The best gaming laptops for 2019

Gaming on a laptop has never been better. These are your best options

The Razer Blade is the best gaming laptop we’ve ever tested. It’s sleek, powerful, and looks the part, with a fantastic display to boot. But it’s not the only gaming laptop we love.

We’ve tested nearly four hundred laptops, carefully deliberating how each performs against one another in key areas like performance, display, battery life, and build quality. Below you’ll find out favorite laptops for gaming. We’ve even included options for larger 17-inch gaming laptops, serious desktop replacements, and even budget offerings.

The best gaming laptops at a glance

The best gaming laptop: Razer Blade

Razer Blade 2019 review
Dan Baker/Digital Trends

Why should you buy this: You want a gaming powerhouse with MacBook-like sense of style.

Who’s it for: Gamers who need something small and light that can still pack a punch.

Why we picked the Razer Blade:

The Razer Blade offers serious gaming performance in a slim package. The system bolsters its slim design with an attractive, matte black, unibody aluminum exterior. The result is a system that looks a lot like the black MacBooks of yore (that’s a compliment). With its slick design and impressive, Chroma-lit keyboard and touchpad, it stands out in the crowd. Even more impressive is the 144Hz 1080p display, which should ensure that framerates stay high.

The newest version packs an 8th-gen Intel Core i7-8750H CPU in with the newest RTX graphics, ranging from a 2060 up to a 2080 Max-Q. These are some seriously powerful gaming laptops, and can handle pretty much anything you throw at them. Even better, the newest version support 9th-gen processors and some interesting new display technology. The 240Hz refresh rate will entice most gamers, but the hallowed 4K OLED model is interesting in its own right.

Though it has many strengths, the Blade does fall victim to the limitations of its own footprint. Historically, they’ve run hotter and louder than competitors with a thicker chassis, and it’s not as powerful as some laptops with larger frames. The price is also quite high, but if you’re willing to pay it, you get an amazing gaming machine.

Read our full Razer Blade (2019) review

The most powerful gaming laptop: Alienware Area-51m

alienware area-51m review
Riley Young/Digital Trends

Why should you buy this: You want to play the latest games on a laptop at the highest settings and resolutions.

Who’s it for: Gamers who don’t mind a heavy laptop. 

Why we picked the Alienware Area-51m:

The Alienware Area-51m is unlike any gaming laptop you’ve seen. Not only does it have a bold look with its light grey exterior and sci-fi logos, it’s a true desktop replacement. We mean that in terms of the power this thing has, as well as the actual components inside. The Area-51m comes with CPU options up to an actual desktop-class processor, the Core i9-9900K. That’s an eight-core, 16-thread CPU that makes this laptop considerably more powerful than anything else out there.

But the best part? All the components, including the GPU and CPU, can be replaced. In our review, we found that getting access to those parts wasn’t as easy as the marketing may have alluded to. All the same, it’s an insanely powerful laptop that can run nearly everything at high framerates on its 1080p 144Hz screen. Even if you plug it into a 4K monitor, you’ll be impressed by how well games run.

It’s not the gaming laptop you want if you’re taking it on the go, especially given its low battery life and hefty chassis, but if true power is what you want, look no further.

Read our full Alienware Area-51m review

The best budget gaming laptop: Dell G3 Gaming Laptop

Dell G3 Gaming Laptop Review | Fortnite close up
Nate Barrett/Digital Trends

Why should you buy this: It’s the best gaming machine you can buy for less than $1,000.

Who’s it for: Students, gamers, anyone who wants a gaming laptop but doesn’t want to break the bank.

Why we picked the Dell G3 Gaming Laptop:

This budget-friendly laptop may not seem like a gaming powerhouse, but as one of the cheapest systems with a dedicated GPU, it can’t be ignored. It’s more modest than the other systems here, coming standard with an Intel Core i5-8300H and 8GB of RAM. The real star of the show is its graphics card, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics card. During our tests it nearly kept up with more expensive laptops like the Razer Blade. It doesn’t look quite as sharp, but it has more than enough horsepower to run the latest games at high detail settings.

Our review unit handled games like Battlefield 1, Fortnite, and Civilization VI at around 60 frames per second — and that’s with settings maxed. It has a harder time with gaming in higher resolutions, but there are configuration options for the GTX 1060, which would fare better. A new version is even available, which includes 9th-gen processors and new 16-series Nvidia graphics cards.

