While VR headsets need a fairly robust GPU to operate properly, you’re not completely bound to a desktop computer. With the right laptop, you can run VR just fine, making it easier to find the perfect VR setup around your home or on the go.
Virtual headsets like the Vive Cosmos or the Rift S have their own recommendations for how much computing and GPU power you need. And while this is a good starting point, it doesn’t really give you an idea of what laptops can really run VR well.
To steer you in the right direction, we list several recommendations for laptops that can handle the job and make excellent companions for your VR setup, starting with the Alienware M13 R3. Check them out!
Alienware M13 R3
When Dell updated the M13 to the latest R3 version, the company also made sure this model was prepared to handle VR experiences with ease. This highly scalable laptop starts with a 10th-gen Intel Core processor, 16GB of RAM, a 15.6-inch HD screen, and 512GB of SSD storage. It’s also portable at around 4.65 pounds and has a durable (and quite stylish) design.
However, pay attention to the GPU selection. The budget option for Dell’s M13 R3 probably isn’t powerful enough for the best VR experiences. Instead, look for models that have the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070, which is a good pick for VR. In general, you want a graphics option that’s at least an RTX 2060 or equivalent for the best results. There’s not a lot of wiggle room for graphic specs here, and the M13 has it where it counts.
Razer Blade 15 (2020)
The updated version of Razer’s 15-inch laptop has all the power you need for VR with an 8-core, 10th-gen Intel processor and GeForce RTX 2080 discrete graphics. It also has a killer 4K OLED display that’s perfect for buyers who don’t want to compromise an inch. Rounding out this excellent gaming machine is 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and Thunderbolt 3 connectivity along with HDMI and USB-A ports.
The downside to all this power and the great display is short battery life. You’ll want to make sure it’s plugged in before you start any VR gaming sessions. Even more, gaming laptops running strictly on a battery typically throttle performance to reduce the power draw and heat, so your RTX 2080 won’t perform as expected until you plug the power supply back in.
MSI GS65 Stealth-006
This version of MSI’s Stealth laptop comes with GeForce RTX 2060 graphics, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of SSD storage. Add in the 9th-gen Intel Core i7 processor with overclocking up to 4.1GHz, and you have a machine that’s absolutely ready for your VR headset. The 15.6-inch HD display comes with a 144Hz refresh rate, too.
MSI improved the cooling functions on this model to help prevent any overheating issues — it’s very impressive just how much can be packed into such a slim laptop. The battery is rated for 8 hours, but again, this can vary considerably. Ports include Thunderbolt 2 and USB-A connections.
Origin Customized EVO15-S Laptop
Origin PC specializes in desktop-replacement gaming laptops that you configure on-site, right down to the laptop color. We love this approach because you can easily customize a laptop specifically for VR experiences.
The base model for this 15-inch laptop starts at around $1,900, but the overall cost will rise depending on what you select — you can easily see how much each option will add to the price. Choices include a 10th-gen i7-10875H eight-core CPU, GeForce RTX graphics, up to 32GB of RAM, up to 2TB of storage, and so on.
Note that you choose the display and GPU together. For instance, the base option pairs the RTX 2070 with an FHD display at 144Hz. The maximum is a 4K OLED screen backed by the RTX 2080 SUPER.
Lenovo Legion 5i Premium
We recommend this durable Lenovo Legion laptop with one important reminder: This machine does offer RTX 2060 graphics, but you need to add it as a customization option since the base GPU isn’t quite capable.
Fortunately, the other base specs on this 2020 model are excellent, including a 10th-gen Intel Core processor, up to 16GB of RAM, and your choice of hard drive size based on what you need.
This Legion laptop has one of the largest screens on our list: A 17-inch FHD display that you can customize with a 144Hz refresh rate. That’s an ideal choice if you plan on gaming and jumping into VR, though the extra size does make portability a little more challenging. We have some bags that may help.
Acer Predator Triton 500
Acer’s Predator laptops are frequently excellent gaming machines, and this particular Triton 500 model is entirely prepared to handle VR. It includes GeForce RTX 2060 graphics, a 9th-gen Intel Core i7 processor,16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. It includes an extra slot so you can add an additional storage device in the future if needed. The 15-inch HD screen has a 144Hz refresh rate too.
Outside the technical specifics, you get full RGB customization for the keyboard, which not all of our picks provide. Even more, Acer’s latest fan technology is at work to keep the machine cool while the PredatorSense software gives you a ton of data and control over internal processes if you feel the need to tweak.