2019

Gaming laptops:

Everything you need for PC gaming on a laptop

Find the best gaming laptop and learn what's most important for crushing you opponent, from the GPU to the keyboard.

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BEST-SELLING GAMING LAPTOPS

Legion Y540

Legion Y540

This customizable 15" laptop pushes gaming performance further with the Intel Core processors, NVIDIA RTX graphics, and thermal optimization to keep things running when the pressure’s on. A great entry-level option. Starting at
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Legion Y545

Legion Y545

Lightning fast, VR-ready, with more options than your typical 15” laptop, the specs speak for themselves: NVIDIA RTX or GTX, up to 32GB RAM, dual hard drive, and support for up to 3 displays. Affordable, premium power. Starting at
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Legion Y740

Legion Y740

Level the playing field with this high-performance 17” gaming laptop, powered by the latest Intel Core processors and NVIDIA graphics. With Corsair® iCUE RGB key lighting and system backlighting, it even looks fierce. Starting at
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IdeaPad L340 Gaming

IdeaPad L340 Gaming

Use as a work or school laptop by day, and gaming machine by night. Intel Core processors, NVIDIA GeForce GTX, and extra options make this game-ready laptop the best choice for casual gamers and multi-taskers on a budget. Starting at
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LAPTOP GAMING IN 2019

Once upon a time, PC gaming was something people would do on their laptops as a fun distraction. It was a diversion – a "non-essential" function of their PC – and very much a secondary consideration (if it was even considered at all) when it came time to buy a new machine. Today, it’s a different story.

If you're a gamer, PC gaming isn’t just another thing you do on a laptop – it’s the main event. If a laptop can’t deliver a top-tier gaming experience, it’s not the right laptop for you. So, how do you choose the best gaming laptop? Start with this guide. We’ve assembled the most important aspects of gaming laptops so you can make an informed decision.

legion-y720

The current generation of gaming laptops virtually erases the compromises that earlier machines forced onto gamers. Less power, fewer options, smaller and lower resolution screens, and poor audio… all things of the past. Today's gaming laptops are truly portable versions of their desktop cousins, and more than a match for gaming consoles.

With all of that power and speed, gaming laptops can deliver any gaming experience on the planet, from high-frame rate FPS titles, to fully immersive VR. Needless to say, if they can do all of that, why would you want to be tethered to desktop?

Key features of a great gaming laptop

You’ll find the following features on most laptops, but they play such a critical role in a gaming laptop, it’s important to make sure you’re getting the right setup.

graphics-card-icon Graphics card

The graphics card (or GPU) is the beating heart of a gaming laptop. The goal is to pick a discrete graphics card that can deliver a great visual experience for your favorite type of game. If you plan to run Crysis 3 at 4K with the game cranked to its maximum settings, you’ll probably want a top-of-the-line NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1080. But most games will run just fine on the GTX 1060, 1050, or 1050 Ti. Likewise, the RX 540X from AMD’s Radeon™ RX 500X series of GPUs, is a good choice for gamers who prefer strategy to strafing.

Pro tip: Avoid integrated graphics unless you’re a casual gamer.

Understanding graphics cards for gaming laptops >

processor-icon Processor

As important as the graphics card is to a gaming laptop, the processor (or CPU) is just as key, because these two components work together to deliver the overall performance of the machine.

You’ll be offered a choice of Intel® processors, ranging from the Core™ i3, to the Core™ i7, with several clock-speed options. Consider the Core™ i5 your baseline, anything less will be unbearably sluggish. There’s very little a dual-core i7 chip can’t do, which makes it ideal for most gamers. Only step up to a quad-core i7 if your pockets are deep and your appetite for destruction is unlimited.

What’s the best processor for PC gaming >

ram-icon RAM

Memory (RAM) determines how efficiently your processor can work. RAM is measured in size (GB) and speed (MHz). Too little of each, and the CPU will be forced to borrow space from your hard drive or SSD. Too much, and you’ll see very little performance improvement for the money.

8GB is the current sweet spot for most gaming laptops, but consider bumping up to 16GB if you need to keep lots of other apps open in the background.

How much RAM is needed for gaming >

ram-icon Storage

There are two main kinds of laptop storage: Spinning disks known as hard drives, and the non-moving SSDs (solid state drive). Traditional hard drives have more capacity, meaning you can save more files like photos, videos, and apps, and cost less per GB. SSDs use similar technology to RAM, which makes them way faster. Unfortunately, current technology makes SSDs much more expensive per GB, so they tend to have smaller capacities. A truly flexible gaming laptop will have dual drive options, giving you the benefit of speed and capacity in equal measure.

display-icon Display

A gaming laptop's display can range from a screen size of 13-inches, all the way up to 21-inches. While size certainly does matter, it's actually resolution, refresh rate, and quality that matters more. A full HD, 1920 x 1080 resolution will let you play most games at the highest quality. Touchscreens might be handy on 2-in-1 gaming laptops, but they’re unnecessary on traditional designs. Look for IPS or OLED technologies, as both of these will help maximize off-angle viewing.

