Best Desktop Replacement Laptops 2020

In the past, laptops generally lost all battles against desktop computers as they were not able to compete against the performance power of desktops.

These days, however, laptops are outfitted with excellent components, allowing them to compete head-to-head with even top-of-the-line desktops.

We have noticed a growing trend of people opting for larger-sized laptops instead of desktop computers.

MSI GE72 Apache Pro-070 17.3" SLIM AND LIGHT...
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-6700HQ Quad Core Processor (2.6-3.5GHz)
  • RAM: 16GB (8GB x2) DDR4 2133MHz | Hard Drive: 128GB SSD (PCIE Gen3 x4) + 1TB...
  • Optical Drive: SuperMulti DVD | Operating System: Windows 10

People are realising that there is little difference between most laptops and desktops in terms of performance. This gives laptops a better edge as they provide mobility that a desktop does not.

There are many who wonder what difference the size makes. Larger laptops (often called desktop replacement laptops) are not trying to out-compete each other when it comes to weight and size.

This allows the manufacturers to produce laptops with better specifications. Better processing chips, memory and graphic cards all add up to better performance.

We decided to look at all the great laptops candidates for desktop replacement to root out the best desktop replacement laptop there is out there.

Desktop replacement laptop guide

When looking at the most important considerations when it comes to purchasing a laptop to replace a desktop, we first took a look at the major features people want in their desktops.

From that, we distilled our list of major considerations down to five key features that blend the best parts of desktops and laptops.

  • CPU & Memory
  • Cooling System
  • Accessories
  • Screen Size
  • Hard Drive
  • We determined this final list by collecting data and user feedback. We questioned desktop users to find what considerations are holding them back from purchasing a laptop.
    Furthermore, we also collected data from desktop replacement laptop users to find out why they chose to make the switch and how they found their new laptop.

    The five best desktop replacement laptops

    Here’s a list of the five best desktop replacement laptops:

    The most important consideration when choosing the best desktop replacement laptop

    The processing chip and memory (also known as CPU and RAM) are, by far, the most important aspect to consider when looking at potential desktop replacement laptops.

    The more popular desktops around tend to house Intel processing chips, specifically Intel Core i5 or i7. Its RAM must match the CPU and should be a bare minimum of 4 GB RAM. 8 GB to 16 GB would be needed if you plan to run programs that require better specs.

    Looking at the list of laptops in the market today, we are happy to report that finding laptops with sufficient CPU and RAM is relatively easy.

    Other considerations when choosing the best desktop replacement laptop

    Cooling System

    There are two major groups of people that tend to look for desktop replacement laptops: professionals who do a lot of desk work and people who play computer games.

    These professionals are spend majority of their office hours at the same desk. They travel rarely, but often enough to require a laptop. Because of this, they place greater emphasis on performance.

    Gamers are the other major group purchasing desktop replacement laptops. They spend several hours a week playing games that push their laptops to the max. It is for this group that we ranked cooling systems as the second highest consideration.

    In desktop computers, there is ample space around each component to allow its components to cool. Laptops, on the other hand, pack its components in very closely to one another. As such, laptops are more susceptible to overheating problems if not ventilated properly.


    Desktop replacement laptops tend to spend more time at a single spot compared to other laptops. Many times, its user will have a specific area for the laptop where they accomplish most of their work or play their games.

    Because of this, people feel more comfortable using accessories with their laptop. As such, desktop replacement laptops should have sufficient ports to handle peripherals, such as a wireless mouse, a printer, a monitor, external speakers, and external hard drives.

    Ideally, a desktop replacement laptop should also come with a DVD drive and SD card reader, although these are less popular features that are sometimes left out of even desktop computers.

    Display Size

    One of the main considerations of existing desktop users is the screen size. Once you are used to a 27 inch monitor, it is a step back to switch to a 15 inch laptop screen.

    Because of this, we looked at laptops with 17 inch screens.

    We also placed emphasis on laptops that come with a HDMI or DisplayPort. These ports allow users to hook to an external monitor, thereby instantly increasing their available screen real estate.

    Hard Drive

    Our final consideration was for the hard drive.

    A benefit of a desktop is that it is easy to replace or add components, such as additional hard drives. Due to obvious space limitations, such options are rarely simple or affordable in laptops.

    The argument boiled down to the usual question of whether to go with the greater capacity of Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) versus the greater performance of Solid State Drives (SSDs),

    In the end, we looked at those two key groups of people to help make our decision. After considering the pros and cons of each type of hard drive to the professionals and gamers, we found that greater capacity tended to be more appreciated, especially by those intending to play games.

    However, the most ideal hard drive would be a hybrid drive with a mix of both SSD for that swift loading time and HDD for its storage capacity.

