Buying Guide: 10 best gaming laptops 2016: top gaming notebooks reviewed

Update: We recently sat down with Razer to discuss plans for future installments of the Switchblade UI featured on its premium-priced Razer Blade Pro. You can read it here to find out what the company had to say!

Don’t even bother telling your friends you want to buy a gaming laptop. “Just build a desktop,” they’ll suggest. But you know better. You have the money to spare and putting time and effort into building your own desktop is more trouble than it’s worth. You want to get to the fun part: playing games. A warranty that covers the entire product rather than a small set of parts is simply an added bonus.

Being able to take your rig on the go, complete with a built-in monitor and keyboard, however, isn’t cheap. A decent gaming laptop starts at about $ 1,400 (about £900). That’s on the low end. If you want to play 4K games at a consistent frame rate, you can expect to pay over $ 3,000 (around £1,900, AU$ 4,000) for qualifying hardware. Fortunately, this could soon change thanks to AMD’s low-cost Polaris GPUs and Nvidia’s insanely powerful-for-the-price Pascal cards.

Factor in the cost of your monitor, keyboard, mouse and potential hazards, and a gaming laptop might be more suited to your needs. We know you eat, sleep and breathe gaming, but fiddling with cables and being tied down to a desk sporting an encumbering brute of a machine can be intimidating.

Gaming laptops are sleeker and more powerful than ever, with many of them featuring full-fledged desktop GPUs. What’s more, some of them even have the battery lives to support the massive workload. Here you’ll find the gaming laptop that’s best for you, from the eye-tracking GT72S G Tobii to the ostensibly immortal Alienware 17.

Best Gaming Laptops

1. Origin EON15-X

A desktop-grade CPU in an unbeatable gaming laptop

CPU: 4GHz Intel Core i7-6700K | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M (8GB GDDR5 RAM), Intel HD Graphics 530| RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 LED Backlit Matte Display | Storage: 256GB SSD; 1TB SSHD

Great value

Desktop-grade performance

Razor thin viewing angles

The Origin EON15-X is a real head turner. Packing a desktop Skylake processor into a fairly compact 15.6-inch notebook that, Origin’s greatest offers even more performance than some full-size gaming rigs.

This extra CPU power is handy for users who need to edit video and other processor intensive tasks that a mobile chip can’t handle. You’ll also get an extra kick of performance no matter what game you’re running. Combined with a powerful GPU and a not-so-shabby battery life, the Origin EON15-X is definitely worth consideration over all others.

Read the full review: Origin EON15-X

Best Gaming Laptops

2. Gigabyte P35X v5

Underneath the plain exterior lies a 4K gaming beast

CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6700HQ | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M 8GB GDDR5, Intel HD Graphics 530 | RAM: 16GB DDR4 SDRAM | Screen: 15.6-inch, UHD 3,840 x 2,160, IPS LCD | Storage: 256GB SSD, 1TB HDD

Splendid performance at 4K

Surprisingly decent battery life

Poor ergonomics

Pointless optical drive

The Gigabyte P35X v5 is a monumentally capable, 4K gaming laptop equipped with specs nearly high enough to support it. While even most desktops lack the strength to pull off 4K gaming, this 15-inch rig is as close as you’ll get with a laptop. Donning an Intel i7 processor paired with an 8GB Nvidia GTX 980M, the P35X v5 may sound like a workout technique, but it can actually handle 4K gaming if you’re willing to tone down the graphics settings. Plus, it even packs a battery life longer than the considerably less powerful Ghost Pro and Acer Predator 17. If Ultra HD gaming without being tied to a desk is your goal, look no further.

Read the full review: Gigabyte P35X v5

best gaming laptops

3. Lenovo Ideapad Y700 15-inch

An attractive and long lasting 15-inch gaming laptop

CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6700HQ | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M (4GB DDR5 VRAM), Intel HD Graphics 530 | RAM: 16GB DDR4 (2,133MHz) | Screen: 15.6-inch FHD LED AntiGlare Backlit Multitouch (1,920 x 1,080) | Storage: 128GB SSD, 1TB HDD (5,400 RPM)

Stylish look

Ample battery life

Gets hot

Terrible trackpad buttons

Entry-level gaming laptops are a great introduction into the glorious world of PC gaming, and from performance to looks, it’s hard to beat the Lenovo Ideapad Y700. It’s an inexpensive machine that stands out amongst other budget gaming machines with its all metal chassis and included SSD. It also comes packed with enough power to run modern games at decent settings.

Read the full review: Lenovo Ideapad Y700 15-inch

Best gaming laptops

4. Gigabyte P55W v5

High-end graphics on a low-key laptop

CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6700HQ | Graphics: Nvidia Geforce GTX 970M | RAM: 8GB DDR4 | Screen: 15.6-inch full HD 1,920 x 1,080 IPS anti-glare LCD | Storage: 128GB SSD; 1TB SSD

Decent power

Good battery life

Slightly chunky

Pedestrian design

For the most part, the Gigabyte P55W v5 gives you the meat of the company’s P57W v5, but in a smaller form factor. Everything about this laptop is subtle. Even the tiger stripes color scheme, which you would imagine to be quite flashy, is discreet and subdued, perhaps even passing as a workstation if you’re so inclined. In addition to an affordable price tag, the P55W is a capable, yet surprisingly portable machine with an appearance that might fool you into thinking otherwise. Its use of a GTX 970M gives it an edge over laptops with more unruly, boisterous exteriors and with only a 15-inch chassis to boot.

