Today we have made a list of the best laptops to buy in 2019. Without further ado, let’s take a look at these laptops.
1. Alienware Area-51m
The area 51 m is a unique beast at first glance it looks like what we used to expect from gaming laptops. An intimidating hulking machine that doesn’t belong in the modern age of slim notebooks. But what makes it special is under the hood, instead of slightly slower and energy-efficient mobile components. It features powerful gear you typically find in desktops like intel’s octa-core i9 9900 k CPU. Nvidia is full speed RTX GPUs and up to 64 gigabytes of ram and best of all you can upgrade those parts down the line just like at our gaming rig.
The area 51 m practically defies classification but let’s just take the philosophically simple approach. For now, it’s a gaming laptop like no other. The first thing you’ll notice about the area 51 m is that it’s big very big. It weighs eight and a half pounds, it’s up to 1.7 inches thick and it has a huge 17.3-inch screen that seems practically in thinkable. Now that every pc maker is racing to get their gaming laptop slimmer and lighter. Even dell is doing that with the Alienware m 15 and m 17. But compared to the last full-sized 17-inch Alienware notebook which weighed nine point seven pounds. The area 51 m is significantly more portable and don’t forget it wasn’t that long ago that gamers were perfectly happy with laptops over ten pounds.
The second thing that sticks out is that the area 51 m looks completely unlike any other Alienware notebook. It’s the first step towards a cleaner, more futuristic style instead of the sharp lines and aggressive aesthetic Alienware used to rely on. The area 51 m has some rounded edges and rather than just being draped in all black, there’s finally a lighter color option. Add in some LEDs around the rear ports and you have something that looks more like a sci-fi prop than a gaming
No doubt dells are trying to make a statement with the area 51m. It’s targeted at gamers who demand peak performance above all else, that’s all thanks to intel’s desktop i9 9900k chipset. And all of the power-hungry battery killing components it supports.
There’s the core i9 9900 k, the fastest gaming chip intel has ever produced and else as Nvidia’s RTX twenty series cards which are the most powerful GPS on the market today. And they enable new features like real-time retracing. It’s also worth noting that dell isn’t plugging in the slower max q versions of those chips. They’re full speed and overclockable and you can also throw in up to three separate drives including speedy m.2 SSD larger hybrid drives and a variety of raid zero configurations.
The massive 17.3-inch display also packs in most of the features gamers demand today including a fast 144-hertz refresh rate and thin bezels. There’s also optional g-sync support, a Tobi eye-tracking, unfortunately, the screen is only available in 1080p at the moment. That’s not a huge concern since many players are more interested in getting the highest frame rates possible. But given how dells positioning this computer I’d expect a higher resolution display eventually.
That said the area 51 ms 1080p screen is no slouch. Everything looked silky smooth as frame rates crept above 100 fps and overwatch, Forza Horizon 4, and a hitman. Colors popped up the screen and it was bright enough for me to catch fine details as I sped through snowy roads in Forza. Unfortunately, there’s no hdr support which is slowly making its way to other gaming laptops.
Given all of its hardware, the area 51 m will never disappoint you no matter what game you throw at it.
Alien wears elaborate cooling which includes two large fans that suck in fresh air from below and spit out heat from the rear vents. Match to keep the GPU and CPU under eighty-three degrees celsius. You have plenty of control over the cooling profiles so you can rev up the fans for longer play sessions. And make them your silent when you’re just browsing the web.
The area 51 m did a great job of managing all of that on its own when I chose the standard profile. As you’d expect this is a system that’s constantly spewing out warm air. So it might heat small rooms that could be a side benefit in the winter, that’s not ideal for summer months.
2. Origin PC Eon-17X
It’s a complete powerful laptop the thing is if you want a true gaming laptop that will replace your desktop. Origin has configurations that range from 1070 up to dual 1080 so you can get a powerful gaming laptop. So this review unit it’s somewhere in the middle and retails for around $3250. But the entry-level model starts around 22 to $2,500 us.
The lid is made out of all plastic with a nice white tone and with a black origin logo in the upper middle. Now if you don’t like the color you can choose your style when customizing your computer on check out. Behind the lid is 2 speakers that face upwards and on the back are big chunky honeycomb shape vents to let the air pass through. Remember there’s 1080 inside so lots of heat is going to be produced. The deck and the bottom of the laptop are also plastic but on the bottom, you can remove the battery. It’s an 82-watt hour battery and the laptop still works if it’s removed as long as you have it plugged into the wall.
