1. Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501
Under an inch thick and still kicking ass
CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 (8GB GDDR5X VRAM) | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) anti-glare, wide-view 120Hz panel with G-Sync | Storage: 512GB M.2 PCIe x4 SSD
Innovative and quiet cooling
Laughable battery life
Poor keyboard and ergonomics
The Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 couldn’t have come at a better time. It’s made possible by Nvidia’s Max-Q technology, which the company promises will make laptops both thinner and faster simultaneously. That this laptop can exist at all is a feat, especially considering that its closest competition from Alienware is thicker and nearly twice as heavy while still clocking in with inferior benchmark results in some areas. Though its battery will only last you two hours max (negating any hopes of truly portable gaming), the Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 is Ultrabook-esque in its design and gaming PC-like in its performance.
2. Razer Blade
CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6700HQ | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR5 VRAM) | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 14-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – QHD+ (3,200 x 1,800) IGZO (LED backlit, multi-touch) | Storage: 256GB – 1TB PCIe SSD
Impressive battery life
4K display option
Fans whir loudly under load
Limited upgrade options
For many gamers, Ultrabook is a four-letter word, but it doesn’t have to be. The first time you get your hands on a Razer Blade, you’ll be looking at a battery life of 4 hours and 8 minutes during everyday productivity tasks (or 7 hours and 29 minutes of non-stop video). While you could argue it does skimp as far as graphics are concerned, with the help of a Razer Core external GPU enclosure, you can strap an Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti to this thing down the road if you want. Plus, with the newly added 4K screen option, you may actually need it.
3. Asus ROG Strix GL502
It’s hard not to love a gaming laptop this good
CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 – 1070 | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Screen: 15.6-inch full HD 1,920 x 1,080 IPS | Storage: 128GB – 256GB SSD, 1TB HDD
Rocks Full HD gaming
Deliciously vibrant screen
Middling battery life
The Asus Strix GL502 may not boast the most innovative design, swapping out the usual black and red color scheme for one that makes it feel like Halloween year-round. But, it’s undoubtedly one of the best when it comes to gaming in 1080p. In fact, we were able to crank the settings all the way up in Overwatch without taking a hit below 60fps. The battery life is janky, sure, but the screen, performance and onboard sound system more than make up for it.
4. Alienware 13 R3
Gawk at the first-ever OLED gaming laptop
CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB DDR4 | Screen: 13.3-inch HD 1,366 x 768 TN – QHD 2,560 x 1440 OLED touchscreen | Storage: 180GB – 512GB SSD
Gorgeous OLED screen
Improved hinge-forward design
Short battery life
Unlike most laptops its size, the Alienware 13 R3 bears a hinge-forward design. By moving the heatsinks usually located beneath the keyboard to a distinct bulge that projects outward behind the screen, it allows for a thinner, 0.81-inch (0.22cm) chassis. Unfortunately, this means you won’t find many 13-inch laptop bags that will actually suit the Alienware 13 R3; rather you’ll likely have to opt for a 15-inch carrier. The real draw, however, isn’t the Alienware 13 R3’s protruding appendage or even its impressive quad-core, H-class CPU. While you may be tempted by the inclusion of a full-size Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060, it’s the OLED touch display that caught our attention. The flavorful color gamut puts practically every other laptop on the market to shame.
5. Razer Blade Pro
Finally, a desktop replacement with portability in mind
CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 (8GB GDDR5) | RAM:32GB | Screen: 17.3-inch, UHD (3,840 x 2,160) IGZO touchscreen with G-Sync | Storage: 512GB – 2TB PCIe SSD
Starboard trackpad placement
A desktop experience you can finally carry
Less than 5 hours of battery life
At long last, Razer has introduced a laptop that can not only replace your desktop, but do so without packing on more weight than most large laptops. It’s expensive, yes – it certainly won’t save you money when compared to building your own PC. On the other hand, it measures in at only 0.88-inches thick with an onboard 17-inch, 4K multi-touch display and a built-in Wi-Fi card. If that’s not enough to sell you on it already, the Razer Blade Pro also introduces the company’s Ultra-Low-Profile Mechanical switches to a notebook for the first time ever. These keys bear an appearance similar to your run-of-the-mill chiclet keyboards, but press down on them yourself and you’ll feel (and hear) the authentic click of a mechanical keyswitch. It’s an experience bettered only by its unusual trackpad placement, which feels so natural for gaming that you’ll wonder why it wasn’t there to begin with.
6. Gigabyte Aero 14
An Ultrabook that’s first-rate in performance and value
CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR5) | RAM:16GB – 32GB | Screen: 14-inch, QHD 2,560 x 1,440 anti-glare IPS | Storage:512GB – 1TB SSD
Lightweight and thin design
Battery life under-delivers
Loaded with bloatware
Donning a 7th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, Nvidia Pascal-series GPU and a screen resolution that soars above 1080p, this laptop is more affordable than a comparably specced Razer Blade or Alienware 13 R3. At the same time, it neglects to compromise in terms of portability and performance. This is a laptop, for instance, that weighs a mere 4.17 pounds (1.89kg) and measures in at 0.78 inches thin, undeniably a feat for a gaming machine. Factor in the 3 hour and 38 minute PCMark 8 battery test and 190-degree hinge, and it’s easy to see why the Gigabyte Aero 14 made the cut.
7. Dell Inspiron 15 Gaming
This gaming laptop won’t leave you penniless
CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 – 1050 Ti | RAM:8GB – 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, FHD 1,920 x 1,080 – UHD 3,840 x 2,160 anti-glare LED backlit | Storage: 1TB SSHD 8GB – 1TB HDD, 128GB SSD
Stellar battery life
Ports for days
Trackpad is touchy
Screen is lacking
In a world full of overpriced gaming laptops with internals that overcompensate for their underqualified screen resolutions and short-lived batteries, the Dell Inspiron 15 Gaming is a breath of fresh air. Ditching the Alienware moniker for something a little more mainstream, Dell has crafted yet another gaming PC masked as a productivity machine. Following in the footsteps of the Dell XPS Tower Special Edition, the Inspiron 15 is a gaming computer you wouldn’t be embarrassed to use in public. From the outside looking in, the Dell Inspiron 15 Gaming is a class act. Better yet, it’s relatively powerful, long-lasting and, come to think of it, pretty damn affordable too.