How We Built this List
Buying a gaming laptop comes down to use cases. The critical buying requirement laptop users should prioritize is portability followed by performance. Each should be used as constraints, not a Booleans. Meaning every laptop is designed, engineered, and produced with these two diametrically opposed requirements in mind. Consider the extremes, for example, a highly portable gaming laptop will have demonstrably less performance capability than a high performing gaming laptop. Although, there is a gray area to consider as some manufacturers are better at cooling the core components: GPUs, CPUs, and RAM.
For PC gamers, a gaming laptop is portable if it can be conveniently carried in a backpack and the battery life is reasonable for productivity.
We are using ‘performance’ to refer to gaming performance. Not battery or video editing performance.
Here are the most common use cases:
- You play demanding games and want the flexibility to be more portable than a desktop
- You play demanding games and you do not care about portability but you want an all-in-one-solution
- You play moderately demanding games and portability is important
- You play all kinds of games and you need the best possible portability
With this in mind, we present to you our list of the best gaming laptops in 2020. We will update this list periodically so be sure to bookmark it if you’re in the process of researching for an upcoming purchase.
The Best Gaming Laptop Overall
With a CNC aluminum chassis, strong performance, and a factory-calibrated display, the Blade 15 from Razer is the marker for nearly every other laptop manufacturer. Over the last few years, Razer has listened to their community and improved the Blade with every iteration. The latest model for 2020 includes an SD card reader, a proper shift key, user-accessible RAM, and SSD slots - all without losing what made the Blade the top-dog in the first place: a good balance of performance and portability. The Blade 15 weighs in at around 4.6 lbs with an RTX 2080 Max-Q in tow. While the list price may be out of reach for many, Razer has been offering discounts on a consistent basis just a few months after release of their latest model.
The Best for High Performance and Low Portability
The Y740 17 is heavy - and that’s for good reason. It’s a true desktop replacement laptop. The design is dated - so much so that Lenovo have discontinued the series and have announced a whole new 17 inch laptop design. But, performance is outstanding, the display is HDR compliant, and there is plenty of room for your games on the SSD and HDD.
The Best for a Blend of Performance and Portability
ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14
The G14 is the only laptop on this list to feature the new AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS CPU and that’s precisely the point of this category. Right now, AMD is leading the charge for those seeking a balance of portability and performance. Best of all, if price is a serious constraint for you this laptop can be configured with either the NVIDIA RTX 1650 or the 2060 Max-Q. The latter being a $250 premium.
The Best for Portability over Performance
Razer Blade Stealth
This is the only 13″ laptop with a 120Hz display and a GTX 1650 Ti. It’s only 0.60″ thick and 3.13 lbs. So while it can be a strong performer for 1080p games, it’s also the most portable laptop on this list. It’s an ultrabook with a serious GPU but a quad-core CPU from Intel.