Best Gaming Laptop (2020)

We researched the over 30 laptops in our 2020 market assessment and have narrowed it down to our top 5 picks, with our best gaming laptop award going to the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 an amazing laptop with desktop level graphics performance and excellent cooling.

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Top Pick
Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 (2019) Gaming Laptop, 17.3” 144Hz Pantone Validated Full HD IPS, GeForce RTX 2070, Intel Core i7-9750H, 16GB DDR4, 1TB PCIe Nvme SSD Hyper Drive, Windows 10 Home
Razer Blade 15: World's Smallest 15.6
MSI GS65 Stealth-432 15.6" Gaming Laptop, 240Hz Display, Thin Bezel, Intel Core i7-9750H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX2070, 32GB, 1TB NVMe NVMe SSD, Thunderbolt 3
Alienware 17 R5 VR Ready 17.3" LCD Gaming Notebook - Intel Core i7 (8th Gen) i7-8750H Hexa-core (6 Core) 2.20 GHz - 8 GB DDR4 SDRAM - 1 TB HDD - 256 GB SSD - Windows 10 Home 64-bit (English) - 19
Razer Blade 15 Gaming Laptop 2019: Intel Core i7-9750H 6 Core, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060, 15.6" FHD 1080p 144Hz, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, CNC Aluminum, Chroma RGB Lighting, Thunderbolt 3
Title
Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701
Razer B​​​​lade Elite 15
MSI GS​​​​65 Stealth
Alienware 17 R5
Razer Blade 15
Prime
Screen Size
17.3″
15.6″
15.6″
17.3″
15.6″
CPU
Intel Core i7-9750H
Intel Core i7-8750H
Intel Core i7-9750H
Intel Core i7-8750H
Intel Core i7-9750H
GPU
RTX 2070
GTX 1060 Max-Q
RTX 2070
GTX 1060 6GB
RTX 2060
RAM
16GB
16GB
32GB
8GB
16GB
Max Resolution
1080p
1080p
1080p
1080p
1080p
Refresh Rate
144Hz
60Hz
240Hz
60Hz
144Hz
Internal Storage
1TB PCIe NVMe SSD Hyper Drive
128GB SSD + 1TB HDD
1TB NVMe NVMe SSD
256GB SSD
512GB SSD
OS
Windows 10 Home
Windows 10
Windows 10
Windows 10 Home
Windows 10
Top Pick
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Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 (2019) Gaming Laptop, 17.3” 144Hz Pantone Validated Full HD IPS, GeForce RTX 2070, Intel Core i7-9750H, 16GB DDR4, 1TB PCIe Nvme SSD Hyper Drive, Windows 10 Home
Title
Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701
Prime
Screen Size
17.3″
CPU
Intel Core i7-9750H
GPU
RTX 2070
RAM
16GB
Max Resolution
1080p
Refresh Rate
144Hz
Internal Storage
1TB PCIe NVMe SSD Hyper Drive
OS
Windows 10 Home
Image
Razer Blade 15: World's Smallest 15.6
Title
Razer B​​​​lade Elite 15
Prime
Screen Size
15.6″
CPU
Intel Core i7-8750H
GPU
GTX 1060 Max-Q
RAM
16GB
Max Resolution
1080p
Refresh Rate
60Hz
Internal Storage
128GB SSD + 1TB HDD
OS
Windows 10
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MSI GS65 Stealth-432 15.6" Gaming Laptop, 240Hz Display, Thin Bezel, Intel Core i7-9750H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX2070, 32GB, 1TB NVMe NVMe SSD, Thunderbolt 3
Title
MSI GS​​​​65 Stealth
Prime
Screen Size
15.6″
CPU
Intel Core i7-9750H
GPU
RTX 2070
RAM
32GB
Max Resolution
1080p
Refresh Rate
240Hz
Internal Storage
1TB NVMe NVMe SSD
OS
Windows 10
Image
Alienware 17 R5 VR Ready 17.3" LCD Gaming Notebook - Intel Core i7 (8th Gen) i7-8750H Hexa-core (6 Core) 2.20 GHz - 8 GB DDR4 SDRAM - 1 TB HDD - 256 GB SSD - Windows 10 Home 64-bit (English) - 19
Title
Alienware 17 R5
Prime
Screen Size
17.3″
CPU
Intel Core i7-8750H
GPU
GTX 1060 6GB
RAM
8GB
Max Resolution
1080p
Refresh Rate
60Hz
Internal Storage
256GB SSD
OS
Windows 10 Home
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Razer Blade 15 Gaming Laptop 2019: Intel Core i7-9750H 6 Core, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060, 15.6" FHD 1080p 144Hz, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, CNC Aluminum, Chroma RGB Lighting, Thunderbolt 3
Title
Razer Blade 15
Prime
Screen Size
15.6″
CPU
Intel Core i7-9750H
GPU
RTX 2060
RAM
16GB
Max Resolution
1080p
Refresh Rate
144Hz
Internal Storage
512GB SSD
OS
Windows 10

Best Gaming Laptop 2020

The best money can buy, the worlds thinnest laptop with a RTX 2080 shoehorned in, the latest Intel CPU and a 144Hz display makes the GX701 our top choice.