Read the full review: Gigabyte P55W v5

best gaming laptop

5. MSI GS60 Ghost Pro

The best thin-and-light gaming laptop

CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7 6700HQ | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M, Intel HD Graphics 530 | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Screen: 15.6-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 eDP Wide View Angle | Storage: 128GB SSD; 1TB HDD

Performance pusher

Stupendous keyboard

Fleeting battery life

A bit expensive

High on mature styling and light on weight, the MSI GS60 Ghost Pro is one of the thinnest gaming laptops you can buy. Don’t think this svelte machine has sacrificed performance for the sake of cutting weight. It still comes packed with a high-end Intel Skylake processor and graphics card to make it a one of the strongest platforms we’ve ever tested. Just make sure to stick with a 1080p resolution and medium to high visual settings.

Read the full review: MSI GS60 Ghost Pro

Best Gaming Laptops

6. Asus ROG G752

This mobile PC gaming powerhouse throws a hefty punch

CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6700HQ | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M (3GB GDDR5); Intel HD Graphics 530 | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Screen: 17.3-inch, full HD 1,920 x 1,080, IPS LCD | Storage: 128GB SSD; 1TB HDD (7,200rpm)

Distinguished design

Top-end specs and performance

No 4K screen

Poor battery life

The Asus ROG G752 has an aggressive design that sets it apart from many of the world’s sedate gaming laptops. Instead of donning the typical appearance of black plastic, the ROG G752 sports a shell with brushed aluminium panels, angular lines and the glowing red segments. On top of its in-your-face styling this 17-inch gaming laptop delivers a hefty performance and it can play modern games at a smooth clip even if you put the graphical setting to max. The only thing the Asus ROG G752 is missing is the option of a high-res 4K display.

Read the full review: Asus ROG G752

best gaming laptop

7. MSI GT72S G Tobii

CPU: 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-6820HK | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M (8GB GDDR5 RAM); Intel HD Graphics 530 | RAM: 32GB | Screen: 17.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) anti-glare IPS | Storage: 256GB SSD (PCIe Gen3x4); 1TB SATA HDD (7,200RPM)

Accurate eye-tracking

Solid gaming performance

Seeing three constant dots

Limited game compatibility

Despite lacking the visual-slash-desktop performance appeal of the GT72S Dominator Pro, the MSI GT72S G Tobii boasts a unique set of features you can’t find anywhere else. Making use of Tobii eye-tracking technology, this version of the GT72S allows players to use their eyes as an additional control input, at least for a specific set of games. If you don’t need the extra power (or at least don’t want to shell out upwards of three grand), the GT72S Tobii is an affordable solution with some tricks up its sleeve.

Read the full review: MSI GT72S G Tobii

Best gaming laptops

8. Origin EON17-SLX

The ultimate gaming laptop built with desktop-grade power

CPU: 4GHz Intel Core i7-6700K | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 (8GB GDDR5 VRAM), Intel HD Graphics 530 | RAM: 16GB DDR4 (2,133MHz) | Screen: 17.3-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 IPS Matte Display with G-SYNC | Storage: 256GB SSD, 1TB Hybrid Drive (7,200 rpm)

Nearly unrivaled performance

Sharp, aggressive styling

Awful battery life

Astonishingly heavy

The Origin EON17-SLX takes gaming laptops to their ultimate conclusion of being portable desktops. This 17-inch notebook comes packed with a desktop-grade Intel processor and Nvidia GPU chip, making it one of history’s most powerful mobile machines. Of course, it comes with the sacrifice of portability in both weight and battery life. If these are worthy trade-offs for greater performance, you won’t find a better machine whether you’re a hardcore gamer to in the media creation business.

Read the full review: Origin EON17-SLX

best gaming laptops

9. MSI GT80 Titan

An outrageously sized and powerful gaming laptop

CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-4720HQ | Graphics: 2 x Nvidia GTX 980M SLI (16 GB GDDR5); Intel HD Graphics 4600 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 18.4-inch WLED FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-Glare Display | Storage: 256GB SSD; 1TB HDD (7,200 RPM)

Authentic mechanical keyboard

Easily upgraded

H-E-A-V-Y

Impossible to use on your lap

The MSI GT80 Titan goes above and beyond to give gamers a desktop experience in a notebook with a complement of high-performance parts to a built-in mechanical keyboard. However, weighing in at nearly 10 pounds and measuring roughly two-inches thick, this laptop is seriously pushing the limits of what you can call portable. For all the strain it’ll put on your back and wallet, though, this 18.4-inch gaming laptop absolutely plow through almost any graphically intense game you try to run. This gaming behemoth proved to be a monster with the best in class mobile GPUs so we can’t even fathom what it could do with a Nvidia GTX 980.

Read the full review: MSI GT80 Titan

best gaming laptop

10. Alienware 17 (2015)

The Alienware 17 is an impressive refinement for this series of gaming laptops

CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-4710HQ | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M (4GB GDDR5 RAM), Intel HD Graphics 4600 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 17.3 inch, 1,920 x 1,080 IPS anti-glare display | Storage: 256 GB M.2 SATA SSD + 1TB HDD (7,200 rpm)

Flexible desktop mode

Excellent large screen

Still quite expensive

Slightly bottlenecked Amplifier performance

The Alienware 17 is one of those few outrageously priced gaming laptops that’s actually worth it. The notebook is a fully capable gaming machine on its own, but with the added power of desktop graphics through the GPU Amplifier it can play almost any game on Ultra settings.If you’re looking for something smaller, the Alienware 13 also works with the optional GPU box.

Read the full review: Alienware 17 (2015)

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article

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