Way back when, the notion of a laptop as your primary gaming rig was nothing short of laughable. Well, not anymore. Nowadays, you no longer have to sacrifice power for portability, as evidenced by the Dell G7 15, HP Pavilion Gaming 16, and Asus ROG Zephyrus G14. These gaming laptops proved stellar in their gaming performance and they’re all on sale at Best Buy and Dell for as much as $250 off. Read on to find out which one suits you and your budget best.
– $750, was $1,000
As we bid adieu to Dell’s entry-level Inspiron Gaming line, we say hello to the promising new G Series brand, including the G7 15. So how does it compare to its predecessor? For starters, it looks nothing like any of Dell’s past offerings (it certainly doesn’t compete with the stunning extraterrestrial aesthetic of an Alienware laptop). The Dell G7 15’s sports-car-like design is still positively eye-catching, though. It also offers impressive audio and solid midlevel gaming performance. However, it’s far from perfect, as its dim display and lackluster keyboard leave a lot to be desired. Right now, this budget gaming laptop is available at Dell’s official website for $750 instead of the usual $1,000 – a huge $250 off.
The Dell G7 15 isn’t the most portable of gaming machines as it weighs in at 6.3 pounds. Its 15.6-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 FHD display is kind of disappointing, and so is its keyboard. Averaging 232 nits, it’s not the brightest screen out there, and color reproduction is also lacking at 62% of the sRGB color gamut. The same thing goes with its island-style keyboard. While its blue font and brilliant cerulean backlighting are very pretty, the typing experience it offers just isn’t that good. With a shallow 0.94 millimeters of key travel and a decent 61 grams of actuation, the keyboard made typing a bit uncomfortable. However, it does a phenomenal job in its gaming performance, and that’s the most important thing. Armed with a 9th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card, and 8GB of RAM, the G7 is more than capable of playing games on high settings. Multitasking won’t be a problem either, as it was able to easily handle multiple open Google Chrome tabs while other programs ran in the background. For solid gameplay on a budget, the Dell G7 15 should be worth serious consideration. Get it for $750 on Dell’s official website.
– $820, was $850
The HP Pavilion Gaming 16’s screen size is quite unusual. At 16.1 inches diagonally, it’s significantly larger than the usual 15.6-inch laptops; it isn’t quite as bulky as a 17.3-inch laptop either. It’s appealing to people who require more screen real estate for content creation but want to avoid the heft of a large machine. The Full HD WLED display is rather nice, too, with a 144Hz refresh rate that guarantees medium to high frame rates with zero tearing even during rapid-fire gaming.
Designwise, it’s pretty similar to its predecessors, the Pavilion Gaming 15 and Pavilion Gaming 17. It flaunts the same green keyboard trims (quite reminiscent of an Xbox), sharp edges and corners, and black matte surfaces. Underneath the hood, it is powered by a 10th-generation Comet Lake-H Core i5-10300H that’s working alongside an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti graphics card. This configuration isn’t exactly a shocker for the price point, and it performed admirably during our gaming test. We were able to play Apex Legends at mid settings with 125 fps (frames per second), while Call of Duty: Modern Warfare looked great at mid settings with 90 to 100 fps. Furthermore, the system can easily handle multiple programs and browser tabs opened, making this a solid machine for everyday computing tasks. Need a gaming laptop with a unique screen size that can also serve as your primary work device? Then the HP Pavilion Gaming 16 is for you. Get it for the discounted price of $820 instead of $850 at Best Buy – a cool $30 worth of savings.
– $950, was $1,100
While the 13.3-inch Razer Blade Stealth might be the smallest gaming laptop right now that doesn’t skimp on real power, it doesn’t offer the same level of performance as the slightly larger 14-inch Asus ROG Zephyrus G14. Boasting AMD’s latest Ryzen 7 processor that’s working alongside Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1650 graphics chip, this gaming rig is insanely fast and can easily tackle the most demanding games. The only processor that offers that same level of stamina is the Intel Core i9 processor, and that’s normally reserved for high-end laptops like the Dell XPS 15, MacBook Pro 16-inch, or ThinkPad X1 Extreme. The downside of having so much power in such a small device is it cannot deal with the tremendous thermal output when running heavy games and programs. The result is it can get distractingly hot and loud – but that’s totally forgivable.
The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is smaller and lighter than most gaming laptops, thanks not just to its size but also to its magnesium alloy chassis that’s lighter than full aluminum. As mentioned, this machine possesses a lot of power. The eight-core, 16-thread Ryzen 7 and GTX 1650 processing tandem mean you can use this laptop for content creation like 3-D modeling and video editing and not just for gaming. We were able to play Battlefield V, Fortnite, and Civilization VI at well over 60 frames per second (FPS) in 1080p at maxed-out settings with it. Another highlight is its 1,920 x 1,080 resolution IPS display, boasting plenty of brightness and sharp details and rich in color and contrast. Its touchpad is surprisingly good as well. Gaming laptops typically don’t have the most precise touchpads since gamers usually buy an external mouse, yet Asus went the extra mile and made sure that this would make a great work laptop as well. Finally, the backlit keyboard is a delight to type on, although it is single-zone and not customizable, which is rare in a gaming laptop these days. By the way, it’s worth mentioning that this laptop doesn’t have a webcam. With the ROG Zephyrus G14, Asus and AMD has rewritten the rules of what a gaming laptop can be. Order it for $950 instead of $1,100 at Best Buy right now – a huge $150 off.
Digital Trends may earn commission on products purchased through our links, which supports the work we do for our readers.
- The best 14-inch laptops for 2020
- The best gaming laptops for 2020
- The best 4K laptops for 2020
- The best business laptops for 2020
- These are the best cheap gaming laptops you can buy today