Small Gaming Laptops / Ultrabooks Recommendations (14.0″ and lower)

Many people are interested in smaller form factor for gaming laptops – 14.0″ and below. The reasons are lightness and compactness and maybe coolness – but mainly the first two. It is important to note that there are 15.6″ laptops that are more compact and light then some 14.0″ laptops (like the Vaio S 15.5) and also, as far as gaming performance goes, 15.6″ laptops are currently more cost effective. However, this section will focus on 14.0″ and below laptops segment, because it interests many people.

The table is sorted by screen size and then gaming performance. Weight is stated and so is extremely good or bad battery performance (compared to the laptops in the list). Some laptops have not entered the list – partial banned laptops are at the end of the post.

 

The table includes also laptops that are not available yet in the US. The most interesting laptops are marked by some kind of green. It doesn’t mean the others are so awful – they might suit you for the right price or because they have some feature(s) you need.

Summary, divided by screen size:

11.6″:

Sager NP6110. You get top performance for a sub-12.x” laptop and the fastest by far. It even compared well against 14.0″ and even 15.6″ laptop for its price.

 

13.3″:

Don’t have many choices. The UX32VD (also from J&R) is actually pretty good – the screen is just beautiful 1080p IPS screen, the laptop is thin, very light and the noise is low – as what an “ultrabook” should be. The gaming performance is OK. The GT 620M in the UX32VD is based on the new Kepler core and deliver performance that is very close to the GT 630M (old GT 540M). I guess it could also be overclocked. The problem is the price. Asus knows that currently no one matches this quality.

The Sony Vaio S has very good gaming performance with GT 640M LE GPU, good battery performance and the price is ok compared to others with such abilities. However, the 900p screen could be probably better, but the 900p resolution is anyway much better than the 768p alternatives.

 

14.0″:

1. Highly portable – From the available models, the M5-481TG is a very good mix of good gaming performance, features and price – for less than 800$ (730$-780$, wait for a discount), you get low weight, good build quality, backlit keyboard and a very good battery performance. The GT 640M LE in this one comes with GDDR5 memory and although it doesn’t have significant impact on the performance, but it does mean that if you’ll overclock the GT 640M LE you can be sure that the memory bandwidth won’t limit you (although you’ll need to handle somehow the extra heat). Only problem is the screen.

2. Best gaming performance for the money – Lenovo Y480. In short, you get top gaming performance with I7-3630QM, 8GB DDR3 and GT 650M GDDR5 for 750$ (sometimes a bit less). That’s very high gaming performance / price ratio. You don’t get good screen and it’s not very lightweight (although not too heavy too). The battery performance isn’t good, but not bad either and if you are buying it for the gaming performance, and not for long weekend on the wild, you’ll be ok. If you are ok with the 768p screen, then it’s a hell of a laptop for you.

3. Asus G46VW – still no in-depth review, but the G series sports a very high build quality and very good cooling system that ensures good thermals and low noise levels.

4. Alienware m14x-R2 offers the highest gaming performance for this class with GT 650M GDDR5 GPU and an I5/I7 CPU (as the Y480). The 900p screen (optional) delivers good (but not great) contrast and brightness levels, but the colors could be better.  The build quality is very high. The major problem with this machine is that it is not that portable – it is heavy, certainly not thin, and the battery performance isn’t as good as the competitors. It also tend to get hot under load.

 

But wait! – there are some new models that should start shipping in the US in the following months. Some are stated in the list. If you can wait, maybe you should.

 

