Best Laptops for Esports Enthusiasts | High-End Beasts for Your Daily Dose of Esports
Over the last couple of years, the line between desktop and laptop performance has been getting thinner and thinner. Once fully-fledged Pascal GPUs found their way into the laptop market, all that was left to improve were the thermals.
At that point, high-end laptops managed to perform neck and neck with their desktop counterparts as they could provide both gaming and enterprise performance in a mobility-friendly package. This opened the door to a whole new market segment — a segment catering towards these user types. But since we’re not an enterprise solutions website, this article is going to focus solely on the gaming segment.
More precisely, it will present you with all the relevant info regarding laptops for esports enthusiasts.
What Kind of Laptops Do Esports Enthusiasts Need?
Esports enthusiasts are a rather complicated buyers’ group. They’re all (more or less) tech-savvy, they want beefy hardware to support their gaming habits, and they want peripherals and higher refresh rate that can increase their competitive advantage.
But alongside all that, some of them also need all the extra power they can get for video rendering and streaming purposes. Esports enthusiasts basically require a mixture of productivity and gaming.
Of course, such requirements come with vertigo-inducing price tags, especially if we’re looking at the top-of-the-line models with the latest i9 processors and RTX GPUs. And don’t even get me started on the 240hz panels that are set to be all the craze in 2019.
In fact, let’s go through all these factors to create an image of what perfect laptops for esports enthusiasts need to have.
High Refresh Rate
When it comes to the most popular esports franchises, running on higher refresh rates means a lot. Perhaps not that much at casual levels, but top-tier ranked/competitive matches often have nuances deciding the winners. Needless to say, every last bit of competitive advantage helps. And let’s face it, playing on 120hz or 144hz monitors can make a difference, let alone buttery smooth 240hz panels.
In FPS esports titles such as Apex Legends, CS:GO, and Rainbow Six: Siege, 240hz is often the deciding factor between a kill or a disastrous death. It’s a tiny bit of extra fluidity and superior input delay, yet it can mean so much.
However, if you’re an esports enthusiast, and you already have a solid 144hz laptop, there’s really no need to upgrade to a pricey 240hz beast. There’s only a handful of laptops sporting 240hz panels, and — you’ve guessed it — they cost a small fortune.
But, once again, despite the extra 100hz of silky-smooth frames, if your current laptop’s hardware is at an admirable level, there’s really no need to spend a bunch of money on an upgrade.
But if we look at them from a “value for money” perspective, we’ll often find 240hz ranking pretty well. That’s because their buttery smooth panels require beefy hardware in order to run games that sort of pace.
And that leads us to the next aspect all good laptops for esports enthusiasts need.
During a discussion about laptops for esports enthusiasts, many people suggest that a flagship lineup isn’t really a necessity. They claim a solid, middle-of-the-pack laptop does its magic with esports titles. But I beg to differ.
While this is somewhat true for casual esports gamers (and by esports, I’m referring to LoL, Dota 2, CS:GO, OW, etc.), I really doubt the esports enthusiasts community would be pleased. When they combine esports and AAA gaming with streaming and rendering videos for YouTube, a mid-tier gaming laptop just can’t cut it.
An 8th gen Intel I7 processor, 16 gigs of RAM, and RTX 2070 should be the base of every enthusiast’s laptop. Of course, they’ll need plenty of SSD and storage space, too. Oh, and I almost forgot, lots of that good old RGB!!!
Besides the laptop itself, there’s a handful of supporting equipment that makes esports gamers… well, esports gamers. The spotlight will surely be taken by the RGB lighting, which has become the pivotal aspect of all gaming equipment. Gaming keyboard, check. Gaming mouse, check. Gaming headphones, check. Gaming toaster… well, apparently Razer is working on that, so, check!
Laptops for Esports Enthusiasts | Top Three List
Here we have the actual list of the best laptops for esports enthusiasts. Several months ago, we did a similar topic but based on cheaper alternatives. You can check that article out here. Now, we’ll be focusing on the upper part of the spectrum and will explore the strongest, shiniest laptops for esports enthusiasts.
Disclaimer — the prices are pretty high since these are all flagship models. However, if money is not an issue, and you desperately need a new travel-friendly rig for your daily dose of Overwatch, then any of these three models ought to suffice.
