Best Laptops for Gaming 2018 - High-End & Under $1000, $1500 Reviewed

Best Laptops for Gaming 2018

Gaming Laptop Buyers Guide

We provide an overview of the best gaming laptops for 2018, if you're looking for a new gaming laptop we have everything you need to see before you make a purchase below along with our buyers guide.

ASUS ROG Zephyrus GX501 15.6” Full-HD 120Hz Ultra-Portable Gaming Laptop, GTX 1080, Intel Core i7, 512GB PCIe SSD, 16GB DDR4


Best Gaming Laptops 2018

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1. ASUS ROG Zephyrus GX501

ASUS ROG Zephyrus GX501 15.6” Full-HD 120Hz Ultra-Portable Gaming Laptop, GTX 1080, Intel Core i7, 512GB PCIe SSD, 16GB DDR4

18421

2. Dell Inspiron 15 7000 

Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Series Gaming Edition 7567 15.6-Inch Full HD Screen Laptop - Intel Core i5-7300HQ, 1 TB Hybrid HDD, 8GB DDR4 Memory, NVIDIA GTX 1050 4GB Graphics, Windows 10

5200

3. Razer Blade Pro

Razer Blade Pro Gaming Laptop - 17' 4K Touchscreen Gaming Laptop (i7-7820HK, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD, GeForce GTX 1080 8GB GDDR5X VRAM) - VR Ready

14352

4. MSI GS65 Stealth

MSI GS65 Stealth THIN-051 15.6' 144Hz 7ms Ultra Thin Gaming Laptop GTX 1060 6G, i7-8750H 6 Core, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, RGB KB VR Ready, Metal, Black w/ Gold Diamond Cut, Win 10 Home 64bit

10333

5. ASUS ROG Strix GL502

ASUS ROG STRIX GL502VT-DS74 15.6' FHD Gaming Laptop, NVIDIA GTX970M 6GB VRAM, 16 GB DDR4, 1 TB HDD, 128 GB M.2 SSD

12514

6. Alienware AW17R4

Alienware AW17R4-7352SLV-PUS 17' QHD Laptop (7th Generation Intel Core i7, 32GB RAM, 256SSD + 1TB HDD, Silver) VR Ready NVIDIA GTX 1080

13263 

7. Razer Blade

The Razer Blade (2016) 14' QHD+ Gaming Laptop (6th Generation Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, GTX 970M 6GB)

10508

8. Gigabyte Areo 15

GIGABYTE Aero 15X v8-BK4 15' Ultra Slim Gaming Laptop 144Hz IPS Anti-Glare FHD Display, i7-8750H, GeForce GTX 1070, 16G RAM, 512GB PCIE SSD, Metal Chassis, RGB Keys

9500

9. HP Omen 17

OMEN X by HP 17-inch Gaming Laptop, Intel Core i7-7820HK Processor, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 8 GB, 16 GB RAM, 1 TB hard drive, 256 GB solid-state drive, Windows 10 Home (17-ap020nr, Black)

12994

10. Eluktronics P650HP6-G

Eluktronics P650HP6-G VR Ready 15.6' 120Hz 5ms Gamers Edition Laptop PC - Intel i7-7700HQ Quad Core Windows 10 Home 6GB GDDR5 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 + G-SYNC 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD 16GB DDR4 RAM

9000


Best Gaming Laptop 2018 (Overall)

The toughest award of all, with a number of close contenders for 2018, we rate the Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 as the best overall gaming laptop for 2018. To win this award we look at everything the machine has to offer and the practical implementations of ownership such as size, battery life, view-able screen angle, refresh rate, build quality, performance and most the important thing of all... A gaming laptop we would personally own.

1. Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501

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Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501
  • Ultra-thin and ultra-light with a thickness of only 0.7" (with the lid closed) and weighing only 4.9 lbs
  • Next-generation gaming performance with an Intel Core i7-7700HQ 2.8 GHz Processor (Turbo up to 3.8GHz) and GeForce GTX 1080 8GB with Max-Q design. Windows 10 Pro
  • Quiet and cool featuring ROG Active Aerodynamic System which improves airflow by up to 40% and reduces temperatures by up to 20% compared to conventional cooling. *Actual cooling performance varies due to system and environmental conditions

The best money can buy, the worlds thinnest gaming laptop out there equipped with a GTX 1080 and a 120Hz display! 

