If you’re looking to upgrade your current PC gaming setup and you’re fretting between choosing a desktop or gaming laptop, you’ll notice one striking difference (apart from the size!), and that is the higher cost of a gaming laptop. Let’s take a look at why this is the case, and if it’s worth getting a gaming laptop today.
A Bit Of History…
Gaming laptops probably hit the mainstream sometime in the late noughties to early 2010’s.
Alienware had there now discontinued M17x line launched in 2009, while Razer grabbed headlines with their reveal of the ‘World’s First True Gaming Laptop’, the Razer Blade. Price tag? A cool USD $2799.99.
Other big brands like ASUS, Acer, Dell and MSI have all caught a whiff of the potential market and birthed their own product lines to compete in the gaming laptop market.
Fast forward more than 10 years, and the technology in gaming laptops has improved so much that many of them have been deemed ‘desktop replacing’. It means exactly what is says: throw out your desktop for a sleek, high performing and mobile gaming laptop.
Why are gaming laptops more expensive?
We all know that gaming laptops are significantly more expensive than their desktop counterparts. In fact, gaming laptops are probably twice as expensive than a desktop that performs at a similar level. Whereas you can get a pretty amazing desktop rig for easily less than $2000, you can expect to pay at least this amount for a similar specified gaming laptop.
The reason for the higher price (and lower performance per dollar) comes down to mainly three things:
- Laptops are significantly smaller and pack a great deal of technology into a small space. High performance with less space = greater cost.
- Because of the smaller components, less power is consumed (which minimises heat overload) which results in lower performing components.
- Branding. Whereas you can build a desktop from scratch and components are easily interchangeable, laptops are more limited. Pricing is therefore more reliant on the brand and manufacturer itself than simply choosing the most affordable components you can buy.
So are gaming laptops worth it?
The one thing that gaming laptops reign supreme in, as opposed to the other main gaming mediums such as desktops and consoles is that they are super portable.
If portability is the most important thing to you, then a gaming laptop is the way to go. Unlike a mere 5 years ago where high performing laptops would weigh more than 10 lbs, nowadays many brands have ultra slim models that clock in at less than 5 lbs.
You can literally slide them in your backpack and your good to go. Whether that be at the office, library, home or at a LAN event, a gaming laptop can be pretty much taken anywhere. In this sense, a gaming laptop can basically act as your one stop for all your computer needs. Work, play, multimedia usage – it can all be done on the one machine.
In terms of gaming fidelity, a laptop can reach amazing heights depending on how much cash you are willing to depart with. It is crucial to understand what types of games you want to play:
- A $2000 + laptop will pretty much play almost any game at the highest settings.
- Around $1000 – $1500 is a big of a sweet spot. You will be able to play most video games on at least medium settings without breaking the bank.
- If you really want to budget, you can even purchase half decent gaming laptops for under $1000, or even around $500. This is perfect for casual gaming or games that are on the older side and less demanding (think World of Warcraft, DOTA or League of Legends)
So to answer the question, gaming laptops are worth it as long as you know what you are looking for and your expectations are not the same as a desktop.
While desktops are still currently the most powerful gaming solution available, gaming laptops have been creeping their way up to offer a similar level of performance. They are still more expensive, but this price gap continues to shrink, making is more viable for gamers to choose such a machine over the traditional desktop.