Disclaimer: The following reviews have been written having done extensive research on each of the products mentioned, as well as many others for comparison’s sake. That being said, I, Bashar, the writer of this blog post do NOT necessarily own all of those products myself, and have not tested all of them with my own hands. However, any uncertainty I may have had about the functionality or capability of any of the products has NOT been either confirmed or denied in this article. Everything that did end up in the article, however, has been double checked for accuracy, and is backed up by years of experience owning, tuning and extensively using different brands and classes of gaming laptop. Thank you 🙂
The Best Gaming Laptops in 2020
2020 has been a weird one, hasn’t it? Quite a lot has happened. Well it’s a good thing we’re not here to talk about any of that! Gaming Laptops are getting smaller and more powerful every passing day, but what is the BEST gaming laptop for 2020? well, depending on your needs and budget, there is a perfect laptop for everyone out there.
Do you prefer resolution over framerate? Systems that come with 4K displays are actually becoming an affordable reality for many people. Perhaps even more importantly, modern laptop GPUs can actually hit those 4K resolution targets at decent framerates.
Would you rather give up that high resolution and go with a high refresh-rate display for those buttery smooth 360 noscopes? We got ya covered.
Let’s get to it then, shall we?
*Bonus* Best Budget Laptop
(image courtesy of: Dell)
Winner: Dell G3 15
I wasn’t even sure if this category deserved a place in this article, but the 15″ G3 packs so much bang for so little buck that I can’t applaud Dell enough for making all the right decisions when it comes to shaving dollars off that final shelf price.
Known for its excellent battery life (a trait you can’t say about many others in its category), the new G3 packs a modern i5 CPU that is often included with mid- to high-end gaming laptops which means you’ll be pushing the graphical quality afforded by the (standard) 4GB 1650 TI past 60FPS on its 120Hz display. It also comes a host of ports that will suit the needs of most gamers.
The G3 can also be configured with even higher specs: the 512GB M.2 SSD can be replaced with bigger solutions, a faster, more advanced IPS screen with a higher refresh rate, a heftier, more power hungry GPU, and a better CPU to supplement it.
There is a reason, however, that Dell decided NOT to include everything I just mentioned in the standard G3 15, and that is because anything you change about this configuration will reduce the value-per-buck. Often sold for under $800 (Or Euros!),
As far as I can tell, The Dell G3 15 is the best value gaming laptop out there.
The Best Laptop for 4K Gaming (Warning: It’s a Monster)
(image courtesy of: Dell)
Winner: Alienware Area 51m R2
Now here’s the thing about the 51m, it doesn’t come with a 4K display standard, but if you’ve got the budget and you want the absolute best looking Image in a laptop, it can be configured with a UHD (3840 x 2160) OLED display that can hit 500nits with a 25ms response time.
Now, I could’ve gone with other popular and powerful 4K laptops such as the Razer Blade Pro 17, which packs an insanely impressive 120Hz 4K display!, but this category is about gaming, on a laptop, in UHD. Even modern desktop GPUs struggle to hit that coveted 60FPS mark in 4K consistently across all titles at high to ultra settings.
That’s why the Razer Blade Pro 17, as an example, with its RTX 2080 Super (Max-Q), just isn’t going to cut it.
The 51m comes in such a large form factor that it actually fits a fully sized mobile GPU AND CPU. This thing is a monster. But with a fully-sized RTX 2080 Super (mobile, but non Max-Q!) and 8GB of high-speed GDDR6 video memory, I don’t think anything else can compete for the absolute best laptop for 4K Gaming, and even if you buy one today, it’s still going to be a monster several years from now.
The Best Laptop for High Framerate Gameplay (144hz+ Display)
(Image courtesy of: Razer)
Winner: Razer Blade 15 Advanced Edition
speaking of overkill, did you think we were going to place a 144hz display laptop on here? This here’s the best of the best when it comes to the smooth G-Sync fueled frames.
144Hz is for amateurs, we say. 2012 called, it wants its bleeding-edge technology back.
The Razer Blade 15 does not care what the industry standard is, it doesn’t even care if any game can even be played at those framerates. 300Hz all the way. This one isn’t going to be for everyone, of course, but how badass would it be to have 300Hz at your disposal + G-Sync to make sure whatever you end up playing will work no matter what framerate you’re hitting with no screen tearing or input delay.
The Razer Blade 15 Advanced Edition comes with a mighty RTX 2080 Super (Max-Q) for the best thin & light performance, and with only 1080p for resolution, this thing will blast through most games at the highest graphical settings.
The point of playing at higher framerates is being able to better keep up with the action on-screen. This means minimal input lag, better visual recognition of moving objects in-game, and better control over exactly where you need to place your crosshair to hit that sexy kraber shot.
