Do you think a gaming laptop is a bulky device, which screams monstrously under load and is hard to carry? Well, then it’s time we redefine the characteristics of the best gaming laptop, because, news alert guys, times have changed for the better and so did the gaming laptops! Gone are the days when even the laptops caused inconvenience to the gamers but now their characteristics have been tamed to rival the powerful desktops. Let us introduce you to the best gaming laptops of 2018, which are not only sleek and powerful but also look fancy to the eye!
However, before we give you the reviews, do not confuse a gaming notebook with a normal one.
Gaming Laptops vs Ordinary Laptops
If you are a gamer, does that mean you need to have an additional laptop other than the gaming notebook, in order to do your everyday work? That is a very valid question and one that bothers most newbies to the gaming field. What you need to understand is the fact that gaming or ordinary, all laptops have common specifications. The gaming machines are just better when it comes to GPU, RAM, VRAM, and CPU speed. They also have an efficient heat management system, so you do not burn your palms while playing.
The normal graphics card, which usually works well for ordinary laptops, may not work for gaming. It requires a dedicated graphics card. Some laptops come with even two cards to make the gaming experience even better. Moreover, gaming computers require a vibrant and larger display screen for an immersive experience. However, for an ordinary PC, the stability between its size, weight, and resolution holds much more importance. Moreover, gaming laptops require a larger battery to cater to dual fans and GPU. For a quick comparison, see the table below:
Our experts have tested different notebooks for reliability and quality since your satisfaction is our major concern!
Discrete GPU, powerful quad-core CPU such as Intel i7 6820hk with higher clock frequencies, big RAM, two powerful fans, large vents, powerful battery, backlit keyboard, 2k or 4k display
Small fan, compact design, low RAM, small battery, normal processing speed, integrated graphics
Comparison Table: High-Performing Gaming Laptops Overview
|MSI GS65 Stealth – Best Gaming Laptop Under 2000||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 ...||$1,799.00|
|Alienware 13 R3 – Best Gaming Laptop Under 4000||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060||$3,499.00|
|Acer Predator Helios 300 – Best Gaming Laptop Under 1500||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 ...||$1,099.99|
|Dell G5587 – Best Gaming Laptop Under 1000||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 ...||$948.90|
|Dell Inspiron 7000 – Best Gaming Laptop Under 800||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 ...||$757.00|
Top 5 Game Laptops with Reviews
Here are Dimble’s recommendations for the best laptop for gaming.
The Micro-Star International GS65 Stealth Thin has everything the gamers need. It is thin and light allowing you to toss it in your backpack or use it on your bed. And yes, you can play all the latest games at max settings. With 18mm thickness, it sports matte black aluminum body with gold accents. The standard model has GTX 1060 Max-Q GPU, however, we recommend to buy this notebook with GTX 1070 to get updated SSD and wireless networking option. It would allow you to play all new games above 60 fps. It would even permit you to bump the framerate to 100 fps by modifying some settings. An RGB keyboard from SteelSeries, a receptive touchpad, and a webcam make it the best gaming laptop of 2018.
- CPU: Intel Core i7-8750H
- GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
- RAM: 16GB DDR4-2400MHz
- Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) wide-view 144Hz
- Storage: 512GB M.2 SSD
- Battery: 82 Whr
- Dimensions: 9.75 x 14.08 x 0.69 inches
- Weight: 4.14 lbs
- Striking, intelligent design
- Stunning, quick display
- Outstanding performance
- Efficient thermal management
- The bottom gets very warm
- Biometric login not Available
- The built-in audio quality is poor
- No G-sync
After the success of Alienware Area 51 and space-compressing Alienware Aurora R5, the space age computing firm has introduced Alienware 13 R3 – the first OLED gaming laptop in the market. The hinge-forward design, quad-core Intel Core i7 HQ-series processor, full-size GTX 1060 and OLED touch display make it stand apart among all other laptops in our list. If you are into VR games, you will find this machine closest to the reality.
