The trackpad is mediocre.
The ASUS TUF Gaming A15 will rise to the occasion, without even worrying about what that occasion entails. Its 144 Hz screen will let you the competition using 60 Hz monitors in the dust. The GPU will easily run upcoming AAA titles at the highest graphics settings, so you do not have to worry about upgrading the graphics card for the next few years.
15.6”, FHD (1920x1080), 144Hz, IPS
Processor: AMD Ryzen™ 7 4800H (Up to 4.2 GHz)
RAM: 16 GB
Memory: 1 TB SSD
Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 (6 GB)
Windows 10 Home
1 x HDMI, 3 x USB Type-A, 1 x USB Type-C, 1 x LAN-port, Mic and Headphones combo jack
Up to 12.3 hours
14.1" x 10.1" x 1"
The 120 Hz screen will give you 120 unique frames per second (when the frame rate is at least matching the refresh rate), so you'll receive the biggest competitive advantage over your online opponents with standard 60 Hz monitors that money can buy. The 6 heat pipes will minimize heat and eliminate any overheating chances.
The fans get loud during high-load moments.
The MSI GF65 understands gamers' needs, meeting and fulfilling them all while keeping the price tag pretty modest. Plus, the machine looks awesome, with its thin, aluminum-brushed profile and futuristic-looking outline. To add more, the anti-ghosting keyboard will make sure every click, press, and push is registered.
15.6”, FHD (1920x1080), 120Hz, IPS
Processor: Intel® Core™ i7-9750H (Up to 4.5 GHz)
RAM: 8 GB
Memory: 512 GB SSD
Graphic cards: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 TI (6 GB)
Windows 10 Home
1 x HDMI, 2 x USB Type-A, 2 x USB Type-C, 1 x LAN-port, Mic and Headphones combo jack
Up to 10 hours
14.13" x 9.99" x 0.85"
The keyboard will survive 20 million key presses. The keys have 1.8-mm travel time and this somewhat curved shape that reduces misclicking chances. The extra-thin bezels are giving you almost 80% screen-to-body ratio, making the visuals that much more immersive and enveloping.
The laptop's pretty heavy.
The ASUS TUF Gaming Laptop could not care less about anything besides gaming. With this product, you're not paying for components/features that are not adding any gaming value. On the contrary, this mobile machine has been designed with one goal - make every gaming session experience count.
17.3”, FHD (1920x1080), 60Hz, IPS
Processor: AMD Ryzen™ 5 3550H (Up to 3.7 GHz)
RAM: 8 GB
Memory: 512 GB SSD
Graphics card: AMD Radeon RX560X (4 GB)
Windows 10 Home
1 x HDMI, 3 x USB Type-A, 1 x LAN-port, Mic and Headphones combo jack
Up to 8 hours
15.7" x 11" x 1.1"
The Intel® Core™ i7-9750H CPU, with its <4.5 GHz turbo boost, will be easily rendering 150+ units interacting on the screen simultaneously without dropping the frame rates. The long-range Wi-Fi module will keep the connection stable and reliable even when the distance between the laptop and the router is quite considerable.
You're only offered 256GB storage space (can be expanded though).
People who are interested in streaming should look towards the MSI GF63. Gamers that prefer MMORPG and RTS games before most genres will find the laptop an excellent choice too. With its compact footprint and lightweight construction, this model will also prove an outstanding travel companion.
15.6”, FHD (1920x1080), 60Hz, IPS
Processor: Intel® Core™ i7-9750H (Up to 4.5 GHz)
RAM: 8 GB
Memory: 256 GB SSD
Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 TI (4 GB)
Windows 10 Home
1 x HDMI, 3 x USB Type-A, 1 x USB Type-C, 1 x LAN-port, Mic-in and Headphones-out jacks
Up to 10 hours
14.13" x 9.99" x 0.85"
The Quick mode lets the laptop tame hot titles, whereas the Quiet mode keeps the fans nice and quiet, enabling comfortable surfing and multimedia work. The Vantage Eye Care mode reduces the blue light output and adjusts the brightness, minimizing eye strain and fatigue.
