The holiday season is upon us, and it's a great time to grab a new gaming laptop either as a treat for yourself or as a killer gift for a special person in your life. There will be competition from all corners with deals galore, but a deal is only a good deal if it's on a good product.
If you're hunting for the best gaming laptop this holiday time, we've rounded up the ones to check out, including our top pick, the Razer Blade 15.
Best Overall - Razer Blade 15
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With up to a NVIDIA RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics card (GPU), 15.6-inch FHD display with 240Hz refresh rate, 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H processor (CPU), 16GB of dual-channel DDR4 RAM, and a 512GB PCIe solid-state drive (SSD), you won't have any issues getting a fantastic gaming experience from the Razer Blade 15.
If you're looking for something to get creative on, there's also 4K touch display options — you can go with OLED for the absolute best picture quality — and no matter what you choose, you get the same slim bezel and perfect color reproduction.
- High refresh rate, 4K and OLED display options
- Ridiculous graphics performance
- Slim, premium build
- Good port selection with Thunderbolt 3
- Enormous Precision touchpad
The ultimate gaming Ultrabook
If you're looking for the best combination of style, design, and performance, the Razer Blade 15 is your best bet.
Best Budget: Acer Nitro 5
Gaming laptops get expensive fast, but Acer's Nitro 5 manages to remain well within the budget range while still offering a solid 1080p gaming experience. The black plastic chassis has some red accents and a red backlight for the keyboard, and while there's no metal in the build, this is a sturdy laptop built to last.
It's powered by an AMD Ryzen 5 quad-core processor, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and an AMD Radeon RX 560X GPU with 4GB of GDDR5 VRAM. It's also effortless to crack open and upgrade the storage and memory, giving you plenty of lifespan for a really great price.
- Great price
- Easy-access RAM and storage upgrades
- Generous port selection
- Decent performance from CPU and GPU
- Solid build quality
Some flaws but a great price
If you're a casual PC gamer who wants to stay mobile, the Acer Nitro 5 is a cheap way to get your hands on 1080p performance.
Best Gaming Ultrabook - Razer Blade Stealth
Razer has always pushed the boundaries with its gaming laptops, and the latest Blade Stealth is the first true gaming Ultrabook to hit the market. The 13-inch slim, light form factor has been retained from previous iterations, but is now for the first time has a proper NVIDIA gaming-class GPU inside.
That comes in the form of a GTX 1650, a notable step up from the MX150 available previously. Paired with an Intel Core i7 10th Gen processor, 16GB of RAM, 512GB of storage, and either 1080p or 4K displays, this is quite the portable powerhouse.
- 1080p or 4K display
- Gaming-grade NVIDIA GPU
- Thin and light chassis
- 10th Gen Intel Core i7
- Lots of storage
Best Gaming Ultrabook
Now with a gaming-grade GPU
The Blade Stealth is a proper 13-inch Ultrabook, only now it can game all on its own thanks to the GTX 1650 inside from NVIDIA.
Best Desktop Replacement - Alienware Area 51m
The Area 51m is massive and can be quite expensive, but it's also one of the most amazing gaming laptops we've ever seen. Not only is it incredibly powerful, but it's upgradeable in ways laptops typically aren't, which makes it more like a desktop than a notebook.
You can buy it now with up to an Intel Core i9 processor — a desktop-class processor no less — and an RTX 2080 GPU, but you're not stuck with them forever. Alienware made the Area 51m upgradeable, so down the line, you'll be able to swap both out for newer, faster parts and keep it going for many years to come.
- Desktop grade upgradeable CPU
- Upgradeable GPU
- Ridiculously powerful
- Great keyboard
- Serious cooling
Best Desktop Replacement
A laptop with unprecedented upgradeability
This large laptop is basically a desktop rig stuffed into a 17-inch notebook, with desktop-class internals that you can upgrade down the line.
Fastest Display - Acer Predator Triton 500
If you're looking for a gaming laptop with the fastest possible display, how does 300Hz sound? That's what you can have in your Acer Predator Triton 500, and you can bet that your friends won't be able to match that! It's a faster refresh rate than even the top desktop monitors are pushing right now.
It's not all about the display, though. The laptop powering it is outstanding indeed, with a slim, sleek form factor that still manages to cram a six-core processor, up to an RTX 2080, RAID 0 storage and up to 32GB of RAM inside. The styling is subtle, and all told, it's also Acer's finest gaming laptop in years.
- Optional 300Hz display
- Six-core CPU
- RTX 2070 or 2080 GPU
- Subtle styling
- Slim and light form factor
Lean machine with superb power
Acer's Predator lineup is undeniably thin and powerful, with up to an NVIDIA RTX 2080 GPU and 9th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU and a ridiculous 300Hz display
Most Versatile - MSI PS63 Modern
If you require a laptop that can fill multiple roles and look good doing it. MSI's PS63 Modern is the one for you. It has up to an NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti GPU and Intel Core i7-8565U CPU for solid 1080p gaming performance, and the 82Wh battery pushes more than 10 hours of life when you're not gaming and have to get down to a day's work.
The 15.6-inch FHD display has precise sRGB color accuracy to make your games, photos, or videos look great, and the bezel is ultrathin to go along with the rest of the lightweight chassis. The keyboard, while not having flashy RGB lighting or mechanical keys, is comfortable for long periods of use.
- Excellent FHD display
- Light and thin
- Performance for gaming and productivity
- Outstanding battery life
- Great keyboard and Precision touchpad
Combination of power and battery life
MSI created a laptop for creatives and gamers that brings a dedicated GPU and a power-efficient processor into one laptop with a substantial battery.
Best 17-inch - Razer Blade Pro
17-inch laptops aren't as popular as they once were, but that hasn't stopped Razer making probably the best we've seen to date. Essentially, it's a larger version of the Blade 15, mimicking the same great design but with more space inside and more space on display.
That space is used to house up to an RTX 2080 GPU, either a 1080p 144Hz or 240Hz display or an unmatched 4K touch display with a 120 Hz refresh rate. This isn't just a 17-inch laptop you can seriously game on, but it's a 17-inch laptop that's light enough to actually take with you on the road.
- High refresh rate displays at 1080p and 4K
- Light and thin
- Powerful GPU options
- Good keyboard and trackpad
- Actually portable!
A 17-inch laptop that's actually portable
Amazing displays, extreme power, and a 17-inch form factor that you can actually carry around with you like any other laptop.
Grab a great gaming laptop this holiday time
The holidays are a great time to grab a new gaming laptop, be that for yourself or someone special. Our recommendation is the Razer Blade 15, because it truly is the best of the bunch. It's stunning to look at, slim, light, packed with powerful hardware, and it all of the gaming machine you will ever need.
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Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine