The Best Gaming Laptops of 2017: Top gaming notebook reviews

Purists will argue that you need a PC to truly play games, especially if you’re a fan of pushing the levels of graphics quality beyond the capabilities of a mobile phone or a mere gaming console. In this regard the gaming desktop is still king, particularly when it comes to having the kind of components and horsepower needed to smoothly run 4K games and support virtual reality (VR) setups, such as the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. But if you want or need something you can tote around the house or over to your friend’s place, we’re here to help you choose the right gaming laptops.I think you need to check The Best Gaming Laptops of 2017: Top gaming notebook reviews to find what you need.

Gaming Laptops Cost

 Gaming systems have higher-end components than run-of-the-mill consumer laptops, so their prices will be consequently higher. Entry-level gaming laptops start at $800 and can go up to about $1,250. For that, you get a system that can play games at 1,366-by-768 resolution on high graphics quality settings, or at a full HD (1080p) resolution with the details turned down some. Midrange systems give you smoother gameplay at high settings on a higher-quality 1080p screen, support for VR headsets. High-end systems have guaranteed smooth gameplay at 1080p with graphics details maxed out, let you play at 4K resolutions or in VR, support additional monitors, add speedy components like 512GB PCIe solid-state drives (SSDs), and are priced above $2,500. Many also add dual graphics processors, 3K to 4K screens, large-capacity SSDs, and ultra-efficient cooling fans as optional extras.

Gaming Laptops Graphics

The main attribute that makes or breaks a gaming laptop is its graphics processing unit (GPU). The dominant player in the field right now is Nvidia, which produces discrete cards based on its 10-Series Pascal microarchitecture that offer performance close to what you could expect from a desktop PC equipped with the same-named card. Gaming laptops using cards from the previous-generation GTX 900 series are still available for purchase, however, and likely will be until supplies run out within the next few months. Nvidia’s chief rival, AMD, has not yet released the mobile versions of its new Polaris GPUs, so gaming laptops based on AMD graphics are currently using older technology (represented by the Radeon R9 moniker) destined to be replaced in the near future.

That said, there are still some basic conclusions to be drawn about graphics performance. In general, the higher the model number within a product line, the higher the 3D performance. So an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 generally produces higher frame rates and higher-quality graphics than an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060. A single high-end discrete GPU will let you play the latest AAA gaming titles on a 1080p screen with all the bells and whistles turned on, and be fine for entry-level VR play. Adding a second GPU will let you run the latest games more comfortably on 4K and 5K displays, or let you hook up multiple monitors to your laptop. Nvdia’s G-Sync and AMD’s FreeSync technologies will help increase quality and smooth frame rates in your games, so look for those if you’re a stickler for perfectly rendered animation.

Gaming Laptops Processor

The processor is the heart of a PC, and in most gaming laptops you’ll find a quad-core 7th Generation Intel Core i5 or Core i7 CPU based on the Kaby Lake chipset. Theoretically, you may find a gaming laptop with an Intel Core i3 or one of AMD’s CPUs installed, but those are rare: Systems with Intel Core i3 and comparable entry-level AMD processors are certainly capable of playing many games, but why limit yourself from square one? If you have to make the choice between a high-end CPU and a high-end GPU, go for the graphics. For example, we’d recommend getting a Skylake Core i5 CPU over a Core i7 if the money saved could then go toward an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 GPU instead of a GTX 1060. Spending the money on the GPU makes more sense than spending it on the CPU. Look for Core i5 processors in midrange systems, with Core i7 U, HQ, and HK processors in higher-end gaming laptops.

Gaming Laptops Display

In terms of display size, a 15-inch screen is the sweet spot for a gaming laptop. You can buy larger 17-inch displays, but this can jack up the weight to way beyond 5 pounds. We’ve seen 12-pound “portables” in the gaming sector that will definitely weigh down your backpack. We recommend at least a full HD (1,920-by-1,080-resolution) screen. Larger displays are capable of giving you higher-than-1080p resolutions, but choose wisely, as QHD+ (3,200-by-1,800) resolution will boost the final cost twice: first for the panel, and second for the higher-quality graphics card needed to drive it. Because they usually require dual GPUs for the smoothest gameplay at native resolution, 4K (3,840-by-2,160-resolution) gaming laptops are becoming more common, but they’re still expensive. And keep in mind that because only the most powerful graphics cards are able to render complex animation at playable frame rates across the full screen at 4K, so a 1080p screen may actually be a better use of your money if all you do is game.

