The best gaming laptops available today manage this issue and do much more. They also offer high-resolution displays (at least relative to the display size), attractive design and processor powerful enough to handle a variety of tasks beyond gaming.
Let’s take a look at the 5 best gaming laptops that you can buy today.
Toshiba Qosmio X505
Toshiba’s Qosmio X505 is a 18.4″ desktop replacement. Yes, that’s right – it has an 18.4″ display and a body of similar bulk. This obviously results in low points when it comes to overall portability (it weighs over 10 pounds) but it also gives the laptop room to pack a display with full 1080p resolution. The laptop is otherwise well constructed, although the keyboard is a bit flat and has a semi-gloss finish that wears quickly.
A variety of variations of the X505 are available. The most basic models contain Core i5 processor, while high-end versions contain Core i7 quad cores. All models in the X505 line contain Nvidia’s powerful 360M graphics processor. This provides plenty umph for playing games, yet the X505 is generally not expensive.
The base Core i5 models are usually under $1,200, while the more powerful Core i7 models are $1,600 or less.
Do you consider yourself a hardcore gamer? If so, you’ll probably want to check out the Origin EON18. This 18.4″ gaming laptop is built by gamers, for gamers, with very little concern for such trivial ideas as “value” or “budget.” Even the most basic EON18 comes with Radeon HD 5870 mobile graphics, a Core i7 quad-core processor and a full 1080p display.The EON 18’s massive chassis has room for up to three hard drives and a second graphics processor. Vanity options, such as custom colors and lid graphics, are available as well.
A laptop this powerful isn’t cheap. The base EON18 is just over $2000, and customizing the laptop can easily run the price into the $4,000 range. Still, the power offered in the EON18 can be matched by few laptops, so true hardcore gamers will want to check it out.
Inspired by stealth fighters, the ASUS G73 is a sleek black gaming laptop with styling that is at once meancing and subtle. While most gaming laptops rely on bright trim or other flashy design features, the ASUS G73 follows the Henry Ford approach – you can have it in any color you want so long as it’s matte black.
Design aside, the G73 is ASUS’s showcase. It packs Core i7 power and Radeon HD 5870 graphics into a chassis with a 17.3 full 1080p display. This makes it more than capable of going toe-to-toe with more expensive laptops from boutique brands like Origin and even Alienware, but the mass production of the G73 keeps the price low – you’ll pay around $1,600 from most retailers.
Lenovo Ideapad Y560
Most gaming laptops are, uh, gaming laptops. In other words they’re built with gamers as their target audience. That makes sense, of course, but it excludes casual gamers who need decent gaming performance but also need a laptop that doesn’t serve as a flashing “I’M A HUGE NERD!” sign.
The Y560 is the best solution to this problem. From the outside it is a perfectly mundane 15.6″ mainstream laptop. It weighs around 6 pounds, has a 1366×768 display, and is clad in a chassis that screams mundane. Inside, however, you’ll find that even base models include a Core i3 processor and Radeon HD 5730 graphics.
The base price is just $900 on Lenovo’s website, and you can step up to a Core i5 for just $50 more. This makes the Lenovo Y560 good value and the perfect choice for fathers who fire up Starcraft 2 after putting the kids to bed.
The venerable ASUS G51 is a 15.6″ gaming laptop that has been available in various incarnations for years. Although it has been updated numerous times, the concept has remained the same. It is a relatively portable, powerful gaming laptop that spans a wide range of prices.
All current G51 models use the Nvidia GTS360M processor, but a variety of models with Core i5 and i7 processors are available. The least expensive models run around $1,000 and, although entry-level, provides more than enough power for the average gamer. The more extreme models go a bit crazy and offer features such a Nvidia 3D Vision and Blu-Ray drives.
These aren’t the only good gaming laptops on the market today, and that’s good news. There are a wide variety of manufacturers that make solid gaming laptops that aren’t mentioned here – it would be difficult to round up all the worthwhile laptops even in a top 20 list. When push comes to shove however, some laptops really stand out from the crowd.
Do you have a favorite gaming laptop that isn’t mentioned here? Let us know in the comments.
If you’re looking for a more standard laptop, check out our article on the 10 best laptops available today. Or check out two of our manuals, the 2009 Laptop Buying Guide and how to build a gaming PC.