The best gaming laptops let you experience smooth, high definition gameplay at a high frames per second, and without the bulky set-up of a full gaming PC. However, this is kind of a big ask. A laptop for gaming that can run as well as a gaming PC is hard to come by. Laptops tend to be cheaper and lower-powered than full PCs, so building one to cope with the demanding tasks of PC gaming is difficult. If you’re looking for a simpler solution to building a gaming pc though, the best gaming laptops in 2020 are a surprisingly viable alternative.
Advances in technology have made a gaming laptop that can perform as well as a full PC a lot more affordable than it used to be. In the past, you were essentially purchasing an entire gaming PC shoved into a smaller casing. Things are a bit easier now, with the necessary tech small and portable enough. The best budget gaming laptops in 2020 are considerably more streamlined and effective than those of five years ago.
With the right research, you can find a gaming laptop that performs just as well as a PC you’ve purpose-built with the best components. As well as being more powerful, the price is also coming down. The best laptops for gaming now come in at a fairly reasonable price point.
These are some of the top choices for a gaming laptop, with one to suit any type of player.
This HP Omen i5 laptop is a really popular product. It is a great entry-level gaming laptop since it achieves a great balance of everything. It has a solid GPU that can handle ray tracing, a CPU that can even run demanding AAA games at a good quality, and a great design that makes it cooler and quieter to run than most.
If you’re looking for an all-round balance of everything in your gaming laptop, then this is the best gaming laptop for you. It might not have some of the features of a really high-end laptop. However, if you want a great gaming laptop to handle demanding games, then this can manage it.
- Sleek Design
- Great Cooling
- 1TB SSD
- Keyboard Can Be Irritating
- Brightness Issues
This ASUS ROG Strix Scar III is definitely on the high end for gaming laptops. It is one of the most powerful you can get without building your own PC. Its GPU and CPU can run a game in a really high-quality, without any loss in frames per second. The screen itself has a high refresh rate, being able to hit 300Hz. The screen is 15.6 inches and is one of the better-looking screens available
Of course, all of this performance comes at a high price. If you’re looking for the best gaming laptop and you’re not too worried about spending a fair amount on one, then this is the best laptop for gaming for you.
- 2TB SSD
- 1920 x 1080p Screen
- Great Refresh Rate
The Dell G7 makes a great compromise between power and price. You get a 256GB SSD, NVIDIA Geforce RTSX 2060, and a 9th-generation i7 CPU. While you may want to expand your storage with an external or replacement SSD, this all gives you the power to run games at a pretty good quality.
This won’t hit those same heights as the pricier laptops, but it is more than enough for competitive games on fairly normal graphical settings. Fortnite or Warzone will run great at a high frame rate. The screen is 1920x1080p, so while it could be higher this is a good resolution considering the size. If you’re looking for a compromise between power and price, then this is the best gaming laptop for you.
- Good Price
- GeForce RTX 2060 GPU
- Streamlined Design
- Battery Life Isn’t Great
This Acer Nitro 5 is one of the more budget entries on this list. Its price is around half of a decent mid-tier gaming laptop. Of course, you’re not getting the same power and graphical quality for this price, but you get good value. It can run most major games at a good frames per second rate if you’re willing to compromise on things like texture quality.
It comes with a 1TB HDD and 128GB SSD, which is a nice bonus. You’re unlikely to have to buy additional storage for this laptop, which is better than some of the more high-end laptops here. It can also get a lot of playtime out of its battery life which is a big plus. This is definitely one of the best budget gaming laptops, and you’ll struggle to find a laptop for gaming that can do this much at a lower price.
- Great Value
- 1TB HDD and 128GB SSD
- Good GPU and CPU
- A Ram Upgrade Would be Beneficial
Alienware is a quality manufacturer in the world of gaming PCs. Their lines of gaming laptops are no exception to this. With the m15 you can be sure you’re getting that high-quality and reliability that you need from a laptop. The m15 is the middle of their range, with the m13 being smaller and the larger m17 is also available. The m13 is a little underpowered and the m17 may as well be a desktop. However, the m15 is a pretty great middle ground.
It has a great screen and manages to achieve high fidelity without much of a drop in your frame rate. This also allows for a customizable keyboard, which is a big help for playing games. The cooling is going to come in handy if you’re playing for a long time too. Alienware makes great equipment, and this gaming laptop is no exception to that.
- 256GB SSD
- Great Performance
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 GPU
- Can Be Loud
- Battery Isn’t Great
A gaming laptop is great for playing games, but they have some downsides for other uses. All that hardware can make them bulky, a bit ugly, and occasionally difficult to use for normal tasks. This HP laptop isn’t one of the most powerful for gaming, but it does achieve a good balance of gaming performance and the everyday ease of use.
This Laptop can run at a pretty decent rate if given the right circumstances. You may have to turn to own your graphical settings to really get a good frame rate out of it though. This is a great budget model, or a gaming laptop if you’re looking for one that can double as an ordinary laptop for everyday use.
