Computer games are constantly evolving, becoming more and more elaborate and complex. The virtual worlds and representations of many games, which are often almost indistinguishable from reality, place high demands on a computer. Fast processors and powerful graphics cards are necessary. Components that a standard notebook, also known as a laptop, cannot normally offer. If you still want to play games on the go, you need a gaming laptop. These are powerful portable devices that can even play current, computationally intensive computer games in maximum graphics quality.
The following overview provides detailed information about popular gaming laptops and describes all the important aspects, features and characteristics of these devices. The guide goes into the relevant comparison criteria, explains the functionality, advantages and disadvantages as well as the different performance classes of gaming laptops, provides background knowledge on the topic and answers frequently asked questions in the FAQ section. If you want to know if there is a gaming laptop test by Stiftung Warentest or Öko-Test, you can find out at the end of the text.
4 powerful gaming laptops in a big comparison
More practical accessories for gamers in the big comparison on STERN.de
1. 4 powerful gaming laptops in a big comparison
1.1 What is a gaming laptop?
1.2 How does a gaming laptop work?
1.3 What types of displays are used in gaming laptops?
1.4 What are the advantages and disadvantages of gaming laptops?
1.5 Who is a gaming laptop suitable for?
1.6 What types of gaming laptops are there?
1.7 How much does a gaming laptop cost?
1.8 Internet versus specialist shops: Where is it worth buying a gaming laptop?
1.9. gaming laptop: What to consider when buying a gaming laptop?
1.10. Which well-known gaming laptop manufacturers are there?
1.11. What useful accessories are there for gaming laptops?
1.12. FAQ – frequently asked questions about gaming laptops
1.13. Is there a gaming laptop test by Stiftung Warentest?
1.14. Is there a gaming laptop test by Öko-Test?
1.16. We also compared the following 5 products
2. gaming laptop list 2021: find your best gaming laptop
1. Acer Nitro 5 AN515 54 55UY gaming laptop with dual fans
The Acer Nitro 5 AN515 54 55UY has two USB 3.1 ports, one USB Type-C 3.1 port, one USB 2.0 port, one LAN port, one AUX port, and one HDMI port. For wireless connectivity options, it offers Bluetooth 5.0 and WLAN with IEE 802.11ax standard. The gaming laptop runs Windows 10 Home in 64-bit version and comes with a red backlit keyboard. According to the vendor, the battery life is up to 7 hours.
The Acer gaming laptop comes in a mostly black design with “cut” corners and red accents. The hinge, which is visible from the front and back, features a red color scheme, and the outline of the touchpad glows red. The device measures 36.3 x 25.5 x 2.68 centimeters and weighs 2.3 kilograms.
2nd Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i laptop with optimized keyboard
The 15.6-inch FullHD IPS display with a refresh rate of 120 hertz should reduce image judder and guarantee smooth gameplay. The keyboard of the IdeaPad Gaming 3i is optimized for gamers. It has media keys, a number pad, large arrow keys and a 30 percent larger trackpad. The key travel is 1.5 millimeters and the keyboard also has a cool blue key light.
According to the manufacturer, the battery life is up to 7 hours. Thanks to a quick charge function, the battery is already up to 80 percent charged after a charging time of one hour and the gaming fun can continue.
3. HP Pavilion 17-cd2055ng gaming laptop with dual fan system on the outer sides
The HP Pavilion 17-cd2055ng gaming laptop has a quad-core Intel Core i5-11300H processor with cores clocked up to 4.4 gigahertz. It has 16 gigabytes of DDR4 RAM and an SSD hard drive with a storage capacity of 512 gigabytes. The pre-installed operating system is Windows 10 Home. The graphics card installed is an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 with 4 gigabytes of GDDR6 memory and Nvidia’s RTX technology – according to the manufacturer, this technology should enable real-time ray tracing and very realistic graphics displays. A Bluetooth function and WLAN of the 802.11ax standard are available.
