If you’re like the rest of us, the pandemic probably lured you into the world of playing games. To be honest, we became pretty avid gamers after all those lockdowns!
Now that you’re in it, the idea of buying a new gaming laptop is so, so tempting (to say the least). But is it worth it?
YES, if you have a lot of money to spare.
If not (which is usually the case), there’s probably more than just the price tag to hold you back.
Read on to know if you should finally put a green signal to buy that gaming laptop. (Or if it really is not for you).
Table of Contents
Are Gaming Laptops Worth It: The Short Answer
It’s actually NOT A SECRET anymore.
A gaming laptop isn’t the best for most people. Compared to its hefty price tag, the performance (almost always) FALLS PALE performance.
Desktop computers will give you a better gaming performance – a far cry from any gaming laptop of the same price.
It’s a better choice if you’re looking to upgrade your gaming experience.
Is the portability of a gaming laptop worth it?
For the purpose of discussions, let’s say that you have money to burn for your gaming rigs.
You’ll still benefit most by setting up a gaming desktop. It may be better to buy a (separate) normal laptop for your on-the-go needs.
Gaming Laptops: The Nitty Gritty
Both PC gaming and mobile gaming have skyrocketed during the pandemic. The lack of social interaction led us to try and find more avenues for entertainment.
As you find yourself more and more interested in gaming, should your new laptop be a gaming laptop? Are gaming laptops worth it?
Before knowing if gaming laptops are for you or not, it’s important to understand their difference from normal laptops. This is crucial in making THE RIGHT DECISION for your needs.
Normal laptops are supposed to handle EVERYDAY COMPUTING tasks. It’s perfect for average tasks like browsing and creating documents.
The light use gives you long battery life and an on-the-go device.
On the other hand, a gaming laptop is customized for high-performance tasks such as gaming. Gaming laptops boast a higher speed, memory, graphics, and overall processing power.
Worth It or Not: Why It Is
Expensive items usually have to boast a list of advantages for us to even consider if they’re worth buying.
This also applies to COSTLY gaming laptops.
Here are some reasons why a gaming laptop is best for you despite the premium price point.
The ability to be on the go is probably the MOST RELEVANT advantage of a gaming laptop.
Let’s say you’re not the type to stay in one spot when you play games.
A gaming laptop will let you play over at your friends’ houses on a regular basis. You can even play while hanging out at your favorite coffee shop, at your dining table, or even on the bed.
Just don’t forget that most games need a lot of juice.
What’s great about gaming laptops is that you can maximize your gaming experience everywhere you go (NOTE: Make sure you’re close to a socket to power your battery brick.).
Even with the best gaming laptop with good battery life, your power brick won’t last as long.
REMINDER: An unplugged gaming laptop will also perform less than ideal. In general, the performance will diminish in proportion to the battery life.
Most of us who are looking into gaming laptops are probably not professional gamers. As such, excellent gaming performance is NOT THE ONLY thing that matters to us.
You may be a writer who’s working on articles, a scientist finishing manuscripts, or a creative who’s editing videos and pictures. A gaming laptop lets you easily switch between activities.
Whatever work you’re doing, you can easily save your progress and take a quick game break.
Gaming laptops make for a SUPERIOR CHOICE to gaming consoles and home PCs when it comes to the versatility of use. The adaptability makes a gaming laptop worth considering.
For us who live fast-paced lives, the utility of gaming laptops definitely helps us achieve that work-play-life balance.
Personally, this is our FAVORITE aspect out of everything on our list!
The higher specs give the gaming laptop the upper hand over a normal laptop. You usually get a higher resolution, larger storage, higher RAM, and better GPU.
These are just the basic necessities for us to play the most modern games decently. However, the benefits do not only affect the games we play.
Higher specs also translate to a faster, better-performing laptop for our all-around needs. The increase in overall performance makes a gaming laptop worth buying.
If you’re a casual gamer who also does video-editing and many other things, your experience will be more satisfying. Here are some of the things I love in gaming laptops.
- Better picture
- Better sound
- More memory
A gaming laptop is already a package.
Buying a gaming laptop gets you the monitor, the processing unit, and the keyboard all in one go. You won’t have to “build” a setup, which is more rigorous and tedious.
Using it also comes down to just turning a singular button. There are fewer parts and cords and are generally simpler for everyday use.
The ease of use and overall accessibility makes it perfect for students and on-the-go professionals.
A word of caution: An all-in-one unit is also harder and more expensive to replace.
Worth It or Not: Why It’s Not
It doesn’t matter much if you’re looking to be a seasoned gamer or you’re just playing every now and then.
The HONEST TRUTH is that a desktop computer will serve your gaming needs more than a gaming laptop will.
Here are some reasons why a gaming laptop isn’t worth it.
Gaming laptops are EXPENSIVE.
Standard laptops come in a set of specs that lets you perform all-around tasks. They are perfect for word processing, researching, and even light gaming.
To play the latest games better, you’ll need better graphics cards, dedicated RAM, higher storage, and a larger screen. What do all these have in common?
Like the Lenovo Legion series, high-end gaming laptops can easily fetch a price higher than $2,000. Buying a gaming laptop for just playing games can be DAUNTING at that price.
The cost is usually the deciding factor for most.
Laptop vs. Desktop Edition: Upgrading
The cost will increase whether it’s on a laptop or a desktop computer.
Not in the exact same way.
Making the parts smaller to fit the laptop’s tiny frame is VERY COSTLY. That’s why even if a gaming laptop and a gaming desktop have the same specs, laptops tend to price higher.
The general consideration is that upgrading your laptop’s specs will ALWAYS be more expensive.
Laptop vs. Desktop Edition: Other Considerations
There are a few other considerations that laptop manufacturers need to look at when making a laptop suitable for gaming.
Compared to their full desktop counterparts, gaming laptops are much smaller.
The considerable difference in size and weight is advantageous for portability. But it is disadvantageous for other aspects such as heat control.
Poor heat control can degrade the lifespan of your laptop much faster. This makes it EVEN MORE expensive in the long run.
A gaming machine usually improves heat control by adding more cooling systems. However, this makes the ideal ‘virtually silent operation’ impossible.
Gaming laptops and gaming desktops of (theoretically) the same specs DO NOT usually have the same specs.
Most gaming laptops have UNDERCLOCKED specs. Although both have the same features on paper, you should always assume it won’t be the same in real-life use.
For example, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX in a Lenovo Legion, or Razer Blade, will fare far less than a gaming PC of the same graphics card.
If you opt for a budget gaming laptop, the components will be even less powerful.
The playability of your favorite games will also always be better on a gaming PC. For us, no gaming laptop brand can top the feeling of a mechanical keyboard on a perfectly crafted desktop gaming rig.
Most people opt for gaming laptops because of their portability. But, even that factor is DEBATABLE for most.
Top-end gaming laptops usually come at a 15-inch or a 17-inch screen size for better visuals. After all, a high resolution on a small screen can be underwhelming.
However, 17-inch models can easily weigh up to 7-10 pounds.
I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound portable in my opinion. A 17-inch model can be pretty hard to fit in normal bags.
You can retain portability if you opt for gaming ultrabooks. However, it will come at the expense of some graphical power and computing power.
I’ve said this before. The best gaming laptops also need a lot of power. It will suck out the battery life of your gaming notebooks in no time.
If we’re realistic, you can’t play games at high settings without a socket nearby.
Technology evolves very fast.
To keep up with technology and get the most out of your device, you will need to upgrade your laptop components now and then.
Most gaming laptops now come in Intel Core i7 with either the NVIDIA GeForce GTX or NVIDIA RTX. The Intel Core i7 coupled with an RTX GPU will let you play smoothly at the highest setting you want.
A quick guide to gaming: The best gaming laptop will come with the latest, most advanced graphics card.
The problem with most laptops is the lack of customizability.
Most laptops (be it a standard laptop, a lightweight laptop, or a gaming laptop) are not upgradeable at all, meaning your gaming rig in a laptop will come as a whole.
This contrasts with a desktop rig where you can easily screw off to get a RAM or a GPU upgrade.
A quick visit to online communities will tell you that if you try to upgrade your laptop, it may end up costing you more than just buying a new one.
When buying a new laptop, we’re looking to use it for as long as reasonably possible. We want to get the most out of the price we pay.
Gaming laptops are not very hard to maintain. If you take care of it properly, gaming laptops can last anywhere from 4-6 years.
But again, they’re almost impossible to upgrade. What does this mean?
This means that your gaming laptop may last long in terms of its physical components. But, it will probably lag behind in software sooner or later.
A gaming laptop’s portability also makes it easier to drop and break. Bringing it around also increases the risk of having it stolen.
If you can afford a laptop twice as high as the price of a desktop setup, it’s probably wise to allot a budget for replacement as well.
In contrast to gaming laptops, a home PC is a long-term investment. It will last long, even with minimal maintenance.
Although the desktop is still the gold standard, gaming laptops have also been increasingly popular. There are numerous factors to consider to ensure you’re getting the most value out of every penny.
Here are a few details that may help you choose which gaming laptop to pick up!
Out of every feature to look for, GPU is the most important. Chances are, your favorite game is GPU-bound. Because most gaming laptops are not upgradeable, you should make sure not to skimp on a good GPU.
A good GPU is the secret to a long-lasting gaming setup.
If you’re a beginner in gaming, a GTX 1650 may work for you. For a little bit more power to play on the higher settings, a GTX 1660 Ti is also a good choice.
If you’re looking to play on the highest settings, an RTX 2070 or the RTX 2080/Ti are powerful cards. For mid-range gamers, the RTX 2060 is a good compromise.
CPU & RAM
The GPU is usually more important. BUT, a powerful CPU and good RAM definitely help you get the smoothest games.
Looking at the CPU, the best option is either Intel Core i7 or i9. If you’re a little short on the budget, the Core i5 is usually enough for most.
In terms of RAM, 8 GB is the minimum I can recommend. However, the price difference between an 8GB and 16GB option is not usually far off. If you have some cash, the 16 GB is totally worth it.
Display & Keyboard
The display size depends on what you need. A smaller 14″ may be unsatisfactory for gaming, but it’s the better choice for portability.
The more important choice for us is the RESOLUTION.
I love a 4K screen to capture all the details of the games, but it’s usually costly and can slow down the refresh rate.
Whether you choose resolution or speed, make sure not to go anywhere below 1080p!
On the other hand, keyboards are usually overlooked.
Generally, I prefer keys with 2 mm of key travel and actuation of around 70 grams for excellent resistance. But the more important aspect for us to look at is to make sure the keys are independent.
I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty stressed these days.
The best setup to play games will DEFINITELY help me unwind. But which is it?
Gaming laptops are best if you’re a casual gamer looking to improve your experience without being chained to your desk.
However, if you want to play the most modern games at high settings, even the most powerful gaming laptop may not be enough for you.
So, are gaming laptops worth it?
At the end of the day, it all boils down to personal preference.
I hope this article helped you decide whether or not to spend your savings on a gaming laptop. Whatever choice you make, I hope you get a good game!
Good Luck and Have Fun!