Best Gaming Laptops of 2019

By Reviewed Staff, January 09, 2018, Updated January 24, 2019

Since the beginning of time, gamers have demanded the best performance from their computers. Long thought of as an oxymoron, gaming laptops are now powerful enough to tackle most modern games. Sure, performance isn't as good as you might get from a desktop PC. But portability is ideal for spontaneous sessions of Witcher III or Overwatch, whether it's at work on your lunch break or in the airport waiting for your boarding call.

If you're in the market for a gaming laptop, you've come to the right place. After testing six different gaming laptops, we carefully determined the pros and cons of each machine. If you want to know which one's the best, it's the Dell XPS 15 (2018) (available at Dell for $1,999.99). With its zippy performance and colorful display, it checks all the right boxes. While we love this laptop, we've got something for every type of gamer on this list.

Here are the best gaming laptops we tested ranked, in order:

  1. Dell XPS 15 (2018)
  2. New Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming
  3. HP Omen 15
  4. Razer Blade Pro (2017)
  5. Acer Nitro 5
  6. Asus ROG Strix Scar Edition
  7. Lenovo Legion (Y520)

If you're on a tight budget or you're looking for a more stripped-down experience, we've also tested Chromebooks and laptops under $1,000.

— Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Updated January 24, 2019

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Dell XPS 15 Best Overall
Credit: Reviewed / Jeremy Stamas

Dell XPS 15 9575 2-in-1 (i7-8705G, 512GB SSD, 16GB)

Product Image - Dell XPS 15 9575 2-in-1 (i7-8705G, 512GB SSD, 16GB)
  • Editors' Choice

Dell XPS 15 9575 2-in-1 (i7-8705G, 512GB SSD, 16GB)

Best Overall

This convertible is massively powerful. From the grey exterior to the carbon fiber interior, it may not look like a traditional gaming computer, but thanks to its 8th-gen Intel CPU and Radeon graphics, it sure as hell performs like one. You can play games like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt on high or ultra settings with stable frame rates. If it's seamless gameplay you're looking for, look no further.

As for the 4K touchscreen display, it's one of the best we've ever seen. Colors are vibrant and shadows never seem to lose detail. When we watched the first episode of The Handmaid's Tale, those crimson-red cloaks really leapt off of the screen. As the camera panned over the handmaidens—who were standing stock-still in perfect circles in the rain—I couldn't help but admire how weirdly beautiful that bleak world was.

There were, however, a few trade-offs. Battery life is less-than-stellar, so you'll probably want to keep the power adapter with you (otherwise you'll need to go outlet-hunting). The bottom also runs hot, and to compensate, its cooling system can get really loud. Plus, the stylus isn't included and the webcam looks straight up your nose. Drawbacks aside, it's a very snappy laptop. So, whether you're a hardcore gamer or a photo/video editor, this is a great choice.

Dell Inspiron Gaming Best Value
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

Dell Inspiron 15 7577 (8GB RAM, 256GB SSD)

Product Image - Dell Inspiron 15 7577 (8GB RAM, 256GB SSD)
  • Best of Year 2017

Dell Inspiron 15 7577 (8GB RAM, 256GB SSD)

Best Value

This laptop packs a lot of graphics power, that's for sure. For just under a grand, you're getting a powerful GPU plus a classy design that strays from the typical gaming aesthetic. The "New" models even offer Intel's quad-core 8th-gen processors. So, not only is it light on the wallet, it's powerful enough to run games like Overwatch on medium to high settings. But while there's a lot we love about this laptop, we had a few gripes.

The display isn't very bright or colorful and viewing angles are poor. This isn't too surprising because it's a budget gaming laptop, so sacrifices need to be made to keep the cost down. In addition to the disappointing screen, the laptop is bulky and awkward to handle—you're not going to enjoy lugging it around. Nitpicks aside, we feel the Inspiron 15 is still a killer choice, as it's a great laptop for work and play and you can't beat the awesome price.

How We Tested

Here at Reviewed, we test graphics, processing power, battery life, and screen brightness. What we try to do is push every laptop beyond its limits. We use popular benchmarks to test internal components such as Geekbench, 3DMark, and Metro 2033. This is how we gauge how well the laptop multitasks, responds to input commands, runs games, and more. As for battery testing, we set them up to continuously cycle through various websites at 200 nits brightness until they run out of power. This tells us how much juice you’re getting on a single charge. We also take into account build quality, price, portability, and design.