The gaming laptop is equipped with an IPS display with a resolution in Full HD, a screen diagonal of 17.3 inches and a refresh rate of 144 hertz. According to HP, it is a slim micro-edge display for an ideal visual experience. The keyboard has a visually appealing green backlight and is in German Qwertz layout. The two front-facing speakers from manufacturer B&O are said to provide a powerful sound. The following ports are available:
- SD card reader
- USB-C port
- 2x USB-A port
- HDMI 2.0
- 1x RJ-45 / Ethernet
- Headphone/Microphone combined
- AC Smart Pin
4. Razer Blade 15 Advanced Edition gaming laptop with Nvidia RTX graphics card and and 300 hertz IPS panel.
The Razer Blade 15 has Wi-Fi 6, SD card reader, Thunderbolt 3, USB Type-A and Type-C ports, and HDMI for full connectivity. Windows 10 Home 64-bit version is pre-installed as the operating system. A unique vacuum-sealed, liquid-filled copper Vapor Chamber, according to the manufacturer, surrounds the components that heat up the most for maximum performance and comfort. Unlike most gaming laptops, the Razer Blade 15 is equipped with a Kensington lock.
5. MSI GE76 Raider gaming laptop with RGB front light bar
According to the manufacturer, the MSI GE76 Raider gaming laptop has a 17.3-inch and low-reflection wide-view display with a resolution of Full HD and a frame rate of 360 gigahertz for fast-paced gaming. Inside the laptop is an 11th-generation Intel Core i9-11980H processor with eight cores that have a boost clock speed of up to 5 gigahertz. As for the graphics card, according to MSI, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 is a high-end card with 16 gigabytes of GDDR6 VRAM memory. The gaming laptop has 32 gigabytes of DDR4 RAM and an SSD system drive with a storage capacity of 2 terabytes for fast system and program launches.
The gaming laptop has the Windows 10 Home operating system pre-installed and has a Thunderbolt 4 and a USB 4.0 port in addition to the PCI Express 4.0 interface for the SSD hard drive. According to the manufacturer, it uses the modern WLAN standard Wi-Fi 6E, in which the additional 6 gigahertz band is used. Ports for a monitor or power supply are located on the back of the model, according to MSI. The “Mystic-Light” LED bar with RGB lighting allows you to choose from up to 16 million colors and can be synchronized with the single key illumination of the gaming keyboard, according to the manufacturer. The compatible app “MSI Center” also allows system monitoring, control and optimization – making tuning easy, according to the manufacturer.
6. lenovo #6747 gaming laptop with a battery life of 7 hours
The Lenovo #6747 gaming laptop has a matte HD BrightView display with LED backlight with a screen size of 17.3 inches and a maximum resolution of 1,600 x 900 pixels. The gaming laptop runs an Intel Core i3-1005G1 processor at 3.4 gigahertz and an Intel UHD Graphics 3D graphics chip. It has 20 gigabytes of DDR4 random access memory (RAM) and offers a 1,000-gigabyte SSD hard drive.
For connectivity, the notebook offers three USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, a card reader, and a headphone jack. A Bluetooth function is also available. The connection to the Internet can be established via WLAN. The operating system is Windows 10 Professional in the 64-bit version. According to the vendor, the lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 3,600 milliampere hours powers the Lenovo laptop for about 7 hours.
The gaming laptop is all-black with a gray, non-illuminated keyboard. It measures 40.2 x 28.1 x 1.99 centimeters (length/width/height) and weighs 2.2 kilograms.
7. HP Pavilion 15-ec2253ng gaming laptop with improved ventilation system
HP’s Pavilion 15-ec2253ng gaming laptop has a 15.6-inch (screen diagonal of around 39.6 centimeters) anti-glare IPS display with Full HD resolution at 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. It works with an AMD Ryzen™-5-5600H processor with 4.2 gigahertz. The equipment includes an Nvidia GeForce GTX-1650 graphics card with 4 gigabytes and a DDR4 RAM with 8 gigabytes. The RAM memory offers 4 gigabytes twice and a 512-gigabyte SSD hard drive is used as the storage medium.
Connectivity options on the Pavilion gaming laptop include an SD garden reader, a USB Type-C port, two USB-A ports, an HDMI port, a LAN port, and a combined port for headphones and microphone. To be able to use the laptop wirelessly, Wi-Fi 6 as well as Bluetooth 5.0 are used. Windows 10 Home 64-bit version acts as the operating system of HP’s 15-ec2253ng model. In addition, the Alexa voice assistant is preinstalled.
The laptop has two B&O speakers that are said to offer powerful sound. According to the manufacturer, the three Li-ion polymer batteries used deliver 6 hours of battery life for mixed use and up to 9 hours and 15 minutes of application time for video playback. Along with the delivery comes McAfee LiveSafe™ anti-virus software.
