Do You Want To Learn How To Choose A Gaming Laptop?
Every single gamer out there will tell you that a gaming laptop is not for the professionals but nobody can deny the fact that it can be really useful. However, choosing a gaming laptop is not as easy as you might first think.
While the desktop gaming PC is the king of the industry, the gaming laptop can be pretty useful when you travel. It can also be a good choice for the gamer that is simply on the move and cannot stay in one place, at a desk.
At the moment, there are countless gaming laptops available on the market. It seems that every single manufacturer tries to get a piece of the industry.
Simply because a laptop is labeled as being for gaming purposes does not make it so. If you want to learn how to choose a gaming laptop that will offer the best possible experience, here is what you should know.
How To Choose A Gaming Laptop – Cheat Sheet
If you do not have the time to go through the entire article, here are the most important things to remember:
- You Need A Good GPU – Games are dependent on it and on a laptop, you cannot upgrade the video card. If you get a very good GPU, you can play video games at really high settings for years. If not, you might not even make it to the end of the year.
- Consider Future Upgrades – Most gaming laptops allow you to upgrade storage and RAM in the future. This is, most likely, something you will need.
- Don’t Forget About The Keyboard – Games cannot be played on stiff or mushy keyboards.
- Pick A Good CPU – You want to pick at least an i7 CPU right now. Pick the best you can afford.
- Pick Between Resolution Or Speed – Fast 144 Hz display only offer a resolution of 1920 x 1080. The 4k screen is slow.
Choosing A GPU Card For The Gaming Laptop
Most great games are GPU-bound. The biggest decision you have to make is what GPU to choose. Most gaming laptops include nVidia GeForce RTX or GTX GPUs.
The problem with the modern GPU cards is that they are expensive. Basically, you want to get the best one that you can afford with the gaming laptop you buy.
The choice that you make is based on the games you want to play. There are basically 3 categories to consider:
- Entry-Level Gaming – When you do not play games on a high-quality setting, the video card does not have to be too great. The gaming laptop you buy will most likely cost between $800 and $1,100.
- Mainstream Gaming – In this case, you do need a better video card since. Choose one that allows you to experience virtual reality at the lowest quality setting. The gaming laptop will cost up to $1,500.
- VR And The Highest Settings – When you want the best of the best, you need to buy a gaming laptop that includes the latest generation video card. Based on other specs and the video card, you can easily pay over $3,000 for such a gaming laptop.
Other Gaming Laptop Specs To Analyze
The GPU you get is definitely the most important thing to consider but this is not enough for a great gaming laptop. You should also analyze:
At the very minimum, you need an i7 CPU and you can definitely go for an Intel Core i9 CPU that can be overclocked. Although overclocking is not actually recommended in gaming, especially on a laptop, you might want it.
Think about the games you want to play and check system requirements. Opt for the recommendations for the highest settings. This is the minimum you want if you buy a gaming laptop so you could use it for a long time.
Gaming tends to be quite RAM intensive. This is why the recommendation is to get as much as you can. The general recommendation is to use at least 16 GB. If this is not an option right now, at least go for a gaming laptop that allows you to upgrade RAM in the future. You will praise this decision when you need more RAM.
Most budget gaming laptops include a single hard drive of around 1 TB. However, many of the better ones include a smaller SDD that is used to boot the machine. Having both HDD and SDD working together is common these days.
The larger SDD is better but it will be more expensive. With this in mind, if you want to save some cash, go for the tandem option and make sure the HDD has 7,200 RPM.
Choosing A Great Gaming Laptop Display
Few people think about display when they choose a gaming laptop but it is definitely very important. Some years ago, I actually had to connect a monitor to the laptop. You do not want to do this. The built-in laptop screen is where you will see your games so always think about:
Gaming laptops usually have 15 inches or 17 inches screens. There are also some that have an 18-inch panel. Fortunately, the size that you choose is entirely subjective, as long as the display is of good quality. However, remember the fact that if the screen is larger, the laptop is also heavier.
- Refresh Rate
The refresh rate is very important. It even has an impact on blue light. Most of the gaming laptops these days have a 60 Hz display and a 1080p resolution. This is usually enough.
Even high-resolution displays top out at the 60 Hz mark. There are vendors that will offer faster 144 Hz FHD displays. This means the GPU is better.
If you buy a gaming laptop, never settle for one that has a resolution under 1920 x 1080. If the video card is a better one, opt for a better 2560 x 1440 display.
- Do Not Get A Touch Screen
These are not bad but you do not actually need them. They destroy an already shallow battery life and the display becomes too glossy.
Choosing The Best Keyboard
There are countless things that can be said about this topic. Professionals will recommend many different things. However, at the end of the day, the truth is that you need a sturdy keyboard.
If you will use your laptop for gaming, you will press harder on the keys. This is a given. Most of the gaming laptops on the market have good keyboards but they are not as good as those for desktop PCs.
My personal suggestion is to not worry about the keyboard. Whenever possible, use a USB gaming keyboard that is connected to the gaming laptop. The same goes for the gaming mouse.
Buying Gaming Laptops From Known Brands
Gaming laptop brands are important. Every single one has something different. There are some with hardware designs you will love while others offer custom gaming software to use. Many have pretty lights that gamers love.
Some of the most popular gaming laptop brands are:
The Alienware m15 became the most impressive thin gaming laptop on the market but there are so many models that you can choose from. These are true powerhouses in the gaming industry.
Asus’s gaming brand is Republic of Gamers. It has great designs, with Zephyrus leading the way. Custom software allows you to customize backlighting and monitor important information like RAM, storage and temperature.
Legion is a personal favorite of mine in the gaming laptop market. The recent minimalist design is simply beautiful.
Razer definitely has some of the best designs when it comes to anything gaming-related. RGB lighting is just the best. With Razer Synapse you can set lighting and record macros for accessories and the laptops.
Acer is a brand that is well-known because it offers affordable hardware. However, the Predator gaming series is great, especially the Predator 21X thanks to its mechanical keyboard and curved display.
HP gaming laptops (Omen) are more for those that want a classier design, especially with the newer ones on the market.
Gaming laptops by Samsung cannot be recommended since they are overpriced. They also do not look that great.
These are great when you want access to numerous customization options. You can choose out of different GPUs, processors and even overclocking options.
Gaming Laptop Battery Life
No matter what manufacturers will tell you, a long battery life is not something you will get. When the laptop is used to play games, even if it is a part of a very good line and has all the best hardware in it, the battery will not last.
When you play games, you will need to keep the gaming laptop plugged in. This is the only way to get access to the full possible performance. If the battery lasts long, it is at an expense, usually the display.
Now that you know how to choose a gaming laptop, when you decide to buy one, be sure that you get specs that are going to last for years. At the very minimum, if you can afford it, go for a GPU with basic VR support. This is much more important than CPU or RAM.