Ultrabook reviews, guides and comparisons

Best 30 ultrabooks for gaming in 2014 & early 2015

By Andrei Girbea - @andreigirbea , updated on January 28, 2015

Playing games on ultrabooks or thin and light laptops might have seemed unrealistic a while ago, but is a reality these days. Despite their thin and light bodies, most modern ultrabooks pack powerful enough hardware to deal with at least some light gaming.

Picking any device motorized by an Intel Haswell processor (with Intel HD 4400 graphics) allows you to play most games on 13 x 7 resolutions with low details, as you can see from this review. Going higher and picking a CPU bundled with Intel’s Iris graphics (HD 5000 or HD 5100), like the Asus Zenbook Infinity UX301LA, Dell XPS 13, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon or some of the Broadwell ultraportables, to name just a few, will push the capabilities ever further.

But there’s still so much an integrated chip can deliver these days, so if you’re planning on running serious titles on your ultra-portable laptop, at 19 x 10 resolutions and high details, you’ll require dedicated graphics. And here’s where this post comes in handy, a list of the best gaming ultra-portables of the moment.

We won’t include just ultrabooks in here though, because the standard has very strict limitations. For instance, a computer powered by anything else than an Intel ULV platform is not an ultrabook per-se, even if it is thin enough. That’s why I’ve expanded the circle a little bit, so other portable notebooks that are actually worth your attention could make it in.

Even so, for a device to get on this list, it needs to bundle at least a mid-level graphics chip for the sub-14 inch devices, or a high-end chip for the anything with a 15 inch screen or above. It also needs to be compact, thin and light, it needs to be solid built and last but not least, it needs to have no obvious deal-breakers, no major flaws.

With that in mind, let’s get this started. It’s a long post, but you’d better go through all of it if you want to know what your options are these days. Keep in mind that I’m constantly changing this post in order to maintain it up-to-date, so if you find it useful, make sure to tell your friends about it and share it around, that’s the best way to say thanks for the hard work.

Gaming ultraportables with Nvidia GTX 970M and 980M graphics

These are the ones to look at if you want to best gaming performance in fairly thin and light bodies. I’ve gathered them all in this detailed list that I’ll be updating periodically.

The offer for 980M portable configurations is limited for the time being, but there are quite a few 17, 15 and even 14 inchers that bundle Nvidia GTX 970M chips and are capable of running smoothly all the recent titles in 19 x 10 resolutions with High/Ultra details. Follow this link for more details.

14, 13 inch or smaller gaming ultrabooks

This section is reserved for the smallest laptops with dedicated graphics, with 11.6 to 14.1 inch screens, Intel Haswell hardware (or later) and at least an Nvidia 730M graphics chip (or an AMD equivalent).

The Asus Zenbooks: UX302LG, UX32LN and the UX303LN

I’ve reviewed the Zenbook UX302LG in depth here and if you’ll read the post, you’ll see that there’s little you might not like about this laptop.

It’s sleek (20-21 mm thick, including the rubber feet), light (3.3 pounds), fast (Intel Haswell Core i5/i7 processors, up to 10 GB of RAM, Nvidia 730M 2GB graphics and either hybrid or SSD storage) and can easily handle all the things you will throw at it, including games. In fact, see the clip below if you’re curious how this laptop deals with titles like Crysis 3, Skyrim, Starcraft 2 or Bioshock Infinite on Full HD resolution, with Low details.

Besides these, the UX302LG packs an awesome 1080p IPS touchscreen and can go for about 6 hours of everyday use on a charge, or about 90 minutes of continuous gaming.

Of course, all these don’t come cheap. The UX302LG starts at about $1200, while the top configurations sell for $1700 and up. However, you have the option of buying the base version with the fastest processor you will need and add your own RAM and SSD inside. In other words: there’s room for upgrades with this machine. Unfortunately though, the UX302LG is still not widely available right now, but you might find it online via this link (with some small discounts)

Asus also has two more powerful 13.3 inchers in stores, the Zenbook UX32LN and the Zenbook UX303LN.

The first is built on the same chassis as their popular UX32VD launched in 2012, with a fully metallic body, an IPS FHD screen, Haswell processors and an Nvidia GT 840M graphics chip. However, the UX32LN is only available in Europe and Asia for the time being. See this post for more details about it.

The Zenbook UX303LN is a slightly improved version of the UX32LN, with whom it shares a similar hardware platform: up to Intel Core i7-4710U processors, up to 12 GB of RAM (4 GB soldered+ 1 spare DIMM), 2.5 inch storage and a M.2 connector, Nvidia GT 840M graphics. However, Asus worked on fine tuning the case, which is still mare from metal, but slightly smoother and better finished than the one on the UX32 series. They also added a couple of screen options, as you can get the UX303LN with either a FHD IPS non-glare display, or a 3200 x 1800 px IPS touchscreen.

My detailed review of the UX303LN over here will tell you a lot more about this laptop, including what to expect from it when it comes to games.

Long story short though, the Zenbook UX303LN is definitely a 13 incher to consider. It’s faster than the UX302LG, runs cooler and it’s going to be a lot more affordable, starting at under 1G and going to about $1300 for the top configuration. Last but not least, this one will actually be available all around the planet, unlike the UX302 model. See this link for potential discounts on this UX303LN, a complete specs sheet and user reviews.

As for what to choose between the UX32LN and the UX303LN, well, the two are similar in many ways, with only slight tweaks for the UX303 model, so I’d base my decision on how much each model costs where you’re living. If the UX303 is at least $100 more expensive than the UX32 version, I’d go for the latter.

Gigabyte Aorus X3 and X3 Plus series

If you’re after a top-of-the-line sub-14 inch gaming laptop and don’t mind spending North of $2000 for it, Gigabyte’s Auros X3 line should definitely be on your shortlist.

This kind of money will get you Intel Haswell Core i7 HQ processors, up to 16 GB of RAM, Nvidia GTX 870M graphics with Optimus and dual M.2 storage, plus a backlit keyboard with macro keys and customizable profiles, stereo speakers, a 73 Wh battery and solid connectivity (Wi-Fi AC, Lan, Bluetooth, 3xUSBs, HDMI, mini-DP, card-reader). All these inside a 23 mm thick body (just under 0.9 inches) that weighs 1.8 kilos (4 pounds).

And did I mentioned the design? Well, these things are going to look spectacular, with a black case and some aggressive cooling vents towards the back, somewhat similar to what Asus has on their ROG lines.

Gigabyte will offer two different versions of this laptop, all sharing the characteristics enumerated above (with slight weight and size differences). The Aorus X3 model will get a 13.3 inch screen with a 2560 x 1440 px IGZO IPS panel, while the Aorus X3 Plus will get a slightly larger 13.9 inch display, available with either a 2560 x 1440 px or 1 3200 x 1800 px IPS IGZO panel the same one as on the Razer Pro).

You can check out our detailed review of the X3 Plus model over here , with a beefy configuration that includes the Intel Core i7-4860HQ processor, 16 GB RAM, Nvidia 870M graphics and two 256 GB SSDs in Raid 0.

Gigabyte Aorus X3 - the beefiest 13 inchers of the moment

Gigabyte Aorus X3 – the beefiest 13 inchers of the moment

Clevo w230ST / Sager NP7330 – POWER!

The Clevo W230ST (also known as the Sager NP7330) is in fact a 13 inch gaming laptop, not an ultrabook, because it is both too bulky and too powerful to get the branding. It weighs around 4.7 pounds and has a 1.25 inch thick body and on top of that, it’s not really the most beautiful device out there either, although that’s subjective (see the video for details).

But it packs some amazing specs, with up to Intel Core i7-4900HQ processors, up to 16 GB of RAM ( 2 x DIMMs), Nvidia GTX 765M graphics and a handful of storage options (one 2.5″ bay and an mSATA spate port). Besides these, you can get a Full HD AHVA matte screen on this laptop, a big 63 Wh battery, a nice keyboard and all the ports you might want on a gaming machine (4 x USB, VGA, HDMI, LAN).

But the best part about this Clevo/Sager is the ability to configure your own unit with exactly what you want in it, on various reseller websites (search for the model in Google and you’ll find them). The ugly part is the high-price of the high-end configurations (although this is far from being overpriced, considering what you’re getting for the money), and the fact that most stores don’t ship this worldwide, so you might actually have a hard time getting the W230ST in your country.

Long story short though, if you want a capable gaming machine with a compact foot-print, you won’t find anything more powerful than this one right now.

Other 13 inchers worth considering are the:

  • Samsung Series 7 Ultra – Intel IvyBridge ULV processors, up to 8 GB of RAM, AMD Radeon 8550M / 8570M  graphics;
  • Asus Vivobook S301LB / Q301LB (check out my full review over here) – Intel Haswell ULV processors, up to 8 GB of RAM, AMD Radeon Mobility 8530G graphics.

Acer Aspire V7 482PG – bang for the buck

Acer have a bunch of gaming ultrabooks with Haswell onboard available these days in stores, and the Aspire V7-482PG is their top compact model, selling for around $850 (or even less online).

For that, you’re getting an Intel Core i5-4200U processor, 8 GB of RAM, a 1 TB HDD and Nvidia 750M graphics, with Core i7 configurations being available as well. And that makes the V7 quite beefy for a 14 incher and able to handle fine both everyday activities and the latest games, as the 750M chip is something you’ll usually find on multimedia full-size laptops.

The Acer Aspire V7 482PG is also nicely built, with an aluminum body, packs a fair selection of ports on the sides and a decent backlit keyboard. It weighs about 4.4 pounds, so it is portable, but with its 0.9 inch thick case, it’s a bit outside the ultrabook standards. Even so, I doubt you’ll actually be bothered by that 0.1 of an inch difference.

On the other hand, there’s only a 14 inch 1366 x 768 px display on this unit, a touchscreen, but rather mediocre by today’s standards when it comes pixel density, colors or viewing angles. The battery life isn’t something to tell you grandsons about either, with the 482PG being able to last an average of 5 hours on a charge, with daily use, and on top of that, Asus does bundle a lot of preinstalled software on this machine, which you’ll have to remove yourself.

Even so, for the price, the V7 482PG is for sure something to consider, that if you don’t mind the poor screen and the rather bulky body.

The Acer Aspire V7 is sleek and fairly punchy, but the poor screen drags it down

The Acer Aspire V7 is sleek and punchy, but the poor screen might steer you away from it

Gigabyte P34G v2 and U24F/U24T

The P34G v2 (the 2014 iteration, also known as the P34Gv2-CF2 model) is an impressive 14 inch ultra-portable.

It’s about 0.8 of an inch thick and weighs between 3.6 and 3.8 lbs, which is impressive for a 14 incher. Even more when you’ll hear what you’ll be getting inside this compact aluminum body: a FullHD AHVA non-glare panel (similar to IPS panels), a Haswell Core i7-4710HQ processor, up to 16 GB of RAM (2 x DIMMs), dual-storage options (for the models with a smaller 47 Wh battery), an Nvidia GTX 860M dedicated graphics chip and up to 63 Wh battery. In other words, that’s the kind of hardware we’re usually getting on larger machines and I’m glad to see Gigabyte squeezing these inside such a laptop.

The P34G is not flawless though. The laptop’s case is not very sturdy, the trackpad can get jumpy from time to time and the fans tend to be somewhat loud, especially under load.

But even so, you’ll get great specs in a compact device with the Gigabyte P34G v2, and all for a good price. A Core i7-4710HQ / 8 GB of RAM / 128 GB SSD + 1 TB HDD configuration retails these days for around $1550, and you might find it slightly discounted online as well.

The original version of the P34G (P34G-CF1) was similar in most ways to this newer model, but only offered Nvidia 750M graphics. You can still get it for roughly $1300 these days.

Update: A Gigabyte P34W v3 version is also available now, with Nvidia GTX 970M graphics.

Top specs in a compact body, that's what you'll get with the Gigabyte P34G v2

Top specs in a compact body, that’s what you’ll get with the Gigabyte P34G v2

Gigabyte also has the U24F laptop on the market, which is indeed an ultrabook, a snipped version of the P34G. This one is also a 14 incher as well, but with a 1600 x 900 px TN non-glare screen and bundles Haswell ULV Core i5 and i7 processors (not HQ CPUs like the P34), an Nvidia 750M graphics chip, up to 16 GB of RAM, dual-storage options and a 47 Wh battery, all inside a 0.9 inch thick 3.7 pounds body. All these for about $1300, but the U24F has been discontinued recently and you might have a hard-time finding it in stores.

The Gigabyte U24T is identical to the U24F in terms of hardware and features, but packs a 1366 x 768 px touch-screen instead. That makes it marginally thicker and heavier than the U24F, and at the same time slightly more expensive.

Razer Blade 14 2014 – sleek and fast

The Blade is not an ultrabook per-se either, as, like the Gigabyte P34G above, bundles Intel HQ hardware. But it is actually a step up from the P34.

On the outside, the Razer Blade looks and feels amazing, with its black aluminum hull, although it has gained weight over last year’s Blade (weighs 4.47 lbs and is about 0.71 inches thick). It also packs 3xUSB ports, stereo speakers and and HDMI, but no card-reader though.

The 2014 version of the Blade 14 is more powerful than before. You’ll be getting an Intel Core i7-4702HQ quad-core Haswell processor with this one, 8 GB of RAM (onboard), up to 512 GB SSD storage and an Nvidia GTX 870M graphics chip. That’s less RAM than on the Gigabyte and fewer storage options, but a superior graphics chip, which will pay-off in games.

However, while the 2013 version of the Blade only offered a 1600 x 900 px TN non-glare display, the 2014 model got a 3200 x 1800 px IGZO IPS multitouch screen. That’s an appreciated upgrade in terms of colors, viewing angles and contrast, but not so much in terms of pixel density. As I stated when I reviewed the Asus Zenbook UX303LN with a similar display, 3200 x 1800 px is an overkill for a gaming computer, given how the hardware is not actually powerful enough to run modern titles at this high resolution. That means you’ll have to lower it down, which translates in fuzziness, or play with font-scaling, which does not always work well in Windows 8.1 (and even worse on the previous versions).

On top of that, the 2014 Blade is only capable of about 4-5 hours of everyday use on a charge, which is about 2 hours short of its predecessor.

At the end of the day, the Blade 2014 is for sure a beast in a compact shell, with a hefty load of premium features. An expensive beast nonetheless though, starting at over $2000, but you can find it discounted online from time to time. See this link for potential price cuts and more details about the Blade.

On the other hand, if you don’t mind settling for an Nvidia GTX 765M graphics chip and that TN screen I was telling you about above, you should definitely look into the 2013 version of the Razer Blade as well, especially since it will be several hundreds of bucks cheaper than the new model. That if you can find it in stock somewhere.

The Razer Blade - a 14 inch thin and powerful gaming laptop

The Razer Blade – a 14 inch thin and powerful gaming laptop

MSI G Series GE40

The GE40 from MSI is another high-specked 14 inch gaming laptop you could look at. Unlike the Razer or the Gigabyte above, it only offers Nvidia 700 Series graphics, but even so, it’s punchy and it checks most of the right features you’d expect from such a computer. It is also light, weighing roughly 4.4 pounds, and thin enough (up to 0.9 inches), which allows it to stand next to traditional “ultrabooks” when it comes to portability.

But the GE40 is not an ultrabooks per-se, as it is powered by an Intel Core i7-4702MQ processor, can take up to 16 GB of RAM and packs an Nvidia GTX 765M graphics chip, plus a dual-storage solution (or one storage drive, plus an optical drive). So specs wise, not much to complain about here, although there are faster 14 inchers available these days.

When it comes to the screen though, this MSI shows its age, as it only offers a 1600 x 900 px non-glare panel and that’s no up-to what you can get on more recently launched machines. The same can be said about the keyboard (which is alright, but not backlit), the design and the gaming temperatures, as the MSI GE40 does get hot under load. You might be able to live with most of these, but for me the screen is a deal-breaker.

On the other hand, the GE40 is rather affordable, with mid-level configurations going for around $1300 these days, so if you’re after a compact laptop that can deliver good performance and won’t leave a huge hole in your wallet, this MSI G Seires 14 inchers might fit well enough.

The MSI GE40 might show its age here and there, but is still a proper priced and powerful 14 incher

The MSI GE40 might show its age here and there, but is still a proper priced and powerful 14 incher

Lenovo IdeaPad U430P / U430 Touch – the affordable option

The Ideapad U430P / U430 line can’t exactly compete with the units above in terms of performance, but if you’re looking for a fairly affordable Haswell ultrabook with decent gaming abilities, it should be on your list.

This series starts at around $750 (and even less in some webstores) and for that you’re getting ULV Haswell Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, up to 8 GB of RAM (onboard), Hybrid storage (a 2.5 inch 7 mm bay and an mSATA slot) and Nvidia 730M graphics, which is only a main-stream solution, but will allow you to run most modern games on 13 x 7 resolution with medium details just fine.  Actually finding the Nvidia 730M equipped model in stores might be a bit more difficult these days, but maybe you’ll get lucky. And keep in mind that the U430p model comes with a 14 inch TN 1366 x 768 px non-glare display while the U430 Touch model gets a similar panel and resolution, but in a touchscreen, and is usually more expensive than the U430p variant.

All these are tucked inside a metal made 4.2 pounds body that’s about 0.8 of an inch thick, and you’ll also like the keyboard and trackpad on this machine, the ports spread around the sides and the rather long battery life (up to 8 hours on a charge, but that varies from one configurations to another).

So long story short, if you’re on a budget and don’t have high demands from your ultraportable, but still want to be able to play some games from time to time, the Lenovo IdeaPad U430 series is for sure a worthy pick.

Update: Looks like the U430 series was discontinued in some regions of the world and a follow-up is soon to be released. I’ll update this section as soon as it is.

Lenovo Ideapad U430p - a proper priced Haswell ultrabook that can handle games fairly well

Lenovo Ideapad U430p – a proper priced Haswell ultrabook that can handle games well-enough

Lenovo Y40

This is a more recent series from Lenovo, also focused on good performance for the money. The basic configurations start at around $850 these days (but you might find it cheaper online), and for that kind of money you’ll be getting an Intel Core i7-4510U processor, 8 GB of RAM, Hybrid storage (1 TB HDD with 8 GB SSD) and an AMD R9-M275 graphics chip, which is roughly similar to an Nvidia 740M solution. So this is not a high-end gaming machine, just something for the casual gamer.

On top of that, Lenovo equips the Y40 with a 1920 x 1080 TN non-glare screen, a nice looking red-backlit keyboard, a decent selection of ports (3xUSBs, HDMI, LAN, SPDIF, card-reader) and a fairly nice looking body for this price range, with an aggressive design and quality materials (mostly plastic, but the interior is covered in a sheet of metal). However, the Y40 is bulkier and not as portable as most of the other 14 inchers in this list, weighing roughly 4.9 pounds and being about 0.9 inches thick.

Long story short, the Lenovo Y40 offers overall good specs and features for the money, but makes concessions when it comes to size, weight and screen quality (packs only a TN panel).

Lenovo Y40 - good specs and features, affordable price

Lenovo Y40 – good specs and features, affordable price

Other 14 inchers you could consider are the:

  • Acer Travelmate P645 – Intel Core i5-4200U CPU, up to 8 GB of RAM, AMD Radeon HD 8750M graphics;
  • HP ENVY Touchsmart 14t – Intel Core i5/i7 ULV processors, up to 8 GB of RAM, Nvidia GT 740M graphics;
  • Asus Vivobook S451LB / V451LB – Intel Core i5/i7 ULV processors, up to 8 GB of RAM, Nvidia GT 740M graphics.

15 or 17 inch gaming ultra-portables

This section is reserved for the fastest thin and light gaming laptops of the moment. The entry bar is set at Haswell hardware, Nvidia GT 750M graphics or higher (or AMD equivalent), an under 1 inch thick body and again, no major flaws. On top of that, I’ve been looking at 15 inchers under 5.5 pounds and 17 inchers under 6.5 pounds, to keep the suggestions as portable as possible.

MSI GS60 Ghost Pro 3K 2PE and 2PC – review

These are some of the most interesting 15 inchers available right now. There are two GS60 Ghost Pro models, the top-version called the 3K 2PE and the lower-end model called 2PC (or simpler, the Ghost Pro 3K and the Ghost Pro), and they share most of their characteristics, with the hardware and screen options setting them apart.

The GS60s are both about 0.85 of an inch thick and weigh just under 4.4 pounds, but despite that, they offer a good looking aluminum-alloy case, a backlit keyboard and all the ports you’ll want on such a computer ( 3xUSB 3.0. HDMI, mini-DP, card-reader, SPDIF, LAN), plus a 6 Cell 52 Wh battery.

The MSI GS60 packs beastly hardware and top features inside a thin and light body

The MSI GS60 packs beastly hardware and top features inside a thin and light body

The GS60 Ghost 2PE Pro 3K model comes with an insane 2880 x 1620 px 15.6 inch display, with an IPS Panel and a low-glare finishing, while the GS60 2PC settles for a non-glare 1920 x 1080 px IPS display. That aside, the two are motorized by the same Intel Core i7-4710HQ processor, can take up to 16 GB of RAM and support dual-storage options (mSATA RAID 0 and a 2.5 inch bay). The top version gets an Nvidia GTX 870M graphics chip though, while the 2PC only gets an Nvidia GTX 860M solution. And while the former is for sure faster, don’t forget that it has to push more pixels if you’re planning on gaming at native resolution. On top of that, it runs hotter, and that’s a problem in a device this thin.

The Ghost GS60 is also available with Nvidia 970M graphics, and you can see how it performs in our detailed review available here.

In fact, that’s my only major gripe with the GS60 Ghost line: it gets warm with light use and actually very hot under extended load, and the components inside reach very high temperatures as well (above 90 °C), which might have a negative impact on their lifespan.

So, at the end of the day, the MSI GS60 offers solid performance and top-tier features in a very thin body, with a price tag of $2000 and up for the 2PE Pro 3K version, and about $1800 for the 2PC model, but both versions are available discounted online, as you’ll see from here. Still, are these laptops worth that kind of money? If not for the temperatures, I’d say yes for sure, but given the high temperatures, I’d suggest getting them only if you really want the compact form-factor and don’t mind the hot bodies. And make sure you’re buying extra-warranty as well. Otherwise, you should look at some of the other suggestions below.

 Asus Zenbook NX500 and GX500 – more details

These machines are going to be released towards the end of the year, so there’s not much to say about them for now.

We do know that these Zenbooks are going to have a metallic body, a low profile (under 0.8 inches thin) and reduced weight (under 5 pounds), while packing top features. Among them, there’s a 4K screen (3840 x 2160 px resolution), Asus’s Bang&Olufsen stereo speakers we’ve seen on many of their ultraportables, an Intel Core i7-4712HQ processor, up to 16 GB of RAM and dual PCI-E storage options. There’s also a rumored 6 Cell 96 Wh battery on these, which should translate in serious endurance, even when running games.

The two models are going to be separated by the graphics solution they’re going to offer, an Nvidia GTX 850M for the NX500 (read my full review over here) and an Nvidia GTX 860M chip for the GX500. On top of that, while the NX500 will keep the standard brushed aluminum looks we’ve been used to from previous Zenbooks (much like the UX51VZ launched a while ago), the GX500 will get a black theme with red stripes, which is somewhat more appropriate for a gaming ultrabook and closer to what Asus does with their N and G series laptops.

Anyway, these Zenbooks are expected in stores in Q3 or Q4 2014, with prices starting at roughly $2000, but I’ll update this section once we know more about them.

Asus Zenbooks NX500 (left) and GX500 (right) - top specs and a high-res 15.6 inch screen in a compact body

Asus Zenbooks NX500 (left) and GX500 (right) – top specs and a high-res 15.6 inch screen in a compact body

Gigabyte P35G v2 and P35W v2 Ultrablades

The P35G v2 Ultrablade is actually the larger version of the P34G v2 mentioned in the 14 inchers’ section. It offers the same Intel Core i7-4710HQ processor, up to 16 gb of RAM (2xDIMMs) and the Nvidia GTX 860M graphics chip, but offers a possible quadruple-storage solution (2 x M.2, 2 x 2.5″ bays), or a dual-storage solution plus a DVD Writer.

There is of course a 15.6 inch display on this laptop, with a 1920 x 1080 px matte IPS non-touch panel, and since the device is larger (weighs 5.1 lbs and is 0.85 inches thick, plus has a rather big footprint, as you can see from the bezel around the screen), there’s also room for a NumPad area on the keyboard and a 75Wh battery (although I’ve seen reports that this laptop will only last up to 5 hours in daily use).

Gigabyte will charge you roughly $1600 for all these, with 8 GB of memory and 128 GB SSD + TB HDD included in this configuration.

If you want a bit more power in your device, then you might to have a look at the P35W v2, which is mostly identical to the P35G, but packs an Nvidia 870M graphics chip and a Bluray burner for $200 extra.

Of course, the biggest concern with these laptops are the load temperatures and noise. From what I’ve seen so far, owners claim that these Gigabyte ultrabooks do get warm under load and you’ll hear the fans spinning, but the nor the temperatures or the noise are really problematic. And that’s the best you can expect from such thin, light and powerful devices.

Updated versions of these laptops bundling Nvidia GTX 970M and 980M graphics are available now. Follow this link for more details.

The Gigabyte P35G and P35W are powerful, thin and light, but not as compact as the other 15 inch gaming ultrabooks

The Gigabyte P35G and P35W are powerful, thin and light, but not as compact as the other 15 inch gaming ultrabooks

Dell XPS 15 Touch

Dell XPS 15 is one of the fanciest devices in here, with a slender 0.7 inch thick aluminum cast body that weighs only 4.4 pounds. But it’s fairly powerful as well.

Dell offers an Intel Core i7-4702HQ processor on their XPS 15, up to 16 GB of RAM, several storage options and an Nvidia GT 750M graphics, which barely qualifies it for this list. And that’s something to keep in mind, especially since this device comes with a 3200 x 1800 px display (a touchscreen, BTW), which means that actually running games at native resolution will require a lot of power. On top of that, the XPS 15 does get quite hot and noisy under serious load, and these are the reasons why this Dell is mostly a good all-rounder that can deal with occasional gaming, and not a proper gaming ultra-portable, like those mentioned before.

So unless you’re planning to do some heavy gaming on this machine, the XPS 15 is going to be good enough for most of you. Specs apart, you’re also getting a good keyboard with this one (nicely spaced, without a NumPad Area), a reliable touchpad, a decent selection of ports (3xUSBs, but only one of them USB 3.0, HDMI, mini-DP, card-reader) and either a 61W or a 91W battery. Considering that both the hardware and the screen are sippy, I’d go for the larger capacity one.

However, that big battery is only available on the higher specced models and those can get quite expensive. In fact, even the base version of the Dell XPS 15 start at about $1900, and for that kind of money you’ll get the CPU and graphics mentioned above, plus 16 GB of RAM and hybrid storage (1 TB HDD + 32 GB cache-SSD). Replacing that with a 512 GB SSD will cost you $300 extra, but most configurations are slightly discounted online, as you can see from here.

Dell's XPS 15 Touch is slender and light, but gaming performance is not its main asset

Dell’s XPS 15 Touch is slender and light, but gaming performance is not its main asset

Acer Aspire V5-573G  and V7-582PG

These should be on your list if you’re on a tighter budget.

The Aspire V5-573G really offers a lot for the money. You can get an Intel Core i7-4500U CPU with 8 GB of RAM, Nvidia GT 750M graphics and a 1 TB HDD for under $1000 (see this link for up-to-date prices and discounts). It’s true that there’s only an ULV processor on this Acer and the Nvidia 750M is no longer a top-of-the-line solution, but even so, it will do.

The thing is there’s only a 1366 x 768 px TN screen on this laptop, which is one of the reasons why it is so affordable, but that means that you’ll be able to run most games on it on High details.

If however you’re looking for an improved screen and faster gaming performance, then you you might want to check out the Acer Aspire V7-582PG. Roughly $1100 will get you an Intel Core i7-4500U processor, 8 GB of RAM and Nvidia 850M graphics, plus a 1920 x 1080 px IPS display, and the V7 can also be found discounted online.

BTW, both these laptops are fairly portable, with under 0.9 of an inch thick bodies that weigh about 4.8 pounds and there’s not much to complain about their build quality either (metal and plastic are used for the case).

But even so, you’ll be making compromises with these Acers, when compared to those others mentioned before. The looks, the keyboard/trackpad quality or the battery life (expect up to 5 hours of daily use) are just some of those, or the fact that you’re getting regular HDDs with each configuration (but this should not be a concern, as they can be easily swapped for SSDs later on). But let’s not forget that these laptops are a lot cheaper than most of their competitors, and that alone should be enough for most potential buyers.

Acer Aspire V5 and V7 - more affordable gaming ultrabooks

Acer Aspire V5 and V7 – more affordable gaming ultrabooks

Lenovo Y50

This is another affordable 15 incher you could consider these days.

Much like the Y40, the Y50 offers a plastic built body, a good keyboard with a NumPad section(which however flexes way too much), a reliable trackpad and plenty of ports (3xUSBs, HDMI, card-reader, LAN, SPDIF), all in a rather bulky body. In fact, this device barely makes it in this list, with a 0.9+ inch thick case and a total weight of roughly 5.3 pounds, so it’s definitely not as portable as some of the other machines mentioned before.

It does pack nice specs though: a FHD matte screen (with a TN panel), an Intel Core i7-4710HQ processor, up to 16 GB of RAM, Nvidia 860M graphics and various storage solutions, plus either a DVD or a Bluray unit. On the other hand, Lenovo chose to put a small battery on this notebook, so don’t expect more than 4 hours of daily use with it.

Even so, it’s hard to beat the Y50 for the money. $1100 will buy you the processor and the graphics listed above, 8 GB of RAM and a 1 TB storage drive, which is in fact better than what you’re getting with the Acer V5. And I expect prices to drop in the near future.

Of course, there are a few things you might not like about this Lenovo laptop, like the screen, the body’s lack of sturdiness and the very short battery life, but if you’re mostly after solid specs for as little money as possible, you’ll could learn to live with these and get the Y50 anyway. Or you might go ahead and buy a laptop like the Lenovo Y510p or the Asus N550JK, slightly thicker and heavier, but overall superior options.

The Lenovo Y50 laptop - good specs for the money, but with a few quirks that could make you look somewhere else

The Lenovo Y50 laptop – good specs for the money, but with a few quirks that could make you look somewhere else

There are a couple of other 15 inchers you could consider, like the:

  • Samsung ATIV Book 8 870Z5G – Intel Core i7-4700HQ CPU, up to 8 GB of RAM, Nvidia GT 750M graphics, 1920 x 1080 px IPS matte display, 94 Wh battery, 5.2 lbs. This model has a lot of potential and packs a huge battery. It is however difficult to find in stores these days, that’s why it only earned a place in the “others” section;
  • Asus N550JK – Intel Core i7-4700HQ CPU, up to 16 GB of RAM, Nvidia GT 850M graphics, 1920 x 1080 px IPS matte display, 59 Wh battery, 5.7 lbs, 1.1 inches thick – this barely gets outisde the requirements because it is a bit thick. But if you’re fine with this, you should definitely check it out. Prices start at around $1100 for this series (see this link for details) and my full review of the Asus N550 line is available over here;
  • Dell Inspiron 7537 – Intel Core i5/i7 ULV CPUs, up to 16 GB of RAM, Nvidia GT 750M graphics, 1920 x 1080 px IPS touchscreen, 58Wh battery, 5.6 lbs (heavy for an ultrabook!);
  • HP Envy TouchSmart 15 – Intel Core i5/i7 ULV CPUs, up to 16 GB of RAM, Nvidia GT 750M graphics, 1920 x 1080 px IPS touchscreen, 5.6 lbs (heavy for an ultrabook!).

Besides these, you should look at all the other ultrabooks from this list of recommended 15 inchers.

A few other 15 inchers you could consider: Samsung Series 7 Ultra (left), Asus N550JK (middle), Dell Inspiron (right)

A few other 15 inchers: Samsung Series 7 Ultra (left), Asus N550JK (middle), Dell Inspiron 7537 (right)

And there are also some interesting 17 inchers I’d like to mention, not ultrabooks per-se, but thin and light laptops in their classes:

  • Razer Blade Pro – the larger version of the Razer Blade mentioned above, this one packs an Intel Core i7-4700HQ processor, up to 16 GB of RAM, up to 512 GB SSD storage and an Nvidia GTX 860M graphics chip, plus a 1920 x 1080 px IPS matte display and a 74 Wh battery, all inside a fairly compact body (0.9 inches thick, weighs 6.5 lbs). On top of that, there’s a customizable LCD screen towards the right side of the keyboard, meant to improve your gaming productivity. The Razer Pro starts at $2300, with only 128 GB of storage, and goes up to $2700 for the 512 GB SSD version, but you might find potential discounts on all available configurations via this link.
The popular Razer Blade Pro

The popular Razer Blade Pro

  • MSI GS70 Stealth - details – a slightly slimmer (0.85 inches thick) and lighter (5.9 lbs) 17 inch laptop than the one above, packs a similar Intel Haswell platform, paired with Nvidia GTX 765M graphics, dual storage solutions (mSATA and 2.5 inch bay), a Full HD non-glare screen and a dedicated gaming-keyboard, designed in collaboration with SteelSeries. The GS70 sells for $1600 and up;
  • Medion Erazer X7611details – this offers the same hardware specs as the MSI GS70, but a 1600 x 900 px TN screen, a poorer keyboard and a different case (marginally thicker and heavier), but at the same time is cheaper than 17 incher mentioned before by a few hundreds of dollars. However, the Medion Erazer X7611 is mostly available in Europe, as Medion is a German company.
  • Maingear Pulse 17details – this is one of the sleekest 17 inchers available right now, measuring under 0.9 inches in thickness and weighing under 6 pounds. At the same time it packs powerful hardware: an Intel Core i7-4700HQ processor, up to 16 GB of storage. Nvidia GTX 870M graphics and several storage options, plus a matte 1920 x 1080 px display. All these for $2000 and up, which makes the Pulse 17 a solution to check-out if you really need the powerful graphics, as the other 17 inchers in here do not offer the same high-end Nvidia chip;
  • Gigabyte Aorus X7 v2details – the bigger brother of the Aorus X3 and the only device in this list to offer SLI graphics ( two Nvidia GTX 860M chips – an updated version with two GTX 970M chips in SLI is also available), alongside an Intel COre i7-4860HQ processor, up to 32 GB of RAM (4 slots) and a quadruple storage solution (3 x mSATA, 1 x 2.5″ bay), plus a 73 Wh battery. All these inside a 0.9 inch thick body that weighs about 7 pounds. As expected, the Aorus X7 is expensive and the high end configurations will set you back about $3000. But if you want the ultimate gaming ultraportable of the moment, well, this is IT.

The downsides of this monster as the high temperatures when gaming and the battery life. The SLI implementation means that there’s no Optimus on the Auros X7, and that translates in up to 3 hours of light use, which is very low for a device described as “portable”.

Gigabyte Aorus X7 - SLI graphics, powerful CPU and up to 32 GB of RAM on a portable computer

Gigabyte Aorus X7 – SLI graphics, powerful CPU and up to 32 GB of RAM on a portable computer

A quick wrap-up

All in all, there aren’t that many true gaming ultrabooks available in this list. However, there’s a fair number of good gaming portable laptops, most of them just as thin and light, just more powerful, “motorized” by faster Intel full-voltage platforms, and not the ULVs you’ll mostly find in ultrabooks.

