Here at Ultrabookreview.com, we’ve been testing and reviewing thin-and-light gaming laptops for 15 years now, of all kinds and from all major brands. Our experience allows us to help you choose the best portable gaming laptop (or gaming ultrabook) for your needs and budget, from the multitude of options available in stores as of early 2023.
Table of Contents
- The Best portable 13-inch gaming laptops and ultrabooks
- The best 14-inch gaming laptops – lightweight and well-balanced
- The best 15″+ thin-and-light gaming laptops
- Premium lightweight options: Dell XPS 15, Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme, MacBook Pro
- Asus ROG Zephyrus G15/G16/M16 and ROG Flow X16 lineups
- Razer Blade 15 Advanced
- Alienware x15
- Gigabyte Aero 16 and Aero 5 OLED
- Almost there: Acer Predator Triton 500 and MSI GS66 Stealth
- Tongfang barebones – Eluktronics Max-15 or Schenker XMG Fusion 15
- 17-inch and 18-inch portable gaming laptops
- Razer Blade 17 – review – configurations and prices
- Dell XPS 17 – configurations and prices
- Alienware X17 – configurations and prices
- Eluktronics Max 17 – configurations and prices
- Asus ROG Zephyrus S17 – review – configurations and prices
- MSI Stealth GS77 and Gigabyte Aero 17 – configurations and prices
- More powerful, less portable gaming laptops
- Conclusions on the best available portable gaming laptops
We take a multitude of aspects into consideration for our recommendations. The performance, thermals, and noise levels while running games and other demanding applications come first, but other details count as well, such as the overall build quality and ergonomics, the screen and audio quality, the typing experience, and especially if there are any potential deal-breaking flaws that you must be aware of with each model. On top of these, pricing plays an important role as well in determining a notebook’s overall worth.
Even when accounting for all these, you’ll find that there are many good-value gaming laptops out there, and that’s why this article is not just a basic Top 10 as you’ll find on most other sites, but instead a detailed buying guide (with a condensed summary in the beginning). Take your time and go through the entire article, it will help you narrow down your options and make a purchase you won’t regret.
I’ve split the article into a few different sections, in order to make it easier for you to navigate:
- 13-inch gaming ultrabooks – the most compact and lightest options;
- balanced 14-inch gaming laptops – the sweet spot balance of performance and portability ;
- the best 15 and 16-inch slim and lightweight gaming laptops – not as compact, but still portable and more powerful, as well as potentially more affordable;
- the best 17 and 18-inch portable gaming laptops – with larger screens and improved performance, but still fairly light and portable;
- more powerful, less portable gaming laptops – for value-oriented buyers, or when shopping for the best performance in a laptop format.
The Best portable 13-inch gaming laptops and ultrabooks
In the past, the Alienware 13 was for many years the only 13-inch performance laptop you could get. It wasn’t compact and it wasn’t pretty, but it bundled an i7 and a mid-tier GTX GPU in its latest iteration, good enough for FHD gaming at high details at the time.
Since that’s no longer an option, unless you somehow find it used, these days your best options in the 13-inch segment are a few powerful models in the Asus ROG Flow lineup, as well as the slightly older Razer Blade Stealth 13.
Asus ROG Flow X13 and ROG Flow Z13 – most powerful 13-inchers
These two ROG Flow models are the most powerful 13-inch ultrabooks available today, suitable for daily use and sustained work/gaming loads.
The ROG Flow X13 is a convertible 2-in-1 laptop built on modern AMD Ryzen 9 hardware, while the ROG Flow Z13 is a tablet + keyboard folio format built on an Intel Core i9 platform.
In the latest generations, both can be specced with an RTX 4060 internal dGPU, or can be hooked to an external ROG XGMobile dGPU unit with up to a GeForce RTX 4090 or AMD RX 6850M XT inside, for gaming capabilities that will match what full-size 15/17-inch laptops offer today.
I’ve reviewed both models over the years, and you can find our latest articles here: Flow X13 review and Flow Z13 review.
In a few words, both offer 16:10 touchscreens with QHD+ 165Hz panels in the latest variants. Both are sturdily made and black, minimalist designs with RGB keyboards and good IO.
The choice you’ll have to make is between the two formats and the AMD/Intel specs. As far as the specs go, the 13th-gen Intel Core i9 in the Flow Z13 is the more powerful processor, but Asus only pairs it with up to 16 GB of RAM, which can be a limitation for certain loads. The Flow X13 can be specced up to 32 GB of RAM, and while the Ryzen 9 is not as fast in sustained multi-threaded tasks, it’s still perfectly fine for most use cases. Plus, the AMD platform has an efficiency advantage on its side, which combined with the larger battery inside the Flow X13, allows this model to outlast the Z13 in terms of battery life.
The format of the two affects not just their daily ergonomics, but their performance in games and sustained workloads as well. For me, the convertible X13 is the more versatile daily driver, a design I can comfortably use on the desk or on the go. The tablet format of the Z13 is fine for desk use, but not as practical on the lap. At the same time, the Z13 is a better tablet, and overall if you’ve used/seen a Surface Pro over the past years, you’ll know what to expect here as well.
As far as the performance goes, the superior thermal design of the Z13 and the fact that the airflow is never obstructed as on the X13 when using it on the desk allows it to run cooler, quieter, and deliver superior sustained performance, both in games and in taxing work/school applications. That doesn’t mean the Flow X13 is a slouch by any means, but you’ll have to work past its design limitations in order to get the best out of it. Check out the reviews for in-depth details.
One final aspect to touch on here is pricing, where the AMD model has a slight advantage, as the more affordable of the two. Expect prices of 1500 to 3000 USD/EUR between the various configurations, or even lower with occasional discounts. Follow these links for the latest configurations and prices:
- ROG Flow X13 (2-in-1 convertible format, up to AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS + RTX 4070)
- ROG Flow Z13 (2-in-1 convertible format, up to Intel Core i9-13900H + RTX 4060)
Razer haven’t updated the Blade Stealth 13 in 2022, and is are longer listing it on their site either, but this is still available on 3rd party sites.
The good news is you could find this for a fair price, somewhere around $1300 or less, which is competitive for a Razer product with the excellent build quality and attention to detail, as you’ll find out from our detailed review.
Furthermore, while not as powerful as the ROG Flow unit, this is still a snappy daily driver that can handle demanding loads and gaming. You’ll want to look for the latest update with the i7 CPU and RTX 1650Ti GPU. Sure, that i7 is a 4Core U platform, so it can only do so much in CPU-heavy tasks in comparison to the 2022 options out there, but that’s not going to matter that much when running games.
The Blade Stealth 13 also gets a fine 120 Hz display in the latest model. Don’t expect it to be as fast and well suited to gaming as the panels available on the larger 14 and 15-inch laptops, though. And in fact, don’t expect to run the latest AAA titles at high+ settings on this one, either, but it will do fine for more casual eSports titles and older games.
All in all, the Razer Blade 13 Stealth is still a fair performance-ultrabook today, one I would especially consider for the premium design and its overall build quality, even if it is no longer the best gaming ultracompact laptop on the market.
Follow this link for more details about the Stealth 13, updated configurations, and prices.
If these options are not within your budget, there are a couple of others for you to perhaps consider as well, but only as long as you’re rather interested in playing simpler games such as Minecraft or Fornite or Dota2 or the likes, or older titles, and not AAA modern games.
For starters, you’ll still find a few 13-inch laptops based on Nvidia MX550/MX450 dGPUs in stores, which should appeal to those of you on a tighter budget. Among those, the Dell Inspiron 13 or the HP Envy 13 would be my go-to recommendations, both 13-inch gaming ultraportables selling for under $1000.
And then, you could also consider some of the few recent AMD Ryzen models with Radeon 680M graphics – that’s an iGPU, but the most competent iGPU available to date, and able to come close to the performance of those MX Nvidia chips in a properly-powered design, as explained in this review of the Radeon 680M chip. The Asus ZenBook S 13 OLED and the HP Pavilion Aero 13 are the recommendations in this sub-niche. We’ve covered them in various articles on the site, use the search bar at the top.
The best 14-inch gaming laptops – lightweight and well-balanced
More and more excellent 14-inch gaming laptops are available these days, and for me, these are the sweetspot of performance and portability available for most buyers. With powerful processors and graphics, these can handle everything a full-size portable design would, but in a smaller and more compact chassis. For that, though, expect to pay a slight premium over a 15-inch model with similar capabilities, and have to accept higher internal temperatures.
Razer Blade 14 – most powerful 14-inch laptop
The Blade 14 is the most powerful 14-inch gaming ultrabook out there, built on a Ryzen 9 6900HX processor with up to RTX 3080Ti Laptop (80-100W) graphics in its latest iteration.
These specs are nearly on-par with what Razer offer on their full-size Blade 15 Advanced, and more powerful on the GPU side than what the competition offer on their 14-inchers. Of course, though, these come with a price to match, with the RTX 3060 model starting at $2200 and the top-tier RTX 3080Ti configuration going for a whopping $3700. Ouch!
Follow this link for updated prices and configurations at the time you’re reading the article.
Our full review of the Blade 14 is available over here, and in just a few words, it’s an amazing compact laptop, significantly smaller than the Blade 15, as you can tell from the picture down below.
With this 14-inch Blade, Razer kept consistent with their premium build and design language and implemented the same features, IO, and inputs that are also available on the larger models. However, they had to go with a smaller battery and had to shrink the implemented vapor-chamber thermal module in this 14-inch design. As a result, the Blade 14 runs noisier and warmer than the other Blades, something you’ll just have to accept if you’re after this sort of performance in a sub-15-inch product.
I did mention that all the Blade 14 variants are built on the Ryzen 9 6900HX processor (or Ryzen 9 5900HX for the previous generation), which performs well in this product, as shown in the review. The RAM tops out at 16 GB though, and is soldered and non-upgradable, and the lack of a 32 GB option could be a deal-breaker for some.
Razer pairs these specs with two screen options: a 144 Hz FHD panel with 100% sRGB colors available on the base 3060 variant, or a nicer QHD 165Hz screen with 100% DCI-P3 colors on the 3070Ti/3080Ti models.
Aside from the steep entry price and warm temperatures with games and demanding loads, the Blade 14 could also benefit from better speakers and a more tactile keyboard, but all in all, this is a package unmatched out there at this point, especially in the highest-tier dGPU configurations.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 – the sweet spot
We’ve tested the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 in multiple configurations over the years, and you’ll find our reviews here for the latest 2022 Zephyrus G14, or here for the 2021/2020 generations.
The latest Zephyrus G14 GA402 is a significant improvement over the Zephyrus G14 GA401 models, with a refined chassis and improved ergonomics, a 16:10 display with smaller bezels and a camera at the top, improved audio with quad speakers, as well as more powerful hardware and an updated vapor-chamber thermal module. Despite these, the Zephyrus G14 still only weighs around 3.7 lbs (1.7 kilos), which means it’s lighter than the Blade 14 or the Alienware X14.
The G14 is also a better typer than the Blade or the Alienware, and the typing experience is complemented by a large glass clickpad, a fair set of ports, a finger-sensor, and a choice of either an FHD+ 144 Hz 3ms or a QHD+ 120 Hz 3ms screen, the latter with 100% DCI-P3 color coverage. Both are 16:10 aspect ratio. In comparison, the Blade and the Alienware get more standard 16:9 panels, with similar FHD/QHD options on the Blade, but only a basic FHD 144Hz option on the X14.
As far as specs go, the G14 is an AMD Advantage design, which means it bundles a Ryzen 9 6900HS platform and either an RX 6700s or an RX 6800S dGPU. We’ve tested both variants and compared them in this article. Previous-gen Zephyrus G14s topped at an RTX 3060 80W chip, but the 2022 model is more powerful. The Blade 14 still has an edge here in GPU prowess, while the Alienware X14 comes 3rd in performance with only an RTX 3060 75W dGPU.
Furthermore, the G14 wins in the ability to configure some models with up to 48 GB of RAM, and with its larger 76 Wh battery, which allows for longer runtimes when paired with the AMD platform. The G14 also runs slightly cooler and quieter than the Blade 14 with daily use, but still heats up significantly with games. The X14, on the other hand, is the better cooled for the set, but that’s also because it implements lower-power specs.
Finally, I will also mention that the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 sells for significantly less than the Blade 14, and is more widely available. It starts at around $1700 at the time of this update, for the R9 + RTX 6700S model, while previous gen R9 + RTX 3060 variants are available for under $1500. The Alienware X14 starts at $1500 as well, but is no match in performance.
Follow this link for updated Zephyrus G14 prices and configurations in your country.
Alienware X14 – the thinnest gaming ultraportable
As mentioned earlier, the Alienware X14 is a potentially interesting mid-range choice in this niche, and thinner than its close competitors, at less than .6″ (15 mm). That’s not helping its overall portability, though, as this is both heavier and significantly larger than both the Zephyrus G14 and the Blade 14, as shown in the following video.
It does feel well built and carefully crafted, though, topping the Zephyrus in that regard, but still coming 2nd behind the premium feeling Blade.
The keyboard on the X14 is fine, it’s close to a standard XPS implementation, but shallower than on XPS 15. On top of that, Alienware placed this keyboard in the middle of the chassis in order to leave extra space at the top of the cooling module, and that only leaves room for a smaller arm-rest area and a smaller clickpad, despite the laptop’s large footprint, which interferes with its practicality on the lap. The IO isn’t great with the X14 either, with a more limited selection of ports than on the other laptops, and with everything squeezed at the back, behind the screen.
When it comes to the screen and audio, this laptop offers two average up-firing speakers and a fair FHD 144Hz panel option with 100% DCI-P3 color coverage and 400+ nits of brightness. That means you’re not getting the QHD wide-gamut options available with the Blade and the Zephyrus.
For the specs, you can get this with up to an Intel i7-12700H processor, 32 GB of RAM, and an RTX 3060 dGPU 75W. These are competitive mid-tier specs for this class, even if not as powerful on the GPU side as on the Asus and especially the Razer. The thermal module does a good job at cooling the hardware, but the downside is the fan noise at 50+ dBA at head level, louder than on the other two.
I’ll also mention that Dell didn’t skimp on the battery inside this Alienware X14, opting for an 80 Wh one. This comes about on par in runtimes with the Blade despite that having a smaller battery, and the G14 goes for much longer on a charge, thanks to the more efficient AMD hardware in both cases.
Finally, we need to discuss the pricing, which is competitive here for an Alienware laptop. Retail MSRP is between 1500 to 2200 USD for the various configurations, but Dell often have sales that will shave a few hundred off. Overall, you’re still getting better value for your money with the Zephyrus G14, but I can understand why some of you might pick this instead for the design, the build quality, and the RTX dGPU options at a lower price than Razer ask for their model.
Follow this link for updated Alienware X14 prices and configurations in your country.
Acer Predator Triton 300 SE and Swift X 14
Acer offer two interesting performance laptops in the 14-inch segment as well. The Predator Triton 300 SE is a baby Predator built on latest-gen Intel hardware and RTX 3060 Laptop graphics, while the Swift X (reviewed here) is a smaller and more affordable model built on Ryzen 7 U processors with up to RTX 3050Ti graphics.
Both are aggressively priced and competent options in their segments. At close to $2000 for the i7 + RTX 3060 variant, the Predator Triton 300 SE could be an alternative for the Alienware X14 if you’re after a well-priced Nvidia option with a 16:10 QHD+ wide-gamut display. I haven’t properly reviewed this model, though, so I can’t get into all the bits and details; you’ll want to check out other reviews for a more in-depth analysis of its pros and cons.
The Acer Swift X is especially interesting at around the $1000 price limit in the Ryzen 7 + RTX 3050Ti configuration. For that kind of money, this is one of the best value multi-purpose lightweight 14-inch laptops available out there, even if not as nicely polished or as powerful as the options mentioned before, or some of the options below.
Asus VivoBook/ZenBook Pro 14X and MSI Prestige/Modern 14
Asus and MSI also offer some interesting 14-inch ultraportables with dedicated graphics at around the 1000 USD/EUR mark.
I was impressed with the overall value offered by the Asus VivoBook Pro 14X OLED (up to Intel i7 or Ryzen 9 + 3050Ti, 1.5 kg/3.3lbs) reviewed here, with better cooling, a superior 2.8K OLED 90H display, and a larger battery than the Acer Swift X.
For what is worth, Asus also offers a more premium ZenBook Pro 14X OLED (up to Intel i7 Core P + Nvidia MX550), but that’s a more 14-inch ultrabook and a step back in performance.
The MSI Prestige 14 and Modern 14 laptops are also built on Intel platforms with RTX 3050Ti graphics, and are slightly lighter than the VivoBook, but don’t offer the same battery or display, and are not as competitively priced as the other such options.
Asus ZenBook Pro 14 Duo OLED
While not a gaming machine per se, but rather a productivity-focused all-purpose notebook, the latest iteration of the ZenBook Pro 14 Duo OLED is definitely a unique product worth more than one look. Here’s a more detailed look at the OLED laptop technology and some of the best OLED options out there.
Unlike the previous options, this is a dual-screen laptop, with a 14-inch 16:10 2.8K 120Hz OLED main screen, and a secondary wide ScreenPad half its size. You’re probably familiar with this format, as it’s been offered by Asus for a few years now, but it has been improved with the latest generation, as you’ll find out from our detailed review of the ZenBook 14 Pro Duo available here.
This Pro Duo is more powerful than past generations, and can be specced up to an Intel i9-12900H with RTX 3050Ti graphics and 32 GB of RAM. It also offers an updated thermal module that can properly cope with the hardware, and a 76 Wh battery, but don’t expect much in runtimes with the two displays on.
In fact, due to its design with the bottom-placed keyboard, this laptop makes the most sense on a desk, where you can comfortably use both displays and won’t miss the lack of real arm support while typing. You’ll also probably want to hook up a mouse with it.
The other aspects to consider are the fact that this is heavier than the other RTX 3050Ti 14-inch laptops mentioned earlier, at around 3.9 lbs / 1.75 kilos. That’s even heavier than the Zephyrus G14.
Plus, this is expensive for the specs at around 2000 USD/EUR, as you’re paying a premium for the two displays and the whole custom chassis offered here. Follow this link for updated prices and configurations.
For what is worth, though, if you like the dual-screen format but don’t have the budget for this latest variant, the previous-gen ZenBook 14 Duos are still available in stores for as low as $1000, just don’t expect much in terms of GPU performance with those.
Finally, there are a couple of other 14-inch laptops worth getting in this class, if you can still find them in stores, such as the:
- Ryzen 7 + GTX 1650 variant of the Zephyrus G14 selling for under 1000 USD/EUR at the time of this update,
- the Intel i7 + MX550 variant of the premium Asus ZenBook 14X OLED ultrabook,
- or the affordable Ryzen 5 + MX450 configuration of the ZenBook 14 UM425, available for under $600.
You’ll find reviews for all these on the site, use the search in the top-right corner. I’ll try to update these as soon as possibly, and hopefully, they are still available at the time you’re reading this article.
The best 15″+ thin-and-light gaming laptops
This section cherry-picks the best thin-and-light no-compromise notebooks for school, work, and gaming available with full-size 15+ inch displays.
The options here offer compact, thin, and premium builds at around 2 kilos or less, high-quality screens with proper brightness, colors, and refresh rates, good-quality RGB keyboards, as well as the latest available hardware specs and features. More importantly, these options are perfectly capable of delivering on the hardware’s performance potential in demanding workloads and AAA games.
At the same time, though, most of these premium options are expensive, and you should also expect them to run warm and/or noisy with games on the highest-power profiles – these are simply compromises you’ll just have to accept when looking for powerful hardware inside small form factors.
Heads-up, I’ve only included the portable 15-inch and 16-inch gaming laptops in this selection, but this part of the guide also covers the larger 17-inch gaming ultraportables. And, if you’d rather get something more affordable or you’re willing to somewhat sacrifice on size and weight to some extent, the options in this section would most likely better fit your needs.
Let’s briefly touch on the available premium ultraportable performance laptops first, with an emphasis on premium and ultraportable, and less so on performance.
Unlike the Razer Blade or the ROG Zephyrus models that we’ll discuss in a bit, the options in this subsection are compact and lightweight all-rounders meant for daily use, school, and work activities. They’re not primarily gaming laptops, even if the mid-specced variants can still tackle most titles at mid-level resolutions and graphics settings, and some options are available with higher-tier RTX 3070Ti/3080Ti level graphics, if you can afford them.
We’re not going to get in-depth on all these options here, instead, I’ll list them (alphabetically) with links to our available reviews and analysis:
- Apple Macbook Pro – Apple silicon, 16.2″ Liquid XDR miniLED screen, aluminum unibody construction, 99 Wh battery, starts at 2.15 kg / 4.7 lbs;
- Asus ZenBook Pro – Core or Ryzen hardware with RTX 3050Ti graphics, 15.6″ UHD OLED touchscreens, slim and lightweight aluminum construction, up to 96 Wh battery, from 2 kg / 4.4 lbs;
- Asus ZenBook Pro Duo – Core H hardware and RTX 3070 graphics, dual-screens with OLED main screen and matte touch second Screen, all-metal build, 71 Wh battery, starts at 2.5 kg / 5.4 lbs ;
- Dell XPS 15 and 17 – Core H hardware and up to RTX 3060 MQ graphics in the XPS 17, multiple screen and configuration options, up to 97 Wh battery, starts at 1.85 kg / 4.1 lbs for 15-inch, 2.2 kg / 4.8 lbs for 17-inch;
- Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme – Core H hardware and up to RTX 3080Ti graphics with vapor-chamber cooling, multiple screen and configuration options, ThinkPad looks, features and construction, 90 Wh battery, starts at 1.9 kg for non-touch version;
- Lenovo Legion Slim 7 – Core H hardware and up to Nvidia 3070 graphics, QHD+ 165Hz screen, metal build, 99 Wh battery, starts at 2.2 kg /4.8 lbs;
- MSI Prestige 15 – Intel P28 hardware and up to Nvidia 3050TI MQ graphics, FHD or UHD screen option, metal lightweight build, 82 Wh battery, starts at 1.7 kg /3.7 lbs;
- HP Envy 16 – Core H hardware and up to Nvidia RTX 3060 graphics, QHD 120Hz screen, aluminum build, 2x TB3, 83 Wh battery, starts at 2.3 kg /5.1 lbs;
Keep in mind that given the portable and slim form factor of these notebooks, the thermal design plays a crucial role in the way these perform with games and demanding loads, and I suggest carefully looking into detailed reviews to figure out what to expect from each of them. Follow the links for our in-depth reviews and coverage, and get in touch in the comments section at the end if you have any questions.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G15/G16/M16 and ROG Flow X16 lineups
With those out of the way, let’s tackle the real gaming ultraportables. We’re going to start with the ROG models, as these are right now the best-balanced products in the niche, and we’ll discuss the other brands further down.
