Have you got $2,000 dollars or less to spare and prefer spending your money on a gaming laptop rather than a desktop PC for the heart of your rig? Well, you’ve come to the right place for answers. While many prefer the sheer gaming power and specs of a tower setup, a mobile variation can also go toe to toe with their bulkier counterparts affording the latest specs without necessarily having to compromise on the quality of graphics cards, the caliber of RAM and the convenience of a large monitor.
For that sum, you can get an adept model boasting the latest 8th generation processors imbued with topnotch graphics that work hand in hand to provide a seamless and mobile gaming experience. So without further ado, here are the picks of the bunch for under $2,000:
Best Value For Money: HP OMEN 15
The HP Omen bloodline features a series of iterations that always put their best foot forward and this year’s version has raised the already high bar even higher. It comes back revamped with some notable additions to its specs list and a reimagined exterior that deviates a little from the typical architecture of the Omen.
At the core of the motherboard is a Core i7-8750H; a mobile processor with a base frequency of 2.2GHz which can be boosted up to a laudable 4.10 GHz. The specs also include a GTX 1070 MAX-Q dedicated graphics card with 8GB of GDDDR5 RAM, 2666MHZ 32 GB DDR4 RAM, a 512 GB SSD and a 1920 x 1080 15.6-inch IPS screen @ 144Hz. Despite its marvelous rap sheet, this laptop has a few flaws which include a plastic exterior as opposed to the customary and more durable aluminum build of laptops of this kind and a rather poor battery that provides little juice for gaming on the go.
All in all, these misgivings don’t get in the way of all the good which also includes a well-fashioned keyboard and mouse setup, an alluring chassis and a convenient RAM, Solid-state and hard disk placing that allows easy access for upgrades thanks to a detachable covering panel. A thunderous speaker and large screen round out things quite nicely and aside from the short battery life and some weak spots on adjoining areas of the plastic body, the HP Omen ticks all the right boxes of a proper gaming notebook.
Best 15-Inch Gaming Laptop: MSI GT63 TITAN
Laptops are built for mobility, but from a gaming perspective, it’s a case of the bigger, the better and the MSI GT63 is the perfect embodiment of that. It sacrifices a lean body for an impressive and huge interior which provides residence to 16GB of RAM paired with a powerful Intel Core i7-8750H and complemented by the latest Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080. Storage duties are delegated to a 265GB SSD with a 1TB HDD taking care of the huge needs of bulky, modern-day PC games.
MSI has retained their trademark aesthetics following in the often trodden footsteps of an obsidian aluminum lid accented with brush patterns and a customary MSI moniker set above a red dragon emblem. A further foray into the body reveals a 1920 x 1080 15.6-inch screen which is necklaced by a generously thick bezel that quite frankly is a tad too thick. That said, the display is built for peak performance and stunning visuals which is made possible by a Nvidia G-Sync, 120-Hz panel.
The Titan dips above our target price by about $500, but it is worth the extra sum given the artillery of sterling weapons in its arsenal which makes it stand out in a crowd of behemoths. Sure it loses a couple of points for a not-too-pleasing outlook, but its specs which additionally encompass an engulfing pair of Dynaudio speakers, an RGB-lit keyboard and an immersive 120Hz display ensures the Titan serves up a gaming experience that matches its label.
Best 17-Inch Gaming Laptop: HP OMEN X 17
The HP OMEN X17 is one that means serious gaming business while still ensuring moderate mobility and it’s undoubtedly the gold standard for the 17-inch department. The laptop is founded upon a first-rate GeForce GTX 1080 GPU with 8GB of GDDR5 memory whose prowess blossoms under the processing power of an Intel Core i7-7820k with a 2.9GHz base clock speed that can be accelerated to 3.9GHz in the heat of affairs. A 256GB SSD and 1TB HDD are fare selections for storage options and the mechanical keyboard and 120 GHz G-Sync screen are also endearingly appealing.
