Best Gaming Laptops under 3000 USD

Best Gaming Laptops under 3000 Dollars – Full Review

Gaming laptops represent the holy grail of PC gaming devices, competing and even displacing gaming desktops in most cases. This review on the best gaming laptops under 3000 dollars takes a hard look at a selection of the best-rated machines you can get for gaming on the go.

We are going to look at models from some of the best brands including ASUS, Razer, MSI, Dell, Lenovo, Acer, and not forgetting Alienware. Each of these brands are reputable in their own right, and make great gaming laptops. So here we go!

Comparison Table for the Best Gaming Laptops under 3000 Dollars

Photo
MSI GS75 Stealth-093 17.3" Razor Thin Bezel Gaming Laptop...
BEST GAMING LAPTOP BRAND
Razer Blade Pro 17 Gaming Laptop 2019: Intel Core i7-9750H,...
BEST RYZEN ALTERNATIVE
ASUS TUF (2019) Gaming Laptop, 15.6” 120Hz FHD IPS-Type,...
MOST POPULAR BRAND
Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop, 15.6" Full HD IPS,...
Alienware New M15 Gaming Laptop, 15.6" 144hz FHD Display,...
2019 Lenovo Legion Y540 15.6" FHD Gaming Laptop Computer,...
Brand/Model
MSI GS75 Stealth-093 17.3" Razor Thin Bezel Gaming Laptop...
Razer Blade Pro 17 Gaming Laptop 2019: Intel Core i7-9750H,...
ASUS TUF (2019) Gaming Laptop, 15.6” 120Hz FHD IPS-Type,...
Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop, 15.6" Full HD IPS,...
Alienware New M15 Gaming Laptop, 15.6" 144hz FHD Display,...
2019 Lenovo Legion Y540 15.6" FHD Gaming Laptop Computer,...
Prime Status
-
-
-
Star Rating
Quick Specs
CPU: Intel Six-Core i7-8750H, 2.2GHz up to 4.1 GHz
GPU: NVIDIA Geforce RTX 2080 Max-Q with 8GB VRAM
RAM: 32GB DDR4
Display: 15.6” FHD 120Hz refresh rate, 3ms response time, G-Sync, Anti-glare
Storage: 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD
CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H Six Core Processor
GPU: NVIDIA Quadro RTX 2070 Max-Q 8GB
RAM: 16GB DDR4
Display: 17.3" Full HD IPS 144Hz Display
Storage: 512TB NVMe SSD
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 R7-3750H processor
GPU: GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 4GB
RAM: 16GB DDR4 2666MHz
Display: 15.5" FHD 120 Hz Refresh rate
Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD
CPU: 9th Gen Intel Core i7 9750H 6-core chip
GPU: NVIDIA GTX 1660
RAM: 16GB DDR4
Display: 15.6" Full HD (1920x1080) Display
Storage: 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD
CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H processor
GPU: NVIDIA RTX 2060 with 6GB VRAM
RAM: 16GB DDR4 2666 MHz
Display: 15.6" FHD (1920x1080), IPS-Level 144Hz Display
Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD
CPU: Six-core Intel Core i7 9750H
GPU: NVIDIA GTX 1650 4GB
RAM: 8 GB DDR4-2666 SDRAM
Display: 15.6" 144Hz Full HD Display
Storage: 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
Weight
6.7 lbs
6.1 lbs
4.92 lbs
5.2 lbs
4.76 lbs
4.8lbs
Price
$1,899.00
$1,699.99
$975.60
$1,389.00
$1,889.00
$1,199.00
Photo
MSI GS75 Stealth-093 17.3" Razor Thin Bezel Gaming Laptop...
Brand/Model
MSI GS75 Stealth-093 17.3" Razor Thin Bezel Gaming Laptop...
Prime Status
Star Rating
Quick Specs
CPU: Intel Six-Core i7-8750H, 2.2GHz up to 4.1 GHz
GPU: NVIDIA Geforce RTX 2080 Max-Q with 8GB VRAM
RAM: 32GB DDR4
Display: 15.6” FHD 120Hz refresh rate, 3ms response time, G-Sync, Anti-glare
Storage: 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD
Weight
6.7 lbs
Price
$1,899.00
BEST GAMING LAPTOP BRAND
Photo
Razer Blade Pro 17 Gaming Laptop 2019: Intel Core i7-9750H,...
Brand/Model
Razer Blade Pro 17 Gaming Laptop 2019: Intel Core i7-9750H,...
Prime Status
-
Star Rating
Quick Specs
CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H Six Core Processor
GPU: NVIDIA Quadro RTX 2070 Max-Q 8GB
RAM: 16GB DDR4
Display: 17.3" Full HD IPS 144Hz Display
Storage: 512TB NVMe SSD
Weight
6.1 lbs
Price
$1,699.99
BEST RYZEN ALTERNATIVE
Photo
ASUS TUF (2019) Gaming Laptop, 15.6” 120Hz FHD IPS-Type,...
Brand/Model
ASUS TUF (2019) Gaming Laptop, 15.6” 120Hz FHD IPS-Type,...
Prime Status
Star Rating
Quick Specs
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 R7-3750H processor
GPU: GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 4GB
RAM: 16GB DDR4 2666MHz
Display: 15.5" FHD 120 Hz Refresh rate
Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD
Weight
4.92 lbs
Price
$975.60
MOST POPULAR BRAND
Photo
Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop, 15.6" Full HD IPS,...
Brand/Model
Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop, 15.6" Full HD IPS,...
Prime Status
-
Star Rating
Quick Specs
CPU: 9th Gen Intel Core i7 9750H 6-core chip
GPU: NVIDIA GTX 1660
RAM: 16GB DDR4
Display: 15.6" Full HD (1920x1080) Display
Storage: 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD
Weight
5.2 lbs
Price
$1,389.00
Photo
Alienware New M15 Gaming Laptop, 15.6" 144hz FHD Display,...
Brand/Model
Alienware New M15 Gaming Laptop, 15.6" 144hz FHD Display,...
Prime Status
Star Rating
Quick Specs
CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H processor
GPU: NVIDIA RTX 2060 with 6GB VRAM
RAM: 16GB DDR4 2666 MHz
Display: 15.6" FHD (1920x1080), IPS-Level 144Hz Display
Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD
Weight
4.76 lbs
Price
$1,889.00
Photo
2019 Lenovo Legion Y540 15.6" FHD Gaming Laptop Computer,...
Brand/Model
2019 Lenovo Legion Y540 15.6" FHD Gaming Laptop Computer,...
Prime Status
-
Star Rating
Quick Specs
CPU: Six-core Intel Core i7 9750H
GPU: NVIDIA GTX 1650 4GB
RAM: 8 GB DDR4-2666 SDRAM
Display: 15.6" 144Hz Full HD Display
Storage: 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
Weight
4.8lbs
Price
$1,199.00

Photo
BEST DESIGN
ASUS ROG Zephyrus S Ultra Slim Gaming Laptop, 15.6” 144Hz...
MSI GS75 Stealth-093 17.3" Razor Thin Bezel Gaming Laptop...
Razer Blade 15 Advanced Gaming Laptop 2020: Intel Core...
BEST BUDGET
Lenovo Ideapad L340 Gaming Laptop, 15.6 Inch FHD (1920 X...
BEST VALUE
ASUS TUF506IV-AS76 TUF Gaming A15 Gaming Laptop, 15.6”...
BEST HIGH-END
MSI GE75 Raider 10SGS-222 17.3" 300Hz 3ms Gaming Laptop...
Brand/Model
ASUS ROG Zephyrus S Ultra Slim Gaming Laptop, 15.6” 144Hz...
MSI GS75 Stealth-093 17.3" Razor Thin Bezel Gaming Laptop...
Razer Blade 15 Advanced Gaming Laptop 2020: Intel Core...
Lenovo Ideapad L340 Gaming Laptop, 15.6 Inch FHD (1920 X...
ASUS TUF506IV-AS76 TUF Gaming A15 Gaming Laptop, 15.6”...
MSI GE75 Raider 10SGS-222 17.3" 300Hz 3ms Gaming Laptop...
Prime Status
-
Star Rating
Quick Specs
CPU: Intel Six-Core i7-8750H, 2.2GHz up to 4.1 GHz
GPU: NVIDIA Geforce RTX 2080 Max-Q with 8GB VRAM
RAM: 16GB DDR4
Display: 15.6” FHD 144Hz refresh rate
Storage: 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD
CPU: Intel Core i7-8750H Six Core Processor
GPU: NVIDIA Quadro RTX 2080 Max-Q 8GB
RAM: 32GB DDR4
Display: 17.3" Full HD IPS 144Hz Display, 3ms response time
Storage: 2TB NVMe SSD
CPU: with Intel Core i7-10875H 8-Core processor
GPU: NVIDIA RTX 2080 Super Max-Q
RAM: 16GB DDR4 2666MHz
Display: 4K OLED 15.5" FHD Display, 300 Hz Refresh rate, 3 ms response time
Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD
CPU: 9th Gen Intel Core i5-9300H Processor
GPU:NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
RAM: 8GB DDR4
Display: 15.6" Full HD IPS Display
Storage: 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 4800H 8-core processor
GPU: NVIDIA RTX 2060 with 6GB VRAM
RAM: 16GB DDR4 2666 MHz
Display: 15.6" FHD (1920x1080), IPS-Level 144Hz Display
Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD
CPU: S10th Gen Intel Core i9-10980HK
GPU:NVIDIA RTX 2080 Super with Max-Q
RAM: 32GB DDR4-2666 SDRAM
Display: 17.3" 300Hz Full HD Display
Storage: 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD
Weight
4.6 lbs
5.03 lbs
4.87 lbs
4.59 lbs
4.8 lbs
5.78 lbs
Price
$2,594.68
$1,899.00
$2,299.99
$724.67
$1,185.63
Price not available
BEST DESIGN
Photo
ASUS ROG Zephyrus S Ultra Slim Gaming Laptop, 15.6” 144Hz...
Brand/Model
ASUS ROG Zephyrus S Ultra Slim Gaming Laptop, 15.6” 144Hz...
Prime Status
Star Rating
Quick Specs
CPU: Intel Six-Core i7-8750H, 2.2GHz up to 4.1 GHz
GPU: NVIDIA Geforce RTX 2080 Max-Q with 8GB VRAM
RAM: 16GB DDR4
Display: 15.6” FHD 144Hz refresh rate
Storage: 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD
Weight
4.6 lbs
Price
$2,594.68
Photo
MSI GS75 Stealth-093 17.3" Razor Thin Bezel Gaming Laptop...
Brand/Model
MSI GS75 Stealth-093 17.3" Razor Thin Bezel Gaming Laptop...
Prime Status
Star Rating
Quick Specs
CPU: Intel Core i7-8750H Six Core Processor
GPU: NVIDIA Quadro RTX 2080 Max-Q 8GB
RAM: 32GB DDR4
Display: 17.3" Full HD IPS 144Hz Display, 3ms response time
Storage: 2TB NVMe SSD
Weight
5.03 lbs
Price
$1,899.00
Photo
Razer Blade 15 Advanced Gaming Laptop 2020: Intel Core...
Brand/Model
Razer Blade 15 Advanced Gaming Laptop 2020: Intel Core...
Prime Status
Star Rating
Quick Specs
CPU: with Intel Core i7-10875H 8-Core processor
GPU: NVIDIA RTX 2080 Super Max-Q
RAM: 16GB DDR4 2666MHz
Display: 4K OLED 15.5" FHD Display, 300 Hz Refresh rate, 3 ms response time
Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD
Weight
4.87 lbs
Price
$2,299.99
BEST BUDGET
Photo
Lenovo Ideapad L340 Gaming Laptop, 15.6 Inch FHD (1920 X...
Brand/Model
Lenovo Ideapad L340 Gaming Laptop, 15.6 Inch FHD (1920 X...
Prime Status
Star Rating
Quick Specs
CPU: 9th Gen Intel Core i5-9300H Processor
GPU:NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
RAM: 8GB DDR4
Display: 15.6" Full HD IPS Display
Storage: 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
Weight
4.59 lbs
Price
$724.67
BEST VALUE
Photo
ASUS TUF506IV-AS76 TUF Gaming A15 Gaming Laptop, 15.6”...
Brand/Model
ASUS TUF506IV-AS76 TUF Gaming A15 Gaming Laptop, 15.6”...
Prime Status
Star Rating
Quick Specs
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 4800H 8-core processor
GPU: NVIDIA RTX 2060 with 6GB VRAM
RAM: 16GB DDR4 2666 MHz
Display: 15.6" FHD (1920x1080), IPS-Level 144Hz Display
Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD
Weight
4.8 lbs
Price
$1,185.63
BEST HIGH-END
Photo
MSI GE75 Raider 10SGS-222 17.3" 300Hz 3ms Gaming Laptop...
Brand/Model
MSI GE75 Raider 10SGS-222 17.3" 300Hz 3ms Gaming Laptop...
Prime Status
-
Star Rating
Quick Specs
CPU: S10th Gen Intel Core i9-10980HK
GPU:NVIDIA RTX 2080 Super with Max-Q
RAM: 32GB DDR4-2666 SDRAM
Display: 17.3" 300Hz Full HD Display
Storage: 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD
Weight
5.78 lbs
Price
Price not available

