Are gaming laptops good for everyday use?
Laptop Questions

Are Gaming Laptops Good For Everyday Use?

Gaming laptops are larger, heavier, and burn through battery power faster compared to other options, so are they any good for everyday use?

Yes, however you will need to make some sacrifices to battery life and portability. Let’s address these concerns and help you decide if gaming laptops are good for everyday use.

Battery Life

If you want to play games on your laptop, you’re going to need something with decent processor and graphics inside. Powerful hardware requires more battery power to operate though.

For most people, I think everyday use doesn’t actually mean actively playing games. In my opinion, playing games on battery power is a bad experience and generally not recommended. The battery can only output so much power at once, if you need optimal performance, use AC power.

Do you need to bring the power adapter?

You can of course take the power brick and cables with you, it just depends what you’re doing. If you’re doing some resource heavy tasks, it will probably be worth it just for the improved performance. If you’re just taking some notes and have a decent battery, you might not need to use it.

Eluktronics MAG-15 - Large 94Wh battery
Eluktronics MAG-15 – Large 94Wh battery

I would suggest taking the power brick with you initially so you have it if you need it throughout the day. If not, then in future you know you can leave it at home.

Optimus is a key feature for boosting battery life!

Optimus does a good job of increasing battery life in gaming laptops, and most of them have this feature by default. Outside of gaming, the integrated graphics within the CPU are used for non graphically demanding tasks. When you open up a game or something that needs the discrete GPU (Nvidia/Radeon), it will take over and process the workload.

The result is that if you’re just browsing the Internet or typing up a document, battery life will last longer. This is because the integrated graphics are less powerful, and as a result, draw less battery power. If you have a laptop that doesn’t use Optimus though, you’re stuck with the power hungry discrete graphics. This has the advantage of offering increased levels of gaming performance though.

Battery life will vary between laptops, and largely depend on the size of the battery. In my own testing, many mid range gaming laptops can still achieve 5-7 hours of everyday (non-gaming) use. Others will struggle to hit 3 hours in the same test, it really depends.

If you run out of battery, swap in a charged one!

While rare, some gaming laptops still have removable batteries too, so you could quickly swap in a spare if available.

Clevo NH58RDQ removable battery
Clevo NH58RDQ removable battery

Size and Weight

More cooling is required to house powerful hardware. This takes up more space, which also results in a heavier laptop. This is of course seen as a negative for a device that’s designed to be portable.

Size and weight will vary wildly by machine. There are your crazy options like the MSI GT76 Titan, but much more reasonable options like the Lenovo Y540, for example.

There are definitely reasonable options available that aren’t too heavy, still offering a good mix of performance and portability. It will depend on personal preference as to whether or not you want a thicker or thinner laptop.

Are thick gaming laptops worth it?

As most gaming laptops do tend to weigh more than alternatives that are missing discrete graphics, be prepared to carry some extra weight with you.

The power brick also plays a part here. A higher wattage power brick is often required to power the higher end specs within a gaming laptop. These can of course be reasonable size, but sometimes they’re also obnoxiously large. If you’ve decided you need to bring the adapter with you to make it through the day, consider seeing if you can buy a physically smaller power brick that offers the same wattage.

Design

This one may come as a surprise, but many people don’t want to take a flashing RGB machine covered in red accenting into a professional environment.

MSI GE65 RGB keyboard
MSI GE65 RGB keyboard

In the past, gaming laptops have been the only option for people who needed these higher levels of power in a portable package. Since Nvidia Studio laptops were launched at Computex 2019, laptop manufacturers have started offering a wider variety of options with cleaner designs.

For the most part, currently the difference between gaming laptops and studio laptops isn’t much. In many cases they use the same chassis and hardware with the difference just being the use of Nvidia Studio drivers rather than Game Ready drivers. Another difference is they tend to have a cleaner design aesthetic.

This one will come down to personal preference. Many of these more professional looking options will still be perfectly capable of gaming. There’s still powerful hardware inside, they’re just not spewing RGB lighting everywhere!

A clean design - Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED
A cleaner design – Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED

Conclusion

So are gaming laptops good for everyday use? In the end, it will come down to your personal use case. If you literally only game on your laptop, then yes a gaming laptop would be perfect for everyday use. If you need a combination of good CPU+GPU performance on the go, it could also be a good option. For the most part, it will come down to battery life, so check battery size and expected life from a charge before buying.

 


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39 Comments

  • Arthur Martin

    Hello Jarrod, please suggest me a gaming laptop under $1200. Display should be bright and colorful (>90% ntsc & >400 nits) and no backlight bleeding. And battery backup should be good.