Some find the speakers lacking quality-wise.
Buying two separate machines for gaming and working is not something that most people can afford. That's where the Lenovo Ideapad L340 comes in. This laptop is as good at covering basic gaming needs as it is at aiding, facilitating, and streamlining productivity. With this bad boy, you'll be working hard and playing equally hard.
15.6”, FHD (1920x1080), 60Hz, IPS
Processor: Intel® Core™ i5-9300H (Up to 4.1 GHz)
RAM: 8 GB
Memory: 512 GB SSD
Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 (4 GB)
Windows 10 Home
1 x HDMI, 2 x USB Type-A, 1 x USB Type-C, 1 x LAN-port, Mic and Headphones combo jack
Up to 9 hours
14.3″ x 10.0″ x 0.9″
ASUS TUF Gaming A15
Completing the Toughest Gaming Assignments
ASUS TUF Gaming A15 can realize even the most ambitious gaming aspirations. Normally, before you start breaching the $2k+ territory, gaming laptops cannot satisfy triple-A, high-end gaming. Where TUF Gaming A15 is concerned, that statement is divorced from reality. No, this is one fully-loaded machine, ready to attack, defend, and come out victorious against most tasks.
Now, because the gaming part is right there in the name, the laptop starts with its NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card. The card is an interesting proposition, to say the least. It is 30% less expensive compared to the 2070 card yet packs only 17% fewer CUDA cores. The latest Tomb Raider game runs at ~80 fps, even you move the sliders on the graphics settings all the way right, meaning choosing the highest settings. Battlefield V? Averages above 100 fps. The latest Assassin's Creeds title, even despite its poor optimization, will not dip below 75 fps. Long story short, the laptop will be running the most recent triple-A titles at somewhere around 80 frames per second at the very least.
When it comes to competitive online games like Fortnite, League of Legends, Apex Legends, Counter-Strike, Overwatch, and Dota, this GPU will usually give you above 200, which's important because the screen's refresh rate reaches 144 Hz. In other words, with this screen, 144 fps will mean you're watching 144 unique frames and not the same frames mirrored and repeated. That will lend you a huge advantage over opponents with 60 Hz screens, offering you a peek into the future, so to speak.
Even though comfortable high-end gaming is this device's primary objective, the hardware that's been added here serves different purposes too. Between the AMD Ryzen™ 7 4800H CPU and 16 GB RAM, the laptop enables seamless multitasking. You can stream, game, and run multiple system-intensive apps simultaneously. With this much RAM, the model lets you juggle large databases, the largest, most complex spreadsheets, basically as many demanding programs at the same time as you want without affecting the frame rate. The 1 TB SSD will not enhance the machine's performance compared to less spacious SSDs but, with so much available space, you can have as many games installed as you want (well, considering today's game's space demands, that means around 25-30).
Last but not least, supporting the beefy hardware are the self-cleaning dual fans, aiding heat dissipation and, with an effective anti-dust construction, protecting the system from overheating.
Bottom line, the ASUS TUF Gaming A15 packs enough firepower for any task and has the strength to tackle practically any situation.
Ultra Presets All the Way
The MSI GF65 is the most boring name. Gaming devices are always accompanied by cool-sounding names, so why this laptop has not been given one is beyond us. Especially considering that the boring name hides the least boring hardware. Seriously, what is so boring about NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 TI? Relative to the average/mid-range price, this is an epic card. More often than not, this GPU offers the same frame rates that its RTX 2060 relative is offering, except that the price is reduced compared to that relative. Feel like playing Battlefield 1? Do not even think about going easy on those graphics settings. No, set them to the max, because this GPU will still provide somewhere around 100 fps.
