Many budding gamers are keen on knowing which laptops are powerful enough to run their favorite titles without breaking the bank. Are there laptops available under $1500 that you could compete with? Yes there are!
Asus ROG Strix GL502 $1400.00
This 15” gaming laptop is powerful, especially considering the price. We’ve seen other members of ASUS’s ‘thin and light’ line before. But this is the very first of the product line to come with GTX 970M graphics card which has a slightly higher clock-rate than the HD 8970M.
The housing is brushed aluminum with an almost neon orange ROG logo and accents— slightly different from the typical ROG red. What I like about the chassis is that fingerprints do not show at all on the plastic area around the trackpad and keyboard. On the outside, prints show up, but the brushed effect hides them well.
Inside you’ll find 16GB of RAM, eight of which are soldered in place and eight that is upgradable. You’ll also see a fairly standard, 1TB hard drive at 7200 RPMs. But there is also a M2 PCIe slot that you can throw a second hard drive. Port-wise there is an ethernet jack, three USB3, one USBC, video outputs, SD, and audio port.
The keyboard is shifted over to the left a little, so you might need a couple of days to get used to it. But it is solid with reddish/orange backlighting and orange ‘WASD’ keys.
The screen is bright with excellent viewing angles and doesn’t have any light bleed. It’s also matt finished to reduce any glare. Though small the speakers and lacking a little the bass, the speakers are loud and sound great.
The gameplay is wonderful. The GL502 is configured similarly to the new RAZER BLADE. Lighter games will run seamlessly on ULTRA settings. Though you may have to reduce the graphics settings a little to maintain that 60FPS mark, you can run moderately heavy title such as OVERWATCH or even heavier titles with high graphics settings and your gaming experience won’t be hampered.
It should be noted that although the 970M is slightly faster, the 8970M is marginally better with texture mapping.
Razer Blade $1368.00
I have to admit that this unit is super pleasing to the eye and I’m kind of in love with it. The chassis is sleek and understated. Other than the acid-green Razer Blaze logo; it could double as your business laptop. The aluminum is wrapped unibody style so that give this laptop an aesthetic quality like no other—just my opinion.
The Razer Blade comes loaded with a 7th Gen. i7 7700HQ, 16 GB of RAM, a 512GB PCIe SSD hard drive, GeForce GTX1069, is VR Ready (6GB GDDR5 VRAM) and still maintains an anorexic MacBook pro-like weight and thinness (just 4 lbs and 0.7-inches thick).
One ACthunderbolt 3 port and three USB-3 ports compliment this machine. It also has a full-sized HDMI2 video port and a 3.5mm audio jack.
The keyboard is fully RGB backlit (programmable effects), and the keys have an excellent response. My only issue with the design is the way they truncated the arrow keys. The display is pretty good, though not the best as it is a 1080 IPS LCD (can be upgraded to 4K with touch-screen). Mostly, it is just the standard color performance that is a little lackluster. The viewing angles, brightness, and anti-glare are all excellent.
Let’s look at playability. Using Metro: Last Light with the settings on 1080p, Very High it ran at an average of just under 73 FPS. Playing Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor set on 1080p, Ultra Preset the GTX1060 averaged 84.4 FPS and had a 1% low of 62 FPS. So, with most titles, you can crank up the graphics settings, and heavy titles will perform wonderfully at slightly reduced settings.
The Razer Blade may be the perfect mix of power, portability, and external beauty. If you have a bit more cash on hand, you can get the 1TB version for $1999.00.
There are many laptops on the market, but for the price, I find these two to be my favorites. Not only do they meet the benchmarks on a budget, but they also look great doing it! So, get your new gear and get to work. Maybe soon you’ll be on the eSports odds-boards at Bookmaker competing against your favorite players!