With 0.22 cm thick chassis and extended 10.6-inch depth, you might not find many 13-inch bags that could accommodate this premium device.
The prices vary for different markets. The Dell small business site offers it for $1,350. However, on Amazon, it could be very expensive.
- CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7
- GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060
- RAM: 8GB – 16GB DDR4
- Screen: 13.3-inch HD 1,366 x 768 TN – QHD 2,560 x 1440 OLED touchscreen
- Storage: 180GB – 512GB SSD
- Weight: 5.8 Lbs
- Stunning OLED screen
- Enhanced hinge-forward design
- Inspiring performance-per-inch
- Reasonably priced entry models
- Surprisingly thick
- Low battery life
We find it the best budget gaming laptop for its performance. Of course, you have to compromise on a few aspects but that should not hurt you considering the price you are paying for this best gaming laptop. Talking about the good things, it has the magnificent GTX 1060 GPU to play the most demanding games. The screen size of 15.6 inches is ideal for most gamers. The 144Hz framerate and 1080 display render the perfect gaming experience.
On the downside, the Acer Predator Helios 300 can heat up pretty quickly, however, you can modify the fan settings to bring the heat down.
- CPU: Intel Core i7-7700HQ
- GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
- RAM: 16GB DDR4-2133MHz
- Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) wide-view 60 Hz
- Storage: 256GB M.2 SATA SSD
- Battery: 4-cell Li-ion (3220 mAh) 7-hour
- Dimensions: 10.47 x 15.35 x 1.05 inches
- Weight: 5.95 lbs
- Provide good value to money
- Excellent battery life
- 144Hz refresh rate
- Gets hot easily
- Fans are noisy
- Sound is boring
For budget-friendly gamers, we have picked the Dell G5587 costing just $949. The mid-range laptop comes equipped with a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU to run all the latest games. The 1080p/60fps setting will not heat it up and crank the fans. The 8th generation Intel Core i5-8300H quad-core CPU and the GTX 1060 VR-ready GPU to run VR games for the asking price aren’t a bad deal. The standard DDR4 RAM of 8GB can be upgraded to 32 easily if you are a little handy with the machines. The 128GB of SSD and 1TB HDD are not a deal breaker by any mean. The SSD is good enough to run the OS and some games while 1TB has enough storage to keep all the important stuff.
The design may not be the best with distinct hinges placed toward the center; however, the overall construction is solid and inspiring.
We feel it is the great game laptop for beginners and people on the budget.
- CPU: Intel Core i5-8300H Quad-core
- GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
- RAM: 8GB DDR4
- Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) wide-view 60 Hz
- Storage: 128GB SATA SSD
- HDD: 1 TB
- Dimensions: 10.82 x 15.32 x 0.98 inches
- Weight: 6.28 lbs
- Latest Processor
- VR-ready GPU
- Weak center-oriented hinges
- Low SSD storage
If you are looking for the laptop under $800, we feel the Inspiron 7000 series is a good bet. Gamers who have too little budget like $600 can go for Acer Aspire E 15 but they have to compromise on the speed.
In just $750, you get 8GB of RAM, NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1050 Ti with 4GB GDDR5 graphics memory, 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-Glare LED-Backlit Display, 2 tuned speakers plus 1 subwoofer; audio processing by Waves MaxxAudio® Pro, Dual drives with 256GB Solid State Drive + 1TB 5400 rpm Hard Drive and Integrated Widescreen HD (720p) Webcam with Dual Array Digital Microphone.
Of course, you will not be able to run graphics intensive games and venture into virtual reality realm but you get what you pay for. Mind it, it is not very sleek and portable with 6.61 pounds of weight, so you will not feel very comfortable carrying it for long.
On the positive side, it has a revolutionary cooling design to beat the heat and impressive sound. The memory can be upgraded to 32GB and the 74 WHr battery is not bad either.
