8+ Best Desktop Replacement Laptops

Gone are the days when laptops were inferior in performance to desktop computers. Nowadays, you can find laptops that are capable of delivering desktop-grade performance and speed whilst remaining fairly lightweight and portable. Such models truly offer the best of both worlds. 

However, settling on a new laptop is never an easy feat considering the deluge of options on the market. Having said that, we’re going to spare you the hassle of scouring through and analyzing hundreds of products by revealing our top picks for the best desktop replacement laptops. 

Top 5 Best Desktop Replacement Laptops

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Products

Features

Price

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ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17

Best Overall

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ASUS ROG G703GI

Premium Pick

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 Acer Predator 300

Best Value

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 MSI P65 Creator-1084

Best For Professionals

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Apple MacBook Air

Best For macOs Lovers


8 Best Desktop Replacement Laptops in 2020

1.ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17 – Best Overall

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When it comes to offering excellent value for the money, the Strix Scar series from ASUS is one of the very best desktop replacement laptops. Granted, they may not be the most strapping laptops on the market, but they’re still capable of providing desktop-grade performance at a comparatively reasonable price tag. 

At first glance, you can easily tell that the Strix Scar 17 is built with utter attention to detail. Most laptop manufacturers today pay most of their attention to equipping their products with the latest hardware but don’t pay enough attention to design and aesthetics. Not ASUS, though. 

Not only does this brilliant piece of machinery look every bit as a gaming laptop should look, but it’s also built in such a way that enables both its CPU and GPU to run at safe temperatures even when playing the most resource-hungry video games. Not to mention the option to overboost. 

The ASUS Strix Scar 17 houses the thunderous Intel Core i7-10875H, which happens to be one of the fastest 10th-Gen Core i7 processing units today, in addition to the powerful GeForce RTX 2070 Super from NVIDIA, 1TB PCIe NVMe solid-state drive, and 16 gigabytes of RAM. 

Whether you’re a hard-core gamer, animator, designer, or photo/video editor, you’ll find the CPU to be worth every penny. And while the differences between the latest RTX series and the older Ti series aren’t that notable (aside from a slight FPS increase), the RTX 2070 is still rather burly. 

Another one of this laptop’s strongest selling points is its 300Hz IPS FHD display. With this type of display at your disposal, your response as a gamer during battle-raging rounds will be quicker and more accurate than most of your enemies, guaranteeing victory for you and your team. 

Considering it’s a 17-inch laptop, you may be tempted to think that the Strix Scar 17 is lacking in terms of color accuracy, but on the contrary, it’s as accurate as a high-end laptop should be. But it does seem to suffer from very minimal, barely-visible light bleed during the booting process. 

As far as battery life, the Strix Scar 17, just like many high-end gaming laptops, doesn’t flaunt an impressive runtime, which is totally normal considering the above-mentioned specs. You can get around 2 hours of runtime with light gaming which is more than any 300 dollar gaming laptop, and half of that when gaming intensively. 

Hardware Specifications
ProcessorLatest 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10875H Processor
RAM16GB DDR4 3200MHz RAM
Storage1TB PCIe SSD
GraphicsNVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER 8GB GDDR6 with ROG Boost
Display300Hz 3ms 17.3” Full HD 1920×1080 IPS-Type Display
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home
Pros
  • Excellent 300Hz IPS FHD display
  • Powerful 10th-Gen processing unit
  • Sturdy yet lightweight construction
  • Very attractive chassis and design
  • Available at a reasonable price tag
Cons
  • Battery lifespan is on the shorter end
  • The touchpad is comparatively smal

2. ASUS ROG G703GIPremium Pick

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Unsatisfied with just the number-one best desktop replacement laptops, ASUS makes yet another forced entry on our list with the ferocious ROG G703GI, which is arguably the most powerful laptop on our list. However, it’s also one of the costliest laptops out there, so you may want to break open your piggy bank.

