The 7 Best Gaming Laptops to Buy in 2018

Playing the best video games on a laptop just got easier

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.

Best Overall: Acer Predator 17

The 17-inch Acer Predator is a powerful monster, which is appropriate given its name. But we mean that in the best way possible. This Windows 10 laptop roars to life with a 6th generation Intel Core i7 processor, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 GPU, 16GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD hard drive and a 1TB HDD hard drive. This model also has a 1080p widescreen LED-backlit IPS display and four built-in speakers to fully immerse you in whatever game or task you are doing. For ports, it features a Thunderbolt 3, Display Port, HDMI and four USB ports.

Keep in mind that this beast is big (it measures 16.6 x 12.7 x 1.6 inches and weighs 9.3 pounds) and only has three hours of battery life. So it’s not something you’ll want to take with you on the road and would likely be the centerpiece in your home gaming setup. But as long as you’re fine with the size and battery, you’ll be happy to own this.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501

Asus’s ROG Zephyrus GX501 gaming laptop ushers in an entirely new age of gaming on the “small screen” with a 0.7-inch design that’s best described as awesome. Whereas most powerful gaming laptops are unwieldy and not fit for moving around all that much, the ultra-thin and ultra-lightning fast Zephyrus is made for gaming on-the-go.

Powered by a GeForce GTX 1070 8GB graphics card with Max-Q design, a Core i7 processor, 256GB SSD and 16GB of RAM, there’s little question this Asus laptop can handle today’s games and those well into the future. A machine this powerful requires a highly managed system to keep it cool and the ROG Active Aerodynamic System improves airflow up to 40 percent and cooling overall temperatures by up to 20 percent.

The 15.6-inch Full-HD 120Hz display offers outstanding color performance, while the ROG Zephyrus Smart Amp technology delivers superb sound performance and protects the speakers from any influence by the laptop’s overall temperature during heavy gaming sessions. With the latest SSD drives for fast access times, USB Type-C for ultra-fast connectivity and VR-ready hardware for both the HTC Vive and Oculus, the Asus Zephyrus is an exceptional choice for a gaming laptop.

Best Budget: Lenovo Legion Y520 - 15.6" Gaming Laptop Computer

Gaming laptops don’t come cheap, especially if you prioritize performance. Luckily for gamers on a budget, Lenovo’s Legion Y520 makes surprisingly few compromises. Housing a 2.8-GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU; 16GB of RAM; a 256GB PCIe SSD; and a 2TB, 5,400-rpm HDD, this gaming laptop puts other similarly priced machines to shame on standard benchmark tests. It comes equipped with a Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti with 4GB of VRAM, which will run your favorite games at over-average frame rates and at 1080p.

At 15 x 10.4 x 1 inches and 5.6 pounds, it’s a fairly portable laptop, though you’ll need to tote along a charger because the battery life is quoted at an underwhelming four hours. Although the chassis is made of plastic, it has a sleek and solid build. The 15.6-inch, 1080p display falls a bit short when it comes to brightness and it covers just 68 percent of the sRGB color gamut, but it performs well on color accuracy, with a Delta-E score of 0.2 (0 is ideal). But if the display disappoints, the red, backlit keyboard makes up for it. With 1.8 millimeters of vertical travel and 77 grams of force required to press the keys, it’s easy to fire off complex combinations. So if you’re on a tight budget, don’t despair: the Legion Y520 is your performance powerhouse savior.

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

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 Portable: Razer Blade (GeForce GTX 1060) 14"

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?

Best Splurge: MSI GT72VR Dominator Pro Dragon

If you’re going to go all-out with your gaming laptop purchase, the biggest, baddest machine you can get is the MSI GT72VR. MSI has a great reputation for gaming laptops and this model is no exception, with the latest internal components and design flourishes.

Let’s get into the guts that make this thing so powerful. This model has an Intel Core i7 quad-core processor, 32GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD hard drive and a 1TB HDD hard drive. For graphics, it has the top-of-the-line NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 8G GDDR5, which has three times the performance of previous GPUs. For ports, it has Thunderbolt 3, HDMI, Mini-Display Port, a USB 3.1 Type-C connector, six USB 3.0 slots, SD card reader, microphone jack and headphone jack.

Now let’s go into what makes this laptop extra special and worth the additional cash. First, it has Tobii eye tracking technology, so the computer knows what you are looking at and can make real-time adjustments. Second, the machine is powerful enough for VR gaming, which is a “next big thing” in the gaming world. Finally, the keyboard is gaming-friendly with full-color backlighting that can be adjusted to whatever colors you prefer and is 100 percent anti-ghosting, so every keystroke will go through. All in all, this is the sort of machine you could game with for years.

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.


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