Best 14 inch Gaming Laptops in 2018

Are you an engineering student who requires a laptop not just for heavy CAD software, but also for your favorite 3D video games? Are you an accountant who works 8 hours a day using heavy software like SAP, but also loves to watch videos and TV shows during your break? Are you a network administrator who needs a fast laptop to manage office Intranets while running various network traffic monitoring tools and optimization apps on your machine?

If you’re in a similar situation described above, then you’re probably thinking of buying a MacBook laptop. However, what if there are much better deals out there for the best 14-inch gaming laptops this year? Also, what if you don’t know the right processor strength for your particular needs? Which graphic card is best suited for heavy computing work and gaming?

There are many more things that you need to consider before finally deciding on which laptop to buy. If you’re in such a confusing situation, then we’re here to give you a deeper insight on the best 14-inch laptop models, so you can go ahead and make an informed decision. 

Okay, let’s get started, so you can buy the ideal laptop for your needs and preferences.

Best 14 Inch Gaming Laptop Comparison Chart

Product Specs.
MSI GS65 Stealth i7-8750H (4.1GHz) NVIDIA GTX 1070 16GB-32GB RAM View on Amazon
Dell XPS i7-8750H (4.1GHz) NVIDIA GTX 1050Ti 16GB-32GB RAM View on Amazon
ASUS ROG Zephyrus Core i7-7700HQ (3.8GHz) NVIDIA GTX 1070 16GB-32GB RAM View on Amazon
Acer Predator Core i7-7700HQ (3.8GHz) NVIDIA GTX 1060 16GB-32GB RAM View on Amazon
Razor Blade Core i7-7700HQ (3.8GHz) NVIDIA GTX 1060 16GB-32GB RAM View on Amazon

1. MSI GS65 Stealth

MSI GS65 Stealth 14 inch gaming laptop

Product Highlights

If you’re looking for a laptop that has it all, including a strong processor, a powerful video card and sufficient RAM resources along with a sleek design for running heavy software and games simultaneously, then look no further because the MSI GS65 Stealth has all of these things.

What I Like

It’s an 8th generation Core i7 in the “H” category, and can go all the way up to 4.1GHz. This means its processor is the most superior in the market today.

It has RAM resources of 16GB, and this is sufficient to run any of the memory-hungry software products today. Even with its current RAM, two slots are still available for you to add up more!

This 14inch gaming laptop also comes with a 500GB hard disk, which is generally enough for most gamers and pros. Although other options are available, I believe more than 500GB is not worth the cost unless needed. After all, you can use fast USB 3.0 flash drives anyway just in case you need more data storage space.

It is fitted with a GTX 1070, which is the second best commercial retail card that NVIDIA has produced to-date, and it’s safe to say that it can run any of the most popular 3D games out there at the moment.

What I Don’t Like

The obvious disadvantage is the cost. There are more inexpensive alternatives with less CPU power, yes. However, with the MSI GS65 Stealth you’ll still be able to do all the heavy work and gaming you could possibly imagine. Also, the design might not be as good as a MacBook, which makes it a little less visually appealing.

Although the GTX 1070 video card is good enough for many users, it might be unable to catch up in the future when newer versions of CAD software products and video games are released.

PROS

  • Strongest 8th Generation Processor
  • Very High RAM
  • Good Battery Life
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    Spacious Hard Disk
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    One of the Strongest Video Cards Today

CONS

  • Heavy Form / Footprint
  • Not the Best Commercial Retail Video Card from NVIDIA
  • Gets Hot Quicker Than Others

Editors' Rating: 9/10

2. Dell XPS 15

Dell XPS15

Product Highlights

The Dell XPS 15, like MSI GS65, is one of the most sought-after 14-inch laptops today. It has similar characteristics as the MSI GS65, i.e. A strong processor, massive RAM resources and a powerful video card. It’s the finest product Dell has released to-date, and can be used for gaming and other heavy-duty purposes.

What I Like

Dell XPS 15 also has an 8th generation “H”-category Core i7 processor, whose speed can go up to 4.1 GHz, making it among the strongest processors in the market at the moment.