    The best laptop for desktop replacement

    MSI GE72 Apache Pro-070 Gaming Laptop Front ShotThe MSI GE72 Apache Pro-070 came in as our #1 Pick for desktop replacement laptop.

    This 17.3 inch laptop features a non-reflective screen with a Full High Definition (FHD) resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels.

    The GE72 houses a 2.6 GHz quad-core 6th-generation Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor and 16 GB DDR4 memory. This CPU and RAM combination is teamed up with 1 TB 7200 RPM HDD with an option to add in another 128 GB M.2 SSD hard drive to make it a hybrid of both. The GE72 Apache Pro also features an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M or GTX 970M.

    The MSI laptop works well in the cooling department. Some users even report being able to play their games with their laptops on their laps without experiencing significant warmth.

    In addition, the laptop is furnished with an option to turn the fans on manually to help mitigate heat build-up.

    The MSI GE72 Pro comes with stereo speakers with subwoofer and a 1080p FHD webcam. In terms of ports, the laptop is fitted with two USB 3.0 ports, a USB 2.0 port, an HDMI port, a mini DisplayPort as well as a headset jack. The MSI GE72 also comes with an SD card reader and a DVD Super Multi drive.

    The GE72 Apache Pro is one of the lighter 17 inch laptops at 5.95 pounds. It comes with MSI’s signature SteelSeries keyboard which allow its users full keyboard backlight customization with a wide range of colors and anti-ghost key.

    MSI GE72 Apache Pro-070 17.3" SLIM AND LIGHT...
    • Processor: Intel Core i7-6700HQ Quad Core Processor (2.6-3.5GHz)
    • RAM: 16GB (8GB x2) DDR4 2133MHz | Hard Drive: 128GB SSD (PCIE Gen3 x4) + 1TB...
    • Optical Drive: SuperMulti DVD | Operating System: Windows 10

    The four other desktop replacement laptop we tested

    Acer Aspire V17 Nitro Black Edition

    Acer Aspire V17 Nitro Black EditionOur second pick for a desktop replacement laptop is the Acer Aspire V17. While gamers would be better served by the MSI GE72 Apache Pro, desk-bound professionals might find the V17 Nitro Black more up their alley.

    Acer’s V17 is one of the slimmest 17 inch laptop around, under 1 inch in thickness and a weight of 6.83 pounds. It is also reported to have a battery life of up to 7 hours. All of this come in very helpful on those occasions when mobility is required.

    The V17 Nitro Black features a 17.3 inch LED-backlit screen with FHD resolution and IPS for greater viewing angles without color distortion.

    The V17 houses a 2.6 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor with options of either 8 GB or 16 GB DDR4 memory. The laptop also comes with 1 TB 5400 RPM HDD hard drive. It also makes use of an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M with 4 GB GDDR5 dedicated memory.

    The laptop comes with Acer’s DustDefender dual-fan cooling system. The system has a metal fan with ultra-thin blades (0.1 mm) that flex like aircraft wings to increase air-flow. The system also helps to deflect dust from the internal system.

    Acer’s V17 has four built-in stereo speakers with two subwoofers, a built-in digital microphone and a HD webcam. In addition, it also comes with a Thunderbolt 3 port via USB 3.1 Type-C, two USB 3.0 ports, a USB 2.0 port, an HDMI port, a 8X DVD Super Multi drive and an SD card reader.

    Compared to the MSI GE72 Apache Pro, Acer’s V17 Nitro Black Edition falls only slightly short in terms of the lack of hybrid drive and a lower graphics card; however, it makes up for things with its slimmer build.

    Acer Aspire V17 Nitro Black Edition VN7-792G-79LX...
    • Intel Core i7-6700HQ 2.6 GHz (6MB Cache)
    • 8GB DDR4 Dual-Channel Memory
    • 1TB 5400RPM Hard Drive

    HP Pavilion 17-ab020nr

    HP Pavilion 17HP’s 17.3 inch Pavilion laptop is one of the most popular desktop replacement laptops around. Its WLED-backlit, FHD resolution screen features wide-viewing angles thanks to IPS. In addition to the great display, this Pavilion is also a touchscreen with multi-touch and edge-to-edge glass.

    The HP Pavilion is outfitted with 2.6 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7-6700HQ CPU and 12 GB DDR4 RAM. The laptop comes with 1 TB 7200 RPM HDD hard drive and comes an option to add a 128 GB SSD drive. It also comes with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M graphics card with 4 GB GDDR5 dedicated video memory.

    The cooling system utilizes two heat pipes to direct accumulated heat to a large radiator next to its cooling fan. Users report that games can easily be played for short periods, however, if you are planning to have an extended gaming session, a cooling pad is recommended.

    The Pavilion features dual speakers with HP’s audio boost, a Wide Vision HD camera with a field of view of up to 88 degrees. Along the sides, it comes with two USB 3.0 ports, a USB 2.0 port, an Ethernet RJ-45 port, and a headset jack. Also included is a Super Multi DVD burner.

