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Best Gaming Laptop Of 2020 -- Alienware, Razer, Lenovo, And More

For all laps, big and small.

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Gaming laptops have long felt like a compromise compared to the PC gaming desktops, but that compromise gets smaller every year. For a long time, integrated graphics cards struggled to keep up in terms of speed, and laptop heat could melt a desk if someone played a high-powered game for too long (at least, that’s what it felt like). The gaming laptop market is a lot better now; most models don't have those drawbacks and compromises.

When it comes to the display, large desktop monitors are reaching for 4K resolutions and beyond for lovers of the cutting edge, but most laptops don't push past 1920x1080 (or 1080p) as a resolution, as the gains diminish pretty quickly on sub-20-inch screens (putting aside things like refresh rate). GPUs that fit inside a laptop have caught up to this pixel scale nicely and, in most cases, do a comfortable job of delivering 50+ frames per second at very high settings in all but the most demanding games. A number of laptop models also add the ability to boost GPU power using external devices, so you're not confined to the graphics card inside the case and can future-proof yourself to some extent.

However, there are some areas where compromises remain: speakers can struggle to give an impressive sound, and fans can make a lot of noise as they keep the air moving through the limited space inside a laptop chassis. If you're gaming with a headset, both of these issues can be ignored pretty comfortably, but it's something to keep in mind.

Gaming laptops have also gotten a lot thinner in the past three years. Some are still pretty chunky, especially the big 17-inch units, but compared to even just a few years ago, most of our picks have real potential to be nice, daily-use, powerful laptops that can also deliver a great gaming experience.

We've played around with a lot of different models from a variety of manufacturers, and in this guide, you'll find our personal recommendations and a buyer’s guide for the best gaming laptops currently available. We focused on the pros and cons of form factor, any unique traits, and used the benchmarking tool found in Assassin's Creed: Odyssey to help us compare the graphical performance of the models we tested--these benchmark numbers give us a rough indication of the average frames-per-second performance on the unit.

If you're looking to upgrade to desktop gaming rig instead, check out our guide on how to build a gaming PC.

Quick look: Best Gaming Laptops 2019


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