- CPU: Intel Core i5-7300HQ
- GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti
- RAM: 8GB DDR4 2400MHZ
- Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080)
- Storage: 256GB SATA SSD
- Battery: 6-cell 74 Whr
- Dimensions: 10.82 x 15.15 x 1.00 inches
- Weight: 6.61 lbs
- Excellent for less-demanding games
- Good battery time of 4 hours
- Not very powerful
- The construction material looks cheap
How We Tested
Time to shift our focus on how we determined the best gaming laptop 2018. Well, we have our very expert team to vouch for it, and a number of tests followed by a set of synthetic benchmarks to determine which one will suit the users best.
These tests were run on high graphics quality of 1080p during which a loop of ten minutes of web browsing followed by five minutes of playing videos was carried out. Our expert team determined the battery life, heat, noise, graphics, processing for each laptop. Multiple games were played for hours to check the speakers, the display and the keyboard in order to get a feel for the trackpad.
What is the Perfect Gaming Laptop?
So how would you decide which the A-1 laptop for gaming is? I know that is a tricky question and one that is bothering you! Easy guys, decisions like these are better not to make in haste! Frankly, it depends a lot on the type of gamer you are. Are you a beginner, who is starting it for fun? Better go for a solid, mid-range, portable machine!
Do you rather find yourself knee deep in the gaming world? It means you would be anywhere between an intermediate and expert gamer. In such a case, you would require a laptop with good CPU, GPU, RAM, and battery.
Still did not get it? Well, that is probably because you are not aware of the kind of specs you should be looking at. Let us take a look at each specification and identify which is best for you.
Gaming Laptop Buying Guide
CPU (Computer Processing Unit)
The CPU is the brain of your computer and unlike your brain the bigger it is, the faster! Go for a quad-core or hexacore but choose the generation as per your budget. The latest 8th Generation is very expensive, so try anything from 6th Gen to 7th Gen with at least Core i5 processor. The Intel i3 core is out of the question.
GPU (Graphics Processing Unit)
To run a game smoothly, your GPU must be top class. All modern games require at least Nvidia GeForce GTX 10-series GPU. In order to get the most out of your GPU, you would need to combine it with a good CPU as well as a bigger RAM. Conversely, you can have a discrete GPU, with its own memory called the V-Ram. This is specifically needed for expert gamers, the ones who are genuinely married to their laptop screens!
You need to be very careful when deciding about the GPU since you cannot upgrade it later. If you do not really want to play at the highest settings and would rather go for an entry-level gaming experience, go for GTX 1050 or somewhat better GTX 1050 Ti.
We recommend the GTX 1060 for mainstream gaming. This is also the minimum you should get for virtual reality games on Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. For highest settings and VR, get the Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1070. To get the best playing experience, opt for the most powerful GTX 1080. Mind it; it would definitely go heavy on your pockets!
RAM basically dictates how many tasks you can do on your laptop at the same time. Gaming, which is widely dependent on the amount of RAM you have, generally requires at least 8GB, even for average productivity. If you are a pro at gaming and play games that are graphics intensive, you would need a higher RAM. 16GB is normally ideal for high productivity tasks.
Oh and in case, you are low on budget or you have already bought your laptop with a low RAM, there is absolutely no need to panic. You can even consider upgrading your RAM later.
We have all been through the struggle of emptying our drives to save memory in order to add more things to it. But as you are buying a gaming notebook, try not to compromise on the storage. Get a good HDD (Hard Disk Drive) in addition to an SSD (Solid State Drive). We suggest getting an HDD of at least 2TB with a 128GB of SSD for decreased loading times. If you have a tight budget and want the best cheap gaming laptop, ignore the SSD because it will not be cheap.
The display is an important factor while considering the best gaming laptop for the money. When we talk about the display, we can never compromise on size and resolution. What is the use of a high storage, good GPU and an amazing RAM, when you view it on a laptop with a resolution less than 1920×1080? Consider 2560×1440 resolution with GTX 1070 GPU.
