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The problem with gaming laptops these days is not their lack of power or hefty size, it's that there's so much choice: Intel or AMD? Team Green or Team Red? Faster display or higher resolution? To help you pick the laptop most suited to your needs, we've updated our recommendations with the latest and greatest.
Our extended number of picks now covers several categories, including best overall, AMD-specific models, and budget machines based on GPU, meaning there are plenty of new entries alongside updated versions of previous winners...
- Best Overall
- Best Value Gaming Laptop
- Best Budget Buys
- Best AMD-Powered Laptop
- Best Ultra-Thin Laptop
- Best Desktop Replacement
Best Overall Gaming Laptops
For the second year in a row, the Razer Blade 15 and Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 receive the top mention for the best gaming laptops overall. Both are stunning machines, so picking between them is really a matter of personal choice, but we really love the look and feel of the Blade 15, as well as the multitude of spec options.
Razer has streamlined its laptop selection by removing the more expensive 'Advanced' models, leaving buyers with the option of the Blade 14, 15, and 17. The middle size is our favorite due to its combination of screen real estate, weight, and power.
Razer hasn't heavily altered the design of the Blade 15 over the years, but why change something this premium and stylish, we like it. The sturdy all-black anodized CNC aluminum chassis ooze the sort of quality that will grab the attention of any bystanders, it's also pretty slim and light for something so powerful.
Razer offers a wide selection of specs for the Blade 15. The base model (currently $1,549) packs a Core i7-11800H, 16GB of RAM, an RTX 3060, and a 144Hz Full HD display, which should be enough to satisfy many gamers, but spend more and you have the option of an RTX 3070/3070 Ti/3080 Ti, Core i9-12900H, up to 4K resolution, and up to a 360Hz refresh rate. As a gaming machine, this is a competent desktop replacement.
Razer also offers plenty of bells and whistles in the Blade 15, including per-key backlighting, factory-calibrated displays, 1080p IR Hello webcam, and upward-firing speakers with THX audio. The port selection comprises one Thunderbolt 4, two USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 with power delivery (15W), and three USB A 3.2 Gen 2 ports.
Razer has a reputation for pricing its products in a way that would rival Apple (in a bad way) and the Blade 15 is no different: a middle-of-the-range model with a Core i7-12800H, RTX 3070 Ti, and 240Hz QHD screen is $3,000. You might also find the battery life isn't on par with some rivals. Nevertheless, the Blade 15 is a great gaming laptop with looks to match its performance.
A Top AMD Alternative
If you're a fan of the Blade's looks and power but want something a little different and with one of AMD's processors, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 is an excellent alternative. With a similar mixture of sleek looks and a light body (4.3 pounds) when compared to the Razer, the Asus adds the advantage of longer battery life.
All Zephyrus G15 models come with AMD 8-core, 16-thread Ryzen 9 6900HS CPUs and can be specced up to an RTX 3080. You can also choose 1080p or 1440p displays and refresh rates up to 300Hz.
One of the main differentiating features between the Zephyrus and Blade is the former's ErgoLift 180-degree hinge that raises the keyboard slightly off a surface when the lid is open, helping it stay cool. It also looks pretty impressive when opened, complementing the backlit chiclet keyboard with RGB.
Battery life is often the Achilles heel of gaming laptops, but the Zephyrus excels in this department, offering over eight hours of use from a full charge.
Elsewhere, the Zephyrus boasts six speakers with Dolby Atmos, 100% coverage of the DCI-P3 color gamut, a 3ms response time for its IPS screen, Wi-Fi 6E, two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C ports, two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A inputs, one 1x HDMI 2.0b, and a microSD reader. Plus, Asus has finally added a webcam (720p IR).
The Zephyrus has been known to run hot, and it lacks the range of hardware options offered by the Blade 15, but at $2,000 for the RTX 3070 Ti model, Asus has its rival beat when it comes to price.
