Best power laptops. We review the 12 best gaming laptops, and offer some general gaming laptops buying advice.
Consoles and tablets may claim to take the gaming crown, but PCs and laptops remain the most powerful and flexible gaming rigs you can buy. Indeed, one analyst recently claimed that sales of dedicated gaming laptops have increased by 50 percent since 2011. This may be from a small base, but there’s no doubt that the combination of nVidia GeForce graphics cards and powerful portable CPUs from Intel means that super-fast framerates and spectacular 3D eye-candy is no longer tied to the desktop. Also see 15 best laptops 2014.
Indeed, given the lack of clutter and the space-saving capabilities of gaming laptops, we would recommend them to any serious gamer. The only real downside is that unlike a desktop PC, you can’t easily upgrade. But upgrade you can, and that, combined with the ability to also run all normal PC tasks for work and play, makes a gaming computer a lot more valuable than a games console. See all laptops buying advice.
Which brings us back to the tech. The latest GPUs from nVidia are faster than ever, and Intel’s roll-out of Core-M chips mean that the previous generation of powerful, portable processors are dropping in price. All this means that a dedicated gaming laptop can be yours regardless of the budget to which you are tied. You do get what you pay for, however. High-end laptops with true gaming potential we’ve reviewed in the past typically cost £1,500 to £2,000 – and you can certainly still spend that sort of money on a top-of-the-range gaming rig and get value.
However, as we discovered, it’s now possible to get respectable gaming performance from more mid-range machines in the £1,000 to £1,500 category. There’s no compromise here: we are talking about true dedicated gaming rigs offering high-end framerates, at something approaching an affordable price. And as the CPUs and GPUs improve, we are starting to see gaming laptop makers focus more on energy-efficiency and portability. Traditionally, they’ve been big, heavy and noisy, with large air vents and cooling systems required to cope with the heat output of their powerful GPUs. And, of course, the power requirements of these GPUs meant that battery life was always pretty poor.
Many gaming laptops still follow that pattern, but even the 17in monsters are becoming more portable. And better power efficiency means it’s even possible to cram some serious gaming potential into smaller, lighter designs. We’re seeing more 13- and 15in gaming laptops that are small enough to fit comfortably into a backpack.
There’s now greater choice than ever before in the gaming market. And you don’t need to compromise to squeeze a gaming PC into a laptop chassis. Here’s our round-up of the latest and greatest gaming laptops for every budget. See how to buy a budget laptop.