The best gaming laptops come in all shapes and sizes, for different needs and budgets. Because while a tricked out $5,000-plus model with the highest-end graphics and best display might give you the best gaming laptop experience, most of us can't afford a rig like that. Our picks here are often high-end models (we're an enthusiast site, after all), but most come in a variety of configurations at various price points.
Thankfully, there are more gaming laptop options now than ever, from budget-friendly to desktop replacements. Some come with full-size Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics cards, while others go for the more efficient Max-Q designs that enable thinner chassis and (sometimes) quieter fans.
While many of the best gaming laptops come with a 1080p display and high refresh rates, some include 4K screens, so you can pick between fidelity and resolution. Several gaming laptop go as fast as 360 Hz.
There is more choice than ever in components, too. While Intel is still a popular option, AMD's Ryzen processors are becoming more common, though the majority of notebooks in general still use Intel. On the GPU side, Nvidia's RTX GPUs are in far more laptops, though AMD is slowly starting to pair its own graphics cards with hits CPUs for what it calls an "AMD Advantage."
The latest technologies in processors include Intel's 12th Gen "Alder Lake" processors, which use a hybrid design with Performance and Efficient cores, and AMD's Ryzen 6000 CPUs. Just like desktops, anything with the latest graphics cards can still be hard to come by right now thanks to a global components shortage.
To help you find the best gaming laptop today, we've compiled a list of the best models we've tested and reviewed recently. For much more on how to narrow down your list of best gaming laptop considerations, check out our best gaming laptop buyer’s guide. But here are a few quick tips to get you started down the road to the right portable gaming rig for you.
While many gamers may go to desktops to get the most performance for their money, try lugging a tower, monitor and keyboard around in your backpack. When you need a powerful rig you can take with you, there's no substitute for a gaming laptop.
The picks on this list should be ready to run Windows 11, if it didn't come preinstalled already.
Quick Gaming Laptop Shopping Tips
- Focus on the GPU: Most games are dependent on the GPU, and those aren’t upgradeable. If you splurge on a powerful GPU now, you’ll be gaming comfortably for a few years.
- You can upgrade some parts later: While the best CPUs for gaming and GPUs are almost always soldered down, most gaming laptops let you replace the RAM and storage, so you can buy cheaper now and add more memory and a bigger hard drive or SSD down the road.
- Battery life will probably be bad: Very few gaming notebooks get 8 hours or more on a charge, and you need the power supply to get the best gaming performance anyway. However, we've seen some strong times from AMD's Ryzen processors, and Nvidia suggests its improved Optimus technology may help turn the tide.
Best gaming laptops at a glance
- Best Overall: MSI GE76 Raider (Core i9-12900HK)
- Best Thin and Light: Razer Blade 15 (2022)
- Best 17-inch: Alienware x17 R2
- Best Budget: Acer Nitro 5 (AMD 2021)
- Souped Up Version, Budget: Acer Nitro 5 (Alternate Configuration)
- All-AMD: Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition
- Best Esports: Asus ROG Strix Scar 17 G733
- 16-inch Esports Option: Lenovo Legion 5 Pro
- Best Dual-Screen: Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 SE GX551
Best Gaming Laptops You Can Buy Today
If you're looking for a laptop with desktop-level power, the MSI GE76 Raider is about as close as you'll get, though you may also have to spend a ton of money to get there. Still, with its high-end components like the Intel Core i9-12900HK and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti.
We'd be remiss to point out that the Raider has a large RGB light bar on the front, which, when combined with per-key lighting, makes for quite an effect in the dark (or you can turn it all of if you prefer something a bit less showy).
The 17.3-inch, 1080p display goes up to 360 Hz, which is great for esports players, but everyone else might want to consider a 1440p or 4K display, depending on available configurations.
We tested this laptop at $3,999, which is enough to make you tear up when you check your bank account. That's an awful lot to spend on a laptop (we imagine DDR5 memory partially brings that price up), but it's also the best performer we've seen recently.
Read: MSI GE76 Raider Review
Razer has simplified its Blade 15 lineup, removing the "Advanced" and "Base" models, but what's left is still a very good, thin, stylish gaming notebook. The Blade 15 remains a favorite because it has strong performance (with a Core i7-127800H and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti in the model we reviewed) but is just 4.4 pounds and 0.57 inches thick.
You still get a variety of ports, like Thunderbolt 4, both USB Type-C and Type-A as well as an SD card reader, so there's plenty of expansion for peripherals and extra storage for games. It would even work great for productivity, though we did find some competing gaming laptops were better in non-gaming benchmarks.
To get Razer's premium look and feel, you do have to pay a premium. This notebook starts at $2,499 and we reviewed it at $2,999. It's pricey, but it's also maintained a spot among our favorite gaming notebooks for years for a reason.
Read: Razer Blade 15 (2022) review
The Alienware x17 R2 goes up to an Intel Core i9-12900HK and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti, some of the most powerful parts on the market. In our review, the laptop showed strong performance in both gaming and productivity.
Alienware's design, which debuted last year, is lovely. It's still clearly a gaming notebook, but it's futuristic and minimal. That being said, it's a bit larger than some competitors, and at 6.82 pounds, you probably won't want to carry this around too often.
If you have a bit of extra cash, we highly recommend the optional $50 Cherry MX mechanical keyboard, which feels excellent, and everyone on our staff who has tried it has enjoyed it.
Read: Alienware x17 R2 review
The Acer Nitro 5 is the best gaming laptop for those on a tight budget. For the price, you’ll get a great value on entry level performance. While you’ll sacrifice a bright display, the keyboard is comfortable and you even get a decent webcam.
