Right now, medical professionals are doing everything that they can to end this global health crisis while the rest of us try to defeat boredom. If you’re a gamer and have come to realize that your current laptop is no longer up to par in its gaming capability, we recommend the Acer Nitro 5, Asus ROG Zephyrus G GA502, MSI GS65 Stealth, or Razer Blade Stealth. These gaming laptops boast formidable specs and can also serve as your work laptop. What’s more, they’re all available at Best Buy at awesome discounted prices. Save up to $400 when you get them today.
Acer Nitro 5 – $700, was $830
Gone are the days when you have to spend at least $1,000 for a good gaming laptop. If you’re on a tight budget but demand quality portable gaming, then the Acer Nitro 5 could be your best option. It’s not the sexiest looking machine out there – in fact, it looks rather plain – but this laptop aces it where it really matters: Performance. Right now, you can get it for just $700 instead of $830 at Best Buy – a huge $180 off the price.
The Acer Nitro 5 is rather understated for a gaming laptop. It’s not particularly stylish nor does it have the multicolor LEDs of premium gaming laptops. Nevertheless, it comes with stylized cooling vents and a red luminous keyboard so you can still distinguish it from ordinary business laptops. Its keyboard is precise and comfortable to use and features WASD keys that are boldly outlined in red. It features a small number pad, too. The touchpad is pretty good as well, responsive and precise with support of Windows 10 multitouch gestures. Unfortunately, its build quality isn’t the best. We noticed a fair bit of flexing when we applied pressure on it, and at 1.1-inch thick and about 6 pounds, it’s not exactly travel-friendly. At least it’s got plenty of ports for peripherals, including one USB 3.1 Type-C, two USB 2.0 Type-A, one USB 3.0 Type-A, an SD card slot, HDMI out, and a headphone/mic combo jack.
Acer also outfitted the Nitro 5 with solid specs despite being a budget gaming laptop. Equipped with Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1650 GPU with 8GB of RAM, we enjoyed a steady 44 frames per second on medium graphics settings when playing Far Cry New Dawn, and 43 frames per second in Middle Earth: Shadow of War. While these numbers aren’t exactly mindblowing, they are quite decent for an entry-level gaming laptop.
The Nitro 5 may come at a budget-friendly price but Acer certainly didn’t skimp on its gaming performance. Get it for only $700 at Best Buy today.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G GA502 – $950, was $1,200
For $950 (a whopping $250 less than its normal retail price of $1,200), you’ll get a strong GTX 1660 Ti GPU, lengthy battery life, and a sleek and sexy design with the Asus ROG Zephyrus G GA502. Even though it has a middling AMD processor and a lackluster display, we still recommend the Zephyrus G if you’re after solid gaming experience for relatively less money.
The aluminum chassis of the Zephyrus G has a textured brushed finish that’s quite fetching. The glossy ROG logo is bedecked with red backlighting that faintly lights up. The screen is surrounded by super-slim bezels, and at 4.5 pounds and 14.2 x 9.9 x 0.8 inches, the Zephyrus G is incredibly light and slim. This laptop is outfitted with a decent number of ports, including an RJ45 Ethernet port, an HDMI 2.0 port, three USB 3.1 port, one USB Type-C port (DisplayPort 1.4), and a headphone jack. Although its 15.6-inch display is rather dull and dim compared to your average budget gaming laptop, it packs a 120Hz refresh rate for buttery-smooth gameplay. Its keyboard offers a very comfortable typing experience with the inclusion of palmrests, and the Windows precision drivers-powered touchpad is equally easy to use.
This laptop is armed with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU with 6GB of VRAM. In our test, it was able to blaze through Shadow of the Tomb Raider at its highest graphics setting and at 36 frames per second. We did notice an occasional stutter and glitch, but not enough to ruin the overall experience. Moreover, its AMD Ryzen 7 3750H processor with 16GB of RAM was able to seamlessly juggle multiple Google Chrome tabs open with five 1080p-YouTube videos while Shadow of the Tomb Raider ran in the background, making this a great work laptop as well.