Due to hardware cooling restraints, typically when you have to choose a gaming notebook you have to pick between thin and less powerful or thick and more powerful. Until now, you’d never be able to have the best of both worlds.

Asus have smashed this restriction with the Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501, a gaming notebook that is both thin and powerful, and boasts to be the worlds thinnest gaming laptop with a GTX 1080 GPU. Asus have managed to design a stunningly thin gaming notebook that has bags of power for the latest games, truly an amazing piece of hardware.

Pros

  • Uber powerful, beast of a machine
  • Quiet and innovative cooling
  • Amazingly thin
  • 120Hz display + excellent speakers

Cons

  • Battery life sucks
  • Keyboard layout is a little annoying
  • No SD card slot

Best Gaming Laptop ​Under $1000

After hours of research we found the best gaming laptop under $1000 that we would personally buy. If you're smart with your money you can get a ​cheap gaming laptop for under 1000 dollars, easily. 

2. Dell Inspiron 15 7000

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Dell Inspiron 15 7000
  • Powerful 7th-generation Intel Quad-Core i5-7300HQ 2.50 GHz with Turbo Boost Technology up to 3.50 GHz
  • 8GB DDR4 2400MHz Memory, 1TB 5400 rpm Hybrid Hard Drive with 8GB Cache
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 with 4GB GDDR5, Optical Drive Not included, Backlit Keyboard

The Dell Inspiron 15 Gaming Laptop offers excellent value and AMAZING battery life, so amazing in fact, that it smokes a lot of the high end machines. If you are looking for a good value, well made budget machine that has awesome battery life then buy this machine from Dell.

The laptop has a bright red appearance, the palm rest and keyboard deck is black with red color accents on the keyboard with a red keyboard back light. For those who don't fancy the red design, an all-black more subtle variant has also been released. The laptop is less than an inch thick, and weighs in at just shy of six pounds.

For those who don't fancy the red design, an all-black more subtle variant has also been released. The laptop is less than an inch thick, and weighs in at just shy of six pounds. 

Pros

  • Amazing battery life
  • Best laptop for gaming under $1000
  • Less than 1" thick

Cons

  • Trackpad is not amazing

Best ​Razer ​Laptop

​We know it's a bit of a love or hate relationship when it comes to Razor products... But for those of you that love Razer's Macbook like, metal gaming laptop with a good build quality, here is our pick.

3. Razer Blade Pro

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Razer Blade Pro
  • World's first THX Certified Mobile Device for immersive visual and audio experience
  • 17.3" 4K UHD G-SYNC touchscreen display with 100% Adobe RGB color space coverage
  • VR Ready with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 graphics

The Razer Blade Pro is high end portable gaming laptop capable of replacing your gaming desktop. We highly recommend this machine If you're looking for a high end machine with a solid build quality. The price is high but the machine, but it's MacBook Pro style ​build quality, it's rock solid.

​Between traditional notebooks and gaming laptops, there has always been a stark distinction – some differences even casual gamers would easily be able to spot. But, thanks to the introduction of the Razer Blade Pro, we now have a true desktop replacement. All in a mobile light and thin package with a well made metal chassis.

The laptop comes with an unlocked i7, allowing for overclocking. The i7 CPU coupled with the Nvidia GTX 1080 graphics card makes the Razer Blade a superior gaming machine, with enough power to replace a high end desktop PC.

Pros

  • Same great laptop with a hardware refresh
  • Mechanical laptop keyboard
  • Trackpad positioning for gaming

Cons

  • Expensive (but well made!)
  • Battery life is a little poor, less than 5 hours

Best ​Thin Gaming Laptop

​This award focuses on ultra thin gaming laptops with the appearance of an ultrabook, our award for this years thinnest gaming laptop goes to MSI with the GS65 Stealth.

4. MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

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MSI GS65 Steath Thin
  • Display: 15.6" FHD, 4.9mm Ultra Thin Bezel Anti-Glare Wide View Angle 144Hz 7ms 72% NTSC 1920x1080 16:9 | Operating System: Windows 10
  • Processor: New Intel Core i7-8750H 2.2 - 4.1GHz (6 Cores)
  • Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX1060 6G GDDR5

Rocking a6 core 8th generation Intel Coffee Lake i708750H processor, the MSI GS65 crams a stack of power into a thin powerful machine. On the graphics side the machine uses an Nvidia GeForce GTX Max-Q 1070 GPU, while this is slighly less power than the ASUS machine (see above) it's still enough power for most of todays AAA games. The GS65 is also the first laptop that boasts a 144hz screen, making it an excellent choise for FPS gamers. The machine is thin, sleak and well made, if you're looking for a subtle gaming laptop that is highly portable then this machine from MSI is an excellent choice.

Pros

  • Great battery life
  • 6 Core Coffee Lake CPU
  • Thin, subtle well made
  • 144Hz display

Cons

  • Gets hot when gaming

Best ​Budget Gaming Laptop

​Focusing on the best Budget Laptop for Gaming in 2018, if your budget is a little more than $1000 and slightly less than $1500 this is the laptop you're looking for.

5. Asus ROG Strix GL502

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Asus ROG Strix GL502
  • ROG Strix GL502 packs the latest 6th gen Intel processor in a compact and lightweight design, 16GB RAM, 1TB 7200RPM plus 128GB M.2 SSD
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M graphics with full Microsoft DirectX 12 support gives you efficient, powerful performance for heavy gaming or productive multitasking such as live streaming and video editing.
  • Ultra-portable design that fits snugly in a messenger bag or backpack. Whether you're waiting for your flight, kicking back at a café, or at a LAN tournament.

Fantastic budget laptop for 1080p gaming, ​with a vibrant display and solid performance at a reasonable price. Asus appears to have been slowly edging away from their trademark all-black design with red graphics, which has now become a common design for most gaming laptops. The notebook has an orange trim around the all-black paint job, thus making the laptop look all the more eye-catching and unique. Even though this is not a major upgrade from the copper and titanium design, at least it’s a small step towards a change in design.

​​​​​The chassis is now made from plastic, yes... plastic. While this might seem heart-breaking at first, Asus decided to go for plastic as it’s perfect for a gaming notebook which often runs hot when gaming. Thanks to the efficient cooling system the fan rarely becomes painfully loud and is never too hot to handle.

Pros

  • Good color depth
  • Well priced
  • Good performance at 1080p
  • 120Hz display

Cons

  • Poor battery life

Best ​17" Gaming Laptop

​If you don't mind sacrificing portability for more power (scotty), for a true desktop replacement then check out the Alienware 17 R4 laptop review below.

6. Alienware 17 R4

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Alienware 17 R4
  • Intel Core i7-7820HK (Quad-Core, 8MB Cache, Overclocking up to 4.4GHz )
  • 32GB DDR4 at 2400MHz (2x16GB); 32GB Maximum
  • 256GB PCIe SSD (Boot) + 1TB 7200RPM SATA 6Gb/s (Storage); No Optical Drive

If you are on the lookout for a solid reliable, battle tested 17-inch gaming laptop, then the Alienware 17 R4 is definitely a recommended buy. The machine is more of a desktop replacement, that can also be picked up and taken else where with ease.

If you're after a great bang for buck well made 17" portable gaming machine we recommend the Alienware 17 R4. Coined as the “magnificent monster”, due to it's high performance and impressive looks with subtle but customizable LED lighting (has the option to disable). All this found at a highly affordable price, when you consider the build quality and technology packed into this machine.

Pros

  • Great looking machine
  • Highly configurable
  • Excellent performance for the price
  • Dell next business day possible

Cons

  • Poor battery life
  • Loud fan noise

Best ​14" Gaming Laptop

​In this award category we searched for the best 14" gaming laptop, focusing on portability while still capable of VR and the latest AAA titles with reasonable setttings. 

7. Razer Blade

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Razer Blade 14 Inch
  • Extremely thin (0.7") CNC aluminum chassis, weighing in only at 4.25 lbs
  • 14.0" QHD+ Touch Screen Display provides unparalleled visual clarity and crisp colors
  • 6th Gen Intel Core i7 pushing the limits of next-level gaming

The Razer Blade is a 14 inch highly portable gaming laptop that's built like a tank! If you're after something that resembles a gaming laptop version of the MacBook pro, then have just found it! 