Pros:
  • Thin, quiet and innovative cooling
  • Excellent performance
  • 144Hz display + excellent speakers
Cons:
  • Poor battery life
  • Keyboard layout is a little annoying
  • No SD card slot (deal breaker for some)

Due to hardware cooling restraints, typically you have to pick between thin and less powerful or thick and more powerful. The Asus ROG Zephyrus opens slightly when you pop the lid… Opening the laptop up when in use allows for massively increased air flow and no throttling back when in game (a common issue). Now, I know what you’re thinking “it opens up” sounds like it might break, but the mechanism has been designed well, it’s solid. With this design, Asus have allowed us to have the best of both worlds.

Also see our review of the best RTX 2080 laptops for gaming in 2019.

Best 13 Inch

The Razer Blade Elite is a high-end portable, that’s capable of replacing your desktop. We highly recommend the Razer Blade Elite If you’re looking for a solid metal chassis. The price is high but you’re getting MacBook Pro style build quality.

Pros:
  • 4k, touch screen display
  • Mechanical keyboard
  • Excellent trackpad positioning
Cons:
  • Poor battery performance
  • Expensive

With the introduction of the Razer Blade Pro, we now have a true desktop replacement. All in a mobile light and thin package with a well made metal chassis.

The Razer Blade Elite comes with an unlocked i7, allowing for overclocking. The i7 CPU coupled with the Nvidia GTX 1080 graphics card makes the Razer Blade superior, with enough power to replace a high end desktop PC. For other products at this price point check out our best gaming laptops under 1000 dollars review (2019 update).

Best Thin Gaming Laptop

The GS65 is thin, sleek and well made, if you’re looking for a subtle notebook that is highly portable then grab the GS65 from MSI.

Pros:
  • Great battery life
  • Thin. good build quality
  • 144Hz display
Cons:
  • Hot under load
  • Speakers are not the best
  • Battery life

Rocking a 6 core 8th generation Intel Coffee Lake i7 08750H processor, the MSI GS65 crams a stack of power into a thin chassis. On the graphics side the MSI GS65 uses an Nvidia GeForce GTX Max-Q 1070 GPU, while this is slightly less power than the Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501. The MSI GS65 still has enough power for most of today’s AAA games. The GS65 also boasts a 144hz screen, making it an excellent choice for FPS gamers.

Check out our round up of 2019’s top 5 gaming laptops under 1500 bucks.

Best 17 Inch Gaming Laptop

If you are on the lookout for a solid reliable, battle tested 17-inch form factor, then the Alienware 17 R4 is definitely a recommended buy.

Pros:
  • Excellent cooling (even under load)
  • Bright screen
  • Classic Alienware design
Cons:
  • Keyboard, spacing and general feel
  • It's massive and so is the power brick
  • Short battery life (as you'd expect)

The Alienware 17 R4 is more of a desktop replacement, that can also be picked up and taken else where with ease. If you’re after a great bang for buck well made 17″ we recommend the Alienware 17 R4. Coined as the “magnificent monster”, due to it’s high performance and impressive looks with subtle but customizable LED lighting (has the option to disable). All this found at a highly affordable price, when you consider the build quality and technology packed into the R4.

Related: See our best budget gaming laptops under 800 dollars for 2019.

Best Razer Laptop

The Razer Blade is a 15 is a highly portable device for gamers that’s built like a tank! If you’re after something that resembles a MacBook Pro, then have just found it!

Pros:
  • Improved performance
  • Metal chasis / good build quality
  • 144Hz or 4K option
Cons:
  • Disliked trackpad buttons (personal preference)
  • Poor battery performance
  • Dim display

Even though the new version of this notebook seems to be longer lasting and stronger than the previous year’s, it would be nice to see more original features being incorporated. If you’re looking for a metal chassis, the Razer Blade is a great choice, if you’re on a tighter budget we would check out the Alienware 13 R13 instead.