The G3 does look like a budget system, though it’s not as bad as you might expect. It’s a bit heavy, clad in plastic and numerous shades of blue. The screen’s bezel are thick, the touchpad feels cheap, and the display is pretty dull. But if you can look past some of those compromises, you’ll find a very capable gaming laptop that delivers impressive framerates — and for most people, that’s what matters.

Our full Dell G3 Gaming Laptop review

The best gaming laptop under $1,800: Acer Predator Triton 500

best gaming laptops acer predator triton 500 review 23

Why should you buy this: It’s a powerful gaming laptop with a thin and light design at an affordable price.

Who’s it for: Anyone who wants to look professional without sacrificing raw gaming power.

Why we picked the Acer Predator Triton 500:

When shopping for a gaming laptop it may seem like you need to drop tons of cash for an option that is both thin and light but still powerful enough for serious gamers. And while that may have been true in the past, the Acer Predator Triton 500 bucks the trend and offers serious horsepower while also being slim and affordable.

Starting with an i7-8750H and Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q GPU and topping out with an RTX 2080 Max-Q upgrade, the Triton 500 can stand toe to toe with many of the other laptops on this list for significantly less cash. A 144Hz G-Sync screen, comfy keyboard, and plethora of connection options only serve to sweeten the deal. The Triton 500’s design packs it all into a frame only slightly larger than a MacBook Pro 15 or Dell XPS 15.

There are some caveats. The Triton 500 doesn’t look like a standard gaming laptop, but it also lacks the eye-catching build of other thin and light gaming laptops like the Razer Blade 15. Like its aesthetics, the Triton 500’s battery performance is also underwhelming. But if you’re looking for the best gaming back for your buck, it’s hard to do better than this.

Our full Acer Predator Triton 500 review

The best gaming laptop under $1,500: Lenovo Legion Y740 15

lenovo legion y740 15 review 14
Arif Bacchus/Digital Trends

Why should you buy this: If you want fantastic 1080p gaming performance on a $1,500 budget.

Who’s it for: Gamers who want great value without sacrificing build quality or chassis design.

Why we picked the Lenovo Legion Y740 15:

Lenovo redesigned its Legion laptops in 2018, and we’ve liked the design ever since. But the 2019 version does what many gaming laptops fail to do: Keep the prices down without sacrificing performance. The Y740 comes with all the bells and whistles you expect from a high-end gaming laptop. An RGB keyboard, 144Hz refresh rate screen, RTX-series graphics, thin bezels, plenty of ports, and a six-core processor.

What does it lack then? Well, not much. Lenovo cuts some corners in storage, offering either only a 128GB SSD or a super-slow hard disk drive. But if you’re looking at saving some money, springing for either the RTX 2060 or GTX 1660 Ti models won’t leave you disappointed in terms of raw gaming performance.

Read our full Lenovo Legion Y740 15 review

Research and buying tips

How much is a gaming laptop?

Gaming laptops tend to be a more expensive than more general purpose laptops because they generally include a dedicated graphics chip for better game visuals and frame rates. But they needn’t cost the Earth.

Our favorite budget gaming laptop, the Dell G3 Gaming Laptop is well under $1,000. There are some alternative budget laptops that we like, although you’ll struggle to find something that’s great for gaming once you edge towards $500. On the higher end, you can end up spending the well over $2,000 if you want the latest components and fastest screens.

What should I look for in a gaming laptop?

If you’re going to play anything other than classic games or very low-intensity indie games, you want a dedicated graphics chip. It doesn’t need to be something amazing, and AMD APUs with Vega graphics on board are worth considering at the low-end. Either way, you’ll want something more than Intel onboard graphics if you want decent frame rates in most games.

It’s also worth looking out for a high refresh rate display. We consider them more important than higher resolutions when it comes to gaming and they typically aren’t too costly an extra either.

You might also want to consider battery life if you plan to play away from a power socket, although you won’t find many gaming laptops that can last more than a few hours in intense games.

Are gaming laptops good for work?

Usually, yes. You don’t need a dedicated graphics chip for working, but the fast processors and high-speed RAM that gaming laptops are typically equipped with are just as good at handling spreadsheets and Word documents as they are crunching the numbers for the latest games.

