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The best gaming laptops for 2020

Best gaming laptop 2020
The best gaming laptops come in all shapes and sizes and we picked out some of our favorites. (Image credit: Razer, MSI)

The best gaming laptops are sleek, quiet, and still pack a punch when it comes to handling the latest games. While hulking workstations still have their place for some people, we always huge advocates for ultraportable powerhouses that can keep pace with the best gaming PCs

The most powerful notebooks still generally cost more than their desktop counterparts, but the delta is narrowing. The fact that AMD, Intel, and Nvidia focus so much of their efforts on power efficiency and thermals means that the best gaming laptops are on the cutting edge of what's possible.

The Razer Blade 15 Advanced Model remains the king of premium gaming laptops with both its design and unrivaled performance. For anyone who doesn't over $3000 to spend on a gaming laptop should look at the Dell G3 15, which is proof that you don't have to pay the price of a used car to get some decent gaming.

Performance is incredible as well, with AMD's 4000-series CPUs bringing the fight to Intel and its 10th Gen processors. Meanwhile, if you want to handle real-time ray tracing on the go, then there's nothing to stop you. Nvidia RTX 2060, 2070, and 2080 models are all present and correct, and the Super variants have recently joined the party, too.

We've gathered together the very best gaming laptops around so that you can easily see what systems work for you and your budget.

Best gaming laptops

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1. Razer Blade 15 Advanced Model - 15.6-inch

The best gaming laptop

CPU: Intel Core i7 9750H | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 - 2080 Max-Q | RAM: 16GB DDR4-2666 | Screen: 15.6-inch Full HD or 4K IPS 240Hz | Storage: 512GB M.2 SSD | Battery: 80Whr | Dimensions: 9.25 x 13.98 x 0.78 inches | Weight: 4.63 lbs

Unparalleled build quality
Wide range of CPU/GPU options
Looks as good as it performs
Great battery life

The "Advanced Model" of the Razer Blade 15 is outfitted with the same CNC-milled aluminum chassis as its predecessor, only this time it holds the latest graphics chips from Nvidia, namely the RTX family of Turing architecture-based GPUs. It's simply our favorite gaming laptop today.

Among its configurations are an RTX 2080 model, capable of running the ray-traced Metro Exodus at over 50fps with all the visual settings cranked to the top. In our testing, despite its power-hungry guts, it wowed us with an unusual 5 hour battery life. So while it's no longer the thinnest or the lightest in its class, it is the longest-lasting premium gaming laptops we've seen to date. It is also one of the more expensive. 

But it's worth the premium. The touchpad is the closest thing to a MacBook trackpad you will find on a Windows notebook. That includes non-gaming laptops like the Dell XPS 13, which is met with acclaim each time it's re-packaged and re-released. In just about every way, the Razer Blade 15 feels like a dream to use.

Unfortunately for its competitors, the Razer Blade 15 is available in an abundance of varieties, most of which are sensible. If you want a 4K OLED screen, it's exclusive to an RTX 2080 configuration, perhaps the only Max-Q graphics card that could hope to drive 4K graphics. More likely is that you'll opt for one of the more practical 1080p 144Hz models.

Whatever config you pick, the Razer Blade 15 Advanced Model is the overall best gaming laptop on the market right now.

Read the full Razer Blade 15 review.

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2. Dell G3 15

The best budget gaming laptop with great battery life

CPU: Intel Core i7 9750H | GPU: Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch Full HD IPS 144Hz | Storage: 512GB SSD | Battery: 94 Whr | Dimensions: 0.85 x 14.4 x 10 inches | Weight: 5.40 lb

Affordable configuration options
Good battery life
Powerful laptop
Plastic lid

Let’s face it, trying to find a decent gaming laptop on a budget can be a chore. You have to make compromises in areas like performance, design, and even battery life. Thankfully, the Dell G3 15 offers decent 1080p gaming with configurations under $1,000, and the battery is actually good.

The most significant improvement from its previous model is a slimmer, sleeker design. Along with thinner bezels around a 144Hz display, the sleeker design gives it a more high-end vibe. It’s a welcome toned-down look, in case you’re hoping for a gaming laptop that doesn’t shout ‘gamer’ as soon as you pull it out of your bag. The display itself seems the only downside, not having as rich a color range as the other gaming laptops on this list.

