When it comes to gaming, serious gamers used to have to settle for a well-built desktop rig in order to get the kind of bleeding-edge performance they need to get that silky-smooth frame rate goodness. Laptops generally didn't have the same kind of power inside to cut the mustard. Today, however, this isn't necessarily true anymore. While custom-built desktop rigs will still offer the best performance especially for the price, NVIDIA's latest crop of Pascal-based mobile GPUs are huge game changers which offer mobile performance almost identical to their desktop counterparts.
How to Choose a Gaming Laptop
When choosing a gaming laptop, there are three main concerns most gamers keep in mind: price, portability and performance.
Price is a matter of personal budget, but today it's perfectly possible to get a decent gaming laptop under PHP50,000, whereas in the past you would often need to pay upwards of PHP75,000 to get something barely passable. Today, you will still be paying upwards of PHP100,000 for the premiere models, but there are great options at half that price.
In terms of portability most gaming laptops will still weigh significantly more than the common garden variety ultrabook, but it is possible to get a lighter laptop around the neighborhood of 2.2kg. The real deal though will still weigh around 5 kg. With that portability also comes battery life concerns, as sometimes you won't be able to find a socket to plug your laptop in. In general, though, you don't want to think about battery life in gaming laptops; these rigs are power-hungry and need a wall socket to operate at normal performance; most gaming laptops need to throttle the hardware when unplugged to last even just a few hours, so don't plan on getting any real gaming done when you're away from an outlet.
Performance is a much more complex issue, with several things to consider. But in general, the most important consideration is the GPU. For the kind of performance most gamers will be happy with in playing modern games, you won't want to get anything lower than an NVIDIA GTX 1050, which is the true entry level for gaming performance. This is still a significant improvement over older gaming laptops. You can still do some gaming on an integrated graphics card, but this isn't something that a serious gamer can really settle for. If you need to compromise the previous Maxwell-based 900 series from the 950 and up are good, but the huge jump in performance of the Pascal series of GPUs make them a no-brainer for any gaming laptop purchase today.
The main CPU generally isn't as important as the GPU, and most games will run fine on any 7th generation Intel Core processor, even the humbler Core i3 chips. While having an Intel Core i7 is still optimal, don't be afraid to "settle" for a Core i5, and all the laptops in this lineup come with at least an i5.
The display in general isn't as important. Most gamers will be happy with a 1080p display today, and going beneath that isn't as big a compromise as most people might think. The more important performance metric for gamers is frame rate, not resolution. The size and refresh rate of the display is more important than the resolution. Is the display big enough for you to be happy gaming on? The sweet spot is probably still in the 15-inch range for most gamers, with 17-inch being a luxury combined with back-breaking weight and a huge footprint, while 13-inch displays are probably the smallest most people will be willing to settle for. Keep note of the refresh rate; most displays today are 60Hz and that gives you a maximum frame rate of 60fps, but if you have the power to go beyond 60fps, expect a better buttery-smooth goodness.
Finally, internal storage. The amount of space you get these days isn't a big deal, as most laptops have generous storage of around 512GB or more, and 1TB hard drives are a standard. You'll generally want an SSD drive for faster loading, especially for quickly booting up the Windows operating system. Games don't necessarily need to be on an SSD, and the larger 1TB drives are fine for this, but you don't want to get a hard drive slower than 7200RPM to keep your games, as this can slow down loading times considerably. If the hard drive is 5400RPM, you may want to use it for media files and smaller, less taxing games instead, and keep the more intensive games on the SSD.
Gamers no longer need to sacrifice performance for their portability, and most importantly the prices for these laptops are much more affordable compared to how they were even just five years ago. Here, we take a look at the best options available in the Philippine market today.
ASUS ROG Series of Gaming Laptops
ASUS ROG Zephyrus M (GM501)
The ASUS Republic of Gamers line of laptops have been a stalwart in the gaming arena for years, due to their blend of pricing, performance and styling. The Zephyrus line of gaming laptops is something of a technical marvel; these laptops are small and svelte, just a bit thicker and heavier than the typical ultrabook, yet they come with the upper crust of NVIDIA GPUs. The newest model, the Zephyrus M (GM501), has a beautiful aluminum chassis with a regular backlit keyboard design that is sure to appeal to gamers, coupled with some great specifications: a 15-inch 1080p IPS display at 144Hz, an Intel Core i7 processor, options for 16GB to 32GB of DDR4 RAM, and an 8GB GTX 1070 or a 6GB GTX 1060. The laptop is available with either a 1256GB or 512GB SSD for the best performance, or a larger 1TB 5400RPM HDD.