Asus offer the ROG Flow X16, ROG Zephyrus M16, and ROG Zephyrus G15 models in this class. Here’s a quick summary of the three, with links to our detailed reviews for each of them:
- ROG Flow X16 – 2-in-1 convertible design (4.6 lbs/ 2.1 kg), RGB keyboard, 16-inch 16:10 QHD IPS or miniLED displays, Core i9 H + up to RTX 4070 120W with 2x DIMMs and 2x SSDs, tri-fan cooling, 90 WH battery, quad-speakers.
- ROG Zephyrus M16 – clamshell design (4.8 lbs/ 2.2 kg), RGB keyboard, 16-inch 16:10 QHD IPS or miniLED displays, Core i9 H + up to RTX 4090 145W with 2x DIMMs and 2x SSDs, tri-fan cooling, 90 WH battery, 6x speakers.
- ROG Zephyrus G16 – compact clamshell design (4.4 lbs/ 2 kg), RGB keyboard, 16-inch 16:10 FHD/QHD IPS displays, Core i9 H + up to RTX 4070 120W with 1x DIMM (partially soldered memory) and 2x SSDs, dual-fan cooling, 90 WH battery, 6x speakers.
- ROG Zephyrus G15 – compact clamshell design (4.45 lbs/ 2.02 kg), RGB keyboard, 15.6-inch 16:9 FHD/QHD IPS displays, Ryzen 9 H + up to RTX 3070Ti 120W with with 1x DIMM (partially soldered memory) and 2x SSDs, dual-fan cooling, 90 WH battery, 6x speakers.
All these laptops are compact and built well, even if perhaps not as sturdily made as a Blade or a MacBook. But they come close.
In a few words, the Flow X16 is a convertible design with a touchscreen, while the Zephyrus models are clamshell designs with matte screens, thus slightly smaller and lighter. That also leads to some differences in the IO and cooling, with an advantage for the newer Flow X16 design, which also implements a more complex tri-fan internal cooling module that allows the laptop to run quieter under load.
There’s also a notable difference in the screens available for the three. The Flow X16 and the latest Zephyryus M16 are 16-inchers with options for either an IPS or a miniLED panel, the Zephyrus G16 is a 16-incher that only goes up to a QHD IPS panel, while the Zephyrus G15 is an older format 15.6-incher with 16:9 panels and a slightly dimmer QHD option for the top models. All of these are high refresh and fast response panels, so perfectly suited for gaming, especially on these designs that all offer a MUX and Sync support in the latest iterations. Overall, though, the M16 and X16 has an edge over the others here.
The performance in games and combined loads is similar between the three, with an advantage in sustained CPU/GPU loads for the latest Zephyrus M16. The AMD models, on the other hand, have a slight edge in efficiency and battery life.
All these are balanced by the pricing policies. The Zephyrus G15 is the more affordable of the three, starting at around $1500 for an RTX 3060 model, with the Flow X16 being the most expensive, and the Zephyrus M16 and G16 fall somewhere in the middle. The top-tier RTX 4070 Flow X16 with the miniLED display goes for 2500++ USD. Follow the links for updated configurations and prices for each of these.
Razer Blade 15 Advanced
Although it’s starting to show its age here and there, the 15-inch Razer Blade Advanced is still one of our favorite all-around performance ultraportables of the moment. It’s also among the most expensive, and that alone might steer some of you away, and not available all around the world.
We’ve covered the latest Blade 15 Advanced in-depth in our detailed review.
In just a few words, Razer demand a premium for the excellent unibody aluminum build, the simple and clean aesthetics, the fast and customizable keyboard with per-key RGB illumination, the complete IO that includes TB and a fast card reader, the multitude of screen options, the consistent performance with good thermals and noise levels, as well as the fair battery life.
Compared to the competition, the Blade 15 has an edge in design and overall craftsmanship quality. It’s also one of the very few gaming models with up-firing audio, as well as the single one that offers Thunderbolt 4, a finger sensor, and an IR camera at the same time. On top of these, Razer’s control software is some of the better on the market, allowing you to easily tweak the keyboard’s RGB and juggle with the performance, thermal, and fan settings.
At the same time, Razer’s keyboard could see an upgrade, as it feels mushier than what the competition offers, and the audio pales in comparison to what Asus offers on their recent Zephyrus models. The Blade 15 is also not as powerful as some of the ROG models, especially in CPU-heavy tasks, and that’s because Razer implements power-constrained profiles in order to keep the thermals and noise levels at bay. Paired with their competent vapor-chamber thermal module, this approach allows the Blade 15 to run quieter and cooler than the competition while sacrificing performance to some extent.
Hardware-wise, the Blade 15 is available in a few different configurations. The recent models are based on Intel Core processors and up to RTX 3080Ti 100W graphics, up to 32GB of RAM, dual SSD slots for storage, and an 80 Wh battery. Plus, based on the choice of dGPU, you get either a QHD IPS display on the 3060 model, or a QHD 240Hz OLED on the 3070/3080 variants. Both are 100% DCI-P3 color coverage.
The Razer Blade 15 Advanced starts at $2699 MSRP at the time of this update for the RTX 3060 configuration, $3299 for the 3070Ti, and $3699 for the 3080Ti model. That’s more expensive than pretty much any other similar laptop out there. Razer have always demanded a premium for their premium Blades, which made sense to some extent, but things have gone bunkers with their latest updates. Sure, if money’s no object, then perhaps this Blade makes sense for you, but most people will most likely look elsewhere.
Follow this link for updated configurations and prices at the time you’re reading the article.
The X15 is another premium and expensive laptop in this class, and a larger and heavier format than the Blade 15, due to how Alienware implement the cooling on their products. This is one of the thinnest gaming laptops in this class, though, if that’s worth anything – it’s not for me.
At the same time, this model bundles up to an RTX 3080Ti 140W dGPU, more powerful than what you’ll get with any other thin/light gaming laptop in this category. That’s paired with up to an i9 processor, 2x RAM slots, and 2x SSDs, plus an 87 Wh battery. The screen choices are either FHD 165/360Hz or QHD 240Hz, all IPS 16:9 panels – fair options, but nothing spectacular.
The caveats with this series are the high chassis temperatures and loud fan noise in demanding loads, as well as how Dell placed the IO and the keyboard on this product. All the IO is at the back, and it’s rather minimalistic for this sort of a multi-purpose laptop, while the keyboard is positioned in the middle of the chasiss, leaving room for only a narrow arm-rest and a small click-pad underneath.
Furthermore, as mentioned earlier, the Alienware X15 is expensive, nearly as expensive as the Blade 15. The base i7 + RTX 3060 + FHD screen model starts at $2400 MSRP, while the top specs go above $2500, MSRP, and not accounting for the occasional Dell sales.
Follow this link for updated configurations and prices at the time you’re reading the article.
Gigabyte Aero 16 and Aero 5 OLED
While the Asus, Alienware, and Razer models above are more versatile and cater consistently towards gamers with their performance and fast screens, Gigabyte takes a different approach with their Aero lineup: they still offer a premium-tier chassis and features, but in more affordable and lower-power configurations aimed at creators and professionals.
Sure, the Aeros are not as unique-looking or nicely finished as these other options, but they’re available for significantly under $2000 for modern i7 + RTX 3070Ti configurations with UHD OLED screens – 16-inch 16:10 format on the Aero 16, and 15-inch 16:9 format on the Aero 5. Add in upgradeable RAM/SSDs, a 99 Wh battery, a good full-size keyboard, and an excellent set of ports, and these should spark a lot of interest.
They’re just not ideal for gaming, even with the higher-tier RTX graphics, because of those high-resolution 60 Hz OLED panels. And BTW, these only implement mid-power graphics, thus not as fast as on some of the other models mentioned earlier.
Almost there: Acer Predator Triton 500 and MSI GS66 Stealth
There are a couple of other good options in this segment and I just can’t move on without at least mentioning them and linking to our detailed reviews for more details.
The Acer Predator Triton 500, which we’ve reviewed in this article, is another interesting multi-purpose 15-inc laptop that can be specced up to an i9 with RTX 3080Ti graphics, the same 105W version available in the Aero models. This also comes with a 99Wh battery, but it’s rather on the heavier side for this segment at 5+ lbs. It’s also a minimalist and rather bland design.
Unlike Gigabyte with the Aeros, though, Acer offer this series with a 16-inch 240Hz 3ms screen, good for both gaming and creative work.
Furthermore, unlike the Blade or the Alienware X15 which are also configurable with RTX 3080Ti graphics, this Triton 500 is a fair bit more affordable at under $3K for the top specs. 3070Ti and 3060 models are also available. Follow this link for updated configurations, prices, and user reviews.
What are the downsides of this series, then? The heavier weight, as already mentioned, as well as the fact that this lacks certain features such as biometrics or front-facing speakers. It’s also a lot more difficult to open up and upgrade than the other options.
Finally, our detailed review of the MSI GS66 Stealth Thin gaming laptop is available over here.
MSI went the same route as Gigabyte with this product, offering multiple configurations in the same premium-tier chassis, but sacrificing raw performance to some extent. That’s why the GS66 is not necessarily the ideal gaming-ultraportable, where it loses to the competition and runs fairly hot, but could be an excellent productivity laptop in the lower-tier configurations.
The clean design lines, the comfortable keyboard, the good IO, and the 99 Wh battery tucked inside a premium aluminum chassis recommend it for business and work environments, just make sure to read our review for details on all its quirks before jumping on this.
Follow this link for updated configurations, prices, and user reviews.
Tongfang barebones – Eluktronics Max-15 or Schenker XMG Fusion 15
A few different smaller-tier OEMs sell some competitively priced thin-and-light gaming laptops based on the Tongfang barebones, Eluktronics (in the US) and Schenker/XPG (in Europe) being the most popular brands.
If you’ll look through the reviews on Amazon, Newegg and other stores, you’ll see that these products score excellently with their buyers. That’s both because they offer excellent specs and performance for a fair price, but also because the people buying this kind of products are savvy users and know in advance what to expect from such a computer.
So what should you expect? No fancy designs and extravagant features, but compact metallic builds with good inputs and IO, good screens, and powerful specs. At the same time, expect poor audio and small batteries with these ultraportable models.
That’s why I’d generally recommend these barebones to tech-savvy users, and not necessarily to the average customer. However, if you’re buying from Amazon or other big stores that offer proper return policies, and if you do your homework in advance in order to understand how these differ from the A-brand units, you could give this a try no matter if your a tech-enthusiast or not.
17-inch and 18-inch portable gaming laptops
Most 17-inch and 18-inch laptops offer uncompromised specs and performance without much concern for portability, but there is a sub-lineup of lightweight 17-inch computers meant for those of you looking for the extra real estate offered by 17-inch screens, but still in a mid-sized chassis that won’t break your back.