According to the manufacturer, HP’s gaming laptop is equipped with powerful hardware and with an improved ventilation system. According to the company, the processor delivers very good performance and the built-in technology ensures high speeds even during demanding multimedia applications. The black laptop has an illuminated keyboard. It is 36 centimeters wide, 25.7 centimeters deep and 2.35 centimeters high (minimum dimensions). Its weight is 1.98 kilograms.
8. omen 17 cb1272ng gaming laptop DTS-X Ultra feature for spatial 3D sound
The OMEN 17 cb1272ng gaming laptop offers a Thunderbolt port, a USB Type-C port, three USB ports, a MiniDisplayPort port, an HDMI port, a LAN port, a headphone jack, a microphone jack, and an SD card reader. Wireless connectivity options include Bluetooth 5.0 and WLAN 802.11ax, with Windows 10 Home 64-bit version acting as the operating system. According to the vendor, the gaming notebook is equipped with an optimized cooling system with two large fans on the sides. It has an HD webcam, Bang&Olufsen speakers and DTS-X Ultra technology, which the vendor says provides authentic, spatial 3D sound.
The OMEN 17 cb1272ng features an all-black design with a subtle logo on the back. It has a narrow hinge between the screen and the keyboard, creating a gap on the sides when opened. The dimensions are 40.5 x 28.5 x 2.9 centimeters, and the weight is 3.2 kilograms.
9. XMG A517 M18ndn gaming laptop with 1,250 gigabyte of storage space
The XMG A517 M18ndn is equipped with four USB ports: a 2.0 USB port, a 3.0 USB port, a 3.1 USB port and a USB Type-C port. Other connectivity options include an HDMI port, two MiniDisplayPorts, a headphone jack, a microphone jack, a LAN port, and a 6-in-1 card reader. The gaming laptop has Bluetooth 4.2 and WLAN 802.11a b/g/n/c. Windows 10 Home 64-bit version is pre-installed as the operating system.
The XMG gaming laptop has a keyboard with RGB lighting for three separate zones with different effects. The built-in Microsoft Precision touchpad with multi-gesture and scroll feature allows you to scroll up and down by swiping gestures and activate various other functions by making certain movements on the trackpad. The laptop comes in an all-black design, measures 37.8 x 26.7 x 2.9 centimeters and weighs 2.5 kilograms.
10. asus #6699 gaming laptop with office package
The Asus #6699 gaming laptop has an Intel Core i3-1005G1 4-thread processor clocked at 3.40 gigahertz. The RAM is 8 gigabytes of DDR4 RAM and the laptop has an SSD with a storage capacity of 512 gigabytes. An Intel UHD Graphics chip is supposed to speed up all modern games. The laptop has a matte display with a screen diagonal of 17.3 inches (43.9 centimeters). The operating system preinstalled is Microsoft Windows 10 Professional 64-bit with all drivers and no adware.
A lithium-ion battery provides up to 7 hours of battery life when playing YouTube videos. The laptop is compatible with WLAN 802.11 B/G/N, it has an HD webcam, card reader for SD and MMC cards, four USB ports, an HDMI port and stereo speakers. The latest version of GData Internet Security including updates for 6 months is pre-installed with the purchase.
What is a gaming laptop?
Gaming laptops are mobile computers with powerful hardware components and still high mobility. Many models are able to play current computer games smoothly with the highest graphic details via corresponding graphics chips. Apart from their hardware, gaming laptops differ from ordinary notebooks by their distinctive, often illuminated designs.
How does a gaming laptop work?
The basic functioning of a gaming laptop is identical to that of a regular notebook or desktop computer. The following components work together to allow the device to operate:
- Graphics card
- Sound card
- Working memory
- Hard disk
- Battery and power supply
It is the heart of the gaming laptop. The central processor, also known as the CPU, is involved in all computing operations. It is the central hub through which the other processors of the computer communicate. It forwards the images calculated by the graphics processor, receives the audio signals from the sound card or regulates the data transfer between the hard disk and the main memory. It performs a large part of all computing tasks itself. Its computing power is therefore decisive for the overall performance of the computer – and thus for whether and in what graphic quality modern computer games can be played.
The graphics card is the second component that decisively determines the performance – regardless of whether it is integrated or dedicated. In gaming, the graphics card rather than the CPU is the limiting factor that determines the performance of a gaming laptop. It is responsible for converting the image data calculated by the processor so that the laptop’s monitor can display it in the form of images.
