Laptops made explicitly for gamers have been around for a while. They boast impressive specs, cramming the latest technology into a portable package. However, gaming laptops have been missing one feature: mechanical keyboards. Thankfully, with the advent of low-profile switches, manufacturers have begun including the tactile keys gamers love inside their already impressive laptops.
This list includes six impressive laptops with built-in mechanical keyboards. All of the laptops listed are available in multiple configurations. The final price can vary depending on the preferences you select, but we chose the main configuration options and pricing for this post.
- 1. Best for Tactile Typing: GIGABYTE AORUS 17G
- 2. Best for Raw Performance: MSI Titan GT77
- 3. Best Balance of Performance and Price: Alienware m15 R7
- 4. Best for Flashy RGB: ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15
- 5. Best for Quiet Operation: XPG Xenia 15 KC
- 6. Best for a Limited Budget: Eluktronics MAG 15R
- Frequently Asked Questions
Also helpful: if you don't necessarily need a computer with a built-in mechanical keyboard, you may find a better option among this list of the best laptops.
1. Best for Tactile Typing: GIGABYTE AORUS 17G
Gigabyte was the first manufacturer to feature a mechanical keyboard in a laptop. The AORUS 17G features OMRON switches with a travel distance of only 2.5mm and a 1.6mm actuation point. In addition, the OMRON switches boast a lifespan of 15 million keystrokes.
The AORUS line of laptops also utilizes Microsoft's Azure AI technology. Azure AI automatically ensures that the best settings are used when gaming. This technology makes PC gaming easier and faster for newbies and experts alike.
While the Gigabyte AORUS 17G has impressive features, it has a few questionable design choices. The most egregious is the placement of the webcam. Instead of being on top of the screen, like most laptops, the webcam is placed along the bottom bezel. This makes viewing angles awkward and potentially unflattering.
- Mechanical keys rated for 15 million keystrokes
- Microsoft Azure AI technology
- Fast loading with a PCIe Gen4 SSD
- 300Hz refresh rate
- 32GB RAM
- Weighs just 0.64 ounces
- Odd webcam placement
- No MUX (mutliplexer) switch
- 17" screen may be too large for portability
2. Best for Raw Performance: MSI Titan GT77
If you must have the most powerful gaming laptop on the market, look no further than the MSI Titan GT77. This rig boasts the most powerful mobile processor produced by Intel, the Core i9-13980HX. MSI hasn't skimped in other areas either, as the keyboard utilizes Cherry MX Ultra low-profile switches, which give a sufficiently tactile feel.
With 24 cores and a maximum turbo frequency of 5.6 GHz, this laptop is a monster in terms of performance. Furthermore, the Mini LED screen is vivid and crisp, with over 800 nits of brightness.
Despite the raw power afforded by the Titan GT77, some downsides exist. At 7.2 pounds, this laptop is one of the heaviest on the market. The 330W charger with the Titan GT77 is also super hefty. You're definitely going to want to invest in a carrying bag to lug this beast around.
- One of the most powerful laptops available
- Excellent 4K screen
- 2 TB solid-state drive
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 40 Series GPU
- Intel Core i9 HX processor
- MSI OverBoost Ultra technology
- Cherry MX Ultra low-profile switches
- Utterly massive
- Mediocre battery life
- Very expensive
Good to know: you can buy power banks that charge laptops, if needed.
3. Best Balance of Performance and Price: Alienware m15 R7
The Alienware m15 R7 offers a good price-to-performance ratio. The laptop is equipped with premium Cherry MX ultra-low-profile mechanical switches. Thanks to this tactile keyboard design, you can feel and hear everything you type.
Opting for a plastic chassis, the m15 R7 doesn't feel as premium as its competitors. This isn't to say that the build quality is poor. Users report quite the opposite, though there aren't many design flourishes to be found. Moderate RGB spruces things up, but the black matte plastic is not eye-catching.
As mentioned earlier, the performance of the m15 R7 is impressive, given the asking price. When pushing the machine, you can expect the considerably loud fans to kick in. They keep things cool and prevent thermal throttling, but the fan noise can be disruptive to some.
- 15.6-inch screen
- CherryMX ultra low-profile switches
- Intel Core i9 processor
- 32 GB RAM
- 1TB SSD
- Windows 11 Home instead of Pro
- Loud fans
- Plastic build materials
4. Best for Flashy RGB: ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15
When you think of gaming PCs, ostentatious flashing lights and bold designs come to mind. If you want the laptop equivalent of a gaming PC with flashy RGB, look no further than the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15. With flashy embellishments like an offset clamshell design and a giant glowing RBG front and center, it's an unabashed "gaming" laptop.