Of course, a gaming laptop doesn’t need to be limited to its built-in screen. External gaming monitors can give you a larger screen, higher resolution, and better brightness and contrast when you’re at home or at work.

The best gaming monitors >

keyboard-icon Keyboard

In the desktop gaming world, there’s a lot of enthusiasm for mechanical keyboards. Though rare on laptops, mechanical keyboards do exist and can provide a “clicky" tactile experience. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get superb performance from a regular gaming laptop keyboard.

Look for models that feature anti-ghosting and a high n-key rollover. Keyboards that have a standard pitch (size of the key) and travel (vertical movement when pressed) will be easier to type on and more accurate when gaming. Additionally, RGB backlighting, though not a necessity, can really add a wow factor.

What to look for in a gaming keyboard >

battery-icon Battery life

Gaming laptops are power-hungry, because gaming is a processor-intensive activity. You won’t find many machines that are both portable and that give you all-day battery life. Instead, consider four to six hours as the current benchmark for decent battery life.

If longer battery life is really important, you’ll need to pick a gaming laptop with a smaller screen size, SSD-only storage, and lower-performance CPU and GPU.

graphics-card-icon Graphics card

The graphics card (or GPU) is the beating heart of a gaming laptop. The goal is to pick a discrete graphics card that can deliver a great visual experience for your favorite type of game. If you plan to run Crysis 3 at 4K with the game cranked to its maximum settings, you’ll probably want a top-of-the-line NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1080. But most games will run just fine on the GTX 1060, 1050, or 1050 Ti. Likewise, the RX 540X from AMD’s Radeon™ RX 500X series of GPUs, is a good choice for gamers who prefer strategy to strafing.

Pro tip: Avoid integrated graphics unless you’re a casual gamer.

Understanding graphics cards for gaming laptops >

processor-icon Processor

As important as the graphics card is to a gaming laptop, the processor (or CPU) is just as key, because these two components work together to deliver the overall performance of the machine.

You’ll be offered a choice of Intel® processors, ranging from the Core™ i3, to the Core™ i7, with several clock-speed options. Consider the Core™ i5 your baseline, anything less will be unbearably sluggish. There’s very little a dual-core i7 chip can’t do, which makes it ideal for most gamers. Only step up to a quad-core i7 if your pockets are deep and your appetite for destruction is unlimited.

What’s the best processor for PC gaming >

ram-icon RAM

Memory (RAM) determines how efficiently your processor can work. RAM is measured in size (GB) and speed (MHz). Too little of each, and the CPU will be forced to borrow space from your hard drive or SSD. Too much, and you’ll see very little performance improvement for the money.

8GB is the current sweet spot for most gaming laptops, but consider bumping up to 16GB if you need to keep lots of other apps open in the background.

How much RAM is needed for gaming >

ram-icon Storage

There are two main kinds of laptop storage: Spinning disks known as hard drives, and the non-moving SSDs (solid state drive). Traditional hard drives have more capacity, meaning you can save more files like photos, videos, and apps, and cost less per GB. SSDs use similar technology to RAM, which makes them way faster. Unfortunately, current technology makes SSDs much more expensive per GB, so they tend to have smaller capacities. A truly flexible gaming laptop will have dual drive options, giving you the benefit of speed and capacity in equal measure.

display-icon Display

A gaming laptop's display can range from a screen size of 13-inches, all the way up to 21-inches. While size certainly does matter, it's actually resolution, refresh rate, and quality that matters more. A full HD, 1920 x 1080 resolution will let you play most games at the highest quality. Touchscreens might be handy on 2-in-1 gaming laptops, but they’re unnecessary on traditional designs. Look for IPS or OLED technologies, as both of these will help maximize off-angle viewing.

Of course, a gaming laptop doesn’t need to be limited to its built-in screen. External gaming monitors can give you a larger screen, higher resolution, and better brightness and contrast when you’re at home or at work.

The best gaming monitors >

keyboard-icon Keyboard

In the desktop gaming world, there’s a lot of enthusiasm for mechanical keyboards. Though rare on laptops, mechanical keyboards do exist and can provide a "clicky" tactile experience. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get superb performance from a regular gaming laptop keyboard.

Look for models that feature anti-ghosting and a high n-key rollover. Keyboards that have a standard pitch (size of the key) and travel (vertical movement when pressed) will be easier to type on and more accurate when gaming. Additionally, RGB backlighting, though not a necessity, can really add a wow factor.

What to look for in a gaming keyboard >

battery-icon Battery life

Gaming laptops are power-hungry, because gaming is a processor-intensive activity. You won’t find many machines that are both portable and that give you all-day battery life. Instead, consider four to six hours as the current benchmark for decent battery life.

If longer battery life is really important, you’ll need to pick a gaming laptop with a smaller screen size, SSD-only storage, and lower-performance CPU and GPU.

