Gaming laptops we recommend
Don’t even bother telling your friends you want to buy a gaming laptop. "Just build a desktop," they’ll suggest. But you know better. You have the money to spare and putting time and effort into building your own desktop sounds like a chore. You want to get to the fun part: playing games. A warranty that covers the entire product rather than a small set of parts is just an added bonus.
Being able to take your rig on the go, complete with a built-in monitor and keyboard, however, isn’t cheap. A decent gaming laptop starts at about $1,400 (about £900). That’s on the low end. If you want to play games at 1080p or higher with a consistent frame rate, you’re looking at a computer that’s well over $3,000 (around £1,900, AU$4,000). Fortunately, this could soon change thanks to AMD’s low-cost Polaris GPUs and Nvidia’s insanely powerful-for-the-price Pascal cards.
Factor in the cost of your monitor, keyboard, mouse and potential hazards, and a gaming laptop might be more suited to your needs. We know you eat, sleep and breathe gaming, but fiddling with cables and being tied down to a desk that sports an encumbering brute of a machine can be intimidating. Gaming laptops are sleeker and more powerful than ever. And some of them even have the battery lives to support the massive workload. Here you’ll find which gaming laptop is best for you, from the eye-tracking GT72S G Tobii to the ostensibly immortal Alienware 17.
1. Origin EON15-X
A desktop-grade CPU in an unbeatable gaming laptop
CPU: 4GHz Intel Core i7-6700K | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M (8GB GDDR5 RAM), Intel HD Graphics 530| RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 LED Backlit Matte Display | Storage: 256GB SSD; 1TB SSHD
Razor thin viewing angles
The Origin EON15-X is a real head turner. It packs a desktop Skylake processor into a fairly compact 15.6-inch laptop that, while smaller, offers even more performance compared to other, bigger hardcore gaming rigs. This extra CPU power is handy for users who need to edit video and other processor intensive tasks that a mobile chip can’t handle. You’ll also get an extra kick of performance in no matter what game you’re running. This machine is definitely worth consideration over all others.
Read the full review: Origin EON15-X
2. Gigabyte P35X v5
Underneath the plain exterior lies a 4K gaming beast
CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6700HQ | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M 8GB GDDR5, Intel HD Graphics 530 | RAM: 16GB DDR4 SDRAM | Screen: 15.6-inch, UHD 3,840 x 2,160, IPS LCD | Storage: 256GB SSD, 1TB HDD
Splendid performance at 4K
Surprisingly decent battery life
Pointless optical drive
The Gigabyte P35X v5 is a monumentally capable, 4K gaming laptop equipped with specs nearly high enough to support it. While even most desktops lack the strength to pull off 4K gaming, this 15-inch rig is as close as you’ll get with a laptop. Donning an Intel i7 processor paired with an 8GB Nvidia GTX 980M, the P35X v5 may sound like a workout technique, but it can actually handle 4K gaming if you’re willing to tone down the graphics settings. Plus, it even packs a battery life longer than the considerably less powerful Ghost Pro and Acer Predator 17. If Ultra HD gaming without being tied to a desk is your goal, look no further.
Read the full review: Gigabyte P35X v5
3. Lenovo Ideapad Y700 15-inch
An attractive and long lasting 15-inch gaming laptop
CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6700HQ | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M (4GB DDR5 VRAM), Intel HD Graphics 530 | RAM: 16GB DDR4 (2,133MHz) | Screen: 15.6-inch FHD LED AntiGlare Backlit Multitouch (1,920 x 1,080) | Storage: 128GB SSD, 1TB HDD (5,400 RPM)
Ample battery life
Terrible trackpad buttons
Entry-level gaming are a great introduction into the glorious world of PC gaming, and from performance to looks, it’s hard to beat the Lenovo Ideapad Y700. It’s an inexpensive machine that stands out amongst other budget gaming machines with its all metal chassis and included SSD. It also comes packed with enough power to run modern games at decent settings.
Read the full review: Lenovo Ideapad Y700 15-inch
4. Gigabyte P55W v5
High-end graphics on a low-key laptop
CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6700HQ | Graphics: Nvidia Geforce GTX 970M | RAM: 8GB DDR4 | Screen: 15.6-inch full HD 1,920 x 1,080 IPS anti-glare LCD | Storage: 128GB SSD; 1TB SSD
Good battery life
For the most part, the Gigabyte P55W v5 gives you the meat of the company’s P57W v5, but in a smaller form factor. Everything about this laptop is subtle. Even the tiger stripes color scheme, which you would imagine to be quite flashy, is discreet and subdued, perhaps even passing as a workstation if you’re so inclined. Starting at only $1,224 (around AUS$1,694) or £1,178 in the UK, the P55W is a capable, yet surprisingly portable machine with an appearance that might fool you into thinking otherwise. Its use of a GTX 970M gives it an edge over laptops with more unruly, boisterous exteriors and with only a 15-inch chassis to boot.