Boasting an awesome streamlined design and above-average GPU performance that’s slightly marred by a subpar display, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G GA502 is a great pick for a budget gaming laptop. Get it for a huge $250 off at Best Buy right now.
MSI GS65 Stealth – $1,300, was $1,700
Well go straight to the point: The MSI GS65 Stealth is one of the best midrange gaming laptops out there. It practically has no flaws, comes at an attractive price, and boasts the power to play the most graphically demanding games at the highest setting. This exquisite piece of gaming equipment is currently on sale at Best Buy for $1,300 instead of $1,700, and an unprecedented $400 off.
The MSI GS65 Stealth screams luxury. With opulent black and gold accents adorning its svelte and sophisticated chassis, this is the Cadillac of gaming laptops. At a mere 4.1 pounds and 0.7 inches thick, this is one of MSI’s skinniest gaming laptops to date: It won’t weigh you down when you’re traveling with it. Despite its slim profile, it still has plenty of ports to offer. On the right side, you’ll find a USB 3.1 Type-A port, Thunderbolt 3, a Mini DisplayPort, HDMI, and the power jack, while the left side flaunts a pair of USB 3.1 Type-A ports, Gigabit Ethernet, a secure lock slot, a microphone jack and an S/PDIF jack for high-res audio.
This laptop’s 15.6-inch is packed with 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. It can get incredibly bright with sharp details and exquisite colors. Furthermore, its 144-Hertz refresh rate should help cut down on screen tears and latency, which works wonders on fast-paced games and movies. Normally, laptops this thin have keyboard keys that are somewhat shallow. This is not the case with the Stealth. Its island-style keys have a strong actuation, resulting in surprisingly springy action. Furthermore, your gaming will prove even more dazzling and dramatic thanks to MSI’s customizable Steel Series individual keys lighting.
The MSI GS65 Stealth is one of the first portables to feature Intel’s 8th-gen, six-core Coffee Lake processor. Working alongside an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660Ti GPU and 8GB of VRAM, this laptop is not just a beast for gaming but also for productivity. The system can easily deliver good frame rates at the highest settings as well as VR support. You’ll be able to enjoy 60fps or higher at peak settings on graphics-intensive games like Witcher 3, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Hitman.
The MSI GS65 Stealth is a lethal combination of price, power, and portability. Get it for a staggering $400 off at Best Buy today.
Razer Blade Stealth – $1,500, was $1,800
One of the best and most popular gaming laptop manufacturers is Razer, and its premium gaming Ultrabook, the Razer Blade Stealth, is now leaner, meaner, and faster than ever, thanks to a dedicated Nvidia GeForce graphics processor. You can get the Razer Blade Stealth Ultrabook for an incredible $300 less than usual on Best Buy, bringing its price down from $1,800 to $1,500.
The Razer Blade Stealth has been completely redesigned. It still has the same solid aluminum chassis, but with thinner bezels, harder edges, sharper corners, and a gorgeous jet-black finish. It looks like a tiny version of the 15-inch Razer Blade (our best gaming laptop for 2019). At the back of the screen, you will find Razer’s logo of three intertwined serpents. Its 13-inch matte screen has been calibrated to display accurate and precise colors and the blackest of blacks. It looks good no matter what angle you’re viewing it from, and it can go incredibly bright at over 400 nits max, which is exactly what we want from a premium laptop.
It gets its keyboard design straight from the Razer Blade, for better or for worse. The keyboard is Chroma-lit for full-blown gaming immersion and typing on it is a pleasure. However, we think the layout could use some serious tweaking. The keys appear cramped and the Stealth borrows the worst aspect of the Razer Blade’s keyboard layout: The full-size up/down arrow keys. This is great for gaming, but the up arrow key cuts between the “shift” and “question mark” keys, which will take time to get used to.
