So, You Want To Buy A Gaming Laptop

So, You Want To Buy A Gaming Laptop
Contributor: Bianca Davino, Chris Neill
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Gaming laptops have been on the rise for some time now. In recent years, they’ve gone from being a speciality item that struggled to keep up with their desktop counterparts at the best of times, to becoming more affordable, powerful, and gamer-friendly.

The convenience of their portability and the constantly improving internal specs have made gaming laptops an increasingly valid alternative to a desktop rig. So if you’ve been looking to pick up a laptop that’ll let you game with the best of them – or just want something that’ll eat up less desk space – here’s what to look for in a gaming laptop, along with a few recommendations that’ll serve all your endeavours.

What to consider before buying a gaming laptop

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Image: iStock/Vonkara1

Look out for a capable GPU

Gaming graphics have come a long way since the early 2000s. These days, you’ll be able to find games with photorealistic rocks, immaculately flowing hair and almost-psychedelic natural landscapes.

While having a good CPU on board is important, you’re better off prioritising a laptop with a superior GPU. It’s a must if you’re really looking to make the most of modern gaming’s graphic developments.

It’s worth researching the graphic requirements for the games you wish to play to avoid disappointment after purchasing a laptop, but if you’re gaming diet mostly consists of big AAA titles, then you’ll want a graphics card with at least 4GB RAM.

On the flip side, laptops with a more robust GPU will generally be more expensive. However, never fear – there are plenty of games you’ll be able to enjoy (with fantastic graphics) on a low-end, cheaper gaming laptop too.

Size and display

If you’re looking to buy a gaming laptop, you likely have a preference for screen size. Gaming laptop screens generally range from 15- to 17-inches, although there are a few decent smaller options if portability is a major factor for you. Your personal comfort preference is also an important factor when picking a laptop. A larger gaming laptop will mean a wider keyboard layout, so things won’t feel as cramped. However, if you purchase one on the larger side, both its physical weight and price tag will be heavier.

Once you’ve decided on which size to go with, it’s good to look into the resolution and refresh rates. A laptop with a higher refresh rate will often make elements of gaming smoother and more precise, with reduced input lag. Overall, it’ll make gaming a more fluid experience. A laptop with a high resolution will help you make the most of the incredible graphic capabilities of modern games. If you’re looking to game on the go, it’s all worth assessing specific models’ battery life.

Check your hardware

The CPU is the all-knowing power of the laptop, so check whether a gaming laptop has one designed for high-performance and long-term use before purchasing. In terms of options, you either have AMD or Intel to choose from. We recommend either something from the AMD Ryzen 7 or 9 series, or from the Intel Core i7 or i9 series.

It’s also important to ensure the RAM and storage capabilities of a laptop too, which will impact the speed at which your games load and download over time. You should be running at least 16GB RAM. Anything less and you’re experience will begin to suffer.

In terms of storage, while it’s more uncommon to find gaming laptops that use mechanical drives over SSDs nowadays, if you’re faced with this choice, you should always take the latter option. While mechanical drives are cheaper for more space, SSDs are vastly superior when it comes to data speeds. SSDs are also lighter and thinner, which goes a long way for the portability of your laptop. While a smaller SSD will reduce the cost of your gaming laptop if you play a lot of AAA games you will fill up that space quite fast, so size accordingly.

Once you’ve got these sorted, you should be ready to make an investment in a laptop that’ll last you a long time — given you avoid any hardware damage or drink spillage while playing.

Gaming laptops we recommend

HP Omen 16 Gaming Laptop

best gaming laptop australia
Image: HP

HP’s Omen 16 is a good option if you want a decently-sized laptop that balances solid performance with affordability. The Omen 16 is running on an Intel Core i7-12700H with a NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti GPU, which will give you some pretty reliable overall performance. The FHD display has refresh rates of 144Hz, 16GB of memory and HP’s Omen Tempest tech to manage temperature when you’re pushing its processing power.

Where you can buy it: HP ($3,299)

Razer Blade 14 Gaming Laptop

Image: Razer

While the Razer Blade 14 is small, it’s still got it where it counts. This lightweight laptop is a good option if portability is just important as performance for you. It has a 14-inch QHD display, with an AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX processor, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti GPU, 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD under its compact hood.

It also includes two USB-A ports, two USB-C ports and an HDMI 2.1 output, giving you plenty of options if you want to plug in peripherals, an external drive or a display monitor.

Where you can buy iteBay ($2,999 with the promo code MAY15) | Mwave ($2,999)

Asus ROG Zephyrus M16

Image: Asus

Asus’ ROG Zephyrus M16 is another solid, mid-range offer. Under its 16-inch FHD+ display (144Hz), the M16 is running an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 GPU alongside a 12th Gen Intel Core i7-12700H, which should keep you more then content. It also includes expansion slots for SSD and DDR5 RAM, if you want to give your storage and memory a bit of extra juice.

Where you can buy iteBay ($2,899 with the promo code HGMAY) | Mwave ($2,999)

MSI Raider GE68HX Gaming Laptop

Image: MSI

If you don’t mind a bigger laptop and have the budget to back it up, MSI‘s Raider GE68HX is a good option. This powerful laptop is running on an Intel Core i7-13700HX processor with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 GPU and 2TB of storage. Its 16-inch screen is a QHD+, with refresh rates of 240Hz that’ll make for a smooth experience.

Where you can buy it: eBay ($4,769 with the promo code YIPPEE10) | Mwave ($4,799) | Wireless1 ($4,799)

Lenovo Legion 7i (Gen 8)

Image: Lenovo

Another high-end offer, if you have a budget that can accommodate it. The Legion 7i is an absolute beast, with a lot going on under the hood. It’s running on a 13th gen Intel Core i9-13900HX, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080, 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. Its 16-inch WQXGA display has refresh rates of 240Hz, while Lenovo‘s Legion Coldfront 5.0 tech will keep the laptop’s temperature in check so you don’t lose performance.

Where you can buy it: Lenovo ($4,099)


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