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Notebookcheck's Top 10 Slim & Light Gaming Laptops

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

Update March 2018. 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".

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").

More gaming rankings from Notebookcheck:

Best Slim & Light Gaming Laptops as of March 2018

Pos.RatingDateImageModelWeightHeightSizeResolutionScreen
188%02/2017Alienware 13 R3Alienware 13 R3
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop)
16 GB Memory, 256 GB SSD
2.5 kg22 mm13.3"2560x1440glossy
287%11/2017Gigabyte Aero 15XGigabyte Aero 15X
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
16 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
2.2 kg19.9 mm15.6"1920x1080matte
386%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
485%12/2017MSI GS63VR 7RG-005MSI GS63VR 7RG-005
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
16 GB Memory, 256 GB SSD
1.9 kg17.7 mm15.6"1920x1080matte
585%11/2017MSI GE63VR 7RF RaiderMSI GE63VR 7RF Raider
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
16 GB Memory, 256 GB SSD
2.4 kg27.5 mm15.6"1920x1080matte
685%08/2017Asus Zephyrus GX501VSAsus Zephyrus GX501VS
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
16 GB Memory, 256 GB SSD
2.3 kg17.9 mm15.6"1920x1080matte
785%03/2017Schenker XMG P407Schenker XMG P407
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook)
16 GB Memory, 256 GB SSD
2.1 kg25 mm14"1920x1080matte
884%02/2018Schenker Key 15Schenker Key 15
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop)
16 GB Memory, 512 GB NVMe
2.2 kg18.6 mm15.6"3840x2160matte
984%10/2017MSI GS73VR 7RGMSI GS73VR 7RG
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
32 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
2.4 kg19.6 mm17.3"1920x1080matte
1084%09/2017Acer Predator Triton 700Acer Predator Triton 700
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q
32 GB Memory, 1024 GB SSD
2.4 kg18.9 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

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1st – Alienware 13 R3

Alienware 13 R3
Alienware 13 R3

The third revision of the Alienware 13 differs from conventional gaming notebooks in several aspects. On the one hand, there is the extensive lighting (including touchpad), and the striking design, which may not appeal to everyone. On the other hand, the case quality is different in general. For example, the manufacturer uses a combination of metal and (rubberized) plastic, which increases the weight but ensures excellent stability. The build quality is also flawless.

Thanks to its promising OLED display (2560x1440 pixels), which outclasses TN and IPS panels, the test model priced at 2200 Euros (~$2597) achieves one of the best ratings overall. Contrast, viewing angles, color intensity, and response times are excellent. The glossy touch surface, which reflects heavily, is a small disadvantage.

Otherwise, we can only complain about the missing card reader, the not quite perfect maintenance and the high depth. At 26.9 cm (~10.6 in), the device appears at least like a 14-inch laptop. Nevertheless, the Alienware 13 R3 delivers a so far unrivaled performance in the 13-inch segment. The top model comes with a PCIe SSD, a Core i7-7700HQ, and a GeForce GTX 1060. The latter two are more common in 15-inch devices and larger. In case the performance might become too low at a future date, it can be improved with external solutions such as a Graphics Amplifier or Thunderbolt 3 (eGPU).

Note: According to several forum messages, the current Alienware generation frequently suffers from temperature problems. Our tests of the 15 R3 confirm this (high, inconsistent CPU values). Apparently, the cooling system is too weak and/or the quality or quantity of thermal grease is too low.

2nd – Gigabyte Aero 15X

Gigabyte Aero 15X
Gigabyte Aero 15X

The wolf in sheep's clothing is a fitting summary for the Gigabyte Aero 15X (~2400 Euros/~$2827). While most gaming notebooks are pretty bulky or heavy and attract customers with a very playful design, Gigabyte's 15-inch model uses a slim, light and sturdy chassis with an understated design. Only the colorful RGB keyboard illumination is an indicator for the gaming orientation.

Inside the chassis is modern high-end hardware such as the Core i7-7700HQ and GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, which create some noise under high workloads. The SKU with the GTX 1060 for 2100 Euros (~$2474) is a good choice if you want to save some bucks. Both models are equipped with a matte 1080p IPS screen, which lacks G-Sync in favor of battery runtimes (Nvidia Optimus), which is a good choice considering the mobility. The small bezels and the certification for X-Rite Pantone are other advantages.

