10 best gaming laptops 2017: top gaming notebook reviews

 techradar.com  9/19/2017 5:22:00 PM  50  Kevin Lee

As cross-platform play finally makes its way to consoles, the best gaming laptops continue to bear a competitive edge against their living room-based rivals. For one thing, you don’t have to pay for the online multiplayer – there’s almost never a subscription fee required to play games purchased through Steam, Origin and even the Windows 10 Store.

Yet, even as we’re faced with smartphones that cost over a grand, gamers can’t seem to shake the cost of playing on a powerful new PC. Even as Nvidia comes out with cheaper on-the-go graphics options, there’s a baseless misconception that you have to be rich to own one of the top gaming laptops. In the long-run, however, it’s actually cheaper to game on PC.

That being the case, whether you need a gaming laptop that runs everything in 4K or just anything you can use to run the best PC games at stable frame rates, we’ve gathered the top gaming laptops in every category to help you determine your next big purchase. In an order based on our review ratings and awards, these are the best gaming laptops of 2017.

1. Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501

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

Astonishingly powerful

Innovative and quiet cooling

Laughable battery life

Poor keyboard and ergonomics

It’s almost as if Asus has initiated a new laptop category of its own with the Zephyrus GX501. That’s because, with the help of Nvidia’s Max-Q technology, the Republic of Gamers has crafted a hardy gaming notebook that measures no thicker than an Ultrabook. In fact, the only area wherein it’s not Ultrabook-esque is the battery, which struggles to attain a consecutive lifespan beyond two hours. Still, it’s progress that even our Australian readers can now enjoy.

Read the full review: Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501

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 7 and a half 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 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.

Read the full review: Razer Blade

3. Asus ROG Strix GL502

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.

Read the full review: Asus ROG Strix GL502

4. Alienware 13 R3

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

Unexpectedly dense

Short battery life

Unlike most laptops its size, the Alienware 13 R3 bears a hinge-forward design. By moving the heat sinks behind the screen, the chassis is allowed to be thinner, at 0.81-inch (0.22cm). Unfortunately, this means you won’t find many 13-inch laptop bags that will actually suit the Alienware 13 R3. 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. 

Read the full review: Alienware 13 R3

5. Razer Blade Pro

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR5) – 1080 (8GB GDDR5X) | RAM: 16 – 32GB | Screen: 17.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) 120Hz matte IPS – 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

Off-putting price

Less than 5 hours of battery life

At long last, Razer has introduced a true desktop replacement that won’t weigh you down. Measuring in at only 0.88 inches thick with the option between a 17-inch 1080p display running at 120Hz or a G-Sync-laden 4K touchscreen, the Razer Blade Pro also introduces the company’s ultra-low-profile mechanical switches to a notebook for the first time ever. That’s a deal that’s only sweetened by an unusual trackpad placement that makes it comfier to boot.

Read the full review: Razer Blade Pro

  • This product is only available in the US and UK as of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Alienware 17 R4

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 | Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS wide-viewing angle display | Storage: 1TB HDD, 256GB SSD

Affordable price

Excellent keyboard and touchpad

Below average battery life

Underwhelming speakers and display

For less than a grand and a half, you might not think it, but the Gigabyte SabrePro 15 is a bargain. In its price range, you won’t find a laptop with this level of performance. Although it’s only available in one configuration, the GTX 1060 is a nice change of pace considering most affordable gaming laptops struggle to run triple-A games beyond medium settings. That goes without mentioning the fantastic RGB keyboard and Microsoft Precision Touchpad.

Read the full review: Gigabyte SabrePro 15

7. Gigabyte Aero 14

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

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 fails to compromise in terms of portability and performance. Factor in the a reasonable battery life and 190-degree hinge, and it’s easy to see why the Gigabyte Aero 14 made the cut.

Read the full review: Gigabyte Aero 14

8. Alienware 17 R4

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (2GB GDDR5) – GTX 1080 (8GB GDDR5X) | RAM: 8GB – 32GB | Screen: 17.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – UHD (3,840 x 2,160) IPS anti-glare 300-nits | Storage: 128GB SSD, 1TB HDD – 2TB SSD, 1TB HDD

Wildly powerful

Swanky looks

Obnoxiously loud fans

So-so battery life

To be frank, Alienware hasn’t been a name typically associated with value. That seems to be changing with the Alienware 17 R4, which bears so many different customization options when it comes to specs that you can practically name your own price. Bespeckled with all of the signature elements we’ve come to expect from the brand, such as RGB backlit-accents and tons of ventilation, our only real qualm with the Alienware 17 R4 is a disappointing battery life.

Read the full review: Alienware 17 R4

9. Dell Inspiron 15 Gaming

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 (and overcompensating) gaming laptops, the Dell Inspiron 15 Gaming is a breath of fresh air. An anomaly that ditches the Alienware moniker, Dell has crafted yet a gaming laptop that’s masked as one of its more productivity-centric machines. The discrete graphics options won’t blow you away, but the price certainly will. Plus with a battery life recorded at 7 hours and 38 minutes, it’s unparalleled in that department.

Read the full review: Dell Inspiron 15 Gaming

10. Medion Erazer X6603

CPU: 7th gen Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti; Intel HD Graphics 630 | RAM: 8GB DDR4 | Screen: 15.6-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) LED backlit IPS | Storage: 256GB SSD, 1TB HDD

Excellent mid-range frame rates

Great price point

Cacophonous fan

Dismal battery life

While companies like Asus and Razer are going all out when it comes to gaming laptop performance, Medion – a company majority owned by Lenovo – has crafted a laptop donning economical components paired with a gorgeous design intended to appeal to the sensibilities of hardcore gamers. Though it’s not exactly a powerhouse on the inside, you won’t have to shell out an arm and a leg to enjoy the benefits of this mid-range monster.

Read the full review: Medion Erazer X6603

  • This product is only available in the UK as of this writing. US and Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Dell Inspiron 15 Gaming

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article

« Go back