A look at the 2016 best gaming laptops fit for your unique lifestyle and budget.
Gaming laptops are supreme mobile computing machines offering the latest in high tech gear.
We’re talking super fast Intel and AMD processors, dual hard drives with RAID capability, high-end sound systems, HD LED LCD screens, dual NVIDIA SLI graphics capability, and more.
While gaming notebooks are among the most powerful laptops available, like many great things there can be a catch. That catch is often their price premium, but honestly don’t let this scare you away for we are going to help you find the best gaming laptop for your money.
Trust us, there are plenty entry level gaming systems out there that will also satisfy all but the most extreme gamers needs, and like we’ve said, we’re going to show you where to find the best gaming laptops for the money.
We are going to help you throughout this guide pinpoint what portable gaming machine can fit into your budget and lifestyle.
On this page we are going to overview gaming laptop manufactures, including Alienware, Voodoo PC, Falcon Northwest, Velocity Micro, Dell, HP, Asus, Acer, and more.
Also via our gaming laptop field guide listed below we are going to explain what specifications to look for in a gaming rig.
Are you ready to be envied by your friends as you frag every one of them in an online FPS frenzy on your kickass gaming machine?
It’s pretty amazing that power like this exists in a portable package, so let’s check out what there is out there!
2016 Alienware Gaming Laptops
Alienware makes some pretty awesome gaming notebooks, and recently we’ve had the privilege to test various Alienware M15x and M17x gaming laptop systems. Let’s just say we were very impressed with the performance, features, and sharp styling.
We personally love the Alienware laptop case designs for they are definitely more custom looking than your typical laptop. The current crop of Alienware laptops will stand out quickly if you pull them out in the public eye, for they are definitely not typical by any means.
Our Alienware M17x test laptop had an awesome NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285M SLI dual-graphics system, powerful 2.13GHz Intel i7 processor, 6GB of high-speed DDR3 memory, and a lightning fast and spacious 7200RPM hard-drive.
The Alienware M17x was also jam packed with other technologies that you’d expect to find in a high-end gaming rig, including a solid sound system, HDMI port to connect your gaming notebook to your favorite HDTV, and the latest wireless (Wi-Fi) standards among many other features.
Like usual we fired up one of our favorite games, and after we ran Call of Duty Modern Warfare through hours of gaming, we were blown away with the performance. We had a blast playing for there was zero in game lag and it all looked stunning on the HD LCD.
Battery life wasn’t great like a typical gaming notebook so be sure you are near a wall outlet, but other than that every other feature worked well as intended and we were quite literally blown away.
We give Alienware laptops a big thumbs up, and we highly recommend you check them out if you have money to burn on a portable gaming rig.
2016 VoodooPC Gaming Laptops – Now The HP Envy Line
And like Alienware, Voodoo PC was a high-end enthusiast tailored computer manufacturer.
Voodoo gaming laptops were among other things powerful like other gaming contenders and offered best of breed top technology components.
But when Voodoo laptops were popular back in the day, Voodoo laptops also meant you’d have to spend your own life savings, or if you had children, maybe their college fund, for Voodoo laptops were priced in our opinion way too high.
Unfortunately we never could get our hands on a Voodoo laptop for testing, but we gathered much of our information from actual owners and some exhaustive research. They were pretty popular with the enthusiast market at the time.
Flashing forward to today, VooDoo gaming notebooks have since been retired but thankfully HP continued the Voodoo tradition and created the HP Envy series of laptops to satisify the mobile gaming market.
And the HP Envy series of laptops are actually pretty darn powerful and they come in 14 and 17-inch configurations. Their high-end HP Envy 17 series gaming laptop model is pretty beastly and it offers the Intel Core i7 or Core i5 processor, and the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5850 graphics card among other features.
But if you want to learn more about the HP Envy, we take a closer look at HP Envy Series laptops later on in this guide.
2016 Falcon Northwest Gaming Laptops
They aren’t widely known with typical laptop consumers but their name is definitely stamped in the laptop gaming community.
We’ve finally had the chance to run a Falcon Northwest DRX through the paces more recently thanks to a buddy of ours. At first glance we all felt the laptops custom paint job was fantastic compared to most laptops offered by standard laptop manufactures such as HP, Sony, Gateway, etc. Automobile class paint job for sure.
