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Should you buy a gaming laptop for general work in 2022?

MSI HX Series gaming laptop. Image via MSI
The MSI HX Series gaming laptop (Image via MSI)

Let’s say you are considering buying a gaming laptop for general use. This could be for numerous reasons: perhaps you want to be able to play the latest games in the highest settings, or maybe you need a laptop that can handle demanding tasks such as video editing or 3D rendering.

However, a few potential drawbacks exist to buying gaming laptops for general use. For one, they tend to be more expensive than regular laptops.

They also often have a shorter battery life while being heavier. Finally, users might not need all the features and power these devices offer.


What are gaming laptops?

The Acer Nitro 5 (Image via Acer)
The Acer Nitro 5 (Image via Acer)

Gaming laptops are just like any other portable computer/laptop, just that they are designed and built from the ground up to specifically focus on performing better for a wide variety of games. This is accomplished by jamming as many high-end components into its limited chassis.

Gaming laptops revolutionized the gaming industry by making “gaming-on-the-go” a reality.

However, this comes at a cost. In their quest to accommodate the most high-end components, these workhorses often choke off the airflow to these components, resulting in a lot of heat being generated. At times, this can be very damaging to these components.

Due to the limited availability of space, even the beefiest cooling systems are bought down to their knees.

This overheating issue reduces the overall lifespan of the laptop. The high-end components are demanding and burn through their battery capacity insanely fast.

This happens to the point that by the end of their lifespan, these laptops can barely be used without being hooked up to a wall adapter. Thus, it defeats the main selling point of a gaming device.


What are ultrabooks?

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Most problems faced by today’s gaming laptops are resolved in another segment of the laptop lineup, namely ultrabooks. Intel coined the term.

Initially, a laptop was referred to as an ultrabook if it was thinner than one and a half centimeters and had an Intel CPU and SSD. The term was designed to label a product as premium.

Nowadays, the definitions have changed a bit, and sleek, general-purpose laptops are also referred to as ultrabooks, so they don’t have to be essentially premium. This segment is designed to be used as a dependable, stable workhorse optimized for carrying out a wide variety of general workloads.

They are exceptionally well optimized, for long-term stability is the main goal.

This optimization also brings in very long battery hours, meaning you can work on the go. Another added benefit of this segment is the lighter weight of the laptop, making it much easier to carry and thus more portable.

Ultrabooks now cover a broader category (Image via Amazon)
Ultrabooks now cover a broader category (Image via Amazon)

Target audience for each segment

Gaming laptops, as the name suggests, are targeted at gamers who would also like to carry their games on the go. Then come ultrabooks, laptops targeted towards the business class, for whom stability and long-term optimization are the main points of attraction.

Don’t get it wrong, gaming laptops are just as capable of the same, if not more, but buying a brand new gaming laptop is like buying a Lamborghini to commute to your work which is 15 mins away. Overall, ultrabooks will last way longer.

Ultrabooks are the way to go for anybody who is going to do zero gaming or play some lightweight titles at your leisure. But gaming laptops are the way to go if the plan is to do some heavy-level high refresh rate gaming.

Ultrabooks are also ideally suited for academic purposes, and minimalism and overall stability make them the perfect weapon of choice for students.

Pros of gaming laptops

  • They are powerful enough to handle the most demanding games.
  • They usually have a large screen, which is excellent for gaming.
  • They often come with a dedicated graphics card, which gives you a great gaming experience.
  • They usually have a backlit keyboard, which is great for gaming in the dark.
  • They have a decent cooling system to prevent overheating during long gaming sessions.

Cons of gaming laptops

  • They can be expensive.
  • Their battery life is usually shorter than an ultrabook, as they use more power.
  • They are not as portable as ultrabooks, as they are larger and heavier.
  • The fans can be loud when gaming, which can be distracting.

Pros of ultrabooks

  • They are thin and light, making them very portable.
  • They have a good battery life as they use less power than gaming laptops. Thanks to the lower TDP components being used in them.
  • They are more affordable than the alternative.
  • Their fans are usually very quiet. This means you can focus more on the work or enjoy movies and music using the onboard speakers.

Cons of ultrabooks

  • Ultrabooks may not be able to handle the most demanding games.
  • They usually have smaller screens, which can be disappointing for gamers.
  • They often don’t have a dedicated graphics card, meaning the gaming experience may not be as good as the competitors.

Which one is right for you?

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So, which one should you choose: a gaming laptop or an ultrabook? It depends on your needs as a gamer.

If you want the best possible gaming experience and don’t mind sacrificing portability and battery life, the former option is a great choice. However, if you want something more portable and affordable, then an ultrabook might be a better choice.

Buying a gaming laptop to do your basics and office work on it would leave a tremendous amount of performance on the table, which, honestly, is a straight waste of resources. If a gaming gadget and an ultrabook cost $1000, and you don’t plan on gaming on your laptop, it is a pretty clear choice.

The ultrabook costing that much means it has some over-the-top stuff, paired with efficient cooling, because, unlike the alternative, ultrabooks don’t have to fight for space and are crammed up with the beefiest of heat-generating components.

That said, it boils down to the workload on the laptop. If games are to be played on the system regularly, then gaming laptops are the way to go, else simple and general workload ultrabooks are just a pure godsend. Here is a list of some of the best laptops money can buy now with 16 GB of Ram, which is more than sufficient for all users.

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Edited by Ravi Iyer
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