It might be portable alright, but the OMEN X is as large as they come and its sharp, angular design is reminiscent of those you’d find at a military base. It’s too big to be adequately held in both hands and consequently, you’ll need to get a large backpack for transport purposes because its large stature is a lot for standard bags to handle. From a performance point of view, this notebook obliterates high-octane, resource-intensive games such as Battlefield 1. It registers an impressive frame rate of 120 FPS even in overwhelming scenes such as the one where you play as the Italian soldier Luca Vincenzo who keeps at bay an entire squadron of bomber jet enemy planes. A gameplay characterized by perfect synergy all boils down to the Nvidia G-Sync support and the high refresh rate of the monitor.
If you are looking for the whole package machine which you’ll barely move around, then this is laptop is a nice pick. The mechanical keyboard is commendably responsive and despite the Omen X not winning any fans over for its huge appearance, it does tickle the fancy of many for its affordable yet top-drawer GPU. Its processor is a little outdated, but the irresistible benefit of a dedicated graphics card of the caliber of a GX1080 around the $2000-$2400 mark is as rare as hen’s teeth.
Best Lightweight & Battery Life Gaming Laptop: MSI GS65 Stealths Ultra Thin
Unlike its predecessors, the MSI GS65 Stealth is one that lays emphasis on cutting down as much weight as possible while still availing the requisite traits to enable it to achieve decent frames on demanding present-age games. It’s beautiful and thin exterior fashioned from bronze-accented black aluminum allows it to easily pass for a corporate laptop. So if you are keen on logging in some gaming time during breaks at work, you could nudge the IT department to fund this PC that doubles up as a working machine and as your rig.
It is a definite steal for less than $2000 given its small build that still somehow manages to fit in all the necessities of a proper gaming laptop including an 8GB GDDR5 Nvidia GTX 1070 GPU, 16 GB standard RAM, an 8th generation 8750H processor and 256 GB SSD NVMe. The display is devoid of 4k or QHD properties but the 1920×1080 resolution @144 Hz more than holds its own around corners with screen tearing varying from non-existent to very little. The MSI GS65 also offers adequate brightness with minute adjustment and it excels in one aspect where a majority of its counterparts fail: battery life. The GPU is made with an elaborate design to provide enough power while keeping energy consumption to a minimum thereby availing about 5 hours of service which could extend to 8 on light duties.
This notebook fuses portability, convenience, and productivity into a complete 4.1-pound package that is within the realms of normalcy in terms of standard notebook size and will not look out of place in formal sit-downs. More importantly, though, it makes light work of straining games and can handle backdrops bordering on the ultra/high end of the settings scale without breaking a sweat.
The ASUS ROG Zephyrus S
The Zephyrus S is Asus’ attempt at creating a Nvidia Max Q machine that not only sneers at PC shattering franchises such as Call of Duty Black Ops 4 with 85 fps on max (1920 x 1080p) settings but also sticks to the straight and narrow of a light and quiet computer. That is made possible by 16GB of DDR4 system RAM, a GTX 1070 MAX-Q GPU, a 1080p 15.6-inch bezel-free panel affording quick response pulses of 3 ms and a 512 SSD that ensures light speed data transfer.
Most gaming laptops sacrifice visual charm for beastly engines but not this one. It is a beguiling piece of eye candy which you can just longingly stare at for minutes on-end and affirm that you made the right decision. The body takes on a black theme elegantly coined into two varying shades bridged exquisitely by a winsome matte finish that spruces up the aluminum canvas splendidly. A pleasing design tweak sees the fiery silver ROG logo adopt minute dots of comic-book esque magenta glows upon booting while a number of enthralling LED pointers and bonus ports sit at the hinge connectors.
Display-wise, a 1080 @ 144Hz monitor ensures the world around you fades into oblivion with the astute speakers furthering that immersive experience while alleviating the need for headphones. Like many of its predecessors though, the battery bears the price for its monstrous specs as substantiated by its poor longevity. All in all, this notebook features the word “Ultra Slim” in its title and the thin, yet herculean chassis does that tag justice.
There you have it folks, the standout PCs that make a worthy claim for the best gaming laptops that the $2000-or-less price range has to offer.