Gaming laptops have become increasingly powerful, in most cases outperforming desktop gaming PCs l Image Credit: acer.com

IN THIS REVIEW…
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Best Gaming Laptops under 3000 Dollars – 12 Machines Reviewed

We review 12 of the best gaming laptops under 3000 Dollars that you can get right now. Certain criteria are put into consideration for our choices, from budget, to screen size, to usability, and most importantly, weight and battery life. From time to time, we will update this list to include models based on availability. Please understand that we may get a commission for qualifying purchases made through links on this page.

MSI GT63 Titan Gaming Laptop

Best Gaming Laptops under 3000 Dollars

This is a powerful gaming laptop from MSI, the company that makes great computing hardware. The MSI GT63 Titan is loaded with impressive hardware that will take your gaming to the next level. The Titan comes in different configurations, with different CPU models, GPUs and RAM sizes.

This machine comes equipped with a six-core Intel Core i7-8750H, an NVIDIA Geforce RTX 2080 Max-Q Graphics card with 8GB VRAM, 32GB of RAM, and a 512GB NVMe SSD for storage.

Design

The build is impressive, featuring a black/grey brushed aluminum chassis with the familiar MSI logo etched on the lid. The bezel is quite thick, which would have been toned down. The design trend these days tend to gravitate towards ultra-thin bezels. We don’t know why they didn’t implement that in this model.

Keyboard/Trackpad

The keyboard is beautiful, with per-key RGB lighting. Typing on them is comfortable enough. We found out the Windows key was moved to another location which could be frustrating at first. But then, you kind of get used to it with time.

Display

The display is also quite attractive, with the full HD screen colors are vivid and bright. It also has G-Sync built in for fluid gaming experience, with 120Hz refresh rate. The brightness is not that impressive, at just 274 nits. This is just 4 units short of the 278-nit average for gaming.

Audio

The audio is crisp and sharp, with well-balanced highs and mids, though the bass could be better. It’s not really a big deal though, because the audio is quite loud enough for a laptop speaker.

Battery Life of the MSI GT63 Titan Gaming Laptop

The battery life is not that impressive, but we’ve come to expect that from laptops featuring high-end hardware. At heavy usage, expect to extract up to 2 hours and 30 minutes from this laptop. However, if you are just typing, then it will definitely last up to 5 hours.

Temps

During intensive gameplay, the Titan can get quite hot, clocking up to 120o. So you might want to keep it on a table for prolonged gaming.

Gameplay/Performance

This machine can handle quite anything you throw at it, with this kind of hardware crammed into the chassis. On Geekbench 4, the Titan is able to score a decent 20,137, higher than the premium gaming average of 19,253. Impressive. File transfer is quite fast, coming in at 565 MB/s, faster than the average. In encoding, the Titan spent around 12 minutes transcoding a 1-hour 4K video down to 1080p.

Gameplay varies with games though, but the Titan handles most games comfortably at high settings. Please see the table below for select gameplay stats.

GAME FPS SETTINGS
Rise of the Tomb Raider 68 Very High
GTA V 85 Very High
Middle-earth: Shadow of War 99/~40 Very High/Ultra High
Hitman 120 Ultra High
Metro: Last Light 52 High

The Titan is also VR-Ready, meaning you just need a VR headset and a VR title and you are good to go.

Connectivity

The Titan is well equipped with multiple connectivity options. See table below for details.

Upgradability

This laptop is upgradeable. You can upgrade the RAM and storage quite easily by removing the screws at the base. The maximum supported RAM is 64GB, so you might want to add an extra 32GB stick. The Titan is quite speedy and is a high performer in the latest games, but the poor design is something to keep in mind if you really want to get it, without seriously considering that.

Specifications of the MSI GT63 Titan Gaming Laptop

Display 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080)
120Hz refresh rate, 3ms response time,
G-Sync, Anti-glare
CPU Intel Core i7-8750H 2.2 – 4.1GHz (6 cores)
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (8GB GDDR5X)
RAM 32GB DDR4-2666MHz
SSD 512GB NVMe SSD
HDD 1TB, 7400-rpm
Optical No
Networking Killer N1550 2×2 ac Wi-Fi, Ethernet jack
Video Ports HDMI, Mini DisplayPort 1.2
USB Ports 3x USB 3.1 Type-A, 1x USB 2.0 Type-A,
1x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C
Audio 4x 2W speakers, 1x subwoofer,
1x headphone jack, 1x microphone jack,
1x line-in, 1x line out
Camera 1080p webcam
Battery 75Whr
Power Adapter 330W
Operating System  Windows 10 Pro
Dimensions (WxDxH)  15.3 x 10.5 x 1.6 inches
Weight 6.7 pounds


PROS


  • Premium hardware
  • Beautiful keyboard
  • Upgradable




CONS


  • Overly thick bezel
  • High temps
  • Inconsistent touchpad behavior in Windows



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Razer Blade Pro 17 Gaming Laptop

Best Gaming Laptops under 3000 Dollars

Razer says their gaming laptops are made by gamers, for gamers. This promise has been kept to a large extent, right from the first product from Razer back in 2005– the Diamondback gaming mouse. Anyways, Razer as a gaming hardware and systems manufacturer, has a couple of impressive laptops in their kitty, and one of them is the Razer Blade Pro 17. For the record, this machine packs desktop-grade performance in gaming and productivity apps.

This unit comes with an Intel Core i7-9750H CPU, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q Graphics card with 8GB VRAM, 17.3″ FHD 144hz, 16GB RAM, and a 512GB SSD for storage.

Design

The Razer Pro 17 chassis is crafted from CNC aluminum uni-body making it sturdy and compact. The color is a cool grey-black matte finish. The lid opens smoothly and effortlessly to reveal the 144Hz maximized screen, thanks to the thin bezel design. The weight of this machine is around 6lbs, and we would say this is average weight.

The slim bezel on the display is equally beautiful, and another striking element on the lid is the Razer insignia which lights up when the machine powers up.

Keyboard/Trackpad

The Razer Pro 17 has an exceptionally beautiful keyboard which is capable of per key lighting, thanks to the Chroma lighting. The Synapse 3 app which is bundled with the laptop offers you more options to play around with the keyboard lighting. There are 11 presets you can apply, or you can set your own personal color to reflect your mood. Nice.

The keys are quite a pleasure to type with, though this is not a full keyboard layout. However, the arrow keys are present. On both sides of the keyboard you will find the installed speakers. There’s also the glass touchpad which allows you to perform gestures in Windows™, such as pinch, zoom and three finger swipe. This allows you to effortlessly navigate between apps and the Windows™ environment.

Display

This machine has an awesome full HD anti-glare matte display, which does an awesome job of displaying colors and detail. Note that this display is rated at 119% of the sRGB gamut, which is above the 100% threshold. This means it is capable of displaying more than all the colors in the sRGB color space. Colors just stand out on this display, in gaming and movies.

The display is vivid, sharp and bright enough for everyday work. However, the brightness averages just 304 nits, which falls short of the 344-nit average for gaming laptops.

Audio

The Blade Pro 17 is fitted with 2 Dolby Atmos enabled speakers, and they sound quite loud. When playing music, the sound come out crisp and has more emphasis on the mid-range frequencies. However, you can fine tune the output via the audio driver interface if you want.

It has six settings which you can try out for different scenarios, especially the Game setting for gaming.

Battery Life

Gaming laptops don’t have exceptional battery life, like business laptops. The Razer Pro 17 managed to garner up to 4 hours 40 minutes on battery tests. On hardcore gaming, expect the battery life to last in the region of 2 to 3 hours, depending on the game being played.

On everyday tasks, such as light browsing or typing in Word, the battery life shoots up to between 6 to 7 hours. Typical. Just so you know, this is a desktop replacement laptop. So don’t expect exceptional battery life like you’d get with ultrabooks. This machine is meant to be plugged into a wall for sustained work or play.

Temps

The Razer Pro 17 gets warm during serious gaming. This is typical, given the premium hardware crammed into this machine. Expect the underside to get as high as 100 degrees. However, the vapor chamber cooling system does a good job of keeping this machine at manageable temperatures. The design includes a sizable gap and exhaust vent near the display’s hinge to facilitate cooling. From experience, cooling is one area where Razer laptops have improved over the years, and it’s quite noticeable on this gaming laptop.

Gameplay/Performance of the Razer Blade Pro 17

The GTX 2080 Super Max-Q on this machine does a fantastic job of handling the games thrown at it. Here are some stats for some games.

GAME FPS SETTINGS
Trials of Mana 120 High
GTA V 80 Ultra High
The Witcher III: Wild Hunt 98 Very High
Shadow of the Tomb Raider 89 High
Metro: Exodus 54 High
Far Cry: New Dawn 87 High

The Razer Blade Pro 17 handles productivity quite flawlessly as it multi-tasks smoothly without breaking sweat. It scored a total of 22,810 on Geekbench 4.3. also, it was able to transcode a 1 hour 4K video to 1080p in 9 minutes and 31 seconds. In file transfer speed, it clocked up to 848 MB/s which is fast.

Connectivity

This machine has plenty options for connectivity including USB Type A, Type C, Thunderbolt, HDMI, card reader, Ethernet port, and a Kensington lock.

Upgradability

You can upgrade the storage and the RAM easily by accessing the components through the underside. The machine can support a max RAM of 64GB.