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3. Asus TUF A15

The best mid-range gaming laptop

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 4800H | GPU: Nvidia RTX 2060 | RAM: 16GB DDR4-2666 | Screen: 15.6-inch Full HD IPS 144Hz | Storage: 1TB M.2 NVMe | Battery: 90Wh | Dimensions: 14.1 x 10.1 x 1 inches | Weight: 5.07 lbs

Impressive new 8-core AMD APU
90Wh battery
Decent 144Hz FHD screen
Robust design

The new Asus TUF A15 is one of the best gaming laptops of the year so far, using AMD's new 8-core APU, A15's performance does not disappoint thanks to the Zen 2 architecture. Throw in the speedy 1TB NVMe SSD and RTX 2060 graphics, and you've got yourself a hell of a workhorse for a non-workstation gaming laptop.

In our review, we called the A15 an "incredibly versatile, affordable gaming laptop, with a battery life that is almost unprecedented at this price point or performance level."

The only downside is price, especially when there are plenty of $999 RTX 2060 machines coming down the road. The TUF A15's game performance, CPU power, and impressive battery life make it an excellent laptop for both work and play. Even at its current price, it still outperforms pricier mid-range gaming laptops, which is kind of wild.

Read the full Asus TUF A15 review.

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4. MSI GS65 Stealth Thin - 15.6-inch

The most stylish gaming laptop

CPU: Intel Core i7 8750H | GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 - RTX 2080 Max-Q | RAM: 16GB-32GB DDR4-2666 | Screen: 15.6-inch Full HD 144Hz | Storage: 512GB- 1TB M.2 SSD | Battery: 82 Whr | Dimensions: 9.75 x 14.08 x 0.69 inches | Weight: 4.14 lbs

Sleek and powerful
Long battery life
240Hz screen
Glass Touchpad

The GS65 Stealth Thin remains, year after year, one of the best gaming laptops you can find. It's a fantastic all-rounder that still packs a punch in terms of specs and design. It has the versatility of a notebook and, because it's light and sturdy, it's incredibly easy to just pop into your bag and carry around all day for whatever you need to use it for. It has a sleek matte black aluminum body with gold accents that feels sturdy and luxurious—and thankfully it's lacking in obnoxious gamer aesthetics.

Best of all, in addition to a slim, 18mm thickness, the screen's 5mm thin bezels allow for an overall chassis size that's about an inch smaller than most 15-inch laptops, while still packing the same screen real-estate. 

There are other nice details on the GS65, which still makes it a great laptop: a keyboard from SteelSeries that's solid and responsive (and RGB-lit, if you care about that sort of thing), a responsive touchpad, and a webcam that's placed at the top of the screen, thankfully avoiding the abysmally unflattering "nose-cam" found on most thin-bezeled laptops like the Dell XPS 13.

The only gaming feature missing here is G-Sync, but this allows for both a lower price tag and battery life that legitimately lasts through a whole day of email, web browsing, and streaming video.

Read the full MSI GS65 Stealth Thin review

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5. Acer Predator Helios 300 - 15.6-inch

The best budget gaming laptop for around $1000

CPU: Intel Core i5 9300H, i7 9750H | GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti - RTX 2060 | RAM: 8GB-16GB DDR4-2666 | Screen: 15.6-inch Full HD IPS 144Hz | Storage: 256GB-512GB PCIe NVMe SSD | Battery: 3720 mAh | Dimensions: 10.01 x 14.23 x 0.9 inches | Weight: 5.07 lbs

Incredible value
Decent battery life
Brings a 1660 Ti GPU

We loved Acer's Predator Helios 300 during the GTX 10-series era: at just over a grand, sometimes less if you could find it on sale, it offered a GTX 1060 6GB graphics card that could lock down 60 fps at near-max settings in most contemporary games. Now the newer model Helios is back with a GTX 1660 Ti GPU and a sleeker form factor for basically the same price. 

The new and improved Helios 300 has a 144Hz IPS screen as well as smaller bezels, putting it more in line with sleek thin-and-lights than its more bulky brethren of the previous generation. RAM speed has been bumped up to 2666Mhz as well, which is a nice improvement. The only real drawback is the diminutive SSD, although there are larger storage options (thankfully all in SSD form) if you want more space.