#3 Razer Blade 15 2019 Edition
Let’s kickstart this list with a well-known and easily recognizable gaming brand, Razer. Their lineup of Blade 15 laptops is getting better with each passing model. The 2019 Edition has hit the shelves, and these puppies look absolutely dashing. With some minor changes over the last version, the brand-new Razer Blade is most anticipated due to its superbly smooth 240hz. In fact, that’s probably the highest selling point.
As for the design itself, we’re talking about the typical Razer style for gamers. The laptop itself is pretty slim considering the hardware it carries. Additionally, the bezels are thin, and there’s even an OLED panel option for people wanting the ultimate visual fidelity.
Price-wise, Razer Blade 15 is quite a hard hitter. A model that comes with I7 9750H, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, and RTX 2070 Max-Q will set you back for $2,599. However, if you want even more firepower in your brand-new Razer Blade 15 2019 Edition, you’ll have to splash around $3,000.
#2 MSI GS65 Stealth
The second entry in our list of the best laptops for esports enthusiasts is MSI GS65. A model that came out back in 2018, the GS65 Stealth gaming laptop is a proper charmer. We’re talking about a relatively thin gaming laptop with an industrial design, minimalistic aesthetics, and sleek, gold details.
Underneath the hood, MSI GS65 Stealth comes with various factors. The one I’m most interested in is the beefiest (who would’ve guessed) version. It comes with Intel i9-9880H, 64GB RAM, 4TB NVMe, and RTX 2080. Of course, we’re talking about a 240hz panel that’s capable of running all esports titles on max settings and squeezing the last bit of juice from the panel.
As far as bells and whistles are concerned, I like the physical Camera Block button which cuts the internal camera right off the system. This ensures the NSA can’s spy on you while you’re Netflix and chilling. Additionally, it sports three USB 3.1 10gbps as well as Thunderbolt 3, making it a well-rounded device for virtually everyone.
However, this version of MSI GS65 Stealth is currently listed at just a bit shorter than $5,000. While the individual parts can easily outperform the majority of gaming PCs out there, $5,000 is still a bit too high. For us mortals, at least…
#1 Asus Strix Scar III
And finally, we’ve reached the beast itself. This brand-new Asus Strix Scar III ought to be the wet dream of millions of gamers worldwide. With its sleek, Zephyrus-like design, sharp edges, and business/gaming appearance with a touch of LEDs coming from the bottom side, Asus Strix Scar III is a beauty pageant queen.
The hardware is absolutely brilliant. There are several models available, but they’re all more than capable of tackling esports titles and streaming at the same time. Rendering shouldn’t be an issue, either, courtesy of Intel’s core i9 processors and Nvidia RTX GPUs.
But that’s not even the best part. Similarly to the above-listed laptops, Asus Strix Scar III also sports a 240hz display. But it’s not your typical 240hz TN panel with washed-out colors for the sake of higher refresh rate on the cheap. Nope! This Asus beast sports a 240hz IPS panel, and it’s, quite frankly, one of the best laptop panels out there.
There is one relatively big downside to this model. Yes, hardware, panel, and aesthetics are all top-notch, but Asus Strix Scar III is missing one crucial thing. It doesn’t have a webcam. If they expect me to pay upwards of $2,399 for a laptop, darn it, I want an integrated webcam no matter how bad it might be!
However, the price tag really is something. For a mid- to high-end model (i9-9880H, RTX 2070, 32GB RAM, and 1TB SSD), you’ll have to splash out $2,399. If you want the bread and butter of the GPU market, RTX 2080, the price will go up a couple of hundred bucks.
Are 240hz Laptops Worth the Price Tag?
Here comes the big question. Are these super high-end laptops really worth the money? Don’t get me wrong; I know that 240hz panels (especially IPS ones) are still extremely expensive. I understand that the pricing will go down as the technology improves and becomes cheaper. But still, that doesn’t make the fact that we’ll have to pay almost $3,000 for a premium laptop any less true.
As far as value for money goes, I reckon it will take at least two or three years before these top-of-the-line 240hz models drop down to mortal prices.
If you consider yourself as an esports enthusiast but don’t want to splash out more than $2,000 for a 240hz laptop, there are several great 144hz alternatives with similar hardware and design. Best of all, their prices are much lower. Perks of having an inferior panel, I guess.
Laptops such as Asus Strix Scar II and Acer Predator Helios 300 seem like great options. With top-flight hardware, gorgeous aesthetics, and almost half the price, they are the best “budget” laptops for esports enthusiasts, whereas the above-featured trio is more big boy toy material.