The G703GI capitalizes on the already-astounding performance of its beloved predecessor, the ROG G703, by boosting the hardware up a notch, allowing it to deliver a performance that even the most powerful desktop computers will find fearsome. It truly is a desktop-replacement unit.

Design-wise, the ROG G703GI doesn’t look very different from its predecessor, which isn’t at all a bad thing, considering how striking the G70 looks with its armored design. Moreover, this isn’t a snake-hipped laptop by any means. It’s just as heavy and bulky as its predecessor.

This laptop measures 16.69×12.60×1.97 inches and weighs a little over 10 pounds, making it one of the bulkiest laptops on our list. The reason why this laptop is fairly large is that it’s equipped with a 17.3-inch screen. If you’re into immersive large-screen gaming, this is the laptop for you.

The overall build quality of the ROG G703GI is nothing short of impressive, so you don’t have to worry much about it getting damaged as you’re hauling it around. And thanks to its large design, the G703GI hosts a lot of room for connectivity, from Thunderbolt 3 to USB 3.1 ports.

Housing the Intel Core i9-8950HK, the G703GI displays exceptional performance in day-to-day use as well as benchmark testing. It’s also equipped with the GTX 1080 from NVIDIA, which is still one of the most powerful graphics processing units out there despite its age.

Now, the ASUS ROG G703GI doesn’t offer 4K resolution, but if you were to connect it to a TV that does, it’d still offer a fantastic performance even at maxed out visual settings. The laptop’s built-in display supports G-Sync and a refresh rate of 144Hz, allowing for smooth gameplay.

In terms of battery lifespan, once again, we have to say high-end gaming laptops like the ROG G703GI don’t offer a lot of runtimes. You can get about 2 hours of runtime with light use. Less with more strenuous tasks, of course, so don’t expect much when it comes to battery life.

Hardware Specifications
Processor8th Generation Intel Core i9 2.9 GHz 6 Core
RAM64GB DDR4/2666MHz RAM
Storage2TB M.2 PCIe x4 SSD + 4TB SATA3 SSD
GraphicsNVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080
Display17.3 Inches
Operating SystemWindows 10 Pro
Pros
  • Offers superb gaming performance
  • Equipped with top-notch components
  • Flaunts extremely sturdy construction
  • Responsive keys and excellent travel
  • Large screen and faster refresh rate
Cons
  • This laptop is worth a king’s ransom
  • Battery lifespan is significantly short

3. Acer Predator Helios 300Best Value

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Stealing the third spot on our list is the highly popular Acer Predator Helios 300. This laptop is a staple in the world of budget-friendly gaming laptops, thanks to its remarkable performance and fairly reasonable pricing. In this review, we’re going to shed light on the PH 315-52-710B model.

Before we get into the specs/money ratio, we feel the need to shed light first on how gorgeous this laptop’s design looks. It looks exactly like how most gamers would envision their laptops to be, with its matte black finish, attractive blue accents, and metallic vertical lines along the lid.

If you look at the back of the Helios 300, you’ll see that it’s lined with numerous ventilation vents that help ensure the laptop runs at safe temperatures making it the true one of the best desktop replacement laptops. If you take a look at the bottom, you’ll see a couple of pop-out lids that are easily removable, granting you access to two memory slots.

The Predator Helios 300’s blue accents can also be found on the back as well as on the outlines of the touchpad, arrows, and WASD keys. Colors aside, we’re especially enamored of this unit’s angular design, which can be noticed along the front of the body as well as the upper edges.

As far as performance, the Helios 300 houses the Core i7-9750H CPU, but most importantly, it’s equipped with the powerful GeForce GTX 1660 Ti from NVIDIA. It may not be the most capable GPU out there, but it’s definitely powerful enough to run most games with admirable graphics.

It’s vital to keep in mind that GPUs such as the GTX 1650 and GTX 1660 Ti don’t really offer the advanced Tensor cores or ray-tracing technology that succeeding GPUs have to offer. But that’s okay considering how affordable this laptop is compared to ones with more advanced GPUs.

