Best gaming laptops 2018: T3's best gaming laptop picks

T3 rounds up the absolute best gaming laptops available to buy in 2018

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When it comes to choosing the best gaming laptop for you, the sheer volume of options can be really intimidating. Where do you start? Which model will suit your needs or price range? Do you really need all those extra features?

Well, this handy guide not only introduces you to the very best gaming laptops currently on the market today, with a great gaming laptop for every budget, but also a suite of buying advice that will help you choose the best system for you.

Cutting to the chase, though, we think the best gaming laptop on the market today is the Asus ROG Zephyrus. It is amazingly thin and light, remarkably quiet, and - most importantly - lightning fast, packing an outrageously powerful Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card into its premium casing.

Oh, and it also just scooped the hyper prestigious best gaming laptop prize at the T3  Awards 2018.

It's also unashamedly expensive in terms of price point, too, so it's not going to be for everyone, but it is simply the best gaming laptop you can buy right now, and to get the best you have to pay for it.

But don't worry, there are also plenty of great machines at more affordable prices in this expertly curated best gaming laptop guide, too, including the impressive, budget-friendly Dell Inspiron 7000 Gaming, the high-end performance of the Alienware 17 R4, and the rock solid Gigabyte Sabre Pro 15. 

Our list of the best gaming laptops is sure to meet your needs and desires when it comes to portable gaming...

How to choose the best gaming laptop for you

What you are looking for in a gaming laptop is the ability to enjoy today's most demanding, graphically intensive games, without having to make loads of settings compromises.

Bad gaming laptops advertise themselves on their gaming credentials, however deliver vastly inferior performance to desktop counterparts, so its absolutely crucial that you avoid these clunkers.

High resolution screens are a nice added bonus too on a gaming laptop, however it is crucial to keep in mind that high frame rates are far more important when gaming on the go, so it is pretty pointless plumping for a laptop with a 4K screen if it doesn't have the interior hardware to power games on it.

For example, the best gaming laptop in the world right now in our mind, the Asus ROG Zephyrus, does not have a 4K screen, but does have a very high quality Full HD one and this in partnership with stonkingly fast internals makes for a superb portable gaming experience, and one that is considerably more future proof, too.

Other things to look out for when buying a gaming laptop include weight and portability - after all you are buying this to carry/transport round unlike a desktop - battery life, which tends to be a fundamental issue with many gaming laptops, and price. 

Here at T3.com we think you should be spending a minimum of £800 ($1,000) on a gaming laptop to ensure a good level of performance, and more than £1,600 if you can stretch to it if you want something at the premium end of the scale.

So, without further ado, here are the 10 best gaming laptops available today.

Our pick of the best gaming laptops on the market

Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 Best gaming laptop

The Asus ROG Zephyrus is the best gaming laptop in the world.

1. Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501

Simply put, the best gaming laptop in the world

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i7-7700HQ
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080
RAM: 16GB DDR4
Screen: 15.6-inch full HD 1,920 x 1,080 IPS
Storage: 512GB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Massive power+Amazingly thin and cool+Looks a million dollars
Reasons to avoid
-Huge price point-Cramped keyboard

The Asus ROG Zephyrus is simply an amazing piece of engineering and, to our mind, the best gaming laptop in the world right now.

Despite being incredibly thin and light (2.2kg) it packs an insanely powerful Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card, something made possible thanks to Nvidia's new Max-Q design tech.

From that incredibly high starting point there's no drop in specs either, with a rapid Intel Core i7-7700HQ partnering up with 16GB of 2,400MHz RAM. The Zephyrus' screen isn't 4K, however, it is a wide-view 1080p number with a 120Hz refresh rate, as well as anti-glare finish.

The feel of the thing in the hand is pure unadulterated premium, as too under the eyes - the GX501 truly is a remarkable piece of technology.

The only down sides to the Zephyrus are its cramped keyboard and high cost. If you've got the money, though, then this is a no-brainer, best-in-class proposition.

MSI GS65 Stealth Best gaming laptop

The MSI GD65 Stealth is a sleek gaming powerhouse, and one of the very best gaming laptops in the world today.

2. MSI GS65 Stealth

A powerful contender to the best gaming laptop throne

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i7
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 (8GB GDDR5X VRAM, Max-Q)
RAM: 16GB
Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) anti-glare, wide-view 144Hz panel
Storage: 512GB M.2 SSD
Reasons to buy
+Impeccable performance power+Understated thin design
Reasons to avoid
-Gets very hot during prolonged sessions

MSI has come out swinging in 2018, aiming to take on the gaming laptop market by introducing the power of Coffee Lake to the equation. The result, when coupled with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 GPU, is a portable machine that can run even the most demanding of titles on ultra settings with barely a graphical or technical hiccup.

