Notebookcheck

Notebookcheck's Top 10 Slim & Light Gaming Laptops

Florian Glaser, Sabine Kückemanns (translated by Andreas Osthoff), 08/01/2017

December 2018 Update. Here you will find the latest best slim and lightweight mobile gaming notebooks reviewed by Notebookcheck. Our list of top models is regularly updated, maintained and commented on and should assist in purchase decisions.

"Mobile gaming" - what sounded like a bad joke a few years ago has already become common practice; at least in the notebook range. Processors and graphics cards are getting smaller and more power-efficient, which makes cooling easier. As a result, powerful components can be packed into slimmer and slimmer cases. Although 17-inch powerhouses still dominate (see our 17-inch gaming notebook charts), the 15-inch and smaller range is steadily growing; keyword: "slim gaming". More gaming rankings from Notebookcheck:

The following table shows an overview of the Top 10 gaming laptops reviewed by Notebookcheck in the previous 12 months that weigh less than 2.5 kg and are still available. If ratings are equal, the latest review is listed first. You can sort the table by clicking its headers or via text filter (e.g. "matte").

Best Slim & Light Gaming Laptops as of December 2018

Pos.RatingDateImageModelWeightHeightSizeResolutionScreenBest Price
188%04/2018Gigabyte Aero 15X v8Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
Intel Core i7-8750H
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
16 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
2.1 kg18 mm15.6"1920x1080matte
287%07/2018Razer Blade 15 2018Razer Blade 15 2018
Intel Core i7-8750H
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
16 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
2.1 kg17.3 mm15.6"1920x1080matte
386%05/2018MSI GS65 8RF-019DE Stealth ThinMSI GS65 8RF-019DE Stealth Thin
Intel Core i7-8750H
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
16 GB Memory, 512 GB NVMe
1.8 kg18 mm15.6"1920x1080matte
486%04/2018Asus Zephyrus M GM501Asus Zephyrus M GM501
Intel Core i7-8750H
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
32 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
2.5 kg20 mm15.6"1920x1080matte
586%12/2017Razer Blade (2017) UHDRazer Blade (2017) UHD
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop)
16 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
1.9 kg18 mm14"3840x2160glossy
685%08/2018MSI GS73 Stealth 8RF-011MSI GS73 Stealth 8RF-011
Intel Core i7-8750H
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
16 GB Memory, 256 GB SSD
2.4 kg19.6 mm17.3"1920x1080matte
785%06/2018Asus ROG GU501GM-BI7N8Asus ROG GU501GM-BI7N8
Intel Core i7-8750H
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop)
16 GB Memory, 128 GB SSD
2.5 kg17.8 mm15.6"1920x1080matte
884%11/2018
New!
Asus Zephyrus S GX531GSAsus Zephyrus S GX531GS
Intel Core i7-8750H
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
16 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
2.1 kg15.8 mm15.6"1920x1080matte
984%09/2018Monster Tulpar T5 V18.1.1Monster Tulpar T5 V18.1.1
Intel Core i7-8750H
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop)
32 GB Memory, 480 GB SSD
2.1 kg19.9 mm15.6"1920x1080matte
1084%Schenker Key 15 Coffee LakeSchenker Key 15 Coffee Lake
Intel Core i7-8750H
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
16 GB Memory, 500 GB SSD
2.2 kg19 mm15.6"1920x1080matte

Top 10 of the previous 12 months at the time of writing, current articles are listed first
Link: all reviewed gaming notebooks with a size of 15-inch or smaller, ordered by rating

Editors' Comments

1st - Gigabyte Aero 15X v8

Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8

The wolf in sheep's clothing is a fitting description for the Gigabyte Aero 15X v8 (2,500 Euros). While the majority of gaming laptops is rather bulky and heavy, respectively, and uses a flashy design, Gigabyte ships its 15-inch system with a slim, light, and sturdy case that looks understated. The RGB keyboard illumination is the only indicator for a gaming system.

Inside you will find the latest and greatest mobile hardware with Intel's Core i7-8750H and Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, which are noticeable under higher workloads. Besides the hexa-core CPU, the 144 Hz panel is one of the most important changes over the previous model. Gigabyte once again waives G-Sync and implements Optimus to improve the battery runtime. This is a good decision considering the mobility of the laptop. Slim bezels and the certification for X-Rite Pantone are additional selling points. Note: The Aero 15X v8 will also be available with a 4K screen, which is supposed to cover 100 % of the AdobeRGB gamut.

Pricecompare

2nd – Razer Blade 15

Razer Blade 15
Razer Blade 15

No doubt – displays with particularly narrow bezels are sexy, and gaming notebooks have started to embody this trend more and more often. In addition to the MSI GS65, which did not make this top 10 list, and the Gigabyte Aero 15X Razer’s latest Blade 15 also features an edge to edge screen. Generally speaking the Blade’s metal case is one of the most classy, high-quality and best made cases we have ever seen. Keyboard, touchpad, and display (144 Hz) are on a par with its competitors.