Specifications of the Razer Blade Pro 17

Display 17.3-inch, 1920 x 1080, 300 Hz
CPU Intel Core i7-10875H
Graphics Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080
Super Max-Q (8GB GDDR6)
RAM 16GB DDR4 2933 MHz 
SSD 512B PCIe NVMe SSD
HDD No
Optical No
Networking 802.11ax Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.1
Ports 3x USB 3.2 Type-A, 1x USB 3.2 Type C,
1x HDMI 2.0, 1x RJ-45,
1x 3.5 mm Microphone/Headphone jack
Audio 4x 2W speakers, 1x subwoofer,
1x headphone jack, 1x microphone jack,
1x line-in, 1x line out
Camera 720p camera
Battery 70.5 Whr
Power Adapter 230W
Operating System  Windows 10 Home
Dimensions (WxDxH)  15.6 x 10.2 x 0.8 inches
Weight 6.1 pounds


PROS


  • Solid build
  • Great design
  • Awesome gaming performance




CONS


  • Too shallow keys
  • Heavy
  • Poorly designed trackpad



ASUS TUF Gaming Laptop

Best Gaming Laptops under 3000 Dollars

Asus delivers a Ryzen gaming laptop with this beautiful model, the Asus TUF Gaming Laptop. This machine provides entry-level gaming performance for a budget price point, way below the prestigious Republic of Gamers gaming laptop series. However, it still manages to get the job done, albeit with some performance drawbacks.

This unit is a 15.6” laptop with AMD Ryzen 7 R7-3750H processor, 120Hz FHD IPS display, a GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics card, 16GB DDR4 RAM, and a 256GB PCIe SSD and a 1TB hard drive.

Design

In terms of design, this machine is not that great. The chassis has a slightly flexible feel, and the hinges don’t glide smoothly when closing the lid, as you’d expect in other models. The whole chassis has a plastic material, which is not surprising though.

The edges of the chassis have a chamfered profile, which may be cool for gamers. The lid has a textured brushed aluminum-like surface, with the familiar ASUS logo etched on top. The screen has a nice narrow bezel design, though the lower bezel is quite thick. In terms of weight, we’d consider this lappie relatively lightweight, coming in at just 4.92 lbs.

Keyboard/Trackpad

The keyboard is equipped with backlighting, though it’s a single color light. The keys feature light-moderate clatter, slightly soft feedback, and moderately deep travel of the keyboard keys during keystrokes. This is not a full-layout keyboard, as the Number Pad and Arrow keys are much smaller than the main QWERTY keys and kinda cramped together.

Display

The display is a 15.6” Full HD IPS panel, with a refresh rate of 120Hz. It performs quite well in gaming, and that’s about where its excellence ends.

Colors don’t come off rich and vivid, no thanks to the low sRGB coverage, at just 59%. If you want to edit photos or videos on this thing, think again. It’s only good for the gaming, and nothing more.

Also, the brightness is just normal, nothing great. If you are going to be gaming outdoors, you are better off doing it in the shade than in the open sunlight because the 267 nits of brightness is quite inadequate for open sunlight.

Audio

Gaming with the speakers on this unit gives average performance in terms of volume, with up to 76 dB at head-level, and subpar in terms of quality. The actuals sound chambers are small; with the sound coming through narrow cuts on the sides and is rather tiny. The sound features ok mids and highs, with little on the low-end frequencies. It can also output surround sound to headphones and external speakers through the 3.5 mm jack.

Battery Life

As is common with gaming laptops, this unit is plagued by an unimpressive battery life. In light work such as movie watching or browsing, expect up to 4.5 hours of continuous use. For hardcore gaming, don’t expect anything more than 1 hour 30 minutes.

Temps

The Asus TUF Gaming Laptop does great at managing its thermals. The GPU never exceeded 71o C at 100% usage, and didn’t show any signs of throttling. One way to ensure this is to make sure fans are on Turbo, which can be done with a touch of a button on the keyboard, which is quite convenient.

It’s also worth mentioning that the top of this laptop doesn’t get hot, even after prolonged gaming sessions, so you can rest your hands on the keyboard without feeling discomfort. The fan noise levels are also quite modest, as there are way noisier machines out there.

Gameplay/Performance

GAME FPS SETTINGS
Rise of the Tomb Raider 64.4/54.4 High/Ultra
Far Cry 5 60+ Ultra
The Witcher III: Wild Hunt 62.7/36.2 High/Ultra High
Shadow of the Tomb Raider 45/41 High/Ultra
BioShock Infinite 183.9/73.9 Low/Ultra
Batman: Arkham Knight 67/44 High/Ultra
Rise of the Tomb Raider 64.4/54.4 High/Ultra
Ashes of the Singularity 36 High
Overwatch 133.2/86.4 High/Ultra
Rocket League 127.5 High

Connectivity

This machine has many connectivity options including HDMI, Gigabit LAN, and USB Type A. See specs for details. The only thing is the concentration of all the ports on the left side, leaving the right side almost empty.

Upgradability

Upgrading your RAM or storage is a snap, simply by removing all the bottom screws and carefully popping the bottom panel off. The entire bottom comes off the machine easily. The machine supports a maximum of 32GB DDR4, so you can actually upgrade it.

Specifications of the ASUS TUF Gaming Laptop

Display 15.6 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel, IPS, 120 Hz
CPU AMD Ryzen 7 3750H 4 x 2.3 – 4 GHz, Zen+
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 4GB
RAM 8GB DDR4-2666
SSD Intel SSD 512 GB
HDD None
Optical None
Networking Realtek Gigabit-LAN & Wireless LAN
802.11ac PCIe Adapter, Bluetooth 4.2
Ports 1 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 HDMI,
1 Kensington Lock, Audio: 3.5 mm jack
Mainboard AMD Promontory/Bixby FCH
Audio AMD Raven – Audio Processor –
HD Audio Controller
Camera 1080p webcam
Battery 48 Whr Lithium-Polymer
Power Adapter 330W
OS Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Dimensions (WxDxH) 1.06 x 14.19 x 10.31 in
Weight 2.23 kg (4.92 pounds),
Power Supply: 417 g (0.92 pounds)
Additional Features Speakers: 2W stereo, Keyboard: Chiclet,
Keyboard Light: yes, McAfee LifeSafe,
Asus Armoury Crate, 12 Months Warranty


PROS


  • Great keyboard
  • High display refresh rate
  • Great performance for the price
  • Low fan noise




CONS


  • Lack of adaptive refresh rate
  • Poor battery life
  • Lower frame rates on some games
  • Poor color output



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Acer Predator Helios 300

Best Gaming Laptops under 3000 Dollars

The Helios 300 is one of Acer’s offerings for PC gaming in the laptop category. The Predator series has enjoyed great popularity among gamers, with a slew of products ranging from desktops to monitors, mice, headsets, backpacks, and gaming laptops. The Helios 300 makes a bold statement in the budget-mid-range category of gamers.

The machine comes in different configurations, but this unit is a 15.6” laptop featuring the NVIDIA GTX 1660 and the 9th Gen Intel Core i7 9750H 6-core chip. The memory is 16GB DDR4 RAM, and the storage is a 256GB SSD.

Design

The Helios 300 adorns some good looks, which is a departure from the previous generation. The chassis is a nice and sturdy aluminum material, with blue lighting accents for aesthetics. The keyboard deck is also the same aluminum material. The chassis is well-built and designed, with solid but flexible hinges that allow it to be opened with one hand.

The bevels and underside is made of plastic material – which is good because heat conductivity will be reduced while carrying it on your lap. The weight is also quite light, just a little above 5lbs. Its beveled edges make it easier to grab, and the screen bezels aren’t quite thick. Just average. Overall, not a bad design.

Keyboard/Trackpad

The keyboard is a nice backlit keyboard, with the main keys measuring 15 mm². The keys are spaced reasonably with a little convexity, quiet and just have a nice feel. Typing on them is smooth and super-easy. The number pad keys are much narrower than the rest of the keys.

The keyboard backlight is blue, which is optically pleasing. Some users may find it pleasant, but you don’t really want to use it at night because it could interfere with sleep, or you simply turn if off at night. Some keys like the WASD are much better highlighted visually, which makes them stand out.

The trackpad is also beautifully designed, with the familiar blue accent lighting around its perimeter. It can perform multi-finger gestures, and also has two mouse buttons for clicking. The size is just right and sits conveniently a little to the left of the keyboard.

Display

The 1080p FHD display is reasonably color accurate, with up to 93% sRGB coverage. This isn’t a big issue anyway, because this is primarily a gaming laptop, not for image or video editing. The brightness level is rated at 310 nits, which is more like standard for laptops. However, you shouldn’t use this in bright sunlight, or you’ll get a washed out screen. Use in shade for better viewing experience.

The display also suffers from average backlight bleed, which is quite typical of IPS displays.

Audio

The audio output of this laptop is produced by dual stereo speakers on the underside of the unit. The sound quality is typical of most laptops – strong mids and highs, weak lows. The absence of a sub-woofer gives you sub-par sound quality, which of course you can mitigate with a quality headphone or external speakers.

As for loudness, it leaves much to be desired. The bundled Predator Sense can be used to make noticeable difference in sound output, and this can be achieved by changing the supplied presets. You can also turn on the virtual surround functionality for additional audio depth.

Battery Life

As is common with desktop replacement gaming laptops, you shouldn’t except stellar battery life like you’ll get in netbooks. The Helios 300 manages to squeeze out up to 6 hours in normal usage sans gaming. However, when you’re gaming expect to get between 1-2 hours on max brightness. Abysmal.

Temps

The Helios 300 doesn’t get uncomfortably hot during intensive gameplay, but it can get hot if you don’t set the fans to a steady 100%. The laptop cooling system is powered by Acer’s 4th Gen AeroBlade 3D Fan Technology, and it does a fairly good job of keeping the machine cool.

The Helios 300 stays relatively cool to the touch when on idle state. However, most areas can get hot under sustained load, even though the palm rest averages around 30°C when gaming. Relatively, this is one of the best vented laptops around.

Gameplay/Performance

This laptop performs incredibly well in gaming, being able to run most of the AAA titles at 1080p on max settings. The 144Hz display refresh rate helps a lot for smooth gaming. The laptop comes pre-configured with an overclock setting called “Turbo” mode which you can activate via a button to the upper-left of the keyboard. You can, of course, create your own overclocking profiles.

G-Sync is not available on this machine, though the GTX 1660 is capable of pushing it. The machine’s performance in select games is outlined below.

GAME FPS SETTINGS
BioShock Infinite 237/128 High/Ultra
The Witcher III: Wild Hunt 93/54.6 High/Ultra
Rise of the Tomb Raider 86/74 High/Ultra 
X-Plane 11.11 89 High
Dota 2 Reborn 64 High

The bundled Norton Ultimate Security app is not necessary, as Windows Defender does a fairly good job of securing the system. You can uninstall this easily if you desire. The speedy NVMe drive racks up a sequential write speed of 2385 MB/s, which is quite impressive. In PC Mark 10 tests, the Helios 300 scores 7312 Points which is impressive for a machine of this caliber.

Connectivity

The Helios 300 has most of the common ports you’d expect to find in a modern laptop, including USB 3 (Type-A & Type-C), HDMI, Mini-DisplayPort, Ethernet port, and audio jack. One noticeable lacking port is the card reader, which can be mitigated with an external card reader.

The system also has Killer Wireless-AC 1550i chipset for wireless connectivity, and it performs incredibly well in Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet transfer speeds. 

Upgradability

Upgrading your storage or RAM only takes removing the bottom part by unscrewing the 10 Philips screws, which gives you access to the components.