It comes with 16GB RAM, but this can be increased to 32GB because, like the MSI GS65, it also has 2 vacant RAM slots.

Along with a 14-inch HD display, this laptop also has 512GB hard disk space, which can be upgraded to 1TB (for an added cost).

The video card that’s integrated into this laptop is GTX 1050Ti, which can still smoothly run popular games and widely used office applications today.

What I Don’t Like

Its video card is far less superior to other options that are bundled with many laptop models at the moment.

Many customers claim that its fans can be a bit buggy sometimes (it doesn’t stop when they’re supposed to), while some users say its screen significantly loses its brightness and clarity after prolonged use.

PROS

  • Strong 8th Generation Processor
  • Very High RAM
  • Good Battery Life
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    Spacious Hard Disk
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    Decent Video card

CONS

  • Much Better Video card Options Available with Laptops at Similar Prices
  • Also Gets Hot Faster Than Other Latest 14-Inch Laptops
  • Poor quality fans

Editors' Rating: 8/10

ASUS ROG Zephyrus

Product Highlights

The Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 is a powerful laptop that can easily be used for heavy gaming as well as for running other heavy productivity software. It’s surprising to see such a slim model packed with such power.

What I Like

It is a 7th generation “HQ”-category Core i7 processor with a processing speed of 3.8GHz, which puts this laptop in the league of very powerful portable laptop. This is an Ultra-Portable yet powerful gaming laptop that comes with an NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1070 video card.

This Ultra-Slim laptop also has 16GB RAM, which can be increased up to 32GB. Simply put, you’ll be able to run soon-to-be released resource-hungry applications and pc games.

This laptop also comes with a 256GB hard disk. You can opt for a disk with much bigger data storage space, though you’ll need to pay more for it. Also, it has no heating problems, as claimed by many users.

What I Don’t Like

Unlike the other laptops in this list, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus GX501 has a 7th generation processor with a speed of 3.8GHz. This is quite low compared to the 8th generation 14-inch laptops in this list. Since processing power is the major requirement of most users looking for the best 14-inch laptops, this model is a relatively slow laptop.

For a 7th generation laptop, it's quite expensive. You can buy a decent 8th generation laptop at around the same price. Also, many buyers claim that this machine has poor battery life.

PROS

  • Strong 7th Generation Processor
  • Very High RAM
  • Decent Video Card

CONS

  • Poor battery life
  • Soon-to-Be Outdated 7th Generation Processor
  • More Powerful Models at the Same Price Point
  • Poor keyboard

Rating: 7.5/10

4. ​Acer Predator Helios 300

Acer Predator

Product Highlights

Predator has been a popular pick for gamers who are looking for a high end laptop at relatively reasonable prices. With a thinner chassis, the Predator laptop is a popular model with good reviews.

What We Like

This laptop is a 7th generation Core i7 masterpiece, which comes with an affordable price tag. It’s equipped with an “HQ”-category CPU model, making this a very powerful laptop, especially considering its 3.8GHz processing speed.

It also comes with 16GB RAM, expandable up to 32GB through its two vacant RAM slots. This machine also comes with a 256GB hard disk.

Equipped with an NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1060, this 14-inch laptop packs efficient graphics rendering, 3D visualization and video editing capabilities. Considering its stylish design, the Predator is an affordable contender when it comes to the best 14-inch laptop models this year.

What We Don’t Like

Similar to the Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501, a 7th generation CPU powers this machine, which might become outdated pretty soon.

The size of this laptop makes it difficult to carry around. Some users also say this laptop has lower quality batteries than the other models in this list.

PROS

  • Decent 7th Generation Processor
  • Very High RAM
  • Decent Video card

CONS

  • Low Quality Batteries
  • Soon-to-Be Outdated 7th Generation CPU
  • Bigger & Heavier Than Other Models in This List

Editors' Rating: 7.5/10

Razer Blade

Product Highlights

Aside from the beautiful 4K HD display that’s equipped with the Razer Blade, this 14-inch laptop can generate immense power. Its hardware components are top-notch, and its affordable price makes this machine an interesting find.

