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Thursday, October 25, 2018

The 5 Best Gaming Laptops For Budgets Big And Small

A decade or two ago, geeks would tell you, “gaming or laptop—pick one.” But that’s not true anymore. There are some fantastic portable gaming machines out there, some that don’t even weigh half a ton. Here are the best.

We’ve selected the top general models as of the latter half of 2018, with an eye towards overall quality, gaming power, and bang-for-your-buck value. You can spend as much as a house down payment on a gaming laptop from a boutique manufacturer if you feel you really need to, or just max out a Macbook Pro and run Windows on it. But the best gaming laptops are made with specific hardware choices for gamers, like screen panels with high refresh rates, boosted battery capacity, and keyboards that can take a beating.

We’ve made the best overall picks for a standard or upgraded model, the best for those on a budget, the best for those who want a desktop replacement with the biggest screen possible, or those who want a more general machine with tons of battery life.

The Best All-Around Gaming Laptop: MSI GS65 Stealth Thin ($1770+)

msi, gs65, stealth thin, gaming laptop, gaming notebook

One of the first machines to use NVIDIA’s MaxQ system for combining thin-and-light machines with powerful discrete graphics, the GS65 Stealth Thin is hard to beat in terms of price and features. At around $1800 it includes an 8th-generation Core i7 processor, a GTX 1060 graphics card, 256GB of speedy SSD storage, and a whopping 16GB of RAM.

It’s all wrapped in one the sleekest laptop bodies around, with tiny bezels for a 15-inch screen with a 144Hz refresh rate. Support for Killer Ethernet and per-key RGB lighting out of the box doesn’t hurt, either. Upgrades can go all the way up to a GTX 1070, 32GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD for under $2500.

The Best Upgrade Gaming Laptop: Razer Blade 15 ($1600+)

Razer Blade 15, razer, gaming laptop, gaming notebook,

As nice as the MSI model above is, you have to give Razer props for its understated style. The Razer Blade‘s full aluminum body has drawn favorable comparisons to latter Macbooks, but it’s also using the ultra-thin screen bezels found on Dell’s popular XPS series. The base model starts at $1600, but that one’s a little more chunky than the recent revision, making room for an Ethernet port and a spinning hard drive.

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