In the last post, we’ve talked about the importance, benefits and drawbacks of the portable laptops. Perhaps they’re often seen in the business office than on a gaming desk. Reason for that is simple, they spend a lot of power, they have weak battery life, and their features such as display, speakers, heating are of poor quality. When it comes to the portable gaming laptops, the golden mid between the 15 and 17 inches machines and the 12 and 13 inches portable systems are the 14 inch display diagonal laptops that’ve proved themselves worthy in today’s gaming life.
We’ve spent hours reviewing, testing and playing on these laptops. Some of them are more budget like laptops, so the modest gamers can enjoy the portable magic too, unlike the case was in the last blog post. Some laptops though, are not cheap but, based on their general performance, set of components and balance between the speakers, display, thermal system and battery life you will see why.
Like mentioned already, in this article we’re going to talk about the gaming laptop of our choice that is very portable and focused in the 14 inch specter. Please, do keep reading this article, if you’re interested in enriching your desk with one compact design gaming machine!
Table of Contents
Best 14-inch Gaming Laptops
I’ve already said that testing gaming laptops is not an easy challenge. It’s of utmost importance to get to know the laptop, know its cooling system, keyboard and touch bar, display, performance, processor performance, gaming performances. This laptop needs to be the very proof of consistency, power and strength. Moreover, this laptop needs to be reliable and capable of coping with the most demanding trends technology has set on us.
After testing, we believe that this is the Gigabyte Aero 14K. This is a perfect laptop for everyone who is looking for a high-end performance, while owning a compact design that can fit everywhere and is travel-friendly.
This is where you’ll see what are the main features of this gaming laptop, performance and gaming creed. We hope that in this article you’ll get to know why do we think this laptop is a great gaming feature. If Gigabyte is a company you’re not entirely familiar with, then you can see our other choice that we’ve presented in the best portable gaming laptops
1. Gigabyte Aero 14
The Taiwan-based company has released the newest Gigabyte Aero 14 gaming laptop. Gigabyte is not the most famous electronics company but certainly its ultra-thin laptops leave a memorable mark in the world of gaming.
However, even the company has outdone itself with the latest model, ultra-thin Aero 14. This laptop measures at only 1.99mm in thickness and weights at around 1.9kg. With that balance of measuring, this laptop can be considered an ultimate ultrabook.
We could rely on Gigabyte’s promise that they will create a powerful and affordable machine that will be either portable and beasty.
In a way it is, it is equipped with the latest quad-core Intel’s processor, virtual reality friendly Nvidia’s Ge Force GTX 1060M graphics card and a quite large battery. We were hoping that the battery is as durable as it’s large but, unfortunately that dream didn’t come into life. For some, the battery life is solid but, still not enough to compete the other laptops. Another drawback of this laptop is a lot of pre-installed bloatware that fills the display of this laptop. I don’t think that any of these is essentially usable for anything more than taking up the space of the system.
Either way, this laptop represents an incredible value for the portable, 14 inches screen laptop which makes us wonder, what makes this laptop so special? Read on to see.
The laptops with more gaming performance tend to have a more gaming appearance too. No LED lights on Aero 14. The minimalist appearance of the chassis would make one think that this is just another laptop designed to meet the demands of businessmen or regular day to a day use without compromising the powerful components stuffed inside of it. That the first impression can vary proves that even powerful laptops can look ordinary but, not less than stylish.
The version we’ve got to test comes with a simple orange line across the case. However, this 14 inch gaming laptop is also found in a full orange color and green as well. If you’re a fan of vibrant colors that appear strong to the eye then, these versions are definitely for you. On the other hand, casual never goes out of style so there’s nothing wrong with sticking with the low profile edition. For those who appreciate what’s inside more than what is outside, they will stick with the regular dark grey-black with a decoration of orange stripe.
Beside the color selection, on the top cover of the case you will notice something that resembles of a triangle which is filled with a sweet pattern of intersecting sets of parallel lines, not often seen pattern on laptop but, I admit that I was impressed.
When we opened the notebook, we noticed that its inside is also a large go-off for Gigabyte. Perhaps they decided to change everything and stick with a new, more graceful and more self-esteem manner. You will see that the keyboard is quite larger compared to the prior models. Unfortunately, you will see that resulted in the lack of numeric pad that is essential to the fast writers and people who generally rely on the existence of numeric pad. Either way keys are large and they possess genuine spacing between the keys themselves. Also the laptop features five macro keys by the left side of the keyboard.
