The best gaming laptop 2017: the 10 best gaming laptops we've reviewed

 techradar.com  11/20/2017 8:49:00 PM  58  Kevin Lee

Now that the latest consoles can run games in 4K, you might be hesitant about dropping a few hundred or even thousand dollars/pounds on the best gaming laptop 2017 has to offer. And, while we empathize with this reluctance knowing what we know now, a gaming laptop is much more than a console that you can take on the go. In other words, it’s a far more versatile system than anything Nintendo can cook up, and it’s exactly what you should keep your eyes peeled for this Black Friday.

The reason for that is, contrary to what their name might lead you to believe, gaming laptops can handle more than the occasional Starcraft II session. Games are for leisure, but when it’s time to start typing essays or meeting deadlines at work, you can’t rely on your Xbox for that sort of task. Because the best gaming laptops all come running full-blown Windows 10, they can handle everything from the fun-and-challenging Cuphead to the not-so-fun-and-challenging Microsoft Excel.

In constructing the following list, we’ve tested, reviewed and ranked the 10 best gaming laptops 2017 has brought our way. Along the way, we’ve taken into consideration not only the needs of immense power users, but we’ve put a lot of thought into the value of these systems as well, asking questions like, “Does this laptop offer the highest performance for the price?” To those which we answered with an unequivocal yes, they’ve been prominently featured below.

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

Kicking Nvidia’s Max-Q technology off right, the Asus Zephyrus GX501 combines the heralded thinness of an Ultrabook with the performance of a gaming PC to bring the best of both worlds to your feet. Despite exhibiting subpar times in our battery life benchmarks, this svelte powerhouse of a notebook is one for the books when it comes to both portability and style. Plus, it’s virtually silent if noise is a cause for distraction in your everyday routine.

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

You may not be able to stick a bigger hard drive in it later, but the Razer Blade is otherwise built for stamina and, of course, high quality visuals. On top of boasting a battery life of over 7 and a half hours, it can handle up to 4K Ultra HD gaming with the help of a Razer Core V2 external graphics box and a spare monitor. Or you could opt for the more recently added integrated 4K display option. Either way, you’re in for a treat, we assure you.

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. MSI GS63VR Stealth Pro

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 – 1070 | RAM: 16GB – 32GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) 120Hz, 3ms, HDR – UHD (3,840 x 2,160) wide-view IPS | Storage: 256GB SSD; 2TB HDD – 512GB HDD; 2TB HDD

Beautiful display

Lightweight

Touchpad is bad – really bad

In defiance of the stigma that gaming laptops simply can’t shake their heavy duty form factors, the MSI GS63VR 7RG Stealth Pro is an anomaly that deserves your attention. Although it owes much of its strength-meets-mobility design to the same Max-Q graphics technology leveraged by the Asus ROG Zephyrus, the Stealth Pro does more than lean into Nvidia’s engineering approach. It gives you a handsome array of ports, a gorgeous screen and more.

Read the full review: MSI GS63VR 7RG Stealth Pro

  • Any one of these hardy notebooks could dominate our Black Friday deals

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article

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