Unlike desktop PCs that use an external monitor, laptops come with an integrated foldable screen. Combined with a battery, this allows the device to be used on the go. Laptop displays come in a variety of resolutions. The resolution determines how sharp and true-to-life the displayed images look. Other characteristics such as the quality of the color display or the brightness are determined by the screen technology. We will go into this in more detail in the next section.
The sound card works like the graphics card. The only difference is that it processes sound signals instead of image signals. It plays a subordinate role for the gaming performance of a laptop, but high-quality sound cards reproduce the soundscapes of games or music more precisely than cheap ones.
During operation, data that the PC only needs for a short time is always generated. The main memory – also called RAM or “Random Access Memory” – has the task of temporarily storing such data. In graphically demanding applications such as computer games, a lot of short-term data is generated. When the RAM is full, the computer works noticeably slower. Accordingly, the size of the RAM has a bearing on the performance of the gaming laptop.
Every computer has a hard drive where data can be stored for a long time. It is the long-term memory of any computer. The most important program stored on it is the operating system, which starts automatically when the PC is turned on. In addition to software, the hard disk also stores data such as images, videos, music or texts. The storage volume of hard disks has grown enormously over the years. Whereas the storage capacity used to be specified in megabytes, today the volume is specified in gigabytes and terabytes. 1,000 megabytes is a gigabyte, and 1,000 gigabytes is a terabyte. Modern, elaborate games are easily 30 gigabytes in size. You should not skimp on the hard drive size.
The mainboard is the link between all hardware components. It accommodates connections for data transfer and coordinates the interaction of the computer components.
During operation, the processor and graphics card can develop high temperatures. This can lead to damage to the sensitive computer components. To prevent this, gaming laptops have integrated cooling systems. These are fans on the graphics card and processor that provide constant cooling.
Every gaming laptop has an integrated battery that supplies it with power regardless of location. Graphically demanding computer games consume a lot of power, which makes most models last no longer than 5 hours. For long gaming evenings, each laptop has a power supply for stationary power.
What types of displays are used in gaming laptops?
Every gaming laptop has an integrated display. The way it works and thus the characteristics of the display depend on its technology. Gaming laptops usually use one of the following four display types:
- LCD panels
- LED panels
- VA panels
- IPS panels
LCD panels or LC displays consist of many tiny liquid crystals – the pixels or pixels. Hence the name Lyquid Crystal Display or liquid crystal display. The illumination of LCDs consists of fluorescent tubes, which means that they usually do not achieve high brightness values. They do not have a high viewing angle stability. This means that when viewed from the side, the images on the screen can appear distorted. Another disadvantage is that the lighting is not controllable. It can only be switched on and off. This results in black pixels being backlit. This makes them appear more grey or anthracite. The biggest advantage of LC displays is their low price.
The LED panel is based on the LCD panel. The difference is that instead of fluorescent tubes, more modern LED lights are used. This results in several advantages: With LEDs, the screens achieve higher brightness levels. LED lights are able to control individual image areas separately. Black areas of the image remain unlit, which means that LED displays achieve higher contrasts and lower black levels. At the same time, they consume less power and allow for flatter monitor designs. The only disadvantage compared to the LCD panel is the higher cost.
VA is an abbreviation for Vertical Alignment Panel. In German this means vertical alignment. This is the special feature of VA panels. They have rod-shaped, vertically aligned pixels. When there is no picture signal, the pixels tilt to the side and completely block the backlight. This allows for deep black levels and strong contrasts.
IPS panels have rod-shaped pixels with horizontal alignment. This gives them the advantage of a stable viewing angle. This means viewers can look at the image from the side without losing color fidelity. This is practical in the office, for example, to show colleagues something on the monitor or to give presentations. IPS panels are known for their vibrant color displays and usually offer faster response speeds than VA panels. One drawback is that the display technology requires a deeper monitor build than is the case with the other panel types. As a result, IPS displays are often a bit thicker.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of gaming laptops?
The biggest advantage of the gaming laptop: it combines performance with mobility. This makes it a must-have for gamers who don’t want to miss out on their computer games while traveling. Gaming laptops are not only interesting for computer game fans. Powerful computers are also necessary in a professional environment – for example, in video editing or software design. A gaming laptop is interesting for anyone who travels a lot and is dependent on a powerful computer. Another advantage is that they have a wide price range. This means that anyone interested has the opportunity to find a model that meets their requirements in terms of price-performance.