Gaming Laptops Storage

You should definitely consider a system with an SSD, since prices have fallen considerably over the past few years. SSDs speed up boot time, wake-from-sleep time, and the time it takes to launch a game and load a new level. Go ahead and get a gaming laptop with an SSD, but make sure you configure correctly. A small (128GB to 256GB) SSD with a large (500GB to 1TB) spinning hard drive is a good start if you also download the occasional video from the Internet. Bigger SSDs (512GB or more) are available, but choosing one will increase the purchase price of your gaming rig exponentially.

Gaming Laptops Memory

Before we forget, let’s talk memory. Look for a gaming laptop with at least 8GB of RAM. That will give you some breathing room when switching back and forth between your gameplay window and your messaging app, but we’d save game tip research for when you’re not playing, as each successive browser window you open eats into your RAM allotment. For a high-end system we recommend 16GB, so you can have more than one gaming session, your messaging app, several websites, a webcam program, and your video streaming program open simultaneously. A midrange gaming laptop should function fine with 8GB of memory, but be aware that many new gaming laptops are not upgradable. You may be stuck with the amount of memory you order.

Gaming Laptops Other Features

 Given that high-end components tend to drain battery life, don’t plan on taking any of these gaming rigs too far from a wall socket very often. Cutting-edge ports like USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 are beneficial now, and will only be more so down the road, but look for at least two USB 3.0 ports so you can plug in an external mouse and a hard drive for your saved media files. Other video ports, like HDMI or Mini DisplayPort, will be helpful if you want to play games on an external display, but aren’t absolutely necessary if your laptop’s screen is large enough. Last but not least, if you’re a professional gamer looking to buy a gaming laptop that can keep you competitive, be prepared to brown-bag your lunches for a while. That kind of high-end performance can only come from top-of-the-line components, especially in a portable package, and they don’t come cheap gaming laptop.

Top 10 Best Gaming Laptops of 2017

Alienware 13

1.Alienware 13 (OLED)

Brilliant-looking OLED gaming laptops

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
  • Good battery life
  • Light for a gaming laptops
  • Vibrant QHD touch screen
  • Unexpectedly dense
  • Short battery life
  • 13-inch screen may not appeal to all gamers

When you think of a gaming laptop, generally the first image that comes to mind is a thick slab that could substitute as a weight for an upper-body workout at the gym.

The new Alienware 13 is one of the smallest, virtual-reality-capable gaming laptops you can buy. And while it wouldn’t win in a performance battle against a larger gaming laptop.

Unlike most gaming 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 gaming 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 gaming laptop on the market to shame.

The Alienware 13 has a low-key keyboard for a gaming laptop. The matte finish on the deck gives it a premium feel and is surprisingly resistant to fingerprint grease. After a week of testing, I still haven’t found any evidence of smudging. Functionally, the full-size keyboard is steel-reinforced and the 2.2mm travel is comfortable for gaming. There’s no number pad, though, as the compact size of the gaming laptop precludes one.

Razer Blade

2. Razer Blade

A gaming-ready MacBook Pro rival

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
  • Thunderbolt 3 a smart add
  • Strong gaming performance
  • Supports VR
  • Fans whir loudly under load
  • Limited upgrade options
  • Expensive

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 3 hours and 35 minutes in-game (or six hours 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 Titan X inside if you want.under $1000 gaming laptop

Though appearing nearly identical to its predecessors, the latest version of the Razer Blade packs the most power yet, without sacrificing its sleek form. By embracing Nvidia’s Pascal graphics card line with a GTX 1060, the Blade is extremely capable, even if you’re paying extra for the design. A larger gaming laptop that emphasizes performance, might be more appealing to some, but no system can match the premium design and portability of the Blade. For that, it’s our Editors’ Choice for ultraportable gaming laptops.