I’m only briefly covering the best such 17-inch portable models here, with links to our reviews for more details, and we’ll develop this further in a future separate article. 18-inch models will be added in a future update, and are also discussed in this dedicated article about the best gaming/10rk 18-inch laptops currently available in stores.
Razer Blade 17 – review – configurations and prices
Pros: premium build and clean design; weighs 2.8 kg/ 6.1 lbs; fair inputs and good IO; QHD 240 Hz or UHD 144 Hz screen options; good performance, cooling (vapor chamber), and useful software package; 8x speakers and biometrics
Cons: beware of coil whine; mid-sized battery (82 Wh) and poor battery life; very steep entry price
Bottom point: If money’s no object, the updated Razer Blade 17 is the best 17-inch light and thin performance laptop on the market. This latest generation addresses most of its predecessor’s issues and inherits many of the strong selling points of the popular Blade 15 Advanced series, such as the compact format and pristine build quality, but with improved audio quality, performance, and thermals. Battery life isn’t great, though, and Razer still expects you to pay a hefty premium for their devices, even steeper than with past generations.
Dell XPS 17 – configurations and prices
Pros: the most compact and lightest 17-inch laptop of this selection, starting at sub 5 lbs; good keyboard and punchy audio, fair IO; two excellent 16:10 display options and multiple hardware configurations; 97 Wh battery and compact charger
Cons: only available with mid-tier specs and mid-power settings; expensive for the specs
Bottom point: The Dell XPS 17 appeals as a premium thin-and-light all-arounder, and not necessarily as a gaming device. It’s smaller and lighter than the other options in here, while at the same time not as powerful, but it’s an excellently balanced product available in multiple configurations in the 1500-2500 USD price range, and all these combined make this XPS 17 the most popular 17-inch notebook on the market.
Alienware X17 – configurations and prices
Pros: somewhat heavier than the other options, at 6.5+ lbs / 3 kilos; the most powerful 17-inch laptop of this selection; known Alienware build quality and design particularities; multiple options for specs, screens, keyboards; good cooling, albeit noisy; quad-speakers; 87 Wh battery; fairly priced in the mid-specced configurations
Cons: larger and heavier than the other options; runs noisy at full blast
Bottom point: If you don’t mind a slightly larger and heavier 17-inch chassis than what you’re getting with the other options mentioned here, the Alienware X17 is pretty much the go-to work/gaming 17-incher of this generation. It’s available in a multitude of configurations with full-power Intel processors and RTX graphics chips (up to RTX 3080Ti 175W), and is able to properly cool these under load. It also offers a good mechanical keyboard, good IO, and punchy quad speakers. It gets expensive when specced-up, but the mid-tier models are competitively priced, especially if you’re patient to wait for one of Dell’s occasional sales campaigns.
Eluktronics Max 17 – configurations and prices
Pros: lightweight 17-inch laptop at just over 5 lbs; barebone Tongfang design; fair RGB keyboard and clickpad; QHD 240Hz display; several Core + RTX configurations, up to RTX 3080Ti 175W; 91 Wh battery, competitively priced for the specs
Cons: not as nicely made or polished as A-brand models; fewer configuration options and limited worldwide availability; poor audio
Bottom point: The Eluktronics Max 17 is built on a Tongfang barebone chassis, so is not as nicely polished or feature-rich as some of the other options. It does offer full-power RTX Laptop chips in a thin and lightweight chassis, unlike any of its A-brand competitors. It’s also competitively priced for the specs. Don’t expect this to turn any heads, but if you’re after a powerful 17-inch sleeper laptop, this is surely worth considering.
Asus ROG Zephyrus S17 – review – configurations and prices
Pros: premium build quality and a unique design with the keyboard separated from the main chassis; weighs 2.75 kg/6.1 lbs; optical-mechanical RGB keyboard; fast FHD and QHD screen options with MUX/GSync and Advanced Optimus; solid performance and thermals, but not the most powerful hardware implementation in this class; useful software package; punchy audio with 6x speaker.
Cons: not as powerful as other models; hasn’t been updated to 2022 specs; some potential QC issues; expensive
Bottom point: If you’re lucky enough not to get any light-bleeding or electronic noises on your unit, the ROG Zephyrus S17 is one of the most interesting 17-inch gaming ultraportables on the market. That’s primarily thanks to its unique design that separates the keyboard from the hot components underneath, but also due to its hardware specs. This is expensive, though, and not as powerful as some of the other models in this niche, especially because it has not been updated beyond 2021 specs.
MSI Stealth GS77 and Gigabyte Aero 17 – configurations and prices
Pros: simple, sober aesthetics and good build quality; 2.8 kg – 6.2 lbs weight; RGB keyboard with NumPad; multiple screen options; complete IO; 99Wh batteries; quad-speakers on the MSI
Cons: somewhat dated designs; only 105W RTX implementations, so not as powerful in games as the other options; run fairly hot and noisy
Bottom point: The Aero 17 and the Sealth GS77 are very similar 17-inch laptops with a utilitarian design, and that makes them good multi-purpose computers. The simple looks, the excellent IO and battery life, and the multitude of configurations and screen options are their main selling points, while on the other hand these are not as powerful on the GPU side as the other options, and run rather hot (and/or noisy) with demanding loads.
These are all high-tier premium gaming ultraportables. We’ll talk about better-value or full-size powerful 17-inch models down below.
More powerful, less portable gaming laptops
This section is about the best-value gaming laptops that will give you the best gaming experience for your money, without taking the thin and lightweight form factor into consideration. Even so, most of these computers are still compact and fairly portable, but not as thin or light as the options mentioned before.
Options under $1000
For this budget, your best bet is a modern RTX 3060 configuration available on sale, but only the lower-tier designs are that affordable. That means you’ll somewhat sacrifice the build quality, aesthetics, battery life, and potentially on performance and screens compared to the higher tier and more expensive models.
Options in this class include the Acer Nitro 5, HP Victus 16 series, MSI Katana, or the Lenovo IdeaPad 3.
Furthermore, if you’re willing to go with lower graphics performance in a better design, you could look for RTX 3050Ti configurations of the Asus ROG Strix, Lenovo Legion 5, or Dell G15 Gaming lineups.
Options in the $1000-$1500
This is where you’re getting the best bang for your money.
The build and design are subjective and you should choose based on your preferences, but make sure you’re getting something that’s at least made well and will last for a while, has a strong screen hinge, grippy rubber feet, friendly corners and edges, and ergonomically positioned ports.
Then you should carefully consider the inputs and screens. I recommend at least a 144 Hz IPS panel with at least 100% sRGB color coverage and above-average response times, especially if you plan to run fast-paced games such as shooters or racing simulators. You might also get 240 Hz screens in this price niche, which will benefit you in CS:GO and the like.
For specs, the GPU is what matters most when it comes to gaming, so I’d aim to maximize that. A higher-power RTX 3060 with proper cooling would be the ideal pick in this segment, but you might even find an older RTX 3070 model here. Pair it with fast SSD storage and at least 16 GB of RAM.
As for the CPU, even a modern Intel Core i5 or Ryzen 5 should handle games without stress, but you can go with Intel Core i7 or AMD Ryzen 7 options if you also plan to run some CPU-demanding loads for work or school. For what is worth, Intel platforms are the more powerful options at this point, while AMD has an efficiency advantage on battery use.
This aside, keep in mind that not all laptops are created equally, and the thermal designs and power profiles play a major role in how a specific model ends up performing. That’s only something reviews can reveal for you, the kind we put up here on the site.
With all these in mind, let’s look at some options.
At the lower limit in this price bracket, you’ll be able to get better-specced versions of the units mentioned above, with more RAM, more storage, and perhaps a faster processor.
Towards the middle of this price range is where you’ll find the real gems, with options such as the Acer Predator Helios 300, Asus TUF Gaming and ROG Strix lineups, Alienware m15, Dell G15 Gaming, HP Omen or Lenovo Legion 5. Most are available with either Intel or AMD specs. 17-inch variants of these notebooks are also up to grabs if you prefer a larger screen and generally improved thermals. There’s an updated selection of these 17-inch mid-range gaming laptops over here.
Among these, my favorites are the latest Lenovo Legion 5 and Asus TUF Gaming series, they’re the best balanced and best-priced of the bunch. The other models have their advantages as well, so again, there’s no clear winner here. Think about what matters for you and where you can compromise, and pick the one that best caters to these needs.
At the higher price limit, you can find better-specced versions of the models above, but also a few RTX 3070 configurations, which is what I’d recommend for gaming, given the GPU matters the most in that case.
There are also a couple of options based on barebone designs from Togfang or Clevo, from brands such as Eluktronics, Sager, Shenker, XPG, or Vapor, each available in different regions. I would only buy these if I understand what a barebone design means, with the advantages and the cons, and only get them from a trustworthy seller. In fact, looking at the reviews on Amazon and other stores, buyers are satisfied with these products and rate them highly, in many cases even higher than the A-brand alternatives.
Options above $1500
At this point, your options get incrementally better, and the best value is in the high-power RTX 3070Ti configurations of the models above, or if you’re willing to splurge a little, with some of the higher-tier full-size performance and gaming designs such as the Asus ROG Strix SCAR, the MSI GE Raider, the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro or the Lenovo Legion 7 lines.
With these, expect extra features such as improved build and ergonomics, higher quality and higher resolution displays, per-key RGB keyboards with options for mechanical switches, improved thermal designs, larger batteries, improved audio quality, and generally improved performance with a better-balanced mix of temperatures and noise levels.
Most of these are also available in 17-inch formats, but in this class you’ll actually find some dedicated full-power designs, pretty much the most powerful gaming laptops money can buy, such as the Acer Predator Helios 500, the Asus ROG Scar 17 Special Edition or the MSI GT77 Titan.
Conclusions on the best available portable gaming laptops
All in all, there are many good gaming notebooks in this list, of different sorts, and for different budgets.
As a buyer interested in a compact gaming computer today, you’ve got a wide array of options to choose from, starting with the highly portable 13-inch gaming ultrabooks, and up to the most powerful 17-inchers with uncompromised specs and features. Most of these are thin-and-light builds, while some favor performance over portability.
In the end, it’s up to you to choose the gaming laptop that best suits your requirements and budget, and find the right balance between power, portability, features, and price for you. I’m sure this article helped you in your quest, and we have further in the comments section if you have any questions or anything to add to this post. Get in touch and we’ll get back to you.
April 21, 2016 at 4:58 pm
Hi Andrei Girbea,
I am looking to buy a laptop that can do both hardcore gaming and 3d animation rendering Maya max etc. I am currently stuck on hp omen 17 which is not available in India new Delhi, or workstations, msi, razorblade or alienware17. Basically anything that has high streaming, high ram, high processing i dont care about the weight.My budget is 2 lacks(indian currency).If u recommend me something great ill increase the budget up to 3 lacks max. plz suggest me 2 laptops you think that will be best for both my work needs and leisure. I currently own hp envy m6 and hp k series laptop. they r both good but are slow in rendering. Also i need a 3 year + with accidental warranty. after services are very important.this is my first and last buy for the next 7 years so it needs to be sturdy as a horse. I frequently read your reviews so i trust your choice. THANKS.
