Much ink has already been spilled over how to choose the best gaming laptop for your needs, and we’ll try to keep it short and only bring up the essentials. In case you were looking for a short list of tips on how to choose a gaming laptop for your needs and budgets, this is the article for you.
First things first, you’ll have to know your budget. Generally, gaming laptops range from about $700 to around $5000 for the real hardcore monsters. Your budget will be the first thing to influence your choice – ‘cause there’s no point drooling over a $2500 Alienware when all you can spare is $1000.
Next comes the CPU – you want something powerful enough to be able to support the gameplay and graphics of whatever games you prefer. Think Intel Core i7-6700 HQ and up – anything lower than that won’t let you play anything above WOW-tier.
The graphics card is another essential thing to look for in a gaming laptop. Ideally, you want to opt for a rig with a nVidia GTX1060 or higher graphics card. G-sync is also a useful feature to have if you play lots of games and don’t want to tweak the display preferences for every single one of them – but you could also do just fine without this feature, and it will save you a couple hundred bucks.
The display size really depends on your preferences, and on how much portability you want. If you asked us, we prefer our gaming monitors to be at least 17” – be it on a laptop or desktop. However, you can opt for smaller ones, along the lines of 13” – 15”, if you want to carry your gaming laptop around. But here comes the next issue, which is…
The weight – gaming laptops are generally much heavier than your average computers. While they are technically portable, most people prefer not to carry them around too much – unless you’re into weightlifting. The heaviest ones can hit 20+ pounds, but you can also find gaming-oriented laptops weighing between 5 and 10 pounds.
The resolution is also crucial for gaming-oriented rigs. You don’t want to choose something with a resolution below 1920 x 1080, which seems to be the staple for just about any title nowadays. There’s a huge debate going on about 4K displays, but, to be completely honest, you probably won’t see much of a difference between a 4K and a 1920 x 1080 if you’re not doing VR.
You also want to test the keyboard and touchpad of the laptop you’re planning to buy. Even if you’re shopping online, it might be a good idea to hit up a local store and get to feel the model’s keyboard – as that might influence your gaming performance more than you can imagine. Also, make sure they’re backlit, as, for the price you’ll be paying, it would be a pity to not be able to show off a bit.
Last but not least, there’s the brand. Here, the decision is completely up to you, but some notable gaming laptop brands and series include Alienware, the ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) line, the Acer Predator line, and MSI. If you’re on a budget, look into what Lenovo and HP have to offer – they might not be known for their gaming laptops, but you can get some pretty decent deals if you look carefully.
We hope this article helped you get your thoughts together and figure out what is the best gaming laptop for your needs. In the meantime, why don’t you take a look at some of our recommendations for gaming laptops?