So on the left, you have a pro-LAN port, two USB 3.1, gen2 type-c, thunderbolt 3 ports, two USB 3.0 ports and a six in one card reader. On the right are an overlock 2 more USB 3.0 ports and your audio jacks. The back holds an HDMI port and two mini display ports so you can hook up more than one monitor.
There are only 7 screws to remove to get inside of the laptop. Once you’re in you can see there’s lots of room for upgrading. There are four drive slots two of them can hold a hard drive or regular SSD. And the other two are m2 slots my config has a 240 gigabyte m2 SSD. And a second 1 terabyte hard drive. There are 16 gigabytes of ram installed that’s not accessible. But two slots can hold up to two 16 gigabyte modules. Now you can potentially give this laptop a total of 64 gigabytes of ram.
It has an intel core i7 8700 k overclockable CPU, 16 gigabytes of ram, a 1080p IPS with the g-sync non-touch display, and Nvidia gtx 1080 GPU. My unit retails for around $3,300 u.S. But pricing starts around $2350 us and that will net you a quad-core i5 CPU and a gtx 1070. But if you want you completely max this out with a 4k display and 2 1080s. Gaming on 1080p is just flawless as it has gtx 1080 which is a significantly powerful GPU.
Speaking of displays this one is full HD non-touch with a refresh rate of 75 hertz. It’s also matte so you won’t get any nasty reflections, viewing angles are great with little to no color shifting. It gets fairly bright with over 300 nits of brightness srgb sits at 91% which is good for viewing images on the web. But adobe RGB is a little on the lower side at 71 percent compared to the 72 to 75 percent on other gaming laptops. Minor comparisons aside gaming on this monitor perform well. They look fantastic with great contrast and because it supports g-sync. You can get a tear-free experience I can only imagine how amazing the 4k model looks.
The keyboard is nice and plush with respectable 2 millimeters of travel distance. The only minor complaint is the small shift key on the right side. There’s anti-ghosting so you can have multiple keys at the same time. And a numeric keypad for those who need it. This keyboard comes with three levels of backlighting. But to be honest I couldn’t tell the difference between level 1, 2 or even 3. And just like some other gaming laptops, you can also change the color of the backlighting using the installed software. You have the option to change up to three zones or stick with one color across-the-board. The cool thing is there are also different profiles in the color settings. That offer different actions like breathing and pulsing.
The trackpad is a good size with plenty of space to move your fingers around. It’s made out of plastic and it’s decent it’s not something you want to be using all the time. But does the job when you don’t have a mouse plugged in. Pinch-to-zoom scrolling and gestures work to rate the trackpad also has a fingerprint scanner on the top left-hand corner. The placement is fine and it doesn’t get in the way even if you don’t care about security. Using your finger to log into your computer is so much more convenient than typing a password.
3. Acer Predator Triton 900
This is the craziest laptop that I’ve tested a few gaming laptops in the past. But the Acer predator triton 900 it’s pretty crazy. I find this laptop to be incredibly interesting. And this laptop also has a unique display feature that I haven’t seen before in a device that’s like this.
Design and Build
So for those of you who are not familiar with the world of gaming laptops. Well, they’re generally very large and pretty over-the-top. Acer spared absolutely no expense in either one of these categories. This thing is massive it says that it weighs 9 pounds on the spec sheet. It is mecha bulky and for those of you who are used to sleek and minimal laptops. You might find this thing kind of ugly but I honestly really like the design. This is what gaming laptops are and a lot of the ones that we have tested kind of look like this. But I think this guy screams more unique, interesting. And premium judging by how well this machine is built.
There are loads of various ports on three different sides of this laptop. The right side has a lock power button, thunderbolt 3. And a regular USB c port a, USB type a port, ethernet. Then on the back of the machine is your charging port and display slash HDMI ports. On the left-hand side, there are some more USB type ports, a microphone, and a 3.5-millimeter headphone jack. And by the way, there’s also a secret USB port that sort of tucks away. So if you have a wireless gaming mouse that acquires a dongle. You can plug it in and hide it right inside the laptop.