Specifications of the Acer Predator Helios 300

Display 1920 x 1080 (Full HD); 144Hz
CPU Intel Core i7 (9th Gen) 9750H / 2.6 GHz
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
RAM 16GB DDR4
SSD 512GB NVMe SSD
HDD No
Optical No
Networking Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650x – M.2 Card,
Bluetooth 5.0
Ports 3 x USB 3.0, LAN, HDMI, USB-C 3.1 Gen 1,
Headphone/microphone combo jack
Display Screen Technology ComfyView IPS Technology
Audio

Lenovo Legion Y540

2 Stereo Speakers
Camera 720p webcam
Battery 4-cell, 59 Whr, lithium-ion
Power Adapter 180W
Operating System  Windows 10 Home x64
Dimensions (WxDxH)  14.2 x 10 x 0.9 inches
Weight 5.2 pounds


PROS


  • 144Hz refresh rate
  • Solid and tough build
  • Powerful hardware for 1080p AAA gaming
  • Great Wi-Fi performance
  • Predator Sense
  • Fast NVMe storage




CONS


  • Blue backlighting not good for bedtime use
  • Noisy fans under heavy load
  • No G-Sync or Freesync
  • No option to switch graphics
  • No SD card reader
  • Unnecessary security software
  • Typically short battery life



Alienware M15 Gaming Laptop

Best Gaming Laptops under 3000 Dollars

Here comes the Alienware M15 laptop, packing both style and power in a compact package, designed for playing even the most demanding games at the best resolutions. As a matter of fact, the M15 is a younger sibling of the Alienware Area 51M, and the difference between the two is quite narrow in terms of performance anyways.

Our review unit is a 15.6″ laptop with, Intel Core i7-9750H processor, the graphics card is an NVIDIA RTX 2060 with 6GB VRAM, a 512GB SSD, and 16GB RAM.

Design

Now in terms of design, this machine scores a strong point, especially in keeping with the Alienware reputation of making uniquely designed gaming laptops. This unit comes in two colors – white and grey-black. The lid has the iconic Alienware logo and “15” etched into the non-flexible metallic material built from magnesium alloy, copper and steel that provides a premium lightweight and performance-driven gaming machine.

On the keyboard deck, the hexagonal-shaped cooling vents are somewhat classy and prominent. The keyboard and touchpad also stand out, with the screen housed in a thin bezel.

This machine is fairly lightweight, weighing just 4.9 lbs. the ports are spread on both left and right sides of the machine. One of the high points of this machine’s display is the ubiquitous LED lighting colors it sports. We totally love it. The chassis also has a rubbery feel to it, it’s not a slick plastic like most laptops. This makes it really comfortable to hold and carry around without the fear of it slipping out of your hand.

Keyboard/Trackpad

The M15 keyboard is comfortable to work on, and relatively silent. It lights up with a pleasant spectrum of colors repeatedly, after which it turns to a lovely teal. It’s also customizable; you can choose from four different presents to match your mood, or you can turn it off completely, which we doubt anyone would do.

Though the keyboard doesn’t feature a full-sized layout, yet what it lacks for in size, it manages to compensate for with style and ease of use. Alienware laptop keyboards are specially designed for silence, comfort and ease of use. The keys are quick, shallow and comfortable to type with. However, Alienware found a way to incorporate the arrow keys, without the number pad. The trackpad is made of high-grade glassy material, scrolls smoothly and also equally beautiful and fully functional.

Display

The display features a 1920×1080 IPS panel, 144hz screen with zero flicker and rock solid graphics and color reproduction. The colors are vivid, clear and crisp. Then there’s the thin bezel design, which is equally sexy. Well, to say the least, the graphics and colors on this machine are stunning.

The 144Hz refresh rate helps a lot in intense gaming, being able to handle tough and difficult motion scenes fluidly and smoothly.

Audio

The side-mounted audio speakers do a great job in sound reproduction, and this is quite obvious when playing intense games. As usual, laptops generally have more mid and high frequencies quite prominent, leaving the lower bass frequencies not well represented. The Alienware Command Center can be used to choose a sound preset from a total of six, for different playback scenarios. The presets Alienware and Music are the best presets to use, because they produce balanced sound.

Battery Life

The M15 doesn’t have exceptional battery life. We would consider a battery life of just 3 hours 50 minutes on regular use and 1.30 hours of steady gaming average. This is one area the R&D team over at Dell have to work on.

The power brick is quite unusually heavy, and it refills the M15’s 6-cell battery in 1.5 to 2 hours.

Temps

This laptop can get fairly hot when running intensive games, with the CPU and GPU temperatures getting up to 98oC and 80oC, and you’ll experience warmth at the top row of the keyboard with temps up to 50oC. The machine has a well-designed cooling sub-system, but it seems this is inadequate.

Gameplay/Performance

This machine destroys everything thrown at it, even the most demanding games. The combination of the RTX 2070 Max-Q and 144Hz display makes this laptop a formidable gaming machine. Games that support HDR also play nicely, and you can even overclock the graphics card and RAM using the Alienware Command Center.

Here are some benchmarks and how this laptop fared.

GAME FPS SETTINGS
Shadow of the Tomb Raider 73 High
Control 37.5 High
Middle-earth: Shadow of War 98 High
Gears 5 88.5 High
The Witcher 3 65 High

The boot time of this laptop is blazing fast, at just 5 seconds it boots to desktop. Also, file transfer is speedy with the NVMe SSD, topping out at 3,108MB/s sequential read, and 1,139MB/s sequential write speeds.

Connectivity

The M15 has plenty of connectivity options including Bluetooth 5, HDMI, Thunderbolt, USB 3 Type A and C, Gigabit Ethernet, and RJ-45. The Wi-Fi is great, with speeds peaking at 2.5Gb/s, thanks to the Killer E2500 Gigabit Ethernet Controller which delivers breakneck speeds in streaming and online gaming. See table below for specifications.  

Upgradability

The M15’s upgradability is limited, as only the storage can be upgraded. The RAM is hard-wired into the system board and cannot be upgraded.

Specifications of the Alienware M15 Gaming Laptop

Display 15.6 inch 16:9, FHD,
OLED, glossy: yes, HDR
CPU Intel Core i7-8750H
6 x 2.2 – 4.1 GHz,
Coffee Lake-H
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070
Max-Q – 8GB,
GDDR6, Optimus
RAM 16384 MB, DDR4-2666, 
Dual-Channel
SSD Toshiba 512 GB
HDD No
Additional Features Speakers: Stereo,
Keyboard: Chiclet,
AlienFX, Keyboard Light:
yes, AlienwareFX,
Mobile Connect,
Command Center,
OnScreen Display,
12 Months Warranty
Networking Killer E2500 Gigabit
Ethernet Controller
(up to 5000MBit/s),
Killer Wireless-AC 1550
Wireless Network
Adapter (a/b/g/h/n/ac), 
Bluetooth 5
Ports 4 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1,
1 USB 3.1 Gen2,
1 Thunderbolt,
1 HDMI,
1 DisplayPort,
1 Kensington Lock,
Audio: 3.5 mm combo
Soundcard NVIDIA TU106 –
High Definition Audio
Controller
Audio 4x 2W speakers,
1x subwoofer,
1x headphone jack,
1x microphone jack,
1x line-in, 1x line out
Camera 1080p webcam
Battery 90 Whr Lithium-Polymer
Power Adapter 330W
Operating System  Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Dimensions (WxDxH)  Height x Width x Depth
(in mm): 21 x 363 x 275
(0.83 x 14.29 x 10.83 in)
Weight 2.16 kg
(76.19 oz / 4.76 pounds),
Power Supply: 970 g
(34.22 oz / 2.14 pounds)


PROS


  • Awesome screen
  • Awesome keyboard
  • Lightweight
  • Sleek and thin design
  • Better usability with Tobii Eye Tracking




CONS


  • Can heat up
  • Poor battery life
  • Fans can get quite loud under load
  • RAM not upgradeable



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Lenovo Legion Y540

Best Gaming Laptops under 3000 Dollars

From the guys over at Lenovo comes the Lenovo Legion Y540, a mid-range gaming laptop with decent specs enough to play your favorite games at 1080p with max settings. The Legion Y540 has other siblings like the Y740, and Y530. They may also come in 15.6” or 17.3” sizes. This model is a 15.6” gaming laptop with a six-core Intel Core i7 9750H and GTX 1650 GPU.

Design

This laptop has a solid and compact design. The chassis is made from sturdy plastic, with a little flexibility on the lid. The main deck houses the keyboard and touchpad, while the lid cover is bare except for the LEGION etched into the chassis. This machine doesn’t have much of the lightshow that the Razer laptops are endowed with, but then, both machines are unique in their own rights.

The weight come in at just 4.8lbs, which is light by standards. The hinges are quite firm and allow the lid to be opened and closed up to 180o.

Keyboard/Trackpad

It has a backlit keyboard, though you can’t customize the lighting like the other brands in this review. However, it has 2 settings that allows you to increase or reduce the brightness. The keys are soft, large and very quiet, which makes typing with this laptop a smooth and hassle-free exercise.

The number pad keys are placed on top of the arrow keys, while the HOME, END, PAGE UP and PAGE DOWN keys were moved into the arrow keys. The number pad keys also function as media playback controllers.

The touchpad is the classic type with two buttons attached, and offers smooth cursor control.

Display

The Legion’s 15.6” 1080p IPS display does a judicious job of rendering graphics and videos on this machine. The display is rated at 290 nits, and is evenly lit. The colors are also bright enough, and the matte display does a good job of diffusing incident light on the panel.

The IPS panel works quite well, with the screen being viewable from practically any angle. Gaming on this machine is also smooth, thanks to the 144Hz refresh rate. The screen has thin bezels, which is quite cool, except for the bottom part, which is quite large with LENOVO in large lettering.

Audio

The Lenovo Legion Y540 is equipped with good stereo speakers, producing clean and loud-enough sound for everyday activities, including gaming. But then, the bass frequencies are not well-represented, as is common with most laptops.

If you want to enjoy the full spectrum of sounds, then an external speaker or good quality headphone is indispensable.

Battery Life

The 57Wh battery installed on this laptop enables it to last up to 2 hours 20 minutes on standard battery tests, and a little over 1 hour under load. This is abysmally poor by standards. It is important to note that the integrated graphics on this laptop is switched off by default, but can be enabled via the BIOS.

Running games on the dedicated GTX 1650 consumes more power, whereas the integrated GPU elongates the battery life. The battery recharges in 2:30 hours with the power brick.

Temps

As with laptops in this category, the Y540 can crank out quite some heat, though much of the heat output is confined to the underside, with temperatures getting up to 40oC. Surprisingly, the palm rests remain relatively cooler than the underside during load.

It is recommended to place this laptop on a table during prolonged gaming sessions to avoid burning your laps with the heat. On the keyboard deck, much of the heat is restricted to the upper areas above the keyboard.

Gameplay/Performance of the Lenovo Legion Y540

The GTX 1650 provides decent performance in most triple-A games at 1080p. Here are some gaming benchmarks for the Legion Y540.

GAME FPS SETTINGS
Death Stranding 58.8/57.3 High/Ultra
GTA V 124/68 High/Ultra
Escape from Tarkov 63.15/54 High/Ultra
Doom Eternal 68 High/Ultra
Red Dead Redemption 2 32.6/22 High/Ultra
Call of Duty Modern Warfare 60/49.5 High/Ultra

The laptop also does quite well in several benchmarks, including file transfer of 2927.09MB/s sequential read, and 2148.72MB/MBs sequential write. It also achieved a total of 1155 points on Cinebench CPU Multi 64-bit.

Connectivity

There are plenty options for connectivity, including USB 3 Type-A and C, DisplayPort, HDMI, Gigabit LAN, Bluetooth 5, and Wi-Fi. Most of the ports are situated at the back of the unit, with the left and right sides having just minimal connectors. The front side has not connectors.

