The 10 Best Gaming Laptops to Buy in 2018

Playing the best video games on a laptop just got easier

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The days when PC gaming could only be done on a desktop computer are history. Gaming laptops are perfect for the mobile or casual gamer and there are many great options to choose from. Most even come decked out with mesmerizing LED lights and cases that look like something out of a Jason Bourne movie. For help on which one to buy, read our list of the best gaming laptops to purchase in 2018.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Acer Predator Helios 300

Satisfy your need for speed with the Acer Predator Helios 300. Built with the latest 7th-generation Intel Core processor with a maximum 3.8GHz Turbo Boost and 16GB DDR4 memory, the Helios guarantees accelerated boot-up and in-game loading speeds. The hard drive comes with 256GB SSD, but if you need more storage space, there’s an additional compartment to fit a second 2.5-inch storage drive. It also contains a powerful NVIDIA GeForce GTX graphics card with 6GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM for crisper, lag-free processing power.

The Predator Helios 300 is quite the beast, weighing in at a solid six pounds. The 15.6-inch screen features a full HD widescreen display with a black keyboard to complement the iron red LED backlighting. The spacious keys offer a decent amount of travel and comfortable typing feedback. Underneath the laptop, you’ll find a custom-engineered cooling system that keeps your system well-regulated, even during high-intensity gaming sessions. The Helios features a seven-hour battery life and is VR-ready: all you need is a compatible headset to start experimenting with the new medium.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: ASUS ROG Strix Hero II

Gamers searching for a no-compromise laptop without a premium price tag should look first at the ASUS ROG Strix Hero II. It’s easy to tell right away why the ASUS is a smart choice. The 5mm thin bezel around the screen leaves plenty of room for gaming, and with its 144Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time, the ASUS sets the bar for a true 144-FPS experience. Powering gameplay is an 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor, a 256GB SSD for fast application loading and a 1TB hard drive for storing a wide selection of downloadable games. Operating smoothly with 16GB of RAM, the Strix Hero II can easily handle today's toughest games without comprising in performance.

ASUS has also optimized the keyboard for gaming with a desktop-like layout that adds a larger space bar and four hotkeys for total system control. And thanks to its 802.11ac Wave 2 Gigabit Wi-Fi plus RangeBoost technology (which adds four internal antennas for 30 percent more range), the ROG Strix Hero II handles online gaming like a pro.

Best Budget: Lenovo Legion Y530 15"

Lenovo Legion Y530 15
 Lenovo

There’s no shortage of budget-friendly gaming laptops, but few are as capable as the Legion Y530 from Lenovo. The old black and red colorway is gone in favor of a more refined aesthetic. The sleek hardware looks (and feels) more expensive than it’s priced, and the unique hinge is slightly offset from the back of the laptop to allow for a slimmer profile. The five-pound body is about as heavy as expected for a gaming laptop, and the five hours of battery life are pretty standard, too.

Powering the Y530 is a respectable series of specs including your choice of NVIDIA’s GTX 1050 or 1050i graphics card. Intel’s 8th generation i7 processor makes things run smoothly as does 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. All that power leads to the 15.6-inch FHD 1920x1080 display with a 144Hz refresh rate. A 720p HD camera with integrated microphone makes it easy to play online and stream yourself while gaming, which is aided by an 802.11AC with 2x2 MIMO technology. 

Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best gaming laptops under $1,000

Runner Up, Best Budget: Acer Aspire VX 15 Gaming Laptop

There’s no mistaking this 15.6-inch Acer Aspire VX 15 for anything but a gaming machine; it has two large fan vents in the back and bold red details on its chassis. The spacious keyboard has iron-red backlighting to let you play all through the night.

But this computer also walks the walk: It has a 7th generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor and GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics with 4GB of GDDR5 Video Memory to back up its powerful look. The GPUs can’t handle VR, but can run a modern game at 60 frames per second at full HD, which is conveniently the max resolution for the VX 15's IPS display. It runs Windows 10 and supports all of the multi-touch gestures. For a budget laptop, its audio is surprisingly good, thanks to Acer TrueHarmony and Dolby Audio Premium. And its battery lasts a commendable six hours. At the end of the day, the VX 15 is a refreshing reminder that being on a budget doesn’t always mean making major sacrifices.

Best Value: HP Omen 15.6-inch Gaming Laptop

HP Omen 15.6-inch Gaming Laptop

 Courtesy of Walmart

HP is a decent brand for laptops in general, but it isn’t often gamers' first choice. Oddly enough, that's what makes the Omen 15.6-inch laptop such a great value — to try to secure market share, HP loaded this machine with a ton of features for a pretty great price.

As for the Omen's insides: The 8th gen Intel Core i7 processor is the latest in the line and manages to optimize efficiency in a super small package. This computer also has 16GB of DDR4 SDRAM right on-board to ensure plenty of headroom when the laptop starts cooking, plus two internal hard drives — a 1TB SATA drive for larger stocks of files and a 256GB SSD for maximum transfer speeds (crucial when gaming). Then, of course, there's the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card with its own 6GB of RAM for when you’re playing more demanding games.