Pricecompare

3rd – 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

4th – MSI GS63VR 7RG

MSI GS63VR 7RG
MSI GS63VR 7RG

MSI currently has three systems in this ranking. Besides the GE63VR 7RF and the GS73VR 7RF, the GS63VR 7RG can also secure a spot. Thanks to its low weight of 1.9 kg, the 15-inch system is very portable. The lack of Nvidia's G-Sync technology is a result of Optimus, which improves the battery runtime.

The GS63VR does not lack graphics performance, either. The GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q is dangerously close to the previous high-end chip GTX 980 and can handle all modern games with decent settings in the native 1080p resolution. The test model for 2300 Euros also includes 16 GB DDR4-RAM, 256 GB SSD storage, and a 2 TB HDD.

Pricecompare

5th – MSI GE63VR 7RF

MSI GE63VR 7RF
MSI GE63VR 7RF

While MSI's GT series is designed for passionate gamers primary playing at their desks at home, the GE series has a bigger focus on the mobility. Let us take the 15-inch models, for example: Compared to the GT62VR 7RE, which is 4.0 cm (~1.6 in) high and tips the scale at 2.9 kg (~6.4 lb), the GE63VR 7RF is significantly slimmer (2.8 cm/~1.1 in)) and lighter (2.4 kg/~5.3 lb). Gaming enthusiasts will still appreciate the powerful components. The Core i7-7700HQ is supported by 16 GB of DDR4-RAM, an SSD/HDD combo as well as the GeForce GTX 1070, which can compete with the performance of the GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q.

MSI also deserves praise for the aluminum surfaces and the RGB keyboard illumination. Whether you appreciate the 120 Hz display depends on your personal preferences. The TN panel offers short response times, but the viewing angle stability is mediocre. The lack of G-Sync is a matter of taste as well. We prefer long battery runtimes for a mobile device, which is realized via Nvidia's Optimus on the GE63VR.

Pricecompare

6th – Asus ROG Zephyrus

Asus ROG Zephyrus
Asus ROG Zephyrus

The ROG Zephyrus is certainly one of the most exciting gaming notebooks of recent years. Thanks to the brand-new Max-Q-design from Nvidia, Asus has been able to squeeze a GeForce GTX 1080 (GX501VI) or a GeForce GTX 1070 (GX501VS) into a 1.8 cm slim case, which remains quieter under load than we expected. However, the 15-inch model reaches quite high surface and component temperatures in 3D mode. Furthermore, the combination of slim chassis and excellent performance is at the expense of battery life, connectivity, and maintenance. Moreover, you will have to live with the unusual positioning of the input devices.

Plus points include the contrast-rich and viewing-angle-stable 120 Hz panel (G-Sync) and the stylish case made of high-end materials. It is debatable whether the bundle is worth the price tag of over 2000 Euros (~$2356). Comparably fast notebooks (without Max-Q design) are available for significantly less money. 

Pricecompare

7th – Schenker XMG P407

Schenker XMG P407
Schenker XMG P407

Schenker Technologies has also made a mini-gaming device. With a display diagonal of only 35.6 cm (~14 in) and a height of 2.5 cm (~1 in), the XMG P407 is one of the smallest high-end notebooks. Despite its slim build, buyers do not have to forgo good performance. For example, the fourth-best Pascal GPU works inside the 13-inch chassis. In most cases, the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti is fast enough for 1920x1080 pixels and high details. The other components of the XMG P407 are also nothing to sneeze at. Apart from 16 GB of DDR4 RAM and an IPS panel, Schenker Technologies has incorporated a PCIe SSD from Samsung into the test model.

However, we did not like the battery runtimes (weak battery), the Turbo utilization and the lack of a Thunderbolt port that much. Advantages include the plain design, and the lit keyboard.

Pricecompare

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8th - Schenker Key 15

Schenker Key 15
Schenker Key 15

The Key 15 is also from Schenker. It is a multimedia/gaming hybrid, but it could also be an office notebook thanks to its subtle and slim chassis. However, do not be fooled by the looks: The 15-inch system is powered by a Core i7-7700HQ and a GeForce GTX 1060 or GTX 1070 Max-Q, respectively.

The underlying Clevo barebone P955HP6 unfortunately suffers from a mediocre fan control at the moment (high 3D fan noise, unnecessary pulsating while idling). Other drawbacks include the fluctuating CPU Turbo, missing Thunderbolt 3, and the weak sound. Positive aspects include the low weight, RGB keyboard illumination, and the clean Windows installation without any bloat ware. The biggest highlight of the test model was the optional UHD screen, even though the resolution is big challenge for the GPU in demanding games.

