Every year we test a huge batch of gaming gear to find the winners to suit all budgets. Here are the laptops.
A quick reminder of how we review gaming gear:
- We test the main features, including advanced functions and ease of use.
- We check the build quality, use of durable materials and smart design.
- Finally we consider the price compared with its competitors.
- That’s FEATURES + BUILD + PRICE = VALUE.
- We also consider the suitability of each product for different kinds of users.
Acer Predator Helios 700
As its name suggests, this is the model that Acer would throw into a battle pit and expect it to emerge victorious. Obviously it’s got all the best goodies, from the latest i9 chip to Nvidia’s RTX 2080 graphics, but Acer has added a unique feature that will matter to gamers: The keyboard slides back to allow proper airflow through the chassis, so both CPU and GPU run overclocked for extended periods. It’s also the first screen we know that can run at 144 Hz. You might reasonably have expected cool aluminium or magnesium cladding, but you’re stuck with underwhelming plastic panels all round.
i9, Nvidia RTX 2080, 17” screen 144 Hz, 64 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD, 1 TB HDD, price TBA
MSI Prestige PS63
We were hesitant to include this model in our line-up. After all, MSI is better known for their beast-like gaming rigs, and this one certainly looks tame by comparison. The specs seem great for a media maven, a serious vlogger or a digital creative, but on closer inspection, we found an i7 and a solid Nvidia GTX 1050 with 4 GB. A lot of what makes a great multimedia also works for gaming, so when you’re done with your daily digital edit, you can still join the fray.
i7-8565U, Nvidia GTX 1050, 15.6” FHD screen, 16 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, R23 000
Alienware Area 51
With the configuration of the M51, laptop gamers can finally get full gaming desktop PC performance, and it’s designed for you to easily upgrade CPU, GPU, RAM and more as new tech becomes available. There are some serious compromises, of course. Using desktop parts makes it loud and heavy. The two power supplies, together with the laptop, means you’re lugging 6 kg of gear. And the price tag puts it well out of reach of most gamers.
i7-8700, Nvidia RTX 2060, 17” screen, 32 GB RAM, 128 GB SSD, 1 TB HDD, From R30 000
ASUS TUF FX505
You don’t have to spend R25 000 to outgun your mates, and Asus proved it with this model. For far less than that, you’re getting a serious AMD Ryzen, ample 8 GB RAM and a very capable Nvidia GTX 1650 graphics system. The boring plastic body panels and overall build quality is a step down, but the Full-HD screen is sharp and fast, and you’ll definitely be competitive.
i7 8750H, Nvidia GTX 1650, 15.6” FHD screen, 8 GB RAM, 1 TB storage, R18 000