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Best Gaming Laptop 2020: 10 powerhouse game-ready notebooks

What’s the best gaming laptop?

The gaming laptop market is stronger than ever, with tried and true gaming brands expanding their lineups while more traditional laptop manufacturers are trying their hand at sleek variations on the formula. There’s a massive choice when it comes to choosing the best gaming laptop for you.

The competitive is a fierce between the internal hardware manufacturers as it is for the laptop manufacturers themselves, with AMD and Nvidia constantly duking it out for GPU supremacy and Intel and AMD having their own titanic clash.

AMD recently took the laptop processor game to the next level with the Ryzen 4000 series, ushering in a new wave of more affordable gaming machines. While Nvidia continues to push graphics cards harder and harder with the recent addition of the RTX 2000 series Super cards. It’s a good time to be a laptop gamer.

On the laptop manufacturer side, the competition just grew even more with Dell refreshing its whole Alienware lineup with Intel’s latest H-series chips and the new RTX cards – including new Alienware m15 R3, new Dell G3 and G5 (featuring an AMD Ryzen 4000 model) and more. The Dell XPS line is even stepping up to the gaming plate with the reimagined Dell XPS 17, sporting up to an RTX 2060 card.

Related: Best Laptop Deals

But as for right now, what is the best gaming laptop for you? We’ve rounded up our top recommendations, so you should be able to find the perfect portable whether you want the cheapest option possible or want the most powerful gaming laptop currently available. If you can’t be bothered scrolling to the bottom of the page, you can find a short summary just below:

  • Our favourite gaming laptop: Asus ROG Zephyrus G14
  • Best value gaming laptop: Acer Predator Helios 300
  • Best performance under £2000: HP Omen 15
  • Best desktop-replacement gaming laptop: Alienware Area 51m
  • Best 4K gaming laptop: Razer Blade Pro 17
  • Best budget gaming laptop: Acer Nitro 5
  • Best budget 17-inch gaming laptop: Asus ROG Strix Scar III
  • Most powerful gaming laptop: Acer Predator Triton 900
  • Best looking gaming laptop: Razer Blade 15
  • Best dual-screen gaming laptop: HP Omen X 2S

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

1. Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

The new king of the gaming laptops

Pros:

  • Incredible CPU performance
  • Great for Full HD gaming
  • Ultra-portable design
  • Impressive battery life

Cons:

  • Lack of RGB lighting
  • No integrated webcam
  • Underwhelming SSD speeds

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 has stormed onto the market with aplomb, quickly addressing two of the biggest issues in the gaming laptop world: weight and price. The Zephyrus G14 only weighs 1.69kg, yet still flaunts impressive power thanks to the top-spec combination of AMD’s new Ryzen 4000 processor and Nvidia’s ray tracing-capable RTX 2060 card – and only costs £1799 for the privilege.

Any Full HD game is playable with respectable frame rates here, exceeding the 60fps target for the majority of titles. CPU-focused games, such as Civiliaztion VI and Total War: Warhammer 2, will particularly benefit here, as will creative applications if you like to edit video in-between gaming sessions.

There is a lack of RGB lighting with the keyboard, but this means the Zephyrus G14 can easily fit in non-gaming environments such as the office. With a fantastic keyboard, gorgeous 120Hz display, whopping 1TB SSD and decent battery life, the Zephyrus G14 is an extremely versatile system. In fact, it’s hard to find flaws with this incredible gaming laptop.

Acer Predator Helios 300 04

2. Acer Predator Helios 300

Best value gaming laptop

Pros:

  • Solid 1080p gaming ability
  • Versatile Core i5 CPU
  • Excellent screen quality
  • Consistent quality for the price

Cons:

  • Keyboard could be a little better
  • Exterior is too weak, thick and heavy
  • RTX 2060 is a better GPU

There is nothing really remarkable about the Acer Predator Helios 300, it’s as basic as you can get for gaming laptops. But with a £1199 price, it’s one of the most reasonably price options you can hope for, despite having top class specs.

The double act of a Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti GPU and Intel Core i5-9300H CPU ensure the Helios 300 provides a fantastic Full HD performance. The 15.6-inch 144Hz display is also perfect for eSports, with ultra smooth visuals.