Display-wise, the Predator Helios 300 features a 15.6-inch IPS screen with a native resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. Don’t worry about picking up glare from the surface of the screen as it flaunts a matte finish that won’t disrupt your gameplay in any way, even in bright lighting conditions.

Unlike the above-reviewed laptops from ASUS, the Acer Predator Helios 300 has a fairly decent battery life that spans around 5 hours with standard use like streaming videos and such. Expect a reduced runtime during actual gameplay. All in all, an excellent gaming laptop for the price.

Pros
  • Offers excellent bang for the buck
  • Very aesthetically appealing design
  • IPS screen with 144Hz refresh rate
  • Battery lifespan is fairly satisfactory
  • Lightweight yet durable construction
Cons
  • The sound quality could be better
  • Construction is on the thicker end

4. MSI P65 Creator-1084Best For Professionals

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MSI is a noteworthy brand in the world of desktop computers, thanks to the popularity amassed by its Trident lineup, but it’s also a brand that’s known for putting out excellent, high-end laptops that are ideal for creative professionals, like the ones belonging to the Creator series.

The most popular of all the Creator laptops from MSI is the P65 Creator-1084, which is the one that we’ll be focusing on in this review. Whether your work involves video/photo editing, design, or 3D animation, this premium, attractive-looking laptop is designed specifically for you.

The P65 Creator flaunts an aluminum body with a neat-looking silver finish. The unit manages to maintain a pretty lightweight build without employing any plastic components. Now, this isn’t an incredibly sturdy laptop that you can lug around without worry, but it’s not that flimsy either.

One of the attributes we like most about this laptop is its excellent keyboard layout. It has a few extra keys that help set it apart from other laptop keypads, including an extra backslash key, an Fn key, and dedicated End, Home, and Page keys. Not to mention three-level backlighting.

As far as performance, the MSI P65 Creator is equipped with the Intel Core i7-9750H CPU and the substantial NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 GPU, in addition to a 1 TB Teton Glacier solid-state drive and 32 gigabytes of RAM memory. As you can tell, this laptop packs a serious punch.

With the above-mentioned specs, this laptop won’t just allow you to edit 4K videos without any sort of stuttering or lagging, but it’ll also allow you to play the latest video game titles with a ton of raw power backing you up. The P65 is a well-rounded laptop that’s ideal for all applications.

The MSI P65 Creator is one of the few laptops on this list that supports a native 4K resolution. The screen does a brilliant job of displaying details in a remarkably sharp manner. Further, its contrast and brightness levels are excellent, and its viewing angles are fairly broad.

Now, as far as the battery lifespan, you shouldn’t expect too much runtime from this laptop as the colorful 4K display tends to drain its battery too fast. Generally speaking, you could expect around 5 hours of runtime with light use. Notably less with intensive gaming or editing

Pros
  • Aesthetically appealing construction
  • Powerful six-core 9th-Gen processor
  • Detailed, highly immersive 4K display
  • Perfect for professionals and gamers
  • Quirky yet admirable keyboard layou
Cons
  • Onboard speakers aren’t that great
  • Not the most budget-friendly option

5. Apple MacBook AirBest For macOs Lovers

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Not very fond of Windows-operated laptops? Looking for the best macOS laptop to replace your desktop computer? It doesn’t get better than the 2020 version of the MacBook Air. This laptop is equipped with a powerful CPU, an improved keyboard, and an absolutely stunning screen.

Design-wise, the 2020 MacBook Air’s case isn’t very different from that of the older version. It’s a little thicker than its predecessor, but it’s still very lightweight and compact, nevertheless. The chassis is built entirely from aluminum, and the laptop is available in gray, silver, and gold.

The reason why we picked the MacBook Air over the MacBook Pro, design-wise at least, is that the former has no sharp edges that can be a source of annoyance like the latter. Despite its light design, the MacBook Air’s chassis is remarkably sturdy and can handle some serious knocks.

