Best gaming laptops 2020: top laptops for gaming

Find the best gaming laptop for your needs and your budget

Best gaming laptop 2020 top laptops for gaming
(Image credit: MSI)

T3's best gaming laptop guide for 2020 has been designed to make discovering and selecting a great system for playing PC games incredibly easy, whatever your budget or intended usage scenario.

As well as telling you all the key specs and features you need to know about, this guide also presents the very best gaming laptop deals on the market right now, meaning that you can pick up the best systems at the lowest prices going.

Here at T3 we've got years and years of experience building gaming PCs and playing PC games, so we know exactly what it takes for a gaming laptop to stand out.

As such, whether you're looking for a premium, top-end model capable of real-time ray tracing, or you're interested in a great all-rounder with a more affordable price tag, T3 can direct you towards the best gaming laptops in the UK.

The best gaming laptops available today

best gaming laptops HP Omen 15

The HP Omen 15 is a superb all-round system with genuine gaming power.

(Image credit: HP)

1. Best gaming laptop for most people: HP OMEN 15

This is the most popular system in our gaming laptop guide

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H, 2.6-4.5GHz
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 (6GB GDDR6)
RAM: 8GB DDR4
Screen: 15.6-inch 1,920 x 1,080 IPS 144Hz
Storage: 512GB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Cool and clean design+Stacked with powerful options+Advanced cooling system+Premium build quality+Mid-range price point

HP might be more often associated with offices and meeting rooms than gaming, but don't let the brand name put you off the Omen 15 – this is undoubtedly one of the best gaming laptops on the market right now, from the polished and bold design to the powerful specs under the hood. It is also the most popular system in our gaming laptop guide.

While the entry level Omen 15 comes with a GTX 1660 (which is still a great GPU), you've got the option of a real-time ray tracing capable Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 (8GB GDDR6) graphics chip. Throw in 9th-gen Intel Core processors and up to 32GB of RAM and modern AAA games just get crushed, running perfectly.

What's so great about the Omen 15, though, is that HP delivers some really impressive chassis cooling: large fan blades, three fan speed levels, and fluid dynamic bearing help to keep heat as well as noise down. The laptop comes with a spacious 15.6-inch, Full HD screen as well, as well a full copy of Windows 10 Home 64.

For us, this partnering of impressive gaming hardware, great build-quality, mature aesthetic and attractive, mid-range price point, make the HP Omen 15 the best gaming laptop on the market today for most people.

Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701

The best gaming laptop in the world today is the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701.

2. Best premium gaming laptop: Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701

The best gaming laptop in the world if money is no object

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i7-8750H
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q (8GB GDDR6 VRAM); Intel UHD Graphics 630
RAM: 24GB DDR4 (2,666MHz)
Screen: 17.3-inch, Full HD (1,920x1,080) IPS, Pantone Validated (144Hz refresh rate with Nvidia G-Sync)
Storage: 1TB M.2 PCIe x4 SSD
Reasons to buy
+Incredible gaming power+Hyper premium build+Thin and portable+Quality, 144Hz screen

As we confidently stated in our full Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 review this gaming laptop is loaded with a suite of state-of-the-art gaming hardware, boasts an incredibly premium build quality, and packs an innovative and portable design, too. Simply put, it is the best gaming laptop in the world.

The GX701's Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 is simply insane, both in terms of raw graphics processing power and in terms of features, with the Max-Q card allowing you to turn on next-level graphics options such as real-time Ray Tracing, the latter making lighting in games even more realistic and lifelike.

This GPU combined with a rapid 8th generation Intel CPU, buckets of fast RAM, and lots of capacious and fast drive storage make playing any PC game today a zero-compromise joy, while the mature and stylish finish and dense, premium build quality means the system looks perfectly at home in the office as well.

The only obvious stumbling block with the GX701 is its incredibly high price point, but if you can afford it and are looking for a hyper-premium new gaming laptop, then this is without doubt a fantastic choice.

best gaming laptop Acer Nitro 5

If you have a very tight budget, then the Acer Nitro 5 is definitely worth checking out.