Their high-end DRX laptops offer extreme features such as the latest NVIDIA graphics cards in single or dual configuraitons, HD LCD displays, and super fast Intel i7 processors among other great features.
The 17-inch DRX laptop we tested impressed us in the performance arena and tore through our Call of Duty game with horsepower to spare.
Battery life in this class of notebook is pretty much nonexistent, and the laptop gets pretty hot like most if not all extreme gaming notebooks, so you definitely want to game on a desk. But thanks to Intel Core i processors, gaming laptops now get much better battery runtimes.
Overall we are impressed with what Falcon Northwest has to offer when it comes to performance and features. Once again their custom paint jobs are awesome.
Falcon Northwest is a major gaming laptop contender, and we highly recommend them if you have a lot of money to burn on a gaming rig for the Falcon Northwest attitude does come at a price.
2016 Velocity Micro Gaming Laptops
In fact, you may have even seen Velocity Micro laptops at your local BestBuy retail outlet in the past. And before retailer Circuit City folded, they also carried two affordable Falcon Northwest entry level gaming class notebooks.
On the other hand, when we last checked, BestBuy no longer offered any Velocity Micro laptops, but they did offer the Velocity Micro Cruz Tablet, which competes with the Apple iPad.
While the old retail offerings in our opinion weren’t extreme looking visually, their appearance was elegant and Velocity Micro does make quality built laptops and in fact pride themselves on this.
Current Velocity Micro laptops offer great styling, and the same solid build quality and features found on other high-end laptops. Something you’d expect from a high-end gaming laptop manufacturer of course.
And if you really have money to burn, the high-end DRX models offer extreme features such as the latest NVIDIA graphics cards in single or dual configuraitons, and Intel i7 processors like other high-end gaming laptop manufacturers.
Of course Velocity micro does offer gaming laptops under the $2000 range. As of this writing there NoteMagix C90 Ultra laptops start at $1499. Not bad at all!
While we haven’t tested a Velocity Micro laptop more recently, we know from past experience, interviews with existing owners and our own exhaustive research that Velocity Micro is a major contender in gaming laptop arena.
We give Velocity Micro the thumbs up.
2016 Dell Gaming Laptops
But maybe not everyone of you is aware of their fantastic line of XPS gaming laptops.
Personally we are big fans of Dell XPS gaming notebooks. Dell XPS high-end models are sweet, offering sleek exterior styling, extreme performance, and loads of cool technologies.
Movies, games, music and the Internet come to life with high-end graphics with 3D capabilities. Dell XPS laptops put a whole new name on high-definition (HD) entertainment.
As of this writing you can find XPS gaming laptops in 14, 15, and 17-inch flavors. All XPS laptops also start out at a great price. Moving from the 14 to the 17 inch model won’t break your bank, for the base configuration on each is only a $50 difference.
All XPS laptops from 14-Inch all the way to the 17-Inch model offer the latest Intel Core i7 and Core i5 processors, DDR3 memory, and discrete NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards.
We were recently able to test a Dell XPS 17 laptop and we ended the night with smiles, after a fantastic gaming experience. The NVIDIA GT435M GeForce graphics card with 1GB of video memory powered through all of our games during testing. You can also configure XPS 17 gaming laptops with the NVIDIA GT445M GeForce graphics card with a whopping 3GB of dedicated video memory.
Other options include a fast 7200RPM traditional hard drive or a sweet solid state hard drive. Blue-Ray is also present so firing up your favorite Blu-Ray movies is a snap. And if you are a skypeoholic, you’re going to love the XPS 17’s HD Webcam. It’s the first Webcam to offer ultra-clear 720P HD video streaming.
Some XPS gaming laptops also come with NVIDIA’s Optimus technology. Optimus technology automatically optimizes your battery life while maintaining the graphics performance. This happens on the fly without any notice from the end-user, whether you’re watching an HD movie, surfing the Web, or even playing a 3D game.
Sound quality is also great on XPS laptops, and they have all the input/output ports that you’ll ever need including HDMI, and lightning fast USB 3.0 technology among other features. XPS laptops are also the first Dell laptops to offer integrated NVIDIA 3DTV Play technology. It’s a great feature, but it does require an approved 3D-enabled TV and 3D media. Bluetooth and GPS are also options, but the feature list continues.
Overall we highly recommend that you check out Dell XPS laptops if looking for a sweet gaming machine. High-end XPS laptops are again gaming beasts that set the standard for the rest of the industry.