Upgradability

In order to upgrade the machine, you have to unscrew the bottom screws totally before the innards can be accessed. This ensures that upgrades don’t leave you in the cold.

Specifications of the Lenovo Legion Y540

Display 15.6 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080
pixel 141 PPI,
BOE 084D, IPS, 144 Hz
CPU Intel Core i7-9750H 6 x
2.6 – 4.5 GHz,
Coffee Lake-H
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660
Ti 6GB, Core: 1455 MHz,
Memory: 1500 MHz,
GDDR6, (Optimus), 
Intel UHD Graphics 630 
RAM 16384 MB, Dual-Channel,
DDR4 SDRAM
SSD WDC 512 GB,
1x M.2-2280 (occupied),
1x SATA (free), 454 GB free
Additional Features Speakers: Harman-branded
stereo speakers,
Keyboard: chiclet,
Keyboard Light: yes,
24 Months Warranty
Mainboard Intel Cannon Lake HM370
Networking Realtek RTL8168/8111
Gigabit-LAN
(up to 5000MBit/s),
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
(a/b/g/n/ac),
Bluetooth 5.0
Ports 4 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1,
1 HDMI,
1 DisplayPort,
1 Kensington Lock,
Audio: combined 3.5 mm
mic and headphone jack
USB Ports 3x USB 3.1 Type-A,
1x USB 2.0 Type-A,
1x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C
Soundcard Intel Cannon Lake-H/S –
cAVS (Audio, Voice, Speech)
Camera Webcam: 0.9 MP, 16:9 HD
Battery 57 Whr, 4955 mAh Lithium-Ion
Power Adapter 330W
Operating System  Windows 10 Pro x64
Dimensions (WxDxH)  Height x width x depth (in mm):
26 x 365 x 260
(1.02 x 14.37 x 10.24 in)
Weight 2.2 kg (77.6 oz / 4.85 pounds),
Power Supply: 963 g
(33.97 oz / 2.12 pounds)


PROS


  • Great performance for the price
  • Lightweight
  • Good graphics




CONS


  • Poor battery life
  • Can get quite hot



ASUS ROG Zephyrus S

Best Gaming Laptops under 3000 Dollars

The Zephyrus S continues the Asus ROG series as a gaming laptop brand to be reckoned with. The Zephyrus S is a great gaming laptop which to a large extent justifies that reputation, though it has its own shortcomings. This review will look at all of them and allow you to make the decision whether to get it or not.

The Zephyrus series comes in 15.6” and 17.3” sizes, and is equipped with Intel Core i7 CPUs and top of the line GTX or RTX graphics cards. This model has an Intel Core i7 i7-8750H CPU, GeForce RTX 2080 with Max-Q design, and 16GB DDR4 RAM. The full specifications can be found below.

Design

Now in terms of design and aesthetics, Asus did justice with this laptop. To say the least, this machine is beautiful. It is one of the thinnest high-end gaming laptops out there.

The chassis is a slim and compact one, with the height measuring just 0.6 inches. The chassis is constructed from an ultraportable military-grade magnesium alloy, and it is quite sturdy and solid. On the lid, there’s the familiar ROG logo in a bold red color. The lid however cannot open to a wide angle, like the Lenovo Legion reviewed above.

The keyboard deck is also metal material, with a completely different approach. Above the keyboard are cooling vents which suck in cool air for the cooling system, and there’s also the familiar ROG logo on this area. This laptop is also quite lightweight, clocking up to 4.6lbs, making it one of the lightest gaming laptops around.

The display features a thin bezel, with the exception of the bottom bezel on which is etched ASUS ZEPHYRUS. But then, the display is quite stylish. The Zephyrus S and has a beautiful RGB lighting system, the “Aura”. The keyboard backlight colors can be customized to suit your mood and style, and you can also configure the air intake at the back and sides with beautiful ambient lighting. Even if you don’t like the lightshow, you can always turn them off.

Keyboard/Trackpad

Asus did a complete departure from the norm with the layout of the keyboard deck. The keyboard layout is distinctive; its position has been brought down from its usual place on a laptop keyboard. The arrow keys are also quite smaller and could be cumbersome to use.

The keyboard is kind of too soft for typing, and you should probably look at an external keyboard with crisper tactile response. The lights are beautiful, and you can change it via the bundled Aura software to several color modes.

The touchpad has been moved to the right, which left-handed folks will find unusable. It is quite smooth and performs multi-touch functions quite well. Also, because there’s a lack of a physical number pad, the touchpad has a number pad mode, which can be turned on with a special key.

Display

The display is a beautiful 15.6” matte display, at Full HD. It is also rated at 144Hz refresh rate and response time of 3ms. The display also reproduces colors quite accurately, with sRGB coverage of 91.8%. Actually, the display is factory-calibrated, so it does a great job with color reproduction out of the box.

There’s also decent viewing angles due to the IPS feature, though there’s some backlight bleeding along the bottom edges. Being a matte display, the images are a bit grainy, in contrast to a glossy display. But this is a minor issue anyway. The colors still come out vivid and look good.

At a display brightness of just above 300 nits, the display brightness is average. You can use this machine in the shade, but forget about using it in bright sunlight.

Audio

The audio reproduction is typical. The audio is balanced, though the bass frequencies aren’t well-represented. One of the things you can do is to download the Nahimic app from the Windows store and install it. The sound should come off better. Otherwise, a good headset or speakers would help.

Battery Life

The 50 Whr battery does a piss-poor job of keeping this machine humming during gaming, which is what this laptop is designed to do. It manages a little under 50 minutes at intense gaming, and can clock up to 3:30 hours in normal usage. For a laptop of this caliber, this is unacceptable.

We know that gaming laptops are plagued with poor battery life, but this is way too poor. So if you plan to work away from home or office, then please carry your charger. Asus, please work on this.

Temps

This machine also battles with heat issues, as is common with most high-end gaming laptops crammed with powerful components. The keyboard is mostly cool during intense gaming, while the heat is concentrated above it and at the underside. The airflow cooling system is innovative; drawing in air from the top and bottom of the chassis, and pushing hot air out through the sides and back.

The fans can be adjusted to fit whatever you are doing, whether doing light typing work, in which case silent mode is best, or doing some graphic design or video editing, in which balanced mode is best, or intense gaming, in which turbo mode is best. We loved the flexibility of the fan speed settings.

Gameplay/Performance of the Asus Zephyrus S

The combined power of the i7 processor and RTX 2080 do a great job of destroying anything you throw at this machine. Of course, its shortcomings with heat and poor battery life is compensated with its processing power and responsiveness.

With this machine, you can play most games at the highest settings without breaking a sweat. Here’s a sampling of games with benchmarks.

GAME FPS SETTINGS
Battlefield V 100-120/68-78(Raytracing on/off) Ultra
Doom 130-140 Ultra
Far Cry 5 103 Ultra
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor 189 Ultra
Rise of Tomb Raider 94 Ultra
Shadow of Tomb Raider 88 Ultra
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt 90-118 Ultra

In terms of system performance, the Zephyrus S scores 6690 Points on the PC Mark 10 Digital Content Creation tests. File transfer isn’t as speedy as other brands in this review, with Sequential reads topping out at 1238.57MB/s and writes at 920MB/s.

Connectivity

The machine lacks some major connectivity options such as Thunderbolt, a card reader and Ethernet. However, there’s an HDMI port, USB 2 and 3 ports, an audio jack and Bluetooth 5. There’s also Wi-Fi delivered by the Intel AC 9560 wireless radio.

Upgradability

This unit has a total of 16GB RAM, with 8GB permanently soldered to the mainboard. You only have just one slot for upgrades. But how practical is this when you have to match the RAM timings and latencies for best performance? Your best bet will be to use the same type of RAM and probably add a 16GB stick for a total memory of 24GB.

You can also upgrade the storage if you want, though you are limited to just one slot too.

 Specifications of the ASUS ROG Zephyrus S

Display 15.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 px,
IPS, 144 Hz,
Pantone Validated,
non-touch, matte
CPU Intel Coffee Lake-H
Core i7-8750H CPU
Graphics Intel HD 630 + Nvidia
RTX 2080 Max-Q 8GB
RAM 16 GB DDR4 2666 MHz
(8GB soldered + 1x 8GB DIMM)
SSD 512 GB SSD (Intel 660p
SSD PEKNW512G8)
– 1x M.2 NVMe 80 mm slot
Networking Wireless AC (Intel AC 9560),
Bluetooth 5.0
Additional Features 4-zone RGB backlit keyboard,
HD webcam,
2x 2W front-facing speakers
Ports 1x USB-A 3.1, 2x USB-A 2.0,
1x USB-C gen 2 with DP and
PowerDelivery,
1x USB-C gen 1, HDMI 2.0,
mic/earphone,
Kensington Lock
Audio 4x 2W speakers, 1x subwoofer,
1x headphone jack,
1x microphone jack,
1x line-in, 1x line out
Camera No
Battery 50 Whr, 230 W brick
Power Adapter 330W
Operating System  Windows 10 Pro
Dimensions (WxDxH)  360 mm or 14.17” (w) x
268 mm or 10.55 (d)
x 16.2 mm or .63” (h)
Weight 4.58 lbs (2.08 kg) +
1.72 lbs (.78 kg)
power brick, EU model


PROS


  • Stylish design
  • Better color reproduction
  • Beastly performance in games
  • Good desktop replacement




CONS


  • Unusual positioning of trackpad
  • No Ethernet port
  • No Card Reader
  • RAM can’t be upgraded



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MSI GS75 Stealth Gaming Laptop

Best Gaming Laptops under 3000 Dollars

MSI lives up to its reputation as a foremost maker of high-tech computer hardware, especially gaming gear and accessories. The MSI GS75 Stealth Gaming Laptop is a clear example of beauty and craftsmanship blended together to produce a mean gaming machine that can compete or even outperform a gaming desktop PC.

The MSI GS75 Stealth Gaming Laptop is a 17.3” model armed with an NVIDIA Geforce RTX 2080 8G with Max-Q design, a 144Hz 3ms display, and an Intel Core i7-8750H – 6 core CPU, and 32GB of fast DDR4 RAM. To a large extent, these are high-end components that deliver blazing fast gaming performance.

Design

The all-black plastic material of the MSI GS75 Stealth is solidly built, with a little flex on the lid. The black color is punctuated by gold in some places including the logo on the lid, the hinges, and the cooling vents. You’ll also find the touchpad rimmed with this lovely golden material all around, and the rims of the chassis.

On the lid is the familiar MSI emblem in gold, and when you open the lid, you’ll notice the thin-bezel display just 5.2mm thick. On the top is the diminutive webcam, placed at a vantage position for video shots. One issue we noticed is that this machine chassis collects dust rather quickly, due to the material used in the build. This is a minor issue anyways.

You can even open or close the lid with just one finger. The weight is just a little over 5lbs, which is impressive for a laptop this big. The keyboard deck is expansive, with a full keyboard layout. The Stealth has exceptional build and design quality no doubt, but read on to find out about performance.

Keyboard/Trackpad

Beautiful keyboard. Beautiful backlight. There’s also per-key lighting which is fully customizable. When you hit the function key, the function keys light up which is cool. The keys themselves have a nice feel and respond well without being too springy.

You’ll find out that the Windows key was removed from the left side of the keyboard. This might take a while getting used to however, so it’s not a major issue. Also, there are some minor alterations to the usual keyboard layout, such as the arrow keys intruding into the number pad area.