Best Razer laptop for gaming | Best Acer laptop for gaming | Best MSI laptop for gaming| Best gaming keyboard | Best gaming mouse | Best gaming chair

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6. Lenovo Legion Y740 - 17.3-inch

A brilliant RTX-capable 17-inch gaming laptop

CPU: Intel Core i7 9750H | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q | RAM: 16GB DDR4-2666 | Screen: 17.3-inch Full HD IPS 144Hz | Storage: 1TB HDD; 256GB SSD | Battery: 76Wh | Dimensions: 12 x 16.2 x 0.91 inches | Weight: 6.4 lbs

Excellent Performance
Good storage options
HDR and G-Sync

Though they've only existed for a couple of years now, Lenovo's Legion-branded laptops have made a name for themselves in the games industry, if only because they offer unprecedented value on top-notch specs. 

Rather than crafting a jack of all trades, the Chinese tech company—known primarily for its ThinkPads—aims to squeeze the most performance out of the cheapest possible materials without compromising on quality and design. This principle is nowhere more evident than in the Lenovo Legion Y740, a 17.3-inch gaming laptop, which can be configured with an RTX 2060, 2070, or 2080 at a price lower than similar models from Lenovo's competitors.

It is a bit of a chunky laptop: its bezels may be thinner than the previous generation, but they're still bigger and more distracting than the norm. But the screen itself leverages technology rarely seen elsewhere. Dolby Vision HDR, for example, is in full blooming color on this fluid 144Hz IPS display. And G-Sync eliminates the need for software-based adaptive sync protocols, such as v-sync, which notoriously reeks of input lag and microstuttering

If real-time ray tracing is your endgame, the Lenovo Legion Y740 does not disappoint. In fact, in the Metro Exodus RTX benchmark, which sees most of the in-game graphics settings cranked all the way up, the Y740 managed an impressive average of 46fps. Mess with a few of those sliders and you can bank on a buttery smooth 60fps, with ray tracing turned on, for about 30% less than the cost of its premium-priced rivals configured with the same specs.

Read the full Lenovo Legion Y740 review.

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7. Asus Zephyrus G14

The best laptop for raw processing power

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q | RAM: 16GB DDR4-3200 | Screen: 14-inch Full HD IPS 120Hz | Storage: 1TB SSD NVMe PCIe 3.0 | Battery: 180W | Dimensions: 12.76" (324mm) x 8.74" (222mm) x 0.70" (179mm) | Weight: 3.53lbs

Incredible CPU performance
Beautifully vibrant screen
Gorgeous design and materials

Not everyone needs the thinnest or the most powerful gaming laptop. Sometimes just lightweight and powerful are fine. Striking a healthy balance between portability, performance, and price is the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14, an RTX 2060 Max-Q notebook whose incredible CPU performance managed to impress our dedicated team of hardware testers at the top-secret PC Gamer lab. 

The G14 is a great laptop, especially seeing as it can push Metro Exodus at the highest settings, with ray tracing on, at an average pace of 40fps. Despite it being loud, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is a reliable 14-inch system with high-end graphics that rivals even some gaming desktops.

Read the full Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 review.

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8. MSI GL63 8RC - 15.6-inch

The best entry-level gaming laptop

CPU: Intel Core i7 9750H | GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6GB | RAM: 16GB DDR4-2666 | Screen: 15.6-inch Full HD 60Hz IPS | Storage: 1TB HDD | Battery: 3-cell 41 Whr | Dimensions: 15.07 x 10.24 x 1.14 inches | Weight: 4.85 lbs

Thin bezels
Easy to upgrade RAM and storage

The MSI GL63 8RC is one of our top choices for budget gaming laptops. The GL63 comes equipped with Intel’s Core i7 9750H, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, and one of the thinnest bezels we’ve seen in this price range. The only obvious downside is the lack of an included SSD. The laptop comes loaded with a 1TB HDD, which means you’ll probably want to upgrade the storage reasonably quickly.

With its highly competitive price tag, the MSI GL63 8RC is one of the cheapest gaming laptops we could find with a GTX 1660 Ti discrete graphics card. This puts the price of the GL63 just a little bit higher than budget laptops without dedicated graphics, but for that little bit extra you get exponentially higher performance when compared to laptops with integrated graphics. If you’re working with a tight budget, the GL63 offers everything you’d need in a laptop without putting a massive dent in your wallet.