HP has even tapped Bang and Olufsen to give you a premium audio experience right from the laptop itself, and the 15.6-inch Full HD IPS, anti-glare-coated screen will give you a great visual experience to back it up. As if all those premium features for just over $1,000 weren’t enough, this gaming package sweetens the pot with Final Fantasy XV and more included in the price.

Best Splurge: MSI GS65 Stealth THIN

As one of the thinnest and lightest gaming laptops in the space, the MSI GS65 Stealth THIN is a 4.1-pound dream machine for gamers who aren’t on a budget. At only 0.69 inches thick, the MSI could almost be called an Ultrabook if it were any smaller, and it slips into backpacks or messenger bags with ease.

MSI has achieved a true luxury look and with the gold-accented metal chassis, but the outer beauty doesn’t distract from what’s inside. The 15.6-inch 1080p display runs with a 144Hz refresh rate. In terms of processing power, the Stealth THIN is equipped with an 8th generation Intel Core i7 4.1GHz processor and NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card, which has its own 8GB of dedicated RAM that’s VR graphics ready. The MSI adds a 256GB SSD for gaming and document storage while 16GB RAM enables smooth gaming and everyday multitasking. Beyond the hardware, the MSI also stands out for its superb keyboard, internal bass-heavy speakers and cooling system that keeps things running in the midst of deep gameplay.  

Best Lightweight: ASUS FX502VM-AS73

Made with “Gaming On-The-Go” in mind, the ASUS FX502VM-AS73 is a 4.9-pound, 15.6-inch full HD gaming laptop that packs a punch. It’s loaded with the latest 7th Generation 2.8 Ghz Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor that can be overclocked to 3.8 Ghz in case you want more speed. The lightweight gaming laptop also uses a powerful NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 with 3GB of discrete graphics that’s capable of running any PC game.

Don’t worry about its size – the ASUS FX502BM-AS73 has 1TB of SATA hard drive storage with a 128 SATA3 solid state, so you’ll have enough room for big file-sized games. It’s cooled by a dual fan system that sucks the heat from both its CPU and GPU independently. Its 16GB of DDR4 RAM assure you that you’ll be able to play the most hardware-demanding PC video games without any stall. The gaming PC is also bundled with a load of ports such as HDMI connectivity, mini Display, USB 3.0, Wi-Fi dual band and even an SD card reader.

Best Battery Life: Dell Inspiron 7700 Gaming Laptop

Dell Inspiron 7700 Gaming Laptop

Courtesy of Walmart 

Slowly but surely, Dell has been turning heads with the gaming laptops in their Inspiron line. And while this machine isn't exactly mind-blowing from a performance perspective, that can be explained — and even justified — by its battery life. The Inspiron 7700 is equipped with a 74 Whr, six-cell internal battery that many tech reviewers have clocked at almost eight hours of function. While it probably won’t hold tight to that number during a truly taxing gaming session, the battery life is pretty impressive nonetheless.

We aren’t talking top performance specs, but with a quad-core 3.8GHz Intel i7 processor and upgradeable to 32GB of RAM, the system is no slouch either. There’s a 256GB solid-state drive that helps to bolster your speed by limiting the need for fast SATA load times. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card has its own dedicated 4GB of RAM, giving just that little bit of extra edge when you’re operating a game with demanding graphics, and the 15.6-inch FHD display gives you a resolution of 1920 x 1080, which combined with IPS tech and an anti-glare coating, should give a nice look to those game graphics. All in all, it’s a decent machine with a killer battery.

Best Versatility: LG Gram 15-inch

LG Gram 15-inch

Courtesy of Walmart

The LG Gram isn’t strictly a gaming laptop — but as machines get more and more powerful, with better screens and quicker load times (thanks in part to solid state hard drives), that line is blurring. So if you want to game but don't necessarily want to spend the money on a separate machine, you're going to need a laptop that can do it all. And in terms of versatility, the Gram is a frontrunner. This super-slim device offers a full 15.6-inch display for plenty of gaming real estate, and though it isn't 4K (or anything quite so intense), the IPS tech has resulted in really positive reviews from a visual perspective.

Also consider the fact that this machine is loaded up with an 8th gen Intel processor, meaning it’s the latest in speed efficiency. There’s 8GB of RAM alongside that 256GB SSD we mentioned earlier, plus the backlit keyboard and DTS-ready headphone jack means you can bring a premium gaming experience on the road with you. And, as the name implies, this thing is light, so when you combine that with the super-long-lasting battery, you’re going be taking this with you everywhere. Work and play, all in one place.

Best Portable: Razer Blade (GeForce GTX 1060) 14"

The Razer Blade (GeForce GTX 1060) 14"
Courtesy of Amazon.com

In the laptop world, the closest Windows equivalent to Apple’s Macbook Pro is the 14-inch Razer Blade. Unlike the Macbook Pro, however, the Razer Blade is not just a pretty and portable workhorse – it offers performance for high-end gaming, too. First and foremost, the Razer Blade is .7 inches thin and weighs just 4.16 pounds, which means you can take it just about anywhere. Secondly, it’s extremely powerful. This model features top-of-the-line graphics with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 GPU and plenty of speed thanks to its 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD hard drive. And it’s got a 1920 x 1080 resolution screen that can display 4K HD content, too. Oh, and did we mention you can assign each key on the keyboard with its own custom color? How cool is that?