Once you open up the laptop you will see a 17-inch 4k LCD panel that has a refresh rate of 60 hertz. That I’m sure is gonna make some gamers up there pretty upset but it is a beautiful 4k display. The colors are very vibrant and the text is very crisp it’s a nice display to use and game on. The star of the show and the unique feature that I was talking about. With the display is this hinge on the side which can allow for the display to be adjusted in a few different positions.
Now I’ve seen convertible laptops in the past that’s not a new concept but this reminds me of the Microsoft surface studio. But in a gaming laptop form even though this is a cool design. It does beg the question why would anyone need this? For me, I like the flexibility to be able to bring the screen closer to me while I’m gaming.
Then there’s this keyboard you might have noticed by now that it’s an RGB keyboard. And typing on it has been pretty good it’s fun to type on. Because it has low profile mechanical keys but at first I was a little bit iffy about it. And then it kind of grows on you the more you use it.
The trackpad is weird it’s off to the right which shouldn’t be weird. Because we use a mouse on the side of your if you’re right-handed you would use it in that spot. But for me, a trackpad being there isn’t weird and I also don’t like the right and left mouse click buttons.
4. Asus Zephyrus GX701
The Asus gx701 is the 17-inch version of the Zephyrus s, so it’s quite thin with some powerful hardware inside.
Starting with the specs my unit has an intel i7-8750h CPU, the 90-watt version of the Nvidia RTX 2080 max-q graphics. 24gb of memory running in dual channel, a 17.3” 1080p 144hz IPS screen with g-sync and a 1tb m.2 NVMe SSD. For network connectivity, it’s got 802.11ac wifi and Bluetooth 5, as a thin laptop there’s no room for a gigabit ethernet port, unfortunately. So you’ll have to get a USB dongle for that. I’ve got the gx701gx model here, but it’s also available with 2070 or 2060 graphics too.
Design and Build
The laptop has a brushed metal lid, matte black interior, and smooth copper colored edges. The whole chassis is solid metal and it felt extremely premium and well built. The dimensions of the laptop are 39.9cm in width, 27.2cm in-depth, and just 1.87cm in height. So it’s quite slim for a 17-inch laptop, Asus even note it fits into many 15 inch backpacks.
The weight of the laptop is listed at 2.7kg on their website, and I found mine to weigh a little under this. Then over 3.4kg with the 230-watt power brick and cables for charging.
The 1080p 17.3” screen was quite nice, it’s got a 3ms response time and 144hz refresh rate with g-sync. So excellent for gamers with the option of swapping to Optimus mode for improved battery life. The bezels are also quite thin at just 6.9mm, with a larger chin towards the bottom, resulting in an 81% screen to body ratio. The panel comes calibrated out of the box.
I’ve measured the current color gamut using the spyder 5 pro, and my results returned 96% of srgb, 67% of NTSC and 73% of Adobe RGB. So decent results for a gaming laptop. At 100% brightness in the center I measured 290 nits with a 770:1 contrast ratio, so just a little below the standard 300 nits. I’ve taken a long exposure photo in a dark room as a worst-case backlight bleed test. And there wasn’t anything obvious present, but this will vary between laptops and panels.
As you’ve noticed the keyboard is pushed down towards the very front of the laptop. With the touchpad found on the right-hand side rather than in the usual middle spot. The purpose of this is that it allows us to stick the heat-generating components and cooling system in the back half of the laptop. While keeping the keyboard area cool in comparison, and it works pretty well once you get used to the positioning.
I still found it hard to get used to the touchpad on the right, but it’s not an issue if you’re using a mouse. The touchpad has precision drivers, it doesn’t click down, but it’s got physical left and right-click buttons. As well as a button that allows you to swap it into a Numpad.
The keyboard was ok to type with while using it on a flat desk. But if you’ve got it on your lap it can be annoying to type with. As you’ve got to move your arms further back to compensate. The keyboard has individual key RGB backlighting which can be controlled through the included Asus software.
On the left, there’s an air exhaust vent, the power input, HDMI 2.0b output, USB 3.1 gen 2 type-a port, USB 3.1 gen 2 type-c port. Which is also wired for DisplayPort 1.4, although no mention of thunderbolt here, and a 3.5mm audio combo jack.
