Best Gaming Laptops of 2019

While many gamers may go to desktops to get the most performance for their money, try lugging it around in your backpack. When you need a powerful rig you can take with you, there's no substitute for a gaming laptop. There are more options now than ever, from budget-friendly to VR-ready.

Gaming laptops come in all shapes and sizes, for different needs and budgets. Some come with full-size Nvidia GeForce GTX or RTX graphics cards, while others go for the more efficient Max-Q designs that enable thinner chassis and quieter fans. While many gaming laptops come with 1080p display, some opt for 4K models.

To help you find a system today, we've compiled a list of the best gaming laptops right now. For a primer on how to pick one, check out our gaming laptop buyer’s guide.

Quick Shopping Tips

  • Focus on the GPU: Most games are dependent on the GPU, and those aren’t upgradeable. If you splurge on a powerful GPU now, you’ll be gaming comfortably for a few years.
  • Choose higher resolution or faster speeds: 4K displays are pretty, but the fastest 144Hz displays are only on 1920 x 1080 screens right now.
  • You can upgrade some parts later: While CPUs and GPUs are almost always soldered down, most gaming laptops let you replace the RAM and storage, so you can buy cheaper now and add more memory and a bigger hard drive or SSD down the road.
  • If you're waiting on a lower priced gaming laptop, there's hope: Nvidia announced its GTX 1660 Ti for desktop recently without ray tracing. It would be surprising not eventually see something similar on laptops, though we don't know when to expect it.

MORE: All Laptop Content

1. MSI GE75 Raider

The Best Overall Gaming Laptop

Rating: 4.5/5 (Editor’s Choice)

CPU: Up to Intel Core i7-8750H | GPU: Up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 | Display: Up to 17.3-inch, 1920 x 1080 144 Hz | Weight: 5.9 pounds / 2.7 kg

Pros: Above-average gaming performance for this price • Large, colorful display • Helpful software

Cons: Weak battery life •  Grainy webcam •  Others did better on some productivity benchmarks

The MSI GE75 Raider is a powerhouse gaming rig with high-end specs. It also comes with a useful software suite and has a bright, vivid display with a high refresh rate.

The new “dragon spine” design isn’t terribly different from MSI’s other laptops, but the thin bezels around the display keep you engaged in the action.

Read Review: MSI GE75 Raider

MORE: Best Gaming Desktops

2. Dell G7 15

The Best Budget Gaming Laptop

Rating: 3.5/5

CPU: Up to Intel Core i9-8950HK | GPU: Up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q | Display: Up to 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080  | Weight: 5.2 pounds / 2.4 kg

Pros: Good looks • Easily upgradeable • Solid performance

Cons: Dim display •  Shallow keyboard

The G-series brought some new style to Dell’s cheaper laptops. The G7 15 has a sleek look for a budget machine in refreshing colors. For the price, it offers strong performance.

It’s also simple to upgrade for a budget notebook, with few screws to deal with, should you want more storage or RAM.

Read Review: Dell G7 15

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3. Alienware m15

The Best Thin Gaming Laptop

Rating: 4/5 (Editor’s Choice)

CPU: Up to Intel Core i7-8750H | GPU: Up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q | Display: Up to 15.6-inch, 3840 x 2160 | Weight: 5.9 pounds / 2.7 kg

Pros: Thin, sleek design • Strong performance  •  Long battery life  •  Tactile keyboard  •  Bright, vivid display

Cons: Runs hot, especially while gaming • Lackluster speakers • Big bezels

Alienware’s first attempt at a thin-and-light gaming notebook earns a lot of points. It’s not very bulky, and it offers strong performance and reasonable battery life.

Those looking for a premium experience with a vivid screen and a thin chassis who don’t mind some heat should check this one out.

Read Review: Alienware m15

MORE: Best Graphics Cards

4. Alienware Area-51m

The Best Splurge Gaming Laptop

Rating: 4.5/5 (Editor’s Choice)

CPU: Up to Intel Core i9-9900K | GPU: Up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 | Display: Up to 1920 x 1080, 144 Hz with G-Sync | Weight: 8.5 pounds / 3.9 kg

Pros: Strong gaming and productivity performance • Strong performance  •  Beautiful new design •  Upgradeable CPU and GPU  •  Blazing transfer speeds

Cons: Extremely pricey • No 4K options

The Alienware Area-51m, packing a desktop-level Intel Core i9-9900K and Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080, showed off some of the most powerful laptop performance that we’ve seen to date. If you can’t afford one, you’ll have desktop power in a somewhat portable machine.

The process to make major upgrades yourself requires some tools and patience, but the ability to replace the CPU, GPU, RAM and storage is truly impressive.

You can also see our complete teardown of the machine.

Read Review: Alienware Area-51m

MORE: Best Gaming Monitors

5. Asus ROG Strix Hero II

The Best Esports Gaming Laptop

Rating: 4.5/5 (Editor’s Choice)

CPU: Intel Core i7-8750H | GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 | Display: Up to 15.6-inch, 3840 x 2160 | Weight: 5.9 pounds / 2.7 kg

Pros: Powerful faming performance  •  Bright visuals  •  Compact size • Great audio

Cons: Hot bottom casing • Loud fans

The ROG Strix Hero II is a slim gaming laptop that’s easy to take to tournaments. Besides its slick design, the Hero II offers a brilliant display and solid audio. The only real downside is that the laptop can run hot while gaming, so be sure to keep it on your desk.

Read Review: Asus ROG Strix Hero II

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