As we’ve already mentioned, the 2020 version of MacBook Air features a much better keyboard than the previous version. It doesn’t have any butterfly keys. Rather, it features scissor switches. This is good news for older MacBook users, as they won’t have to get used to a new keypad.

We’re also quite fond of the MacBook Air’s large Force Touch trackpad. It’s insanely responsive, thanks to its smooth gliding. The display hasn’t changed much from the previous version. It still has an IPS screen with a native resolution of 2560×1600 pixels and a 16:12 aspect ratio.

The screen is also pretty glossy, but not so glossy that it becomes tiring to the eye, thanks to its anti-reflective layer. One of the neat features that the MacBook Air has to offer is the True Tone technology, which helps alter the color temperature based on your environment.

Performance-wise, the MacBook Air is equipped with a quad-core 10th Gen Core i7 processor, 8 GB of RAM memory, and Intel Iris Plus graphics. As you can tell, this laptop is aimed towards casual users only. It’s not really that great for gaming or intensive video or photo editing.

The 2020 MacBook Air houses the same 49.9 Wh battery that its predecessor had, which helps point out that the increase in thickness was not due to the battery, but solely due to the keypad. The lifespan on this laptop is below average, really, as you can only get about 1.5 hours.

Pros
  • Aesthetically appealing construction
  • Touch ID and backlit Magic keyboard
  • Houses a 10-Gen Core i5 processor
  • Notably fast solid-state drive memory
  • Retina display with True Tone tech
Cons
  • Not great for intensive applications
  • Battery life is disappointingly short

6. Dell Alienware m17 R2Best For Gaming

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The Alienware lineup from Dell has always been quite a major entity in the gaming sector. When Alienware was first released, it revolutionized the whole idea of high-end laptop gaming, offering a gaming experience that was second to none, and establishing a massive loyal following.

Nowadays, there are plenty of laptops that are on par or even superior to Alienware laptops, but the brand still holds major significance that many gamers just refuse to overlook. And they’re not to blame at all, considering how the brand continues to release remarkable high-end laptops.

We’re going to focus primarily on one of Alienware’s latest releases, and that’s the m17 R2. This laptop is intended mainly for gaming, similar to all other Alienware laptops. It’s equipped with A1 hardware that allows it to deliver an immersive and streamlined experience like no other.

The m17 R2 flaunts a neat-looking narrow-bezel design that allows it to make use of every bit of potential display space. Despite having a large 17.3-inch display, this laptop manages to remain incredibly compact. It isn’t as lightweight as some of its competitors, but it’s still fairly portable.

If you’re someone who prioritizes super-fast gameplay, you’ll be pleased to know that the m17’s panel flaunts a refresh rate of 144Hz and a response time of 9ms. Moreover, it features Eyesafe technology, which helps limit blue light emissions without taking anything away from the visuals.

Performance-wise, the m17 R2 features a 9th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU, GeForce RTX 2070 GPU from NVIDIA, 16 GB of RAM memory, and a 1 TB solid-state drive. With such specs, this laptop will make you forget all about your desktop computer and embrace a more compact solution.

The laptop is equipped with a very commodious Chiclet-style keypad. The spacing between the keys is quite generous and there are no keys crammed next to each other. The keys are colored white, which contrasts the colored LED backlighting, ensuring optimal visibility in dim settings.

Being that it’s a gaming laptop, there isn’t much to shout about with regard to m17’s battery life. Nevertheless, it still provides a very respectable runtime compared to other laptops in its class. You can expect this laptop to last about 4 hours with light use and less with intensive use.

Pros
  • Thunderous gaming performance
  • One of the best-looking designs
  • Battery lifespan is above-average
  • Very comfortable keyboard layout
  • Lightweight yet sturdy construction
Cons
  • Alienware laptops are quite costly
  • Sadly, it doesn’t support 4K display

7. Razer Blade Pro 17Best Specs

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The Razer Blade Pro 17 might be one of the most expensive laptops on the market, breaking the $2,000 mark, but it might be the only laptop on this list that can competently stand head to head with the ASUS ROG G703GI and actually beat it. It’s the definition of a powerhouse.

