Acer Predator Triton 500 PT515-51-75BH
Portable and powerful
The Triton 500 has a less garish design than most gaming laptops, plus longer battery life and a lighter weight. Its RTX 2060 GPU performs similarly to those in cheaper laptops, but it’s easier to tote around.
If you’re willing to sacrifice upgradability for a simpler-looking and more portable laptop, and if you’re comfortable paying more than the $1,200 required for our budget option, the Acer Predator Triton 500 is the best choice. The Triton 500’s RTX 2060 graphics card runs most modern games on ultra settings and can easily hit 60 frames per second (fps) in the majority of titles. In our tests, it handled both internal and external temperatures the best of all the thin and light models. The Triton 500 weighs 4.6 pounds and offers nearly five hours of battery life in non-gaming tasks. It has a vibrant 144 Hz 15.6-inch display and a comfortable keyboard, but it’s harder to upgrade and comes loaded with too much bloatware.
MSI Stealth Thin GS65-483
More expensive but not better
The Stealth Thin is more expensive than the Triton 500 and doesn’t feel as durable, but it performs the same and weighs a little less.
If the Predator Triton 500 is unavailable, get the MSI Stealth Thin GS65-483. It’s typically more expensive, but it performs about the same, has similar battery life, and weighs less. In our tests, it ran toastier than the Triton 500, but not as hot as other laptops with a similar design. Its 240 Hz display is faster than the Triton 500’s 144 Hz display, but you can’t take full advantage of that with this system’s GPU, so the display feels like a waste of money. The Stealth Thin’s per-key RGB lighting (in contrast to the Triton 500’s zone lighting) means you can customize it with a full rainbow of color options. It’s also just as difficult to upgrade as the Triton 500, and it too comes packed with tons of bloatware.
Razer Blade 15 Base Model
Upgradable but too hot
The Blade 15 has the best chassis we’ve seen in a gaming laptop, and it’s easier to upgrade, but it runs way too hot. If you don’t mind tinkering with third-party software, you can make the heat more manageable.
May be out of stock
The Razer Blade 15 Base Model has specs similar to those of the Predator Triton 500, but it also offers a superior unibody aluminum chassis; plus, you can upgrade the storage and memory more easily than on the Triton 500 or Stealth Thin. The trackpad is one of the best we’ve used on any gaming laptop, but the keyboard is shallow and places the question mark key in an odd spot. In our tests, however, on the default settings, the Blade 15 ran excessively hot, especially around the WASD keys. You can improve the thermals by undervolting the CPU, but that takes some work to get right, and you risk system instability and frequent crashes.