Most articles that break down the year’s gaming laptops will give you a list of specs and a very technical analysis of what each laptop’s about. I’ve already read that stuff. I’m not a tech guru. I’ve built computers and I know how to compare specs, but let’s face it, most of the time the parts inside each generation of gaming laptop are roughly the same. After watching all these video reviews and reading all these top 10 lists, which gaming laptops do I, as the consumer, want? Which ones am I sold on? That’s what this list is.
The MSI GS65 is the laptop I’d typically go for. It’s the reasonable choice. Comparable power to the Razer Blade, still looks awesome, still has a good build quality and a cool chroma keyboard. Just everything is just a hair worse. Build quality’s a little worse. That steelseries keyboard is a little worse. The style is a little worse. Most of all, the MSI logo whack. It’s just so… bland. It’s like, it’s ugly, but also boring at the same time. It feels way too old fashioned (whereas the Razer logo feels “trying too hard to be cool”). It’s also a total knockoff of the Ferrari logo. They should take that 1600s coat of arms background off and just have it be the dragon. I also would like to see a color option because as much as I like the gold, I’d like to just pick the trim color and have it be custom. I have a much older version of this same laptop now so I’d kind of like to get something different, but also this laptop is one of my favorite laptops I’ve ever had so doubling down on this wouldn’t be so bad. Anyway, this laptop is probably objectively better than the Razer Blade, ignoring the brand-premium, and is about 20-30% cheaper. Of course the GS66 is right around the corner so it’s probably best to wait for that and either pick up the new model (which looks to have improved build quality, speakers and cooling), or get the 65 after the inevitable price drop.
2. Asus Zephyrus G14 – Gaming Laptops
This thing looks dope, I think my main problem with it is I suspect it’s trying to “dethrone” the Razer Blade and I’m expecting its price point to match up to the Razer Blade which… don’t do that. That’s not gonna work. You guys are Asus. You’d have to reinvent your whole brand. The Razer brand is “I extremely overpaid for this laptop to have a very, very solid high end laptop.” The Asus brand is “I paid a reasonable amount for this laptop and it’s way slicker and cooler than you’d expect”. No one sees the “Asus” logo and goes “I’m jealous”. Anyway, that LED panel on the lid is super cool and this thing has a great design. If it’s priced at the same level as the MSI, that’s a choice. I’ve been happy with my previous Asus laptops. The G14 isn’t out yet, but the existing model, the Zephyrus M, is pretty cool too.
This thing just looks so freakin cool. Part of what you’re paying for (actually, probably like half of what you’re paying for) is the pure status symbol statement that having a Razer provides. It’s high-end, but it’s also like buying a Macbook circa 2010 or one of these ugly Supreme hats where it just says “I have the best”. It makes a statement. Razers are like fashion. I’ve never owned the best, best version of anything. I typically go for the best looking, best bang for your buck kind of deal. So just once I’d like to just say fuck it and get a Razer, pay a little more and have it all without compromising anything. The problem is you’re paying a lot more and the Razer brand feels like it’s as associated with “douche” or “sociopathic rich kid” as it is with “premium”. I’d really like a Razer if only because I’ve had an MSI and an Asus before.
4. MSI Prestige 15 – Gaming Laptops
It’s another MSI. My reason for this one being so much lower is going to sound super shallow. It’s because the backlit keyboard is only white. I’m so used to having this customizable rainbow backlit keyboard, I’ll never go back. Not ever. You can’t make me. Other than that, it’s a really nice and pretty affordable alternative to the GS.
5. Asus Zenbook 15 – Gaming Laptops
Asus Zenbook is another solid design, although the touchscreen trackpad seems like a stupid useless gimmick that inflates the cost of the laptop significantly. I’d actually be more likely to buy this notebook if it didn’t have that.
As a bonus, here are some gaming laptops there’s no chance I’ll ever buy:
Any of the gamer ultrabooks from Dell, HP, etc. They may be alright laptops, but the brand and the style are important since laptops really are like fashion, and the Dell brand says “I shop at Target” and the HP brand says “I don’t know anything about laptops.” Dells and HP are what suburban moms buy. I feel like most people who care enough about their laptop choice to do all this research are going to want a designer brand laptop, even if that means paying a little more. That means Razer, Asus, MSI, Lenovo, or something to that effect. I also probably wouldn’t be caught dead with an Alienware or any of those comparable gaudy over the top gaming monstrosities. They’re like the XTREME MOUNTAIN DEW of laptop designs. No thanks.
Also, I don’t know why I made this a ranking. It’s more like a 3 way tie at the top and then the other two runners up.
That about covers it when it comes to my top picks for gaming laptops in 2020. Be sure to check out the Games Section for more content like this.