The Tester

I’m Ashley Barry-Biancuzzo and I’m the primary laptop reviewer here at Reviewed. Though Reviewed has been testing laptops for a couple of years now, I seized control of this beat (cue evil laughter) in 2017. It’s the perfect category for me because I’ve been playing around with laptops ever since I was a kid. While I like playing games and browsing the web as much as the next person, the tinkerer in me loves getting a good look at the internal components. For me, a good laptop needs to be the perfect balance of design and function. If it doesn’t excite you in some way, then what’s the point? The more innovative it is, the better.

The Tests

First we test the graphics card (a circuit board that controls what you see on the display) using 3D Mark and the processor (the brains of the laptop) using Geekbench. We basically run cinematic movies and games to test the graphics card and a program that simulates workloads to test the processor. These tests gauge how well the laptop multitasks, runs visually demanding games, responds to input commands, and so on. The next thing we do is record the screen brightness with a CS-200, a handheld device that measures luminance. The brighter the screen is, the better.

The last thing we do is the battery test, as it takes the longest to run. First, we unplug the laptop and set it to 200 nits brightness. We then set it up to continuously cycle through popular websites like Amazon and Twitter until the battery dies. What we’re trying to do here is simulate how an average person might use the laptop. This is how we figure out how much juice you’re getting on a single charge. We also check build quality (does the screen have any flex?), portability (under three pounds is ideal), and design (sometimes an eye-catching color scheme really makes a difference).

What You Should Know About Gaming Laptops

With their flashy designs, bulky bodies, and premium prices, gaming laptops are far different from mainstream notebooks. With the exception of our top pick, they're usually clamshell laptops, meaning they can only open 180-degrees. They also tend to be heavier than most laptops because of all the components inside. This is because they're designed with power in mind, not portability or convenience. With that said, let's get into the nitty-gritty.

The operating system is something to consider. If you work with editing software or play games, you’ll want to spring for a Windows-based machine, as you can outfit them with a powerful processor and graphics card. The more powerful the machine, the smoother your gameplay will be. If you're just looking to browse the web and check e-mail, you'll want to opt for something less powerful like a Chromebook.

The inner components are very important. A video editor or a hardcore gamer is going to have very different needs than the everyday user. Whether you’re working with thousands of images or playing the latest AAA game, you’re going to need a lot of “oomph.” When I say “oomph,” I’m referring to both the processing power (how fast it can run multiple programs at once) and graphics power (how fast it can render the graphics on your screen).

For those who need more “oomph," you’re going to want to shoot for an Intel i7 processor that ends in either HQ or K. This processor uses higher wattage and has four cores, meaning it delivers fast performance. As for the average user that likes to surf the web, an Intel i5 processor should suffice. Finally, if you find yourself needing a lot of storage (for offloading pictures and such), you should get a laptop that has a microSD card slot and at least 8GB of RAM.

Other Gaming Laptops We Tested

HP Omen 15 (NVidia GTX 1070, Intel i7-8750H, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 2TB HDD)

Product Image - HP Omen 15 (NVidia GTX 1070, Intel i7-8750H, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 2TB HDD)

HP Omen 15 (NVidia GTX 1070, Intel i7-8750H, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 2TB HDD)

The best thing about the HP Omen is its display. With its vibrant colors and thin bezels, you're getting a lot of bang for your buck. In fact, I'd say it's one of the best displays I've ever seen on a mid-range gaming laptop. When I watched the trailer for Detective Pikachu (don't judge me), Pikachu's yellow fur really popped against the dark backgrounds.

The edgy design is cool, too. With its jet black shell and crimson red accents, you've got just the right amount of flair. I wouldn't say it's a full-on departure from the traditional gaming aesthetic, but it's definitely got a more subtle design. As far as gaming laptops go, this design is clean and sophisticated and not as flashy.

As with most gaming laptops, the Omen is heavy and not very portable. You can bring it to a friend's dorm, sure, but lugging it from class-to-class might be a problem. It's the kind of laptop that'll probably stay parked on your desk. Another drawback is the placement of the speakers, which are underneath the machine. It's not a deal-breaker, per se, but audio is a little muffled.

Note: We reviewed the high-end model. The base configuration costs a little over a grand and is available on Amazon.

