Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701
One of the key things you’ll notice from this machine is that it forgoes the traditional keyboard/trackpad layout, bringing the keys right to the front of the machine, and instead of a dedicated central touchpad, it offers a combination touchpad/numpad to the right of the device. This has freed up a lot of space for additional cooling vents in space that the keyboard would normally occupy, so concerns over cooling are far less of a factor with this laptop than more traditionally designed laptops.
ASUS ROG isn’t playing games here so that you can. That would be a good marketing slogan, wouldn’t it? – hit me up guys! What we mean is that there have been very few, if any corners cut with the Zephyrus S to bring you an excellent spec gaming device that can handle today’s games as they stand.
The spec of the display now sits at a 240Hz refresh rate, and yesteryear’s model with the Max-Q GPU has been binned in favor of a full-fat Geforce RTX 2070. Yep, this is a gaming laptop that can play the new RTX Minecraft in all its glory. I’ve died and gone to heaven.
This year’s model, besides the boost in refresh rate, also features Nvidia’s G-Sync tech to remove screen tearing, and this is a big bonus. It also has Optimus mode, which allows you to basically switch off the Nvidia GPU and rely on the far less power-hungry built-in integrated graphics.
This is a massive bonus if you are going to use your laptop for something alongside gaming as it dramatically reduces heat and increases battery life. You need to reboot between mode switches but this is a small price to pay.
So you get all these great features but what’s missing. Well noticeable by its absence is the lack of a webcam, so out-of-the-box streaming and video chat is out of the window. This is large because the bezels around the screen are so fine it simply wouldn’t fit one.
You can easily go the USB route though and plug in your Logitech C922 into one of the three USB A ports. Speaking of ports, there is also a USB C 3.1 with both DisplayPort and power delivery.
There are two models of the Zephyrus S so be wary which one you go for – the easy litmus test is to go for the more expensive if your wallet can handle it for it is here you will find the 240Hz screen and the RTX 2070 rather than an RTX 2060, as well as a range of useful other component upgrades for the extra 300 bucks.
Gaming on a laptop? It’s certainly achievable on this great machine.
Razer Blade 15
Razer has managed to squeeze top-end gaming components like an RTX 2080 GPU, and a beautiful 144Hz display, into a remarkably small frame, coming in at just 0.7 inches thick. With a precisely crafted aluminum chassis and a brightly colored per-key backlit keyboard, this is as attractive as it is capable.
Razer has recently released a new monster version of their Blade 15 so if this the machine that catches your eye, make sure you order the right one.
We are huge fans of Razer’s products at Which Laptop and the 2020 iteration of the Blade is due to land in May of this year with Razer describing it as |the best Laptop we have ever made”
The annual spec bump sees two models, including the one we like the best – the “advanced.”
This is arriving with Intel’s 10th Gen i7-10875H eight-core inside, neatly aligned with an Nvidia RTX 2070 Super Max-Q GPU. If you want, you can switch that out to 2080 as well for a little extra future-proofing (and obviously cost).
The advanced doesn’t carry an ethernet port, which may be a big deal to some (although it present on the lower-cost model – go figure).
The screen is a very pleasant LCD that is capable of an insane 300Hz refresh, and should you be feeling flush, this can be upgraded to an OLED as well.
A 512GB SSD and 16GIG of DDR4 complete a very tasty package that, going forward, is going to be hard to beat.
Razer is undoubtedly upping the odds on a yearly basis, and this is another excellent offering.
Acer Predator Helios 700 Gaming Laptop
The Predator Helios 300 is a firm favorite at Which Laptop. It lands in a really nice sweet spot between performance and price. You would class it as mid-range, but it performs better than that and can really only be taken out by the true high-end expenses models out there.
From the second you turn it on the and look at the display, you know you are in for a treat. G-Sync is present in the 144Hz screen, and that makes a considerable gaming difference, as does the Core i9 CPU and Nvidia RTX GPU.