This laptop, just like all of its predecessors, simply looks stunning. It’s built from CNC aluminum and flaunts a stylish ebony black finish. The tri-headed snake logo on the back is backlit with an appealing jade green and black color combination, giving the unit an awesome aesthetic push.

The metallic keyboard deck looks really premium and it’s positioned between the unit’s speaker grills. Below the keyboard deck lies a large touchpad that’s highly responsive. The laptop has a lot of space for vents, ensuring hot air is properly dispelled to avoid hardware overheating.

The Blade Pro 17 weighs about 6 pounds and spans 15.6×10.2×0.8 inches, so it’s fairly slender and lightweight compared to most units on our list. This is actually a staple with almost all Razer laptops. It’s impossible to find a Razer Blade laptop that’s heavy or thick, so kudos to them.

The Blade Pro 17 flaunts a 17.3-inch touchscreen with a 4K native resolution and a refresh rate of 120Hz, need we say more? The display is just too stunning that it should be illegal. There’s a layer of anti-glare on the display, but it doesn’t affect the vividness of the colors whatsoever.

This laptop’s strongest selling point is its otherworldly specifications. It’s equipped with a super eight-core 10th gen Core i7-10875H CPU with a maximum turbo-boost clock speed of 5.1 GHz, the new NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Super GPU, 16 GB of RAM, and a 1 TB solid-state drive.

The Razer Blade Pro 17 is one of the most versatile desktop-replacement laptops on our list, as it sits somewhere between a workstation and a gaming laptop. So whether you’re a professional or an avid gamer, you’ll find the Blade Pro 17 to be extremely capable and reliable.

With regard to the laptop’s battery life, you should expect it to last a little under 5 hours with light use, which is considered above-average in the gaming sector. Of course, you should expect the runtime to be notably less than the aforementioned runtime while running intensive applications.

Pros
  • Houses a powerful eight-core CPU
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Super
  • Large screen with vivid 4K display
  • Good battery life for a gaming unit
  • Ideal key spacing and spring actio
Cons
  • One of the costliest laptops available
  • Runs hot with intensive applications

8. ASUS VivoBook 15Best For Budget

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If you’re restricted by a tight budget, ASUS is here for the rescue with the VivoBook 15. This unit is excellent for everyday use. It’s not as powerful or as versatile as the rest of the laptops on this list, but it does provide a great deal of value considering it only costs under $500.

Despite its highly affordable price tag, the VivoBook 15 displays premium aesthetics that appeal to the casual user. There aren’t any flashy trims or vibrant colors whatsoever. It’s quite simplistic in its design, flaunting subdued colors, sleek plastic finish, and metallic branding.

Similar to laptops belonging to the ZenBook series, the ASUS VivoBook 15 is equipped with the ErgoLift, which is a design feature that lifts the laptop’s deck whenever the lid is opened. The lift isn’t too significant (2 degrees), but it helps improve your typing experience and airflow notably.

It’s also worth noting that the VivoBook 15 is one of the lightest laptops on our list, weighing only 3.7 pounds. Considering its fairly compact construction, we’d strongly recommend this laptop for writers or students that require a budget laptop to run moderately demanding applications. Also, if you are a student you can also check out some of these best laptops for computer science students.

The VivoBook 15 has a 15.6-inch FHD display with a native resolution of 1920×1080. The ratio between the screen and the laptop’s body is about 88%, thanks to its slick “nano-edges.” Now, we must say that we’re not fond of the screen, as it’s equipped with a low-quality TN panel.

The screen flaunts anti-glare coating, allowing you to use the laptop in bright lighting conditions without problems. As far as color accuracy, colors are translated in a pretty washed-out manner, so we wouldn’t really recommend this laptop if you’re involved in color-sensitive tasks.

