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In terms of performance, gaming laptops are more than capable of handling everyday use. However, they are usually overkill and people end up paying a lot more than what they bargained for.
If you’re a serious gamer and want a laptop that can handle general tasks, a gaming laptop is a godsend. When it comes to high-end gaming laptops, both Razer and Alienware are among the very best.
But, for non-gamers, gaming laptops for everyday use come at too steep a price. Plus, they have other drawbacks — keep reading to find out which.
Table of Contents
- Let’s Define “Everyday Use”
- Can You Use the Same Laptop for General Tasks & Gaming?
- What Is the Difference between a Gaming Laptop and a Regular Laptop?
- What Makes a Good Laptop for Everyday Use?
- Looking for the Top Laptops for Gaming & Everyday Use?
Let’s Define “Everyday Use”
First of all, you need to ask yourself what everyday use means to you.
In most cases, by everyday use, people refer to non-intensive tasks like sending emails, browsing, watching movies, and video calls. Browser-based light photo editing (e.g. Canva) and light games (Roblox, Minecraft) would also fall under this category.
Somewhat more demanding tasks include programming, light web design, or stock trading. While they are slightly more intensive, they’re still pretty light, so they could also be considered general tasks.
However, if you’re into 2D or 3D modeling, music production, photo/video editing, live streaming, or working with heavy datasets — these are not your common general tasks. In fact, they’re considered pretty intensive and power-hungry.
Can You Use the Same Laptop for General Tasks & Gaming?
If we’re talking about a gaming laptop, sure, you can. A gaming laptop can handle general tasks like they’re nothing.
But if you’re mainly focused on general tasks and do just a little gaming on the side, the question is whether you need a gaming laptop at all.
Do not consider a Chromebook if your college major or courses require specialized software made only for Windows or macOS.
A regular laptop instead will be able to run general tasks, and you will circumvent some of the gaming laptops’ drawbacks, explained in the section below.
What Is the Difference between a Gaming Laptop and a Regular Laptop?
Regular and gaming laptops come with significant differences, and you’ll want to know these before buying either. So let’s check out the most important pros and cons of gaming laptops below.
Benefits of a Gaming Laptop for Everyday Use
The most glaring advantage of a gaming laptop is that you can play any game at high settings. This includes the newest AAA titles, multiplayer online arenas, and the latest versions of your favorite games.
In terms of performance, gaming laptops can handle everyday tasks — and so much more. So even if you’re doing heavy-duty tasks like 3D modeling, machine learning or video editing, the superb specs of a gaming laptop will have them running smoothly.
Most gaming laptops also come with big, fancy screens, which is super useful for all kinds of work. For example, you’d spend less time scrolling up and down if you’re editing a doc, blogging, or arranging audio tracks.
Oh, and that much-talked-about high refresh rate on the screen? It does make a difference when you’re outmaneuvering your enemies in Counter-Strike or WoW.
Not sure if a gaming desktop can be a better option for you? Let us help you with that.
Play any game at high settings during our test | Photos by Bence Fagyal | Not Just Laptops
Drawbacks of a Gaming Laptop for Everyday Use
While gaming laptops are considered beasts performance-wise, this comes at a cost.
The biggest one is low battery life. A typical gaming laptop can last 2-5 hours on a single charge, which is pretty low for people on the go. Plugging in a charger is not a problem if you’re mainly at home. But if you’re out and about throughout the day, bring a USB-C power bank.
Because of the powerful specs, gaming laptops also need to be bulkier to house them. The rugged chassis is super resistant to accidents and scratches, but it can be a burden (literally) if you’re carrying it around in your backpack. Plus, the gaming look might not be everyone’s cup of tea (especially in formal office environments).
Another thing to pay attention to is overheating. Many gaming laptops come with superior cooling systems, but they have been known to scorch a leg or two (kidding, sort of). Still, these laptops could get pretty hot even when idle — and the fans can be noisy. So if you need a zen environment to focus, maybe look into some serene fanless laptops.
Finally, there’s the price. On average, gaming laptops are more expensive than regular ones. That doesn’t mean you can’t find a budget option, but if you’re looking for an everyday-use notebook, it’s really easy to spend a lot more than you should.
If you’re into heavy gaming and streaming gameplay, the gaming laptops still make a sound; if not, a necessary investment. Otherwise, you may want to look into regular laptops.
What Makes a Good Laptop for Everyday Use?
By now, you’re probably wondering what actually makes a good laptop for everyday use. Here are some pointers to consider before buying a new laptop:
It starts with you…
This one should be obvious, right? Consider how you’re going to use the laptop.
- What sort of everyday tasks are you doing?
- Are they light or heavy-duty tasks, as discussed in one of the sections above? These will determine the specs you’ll need.