To the right there are two USB 3.1 gen 1 type-a ports, USB 3.1 gen 1 type-c port, again no thunderbolt here either, air exhaust vent and Kensington lock.
On the back, there are air exhaust vents towards the left and right corners, along with status LEDs in the center. The front is just completely smooth, with a little indent for your finger to pull open the lid.
Powering the laptop is a 76-watt hour battery. I’ve tested it with the screen brightness at 50%, background apps disabled, and keyboard lighting off. While just watching youtube we can see it lasted almost twice as long with g-sync disabled, which is expected as the Nvidia graphics use more power. It’s possible to swap between g-sync and Optimus mode. This instead uses the lower-powered intel graphics to save battery outside of gaming however a reboot is required to make this change. Gaming was tested with the witcher 3 capped to 30 fps, and it lasted a bit longer than most other laptops I’ve tested. And was able to sustain 30 fps the entire time without dipping.
A cool feature that this laptop has is that you’ve got the option of charging it over USB type-c. So you don’t have to use the included power brick and cables. It will charge slower, but this does make it more portable, and it also means you can charge the laptop using a power bank. I’ll also note that I never saw the battery discharge while the 230-watt power brick was plugged in, so it seems to be adequate.
5. Acer Triton 500
The Acer triton 500, it’s got a 6 core processor 16 gigs of ram, and the r-tx 2060 GPU. I think that these specs are perfect for a thin gaming laptop. If you want the most value for 1080p gaming compared to the RTX 2070 or 2080 laptops.
Design and Build
I gotta say though I like the design of the triton 500 over there helios. It doesn’t have that overused black and red gamer aesthetic. It’s much cleaner in my opinion with its sleek design and those thin bezels. The predator logo also lights up which looks pretty cool. There isn’t that much flex in the keyboard deck or the display. Since the frame is made out of aluminum, it doesn’t feel cheap though it feels like it’s built pretty well. The screen gets bright with very great viewing angles. And it’s also accurate enough that you can edit videos or do color-sensitive work on it.
The keyboard is nice, it’s backlit and RGB but only through three zones. However, you can set some pretty cool lighting effects using their predator sense software. All the keys are spaced nicely and I didn’t run into any issues reaching any of the keys.
The trackpad is a bit small for my taste but it works well. It’s using windows precision drivers it’s very responsive and it recognizes all my gestures so no real complaints here.
For ports, you get a decent selection you got three USB 3 ports, a full-size Ethernet jack, one HDMI. And on the other side, you get a mini display and a USB type-c that’s done about three compatible. Unfortunately, it does not have an sd card which is something I expected on a laptop with this price tag. You can even use the thunderbolt 3 port to charge any of your devices while the laptop is off which I find very useful.
Ok now let’s talk about the performance because that is where this laptop shines. First off this laptop is great for productivity, specifically editing 4k video. The 6 core, 12 thread processor was able to edit my 4k files, very easily. Using vegas pro I was very surprised that the laptop was not only able to cut 4k video. But I was also able to provide smooth playback even after adding effect transitions and color grading. So if you do plan on using this laptop for editing videos whether it’s 4k or 1080p files. Then you’d be pleased to find out it can handle it.
When it comes to gaming the RTX 2060 kicks ass. I was getting around 90 fps on average for apex legends in high settings. Achieving over 100 is possible if you tweak the settings or lower the quality. The rest of the games I was getting well over 100 fps on the highest settings. And I didn’t
Experience any lag or stuttering once.
If I can only pick one thing that I liked about the triton 500 I would have to pick the software. The predator sense gives you many options to tweak your laptop from fan settings to RGB lighting. And even overclocking the GPU which is my personal favorite. There’s even a dedicated button for it right on the keyboard and once you press it, it will launch the program. The overclocking feature is very useful and it works. If you set it to the extreme it will overclock the GPU up to 100 megahertz on the boost clock. And it increases the performance in games. I was getting an average of 4 fps more per game in exchange for louder fan noise.
6. MSI GS75
This is the MSI gs75, the very first laptop in 2019 that comes in my studio with an RTX graphics card.
Design and Build
The big difference between the gs 75 and last years’ gs 65 is the size difference. You’re essentially getting a 17-inch laptop compared to a 15-inch laptop. Now, this looks a lot like the gs 65. It retains some of that similar form factor, you have a nice clean design. I like how MSI is keeping it simple with a nice black matte look. You have gold trim around the sides and of course the MSI logo in the middle.
