Commentary
12:30 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

Your Move: How To Make Home Gaming Portable

The Surface Pro 2
The Surface Pro 2
Credit Samuel McConnell / KMUW

Nintendo’s 3DS and Sony’s PS Vita are both fantastic portable gaming consoles, and tablets like the iPad have a great game selection, but generally games for these systems are different from the games released for home consoles.

If you want to be able to play games like Battlefield 5 or Call of Duty: Ghosts away from home, you’ll need to invest in something a little more heavy-duty. For those who want to play PC games, but don’t need to play them all at the highest graphical quality, higher end business laptops can fill in, and often times I am amazed at how well they do.

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 2 tablet, which was released last month, makes a surprisingly competent portable gaming system when paired with a control pad. I’ve been able to play both Skyrim and Borderlands 2 at settings that are at least as good as I see on my Xbox 360, on a computer that weighs two pounds and is as portable as an iPad. And when I’m not gaming, it is a serious Windows computer. I use both Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop on the Surface without any trouble, as well as other applications I need for work.

If you want to play games at their highest quality, though, you’ll want to buy a gaming laptop. Dell, HP, Lenovo and others all make specialized lines of laptops for gamers. Laptops specifically built for gaming are different from less specialized computers in a few respects. First, they generally have a very powerful processor and graphics chip, because new games often require processing capabilities beyond what regular laptops can handle. Also, these computers often have better keyboards, with special features like backlighting.

These features do come at a price. Gaming laptops are often heavier than other laptops due to the extra hardware. In addition, battery life tends to be poor, especially while playing games. But for those wanting to play the newest games on the road, the sacrifices may be worth it.