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If you want a laptop for virtual reality and simply want the best intersection of performance, value, and design, then we recommend the Alienware 17 R5. Perhaps more important than anything else are the laptop's great specs. The base model of the computer comes with an 8th-gen Intel Core i7 processor, coupled with 16GB of RAM and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 processor — though it can be upgraded to offer an Intel Core i9 processor, 32GB of RAM, and a GTX 1080 graphics card. With a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, it's safe to say that this computer ranks high with some of the most powerful desktop computers out there.
Specs aside, the Alienware 17 R5 has a lot to offer. For example, there are plenty of ports that should accommodate most gaming situations. You’ll get a gigabit ethernet port, two USB ports, a USB-C port, a Thunderbolt 3 port, HDMI port, audio and microphone ports, and more. With that selection of ports, you should be able to connect your virtual reality rig plus a range of other peripherals, too. Keep in mind that the laptop is a little heavy, as it weighs around 9.77 pounds.
If you’re looking for something lightweight and sleek take a look at the Razer Blade 15, which still offers a lot of power despite its small footprint. When it comes to specs, the computer comes with an 8th-gen Intel Core i7 processor. The base model has an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 GPU and 16GB of RAM, although the computer can be configured to have up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX2080 and 64GB of RAM.
The Razer Blade 15 base model weighs 4.48 pounds and is 0.78 inches thick. Apart from that, you’ll find a nice sleek design with RGB backlighting behind the keyboard. You’ll also get a nice selection of ports — there are three USB 3.1 ports, an Ethernet port, HDMI port, a Mini DisplayPort, and a Thunderbolt 3 port. The computer's Advanced Model, keep in mind, does away with the ethernet port but adds a better power input.
Not everyone has thousands of dollars to spend on a laptop for virtual reality. In case you want to be a little more conservative in your spending, the Dell G3 15 is worth buying. The laptop is still relatively powerful, with the base model offering an 8th-gen Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050. The laptop can, however, be configured to feature an 8th-gen Intel Core i7 processor, up to 16GB of RAM, and up to an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti. The base model has a 1TB hybrid hard drive, though you can upgrade the computer to have a 256GB solid state drive and a 1TB hard drive.
The Dell G3 15 has an extensive selection of ports, too. You’ll find two USB 3.1 ports and a USB 2.0 port, along with an HDMI port and a gigabit ethernet port. That should be just enough for most virtual reality setups — though you may not be able to add much more to your setup. As the name suggests, the computer has a 15.6-inch display with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, and a LED-backlit display.
While some of the options on this list are relatively lightweight, if you want something that’s really easy to carry around, we recommend the MSI GS65 Stealth Thin. The laptop has some pretty sweet specs, plus it’s nice and thin, especially compared to the other laptops on this list. The computer has up to an 8th-gen Intel Core i7 processor, along with up to 16GB of RAM and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 processor.
What’s really notable about this laptop, however, is its dimensions and weight. The device is 0.7 inches thick and weighs around 4.1 pounds, which is quite a bit less than any of the other laptops on this list. When it comes to port selection, you’ll find three USB 3.1 ports, one Thunderbolt 3 port, an HDMI port, and a Mini DisplayPort. That should be enough for most virtual reality uses, especially when it comes to the mainstream VR headsets. The laptop looks pretty nice, too — it’s got a sleek design with a minimalistic exterior.
If performance is the most important thing to you and you don’t want to spare any expense, then the Alienware Area 51m is the way to go — but we warned you about the price. The Area 51m features the most powerful specs you can currently find in a laptop, wrapped up in a box that would make any hardcore gamer jealous. The base model of the computer comes with an ultra-powerful 8th-gen Intel Core i9-9900K processor, coupled with 32GB of RAM and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 2080 graphics card. You’ll also find two 256GB solid state drives, plus one 1TB hybrid drive. You can, however, upgrade the computer to feature 64GB of RAM instead of 32GB.
Perhaps the best thing about the Alienware Area 51m is that it's totally upgradeable. In other words, if there's an even more powerful, compatible CPU released that you want to use on your laptop, you can swap out the one that it comes with. There's also a ton of ports — you’ll get three USB 3.1 ports, a Thunderbolt 3 port, headphone jack and microphone input, HDMI port, Mini DisplayPort, ethernet port, and more. Safe to say, no matter what you want to connect to this beast, you should be able to with the ports on hand.
Perhaps you’re more of a Mac person, and while you will need to make extra sure that your headset supports use with a Mac, we suggest the 15-inch MacBook Pro, Apple’s most powerful laptop. As you would expect from an Apple device, the MacBook Pro features a beautifully-designed aluminum body, plus it’s nice and thin. The base model of the laptop comes with an 8th-gen Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and a 256GB solid-state drive, though you can upgrade the device to provide up to an 8th-gen Intel Core i9 processor, 32GB of RAM, and even an AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20 graphics card — which you might need for virtual reality. With a resolution of 2,880 x 1,800 pixels, the device also comes with up to 4TB of storage.
For ports, Apple keeps things simple — the MacBook Pro comes with four Thunderbolt 3 ports. So for most virtual reality situations, you’ll probably need to invest in some dongles and adapters too.
Alienware has a history of delivering excellent gaming computers, and the Alienware 13 R3 is no exception. The computer boasts excellent specs and a nice design, all in a case for a 13-inch computer. It has an Intel Core i7 processor, along with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB solid-state drive, plus it has an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card — which makes it quite a beast. In other words, it should be able to handle most virtual reality applications you can throw at it.
The Alienware 13 R3 offers two USB 3.0 ports, along with a USB-C port and a Thunderbolt 3. There’s also an HDMI port, Ethernet port, audio ports, and more. At up to 0.94 inches thick, the computer is a little bulky, but you make for that with the fact that it only has a 13-inch display. Speaking of the display, it’s LCD with 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, but there is a model with an OLED display if you’re willing to spend more.
The standard size for laptops seems to be 15 inches, and if you want a great 15-inch laptop for virtual reality, we recommend the Acer Predator Helios 300. The laptop boasts ultra-powerful specs, with the base model offering a 7th-gen Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive, and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card. It can be upgraded, however, to offer an 8th-gen Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB solid-state drive or a 1TB hard drive.
When it comes to ports, the Acer Predator Helios 300 includes a USB 2.0 port, a USB 3.0 port, a USB-C port, an HDMI 2.0 port, and so on. Then there’s the computer's LCD display with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. It's slightly bulky, at a little over 1 inch thick and 5.5 pounds, but given the performance it has under the hood, it may be worth dealing with.