Table of Contents
Most laptop manufacturers are releasing a full-performance gaming/work laptop with an 18-inch display as of early 2023.
In this article, I’m explaining what to expect in terms of size, screen quality, and performance from these 18-inch laptops, and how they compare to the 17-inch laptop models available in the past (and still available today).
Then we’ll discuss which are the Best 18-inch laptops of this generation, for either gaming or non-gamig use (creator, programming, engineering), as well as muster a detailed list of available notebooks with these big 18″ displays, to help you single out the device that best meets your needs and budget.
What to expect from 18-inch laptops?
As far as size goes, these 18-inch machines are slightly larger and heavier than most 17-inch alternatives. Thus, you should get these for primarily desk use, and less so for on-the-go use, where a smaller and lighter format would make more sense.
Just to better understand the differences in dimensions between these two segments, here’s a picture of the 18-inch ROG Scar 2023 next to the 17-inch ROG Scar 2022.
Of course, these dimensions differ between the available models, but within tight limits. The picture above also hints that the 18-inch displays on these laptops are 16:10 formats, while most 17-inch models come in 16:9 formats (with only a few exceptions).
Regardless, the larger size of these 18-inch computers is primarily a result of the 18-inch 16:10 display being larger than the 17-inch displays, notably taller and a few mm wider as well.
However, it’s also a consequence of the fact that the 18-inch models available so far are full-size designs with uncompromised performance. A complex cooling module is needed in order to properly handle the latest hardware (Intel Core i9 HX, AMD Ryzen 9 HX, up to RTX 4090 graphics) at full power, which leads to a large and fairly thick chassis in most cases. With no exception, all the 18-inch options available at the time of this article weigh 3+ kilos.
In comparison, 17-inch laptops are available in a broader range of formats, most options being similar full-performance machines, but some being much thinner and lighter designs. I’d reckon thinner 18-inch models will be available at some point, but are not today.
As far as the offered 18-inch panels go, there are two main options available for now:
- an IPS panel with QHD+ 2560 x 1600 px resolution, 240Hz 3ms gaming specs, and 100% DCI-P3 color coverage;
- a miniLED panel with with similar specs (QHD+, 250Hz 3ms, 100% DCI-P3 color coverage), but higher brightness and dimming-zones.
This mini LED panel seems to be exclusive to a single product for the time being, but will probably be offered on other options in the future. You should also check out this article for a more detailed explanation of mini LED panel technology on laptops.
The IPS QHD+ panel is available in all the other options. Here are the specs of this 18-inch IPS panel, based on our findings from the Scar 18 review.
- Panel HardwareID: BOE BOE0B359 (NE180QDM-NZ2);
- Coverage: 99.8% sRGB, 85.3% AdobeRGB, 99.0% DCI-P3;
- Measured gamma: 2.17;
- Max brightness in the middle of the screen: 454.72.47 cd/m2 on power;
- Min brightness in the middle of the screen: 23.25 cd/m2 on power;
- Contrast at max brightness: 1053:1;
- White point: 7200 K;
- Black on max brightness: 0.43 cd/m2;
- PWM: No.
It’s a good panel with fair brightness and excellent colors. Blacks at high brightness are rather grayish, and that affected the contrast as well. Nonetheless, expect a degree of variation between the implemented panels, so check out the review for exact details on the laptop that you’re interested in.
Best 18-inch laptops
We’ll know more about these 18-inch laptops in a few weeks, once we get to review them, so for now it’s too early to draw proper conclusions on a Best 18-inch model, but I will explain the main particularities of each option.
Non-gaming 18-inch options (creator, work)
While all the available 18-inch laptops offer the features and the performance required for any sort of demanding loads, a single option stands out as a non-gaming design, something some of you might look for in your work laptop.
That’s the Razer Blade 18, with the well-appreciated Razer design and build quality. This is no longer a thin-and-light laptop with a big screen, like the Blade 17 chassis, but a thicker and heavier option that allows the internals to run at higher power than in the past generations. This will not quite match the sustained performance and thermal capacity of the bulkier gaming options, but it will come close in most loads.
Other potential options with somewhat non-gaming designs are the Predator Helios 18 and the ROG Strix G18, although both are bulkier and more aggressive looking than the Blade.
Gaming 18-inch notebooks
Acer, Alienware, and Asus offer 18-inch gaming laptops at this point, while MSI or Lenovo haven’t yet unveiled such an option yet.
The Acer Predator Helios 18 is the only one offering that mini LED panel mentioned earlier and is a fairly clean design, but is also not as powerful as the other options.
The Alienware m18 and the Asus ROG Scar 18 are both full-power designs with some massive cooling modules (quad-fan on the Alienware, tri-fan on the ROG, both with ample radiators and a complex array of heatpipes). Both can be specced up to an Intel Core i9-13980HX processor and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 175W dGPU. The Alienware m18 will also be available in an AMD Advantage version at some point, but only in a mid-tier configuration, since AMD does not offer high-tier RDNA3 dGPUs at this point.