It's an impressive feat, but there is one small concession: those two components really push this machine's in-built fans to their limit and they usually struggle to keep up - so expect this laptop to really heat up if you're having an all-nighter on Overwatch.

Heat output aside, though, the MSI GS65 Stealth is one of the best gaming laptops available today, and a great choice if you can't quite stretch to the Zephyrus.

Best gaming laptops Razer Blade Pro

The Razer Blade Pro is a 4K best gaming laptop behemoth for those with deep pockets and great taste.

3. Razer Blade Pro

The best gaming laptop for portable gaming in 4K

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i7
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 (8GB GDDR5)
RAM: 32GB
Screen: 17.3-inch, UHD (3,840 x 2,160) IGZO touchscreen with G-Sync
Storage: 512GB – 2TB PCIe SSD
Reasons to buy
+4K screen+Awesome gaming performance+Slim and portable design
Reasons to avoid
-Off-putting price-Under 5 hours of battery life

The Razor Blade Pro does what many other gaming laptops don't, and that is to genuinely deliver desktop-grade performance. The fact that it does this despite being only 0.88-inches thick, packing a gorgeous 17-inch, 4K, multi-touch display, as well as a superb Ultra-Low-Profile mechanical switch keyboard too is just scandalous really.

Obviously, the price is sky high and the battery life when used for intense gaming action under 5 hours, however there is no doubting that you are getting one of the absolute best gaming laptops out there right now, with the Razer Blade Pro's crazy specs crushing even today's most demanding AAA, graphically intensive games.

Best gaming laptop Asus ROG Strix GL502

If you're looking to shop in the mid-range best gaming laptop market price-wise, then the Asus ROG Strix GL502 is a superb option.

4. Asus ROG Strix GL502

The all-round best gaming laptop at a mid-tier price point

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+High level specs+Bright, vibrant screen+Mid-tier price point
Reasons to avoid
-Standard battery life

Another entry from Asus makes our top list of best gaming laptops and, once more, it is easy to see why. 

That's because the Asus ROG Strix GL502 comes packing a brilliant and vibrant 1,920 x 1,080 IPS screen and then pairs it with some superb, top-tier gaming hardware. An Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070, along with 16GB of DDR4 RAM makes short work of any title at that resolution (and often consistently surpass 60fps!) and makes playing games a totally stress-free experience in terms of performance.

As you would expect, battery life isn't stellar, however the rest of this very well priced gaming laptop make it a top contender.

Alienware 13 R3 Best gaming laptops

Alienware always deliver superb build quality in its gaming laptops, and it is business as usual with the Alienware 13 R3.

5. Alienware 13 R3

The best gaming laptop with a stunning OLED screen

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+Gorgeous OLED screen+Improved hinge-forward design+Power!
Reasons to avoid
-Rather dense-Short battery life

Alienware has such pedigree in the best gaming laptop market that, unsurprisingly, its latest R3 refresh of the classic Alienware 13 is an absolute treat for gamers.

Configurable with a gorgeous QHD 2,560 x 1,440 OLED screen, as well as some really tasty internal hardware (Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 and 16GB of DDR4 RAM anyone?), the Alienware 13 R3 delivers real gaming power in a super portable, compact-screen-size package.

In addition, a new forward-hinge design allows the system to be thinner than past iterations too, with a 0.81-inch (0.22cm) chassis delivering Alienware's typically cool off-world aesthetic with aplomb.

As ever, battery life or weight isn't the best, however these are minor issues to a really tasty, top-tier gaming laptop.

Best gaming laptop Razer Blade Stealth

The Razer Blade Stealth grants insane portability and, when partnered with a Razer Core, best gaming laptop power.

6. Razer Blade Stealth

The best gaming laptop for ultra-portablity

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i7-7500U
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 (expandable with Razer Core)
RAM: 16GB LPDDR3-1877MHz
Storage: 1TB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Incredibly sleek+Super fast+CNC milled body
Reasons to avoid
-Razer Core adds serious GPU power-Expensive

An outrageous combination of sexy, streamlined mobility and serious gaming power, the Razer Blade Stealth ultrabook is unlike anything else on the market.

