If you love playing video games, there’s no better machine than a PC. You can choose from a massive assortment of games, from indie developers through to AAA experiences, with the flexibility of buying from any digital store and benefitting from deep discounts.
But should you play on a gaming laptop? Manufacturers produce laptops specifically targeted at gamers, often with higher spec components than found in traditional office laptops. You might be tempted to buy one so that you can take your gaming on the road.
We’re going to explore the pros and cons of a gaming laptop.
The Advantages of a Gaming Laptop
These are all the reasons for why you should buy a gaming laptop.
1. Portable Gaming
Perhaps the ultimate benefit to a gaming laptop is the fact that you can take your gaming with you. If you travel a lot, playing mobile games can pass the time, but it’s not enough to truly satisfying that gaming itch.
With a gaming laptop, you can buy all the latest releases through platforms like Steam and GOG and keep up with the action, no matter where you are.
2. Stylish Design
A gaming laptop typically has a particular aesthetic: sleek color, RGB keyboard, unique shape. While regular laptops sometimes consider the design as an afterthought, gaming laptops are undeniably stylish.
3. Not Limited by What You Can Play
Since gaming laptops contain powerful hardware, you’re not limited by the types of games you can play. Lower spec laptops are usually only good for simple games, while a strong gaming laptop can handle the latest, hardware-intensive releases.
Whether you want to blaze through the latest big release or settle back with a casual indie game, a gaming laptop can handle both with ease.
4. Functions Like a Regular Laptop
Despite the “gaming” moniker, that doesn’t mean it’s all the laptop is good for. It also does everything else you would expect from a regular laptop. You can browse the internet, stream movies, check your emails, and so on.
In fact, because the hardware inside a gaming laptop is powerful, it does these things better; you’re unlikely to notice the laptop struggle with too many browser tabs.
5. Everything in a Single Machine
You don’t need to buy a separate monitor, keyboard, or mouse. You might not even need to buy a headset, if the laptop includes speakers and a microphone. Everything you need is already included in your machine, which saves you money and time hunting for peripherals.
It also means that if something goes wrong, and you’re still in warranty, you can speak to the laptop manufacturer and get them to resolve it.
The Disadvantages of a Gaming Laptop
These are all the reasons for why you should save your money and avoid buying a gaming laptop.
PC gaming doesn’t come cheap and that’s especially true with gaming laptops, which tend to be more expensive than their desktop counterparts.
While it’s not uncommon to build your own gaming PC, it’s essentially pointless (and very difficult) to build your own laptop. That, combined with the cost of the parts, means that manufacturers can charge a premium.
2. Poor Battery Life
All of that intensive gaming puts a lot of strain on the laptop’s battery. While some gaming laptops have beefier batteries than others, you can usually consider six hours to be the general lifespan of a single charge. Some can’t even manage half that.
While it’s irrelevant if you intend to keep the laptop plugged in most of the time, you won’t want to travel far without your charger for an extended gaming session, which limits your options somewhat.
3. Prone to Overheating and Noise
One reason typical desktop PCs have such large cases is because it gives the components enough room to breathe. Nearly everything inside a computer generates a lot of heat, which is why fans and other cooling systems are essential.
In a gaming laptop, everything is packed tightly into a small space, which isn’t ideal for dispersing heat. It also means the fans inside have to work really hard, so it’s not uncommon for a gaming laptop to sound like a helicopter taking off.
It’s incredibly important to keep your computer cool, but this is hard to achieve on a laptop. It means the components are more likely to fail in a shorter timespan than they would on a desktop.
4. Difficult to Upgrade
If you want to upgrade your desktop PC, it’s not too difficult. Pop open the case, remove the component, and slot in your upgrade. Okay, replacing something like your motherboard is trickier, but it’s not hard to switch out your RAM or GPU.
You’ll have a harder time on a gaming laptop. That’s because these machines are designed within an inch of their life to maximize the space, with components layered on top of each other. That means it can be incredibly cumbersome to replace a part and upgrade the laptop. The worst-case scenario is that you break something.
5. A Touchpad Is Bad to Game On
While the portability and self-contained nature of a gaming laptop is great, it’s also a drawback. It means you’re forced to use the keyboard and touchpad that comes included on the laptop, which limits your choice.
It might be easy to play a relaxing point-and-click adventure with a touchpad, but good luck with anything fast-paced. You’ll crave an external mouse, and perhaps a nicer keyboard, which begins to lessen the benefit of a gaming laptop in the first place.
Should You Buy a Gaming Laptop?
If you travel a lot and want a machine that can handle internet browsing, emails, and intensive gaming in one, a gaming laptop might be for you. However, be aware that it’s unlikely to last as long as a traditional gaming desktop.
You might also want to consider Valve’s Steam Deck, which is a portable device designed specifically for high-end PC gaming. Since it runs on Linux, it offers more versatility than a console like the Nintendo Switch does.
What Is Valve’s Steam Deck? Everything You Need to Know
Need to know more about Valve’s new handheld gaming rig? OK, lets see what this palm-friendly portable is all about.
About The Author
Joe Keeley (804 Articles Published)
Joe was born with a keyboard in his hands and immediately started writing about technology. He has a BA (Hons) in Business and is now a full-time freelance writer who enjoys making tech simple for everyone.