For the touchpad, the feel is super-silky smooth glass material which allows you to do virtually any kind of multi-touch operation. The size is also much bigger than the average touchpad by 35% in width, and although it lacks the familiar two buttons, it is able to perform clicks easily. one downside of this unusual size is that the touchpad gets in the way of typing with this keyboard. 

Display

Without a doubt, the Stealth has a super-beautiful Full HD display with good color output (up to 78% sRGB coverage), the images are sharp and crisp too. The matte display is bright enough for everyday gaming, at 345 nits, though in bright sunlight visibility is a different matter entirely.

The 144Hz refresh rate/3ms response time helps in fluid gaming, and the viewing angles are also wide enough. The display is well-suited for gaming, and also photo/video editing on this machine. By a long shot, the display on this laptop is excellent.

Audio

The speakers are located near the front, on both sides. The sound output is loud enough, but bass is almost absent, that is, unless you attach an external speaker or headphones.

Battery Life

The Stealth clocked up to 6 hours on battery tests for everyday tasks. When it comes to gaming however, you should expect roughly 2:30 hours non-stop gaming.

Temps

This machine runs hot, no surprise though, with the high-end gaming components it is built with. You may need to download Throttlestop app which does a good job of disabling the Turbo performance scheme, thereby keeping this machine in the 50-65o Celsius temperature range and just turn it on when you might need it. You’ll see massive temperature drops doing it. Otherwise it will run 90-100oCelsius which is bad for your laptop components.

The cooling system on the Stealth consists of 3 fans, up to 47 blades each, 7 copper heat pipes, and 4 exhausts, all working tirelessly to cool the CPU and GPU. The fans can get quite noisy during gameplay though, but this is typical for laptops in this class, no thanks to the high-ticket processor and GPU it has to cool.

Gameplay/Performance

This machine screams excellent gaming performance; it allows you to run any game on max settings and usually get between 60 – 100fps. It is also powerful enough to play games in 4K if you connect to a capable external monitor. Here are some game benchmarks for the Stealth.

GAME FPS SETTINGS
BioShock Infinite 263.6/163.7 High/Ultra
The Witcher 3 135/76.9 High/Ultra
Far Cry 5 99/95 High/Ultra
Batman: Arkham Knight 134/92 Ultra High
Ashes of the Singularity 81 High
Ark Survival Evolved 63.5/43.9 High/Ultra
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt 77 High
Rage 2 96.1/93.3 High/Ultra

The system performs great in terms of system performance, scoring a respectable 37968 points in 3D Mark 06 standard tests. File transfer is also fast, with speeds up to 3420MB/s for sequential write, and 3514MB/s sequential read speeds. You should encounter no performance issues with this laptop, whether gaming, editing photos/videos, or just plain everyday computing.

Connectivity

The Stealth is loaded with ports aplenty. There’re USB 3 ports, Thunderbolt, Bluetooth, a MicroSD card reader, Killer E2500 Gigabit Ethernet Controller and Killer Wireless-ac. One of the ports lacking is a miniDisplay port for hooking it up to an external G-Sync enabled display. This is not a major issue though; the DisplayPort takes care of that.

There’re also audio jacks for speakers and a mic.

Upgradability

We don’t really think you want to upgrade the RAM. At 32GB there’s ample memory for whatever you might want to do with this machine. But if you must, you can still add another stick to bump the RAM up to 64GB.

For storage, this unit comes with a pair of NVMe drives in RAID O, and the system counts it as a 2TB drive. However, if you need more storage, there’s an empty NVMe m.2 drive bay, which you can populate with a drive easily.

Specifications of the MSI GS75 Stealth

Display 17.3 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080p,
127 PPI, IPS, 144 Hz,
glossy: no
CPU Intel Core i7-9750H 6 x
2.6 – 4.5 GHz,
Coffee Lake-H
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080
-Q – 8192 MB, Core: 990 MHz,
Memory: 1500 MHz, GDDR6,
256-bit connection, Optimus
RAM 32768 MB DDR4-2666,
dual-channel,
two SO-DIMM slots,
max. 64 GB.
Storage 2x Samsung SSD PM981
(RAID 0), 2048 GB
Slots: 3x M.2 2280:
2x occupied
(NVMe/SATA),
1x free (SATA)., 1803 GB free
Soundcard Realtek ALC1220 @ Intel
Cannon Lake PCH
Mainboard Intel HM370
Networking Killer E2500 Gigabit Ethernet
Controller (up to 5000MBit/s),
Killer Wireless-AC 1550i Wireless
Network Adapter (9560NGW)
(a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi 4/ac, Wi-Fi 5),
Bluetooth 5
Ports 1 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1,
4 USB 3.1 Gen2,
1 Thunderbolt, 1 HDMI,
1 DisplayPort,
1 Kensington Lock,
Audio Connections:
Dedicated 3.5 mm headphone
and microphone jacks,
Card Reader: MicroSD
USB Ports 3x USB 3.1 Type-A,
1x USB 2.0 Type-A,
1x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C
Additional Features Speakers: Stereo,
Keyboard: SteelSeries,
RGB,
Keyboard Light: yes,
Dragon Center,
Norton Security trial,
24 Months Warranty
Camera Webcam: HD,
Primary Camera: 0.9mp
Battery 80.25 Whr, 5380
mAh Lithium-Ion, 4-cells
Power Adapter 230W
Operating System  Windows 10 Pro x64
Dimensions (WxDxH)  Height x width x depth (in mm):
18.9 x 396 x 259
(0.74 x 15.59 x 10.2 in)
Weight 2.28 kg (80.42 oz / 5.03 pounds),
Power Supply: 724 g
(25.54 oz / 1.6 pounds)


PROS


  • Great upgrade options
  • Excellent display
  • Beautiful keyboard
  • Powerful hardware




CONS


  • Too large touchpad interferes with typing
  • Windows key not in usual location
  • No Mini-Display port for external display
  • Chassis gathers dust quickly



Razer Blade 15 Advanced Model

Best Gaming Laptops under 3000 Dollars

A sibling of the Razer Pro 17, the Razer Blade 15 Advanced model is one of the Razer gaming laptops released early summer of 2020, with an updated configuration featuring Intel 10th Gen processors and NVIDIA RTX GPUs. The Advanced model differs a bit from the base model, in terms of configuration.

This model is the 15.6” Advanced Model with Intel Core i7-10875H 8-Core processor, NVIDIA RTX 2080 Super Max-Q GPU, 16GB RAM, a 4K OLED display, and all the bells and whistles such as beautiful RGB lighting, numerous connectivity options all wrapped in a well-designed chassis.

Design

This laptop has similar design to the Razer Pro 17, so please refer to the Razer Pro 17 review for details. The CNC Aluminum chassis stands out boldly, giving the machine a lean weight footprint. This is one the most striking features of this laptop. It’s also quite slim, with a thickness of just 0.7 inches.

One thing to take note of is the ease with which it gathers fingerprints, due to the glossy finished chassis. Not a major issue but worth mentioning though.                                                                                                       

Keyboard/Trackpad

It comes equipped with a beautiful full sized keyboard with per-key RGB lighting which is a delight. You can also control the lighting with the Razer Chroma. The keyboard has good responsiveness and feel.

The large Precision Glass Touchpad is also fantastic, as far as touchpads go. The feel is super-smooth and you can do a lot of swipe and pinch on it, and more. But there’s a problem; the touchpad has no physical button to disable it.

Display

The 15.6” display does justice to pictures and video, and most especially gaming. With refresh rates of up to 300Hz and up to 3ms response the 15.6” FHD thin bezel display provides visual clarity and support for up to 100% sRGB color. It is also custom calibrated right out the box for color accuracy and perfection. The 4K OLED touch display is beautiful, vivid and makes you want to look at it all day long.

Audio

The Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers are ok and typical with less bass. We don’t really expect stellar sound reproduction on the speakers, but you can get close to this with external speakers or quality headphones like the Razer Kraken Gaming Headset.

Battery Life

The Blade 15 Advanced model offers average battery life, at just a little over 2 hours for intense gaming. If you are doing regular stuff, you could easily squeeze out up to 4 hours plus on the machine.

However, understand that disabling some features, like the Chroma lighting, switching to integrated graphics while running on batteries, and adjusting the brightness can all go a long way to wringing out much longer battery life from this machine.

Temps

Under full load, the laptop manages to stay a not-too hot temperature of 79oc, thanks to its awesome Vapor Chamber cooling system. All the same, the top can get quite warm during prolonged use, which could be uncomfortable for the hands. I guess this is an issue with powerful laptops like these, until the manufacturers figure out a way to effectively eliminate heat issues.

Gameplay/Performance

This machine destroys every game thrown at it, at high or ultra-settings. It also performs incredibly fast in normal system file copy operations. We don’t expect less from a machine as powerful as the Razer Blade 15 Advanced Model.

Here’s a brief summary of some game benchmarks.

GAME FPS SETTINGS
Escape from Tarkov 120.5/119.5 High/Ultra
Anno 1800 75/45 High/Ultra
Far Cry 5 108/102 High/Ultra
Shadow of the Tomb Raider 104/92.5 High/Ultra
Assassin´s Creed Odyssey 76.5/56 High/Ultra
Hitman 2 78.6/77 High/Ultra
Metro Exodus 76.1/61 High/Ultra

The system comes with a single 1TB NVMe drive, which returned speeds as high as 3100MB/s sequential read speed, and 2100MB/s write speed. Not bad.

Connectivity

There are lots of connectivity options including HDMI, Card reader, USB 3, and Ethernet. Please see specifications below for full details.

Upgradability

Really upgradable, but the presence of just 1 NVMe slot makes nonsense of the storage upgrade. The RAM can be increased to a maximum of 64GB, which is good.

Specifications of the Razer 15 Blade Advanced Model

Display 15.6″ 4K, 3840 x 2160, OLED,
100% DCI-P3, 1ms response time,
16:9 aspect ratio, touchscreen w/
4.9mm bezel, individually factory
calibrated, 60Hz
CPU 9th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-9750H,
6 Cores / 12 Threads, 2.6GHz /
4.5GHz (Base / Max Turbo),
12MB Cache
Graphics (Discreete/Integrated) NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™
2080 with Max-Q Design
(8GB GDDR6 VRAM,
Optimus™ Technology)/Intel®
UHD Graphics 630
RAM 16GB dual-channel DDR4-
2667MHz (8GB x 2)
SSD 1TB SSD (M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 x4)
Input & Output Precision glass touchpad
Additional Features Razer™ Synapse 3 enabled with
programmable keyboard,
backlighting, and fan control,
Kensington™ Security Slot,
Intel® Platform Trust Technology
(Intel® PTT) security enabled
Networking Intel® Wireless-AX200
(IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax, and
Bluetooth® 5 connectivity)
Ports HDMI 2.0B output,
Mini DisplayPort 1.4 output,
USB 3.2 Gen 2 (USB-A) x3,
Thunderbolt™ 3 (USB-C),
3.5mm headphone/mic port
Finish Anodized Black, backlit
green Razer logo
Audio Built-in stereo speakers,
Built-in array microphone,
Dolby® Atmos support,
7.1 Codec support (via HDMI)
Camera Windows® Hello built-in
IR HD webcam (1MP / 720P)
Battery Built-in 80Whr rechargeable
lithium-ion polymer battery
Power Adapter 230W
Operating System  Windows 10 Pro
Dimensions (WxDxH)  0.70″ / 17.8mm x 9.25″ /
235mm x 13.98″ / 355mm
Weight 4.87 lbs / 2.21 kg


PROS


  • Good looks
  • Powerful hardware
  • 4K OLED display
  • Lightweight
  • No bloatware
  • Beautiful keyboard




CONS


  • Can get hot (is this really a con?)
  • Pricey
  • Win 10 Home, not professional version
  • Gathers fingerprints easily
  • No physical button to disable the touchpad



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Lenovo Ideapad L340 Gaming Laptop

The Lenovo Ideapad L340 appeals to casual gamers who want a balance between a gaming laptop and an office productivity laptop, without the looks of a regular gaming laptop. This machine has some decent hardware under the hood, with a 9th Gen Intel Core i5-9300H Processor, graphics powered by an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 GPU, 8GB of RAM and a 15.6” IPS FHD display.