On to its gaming performance. The Blade Stealth has an eighth-generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB dual-channel memory, and the Nvidia GeForce MX150 graphics processor, all working together to ensure the best gaming experience despite its ultra-small size. We were able to play Fortnite and Civilization VI at more than 30 fps (frames per second) at the medium resolution setting, which isn’t smooth but is still playable. Fast-paced shooter games, unfortunately, did not fare well. For Battlefield 1 to be playable, the resolution needed to be dropped down to a lower setting. Rocket League was the sole exception, which managed 60 fps with a high-resolution setting. Overall, the Razer Blade Stealth was by no means bad. It just wasn’t as smooth as we expected it to be and is not as good as the Razer Blade.
With undeniably cool looks, a stunning display, and extreme portability, the Razer Blade Stealth is definitely worthy of recommendation. Unfortunately, it lacks stellar gaming performance, which should have been its primary strength. Still, it’s one of the better gaming Ultrabooks out there.
HP Pavilion x360 14m-dh0003dx review: A sturdy 2-in-1 with dependable quad-core performance
The HP Pavilion x360 14 2-in-1 laptop comes in many flavors, and ours (14m-dh0003dx) should please productivity-minded professionals with its smooth quad-core performance and a keyboard that feels great. Given that it’s $700 from Best Buy before discounts (though we’ve recently spotted it for just $560), we would have liked a bit more battery life, though.
This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best laptops. Go there for information on competing products and how we tested them.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
HP offers a dizzying array of Pavilion x360 models in 11-, 14-, and 15-inch sizes, with the 14-inch configurations ranging from 8th-gen dual-core Intel Core i3 systems up to 10th-gen Core i7 quad-core Comet Lake CPUs. Here’s what’s under the hood of our middle-of-the-road 14-inch Pavilion x360 14m-dh0003dx):
- CPU: Quad-core Intel Core i5-8265U
- RAM: 8GB DDR4
- GPU: Integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620
- Display: 14-inch 1920 x 1080 IPS touchscreen
- Storage: 128GB SSD
At first blush, we’ve got the makings of a solid productivity workhorse here, with a quad-core Core i5 Whiskey Lake CPU that should be able to breeze through most daily computing and Office tasks and tackle some CPU-intensive tasks, such as video processing and database work. The 8GB of RAM, typical for a laptop in this price range, should help smooth out multitasking kinks (although 16GB of RAM would be even better), and the full-HD IPS touchscreen should offer reasonably sharp resolution with solid viewing angles.
The 128GB solid-state drive is on the small side, however, leaving you with only about 90GB of storage once Windows, Office, and other miscellaneous apps and utilities are accounted for. Given the cramped SSD, you’d probably want to lean on cloud storage or an external drive.
A similar Pavilion x360 14 is officially $900 on HP.com with 12GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, but only $590 with discounts as of presstime.
HP has been adding more and more snazzy design elements to its Pavilion x360 series. This particular 2-in-1 bears many of those hallmarks, particularly the “hourglass” edges that allow you to open the Pavilion from the front, left, or right sides, as well as the shiny aluminum trim and the matte lid stamped with the HP logo.
The 14-inch, 16:9 “micro-edge” display does indeed have reasonably thin bezels along the top and sides, although the bottom bezel is pretty chunky. Below the hinges sits an attractive, diamond-cut grille for the Bang & Olufsen speakers (more on them in a moment), along with the silver-colored palm rest and keyboard. An understated Pavilion logo sits near the bottom-left edge of the keyboard.
As a 2-in-1 system, the Pavilion x360’s lid can swivel all the way around for tablet use. You can also tent the laptop on a desk, or place it keyboard-down with the display tilted back in kiosk mode. The Pavilion x360’s reassuringly sturdy hinges did a solid job of keeping the lid in place, although the stiff motion of the lid means that opening the laptop requires a fair amount of effort.
One design element I didn’t love on the Pavilion x360 was the power button on the left edge of the laptop, near the middle. More than once, I accidentally put the Pavilion to sleep by inadvertently pressing the button as I was moving the laptop on my desk. A smarter move would have been to position the button farther away from the middle—or, better yet, put it just above the keyboard on the inside, where you’re much less likely to press it by accident.