So build quality is pretty much on par with last year but you are seeing some minor cosmetic improvements. I’m finding the sides of the laptop to be a little bit more smooth to touch and find the color scheming to be more consistent.
Now in terms of ports, on the left-hand side, you have one rj45 jack, your barrel connector, USB 3.0. A micro-sd card slot, I would have preferred a full size instead. And of course your headphone and mic jack.
On the other side, you have a full-size HDMI slot, this can do 4k at 60 hertz. You have USB Thunderbolt 3 so you can hook it up to an external GPU down the road. 2 more USB 3.0 ports and a regular USB type-c port.
Getting inside the laptop is super easy, you just remove all the screws on the bottom. Once you’re inside you have access to your m2 SSD. There are three slots for your drawings so potentially you can have three storage devices in here. And have tons of space to use even if you want you can put them in raid zero for super-fast SSD speeds.
The battery size is 82-watt-hours, I was getting six to seven hours of use before the need to charge and that was doing simple productivity tasks. Unfortunately, you don’t have access to the ram unless you flip the motherboard over. If you do that you can access it and you can put up to 32 gigabytes inside of here.
The display has improved from the previous generation of 1080p displays. I’m finding it to have better color accuracy in terms of color reproduction. So if you’re planning to use this for design purposes you’re gonna appreciate the display on this thing. It also has really good brightness so if you’re taking this thing outdoors you’re gonna have some good visibility.
Now, this is a gaming screen, it is a 144 hertz. I would have loved to have the option to go up to a higher resolution just because these graphic cards that are inside of here are so powerful. And because they’re using r-tx I would have loved to be able to try out some 4k games with ray tracing.
The next thing is the keyboard, this is a full-size keyboard with a numeric keypad. So one day you’re playing your games, the next day you’re in the classroom punching out some numbers learning how to add. You have that capability SteelSeries partnered with MSI to provide the RGB lighting. The good news though is that you can customize each key to whatever color you want. There’s also a bunch of profiles installed for specific types of gaming.
The touchpad is very wide I love the horizontal space lots of room to move your hands around. It is using windows precision drivers, it is a glass touchpad and overall it’s pretty accurate.
So let’s talk about what counts the performance. This is an RTX 2080 max-q paired with an 8758h. This is the fastest GPU you can get in a laptop right now. And what you’re gonna get is performance gains of 15 to 30 percent compared to last year’s gtx 1080 max q. So this is about on par with a full-size desktop gtx 1080. Now if you think about it that’s quite impressive considering the TDP with this card is 10 watts lower than last year’s gtx 1080 max q. So less power, less heat but yet better performance.
Heat management was also great on this laptop less than 50 degrees for surface temperatures. The only times that we get hot was when things were under full load. Look this laptop will thermal throttle and we’ll hit 94 or 95 degrees celsius. But it does a good job of staying relatively cool I noticed when it was under full load. It would drop the boost down to 2.6 gigahertz and keep the CPU temps between 80 and 85. There are no signs of any frame drops there’s no lagging when I’m playing games. But yes you will get thermal throttling. It’s expected in a laptop this thin with a powerful graphics card.
7. Origin Evo 16s
Among the many Nvidia RTX gaming laptops released at the beginning of the year, origin has an interesting hook. Rather than releasing a 15.6-inch model like everyone else, it decided to give gamers more screen space with a 16.1 inch. Evo 16s despite the extra screen real estate the Evo 16s is just as light if not lighter than many 15.6 inch laptops.
Let’s dive into the main selling point of this laptop is the 16.1-inch IPS display. So let’s start there personally I love having the extra size particularly since it doesn’t weigh any more than my gigabyte aero 15 x. For gaming, the 144-hertz refresh rate is more than adequate though a spate of new 240 hertz laptops that just arrived from Asus, Dell, and other multimedia. Creators might find a display unremarkable as it’s not 4k and doesn’t cover a huge color gamut like gigabytes aero 15y9. But you can get it factory calibrated for a price and the extra real estate is a big bonus for content creators.