It doesn’t disappoint in its primary task of gaming and some, though there are some trade-offs you’ll notice in this review. After all, what you’ll get is definitely what you pay for.

Design

The L340 sports a plastic chassis, though it doesn’t feel cheap either. It’s solid, smooth, and appears like brushed material. The lid has a Lenovo logo decal on one edge, with the rest of the lid bare. The screen can be opened with just one hand, due to the fact the bulk of the laptop is based at the base.

The machine is quite lightweight, at just 4.6lbs. The keyboard deck is made of the same material, is sturdy and smooth. There’s also a full-sized keyboard and trackpad. The screen is housed with thin bezels on the sides, but the upper and lower bezels are much larger.

At the top is a HD webcam for video chatting and conferencing. The design is quite minimalistic and basic, lacking the angular and edgy looks of more powerful gaming laptops out there. All in all, the design fits its form.

Keyboard/Trackpad

The keyboard is a full-layout, one-color backlit keyboard, with adjustable settings for the back light. The backlight is prominently blue, a departure from the red backlight on most gaming laptops. The keys have a short travel distance, and is relatively easy to type on. The arrow keys have much smaller up and down keys, this can be inconvenient to type on.

There is also a full number pad, and a trackpad, positioned a little to the left. The trackpad has not buttons, but it is clickable. In use, it is not easy to use, and has high pressure levels to register a click. You’re better off with an external mouse.

Display

The display is a full-HD matte display with excellent viewing angles. Screen brightness is rated at 253 nits, and is surprisingly bright enough in sunlit situations.

The colors are also rich and vivid. It has good contrast ratio of 1528:1, producing rich blacks and bright tones. The IPS performance is excellent, producing consistent images and colors at almost any angle. The hinges of the display panel can fold back to a maximum of 180o, which is quite impressive.

The Lenovo Vantage Eye Care mode helps reduce eye strain from prolonged gaming, simply by reducing blue light emissions and adjusting the display color tones. This helps in usability a lot.

Audio

Audio performance is nothing exceptional, but typical. Sound reproduction gives you audio that is lacking in bass frequencies, despite the Dolby Audio hardwired into the audio sub-system. Again, if you want better playback, hook up an external speaker or headphones.

Battery Life

Lenovo states the average battery life of the L340 is up to 9 hours, but practical tests revealed it to last 6:40 hours in normal everyday tasks. However, the battery life drops to like 2 hours.

Temps

The machine manages average temperatures during full load, with the most heat at the underside. The touchpad area remains relatively cool, though the top of the keyboard registers warmer temperatures. The fan speeds are also quiet during normal usage, but shoots up during heavy usage. The noise is tolerable though.

Best Gaming Laptops under 3000 Dollars

Gameplay/Performance

Gameplay performance varies, though you can play almost any title at full HD, though some games require lower graphics settings. However, playing games at 4K resolution is totally out of the question, as this machine doesn’t have the firepower to handle it.

All in all, the performance is good for most titles. Here are some benchmarks to consider.

GAME FPS SETTINGS
BioShock Infinite 148/79 High/Ultra
The Witcher 3 35 Ultra
Dota 2 Reborn 79/73 High/Ultra
X-Plane 11.11 54 High
Anno 1800 34/17 High/Ultra

File transfer tests show that the lone 512GB SSD has a sequential read and write speeds of 1068/1161 MB/s respectively. It also scores 5064 Points in PC Mark 10 benchmarking tests. The laptop also has 2 modes, “Quite mode” for every other thing, and “Quick mode”, for strictly gaming. Each of the modes changes a few settings on the laptop to deliver performance that you need.

Connectivity

Most of the ports are located on the left side of the laptop, with the right side bearing the Kensington lock. The options include USB 3 Type C and A, HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet, and an audio jack.  There’s also Wi-Fi. See the specifications for all connectivity options.

Upgradability

The RAM and storage can be upgraded. This can be done via the underside, though Lenovo states that an authorized technician is recommended for upgrades, to avoid rendering the warranty invalid.

Specifications

Display 15.6 inch 16:9, FHD
141 PPI, IPS, glossy: no
CPU Intel Core i5-9300H 4
x 2.4 – 4.1 GHz,
Coffee Lake-H
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 4GB,
Core: 1395 MHz,
Memory: 2001 MHz,
GDDR5, Intel UHD Graphics 630
RAM 8192 MB, single-channel
SSD WDC 512 GB, 454 GB free
Soundcard Intel Cannon Lake-H/S 
(Audio, Voice, Speech)
Additional Features Speakers: stereo,
Keyboard: chiclet,
Keyboard Light: yes,
24 Months Warranty
Networking Realtek PCI-E
Gigabit Ethernet NIC
(up to 5000MBit/s),
Qualcomm Atheros 
Wireless Network Adapter
(a/b/g/n /ac),
Bluetooth 4.2
Ports 3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1,
1 HDMI,
1 Kensington Lock,
Audio Connections:
combined 3.5 mm audio jack
Mainboard Intel Cannon Lake HM370
Audio 4x 2W speakers,
1x subwoofer,
1x headphone jack,
1x microphone jack,
1x line-in, 1x line out
Camera Webcam: 0.9 MP,
16:9 (1280×720)
Battery 45 Whr Lithium-Polymer
Power Adapter 135W
Operating System  Windows 10 Pro x64
Dimensions (WxDxH)  Height x width x depth
(in mm):
23.9 x 363 x 254.6
(0.94 x 14.29 x 10.02 in)
Weight 2.082 kg (4.59 pounds),
Power Supply: 586 g
(1.29 pounds)


PROS


  • Decent performance for the price
  • Good display
  • Good brightness levels
  • Good battery life




CONS


  • Single channel RAM
  • Unimpressive trackpad
  • No card reader
  • No thunderbolt



ASUS TUF Gaming A15 Gaming Laptop

Best Gaming Laptops under 3000 Dollars

ASUS makes an impression with their AMD Renoir gaming laptop, the ASUS TUF A15, one of the best in its category. The A15 offers great value with its impressive hardware and great design.

This model is a 15.6” machine fitted with an AMD Ryzen 7 4800H 8-core processor, NVIDIA RTX 2060, 16GB RAM, and a 1TB NVMe drive. This machine offers more than enough features and hardware for the price.

Design

True to the ASUS tradition, the A15 is a well-designed gaming machine. The chassis is built from sturdy plastic material, which doesn’t feel cheap anyway. It has a textured feel to it, and the base color is black. The lid is decorated with the TUF emblem, which is quite stylish.

The lid can be opened with one hand, to reveal the thin bezel display. The back side and the base have vents for cooling the machine. The underside vents are particularly stylish, with hexagonal shaped inlets.

The TUF A15 has gone through rigorous testing for vibration, shock, heat, cold and humidity, meeting the MIL-STD 810H standard. The weight is on the average, weighing just a little over 5 lbs.

Keyboard/Trackpad

Beautiful keyboard. You’ll immediately get the feel of it for typing. The WASD keys are quite distinct, with overall lighting. The keys travel a bit shallow, but the response is quite effective. The backlight is also great, and you can change the colors as you like. It doesn’t have per key lighting though.

There is also a full number pad, though the arrow keys are a bit smaller. But it will eventually get used to.

The trackpad is also well placed and designed, with two distinct buttons for clicking. It can also perform multi-touch functions.

Display

The display has good contrast ratio for richer blacks and whites. The brightness is around 254 nits, works very well indoors and in shades outdoors. But in direct sunlight, it suffers.

The 144Hz refresh is a great plus, making gaming on this laptop a delight. Two of the issues with the display is the higher grayscale values, which creates a slightly washed-out image. The color coverage is also below par, meaning you don’t want to use this for photo/video editing. Viewing angles are also excellent, thanks to the IPS panel.

Audio

The unit is equipped with dual stereo speakers which produce a fairly balanced sound – there is adequate representation of the high and mid frequencies, and a bit of the lower end bass frequencies. Also, the addition of DTS:X Ultra technology which delivers high-fidelity 7.1-channel virtual surround sound is a bonus.

However, if you really want to enjoy great studio sound, then use a headset.

Battery Life

This machine has impressive battery life for a gaming laptop, clocking up to 7 hours on productivity tests. If you are doing just light typing work, expect the battery to last up to 9 hours. However, if you are doing serious gaming, it lasts up to 2+ hours.

Temps

The cooling sub-system on this laptop manages to keep the temperatures stable during stress tests. When gaming, the touchpad area remains relatively cool, the top area of the keyboard and underside, close to the vents at the back, gets quite warm. The laptop records a peak temperature rise of up to 81oC in stress tests.

Gameplay/Performance

For gaming, the machine makes a bold impression. It tackles anything you throw at it running at full HD resolution up to Ultra settings. The RTX 2060 makes a great combination with the Ryzen 7 CPU. Here are a few gaming benchmarks.

GAME FPS SETTINGS
BioShock Infinite 189/119 High/Ultra
The Witcher 3 105/60 High/Ultra
Dota 2 Reborn 85/81 High/Ultra
Rise of the Tomb Raider 85 Ultra
X-Plane 11.11 55.6 High

Connectivity

There are lots of ports like USB 3 Type A and C, HDMI, Ethernet, and others. See specifications for full list.

Upgradability

The ASUS TUF A15 is fully upgradable. Both the RAM and the storage drives can be upgraded by losing the screws at the underside.

Specifications

Display 15.6 inch 16:9, FHD, IPS,
glossy: no, 144 Hz
CPU AMD Ryzen 7 4800H
8 x 2.9 – 4.2 GHz, Renoir
(Zen 2)
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060  
6GB, GDDR6
RAM 8192 MB, DDR4
SSD Kingston 512 GB, M.2
2280 SSD, 450 GB free
Mainboard AMD Promontory/
Bixby FCH
Soundcard Realtek Audio
Networking Realtek PCIe GBE Family Controller
(up to 5000MBit/s),
Realtek Wireless LAN 802.11ac
PCI-E NIC (a/b/g/n/ac),
Bluetooth 5
Ports 1 USB 2.0,
2 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1,
1 USB 3.1 Gen2,
1 Thunderbolt,
1 HDMI,
1 DisplayPort,
1 Kensington Lock,
Audio Connections:
3.5-mm audio jack
Additional features Speakers: Stereo,
Keyboard: 6-row chiclet,
24 Months Warranty
Camera Webcam: HD,
Primary Camera: 0.9 MPix
Battery 48 Whr, 4110
mAh Lithium-Ion
Power Adapter 230-watt AC adapter
Operating System  Microsoft Windows
10 Home 64 Bit
Dimensions (WxDxH)  Height x width x depth (mm):
24.9 x 359 x 256
(0.98 x 14.13 x 10.08 in)
Weight 2.175 kg (4.8 pounds),
Power Supply: 754 g
(1.66 pounds)


PROS


  • Impressive hardware
  • Great keyboard
  • Great build




CONS


  • Poor display
  • No manual override for fans
  • No card reader



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MSI GE75 Raider 17.3″ Gaming Laptop

Best Gaming Laptops under 3000 Dollars

To a large extent, the MSI GE75 Raider is a formidable gaming machine, designed for hardcore gamers on the go. This laptop boasts impressive hardware including a 10th Gen Intel Core i9-10980HK paired with the indomitable NVIDIA RTX 2080 Super with Max-Q design, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB NVMe SSD, and an array of features, all wrapped in a sleek 17” chassis.