What I Like

Its 7th generation “HQ”-category processor is still a strong CPU. Its clock speed can turbo all the way up to 3.8GHz, which is sufficient for many resource-hungry office programs, media applications and games.

Similar to the best 14-inch laptops in this list, the thin and light Razer Blade also has 16GB RAM, which can be upgraded up to 32GB.

This machine’s NVIDIA GTX 1060 is still among the most power efficient video cards in the market today.

Its high quality battery pack is integrated with efficient power management features, which means you can rely on the Razer Blade to provide optimum performance even with prolonged use.

What I Don’t Like

Laptops equipped with 7th Generation CPUs are getting old, especially with the release of 8th Generation models. Although it can still efficiently run many programs at the moment, it might just be a matter of time before it gets totally outdated, especially when you think about the AI applications and virtual reality games that are now hitting the market.

Some buyers claim that this model has faulty fans. Many of them specifically complained about the noise from its fans, which they noticed gets louder during heavy CPU usage. Some users also complained about the limited upgrade options that comes with the Razer Blade.

PROS

  • Decent 7th Generation Processor
  • Very High RAM
  • Decent Video Card
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    Impressive Battery Life

CONS

  • Soon-to-Be Outdated 7th Generation CPU
  • Limited Upgrade Options
  • Faulty Fans

Editors' Rating: 7/10

Buying Guide to Finding the Best 14-Inch Laptop

It’s important to understand what a laptop must have in order to be considered a good laptop. Let’s look at these features in detail:

Intel processor and model family

One of the toughest choices to make while buying a laptop is to decide on the processor and the model family of the laptop. However, among all the factors, the processor and its family matter the most when it comes to buying a good laptop.

When we speak of processors, the first things that come to mind are “Core i3”, “Core i5” and “Core i7”. If you do a bit more in-depth research, you might have encountered terms like “Core i5-8250U”, “Core i7-8570H” and so on. So, let’s figure out what these mean.

Core i3 CPUs generally have four cores. For more resource-hungry applications and video games, you’re recommended to focus on Core i5 and Core i7 laptops.

Many Core i5 CPUs consists of six cores and eight to twelve threads, making it far superior than Core i3 processors. The higher the number of cores and threads of a CPU, the more efficient it is at handling heavier processing tasks.

Almost all Core i5 CPUs also come with Turbo Boost and Hyper-Threading. Hyper-Threading basically creates virtual cores, which can increase processing capacity when needed. On the other hand, Turbo Boost is a feature that was developed to increase CPU clock speed when required. Both are essential if you want a laptop that seamlessly runs heavy software in parallel with resource-hungry games.

Core i7 CPUs generally have specifications similar to Core i5 processors. Many of these models usually have six cores and eight to twelve threads. However, the Turbo and clock speed capacities of Intel Core i7 processors are faster than Core i5 CPUs, but the difference is not dramatic. This simply means some Core i5 models might be more reasonable options in some instances over a various i7 CPUs.

Next comes the family of a processor. In the model name of an Intel CPU, its family comes after the core specification. For example, in “Core i7-8570H”, the 8570H indicates the generation of the laptop. The first digit of the family code (“8” in this example) tells us that it belongs to the 8th generation family. Currently, we are in the 8th generation era and awaiting the 9th generation.

Generally speaking, the higher the generation of an Intel CPU, the better its processor speed, power and capacity. With this, many of the best 14-inch laptops for heavy compute tasks and resource-hungry games are machines that are equipped with 8th generation Intel CPUs.

Moreover, the last letter in our example (“H”) represents the series of an Intel processor family. “U”-category processors are generally ill advised for high level use, though it’s still fast enough for moderate tasks.

“H”-category Intel processors are widely popular for high level gaming and heavy compute tasks. These consume more battery power than other Intel CPUs, but can generally give the best performance.

These Intel CPUs are superseded by “G”-category processors, which are by far the most superior CPUs from Intel at the moment. However, as you well know, premium technology comes at a much higher price.