So as potential buyers, you’ve got a wide array of options these days, from the portable 13 inchers to the beastly 17 inch monsters, with prices starting under $1000 or easily going over 3G.

In the end though, the final choice is all yours. There’s no perfect gaming ultraportable, but there are quite a few that come close. So make sure you know exactly what you want from your computer and pick accordingly between all these devices mentioned above. And if you haven’t found anything that fits your needs in this post, maybe you should check out this list of the most powerful gaming ultraportables available right now.

Whit that in mind, it’s time to bring this post to a halt, but make sure you’ll check the article from time to time, as I’m constantly updating it when new good gaming ultrabooks pop in stores.

That aside, if you have any questions, anything to add or just need help picking your next computer, drop your comments below, I’m around to reply and help you out. And if you found this post useful, feel free to share it around on Forums, Facebook, Twitter or show it to your friends.

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Andrei Girbea, aka Mike, Editor-in-Chief and a huge fan of mobile computers. Since 2007, I've only owned smaller than 12.5" laptops and I've been testing tens, if not hundreds of mini laptops. You'll find mostly reviews and guides written by me here on the site.


  1. Max

    July 31, 2014 at 11:16 am

    Hi Andrei, i’m thinking of getting the Y50 UHD on the highest specs, but i’ve heard the screen of the original Y50 (not the UHD) is quite bad. Would this improve with a UHD screen, or will it still be a poor choice? Also, heat is a very big problem for me. Do you think the Y50 will heat up to a point where gaming will be a pain because of the decreased performance?

    If not the Y50, what 15 inch gaming ultrabook would you recommend that has the same specs or better than the Y50 with highest specs? Anything below $2000? (Razer blade is out of my proce range)

    Thank you, sorry for the long post!

    • Andrei Girbea

      August 4, 2014 at 2:27 pm

      I haven’t personally tested the Y50 yet, it is not available over here right now.

      Both the HD and the UHD screen versions use TN panels. The 1366 x 768 px version is really bad when it comes to contrast, viewing angles and colors, from what I’ve read. The 1080p options seems somewhat better, but it’s far from an IPS (probably better for gaming due to the fast-response abilities of TN panels). I’ve heard Lenovo sells this with three different panels, and one of them is worse then the others, which seems like a lottery to me. You should do your own digging into this matter.

      Heat can also be a problem, from the reviews I’ve seen, but that’s a given when squeezing fast hardware in a slim body. The tests I’ve seen don’t say anything about throttling under stress as long as you keep the laptop connected to the wall, as on battery the CPU’s frequency quickly dips the 800 Mhz when on continuous load.

      As for alternatives, I’ll have to take a rain-check for a future article. There’s nothing similar coming to my mind that sells as cheap as this Lenovo. You’ve got the Razers, the Gigabyte’s and the Asus Zenbook GX500, but all of them are expensive. The Gigabyte’s could be worth a look though, they seem to offer a lot for the money.

      • Max

        August 5, 2014 at 6:06 pm

        Thanks so much for the reply, very helpful as always!

        I’ll do more digging and if i find anything that answers my questions i’ll post them here :)

        Keep up the awesome reviews Andrei!

        • sheshan

          November 23, 2014 at 9:01 pm

          Hey Andrei Girbea,

          I personally purchased New Lenovo Y50 gaming laptop and I need to say that I have a model with FHD (full HD display 1920*1080 resolution) and UHD is also available .

          I got no problems with my lap but the screens viewing angle is not that good(any how its a gaming laptop and it is ment to be used for gaming purpose where u sit exactly in front of ur pc ,so it doesn’t matter for me) it is bad for watching movies for more than 3 people.
          Coming to heat ,it doesn’t heat up much while I was playing SKYRIM with ultra high resolution and more than 10 mods installed though if u have an cooler u will be in the safer side!!! Because it is an heavy duty MACHINE.
          Sound is awesome with built in subwoofer at the bottom side.

          I have a variant with 4GB Nvidia GTX 860m graphics card.that’s pretty cool for next 2 to 3 years(I guess)…

          And u can expand ur RAM up to 16 GB.

          But at last I got one problem i.e the fan makes very loud noice and I contacted the service centre and they said there was a defect in the fan and said they could replace it (it may not happen for all.it was a manufacturing defect)

          Finally my opinion.

          If u want a gaming laptop with above mid range and just below high end gaming laptops and decent price you SHOULD go for lenovo Y50

          • Andrei Girbea

            November 23, 2014 at 11:12 pm

            HI, thanks for this feedback.

    • Paul Groves

      January 23, 2015 at 4:42 pm

      How would the HP Omen 15 compare with this lot? It has a pretty good spec (inc Nvidia GTX 860m graphics) and looks like a much nicer and well-made design than most of the other examples. Cooling approach looks sensible too (blows out the back rather than up the screen or sideways)


      If they did a Broadwell version of this with GTX 970m or 980m graphics, I would be *very* tempted!

      I also like the fact that it doesn’t have a bloated numpad keyboard section, just some extra assignable keys on the left.

      • Andrei Girbea

        January 24, 2015 at 9:51 am

        The Omen 15 looks like a great laptop. I haven’t tested it so can’t say anything about its potential hidden flaws, So you should make sure to read some proper reviews before jumping in.

  2. Dave

    August 3, 2014 at 3:29 am

    Evening Andrei,

    Thanks for all the great reviews and info. I’m attempting to choose between the MSi Ghost (non 3K version) and the Razer Blade 14″. I have actually ordered and sent them both back after finding flaws with each, however I am now realizing that my MacBook Pro Retina, while an awesome machine, is just not going to cut it for gaming for me, even with installing and running bootcamp. I tested the Razer more extensively than the MSi. I found the Razer to run VERY hot, even with a cooling pad. The area next to the trackpad where you rest your hands seemed to get uncomfortably warm, especially when compared to my Mac (I mostly play on the couch with the laptop on a cooling pad in my lap). The Mac will get hot, but only at the top near the screen in an area my hands never touch. However, I loved the touch screen on the Razer, the better graphics card and the touchpad which was very intuitive for me. The MSi was nice because of the 16gb of RAM, the larger screen and the controls on the keyboard lighting. I did not test it much though as the trackpad did not meet my high standards (damn you Apple) and I wasn’t a fan of the keyboard layout (with the number pad included. Never understood that on laptops). So, with that being said, here are a few questions I’m hoping you can advise me on:

    1) Any insight you can share on whether the MSi is as hot or hotter than the Razer?
    2) I mainly play WoW (yes, I’m old lol) but am interested in getting into other MMOs and regular games like Guild Wars 2, Rift, Watch Dogs, etc. Will the 8gb of RAM on the Razer be an issue for any of the current games or any games coming out in the next 18-24 months?
    3) I read somewhere that Razer is developing a patch that will assist with the resolution issue of running in 3200 that makes some apps/sites/icons so small you can barely see them. Have you heard any news on that?
    4) On the Razer, can you re-map keys like the MSi allows you to (e.g. direct the machine to use the FN key as the Cntl key, etc)? (I will miss my command key on the Mac)
    5) Overall, based on the info I provided, which machine do you think would be better for my needs? (Just to get a bit more specific, price isn’t an obstacle and I’m looking at the MSi Ghost 16gb RAM, i7 4700HQ 2.4ghz, 128SSD, 860m 2gb and the Razer Blade 14 with the 512 SSD, i7 4702HQ 2.2ghz, 8gb RAM, 870m 3gb).

