer things a bit more modest but in a good way. The laptop itself has about the same form factor that you’d expect to see on a MacBook Pro, which is remarkably slim for a gaming laptop. Aside from the compact form factor, we really like the anodized aluminum finish on the Razer Blade 14 gaming laptop but at the same time, this finish is very prone to some nasty scratches which will expose the silver underneath so you might want to get some kind of a protective sleeve to store this in.
On the top of the lid, there’s a Razer logo which lights up when the laptop is powered on and on the sides, you get 4 USB 3.0 ports, a USB type C port, and a combo audio jack. There isn’t any SD card slot, like the previous model. On the bottom, there’s two cooling fans and a removable plate that exposes the main components, out of which you can only tamper with the HHD drive because the RAMs are soldered in.
Under the lid, there’s a Chroma keyboard with a myriad of lighting options, making it really fun to use and show off. The trackpad feels good to use but unfortunately, we can’t say the same about the cheap feeling keys at the bottom of the trackpad. The front-facing speakers are located at either side of the keyboard and sound pretty good for a laptop this thin, so overall we’re pretty pleased with the Razer Blade 14 gaming laptop is designed.
The 2.6GHz Core i7-6700HQ and the 6 GB GTX 970m grant the Razer Blade 14 gaming laptop the ability to run most games at ultra-high settings without compromising the frame rate but some very demanding titles such as The Witcher 3 might force you to dial down the graphics settings a bit if you want to see higher framerates. The RAM on the Razer Blade 14 gaming laptop may not be upgradable but we can say this with a fair amount of confidence; you probably do not need to upgrade your RAM. 16 gigs of RAM match the Razer Blade 14 power perfectly and will allow you to multitask while you game.
The only real thing that we can call a shortcoming of the Razer Blade 14 gaming laptop is the fact that despite its newer concave shaped fans, the laptop tends to heat up quite a bit when playing for long periods of time at high settings. Additionally, this is the only time when the fans get so oud that you’d have to use headphones, otherwise it’s a good laptop at this price point.
8. HP Omen 17
The HP Omen 17 (2016) gaming laptop brings a fresher look to the table, over its predecessor from last year and is also a little bit cheaper, which is a pleasant surprise considering how prices usually go up with newer models. But let’s see if it is also better than the older model.
- 4K G-Sync IPS screen
- Thinner than most gaming laptops
- Many buying options
- Good thermals for a thin laptop
- Upgradable RAM
- Flimsier build than predecessor
- Speakers don’t sound as good
Design and features
The 2016 Omen 17 gaming laptop has a nice soft touch finish with diagonal textures, making it good to look at and touch but unfortunately there are a few downgrades in the overall build quality that we’re not too ecstatic about; the lid is pretty flimsy and the overall enclosure doesn’t feel as premium as the previous model did but it still looks a bit fresher. However, we strongly recommend keeping the laptop in a protective case or sleeve since the soft touch surface is prone to scratches.
Under the lid, we have the same keyboard that you see on the HP Pavilion series, only that this one’s backlit with red, giving it that gaming laptop kinda look and feel. The speakers on the Omen 17 gaming laptop are loud but don’t sound as good as we expected, since there are Bang and Olufsen speakers. The ventilation fans are at the bottom of the laptop and the bottom cover is removable so that you can upgrade components such as RAM and memory. Other than that, you’ll find your usual USB 3.0 ports, HDMI and Ethernet on the sides.
The Omen 17 gaming laptop is equipped with a GTX 960m card with 4Gigs of VRAM and is powered by a 2.6GHz Core i7-6700HQ chip. The unit comes with 16 Gigs of DDR4 RAM, which is upgradable but sufficient for multi-tasking and heavy gaming. The performance is pretty great for a laptop at this price and the system can play pretty much any game you throw at it, but since you only have 4 gigs of VRAM, you might not be able to play heavier titles such as the Witcher 3 at 60 FPS on the highest graphic settings but that mush is understandable at this point.