Measuring 12.7 x 8.8 x 0.8 inches, the Pavilion x360 is reasonably thin for a convertible-style laptop. Weighing in at 3.62 pounds (or 4.19 if you include the power brick), the Pavilion feels a bit on the heavy side, and you’ll definitely notice the weight when you’re toting it around in a backpack.
The Pavilion’s 1920×1080 display looks as sharp and vivid as we’d expect from a full-HD screen. With its IPS (in-plane switching) display technology, the panel boasts impressive viewing angles, dimming only slightly when viewed from the sides, top, or bottom.
The screen is a tiny bit dimmer than we’d like, measuring about 245 nits (or candelas), when our low-water mark for comfortable indoor viewing is 250 nits. Then again, we’ve seen dimmer displays on laptops in this price range, and I was able to view the Pavilion’s display comfortably in my office. Outdoor viewing would likely be a different story.
Keyboard, trackpad, speakers, and extras
The Pavilion x360’s keyboard is a cut above those you typically see in mid-range laptops. The square, flat keys feel solid rather than squishy, with a fairly generous amount of travel and a satisfying mid-stroke bump that feels almost clicky. Indeed, I found typing on the Pavilion to be an unexpected pleasure.
The Pavilion’s trackpad is a bit on the wide side, which meant that my palms frequently dragged over it while I typed. That wouldn’t be a big deal if the trackpad were better at rejecting accidental inputs; alas, the Pavilion’s cursor occasionally jittered across the screen as my palm brushed the trackpad, particularly on the right side. The accidental trackpad inputs weren’t so bad that they interrupted my work, but they happened enough to be noticeable.
Back on the plus side, the Bang & Olufsen-designed stereo speakers are actually pretty good. We generally expect very little from laptop speakers, but the Pavilion’s top-firing drivers actually evinced some subtle detail and even a bit of bass. While I couldn’t crank the speakers very loud, at least I didn’t notice any distortion when I dialed the volume all the way up.
This particular configuration of the Pavilion x360 comes with a fingerprint reader sitting just beneath the bottom-right corner of the keyboard.
The Pavilion x360 has a solid selection of ports given its size and price range. Starting on the left side, there’s a USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A port (5Gbps), a combo audio jack, and a laptop security slot. Also on the left side is a good-sized cooling vent, along with the aforementioned power button.
On the right side you’ll find a media card reader, a USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C port, a second USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A port, a full HDMI port, and a barrel-shaped charging connector.
There’s no ethernet port, but given that Pavilions generally don’t have one, that isn’t much of a shock.
For our performance charts, we’ve grouped with HP Pavilion x360 with a mix of laptops, ranging from a 8th-gen, dual-core i3 model to a system with Intel’s latest six-core Ice Lake CPU, along with a series of quad-core laptops in the middle. Obviously, that Ice Lake chip is going to dust the Pavilion’s less powerful Whiskey Lake CPU in some cases. But as we’ll see, the Pavilion gets a few chances to shine even compared to the latest and greatest laptops, particularly when it comes to day-to-day productivity. We’ll also see how much of a difference a quad-core CPU makes compared to a dual-core chip like Intel’s Core i3.
PCMark 8 Work 2.0 Conventional
Our first benchmark simulates such daily computing tasks as web browsing, spreadsheet work, video chat, and other common desktop chores. Given that the HP Pavilion x360 should appeal most to productivity mavens, PCMark 8 is a great place to start with our testing. Generally speaking, a PCMark 8 score above 2,000 means you can expect smooth Office performance.
A quick glance at the chart reveals that the Pavilion handled the PCMark 8 benchmark like a champ, and it even edged the Dell XPS 13 7390 with its six-core Ice Lake CPU. To be fair, though, the core count doesn’t really matter so much with PCMark 8, which focuses mostly on single-core applications. It’s also worth noting that the Dell is much thinner and lighter than the Pavilion, which means it must pump the brakes to keep its slim chassis cool.
