Gaming laptops are tricky. They're for a specific class of PC users who require portability, but don't want to make sacrifices in power or capability. Acceptable concessions might need to be made in terms of size, weight or, indeed, wallet, but to play modern games at high settings you'll need to weigh up, potentially literally, exactly what you need.
There's no shortage of options out there so we've gathered a list of the best gaming laptops to buy in 2016. Whether you’re heading to a weekly LAN, or a student looking to get the most bang for your back-to-school buck, a gaming laptop for you and your needs exists.
The gaming laptop demographic is so well-served right now that even the most staunch brand loyalists should be able to find a great computer from their PC manufacturer of choice. So long as the laptop you’re buying has, at minimum, an Intel Core i7 processor, a GeForce GTX 960 (or higher) graphics card and 8GB or more of RAM, it’ll be competitive with what’s on this list. For those of you who simply want the best available, regardless of who makes it, read on. Here's our definitive list of the best gaming laptops.
The Asus ROG G752VT definitely isn’t the thinnest or lightest gaming laptop out there, but what it lacks in svelteness it more than makes up for in all-around performance and capability. The 17.3”, 1080p display is bright and steady thanks to Nvidia’s hardware-level G-sync technology, and the Core i7/970M processor and graphics card combo means modern games run at high or ultra settings will little or no compromise. If luxuries like a 4K display and ultra-portability don’t top your list of priorities, you’d be hard pressed to find a better all-around gaming laptop than the Asus ROG G752VT.
Best for... Performance gaming in a no fuss package.
If a 17” display is just too large, or if you simply must have a 4K screen to go along with your high-end mobile GPU, the Gigabyte P35X V5 is a formidable alternative to the Asus ROG G752VT. With its 15.6” 4K display, the Gigabyte laptop is both smaller and lighter than the Asus, while maintaining comparable (or higher) gaming capabilities at 1080p. 4K gaming is possible, but with sub-30 FPS results according to tests performed by , that 4K display is definitely best suited for UHD video content. If you love movies as much as you love games, however, the Gigabyte P35X V5 is worth its higher price of admission and easily makes it onto our list of best gaming laptops.
Best for... Powerful portable gaming and a great movie watching experience
If portability is your primary concern, the MSI GS72 6QE Stealth Pro 4K offers high-end performance in as svelte a package as you’re likely to find. Its 17.3” 4K display is beautiful and while obviously more imposing that the 15.6", the fact it's less than inch thick means it happily slots into a laptop bag and looks lovely with its brushed aluminium effect. Like other 4K gaming laptops, most games will still need to run in 1080p for optimal performance but the 970M graphics card is well up to the job with the 6GB version as standard. Add in the ample storage HDD storage space and a nice speedy solid state drive for your operating system and this is a beautiful, if expensive, package.
Best for... 4K gaming in a luxury form factor.
It's Asus' second entry on this list but the ROG Strix is another brilliant all rounder and is definitely one of the best gaming laptops for 2016. The battery life isn't great but it's got everything else going for it with a great graphics card (the 6GB version of the 970), a slick form factor and brilliant IPS display for multi angle viewing. There's also a USB Type C to keep you suitably future proofed for fast transfer and all your standard ports, including three USB 3.0s. Plus, as usual, Asus has handily marked our your WASD keys in red if you've not got the muscle memory built in.
Best for... Gaming on high settings on a mid-range budget
It may not be top-of-the-line as far as graphics are concerned, but the Lenovo Ideapad Y700 leads the pack when it comes to budget. The Ideapad Y700 is a perfectly capable 15” gaming laptop for almost half the price of the industry’s median MSRP. It won’t be winning any benchmark contests, and some games may have to dip down to Medium settings to achieve 60+ FPS but the Nvidia 960M is still a great graphics card that should be able to tackle all the latest games. Overall the Ideapad Y700 is a solidly built, capable laptop with excellent battery life, a great 15.6” display and the most palatable entry fee around.
Best for... Great gaming on a budget
Do you want to play everything at high and ultra settings, sacrificing nothing for your quest for pixel free glory? Then look no further than this beast of a gaming laptop from MSI. Not only does the Nvidia 1070 mobile chip mean all your PC games should run effortlessly, it also means it's the best gaming laptop on this list for virtual reality. It's compatible with the HTC Vive and even has enough ports for the USB hungry Oculus Rift headset. As you can probably tell by the name, it's not light and it's not super thin but if you want exceptional performance then this is the only laptop for you. Add in the Steel Series keyboard and this is a serious investment for no nonsense portable performance gaming.
Best for... Virtual reality and high performance gaming on a luxury budget