Gaming on a laptop used to be a tall order. Fortunately for busy gamers who travel a lot, gaming on the move is a normal thing these days. Whether you’ll enjoy a good gaming experience or not comes down to choosing the right gaming laptop. While there are many criteria to take into account when making a shortlist of models, we’ve chosen 6 that you should put at the top.
1. GPU and Display – The Visuals
Gaming is all about the visual experience. Modern games are packed with incredibly detailed graphics that are wasted on your average laptop’s display. Not only that, but most of these games require a beefy GPU that can push such complex graphics at a decent enough frame rate.
Your first order of business should be finding a laptop that has a powerful GPU and a good display to go with it. The size of the display is a matter of preference as it has an impact on the mobility and weight of the laptop. Figure out what size works best for your needs and start there.
2. It Must Have a Powerful CPU
Any good gaming laptop needs to have a strong CPU at its core. Modern CPUs are plenty powerful, but if you truly want to get the best possible performance out of new games, you’ll want all the processing power you can get. It’s also worth noting that raw power isn’t the only metric to take into account when selecting the right chip.
There are other variables such as power consumption, how hot it gets under load, and more. If you plan on using your gaming on the go, you need to account for all of these specs.
3. Battery Life
Whenever any kind of laptop is discussed, battery life becomes an issue. Batteries have come a long way since laptops first appeared. That being said, batteries have also been one of the slowest developing technologies in general, not just in the world of portable computers.
When you go out looking for a gaming laptop, try to estimate how often you’ll be using it without a power brick. That will tell you how important battery life will be for your user experience in general.
4. It Must Fit Your Budget
Gaming is becoming cheaper every year! There is a list of the best cheap gaming laptops under 500 that will put many 4-5-year-old gaming desktops to shame. In other words, you don’t need a massive budget to treat yourself to a fun gaming session. The best way to go about setting up a budget is to figure out what kind of games you like to play.
If you’re all about older, but still popular RPGs and MMORPGs, there’s a chance you won’t need to shell out thousands for the latest RGB-ridden wonder from MSI. Then again, if you’re into the hottest AAA titles, your budget will need to mirror your demands.
5. Looks and Design
Even though the hardware is king, looks matter as well. If you don’t like the way a laptop looks, or how it feels under your fingertips, your user experience will suffer. There’s another side to this argument, though. Looks, especially if you’re into the current design trends, can increase the price quite significantly.
There are laptops out there that lack all the high speed, low drag chassis designs, RGB lights in every nook and cranny, but which deliver a wallop of performance. They’re like sleeper cars — you don’t know what you’re up against until the light turns green and that old Camry smokes your new Charger.
6. I/O Package
If there’s one trend that needs to die off already, it’s the I/O minimalism that we’re witnessing these days. All of a sudden it’s somehow a bad thing to have all the ports you could ask for. Because of that, you really need to be careful which ports and connectors you’re getting.
If you plan on using plenty of accessories with your laptop, you’ll want to double-check if your laptop of choice has what it takes to support all those devices. This is especially true for fast USB ports and similar.
As we reach the end of this guide, we want to leave you with one last piece of advice — don’t get stuck on a particular brand. Shop around, look at what other manufacturers are offering. There’s a good chance that your preferred brand isn’t the most optimal choice for your unique set of needs and wants.