You’d be surprised by the fact of despite all the hardware inside the notebook, it’s still amazingly light. The biggest trait of lightweight, portable laptops is that they are extremely easy to carry around. The 14 inch gaming laptops fairly replace the 17 and 18 inches gaming laptops on LAN parties and libraries. Although they generate a lot of power it’s good to see a compact design laptop performing better than the vast majority of 15 inch laptops. This laptop weights only 1.9 kg, it’s pretty lightweight, almost as feather. Certainly less than the Alienware 13 R3.
At only 0.78 inches in thickness, you will soon conclude that this system is extremely thin. Although these thin laptops measure in poor performance this is not the case with Aero 3. One of the best design features of this laptop is certainly the fact that you can easily bend the screen back. Before, we were able to see the laptops that can easily bend up to 180 degrees, however this thing goes down in past. This 14 inch display can lean back an amazing 190 degrees. This feature is enabled by the sufficient extended rear base that is not often seen on laptops. This luxury doesn’t certainly benefit the gamer creed. However, it is nice that our laptop can tilt back when we’re using it for something other than gaming. This feature amazes everyone who likes to tilt the laptop back when they are laying on bed, and this is the luxury not all laptops are capable of providing.
Keyboard and Touch bar
We’ve already mentioned above that the keys of the keyboard are significantly larger compared to the older models. It seems that this was a revolutionary model featured by Gigabyte. Not only it is larger but it also haves macro keys that support the usage of the laptop by much more than cheaper laptops do. There’s no LED backlit keyboard to boost the gaming ambient of the laptop. But in a way it’s good because those lights can often be painful for the eye.
Now, let’s talk about the quality of the keyboard. The portable laptops often have issues with one feature of the laptop or another. With this laptop, the keyboard is of respectful quality. However, the keys feel quite bouncy upon you touch them. It is not significantly louder than the other keyboards which implies that the keys are deep in touch while offering great resistance while typing.
Perhaps, this laptop is not the right choice for writers, for accurate and fast writers who want to get the maximum of their typing speed. Most disappointing part for the business users is the lack of numeric pad on the keyboard, but, we can’t call that a huge drawback.
Below the keyboard, you will notice a modest touch bar that feels smooth as the silk. It is a lovely touch bar with high accuracy, speed and fairly responsive. It is just the right kind of trackpad that you need in a laptop. Although not fully necessary for the hardcore games, they will still come in handy when you’re playing simpler games, though I wouldn’t even play The Sims on it. The only noticeable drawback of this touch bar is the Elan software that allows only a small selection of multi touch gestures.
The Aero 14’s screen is purely magnificent. It has a great aspect of brightness and contrast that will simply leave you speechless. There are a lot of screens with certain drawbacks that are quite disappointing, but in terms of media, this laptop has a lot to offer. The 14 inches display offers so great aspect of brightness that even less than 50% brightness is enough to resist against the sun shines getting through your window. If your office has a lot of windows that blur the brightness, this laptop will overpower them.
Other than that, the display is fairly predictive. Who wouldn’t want a powerful display that will overpower your enemies and opponents before they even know that you’re there. The powerful colors evoke the open worlds and make your ambient look much better than other laptops. Media will as well be improved, so you can watch your movies and series on high resolution and obviously a great quality.
The laptop also has great contrast which is greatly helpful. We should also keep in mind that other laptops in this range usually come in 3K, 4K screen and even QHD. While Aero 14 screen is equipped with only IPS panel, that is still better than TN panel that has poor viewing angles and is not finish matte like an IPS panel. In my eyes that’s quite disappointing. Fortunately IPS panel is still good enough for the top notch quality of gaming.
The 14 inch gaming laptop of this level doesn’t leave behind the best impression of speakers. Not only are they important for evoking the gaming spirit that converts and brings the actual games and streams into life.
They are whatsoever quite handy. You can listen to the music without too much problems and play games even though the audio output won’t service you with the best quality of the music. Obviously, this is repairable with a good quality of headphones that can serve you in much better manner.
Sometimes we must accept that some laptops have drawbacks and focus on enjoying the other features of it.
Heating and Noise
The laptop has amazing heating system despite its compact size. When it comes to the parts of laptop that are very close to each other it is good that both CPU and GPU don’t exceed the temperature of 65 C despite the games that are ran on it. Decent thermal system is of the utmost importance in the gaming laptops, especially this small. Huge temperatures cause the graphics card to turn off causing huge problems that can result in the components dying.
The laptop isn’t noisy. It is capable of performing various multithread operations without leaving too much noise. This is good mainly because the speakers have low quality. However, when it comes to the most demanding gaming fans can get extremely noisy and cause pure discomfort while gaming. As for the less demanding games the noise will be optimal and that’s one of the best parts of laptops this small.