In the end, which laptop finished where in our chart really doesn’t matter given that they all notched scores north of 3,000. In other words, all of these laptops are great Office machines.
A benchmark that involves converting a 30GB MKV file into a format suitable for an Android tablet, our HandBrake test pushes even the beefiest CPUs to their limits. It also tells us a lot about how a given laptop balances cooling and performance over a relatively lengthy period, given that our HandBrake test often takes more than an hour to perform.
Checking our chart, the HP Pavilion x360 lands pretty much where we’d expect, right in the mix with other quad-core Core i5 Whiskey Lake laptops. The Pavilion is also neck-and-neck with the HP Envy 13, a Core i7 Whiskey Lake laptop. That’s actually not as surprising as it sounds, as the main difference between the i5 and i7 chips is that the i7 boasts a higher boost clock, an advantage that’s most apparent during short, intense bursts of CPU activity.
The chart-topping Dell XPS 13 and its Ice Lake CPU illustrate the substantially superior performance of a (far pricier) six-core processor compared to a quad-core system, although you generally don’t need that kind of horsepower unless you’re dealing with, say, 4K video workflows. On the other end of the spectrum is the dual-core Acer Aspire 5, which lags well behind the pack but does just fine (and for a lot less) when it comes to daily, single-core productivity tasks.
Remember what we said a moment ago about short bursts of CPU activity? That’s what our Cinebench test, which involves rendering a 3D image in real time, is all about. Unlike the lengthy HandBrake benchmark, which can take an hour or more, Cinebench is typically all over within five minutes or so.
Once again, the HP Pavilion x360’s Cinebench score was bunched up with its fellow i5-packing laptops, albeit nearer to the bottom. The Paviion’s so-so performance can be partly blamed on its 2-in-1 form factor, which is tougher to keep cool than a traditional clamshell laptop is. Still, we should note that the Pavilion x360’s all-threads Cinebench score is respectable given its CPU, while its solid single-thread Cinebench result (which is all that matters when it comes to day-to-day computing tasks) brings it up a notch.
Looking at the competition, we see the six-core Ice Lake-powered Dell XPS 13 way ahead of the pack (no surprise there), while the quad-core HP Envy 13 and its Core i7 CPU ges an expected speed bump thanks to its faster boost clock. At the bottom of the list, once again, is the dual-core but bargain-priced Acer Aspire 5.
3DMark Sky Diver
Like many mid-range, productivity-minded laptops, the HP Pavilion x360 isn’t much of a gaming machine, although its integrated graphics core is designed to deliver enough adequate performance for light photo editing and similar tasks. As a rule, laptops with discrete graphics cards will score much higher in our graphics-oriented 3DMark Sky Diver benchmark, and our results bear that out.
As expected, the HP Pavilion x360 sits right alongside similar laptops with integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620 cores. While it’s nearer the back of the pack, you’re not going to see any of these integrated graphics systems deliver even close to 30 fps while playing, say, Fornite. For smooth gaming performance, you’d need a laptop with discrete graphics, such as the two laptops at the top of our chart, which both boast entry-level Nvidia GeForce MX250 graphics cards.
We test a laptop’s battery life by looping a 4K video using the stock Windows Movies & TV app. We set screen brightness set to about 250 nits (which means cranking the brightness all the way up on the HP Pavilion x360) and with the volume set to 50 percent, headphones on.
At first glance, the Pavilion’s position near the bottom of the chart doesn’t look so great, but its 484-minute battery drain result (a sliver over 8 hours) isn’t bad considering its 40-watt-hour battery, which is the smallest of the bunch. It even beats out that of the 14-inch Lenovo IdeaPad Flex, a 2-in-1 laptop with a larger 48-watt-hour battery.
Still, if you’re looking for a system that’ll last you more than a long afternoon on battery power (and keep in mind that our eight-hour battery drain result won’t hold up if you’re doing anything remotely demanding on the Pavilion), you should consider a device with a bigger battery. The relatively low-priced Acer Aspire 5’s 48Wh battery managed to last 100 minutes longer during our battery drain test. It’s also a good three-quarters of a pound heavier than the Pavilion.