    • Jarrod

      At that price 400 nits might be a challenge, 300 is much more common. Generally for that price I suggest either the Acer Helios 300 or Lenovo Y540.

      • Arthur Martin

        Jarrod There are many complaints of backlight bleeding in Y540, Nitro 5&7 on Amazon. I currently own Zenbook 13 and Surface Go. In both devices I don’t have any backlight bleeding issue. Aero 15 OLED is $1699. But That is not available here in India. I have to import that from Amazon US, which will cost $2700 (1000$ import fees). I really like Aero 15’s OLED panel and 94Wh battery but I am not interested in spending 1000$ more on importing fees. I can spend 1800$ but only on 4k OLED not on FHD IPS. Any suggestions please.

        One more thing, please ask your website developer to add a feature in your website to send us email whenever you reply to our comments. Thank you.

        • Jarrod

          I think there will always be such complaints for pretty much any laptop ever that has IPS panels as an option, it’s just part of the panel technology and they’re not all perfect. I show the bleed from those machines in my videos, but I’m only a small sample size of one, so I’m by no means the definitive answer, I’m just including my data to the overall knowledge pool.

          If you’re after OLED maybe see if the Dell XPS 15 is available for less there, that’s another that sells with the same panel. I agree $1000 for importing is not worth considering.

          I am the website developer 🙂 that feature is there, tick the “Notify me of follow-up comments by email” button. Also you left the same comment 3 times, all comments need to be manually approved by me to prevent spam.

    • Shads

      Hey Jarrod, I’ve been trying for find a laptop for under $1.5k which has a 1660ti and good battery life, i would think the best under that criteria is Y540 or the Y7000, but those laptops aren’t very easy to find for 1.5k AUD. Not sure what to do now

      • Jarrod

        I saw the Y540 on sale starting at $1500 a couple days ago, might still be. I think I paid $1600 for mine which is pretty good here with i7 and 1660 Ti. Stuff like the Helios 300 which is cheaper in the US costs way more here, usually around $2200 AUD. Maybe check out Metabox, they sell Clevo units which are usually cheaper than the larger brands. The Alpha-X NH58RC has the specs you’re after and from memory of my review video it performs quite well.

  • Abhishek

    Hi Jarrod,
    I really like your informational videos on YouTube. I am looking to purchase a gaming rig. I am currently working in Infosys and that’s y unable to decide whether to go for a gaming laptop or a custom PC. I need portability though as i can have transfers in future. One more thing i live in India, and currently having a budget of around max 1,50,000 i.e. max 2000$
    I love playing Pubg, and i do a lot of gaming. I am unable to decide which GPU to go for too actually. Please help sir. I will be too grateful to you.
    Thanks,
    Abhishek

    • Jarrod

      If you need portability then a laptop will make more sense, unless you’re able to fit PC and a lower powered laptop into the budget. I think the GTX 1660 Ti is a good sweet spot for most gaming laptops right now, can play pretty much any game at 1080p high settings with fair frame rates. You should be able to get one for less than that, so could optionally spend a bit more for RTX 2060 if you want – I’ve compared those two here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X59_-ol8H88

    • Altaf Khan

      Hi Jarrod, came here directly from YouTube. I m waiting for AMD to release there 4000 H series laptop with / or without Navi GPU . Please compare it with i7-9750H and RTX2070 in terms of performance and Price. Thank You

  • Danielle Merrett

    I’m so happy you have a website now! I am a high school teacher and have been hunting for a thin and light laptop with good battery life that doesn’t overheat but is able to run Adobe Premiere Pro (I’m a media arts teacher so do a bit of video editing). Basically I’m a nightmare consumer with unrealistic expectations (ha). I’ve watched so many of your reviews and have learnt way too much about computers to the point where words like thermal throttling, Turing, GSync (words i’d never heard before) are haunting my dreams (see – nightmare consumer). I’ve established that a 1660 ti GPU is probably enough for me but I’m still really stuck on what device. I know you liked the Gigabyte Aero 15x but oh boy is it expensive in Australia. They have cheaper models but I’m not sure the difference between them (SA, WA, YA – seems like every letter of the alphabet). Do you have any recommendations for a lowly non-gamer who just wants to buy a laptop and move on with her life (while forever praising the Australian IT legend that is Jarrod’s Tech)?

    • Jarrod

      Yeah for Adobe Premiere I think a GTX 1660 Ti is a good option, once you start spending more there’s little to gain in terms of video export time.

      I think the main difference with the Aero is the different letters just mean different graphics options. The SA is the 1660 Ti model, there’s the classic model which is basically the same chassis/design as the 15X I have, so it will get pretty hot under heavy load. The newer OLED model is the new design and has much improved cooling (plus the OLED screen looks great).