Certain games have the most punishing ultra presets, even though they have been released years ago. To name one, Ghost Recon Wildlands, despite its ~2018 release date, still breaks most graphics cards, because the people behind this game decided that optimizing its performance is something that is beneath them. We do not condone these people's thought process but, with this GPU, you don't have to worry about that because the game still runs at respectable 50+ fps, not the smooth visuals you deserve but, hey, sometimes you have to take a hit.
What's reassuring is that, even when the developers do not put any effort towards optimization, the laptop is still able to run these games, keeping the gameplay smooth and fluid. The fans might get loud during high-load moments but this is the case with most gaming laptops, so we will not be deducting major points here.
Meeting Gamers' Needs
When the price dips below $1k, gaming laptops start presenting considerable sacrifices. There are exceptions to every rule though and, for the most part, this product's an exception. Sure, reducing the RAM to 8 GB, the manufacturers have also reduced its multitasking prowess, so gaming and, say, handling 3D rendering and video editing simultaneously will be too much for this humble machine. But, as a gaming system first and foremost, this is not something that classifies as a "considerable sacrifice".
We're more than fine with trading RAM for the model's 120 Hz screen because, with this screen, you can dominate competitive online games, from different survival/battle royale/sandbox shooters like Fortnite, PUBG, and Apex Legends to MOBAs like LoL and Dota to classic/semi-classic shooters like Counter-Strike, Overwatch, Valorant, and more.
Long story short, the MSI GF65 understands gaming needs, meets them, fulfills them, and, at times, even gives you more than you need.
More Screen Real-Estate This Time
The ASUS TUF Gaming Laptop is much less expensive than the company's laptop from the same line that we have reviewed above, so, needless to say, the specs here are not as impressive. In a nutshell, the hardware this product's packing cannot compete with its almost-premium relative. But, when you drop the comparison, because these are two separate price brackets that should not even exist in the same conversation to begin with, the laptop becomes quite promising. In some respects, this mobile machine is even more impressive than its flagship peers.
To name one, there's the 17.3-inch display, offering much more screen real-estate compared to standard 15-inch models. On the screen's increased size, the Full HD resolution's advantages become much more apparent, presenting detailed visuals that 15-inch monitors cannot quite match. Sure, the screen also increases the model's weight (from ~5 pounds to ~6 pounds) and footprint (from ~14 x 10 x 1 inches to 15.7 x 11 x 1.1 inches) but most users will be more than fine with the trade-off.
Besides these changes, the laptop borrows certain solutions from its more venerate relatives too, including the ADC system acting like the device's immune system. Expelling dirt and dust particles from the chassis via two dedicated tunnels, the system prevents the fins from collecting these particles, increasing the laptop's lifespan.
As important as the parameters addressed above are, what makes and breaks gaming laptops is the hardware. In this case, we're steering more towards the "make" territory, even though not with the same confidence that more expensive laptops are boasting. No, the AMD Radeon RX560X GPU is an alright graphics card, but you will have to choose between ultra presets and smooth visuals because, when you start running the most recent and most demanding AAA titles, the GPU will usually cap at 30-40 fps. Is that bad? No, not at all. But most people will find high presets and ~60 fps more comfortable because the difference between ultra and high graphics settings is usually negligible and the difference between ~35 and ~60 fps is more than perceptible, especially when playing high-paced games.
Apart from the graphics card, the AMD Ryzen™ 5 3550H processing unit will not bottleneck the GPU but will also not perform any miracles. The same can be said about the 8GB RAM setup.
Without covering unimportant details, the ASUS TUF Gaming Laptop might have its flaws but you'd be hard-pressed to find anything more geared towards comfortable and effective gaming at comparable price rates.
MSI GF63 (9RCX-818)
The MSI GF63 is an interesting one. On the one hand, the machine's not adding anything that will not improve the overall gaming experience. On the other hand, its priorities are somewhat skewed. The Intel® Core™ i7-9750H CPU is an excellent processing unit, no doubt about that. In fact, it is a little too excellent. Sure, with this processor, MMORPGs will not be running, they will be flying. Even the most system-intensive strategy games will be hovering above 60 fps at the highest graphics settings. Generally speaking, games that include multiple units, including both NPCs and player-controlled characters, will benefit immensely from the CPU.