Remarkably, origins squeeze to so much power into a 4.6-pound laptop. That’s just 19 points 8 millimeters thick oddly though the Evo 16s has larger bezels than other recent laptops. As a result, it’s fairly wide at 14.9 inches, so it barely and I mean barely fits into my messenger bag. With that slightly larger bezel though origin was able to fit a webcam into the top of the laptop. That means it’s useful unlike the nostril cam on gigabytes aero 15 x.
Design and Build
With tons of Nvidia rt x laptops on the market to choose from it’s the details that count and origin have nailed most of them. The Evo 16 s looks sharp and bright red and has subtle accents that don’t scream gaming, it also feels reassuringly solid. I find the keyboard feel and travel to be very good though ever so slightly mushy which might be a concern for gamers. The trackpad is surprisingly accurate and responsive with separate buttons that I prefer with the right force. The Aero 15x, by comparison, has fairly stiff buttons
As for ports origin has everything I need including a pair of high-speed USB 3.1 type-c ports to super speed USB 3.1 ports DisplayPort. A media card reader, ethernet port and separate headphone and microphone ports.
As with other laptops, the r-tx 28 max q GPU has a base clock of just 735 megahertz but overclock sat up to thirteen hundred megahertz. On benchmarks, it was just a touch slower than gigabytes similarly equipped aero 15y9.
Shadow of the tomb raider ran at 35 frames per second on an external monitor in 4k hdr with ray-tracing. Running on the laptop screen alone at 1080p it easily hit 60 frames per second with all settings cranked. Other games like Hitman 2 and battlefield 5 performed equally well.
8. Acer Predator Helios 500
This here is Acer’s helios 500, it’s a kind of the bigger brother to the helios 300. And it’s a device that almost replaces the predator 17 and the predator 17x from last year. So those were really popular gaming devices this is kind of like the successor to it.
It looks quite different though instead of black and red. It’s predominantly blue and I like the look of it. The design is very gamer-oriented, it’s got angular trim pieces. And the whole design language does feel appropriate for the predator name tag. So the build quality feels good, it is plastic, there’s no aluminum at the top or the bottom or anywhere on the exterior.
But it feels well-built in comparison to other gaming laptops of this caliber like 17-inch gaming laptops that often have aluminum around it. The big advantage is price obviously by using polycarbonate or just other plastic materials that be able to keep the cost down. But also weight this is a lighter laptop to something like the Alienware device. It’s not as tanky as Alienware like if I throw both of them off the stairs, this would probably crack before an Alienware did. But it’s still a really solid machine.
In terms of the ports, it’s got plenty of I/o display outputs on the back and USB ports on the sides. There are three USB-as and two USB-cs, both of them support thunderbolt-3.
Now to access the inside it’s not super difficult, there’s hatch on the bottom, it’s got two screws and that’s it. The rest of the back panel does come off but it’s a little bit more work. Now inside you get access to the wifi card this one is the killer 1550. It’s an intel-based card it’s a fast one, I like it. You also have four ram slots, there’s only two easily accessed, you can remove everything to get to the other two. But you have to easily access once, you’ve got three drive base, two of them NVMe, one of the SATA.
The battery here isn’t small but it’s a pretty serious laptop. I’m getting around 3 hours of battery life that’s with the screen at 250nits. And that’s not playing games that’s just like regular use if you’re playing the game, expect 45 minutes to an hour of battery life. But that’s just what it is, that’s what gaming laptops are like.
Okay, the screen is nice, this is the 144hz panel made by AUO. It honestly looks similar in image quality to the 15inch 144hz screen that we’ve seen on a lot of high-end gaming laptops right now. But this screen also has g-sync not only it’s bigger the 17.3inch screen but it also has g-sync. And it looks nice when you’re playing games. The unfortunate thing is that because of g-sync you don’t have access to Nvidia Optimus. So you don’t have the power savings from that, you have a really short battery life. The brightness is good and the color accuracy is respectable it’s a very nice screen.
The keyboard is pretty comfortable. It’s a big laptop so the whole typing surface is elevated a little bit. But once you get used to it, it’s a nice keyboard. The layout is spacious, the key structures are nice and it also has programmable macro keys up top.
I like the trackpad, it’s a glass surface, windows precision drivers, blue lighting on the perimeter. And hardware buttons below it, these buttons have quite a bit of travel when you press it but it’s a good trackpad.