While its battery life and display are mediocre, the HP Pavilion x360 remains a solid, well-built 2-in-1 that will speed you through everyday computing tasks as well as moderately tough video-processing or number-crunching chores. Better still, its comfy keyboard will keep your fingers happy, and the surprisingly decent-sounding speakers will keep you humming. For the price (especially at current discounts), it’s a solid deal. Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.
AT A GLANCE
- HP Pavilion x360 14m-dh0003This sleek convertible laptop has what it takes in terms of day-to-day performance, but its small battery won’t last all day.
- Solid quad-core performance
- Sleek, sturdy design
- Great keyboard
- Above-average speakersCons
- So-so battery life
- Display is a bit dim
- Side power button is easy to press by accident
- So-so battery life
- Display is a bit dim
- Side power button is easy to press by accident
This tiny laptop makes the MacBook look positively gigantic
The One-NetBook OneMix 1S is sure to divide opinions; as not everyone will consider a $499 Celeron-based laptop to be a good deal, but then this is no ordinary laptop.
The OneMix 1S is probably the smallest devices on the market today, targeting a niche user base searching for extreme portability with as few compromises as possible.
The Celeron processor that powers it is slightly faster than the N4100 model that powers a lot of similar devices on the market today, and it also sports 8GB of RAM and a true PCIe 256GB SSD rather than the sluggish eMMC storage that powers many other entry level laptops.
Add to that a full HD, touch capable display that supports pen input, a large 6500mAh battery, a fingerprint reader, plenty of connectivity options and it is easy to see why this format is – like vinyl and tape for audio – seeing a resurgence.
Bear in mind that the keyboard may infuriate touch typers and given its lilliputian dimensions, a touchpad is out of question. On the other hand though you will be able to charge this laptop using a standard portable battery charger.
Lastly, it might be a good idea to take a Type-C hub adaptor given that it doesn’t have an HDMI port should you want to use a big screen.
MacBook Pro 2019 will be a 16-inch LCD laptop
MacBook Pro 2019 will be a 16-inch LCD laptop, New report affirms rumors and points to $3,000 starting price
New report affirms rumors and points to $3,000 starting price
We may have already seen new MacBook Pro models refreshed for 2019, but the true MacBook Pro 2019 is expected to land this October as a 16-inch LCD laptop, according to Taiwan’s United Daily News (UDN).
Given that this would be Apple’s largest MacBook Pro laptop since 2012’s final run of the 17-inch MacBook Pro, the company reportedly plans to slap a gargantuan baseline price tag onto this year’s model – which could rise above $3,000 (about £2,450, AU$4,350).
This laptop will likely be pushed heavily toward content creators and developers as a demonstration of Apple’s sincerity in serving those audiences. Here’s to hoping it will somehow satisfy the cross-section of folks that also like to game on their workhorse machines.
MacBook Pro 2019 backs down from OLED
This report corroborates one published by London-based market analysts IHS Markit, adding the pricing element to the mix. More importantly, this is the second report to state that the 16-inch MacBook Pro 2019 display will not be an OLED product.
Instead, it will be an LCD to the tune of a 3,072 x 1,920 pixel resolution, which would give the display a rather competitive 226 pixels per inch (ppi) rating and a total of 5.9 million pixels. LCD or not, this is going to be a sharp 3K display.
Will that alone be enough to justify such an exorbitant starting price? Hardly. There are surely other features that Apple has cooking for this device.
We know that Apple is planning to allow this MacBook Pro up to 32GB of memory (RAM), which is already possible on the 15-inch MacBook Pro.
And, of course, every report mentions an entirely new design likely focused on smaller screen bezels.
Exactly what kind of processor technology will be inside these laptops is also up in the air. Is Apple’s supposed ARM laptop processor to be finished in time for these new laptops? Or, will Apple go all in with AMD considering Intel’s faltering pole position in the laptop computing space?
We’ll almost certainly see more about these missing MacBook Pro 2019 details as we get closer to October 2019.
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