But anything that does not involve 100+ units interacting on the screen at the same time will make this CPU seem a little unnecessary. We'll even say that most gamers will probably trade this processing unit for something less impressive and allocate the money saved from this trade towards upgrading the GPU.
Now, the GPU here is nothing to sneeze at too. Quite the opposite, some have even described this card as the fastest budget graphics card. More often than not, the GPU will manage an average output around the always desired but usually elusive 60 fps, though you'll have to sometimes settle for high presets instead of ultra presets. Again, the graphics card is an above-average one, we're not complaining, except that most games would have benefitted from an upgraded GPU and downgraded CPU, that is all.
Comfortable Streaming Too
Aside from improving the machine's performance when running MMORPGs and strategy games, its awesome processing unit will also enable seamless streaming without affecting the frame rate. Needless to say, the CPU will also enable comfortable multitasking, working alongside the RAM to let you compile programs, encode videos, mine data, and more, all at the same time.
When talking about gaming laptops, we will seldom complain about mediocre parts that will not game the gaming experience any worse. But, with the SSD here, things are quite tricky. Technically speaking, the SSD's 256GB storage capacity will not affect the gameplay. Having said that, when you're forced to delete the old games every few weeks because 256 gigabytes is only enough to store somewhere around 5-8 games these days (do not forget that a part of that space will also be occupied by the system's programs and whatnot), you can see how and why some people might start complaining.
To sum up, MMORPG fans will love the MSI GF63. Real-time strategy enthusiasts will find this laptop pretty attractive too. But people whose preferences lie outside these genres should probably look towards the laptops preceding this one.
Lenovo Ideapad L340 (81LK00HDUS)
Taming the Hottest Titles
The Lenovo Ideapad L340 is as much about gaming as it is about seamless aesthetics, facilitating productivity and bridging the gap between you and the laptop. Still, costing around $800, the model has its limitations, this is not something that you can avoid keeping the price tag this low. First, the speakers are not great. Second, the GPU, even though pretty good relative to its cost, is nothing to write home about.
The card manages somewhere around 40 fps running the most recent Assassin's Creed iteration, nothing to scoff yet but also nothing to parade. Games like Battlefield 1 and Crysis 3, even though absolute beasts, will not be dipping below 60 fps because these games have been optimized. But those titles that have not received optimization efforts and those that have ludicrous ultra presets (not unlike the latest Tomb Raider and Ghost Recon installments) will prove a little too challenging, usually dropping the frame rates to ~30 fps. All that being said, generally speaking, the laptop does alright taming the hottest titles, even though some occasional assistance is required.
Again though, despite its gaming disposition, this laptop is an excellent mobile workstation too. Flicking between Quick and Quiet modes, the laptop will let you change both its look and feel, so you'll know when it is time to start working and when some rest is due. The 720p webcam will enable seamless video calls, while the physical shutter on this 'cam will keep private things private, so you do not have to worry about someone hacking the system and spying on you Black Mirror-style.
Working and playing in front of a screen puts its toll on your eyes. With the company's Vantage Eye Care mode, reducing blue light emission as well as adjusting the screen's tone, you can minimize eye strain and fatigue, working and gaming as long as necessary.
Capable of Heavy Lifting
Besides the above-mentioned GPU, not unlike all computers, the laptop's also packing a processing unit. In this case, it is Intel® Core™ i5-9300H, not the best streaming and multitasking specialist but an excellent gaming piece. To add more, the CPU offers great single-threaded performance, so you can assign this unit some heavy lifting, from compiling programs to 3D rendering and video encoding. The RAM capacity stops at 8 GB, what you usually expect from budget gaming laptops, whereas the SSD has been expanded, offering 512 GB, which lends enough storage space for a decent gaming library.