- Are you a stay-at-home person or do you take a laptop with you every day?
- How about where you work? A laptop’s design and portability are usually important when considering a new purchase.
- Do you need the laptop for serious gaming, or do you occasionally play light games? A gaming laptop makes sense if you’re a gamer, especially if you’re streaming.
Minimum & Recommended System Requirements
Taking into account the everyday use as we defined it (i.e. non-intensive tasks), here are some of the specs you’ll need for general tasks:
|CPU||any of the current processors||Intel Core 10th Gen. or AMD Ryzen 5/7 5th Gen. series|
|RAM||4GB||8GB or more|
|Storage||128GB SSD||256GB SSD or more|
|Display||14-inch TN HD||15.6-inch IPS FHD or better|
|Battery||Up to 5 hours||Up to 8-10 hours|
Pretty much any of the current processors should be able to do the job.
You will be set for everyday tasks starting with Intel Core 9th Generation and above.
If you want a seamless experience, aim for at least Intel Core 10th Gen. or AMD Ryzen 5/7 5th Gen. series.
You could go for lower-end processors and still get away with it, but the problem is that these CPUs usually come in ultra-budget versions and may lag because of other specs.
4GB RAM should be the bare minimum for most basic tasks.
The problem occurs when you multitask — after all, we all like to open multiple tabs in the browser or switch from watching Netflix to sending an email to researching something quickly. These could put a strain on the system and cause lag.
If you want a seamless experience, go for at least 8GB RAM. However, if you’re into some heavier tasks (e.g. photo editing, media work, or light-to-mid gaming), 16GB RAM should take care of them for a few years.
You don’t need a dedicated GPU for general tasks. Instead, a popular Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics card will be enough for most of them.
If you’re on a budget and do a little more gaming/editing, check out the NVIDIA GTX 1660 Ti, which should run most of these easily.
128GB is the minimum for general tasks, and if you don’t save many files from your activities.
However, most of us use laptops for other things as well. If you’re running demanding software or simply want to save pics and video files, I’d go for at least 256GB.
This number goes up if you’re doing photo/video editing or running demanding games. In that case, aim for at least 512GB.
Finally, more important than the capacity, be sure to go for an SSD over an HDD. SSD is faster, more reliable, and will make running tasks on your computer much quicker. Most laptops nowadays come with SSD.
For the most part, displays on laptops are satisfactory for general tasks.
Consider the display’s build. Avoid the TN panel because of washed-out colors and lousy viewing angles. Though it lowers the price, it’s not worth it. Any IPS panel is a better option.
For a little more comfort, you may also want to look into laptops with thin bezels. They provide more visual space for work and movies, while keeping the same portability.
Finally, maybe you’d also really like a touchscreen laptop. Luckily, in the last few years, there have been some great 2-in-1s, and I for one, love taking notes directly on the screen.
This can be a huge one for some people (pun intended).
Typically, the bigger the screen and the stronger the specs, the lower the portability. However, there have been some great exceptions to this rule, like the LG Gram series.
Ultimately, it depends on you — and how much you move around. Most laptops fall between 3-5 pounds and last 8-10 hours on single charge, which should be ok for general tasks, even when you’re on the move.
Keyboard and Trackpad
The keyboard is probably the most personal preference on the laptop.
Testing the MSI GF66 | Photos by Bence Fagyal | Not Just Laptops
However, regardless of the design and type, you want to ensure it’s responsive and has good travel. I’d also go for a backlit keyboard. Finally, for all the number crunchers, a num pad might be a practical addition (though you can find external options too).
Trackpads might be a different issue — general tasks don’t require a super spacious trackpad, but those help if you edit and play games.
And if you wonder how to make your laptop life much longer, we covered that topic too.
Looking for the Top Laptops for Gaming & Everyday Use?
So how about it? Are you settled on your next laptop?
As we said, the best laptop depends on what you want to use it for. If you’d like further recommendations, check out our top picks — we’ve compiled some great laptops for web browsing and our top picks for games like Minecraft.
If your everyday tasks include a lot of video conferencing, consider these notebooks for Skype.
Finally, these college laptops would be a great choice if you’re a student.
It can seem enticing to get a cool, powerful gaming laptop for general tasks.
However, gaming laptops still have a few significant drawbacks and might be overkill.
If your primary use involves lots of gaming and AAA titles, by all means — go for a gaming laptop.
But if those are more of a hobby, and you need an everyday use laptop first, you will be better off with some of the regular laptops. And in some cases, you might even save money for a gaming console (any PlayStation fans out there?).
- Superb Specs
- Big, Fancy Screens
- Game on the Side
- Poor Battery
- Relatively Low Portability
- Pretty Hot