Those who opt for a gaming laptop have to accept some disadvantages. When comparing laptops and desktop PCs, the rule of thumb is that laptops are always more expensive with comparable performance. At the same time, laptops are less future-proof. A desktop PC can easily be upgraded with new graphics cards and processors. This is not easily possible with a laptop. The selection of available hardware components is smaller and the installation usually has to be done by a specialist for a fee.
- High performance
- Mobile use
- Wide price range – the right performance level available for everyone
- Often eye-catching design
- More expensive than desktop PCs with comparable performance
- Difficult to upgrade
Who is a gaming laptop for?
Not everyone likes the classic concept of a stationary desktop PC with an external monitor. If you like to play games or need high performance from your computer for other reasons, a gaming laptop is a good alternative. At the same time, it is the solution to the problem of every gamer who is on the go a lot. Gaming can be found in all walks of life these days.
What types of gaming laptops are there?
Gaming laptops can be divided not so much into types as into performance classes. Depending on their requirements, interested parties can choose between one of the following three performance levels:
- Entry-level gaming laptops
- Mid-range gaming laptops
- High-end gaming laptops
Those who are looking for a new laptop and want to play games occasionally on the go might be interested in gaming laptop deals for beginners. Gaming laptops for beginners usually do not have powerful graphics cards and processors. Despite, they are full-fledged computers that allow users to browse the internet and use all the popular software programs. In terms of memory and image quality, they can often compete with mid-range models. Current games cannot usually be played with such a device – and if so, then with the lowest graphics settings.
Gaming laptops from the performance middle class usually work with 2 or 3 year old graphics cards and processors. They are up to the demands of most current computer games. As far as graphics quality is concerned, users will probably have to settle for medium settings. Mid-range models are a good choice for hobby gamers who gamble on the go but don’t want to invest a four-figure amount in their gaming laptop.
Those who don’t want to compromise on performance and features will go for a high-end gaming laptop. These are laptops that leave nothing to be desired in any area and can be found in the upper price segment. The devices of the upper class offer large, high-resolution displays, modern and powerful hardware components, large hard drives and long battery runtimes. Due to the high costs, high-end models are usually only interesting for professional use. The most powerful models cost mid four-digit amounts.
How much does a gaming laptop cost?
If you’re on a tight budget and want to buy a new gaming laptop on the cheap, you should look in the entry-level range. These are available for mid-three figures. Gamers looking for a mid-range performance laptop should plan on a high three-figure to low four-figure investment. For a high-end model, four-digit amounts are due in any case. These can range from low to mid-range. When buying a gaming laptop, you can expect the following costs:
- Entry-level gaming laptops – 450 to 750 euros.
- Mid-range gaming laptops – 750 to 1,500 euros
- High-end gaming laptops – from 1,500 euros upwards
Internet versus specialist shops: Where is it worth buying a gaming laptop?
Gaming laptops are available in computer stores, electronics markets, department stores and occasionally as an offer in supermarkets. The biggest advantage of local retailers is the opportunity to get personal advice. If you want to benefit from this advantage, you should visit a specialist shop. How helpful the advice is always depends on how well the advising employee knows the product in question. Apart from the advice, the purchase in the local trade usually turns out to be awkward. The selection of different models is often similarly limited as the possibilities to compare many different gaming laptops on site. In the worst case, a lot of time is required to visit several stores.
The Internet offers better conditions to quickly buy a good gaming laptop. Here, almost all currently available models are available and there are good opportunities to get comprehensive information and precisely compare the individual laptops with each other. Once the best gaming laptop is found, the order is made conveniently and time-saving from home. Ultimately, the advantages of the Internet outweigh the disadvantages.
Gaming laptop: What should be considered when buying a gaming laptop?
Gaming laptops are complex technical devices. If you want to find a model that fully meets your own requirements, you need to consider various factors. The most important criteria for an informed purchase decision are:
- Panel type
- Screen diagonal and resolution
- Screen brightness
- refresh rate
- Anti-reflective screen
- Graphics card
- Storage capacity
- Battery life
- Operating system
- Size and weight
- Additional features
The panel type
Different types of display technologies are used in gaming laptops. Each has its raison d’être, as they offer individual advantages and disadvantages. These have to be weighed up before making a purchase decision.