We will look at the internal specs properly in a minute, but now is the time to look at the bit that makes the Predator stand out from the crowd – it’s sliding keyboard. Yep, you heard that correctly. By gripping the top edges and pulling towards you, the keyboard slides forward into a more gaming-friendly location while revealing two large fans to cool everything down while you Battle Royale yourself to death.
It’s a mightily impressive trick that never fails to impress anybody seeing it for the first time and is a USP that lifts it above much of the competition.
Where you could argue it falls down slightly is that it is both large and heavy. To call this, a portable is stretching the limits of imagination. You are going to build some mightily impressive quad muscles if you have to stomp around with this on your back all day.
Battery life is also not great, but by and large, you will want to play plugging in anyway, so it is less of an issue.
You can tell by looking at it is aimed purely at the gaming market, and it may be a tiny bit garish for some with its colorful, backlit keyboard and giant logo on the lid.
Performance and price make this a massive success. However, it just might be our favorite gaming laptop in many ways. You probably weren’t expecting that now were you?
Built for power and performance, Alienware’s m15 is a portable gaming powerhouse. It’s a sleek design, but with a large enough frame to house top-end gaming components and an industry-leading cooling solution, and ships with a suite of powerful gaming tools to customize your experience.
We weren’t ever going to get through a gaming laptop buyers guide without bringing Dell Alienware into it, were we? Our choice from the granddaddy of gaming laptops is the m15.
Why pick this one? Alienware has a whole host of options to fit a range of prices. Well, one reason mainly, and that is the spectacular 4k OLED display, which makes games look as good as you will see them on any hardware today.
From the second you slide it out of its designer box you won’t stop smiling, it looks premium, and it looks great, and that’s without even turning it on.
Here you have a machine that will devour 60fps gaming at any resolution below 4K and look great while doing it.
The RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU handles the graphical hard work while in the top of the range, offering an i7-9750H is the CPU of choice. You can step this down to an i5 to save a few dollars, but when you are spending this amount, we don’t really see the point.
Performance at this level is what you would expect. Fantastic and the design makes it an instant talking point. It wouldn’t look out of place on the bridge of the Death Star.
It also has a few novel features we don’t see very often either, such as the inclusion of Tobii eye-tracking hardware, which, if you watch a lot of pro-streamers on Twitch you might be aware of. It’s generally useless though if this bracket doesn’t include you, although if you want to stream it’s a nice extra
The price is a little eye-watering, and we still don’t think it matches up to the new Razer Blade 15, but it’s a damn pretty machine with super performance.
ASUS ROG Mothership GZ700GX
Perhaps stretching the definition of a “laptop”, since this is going to be tricky to balance on your lap, but this is another outlandish portable computer from ROG, that offers a unique design, intended to provide users with a high powered gaming device, and design elements specifically focused on the compelling gaming experience.
We mentioned the Death Star in the Alienware coverage, well ASUS ROG is going all out to win the space wars with their Mothership offering.
Right from the off it is tempting to say that this isn’t really a ‘laptop’ as we know it. I have seen it described elsewhere as mini all in one PC and wouldn’t have much of an argument against that.
Much like all in ones such as the iMac or Surface Studio all the innards live in the display half of the chassis, allowing the keyboard to be the slimmer half of the partnership.
This gives the Mothership an unusual look but its not an unpleasant aesthetic.
The innards make this stand out though. An Intel Core i9 and an RTX 2080 at the top of the range means this is going to simply destroy games for a living. There’s also 64GB of RAM, which let’s face it is probably overkill, and 2TB of SSD will keep you going.
By now, you are probably thinking about the price because this is obviously something that is not going to fit the majority of budgets, and you would be correct. We are looking a minimum of $5500 here, and you can ramp that up considerably if you start upgrading.
However, it’s powerful enough for pretty much all gaming, even VR. In all honesty, you don’t need to spend this much. It’s a bit like one of those prototype sports cars you see. They are amazing, but do you really need one?
A great machine, but it’s just way too expensive to recommend heartily.