Whether you’re a seasoned gamer or a total newbie, you’re probably well aware that the best gaming experience isn’t achievable on standard laptops. If you’re looking for a quality machine that meets the performance demands of your favorite games, a gaming laptop is the way to go. We’ve ranked the best gaming laptops out there based on price, performance and reliability.
The Best Gaming Laptops
● Lenovo Ideapad L340 — Best Entry-Level Gaming Laptop | Learn the basics
● MSI GF65 Thin 9SD-252 — Best Lightweight Option | Game on the go
● Razer Blade Pro 17 — Best High-End Gaming Laptop | All the bells and whistles
The Best Gaming Laptops: Key Features
|Screen size||Weight||Display resolution||RAM||CPU Speed||Hard disk size|
|Lenovo Ideapad L340||15.6 in||4.84 lb||1920×1080||8GB||2.4 GHz||512GB|
|MSI GF65 Thin 9SD-252||15.6 in||4.10 lb||1920×1080||8GB||2.6 GHz||512GB|
|Razer Blade Pro 17||17.3 in||10.63 lb||3840×2160||64GB||5.1 GHz||1TB|
Lenovo Ideapad L340 – Best Entry-Level Gaming Laptop
If you’re just starting out, the Lenovo Ideapad L340 is a great introductory gaming laptop.
Why we chose it
Good for the budget
If you’re just purchasing your first gaming laptop, you probably don’t want to invest too much until you get a better understanding of what features you might want to upgrade. The Lenovo Ideapad L340 is a great starter laptop because it sits on the low end of the pricing spectrum as far as gaming computers go. At the same time, you won’t have to sacrifice performance to reach this lower price point. The laptop’s specs meet all the minimum requirements for most modern games, including an NVIDIA graphics card, 8GB RAM and a full HD display.
Long battery life
According to the manufacturer, the average battery life on the Lenovo Ideapad L340 is around nine hours, which is fantastic for a gaming laptop. Keep in mind that you probably won’t get nine hours of gaming time on a single charge, since actively running games uses battery power much faster. Still, you can rest assured that you won’t need to go looking for an outlet every hour or two.
Optional 24/7 support
Beginner gamers might not understand everything they need to know about their first gaming laptop. Lenovo offers an optional 24/7 support service that can be purchased alongside the Lenovo Ideapad L340 for an additional fee. This service includes phone, email and live chat support with dedicated gaming expert technicians and prioritized next-day service delivery. You can also use this support service to get advice on optimization and upgrades, should you decide to start swapping some of the laptop’s parts out for higher-performance versions.
Points to consider
Limited built-in storage
The Lenovo Ideapad L340 comes with a 512GB of hard disk storage. This is the baseline minimum for gaming laptops, but will quickly run out once you start downloading and playing several games. If you run into this issue, you’ll need to either upgrade the storage or purchase an external hard drive. Both options cost extra money, something to think about if you’re sticking to a budget.
As with all budget laptops, the manufacturer of the Lenovo Ideapad L340 has to compromise parts quality in order to meet a lower price point. This isn’t necessarily to say that the quality of the parts in this laptop are particularly bad, but they won’t perform as well or last as long as higher-end, more expensive laptops. The good news is that you can always swap these parts out as needed.
MSI GF65 Thin 9SD-252 – Best Lightweight Option
The ultra-light MSI GF65 Thin 9SD-252 is a breeze to carry anywhere.
Why we chose it
The MSI GF75 Thin 9SD-252 weighs only 4.1 pounds, making it the lightest of any gaming laptop we reviewed. If you frequently carry your laptop around school or to work, you’ll appreciate the extra weight lifted off your shoulders – literally. You’ll find that the laptop fits easily into just about any backpack or carrying case and can share space with textbooks, notebooks and other devices.
Long battery life
According to MSI, the GF75 Thin 9SD-252’s battery can last seven or more hours, which is quite impressive for an ultra-thin laptop of any kind. Of course, we can assume that this doesn’t mean seven hours of actual play time; the number of game time you’ll get between charges will depend on the game being played and how much processing power it requires to run.