The screen diagonal is specified in inches and tells you how big the distance between the lower left and upper right corner of the display is. One inch is equal to 2.54 centimeters. The resolution indicates how many pixels a display has per horizontal and vertical row. Screen diagonal and resolution should always be considered in context: The larger a display is, the more pixels it needs to produce sharp images.
Most gaming notebooks have a screen diagonal between 15 and 19 inches. Compared to a computer monitor, which can also be 32 inches, this is relatively small. A Full HD resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels is sufficient to achieve sharp images on a “small” display. If you don’t want to compromise on picture quality, you can find gaming laptops with WQHD or 4K resolutions of 2,560 x 1,440 and 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, respectively. In the future, 4K gaming laptops are likely to play a bigger role.
The screen brightness indicates the maximum luminosity of the display of a gaming laptop. It is indicated in candela per square meter. High brightness values can have a positive effect on the contrast values and promote realistic displays. Most gaming laptops have brightness values between 200 and 250 candela per square meter. Occasionally, there are models that reach brightness values of 300 or 400 candelas per square meter.
The refresh rate is specified in hertz and tells how often the display of a gaming laptop updates its representations. One hertz stands for one refresh per second. To produce smooth moving images when playing movies and games, the display needs a frame rate of at least 60 hertz. But it can go even higher. Some models offer up to 144 hertz, which can counteract delays in fast-paced games.
Not to be neglected are the characteristics of the display surface. The screen can be glossy or anti-reflective – that is, matte. Anti-reflective displays have the advantage that they reflect less light and are better suited for outdoor use. Dirt and fingerprints are less noticeable on a matte display. If you use your laptop mostly indoors, you can go for a model with a glossy display. They are known for sharper contours, richer colors and deeper black levels.
The processor (CPU) is crucial to the overall performance of a gaming laptop. There are two indicators of the CPU’s processing power: the number of processing cores and their gigahertz value. All commands that are entered – from keyboard input to moving a window – are calculated by the CPU and converted into machine code. This also includes the data inputs and data requests of all connected devices such as the graphics and sound card or hard disks up to USB devices. The arithmetic operations are converted into clocks, which are measured in hertz. In other words, one computing operation per hertz. A CPU clocked at 2.9 gigahertz (GHz) performs 2.9 billion computing operations per second. The higher the clock frequency, the faster the CPU. However, clock speeds cannot be increased at will. The higher the clock rate, the higher the waste heat produced by the CPU. At 5 gigahertz, the end is currently reached.
The manufacturers therefore increase the performance via several CPUs on one chip. If the processor has several processor cores, it can perform calculations in parallel instead of one after the other. This increases performance. Four-core processors are standard, while eight- and twelve-core processors are already gaining ground. However, the operating system and application software must also support these multi-core CPUs in order to benefit from them. For many games, the performance of the single core is still decisive.
If you want to play current computer games, you should make sure that your new gaming laptop is equipped with a powerful graphics card. The first thing to look for is whether a full graphics card or an onboard graphics card is installed. Inexpensive entry-level models often have onboard graphics cards. These are computing chips integrated into the motherboard that are sufficient for simple applications, but not for current computer games. They don’t have enough power for graphically demanding applications. For smooth playback of current games, a gaming laptop should have a dedicated 3D graphics chip from Nvidia or AMD.
A powerful gaming laptop is rounded off by a high working memory capacity. If you want to play current computer games, you need 8 or 16 gigabytes of RAM. While the limit of what can be achieved with gaming laptops is 32 gigabytes, up to 128 gigabytes of RAM can be installed in desktop PCs. This is not necessary. A laptop with 32 gigabytes is perfectly equipped for all current applications.
It is important to distinguish between the DDR3 and DDR4 working memory versions. The older DDR3 version is cheaper and mostly found in models of the lower price range. The more modern DDR4 working memory is reflected in the price, but works faster. This is noticeable in the computing speed of the laptop.
The connectivity of a gaming laptop depends on the motherboard and the graphics card. The graphics card accommodates connection options for playback devices such as TVs and monitors – especially HDMI and DVI ports. The motherboard provides USB ports for connecting to external devices such as printers, hard drives and USB sticks – between two and four USB ports depending on the model.