For what is worth, the Alienware m18 is a 250W crossload power design (75W CPU TDP + 175W GPU TGP), while the Scar is a 240W design (65W CPU TDP + 175W TGP). The other options allocate 35-55 W of power to the CPU in combined loads.
In broad terms, specs and cooling aside, the Alienware attracts with its brand presence and iconic design, as well as an optional CherryMX mechanical keyboard, but also demands a premium in most markets. The ROG Scar 18, on the other hand, is a refinement of the previous ROG designs, and most likely a well-balanced option in this premium performance niche, with a more affordable price than the Alienware for the high-specced configurations.
Finally, the ROG Strix G18 is pretty much the same chassis and cooling as the ROG Scar 18, but with more basic aesthetics. This will be mostly available in mid-tier configurations with RTX 4060/4070 graphics, so will primarily cater to a more price-conscious potential buyer.
I’ll update this section once we get to review these notebooks, in the following months.
Here are some detailed reviews of some of these 18-inch gaming units:
- Asus Strix ROG Scar 18 (Core i9 + RTX 4090);
And here’s what to expect in terms of 4K and QHD gaming on the RTX 4090/4080 configurations of these laptops.
The complete list of 18-inch laptops available in 2023
There are only a handful of notebooks with 18-inch screens available at this point, and I’ve listed all of them down below, in alphabetical order.
|Acer Predator Helios 18||18-inch 16:10 miniLED QHD 250Hz||up to Core i9-13950HX / max 64 GB RAM DDR5-5600||up to RTX 4080 165W, MUX||7.1 lbs /3.25 kg|
|new 2023 model; premium 18-inch gaming laptop; metal build and per-key RGB keyboard; QHD miniLED 16:10 display, 250Hz 3ms; multiple configurations – up to i9-13980HX + RTX 4080 165W; 2x RAM and 2x SSD slots; dual-fan cooling; 90 Wh battery + 280W charger, dual speakers|
|Alienware M18 R1, AMD Advantage||18-inch 16:10 FHD+ 480 Hz / QHD+ 240 Hz matte||up to Ryzen 9 7945HX / max 64 GB DDR5 RAM||up to RX 7600M XT (120W), MUX||7.3 lbs / 3.3 kg|
|new 2023 model; premium design with Cherry MX RGB keyboard and several screen options; several configurations, up to R9 7945HX + Radeon RX 760M XT in the AMD Advantage variant; 2x RAM, 4x gen4 SSD; complex quad-fan cooling module; 86 Wh battery, 280W charger, dual-speakers|
|Alienware m18 R1, Intel||18-inch 16:10 IPS QHD 240Hz||up to Core i9-13980HX / max 64 GB RAM DDR5-5200||up to RTX 4090 (175W), MUX||7.3 lbs /3.3 kg|
|new 2023 model; Intel variant of the same Alienware m18 chassis described above, up to i9-13980HX and RTX 4090 175W, up to 330W charger|
|Asus ROG Strix SCAR 18 G634||18-inch 16:10 IPS QHD+ 240Hz||up to Core i9-13980HX / max 64 GB RAM DDR5-5200||up to RTX 4090 (175W), MUX||6.9 lbs /3.1 kg|
|detailed review – new 2023 model, premium 18-inch performance laptop, per-key RGB keyboard and various screen options; multiple configurations, up to Core i9-13980HX + RTX 4090 with tri-fan cooling module and 7 heatpipes; 90W battery + 330W charger; quad speakers|
|Asus ROG Strix G18 G814||18-inch 16:10 IPS QHD+ 240Hz||up to Core i9-13980HX / max 64 GB RAM DDR5-4800||up to RTX 4090 (175W), MUX||6.9 lbs /3.1 kg|
|new 2023 model, mid-tier 18-inch performance laptop; simpler design and no RGB, zone RGB keyboard and various IPS screen options; multiple configurations, up to Core i9-13980HX + RTX 4090 with tri-fan cooling module; 90W battery + 330W charger; quad speakers|
|Razer Blade 18||18-inch 16:10 IPS QHD+ 240Hz||up to Core i9-13980HX / max 64 GB RAM DDR5-5200||up to RTX 4090 (175W), MUX||7.1 lbs / 3.2 kg|
|detailed review – new 2023 model, premium all-purpose laptop; per-key RGB keyboard; 6:10 IPS QHD display, 240Hz 3ms, 5MPx camera, tri-fan cooling, 92 battery, and 6x speakers|
|Price: $3999 for i9 + 4090 model|
That’s about it for now, but I’m keeping an eye out for any new models. Nonetheless, I’d appreciate your help letting me know if you spot any 18-inch laptop that should be in here and is not.
Furthermore, I’m interested in your thoughts on these full-size 18-inch laptop designs. Are you getting this sort of machine that will offer the best performance possible in a notebook format today, or would you rather opt for a more balanced 16-inch design instead?