      The Aero definitely isn’t cheap, but if you’re after OLED there aren’t that many alternatives at the moment. One would be the Dell XPS 15 7590, but I think that’s usually pretty similar price except with lower tier GTX 1650 graphics as a maximum. The Aftershock Vapor 15 is alright, no OLED there though, but it still has many of the key features as those two (good performance, big battery, thunderbolt, SD card slot) but again not particularly cheap.

      Those are the ones I’d look at for good battery life/performance/fair cooling compared to others, hope that helps!

      • Arthur Martin

        I left same comment 3 times because my comment was not showing up on your website, so I thought my comment was not added. So I did it again. Sorry for that.
        And I tick ‘notify me of follow-up commands’ but still I didn’t get any email.

        • Jarrod

          Thanks I tested it, it used to say the comment was awaiting moderation, apparently it had to be removed to be GDPR compliant which is annoying. I tested the email notification thing, seems to work, maybe you didn’t check it for all 3 comments and the one I replied to didn’t have it?

  • Lex

    Hey Jarrod, love your content. I’ve been going through a bunch of your videos trying to help me decide which is the best gaming laptop for me. I want a 144Hz screen that runs CSGO at a high frame rate (300+ FPS) on low settings. I recently went to my local BestBuy but they didn’t have many options. I decided on the HP Omen 15 but after using it for a week, I decided I wanted a 17″ screen. So I returned it and purchased an Alienware m17 17.3″ Gaming Laptop (Intel Core i7-9750H/512GB SSD/16GB RAM/RTX 2070). I installed CSGO today but unfortunately the FPS did not meet my expectations. I’ve been saving up for a while to buy the perfect gaming laptop and I’d really appreciate it if you could recommend me 2-3 laptops that I could choose from. My budget is up to $3000 CAD. Thank you for the help, keep on making amazing videos.

    • Jarrod

      Hey, I think I just answered your email on this question. I’ll just paste what I replied with here as it may help someone else:

      Unfortunately I’ve never had those specific models so hard for me to speak in specifics (assuming you mean the R2 version of the m17, if you mean the original then yeah that thing does have some pretty bad thermal throttling from memory).

      With CS:GO do you have it set to full screen? That can make a big difference. Also for games that smash high FPS, generally you want something that lets you disable the Intel graphics, as this will improve FPS. Optimus works by the Nvidia GPU processing the game, then the frames are send to the Intel GPU to display to the screen, so when you have really high frame rates that process becomes more of a bottleneck.

      Laptops that have G-Sync require the Intel GPU to be disabled. Laptops that let you enable or disable Optimus give you the best of both worlds, as turning off Optimus results in low battery life, it does require a reboot to swap between the modes though. For high FPS with RTX 2070 graphics I’d check out the ASUS Zephyrus S GX502 as it lets you disable Optimus, giving around a 15% performance boost in some titles/settings.

      I can’t think of that many others off the top of my head, maybe the Aorus 15, that doesn’t have Optimus or G-Sync, but it only uses the Nvidia graphics so you’ll still get the performance gains

  • owen

    hey Jarrod, Ur content is very informative and useful but i do have a question to ask you,(i live in Australia btw)
    Im looking for an everyday laptop that i can use for school aswell as kicking back and gaming at a friend house or in my residence. But a primary feature is for it to have a nice screen as i will also use it to watch between anime and Netflix for a majority of the time that Im not studying.
    Now to the actual question.. between the aftershock Vapor 15 pro, Metabox prime-S series with the 1660 Ti or the MSI GS65 which do you think is the best or maybe you can offer a better laptop as my price range is about 2000$-2700$ Australian

    • Jarrod

      Thanks! I’d probably get the Vapor personally, from memory performance/cooling was better than the Prime-S, but been a while since I’ve had one of those to fairly compare. Much bigger battery so that’s a nice plus, and has many features others are missing like mech keyboard/thunderbolt/SD card slot. You can get those same specs for a few hundred less in the Lenovo Y540, but based on those models I guess you’re looking at thinner options. Gigabyte Aero 15 could be worth a look at, but yeah Vapor 15 is pretty decent.

  • johnnie

    Hi jarrods, i know you get tons of questions and you do try to reply to them, I hope you get to reply mine.

    following your channel on youtube, watching your videos has helped me to really ask more questions. thanks to you, i am no longer fixed on getting gaming laptops in Alienware’s category because of the size. a thick laptop is out of the way for me.

    pls, recommend a very good gaming laptop, with thin size, nice battery and most importantly, won’t use the graphics card when I’m not gaming (most likely can be in the settings and not managed by the laptops). I have a PS4 for gaming most times but i need a good gaming laptop in case i need to use my laptop for gaming when i’m not working.

    is it still the Y540 or another one? Acer Predator Triton 500 Thin? MSI GS65 Stealth-430? Eluktronics MAG-15? etc…

    so pls recommend a 2019 laptop for me base on thin size, a good battery and won’t use the graphics card unless I’m gaming…thanks a lot. you are doing a great job.