(Image credit: Acer)

3. Best budget gaming laptop: Acer Nitro 5

The best gaming laptop for shoppers on a budget

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i5-9300H Processor
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6 GB
RAM: 8GB
Screen: 15.6-inch IPS, LCD Full HD
Storage: 1 TB HDD & 128 GB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Solid all-round hardware spec+Big storage space+Low price point

The Acer Nitro 5 is among the lowest-specced systems in our best gaming laptops list, however, that in no way means it isn't capable of delivering a good gaming experience, and we recommend it so highly thanks to its excellent price point.

An Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6GB on-board means that, while you don't get any flashy new features like ray tracing, you'll still be able to run today's best PC games at decent settings without seeing your framerate plunge to single figures.

While the fact that the system comes with not just an 128GB SSD, but also a 1TB HDD, too, means you have plenty of space for games, movies, music, documents or anything else as well.

The Intel Core i5 and 8GB of RAM on-board means that the system can crunch through any light or medium computing task with ease, too, and a battery capable of delivering 8 hours of run time on a single charge means that you've got genuine portability as well.

A basic but well-thought out gaming laptop available at a very low price point.

Gaming laptops MSI GS75 8SG Stealth

The MSI GS75 Stealth 8SG is a compact gaming powerhouse, and one of the very best gaming laptops in the world today.

4. MSI GS75 Stealth 8SG

A fierce competitor for the best gaming laptop throne

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i7-8750H 2.20GHz
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 with Max-Q Design (8GB GDDR6); Intel UHD Graphics 630
RAM: 32GB DDR4
Screen: 17.3" FHD, 1920x1080, 144Hz, IPS-Level
Storage: 1x M.2 SSD slot (SATA), 2x M.2 SSD Combo slot (NVMe PCIe Gen3 / SATA)
Reasons to buy
+Impeccable performance power+Understated, compact design+4-sided thin bezel screen+SteelSeries RGB keyboard

MSI really aims for its rivals' jugulars here with the GS75 Stealth 8SG, with the compact and quite unassuming system very much a wolf in sheep's clothing.

A fantastically powerful Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 with Max-Q Design GPU begins the assault, which enables today's most graphically demanding games like Metro Exodus to be played as they should, and with the latest graphical hotness, ray tracing, very much enabled. In terms of pixel-pushing power, the GS75 Stealth has it to spare.

A rapid 8th generation Intel Core i7-8750H along with a stonking 32GB of DDR4 RAM back the GPU up in terms of processing power, while the machine's wide-screen 17.3" FHD display delivers buttery smooth, tear-free visuals thanks a high 144Hz refresh rate. And that's saying nothing of the display's delightful 4-sided thin bezel design, which grants the Stealth 8SG a very on-trend aesthetic.

Throw in buckets of storage thanks to a maximum of 3 M.2 SSDs, a responsive and clean SteelSeries-designed keyboard, a horizontally spacious trackpad and MSI's Cooler Boost Trinity+ cooling system, and you're left with a system that for PC gamers demanding big portable gaming performance, leaves very little to be desired.

best gaming laptops 2020

In terms of bang for your buck, the Dell G7 17 is T3's top pick as the best gaming laptop you can buy.

(Image credit: Dell)

5. Dell G7 17

The best gaming laptop for RTX power at a modest price point

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i7-8750H
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 (6GB GDDR6 VRAM)
RAM: 8GB
Screen: 17.3-inch, FHD (1920 x 1080)
Storage: 256B
Reasons to buy
+Budget friendly price+GeForce RTX 2060 on board+Thin, understated design

The Dell G7 17 is a fantastic gaming laptop choice for those who are, one, shopping on a budget and, two, who need a system that they can use for non-gaming computing tasks on the go, too.