The laptop has a quite large and massive battery, powering 94.24-watt hour battery. This kind of batteries is quite larger compared to the other batteries but it doesn’t necessarily provide greater power. These smaller laptops generally have 2-3 hours of battery. However Gigabyte has always claimed that their users should have a full day productivity battery in order to get the best of their laptop performance.
We’ve spent various hours surfing and playing games, also watching videos and movies. This lead us to the conclusion that this laptop can last up to 5 hours a day, on the settings of 1080p movie and 50% brightness.
In the full usage, the laptop has ran 4 hours and 20 minutes, which isn’t significantly lower compared to the fact that laptop was exposed to its full workload. We could see this laptop being capable of running for 5 and half hours if the brightness was reduced and the laptop was less used. This is still better than seeing usual laptops of this size making it barely to cross the second hour.
You will see that this laptop has various features that it can be proud of. It is equipped with the Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor that does decent performance in both simple and multithreading operations. There is also a model that features the Kaby Lake Intel Core i7-7700HQ, the latest 7th generation from the HQ series dedicated to the laptops. But, we think that the 6th generation does great job too.
The Aero 14 is a fully capable of playing virtual reality games. The best part of this is that you don’t have to spend 2k in order to have a virtual reality friendly machine. It is not only more affordable than Razer Blade and Alienware 13 it can even run better benchmarks than them on a high level, as a result of the Nvidia GTX 1060 mobile graphics card with its Pascal 16 nm architecture which powers it in the virtual reality game creed. Although these laptops are similar in every possible way, the Aero 14 is capable of going 2 to 3 frames per seconds higher than any of these models, which is really outstanding.
Although the 6th generation processor scores great results at the benchmarks, and significantly better than the Razor Blade and Alienware 13 R3 that are on the same level as these laptops, the Kaby Lake (7th generation processor) seems to be capable of scoring a brand new, sufficient benchmark to every strict and hardcore gamer that there is.
The GTX 1060 M has 6 GB of DDR5 memory and the laptop has 16GB of RAM which is more than sufficient amount of RAM to bring even the most demanding games on their knees. About storage, the laptop sports a 512GB solid state drive that outperforms even the fastest mechanical hard drives. Solid state drives are very important in the gaming industry mostly because they can carry whole system like a piece of cake and store a lot of data with amazing transfer and accessing speeds.
Things that I didn’t like
It is a great deal to pay less than $2.000 for a laptop this capable, this reliable, this powerful. But, it is not always the best choice when there are several issues that are hard to overcome.
Starting with the speakers. While they appear to be very useful and servicable, that doesn’t mean that they are the best. Even though they are minor, they still decide the level of gaming performance provided. It would be nice not having to use headset every time when wanting to play your favorite games. At least the system is not too noisy, or is it?
Playing the most demanding games results in extremely noisy fans that generate the heat. It’s acceptable when you know that your components don’t have too much space inside the chassis. It’s also acceptable knowing that at least it doesn’t overheat and cause technical issues while gaming. Besides, this can be an issue only to those who are way too extreme in terms of gaming.
The last, but not the least. The system has bunch of preinstalled bloatware. Some is usable, I admit but the vast majority of it does nothing but only keeps the space that needs to be seful for the saved games, recording, or personal storage of photographs.
Besides all of this, the only complaint that seems visible is the battery life. Perhaps life this chunky should also be powerful enough to last at least 6 hours. Even so, the laptop overpowers other models in its range in both battery and many other aspects.
Reason for Recommending
If you can’t make your decision about the gaming laptop made with compact design, less inches screen and brushed, slim features, then we can promise you that this laptop has established the new value and revolutionary release for the gaming laptops industry. It has all the possible features one very strict gamer can demand of a laptop this compact. It is not often seen that such a small machine can be filled with so many valuable components that not only make the gaming experience superb but, also contribute to the longer life of a laptop which is very important when it comes down to the gaming creed.
The main feature of this laptop is the superb screen that makes all the colors accurate, vivid and sharp along with the graphics card of the latest Pascal’s architecture. Combined together they create an excellently sharp picture and bring your favorite games to the life. Several complaints exist because of the poor quality of speakers but, you can’t ask more from the laptop that invested its best in the gaming performance. Even so, the audio output is relatively fair so, I don’t see too much complaining about its productivity. All in all, this is a wonderful compact machine as beautiful as some button I definitely recommend it to every gamer who doesn’t want to lug around the 17 inch gaming machines.
In this section, we will introduce you to the gaming machines that are fairly similar to this one. There are only couple of differences in the frames per second when you compare their gaming benchmarks.