Razer Blade Pro 17

Product Image - Razer Blade Pro 17
  • Best of Year 2014

Razer Blade Pro 17

If you're looking to replace your aging gaming computer with a high-end powerhouse, then maybe it's time to spring for the Razer Blade. This machine, with its high-performing specs and cool Chroma keyboard, ticked off a lot of boxes for us. The Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics chip can handle everything from modern games to virtual reality if that's your thing.

The best thing about this laptop is that it doesn't weigh a ton. Weighing just under five pounds, it's one of the most portable gaming laptops to date. Unlike the Dell Inspiron 15 (7567), which weighs about six pounds, the Blade is a little over four. The slim body is great for portability, especially if you're looking to get a game in between classes. It's not as light as an ultraportable, but it doesn't feel like you're lugging around a massive brick either.

One of the big drawbacks is the underwhelming battery life. However, given that it's a gaming laptop, the disappointing battery life isn't a total shock. The Blade loses its charge just a few hours of moderate use. That's less than a full school day, so you'll have to keep your eyes peeled for an outlet between classes. It's also expensive, but for a true gaming experience you can bring on the go, the Blade is the way to go.

Acer Nitro 5 (AN51551504A)

Product Image - Acer Nitro 5 (AN51551504A)

Acer Nitro 5 (AN51551504A)

From stable frame rates to minor fan noise, the Nitro has a lot to offer. In addition to powerful internals, the starting price on the base model is super reasonable (it's a little over $900). For a mid-range gaming laptop that offers high processing power, that's not too shabby. Plus, with its burgundy accents and jet black shell, the design is really sophisticated. While it has a lot to offer, there's a few drawbacks.

The display appears dull and washed-out and battery life is subpar. And, if you're a particularly oily human being, the lid is one hell of a fingerprint magnet. It's not anything a microfiber cloth can't fix, though. The Nitro is great for casual gaming and day-to-day tasks. It can play most AAA titles at 1080p and fan noise is hardly audible. But if you're looking for a better graphics card and a bigger battery, we'd recommend the Dell 15 7000 Gaming.

Asus Republic of Gamers Strix Scar Edition

Product Image - Asus Republic of Gamers Strix Scar Edition

Asus Republic of Gamers Strix Scar Edition

Between the Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor and the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card, the Scar is powerful enough to run virtual reality experiences and photo/video editing programs. It's a gaming notebook, but who said you had to use it specifically for games? When it comes down to it, the guts really do matter, especially if you consider yourself a power user.

When we played Overwatch on high settings, it hovered around 60 frames-per-second, occasionally dropping to 40 or 50 frames-per-second (depending on activity). You'll probably get the best performance out of AAA titles like League of Legends or Battlegrounds on medium settings, as they're not as visually demanding as other games. While we love the performance and wide selection of ports, battery life leaves little to be desired and fan noise is a problem.

With great power comes... disappointing battery life. When we ran our WiFi browsing test, which cycles through popular websites like Facebook and Amazon, it died in about two hours. You'll definitely want to keep the power brick handy, as it's not designed for long term off-the-charger use. The fans are pretty loud under demanding loads, too.

Lenovo Legion Y520 (16GB RAM, 2TB HDD + 256GB SSD)

Product Image - Lenovo Legion Y520 (16GB RAM, 2TB HDD + 256GB SSD)

Lenovo Legion Y520 (16GB RAM, 2TB HDD + 256GB SSD)

With its unique tapered design and black plastic hood, the Lenovo Legion makes a strong first impression. The muted color scheme is a nice change of pace, especially if you're not into that gaudy gaming aesthetic. While it's obviously a gaming laptop, given its red backlit keyboard and angular trackpad, the tamed-down aesthetic is a welcome departure from the usual script.

It's a good option for the gaming enthusiast on a tight budget. In addition to the reasonable starting price, the Legion also packs a good amount of graphics power as well. You'll get consistent performance out of the base model, so long as you don't push it beyond its capabilities. While the Legion, with its subdued look and affordability, has a lot going for it, some compromises had to be made.

The Nvidia GPU is a big power-suck, so you'll want to keep your eyes peeled for an outlet. The battery life is disappointing but, depending on your needs, it may or may not be a top priority. The angular trackpad is also awkward to use, as the odd shape makes it nearly impossible to work with. That said, you can always hook up to an external mouse and use that instead.

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