    The HP Pavilion weighs 6.06 pounds and has a fantastic battery life of 9 hours. It also has HP’s Fast Charge feature that can boost its battery life from 0% to 90% in 90 minutes.

    HP Pavilion Notebook, Intel Core i7-6700HQ, 12GB...
    • Intel Core i7-6700HQ, 2.6GHz, Quad-Core Processor
    • 12 GB DDR4 SDRAM Memory, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M Graphics with 4 GB GDDR5 of...
    • More productive. Windows 10 is the best for bringing ideas forward and getting...

    Acer Predator 17

    Acer Predator 17Acer’s Predator line of laptops are its main line of gaming laptops. The Predator 17 features a 17.3 inch wide-screen LED-backlit display with IPS for wide viewing angles and FHD resolution.

    The Predator 17 houses a 2.6 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7-6700HQ. It also has DDR4 RAM starting at 16 GB and going all the way up to 32 GB.

    The Acer Predator also comes with a 1 TB 7200 RPM HDD drive with an SSD drive component with variations starting at 128 GB up to 512 GB. Its graphics card is the NVIDIA GTX 970M with 3 GB GDDR5 dedicated memory.

    Acer claims that the Predator 17 engineered its cooling system with triple-fans with front air intake design. The AeroBlade Fan is ultra-thin (just 0.1 mm) and metal, designed for aerodynamics to facilitate better air-flow.

    The Predator has four built-in stereo speakers with two subwoofers, a built-in digital microphone, and a HD webcam. The laptop also has a Thunderbolt 3 via USB 3.1 Type-C port, an Ethernet RJ-45 port, four USB 3.0 ports, a DisplayPort, a HDMI port, an 8X DVD drive and an SD card reader.

    Acer’s 17 inch Predator is one of the heavier laptops on its size range at a whopping 8.71 pounds, but it also has 5.5 hours battery life which is pretty decent for a desktop replacement gaming laptop. Its number pad also comes with dedicated macro buttons for great shortcuts.

    Acer Predator 17 Gaming Laptop, 17.3” Full HD,...
    • Intel Core i7-6700HQ 2.6 GHz (6 MB Cache)
    • 16GB DDR4 Dual-Channel Memory
    • 1TB 7200RPM Hard Drive, 128GB Solid-State Drive

    Dell Inspiron 17 i5759-7660SLV Signature Edition

    Dell Inspiron i5759The final laptop to make it to our Top Five is the Dell Inspiron i5759 with its 17.3 inch LED FHD screen. It is also a touchscreen laptop with 10-point multi-touch.

    The Inspiron 17 features a 2.5 GHz dual-core Intel Core i7-6500U CPU with 16 GB DDR4 RAM. It has a 1 TB 5400 RPM HDD hard drive and runs Intel HD Graphics 520 for its graphics card.

    The laptop comes with Dell Audio and a HD webcam. There is a USB 3.0 port, a USB 2.0 port, an HDMI port and a headset jack. It also features a DVD burner and an SD card slot. The Inspiron 17 i5759 weighs in a 7.4 pounds but is less than 1 inch slim.

    As far as 17 inch laptops, this is one of the slimmest and most affordable while still offering fantastic specifications for its users. It is a great laptop for professionals.

    Dell Inspiron 17.3 Inch Full HD (1920 x 1080)...
    • Intel Dual Core i7-6500U 2.5 GHz Processor
    • 16 GB DDR3L SDRAM / AMD Radeon R5 M335 4GB Graphics
    • 1TB HDD Storage; Tray load DVD Drive (Reads and Writes to DVD/CD)

    The bottom line

    17 inch laptops are fantastic alternative to desktops. They provide more mobility compared to a desk-bound CPU but are still able to pack a punch in terms of performance. In addition, they offer its users a convenient method of obtaining a dual-monitor set-up.

    Gamers would certainly love the MSI GE72 Apache Pro and Acer Predator 17. Those looking for something slimmer would be pleased to know that the Dell Inspiron 17 i-5759 and Acer Aspire V17 Nitro Black Edition are only 1 inch in thickness.

    The HP Pavilion remains one of the most popular laptop choices for professionals looking for a laptop in the 17 inch range, however, the Dell Inspiron and Acer Aspire are also great options for them.

    MSI GE72 Apache Pro-070 17.3" SLIM AND LIGHT...
    • Processor: Intel Core i7-6700HQ Quad Core Processor (2.6-3.5GHz)
    • RAM: 16GB (8GB x2) DDR4 2133MHz | Hard Drive: 128GB SSD (PCIE Gen3 x4) + 1TB...
    • Optical Drive: SuperMulti DVD | Operating System: Windows 10

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