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Gaming laptops are known to be strong beasts with powerful components, cool designs and premium prices. When looking to buy one, there are a few factors to consider. In this article we are going to look at these factors in depth.
Gaming laptops are not your regular day to day laptops. They are powerful as they are intended only for one purpose: game. Games today are advanced with high quality graphics that are out of this world and virtual reality which are both demanding games.
Gaming laptops have to match up to be able to handle these games. Because of this, gaming laptops have powerful components with a much more aggressive chassis, long lasting batteries, multicolored keyboard and many other extra features.
They also weigh anywhere between 5 and 20lbs.This is why gaming laptops are so expensive. Depending on your budget and gaming lifestyle you could end up coughing between $800 and $5000 for a gaming laptop.
To find the right gaming laptop, you have to consider a few things. Some of the most important factors to consider are: portability, graphics, display, audio quality, keyboards and touchpads, RAM, Storage and battery life. In this article we are going to look at some of these considerations.
Factors to Consider When Looking for a Gaming Laptop
How portable do you need your laptop to be? There are different levels of portability when it comes to gaming laptops. They range from ‘lift with your knees’ to ‘regular’ laptops. What to remember is that the more powerful the laptop the less portable it is. Portability is categorized into three parts: minimal portability laptops, medium portability and best portability.
- Minimal Portability laptops range between 17-18 inches. These laptops are best if you leave your laptop home and move it only between rooms. With a 17-18 inch display, this laptop will be difficult to carry around. However, these laptops are the most powerful gaming laptops because they have enough room to cool the heat generating components. Their battery life is however compromised as they are huge and its many components are power hungry. An example of a minimal portability laptop is the Alienware 17.
- Medium Portability laptops are 15 inches. They are somewhat portable and weigh between 4.6 and 7.2lbs. Their battery life lasts longer than the huger laptops, with an average of 5h 50min. An example of a medium portability laptop is the OriginPC Eon15-S.
- Best Portability laptops are the smallest with a display of 13-14 inches. If you’re constantly moving, this is the gaming laptop you need. They weigh under 5lbs and have longer battery lives of about 8hrs. But because of their small size, they don’t come with powerful GPUs and CPUs because there isn’t enough room to lose the heat produced by the ever heat dissipating components. An example of a minimal portability laptop is the Razer Blade.
Graphics are the most critical parts of any game. Game companies invest a lot of money on making graphics are real as possible. Gaming laptops should be able to display these graphics the way the game creators intended.
The graphics card or GPU is responsible for graphics in laptops. The GPU processes the data and transmits the signal to the screen to show images. This process is highly intensive and this is why the GPU has its own dedicated memory called VRAM (video memory).
Majority of gaming laptops have Nvidia and AMD GPUs. GPUs are divided into three: standard, high and hardcore performance GPUs. An example of a standard performance graphics card is the Nvidia Geforce GTX 1060. An example of a high performance graphics card is the Nvidia Geforce GTX 1070. An example of a hardcore performance graphics card is the Nvidia Max-Q Design.
There is no point in having smooth frame rates and gorgeous graphics if the display is ugly. The quality of display is determined by five major factors: resolution, touch screens, matte/glossy, OLED and G-Sync display.
- Resolution: The screen’s resolution is how many frames are in a pixel. The minimum resolution for nay gaming laptop is 1920 x 1080. Anything less will have a poor display. Higher quality displays have 2560 x 1440, also known as 2K. More and more 4K laptops are in the market these days with 3840 x 2160 pixel panels.
- Touch screens: Gaming laptops are starting to become touch screens. However, it is seen as an unnecessary feature in gaming PCs
- Matte or glossy: Glossy displays are shiny and are known to display colors better and make them more vibrant. However, their shiny surfaces create an annoying glare that can damage the eye after long periods of use. Matte displays eliminate all glares and reflections but tend to wash out color and detail.
- OLED: OLED displays tend to correct the faults of matte and glossy displays. They allow for thinner, power saving screens while still providing a rich color and contrast to images. The Alienware 13 R3 uses this technology.
- G-Sync or FreeSync: These are designed by Nvidia and AMD technologies respectively and their purpose is to eliminate graphical tears and ghosting on monitors. In simpler terms, they offer fast rendering without stutters.
Gaming companies invest a lot in audio quality and making it as clear and realistic as possible. Your gaming laptop therefore should be able to produce this audio as it was intended by the game creator. The best examples of rich quality audio is the Nahimic audio software which offers fantastic surround. Alienware’s Dell Audio is a close second. The Dolby Systems found in Lenovo is also a great sound system.
There is no doubt that you’ll be using the keyboard almost all the time. The keyboard has to feel nice and comfortable. It also has to look nice. To find a good keyboard, consider the following factors.
- Key Travel: This is the depth the keys sink when pressed. The ideal key travel distance is between 1.5 and 2mm.
- Actuation: This is the weight required to press the keys. The ideal weight is 60 grams. It should also give a spring feel that pushes the finger up. Keys below this cutoff feel slow and mushy.
These key factors should always be considered when buying a gaming laptop. A laptop that checks all these boxes will be the best for you.