Pricecompare

9th – MSI GS73VR 7RG

MSI GS73VR 7RG
MSI GS73VR 7RG

MSI has not changed the case compared to the GS73VR 6RF, but customers still get a good 17-inch notebook in 2017. The GS73VR 7RG is not only conveniently light (2.4 kg/~5.3 lb) for a gaming system, but is also surprisingly slim (2.0 cm/~0.8 in).

You still get powerful components. The GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q has no problems with the native resolution of the test model. The bright 120 Hz TN display has 1920x1080 pixels. We are not so convinced by the port layout and the system noise. A WLAN runtime of about 3 hours is not very good either considering the missing G-Sync support.

Pricecompare

10th – Acer Predator Triton 700

Acer Predator Triton 700
Acer Predator Triton 700

Acer's Predator Triton 700 is a direct rival to the Asus ROG Zephyrus. Although the overall scores and the slim-gaming design hardly differ, each model has its own advantages and disadvantages. While the Acer notebook has the edge in terms of case, keyboard (mechanical), ports, and the maintenance, Asus' notebook is equipped with a better touchpad as well as lower temperature and noise development.

The ROG Zephyrus is also cheaper; a similarly equipped Triton 700 currently retails for 600 Euros (~$708) more in Germany. But both models are expensive at 3500 and 2900 Euros (~$4122 and ~$3416), respectively. You have to decide for yourself whether the additional charge over the thicker GTX 1070 or GTX 1080 notebooks (which usually perform better due to the lack of Max-Q) is justified. The display is a 120 Hz panel based on the IPS technology with G-Sync.

Pricecompare

Recent Gaming Notebook Awards

Top 10 in Comparison

Size Comparison

Measurement Results

Alienware 13 R3
Gigabyte Aero 15X
Razer Blade (2017) UHD
MSI GS63VR 7RG-005
MSI GE63VR 7RF Raider
Asus Zephyrus GX501VS
Schenker XMG P407
Schenker Key 15
MSI GS73VR 7RG
Acer Predator Triton 700
Response Times
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
43.2 (22.8, 20.4)
51 (25, 26)
10.4 (6, 4.4)
9.6 (5.2, 4.4)
33.2 (18.4, 14.8)
47 (14, 33)
48 (23.6, 24.4)
23.6 (13.6, 10)
44.8 (21.2, 23.6)
Response Time Black / White *
2.8 (1.2, 1.6)
28.4 (15.6, 12.8)
32 (19, 13)
6.6 (4.4, 2.2)
7.2 (5, 2.2)
28 (15.6, 12.4)
27 (5, 22)
30 (16, 14)
8.4 (6, 2.4)
29.6 (15.6, 14)
PWM Frequency
240 (100)
26000 (20)
200 (90)
25510 (25)
26000 (25)
26040 (10)
Screen
Brightness middle
313
338
422
269
285
307.1
298
285
350.9
291
Brightness
310
324
402
254
273
309
282
293
311
277
Brightness Distribution
87
88
91
85
84
86
80
84
79
84
Black Level *
0.34
0.29
0.21
0.23
0.35
0.27
0.28
0.33
0.22
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
2.54
5.92
3.06
3
3.52
3.4
4.42
4.09
7.7
5.52
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
3.94
11.77
5.86
5.62
5.18
8.2
8.57
7.94
14.4
10.72
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
1.43
7.45
3.84
3.18
3.41
1.4
4.11
4.39
11.1
6.59
Gamma
2.3 104%
2.58 93%
2.52 95%
2.25 107%
2.05 117%
2.19 110%
2.5 96%
2.32 103%
2.11 114%
2.44 98%
CCT
6337 103%
6366 102%
7100 92%
7274 89%
7077 92%
6558 99%
6329 103%
6706 97%
11813 55%
7816 83%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
78
59
64
77
77
55.6
54
60
77.74
58
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
97
90
95
100
100
85
82
92
100
89
Contrast
994
1455
1281
1239
877
1104
1018
1063
1323
Noise
off / environment *
29
30
30.3
30
30
28.5
29
29
28
31
Idle Minimum *
29
31
30.3
31
33
28.5
31
31
29.4
33
Idle Average *
30
32
30.3
34
35
28.5
32
32
30.7
34
Idle Maximum *
31
36
30.3
35
40
30.1
36
39
34
40
Load Average *
36
39
42.2
42
48
35.2
43
47
42
41
Load Maximum *
49
52
55.7
46
55
48.8
48
54
45.8
48
Witcher 3 ultra *
44
44
50
41.7
49
45.8
43
Heat
Maximum Upper Side *
48.8
51
50.2
47
48
54.4
49
55
52.2
61
Maximum Bottom *
60.4
58
51.9
63
47
41.2
50.8
56
46.6
69
Idle Upper Side *
33.1
25
25.2
25
29
31.2
26.3
23
30.8
29
Idle Bottom *
30.1
25
25.1
27
33
27.6
24.1
24
32
32
Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle
524
781
340
323
229
443
481
349
150
WiFi v1.3
320
491
340
232
201
147
241
240
191
144
Load
90
157
61
42
49
92
75
57
70
Power Consumption
Idle Minimum *
7
10
8.1
12
11
19.1
10
7
10.1
28
Idle Average *
12
13
14.3
16
16
20.8
15
10
18.3
33
Idle Maximum *
18
20
16.3
21
21
21.8
24
18
19.6
41
Load Average *
76
79
74
85
92
73.7
82
82
87.6
94
Load Maximum *
161
165
164
162
224
173.1
124
154
160.7
222
Witcher 3 ultra *
120
128
185
130.2
111
136.3
160

