Two mobile gaming behemoths sit at the top of our power rankings: The Asus ROG G752 and the Acer Predator 17. Both are massive machines with top-end hardware, but it’s the little touches that push Acer’s newcomer past the tried-and-true G752.
They aren’t the only options for mobile gaming, however. Gaming peripheral manufacturer Razer has been updating the Blade series into a portable powerhouse over the last few years. Finally, if you don’t have a few grand to throw at a laptop, the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 provides modest gaming performance at wallet-friendly $800.
Why should you buy this: You want to play the latest games at the highest settings while you’re on the go.
Who’s it for: Gamers who don’t mind spending a little extra to snag the best performance on the market.
How much will it cost: $1,600 – $2,600
Why we picked the Acer Predator 17:
A better question than “what is the Acer doing right?” is “what isn’t the Acer doing right?” Its performance, powered by an Intel Core i7-6700HQ, 32GB of RAM, and Nvidia GTX graphics, excels in every one of our test areas, and even its hard drives take home top marks.
But it’s not just what’s under the hood that counts. Acer has taken the time to rethink its Predator gaming series, and the new machines it introduced at IFA in 2015 are more impressive than ever. It does look a bit on the conventional side, but Acer supplements its stereotypical matte black and red with a sturdy, spacious layout that includes a full-sized numpad. It’s a more subdued look than the G752, and one that’s sure to please the users who find the Asus too garish.
Its tested performance matches its gaming-oriented aesthetic. Its 3DMark Fire Strike score almost matches the Origin EON17-X, which includes a desktop Intel CPU and GTX 980M. It also excels in real-world gaming, pulling down 88 frames per second in Battlefield 4 at maximum detail and 1080p resolution. Those scores elevate it straight to the top of the mobile gaming food chain, and are even the envy of some mid-range desktops.
But it isn’t just the performance that helps this laptop take home the title — it’s the complete package Acer offers. The 90 watt-hour battery churns for a surprising six hours on a charge. Even the sound system, normally a weak point for laptops, boasts two subwoofers and four speakers, for full, powerful sound when it comes to movies, music, and gaming.
Like most gaming laptops, the Predator 17 starts at $1,600 for the base model, and the system we reviewed with the specifications above will cost another $1,000 or so over that. Still, it’s a bit cheaper than both the Asus and Alienware options, which seals the deal for the Acer as our favorite gaming laptop.