10 best gaming laptops 2017: top gaming notebook reviews

 techradar.com  4/20/2017 2:09:00 PM  35  Kevin Lee

Update: Adhering to our laptop buying guide ranking methodology, we’ve added the ultra-light Origin EVO15-S to our list, removing the Acer Predator 17X in the process. Read on to find out why Origin’s compact gaming laptop is one of the best!

If you want a gaming computer that outperforms the latest consoles (and at Ultra HD resolutions and 60 frames per second at that), the most economical solution would be to save up enough cash to build one yourself. Then again, do-it-yourself PC assemblage is no effortless task.

Assuming you would rather forego the stress that comes with ordering parts and subsequently installing them when all you want to do is play games, perhaps you’ll want to set your sights on only the best gaming laptops the market has to offer. With everything from the graphics card to the screen built-in, a gaming laptop is the most painless way to experience PC gaming.

For a decent gaming notebook, you’re looking at an expenditure of at least $1,000 (about £800, AU$1,400), and that’s just to match the latest consoles. Assuming your extravagant taste demands that your gaming laptop of choice runs every new release with all the graphics settings maxed out, you can expect to fork over a substantially larger sum of cash.

In this article, we’ve delivered our impressions on the 10 top gaming laptops spanning various brands and budgets. These are, hands-down, the best gaming laptops you can buy in 2017. Not one is perfect, as indicated by the pros and cons of each entry, but every laptop here is well equipped and ready to conquer the hell out of your ever-cluttered Steam library.

1. 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.

Read the full review: Razer Blade

2. 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

3. 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 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.

Read the full review: Alienware 13 R3

4. Razer Blade Pro

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

Off-putting price

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.

Read the full review: Razer Blade Pro

5. 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 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.

Read the full review: Gigabyte Aero 14

6. 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 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.

Read the full review: Dell Inspiron 15 Gaming

7. HP Omen 17

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

Affordable price

4K, G-Sync Display

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. Of course, 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.

Read the full review: HP Omen 17

8. Origin EVO15-S

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS Display | Storage: 256GB – 500GB SSD, 2TB HDD

Desktop performance

Understated, lightweight chassis

Loud fans

Awkward keyboard layout

Following in the footsteps of Razer Blade, the Origin EO15-S is all about delivering desktop-level gaming performance to a laptop form factor that’s uncharacteristically thin and lightweight. Weighing just 4 pounds, the E015-S is only twice as heavy as a MacBook, but it can run practically every game in 1080p at the highest settings. Knowing full well that it couldn’t handle gaming at a resolution much beyond this, Origin wittingly only offers one (full HD) display configuration. The CPU, GPU and memory are locked, too, but so long as you’re cool with a GTX 1060, there isn’t much to complain about here. This laptop is well-rounded, posing a stylish and powerful set of internal components for a considerable value.

Read the full review: Origin EVO15-S

9. Aorus X5 v6

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

Noisy fans

Build quality issues

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.

Read the full review: Aorus X5 v6

10. Origin EON17-X

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

Annoying trackpad

Tiny fingerprint reader

With the introduction of the Nvidia’s Pascal architecture, we’ve finally seen 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.

Read the full review: Origin EON17-X

  • Only interested in light gaming? Try a Surface Book on for size

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article

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