Despite weighing under 1.33kg (2.93 lbs), the system packs a 7th Gen Intel Core i7-7500U CPU, 16GB of dual-channel memory and a 1TB SSD, and is capable of running for 7 hours straight on battery with a 4K display.

What's more, the system is also compatible with the Razer Core, Razer's plug-and-play external GPU enclosure, which means incredible desktop-grade graphical power is also delivered when the two are combined.

Throw in the fact that the build quality is also superb, with a super premium CNC milled body from aircraft-grade aluminium, and it quickly becomes obvious that this machine is not just incredibly fast but also insanely desirable.

The best gaming laptops Dell Inspiron 7000 Gaming

The Dell Inspiron 7000 Gaming doesn't look flashy, but it's a well-priced, powerful gaming laptop.

7. Dell Inspiron 7000 Gaming

A top value for money gaming laptop that delivers understated looks

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i7
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 1 TB hybrid
Reasons to buy
+‘Pro-grade’ cooling system+Full HD screen and WavesMaxx audio+Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060

Dell’s latest gaming-focused range of laptops are an ideal option if you’re looking to invest in a machine that can handle the every tasks of life AND your PC gaming needs. 

Even the basic model comes with a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 and an impressively robust cooling system to keep that beast of a card from melting. With 16GB of RAM, a 128GB solid state drive, a 15-inch Full HD screen and speakers with WavesMaxx audio you’ve got one impressive package from the people at Dell. 

You’ll get just over eight hours of use on a single charge, which is okay, but it can charge up to 80% in one hour so you won’t have to wait long to keep gaming on the move.

Asus ROG G703GI best gaming laptop

A beastly portable gaming system, the Asus ROG G703GI is as expensive as it is powerful.

8. Asus ROG G703GI

The best gaming laptop for wealthy power users

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i7-i9
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 (8GB GDDR5X VRAM)
RAM: 64GB
Screen: 17.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080)144Hz
Storage: 3 x 512GB SSD (M.2, RAID 0), 2TB HDD
Reasons to buy
+A vast screen for a gaming laptop+Near unparalleled performance
Reasons to avoid
-Incredibly expensive price tag-Not very portable

Sometimes bigger really is better. Especially when you're a gaming laptop that's gargantuan in almost every way. First there's that monolithic 17.3-inch display, ensuring every vista and digital realm gets its due, while the choice of either i7 or i9 core processors means there's few tasks this laptop can't perform. 

And, with that Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPU growling beneath the hood, even the most demanding titles on PC won't make this beast blink. Just expect to have to remortgage your house in order to afford it...

Best gaming laptop Gigabyte SabrePro 15

The Gigabyte SabrePro 15 is a top, feature-packed gaming laptop.

9. Gigabyte SabrePro 15

High power and a low profile with few concessions make this a great gaming laptop

Specifications
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 SSDTB HDD; 256GB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Powerful for GPU/CPU combo for its price+Great in-built keyboard
Reasons to avoid
-Screen isn't the most vibrant

Considering the Gigabyte SabrePro 15 costs less than £1,500, you’d expect it to come with hardware more befitting of a ‘bargain’ machine. Instead, Gigabyte has teamed an Intel Core i7 processor with a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060, creating a genuinely formidable duo that can run even the most demanding of games at high settings.

Its RGB keyboard and Microsoft Precision Touchpad also help sweeten the deal. The only caveat is the laptop’s 15.6-inch screen isn’t the most vibrant, but there had to be some concessions at its price point in order to pull off this impressive gaming package.

Acer Predator Helios 300 best gaming laptops

The Acer Predator Helios 300 is the best gaming laptop you can buy if you've got around a grand to spend.

10. Acer Predator Helios 300

The best gaming laptop for gamers with about £1,000 to spend

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i7
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 3GB-6GB
RAM: 16GB-32GB DDR4
Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) ComfyView IPS (144Hz refresh rate)
Storage: 128GB SSD; 1TB HDD
Reasons to buy
+Knockout performance considering the price+Great entry level model
Reasons to avoid
-Thermal issues when pushed

One of the benefits of gaming on the go in 2018 is the fact powerful components are now far more affordable, leading to new models with entry-level price tags that can run almost any game from your Stream library (and beyond). 

Here, with the Acer Predator Herlios 300, you're getting a beefy Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU and a lovely 15.6-inch FHD display to keep your PC gaming hunger sated, but you'll likely need to tinker with its settings in order to stop it from overclocking itself and burning a hole in your desk.

The fact this is only a grand still blows our minds, and cements its position in our best gaming laptop 2018 guide.