Nevertheless, these laptops are amazing desktop replacements that not only provide great performance for the demanding gamers but, they also ensure the desktop class of gameplay and all of that as a result of the graphics card GTX 1060. There is also one laptop with the GTX 965M which maybe doesn’t go to the top of the gaming meter but still stands out with its consistent performance.
We’ve also included two budget gaming laptops and upon reviewing them, you will see that just because they can support fewer selection of games it doesn’t mean that they are horribly bad. Read on and find out what are our favorite laptops.
2. The Razer Blade (GeForce GTX 1060)
I’ve probably written before about this model. However this is slightly different. Beyond everything it is significantly more powerful than its brother.
If you’re aiming to buy this laptop, keep in mind that it’s one of the most popular laptops in the 2017 as people are literally fighting over it.
It took only 1 week to be completely sold out in the first tour. Being the model with the GTX 1060M just like our first choice, this 18mm thich, sweet computer gave an ultimate mean punch to the competition, with being one of the smallest, yet the most attractive and stylish laptops with virtual reality features.
This laptop allows you to save the time from lugging your 17 inch machines or even worse, desktops around so that you can show off and introduce your friends to the Ocolus Rift and/or HTC Vive headset while showing what is this laptop capable of. Despite being sleek laptop, with the size of the smallest Apple’s Macbook Pro this laptop utilizes all of the Virtual Reality features, and being this small, we thought that this is impossible. But, like you can see Razer showed us that they can show off their blades even in the compact design.
This laptop sports a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, matte finish IPS paneled display, instead of the higher resolution 3200 x 1800 pixels touch screen panel that we reviewed in the last post. I find that IPS panels are better to go with even though there are better options out there. You should keep in mind that this is a portable laptop and not a large system. Moreover, the IPS screen takes less of the battery and has fewer distracting reflects. This also means smoother gameplay, mostly because these panels have reduced requirements set by the graphics card.
The laptop has a cushy, deep and soft keyboard that simply feels of great quality upon the touch. There is also a respectfully touch bar which looks great with the Chroma keyboard. The laptop case is covered in aluminum body which looks beastly and it really gives the look of extremely powerful machine. The laptop is a bit less than 2kg which makes it featherweight just like the competition. Equipped with 16 GB of RAM and equipped with the 6th generation quad core processor it can make every multitasking thread a piece of cake.
Things that I liked
- The Chroma Keyboard
- Extremely slim and lightweight
- IPS Panel Display
Things that I didn’t like
- The battery is perhaps quite heavy but that doesn’t add more life to it.
- It gets hot underneath. The machine is great but its compact design cannot ensure the best heating system.
Reason for Recommending
If Aero 14 has been sold out, this is the best laptop that you can get with the same price tag. The other model has significantly better display but this laptop can take pride in better quality speakers. It’s a must buy for every hardcore gamer.
Fairly promising laptop with a lot of performance that converts. Enjoy the best quality games of today and tomorrow, this is the fairly ideal laptop for either students and professional games and is estimated to last very long.
3. GIGABYTE P34KV5-SL3
While being fairly similar to its sibling above, coming with the backlit keyboard and great screen resolution, there are couple of drawbacks this laptop has compared to our first choice. This drawback consists mostly in its graphics card.
This is being said only if you’re really in love with the Gigabyte laptops and you’re not the most hardcore gamer in the crew. You use gaming laptops for work or school and you don’t care about the highest performance, benchmarks and so on.
The P34 has great variety of features that it offers what so ever. Starting from the 14 inch diagonal screen with full HD IPS 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution. The screen displays amazingly accurate colors and is fairly and respectfully responsive upon your action.
This not only gives the best view of the open worlds of your favorite games but, it also ensures that you are far ahead of your opponents than your competition.
Above all, the IPS panel ensures a finish matte texture that prevents the blackening or reflection, moreover the display is anti-glare. The laptop is equipped with the 6th Generation Intel Quad Core i7 6700HQ that is often seen on laptops like this. It has 16 GB of RAM, 256 GB SSD M.2. SATA and 1 TB with 7200 rpm which is fairly fast, especially because you can put your system on the SSD and enjoy the fast transport and access speeds.
Things that I liked
- Backlit, cushy keyboard with audio adjusting setting
- USB Type C
- Being fairly lightweight laptop
Things that I didn’t like
- Battery Life
- GTX 965M. Although this is powerful graphics card, I still believe Gigabyte can do better
- A lot of preinstalled bloatware draws back the attention and enjoyment of the gaming.