September 22, 2016 at 7:25 am
Can someone suggest about MSI GL-62 6QF gaming laptop. I personally think it’s a great value for money laptop. AAny suggestions other than this model are welcome.
November 23, 2016 at 3:53 pm
You mention Gsync on the MSI GS73VR, but according to Derek's review, it does not have Gsync. Does it really have Gsync?
November 23, 2016 at 4:11 pm
No, that's a mistake. There's a 120 HZ screen option of the GS73VR, but no GSync. Sry for the confusion.
November 26, 2016 at 7:08 am
I'm a soon to be college student that would like to hear your opinion on buying a laptop that fits my desires.
So it has to max 1500$ and I want it to be aethsthetic good looking while being powerful too for games like battlefield 1 (2016) at normal settings. Also the battery life should be decent and it shouldn't get too hot for use. The key board should also feel comfortable. What do u think anything out there that fits this?
Note: I'm starting to college next August 2017 so I don't know if I should wait for any newer products/ upgraded around the same price next year. Thanks!
November 26, 2016 at 10:02 am
There are many options that would fit your needs, you'd have to tell me what size you'd be interested in: a full-size laptop with 15-17 inch screen or something smaller (14, maybe 13 incher).
November 27, 2016 at 5:46 pm
Uhm it has to be a 15 inch not lower or higher
November 28, 2016 at 5:52 am
I've read your earlier comment again, and I'd advise you to wait till next Spring, there's going to be a new CPU and GPU hardware generation available by that time and I'd go for those if you plan to keep the computer for a few years.
December 16, 2016 at 3:14 am
Do you know what new CPU and GPU hardware will release in the spring? I'm in a similar situation as Charry, and would be glad to wait.
December 16, 2016 at 4:59 am
the new Intel Kaby Lake HQ processors are scheduled for Q1 2017, and those will be paired with Nvidia 10 Series graphics (1050, 1060, etc)
December 5, 2016 at 8:23 pm
I need a laptop for Kali Linux (Debian 8+), to use it for multitasking, very good wireless card, all the tools in the OS, and for other OS as Win 7 or 10, for writing code, pentesting tools, scanning, push it to the maximum, to be lightweight and very fast and powerful, and expecting not to bottleneck as in heat, fans, processor, memory and use it for 5-6 years without issue.
December 6, 2016 at 6:07 am
I'm sorry but I don't know much about Linux, so I don't know what to recommend. Perhaps someone else can pitch in
December 25, 2016 at 4:21 am
Could you please advise lightest laptop/ultrabook/2-in-1, etc (because always traveling and even my MacBook is too heavy) to play Fallout 4 even on low/mid. I have MacBook Pro retina 13 late 2013, and its time to change my devise for a new one.
Thanks in advance.
December 25, 2016 at 12:16 pm
I've compiled a list of the lightest ultraportables here: https://www.ultrabookreview.com/4219-the-lightest-ultrabooks/ , I'd personally get something with dedicated graphics, if possible.
January 12, 2017 at 5:31 am
What are your thoughts of the Lenovo 710S? It's got a solid graphics card and affordable price.
January 17, 2017 at 6:06 am
Haven't personally reviewed it, but I've read good things about it.
Rick van Hofwegen
January 27, 2017 at 10:37 am
Can you give me an advice about a good 13'3 inch laptop with good specs and not that heavy. Price isn't really a matter. I've seen the new xiaomi 13'3 inch, but don't know if there are better options. Thanks in advance!
January 31, 2017 at 5:06 am
This covers the best ultraportables, including 13-inchers: https://www.ultrabookreview.com/251-best-ultrabooks/ . The Xiaomi is just affordable, but not at the top of the list imo.
March 20, 2017 at 3:08 pm
I wonder why the Surface Book or even the Pro 4 (with Iris) didn't make it to the list…
With my first gen Book, i7/16/512/dGPU I'm able to play games in medium graphics at low resolution (HD)… Or even fHD at low graphics.
Alien Isolation, Dying Light, SOMA, Outlast, the Witness, Bioshock Infite… They all play very nice in my thin and light 2-in-1.
August 16, 2017 at 5:24 am
First of all – thanks for your reviews, you do a really nice job. I have a quite similar question to those you can find above. Asking it because previousely you recommended to wait for new hardware generation. I'm going to study for master degree abroad, so I can't take my pc with me – obvious. I am looking for a laptop between 1000-1500 USD (taking into account that laptops in Europe are more expencive). According to your reviews as well, I actually liked laptops like Helios 300, Acer Nitro V15 and some other models. Thus, I am not sure because of their cooling solution and warranty for only 1 year. Even though I appreciate design of both laptops (at least helios 300 is not very aggressive, so it's fine) and their test results. Could you possibly advice some laptops with approximately the same stats, but with reliable cooling system and warranty for at least 2 years? 3 would be even more perfect. Because of warranty I consider ROG laptops as an option for me as well – stats and design seem to be nice as well. I'd be greatful if you can give any advice. Thanks in advance.
August 16, 2017 at 3:14 pm
Warranty differs from country to country, but I'd reckon although those laptops come with 1 year warranty where you live, from what you're saying, there's the option to buy extended warranty. There are a lot of good laptops in that budget, each with their pros and cons. You'd have to read reviews, balance their strong points and quirks and decide based on what matters most for you. I can't say, hey, buy this one, it's the best, because you're the only one who knows exactly what you want and need.
October 3, 2017 at 10:19 am
Quick question, are any of these fanless?
October 4, 2017 at 5:22 am
There's a list of fanless laptops here: https://www.ultrabookreview.com/6520-fanless-ultrabooks/
November 11, 2017 at 8:44 am
I think you missed the 5mm bessels of Aero 15 one of its highlight feature which may add more value to the device
July 14, 2018 at 1:05 pm
Hello, how are you Mr. Andrei?
I am searching for a laptop under 800$ and i found the acer nitro 5(AN515-51) with core i5 7300HQ, gtx 1050 ti,…
And i would like to know your opinion and suggestions, if there is any laptop for heavy softwares in that range.
Thank you in advance for your help.
August 31, 2018 at 4:37 pm
What about best gaming laptop that you might leave docked at a desk? I don't do much gaming but want the option and it will sit most of the time at my desk plugged into external monitor etc… But I still need portability and am not going to buy a 2nd desktop due to software cost.
August 31, 2018 at 5:03 pm
Well, most laptops should do well for what you need. I would't recommend using them with the lid closed though, these tend to get quite hot and the heat could negatively affect the screen a la long.
September 19, 2018 at 2:05 am
Thank you for this extensive and knowledgeable post. I am a graphic designer that likes to game (Rocket league, CS, civilization, Dragon Quest, Witcher..) so a good screen and a nice GPU is a must and this article helped me a lot. I was going for the XPS, but here in Canada there are so many complaints about the model that people are actually returning them.
After reading you reviews, I am between the Zenbook Pro or the Rog Strix edition. Which do you reckon would be the best for my case?
September 19, 2018 at 10:09 am
I'd reckon a good screen is a must for you and you'd want at least a GTX 1050 GPU to play those games, but preferably better. If you can live with a larger laptop, one of the newer ROG Strix models should suit you well, but you can also consider the new Lenovo Legion Y730. If you'd rather get something highly portable, then the Zenbook Pros and the Dell XPS 15 are the options for you, but expect them to run hot with demanding loads, as well as overall poorer performance than with the larger units.
September 21, 2018 at 4:33 pm
Thank you Andrei!
Its a stay at home laptop so definitely a larger unit. Didnt know about the Y730. Now its between this and the Strix.
Evan Andrew Adams
September 20, 2018 at 5:39 pm
I'm not sure where to put this on the site but because this is around up it might be a good place. With the release of the RTX cards, I'm trying to find any information about how they perform in eGPU setups. Do they oversaturate the usb3 bridge? I spend the vast majority of my time tied to a desk and docked. The sad been thinking a egpu might be a good solution for me. Franklin inches away from just going desktop with a Chromebook if I could figure out how to remote desktop into my desktop went on the road for work.
September 20, 2018 at 5:46 pm
I can't comment on future RT compatible titles, but based on the existing reviews, the 2080 is about on par with the 1080 Ti so I don't see why they wouldn't work fine in the existing eGPUs. Personally I'd hold on on buying an RTX card for now anyway, performance per $ is poorer than with Pascal and there's nothing that could potentially benefit from RT and DLSS yet.
Evan Andrew Adams
September 20, 2018 at 8:50 pm
For sure. Thank you. I am more concerned with a year or two out. I don't want to have that USB3 being the bottleneck if I buy a laptop with an older 1080gpu today & want to refresh to RTX down the road. Think I can swing that better than a desktop & remote desktop in from a chromebook.
September 21, 2018 at 12:44 pm
Ah, Ok. I'd reckon we'll now a lot more on the subject by the end of the year.
October 25, 2018 at 9:34 pm
What would you recommend for someone taking dual credit programming classes in high school? I'm also looking to run multiple virtual machines and light gaming (probably games you haven't heard of). I walk for 30-40 minutes every day so it's gotta be relatively light. My use of it at school would consist of 75% Web Browsing 5% Video Streaming 5% Light Gaming 15% Note Taking
October 26, 2018 at 12:42 pm
What's your budget? There are a lot of laptop that should fit your requirements, I'd look at something built on a properly cooled i7-8750H . If heavy gaming is not on the list, you should get probably get this with a GTX 1050/ 1050 Ti, the lower-version dGPU available with this kind of CPU. From that on, you should factor your budget and how important portability is in the equation. I'd reckon it should be pretty important, so perhaps something like the Dell XPS 15, Lenovo ThinkPad P1/X1 Extreme or maybe the Zenbook UX550VG should be at the top of your list.
November 7, 2018 at 12:05 pm
What would you recommend if I'm looking to get a sub-$1400 laptop with an i7-8750H and a GTX 1060? I know the Asus Predator Helios is recommended but I don't like laptops that run very hot (or noisy), and I don't want to have to fool around with thermal paste. I also want a more understated design, and don't care about 144Hz displays or speakers as I have my laptop mostly connected to an external monitor and speakers.
What do you think between the Eluktronics Mech-15 G2 Pro-X (which I don't see mentioned here) and the HP Omen 15? I'm leaning towards the Omen but can't decide. I also looked at the Lenovo Y730 but on their website it only shows models with a 1050 Ti and I really want a 1060.
November 8, 2018 at 2:42 pm
I'd go with the Y730 if available when you decide to make the purchase, but the HP Omen 15 seems to be a pretty good choice as well.
I haven't tested any of the Eluktronics laptops, they're not available over here. They seem to get good reviews from previous buyers, so as long as you can find some proper reviews first and then buy from a place that would allow returns in case something goes wrong, these could be a solid pick as well. I'll look into this Mech-15 G2 for the article.
November 26, 2018 at 10:25 am
I need a laptop for mid-level deep learning ,
but also should be light weight( less tha 4.5 lb), shouldn't get very hot and should have low fan noise. would 16GB,512 SSD, Nvidia 1050/1060 suffice, and if yes, what would some of laptops to look for that.
Do i really need 32 GB ram for that?