And with a slim design and reasonable weight, this gaming laptop is actually portable enough to bring to the office or over to a friend’s house.

3. HP Omen 15 (2019)

Best value ray tracing gaming laptop

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Pros:

  • Superb 240Hz G-Sync screen
  • Fast, well-balanced specification
  • Robust, smart exterior design
  • More affordable than key rivals

Cons:

  • Rivals faster in games
  • Could be slimmer and lighter
  • Underwhelming battery life
  • Middling speakers and trackpad

The HP Omen 15 is an ace all-round gaming laptop, excelling at the main features. With an Nvidia RTX 2070 GPU, it’s not only capable of a blazing fast performance, but can also run ray tracing.

The 15.6-inch IPS display also has all the important gaming features, including a 240Hz refresh rate and Nvidia’s G-Sync technology which prevents screen tearing.

It’s admittedly not the slimmest or lightest gaming laptop, but it does look very stylish. Plus the compromise is well worth it to have an ultra-powerful laptop at a reasonable price, which you can chuck in a bag.

Alienware Area 51m

4. Alienware Area 51m

The best desktop-replacement gaming laptop

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Pros:

  • The most powerful gaming laptop available
  • Can be upgraded
  • Stylish and premium design
  • Excellent keyboard

Cons:

  • Incredibly expensive
  • Extremely large and heavy
  • Underwhelming display

Most gaming laptop use mobile iterations of components in order to maximise portability. The Alienware Area 51m throws away the rule book, and instead fits a desktop processor. This not only makes this behemoth laptop incredibly powerful, but also allows you to upgrade it just as you would with a traditional desktop gaming PC. If you are considering this model though, Dell has now announced the new Alienware Area-51m R2 which takes the mammoth machine to a whole other level.

With the option of an Nvidia RTX 2080 graphics card, you’re essentially getting a desktop equivalent performance. However, you’re limited to a Full HD display unless you hook up an external monitor, which is a real shame since this laptop has a jaw-dropping price climbing all the way up to £3799 with maxed out specs.

Of course, the term ‘laptop’ here is used very lightly since the hulking 3.87kg weight brings the Alienware Area 51m’s portability credentials into question. This is not something you want to carry on a commute, but a brilliant option if you’re happy to keep it rooted to your desk.

Razer Blade Pro 17

5. Razer Blade Pro 17 (2019)

Best 4K gaming laptop

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Pros:

  • Plenty of grunt
  • Can be upgraded
  • Gorgeous 4K visuals

Cons:

  • Super pricey
  • Poor portability

There’s no question the Razer Blade Pro 17 is a great gaming laptop. It has the ultimate specs for gaming, including the option of an Nvidia RTX 2080 GPU and 9th Generation Intel Core i7-9750H processor.

The 17-inch screen is the main sell here, as it’s not only a blockbuster size for AAA games, but boasts a 4K resolution for some stunning visuals. The 240Hz refresh rate also ensures fast-paced action still looks sharp and smooth.

The only negatives about this gaming laptop is it weighs a tonne at 2.75kg and is dauntingly expensive. If you want your games to look as good as possible on the go though, there are few better options than the Razer Blade Pro 17.

Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-54) review

6. Acer Nitro 5

Best budget gaming laptop

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Pros:

  •  Astonishing performance considering the price
  • Can run the likes of Fortnite and Apex easily
  • Great value for money

Cons:

  • Keyboard layout is a little cramped
  • Screen quality and brightness is sub-par

The Acer Nitro 5 is one of the best gaming laptops we’ve reviewed that’s available for less than £1000, proving a great option for students who want a machine than can blast through essays but also cope with the odd gaming session.

With the option of a GTX 1650 and GTX 1660 Ti GPU, the Nitro 5 won’t be able to run every single AAA game smoothly with graphics settings cranked to the max. But if you’re happy to stick to low intensive games, such as the likes of Fortnite, Rocket League and Sims 4, the Nitro 5 is a superb option.

This isn’t the most glamorous laptop, with a plasticky casing and boring design, but that will hardly be a concern when you remember how little you spent on the Nitro 5.

