Five ultra-portable gaming machines for you

In this article we take a look at five interesting ultra-portable gaming notebooks. They may not be within your reach, but they are certainly very beautiful and appealing.

Ultra-portability is a very serious consideration today. For years consumers have been saddled with hefty laptops weighing 2.5kg or more and a light-weight device back in the day was much more expensive. The amount of engineering, testing and product quality probing that goes into the makeup of these devices costs a fortune for the companies making them. But the exercise yields some beautiful devices and we’ve lined up five of them that caught our eye today.

Which do you like most?

Razer Blade Pro

Razer Blade Pro 14

Razer Blade Pro 14

Razer’s original Blade earned a notorious reputation of being a dangerously sexy, but uber-expensive gaming laptop that could have been beaten in terms of processing and graphical muscle by laptops costing half as much. Given that it’s made by Razer, I never thought I’d actually like it, but I did. The company recently updated that with the Blade Pro 14.

The chassis is made from aluminium. It looks like a black Macbook Pro, something which I haven’t seen in ages. Its a thin, razor-sharp design decked out with green glowing highlights and a backlit keyboard. It was revealed at Computex Taipei this year and it’s got all sorts of modern kit inside. There’s a 14-inch LED-backlit 1600 x 900 panel, an Intel Core i7-4702 quad-core processor with boost speeds up to 3.2GHz, Nvidia’s Geforce GTX765M with Optimus switching technology, solid-state storage (and only solid-state) and Killer wireless networking.

The price? It starts at US $1,799 for the 128GB model, stetching to $2299 for the 512GB model. Ouch! Beauty may be skin deep, but it’s also expensive!

Alienware M14

Dell’s Alienware has always been visually appealing and the new M14 redesign is no different. The laptop loses the Lamborghini-esque front vents and goes for a sleeker, slimmer look with LED highlights on the laptop’s bezel, the rear lid, around the chassis and underneath the touchpad. Each LED is part of a separate zone and can be customised separately to produce any colour from a choice of 20.

The new M14 is surprisingly similar to the Blade Pro 14 when it comes to the internals. It also boasts a quad-core Intel Haswell processor and Nvidia GTX750M or GTX765M graphics cards with Optimus switching.The M14 can also be customised with up to three storage drives, a 14-inch 1080p IPS display, a Blu-Ray reader and a Killer 802.11a/c wireless module.

The starting price of $1,199 is a lot more palatable for the entry-level model, but the top-end variation with all the options maxed out can approach nearly $3,000.


MSI GE40 open keyboard


MSI’s GE40 is another small gaming notebook, proving once again that dynamite comes in small packages. The chassis is made of brushed aluminium and has glowing red eyes on the back when the notebook is powered up. It weighs just less than 2kg, which is enough to make it “Ultraportable” in our opinion.

Like the previous two Ultraportable gaming powerhouses, the GE40 is powered by a quad-core Intel Haswell processor along with Nvidia Geforce GTX760 graphics, shoves a 128GB SSD and a 750GB hard drive together in the same chassis and tops it all off with a keyboard designed by Steelseries. It’s MSI’s first mini gaming laptop and it’s off to a good start from the looks of things.

The recommended price is a staggering R19,799, but we’ve been able to find one online for much less than that. Considering the bundle, it’s a better buy than the cheapest Alienware M14 available locally.

Gigabyte U2442

Gigabyte U2442

Gigabyte U2442

As a value-added brand, Gigabyte has gone from being rather “meh” in the laptop segment to attracting a good deal of attention. Like Acer, the company uses sturdy, but cheaper materials for the chassis and other components to drop down the price to levels most people can actually afford. I’ve been recommending the U2442 to people for a while now and no-one’s had any complaints.

The U2442 weighs just 1.7kg and crams in a Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of DDR3-1600 memory, an Nvidia GT640M, an anti-glare 14-inch 1600 x 900 LED-backlit panel and, rather surprisingly, a 128GB mSATA SSD along with a 750GB hard drive. That kind of value at an RRP of just R12,000 is hard to beat. If you had the itch to own the GE40 but couldn’t afford it, this is the next best thing.

Apple Retina Macbook Pro 15

MacBook Pro with Retina display

MacBook Pro with Retina display

Few laptops can claim to be as thin, light or as powerful as the Retina Macbook Pro 15. This is what twenty-five grand buys you, the best notebook Apple can design. It has that jaw-dropping display, an IPS panel with a maximum resolution of 2880 x 1800 pixels, calibrated from the factory individually for each display’s physical quirks.

It packs in a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor (from the Ivy Bridge family, mind you), Nvidia GTX650M graphics, a 256GB SSD, amd 8GB of RAM. Not only can you play games on OS X because both Steam and Origin have ported their game clients over successfully and have quite a few AAA titles published on there, but you also have the option of using Bootcamp to install Windows alongside OS X, giving you access to everything that runs on the Windows ecosystem.

Yes, it’s incredibly pricey and in fact all of the laptops mentioned here are. But they’ve got one thing going for them, performance aside – not many people own one. Some people buy cars just for bragging rights, so this isn’t a far-fetched idea. All of these laptops are exclusive and good-looking and best of all, they’re extremely portable while also giving you the option to play games on the go.

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Five ultra-portable gaming machines for you

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