The price tag gets you a sleek, mature chassis design housing enough power to tackle your everyday requirements, as well as comfortably run most AAA games on the market today, and with RTX-powered ray tracing, too.

Indeed, you just can't argue with a 9th-generation Core i7 CPU, Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 and 8GB RAM combo at this price point, and the 256GB SSD and large 17.3-inch FHD 1,920 x 1,080 resolution screen seems perfectly judged for the spec, too.

Dell market's this laptop under the slogan "Slim, but savage", and we think that for once the marketing is very accurate. The best price on this system at the time of writing is directly though Dell's official store, where you can also double the system's RAM up to 16GB if you desire for just £100 more.

A great all-rounder gaming laptop at a very competitive price point.

gaming laptops

The Acer Predator Triton 500 is the best upper-mid-range gaming laptop in the world.

6. Acer Predator Triton 500

A superb sweet spot for portability and performance versus price

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i7-8750H, 2.20GHz
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 (6GB GDDR6)
RAM: 16GB DDR4
Screen: 15.6-inch 1,920 x 1,080, IPS, 144Hz
Storage: 512GB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Ray-tracing capable RTX graphics+Clean, thin and portable design+144Hz screen with 3ms response time

Along with the Dell G7 17 listed directly above, if you want to jump onto the RTX bandwagon, so you can bask in the goodness that is real time ray tracing, but don't have super serious money to spend, then the Acer Predator Triton 500 is a great sweet spot.

The model tested by T3 packed in a strong Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 GPU, 8th generation Intel Core i7-8750H, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 512GB SSD.  And right now that model is retailing on Amazon for a very approachable £1,799.

However, if you are prepared to take a step down in the CPU and RAM department, then the line actually starts with a Core i5, 8GB of RAM, 256GB SSD model that rings in for only £1,499. That's a powerful RTX gaming laptop for under £1,500.

And with the Triton 500's gamer-calibrated screen, with the panel delivering 144Hz and an anti-ghosting approved 3ms response time, AAA gaming and much more is very much delivered as it should be. The three-sided thin-bezel design, while not quite as expansive as the 4-sided beauty of the MSI GS75 Stealth, still looks modern too, while the system's overall understated finish make it a genuine work and play option.

The best upper-mid-range gaming laptop on the market today.

best gaming laptops Razer Blade Pro 17

The power and style on lock with the Razer Blade Pro 17 is top, top tier.

(Image credit: Razer)

7. Razer Blade Pro 17

Supreme gaming laptop power in a hyper premium chassis

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q (8GB GDDR6 VRAM); Intel UHD Graphics 630
RAM: 16GB DDR4 (2,667MHz)
Screen: 17.3-inch, Full HD (1,920x1,080) IPS (144Hz refresh rate)
Storage: 512GB M.2 PCIe x4 SSD
Reasons to buy
+Incredibly strong hardware+Compact, cool design+Quality 144Hz screen+Hyper premium build quality

It's impossible to argue that the Razer Blade Pro 17 isn't one of the best laptops in the world: it's hugely powerful under the hood, and outwardly classy, bringing Razer's highest-end portable computer into design line with the rest of the Blade line. The company has shaved excess size off the edges, packed a colourful and bright 17" 144Hz panel into a lid with minimal bezels, and built a strong chassis with a vapour cooling system that does an impressive job of keeping its dialed-up internals in perfect operating order.

The combination of Nvidia RTX 2080 and 9th-gen Core i7 CPU make great bedfellows, helping the Blade Pro top even the benchmark results of the Asus Zephyrus GX701, and while you might find it lacking in certain hardware departments (though its 16GB RAM and 500GB SSD aren't exactly stingy) you can open it up and upgrade its internals to your liking. Whether you'll want to, though, after shelling out over three grand for this ultra-premium package? That's the question. 

Extra points for the Blade Pro's connectivity options, too, given its 802.11ax-compatible Wi-fi chipset and 2.5 gigabit Ethernet, as well as the option of both HDMI 2.0 and Thunderbolt 3 expansion on board. You won't be disappointed, except perhaps by your bank balance after buying it.