One thing that we really like about this laptop is that you have a few options in GPU and screens when buying; we really recommend the 4K screen over the 1080p variant since it offers the most pleasurable gaming experience. The GTX 960m may not have the highest amount of VRAM but it is more than just capable of 4K gaming.
9. Dell 15.6-Inch Gaming Laptop
The Dell Inspiron 15 7759 is the best gaming laptop that you can buy in 2018 if you are on a budget. It’s probably the cheapest laptop on our list but it still begs the question – does its being cheaper come with compromised performance, or are we looking at what you’d call a ‘budget beast’?
- Really impressive battery life
- Upgradable RAM
- Great value for money
- Quiet performance
- Wobbly keys on the keyboard
- Speakers don’t sound too good
Design and features
Dell isn’t really one of the manufacturers that come to mind when you hear talk about gaming laptops but we must say that they pulled off the 7759 pretty well as a value portable gaming machine. We like the minimalistic black and red design and the laptop isn’t very bulky at all. The build is entirely plastic but it is not a plastic that feels cheap to the touch, which is a good thing since this also means that the 7759 gaming laptop is a lightweight laptop. The lid opens up pretty nicely and doesn’t wobble when you’re typing.
Under the lid, there’s some compromise in the keyboard and trackpad, both feel a bit clumsy to use but not to the extent that we’d call them outright cheap. Remember, this laptop costs only $800 when most other laptops on our list cost around or above $2000. The bottom cover is easy to remove, which means that you may upgrade your RAMs and storage to better your experience with the 7759 Inspiron.
The reason why we went ahead and added a budget laptop to our list of the best gaming laptops you can by in 2018 is that the Dell 7759 can indeed game. The 4 Gig GTX 960m card and core i5 processor on the base model are more than enough for casual gaming; you can play CS:GO, DOTA2 and League of Legends on this laptop fairly well, for heavier titles like Dark Souls 3, you may be faced with a compromised gaming experience but then again that game is anything but a casual game and this is a budget laptop that isn’t meant to run such games.
The fans on the Dell Inspiron 7759 gaming laptop are very quiet and stay that way, even when you’re in game, which we really appreciate, the overall temperatures also stay cool, which is good news since most slim laptops don’t have sufficient heat sinks and thermal control. Overall, this is a good laptop for its price if you’re not looking to play more demanding games.
How to pick out a laptop from this list that works for you? – What to look for?
Now that we’re at the end of our list, it’s time we face the big question at hand –which one of these laptops would suit your gaming needs the best? The gaming laptops we talked about are some of the best this year and so it follows that all of them are pretty expensive to buy, making it all the more important for you, the buyer to get the most out of your money. Just because a gaming laptop is expensive doesn’t really mean that it’s guaranteed to make you happy and vice versa for laptops that save you money.
In order for you to get the best gaming laptop, you should first consider your usage; are there any specific games you want to play over the next few years? If so, you’ll want a laptop with a GPU and processor that can run those games at your desired settings. Moreover, since you’re looking for a laptop and not a PC, it’s important that you pick out something that you can take around with you easily; you might want a sturdy laptop if you’re going to take it with you to places a lot.
How to select best gaming laptop in 2018?
Gaming laptops are very power demanding and as such, they don’t last too long on battery, especially if you have a game running. Because of this, we haven’t talked too much about the battery lives of the laptops on our list, unless they have an exceptionally good battery life, otherwise, you can expect an hour or 2 on battery if you’re running a heavy game with most laptops and that’s perfectly understandable.
Looks are important to us gamers and as such, it’s natural to look for a gaming laptop that has a nice edgy design that screams power. Things such as RGB lighting and textures making your gaming experience all the better and besides, it gives you something you can show off!
Most gamers look down on gaming laptops because they can’t be upgraded internally but fortunately that’s not the case with many of the laptops on our list since a number of them have removable back covers so that you can upgrade your RAM and storage. If you’re a hardcore gamer who doesn’t want to switch their laptop for a considerable time ahead, you’ll want a laptop that’s upgradable. Gaming laptops don’t allow you to swap out all the components but you can get a fair amount of future proofing with upgradable RAM and ROM.