Read the full review: Gigabyte P55W v5
5. MSI GS60 Ghost Pro
The best thin-and-light gaming laptop
CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7 6700HQ | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M, Intel HD Graphics 530 | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Screen: 15.6-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 eDP Wide View Angle | Storage: 128GB SSD; 1TB HDD
Fleeting battery life
A bit expensive
High on mature styling and light on weight, the MSI GS60 Ghost Pro is one of the thinnest gaming laptops you can buy. Don’t think this svelte machine has sacrificed performance for the sake of cutting weight. It still comes packed with a high-end Intel Skylake processor and graphics card to make it a one of the strongest platforms we’ve ever tested. Just make sure to stick with a 1080p resolution and medium to high visual settings.
Read the full review: MSI GS60 Ghost Pro
6. Asus ROG G752
This mobile PC gaming powerhouse throws a hefty punch
CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6700HQ | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M (3GB GDDR5); Intel HD Graphics 530 | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Screen: 17.3-inch, full HD 1,920 x 1,080, IPS LCD | Storage: 128GB SSD; 1TB HDD (7,200rpm)
Top-end specs and performance
No 4K screen
Poor battery life
The Asus ROG G752 has an aggressive design that sets it apart from many of the world’s sedate gaming laptops. Instead of donning the typical appearance of black plastic, the ROG G752 sports a shell with brushed aluminium panels, angular lines and the glowing red segments. On top of its in-your-face styling this 17-inch gaming laptop delivers a hefty performance and it can play modern games at a smooth clip even if you put the graphical setting to max. The only thing the Asus ROG G752 is missing is the option of a high-res 4K display.
Read the full review: Asus ROG G752
7. MSI GT72S G Tobii
CPU: 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-6820HK | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M (8GB GDDR5 RAM); Intel HD Graphics 530 | RAM: 32GB | Screen: 17.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) anti-glare IPS | Storage: 256GB SSD (PCIe Gen3x4); 1TB SATA HDD (7,200RPM)
Solid gaming performance
Seeing three constant dots
Limited game compatibility
Despite lacking the visual-slash-desktop performance appeal of the GT72S Dominator Pro, the MSI GT72S G Tobii boasts a unique set of features you can’t find anywhere else. Making use of Tobii eye-tracking technology, this version of the GT72S allows players to use their eyes as an additional control input, at least for a specific set of games. If you don’t need the extra power (or at least don’t want to shell out upwards of $3,000), the GT72S Tobii is an affordable solution with some tricks up its sleeve.
Read the full review: MSI GT72S G Tobii
8. Origin EON17-SLX
The ultimate gaming laptop built with desktop-grade power
CPU: 4GHz Intel Core i7-6700K | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 (8GB GDDR5 VRAM), Intel HD Graphics 530 | RAM: 16GB DDR4 (2,133MHz) | Screen: 17.3-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 IPS Matte Display with G-SYNC | Storage: 256GB SSD, 1TB Hybrid Drive (7,200 rpm)
Nearly unrivaled performance
Sharp, aggressive styling
Awful battery life
The Origin EON17-SLX takes gaming laptops to their ultimate conclusion of being portable desktops. This 17-inch notebook comes packed with a desktop-grade Intel processor and Nvidia GPU chip, making it one of history’s most powerful mobile machines. Of course, it comes with the sacrifice of portability in both weight and battery life. If these are worthy trade-offs for greater performance, you won’t find a better machine whether you’re a hardcore gamer to in the media creation business.
Read the full review: Origin EON17-SLX
9. MSI GT80 Titan
An outrageously sized and powerful gaming laptop
CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-4720HQ | Graphics: 2 x Nvidia GTX 980M SLI (16 GB GDDR5); Intel HD Graphics 4600 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 18.4-inch WLED FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-Glare Display | Storage: 256GB SSD; 1TB HDD (7,200 RPM)
Authentic mechanical keyboard
Impossible to use on your lap
The MSI GT80 Titan goes above and beyond to give gamers a desktop experience in a notebook with a complement of high-performance parts to a built-in mechanical keyboard. However, weighing in at nearly 10 pounds and measuring roughly two-inches thick, this laptop is seriously pushing the limits of what you can call portable. For all the strain it’ll put on your back and wallet, though, this 18.4-inch gaming laptop absolutely plow through almost any graphically intense game you try to run. This gaming behemoth proved to be a monster with the best in class mobile GPUs so we can’t even fathom what it could do with a Nvidia GTX 980.
Read the full review: MSI GT80 Titan
10. Alienware 17 (2015)
The Alienware 17 is an impressive refinement for this series of gaming laptops
CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-4710HQ | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M (4GB GDDR5 RAM), Intel HD Graphics 4600 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 17.3 inch, 1,920 x 1,080 IPS anti-glare display | Storage: 256 GB M.2 SATA SSD + 1TB HDD (7,200 rpm)
Flexible desktop mode
Excellent large screen
Still quite expensive
Slightly bottlenecked Amplifier performance
The Alienware 17 is one of those few outrageously priced gaming laptops that’s actually worth it. The notebook is a fully capable gaming machine on its own, but with the added power of desktop graphics through the GPU Amplifier it can play almost any game on Ultra settings.If you’re looking for something smaller, the Alienware 13 also works with the optional GPU box.
Read the full review: Alienware 17 (2015)
Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article