Built-in USB and Ethernet ports
Impressively, the MSI GF75 Thin 9SD-252 manages to fit two USB ports, two USB-C ports, an HDMI port and an Ethernet port into its lightweight body, eliminating the need to purchase additional adapters. For reference, a 16-inch MacBook Pro – which weighs approximately the same – contains just two USB-C ports, requiring users to purchase a separate adapter to connect USB, HDMI and Ethernet cables. This adapter can cost up to $70.
Points to consider
Bare minimum specs
Although it’s impressive that MSI fits so much into the GF75 Thin 9SD-252’s lightweight body, it doesn’t stand out in any area of performance. The laptop comes with the basic minimum requirements for gaming, such as 8GB RAM, 1920×1080 HD resolution and 512GB hard disk space. While this is sufficient to run most games, you won’t find the more impressive performance available with higher-end gaming laptops.
While it may not be an issue for everyone, the MSI GF75 Thin 9SD-252 is designed with very specific branding, including a red backlit keyboard and a matching red backlight GSI logo on the laptop’s cover, which features a dragon and shield. This is more noticeable than the subtle branding other manufacturers incorporate into their laptops; for example, Lenovo opts for more neutral colors and less obvious branding on most of their laptops.
Razer Blade Pro 17 – Best High-End Gaming Laptop
For gamers with a higher budget, the Razer Blade Pro 17 is top of the line.
Why we chose it
The Razer Blade Pro 17 takes everything we love to see in a gaming laptop and packs it into one machine. The laptop features support for up to 64GB RAM, 8GB of dedicated VRAM via an NVIDIA graphics card and an eight-core processor. You’ll also find 1TB of built-in hard disk storage space, enough to store and run several games. No matter what you throw at this gaming laptop, it will handle it in stride.
4K ultra-HD display
With top-notch performance comes a display to match the experience. The Razer Blade Pro 17 features a 17.3-inch 4K ultra-HD screen that gives this portable laptop a desktop gaming experience. And unlike some other gaming laptops with 4K displays, this one has the processing power to back up flawless UHD gaming at well over 60 frames per second.
Multiple connectivity ports
Whatever you need to connect to the Razer Blade Pro 17, you won’t have a problem doing it. The laptop features more connectivity ports than we can count: three USB 3.2 ports, two USB-C ports, an HDMI port, an Ethernet port and even a built-in SD card reader. For serious gamers, this means you can easily connect larger screens and auxiliary processing devices for an even better experience.
Points to consider
High price point
Of course, all the benefits of the Razer Blade Pro 17 come at a price. This model is on the higher end of gaming laptops, so it probably isn’t a good option for someone just starting out. However, if you’ve been gaming seriously for a long time and are ready to invest in a top-of-the-line laptop, this device should be at the top of your wish list. If you have the budget, it’s more than worth the money.
The Razer Blade Pro 17 weighs a hefty 10.6 pounds, around twice the weight of most standard gaming laptops. Of course, part of this can be attributed to the laptop’s larger screen size, but it’s also a result of more powerful parts. Unfortunately, you probably won’t be able to find a laptop with the same specs that is much lighter. With this in mind, it’s more a question of whether you’re willing to carry around a heavier piece of equipment in exchange for more cutting-edge game play.
Guide to Gaming Laptops
If you’re buying a laptop specifically for playing video games, processing capability is the most important factor that should go into your purchasing decision. Gaming laptops need at least 8GB of RAM and should have a dedicated graphics card with at least 4GB of VRAM. Anything less than this and you may find that you’re unable to play your favorite games.
Screen size and resolution
Gaming laptops usually start with a 15.6-inch screen size but can also be purchased with a 17.3-inch screen. While larger screens are easier to look at, they’re also more difficult to carry around. Display resolution is also important; 1920×1080 HD is the standard, while 4K ultra-HD resolution is currently the industry leader.
A standard weight for gaming laptops is around or under five pounds. If you purchase a laptop that is significantly heavier than this, you might find it cumbersome to carry, especially if you have a daily commute. Consider whether a heavier weight is worth the features that might come with it, such as a larger screen size or faster processing.
Hard disk space
Your laptop’s hard disk will only come with a limited amount of storage space, and once you run out, your only options will be to delete files or add on with an external hard drive or cloud storage. The minimum standard for gaming laptops is typically 512GB, but with each game taking up several gigabytes of space, this might run out faster than you would like. Consider upgrading to a laptop with 1TB of built-in storage for better longevity.