This list will give a brief insight on the best gaming laptop brands currently available in North America, to help prospective buyers to choose the ultimate gaming laptop
Choosing a powerful laptop might not be an easy task, but on this post I have listed the best gaming laptop brands in 2016, explaining what are the advantages of buying a laptop from each one of them, and also focusing on hardware tips, as it’s not only about the brand you are going to choose, but about making sure the laptop model you will buy is capable of running your favorite games at optimal graphic settings.
In the gaming laptop niche, you will find basically a few types of market approach chosen by the brands to get the most attention of prospective buyers.
Manufacturers like Asus or Acer have specific gaming series like the Asus ROG or the Acer Predator, which focuses on devices (not only laptops) clearly focused on gaming, with the latest technology in terms of hardware and a distinctive design.
There are also gaming laptops made by the giants like Dell or HP, which offer a great variety of models, and often very affordable gaming laptops with the latest processors.
There are also smaller brands which are subsidiaries of bigger companies, like Aorus (part of Gigabyte) and Alienware which is a subsdiary of Dell. Finally there are some other companies that customize laptops, being one of them Eluktronics, which also has their own models.
What to Consider Before Buying a Gaming Laptop
It’s important to know that even within the same brand, the difference between the models can be huge, so here are is a checklist with key factors that will influence your satisfaction when purchasing a new laptop:
Hardware: You should only consider quad core processors for your gaming laptops, ideally, buying always the latest models by Intel with the highest benchmark. Apart from that, make sure your mobile video card is one of the latest versions produced by NVIDIA. Finally, your laptop should have plenty of RAM. These 3 hardware requisites are crucial for the performance of your laptop and how well it will handle the heaviest games.
Benchmark: You should always check the CPU and GPU benchmark rates of the models you are interested in. If you play extensively but just a small number of games, you should cross-check the recommended settings for the that game, the processor benchmark in these recommended settings and verify if the processor and video card of the laptop you are considering to buy are at the same level (or higher) of the ones recommended by the manufacturer.
Costumer Reviews: This is something you can only rely on if your laptop has been out for a while, but it is a good reference to know whether a laptop version is reliable. If most of the costumers have a positive feedback on a given model, it is a good sign, even if there are one or two negative reviews. If a laptop has a considerable amount of negative reviews you should read why are buyers not satisfied with it before making your final decision.
Budget: Make sure that the laptop you are buying fits all the other criteria, if you are in doubt between two models with very similar specs, the most expensive is not necessarily the best one, as apart from the cost of production and its components, there are other factors playing a major role on laptop prices. If a laptop matches all your requirements you should buy it for what it is, regardless if there are cheaper or more expensive models in its category.
List of the Best Gaming Laptop Brands in 2016
This list is based on my personal experience and feature some of the best gaming laptop brands in 2016, however, it doesn’t mean that you cannot find great laptops for gaming manufactured by other companies, all you have to do is follow the steps to consider above and adequate it to your needs to find your ideal gaming laptop.
Acer (Acer Nitro and Predator)
Acer is a Taiwanese brand and is one of the laptop manufacturers with the highest number of laptop versions, from very basic entry level versions to gaming laptops with the latest hardware available. Among gaming laptops, you will find two series from Acer with models on this segment, the Acer Nitro series, and the Acer Predator laptops.
While the Acer Nitro has mid to high-level laptops, featuring some good gaming laptops with relatively affordable prices, the Acer Predator models focus on high level laptops with the latest hardware and distinctive reddish design.
Below you can see one of the Acer Predator laptops available in 2016:
Acer Predator 17 G9-791-735A 17.3-inch Full HD Gaming Notebook (Windows 10)
Intel Core i7-6700HQ 2.6 GHz (6 MB Cache)
16GB DDR4 Dual-Channel Memory
1TB 7200RPM Hard Drive, 128GB Solid-State Drive
17.3-inch Full HD Screen, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M with 3GB GDDR5 VRAM
Windows 10 Home, Up to 5.5-hour battery life
Asus (Asus ROG)
Even if Asus has some laptops that can suit to your needs depending what kind of games you play, the best models are definitely part of the Asus ROG series. The ROG stands from “Republic of Gamers” and the models from the ROG series are some of the best selling gaming laptops for the last few years.
Since it’s foundation in 2006, the ASUS ROG has been always present sponsoring a number of gaming events, which helped to build its name and reputation among gamers.
Below you can see one of the ASUS ROG laptops available in 2016:
ASUS ROG STRIX GL502VY-DS74 15.6″ FHD Gaming Laptop, NVIDIA GTX980M 8GB VRAM, 16 GB DDR4, 1 TB HDD, 256 GB M.2 SSD
ROG Strix GL502 packs the latest 6th gen Intel® processor in a compact and lightweight design, 16GB RAM, 1TB 7200RPM plus 256GB M.2 SATA3 SSD
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M graphics with full Microsoft DirectX 12 support gives you efficient, powerful performance for heavy gaming or productive multitasking such as live streaming and video editing.
Ultra-portable design that fits snugly in a messenger bag or backpack. Whether you’re waiting for your flight, kicking back at a café, or at a LAN tournament.