Despite its small footprint the 15-inch gaming powerhouse is equipped with some serious high-end technology, among others a Core i7-8750H, a GeForce GTX1070 Max-Q, and an NVMe SSD. Software and hardware, such as for example the RGB backlight, can be configured using the Razer Synapse application. Unfortunately, the Blade 15 barely missed the threshold for the “Very Good” rating due to its poor sound quality, its substandard connectivity (no card reader, no RJ45 Ethernet), and its immense noise emissions in 3D. In addition, its battery life is significantly shorter than the Gigabyte Aero 15X’s. However, gamers that enjoy travelling and put a lot of emphasis on design cannot go wrong with the Blade 15.

3rd - MSI GS65 8RF

MSI GS65 8RF
MSI GS65 8RF

MSI currently has three notebooks in the slim & light gaming ranking. In addition to the GE63VR 7RF and GS73VR 7RG, the GS65 8RF also managed to secure a spot. The 15-inch system is the ideal companion for road trips thanks to a weight of just 1.8 kg. The lack of G-Sync is explained by Optimus, which improves the battery runtime. The GS65 does not lack 3D performance, either. Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q is competing with the previous high-end GPU GTX 980 and can handle all modern games in the native 1080p resolution and with good graphics (144 Hz panel). The test model for 2300 Euros also includes 16 GB DDR4-RAM, a 512 GB SSD, and the Core i7-8750H.

The 15-inch MSI system cannot quite keep up with the Gigabyte Aero 15X, which has very sim bezels as well. The GS65 is the quieter system, but the build quality of the chassis is worse, it is not as stable, and the maintenance is more complicated. Both the keyboard and the battery runtime of the Aero 15X are better as well.

Pricecompare

4th - Asus ROG Zephyrus M GM501

Asus ROG Zephyrus M
Asus ROG Zephyrus M

The ROG Zephyrus from Asus is two times in our Top 10 ranking. Both the GX501 and the GM501 look very similar at first, but there are several differences. It starts with the input devices, which are once again back at the usual spot on the GM501. The two systems also differ in terms of specs. While the GX501 can be equipped with a GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q, the less expensive sibling only get the GeForce GTX 1070.

The main rival is the updated Gigabyte Aero 15X, which is also equipped with Intel's powerful Coffee Lake Core i7-8750H, but it weighs less, lasts much longer on battery power, and has much narrower bezels.

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Pricecompare

5th – Razer Blade 2017

Razer Blade 2017
Razer Blade 2017

Even thinner and lighter than first and second place is the 2017 edition of the Razer Blade. For around $2,400 you get a 14-inch 4K display with a whopping 3840x2160 resolution - highest resolution resolution of the top 3 slim gaming notebooks! Just like on the Alienware 13 R3 the glossy display suffers from noticeable reflections. And just as annoying as its highly reflective display is the Razer Blade’s noise emission, which is why it didn’t make it top the top of this list.

In most categories the Razer Blade’s performance matches its high price. As on all Razer notebooks, the aluminum case is very sturdy and well made. The input devices are solid and decent, and overall temperatures are fairly low. Thunderbolt 3 is included and can be used to connect the Razer Blade to external GPUs. The included GeForce GTX 1060 is already unable to cope with the 4K display.

Pricecompare

6th - MSI GS73 8RF

MSI GS73 8RF
MSI GS73 8RF

Even though MSI did not change the chassis compared to the GS73VR 7RG, buyers also expect a good and slim 17-inch laptop in 2018. This means the GS73 8RF is not only comfortable light (2.4 kg) for gaming purposes, but also pleasantly slim (19.6 mm).

You still get potential hardware. The GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q has absolutely no problem with the native resolution of the test model. The high-contrast 120 Hz TN display features 1920 x 1080 pixels. We like the RGB illumination of the keyboard as well as the fast card reader, but not so much the port layout, the sound, and the temperatures during 3D workloads. A WLAN battery runtime of 3.5 hours is not really good, either, despite the lack of G-Sync support.

Pricecompare

7th – Asus ROG GU501

Asus ROG GU501
Asus ROG GU501

The ROG GU501 is yet another slim gaming notebook made by Asus. It is clearly based on its 15-inch sibling GM501 and features many identical components, such as keyboard, touchpad, and connectivity. However, it is equipped with a GeForce GTX 1060 and thus lacks the protruding cooling solution and features a conventional bottom cover instead. And while Asus still managed to keep surface temperatures within acceptable and moderate levels this was not the case for the notebook’s noise emissions.