Oh and the screen size! Remember the fact that viewing a movie in the cinema is always more fun than watching it on your laptop screens! Therefore, screen size matters! However, the big screen would make your laptop heavier, so do not make a stupid decision! 16-17 inch laptops work ideally for most gamers because of a larger viewing screen as well as a powerful system since they have more room to fit in heat-management components. However, they can become a burden to carry along, hence making them less portable. They are extremely power hungry as well, so cannot be used unplugged for long.
Meanwhile, 13-14 inch screens are usually light and portable, whereas they lack higher-end components and are generally less powerful. Since they are lighter, weighing less than 5 pounds, they have a comparatively higher battery time.
The 15-inch screen is most common because it provides medium portability, weighing around 4.6 and 7.2 pounds. Moreover, they have a relatively good battery time, lasting for an average of 5 hours 50 minutes unplugged.
Therefore, the gaming laptop would depend on what you can compromise; portability, power or none.
Touch Screens are an absolute NO! They eat up your battery quickly and that is not a good idea considering the games you run on your laptop are going to make sure you have none to spare. In addition, the fact that they are totally unnecessary renders them absolutely useless. Other than that, they are expensive too!
You might not have heard of it but you can also choose between a glossy and matte display! Surprising isn’t it? Glossy displays provide vibrant colors, adding life to the virtual reality of games; however, they are susceptible to annoying glares. Matte ones combat the issue of glare rather nicely but they compromise on the quality of details and color.
Surprisingly, there are quite a number of things you need to consider while selecting the kind of keyboard to go with your choicest gaming laptop.
Primarily, check for key travel! Ideally, a depth of 2mm is optimum without being uncomfortable. The force required to push a key is also important, since sometimes the keys are too hard to be comfortably pushed, and at other times, they are too soft and mushy, slowing your response time. We have determined around 65 grams of force is ideal.
Customizable backlighting is another feature you can look at because who would not want a really cool and flashy sort of lighting to their keyboards. The best affordable gaming laptop may provide only red or white lighting. However, best ones render RGB backlighting. Some allow you to literally change the color to each key while others have several lighting zones. Some even let you change color as per the game you are playing.
Furthermore, look for keyboards with the anti-ghosting feature. It lets you press several buttons and at the same time, each one is registered. This comes especially handy in a situation when you have to use a combo move!
Most gamers prefer using a nice headset but what if you lose them or they receive a damage? You would not want to wait to play until you get new ones; that is for sure. Therefore, you would have an edge over the situation if you had bought a laptop with good speakers. The MSI-exclusive, Nahimic audio software gives you the best sound experience, both for headphones as well as for speakers.
Here is some advice from our side. While buying the greatest gaming laptop get Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 for standard Virtual Reality settings. For CPU, go for at least core i7 6th generation while the minimum RAM should be 16 GB for smooth gaming. The storage isn’t a big issue but more is better especially if you are into playing heavy games. For resolution and display, see what we have recommended above.
Is a 256GB SSD + a 2TB HDD good for the best gaming laptop?
Yes, 256GB SSD and 2TB HDD are more than enough for gaming. Normally, we recommend 128/1TB combo for most users.
Which laptop is most recommended by gamers?
It depends on your preference. The top five gaming notebooks we have described above are best in their respective price brackets.
Should I get a laptop with 1 TB HDD or 256 GB SSD?
If you are low on budget, we do not recommend SSD because it can be costly. For a gaming PC, we though recommend both SSD and HDD. Most systems today come with both, so getting both in one package is ideal.
Are gaming laptops good for programming?
Traditional or gaming notebooks, both are good for programming. For programming, you might need good RAM, processing speed and graphics card, and gaming notebooks excel in all these departments. Therefore, programming on a game machine is ideal.
Which laptop brand is best for gaming?
When it comes to the best of the best, unfortunately, we cannot name any specific brand. However, we do know that MSI, Acer, Alienware, Razer, Asus, HP, Gigabyte, Origin, and Dell are top brands. At least this is what the other sources say.