Also provided by the motherboard are AUX ports for speakers and microphone. This allows gamers to connect a headset for communicating with their fellow gamers. Those who want to use their gaming laptop a lot at home should pay attention to an available LAN port. A wired Internet connection can be established via this, which is considered more stable and less susceptible to interference than the wireless WLAN connection. WLAN is available in every gaming laptop. It is important to pay attention to how fast the wireless internet connection is. This can be seen from the WLAN standard. The WLAN modules of gaming laptops usually work in the 2.4 gigahertz band, for which the following division applies:
- 802.11: 1 to 2 megabits per second
- 802.11b: 6 megabits per second
- 802.11g: 20 megabits per second
- 802.11n: 170 megabits per second
- 802.11ax: 9,600 megabits per second
- 802.11a and h: 20 megabits per second
- 802.11n: 170 megabits per second
- 802.11ac: 1,300 megabits per second
- 802.11ax: 9,600 megabits per second
When it comes to storage space, there are big differences. Depending on the model, gaming laptops offer between 128 and 1,000 gigabytes of storage capacity. How much is needed depends on which files are to be stored on the device. A graphically demanding game can take up 30 gigabytes or more of storage. For two to three games and a few programs, 128 gigabytes is sufficient. If you want to store an entire game library and pictures, videos and music, you’ll need more storage space.
The hard drive of a gaming laptop not only determines its storage space, but also its working speed. There are HDD and SSD hard drives. HDDs or “hard disc drive” hard drives work mechanically. This makes them slower and susceptible to bumps and shocks. The advantage of HDD hard drives is that they usually have higher storage capacities than SSDs.
SSDs or “solid-state drive” hard drives operate digitally. They offer noticeably faster operating speeds. This is not only noticeable in the loading times, but already at the system start. While a PC with an HDD often needs more than a minute to boot up completely, a computer with an SSD is usually ready for use in less than 10 seconds. At the same time, SSDs are less susceptible to shock. On the other hand, they are more expensive, which affects the price of the gaming laptop.
Since powerful processors and graphics cards consume a lot of power, gaming laptops often can’t compete with regular laptops in terms of battery life. When gaming, the batteries usually last between 3 and 10 hours. If you only surf the internet, you can often use your laptop even longer without a power outlet. The manufacturer’s specifications for battery life usually refer to playing computer games and should only be considered as a guideline. How long the battery actually lasts depends on various factors. These include the applications running or the screen brightness. It is also important whether the Internet connection is wireless or wired.
Gaming laptops work almost exclusively with Microsoft’s Windows operating system. It is very widespread, user-friendly and offers the highest compatibility with current computer games. It is important to pay attention to the version of the operating system. For gamers, it is advantageous to always use the latest version of Windows. It receives regular updates and works smoothly with all current software programs. Another thing to consider is the bit version – 32 or 64-bit. A laptop with 64-bit operating system can manage memory capacities of more than 4 gigabytes more efficiently. For a gaming laptop, this is a positive feature.
A gaming laptop should be mobile. For this, it must be easy to transport – in other words, it must be small and light. However, the screen should not be too small for comfortable gaming, working and surfing. The size and weight of a gaming laptop are directly related to the screen diagonal. It’s a matter of finding a compromise that meets your own requirements and conditions of use. Depending on the screen diagonal, a gaming laptop can have a width of more than 40 centimeters and weigh well over 2 kilograms.
Many gaming laptops have an illuminated keyboard. This not only supports the eye-catching gaming look, but also allows you to gamble and work in the dark. When buying, it is important to pay attention to whether the color scheme of the keyboard can be changed. With RGB lighting, colors can be selected from the entire color spectrum.
Which well-known gaming laptop manufacturers are there?
Most PC and notebook manufacturers have gaming laptops on offer – including many well-known names. Among others, there are gaming laptops from
What useful accessories are there for gaming laptops?
A basic advantage of laptops is that, theoretically, no accessories are required for their use. Nevertheless, if you want to play computer games at a high level, you should think about some accessories.
- Gaming mice
- Gaming keyboards
- Headsets or microphones
- Laptop coolers
- Laptop bags
The only accessory gamers need in almost every case is a mouse. Role-playing games or fast-paced first-person shooters cannot be played with the integrated laptop trackpads. For this, there are gaming mice that not only fit well with a gaming laptop in terms of design, but also have some useful features for gamers. Gaming mice often offer adjustable DPI values. This is the speed at which the mouse cursor moves. Also common are freely assignable buttons, which can be especially useful in strategy and role-playing games.