The 15-inch notebook’s biggest strengths include its robust and rigid case, its RGB keyboard, and the surprisingly decent sound. Performance was at expected and acceptable levels by and large, and the GTX 1060 is partnered with a Core i7-8750H, an NVMe SSD, and 16 GB of DDR4 RAM. Our $2,000 review unit was equipped with a FHD IPS panel without support for G-Sync (but Optimus in return).

Pricecompare

8th - Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX531

Asus ROG GX531
Asus ROG GX531

The ROG Zephyrus S GX531 represents the successor the GX501, which was very innovative at its launch. As it is common for a mobile laptop from 2018, the bezels are much slimmer, and the device is also slimmer.

However, we think Asus tries a bit too hard with the diet, because the GX531 does not only get warmer than other gaming systems in our Top 10, but also louder (which is partly caused by the mediocre fan control). The unusual position of the input devices takes some time getting used to, and potential buyers might also be scared off by the limited number of ports (no Thunderbolt 3, no RJ45-LAN, no card reader), the limited maintenance, and the small battery. The laptop still manages a good score thanks to the stylish, high-quality, and conveniently light cas. We also like the RGB illumination as well as the responsive 144 Hz panel.

Pricecompare

9th - Monster Tulpar T5

Monster Tulpar T5
Monster Tulpar T5

The Tulpar T5 from the Turkish notebook manufacturer is based on a barebone from Tonfang, more precisely the GK5CN6Z chassis. It is pretty exotic, which is supported by the keyboard. We get more and more mechanical keyboards, but they are still rare on machines for less than 2000 Euros. We also like the RGB illumination and the slim-bezel design of the 144 Hz panel.

There are also some drawbacks like the sound, the battery capacity, and the performance of the card reader, bu we think the main issue is the poor fan control. A Thunderbolt 3 port would have improved the score as well.

Pricecompare

10th – Schenker Key 15

Schenker Key 15
Schenker Key 15

The Key 15 is made by the German notebook manufacturer Schenker Technologies. Thanks to its restraint and slim case, the multimedia/gaming hybrid could easily pass as office notebook as well. Don’t be fooled by its inconspicuous appearance, though: the 15-inch notebook packs a lot of punch. In addition to a Core i7-8750H it also features either a GeForce GTX 1060 or a GTX 1070 Max-Q.

Unfortunately, the underlying Clevo barebone (P955ER) is plagued by a rather poor fan management resulting in occasional revving up of the fans in idle. Other downsides include high temperatures, a lack of Thunderbolt 3, and poor sound performance. On the plus side, it is very light, features an RGB-backlit keyboard, and a very clean Windows installation without any bloatware. Undoubtedly, the biggest highlight is its 144 Hz IPS display.

A review of the identical Eurocom Q6 can be found here.