Lastly, processor speed matters a lot as well. Speed is usually indicated by the GHz (Gigahertz) value in the CPU model name. A good processor for heavy parallel 3D gaming and heavy compute-extensive tasks generally offers a speed of at least 3.2 GHz or higher.

If you wish to dig deeper into this, go here.

Video Card

When it comes to video cards, laptops differ from desktops. The reason is that most laptops come with integrated graphics. This means graphics processing and rendering capabilities are integrated into the CPU. For parallel 3D gaming and heavy computing tasks, this is a drawback since a laptop with integrated graphics won’t be able to comply with the standard requirements of such applications.

To resolve this problem, laptops with dedicated video cards are now available in the market. The best video card for laptops at the moment is the NVIDIA GTX 1080ti. These portable gaming machines can be used to efficiently perform 3D graphics rendering, play virtual reality games, train AI models and even to mine crypto. There are other more inexpensive options, such as the GTX 1070, 1060 and lesser, which are decent when it comes to running moderate games and compute-extensive tasks.

Intel and NVIDIA’s top competitor is AMD. However, there are not too many 14-inch laptops with the latest Ryzen CPUs and Vega video card models. Units with these components are generally bigger, heavier and more expensive than its Intel and NVIDIA counterparts.

Another thing to consider is the memory capacity of a video card. This is measured in GB (Gigabytes). A laptop with a 4+GB video card is generally sufficient for office productivity and gaming. 8 to 12GB models are also available, but these cost a lot more.

For more in-depth knowledge, you can go here.

RAM (Random Access Memory)

RAM is where the operating system and installed programs store data required during runtime. This is to access it faster than storing it in a hard disk or a flash drive. It’s essential to have sufficient RAM resources, especially considering that many 3D and virtual reality games, video editing and rendering tasks, office productivity tools, other software products and even peripheral hardware devices today require lots of RAM. Even if you have a strong processor that’s complemented by a powerful dedicated graphic card, this won’t be enough if you have low RAM resources.

RAM is also measured in GB (Gigabytes). RAM follows a simple rule: More RAM is generally better, especially if you intend to simultaneously run lots of applications. Normally, 4+GB RAM resources are sufficient for most software products and peripheral hardware devices today, as long as you don’t run too many programs and use too many external devices all at once.

However, keep in mind that many of the latest 3D video games require at least 6GB RAM or more. Also, remember  that a good laptop in general has four RAM module slots. This allows you to add more RAM to your laptop when required. 16GB RAM is essentially sufficient for heavier synchronous tasks.

Data Storage Capacity / ROM (Read-Only Memory)

Another essential attribute to consider in your search for the best 14-inch laptop is the data storage capacity of its hard disk drive. Many of the latest video games and office productivity tools require lots of data storage space. The most recent Windows 10 OS version also requires lots of data storage space, and that’s on top of the required space for its virtual memory or paging file system.

A 500GB hard disk is normally sufficient for general purposes. However, keep in mind that CAD applications, video rendering, image editing programs and 3D video games require lots of disk space for its scratch disk, aside from the installation space these software products need to function properly. Also, if you intend to store lots of videos and photos in your 14-inch laptop, then you should opt for 1+TB hard disks.

Another thing to keep in mind is the speed of the hard disk. SSDs (solid state disks) are generally faster than regular storage drives. An M2 sata port and NVM technology are integrated into some laptops to provide blazing fast read and write speeds, which can essentially speed up your operating system and applications during runtime. A 512GB SSD in recommended if you can fit in into your budget.

Laptop brand

As with almost any other product, the reputation and credibility of its manufacturer matters a lot when searching for the best 14-inch laptop. You’re advised to choose manufacturers that continue to deliver high quality products with top-notch reviews from buyers all around the world at reasonable prices. So, let’s look at some of the popular laptop brands today:

With a score of 90/100 from Laptop Magazine, they claim that Dell stands out as one of the best laptop manufacturers in the market today. If you want a high quality 14-inch laptop, then you might want to look at the latest offers from Dell. Even if you need an affordable model, Dell produces decent laptops with good specifications at reasonable prices.

