Are Gaming Laptops Worth It?

If you are considering purchasing a gaming laptop, then it is likely that you have asked yourself the question, “Are gaming laptops worth it?” We will answer this question by saying “yes, it is” and explain why.

It sounds ideal, doesn’t it? The convenience and versatility of a laptop with the power to run your favorite games. But you also know that gaming laptops come with a pretty high price tag, so you want to be sure that you are making the right decision.

We get it, and we will help you make the decision. If you have never purchased a high-end laptop before, there are many things that you need to consider. Playing your favorite games on your new shiny gaming laptop is very appealing, so we will explain everything you need to know before buying one.

The Alternatives to Buying a Gaming Laptop

Is A Gaming Laptop Worth It

Let’s start by considering the alternatives to a gaming laptop – a gaming desktop or a gaming console. You can get the same gaming power in a desktop computer for less than you will pay for a gaming laptop.

But a desktop computer takes up a lot of space, and you cannot easily carry it around with you. Unless you have battery support for your desktop, you will need a mains outlet to power it too. A gaming laptop will cost you at least $1,000, and some models are more than $2,000. Gaming desktops will be considerably less.

Then there are the game consoles. These days you can get a PS4 Pro or an Xbox One X for around the $400 mark. The main drawback with these gaming consoles is that you can only play games specifically made for them.

You won’t be able to play PC-based games on games consoles. It is easier to carry a games console around, but you have to plug it into a TV and again mains power is required. Game consoles are not as convenient as gaming laptops are.

If you know that you will only want to play PC-based games then a gaming laptop is the best solution. They are a lot more convenient than desktop computers, and you can play your games wherever you are. You also have the convenience of being able to play your games using battery power.

Screen Size of Gaming Laptops

Because a laptop is portable, the screen size will be less than you can achieve with a desktop computer. The standard gaming laptop screen size will be 15 inches. Is that large enough for you? There are 17-inch gaming laptops available, but these are a lot more expensive and are usually quite a bit heavier than a 15-inch model.

We cannot be specific about the weight of a gaming laptop, but on average, a 15-inch screen model will weigh between 4 to 5 pounds. If you want a 17-inch screen gaming laptop, then it will be a lot heavier in the region of 7 to 10 pounds.

If you have a modern flat-screen TV at home, you can use an HDMI cable and connect your gaming laptop to it, providing you with a much larger screen experience. An HDMI cable will only cost a few dollars and all modern gaming laptops will have an HDMI port on them.

Limited Potential for Upgrading

Any gaming laptop will have limited potential for upgrading. This is not the case with a desktop gaming machine. That doesn’t mean that you cannot upgrade some essential components with a gaming laptop.

The amount of RAM (random access memory) and the type of storage device that a gaming laptop uses are critical to its performance. Usually, with a gaming laptop, it is reasonably easy to add more RAM to it. There will be a RAM limit, so you need to check this on the different gaming laptop models.

You will get a much better gaming experience if you use an SSD (solid state drive) than a conventional HDD (hard disk drive). SSD drives are more expensive, and you may want to purchase your gaming laptop initially with an HDD and then upgrade later to an SSD. It is usually easy to swap out storage drives with gaming laptops.

Two components that will be very difficult to upgrade with a gaming laptop are the CPU (central processing unit) and the graphics card. In most cases, you will not be able to upgrade these at all, so you need to choose your gaming laptop model carefully. You will be stuck with your CPU and graphics card, so get the best that you can.

A Gaming Laptop is Usually Less Powerful Than a Desktop

Gaming laptops are portable but less powerful

You will find that it is a little less powerful with a gaming laptop than an exact specification desktop computer. This is not something that the manufacturers of gaming laptops will ever tell you, but it is true.

A GPU (graphics processing unit) in a gaming laptop is usually underclocked compared to the GPU in a desktop computer. This is all down to the size of the laptop and the fact that it is portable. So if you have the same specification graphics card in your gaming laptop and a desktop, the desktop will have slightly more power.

