When it comes to gifts, everyone loves technology. And there is no shortage of tech gift ideas at Best Buy. Portable wireless speakers, smart home security systems, and noise cancelling headphones, to name just a few. All of these are great, but when it comes to tech gifts with a wow factor, nothing beats a gaming laptop.
Everyone loves PC gaming
As awesome as the current generation of game consoles is, they can’t compare to the PC gaming experience. There are more games, more intense graphics, and the use of a keyboard and mouse opens up input options that consoles generally lack. Many gaming PCs also have the graphical horsepower to support VR gaming as well. It’s little wonder that according to data published by Statista, there has been a 39% increase in time spent gaming during the pandemic.
When it comes to PC gaming, the ultimate system is a high-powered gaming laptop. These machines have always made great gifts.
Why today’s gaming laptops are better than ever
The current crop of gaming laptops is easily the best and most exciting in the decade or so since the first gaming laptops were released.
Laptop processors are more powerful than ever, and there is now a very tight race between Intel and AMD. Whether you pick a gaming laptop with a new AMD Ryzen 5000 series mobile processor (read more about those here) or one equipped with an awesome new 11th generation Intel Core CPU (outlined here), you can count on screaming fast performance, support for the latest technology like Wi-Fi 6, high resolution displays, a thinner form factor, and unprecedented battery life.
A gaming laptop still can’t match a regular laptop for battery life—all those high-powered components take a toll—but many of today’s gaming laptops can deliver five or six hours of mobile gaming. They can hit all-day battery life when doing more basic tasks like web browsing or streaming video.
The most recent crop of gaming laptops are also equipped with the latest in graphics cards. Many boast the NVIDIA RTX 30 series mobile graphics cards for eye-popping effects like real-time ray tracing and DLSS AI acceleration. You can read more about what these incredible graphics cards are capable of here.
Thinner, lighter, incredibly powerful, and with useful battery life, gaming laptops have become true self-contained mobile gaming systems. Many gamers prefer a gaming laptop over a desktop even though they use it almost exclusively at home. Set it on a desk, plug in a gaming monitor and a mouse, and you have an extremely compact home PC gaming setup.
A gift that also has a practical side
One of the nice things about a gaming laptop is that you can easily justify it as a gift because it also has a practical side.
Yes, it’s a laptop that’s optimized for gaming. But it’s also a very capable PC, more capable than most, in fact. Streaming video, web browsing, editing video, updating social media or doing homework—a gaming laptop can do it all.
What to expect from different classes of gaming laptops
Another nice thing about deciding to give a gaming laptop as a gift is that there are options to support virtually any budget. When we think of gaming laptops, there’s a tendency to think of them as being very expensive. While high-end gaming laptops do carry a price premium over everyday laptops, there are also affordable gaming laptops that compare favourably with a standard laptop.
Here’s what you can generally expect to see in terms of capabilities from the different classes of gaming laptops.
Affordable gaming laptops
At the entry level, gaming laptops are often equipped with previous generation processors and graphics cards. For example, a 9th or 10th generation Intel Core i5, and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650. They won’t be loaded up with RAM (8GB of RAM and 4GB of video RAM is a common configuration). Storage is typically a 500GB SSD. A 15.6-inch Full HD display is the norm, but high refresh rates are still uncommon in this class. There will be stereo speakers. The body is likely to be chunky and made of plastic, but you can expect an RGB backlit keyboard.
In short, don’t expect being able to crank up the graphics settings on AAA games, but an affordable gaming laptop will still run circles around an everyday laptop.
Midrange gaming laptops
As you move into the midrange, gaming laptops get more capable, and sleeker. Current generation processors like an AMD Ryzen 9 or 11th generation Intel Core i7 are more common. You start to see even faster CPUs like the Intel Core i9. Standard RAM installed is bumped up to 12GB or 16GB. You start to see higher quality displays, with higher brightness, wider viewing angles, and some offer faster 144Hz refresh rates. Sound is usually specially-tuned stereo or quad speaker systems.
Most importantly, many midrange gaming laptops are now equipped with NVIDIA RTX 30 series graphics cards. Probably the most common configuration is a GeForce RTX 3060 with 6GB of video RAM. Laptops in his class are VR-ready and able to play AAA games at a high frame rate with effects on high. They can take advantage of the latest effects like real-time ray tracing.
Midrange is the sweet spot for gaming laptops, offering high capability for a reasonable price.
High-end gaming laptops
With high-end gaming laptops, the sky is the limit. This is the class where you see the ultra-slim designs, with metal frequently taking the place of plastic.
Processors are the latest and greatest, with the octa-core AMD Ryzen 9 and octa-core 11th generation Intel Core i7 being favourites. Pre-installed RAM ranges from 16GB to 3GB of fast DDR4 RAM. A full 1TB of super-fast PCIe solid state storage is typical. Displays are most commonly 15.6-inches or 17.3-inches, and feature upgrades like QHD+ resolution and refresh rates of 144Hz or higher. You may see surround or even Dolby Atmos audio make an appearance.
Most importantly, high-end gaming laptops get high-end video cards, like the RTX GeForce 3070 with 8GB of video RAM. These laptops are equipped to play the latest and most demanding games with all the visual effects cranked up.
Take the next step
Once you’ve found the perfect gaming laptop for that special someone, don’t forget the extras that make it even better. Accessories like a gaming headset, a gaming mouse, or a big-screen computer monitor to plug in for even more immersive gameplay. Best Buy has you covered with all the PC gaming accessories and add-ons to take a gaming laptop to the next level.
Shop gaming laptops and more online at Bestbuy.ca