ModelScreenWeightPerformanceWhyWhy NotPriceReviews
Sager NP6110 (W110ER)11.6″, 768p4lbs, 1.8kgGT 650M DDR3 + I5
  • Small 11.6″ form factor
  • High performance GT 650M GPU
  • light
  • Acceptable build quality
  • OK battery performance
  • Not that good thermals or noise handling
  • Not thin
  • Battery performance is only ok (3-4 hours surfing)
  • typical low quality glare 768p screen
800$ cash1, 2
Asus UX32VD (J&R)13.3″, 1080p3.23lbs, 1.45kgGT 620M (Kepler) / I7-3517u
  • Excellent matte IPS 1080p screen with very high contrast, good brightness and full sRGB coverage.
  • Very light
  • Thin
  • Kepler GT 620M (about as the old GT 630M performance)
  • Low noise
  • Gets hot under full load
  • Clearly not the fastest
  • Price
1200$1
Sony Vaio S 13.1″13.3″, 900p3.9lbs, 1.72kgGT 640M LE + I5
  • Good 5-6 hours surfing / DVD watching
  • Good gaming performance with GT 640M LE
  • Good performance / price ratio (however, not as others)
  • Light
  • 900p matte screen
  • Screen isn’t that good
  • You can get faster laptops for that price
880$1 (768p screen)
Lenovo T43014.0″, 900p2.33kgNVS 5400M (a bit slower GT 540M)+ I5
  • Very good build quality
  • Very good keyboard / mouse
  • Quite
  • Good 9-cell battery performance with 6-7 hours surfing
  • 900p screen option
  • Good connection ports set and option for docking station
  • Not light, not thin
  • Gets hot under full load
  • the 900p screen isn’t that good
  • Gaming Performance / price ratio is mediocre at best
~800$1
Samsung NP700Z3CH14.0″,900p4.56lbs, 2.07kgGT 630M / I5-3210M
  • 900p screen
  • 8GB mSata included
  • Very good build quality
  • Very good battery performance (6 hours surfing the web)
  • Low noise
  1. mSata drive is not accessible
  2. 900p screen is of low quality
  3. Thermals are not very good
  4. Gaming performance for the money is on the low side
1000$, maybe less later1
MSI x460dx14.0″, 768p4.3lbs, 1.95kgGT 630M / gen.2 I5
  • almost light
  • Good horizontal viewing angles
  • Performance/price ratio is low
  • Typical low quality 768p screen
650$1
Sony Vaio E 14.0″14.0″,900p5.3lbs, 2.4kg7670M + I5/I7
  • 5-6 hours surfing the web through WiFi
  • Very good thermals
  • Good noise handling
  • 900p screen
  • Acceptable build quality
  • Not the fastest for the money
  • Not very light
770$ with I5 and 7670M1
HP dv4t-520014.0″, 768p4.8lbs, 2.17kgGT 630M / I3-I5
  • Good battery performance
  • sub-600$ (before tax and shipping, using SAVE20HP coupon)
  • Mediocre gaming performance
  • Not light
  • typical average quality 768p screen
500$ with I3 (NB1932 coupon)dv4t-5100 review
HP Ultrabook 4t-110014.0″, 768p3.98lbs, 1.8kg7670M / i3-3217U and up
  • 5 hours surfing
  • Thin
  • Quite light
  • 32GB mSSD cache – faster operation
  • Typica mediocre 768p screen
  • Not very good performance / price ratio
700$ (100$ off with NB1932)
[upcoming]Asus N46VM14.0″,768p (wide angel)2.4kgGT 630M / I7
[upcoming] Asus S46CM
Acer TimelineU M5-481TG14.0″,768p4.1lbs, 1.85kgGT 640M LE
I5-3317U
  • 20GB mSata
  • Good gaming performance with the GT 640M LE GDDR5.
  • Very good battery performance. 5-6 hours surfing the web / watching DVD
  • Quiet light and slim
  • Sturdy with good looks
  • Backlit keyboard
  • low quality 768p screen
  • There are faster laptops for that price
  • Might get a bit hot under load
780$1
[upcoming]Asus UX42VS14.0″, 768p1.9kgGT 645M / I7-3517U
  • Very good gaming performance
Alienware m14x-R214.0″, 900p6.45lbs, 2.92kgGT 650M GDDR5 + I5/I7
  • High gaming performance with GT 650M GDDR5 gpu
  • 900p screen with good contrast and viewing angles. Brightness is on the bright side too.
  • 4 hours surfing – not great, but acceptable
  • Very good build quality
  • Backlit keyboard
  • HEAVY & definitely not thin
  • get a bit hot under load
  • Price is quite high (Y480 costs 750$)
  • Might get a bit noisy
1000$-1075$1
Lenovo Y480 (Canada – Y400, I5)14.0″,768p4.85lbs, 2.2kgGT 650M GDDR5  (Y480) + I7
  • Highest performance / price ratio available
  • High gaming performance with the I7 and GT 650M GDDR5.
  • 1TB HDD
  • 8GB DDR3
  • build quality is good
  • typical low quality 768p screen
  • not light
  • not slim
  • battery performance is so-so
750$ (Canada)12
[upcoming] Asus N46VZ14.0″,768p (wide angel)2.4kgGT 650M DDR3 / I7
[upcoming] Gigabyte U244214.0″,900p1.7kgGT 650M / GT 640M
  • Slim and light
  • Excellent gaming  performance
  • 900p screen (although not a good one)
  • Qutie sturdy
  • Only 3-4 hours surfing top
  • 900p screen is average quality
  • Gets hot
1100$-1200$1, 2
Asus G46VW14.0″,768p (wide angel)2.5kgGTX 660M + I5/I7
  • Very high performance for a 14.0″
  • Excellent performance / price ratio
  • Wide Angel 768p screen
  • Probably: Good thermals and low noise levels
Still no in-depth review

  • 768p screen
1
 
Many models have not entered the list – usually because of high price and unremarkable qualities/gaming performance compared to other laptops. Some of them are: Dell XPS 14, some toshiba laptops,  Series 5 535, Dell XPS 14 Ultrabook, envy 4t, Vostro 3460, Vostro 3460, V5-571G, Toshiba Tecra R940, 530U4C-S02 (not available to the us), NP500P4C

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2 Comments on "Small Gaming Laptops / Ultrabooks Recommendations (14.0″ and lower)"

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Oliver Valdéz Guzmán
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Oliver Valdéz Guzmán

Very god website