Then again, a larger, thicker gaming laptop with RGB lighting might not be appropriate for every job setting. A more subdued design like the Razer Blade or the G-series Dell gaming laptops fits in much better, though it’s an issue to be aware of.

Are Mac laptops good for gaming?

Some aren’t bad, but most of them aren’t great. Apple only puts dedicated graphics chips in its 15-inch MacBook Pro models, and even they are underpowered compared to far more affordable Windows laptops. There’s also software compatibility to consider, where many more games are available on Windows than MacOS.

If all you want is a little Fortnite on the side, a 15-inch MacBook Pro will get you by, but these are not gaming machines by any means. That being said, if you really want to stick with a Mac, there’s always the option to dual-boot in Boot Camp, which lets you run Windows 10 games on your MacBook hardware.

Computing

HyperX gives the Fury DDR4 memory line a face-lift and adds RGB lighting

HyperX has refreshed the popular Fury DDR4 line up with a new look and added LED lighting to the Fury DDR4 RGB. The memory is plug-and-play ready and has predefined Intel XMP profiles for optimal performance.
Computing

From Chromebooks to MacBooks, here are the best laptop deals for August 2019

Whether you need a new laptop for school or work, we have you covered. We've put together a list of the best laptop deals going right now, from discounted MacBooks to on-the-go gaming PCs.
Computing

The best processors for gaming

What are the best processors for gaming you can buy? You don't need to spend a fortune to get an amazing gaming CPU and now that AMD is competitive again, there are more choices than ever.
Computing

The best laptops of 2019

The best laptop should be one that checks all the boxes: Great battery life, beautiful design, and top-notch performance. Our picks for the best laptops you can buy do all that — and throw in some extra features while they're at it.
Computing

The best OLED laptops

Picking the best OLED laptops isn't as difficult as choosing the best laptops, because there aren't as many to pick from. There are a few standouts though and they make up this list of our favorite OLED notebooks.
Computing

Alienware’s new monitors and gaming peripherals complement new Aurora R9 design

Alienware unveiled a variety of gaming monitors, mice, and keyboards to match the black-and-white styling found on the Aurora R9 desktop and the Alienware laptops. These peripherals also come with more responsive performance.
Computing

Exclusive: How Alienware dared to ditch black, boxy designs for something radical

A new gaming Legend is born this year. Alienware unveiled its new Aurora R9 desktop with the Legend design language. Join us as Alienware designers talk about Legend was conceived and what the new design means for gaming.
Computing

Alienware’s redesigned Aurora R9 brings stunning, sci-fi-inspired aesthetics

The Alienware Aurora R9 looks unlike any other gaming desktop you may have seen. This year's black-and-white-themed desktop takes inspiration from airplanes and jet engines, giving it a more modern aesthetic than last year's R8.
Computing

Minecraft, Watch Dogs, Call of Duty boost ray-traced games list to a handful

The list of games that support Nvidia's RTX-driven ray tracing technology are closing in on 10, thanks to a number of new announcements at Gamescom 2019. One of the big ones is that ray tracing is officially coming to Minecraft.
Gaming

Google Stadia: Everything we know so far

Google Stadia could be the game streaming service that finally does it right. High-resolution, HDR gaming, at high-frame rates for anyone in the world on almost any device? It's a tall order, but if anyone can do it, it's Google.
Deals

Best Labor Day sales: Amazon, Walmart, and Home Depot drop early deals

Labor Day 2019 lands on Monday, September 2 this year. We've gathered all of the information you need to prepare yourself for the many sales to come, from REI to Walmart and everything in between.
Deals

Walmart drops $150 off the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 with S Pen included

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 10.5-inch Tablet with S Pen is available in 64GB and 256GB models and Walmart is giving $150 off to both variants, selling it now for $498 and $598, respectively.
Computing

The best Chromebook deals available in August 2019

Whether you want a compact laptop to enjoy some entertainment on the go, or you need a no-nonsense machine for school or work, we've smoked out the best cheap Chromebook deals -- from full-sized laptops to 2-in-1 convertibles -- that won't…
Deals

The 2018 Apple iPad Pro Wi-Fi tablet gets a huge $124 discount on Amazon

If you have been holding off on buying the Apple iPad Pro because of its price, now is the time. The best tablet for 2019 gets a $124 discount on Amazon today. This deal is more affordable than the one we previously found.