Reason for Recommending
Despite the graphics card, getting to buy laptop with such accuracy and amazing SSD is fairly incredible. However, this shouldn’t trick you. Buying a laptop like this in case you’re a loyal Gigabyte lover and use the laptop more for working, studying or something else than gaming is ok. However, if you use this laptop for hardcore gaming, perhaps you should go for releases that are listed above
This laptop has a lot of great features that only establish its firm ground in the market. It is capable of outperforming many laptops with similar performances. It takes pride in high frame rate even in the games that are in terms of benchmarks beyond it. It’s not the perfect desktop replacement, but, it’s still a great companion in passing even the most demanding levels of computer games, and better yet, it fits in your bag like it’s not even there.
Like mentioned, in this section we will talk about less demanding computers available on the market. You love gaming and fair enough, you love to sit back and enjoy a favorite game of some MOBA game, even some older MMO or RPG. You however know that you can’t afford to spend $1000 on a gaming laptop and more importantly, you can’t afford fitting it in your bag. If you’re also a fan of casual looking laptops, then you know all the reasons why you don’t really want to buy a powerful, glimmering gaming laptop. Perhaps the sturdy plastic replaces the sleek, brushed aluminum but, it doesn’t mean that your gaming performance will fall back behind.
4. New Asus K Series
The new Asus laptop is a pure sweet heart as much for gaming that much for the business suite. If you can’t afford the neon lights and LED backlights, this sweetie is just for you. Running in the grey silver edition, this laptop is made out of plastic. It is still camouflaged good to look powerful and stunning.
The 14 inch Asus beast measures 1920 x1080 pixels resolution and is slimmer than the vast majority of 14 inch laptops. It weights only 1.65 kg and it can also be found in black color. The laptop has 8 GB of RAM, i7-5500U dual core processor with 2.4 GHz measuring up to 3.0 GHz in turbo mode and the GTX 940M graphics card.
This laptop perhaps looks modest but you will be amazed with all it can do even though it’s in the budget level.
Things that I liked
- The model sports sleek, slim and thin design. It is slimmer than the most laptops we’ve reviewed.
- Cushy keyboard with fast and accurate touch bar
Things that I didn’t like
- Average Battery Life
- Slow Hard Disc
Reason For Recommending
A lovely piece of technology for people who like to play games in the spare time and don’t like lugging large machines with themselves. This sweetie is compact and good looking and fits in the bag without a problem
Another ideal budget desktop replacement that looks amazing wherever it appears. It appeals to the writers and typists, is capable of running older games and some of the newer ones on reasonable settings. The Largest drawback is certainly the hard disc speed, but it’s something budget gamers have to deal with.
5. New Dell Inspiron 14 5000
The Dell Inspiro 14 is another gaming laptop with budget specifications for gamers. If you’re a student gamer, this will be a nice laptop for killing free time with.
It doesn’t feature the latest resolution but 1366 x768 is still fine for budget gamers. The laptop has full HD LED touch screen that allows 10 finger multi touch support. There’s the Intel Core i7-5500U with 2.4 GHz with Turbo technology bringing it up to 3.0GHz, with 8 GB of RAM and outdated GTX 920M it will be still able to run games that are being played even after 3 to 4 years after release day.
The laptop’s main drawback besides the graphics card is 1 TB 5400 RPM disc that makes it run slow. The laptop still has good audio quality and preinstalled Windows 10 Home.
Things that I liked
- Portability is the main feature of this laptop. If you’re not a fan of 15 inch laptops this lightweight edition will help you carry it to school or work.
- The keyboard ergonomics is a really great feature of this laptop, there’s good spacing between the keys.
- The laptop is touch screen so all Candy Crush Saga fans can enjoy it freely.
- It has decent laptop life
Things that I didn’t like
- Due to the 5400 RPM disc, the laptop runs kinda slow.
Reason for Recommending
If you love a bit outdated games this is the right laptop for you. Not only you’ll be able to play them on high but also evoke completely new emotions as the display quality is great and so is audio. The laptop can even support Overwatch on low settings with 35 FPS which still is playable. I believe this is a good buy.
The fifth generation of i7 and NVidia 920M have high potential to run more than they cannot. The laptop is eligible for CAD design and runs sturdy programs such as Photoshop and Illustrator without sweat. Coming in a wonderful design, this laptop has main features every less demanding gamer would like to have on a laptop. This is not the most futuristic laptop but it is certainly a portable machine with high potential to meet the demands of its buyer.
There is not such large selection of 14 inch laptops and those that we didn’t mention here are in our Best Portable Laptops article that can give you more through tutorial and introduce you with these machines better. If our first choice has been sold out, there are four more options that can enhance your gaming experience and make you look like a professional, skilled and capable gamer.
In this article the GTX 1060 gaming laptops mostly prevail and that’s because their budget Pascal graphics card has completely exceeded from our expectations.