Our review unit had an AMD Ryzen 5 4600U paired with an Nvidia GeForce 1650. We’ve seen a few Ryzen-based gaming laptops get better than expected battery life, and the Nitro 5 lasted over 11 hours.
If you’re handy, there’s plenty of room for upgrading (and you’ll want to consider it down the line with just 256GB of storage in our review unit), but for $700, you’re getting a lot for the money.
Since we reviewed the Acer Nitro 5 above, the company has released more models with updated specs. The most recent one we reviewed uses a Ryzen 7 5800U and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070, allowing for stronger performance and ray tracing in select games.
This model also boasts a 1440p display at 165 Hz, far above the 1080p you find in the budget version. This one still looks clunky, however, and you pay for the parts with a $1,699 price tag.
Acer is still selling the Nitro 5 in budget configurations — this is a newer one that adds on to the lineup with a more premium configuration. It falls a bit out of the budget category at this point, but we found that the additions were quite good.
Read: Acer Nitro 5 review
If you're a PC gamer on the go, a thin PC like the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 may be up your alley. The Zephyrus uses an AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS and an AMD Radeon RX 6800S, as well as the company's proprietary features like SmartShift (to move power between the CPU and GPU) and SmartAccess Memory.
For the latest update, Asus added a webcam, which was a glaring omission on previous models. The all-AMD model has also moved to a taller, 16:10 aspect ratio.
On our battery test, the Zephyrus ran for over 10 and a half hours, suggesting you could last all day on this notebook when you aren't gaming.
It is, however, a bit pricey. The Zephyrus starts at $1,599.99, while we reviewed it with the top-tier specs at $2,499.99.
Read: Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 review
If you want to play esports like a professional, you'll want a laptop with the fastest screen you can find. The Asus ROG Strix Scar G733 offers a 360 Hz refresh rate on its FHD screen and has top-end components to power esports titles to get to frame rates that can actually use it.
The design feels premium but has an interesting mix of dark materials and clear plastic. It's reminiscent of both a hot rod car and a 90's MP3 player, which might turn some people off.
But the comfortable keyboard, strong overall performance and bassy audio all contribute to a strong gaming experience, even if you don't like seeing the inside of your laptop.
If you're willing to sacrifice your refresh rate for higher resolution, the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro is one to check out. While some other gaming notebooks opt for 300 Hz, the Legion's 165 Hz, 2560 x 1600 screen is a stunner in its own right. It also has a 16:10 aspect ratio, which we appreciate for productivity use.
Our review unit came with a Ryzen 7 5800H and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070, which together offered competitive performance across our suite of gaming benchmarks. Our system also included 512GB of storage and 16GB of RAM.
We were also impressed with this laptop's keyboard, which seems to have benefitted from the excellence of Lenovo's business-oriented ThinkPads.
The system is, however, a bit thick. If you don't want to deal with bulk, you may want to consider other options on this list.
Asus' latest ROG Zephyrus Duo uses AMD's top-end RYzen 9 5900HX paired with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 for powerful results, while using a second screen that lifts up to provide more ventilation to improve cooling.
The two displays are both bright and colorful, and at a bit over 4 hours and 52 minutes on our battery test, it's endurance is good (for a gaming notebook, anyway).
The keyboard and mouse are in an awkward position, like most dual-screen notebooks on the market (most people will likely use an external mouse for gaming). So you'll have to decide if that second screen — which is great for chat programs, gaming guides or music apps — is worth a more difficult typing experience.
Read: Asus ROG Zephyrus Do 15 SE GX551 review
Best Gaming Laptops Compared
|*Up to||CPU||GPU||RAM||Storage||Display (inches)||Weight (Ibs)|
|MSI GE76 Raider||Core i9-11980HK*||RTX 3080||32GB*||1TB*||15.6, 1080p, 300Hz||5.3|
|Razer Blade 15 Advanced Model (Late 2021)||Intel Core i7-11800H||RTX 3070||16GB*||1TB*||15.6, 1440p, 240Hz||4.4|
|Razer Blade 15 Advanced Model||Core i7-10875H*||RTX 2080 Super Max-Q||16GB||1TB*||15.6, 1080p, 300Hz||4.7|
|Alienware m17 R4||Core i9-10980HK*||RTX 3080||32GB||2x 1TB RAID 0||17.3, 2160p, 360Hz||6.6|
|Acer Nitro 5||Ryzen 5 4600U||GTX 1650||8GB||256GB*||15.6, 1080p, 60Hz||5.3|
|Acer Nitro 5 (Alternate Config)||Ryzen 7 5800U||RTX 3070||16GB||1TB||15.6, 1440p, 165Hz||4.9|
|Asus ROG G15 Advantage Edition||Ryzen 9 5900HX||RX 6800M||16GB||512GB||15.6, 1080p, 300Hz||6.6|
|Asus ROG Strix 17 G733||Ryzen 9 5900HX||RTX 3080||32GB||2x 1TB||17.3, 1080p, 360Hz||5.9|
|Lenovo Legion 5 Pro||Ryzen 9 5900HX||RTX 3087||16GB||512GB||15.6,1600p, 165Hz||5.4|
|Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 SE GX551||Ryzen 9 5900HX||RTX 3080||32GB||2x 1TB RAID0||15.6, 2160p, 300Hz||5.3|
Discounts on the Best Gaming Laptops
Whether you're shopping for one of the best gaming laptops or another model that didn't quite make our list, you may find some savings by checking out our lists of Dell coupon codes, HP coupon codes, Lenovo coupon codes, Razer promo codes or Newegg promo codes.
MORE: Best Gaming PCs