Best gaming laptops 2018

In the past, the best gaming laptops weren’t all that different from any of the other best laptops – as long as it had a Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM and discrete graphics, it was the best gaming laptop. They were so few and far between that it didn’t really matter whether they were good. The only question they had to answer was ‘can it run Crysis?’

In 2018, though, the best gaming laptops are a far cry from the gaming laptops of 10 years ago. They may all run Windows 10, but you can pick up a gaming laptop using Nvidia’s Max-Q technology for a MacBook Air on steroids, or you can pick up an extremely powerful and clunky beast that can easily replace your gaming desktop. And, now that the new Razer Blade is out, and Computex 2018gave us a glimpse of the next best gaming laptops are going to look like – things are about to get exciting.

So, whether you’re looking for a laptop that you can use for work as well as play, or you want a traditional gaming behemoth, we have the recommendations you’re looking for. And, because we’ve tested, reviewed and ranked all the best gaming laptops ourselves, you can be sure that you’ll find exactly what you need right here on this list.

1. MSI GS65 Stealth

Thin. Beautiful. Powerful.

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 (8GB GDDR5X VRAM, Max-Q) | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) anti-glare, wide-view 144Hz panel | Storage: 512GB M.2 SSD

Beautiful, subtle design
Excellent performance
Underside gets very hot

Hailing in Coffee Lake to the world of the best gaming laptops, the MSI GS65 packs a ton of power into a very unassuming package. Rocking an 8th-generation Intel Core i7-8750H CPU and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 GPU, there’s nothing that can stand in the way of this laptop. And, what’s better, thanks to its subdued design, you’ll be able to bring this power out wherever you go without having to hide your nerdy pastimes.

Read the full review: MSI GS65 Stealth

2. Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501

Under an inch thick and still kicking ass

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 (8GB GDDR5X VRAM) | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) anti-glare, wide-view 120Hz panel with G-Sync | Storage: 512GB M.2 PCIe x4 SSD

Astonishingly powerful
Innovative and quiet cooling
Laughable battery life
Poor keyboard and ergonomics

Kicking Nvidia’s Max-Q technology off right, the Asus Zephyrus GX501 combines the heralded thinness of an Ultrabook with the performance of a gaming PC to bring the best of both worlds to your feet. Despite exhibiting subpar times in our battery life benchmarks, this svelte powerhouse of a notebook is one for the books when it comes to both portability and style. Plus, it’s virtually silent if noise is a cause for distraction in your everyday routine.

Read the full review: Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501

3. Asus ROG G703GI

The behemoth

CPU: Intel Core i7-i9 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 (8GB GDDR5X VRAM) | RAM: 64GB | Screen: 17.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080)144Hz | Storage: 3 x 512GB SSD (M.2, RAID 0), 2TB HDD

 Insane performance
 Large screen
 Extremely expensive

There’s a trend that’s  been dominating the laptop scene in recent years: make laptops as thin and light as possible. The Asus ROG G703GI doesn’t so much ignore that as it breathe fire upon it with Intel Core i9 power. This thing is gigantic. And expensive. But, it backs that up with gaming performance that will rival some of the best gaming PCs. Just don’t expect to bring it to a coffee shop without hauling around two power bricks.

Read the full review: Asus ROG G703GI

  • This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Razer Blade Pro

4. Razer Blade

A gaming-ready MacBook Pro rival

CPU: Intel Core i7-8750H | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 (8GB GDDR5 VRAM) | RAM: 16GB | Screen: Up to 15.6-inch UHD (3,840 x 2,160) 60Hz | Storage: 512GB M.2 SSD

Impressive battery life
4K display option
Fans whir loudly under load
Limited upgrade options

The Razer Blade might have the edgiest name in gaming laptops, and you might not be able to upgrade it – but it’s built to last. Beyond its industry-leading battery life, it can handle up to 4K Ultra-HD gaming with the help of a Razer Core V2 or Razer Core X external graphics card enclosure and a spare monitor. Or, if that all sounds too complicated, you can always go for the option to include an integrated 4K display. Either way, you’re in for a treat.