The Hyper Cool Duo-Copper cooling system uses heat pipes and a dual fan system to cool the CPU and GPU independently
Dell and Alienware
Alienware was founded in 1996 by Nelson Gonzalez and Alex Aguila which started assembling computers in the USA. In 2006, the company became a subsidiary of the tech giant Dell, and since then has benefited from the advantages that being part of a huge corporation represent. Alienware got it’s name from their founders interest in science-fiction and extraterrestrial life, a theme which can be often seen on games as well.
Dell offers laptops for all types of users, from budget models to powerful laptops that are also oriented to gaming, While Alienware focuses only on extremely powerful, high-end gaming computers, with an unique appearance inspired by UFOs and science fiction.
Below you can see one of the Alienware laptops available in 2016:
Alienware AW15R2-6161SLV 15.6-Inch FHD Laptop (6th Generation Intel Core i7, 16 GB RAM, 1 TB HDD + 256 GB SATA SSD,NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M, Windows 10 Home), Silver
Intel Quad Core i7-6700HQ 2.6 GHz Processor
16 GB DDR4 GTX 970M NO G-SYNC
1 TB HDD + 256 GB SATA SSD Storage; Optical Drive Not included
15.6 Inch FHD (1920 x 1080 pixels) LED-lit Truelife Screen
Windows 10 Home Operating System; Epic Silver Chassis
Gigabyte and Aorus
Gigabyte is another electronics manufacturer from Taiwan, and is mostly famous for its motherboards. According to Wikipedia Gigabyte sold 4.8 milion motherboards in the first quarter of 2015.
Apart from motherboards, the company also has a nice selection of gaming laptops solder under the Gigabyte brand, and also under the name of its subsidiary, called Aorus. Aorus is one of the newest gaming laptops on the market being founded on 2014.
Below you can see one of the Aorus laptops available in 2016:
AORUS X5Sv5-SL1,15.6″ UHD GeForce GTX980M Skylake i7-6700HQ 16GB RAM 256GB NVMe 1TB HDD Gaming Notebook
Intel core i7-6700hq 2.6 GHz
1024 GB 7200 rpm Hard Drive, 256 GB Solid-State Drive
MSI stands for Micro-Star International, and it comes as no surprise that they are from Taiwan, just like other giants on the gaming laptop market. It started in 1986 manufacturing motherboards mostly and has raised its national and international presence, with stocks being traded in the Taiwan Stock Exchange and laptops sold in most of the big markets around the world.
It also sponsors a number of gaming events and teams in League of Legens, CS:GO and others.
MSI has a broad range of gaming laptops, all with high-end components, but being the cheapest ones quite affordable, which is one of the reasons behind MSI success in sales.
Below you can see one of the MSI laptops available in 2016:
MSI GE62 Apache Pro-239 15.6″ GAMING LAPTOP NOTEBOOK GTX 970M i7-6700HQ 12GB 1TB WINDOWS 10 USB TYPE-C FULL COLOR KEYBOARD
Powerful 6th-generation Intel Core i7-6700HQ 2.6GHz. 12GB RAM; 1TB 7200RPM Storage
15.6 inch Matte FHD display Wide view angle. 1920 by 1080 resolutions. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M 3GB VRAM gaming graphic card
Exclusive Super Port (USB 3.1 Type-C interface) supports dual 4K external monitors, and portable charging power up to 5V/3A
Intelligent Killer Gaming Network E2400 technology prioritizes the flow of the game data across your network. Protect your network from lag spikes and jitter with Killer Shield technology. Gigabit Dual-Band 802.11AC ultra-fast Wi-Fi
Fast, accurate and responsive programmable gaming keyboard by SteelSeries. Powerful customization with SteelSeries Engine. Immersive audio experience with Dynaudio Speakers + Subwoofer
Eluktronics is one of the smallest among the best gaming laptop brands featured on this list. It is based in the USA and has been a reseller of major brands PCs for years, until it decided to start it’s own brand of high-end PCs, most of them with the best hardware components available, such as quad core processors and solid state drives with high storage capacity.
Below you can see one of the Eluktronics laptops available in 2016:
Eluktronics 15.6″ Premium Gaming Laptop PC (Intel Core i7-6700HQ Quad Core, Windows 10, 3GB 970M GTX GDDR5 Graphics, Full HD IPS Anti-Glare Display, 1TB Eluktro Pro Performance SSD, 64GB DDR4 RAM)
6th Gen Intel Core i7-6700HQ (2.6GHz/3.5GHz) Quad Core Processor, Genuine Windows 10 64-Bit
3GB GDDR5 VRAM Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M Graphics; 64GB DDR4 2133MHz RAM (4 Dimm)
15.6-inch Full HD LED IPS Anti-Glare 16:9 Panel, 3.5mm Display (1920 x 1080); HDMI®, 2 Mini DisplayPorts
1TB Pro Performance (SSD) Solid State SATA III; Intel® Wireless-AC 8260 + Bluetooth + WiDi Support
Full Size White LED Backlit Keyboard, HD Webcam, Sound Blaster X-Fi MB5, Gigabit LAN, 1 Year Warranty
To finish our list of the best gaming laptop brands in 2016 you should always remember that there are other brands making excellent gaming laptops such as HP or Lenovo, so you should consider not only a laptop from one specific brand, but analyze them on a model basis, considering your requirements and what a gaming laptop can offer, to achieve the highest level of satisfaction on your purchase.