In this day and age, when gaming has progressed from a hobby to a career, most gamers have turned to gaming PCs to fulfil their dreams of going pro. Such PCs are dedicated gaming machines, with specific components that help boost gaming performances across the board. However, one common downside is the lack of portability of gaming PCs. In a bid to answer that problem, gaming laptops were created. Powerful gaming machines that are portable, such that you could game on the go. It seemed to be the perfect solution for this portability problem that gaming PCs faced. Despite this, there are still costs. One prominent cost is its high price.
We’ve done a lot of articles comparing the prices between gaming laptops and PCs. The higher price of gaming laptops can be attributed to the manpower cost that companies need to factor in. They do need to pay their workers for manufacturing the laptops after all. On the other hand, gaming PCs are not that expensive because you tend to build it yourself. But if you’re a beginner at building PCs, Volta PC does offer custom-building services for you, so check us out if you’re interested.
However, we don’t plan on making this article into another comparison between gaming laptops and PCs. Instead, we will focus on the advantages and disadvantages of gaming laptops in this day and age, before deciding if they are still worth it in 2023.
You already know that we cannot talk about the advantages without mentioning portability. Indeed, being portable is one of the key advantages of gaming laptops over most other gaming devices.
If we are talking about PC gaming, then there are 2 main alternatives to gaming laptops; gaming PCs and the Steam Deck. Traditionally, there were only gaming PCs, but when the Steam Deck (and subsequently other similar consoles) were released in February 2022, it served as another alternative to PC gaming. We’re not going to delve deep into the comparisons between gaming laptops and PCs about portability (you can check out our other articles for that). But it is worth mentioning that gaming laptops are obviously easier to carry around and play games on as compared to gaming PCs. Even the lightest gaming desktop requires an external display and peripherals, which are cumbersome to travel with. Gaming laptops shine here, as everything is compiled into one machine.
However, when it comes to consoles such as the Steam Deck, it is quite difficult to argue that gaming laptops are more portable than them. Such consoles tend to be lighter and smaller than gaming laptops. However, there are games that cannot be played as well on these consoles than on gaming laptops; shooter games for example. Hence, if you’re looking for devices to play such games, then the Steam Deck is unfortunately out of the question. So between gaming PCs and laptops, the latter is the obvious choice for portability.
Types of games
Leading on from the previous point, we see gaming laptops as a good blend between gaming PCs and consoles. They have access to as many games as gaming PCs do, and they are portable like consoles. Keep in mind that we are talking about the Steam Deck and its alternatives when we talk about consoles. Nothing like PS4, XBOX etc., those are for another article. 2 differences that we’ll discuss are game selection and play experience for certain game types.
1. Game selection between gaming laptops and consoles
Most gaming laptops these days run on Windows. They have a larger game selection as compared to Linux, which is what the Steam Deck operates on. According to Movavi, various extra apps and programs are needed to get certain games running and third-party drivers for hardware are needed too. You will need to do a lot more work to get your Steam Deck running the games that your laptop will do easily. For some gamers, it might be too much of a hassle. So, gaming laptops are advantageous in this sense.
2. Play experience for certain game types will differ
For competitive shooter games, such as Valorant and Overwatch, most players will prefer a keyboard and mouse. This is because most find it easier to aim and shoot in a short period of time as compared to joysticks. With a laptop, this is possible (with the addition of a mouse) with the in-built keyboard. However, with a console, this would not be possible. So, if you are interested in playing such games, then a gaming laptop might be more worth it than a console.
If not, then the significance of a keyboard and mice will lessen. Instead, it will only depend on your personal preference as a gamer. For people who prefer playing games using such peripherals, they might find a laptop more appealing. Others who prefer joysticks might find consoles more appealing. Either way, you will get to enjoy popular game titles such as Cyberpunk 2077, the Witcher 3 etc.
Gaming laptops VS consoles
We won’t be comparing laptops and PCs for this, because they can virtually do the same things. With consoles however, it is clear that gaming laptops are able to accomplish many more purposes.
If you are a student or in the working force, chances are you’re going to be spending much time typing up documents and whatnot. Besides gaming, the laptops have in-built keyboards that allow you to type as well. Hence, you can use them for schoolwork or just work in general. This is not possible with consoles. Well, it is because they lack keyboards. Pretty obvious, but still worth pointing it out.
You might be surprised to find out that the Steam Deck can be used to watch movies and shows. Yes, you heard it right, it can be a mini portable TV for you to bring on the go. While that remains awesome, it is not so helpful when it comes to making such multimedia. If you are a content creator and you find yourself needing a device to edit your multimedia (videos and photos etc.) for you, then gaming laptops remain the better choice. The laptops, again, come with keyboards and larger screens to help you navigate your editing software more easily. Furthermore, these laptops come with higher-end CPUs and GPUs that run editing software much better than the Steam Deck. Therefore, if you’re looking for a device to run your creative software, you might want to consider gaming laptops over the Steam Deck.
When discussing about gaming laptops, we really can’t step further without commenting on the price. This is because compared to gaming PCs and consoles, the prices of such laptops are really quite high.
Gaming laptops VS gaming PCs
Image taken from this article.
We’ve compared the prices between the 2 loads of times in our other articles, so you can check them out for more details. But to summarize, the main difference in price is due to the inclusion of manpower cost (to manufacture the laptops). For PCs, most of the time you’re building it yourself, so it tends to be cheaper in that sense. Another difference could be that laptop manufacturers have to cover the cost of the components that they purchase to make your laptop. Whereas for PCs, you’re covering that cost yourself, so there won’t be any markup in prices because you won’t be selling your PC immediately after building it (we assume). So these are the reasons why gaming laptops would be more expensive than PCs for similar components.
Gaming laptops VS consoles
Image taken from PC Mag.
According to IGN, the Steam Deck starts from USD $399 (SGD $536.14 as of time of writing). While this is the starting price, you’d be hard-pressed finding a gaming laptop that matches this price and is able to play the same type of games as the Deck. On the other hand, a cheap gaming laptop that could run similar games as well could cost about USD $600 (some articles detail this well). This makes the Steam Deck about 2/3 the pricing of a cheap gaming laptop. And there is no guarantee that this laptop can run the games as well as the Steam Deck. There are also cons to such laptops that might lessen the gaming experience overall, which you won’t get with the Steam Deck. Such cons include poor colour grading, mediocre battery life and more. Hence, the Steam Deck is definitely considered to be more value-for-money here.
So, after all this discussion, are gaming laptops still worth it in 2023? Our answer is, well yes, they are. We think that these laptops strike the perfect balance between gaming PCs and consoles. The main advantage lies in their capabilities in being both portable and multi-purposeful. Because when you compare them to gaming PCs, the laptops’ portability makes them the obvious choice for gamers who want to play games when they travel. When you compare them to consoles, they can be used for many more purposes than just playing games and consuming multimedia (even a phone would be a better choice to watch shows on though). This makes them a better choice for students and even workers. Although the leap in prices might be concerning for some, the benefits you enjoy with a gaming laptop arguably outweighs the alternatives discussed here. At least for now.
If you’ve made it down here, thank you for reading. We hope that this article has helped to inform you on the differences between gaming laptops, PCs and consoles. We also hope that you will have figured it out for yourself if gaming laptops are worth it for your personal usage.
Should you find that gaming laptops are indeed worth it, check out our list of laptops here. Should you find that gaming PCs might be more of your style, Volta PC offers both custom-built options and pre-built ones. Our Models V, T and A remain popular amongst consumers. Should you wish to purchase PC parts and/or peripherals, check out our catalogue here. Happy gaming!