Read the full review: Razer Blade

5. Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

Making power portable

CPU: Intel Core i5-i7 | Graphics: Radeon RX Vega M GL Graphics with 4GB HMB2 Graphics Memory | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, 4K Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) InfinityEdge anti-reflective touch display | Storage: 512GB PCIe SSD

 Impressive power
 Ultra-thin design
 Kind of expensive

If you want one of the best gaming laptops, but don’t want to miss out on the ultra-portable craze, you need to consider the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1. Packed with an Intel Kaby Lake G-series processor, this gaming laptop can keep up with its competitors rocking a GTX 1050 without featuring truly discrete graphics. And, when you combine that gaming horsepower with a chassis that looks this good, it’s a total win – even if you have to endure some fan noise to get there.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

6. Asus ROG Strix GL502

It’s hard not to love a gaming laptop this good

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 – 1070 | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Screen: 15.6-inch full HD 1,920 x 1,080 IPS | Storage: 128GB – 256GB SSD, 1TB HDD

Rocks Full HD gaming
Deliciously vibrant screen
Middling battery life

The Asus Strix GL502 may not boast the most innovative design, swapping out the usual black and red color scheme for one that makes it feel like Halloween year-round. But, it’s undoubtedly one of the best when it comes to gaming in 1080p. In fact, we were able to crank the settings all the way up in Overwatch without taking a hit below 60fps. The battery life is janky, sure, but the screen, performance and onboard sound system more than make up for it.

Read the full review: Asus ROG Strix GL502

7. Gigabyte Aero 15

Thin. Light. Powerful.

CPU: Intel Core i7 8750H | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR5) | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) LCD anti-glare | Storage: 512GB SSD

Super thin bezels
Deceptively thin and light
Unfortunate webcam placement

One of the biggest pitfalls when it comes to the best gaming laptops is you’re usually stuck with this huge, bulky device that you’re embarrassed to take out into public. Fortunately the Gigabyte Aero 15 throws that tradition in the garbage. This laptop packs an 6-core 8th-generation Intel I7-8750H and a GTX 1060 into a package that allows it to pass as an Ultrabook. And, thanks to that beefy processor, the Aero 15 is just as good at working as it is at playing.

Read the full review: Gigabyte Aero 15

8. Alienware 17 R5

Using the power of i9 to dominate the competition

CPU: Intel Core i9-8950HK | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 (8GB GDDR5X VRAM) | RAM: 32GB | Screen: 17.3-inch QHD (2,560 x 1,440)144Hz | Storage: 246GB PCIe M.2 SSD, 1TB 7,200RPM HDD

Out-of-this-world performance
Beautiful 17-inch display
Weighs almost 10 pounds

Ever since Intel unveiled its i9-8950HK, we just knew that it would find its way behind the best gaming laptops of 2018, and not even a full month later, and we’ve been proven right. The Alienware 17 R5 is a beast of a performer with the aforementioned CPU and an overclocked GTX 1080. If you’re willing to get a gigantic tank of a laptop that weighs almost 10 pounds, this hulking computer will absolutely destroy any game you throw at it. Just don’t expect to throw it in a bag without some severe back pain.

Read the full review: Alienware 17 R5

9. Alienware 13 R3

Gawk at the first-ever OLED gaming laptop

CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB DDR4 | Screen: 13.3-inch HD 1,366 x 768 TN – QHD 2,560 x 1440 OLED touchscreen | Storage: 180GB – 512GB SSD

Gorgeous OLED screen
Improved hinge-forward design
Unexpectedly dense
Short battery life

Unlike most laptops its size, the Alienware 13 R3 bears a hinge-forward design. By moving the heat sinks behind the screen, the chassis is allowed to be thinner, at 0.81-inch (0.22cm). Unfortunately, this means you won’t find many 13-inch laptop bags that will actually suit the Alienware 13 R3. While you may be tempted by the inclusion of a full-size Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060, it’s the OLED touch display that caught our attention.

Read the full review: Alienware 13 R3

  • This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Asus ROG Strix
Asus ROG Strix GL502
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10. Razer Blade Pro

Finally, a desktop replacement with portability in mind

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR5) – 1080 (8GB GDDR5X) | RAM: 16 – 32GB | Screen: 17.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) 120Hz matte IPS – UHD (3,840 x 2,160) IGZO touchscreen with G-Sync | Storage: 512GB – 2TB PCIe SSD

At long last, Razer has introduced a true desktop replacement that won’t weigh you down. Measuring in at only 0.88 inches thick with the option between a 17-inch 1080p display running at 120Hz or a G-Sync-laden 4K touchscreen, the Razer Blade Pro also introduces the company’s ultra-low-profile mechanical switches to a notebook for the first time ever. That’s a deal that’s only sweetened by an unusual trackpad placement that makes it comfier to boot.