Gaming laptops have come a long way in recent years. Thanks to advances in cooling, GPU and CPU architecture, like Nvidia’s super cool Max Q, you can now pick up a think and light gaming laptop that doesn’t compromise on specs.
But with new gaming notebooks hitting the market at a near frenzied pace, such as the newly unveiled Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 and Asus ROG Mothership GZ700GX, knowing which to get is tough for even the most tech savvy of buyers.
As it stands the Razer Blade 15 is the best overall gaming laptop. Though with new Max Q versions of Nvidia’s 20-series now hitting the market it’s time as top dog may be coming to an end.
If money is an issue then the HP Omen 15 is the best value gaming laptop we’ve reviewed recently. Down the line we also expect to see more affordable gaming laptops appear running a Max Q version of the Nvidia RTX 2060, though none have currently been unveiled.
Scroll down to see our picks of all the best gaming laptops currently available.
Related: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Mobile GPU
How we test laptops
We put every gaming laptop we test through a repeatable series of synthetic benchmarks, before seeing how they perform with real-life gaming on the biggest triple-A games. We also run synthetic battery tests in Powermark, looping 10 minutes of web browsing and five minutes of video to check battery life, heat and noise.
1. Razer Blade 15
Our favourite gaming laptop currently available
- 144Hz display is perfect for competitive gamers
- Beautiful design
- Solid 1080p gaming performance
- Light enough to double as a regular laptop
- 1080p version not great for creatives
- Trackpad isn’t the best around
Laptops from Razer’s Blade 15 range boast high performance, with games loading near-instantly. The 1080p 144Hz version will be of particular interest to those who want to be able to get the edge on opponents in multiplayer sessions – response times are your friend and you definitely get a boost here thanks to the faster refresh rate.
The Razer Blade 15 looks good on the outside too – as well with the attendant boy racer lights ‘neath the keys, the metal cases are sturdy super-slim. Razer’s somehow crammed a webcam in there while keeping the bezel more or less invisible.
It’s not perfect. It can get uncomfortably hot after long stretches of play, but in terms of performance and design, the Razer Blade 15 is easily the best gaming laptop in our opinion.
2. HP Omen 15
The best value gaming laptop for around £1000
- Super-speedy performance
- Stylish and bang-up-to-date design
- Loads of features including G-Sync and 144Hz display
- Performance doesn’t take advantage of 144Hz display
- Disappointing battery life
- Fans get irritatingly noisy
The HP Omen 15 is currently our choice for best value gaming laptop. The 15.6-inch Full HD display features fantastic viewing angles and a refresh rate of 144Hz. Nvidia’s G-Sync tech also means that refresh rates will be synced with a game’s frame rates. And while the HP Omen 15 isn’t powerful enough to touch 144Hz, the overall experience, considering the price of the HP Omen 15, is ridiculously good, far better than you might expect.
The HP Omen 15 isn’t without its flaws, but the biggest problems – loud fans and a puny battery – are typical of gaming laptops. Other than that, the trackpad isn’t fantastic, but if you’re serious about gaming, you’ll want to pair the HP Omen 15 with a gaming mouse anyway.
The model we tested (15-dc0030na) features an Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics card and costs £1099 on HP’s store. There’s a GTX 1050 Ti version with the same processor available for people on a smaller budget, and also a GTX 1070 available for about £500 more. Whichever way you slice it, the current HP Omen 15 range offers considerable power for very reasonable prices.
3. Alienware m15
A lightweight powerhouse with spades of style
- Excellent performance power
- Sleek and sexy design
- Incredibly light for a gaming laptop
- Top-tier model is very expensive
- No Nvidia G-Sync support
- Underwhelming battery life
The Alienware m15 has a heck of a lot going for it. It boasts a super-smooth 144Hz display, a gorgeous bang-up-to-date design and a GTX 1070 graphics card that’s meaty enough to handle most games in Full HD at 60fps. At 2.16kg, its pretty light for a gaming laptop too. It’s certainly not a back-breaker like other options in this list.
Few other gaming laptops have a better balance of performance power and stylish portability. This winning combination makes the Alineware m15 one of the best portable machines you can buy to satisfy your gaming itch.