* ... smaller is better

Benchmarks

3DMark - 1920x1080 Fire Strike Score (sort by value)
Alienware 13 R3
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK
9584 Points ∼36%
Gigabyte Aero 15X
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
12166 Points ∼45%
Razer Blade (2017) UHD
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP
9247 Points ∼35%
MSI GS63VR 7RG-005
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVPW256HEGL
11857 Points ∼44%
MSI GE63VR 7RF Raider
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NY
13917 Points ∼52%
Asus Zephyrus GX501VS
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVPW256HEGL
13136 Points ∼49%
Schenker XMG P407
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVPW256 m.2 PCI-e
7194 Points ∼27%
Schenker Key 15
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SSD 960 Pro 512 GB m.2
9744 Points ∼36%
MSI GS73VR 7RG
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 7700HQ, Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN512HMJP
12077 Points ∼45%
Acer Predator Triton 700
GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q, 7700HQ, 2x SK Hynix Canvas SC300 512GB M.2 (HFS512G39MND) (RAID 0)
14287 Points ∼53%
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
Alienware 13 R3
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK
12319 Points ∼41%
Gigabyte Aero 15X
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
14847 Points ∼49%
MSI GS63VR 7RG-005
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVPW256HEGL
13513 Points ∼45%
MSI GE63VR 7RF Raider
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NY
16625 Points ∼55%
Asus Zephyrus GX501VS
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVPW256HEGL
15479 Points ∼52%
Schenker XMG P407
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVPW256 m.2 PCI-e
9921 Points ∼33%
Schenker Key 15
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SSD 960 Pro 512 GB m.2
12633 Points ∼42%
MSI GS73VR 7RG
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 7700HQ, Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN512HMJP
14903 Points ∼50%
Acer Predator Triton 700
GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q, 7700HQ, 2x SK Hynix Canvas SC300 512GB M.2 (HFS512G39MND) (RAID 0)
17113 Points ∼57%
PCMark 8 - Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Alienware 13 R3
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK
3894 Points ∼65%
Gigabyte Aero 15X
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
4394 Points ∼74%
Razer Blade (2017) UHD
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP
3415 Points ∼57%
MSI GS63VR 7RG-005
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVPW256HEGL
4193 Points ∼70%
MSI GE63VR 7RF Raider
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NY
4406 Points ∼74%
Asus Zephyrus GX501VS
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVPW256HEGL
5009 Points ∼84%
Schenker XMG P407
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVPW256 m.2 PCI-e
4069 Points ∼68%
Schenker Key 15
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SSD 960 Pro 512 GB m.2
3499 Points ∼59%
MSI GS73VR 7RG
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 7700HQ, Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN512HMJP
4394 Points ∼74%
Acer Predator Triton 700
GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q, 7700HQ, 2x SK Hynix Canvas SC300 512GB M.2 (HFS512G39MND) (RAID 0)
5160 Points ∼86%
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Notebookcheck's Top 10 Slim & Light Gaming Laptops
Florian Glaser (Update: 2018-04-25)