May 24, 2019 at 11:07 pm
Hi! Based on what you wrote, I believe Dell X15 to be the best laptop for me! But I want to ask just to make sure if there aren't any alternative options because I hate the standard Dell back cover. I don't want to prioritize it but if there is a near identical laptop (Based on your review) without that silver Dell back cover I would greatly prefer it!
My use is every day use with Netflix/Hulu/Youtube streaming that I really enjoy and use more than gaming. I also program on this laptop so many days while I travel I'll be on it 8 hours a day. Because of this, good screen quality is a must, good audio quality is desired for music, video watching. Also, my top priority needs to be good battery life (closer to 10 the better). Also, a responsive keyboard as similar to standard as possible is good, as I type a lot for programming.
For the most part, I don't plan on gaming too much and while on the go I just play casual games like Don't Starve indie games, and single player time wasters like that. However, sometimes I want to play Total War: 3 Kingdoms that was just released and maybe a shooter like Borderlands 3 when it releases (doesn't need high/ultra graphics though I'm used to it). I also like Imperator Rome on occasion. It's this "requirement" that really makes choosing a laptop difficult. I currently own Predator Helios 300 (but it's too heavy for my frequent traveling and the weight/battery life is the primary reason I'm looking for a new one) and it runs Total War: 3 Kingdoms at a level I find acceptable, so I don't mind sacrificing graphics quality to improve my other more imperative priorities.
My desired budget is $1500, but I can go above it for no problem.
Is Dell X15 my best bet, and if so, is there a laptop similar enough that I can get a better looking back cover?
May 24, 2019 at 11:10 pm
As an addendum comment, I usually game around 1-2 hours max in a single day, and I only do that every other day or so. But as it is, I have picky game tastes. And I did mention weight but I want to emphasize that having a light laptop that is easy to use for traveling is ideal.
May 27, 2019 at 12:03 pm
I'd also look at the Lenovo THinkPad X1 Extreme/P1, that's my first choice over the XPS 15 right now, as well as the ZenBook UX533.
However, those games are fairly taxing, and I'm not sure the kind of graphics in these laptops will cut it, even if you're willing to take a hit. Ideally, I'd still go with something with a GTX 1060, but that's up to you
May 30, 2019 at 11:06 pm
Hello, thanks for the reply. I think I did decide I really like the X1/P1 but I am not sure how to pick which one would be best for me. The X1 having manufacturing defects really turns me off as that is something that will bother me through the entirety of a laptop's lifespan. Does this mean P1 is the best choice? When I look on the website, I see they have two different versions. I'm not sure if I need better than the i5 processor or if the 4k screen is too hurtful to my battery life.
May 31, 2019 at 11:34 am
the X1 and P1 are the same, except for the graphics. The i5 is fine for daily use and perhaps gaming, the i7 is 6-core and faster in demanding loads. Personally, I'd get the FHD screen, the 4K is nice, but expensive and takes a toll on battery life.
June 4, 2019 at 9:24 am
Hello, I'm a college student looking to get a new laptop and I need some suggestions. I'd like something portable with a decent SSD or a hybrid preferably 1T. I'm into games like the Sims 4, assassin's Creed odyssey, injustice and Tekken but am not a hard-core gamer, so I'm not sure if I should go for a 1050ti or 1060 GPU or whatever is equivalent but also affordable. I also don't get gaming jargon so when words like throttling and fps come up in review videos, I don't really know if the laptop being reviewed is good enough for me or not.
June 4, 2019 at 10:38 am
What's your budget? For that kind of games, a 1050 Ti will suffice.
As for those terms:
– fps – number of frames displayed in a second – the more, the better. Ideally, you'll want something around 60 fps, but between 30 and 60 should be fine. Under 30 the image gets choppy and games stutter.
– throttling – the performance is affected by the fact that the components inside reach high temperatures, and as a result, the CPU/GPU need to slow down in order to lower those temperatures. that happens to laptops with poor thermal designs.
I need help
August 18, 2019 at 8:17 pm
Hello Andrei, Douglas, and Derek..
You write things often neglected by other sites (emission, heat map, keyboard, etc). Thank you for that!
I need a recommendation for work+fun laptop. I've narrowed down my basic requirement as follow:
– 14" or 15" Full HD, no thicker than 1 inch
– Intel i5 7th gen. Ryzen 5 okay
– VGA Pascal/GTX NVidia with sustainable performance. Above average cooling. Radeon won't do
– SSD or SSD+HDD. Optane+HDD won't do
– DVD Writer. External DVD won't do
– SDCard, VGA, USB3 Type A
– Plain/Professional finish, no light show, no fancy case, no gaming aesthetic at all
My budget stops at i5 9xxxHQ+GTX1650Ti+IPS/FHD/120Hz however much it cost.
I realize your team has moved on from built-in DVD however in my case, it's non negotiable. Not for multimedia/game but for communication with lots of 199x comps in my line of work (like WinNT+FDD+ODD).
August 24, 2019 at 11:29 pm
Hi. My laptop recently died and im confused whether to buy an ultrabook or a gaming laptop. Im willing to spend up to 1500usd and been thinking about m15 r2. Please give me some advice.
December 1, 2019 at 3:23 pm
Hi Andrei. Would I be able to play WarHammer 2 on a HP Envy 13? Which model of this laptop would be good? I don’t know if I’m asking the right question, but please give me an opinion or a recommendation.
December 2, 2019 at 11:21 am
Hardly. Warhammer is fairly demanding as far as I know, and the MX150 chip on the Envy is not good enough unless you're willing to drop the details all the way down and maybe even drop the resolution to HD.
February 4, 2020 at 9:33 am
Hi Andrei, right now I'm in the market for a new gaming/editing laptop and after seeing one in real life it has to be something with OLED screen (in my opinion once you see one you can never go back to IPS panel). Another condition is per-key RGB and at least GTX1660ti (or more likely RTX 2060 and up). So far I only really like Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED. Not Dell/Razer/Alienware, I don't like design of those ones. Are there any other options? Thanks!
February 4, 2020 at 1:02 pm
The Asus ZenBook Pro Duo could be an alternative, but you're paying a hefty premium for the form-factor. Make sure to read the screen part of our review, I share my thoughts on OLED in that.
February 22, 2020 at 5:34 pm
I‘m in troubles:)
My budget is about €1.500 and I’m trying to choose a laptop for the following tasks:
• 2-8 hours working per day (MSOffice as well)
• ~2 Hours surfing
• TV Shows (Streaming, YouTube, Movies)
• sometimes light photo editing
• The hardest one: someday I have a strong desire to play one game (WoW, dota2 and some of this newEra stuff like RDR2)
So for the first tasks it’s quite clear: the laptop has to have good screen. The last point is a corner stone cause I want this experience to be VERY GOOD – not the „top“ but decent. So maybe the cooling system > edge performance.
Honestly, good using experience at all is a main requirement.
As I want my laptop to stay „up-to-date“ longer, it’s seems that it should carry at least Turing dGPU. Could you please comment this point and the following „high-tech features“ as well:
1) I guess that WiFi ax (6) will be a pretty useful thing in the nearest future (I want it)
2) I guess that Type-C with TB3 and Charging is quite useful
So for me:
• CPU: Intel (guess better, discuss please)
• Memory: 16 or 8-upgradable
• Storage: no matter, may be at least 128 SSD (I have a lot of HDDs and one Samsung 840EVO SSD 120)
• GPU: d, may be Turing
• Screen: a good one of 15-15.6, may be 17. FHD/UHD/4K. IPS (?)
• IOs: ideally like good workstation – USB3 (+/- TB3, DP, charge), LAN, DP/HDMI, SD, mic – all things are Discussable
• Size and weight: not a point
• Materials and design: has to be good quality, „nice to touch“. Not every model in this class has it. And also I don’t like so much these „monster-aggressive-RGB-teenager“ style but ready to discuss:)
The options I’ve found:
1) Lenovo Yoga s740 (15) – rather a „toy“ then a workstation, but I like it a lot. My „wish“:)
2) Lenovo Legion Y540 15IRH
3) ASUS ZenBook 15 UX534 – I don’t like ASUS but my wife likes it a lot :) at least it’s she who will work with it every day
4) ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502 (I would like a GX but it’s out of budget a bit)
5) MSI Prestige 15
6) DELL G3 15 3590
I’ve read a lot of bad feedback on all of these laptops, they have own pros and cons. As you can see there’s no ThinkPad – it’s because I had an experience with it and didn’t have any fun =\ discuss ;)
Great Thank you in advance!
February 22, 2020 at 5:51 pm
Sorry guys for not mentioning all of you! You all doing a very great job! Thank you for all your reviews and articles:) despite the fact that they contain a bulk of information, I had to ask a question;)
February 25, 2020 at 12:39 pm
Hi. You narrowed down your options well, and I would also include the Dell XPS 15 in there.
Hardware-wise, you've got two options: either more efficient, but less powerful Core U platforms, (such as the ZenBook 15, Prestige 15), or more powerful, less efficient Core H platforms. I'd also go with 16+ GB of RAM and definitely SSD storage. As for graphics, a GTX 1650/1660 Ti should handle those older titles well, but for RDR I'd go with at least a 1660 Ti.
Those being said, the Zephyrus M is, imo, an excellent laptop, but Asus's quality control isn't great and I'd suggest buying from a place that allows returns, test the laptop for flaws when you get it, and then ask for an exchange if you're unlucky. Keep in mind that most reviews tend to exaggerate the negatives, simply because most of those satisfied with their product don't bother leaving a review, but those who got a faulty unit will be more vocal about it.
Depending on where you're from, there are also some barebone options you could consider, from Eluktronics (Mag 15) or XMG (Fusion 15). Furthermore, if you're willing to skimp on the graphics, the Yoga S740 and the Dell XPS 15 should also be on your list.
As for your other options:
2. Y540 – good value laptop, but lower-end in terms of quality, build and features. also fairly heavy and chunky, could be an option if you're looking for a better GPU at a lower price.
3. Thin and light, but not a fan of the thermal design that blows hot air into the screen, and overall dated compared to other options. See the review.
5. Thin and light, efficient hardware, big battery, but poor thermals and some performance limitations in demanding loads. Could be an option with the six-core i7, but read reviews to understand the quirks.
6. haven't tested it, but it's a lower-tier product like the Y540.
Hope this helps.
February 25, 2020 at 11:44 pm
Wow! Great reply! =)
We're living in Austria and have to drive to the stores or wait for the delivery. So it’s kinda problem to check it in time. Also the price for DELL 15 XPS here is out of budget (1.600) and it has i7-8750H, GTX1050Ti, 8Gb.
Nonetheless, thanks to your reply now we have 2 options to choose: yoga s740 and Zephyrus GU502.
The last two stages now are to „touch“ and to get an answer about the need for WiFi 6, and also TB3 and charging by Type-C. Could you please comment this features?
Thank you again! I was waiting for the answer with opened 35 tabs in browser and it was painful. And then I’ve received your answer and it was really breathtaking;) thanks for your job! I’ve read all those mentioned reviews. You make a great job!