Buyer’s Guide, What to Look for in a Gaming Laptop

When it’s time for a new gaming laptop, it can be hard to pinpoint exactly what to look for. The following buyers guide will simplify and facilitate your shopping experience. Not all products are created equal, and if gaming is your goal, there are certain things a computer must have in order to provide magnificent, easy, and quality visual display and performance.

Even though desktops deliver optimal performance, laptops are preferred for their portability and space efficiency. However, the benefits of a laptop are nothing if it is not packed with the correct hardware that most games require in this modern age. Cost aside, the following parts below are what turn a normal laptop into a gaming beast, you’ll need to pay close attention to each component before you invest!

Battery Life

Do not expect too much in terms of battery performance. The use of gaming hardware, from startup to finish, creates power-hungry components that will suck battery life quite quickly. Power saving mode and using the Intel graphics card when your not in a game will help you out massively.

Finding a device that can last two to three hours on a single charge with the highest of settings will be the most you can hope for with today’s battery technology. It should be noted that most gamers will typically play when connected to AC power, don’t expect to be playing far from a power outlet for longer than an hour or so.

Portability

The level of portability depends entirely on bulk and weight, as well as how much you plan on traveling.

  • Minimal portability: If you seek minimal portability, meaning that your gaming laptop will most likely sit on your desk at home, you can look for a system with a 17 or 18 inch display. Bigger laptops usually mean better, faster, and more powerful components also. On the other hands, it will also mean heaviness and short use while unplugged. Finding a bag that fits 17-18 inch screens can be a hassle.
  • Medium portability: This the perfect balance for those who will take their laptop places often but not every day of the year. A 15 inch notebook will weigh anywhere from 4.3 to 7.2 pounds and can last an average of 5 hours on a charge with light gaming. You will sacrifice a bit of performance for greater portability but it is a well-balanced choice for most.
  • Optimal portability: Computers with 13 or 14 inch displays are built for constant movement. The size is perfect for all bags and they weigh less than larger laptops. However, they are not the most powerful notebooks and the small displays do not provide visual greatness to most games. They have the highest average of battery life and are a good fit for less hardware-consuming games.

CPU & RAM

The CPU and RAM will handle everything that does not involve graphic management. CPU wise, the war rages between AMD and Intel. We are here to tell you that Intel is our choice out of the two. The later the generation of Intel, the better.

As a general rule, do not choose below a Core i5 processor and in 2019 we recommend an i7 CPU. The recommendation is the Intel 8thgeneration core processors and above. The latest available Intel generation is at 8 with their Coffee Lake series. Also, quad-core is going to help you out on games that make use of the CPU & GPU such as the Battlefield series.

RAM is typically an up gradable component that most manufacturer´s often charge a lot at buying time. For 2019 we recommend a minimum of 8GB and recommend buying 16GB of RAM. Generally speaking more than 16GB of RAM is overkill for gaming, however for other tasks such as editing or running virtual machines you could consider upgrading to 32GB.

GPU (Graphics Card)

The war is still on between AMD and NVIDIA, with more gamers still choosing NVIDIA (go team green!?). There is a wide range of cards to choose from and Nvidia’s RTX series has not yet made it’s way into laptops (so no Ray Tracing for now). If you’re on a budget you’ll want to get at least a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 as the bare minimum; with ideally an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070. Real gamers who want the best graphics card should look for a GTX 1080, which will handle virtual reality (VR) and AAA games with ease.

Keyboard / Trackpad

Your keyboard should at the least be comfortable to use for an extended period of time. Any extras such as mechanical-styled pressing, programmable keys, and multi-colored RGB back lighting is a plus that is solely based on preferences.

Budget

You get what you pay for. Your budget will ultimately decide how much power, quality, and performance you will receive. Any of the products reviewed above are capable of playing the latest AAA titles, and three thousand dollars + will give you high-end hardware and a range of customizable features.

Gaming Laptop vs Desktop

A constant thought on the mind of gamers –is “Are gaming laptops worth it?” With such a diverse variety of products on the market and new ones popping up all the time, it’s tough to figure out if these often pricey computers are worthwhile. If you’re in doubt, here are a few key components to consider on your search for the perfect laptop.

While desktop systems generally have stronger capabilities, they lack portability. However, desktop processors will always be faster, but it’s possible to find fast modern generation mobile chips and GPU’s. And even though the latest tech is usually released for desktop first, there are great options with incredible mobile CPUs, so you don’t have to settle for subpar graphics.

We hope you found this guide useful when assessing the market for the best cheap gaming laptops 2019 has to offer.

Editor & reviewer of gear from iOS control pad’s to high-end PC gaming hardware. He’s been gaming since the 1980s and mostly plays CS GO & Overwatch.