So you don’t intend to play too many games on your new laptop! Clearly there’s no point considering buying a gaming laptop, right?
Not so fast!
What exactly is a gaming laptop? It is important to recognize that there is no single definitive criterion that sets a gaming laptop apart from other laptops. A gaming laptop does not even imply a machine that can handle games better than day-to-day activities. In fact, many entry-level gaming laptops might struggle with the latest gaming titles but handle more general purpose computing better than an equivalent mainstream laptop.
Ultimately what is classified as a gaming laptop is up to the judgement of the manufacturer. If a manufacturer decides to target gamers with a certain machine, they would classify it as a gaming laptop. Typically, most gaming laptops share some common features which differentiate them from standard laptops. Let’s first take a look at what sets gaming laptops apart to better understand whether a gaming laptop would be a good fit for you.
This is often the biggest differentiator for gaming laptops. In fact, a few years ago a post like this would not have made any sense. Most gaming laptops used to be so much more expensive than standard laptops that it would make little sense dishing out all that extra cash for the extra hardware if you did not intend to make full use of it (aka gaming). But nowadays, there are a lot of relatively affordable options available. Gaming laptops still need to provide that little bit extra than standard laptops however. And this means they remain more expensive as a general rule of thumb.
To run the latest games, gaming laptops need to have their fair share of horsepower. This usually means a better CPU, GPU, more RAM, and faster hard disk. While most Intel-based laptops might come with the U series processors which are more power-efficient but less powerful, gaming laptops would typically contain the H series processors that focus more on performance and graphics. Most gaming laptops also come with an SSD which significantly improves Operating System and application load times. And of course, almost all gaming laptops would come with a dedicated GPU.
Size and Portability
If you want a smaller and more portable laptop, DONOT look at gaming laptops. Gaming laptops are big and bulky. They are built to be beasts. If you want a sleek, lightweight 13-inch machine, a gaming laptop will not fit the bill. Gaming laptops in the market are a minimum of 15 inches, and usually weigh upwards of 2 Kg.
Gaming laptops are built to handle games. They come with a better screen and better speakers. The cooling system under the hood is usually much better than standard laptops. The parts need to be able to take the load and gaming laptops are usually more durable than ordinary laptops.
Most gaming laptops also feature very distinctive designs. They do not generally conform to a generic laptop style. Backlit keyboards, unique contours and other styling features are often present to make your gaming laptop stand out.
So now we come back to the important question – should you consider buying a gaming laptop?
Based on the information discussed above, there are a couple of obvious disqualifying conditions. The first criterion is of course your budget. Entry level laptops are never gaming machines and if your budget is below a certain threshold, it would not accommodate a gaming laptop. Secondly, if you value portability over performance, there are better options available in the market. Gaming laptops usually do not come in sizes below 15 inches and also come with significant bezels and full-sized keyboards.
If you are OK with a 15+ inch laptop weighing over 2 Kg, and you have the requisite budget, gaming laptops are seriously worth considering. Gaming laptops will often have a significant performance advantage over standard laptops with seemingly equivalent specs on paper. For example, an i5-8300h CPU can outperform an i7-8550u processor. The performance advantage isn’t just restricted to games. A faster CPU, a better GPU, better disk performance and more RAM generally translate to a better and faster working machine overall. Not only will it be smoother to play your favourite game, but also to create that Powerpoint presentation.
The hardware advantage for gaming laptops is not just restricted to more gas in the tank. They are usually equipped with better screens and audio. They usually provide better cooling and more battery life than mainstream laptops under similar operating conditions. A laptop is a long-term investment and the increased reliability and durability offered by gaming laptops is a major advantage. Adding further to the expected lifespan is that gaming laptops are likely to keep up with newer technology for longer compared to standard laptops. If you like your laptop to have a real distinctive look and feel to it, gaming laptops come in many unique designs and styles.
Overall, depending on your requirements and preferences, gaming laptops can definitely be worth considering when buying your next laptop. And this does not apply only to gamers. However, a laptop is still a significant investment, and you should always research the model you intend to buy in depth before making a purchase decision.