It weighs in at just 5.4 pounds, but the portability and performance come at a price. This is still probably the single best gaming laptop you can buy today in terms of its blend of price, portability and performance.
ASUS ROG Zephyrus GX501
The GX501 is the older brother of the Zephyrus M (GM501), and shares most its DNA: the impossibly-light and thin gaming laptop with top-tier performance. It's basically the same device as the GM501, with a few differences: a 15.6-inch 1080p display at 120Hz, a Core i7 processor, the more powerful 8GB GTX 1080, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD.
Packing in all that hardware did come with a few compromises, the most noticeable of which will be the smaller and unusually designed keyboard, which only takes up half of the lower part of the main body. The track pad is relegated to the right of the keyboard, a placement most people are not used to, and this force compromises on the size of the keyboard. This was necessary to create the proper thermal cooling needed for the internals, but it's something to take note of.
ASUS ROG GL553VD
The ASUS ROG Strix was last year's big ROG product, and while note as svelte as the Zephyrus line it at least won't cost an arm and a leg. The GL553VD sports a Core i7 processor and the NVIDIA GTX 1050, with 32GB of RAM. As you'd expect from the ROG line, it also has a fully-backlit RGB keyboard with 2.5mm travel distance in its scissor switches for satisfying clicks. The design is satisfying, with a 15.6-inch 1080p display at 60Hz, just about the right size. It has a 256GB SSD and a 1TB 7200RPM hard drive for storage. The Strix is relatively thicker than the Zephryus line, but still weighs in at a relatively light at 2.5kg.
ASUS ROG GL753VE
The GLV753VE is the higher-end model in the Strix line, with the main difference being its larger 17.3-inch 1080p 60Hz display. You still get the same Core i7 and GTX 1050 performance, with 32GB of RAM, 256GB SSD but a slower 1TB 5400RPM hard drive. The keyboard is also the same RGB scissor-switch design with 2.5mm travel distance, and you're basically paying that little extra for the larger screen real estate. The laptop weighs in at 6.1pounds, which is slightly heavier but the larger display results in a significantly bigger footprint in the laptop bag.
Acer Predator Series of Gaming Laptops
Acer Predator 17
Acer's line of gaming laptops is the Predator series, and while Acer isn't seen with the same kind of reliability as ASUS in this market, they still make some really good and fast gaming laptops. The Predator 17 is one of the "big guns" of the line, with an aggressively-designed body and a large 17.3-inch 1080p display at 60Hz. The insides are a Core i7 CPU with 32GB of DDR4 RAM, and an NVIDIA GTX 1070 with 8GB of RAM. It comes with a 128GB SSD for fast loading and a 1GB 7400RPM hard drive for larger files. One interesting feature the Predator 15 has is the swappable disk tray, which can be removed for the Predator FrostCore cooling module to help out with those intense gaming sessions.
The mammoth design of the beast weighs in at 4 kg, which puts it at the heavier end of today's gaming laptops.
Acer Predator 15
The Predator 15 is a smaller version of the Predator 17, with a 15.6-inch 1080p 60Hz display. You still get the same Core i7 processor, and the models typically come with 16GB and the less powerful GTX 1060 graphics card. It still packs a 256GB SSD and a 1TB 7200RPM hard drive. You also have the same FrostCore cooler that its larger brethren has. Unfortunately, the Predator 15 is still almost as heavy as the Predator 17, weighing in at 3.7kg.
Acer Predator Helios 300
The Helios 300 is similar to the Predator 15, although there is also a 17-inch model which is similar to the Predator 17. The Helios 300 is basically the same device, with a little more stylish design, as it has the tow red LED strips on the surface similar to the Predator 17, something missing from the cleaner Predator 15. In addition, the Helios 300 doesn't have the FrostCore module in case you wanted some extra cooling. The laptop has a 15.6-inch 1080p display with a Core i7 processor inside with 8GB of RAM, an NVIDIA GTX 1060 with 6GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD, 1TB 5400RPM hard drive and a lighter 2.7kg body.