In short, work hard and play hard, the Lenovo Ideapad L340 will support, sustain, and facilitate that. This is a laptop that knows its worth, delivering across the board (except the audio board).
What Is a Gaming Laptop?
Everybody knows what a laptop is, but it's also quite true that most laptops are less performing than conventional PCs and that's the reason why many people prefer the latter to maximize their gaming experience. Several years ago the difference in performance between laptops and PCs was very big, but not today. The situation has become a lot better for mobile computers. A gaming laptop is a usual notebook that boasts the most cutting-edge and high-performing hardware which makes it fast enough to compete with PCs in running all kinds of video games. However, a gaming laptop is often heavier than a conventional one and that's something you need to take into account.
If you still want to have a high-end PC at home and enjoy all of your favorite video games without any problems - check out our review of gaming PCs. Keep in mind that all further upgrades are much easier to carry out on gaming PCs.
What Features to Compare
The first thing to take into account is the performance of the gaming laptop you're going to buy since it determines how long your laptop will remain good enough for modern games. There are several important issues that impact the performance and the CPU is certainly the most important one. The CPU, or central processing unit, is the brain of any computer and there are 2 major manufacturers: Intel and AMD. Intel is considered to be more performing than AMD and that's why most gaming laptops are equipped with one of the most up-to-date Intel CPUs - quad-core Core i5 or Core i7 models with the frequency of 2.4 GHz and more. Another crucial piece of hardware is the GPU or graphics processing unit which transforms a 2-digit code into a realistic image you see on the screen. There are 2 types of GPUs: integrated (they are built into CPUs) and discrete (the independent one which you can easily replace). Of course, most conventional laptops have just an integrated GPU but if your aim is playing video games - you must get a laptop with a discrete GPU. There are 2 main manufacturers of GPUs - NVIDIA and ATI (which is associated with AMD). NVIDIA graphics cards are usually considered to be better for laptops and that's why all of the devices we've picked in this review boast NVIDIA GPUs.
There's another important feature that impacts an overall performance of the laptop - RAM or random-access memory. It's responsible for short-term information retention and if you have a rather small RAM, your laptop won't be able to run all the games smoothly enough. RAM types are different - there are DDR, DDR2, DDR3 and even DDR4, but the newer one you get, the higher frequencies it will be able to support and the faster the data traffic will be. You need to choose a gaming laptop with at least 8 GB of RAM, though the more the better and the best laptops for games have as many as 16 GB.
Finally, check the capacity of the storage device and the technology used in it. For example, most simple laptops have hard disk drives (HDDs) which are quite affordable and have a huge capacity but they are relatively slow and somewhat outdated after solid-state drives (SSDs) have been invented. Of course, SSDs are much faster but more expensive than HDDs. That's why most gaming laptops have an SSD and an HDD. SSDs are used as system drives (Windows is installed on them), while all of your files are stored on HDDs.
Once you've decided on the previously mentioned features, consider the next one - the display, because the game is displayed on it. Therefore, you need to have a high-quality screen in order to enjoy the gaming experience. Game graphics have made a breathtaking progress within the last decade, so playing video games isn't only about killing some monsters, but also about admiring the graphics. So, begin with the screen size - most gaming laptops have a usual diagonal of 15.6 inches but if you want to feel as comfortable as possible while playing games - choose a larger screen (17.3 inches, for example).
Also, consider the resolution the screen provides. You can customize the settings before starting playing a video game and it's an advantage if your laptop supports one of the highest resolutions available. Most gaming laptops allow you to choose the resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels (it's called Full HD). However, the best laptops for games can support a higher resolution.
In the end, check what technology is used in a display. All modern laptops have flat LED screens, but they are based on totally different technologies. The cheapest displays are based on the TN technology which has fairly poor viewing angles but boasts the excellent response time (1-5 ms), but gaming laptops belong to the upper class of computers and usually have displays based on the IPS technology which provides much more vivid colors and better viewing angles, but they're a bit slower - 5-8 ms. In general, the minimal response time of the screen for a gaming laptop has to be 10 ms.