LENOVO GAMING LAPTOPS: LEGION & IDEAPAD

We’ve spent decades thinking about what gamers need in a gaming laptop, but also, about how we can make laptop gaming fun for everyone. The result is a line of laptops and hardware designed specifically for gamers, Lenovo Legion, and a selection of regular laptops that can transform into gaming machines when the need arises, IdeaPad.

Lenovo Legion

Our line of Lenovo Legion gaming gear is built by gamers, for gamers, and represents the very best in gaming laptops. The Legion Y Series is at the core of Lenovo PC gaming and has something for every type of gamer, including VR-ready models, rigs for eSports, and even affordable laptops. With features that will give you every advantage, like RGB backlit keyboards, variable screen refresh rates, DDR5 memory, and unrivaled NVIDIA® Pascal graphics cards, the kitchen sink is about the only thing we didn't throw in!

legion-laptops

Legion y Series:

MASTERCRAFTED GAMING MACHINES

SLEEK AND MODERN, Legion gaming laptops are built with the specs and features worthy of a gamer’s best weapon, and a modern design tame enough for everyday use at school or work. Thinner, lighter, and quieter, the Y Series lets you take the competition by surprise every time.

FROM N00B TO PRO find Legion Y laptops from beginner to hardcore. Casual gamers are equipped with an ultraslim laptop that’s suitable for work, packed with the power needed for an afterhours gaming session. Pro-level models go even further – VR-ready and loaded for eSports.

CUSTOMIZE YOUR SYSTEM to your unique style of gameplay. Legion Y laptops come ready to join the fight right out of the box, but can be configured with custom options like RGB lighting, macro keys, and overclocking. Plus, no tools are needed to modify your hardware.

EXPERIENCE THE ACTION the way it was intended. A brighter screen, 144 Hz refresh rate, and enhanced Dolby Atmos® audio means truly immersive gaming. With faster level load times and rapid saving of large game data, experience smoother gameplay with Legion Y.

SLEEK AND MODERN, Legion gaming laptops are built with the specs and features worthy of a gamer’s best weapon, and a modern design tame enough for everyday use at school or work. Thinner, lighter, and quieter, the Y Series lets you take the competition by surprise every time.

FROM N00B TO PRO find Legion Y laptops from beginner to hardcore. Casual gamers are equipped with an ultraslim laptop that’s suitable for work, packed with the power needed for an afterhours gaming session. Pro-level models go even further – VR-ready and loaded for eSports.

CUSTOMIZE YOUR SYSTEM to your unique style of gameplay. Legion Y laptops come ready to join the fight right out of the box, but can be configured with custom options like RGB lighting, macro keys, and overclocking. Plus, no tools are needed to modify your hardware.

EXPERIENCE THE ACTION the way it was intended. A brighter screen, 144 Hz refresh rate, and enhanced Dolby Atmos® audio means truly immersive gaming. With faster level load times and rapid saving of large game data, experience smoother gameplay with Legion Y.

Gaming Laptops for School, Work & Everyday

Sometimes you need a laptop you can take with you to school or work during the day, then get lost in your favorite game afterwards. For casual gamers who want a laptop that can do double-duty as a gaming machine and a versatile everyday PC, we've designed select IdeaPad models to pack tons of gaming power into a more conventional looking laptop. These PCs are like the mullets of the laptop world: Business in the front, party — er, gaming in the back.

Top Pick: IdeaPad L340 Gaming

The perfect undercover gaming laptop for work, school, and play.

  • Powerful processing and premium graphics.
  • Multi-touch display and enhanced audio.
  • Super portable at just 4.8lbs.
  • Custom options available.

The IdeaPad L340 Gaming is a true gamer's laptop, from the inside out. Available in 15" and 17" models in a slick, stylish design with full-size keyboard and ambient backlighting. Beef up the specs with powerful 9th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 processing to outshoot, outrun, and outsmart anyone. Supercharge your gameplay with NIVIDIA GeForce® GTX 1650 – up to 70% faster performance than the entry-level NIVIDIA GeForce® GTX 1050.

ideapad-330s
★★★★★ – Great laptop with great power for a great price

A no frills laptop great for gaming use. The power of the 9750H intel CPU and GTX 1650 GPU are more than adequate for gaming of all kinds at 1080p, the resolution of the built-in screen. Great portability and use on the go. Battery seemed very short in my opinion, but you shouldn't be too far from a plug at any time. The real selling point of this laptop is the price. Most laptops at this power level are much more expensive and don't add a whole lot for the extra price. Definitely recommend. – Timothy S.

Read more reviews
Features:
  • FHD IPS anti-glare display
  • Dual hard drive option (SSD + HDD)
  • 2x speakers with Dolby Audio®
  • 720p HD webcam with dual microphones + physical shutter
Max. specs:
  • Intel® Core™ i7-9750H
  • NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1650 4 GB
  • 16 GB DDR4 2400 MHz
  • 1 TB PCIe SSD
  • 2 TB 5400 RPM
ideapad-330s