Acer Predator Triton 700
The latest addition to Acer's Predator family, the Triton 700 is Acer's take on a svelte, lightweight gaming laptop. This is the absolute best that Acer has to offer at this point, and it directly competes with the ASUS Zephyrus GX501, and even has much of the same weaknesses, including the cramped keyboard. The Triton 700 has a Core i7 with 32GB of RAM, an NVIDIA GTX 1080 with 8GB of RAM, a 15.6-inch 1080p display at 120Hz, a 512GB SSD, and it weighs a relatively light 2.9 kg.
Lenovo Legion Series of Gaming Laptops
Lenovo Legion Y720
Lenovo's Y-Series laptops have always been gamer ready, but their Legion series is a cut above the older Y-Series laptops. If there's one thing you can count on Lenovo to do, it's their confidence-inspiring hinges, an expertise gained from their Yoga line, no doubt. The Y720 sports a massive hinge that doesn't look like it'll break anytime soon, and this is important as hinges are often the first thing to go in a gaming laptop, something many an Alienware has suffered. The Legion Y720 has a large 15.6-inch 1080p 60Hz display, a Core i7 processor with 8/16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, 2TB of HDD space and the all-important NVIDIA GTX 1060 GPU with 6GB of RAM.
The Legion gaming laptop series is relatively light and thin for a Lenovo laptop, but still clocks in at 3.1 kg.
Lenovo Legion Y520
The Y520 was Lenovo's first entry in the Legion line and is meant to be an entry-level gaming laptop. It still packs enough power to game all night and competes with the ASUS Strix GL553VD. It has a 15.6-inch 1080p display, an Intel Core i7 with 16GB of RAM, an NVIDIA GTX 1050 with 4GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and a 2TB 5400RPM HDD. It weights a comfortable 2.3kg and is a great value for anyone looking to have a first gaming laptop.
Dell Alienware and Inspiron Series of Gaming Laptops
Dell Alienware 17 R4
One of the pioneers of the gaming laptop market, the Alienware line is almost synonymous with gaming laptops. After being acquired by Dell the line has seen changes over the years, but Alienware is still arguably the premiere brand for gaming laptops. The current Alienware 17 R4 keeps all the fancy LED lighting and aggressive design and updates it with a 17.3-inch QHD display at 120Hz, a Core i7 processor with 16GB of RAM, an NVIDIA GTX 1080 with 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, a 1GB 7200RPM HDD, and a massive 4.4kg body. The Alienware 17 R4 is more desktop-replacement than laptop and is the best of the best in its class, with a price tag to match. If money and space are no object, this is your laptop.
This is the Alienware for those that don't want to break their back lugging around a desktop-sized laptop. The Alienware 13 or specifically the Alienware 13 R3 has a beautiful 13.3-inch touchscreen OLED QHD display, making this a looker and an extreme style statement at your nearest coffee shop where all the ultrabook hipsters are sitting. But unlike the mundane ultrabooks, this portable monster has a Core i7 processor with 16GB of RAM, an NVIDIA GTX 1060 with 6GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and an attitude to match its price tag. It weighs a mere 2.6kg but is today outdone by likes of the ASUS ROG Zephyr for portability.
Dell Inspiron 15-7567
Dell's Inspiron range isn't as gamer-aggressive as its Alienware series, but they are great no-nonsense gaming laptops nonetheless. The latest updates to the Inspiron 15 7000 line yield Inspiron 15-7567, a great option for a portable budget gaming rig. It has a 15.6-inch 1080p display, a Core i5 with 8GB of RAM, an NVIDIA GTX 1050, and a 256GB SSD. The laptop is relatively small and light at 2.6kg.
Gigabyte AERO Series of Gaming Laptops
Gigabyte AERO 15X
Looking at the AERO 15X, you'd be forgiven for wondering if the no-bezel fad in the smartphone world has slipped over into the gaming laptop scene. The AERO 15X is one of the lightest laptops in the lineup, and it has a very minimalist approach, including the 5mm-thin bezels around its 15.6-inch 1080p display. Don't let that fool you: it's fully-packed with a Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and the powerful NVIDIA GTX 1070, making it one speedy gaming machine. It weighs in a very light 2.96kg, but although it's quite thin the footprint is still relatively large because of its bigger display. It does sport the best battery life among the gaming laptops here, if that is important for you.