2016 HP Gaming Laptops
And if you are a casual gamer, HP’s multimedia laptops are a great alternative to the Envy, for they offer decent performance suitable for casual gaming duties.
But for extreme performance definitely check out the HP Envy 17 3D series of gaming laptops. They offer all the power necessary to drive 3D games at high-resolutions.
They come bundled with the ultra powerful ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5850 graphics card with 1GB of memory, a powerful Intel Core i7 processor, tons of DDR3 memory, and a super fast 7200RPM hard drive with HP ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection. Other cool features include a Blu-Ray drive, full HD 17-inch screen, backlit keyboard, and a very nice audio system to boot.
But if you’re looking for decent gaming performance without sacrificing mobility, you may want to check out the HP ENVY 14 series laptops. They are among the world’s smallest and lightest gaming laptops, and yet they are capable of playing many of today’s games.
Though small, the HP Envy 14 series offers a solid 14.5 inch LED backlit screen, up to six hours of battery life on the standard battery, and a whopping 13.75 hours on an optional extended life battery. Long gaming sessions away from the wall outlet are one of the many reasons to go with the HP Envy 14.
But best of all, HP Envy 14 laptops come bundled with the Intel Core i7 or Core i5, and powerful ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650 graphics cards with 1GB of dedicated memory. This powerful combination allows you to play 3D games with ease.
The exterior style on HP Envy laptops is pretty basic and nothing extreme, but overall the design is very clean. There are nice added touches on Envy models too such as a sleek looking red backlit keyboard and Beats audio system.
Overall HP Envy laptops are very nice and if you are a casual or non-casual gamer alike, we definitely recommend you check them out if looking for a solid gaming laptop.
2016 Asus Gaming Notebooks
Asus has always been a pioneer in gaming hardware for desktop computers, so with the rising popularity of mobile 3D gaming, Asus jumped full force into the gaming laptop market and released a slew of fantastically priced gaming notebooks.
One of our favorite Asus high-end gaming systems is the Asus Republic of Gamers series laptops. Quite simply they are badass gaming machines that contain some of the latest technologies in mobile computing. They are also priced exceptionally well, especially when you consider all of their features.
Among many technologies, Asus Republic of Gamer laptops include the latest Intel i7 Quad-Core processors, up to 8GB of high-speed DDR3 memory running at 1066MHz, huge hard drives in both single and dual configurations, Blue-Ray combo drives, and the latest wireless (Wi-Fi) standards among other features.
Of course a supreme gaming notebook wouldn’t be complete without high-end graphics cards and beautiful displays. And Asus gaming notebooks don’t disappoint in this arena.
You can purchase an Asus gaming laptop with powerful NVidia GTX 260M, NVidia GTX 460M, and ATI 5870 graphics cards among other pixel pushing powerhouses. And as new graphics chips are released by ATI and NVidia, expect Asus to jump on the bandwagon quickly.
When we first fired up our favorite 3D game and Blu-Ray movie on a Republic of Gamer edition laptop, the beautiful 17.3-inch LED back-lit screen in full HD was a sight to behold. We also enjoyed our experience with the 15.6-Inch Asus gaming notebook for it looked stellar.
Overall Asus gaming laptops are among our top picks at this time. We were impressed with not only the features, but their style and overall package.
2016 MSI Gaming Laptops
All MSI gaming notebooks come with the latest gaming technologies including Intel Core i7 processors with Turbo Boost technology, DDR3 memory, and ATI or NVIDIA high-end graphics cards among other features.
MSI gaming laptops can be purchased in 15.4, 15.6, 16, and 17-inch screen sizes. All MSI gaming laptops offer at least 720P HD resolution screens, and some models come with full HD resolution screens, offering a 1080 video viewing pleasure experience.
Dual hard drives are also available, USB 3.0, a Blu-Ray optical drive, Bluetooth technology, the latest wireless LAN (Wi-Fi) standards, HDMI output, and a built-in 720p HD webcam among other great features.
Recently we got our hands on a MSI GX660R gaming notebook for testing, and we must say our gaming experience was very enjoyable. Our test model had the ATI Radeon HD 5870 Broadway XT graphics card with 1GB of DDR5 memory, and an Intel Core i7-740QM 1.73GHz processor.