Pricecompare

Top 10 in Comparison

Size Comparison

Measurement Results

Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
Razer Blade 15 2018
MSI GS65 8RF-019DE Stealth Thin
Asus Zephyrus M GM501
Razer Blade (2017) UHD
MSI GS73 Stealth 8RF-011
Asus ROG GU501GM-BI7N8
Asus Zephyrus S GX531GS
Monster Tulpar T5 V18.1.1
Schenker Key 15 Coffee Lake
Response Times
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
16.8 (8.4, 8.4)
17.2 (8.8, 8.4)
17.6 (9.2, 8.4)
6.6 (3.4, 3.2)
51 (25, 26)
7.8 (4.4, 3.4)
30.8 (13.6, 17.2)
7.4 (3.8, 3.6)
16 (8.4, 7.6)
15.2 (7.6, 7.6)
Response Time Black / White *
11.2 (6, 5.2)
12 (6.8, 5.2)
12.8 (7.6, 5.2)
10.4 (5.2, 5.2)
32 (19, 13)
6.2 (4.4, 1.8)
27.6 (16, 11.6)
10 (4.4, 5.6)
12 (6.8, 5.2)
11.2 (6, 5.2)
PWM Frequency
200 (90)
25510 (14)
Screen
Brightness middle
313
290
254
307
422
262
286.7
294
335
309
Brightness
300
281
262
296
402
261
281
275
315
291
Brightness Distribution
78
82
89
89
91
94
92
84
89
91
Black Level *
0.33
0.3
0.22
0.25
0.29
0.2
0.39
0.24
0.33
0.31
Contrast
948
967
1155
1228
1455
1310
735
1225
1015
997
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
1.29
2.85
2.37
5.74
3.06
3.96
4.17
2.57
3.66
2.96
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
2.04
6.27
4.71
11.32
5.86
7.29
7.22
4.88
6.56
5.14
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
0.69
2.4
1.58
6.44
3.84
3.09
2.5
2.41
4.26
2.88
Gamma
2.43 91%
2.34 94%
2.48 89%
2.48 89%
2.52 87%
2.48 89%
2.274 97%
2.5 88%
2.35 94%
2.33 94%
CCT
6550 99%
6718 97%
6785 96%
8395 77%
7100 92%
6977 93%
6885 94%
6370 102%
6461 101%
6725 97%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
60
60
60
60
64
76
57
59
61
60
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
94
94
92
93
95
100
87
91
94
93
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 calibrated *
1.39
1.84
1.94
2.18
2.14
1.37
1.41
Noise
off / environment *
29
29
30
29
30.3
30
28.6
29
29
30
Idle Minimum *
30
29
30
30
30.3
30
31.4
33
29
31
Idle Average *
31
30
31
31
30.3
34
31.4
34
33
37
Idle Maximum *
35
38
34
33
30.3
36
34.2
40
39
43
Load Average *
49
46
43
49
42.2
43
42.8
47
49
45
Witcher 3 ultra *
51
49
42
50
45
50.9
51
52
46
Load Maximum *
54
46
44
52
55.7
45
50.9
53
58
46
Heat
Maximum Upper Side *
53
56
49
52
50.2
58
43
54
52
57
Maximum Bottom *
65
59
63
49
51.9
63
46.6
60
65
65
Idle Upper Side *
26
33
24
31
25.2
32
29.2
30
30
33
Idle Bottom *
30
34
25
31
25.1
30
34
30
30
33
Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle
762
382
507
237
346
271
213
305
301
WiFi v1.3
513
322
362
164
340
200
240
157
243
220
Load
156
72
81
70
60
45
42
101
89
Power Consumption
Idle Minimum *
14
14
7
16
8.1
8
12.35
17
10
14
Idle Average *
18
17
11
19
14.3
14
19.98
20
12
17
Idle Maximum *
22
21
20
26
16.3
22
25.44
29
18
22
Load Average *
91
95
98
103
74
92
94.28
112
93
102
Load Maximum *
173
179
182
223
164
207
140.63
211
152
157
Witcher 3 ultra *
142
141
132
164
154
132.86
152
110
130

* ... smaller is better

Benchmarks

3DMark - 1920x1080 Fire Strike Score (sort by value)
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
13281 Points ∼50%
Razer Blade 15 2018
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP
12707 Points ∼48%
MSI GS65 8RF-019DE Stealth Thin
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
12733 Points ∼48%
Asus Zephyrus M GM501
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 8750H, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
14945 Points ∼56%
Razer Blade (2017) UHD
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP
9247 Points ∼35%
MSI GS73 Stealth 8RF-011
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
12624 Points ∼47%
Asus ROG GU501GM-BI7N8
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 8750H, Kingston RBUSNS8154P3128GJ
10370 Points ∼39%
Monster Tulpar T5 V18.1.1
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 8750H, ADATA XPG Gammix S11 480GB
10195 Points ∼38%
Schenker Key 15 Coffee Lake
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Samsung SSD 970 EVO 500GB
12497 Points ∼47%
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
15502 Points ∼50%
Razer Blade 15 2018
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP
14676 Points ∼47%
MSI GS65 8RF-019DE Stealth Thin
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
15782 Points ∼51%
Asus Zephyrus M GM501
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 8750H, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
18278 Points ∼59%
MSI GS73 Stealth 8RF-011
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
15894 Points ∼51%
Asus ROG GU501GM-BI7N8
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 8750H, Kingston RBUSNS8154P3128GJ
13082 Points ∼42%
Asus Zephyrus S GX531GS
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
15856 Points ∼51%
Monster Tulpar T5 V18.1.1
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 8750H, ADATA XPG Gammix S11 480GB
13166 Points ∼42%
Schenker Key 15 Coffee Lake
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Samsung SSD 970 EVO 500GB
15324 Points ∼49%
PCMark 10 - Score (sort by value)
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
5059 Points ∼65%
Razer Blade 15 2018
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP
5046 Points ∼65%
MSI GS65 8RF-019DE Stealth Thin
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
5095 Points ∼66%
Asus Zephyrus M GM501
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 8750H, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
5194 Points ∼67%
Asus ROG GU501GM-BI7N8
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 8750H, Kingston RBUSNS8154P3128GJ
5092 Points ∼66%
Asus Zephyrus S GX531GS
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
5170 Points ∼67%
Monster Tulpar T5 V18.1.1
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 8750H, ADATA XPG Gammix S11 480GB
4931 Points ∼64%
Schenker Key 15 Coffee Lake
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Samsung SSD 970 EVO 500GB
5213 Points ∼67%
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Notebookcheck's Top 10 Slim & Light Gaming Laptops
Florian Glaser (Update: 2018-12- 2)