As for non-Razer gaming laptops, the other options out there are almost exclusively larger. The main exception is our previous top pick for gaming ultraportables, the Alienware 13, which is small, but not quite as slim as the Blade at 0.87 by 13 by 10.6 inches. Most are larger than the 14-inch Blade, offering more screen real estate at 15.6 or 17.3 inches, but they’re not as portable or slim. Though it’s not a gaming laptop, one of the other most comparable systems is actually the new Microsoft Surface Book, with its 13.5-inch display and discrete graphics card. It’s even thinner and lighter at 0.5 by 12.0 by 8.6 inches and 2.8 pounds, but going smaller in screen size isn’t ideal for many.

Some visual enthusiasts may feel they’re conceding too much by playing at 1080p, but it remains the sweet spot for gaming laptop performance. Plus, at this screen size, a super-high resolution like QHD+ is far from necessary. The larger Omen 17, with the more powerful GTX 1070, boasts a 4K display. Though that more demanding resolution does have an impact on performance (more on that below), it’s an appealing option for the same price. I will say that the matte finish on the Omen detracts from the overall picture quality, so even at 4K it doesn’t look worlds better than the Blade’s 1080p due to the glass and smaller size.

The excellent keyboard is carried over to this edition of the Blade. The keys are neither too shallow nor too squishy, and they’re individually backlit. This means you can change and customize the lighting color and effects for each key, a process Razer’s free software makes easy. It may not be a particularly necessary feature, but when buying a pricey gaming laptop, adding some fun and style is definitely not a bad thing.

The touchpad is also very well made—it tracks your fingers smoothly, and is quite sturdy because it doesn’t click in. Instead, dedicated buttons just under the touchpad handle left- and right-click. I don’t love how their feel, but they serve their purpose, and you can still tap the touchpad to make a selection.

Asus ROG Strix GL502

3. Asus ROG Strix GL502

It’s hard not to love  gaming laptops 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
  • Surprisingly powerful speakers
  • Middling battery life
  • Poor 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.

In the race for the thinnest gaming laptops, we’ve seen plenty of contenders from the MSI GS60 Ghost Pro to the Razer Blade. The promise of a gaming notebook that’s easier to take anywhere is tempting, however, greater portability has also made some of these machines feel underpowered with limited graphics options.

The Asus ROG Strix GL502, on the other hand, strikes the perfect balance between portability and power. In its 1.2-inch frame, this 15.6-inch laptop comes loaded with a Nvidia GTX 1070 with 8GB of video memory, a card we’re used to seeing in 17-inch monster machines like the Gigabyte P57X.

It’s rare for us to be this thoroughly impressed with a gaming laptop. Aside from the knock against battery life, there’s not much wrong with the Asus ROG Strix GL502. In fact, almost everything else about the machine is stellar, from its crisp keyboard and loud speakers to its stunning screen for a solid Full HD gaming experience. This is one of the best all-around gaming laptops we’ve ever reviewed, hands down, and we recommend it if you’re in the market for a solid mobile PC gaming system.

Acer Predator 17 X

4.Acer Predator 17 X

Proof the GTX 980 is far from dead

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 | RAM: 32GB DDR4 | Storage: 1TB HDD, 512GB SSD

  • Loaded to the max with features
  • Relatively quiet cooling fans
  • 4K resolution G-sync screen
  • Relatively quiet cooling fans
  • High price for last-gen GPU
  • Extremely long battery recharge time
  • Annoyingly loud power-on sound

The Predator 17 X isn’t the kind of laptop you would take to a coffee shop on a Tuesday afternoon to catch up on assignments. Unless you don’t mind lugging around a bulky power brick and a 10.03-pound (4.67kg) computer, this is a notebook best left at home.

The Predator 17 X is, however, one of the most well-rounded gaming laptops. A desktop-class Nvidia GeForce GTX 980, for instance, is built into the base of the machine, making it (just barely) capable of gaming in 4K. This is a smart move considering that, if you shell out a bit more cash over the base model.