We were very surprised that the battery life of our test unit was pretty good overall. It wasn’t exactly fantastic by today’s standards, but nevertheless for a gaming notebook it wasn’t that bad. MSI rates the unit at up to 3 hours. During basic tasks like word processing and browsing the web we achieved between 2.5 and 3 hours respectively with the screen on half brightness and power saving features enabled. During gaming sessions it was another story, for we achieved far less, so you’ll definitely want to keep your power brick handy.
Overall, MSI gaming notebooks look to be very solid machines for our test unit did not disappoint. We’d love to get our hands on another model for additional testing for MSI is fairly new to the gaming notebook arena and this was our first experience with an MSI gaming notebook.
2016 Toshiba Gaming Laptops
Qosmio laptops are stacked with high-end features including the latest Intel Core i7 processors, NVIDIA GeForce 400 series graphics cards, dual hard drives including solid state, Blu-ray disc drives, Bluetooth & the latest Wi-Fi standards, Harman Kardon stereo speakers, and many other high-end technologies that you’d expect to find in a gaming laptop.
Qosmio laptops can also be configured with gorgeous 18.4-Inch Widescreen LCD displays, offering true high-definition 1080p resolutions. When we first fired up a Qosmio X505 18.4-Inch HD laptop and popped in Avatar on Blu-ray we were very impressed with the displays quality. The movie looked stunning, and as we expected, games looked fantastic as well.
Let’s not forget that Qosmio laptops also feature an HDMI output connector standard. If the High-definition 18.4-Inch LCD display isn’t enough to wet your whistle, simply hook the laptop up to your favorite HDTV set for mobile gaming and movies.
Other standard Qosmio laptop features include a 1.3 megapixel webcam, FireWire, USB, and eSATA connector. The inclusion of eSATA allows you to hook the laptop up to a number of external eSATA devices. One of our favorite eSATA devices include hard drive docks, for we have a large digital movie collection stored across a number of internal SATA hard disk drives. There is no loss of speed with eSATA, for it allows the hard drive to interface directly to the system.
Qosmio laptops are also graced with a very comfortable full-sized keyboard with LED Backlighting and handy numeric 10-key pad. A multi-touch control touchpad is also present and it gives you the ability to perform gesture-commands including two-finger pinch, swipe, rotate and scroll. Typing on the Qosmio for extended periods was not at all tiring, and the handy multimedia controls on the right of the keyboard were great for pausing movies, adjusting volume, etc.
And if a solid feature set and beautiful HD display isn’t enough, Qosmio laptops come with stellar exterior styling. Our test X505 was decorated in Toshiba’s Fusion Finish in Omega Black. It has very nice red chrome accents and a red Qosmio logo that graces the top of the unit.
Overall Qosmio gaming laptops are very nice, and perfect if you are looking for a high-end gaming/multimedia powerhouse. The Qosmio is perfect for games, movies, photo & movie editing, and other demanding multimedia chores.
But be advised, these muthas are big! The 18.4-Inch Qosmio weighs approximately 10 pounds, so you definitely will want to shy away from this big boy if you plan on taking it with you around town on a routine basis. Surprisingly though, the Qosmio is rated up to about 3.5 hours of battery runtime, thanks in part to a huge 12 cell battery.
At the end of the day, we highly recommend you check out the Toshiba Qosmio if you’re looking for a solid feature rich gaming laptop.
2016 Gateway Gaming Notebooks
Yes Gateway Corporation, the computer company with the cow boxes makes gaming notebooks. We’re happy to say the Gateway P Series notebooks aren’t cows either, and in fact they are looking very impressive.
Unfortunately we haven’t been able to get our hands on one for testing just yet so we are basing this on tons of research that we’ve performed.
But from what we’ve gathered, reviewers are in a nutshell very impressed with the performance and price options available.
There is also great news for all you entry-level gamers without money growing out of your ears, for as of this writing the Gateway P-6831FX Edition gaming laptop can be had for well under one grand.
Though while Gateway gaming laptops offer decent NVIDIA graphics cards and high definition screens like many other gaming notebooks, compared to some of the bigger players, the Gateway P-6831FX lacks high-level gaming graphics, but nevertheless, it contains an admirable NVIDIA Graphics card that is perfect for entry-level gamers.
So as it is looking now, Gateway looks like it may be a worthy contender in the laptop gaming arena. Time will tell but from what we’ve read things are looking pretty good so far.