Now the performance in this device is excellent, we’re talking just straight-up excellent. Now, this unit has an overclockable i9 and that’s a chip that can get pretty high. But the thermals on this device are well-done five heat pipes, big fans, big heat sinks and blue heat sinks for bonus points. It’s a great thermal design, the fans are quite on idle but they can get loud especially if you spin them up fast. You wanna use headphones when you’re playing games.
The GPU is an overclockable gtx1070 and again, pushes out a really good performance. This is a GPU that I think will last several years in terms of gaming life at 1080p. It’s just a really good combination, the speakers are located on the bottom but they sound really good despite that imperfect location. They get loud but a still clean sound and there’s a sub on the bottom. It’s nothing crazy, but it gives a little bass or just somebody to the audio.
So my overall thoughts on this bad boy. It is a powerful laptop. I think for the 6 core CPU and the gtx1070 are gonna last quite a while. The components they have in here are smart, it’s overclockable, very well cooled, and upgradability is good.
9. Asus GM501 Zephyrus M
This is the Asus Zephyrus m the gm 501, we saw the original Zephyrus last year. It’s kind of thin and light gtx 1080 max q laptop really powerful but really expensive. This is a much more affordable version of that whole.
Design and Build
Design is very similar in exterior aesthetic to the original Zephyrus. But they’ve made quite a few changes on the inside. It’s still a well-built laptop the top panel is fully aluminum and the bottom section is durable polycarbonate. The rog on the logo up top still lights up red it’s not like a super obnoxious red, it’s very subtle but it does light up. And the whole top panel has this brushed texture to it looks pretty nice.
Okay going around the sides the port selection is ok, not amazing. It’s got a lot of USB, 4 of them which is great. And a thunderbolt 3 but it doesn’t have an sd card slot and also does not have a Mini DisplayPort. The ac adapter is also not in a great position, it’s running up the middle of the side. And then your cable just kind of runs along the length I don’t love that. But the port selection overall is fair.
We’re looking at a pretty big change on the input devices. So the keyboard and the trackpad from the original Zephyrus didn’t have the best position. They were shifted to the bottom of the keyboard deck to allow for better cooling for 1080. This new zephyrs m is significantly improved it’s the more traditional layout of everything.
The keyboard is great very easy to get used to this thing, comfortable to use. The spacing is good and the keystrokes are responsive. The tiny arrow keys and the narrow number pad might be weird to look at but found them pretty comfortable to use. Granted I’m not a huge number pad user if you’re used to like a regular full-size number pad it might take a while to get used to this. But it is comfortable for me. The backlighting on this keyboard isn’t super customizable or bright it’s more of like a subtle glow which I like.
The trackpad is also solid it’s got windows precision drivers it’s got a glass texture in the button mechanics are on point. It’d be nice if the trackpad was a little bit larger not that it’s small. But I feel like in this genre of laptop like that 15 gaming laptop this is one of the smaller ones but overall inputs are good.
The display I have mixed feelings about it, it’s a great panel fast at 144 hertz. Of all the six core gaming laptops that I’ve used so far, I think this has the best panel for gaming. They’re all 144 hertz, they’re all 1080p but this is the one that has the fastest response rate three milliseconds. The other ones are rated I think at seven milliseconds but it’s not just that. It’s the colors, they’re a little bit more vibrant and just games look good on this panel.
The bezels are unfortunately quite big and that’s probably my biggest issue with this screen. It’s not that they’re thick but they’re thicker than the competitors. Other things this laptop can switch between Nvidia g-sync and Nvidia Optimus 3 software. So normally you’d have to choose one or the other and your laptop wouldn’t be able to have both. I think this is the first one I’ve ever used that could do this so it’s pretty cool in theory. But I wasn’t able to get great battery life.
You’ll see in a little bit and to get inside. This thing it’s pretty simple you just need to remove the screws and the panel. You get 2 ram slots to drive bays one of that NVMe. One of them’s tuned 1/2 inch SATA and the wi-fi card is this new intel 9265, it’s an awesome card. The battery is quite small 55 watt-hours, it’s a little disappointing on a device like this. I’m getting around three-and-a-half hours of battery life that’s with the screen at 250 nits and that’s with Nvidia Optimus. If I had this on g-sync it’s even less it’s like two and a half hours.