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9. MSI GS75 Stealth

The best 17 inch gaming laptop for RTX

CPU: Intel Core i7 8750H | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q | RAM: 32GB DDR4-2666 | Screen: 17.3-inch Full HD IPS 144Hz | Storage: 512GB SSD | Battery: 82 Whr | Dimensions: 15.59 x 10.22 x 0.75 inches

Slick looks
Potent RTX graphics
Improved keyboard travel
Vast assortment of ports

When Nvidia announced its Max-Q mobile graphics cards, the pared-down version of its top-end GPUs, it said the best gaming laptops would get thinner and lighter even as they get more powerful. If nothing else, the MSI GS75 Stealth serves as evidence to back up that claim. With its posh, black and gold design—deeply inspired by the 15-inch GS65 Stealth Thin before it—the GS75 Stealth is a handsome and perfectly good 17-inch lappy on the outside, minus its susceptibility to paint chipping. Oh, and the touchpad woes.

Snug inside its aluminum alloy chassis is a hardy GeForce RTX graphics card, spanning almost Nvidia's whole line of ray tracing products, paired with an Intel Core i7 8750H processor no matter which configuration you buy. Be that as it may, every version of the GS75 Stealth is pricey at more than two grand. It's not a budget system. We reviewed the most expensive model, which has a Max-Q RTX 2080 and 32GB of RAM. Decimating the competition, it ran Shadow of the Tomb Raider in 1080p at 87fps, and that was at the highest graphics preset. Pretty incredible for a portable PC weighing less than five pounds.

Read the full MSI GS75 Stealth review.

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10. Asus ROG Strix GL503VS-DH74 Scar Edition

The best 15-inch desktop replacement laptop

CPU: Intel Core i7 8750H | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 | RAM: 16GB DDR4-2666 | Screen: 15.6-inch Full HD 144Hz with G-Sync | Storage: 256GB NVMe SSD, 1TB FireCuda SSHD | Battery: 64 Whr | Dimensions: 10.3 x 15.2 x 1.0 inches | Weight: 5.6

Full-power (non Max-Q) GTX 2060
Great SSD

Buying a laptop usually means picking two from the list of price, performance, and portability. Where thin-and-light laptops like the GS65 offer the latter two of those three, the Asus ROG Strix GL503VS-DH74 Scar Edition instead checks the first two boxes: price and performance. 

In exchange for a larger body that's on the heavy side for its size, the GL503VS packs in a regular (non-Max-Q) RTX 2060 GPU. It uses a previous gen quad-core CPU, but that doesn't matter much in most games. The GL503VS also offers G-Sync on its 144Hz panel, but the tradeoff means you miss out on Nvidia's Optimus battery tech. As such, you shouldn't expect more than around two hours of battery life. Don't forget your charger!

How we test gaming laptops

What makes one laptop more attractive than another in the eyes of a gamer? Is it lightweight for portability between LAN parties? How about high-end hardware to facilitate the fastest frame rates? Surely connectivity matters. External displays, gaming peripherals, and direct-attached storage can make you forget you’re even using a notebook. Or maybe the value is what matters most. For a low-enough price, we’re all willing to compromise on graphics quality, right? Right?

Of course not, which is why the best builders cram in as much processing muscle as possible, even when money is tight. And at the top of the range, desktop-class components in mobile enclosures set new performance records with every generation.

We run the following tests to measure performance and productivity on gaming laptops:

  • Cinebench R15
  • CrystalDiskMark QD32 Read and Write
  • 3DMark Fire Strike
  • PCMark 10 Express

For gaming, we use the built-in benchmarks on:

  • Tom Clancy's The Division 2
  • Far Cry New Dawn
  • Gears Tactics
  • Metro Exodus

Tests are performed at 1080p using the highest available graphics preset, with V-sync and G-Sync disabled, unless the laptop in question is packing a higher resolution display (and the hardware to support playing at higher resolutions). In that case we'll generally test at FHD and QHD, or QHD and 4K. All tests are run multiple times to ensure that thermal throttling doesn't occur and to eliminate outliers/erroneous results. If scores drop on subsequent tests, the lower (throttled) scores are used. 

Jorge Jimenez is a Hardware Writer from the enchanted lands of New Jersey. When he's not filling the office with the smell of Pop-Tarts, you can find Jorge streaming bad games with his dog or binge-watching an irresponsible amount of Law & Order: SVU.