The only issue? It’s extremely pricey. With the top-tier model exceeding the £2000 mark, you can find better value elsewhere, especially since the Alienware m15 lacks the sought after Nvidia G-Sync technology.
4. Dell G3 15
Don’t fancy spending a grand? This is the best no-frills gaming laptop for those on a strict budget
- Astonishing performance considering the price
- Can run almost every PC game in Full HD
- Never gets too hot or loud
- Long-lasting battery life
- Sub-par display
- Dated design
- No Chroma keyboard option
The Dell G3 15 (3579) looks pretty unassuming. Devoid of sharp angled air vents and showy RGB lighting, it doesn’t look like your average gaming laptop. The 15.6-inch backlit LED display is also nothing to write come about, with colours distorting when viewed but a few degrees left or right of straight ahead.
Look a little further and you’ll discover a cheap and cheerful gaming laptop that punches well above its weight.
With options to take 8th gen Core i5 or Core i7 CPUs and GPU options ranging from the Nvidia GTX 1050, 1050 Ti to 1060 Max-Q, and all but the highest-end option costing under £1000, this is one of the best value for money gaming laptops on the market.
If you’re after something which can run some of the best PC games in recent years in 1080p Full HD at a decent pace and you’re not fussed about cranking the settings all the way up, then the Dell G3 15 is a great choice.
5. Gigabyte Aero 15
A fully featured, super specced portable gaming rig
- Slim and light
- GeForce 1070 graphics
- Silent and effective fans
- No garish design features
- Ropey touchpad
- Awkward webcam
- Occasional stammer
If you’re you’re after a super lightweight gaming laptop that doesn’t scrimp on specs then the Gigabyte Aero 15 is the notebook for you.
Despite weighing a modest 2.1kg the Gigabyte Aero 15 features an Intel 8th Gen CPU and powerhouse GeForce 1070 GPU. The end result is a laptop that’s more than powerful enough for 1080p gaming but light enough to comfortably carry while out and about.
The only downside is that it’s keyboard and trackpad aren’t the best around, so you may want to invest in a proper gaming mouse when you pick up a Gigabyte Aero 15.
6. Acer Predator Helios 500
One of the most powerful gaming laptops out there, but it’s a chunky beast
- Effortless overclocking
- Stays reassuringly cool
- 144Hz screen
- Huge and heavy
- Poor battery life
The Acer Predator Helios 500 is literally heavy duty stuff – you get excellent overall performance and, if your budget can stretch to accommodate, there’s a 4K option, alongside the Full HD model. In our tests Rise of the Tomb Raider looked particularly stunning.
At 4kg though, it weighs a ton. We weren’t lying when we said ‘heavy duty’. This isn’t something that you’re going to take out the house that much, thanks also to the sub-average battery performance.
Easy overclocking will appeal to the less techy gamers out there who want to push the performance of their machines, but don’t want to get tied up with tinkering.
7. Gigabyte Aorus X5
A no nonsense gaming laptop that ticks almost every box
- Customisable keyboard
- Speedy drives
- Crisp, colourful visuals
- Lack of 4K support
- Not the most sturdy design
If you’re on the market for a feature-packed gaming laptop that’ll blitz through 1080p gaming, then you’ll want to consider the Aorus X5.
The 15.6-inch notebook features an overclocked Core i7 8850H chipset, GTX 1070 graphics and 16GB of DDR4 memory. With the CPU running at 2.6GHz standard or 4.3GHz overclocked the specs mean the laptop will play pretty much any modern triple-A title with their graphics on high, or in some cases, ultra settings with zero pause.
It’s RGB keyboard will also be a huge hit with gamers that like to map game’s control schemes or celebrate success with a flashy light show.
The only downside is its lack of 4K resolution or GTX 1080 GPU options, which stop it being the ultimate performance laptop. If you want either of these you’ll need to upgrade to one of the X5’s bigger siblings or a different manufacturer entirely.
8. Asus ROG G703
Pricey and heavy, but this laptop offers a super-charged beefcake performance
- Fantastic gaming performance
- Overclocked, fast processor
- Generous memory and storage
- Exceptional build quality
- Bright, accurate 144Hz G-Sync screen
- Heavy, bulky design
- Very high price
If you’re after a large, no-compromise gaming laptop, then the Asus ROG G703 is a fantastic choice.