Is this really noticeable? In most cases, it isn’t. Something important to note in terms of power output is that you need to have your gaming laptop plugged into the mains when you play your games. With battery power, most gaming laptops will limit the performance of the GPU and the CPU to conserve battery power.

Another thing that you need to take into account is that a high-end graphics card and GPU will generate a great deal of heat. We would never recommend that you play intensive games with your gaming laptop on your lap. You can easily control the heat by using an effective cooling pad which is relatively inexpensive.

Portability Wins the Day

We have explained some of the drawbacks of using a gaming laptop as opposed to a desktop. But none of these things matter if you want the convenience of portability. Having a gaming laptop means that you can play your games wherever you want. You can move your laptop around from one room to another easily, for example.

If you travel around a lot, then your trusty gaming laptop will always be there for you. Just fire it up in your hotel room and enjoy your games after your business has finished. Or you can take your gaming laptop over to your friend’s place and even take it to the coffee shop with you and enjoy your gaming there.

Many Other Features Than a Gaming Console

When you buy a gaming console, all you can do is play games on it. You cannot use it for other applications connected with your work or business. A gaming laptop enables you to play games, but it is also so much more than this.

With a gaming laptop, you can install all of the applications you need for your job or business. You can work on documents, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics and video editing and a load more besides.

Don’t limit yourself to only playing games. Use your gaming laptop for the things that you need to get done during the day and then relax with your gaming after work. The alternative to this is to have a gaming console and a laptop or desktop computer and this starts can be expensive.

More Ports for More Versatility

These days, modern gaming laptops come with all of the ports you need to enjoy your gaming and other stuff fully. We have already mentioned that you can purchase an HDMI cable and connect up your laptop and TV for a large screen experience.

Many gamers who use gaming laptops take advantage of the available USB ports to use a wireless mouse and keyboard. This is a lot more convenient for them when they are playing their games. Then, of course, you can easily connect to the Internet with your gaming laptop using the built-in Wi-Fi adaptor.

Another way that a gaming laptop scores over a game console is the availability of “mods” for the different games. You can extend your gameplay experience by using these mods with your PC-based games. It is not possible to do this with a PS4 or Xbox gaming console.

There are usually online communities around the more popular games. If you have a gaming laptop, it will be a lot easier for you to access these communities and get answers to your questions than trying to do this with a games console.

Razer gaming laptop on desk

There are Some Very High Specification Gaming Laptops

Nowadays, you can purchase very high specification gaming laptops. It is fairly easy to find gaming laptops that have the very best CPUs and graphics cards. Many gaming laptops also come with an SSD installed as standard, which is much faster and more reliable than conventional HDDs.

But it doesn’t stop there. You can go for a really high-resolution screen with your gaming laptop. Usually, you will find that gaming laptop models have a screen with a minimum resolution of 1920×1080 pixels which is excellent for a rich and crystal-clear gaming experience.

Gaming laptops tend to be more durable than lower-end laptops because they have a metal construction rather than plastic. They often look outstanding as well with special backlighting for the keyboard and illuminated ports.

Final Words

If you want to play games wherever you go, then nothing beats a gaming laptop. You also have the advantage of being able to get all of your business done on your gaming laptop using specific applications. It will cost you more than a high-end desktop, but the convenience factor makes it worth the additional investment.

Gaming laptops offer much more than gaming consoles do. Although a gaming console is a lot cheaper, you are restricted to the games available for that console. You can’t use any available mods, and you will not have the additional functionality of a gaming laptop.

Chris Martin is a professional tech writer. He's been covering tech tutorials, hardware reviews, and more as a professional writer for over seven years now and it doesn't look like he'll be stopping anytime soon! In addition to writing about the latest gadgets on the market, he also covers topics such as how to set up your home network or troubleshoot any computer problems you may have.

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