    • Jarrod

      When you say thin gaming laptop with good battery, the ones that come to mind straight away are the Eluktroncis MAX-15/MAX-17, Eluktronics MAG-15 or Gigabyte Aero 15. Y540 is ok, the others have larger batteries and are thinner. Triton 500 seems hard to justify vs Helios 300 which is only a little thicker but a fair bit cheaper and performs better with same specs.

      • john

        ok, thanks a lot for the response.

        so what is your final recommendation irrespective of the ones I listed? I don’t care if it is within the ones i listed or outside the list, just need your final recommendation and doesn’t mean it has to be too thin, ok thin according to your thin/thick laptop article on here and also, the use of only graphics card for gaming and not to be used when not gaming is important to me as well, reason is because am down in Africa and power is a major issue, so i dont want when i using it without power, the fan will be working hard on battery use when it is ust for basic work and not gaming.

        i hope your response gives that final recommendation i need

        thanks once more

        • Jarrod

          Depends on budget, very impressed with the MAX-15 so far with the 2070 (review coming soon), otherwise MAG-15 if 1660 Ti gives enough for what you’ll be doing. MAG much better for battery life, and probably a better all round option.

          • johnnie

            thanks once more….well, after your last message, i check your videos and i narrowed it down to MAG-15…just like you said now about the battery, same thing you said in your video and that shows what i wanted…7 hours youtube on battery, thats alot and thats what i want.

            last push, sorry, MAG-15 or MAX-17? same work output? same or almost equal battery life? i’m leaning towards the MAX-17 cos of the 17 inch screen but since both are almost same price range, it means the MAG-15 might be powerful? so if i go for the MAX-17, hope i’m getting same, almost or more juice than MAG-15?

            one last recommendation between these two pls

            i checked, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_UOOkB4Aqw&t=26s wasnt that too detailed be was still good enough to show MAX-17 is a very good option.

            stick to MAG-15 or go for MAX-17 (knowing i’m getting same battery life as MAG-15.)?

            the battery life without power is a big deal for me.

            thanks once more and sorry for disturbing you.

          • Jarrod

            Battery life is very similar between MAG-15 and MAX-17, I’m still finalizing the review of the MAX-17, but it got 7 hours 9 mins in the watching YouTube test, very impressive for a laptop with RTX 2070, best I’ve ever tested with that spec. Obviously has more GPU power, 2070 vs 1660 Ti, but it is larger at 17″, so heavier too and bit less portable.

          • Jarrod

            MAG-15 is a little better, but I tested it with lower specs than the MAX-17. 429 minutes for MAX-17, 440 for MAG-15.

          • johnnie

            ok, thanks…just saw your response.

            thanks so much. guess the max 17 then

            anyways will be looking out for your video review about it.

            great job and i appreciate it.

            take care

  • Kevin

    Hey Jarrod, I’m considering on buying the Alienware m17 r2. However, I’m slightly hesitant since I hear some people experience problems with the laptop. I was wondering whether you plan on doing a review on the laptop in the near future?

    • Jarrod

      I’ve been trying to get that and the new m15 ever since they launched them at Computex in June 2019, but they won’t send me either, not sure why but at this point I’ve pretty much given up hope as I’ve been following up monthly.

  • Jin En Tan

    Hey Jarrod! I would like to buy legion Y7000 laptop as legion y540 is not available in my country, however I don’ know how to choose between a i5 and i7 y7000 model, can you give me some advice? (Please note that I will be using this laptop for my computer science degree.) Thanks in advance.

    • Jarrod

      I still haven’t had the chance to do a proper i5 vs i7 comparison as it’s hard to get my hands on i5 laptops to review for some reason, they all seem to only use i7. I suppose it depends on how much CPU resources you’ll need while doing that, eg if you’re compiling code and stuff the extra cores of the i7 may be beneficial, though I’d still expect the i5 version to be quite capable.

      • Jin En Tan

        Hey Jarrod, it’s me again, I just found that Aftershock Vapor 15 pro is sold in my country too! Do you think I should buy Vapor 15 pro instead of the lenovo legion y7000? I really like the non red light keyboard

        • Jarrod

          I think the Vapor 15 is better in terms of build quality/design/features, however it probably costs more as a result to get all the extras like big battery, SD slot, Thunderbolt, and mech keyboard, so depends how much you value those things.

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