Finally, you can't imagine a cutting-edge device without a touchscreen and most gaming laptops have it. It helps us a lot to use Windows, browse the websites, but it isn't a must-have feature for games.
Battery and Sound
The next step to make is to consider the battery. Any laptop is purchased for the sake of autonomous work without a necessity of plugging it into an outlet. And so the battery is important and you need to choose a laptop that provides a good battery life. Keep in mind that gaming laptops are very powerful and it means they consume a lot of energy, so no laptop for games is strong enough to ensure 10 hours of autonomous work. And yet, choose the one that provides no less than 5 hours of battery life - otherwise, you will need to have a power cord around.
Games aren't only about image and display, but also about sound, particularly if you like playing online. Present-day games allow you to even speak with other gamers and that's why the sound matters. And if a conventional laptop has just 2 simple speakers, gaming laptops are usually more 'charged' in terms of sound and boast high-end speakers and even a subwoofer. Surely, you can use the headset while playing video games.
Ergonomics and Design
At last, we've come to the last criteria to take into account - design and ergonomics. First of all, you need to choose the laptop by its appearance and material it's made from. Most laptops are made from plastic but the top-rated models have a metal casing (usually aluminum) which is better in terms of durability and cooling (keep in mind that a laptop has to have an efficient cooling system). The best and most expensive laptops for games boast a cutting-edge carbon casing which makes them really lightweight. However, if you choose a plastic model - it's good enough since fewer fingerprints and scratches are left on plastic.
And, of course, you need to check the keyboard - a crucial feature for any experienced gamer. A keyboard has to be convenient and that's why a lot of attention is paid to a keyboard layout by manufacturers. Although, only you can decide if a keyboard is comfortable. In the end, check the backlighting of the keyboard - most gamers like playing in the evening and at night, so a backlighting is important. The highest-level gaming laptops allow you to even change the color of backlighting.
Did you know?
PC Is Still the First Choice for Game Developers
At times, it seems that the best games are created for consoles, the first examples that come to mind being the recent craze over the PS4-only Detroit: Become Human, Spider-Man, and God of War as well as Halo 5: Guardians designed for XBox. However, according to the UBM company research results posted on the Statista website, the platform most game developers are either interested in or work for is still PC. Which means that gaming laptops and desktops offer a bigger selection of games than PS4, XBox, smartphones, and, certainly, Mac computers that are suddenly on the last place this year. Well, Macs are instead the best option for everything graphics.
Gaming Is Not as Harmful as Our Parents Told Us
Remember all the heated debates over the topic of computer games being the reason behind violence elevation and school grades drop? It's been going on for years! Well, it is still ongoing but today, the research shows that modern games can bring more good than bad. It has been discovered that gaming can result in strengthening certain parts of our brains, developing real-life skills, upping our communication abilities (as opposed to the old argument that computers create loners and sociopaths), and even enhancing our eye coordination. There's so much we can gain from gaming. However, to get the benefits while minimizing the damage to your health (eyesight, back, etc.), do choose from good equipment, be it gaming laptops, desktops, or even a mouse or a chair. Also, don't overdo it, there's good and then there's too much.
Even Science Can Benefit From Gamers
With the rapid development of the game industry, the competition has also become quite severe, which led to the rise of expectations. One of the ways the developers came to capture the hearts of geeks and nerds is by making the games as close to reality as possible, including historical references and data as well as analysis of current events all around the world. It was originally an accident, a mistake in the coding, but in 2005, a pandemic happened in the World of Warcraft online game, which had led to a real panic among its players as it was unintended and thus unexpected. The issue had been dealt with but since all kinds of people play computer games, unexpected results have come out of it: several scientists observed the panic that broke out and came to believe that such virtual simulations can be used to study the so-called "human factor" in case a real pandemic starts. With a knowledge like that available, if we happen to stumble into a similar situation in the real world, it can be dealt with more efficiently. Now, isn't this great news?
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