Best Gaming Laptops Windows Central 2020
The Razer Blade 15 Advanced has the right combination of power, style, and display to make it our top pick over an impressive range of gaming laptops on the market today. If the Blade isn't quite what you're looking for, there are plenty of other options available that should suit your needs.
- Our Pick: Razer Blade 15 Advanced
- Aggressive style: Alienware m15
- Best 15-Inch: Lenovo Legion Y740 15
- Thin Performance: Acer Predator Triton 500
- Unique Touchpad: ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX701
- Best 17-Inch: MSI GS75 Stealth
- Best Value: Acer Nitro 5
Best Overall Razer Blade 15 Advanced
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 Advanced. It might run hot, but that's expected from something this thin (0.70 inches!) with this much power.
There are likewise 4K touch display options — you can go with OLED for a stunning picture — with a 60Hz refresh rate if you'd like a higher resolution, and no matter what you choose, you get the same attractive slim bezel and perfect color reproduction. The RGB keyboard doesn't have great key travel, but it can be customized for extra style. And the laptop has an enormous Precision touchpad for use when you don't have an external gaming mouse connected.
Ports include Mini DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0, Thunderbolt 3, and three USB-A 3.2, allowing you to quickly hook up an external display and a few other accessories if you'd like to use the Blade 15 Advanced as the centerpiece to a gaming battle station.
- Gorgeous 4K and FHD display options
- Insane gaming performance
- Slim, premium build
- Decent port selection
- Enormous Precision touchpad
- Very expensive
- Keyboard is lackluster
The ultimate gaming Ultrabook
If you're looking for the best combination of style, design, and performance, the Razer Blade 15 Advanced is your best bet.
Aggressive style: Alienware m15
Dell's refreshed Alienware m15 comes at you with a bold, mature new look that's undeniably aggressive, and it can be had in either Dark Side of the Moon or Lunar Light colors for the magnesium alloy body. The chassis measures 0.77 inches at its thinnest point, and it's stocked with ports, including RJ45 Ethernet, three USB-A 3.1, Thunderbolt 3, HDMI 2.0, Mini DisplayPort, Alienware Graphics Amplifier port, and 3.5mm audio.
They comfy keyboard has per-key RGB customizable lighting to get the look you want, and the large Precision touchpad is useful when you don't have an external mouse connected. There are multiple 15.6-inch displays to choose from, including FHD with perfect sRGB color and 240Hz refresh rate or 4K OLED with 1ms response time and 60Hz refresh rate.
Add up to an NVIDIA RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU, 9th Gen Intel Core i9-9980HK CPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and 4TB of M.2 PCIe SSD storage space for outstanding performance. If you love what Alienware is up to with its gaming lineup, the m15 is sure to be a winner.
- Insane performance options
- Multiple displays to choose from, including 4K OLED
- Per-key RGB keyboard lighting
- Thin, aggressive design
- Plenty of ports
- Prices climb quickly
- Design might be a bit too flashy for some
The Alienware m15 has an aggressive style many people will love, and it has hardware and display options sure to please gamers.
Best 15-Inch: Lenovo Legion Y740 15
Lenovo stepped its game up with the Legion Y740 15, and it checks the boxes for some of the most important features for gamers. The dual-fan cooling system is almost unbelievably quiet, and it keeps the laptop cool enough to avoid any throttling despite the impressive hardware inside. You can configure a model with up to a 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H CPU, NVIDIA RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU, and 32GB of RAM for serious performance. Or you can start with a GTX 1660 Ti GPU if you'd like to keep the cost as low as possible. The only issue here is with the small battery, which only allows for about an hour of life while gaming.
The keyboard has customizable RGB lighting, the Precision touchpad includes physical buttons if you're not using an external mouse, and there are plenty of ports for your peripherals. Thunderbolt 3 is included alongside three USB-A 3.1, Mini DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0, RJ45 Ethernet, and 3.5mm audio.
The 15.6-inch display hits 500 nits brightness and is certified with Dolby Vision HDR400, plus G-Sync compatibility and a 144Hz refresh rate means you're getting the smoothest visuals possible. If you plan on streaming, the webcam located below the display will shoot at a weird angle, but you can always invest in a third-party webcam for far better quality.
- Super performance
- Mature aluminum design
- Colorful 144Hz display
- RGB keyboard with macro keys
- Runs cool and quiet
- Below-display webcam
- Small 57Wh battery
Cool and quiet performance
Powerful NVIDIA and Intel hardware doesn't keep this laptop from running cool and quiet.
Thin Performance: Acer Predator Triton 500
Acer's Predator Triton 500 contains inside its 0.7-inch chassis an NVIDIA RTX 2060 GPU, 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H CPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 512GB PCIe SSD. That's quite impressive, and it's enough power to keep you from running into any issues when playing modern games on high settings. Battery life is understandably not great considering all the hardware on offer, but that's the performance tradeoff.
The 15.6-inch display has a 1920x1080 resolution, 144Hz refresh rate, 3ms response time, and G-Sync compatibility for a smooth, tear-free experience. There's hardly any bezel around the screen which only adds to the thin look. The RGB keyboard and touchpad are both comfortable to use, and there are plenty of ports for hooking up external accessories, including Thunderbolt 3, three USB-A 3.1, Mini DisplayPort, HDMI, and Ethernet.
