In order to buy the right tool for the job, you have to know what to look for. It seems obvious but this advice applies as much to shopping for a gaming laptop as it does buying a car or smartphone. It is very easy to buy into the look, or the marketing buzz around a product but it is far more important to learn to look below the surface and know what internal features can give you most bang-for-your-buck.
After all, if you buy a gaming laptop that cannot deliver the performance needed for the games you have bought it to play, it’s not really worth the investment - and there is so much more behind a great gaming laptop experience than just the graphics card and CPU.
Here’s what you need to look for:
Making sure your laptop features a quality cooling solution is another aspect of the experience that often gets overshadowed by flashy, neon-lit product design. There is no worse of a letdown than that of discovering that your brand new gaming laptop can’t handle the heat.
As a gamer, we have all experienced a lag in gameplay or laptop being down clocked. You might wonder…I’ve got the latest GPU/CPU inside so how would this happen? Surprisingly, it might just be because the cooling solution isn’t performing as well as it should be. Yes! Cooling solution matters...and it matters alot!
Plenty of brands can squeeze a gaming-ready graphics card and processor into a notebook but an effective cooling solution is often overlooked. MSI's latest model GT75VR on the other hand, provides cutting edge technology with a cooler boost modular and the most advanced model “Cooler Boost Titan” that can drop CPU and GPU temperature by 10degree celcius, significantly improving performance.
Quality sound is a key part of the equation that shoppers often overlook when buying a gaming laptop. Sound is a huge part of the experience when it comes to immersive single-player games, and even more crucial when it comes to multiplayer ones.
In competitive-centric titles like Battlefield and Counter-Strike, hearing your opponent’s footsteps can be a life-or-death detail. In order to make sure your next gaming laptop can offer you this tactical advantage, look to the vendors who have inked deals with dedicated and established audio brands.
For example, MSI partners with Dynaudio (like the latest GE73/63VR Raider which is equipped with Dynaudio giant speakers) and Nahimic specifically to deliver the power and depth of large speakers within the small form-factor of a laptop. The results of such partnerships often outperform and eclipse the alternatives. Essentially, it is a matter of going with the brands who know how to craft the right tool for the job and buying into the idea that one company can “do it all”.
One of the weaknesses inherent to gaming laptops is that you cannot easily swap out the keyboard, so it is important to get the right one out of the gate. Like adequate cooling, shortcoming on this front can cost you in-game performance.
The biggest pitfall you will find when shopping for gaming laptops is the idea that one company or brand can deliver a best-in-class experience on all fronts. In reality, this is rarely the case.
Plenty of vendors try and leverage their own keyboard solutions on the cheap and sell them off as prograde inclusions. However, if you want a keyboard with the best features and performance, it's usually worth it to stick with MSI that partners with industry-leading brands like SteelSeries. MSI's latest released models – GT75VR, GE73/63VR comes with Per Key RGB feature which provides gamers with extra visual sensation.
Not all displays are born equal, and the internal characteristics you want out of a display gaming laptop are slightly different to a normal one. In order to get the best gaming laptop you can, you have to learn to look beyond the basics of display resolution.
A 4K display might look pretty when static but without a high refresh rate and low response time, it’s going to deliver a substandard gaming experience. Aim for a minimum of 75Hz when it comes to refresh rates and at least a 5ms response-time.
These days, some companies have started to produce 240Hz gaming monitors but no such panels have made into a gaming laptop yet. For now, the highest you’re likely to find is 120Hz which MSI caters for in their latest product line with 120HZ/3ms response-time.
Most shoppers overlook this aspect of the device but given that connectivity is so critical to online play, it is important to make sure your next gaming laptop is up to the task of doing so. Settling for less in this area increases your chances of encountering connectivity issues during play, such as lag or network drop-outs.
In order to ensure this doesn’t happen, make sure to check that your next gaming laptop comes certified for 802.11ac Wi-Fi. This standard means the laptop is both 5G-ready and capable of transmitting up to 1.3Gbps.
Like displays, it is easy to think that the difference between different wireless adapters is arbitrary and unimportant. Unfortunately, this ignorance often gets preyed upon at the expense of less-savvy consumers. Don’t make the same mistake.
There is a lot more to buying a gaming laptop than picking the one with the most fearsome branding or the largest processor. Simple mistakes can quickly compound into a situation where playing games on your gaming laptop don’t live up to your expectations.
In the end, it is important to look below the surface and, ultimately, go with the brands that are capable of doing the same.