Even though the 2018 version of this notebook seems to be longer lasting and stronger than the previous year’s, it would be nice to see more original features being incorporated. If you want a metal laptop for gaming this laptop is a great choice, if you're on a tighter budget we would check out the Alienware 13 R13 instead.

Pros

  • Better performance than previous model
  • Great build quality
  • 4K option

Cons

  • Trackpad buttons are not great

Best ​15" Gaming Laptop

​You guessed it, in this award category we searched for the best 15" gaming laptop for 2018, the author feels 15" is the ideal compromise between portability and performance.  

8. Gigabyte Aero 15

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Gigabyte Aero 15
  • Display: 15.6" IPS Full HD (1920 x 1080) 144Hz Wide Viewing Angle Anti-Glare Display | Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 8GB GDDR5 (Max-Q)
  • Processor: 8th Gen Intel Coffee Lake Core i7-8750H Six Core (2.2GHz-4.1GHz, 9MB Intel Smart Cache, 45W)
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4 2666MHz | Hard Drive: 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD

A gaming laptop that packs a 7th-generation Intel i7 processor and an Nvidia Pascal GPU. The machine manages to remain portable with a reasonable battery life. 

There is no doubt Gigabyte have always managed to offered superb performance packed in a portable and thin package. And the Aero 15 is no different, resulting in  a machine that has managed to stand above its counterparts with better numbers in benchmarks, all offered at an affordable price.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • 190 degree hinge design
  • Well priced, excellent design

Cons

  • Poor battery life
  • Bloatware

Best ​HP Gaming Laptop

​​We hunted down the best HP gaming laptop for 2018, while not a famous contender in the gaming space HP build quality machines regardless of the niche. So if you're a HP fan, check out the guide below.  

9. HP Omen 17

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HP Omen 17
  • Processor: 7th Generation Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-7820HK, Quad-Core, 2.9GHz up to 3.9GHz.
  • Video graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (8 GB GDDR5 dedicated).
  • Display: 17.3-inch diagonal FHD 120 Hz IPS anti-glare WLED-backlit (1920 x 1080).

A VR Ready gaming laptop that has an impressive display, great keyboard and mouse. The perfect choice for a portable VR gaming notebook. The HP Omen 17 gaming notebook offers some fantastic features for the price. With G-Sync and 4K display, it's obviously not a budget machine. However, if you're a fan of HP machines and you want a well performing, well priced machine you should check out the HP Omen 17.

Pros

  • Good price point
  • G-Sync & 4K display
  • Vivid color depth

Cons

  • Made out of plastic
  • It "feels" like a big laptop

Best ​Gaming Laptop under $1500

​An underdog won our award for under $1500 category this year, a brand you might not of heard of yet... Check it out below.

10. Eluktronics P650HP6-G

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Eluktronics P650HP6-G
  • Latest 7th Gen Intel Core i7-7700HQ Quad Core Processor, Windows 10 Home 64-Bit; 16GB DDR4 2400MHz RAM
  • 6GB GDDR5 VRAM Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 VR Ready Graphics + G-SYNC; An intelligent thermal design with triple cooling fans for the CPU & GPU performs where others fail.
  • 15.6" Full HD 120Hz 5ms Matte Display with G-SYNC Tech; HDMI 2.0b; 2 Mini DisplayPorts v1.4; 2 USB 3.1 Type-C

Eluktronics is a fairly unknown gaming laptop manufacture, however they offer some serious power for amazing prices. And while the brand might be unfamiliar to you the components inside are from leading brands with a Clevo P670RP6 chassis, LG Philips LGD046E IPS display, Intel i7-6700HQ and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU. If you are willing to purchase a lesser known brand then we highly recommend the Eluktronics P650HP6-G and it wins our award for the best gaming laptop under $1500.

Pros

  • High quality components
  • Amazing price
  • IPS display

Cons

  • Only 60Hz
  • Poor battery life
  • Unknown brand

Gaming Laptop Buyers Guide

When it's time for a new computer, it can be hard to pinpoint exactly what to look for in a gaming laptop. The following gaming laptop buyers guide will simplify and facilitate your shopping experience. Not all laptops are created equally and if gaming is your goal, there are certain things a computer must have in order to provide magnificent, easy, and quality visual display and performance.