- 15inch Screen
- Great Price
- Great Cooling and Design
- Battery Life Isn’t Great
Gaming laptops are a little strange when it comes to portability. While obviously they’re more portable than an actual desktop, they’re usually significantly harder to take outside the home than a normal laptop. They’re bulkier, heavier, and they have a much worse battery life given how demanding they run. This Acer Predator is a great gaming laptop if you actually want to take advantage of the portability of a laptop. It is relatively lightweight and sleekly designed to actually be portable.
This laptop features a GPU that allows for that ray tracing which has captured everyone’s attention in recent years. There is also a hefty CPU, so you’re going to be getting great performance. The screen can hit 144Hz and has anti-ghosting features inside. This can make playing games in a high quality considerably easier than with the competition. While it is on the higher end of the price spectrum, this is a great gaming laptop.
- 512GB SSD
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 GPU
- Responsive Screen
- More Expensive Than Comparable Models
The Lenovo Legion is a great choice if you’re looking for the best gaming laptop that combines power with value. With this laptop, you’ll be able to get a solid 60 fps on demanding games, sometimes even with ray tracing. This is pretty impressive for a laptop.
The screen that is used here is an HDR and it uses G-Sync. This eliminated the problems that come with V-Sync and gives a great picture. All of this isn’t unnecessary, but it really contributes to a solid and powerful laptop. You’re getting much better performance here than you would with similarly priced laptops.
- 3 Inch Screen
- 1TB HDD
- Great Performance
- HDR and G-Sync
- Keyboard Can be Distracting
This ASUS ROG gaming laptop only runs in 1080p, but it does this really well. It can handle ray tracing and get a consistent frame rate, or a really high frame rate with graphical settings turned down a bit. This makes it one of the best gaming laptops in 2020 for playing competitive games in a good quality. 1080p isn’t all that bad for most people, with your average TV still only hitting that definition.
This laptop is on the pricier end when it comes to 1080p gaming laptops. However, you’re getting a lot of power for that money. The CPU in this gaming laptop runs really well, so it is going to outperform most others. The laptop itself can be a bit bulky, but this is a pretty common problem with gaming laptops. If you’re looking for a light Chromebook, you’re out of luck. This is one of the best laptops for 1080p, but it does have a price tag to match.
- Powerful CPU
- Good Screen
- Bit Bulky but Well Designed
What You Need to Know to Find the Right Gaming Laptop
Like a PC, a gaming laptop is a big purchase. Since this is quite the commitment, you need to make sure you’re getting the best gaming laptop for you. This guide covers everything you need to now to find the right gaming laptop for your needs, to make sure you’ve chosen the best PC for you.
What to Consider Before Buying a Gaming Laptop
These are the main things you need to consider before buying a gaming laptop, to work out which one is right for you.
- Price – Your price range is going to be the most important factor, only compare those within your price range.
- GPU and CPU – Is a specific benchmark for these components important to you? It helps to have a solid idea of what standard of performance you need.
- Screen Size and Resolution – This stuff is hardwired into your laptop and can’t be easily replaced like with a PC. Makes sure you’re happy with your resolution.
- Design – A laptop has to look nice for you, or at least not so much of an eyesore you can’t stand the sight of it.
- Ergonomics – If a laptop is too bulky to be used effectively, it probably isn’t worth getting.
- Battery Life – This will vary depending on how demanding your games are, but if you’re planning on playing away from a power outlet then this is important.
- Storage Space – This applies to both internal and external. If the laptop has some poor internal storage capacities, can you replace its storage easily? If you’re not confident doing it yourself, you might want to look at laptops with greater storage or purchasing an SSD to go with your laptop.
Are Gaming Laptops Worth It?
A common question of those looking for a gaming PC and comparing laptops, is are gaming laptops actually worth it? Well, the answer really depends on what your needs are.
A gaming laptop is essentially a hybrid of a device. It works by combining the convenience of a regular laptop with some of the power that comes with a big gaming PC. With a gaming laptop over a gaming PC, you don’t have to devote as much space to a gaming set-up. You also get a device you can use for work or other things as well as a gaming set-up. However, there are some drawbacks too.
You don’t get the same power as you would in a similarly priced gaming PC. Making things portable always has a trade-off. However, this has become less of a problem with time. This is a similar situation to console gaming. A PS2 and a Game Boy Advance were released within a year of each other and had a massive difference in power. These days, the difference between handheld and console is considerably lower with the Switch and high powered NVIDIA devices. The same has happened to gaming PCs. A Laptop is now capable of getting the type of power you’d previously only see in a full desktop, but it is more expensive.
In a gaming laptop, they’re often bigger to save money. A gaming laptop is considerably harder to actually move around outside the house than a regular laptop, but it is a lot more powerful. A laptop won’t be as powerful and it is less modular so replacements are harder. If this trade-off is worth it to you will depend on what you need from your gaming set-up.
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