Picking a gaming laptop is a lot more fun today than it was five years ago, when a “real” gaming laptop meant 12 pounds of back-breaking hardware to haul around.

With major advances in laptop CPUs and graphics technologies, you can now get great gaming performance in sizes from slender to huge, and prices from budget to sky-high. That’s where this handy-dandy buyer’s guide come in. We’ll name the best gaming laptops currently available, and we’ll highlight what to look for when buying a gaming laptop. (Check back often, as we’ll update this list as new products arrive.)

Updated June 28, 2018 with some recent reviews: the MSI GS65 Stealth Thin 8RE, which is our new top pick for the best 15-inch gaming laptop; the Origin EON17-X, our new pick for the best price-is-no-object mega-gaming beast; and Alienware’s 17 R5, a very close runner-up to the Origin, and the first laptop we’ve tested that rocks Intel’s Core i9 laptop CPU. 

Gaming laptop news (6/28/2018)

Where do we start? Summer’s unleashed a flood of gaming laptop news. Working backward…

Lenovo announced new Legion laptops (and desktops) at the E3 show in Los Angeles. The Legion Y730 offers a bit of overclocking, and the Legion Y530 and Legion Y7000 pack affordable fun into low-key designs. 

At Computex, we saw MSI run the gamut from the affordable MSI GF63 to the superslim Prestige PS42.  We also got to benchmark Acer’s Predator Helios 500 laptop with a Ryzen mobile processor. 

Speaking of Acer, in late May the company announced its summer lineup of products, which included an overclockable version of the Predator Helios 500 plus a special, gold-tipped edition of its lower-cost sibling, the Predator Helios 300.

Not to be outdone, HP announced a new version of its Omen 15 laptop that’s slimmer yet faster, thanks to its six-core Coffee Lake H CPU and a choice of discrete GPUs.

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