Laptop keyboards are not entirely unsuitable for gaming. However, due to the height of the case, there is often an awkward Augustus in the wrist during use. In the long run, this can be uncomfortable. At the same time, the keys are flat due to the laptop design and usually don’t have a well noticeable pressure point – that is, a noticeable resistance that haptically signals that the key has been pressed and the function activated. For this reason, gamers often turn to special gaming keyboards with mechanical keys and a good perceptible pressure point.
As with a console, a gaming laptop also offers the option of playing games with a gamepad instead of a mouse and keyboard – often referred to as a gaming controller or joypad. This allows for comfortable operation and offers more leeway in terms of sitting or lying position. Gamepads are especially popular for sports and role-playing games.
Most games today are played online – that is, with or against other players. In team-based games, communication within the group can make the difference between winning and losing. For this reason, headsets and microphones are often standard equipment for players. Headsets combine headphones and a microphone in one device. High-quality devices offer high voice and sound quality. Those who prefer to play the sound over external speakers can communicate with their fellow players via an external stand microphone.
Under high computing load, the interior of a gaming laptop can generate a lot of heat. Under normal conditions, the internal cooling of the device should ensure that this doesn’t cause any problems. But in high ambient temperatures or an older device that has accumulated a lot of dust inside, there is a risk of overheating, especially under full load. In this case, it makes sense to use a laptop cooler. This is a base that reduces the laptop’s contact surface and cools it from below with the help of fans.
Most gamers opt for a laptop because they want to gamble on the go. To transport the gaming laptop safely and keep it looking good for a long time, it is worth investing in a suitable laptop bag. These are available as carrying or shoulder bags or in the form of backpacks made of various materials – both as universal bags and for specific models.
FAQ – frequently asked questions about gaming laptops
There is no such thing as the “best” gaming laptop. A computer must fit both the budget and the requirements of its buyer. Will it only be used for gaming? What games will be played? Will it be used outdoors often? How often will it be needed for travel? If you take all the advice in this guide into consideration, you stand a good chance of finding the best gaming laptop for you.
Both types of gaming computers have advantages and disadvantages. The desktop PC is cheaper with comparable performance and is easier to upgrade. On the other hand, it relies on external devices such as a monitor and mouse and keyboard and is not mobile. A gaming laptop is neither better nor worse than a desktop PC. It is suitable for other requirements.
Experience shows that PC hardware is up to date for about 3 years after its first release. After that, it no longer meets the latest standards. This does not mean that graphics cards and processors will no longer work. It does mean that after about 3 years, there is a risk that newly released games or programs will no longer work properly.
As a rule of thumb, if you want to always have a laptop at a high performance level, you need to upgrade or buy new every 3 years or so. If you don’t value high performance and just want to surf the web and do your online banking, you can use your gaming laptop for as long as the technology allows – usually more than 5 years if handled with care.
To ensure the longest possible battery life, there are a few things to keep in mind when charging. A laptop battery should neither be completely discharged nor overcharged. It is advisable to always keep the battery between 20 and 80 percent of its capacity, then it will last the longest. It is important to use the battery regularly. If it is not used because the laptop is permanently powered by the mains adapter, this will weaken its capacity.
No, which graphics cards can be installed in a gaming laptop is determined by its motherboard. Compared to desktop PCs, the choice is smaller because there is less space available in laptops.
Is there a gaming laptop test by Stiftung Warentest?
No, Stiftung Warentest has not yet published a stand-alone gaming laptop test. There is a general test report that covers 99 laptops, convertibles and tablets. Among them are also some gaming laptops. Those interested can find the article here. If Stiftung Warentest publishes a gaming laptop test in the future, we will update our comparison.
Is there a gaming laptop test from Öko-Test?
Öko-Test has not yet published a gaming laptop test or any other article that would be relevant for this guide. Should Öko-Test publish a gaming laptop test in the future, the comparison here will be updated accordingly.
What is a gaming laptop?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of gaming laptops?
For whom is a gaming laptop suitable?
Internet versus specialist shops: Where is it worth buying a gaming laptop?
- The screen diagonal and resolution: Full HD or 4K?
What useful accessories are there for gaming laptops?
- Which gaming laptop is the best?
- Which is better – gaming laptop or desktop PC?
- How long does a gaming laptop last?
- How to charge a laptop battery properly?
- Can I put any graphics card in my gaming laptop?
Is there a gaming laptop test by Stiftung Warentest?
Is there a gaming laptop test by Öko-Test?
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