As expected, the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15 has access to some of the latest and greatest hardware configurations. This includes super low-profile opti-mechanical switches, complete with individual RGB lighting effects. These switches are designed to actuate instantaneously and provide highly-responsive input and accuracy. The fully translucent keyboard deck makes RGB programming pop, and the keys are rated for 100 million presses.
In addition, the ROG Strix Scar 15 features a bright 1440p screen with a 240 Hz refresh rate and punchy speakers with good bass response. Although its massive cooling system gives the laptop a chunky profile, this ASUS machine is a great option overall.
- Bright, high-resolution screen
- AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX CPU
- 1TB solid-state drive
- Robust thermal cooling system
- Per-key RGB keyboard
- Speakers boast a lot of depth
- Easy to add or replace memory and storage
- Physically bulky
- Keystone USB is gimmicky
- No webcam
Also helpful: if you want an external RGB keyboard, check out our guide to the best RGB keyboards.
5. Best for Quiet Operation: XPG Xenia 15 KC
XPG may not be a name you're familiar with in regard to gaming laptops; yet, as a subsidiary of Taiwanese company ADATA, XPG has been steadily releasing gaming machines that demand attention. The Xenia 15 KG is an unassuming laptop from a design standpoint but offers many great features and an impressive mechanical keyboard.
The Xenia 15 utilizes optical-mechanical switches with just 2mm of travel distance, which is great for gamers who appreciate sensory clicks. The keyboard also supports RGB light effects but can feel too close for comfort, as they are arranged inside a single whole-keyboard cutout instead of cutouts for each key.
Additionally, the Xenia 15 is one of the lightest and quietest gaming laptops on the market, despite its impressive internal components and capabilities. However, the Xenia 15 KC's screen only utilizes a 165 Hz refresh rate, making it a bit slower than other comparable laptops on this list.
- Only 4.2 pounds
- 32 GB RAM
- 1 TB solid state drive
- Quiet compared to other gaming laptops
- Simple design comes at the cost of RGB
- Comes with Windows 10, not 11
- Keys are cramped
6. Best for a Limited Budget: Eluktronics MAG 15R
The price tags of gaming laptops can be eye-watering. Thankfully, The MAG 15R from Eluktronics allows you to game on the go without breaking the bank. The MAG 15R features low-profile brown mechanical switches. Furthermore, each key boasts individual RGB lighting and 2mm of travel.
In terms of construction, the MAG 15R is both sturdy and lightweight. This is thanks to the magnesium alloy body, which is considerably lighter than the aluminum construction competitors prefer. In addition, this laptop includes an 11th gen Core i7 CPU and other impressive configuration options.
While the MAG 15R is an excellent value, there are caveats. The laptop ships with Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut and Cooler Master MasterGel to keep things cool, but the air vents are on the bottom of the machine. Unfortunately, these vents can easily be blocked. This can result in thermal throttling due to high internal temperatures.
- Lightweight at 4.15 pounds
- More affordable than laptops with similar configurations
- Good battery life (approximately 8 hours)
- Vents located on the bottom
- Speakers are so-so
- Base model only includes 512GB SSD
- Windows 11 costs extra
Good to know: trying to decide whether you should spend the money on a laptop for gaming? We break down whether gaming laptops are worth it.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are optical mechanical keyboard switches?
Optical mechanical keyboard switches are a type of key switch that retains the feel of mechanical switches with optical technology. In a traditional mechanical switch, a key press is registered when two metal contacts make physical contact. In contrast, optical-mechanical switches utilize a beam of light and a sensor. When a key is pressed, it interrupts the light beam. The sensor then detects the interruption, which registers the keystroke.
Are there disadvantages to using a laptop with a mechanical keyboard?
Although some people find mechanical keyboards more accurate, and they type faster on them, having a laptop with this type of keyboard can also include disadvantages. Mechanical keyboards are often noisier and harder to clean than membrane keyboards. This can be problematic with laptops, as many people use laptops in public locations.
Are laptops with mechanical keyboards heavier?
Mechanical keyboards include a spring under each keycap. Unfortunately, this makes them bulky and often heavier than other keyboard styles. Also, since most laptops with mechanical keyboards are designed for gaming and include high-end components, they are also larger and more expensive.
Image credit: Pexels
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