The 17 X boasts an Ultra HD display, complete with G-Sync functionality. Paired with more than enough ports to get the job done, the Acer Predator 17 X is well worth the steep asking price, even if it does take three-and-a-half hours to charge.

You guessed it, gaming laptops! While the Acer Predator 17 G9-973-78CM (starts at $1,499.99; $1,999.99 as tested) doesn’t exactly subvert expectations when it comes to the category, it does offer VR-capable performance and solid gaming features at a reasonable price.

It’s more wallet-friendly than the Acer Predator 17 X, and sports a newer Nvidia GTX 1070 graphics card—both compelling updates to what was an already solid gaming system. But it doesn’t quite outdo the MSI GT62VR Dominator Pro, which remains our Editors’ Choice for midrange gaming laptops thanks to its overall stronger performance and slightly less bulky design.

Some gaming laptops try to play it subtle. Not the Acer Predator 17. This is a laptop for gamers who want the world to know that they’re not ashamed of a strong, bold, red-and-black gamer aesthetic—but would rather not take out a mortgage to get a system that can deliver high-quality gaming or handle a VR headset. And for $2,000, it also throws in a few nifty extras, like a swappable fan, that should appeal to gamers who want more than just the basics.

Aorus X5 v6

5.Aorus X5 v6

High power and a low profile with few concessions

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 (8GB GDDR5) | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, FHD 1,920 x 1,080 – WQHD+ 2,880 x 1,620 IPS | Storage: 1TB HDD; 256GB SSD

  • Powerful performance
  • Slim design
  • Attractive 3K display
  • RGB-backlit keyboard
  • Noisy fans
  • Build quality issues
  • Wide and long
  • Rattling keyboard

You may not be as familiar with Aorus as you are with many of the other contenders on this list. That said, the company makes a damn fine gaming laptop with relatively subdued designs to boot. The Aurorus X5 v6 in particular comes in an all-black finish with a GTX 1070 powerhouse under the hood. Connected to a 144Hz external monitor.

The Aorus X5 v6 can handle Overwatch at up to 120 fps on Ultra. When it’s not wowing you with its internal capabilities, it’s doing so with its 15-inch, 3K resolution display. Though its fans make it sound like a helicopter about to depart, and the build quality isn’t exactly ideal, the Aorus X5 v6 averts gaudy color schemes in favor of sheer horsepower.

Some competing gaming laptops with Nvidia’s new Pascal-based GTX 10-series cards can’t lay claim to that.

The 15.6-inch X5 bears a closer similarity with the Aorus X5S, which came powered by a GTX 980M, than the preceding X5 that housed twin GTX 965M GPUs.

Driven by Nvidia’s new GTX 1070, the X5 v6 brings desktop-like levels of graphics grunt in a single GPU, leaving little need for Aorus to return to an SLI configuration.

If you’re interested in such a gaming goliath, then models including the XMG U727, the Razer Blade Pro and the decidedly less sensible Acer Predator 21 X are three options wielding dual GPUs.

Aorus’gaming laptops are never too busy in the design department, preferring to stand out from the crowd using subtle ornaments – such as the orange reflective Aorus eagle logo on the lid and the pointed ridge just above it that helps you flip open the display with a single finger.

Razer Blade Pro

6.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
  • Beautiful 4K touch display
  • Customizable lighting
  • Off-putting price
  • Less than 5 hours of battery life
  • Laptop runs hot
  • Fans are loud under load.

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.

This premium 17-inch gaming laptop is a head-turner in every way, from its top-notch display to its mechanical keyboard and beefy components. Some competitors in this price range do offer more pure power, and if that’s your aim.

The Razer Blade Pro looks, feels, and performs every bit as premium as its price suggests. The screen is stellar, the keyboard is satisfying, and the components are cutting-edge. A handful of beefier but similarly priced Pascal systems edge it in performance, but it’s capable of handling the most demanding games in 4K gaming at all but the highest settings.

Yes, you’re paying for the design, screen, and form factor, but if you value portability, style, and versatility over raw power, the Blade Pro can’t be beat. That earns it an Editors’ Choice award for high-end gaming laptops. If the design appeals to you, and you want something that’s still powerful but more portable and less expensive, the newest Razer Blade is another strong option.