Okay, performance on this laptop is really good, gtx 1070 with the new six-core CPUs from intel. It’s a really good combination the CPU is excellent for multi-core applications. The GPU is also really good it’s the third most powerful GPU for laptops on the market right now. You’re gonna get really good frame rates across any of the titles at 1080p. And when you pair that with 144-hertz green stuff just looks awesome.
Because it’s a regular gtx 1070 and not a max q version. The thermal output should be a little bit higher but the Zephyrus has this feature. Where when you lift the lid, the bottom panel opens up and it gives it better thermal characteristics. The temperatures and benchmarks and in games are a little bit lower than the competitors. Not by a lot but it is noticeable especially on the stress tests. The fans can be really quiet if you want you to get software control on balance mode. It’s reasonably quiet but on over-boost, the fans can get quite loud you do get better temperatures through.
10. ASUS Strix Scar II
So this is the new second-generation rog scar so the Strix g504gs. This is the newly updated version of the Strix line.
Build and Design
The top surface is still metal, but it’s a little boxy err in shape now. It just has some simple rounded corners with a brushed texture. The big change though is the logo it can now change colors. It used to be locked into that old-school gamer red color, which honestly was getting stale. Now you can channel your inner rainbow and just let it rip. The build quality and reliability of the Strix laptops always been pretty good. I think that’s why they do so well on amazon like people buy them they use them for a while and they have a good experience with them. So that’s why the ratings are so high.
It is a predominantly plastic device so that’s the weird thing top panel is metal. But the inside the bottom panel decides they’re all polycarbonate but it’s rigid. Like there are laptops out there that use metal materials that don’t feel as sturdy as this the Strix laptops are built well. Now new for this year is also a light strip upfront and I like this thing. It’s one of the more unique features on this laptop you get full control of the software and there are two regions to light up.
One of the biggest changes on this laptop is the screen. So the previous generation of Strix had some pretty thick bezels. And I think that’s one of my biggest complaints that the had about the Strix and I think a lot of people felt that way as well. This new generation has a really thin bezel and it looks so much nicer. It’s not completely bezel as there’s obviously a bit of a bezel still and there’s also a chin.
So the display panel itself is excellent, like straight up. Excellent. It’s brights with good color accuracy and fasts it’s 144-hertz super-fast refresh rate. We’re seeing a lot of high refresh laptops pop up in 2017. But this one is a three-millisecond panel I think it’s the fastest 144-hertz panel. I’ve seen like the fastest response time on the 144-hertz panel that I’ve seen games look so good on this screen.
So last year’s model was tough to open up fully you get to the ram and stuff easily. There was a hatch but if you needed to open it up completely to access the fans or something. It was a huge pain in the butt this year there’s no more hatch the whole back panel pops off easily any of access to the fans the 2 stick of ram. SSD, the hard drive, all of which are easily replaced. The wi-fi card is using a quad antenna for better reception and stuff.
The battery down here is not big, it’s a 64 watt-hour piece and I’m only getting around three and a half hours of battery life with the screen at 250 nits. You need a charger if you’re gonna bring it to class or work or wherever because three and a half hours is not gonna cut it for a full day.
The keyboard is a comfortable keyboard for good travel. The layout takes a little bit of time to get used to because of the arrow key placement between the number pad. But the keyboards good overall the lighting is okay, it’s a four-zone. I wish it was individually lit and there are clear WASD keys here which are unique. But I don’t know they’re not for me. There’s something about this translucent material that makes it kind of look unfinished the color from the lighting just blasts through these keycaps.
But I do love the look the trackpad. This is a much-improved trackpad from the previous generation tracking is accurate. It’s using windows precision drivers and there are dedicated hardware buttons. The palm rejection could be a little better it’s picking up some occasional left palm action. When I press the spacebar, but it’s pretty minor.
So performance is strong this unit has a gtx 1070 to go with that six-core 8750 h the CPU is a multi-core beast and the GPU just crushes. It uses that 144-hertz panel well, a lot of competitor shooters will hit 144 hertz even with the graphics settings cranked up. They’ve also done a good job cooling it remembers, it’s a gtx 1070. Not the Max-q, but a regular 1070. And I’m not seeing throttling in benchmarks and stuff the temperatures are good. The fans are also not too loud it’s nice to see them cool a full 1070 without excessive fan noise even at max load.