- Outstanding performance for the price
- G-Sync display with 144Hz refresh rate
- Thin, premium design
- RGB keyboard
- Tons of ports
- Battery life could be better
Lean machine with superb power
Acer's Predator lineup is undeniably thin and powerful, with an NVIDIA RTX 2060 GPU and 9th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU.
Unique Touchpad: ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX701
Unlike the other laptops in this list, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX701 places its touchpad to the right of the RGB keyboard, with the entire combo moved down to run along the bottom edge. This leaves the upper portion of the deck free to house up to an NVIDIA RTX 2080 GPU and cooling system that delivers unreal gaming performance. The touchpad has an alternate mode that turns it into a number pad, just in case you're looking to do some accounting between gaming sessions.
The 17.3-inch FHD display hits a 144Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time for smooth visuals, and there's hardly any bezel to get in the way. Along with powerful GPU options, the Zephyrus S includes up to a 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H CPU, up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM, and up to a 1TB PCIe SSD. All this delivers all-around power no matter what game you want to tackle.
This laptop is just 0.74 inches thick, yet it keeps a decent range of ports, including two USB-C 3.1, three USB-A 3.0, and HDMI. There's no Ethernet port, but that can be alleviated with a proper USB-C adapter.
- Powerful configuration options
- Touchpad doubles as numpad
- Thin bezel around 144Hz display
- Just 0.74 inches thick
- Decent port selection
- Short battery life
- No Ethernet
Power and unique design
With up to an NVIDIA RTX 2080 GPU and 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus S brings power and unique design.
Best 17-Inch: MSI GS75 Stealth
MSI's GS75 Stealth offers a 17.3-inch FHD display with 144Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time. The IPS panel offers good color reproduction, and it's big enough that you likely won't feel as compelled to switch to an external display. If you want to strictly stick to portable gaming, this is a great option.
The "Stealth" moniker comes from the laptop's thin chassis and bezel. The laptop is just 0.74 inches (18.95mm) thin and weighs just 4.96 pounds (2.25kg), which for a laptop this size and with this performance hardware is impressive. Choose from a NVIDIA GTX 1660 Ti, RTX 2060, or RTX 2080 GPU for varying levels of performance and price, and get a 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H CPU in all models. You can also get up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM and a 1TB SSD for plenty of speedy storage.
The black finish has gold accents and hinges for a premium look, and each key can be individually customized with RGB lighting. You get plenty of ports, including Thunderbolt 3, for connecting your accessories.
- Powerful hardware options
- Relatively thin and light
- 17.3-inch display with 144Hz refresh rate
- Per-key RGB lighting
- Lots of ports
- Higher-end models get expensive
Big laptop that's not a deadweight
A lot of 17-inch gaming laptops pack on the bulk, but not the MSI GS75 Stealth.
Best Value: Acer Nitro 5
Gaming laptops get expensive fast, but Acer's Nitro 5 manages to remain well within the budget range while still offering an FHD gaming experience. The black plastic chassis has some red accents and a red backlight for the keyboard. While it's relatively heavy at about 5.51 pounds (2.5kg), it feels sturdy and has a decent port selection, including two USB-A 2.0, USB-A 3.0, USB-C 3.1, HDMI 2.0, RJ45 Ethernet, an SD card reader, and a 3.5mm audio jack.
This is a laptop cut out for 1080p gaming thanks to an AMD Ryzen 5 2500U CPU, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and AMD Radeon RX 560X GPU with 4GB of GDDR5 VRAM. The 15.6-inch display does not hit the 144Hz refresh rate like many other gaming laptops, but its hardware is better suited for a smooth 60Hz.
The bottom of the laptop includes two easy-access panels for DIY RAM and HDD upgrades, allowing you to keep the laptop relevant longer and allowing you to swap out the slow storage that comes stock with the laptop.
- Affordable price
- Easy-access RAM and storage upgrades
- Generous port selection
- Performance for 1080p gaming
- Slow HDD
- Maximum 60Hz refresh rate
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.
The Razer Blade 15 Advanced is an impressive piece of engineering, and it's our top pick for a gaming laptop. There are plenty of configuration options for CPU, RAM, storage, and GPU, with up to an NVIDIA RTX 2080 Max-Q for extreme performance. You're going to be able to enjoy any modern game with a smooth framerate, made better by multiple 15.6-inch display options ranging from FHD with a 144Hz refresh rate to 4K OLED for a stunning picture.
Generous port selection, including Mini DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0, Thunderbolt 3, and three USB-A 3.2, allow you to connect external monitors and accessories, and the 80Wh battery gives you hours of playtime before needing to plug it in.
The keyboard holds it just short of being perfect. If you love something with plenty of key travel, you might want to opt for one of the other options in the roundup. However, the rest of the laptop is virtually perfect, and you're going to love what it can do for you.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Cale Hunt Cale Hunt is a staff writer at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on PC, laptop, and accessory coverage, as well as the emerging world of VR. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.
Daniel Rubino is executive editor of Windows Central. He has been covering Microsoft since 2009 back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Surface, HoloLens, Xbox, and future computing visions. Follow him on Twitter: @daniel_rubino.
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