Gigabyte Aero 14

7.Gigabyte Aero 14

The Gigabyte Aero 14 is neither the lightest nor the thinnest gaming laptops

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
  • Competitively priced
  • 190-degree display hinge
  • 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 gaming 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.

Gigabyte promises to deliver the affordable, ultra-thin gaming laptops of your dreams with a 3K screen, Intel’s latest quad-core Kaby Lake processors, Nvidia’s GTX 1060 graphics chip and a massive battery. However, that massive battery doesn’t amount to massive longevity, and its killer price is subsidized by plenty of bloatware. Still, the Aero 14 proves to be an incredible value.

Rather than just a little flourish of orange, this 14-inch gaming laptop comes with a fully orange lid option – then there’s also a lime green version. But, for those that want to keep a lower profile, there’s still the traditional option of going with the black paint job and orange stripe.

Origin EON17-X

8.Origin EON17-X

With great power over price comes great responsibility

CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 – 1080 | RAM: 8GB – 64GB | Screen: 17.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – QFHD (3,840 x 2,160) Matte Display with G-Sync | Storage: 120GB – 2TB SSD, 500GB – 2TB HDD, 1TB – 2TB SSHD

  • Keyboard offers deep travel
  • 4K media mastery
  • Best-in-class gaming performance
  • High storage capacity
  • USB-C port with Thunderbolt 3.
  • Annoying trackpad
  • Tiny fingerprint reader
  • Big and expensive
  • Short battery life
  • Loud fans under heavy load.

With the introduction of the Nvidia’s Pascal architecture, we’ve finally seen gaming laptops like the Razer Blade Pro take on doubles lives as desktop PCs. The Origin EON17-X follows suit with a 4K display and a GPU that can handle the heat, all for a significantly lower starting cost. It doesn’t come with the dead silent mechanical keyboard, but it flaunts one that is tactile nonetheless. While it’s undoubtedly the most powerful laptop we’ve used to date, it’s also among the most expensive.

Considering the battery life maxes out at a dastardly 1 hour and 54 minutes, according to our own movie test. That’s a far cry from the Razer Blade Pro, which managed close to 4 hours. Otherwise, it’s perfectly outfitted for that place on your desk where your desktop would be – if you had the space.

The Origin EON17-X 10 Series (starts at $1,858; $3,567 as tested) is the most powerful gaming laptop we’ve tested, with an overlocked Intel Core i7 processor, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card, and a 4K display. It’s big and heavy, but its performance is unmatched, and the speed justifies the price in this already expensive category.

The gaming laptop measures 1.6 by 16.4 by 11.6 inches (HWD) and weighs 9.91 pounds, and its power brick is also quite large. That makes it one of the heaviest contemporary gaming laptops we’ve tested, even beefier than the previous EON17-X (1.53 by 16.46 by 11.1 inches, 8.6 pounds). The Asus ROG G752VS-XB78K Overclocked Edition is very slightly bigger and heavier (1.5 by 16.4 by 12.7 inches, 9.92 pounds) and the Acer Predator 17 X (GX-791-758V) is lighter, but has a bigger body (1.77 by 16.65 by 12.66 inches, 9.67 pounds). This gaming laptop was not built for frequent travel.

The EON17-X 10 Series is the most powerful gaming laptop we’ve tested. Of course it’s incredibly expensive, but on the high end of an inherently pricey category, it delivers precisely what it should, and is a much better value than the Signature 17, which comes with less storage, slightly lower performance, and an inferior display.

It’s far from the most mobile laptop at this size and weight, possibly leaving you wondering if you should get a desktop instead. But it is portable if you need to bring it with you on a trip, and you get a built-in 4K display. Given its blistering performance, high-resolution screen, generous storage capacity, and a wide selection of ports, the Origin EON17-X 10 Series is our top pick for high-end gaming laptops.

Dell Inspiron 15

9.Dell Inspiron 15 Gaming Laptop

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
  • Very affordable for a gaming laptop
  • Smooth 1080p gaming performance
  • Attractive design.
  • 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.

