Best gam­ing lap­tops

KNOW WHAT MOD­ELS TO LOOK FOR AND WHICH MOD­ELS RATE HIGH­EST

PCWorld (USA) - - Contents - BY GOR­DON MAH UNG

We’ll help you pick out the per­fect gam­ing lap­top.

Pick­ing a gam­ing lap­top to­day isn’t as easy as it was five years ago when a “real” gam­ing lap­top meant 12 pounds of back­break­ing hard­ware to haul around.

With ma­jor ad­vances in lap­top video cards and CPUS, you can now get great gam­ing per­for­mance from lap­tops rang­ing from light to su­per heavy and from su­per ex­pen­sive to bud­get.

The prob­lem these days: too many choices. A lux­ury prob­lem, to be sure.

Still, you need to know how to nav­i­gate this bounty. In this handy-dandy buyer’s guide, we’ll not only name the best gam­ing lap­tops cur­rently avail­able, we’ll also high­light what to look for when buy­ing a gam­ing lap­top.

THE ‘BEST’ SCREEN FOR A LAP­TOP When you buy a gam­ing lap­top, one of the most im­por­tant de­ci­sions you’ll need to make re­gards the screen. Af­ter all, what you get on day one is what you’re stuck with un­til you junk the de­vice. You can, of course, run an ex­ter­nal mon­i­tor but then, what’s the point of a lap­top? Screen size

The size of the screen dic­tates the size of the lap­top it­self, and thus weight. You can’t, for ex­am­ple, get a 17-inch gam­ing lap­top that’s four pounds, so think long and hard about whether you’re will­ing to take the weight penalty in ex­change for the screen real es­tate.

If the lap­top is go­ing to be your only gam­ing ma­chine, hav­ing a 17-inch screen might be ideal. This is very much a mat­ter of per­sonal pref­er­ence.

Screen res­o­lu­tion

The buzz­word to­day is 4K and it de­liv­ers sharper photo view­ing but that doesn’t mean it’s for every­one. In fact, for a lot of peo­ple, it’s not a must-have. While pho­tos might be sharper, any­thing not us­ing the panel’s na­tive res­o­lu­tion of 3840x2180 will look softer. That means games run­ning at lower than 4K res­o­lu­tion won’t look quite as sharp un­less you ex­po­nen­tially in­crease the graph­ics power of the lap­top.

If you’re run­ning at 1920x1080 res­o­lu­tion be­cause your GPU can’t hit 60 fps at 4K, that fea­ture is moot. For many gamers, 1920x1080 or 2560x1440 is far more op­ti­mal.

IPS vs. TN vs. OLED

The panel tech­nol­ogy is also a key fea­ture. IPS (in-plane switch­ing) gen­er­ally pro­duces much greater color ac­cu­racy and su­pe­rior off-axis view­ing, but tends to lag in re­sponse times, which can lead to blur­ring. TN (twisted ne­matic) pan­els, on the other hand, can of­fer far higher re­fresh rates and usu­ally bet­ter re­sponse times than IPS, but can look washed out or just blah. A mid­dle-ground tech­nol­ogy that’s ap­pear­ing more of­ten is VA (ver­ti­cal

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