Specs-wise, the ASUS VivoBook 15 houses a 10th Gen Intel Core i3-1005G1, integrated UHD graphics, 8 GB of RAM, and 128 GB SSD. Keep in mind that these are just the base specs. It’s possible to alter the laptop up to an i7 CPU, 512 GB SSD, and 1 TB SATA additional storage.

Compared to the older VivoBook from last year, the VivoBook 15 houses a better battery that’s capable of providing juice for almost 8 hours with light use. You can expect it to last around 4-5 hours with more intensive use. Not to mention that the laptop features fast charging technology.

Pros
  • Excellent for writers and students
  • Flaunts above-average battery life
  • Houses a 10th Gen Core i3 CPU
  • Very respectable collection of ports
  • Available at an affordable price tag
Cons
  • Poor brightness and color accuracy
  • Does not feature a dedicated GPU

Factors to Consider Before Buying a New Laptop

Desktop computers are typically viewed as more powerful than their laptop counterparts, and so in order for you to pick an attested desktop-replacement laptop, you need to pay close attention to the laptop’s specification, as there are some minimum requirements you have to stick to. 

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CPU

The CPU is the core of your computer, and so in order to ensure a streamlined performance of one of the best desktop replacement laptops, it’s vital that you select a laptop that houses a powerful processor. It’s recommended that you go for a laptop that features an i7 processor or better, with the minimum requirement being Core i5.

Also, you can opt for Ryzen processors like the high-end AMD Ryzen 9 3950X. Though they don’t dominate the market, Ryzen processors are quite powerful and effective.

GPU

When in the market for a desktop-replacement laptop, you want to overlook laptops that are not equipped with dedicated graphics cards, unless you’re on a restricted budget or you don’t really need superior graphics handling. Any work that has to do with visuals, be it related to gaming or graphics design would require a powerful GPU. Most of the laptops on our list feature dedicated GPUs.

RAM

RAM memory is one of the most critical components of any computer. The more RAM memory your computer has, the more efficient its performance will be. You should steer clear of laptops that feature less than 8 GB of RAM memory, while a 16-GB RAM would give you unprecedented performance. However, it could be a bit of an overkill if you don’t perform many demanding tasks. Luckily, none of the laptops on our list do. 

Storage

We strongly recommend opting for laptops that feature SSD storage, as they’re a lot faster than the ones that feature HDD storage solely. You can go for a laptop that features a combination of both if you want. You should opt for laptops that feature 512GB SSD or better.

Display

Since you’re looking to buy a desktop-replacement laptop, you want to consider 17-inch models to ensure a full desktop experience. Of course, if that’s too big for you, you can opt for a smaller model. Make sure the laptop features a full HD display or better, and an anti-reflective layer.

But generally, you shouldn’t opt for something too big, especially that laptops don’t come with the highest resolutions. Why does that matter? Because you want to get a laptop with high pixel density, which is the number of pixels per inch on the monitor, and which decreases as the monitor size gets bigger while keeping the resolution constant.

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Portability

Desktop-replacement laptops are usually on the heavier side, with some of them weighing over 10 pounds, so you shouldn’t really expect them to be as portable as laptops intended for casual users. Nevertheless, desktop-replacement laptops are still a lot lighter than desktop computers. 


Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are plenty of laptops that are on par with robust PC rigs, if not better. The laptop that checks all our boxes is certainly the ROG Strix Scar 17 from ASUS. It’s very versatile and can be doubled as both a gaming laptop and a highly capable workstation. 

If money isn’t a problem for you, you may want to consider the Asus ROG G703GI, Razer Blade Pro 17, or the Alienware m17. Restricted by a tight budget? Try the Acer Predator Helios 300 or the ASUS VivoBook 15. And if you’re a macOS user, the Apple MacBook Air is the way to go. 

Lastly, if you’re a pro-creative looking for a laptop that can tackle the most intensive video/photo editing or animation/design work with ease, your best bet is the MSI P65 Creator. Did you find a laptop that meets your requirements? If so, feel free to let us know what your choice was.

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