Dell laptops are known for their durable and visually appealing designs. The XPS line is a hit among many users worldwide, making it among the best ones in the market today.

Apple is a market giant when it comes to selling mobile devices, computers and other tech gadgets. Their laptops are testament to the quality that Apple produces. If you need a laptop with an exquisite design and high level performance, then Apple’s MacBook could probably be the right product for you. However, keep in mind that aside from the availability of third party applications for gaming and office productivity tools, many users claim Apple laptops aren’t as good as some of the latest Windows laptops today when it comes to gaming, especially the models in this list.

HP has raised the bar by improving the quality and design of their recent laptops. The Spectre x360 is one of their finest designs to-date, which greatly helped them build their reputation as a world-class manufacturer of portable computing devices. However, most of their laptop models in the market at the moment are much bigger ones than those in this list.

For more details, go here.

Other Features

There are other features in a 14-inch laptop that might not directly affect the technical performance of your operating system and applications, but nonetheless – These are still crucial factors that can greatly impact your overall experience.

One of these factors is battery life. Let’s say you have a laptop with a strong 8th generation processor, 16GB RAM and a GTX 1080 graphic card. Such a laptop will, for obvious reasons, consume a lot of power, and will thereby require a lot of charging.

Low quality batteries tend to break after a small amount of time, especially with consistent heavy use. Changing batteries time and again is obviously a huge burden on the user. So, don’t forget to keep an eye out for 14-inch laptops with high quality batteries.

Another feature that matters is the weight of a 14-inch laptop. You wouldn’t want to carry around a 14-inch model that weighs as much as a 17-inch one, would you? With this, always remember that the best 14-inch laptop should also be lightweight and easy to carry around.

Laptop FAQs

Q1: Should I buy a 7th generation processor if I don’t want to spend a lot on an 8th gen model?

A: If you plan on upgrading your laptop in the next 5 years, then you can buy the 7th generation processor model. By that time, it would most likely be outdated.

Q2: Should I buy a laptop with 4GB RAM?

A: Generally, yes, but you’re advised to get the laptop model with up to 4 RAM module slots. This way, you’ll be able to add more RAM in case you need to use certain applications that require lots of RAM resources.

Q3: Should I buy a laptop with a graphic card other than the NVIDIA GTX?

A: Yes, as long as its technical specifications and power efficiency can satisfy the requirements of your applications and of course, if it best suits your budget when it comes to power costs. However, keep in mind that laptops equipped with AMD models at the moment, specifically those that can compete with the latest Intel CPUs and NVIDIA GPUs for laptops, are generally much bigger, heavier and more expensive than the 14-inch laptops in this list

Q4: Is a laptop with a 256GB hard disk any good?

A: You might run into data storage problems later on. You’re advised to get a 14-inch laptop with at least a 500GB hard disk. Also, keep in mind to get a model that has an SSD with around 1TB data storage space, for faster read and write processing and much bigger storage space, especially if you plan to play heavy 3D video games or run compute-heavy and resource-extensive applications for prolonged periods of time.

Q5: Is an Intel Core i5 8th generation better than Core i7 7th generation?

A: Core model doesn’t have drastic differences when it comes to the performance and power efficiency of an Intel CPU, but generation matters in more ways than one. So, given that the rest of the specifications between a Core i5 and a Core i7 laptop model are similar, and also for future-proofing your investment – You’re recommended to choose the core i5 8th generation.

Final Verdict

The best 14-inch laptop in this list is the MSI GS65 model. It has everything you need - From a powerful 8th generation processor to a latest video card, it has everything that you need for running resource-hungry 3D video games, virtual reality applications, heavy office productivity programs and compute-extensive tasks. This laptop is a one-time investment, which will run any application for the next 5 years.

However, if you don’t want to spend a lot on a 14-inch laptop, then you’re advised to choose the Dell XPS 15. It’s still popular among gamers and office pros alike. This 14-inch laptop has specifications similar to the MSI GS65, except for the video card. However, the NVIDIA GTX 1050Ti that’s bundled with this laptop is still a decent graphic card. It will be some time before it gets outdated.

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