Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 – Best Budget Laptops For VR
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.
The name might be a bit of a mouthful, but this uniquely designed gaming laptop is going to be of particular interest to players looking for a laptop specifically for VR.
It also features a unique airflow system, dubbed the “Active Aerodynamic System”, where opening the lid of the laptop expands the rear air intakes to draw in far more cool air than would be possible with a static air intake.
This is also one of the few laptops on the market to support VirtualLink headset connections, so it can carry video, audio, data and power over just one cable, and so depending on your headset this can provide a far more streamlined cable experience for VR, minimising any chance of cables getting tangled whilst you’re immersing yourself in a VR world.
This is pretty far from a traditional laptop, and if VR gaming is just one of the uses you have in mind for your laptop, you may wish to go for something with less of a laser focus on specifical gaming. It’s a bold design that will turn some heads, but if you’re open to a unique approach to laptop design, this will be one to consider.
Alienware M17 – Best Budget Laptops For VR
A solid choice for a gaming focused laptop that will also be able to handle many other tasks you want to throw at it, as long as you don’t mind the bulky design and larger weight. It’s got gaming-centric features like a beefy GPU, high refresh rate display, and a cooling optimised for length play sessions.
A chunky beast of a laptop, there’s no mistaking this for anything other than a gaming laptop at a glance. Rather than try to offer a high-performance gaming laptop in a tight package, Dell’s Alienware label has produced a laptop that is a no-compromises gaming machine, and that means a rather bulky design. This has let them opt for a thermal design and cooling system that is sure to provide consistent performance in lengthy gaming sessions while minimising the risk of overheating in the middle of a game. Gaming laptops without this kind of thermal setup might end up throttling performance to avoid damaging their components, and this can result in performance dips, but that is far less of a concern with the M17. It also comes with Alienware’s proprietary Graphics Amplifier port, which can be used in the future for connecting an upgraded external GPU should you so desire.
Like most other laptops currently available, VirtualLink is not supported on the M17, so again you need to plan around the management of cables between your headset and your laptop.
The m17 solid choice for gamers not too concerned about having a compact gaming laptop, and just want a powerful machine that will perform effectively for running VR applications.
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 is a computer manufacturer that specialises in gaming hardware, and the Blade is their remarkably compact gaming laptop, which consistently offers one of the best laptop gaming experiences on the market. Dubbed by Razer “The World’s Smallest Gaming Laptop”, the design is focused on putting high-end gaming hardware into the smallest package they can, and they have managed to squeeze a top-end GPU into a surprisingly slim frame. The RTX 2080 they’ve managed to cram into the Blade 15 is an ideal GPU for playing VR titles and even many other gaming titles.
With no VirtualLink support, you are going to need to have multiple cables to connect this laptop to your headset. Depending on the headset, you may need HDMI for video and audio, USB for data, and then separate power supply, so you may want to plan out your play space accordingly and make sure you have cables of the appropriate length.
The Razer Blade offers fantastic gaming performance in a slim package and will be a solid choice for running many fantastic VR experiences.
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. This is a very unconventional machine, that won’t suit all users but can offer unrivaled power for portable VR.
Split into two parts, there’s the main unit that houses all the main components and gubbins of a computer, built into a single solid block, and the entire front-facing side makes up for the display, with a kickstand for propping it up on a flat surface. Then there is a separate keyboard that can be connected to the main unit via either wireless or USB-C connection and can be used either resting on a groove on the main unit for something similar to standard laptop configuration or can be used separately as a freestanding keyboard.
It’s more an example of how Asus ROG will try any wild idea they have and build a product around it than a practical sensible product for real-world usage but is an interesting form factor that may appeal to some users.
Mostly just included in this lineup as an intellectual curiosity, this likely won’t suit the needs on many users opting for a VR laptop, but if you’ve got cash to burn and this appeals to you, then it does offer a unique proposition