February 26, 2020 at 12:06 pm
WiFi 6 – not a must imo, WiFi AC is more than fast enough for regular use
TB3 – also not a must, unless you need very fast data transfer or an external dGPU, or perhaps you plan to use a TB3 dock
USB-C charging – nice to have, as it would allow to only grab along an USB-C charger when raveling that could take care of your laptop, phone, tablet, etc. More powerful laptops would require a barrel-plug charger as well, so USB-C would be secondary
August 16, 2021 at 10:03 am
Biggest knocks on the Swift X: 3050 Ti is only a 40w part and the SSDs are limited to PCIe 3.0. RAM's soldered on too. I also have a dim keyboard brought zone that Acer said I'd have to send in. Not cool on a brand new laptop. I'm sending it back for those reasons.
It's overall a nice laptop, but a gaming laptop it is not. I still bought one for my son for him to do have an ultralight that can do more casual gaming. It'll fit well with him being in the military and moving around. He's holding going to get a bigger gaming laptop sometime next year. The 40w 3050 Ti only scores avoiding 4200 in TimeSpy. I was able to push that up to 4700 using MSI's afterburner app.
It has onr of the best gen 3 SSDs out there – OEM version of the SK Hynix P31 Gold drive. Very speedy, and compared well against the WD Black SN850 in 3.0 mode I tried.
This is much more a creator laptop that can do some gaming. As long as you don't expect much in the gaming department, it's a solid choice for the money. It's well-built.
I recommend replacing the Wifi with an Intel card though as the Mediatek one it ships with is garbage. It wouldn't connect to my main Wifi, only the guest network. Speed sucked too. Replaced it with an Intel AX210 and the problems went away.
It's a great value and a solid PC overall. I live it a lot better than the Lenovo Ideapad 720S I'm using now. I just need something beefier than what it could give.
March 4, 2020 at 9:52 am
Good article and guide, thanks !
I'm looking for a light, 1.5kg max, 13.3 to 14.9" laptop.
I came up with the MSI prestige 14 in i7 configuration with 1650 Max-Q but was wondering if it's really worth it since it needs some thermal modding to squeeze max performance (repaste + heatpipe added). Ref: https://www.reddit.com/r/intel/comments/e5fzc1/i710710u_revisited_msi_prestige_14_w_lm_mods_3064/
I was considering to do the mod myself or via HID, but being in Europe it adds a lot to the cost if ordered in the US.
Is there any alternative to this MSI with a price from 1000-1500 USD ?
Can we expect price drops when Ryzen 4000 laptops start to be available ?
March 4, 2020 at 7:42 pm
We had big troubles with the MSI Prestige 14 we had for reviews, and it was only the MX250 25W version. We sent it back to MSI and never heard back for a replacement, so I wouldn't go with it, based on my experience with that sample.
As for Ryzen 4000 laptops, I don't think they will affect this segment of light-weight laptops, but rather the segment of mid-range full-size notebooks
March 5, 2020 at 7:45 am
Thanks for your reply. I also previously had issues with MSI about the MXM replacement GPU with the GT70/GT72/GT80…
BUt was considering giving them another chance since other than a contractual/commercial issue, my GT72 has been running flawlessly since 2014 with very good temps for the 980M.
ANy alternative then ?
March 5, 2020 at 11:12 am
Do you need to go with a 14-inch laptop? There are many good portable 15-inch models such as the MAG 15 or the Zephyrus M GU502.
March 16, 2020 at 9:24 am
The weight is important for me so if there are 15" with 1.3kg or less it work, but as far as I saw there is none…
March 16, 2020 at 7:10 pm
There are some options, but not with gaming-capable specs. See this list: https://www.ultrabookreview.com/4219-the-lightest-ultrabooks/
June 3, 2020 at 6:15 am
– First congratulate all the workers of the web, it is an excellent place to clear your mind in order to make a better purchase. Still doubts come to me and for that I use this comments section.
– I am a university student but the truth is that I hardly ever take the laptop to college, I use it to study at home, the portability issue interests me only to be able to achieve the best possible experience.
– I am going to allocate a budget of 1400 dollars to buy a video game laptop in the United States and I plan to be with her for 2 or 3 years; I have read a lot and I am convinced that the best solution for me is the full size laptops (lenovo legion, acer helios hp omen, etc) where I can maximize performance for the money invested.
I am interested in the following characteristics:
a) Harware: i7 (thinking that it will age better, although this implies lowering the dgpu) preferably above the i5 although you could also use this without a doubt.
b) dgpu: at least a gtx 1660ti and if it is possible to get to the 2060 better, but not for the rtx, but for the performance improvement it can provide me.
c) screen: yes or if I want it of 144hz, but with a range of decent colors and brightness, (the new tuf a15 from asus I don't want them for that reason and also for the high temperatures of the components, despite the good price) I have many doubts between a 15 or 17-inch screen, portability is secondary to the best experience (I want to insist on this) although I think I prefer the screen of 17 (I have never had a laptop with that size) I must take into account the increase in price compared to the 15 model when we talk about the same laptop.
d) other aspects: the cooling has to be competent for the presented components, good construction, good keyboard but it does not have to be outstanding, 16gb ram and the storage does not matter what is little, then I can increase it in almost all the models, the battery nor is it vital.
– After investigating, I have these two options as more interesting:
1- Acer predator helios 300: I find the 17-inch model interesting because of the best thermic, the speakers and the screen, of course, that for my money I would choose the 1660ti gpu model and very little storage. Do you think this model is more interesting than the 15-inch one, although it may be inferior in storage and some other hardware details?
2- Lenovo Legion y540, I like this laptop, but I am more inclined to the predator, especially for the best construction.
3- Lenovo Legion 5i: Very soon they will be on the market and I really like how they look, but be very uncertain about the price, I think it will be a good laptop, but you have to wait for the reviews, perhaps with the release of these new laptops , last year's prices drop and would be a point in favor of previous models.
1.1 Do you think it is more interesting to opt for a 17-inch model over a 15-inch model, even if that means that the larger model has lower hardware than the 15-inch one?
1.2 Will there be much difference in the gaming experience on a screen of 15 to play on one of 17?
-Note: I know that these questions at the end seem strange and it should not be easy to answer it because it depends on each one, but I ask for your personal experience, as you prefer.
– I will appreciate all the answers tremendously, greetings.
June 3, 2020 at 11:16 am
1.1 I'd go with the 15-inch option, better specs for less money, and good enough thermals and performance with the latest drivers.
1.2 that's up to you. I'd be fine with either one
June 3, 2020 at 4:49 pm
Thanks for the reply.
I will opt for the 15-inch model with the consequent improvement of hardware for the same money, I trust that the gaming experience is good in both models, as you tell me.
I suppose you agree with the choice of the acer helios 300 over the lenovo y540, that does seem safe.
June 13, 2020 at 6:42 pm
hello awesome review and in depth info.
if I have to choose between acer helios 300 rtx 2070 17inch vs Triton 500 rtx 2060. In India it costs 1853$ for the acer and 2000$ for the Triton.
Also if I am going to spend that much is there a better alternative than the above two.
June 13, 2020 at 7:14 pm
Depends on what you need it for. Thr triton is more portable and nicer made, plus includes a bigger battery, Gsync or TB3. The Helios is a more mid-tier laptops and looks like the better performer based on those specs. up to you to pick what suits your needs
June 25, 2020 at 12:16 pm
a very good structured read. helped me decide on exactly what i needed. keep it going guys!
July 29, 2020 at 5:35 pm
I see you replying to pretty much all of the comments posted here, that's very admirable and impressive!
I'm currently in the market for a high-end gaming laptop to replace my nearly 6 year old MSI GS60 Ghost Pro. Thing was an absolute unit when I got it. Less than 0.80 inches thick, 1080p 340+ nit display, Core i7 6700HQ, 16GB DDR4 RAM, Dual 512 GB PCIe SSDs in Raid 0, GTX 970m (third party overclocked). Cost me $3,000 and was worth every penny. But it's sadly pretty outdated now, and can only run newer games at the lowest settings (and still usually with bad FPS). It seems to be bottle-necking not even really at the graphics card but at the CPU so that's a done deal.
I am looking for something somewhat similar, though I am thinking I probably don't need to (and don't really want to) spend as much as I did on the MSI. I am leaning toward a 17-inch since there are many out there with footprints about the same size as my MSI (which was a little big for a 15-inch back then) and want a core i7 108750H (or possibly core i9) and at least an RTX 2070 (no max q); a 2070 super or 2080 max q would also do, but those two would likely push me past my price range (though I am willing to pay what I need to in order to get the overall configuration I want). At leas 1TB SSD, 32 GB of RAM, Windows Hello (camera and/or fingerprint) would be nice.
I'd be using it mostly for RTS games (at ultra settings), but also some top down and/or first person RPGs and the occasional 1st person shooter (so refresh rate isn't all that important but a consistent frame rate is; if there's one thing I can't stand it's choppy unit movement and a sluggish UI in my RTS games). I still want something thin and light (the Ghost Pro has completely spoiled me in that department) but a little bigger/thicker/heavier is okay. The keyboard has to be good enough but doesn't need to be great. Display should be bright (but doesn't have to be blinding, I won't be outside with this thing) and color accurate, and the chassis should stay relatively cool under load (even if the fans have to get loud to do that).
I've had my eye on the new Eluktronics Max 17 as it seems to pretty much tic all those boxes for a very reasonable price. The new Lenovo Legion 7i also looks pretty nice, though it is a bit pricey for what you get in terms of performance (at least compared to the Max 17). Do you have any other recommendations?
Lastly, part of the reason I've been holding off for a while is to see what OEMs do with the new Ryzen processors, particularly the 9 series. Unfortunately, it seems like feet are being dragged and there just isn't much available in the configuration I want (the Zephyrus G14 is nice enough but it's too small, I'm not crazy about the design, and I'm a little worried about longevity with only the RTX 2060). Should I wait? Please give me your thoughts.
Thanks in advance!
July 29, 2020 at 10:50 pm
Please summarize this in a shorter format
August 3, 2020 at 8:23 am
I'm currently in the market for a high-end gaming laptop I am leaning toward a 17-inch but the right 15-inch would work too.
I'd be using it mostly for RTS games (at ultra settings), but also some top down and/or first person RPGs and the occasional 1st person shooter. I'd prefer something thin and light. The keyboard has to be good but doesn't need to be great. Display should be bright (but doesn't have to be blinding, I won't be outside with this thing) and color accurate, and the chassis should stay relatively cool under load (even if the fans have to get loud to do that).
I've had my eye on the new Eluktronics Max 17 as it seems to pretty much tic all those boxes for a very reasonable price. Do you have any other recommendations?
Lastly, part of the reason I've been holding off for a while is to see what OEMs do with the new Ryzen processors, particularly the 9 series. In addition, the RTX 3000 series is on the horizon, but apparently won't be available in laptops until this time next year. Should I wait? Please give me your thoughts.
September 17, 2020 at 2:19 am
I thought this was an ultrabook article. What happened?
September 17, 2020 at 1:55 pm
it's an all-in-one article, and it will be updated shortly
April 25, 2021 at 8:52 pm
There is a reference to coil whine being a con with the Razer Blade Pro 17, "beware of coil whine".
However, there is no mention of coil whine in the original review (2020 model), nor could I find it in the newest review on the 2021 model. Could you elaborate on what you mean by this? Is there a significant risk of coil whine with the Blade Pro 17?
In the 17 inch market, what would you recommend right now?
Thanks in advance!
