GIGABYTE AERO 15
Its extra weight comes from its incredibly sturdy and solid chassis, built to withstand hot climates and gamers who react physically to the highs and lows of gameplay. For some, that’ll be a drawback. But it’s hard to hold the Alienware 13’s design against it, especially after experiencing the pure luxury of its OLED screen: Gaming on it makes the best LCD panels seem pixelated and washed out.
While performance is a hair under rival machines like the MSI GS63VR ( go.pcworld. com/gs63), the difference is almost negligible—just one or two frames less per second in our Tomb Raider and Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor benchmarks. If you can splurge on this version of the Alienware 13, we say do it. From its slick design to its performance, battery life, and OLED display, it’s exceptional in every metric we usually examine. $2,970 at go.pcworld.com/g15w
Not all gaming laptops are about insane frame rates and high-end features. There are folks who want a really great gaming experience on the go.
For that, we turn to Gigabyte’s Aero 15, which is not much larger than a Dell XPS 15, and only a bit heavier than MSI’S GS63VR. But the Gigabyte Aero 15 offers better battery life by several hours, and DIY upgrades are easier to perform. Its keyboard also features per-key RGB lighting that gets quite bright. (Read our full review at go.pcworld.com/ar15.)
What keeps it out of the top position are a handful of small quibbles: Its maximum screen brightness falls on the lower end of average, and during our review, its keyboard had trouble recognizing certain key combinations. (Firmware updates did help some, but users continue to report problems.) Its off-center trackpad position also takes time to get used to.
Overall, however, the Gigabyte Aero 15 can play the newest