7. Asus ROG Strix Scar III (G731GU)

Incredibly affordable 17-inch gaming laptop

Pros:

  • Solid gaming speeds
  • Impressive 144Hz screen
  • Reasonable RGB LED keyboard

Cons:

  • Inconsistent design and build
  • Poor battery life
  • Noticeable fan noise

If you want a 17-inch gaming laptop, odds are you’re going to have to fork out over £2000. The Asus ROG Strix Scar III (G731GU) rewrites the rule book in this regard, boasting a far more attractive price point despite the colossal screen.

Asus has been able to keep this portable affordable by using a GTX 1660 Ti graphics card. This isn’t the most powerful graphics card ever, but can run the majority of games in Full HD at a respectable frame rate. Unfortunately, Asus has made many more compromises, including a poor battery life and an omission of screen sync technology to prevent screen tearing.

Still, the fact you can get a gaming laptop with a blockbuster 17-inch screen is still impressive. If you want as big a screen as possible without breaking the bank, the Asus ROG Strix Scar III (G731GU) is a worthwhile option.

Acer Predator Triton 900

8. Acer Predator Triton 900

Most gaming laptop for performance power

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Pros:

  • One of the most powerful gaming laptops
  • 4K display is gorgeous
  • Convertible design is a jaw-dropper
  • Ray tracing powers

Cons:

  • Ridiculously pricey
  • Screen limited to 60Hz
  • Not a lot of use for screen hinge when gaming
  • Super heavy

The Acer Predator Triton 900 is our second favourite desktop replacement gaming laptop. While it can’t be upgraded like the Alienware Area 51m, it does boast a better performance – this may just be the most powerful gaming laptop available.

This is mostly thanks to its overclocking capabilities, allowing the Triton 900 to squeeze every last drop of performance power out of the Nvidia RTX 2080 graphics card. That hinge-mounted display is a big draw too, allowing you to swivel the screen closer for a better look.

There are a lot of limitation with the Triton 900 though, including the display’s 60Hz refresh rate, ridiculous heft and sky-high price. But if you want a desktop replacement that will get your friends swooning, this may well be your best bet.

Razer Blade 15 2019

9. Razer Blade 15 (2019)

Most stylish gaming laptop

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Pros:

  • 60fps in Full HD for almost every game
  • Ray tracing support
  • Premium design

Cons:

  • Ludicrously expensive
  • No G-Sync
  • Storage is stingy for the price

The Razer Blade 15 (2019) is close to being the perfect gaming laptop on paper. It can be equipped with almost any Nvidia GPU, ranging from GTX 1060 all the way up to the RTX 2080. The 15.6-inch display is gorgeous too, with both Full HD and 4K options available while the refresh rate can be boosted up to 240Hz.

Best of all, the Razer Blade 15 looks amazing thanks to its jet black casing and sleek aluminium casing. It’s just a pity how much of a fingerprint magnet this laptop is.

The biggest downfall with Razer’s 15-inch laptop is its price. Upgrade the specs, and the price can easily soar over £3000 which really isn’t justified for what you’re getting. Keep your greed restrained at checkout though, and you can find a great balance between specs and performance.

HP Omen X 2S

10. HP Omen X 2S

A fascinating dual-screen gaming laptop

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Pros:

  • Comfortable 1080p 60fps performance
  • Decent design
  • Excellent keyboard

Cons:

  • Very expensive
  • Second screen’s a gimmick
  • Uncomfortable trackpad position
  • Battery life not ideal

The HP Omen X 2S is very similar to the HP Omen 15 higher up in this list, but for one key feature: a dual-screen setup. A small touchscreen display can be found nestled below the display. Here, you can play YouTube videos, show the laptop’s thermal performance or even get a close up on a game’s mini map.

It’s a cool concept at the very least, but it does come with caveats. The second display is a big sap on the battery and its inclusion also sees the price rise dramatically. If you’re not going to be using that second display frequently, you’re definitely better going with something else.

But if you’re an avid fan of Apex Legends or Fortnite, and think a close up of a mini map or your sniper scope will do wonders for your kill/death ratio, then forking out the extra cash may well be worth it.

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