Best gaming laptops 2020

The Lenovo Legion Y740 has a sturdy chassis and a very attractive RBG keyboard for added style points.

(Image credit: Lenovo)

8. Lenovo Legion Y740

Welcome to the high-end. A gaming powerhouse that's not messing around

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i7-8750H
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 (Max-Q 8GB)
RAM: 16GB – 32GB
Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) Nvidia G-Sync 144 Hz
Storage: 256GB SSD – 256GB SSD+1TB HDD
Reasons to buy
+2070 RTX is a great GPU from Nvidia+Fantastic chassis+Impressive configuration options

Lenovo's latest gaming laptop variant, the Legion Y740, is simply a powerhouse. With some impressive muscle in the GPU department (a Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 no less), its ready to run all your favourite PC games at ultra with barely a hiccup in sight. That lovely 15.6-inch screen is Full HD and comes with an 144Hz Nvidia G-Sync so your games will look incredible, wherever you're playing.

The only real area where the Legion Y740 struggles is battery life, with its Intel Core i7-8750H and that beefy GPU chugging away, the laptop does struggle to keep going for long enough. It's still very much a portable gaming machine, just make sure you've packed a power cable if you're playing away from home.

Lastly, it would be amiss of us not to mention the quality of the Y740's build quality — the chassis just feels wonderfully premium and dense in the hand. Meanwhile, the RGB backlit keyboard feels fantastic under the fingertips, be that while gaming or typing.

Acer Predator Helios 300 best gaming laptop 2020

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

9. Acer Predator Helios 300

The best gaming laptop for gamers with just under a grand 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
+Good performance considering the price+144Hz, 1,920 x 1,080 IPS display

One of the benefits of gaming on the go in 2020 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 Steam 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 2020 guide. It's especially worth a look if you're hoping to get a lot of bang for your buck.

Best gaming laptops 2020

No one does it quite like Alienware and the m15 is no exception. 

(Image credit: Alienware)

10. Alienware m15

From the iconic brand comes one of their best gaming laptops yet

Specifications
CPU: 8th-gen Intel Core i7-8750H (6-core)
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 6GB GDDR6
RAM: 8GB
Screen: 15.6-inch IPS, Full HD
Storage: 256GB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Oodles of power in a sleek design+Alienware pedigree+Loads of hardware configurations

There's something about Alienware that says gaming; you know the true purpose of the machine is to crank the resolution up as high as possible and watch as the FPS doesn't drop an inch. 

The current Alienware lineup – the m13, m15, and m17 – showcase this philosophy perfectly. Our preference has to be the middle option, however, as it balances having a big screen without also having a laptop that's essentially a desktop. 

From the huge array of ports – from Ethernet to Thunderbolt to HDMI – to the customisable keyboard and controls, this laptop has you covered, and then some. The cooling system has been specially designed to deal with the most demanding tasks, too, ensuring you get every ounce of performance you need. It really doesn't get much better. 

How to choose the best gaming laptop for you

MSI GT75 Titan best gaming laptops

Internal components to screen resolution balance is crucial when choosing a gaming laptop.

What you're looking for in the best gaming laptop of 2020 is the capability to run the most demanding games of the day – graphically intensive games, throwing up all sorts of shading and effects on screen – without having to make a ton of settings compromises along the way.

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

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

Case in point: for us the best gaming laptop in 2020 is the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701, which doesn't have a 4K screen – but it 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's 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 around), battery life (a perennial problem with gaming laptops), and price.

Here at T3 we think you should be spending a minimum of £800 (about $1,045) on a gaming laptop to ensure a good level of performance, and more than £2,000 if you can stretch to it if you want something at the premium end of the scale. There are some hyper-premium systems that retail for over £3,000 and, well, if you can spend that money then that is the price tier where you will get the absolute best tech and future proofing.

So, without further ado, here are the best gaming laptops available today in 2020.