This machine represents the high-end segment of MSI gaming laptops, and this review will supply the information you need before you hit the “Buy” button.

Design

The smooth aluminum chassis is sturdily crafted, though there is little flex on the lid. What stands this machine out is the slim profile, measuring only 0.9 inches in height. The lid bears the MSI emblem, with red accents on both sides for decoration.

The keyboard deck is also the same aluminum material. The screen has a thin bezel all around, except on the bottom part of the display. The thin display bezel is quite stylish, and is becoming commonplace with laptops nowadays. The left and right sides houses much of the ports, and air vents for cooling. The lid has a much wide opening angle, and can also be closed with one hand.

In terms of weight, this laptop doesn’t weight a ton, coming in at just a little over 5lbs.

Keyboard/Trackpad

The SteelSeries keyboard offers precise tactile feedback while typing. The keys are responsive and quiet. The per key RGB lighting is phenomenal, though some of the presets are outright crazy. The good thing is that you can customize the lighting however you want. It’s a delight though, to watch the keyboard lights pulsate to beats while playing music.

The touchpad is the regular type with a two-button design. It is responsive and precise, and has multi-touch capabilities.

Display

The matte 17” display is crisp and bright enough for everyday gaming and regular stuff. For gaming, the display performs incredibly with the 300Hz refresh rate. The colors also stand out clearly, though there is slight backlight bleeding.

Response times are also somewhat fast for smooth gaming. The IPS screen provides good coverage at various angles, though at extreme angles the visibility suffers. Overall screen brightness is rated at 305 nits. In bright sunlight, the display suffers, but works quite better in shade.

Audio

The dual speakers/sub-woofers (situated towards the front side of the unit) offer loud sound with great high and mid frequencies, though the bass could be better. However, during gameplay, the sound of the fans could interfere with the sound. Therefore, it is recommended to attach external speakers or headsets.

Battery Life

Standard battery tests reveal that the GE75 Raider managed to last up to 4 hours. Gaming on batteries is a different story altogether. It managed a paltry 1+ hours. We cannot really criticize this, for the fact that poor battery life is a common denominator with high-end gaming laptops like this.

Power consumption varies also, with idle power consumption between 14 and 27 watts. On full load, this baby can consume up to 238 Watts. Phew.

Temps

The cooling system on this machine does a fairly good job of heat dissipation. During heavy load, the palm rests and trackpad remain relatively cool, with temperatures up to 30oC. The keyboard itself can record higher temperatures, but not unbearably hot.

On the base, the area towards the back records the highest warmth levels, but not to uncomfortable levels though.

Gameplay/Performance

The system is able to play the latest titles at the highest settings. There are no issues whatsoever because this machine is more than able to handle any game you throw at it. Below are some game benchmarks.

GAME FPS SETTINGS
The Witcher 3 124/66 High/Ultra
Dota 2 Reborn 125/118 High/Ultra
Shadow of the Tomb Raider 97/86 High/Ultra
X-Plane 11.11 97/86 High/Ultra

The system also performs respectably in other benchmark tests, scoring a PCMark 10 score of 8094 Points. File transfer speeds peaked at 2036MB/s and 1834MB/s for sequential read and write respectively.

The MSI Dragon Center is a great tool that allows you to fine tune your laptops hardware components for the best performance. Here you can select a profile that fits your needs, such as Extreme Performance, Balanced, Silent, Super Battery, or your own User Setting. These preset scenarios are designed for different use cases, such as gaming, browsing, running on battery, etc.

You can also overclock your processor and RAM speeds here, or the GPU. Other settings you can customize here include the backlight, the color profiles, and even keyboard hotkeys.

Connectivity

A couple of ports are present on the GE75, including Thunderbolt, HDMI, USB 3, and Ethernet. Others include DisplayPort, card reader, and audio ports. Wireless connectivity includes Bluetooth and Killer Gigabit Ethernet.

Upgradability

You can easily upgrade the storage, RAM and WLAN module of the GE75 by unscrewing the 7 screws holding the base in place. However, extra care must be taken not to damage the cover as it is firmly fixed to the chassis.

Specifications

Display 17.3 inch 16:9, FHD
IPS, glossy: no, 300Hz
CPU Intel Core i9-10980HK
8 cores x
2.4 – 5.3 GHz,
Comet Lake-H
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce RTX
2080 Max-Q,
8GB, Core: 1560 MHz,
Optimus
RAM 32GB DDR4-2666MHz
SSD Samsung SSD PM981,
512 GB,
Secondary 1 TB Seagate
Mainboard Intel HM470
Soundcard  Nvidia TU106 –
High Definition
Audio Controller
Networking Killer E2500 Gigabit
Ethernet Controller
(up to 5000MBit/s),
Intel Wi-Fi 6
(a/b/g/h/n/ac /ax),
Bluetooth 5.1
Ports 2 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1,
2 USB 3.1 Gen2,
1 HDMI,
1 DisplayPort,
1 Kensington Lock,
Audio Connections:
3.5 mm earphones,
3.5 mm microphone,
Card Reader: SD/SDHC/SDXC
Additional Features Speakers: Dynaudio Stereo,
Keyboard: SteelSeries Chiclet,
Keyboard Light: yes,
Velvet screen cloth,
MSI Dragon Center,
True Color,
SteelSeries Engine 3,
12 Months Warranty
Audio 4x 2W speakers,
1x subwoofer,
1x headphone jack,
1x microphone jack,
1x line-in, 1x line out
Camera Webcam: 720p
Battery 65 Whr Lithium-Ion,
6-cell
Power Adapter 280W
Operating System  MS Windows 10 Home x64
Dimensions (WxDxH)  Height x width x depth (mm):
27.5 x 397 x 269
(1.08 x 15.63 x 10.59 in)
Weight 2.62 kg (5.78 pounds),
Power Supply: 900 g
(1.98 pounds)


PROS


  • Excellent keyboard with beautiful lighting
  • 300Hz display
  • Great customization options
  • Powerful hardware
  • Good speakers, though bass could be better




CONS


  • Fans on the loud side



Buying Guide for the Best Gaming Laptops under 3000 Dollars

This section deals with considerations to keep in mind when looking for the best gaming laptop under 3000 dollars. Although there are lots of factors that will determine the perfect gaming laptop for you, but the most prominent ones are listed below.

Size

The size of the gaming laptop is an important factor when looking for the perfect gaming laptop that meets your needs. Typically, gaming laptops come in three sizes, 14”, 15.6” and 17.3”. If you want a small and more portable gaming machine, then the 14 inch models should serve you. However, if you want it big, then go for the 17.3 inch models.

The size of the laptop has nothing to do with performance anyways. It’s just a matter of size. Also, a large sized screen does not mean the laptop will deliver the highest resolutions, because a 14-inch laptop can drive a 4K resolution display simply because of the hardware it is equipped with.

So, the size is simply a function of our taste. The 15.6 inch models are more popular and common, because it represents the perfect size for most gamers.

Weight

When it comes to weight, most laptops fall under the average range of 4-6lbs. Anything higher than this will be quite hefty and less portable. Most laptop manufacturers use light materials such as metal alloys, or plastic for the chassis. These materials are light and sturdy.

One downside of plastic material is the fact that it could look cheap and flimsy. Nevertheless, the weight of the laptop is something to keep in mind when making a purchase. The most expensive and high-end gaming laptops may actually weigh higher, because of the components crammed into the machine.

Battery Life

When it comes to gaming laptops, getting long battery life has always been a tough nut, especially with manufacturers. This is because gaming laptops are designed as desktop replacements. This means that they can match a desktop component to component. In simple terms, the more powerful components that a gaming machine is fitted with, the less battery life it will have.

For instance, a gaming laptop boasting of a Core i9 processor and an RTX 2080 GPU will generally have a lower battery life, than a gaming laptop with a Core i5/Geforce 1650 GPU. This is a common scenario with gaming laptops. So, if you want to go for the highest-end gaming laptops, just be convinced that you will have to always carry the power brick wherever you go, especially if you plan on gaming out, away from your desk.

Dedicated Graphics vs integrated graphics hardware

As a gamer, you probably know the importance of dedicated graphics hardware in gaming. A dedicated graphics card has its own chipset, and could be upgradable, as is the case of the Alienware Area 51M. Most laptops have dedicated graphics cards hardwired into the laptop mainboard.

Most gaming laptops have a dedicated graphics card, such as NVIDIA or AMD, and have a method of switching from dedicated to integrated. NVIDIA offers such a solution, called Optimus. You usually find it in the system settings.

One thing to take note of is the fact that running a game with dedicated graphics consumes more power, especially when running on batteries. The extra power needed takes its toll on battery life.

Also, the higher the dedicated graphics card power requirements, the less battery life you get while gaming. The same goes for heat generation. More powerful graphics cards generate much more heat, when compared to lower powered GPUs. That’s why a laptop equipped with the NVIDIA RTX 2080 Super will generate more heat than one with Geforce GTX 1650.

Screen Refresh rate

A gaming laptop with a higher screen refresh rate will produce much smoother gaming than one with a lower value. Some models have as high as 300Hz, while some offer 144Hz. A gaming laptop with a screen refresh rate of 60Hz will be much cheaper, but will not be able to provide the level of performance a 144Hz model does provide.

Screen Response time

The lower the value, the smoother your gaming, especially in fast action games. For instance, a laptop with a screen response time of 2ms will produce much smoother gameplay than one with 8ms or 10ms.

Sync

Sync helps a lot in producing smooth and fluid gaming experience. If a laptop has sync, it will cost much more than a model without sync. The most popular sync tech in laptop gaming is NVIDIA G-Sync.

Heat management

The more powerful a gaming laptop, the more heat it generates. Gaming laptop manufacturers are always coming up with innovative design features to combat heat. The truth is that you cannot entirely escape the fact that gaming laptops must generate heat.

You must look at the heat dissipation system; how effective it is. Now, most of the heat is concentrated at the areas where the CPU and GPU are located. Long story short, you should not carry a gaming laptop on your laps to avoid getting burned.

Conclusion

Did we miss anything out in this review on the best gaming laptops under 3000 dollars? Please let us know in the comment section. Meanwhile, check out other reviews and PC build guides.

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My passion for PC hardware is my greatest motivation. I love technology and how it can make life easier and less complicated! When I’m not tinkering with hardware, I’m reading. I love to travel and I usually can’t wait to sit down on my PC to work.

I’m also a copywriter, designer, video editor, and writer. I also do some 3D with 3DS Max. Do you want to reach me? Use the Social Media buttons, or shoot me an email. I’ll be glad to hear from you!

2 thoughts on “Best Gaming Laptops under 3000 Dollars – Full Review”

  1. Thanks for finally writing about > BEST GAMING LAPTOPS UNDER 3000 DOLLARS REVIEW-Build My PC < Liked it!

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