    I appreciate any advice you can provide, thanks for your time.

    • Andrei Girbea

      August 4, 2014 at 2:52 pm

      Hi Dave. Unfortunately I didn’t get to properly review either of these, as they are not available in my country. So I’m probably not the right person to answer these, I’d suggest you go ahead and start thread on the forums at notebookreview.com and hopefully some of the owners might help you more, if you haven’t done that already. I’ll try to answer the questions I can though:

      2. I’d say not really, 8 GB of RAM should be enough for even the most demanding titles these days and in the 1-2 years timeframe
      3. There is a solution for that already, it’s called Scaling in Windows which will automatically scale up the interface. It works best when scaling 4:1 (the 3200 x 1800 px screen would look like a 1600 x 900, but which much sharper details, fonts, etc). However, some third party apps (especially old ones) might not support the scaling and will indeed display tiny elements. There’s not much to do about that except for running the screen an a lower than native resolution, but in my experience, whenever I did this with any of the screens I’ve ever tried, it lead to slightly fuzzy, blurry images.

      5. All these thin and light laptops with GTX 860M+ graphics and COre i7 CPUs are going to get hot, noisy and even throttle under heavy load. That’s just the way it is right now, the hardware needs space and manufacturers are pushing it to the limits in their effort to cut thickness and weight.

      So if you don’t mind using a larger machine, you might want to look at a proper gaming laptop, not an ultra-portable. Or maybe some of those custom made Clevo/Sager devices, there are a few shops offering them in the US.

  3. Otávio

    August 5, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    Hi Andrei,
    I am thinking about buying the 4k version of Lenovo Y50 (UHD,
    GTX 860M 4GB,16.0GB ram, 512GB SSD). It costs $1600,00. At this price, is this the best hardware I can buy?

  4. Aaron Tavis

    August 15, 2014 at 12:42 am

    Hey Andrei,

    Excellent round up. There are more options out there than I thought for a thin/light gaming rig. Just wanted to point something out though. The Maingear Pulse 17 is actually a re – badged MSI GS70 Stealth Pro.

    • Andrei Girbea

      August 15, 2014 at 1:33 pm

      thanks, I didn’t know that. And what other similar options are there?

  5. Newell Albay

    September 15, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    I’m surprised the Origin Evo15-s isn’t on this list. It’s up there spec and build wise with the Razer Blade 14, but packs dual 128 SD and a terabyte of hard drive memory. It also has the option for a 3k screen, but a lower 1980×1080 res is better for the hardware. Price point is also similar to the Razer Blade, but the Evo15-s wins out with 16gb of RAM and an 870M instead of 870M graphics processor. You can even laser etch a design on the cover.

    Here’s a link: originpc.com/gaming/laptops/evo15-s/

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 16, 2014 at 3:08 pm

      Thanks, I’ll need to check it out for the next update.

      • Newell Albay

        September 16, 2014 at 3:34 pm

        Meant to say it has an 870M instead of an 860M. Looking back on this comment and line-up, the Origin Evo15-s is essentially the same machine as the MSI GS60 Ghost but with dual 128GB SSDs and a 1TB 7200rpm hard drive. It even has the same chassis.

    • Eric Rini

      October 8, 2014 at 10:09 pm

      Looks a lot like a custom GS-60. Seems like MSI has a lot of custom builders rebadging their GS60\70 machines. The hardware is great, but the build quality feels more like a Dell than a Macbook, especially the GS60.

      • Andrei Girbea

        October 9, 2014 at 1:54 pm

        We’re going to have a review o the 970M MSI GS60 version in a few days. Stay close

  6. Paperjuice

    September 18, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    Hey Andrei,

    Very nice website of yours, found a lot of useful info and advice, thanks :)

    My old laptop broke on me a while ago, and now is the time to get a new one.

    The thing is, I’m a graphic designer and require many different criteria to be efficient : very good screen calibration, dedicated graphic card, good processor, plenty of RAM…to name a few. Basically, and so I heard, graphic designers need gaming laptops. But with a good screen.

    On a personal matter, and because I plan to travel a lot, I’m heading for an ≤14″ screen, 13.3 being perfect.
    Working outdoors might be happening, and a matte finish could help with that.
    Unfortunately, many of the good ultrabooks today feature a touchscreen. Though I like the feel and idea, all of them are nastily glossy.
    Of course, there is a budget to meet, so i’m heading for 1.5k$ max.

    I’m heavily considering the Asus UX303LN, but the poor screen calibration is a huge drawback for me. And unfortunately, in Canada the FHD IPS 1080p is not an option.

    Then, I noticed the Sager brand, which I didn’t know before, and I’m quite surprised that you didn’t go deeper in their testing and reviewing.
    I’m thinking about their NP7338, which looks quite awesome for the price. Let me sum it up :

    • Intel i7-4700MQ and more
    • 13,3″ FHD Matte
    • Geforce GTX 860M 2Gb
    • 16Gb DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz
    • 1Tb SATA2 HDD 7200rpm + 120Gb mSATA3 SSD + 1 free mSATA slot
    • Amongst other things

    For around 1160 CAD

    I can’t be quite decided yet (not sure about the screen quality, weight, thickness, ports position, noise & heat), but it really sounds like a pretty good deal.
    And also better than the NP7330 listed here, without being overpriced as mentioned.

    Anyway, what are your thoughts on that ?

    Thanks, keep up the very good work ! (always checking out amazon through your links :) )

    • Paperjuice

      September 18, 2014 at 10:13 pm

      Erratum on my previous comment : the price tag for the Sager NP7338 I mentioned is more like ~1500 CAD, my bad !

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 19, 2014 at 3:40 pm

      Hi. I have very limited experience with Sager computers because their products are not available at all in my country. I do know they make fairly good gaming barebones and notebooks. BTW, Sager products are also sold as Clevo’s in some regions, so the NP7338 is identical to the Clevo W230SS .

      My advice is to go through this thread and see what those who actually bought them have to say about these: http://forum.notebookreview.com/sager-clevo-reviews-owners-lounges/748242-official-clevo-w230ss-sager-np7338-owner-s-lounge.html . You can also ask your questions there and you should get help easily.

      Sry I can’t shed more light on the unit myself, but since I haven’t even seen it live, I can’t say more than you can already find online. But that forum link can. Hope you understand.

      BTW, I wouldn’t expect stellar screen quality from a 13 inch ultraportable right now. Apple’s 13 inch RMacbook Pro has one of the best displays out there, but even so, if you need the accuracy, you’d be way better with an external monitor (at home, on the go you’ll have to do with the included display on the products you end up getting).

  7. Wouter

    October 6, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    Hey Andrei!

    Very nice website of yours, I liked it very much, thanks!

    As a student in the Netherlands, I am looking for a new Ultrabook (or Ultrabook like) and I was wondering what you think would be the best option. This is what I am looking for: a 1080 screen, dedicated graphics (for playing games), an “okay” or good battery life and preferably also: a slim and light model. I want to spend €1200 on it.
    What do you think is the best (gaming) Ultrabook or laptop at this price?