April 26, 2021 at 11:56 am
Coil whine is a random and fairly common issue with modern laptops. While our review units did not experience any, that doesn't meant your retail product will absolutely not, based on what some users are reporting on Reddit and forums. So I prefer to warn people of any potential issue that have been commonly reported, just so they know there's a chance that might happen on their unit. That being said, the Blade Pro 17 is a fairly solid option in its class, but rather expensive imo, and only gets a smaller battery.
April 26, 2021 at 4:56 pm
Thanks Andrei. I did not follow you fully – are you saying that coil whine is a general problem with modern laptops, or is it a specific problem with the Blade Pro 17? Or at least, a more frequent problem? I have checked Reddit and other sources, and I could not find many references of it (but it certainly occurs). However, I would greatly appreciate any input as I am contemplating the new Blade Pro 17 2021 model, and it is a key concern for me as you listed it as a potential issue.
April 26, 2021 at 5:04 pm
I'm saying that it can happen with every laptop brand, but also that I've seen it reported by Blade Pro buyers over the years. I don't think it's more common on the RBP than on other models, but RBP buyers are probably more vocal about it than others.
Is there an option to buy from a store that allows free non-stocking returns? Not sure what's Razer's policy on this if you're buying from their site. As far as I can tell, that's the only way to make sure you're not getting any hidden flaws these days: buy it, test it (for coil whine, keyboard/screen quality, audio, performance, etc), keep it if it's OK or return if not.
April 26, 2021 at 8:05 pm
Thanks Andrei, that clarifies it. I will be reviewing the return policy before buying.
What are your top 3 picks in the 17 inch market right now?
April 27, 2021 at 10:03 am
Depends on what you want. If it's the portable kind, then this RBP, the Gigabyte Aero 17 and the Dell XPS 17 would be towards the top. If it's full-size full-performance, you've got other options from Asus, Alienware or MSI.
May 10, 2021 at 10:38 am
Hi! Andrei, thanks for all of your reviews! I use them really often when mi friends ask me for good options and I redirect them here…
I'm about to buy a new laptop, but I'm really unsure of the best option.
My main use is going to be photo editing (not professional) studying, design sometimes, music production in a future, occasionally playing a game but not often and not a demanding one.
My budget is 1300€
I'm in between: • msi prestige 14 (https://www.fnac.es/Portatil-MSI-Prestige-14-A10RB-021ES-14-Negro-Ordenador-portatil-PC-Portatil/a7238803) or • Huawei matebook X pro (https://www.fnac.es/Portatil-Huawei-MateBook-X-Pro-13-9-16GB-1TB-Gris-Ordenador-portatil-PC-Portatil/a7827413) (sorry. Can't find English links of the exact model)
One thing that concerns me about the msi is that has no 3.0 usb type A. Just 2.0..
My main request is good quality of the materials in general so this purchase lasts a few years at least and fidelity in color show.
If not, would you recommend me one you think it could suit me in that budget?
Thank you very much!
May 10, 2021 at 10:54 am
Hi Paula. Careful about the MateBook X Pro, which's designed to be efficient and quiet in an ultra-compact shell, and as a result, it somewhat sacrifices on performance, so it might not be powerful enough for those kinds of activities that you mentioned. On the other hand, is gets an amazing screen that will surely help in your creative endeavors.
The Prestige is a better performer and it should have USB 3.0, but I haven't tested it so I can't tell for sure if the screen is any good. I'd look into some reviews on this matter.
Is a Lenovo Legion Slim 7 within your budget, preferably with a Ryzen 4700U (or 4800U) processor and 16 GB of RAM? That would probably be my go-to recommendation in this class.
May 12, 2021 at 9:10 am
Oh! Thank u very much. I'll give a look at the Lenovo. Couldn't find it here in Spain with ryzen, but I'll keep digging.
And about the msi, I read this answer you gave to someone and made me suspicious about buying it (below). But I think it's another model. Anyway, thank u very much, I hope I decide soon hahaha.
"March 4, 2020 at 7:42 pm
We had big troubles with the MSI Prestige 14 we had for reviews, and it was only the MX250 25W version. We sent it back to MSI and never heard back for a replacement, so I wouldn't go with it, based on my experience with that sample…."
June 11, 2021 at 2:59 pm
Just wondering how well does the asus rog zeph g15 2021 model compare to some of these nearly 3k laptops? From what it seems like the g15 is really good at its price range if the only issue is the fan???
June 28, 2021 at 11:04 am
it does fare very well and will be included in the next major revision on this article
December 9, 2021 at 1:53 pm
Hi Andrei! I have been benchmarking for a new laptop lately and have been really impressed by your reviews, which are by far the best I've read !
I was wondering if i could have your help to work between 3 promotions I've seen (maybe not what you like the most, but just to be sure none of it is a trap : my current HP is awful) :
What I want: the Wow factor (i mostly play moba and I was never able to push the settings in my life), something durable (so I'm cooncerned by heat). My budget is between 1k, 1k5 (not a lot but I come frome a terrible pavilion gaming).
The 3 offers I've noticed are :
1) 1600 € Rog Strix G15 advantage edition – with the AMD 6800 and the Ryzen 9,and the "right" 165 Hz screen, at 1600 euros : slightly above budget, but can it be worth it?
2) A cheaper option (1200 €): Asus ROG Zephyrus PC Portable ZEPHYRUS-G14-GA401QC-082T PC Portable 14" WQHD 120Htz (Ryzen 9-5900HS, RAM 16Go, SSD 512Go, RTX 3050, Windows 10) at 1200 € : is it the absolute steal it looks it is? I'm also worried about heating.
3) 1370 € ASUS F15-TUF506HM-AZ121T – 15,6" FHD 240Hz – Intel i7-11800H – RAM 16Go – SSD 512Go – RTX 3060 6Go
I originally liked this idea as the balanced one (+ webcam), but im concerned the reviews on the F15 are not great although at this price can it get better?
Many thanks for any help you could give, and keep up the great work, i will definitely recommend your site :)
December 10, 2021 at 11:32 am
If you're after a more portable unit, then the G14 is hard to rival with. I would go for the Ryzen 7 + 3050Ti configuration if it allows you to save some money. Temperatures are mostly OK with the 3050 chip, see our review for details.
For the other two, I'd also look into a Legion 5 if available in your region and priced right. over here I can get a Ryzen 5 + 3060 configuration for around 1000 EUR at sales, and the Legion 5 pro with the QHD+ screen, Ryzen 5 + 3060 went for as low as 1100. Both are better value than the Asus TUF.
The Strix Advantage is quite a different laptop, and something to consider for that powerful GPU. Up to you if worth paying the extra for. If you would like to play AAA games, then, yes, sure, but for lighter titles I'd say that 6800 is overkill and would rather go for a 3060
December 10, 2021 at 11:58 pm
Thanks Andrei for taking the time. I rally appreciate it. In the end, I did consider that advantage is overkill.
I would have gone for the zephyrus, but the lack of webcam annoys me.
I found the Lenovo pro at 1400 with Ryzen 7, and that's what I will go for.
January 29, 2022 at 6:39 pm
I am really confused with all the specs in the market.
I'm looking for a laptop that's best balanced for daily use (graphic design, video editing) and gaming (dota 2, PUBG) that will last at least 10-15 years. What would u recommend?
The one that so fast, no lag, no problem, reliable and will last long.
I tried dota 2 in macbook air m1, so laggy can't play it there.
February 11, 2022 at 5:12 pm
can you add a dark mode? all this white hurting my eyes
February 14, 2022 at 1:25 pm
Thanks for the suggestion, It's on the to-do list
March 1, 2022 at 7:36 am
I have been looking for a laptop that can handle the latest games on high settings. I’ve tried out Dell, Acer, and Alienware before but I was not satisfied with their performance in gaming. Now that I am done reading your article, my mind is clear and I will be buying an Asus ROG Zephyrus M1 soon.
June 15, 2022 at 2:40 pm
Are you planning to review the 2022 Refresh of the 14" Acer Predator Triton 300 SE?
When it first released last year it almost ticked all my boxes, but then reviews came out and many reviewers were disappointed in the performance of the 4 core 11th Gen Intel H Series.
With the bump to 16:10 screen, 76Wh (from 60) and an Alder Lake processor with P and E cores, I really hope this can be a home run because I like the styling a lot more than the Zephyrus G14 and for me 14" is the sweet spot for a laptop.
I'm sure if you are given a review unit from Acer they would want you to test the best SKU possible, but it would also be great to see the i5 or i7 SKU, I don't need the power of an i9 and I'm sure they would have better battery life.
Lastly, and this is not specific to that laptop, but it would be great if you could add a "battery life on low requirement games" section to your reviews. I don't expect to play SotTR on Ultra with RayTracing for long unplugged, but could I get 3 hours of Civ V on medium settings, using integrated instead of discrete graphics (maybe via MUX Switch) on a plane journey (with Wifi etc off)? No one really tries that in their reviews but I think it would be really helpful.
Thanks for your great site
June 15, 2022 at 3:08 pm
hopefully, yes. I don't have a review unit yet, though.
Battery life isn't affected much by the settings. I will run some tests with various resolutions and fps cap rates, as I expect that a 30 fps limit to have a positive impact. I'll have a dedicated article if I can to any conclusions that are worth sharing.
June 16, 2022 at 2:25 pm
That's awesome, can't wait to read your review.
My 2010 Elitebook 8440p is on its last legs. 3rd battery (which lasts about 180 seconds unplugged) but I'm so picky that if I want to spend that much money on a laptop it's gotta be damn near perfect!
October 27, 2022 at 2:23 pm
Hi Andrei, I noticed this guide just got updated.
I'm looking for a new laptop (hopefully will find a decent Black Friday discount).
Is there any chance you will have a full review of either the 2022 Predator Triton 300 SE (12700H, 3060 or the Lenovo Slim 7 Pro X (6800 HS, 3050)? Both hit that 14" 16:10 sweet spot for me.
I'm looking for some very medium gaming performance – 99% of my gaming is on PS5 but I'd like to be able to play MS exclusives with the Bethesda and possible Activision acquisitions as well as games better suited to mouse/kb input such as Sim City/Kerbal Space Program etc.
October 27, 2022 at 2:34 pm
Hi. I don't have those. Will have a review of the Yoga Pro 14 X with the Intel specs
October 27, 2022 at 5:35 pm
Is that the Slim 7i Pro X? I believe it's the same other than the proccesor and TB4 support
October 27, 2022 at 6:41 pm
yes. Btw, why isn't the ROG G14 on your list as well?
November 1, 2022 at 2:16 pm
> yes. Btw, why isn't the ROG G14 on your list as well?
Looking forward to it!
The G14 is on my list but I prefer the styling of the Predator 300 SE or Slim 7(i) Pro X over something that screams "GAMER". G14 also comes with AMD GPU. Maybe I'm buying into the Marketing a little too much but DLSS just seems like something that will give a machine a bit more performance lifespan – eg running a AAA game in 2028 rendering at 720p and DLSS upscaling to 1080p/4k for my screen.
That being said if the best Black Friday/Cyber Monday deal is for a G14 then that's what I will be buying.
December 21, 2022 at 8:59 pm
There really needs to be a section addressing/ranking the best for gaming on battery. (Both in battery runtimes and performance unplugged vs plugged difference)
Otherwise, what's the point of buying a gaming thin and light ultrabook, might aswell get just get a desktop replacement.