The best Windows 8 gaming laptops

Portable PCs with powerful graphics cards are rare these days. Here are some recent favorites.

Sarah Tew/CNET

We recently complained about the lack of a single best-case gaming laptop for the Windows 8 era. That was largely because of the handful of portable PCs with higher-end graphics cards we'd reviewed in the six months since Microsoft's new OS took over, none thought to include a touch-screen display. That's a feature not particularly called for in even current-gen PC games, but it's one that Windows 8 practically begs for during the hours when you're not using your laptop for gaming.

Since then, we've finished reviews of a couple more gaming laptops -- again with high-end GPUs but no touch screens -- as well as the Razer Edge, a unique Window 8 tablet/hybrid that offers both modest gaming chops and hardware specifically built around Windows 8.

Even though we're still waiting for a true no-compromise Windows 8 gaming system, many of the high-end laptops and tablets we've tested are still great for games, from the premium performance in the Qosmio X875 to the very reasonably priced Lenovo IdeaPad Y500 .


Sarah Tew/CNET

Toshiba Qosmio X875
One of the only 17-inch gaming laptops with a hybrid hard drive, the massive Toshiba Qosmio X875 already stands out from the slim ultrabooks and convertibles we've seen, but it lacks a touch screen. Oddly, our model included 3D glasses, but you can skip that and save a few dollars. Read the full review of the Toshiba Qosmio X875.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Razer Edge
The Razer Edge is a 10-inch Windows 8 tablet with either a Core i5 or i7 processor, and what it brings to the table are gaming-caliber Nvidia GeForce graphics, and a variety of optional versatile gamer-targeted accessories: a snap-on GamePad Controller, a dock with HDMI-out and extra USB ports for TV connectivity, and even a future laptop/keyboard accessory. Read the full review of the Razer Edge.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Lenovo IdeaPad Y500
The current version of the Lenovo IdeaPad Y500 is a laptop that's hard not to like. A chunky, 15-inch Windows 8 machine with some real gaming muscle, sharp design, and a funky red-on-black backlit keyboard -- if it only had a touch screen for a frustration-free Windows 8 experience, this might be my favorite laptop of 2013 to date. Read the full review of the Lenovo IdeaPad Y500.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Origin PC EON17-SLX
No one puts together custom high-end gaming laptops, including this desktop-busting 17-inch EON17-SLX, better than Origin PC, but the generic-looking off-the-shelf body isn't becoming of a $4,000 laptop, and Windows 8 feels odd without a touch screen. Read the full review of the Origin PC EON17-SLX.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Sony Vaio E17
If you want a reasonably priced desktop-replacement big-screen laptop with AMD graphics, the Vaio E17 is worth a look. But it's not a good Windows 8 showcase machine, as it lacks any touch interface other than a small touch pad. Read the full review of the Sony Vaio E17.

Looking for specs and pricing? Compare these laptops head-to-head.

Read the full CNET Review

Microsoft Windows 8 Pro (Upgrade)

The Bottom Line: Microsoft makes an aggressive, forward-thinking, and bold statement for the future of PCs with Windows 8, and vast security and speed improvements more than justify the $40 upgrade price. / Read full review

About the author

Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of laptops, desktops, and Windows tablets, while also writing about games, gadgets, and other topics. A former radio DJ and member of Mensa, he's written about music and technology for more than 15 years, appearing in publications including Spin, Blender, and Men's Journal.

 

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