Even though desktops deliver the best performance, laptops are preferred for their portability and space efficiency. However, the benefits of a laptop are nothing if it is not packed with the correct hardware that most games require in this modern age. Cost aside, the following parts below are what turn a normal laptop into a gaming laptop and you need to pay close attention to each component before you invest!


Battery Life

Do not expect too much from the laptop’s battery. The use of gaming hardware, from startup to finish, creates power-hungry components that will suck battery life quite quickly. Power saving mode and using the Intel graphics card when your not in a game will help you out massively.

Finding a gaming laptop that can last two to three hours on a single charge with the highest of settings will be the best you can get in most cases. Most gamers will leave their laptop charged while immersing in the game play and really only use it as a portable gaming device.


Portability

The level of portability depends entirely on bulk and weight, as well as how much you plan on moving around with the laptop in question.

  • Minimal portability: If you seek minimal portability, meaning that your gaming laptop will most likely sit on your desk at home, you can look for a system with a 17 or 18 inch display. Bigger laptops usually mean better, faster, and more powerful gaming components also. On the other hands, it will also mean heaviness and short use of the laptop while unplugged. Finding a bag that fits 17-18 inch screens can be a hassle.
  • Medium portability: This the perfect balance for those who will take their laptop places often but not every day of the year. A 15 inch notebook will weigh anywhere from 4.3 to 7.2 pounds and can last an average of 5 hours on a charge with light gaming. You will sacrifice a bit of performance for greater portability but it is a well-balanced choice for most.
  • Best portability: Computers with 13 or 14 inch displays are built for constant movement. The size is perfect for all bags and they weigh less than all other laptops out there. However, they are not the most powerful gaming notebooks and the small displays do not provide visual greatness to most games. They have the highest average of battery life and are a good fit for less hardware-consuming games.

CPU & RAM

The CPU and RAM will handle everything that does not involve graphic management. This might seem like an unessential task but it is quite important for gaming laptops everywhere. CPU wise, the war rages between AMD and Intel. We are here to tell you that Intel is the best choice out of the two. The later the generation of Intel, the better.  

As a general rule, do not choose below a Core i5 processor. The recommendation is ​7thgeneration core and up. The latest available Intel generation is at 8 with their Coffee Lake series. Also, quad-core is going to help you out on games that make use of the CPU & GPU such as the Battlefield series.

RAM is an degradable component that most manufacturer´s will charge excessively to do the job themselves when you buy a computer from them. Keeping that in mind, it is important to buy a laptop with a minimum of 8GB. Later on, you may upgrade the RAM to 12 or more depending on mundane tasks.


GPU (Graphics Card)

You have arrived at the most important key feature in any gaming laptop and that is the graphics card. The choices here are between AMD and NVIDIA, with more information and higher preference going to NVIDIA. There is a wide range of cards to choose from with complex names. For mainstream gamers, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 is the bare minimum; better graphic cards will have increasing numbers (for example, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 offers more than the 1060 that was mentioned). Hardcore gamers should seek the 1080, which can also handle virtual reality.


Keyboard / Trackpad

Your laptop’s gaming keyboard should at the least be comfortable to use for an extended period of time. Any extras such as mechanical-styled pressing, programmable keys, and multi-colored RGB back lighting is a plus that is solely based on preferences.


Budget

You get what you pay for. Your budget will ultimately decide how much power, quality, and performance you will receive from your gaming laptop. A budget of just 1,000 dollars will deliver an average and minimalist system. If your budget range falls between 1,000-2,000 dollars you can find a smooth operating laptop that should fit most needs. Anything above three thousand dollars can give you the best hardware and a range of customizable features all compacted into a notebook.


Gaming Laptop vs Desktop

A constant thought on the mind of gamers, especially as they first delve into the world of online or computer gaming–is “Are gaming laptops worth it?” With such a diverse variety of products on the market and new ones popping up all the time, it’s tough to figure out if these often pricey computers are worthwhile. If you’re in doubt, here are a few key components to consider on your search for the perfect laptop.

While desktop gaming systems generally have stronger capabilities than their gaming laptop counterparts, there is much to be said about the high performance of gaming laptops. Desktop processors will always be faster, but it’s possible to find lighting fast modern generation chips. And even though the latest tech is usually released for desktop first, there are great options with incredible mobile CPUs, so you don’t have to settle for subpar graphics.