If our question is what laptop can accomplish all of those conditions simultaneously, and do it in a shining, elegant manner, The Blade 15 Advanced edition is the perfect answer.
Before the Grand Winner: Best Thin & Light Laptop
(image courtesy of: Razer)
Winner: Razer Blade 13 Stealth
When it comes to thin and light gaming rigs, Nvidia’s Max-Q technology leads the charge with GPUs that lower the clock speeds of their standard mobile equivalents in exchange for a smaller, lighter form factor, less fan noise, and lower temperatures.
While writing this, I kinda wish we didnt have two Razer laptops in a row, but we wouldn’t have them if those systems didn’t earn their places. The 13″ Stealth can come with either a 1080p 120hz display, or a 4K touchscreen panel. Pair that with a 1650Ti Max-Q and the latest 10th Gen. i7-1065G7 mobile processor and you have a beast of a machine, considering this thing weighs in at under 1.5Kg! (3-3.5 lbs) and is only 15,3mm at its thickest point.
This thing will go anywhere with you. It’ll fit in all your laptop cases or backpacks. Just know that its battery life isn’t the best, but if you’re the guy who plugs in at the airport for one last round of Titanfall, one last try to take down Genichiro, or just one. More. Turn. of Civilization VI, you’re going to absolutely fall in love with the Razer Blade 13 Stealth.
Best Overall Laptop 2020 Editor’s Choice winner
(image courtesy of: MSI)
Winner: MSI GE66 Raider
When you’re trying to figure out WHAT is the best gaming laptop for 2020, you have to look at the needs of a gamer:
- Mobility and Battery life (it is a laptop, after all)
- A reasonable price
- A great display (high refresh rate/input delay, high resolution, or both!)
- A capable GPU, and a CPU strong enough to keep up with it.
- Fast and large storage memory for your constantly growing steam library
- A whole lot of IO (USB-A and C ports, Displayport, Ethernet, etc.)
Every system we’ve tested for the other categories excels in that one category that it got the award for, but failed in some others. It was either too simple, or too big. It died too quickly or just cost too much.
The MSI GE66 Raider succeeds in all of those categories.
So let’s kiss this thing’s a** for a bit, shall we?
While the Raider weighs in at only 2.3KG (just over 5lbs), it does not, in fact, use Nvidia Max-Q GPUs to shave off weight at the expense of power. Nope, this thing does not compromise and can be upgraded all the way to the mobile RTX 2080 Super (8 GB GDDR6 VRAM), which means you’re gonna have a difficult time finding a game you can’t run at high settings, even with modern RTX features such as Ray-traced reflections and RT ambient occlusion. The Metro series has never looked better.
The 240Hz is the main thing for me, personally. I play many types of games, but most often go for high-octane first person shooters such as Titanfall 2 and the more recent Doom: Eternal and the rebooted Wolfenstein Series (let’s not talk about Youngblood, huh?).
A high refresh rate display allows for those games to run so smoothly you’ll never want to go back down to 60FPS again. You’ll find yourself reacting to enemies faster, performing quicker, more accurate flicks and needing less time to analyze any given situation. It helps blur the line between the player and the game, getting you to your “zen” mode faster than ever before. In most competitive games, you’ll find the MSI Raider can handle itself incredibly well, with framerates over 144FPS in many titles, and with its G-Sync enabled 240Hz panel, not a single tear in sight.
MSI has packed this thing with a 99WH battery, the highest they could possibly go without that thing having to be sold in black markets. Battery life tests across the internet agree that this thing ranks quite high among its peers. Combine that with a whole host of IO ports for all your gaming needs (2xUSB-C, 3xUSB-A, displayport and many more), a 1080p 30fps built in webcam, up to 32GBs of RAM can be included, and a 1TB m.2 PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD comes in standard.
It’s the one you want.
If you are looking for the best overall experience with a laptop, you already have your answer.
The GE66 Raider is NOT cheap, starting at just under $2000, but what you get for that money blows the competition out of the park, and makes it, as far as I see it, simply the best gaming laptop you can buy for its price, period.
Now you may ask yourself:
So many of these systems have absolutely killer graphics cards, but they only boast FHD 1080p displays! what’s the point of all that power if we don’t have that many pixels to throw at it?
Well it actually took me a while to figure out that I wasn’t using the full potential of the RTX 2080 Max-Q on my personal HP Omen laptop. I’d be capped at 100% CPU usage while the 2080 was barely hitting 40% of its potential.
How do we take advantage, then, of the RTX 2080 Super of the MSI GE66 Raider, which also only has a 1080p display? A strong GPU can push beautiful graphics, but only in combination with a strong CPU can it actually carry those graphics at high framerates. But even at higher framerates, you’re only pushing so many pixels on-screen at once at FHD.