MSI GT Series of Gaming Laptops
MSI GT75VR 7RF Titan Pro
MSI is generally known more as a budget PC component manufacturer, but the Titan Pro is anything but budget. The name says it all: this is a hulking behemoth of a laptop, and it is definitely a desktop replacement more than anything else. It's the thickest and biggest laptop in the entire lineup and weights a hefty 4.5kg, making it impractical to bring around. The display is a 17.3-inch 1080p 120Hz display, a Core i7 processor with 16GB of RAM, an NVIDIA GTX 1070, a 256GB SSD and a 1TB 7200RPM hard drive. That thickness pays off as this is the only laptop in the lineup to offer a true mechanical keyboard, for those that love the retro keyboard technology.
MSI GS63VR STEALTH PRO
MSI doesn't just do hulking behemoths, the STEALTH PRO is its portable line, and is the lightest laptop in this list. It has a 15.6-inch 1080p display at 120Hz, a Core i7 with 16GB of RAM, an NVIDIA GTX 1070 GPU, 256GB of SSD storage and a 1TB hard drive. Its main selling point is its ultra-light 2.2kg weight, not quite Ultrabook sexy but the closest you'll get with a GTX 1070 in tow. The foot print is still relatively large but at least your back won't be hurting so much from carrying it around. You do pay a high-premium for that portability though.
MSI GT72 2QE DOMINATOR PRO
The DOMINATOR is MSI's main gaming line, with the balanced price to performance ratio and the typical large and heavy size of a gaming laptop. One of the key selling points is its RGB SteelSeries keyboard. While not mechanical like the Titan Pro, it is a great accessory from a renowned brand in the industry. With a large 17.3-inch 1080p display, a Core i7 with 32GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD with a 1TB 7200RPM HDD it's got power, but it uses the older NVIDIA GTX 980M GPU with 8GB of RAM. It's still a better card than the GTX 1050, but isn't even as good as the GTX 1060, so keep that in mind.
Razer Blade Series of Gaming Laptops
Razer Blade Pro
Razer is a big name in the gaming peripherals market, and they are known for their extravagant prices. The Razer Blade Pro is their premiere model and takes square aim at the Alienware 17. It has a 17.3-inch 1080p display at 120Hz, a Core i7 processor with 16GB of RAM, an NVIDIA GTX 1060 GPU, a 256GB SSD and a 2TB hard drive. What's most amazing about the Razer Blade Pro is its weight: it's a scant 2.97kg, making it unbelievably thin and light for a 17-inch gaming laptop. If you can live with the unusual track pad placement on the right size (and you are probably using a gaming mouse anyway), the Razer Blade Pro is a great choice for a 17-inch laptop, if you can live with the asking price.
Razer's main laptop model is a little humbler than its bigger brother, but it still shares Razer's penchant for sleek and stylish. The Razer Blade has a smaller 14-inch 1080p display, and combines this with a Core i7 with 16GB of RAM, an NVIDIA GTX 1060 GPU, and a single 256GB SSD. The winning feature here though is its svelte 1.8kg weight and its suitably smaller footprint, thanks to the smaller 14-inch display. It's as light as the MSI Stealth Pro, but the actual footprint is significantly smaller. You give up a little in power and you do get some price savings for a gaming laptop.
Razer Blade Stealth
The Razer Blade Stealth is the absolute lightest and sleekest model in this lineup, but it's important to note that it's more ultrabook than gaming laptop. You aren't going to get high-end gaming performance with this one, as it lacks a discrete graphics card, but the Razer branding still makes it a gamer's device and not a coffee shop display item. It sports a 13.3-inch touchscreen QHD+ display which is very sharp compared to other devices in this lineup, along with an 8th generation Core i7 CPU with 16GB of RAM, an Intel HD 620 onboard GPU and a 512GB SSD. For an Ultrabook, it might be a little pricey, and there are better performing options at a much lower price, but if you like the Razer styling and want to show up in the coffee shops with something really different, the Razer Blade Stealth won't break your back with its feather light 1.3kg body and tiny footprint.
These are currently the best gaming laptops you can buy in the country, and there is a model out there for you depending on your budget and needs. It's also important to note that you may find different configurations of these models with more RAM, or a higher definition display, or other changes at different stores, so do double-check before you finalize any purchases. Still, if we had to choose the best overall model it would probably be the Alienware 17 R4, with the best budget model being the Dell Inspiron 15, and the best portable gaming laptop the ASUS ROG Zephyrus M. Find the best model for your needs, and don't forget to check out our listings here.