    Thank you!

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 6, 2014 at 4:42 pm

      Screen size?

      • Wouter

        October 17, 2014 at 6:43 am

        14 or 13 inch, (perhaps 15) something I can carry around in my backpack.

        • Andrei Girbea

          October 17, 2014 at 7:16 am

          See the Asus UX303LN for a 13 incher, maybe you can find the option with a 1080p screen (most come with a 3200 x 1800 px panel). You’ll find my review here on the site.

          As for 14 inchers and 15 inchers, there are quite a few that could meet your needs. Narrow down your options by reading this post, and going through this list: http://www.ultrabookreview.com/2404-14-15-inch-ultrabooks/

          • Wouter

            November 24, 2014 at 10:08 am

            Dear Andrei,
            I bought the ux303ln (imported it from the USA) and I’m very happy with it! the performance is great, I love the touch screen, the high resolution and the looks. Only the battery life is really short. I just wanted to thank you! I’m really happy with it.

          • Andrei Girbea

            November 24, 2014 at 4:19 pm

            Glad you like it and thanks for the feedback

  8. Yongy

    November 8, 2014 at 12:52 am

    Hi Andrei,

    Would you consider the Sager NP8651 part of this category and if so where would it rank? Are you going to do a review of this laptop anytime soon? The specs on this machine look absolutely amazing but the only thing holding me back is the battery life as well as my concern of it overheating. I don’t mind it getting a little hot, I just don’t want it to burn through my jeans if I have it on my lap.

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 9, 2014 at 11:12 am

      Hi Yongy. I have zero experience with Sager laptops, they are not a available in my country. I’ll check that model out though and consider it for the next update.

  9. Luis

    November 16, 2014 at 6:07 am

    Andrei, thank you for your dedication on this post.
    I’m a student photographer and long time gamer (now, mainly Dota2 and BF4)
    I need an IPS (1080 is ok) display (matte would be awesome) for my photo editing, and have narrowed my search pretty much to the ASUS N550JK-DB74T (removing CD and throwing a 1TB 5400 + caddy for photo backup).
    I dont really care about touchscreen, what do concerns me, is the yellow thing and other problems screen related that many costumers said in amazon.
    Do you think there is still a real problem or maybe Asus did fix their panels?

    What are your toughts and suggestions? Thx in advance.

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 23, 2014 at 4:19 pm

      Hi Luis, sry for the delayed reply.

      I’m not aware of any yellow issues on the N550JK, if they are a problem, you should check out the owner’s lounge on the notebookreview.com forums and ask those who already own one of these for their opinion.

      As a side note, you should also check out the N551JK, a successor of the N550, with a sligthyl different design, faster hardware and a good display. I’ve reviewed it here: http://www.tlbhd.com/asus-n551jk-review-19227/

  10. Yassine

    November 21, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    Hi Andrei,

    Have you considered adding the new Alienware 13 and the Alienware 14 ? Or are you not a big fan of Alienware?

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 23, 2014 at 4:37 pm

      I haven’t because those are rather bulky from what I know, thus not ultra-portables. Will check them out for the next update. Thanks

      • Yassine

        November 23, 2014 at 11:20 pm

        Well the 14 is rather bulky but the 13 is thinner than some laptops in this thread.
        Thank you anyway for your work, you hellped me choose what I wanted.

      • Homan

        November 30, 2014 at 1:39 pm

        You should put the Alienware 13 in here, would be nice to compare as the AW 13 is a ultrabook size laptop or close. Not att halv the thickness of the AW14. And with ULV cpu.

  11. Abdul

    November 26, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    The new Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga 14 I would think is atleast as good as aspire V7. What are your thoughts about the new Yoga 14?

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 26, 2014 at 9:53 pm

      Haven’t got to test it yet but it’s a pretty good one from the reviews I’ve seen. Worth buying and I should add it in here asap.

  12. Doug

    December 14, 2014 at 12:38 am

    This is a very good list. One thing to consider is waiting a while. The new Intel Core M laptops are starting to arrive. Intel Broadwell is in Q1/Q2 2015. But the big news is Intel with its Skylake architecture. But that will be Q2/Q3 next year. Big improvements to cooling, optimus, with the 14nm architecture. Cooler running laptops is the big thing as well as better battery life. Should we hold out for Broadwell or Skylake and ship Haswell?

    • Andrei Girbea

      December 14, 2014 at 2:14 pm

      If you can wait, yes. But if you want something today, there are still plenty of good options to consider. There’s always going to be a next best thing, but sometimes we just have to settle for what meets the requirements at a given time.

  13. Bilal Akhtar

    December 24, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    Asus G751JT-CH71 OR MSI GT70 DOMINATOR-2293
    OR Any other around 1.5k……

  14. Nick Sullivan

    January 7, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    That was a really well written and informative round up of the 2014 machines – thank you. Now if only they could make there way to Australia that would be great. Currently waiting on the ASUS G551JM-DM169H to drop with our reseller.

    From what I’ve read above and seen online it seems to tick all the boxes and hit the price point very well. If only the Razer was 1k cheaper :)

  15. Claudio

    January 31, 2015 at 10:11 am

    HI Andrei!! Great webpage!! I was wondering, if there is any ultrabook with less than 13″ that have a dedicated graphic card? which is the smallest size you can find with a dedicated gf? Thanks!!!

    • Andrei Girbea

      January 31, 2015 at 11:29 am

      Ultrabook, not that I know of. If you want something a bit bulkier, Clevo had some 11 inch models and there was also the Alienware M11X, which hasn’t been updated lately though

  16. Sam

    February 3, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    Hi andrei,

    Great list!
    I’m thinking about buying the msi gs30 shadow.
    Did you already had the chance to test it?
    I think the laptop would be perfect for this list

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 3, 2015 at 10:56 pm

      Yes, that laptop will make it in here at the next major update. haven’t tested it though and I don’t think I will be able too, since MSI laptops aren’t sold over here.

  17. Craig

    February 4, 2015 at 9:44 am

    On Dells latest model of the “NEW 14 7000″ under the official tech specs PDF it states that E7450 is capable of Nvidia 840M. However I cant option. Any ideas? Here is the link:


    • Andrei Girbea

      February 4, 2015 at 8:38 pm

      I’m not seeing that option either. Maybe they’ll add it later? You should really ask Dell about that, they should provide documented help.

  18. Ata

    February 13, 2015 at 5:11 am

    Hey Andrei,

    I’m about to go get the Asus UX303LN. Before I make the purchase though, just want your word that there is absolutely nothing else if you want light, decent battery, nice looks, and also gaming ability on a laptop for around $1000. If there is an upcoming, I’d rather not wait. So is the UX303LN the perfect laptop in this regards?

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 15, 2015 at 8:54 am

      if you want all these in a 13 inchers then there’s nothing else of this sort. If you can go with a bigger device, then there are other options.

  19. Kevin

    February 16, 2015 at 12:20 am

    Will you do a review on the Gigabyte P34W v3? Also, do you know anything about the P34K v3 in terms of availability and cost in the U.S.? I’m very interested in that configuration. If it has truly over 5 or 6 hours of battery life, that would be a god send.

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 16, 2015 at 9:56 am

      Gigabyte laptops are not available where I live, thus chances of mt reviewing something here are incredibly slim.

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