An all-metal or premium build was never in the cards for the Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming at this price, but Dell has managed a pleasing design while keeping the cost down. The laptop comes in two color schemes: a red lid with a black keyboard deck and Dell logo, or a black body with the accents and logo in red.

Our review unit is the former, and though the full red lid is bold, it’s not a bad look. It’s all plastic, but the soft finish on the lid and the generally sturdy body prevent it from feeling cheap. The front and back edges are slanted, adding panache, while the back has some venting with a crisscross design.

A triangular grid pattern on the front edge complements the back’s look, covering the front-facing speaker behind. As a whole, I much prefer this simple but stylish design to, say, that of the Asus ROG Strix GL753V, which comes off tacky and cheap despite the higher price tag.

The 7000 Gaming is also relatively slim and light at 1 by 15.15 by 10.82 inches (HWD) and 5.84 pounds, which is a very reasonable size for a gaming laptop. The last-generation version was slightly trimmer all around (0.98 by 15 by 10.4 inches), but you’re getting essentially the same size with a new look. It’s just portable enough for a 15-incher that you won’t moan at the prospect of taking it with you.

While it is slimmer than the pricier Acer Predator 15 (G9-593-72VT), there are more compact 15-inch gaming laptops out there, but as with the Origin EVO15-S, they’re generally much more expensive. The 14-inch Razer Blade is the ultimate example of what’s possible, at 0.7 by 13.6 by 9.3 inches and 4.16 pounds, but again, it costs much more than the Inspiron 15.

HP Omen 17

10.HP Omen 17

A premium desktop replacement sans the premium cost

CPU: 6th gen Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 (8GB GDDR5); Intel HD Graphics 530 | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Screen: 17.3-inch 4K (3,840 x 2,160) IPS with G-Sync | Storage: 1TB – 2TB HDD, 128GB SSD

  • 4K, G-Sync Display
  • Attractive pricing
  • Strong gaming performance
  • High storage capacity
  • Appealing, relatively slim design
  • Plastic-y build
  • Large physical size

Like the GameCube of laptops, the HP Omen 17 has the build quality of a children’s toy. However, when you see what it can do, you’ll wonder why it didn’t cost more. At 7 pounds, you’ll have to forgive the weight of the HP Omen 17 if you want to benefit from its 17-inch Quad-HD display.

Although the GTX 1070 is more of a 1440p performer than a 4K one, you can still expect a consistent 30 fps in games like The Division at the highest graphical settings. Overall, the HP Omen 17 is HP’s Gigabyte P57X equivalent, but with Bang & Olufsen speakers that might tip you over the edge.

The ideal midrange gaming laptop is one that has a price below what you see from the realm of high-end systems, but still delivers on power. The HP Omen 17 (starts at $1,299; $1,799 as tested) hits the target in that regard, priced several hundred dollars less than the competition while offering similar—and, in some cases, better—performance.

While there’s nothing out of the ordinary about this laptop’s chiclet keyboard, which is large enough to include a number pad, it doesn’t have any deficiencies, and typing on it is comfortable. The keys have red backlighting, and their travel is neither too shallow nor too deep. It’s not necessarily a standout keyboard, but I have no complaints.

I appreciate that it’s not pushed way up the deck, as you’ll see on some 17-inch gaming  laptops. The touchpad is plastic and feels more flimsy than I’d like, but it’s serviceable. The Bang & Olufsen speakers get plenty loud and maintain their high sound quality around maximum volume.

For a very reasonable price given the 4K display and the GTX 1070, the HP Omen 17 is an attractive proposition. Its performance is on par with or better than you’ll see from midrange gaming laptops that cost more, many of which can’t match its resolution. It also offers a lot of storage, a good selection of ports, and quality speakers.

The only real concession is the plastic body, especially if an aluminum build is important to you, but the design is pleasant and it doesn’t feel cheap. The MSI Dominator Pro-005 is also powerful, but more expensive, and the screen is smaller and only 1080p. At the midrange price tier, where bang for your buck plays a pivotal role, the HP Omen 17 is a superior option and our new Editors’ Choice.