The G703 is the latest premier device in Asus’ gaming line. It unashamedly puts graphical grunt over portability and daintiness to great effect.
Highlights include a stellar full-size keyboard that’s a cut above most competitors, plus a wealth of ports and surprisingly quiet cooling. This, plus the G703’s above-average 144Hz, G-Sync screen, powerful performance and generous storage capacity, mean you’ll struggle to find a better balanced, more powerful gaming laptop than the G703.
The only downside is that, weighing in at a hefty 4.8kg, the G703 is pretty much a laptop in name only. With pricing starting at over £3000 it’s also seriously expensive. But, as ever, you get what you pay for.
9. Acer Predator 17
So-so design and display, but the Acer Predator 17 is rocking plenty of features
- Scythes through any game at 1080p
- Impressive keyboard and trackpad
- Good screen and speakers
- Surprisingly good battery life
- Rivals offer slightly better screen and sound
- Heavy and bulky build
- Mediocre SSD
- Divisive design
The Acer Predator 17 isn’t subtle, even by gaming laptop standards. The over-the-top red design flourishes and RGB lighting make it one of the most ostentatious gaming notebooks we’ve reviewed since the outright ridiculous MSI Dominator Dragon Edition many moons ago. Its back-breaking 3.5kg weight also means it’s a laptop in name only. But if you’re after a solid workhorse gaming laptop with all the trimmings for 1080p gaming, you won’t find much better.
Featuring a 1080p G-Sync screen and wealth of different configuration options that let you pair an Intel Core i7 with an Nvidia GTX 1060, 1070 or 1080, the mid- and top-specced versions are both more than powerful enough to run triple-A games with their graphics maxed. This, plus an excellent RGB keyboard and a solid set of speakers, make it a great choice for laptop gamers who don’t have the extra cash, or space, to grab a dedicated monitor or sound system.
10. Asus ROG STRIX GL553
A great option for eSport gamers
- Good performance
- Attractive design
- Quality screen
- Mediocre battery life
- A little noisy
- So-so build quality
Asus mid-range ROG STRIX GL53 gaming machine is a triumph. The GTX 1050 graphics card is good enough for eSports gaming and AAA gaming in Full HD resolutions at Medium settings, and the processor is fast enough to handle video rendering and loads of browser tabs.
It looks good, too. With an RGB-backlit keyboard and attractive orange highlights, there’s no mistaking the fact that this machine is pitched at gamers, not everyday users. There are more expensive models available, but of the range we reckon this is one of the best value options. If you want to pay more, consider the higher-spec Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming with its 4K , IPS panel.
Those are our top picks of the best laptops. If you want to know more about what to look out for when buying a laptop then read on.
Gaming Laptop Buying Guide – What should you look for?
Gaming laptops are special because of the performance they manage to pack in a small body. You not only have to consider how they perform now, but ensure they’re future-proofed for at least a couple of years. Unlike desktop PCs you can’t easily or cheaply upgrade the specification of a gaming laptop. Paying for that extra performance now is often sensible in the long term.
Right now, Nvidia graphics cards are found on the overwhelming majority of new gaming laptops. You’ll generally find laptop specific parts on machines launched in 2014 and 2015 (such as 950M, 960M etc), but from this year all Nvidia laptops get full desktop-level GPUs. This is because the company’s ‘Pascal’ architecture is so efficient it can squeeze into the same space as an old-style laptop GPU without needing extra cooling. Look out for 10-series cards such as the GTX 1050, GTX 1060, 1070 and 1080.
Related: Best graphics cards
The choice of CPU is also important. All the laptops on this list come equipped with quad-core Intel Core i5 or i7 processors with ‘HQ’ or ‘HK’ at the end of their model names, but you’ll find some cheaper models on the market that only have a ‘U’ suffix. This denotes a much lower-power, dual-core processor that can prove to be a huge bottleneck in games if you have a high-end graphics card.
All gaming laptops come with at least 8GB of RAM and, right now, that’s a very happy medium between a paltry 4GB and 16GB, which is overkill for many games. Don’t confuse RAM for VRAM used by your graphics card: Lower-end models get 2GB, while the more expensive models will get 4GB, 6GB and 8GB of VRAM for better performance.
Related: Best laptop deals