Best Value Gaming Laptop
Gaming laptops are expensive, but if you're looking to grab the best internals for the lowest price, take a look at the MSI Katana GF66. For $998 (currently at $899 for Cyber Monday), you get a machine with the capable RTX 3060, Intel's 8-core, 16-thread Core i7-11800H, a 144Hz FHD screen, 16GB of DDR4, and a 512GB SSD.
At this price, you're missing out on bells and whistles like per-key RGB lighting and top notch build quality, but you do get an IPS display with a 3ms response time, Wi-Fi 6, USB-C connectivity, and thin bezels.
The plastic build isn't premium, the 11th-gen CPU won't offer the punchiest performance, and battery life is average, but finding an RTX 3060 in a laptop with a 144Hz screen for under a grand will make this laptop worth the money for many. If you want to go even cheaper, check out our budget picks below.
Best Budget Buys
Because this a gaming laptops guide, it only made sense that we broke down the best budget laptops by their GPU...
RTX 3050 Ti: HP Victus 15
If you want a one of the cheapest budget laptops packing an Ampere-era GPU, there's the HP Victus 15. This $819 laptop includes an RTX 3050, Ryzen 7 5800H, 16GB of DDR4, 144Hz/1080p display, and a webcam.
HP says the 70Wh battery will keep running for up to 7.5 hours of mixed usage. And unlike the Asus TUF below, it has USB-C with DP 1.4. There's also a pair of USB Type-A ports and HDMI 2.1. It boasts a four-way airflow design and two heatpipes for keeping things cool, too.
RTX 3050: Acer Nitro 5
The vanilla version of the RTX 3050 might not be the most powerful, but it can still make the most of the Acer Nitro 5's 144Hz 1080p screen when playing less-demanding games with more forgiving settings. But the most important factor is that it lowers the laptop's price to a nice $725.
Selling at the $800 mark does mean the Nitro 5 packs other budget-oriented components: a Core i5-10300H, 8GB of DDR4, and a 256GB NVMe SSD. But you still get a 15.6-inch display, thin bezels, and a backlit keyboard. If you want the cheapest Ampere-powered laptop that isn't a dud, you'll struggle to find better.
RTX 2060: Asus TUF Gaming A15
Nvidia's Turing-era RTX 2060 laptop GPU might be showing its age a bit, but it's a pretty capable GPU at 1080p on less demanding titles. As we showed before, the RTX 2060 laptop GPU can compare favorably against RTX 3050/Ti models depending on the power configuration. The Asus TUF 15.6" combines it with a Ryzen 7 3750H and a 144Hz IPS display for just $899.
Despite the low price, the TUF has a fairly snazzy, rugged (albeit plastic) design and comes with a 720p webcam. It's also got a much better display than one might expect for a laptop at this price range, an excellent choice for those on a tight budget.
Best AMD-Powered Laptop
There are plenty of laptops sporting AMD hardware these days. One of the best is the slightly smaller version of our best-overall laptop runner-up: the Asus ROG Zephyrus 14.
It can be specced with an 8-core, 16-thread Ryzen 6900HS mobile processor and RX 6800S graphics, which is comparable in performance to the RTX 3080 mobile, so you'll be getting the most out of its 120Hz screen.
In addition to its gorgeous design, there's the option to add 1,215 mini-LEDs to the outer cover via the AniMe Matrix display, allowing owners to show off custom images and animations. It's also light at 3.6 pounds, and the 16:10 QHD 14-inch screen is a convenient size for use on the move while still being great for gaming and productivity.
The Zephyrus keyboard is another highlight -- it's been called the best on any 14-inch laptop -- as is the battery life, which is better than most gaming machines of this size.
As with other recent Zephyrus laptop models, the addition of a webcam is welcome. The ROG Zephyrus 14 starts at a competitive $1,650 for a model with a Radeon RX 6700S, 16GB of DDR5, Ryzen 9 6900HS, and a 1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD.
An Affordable Alternative
Asus is also our pick for a cheaper all-AMD machine. The ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition G513 carries a slightly older CPU than the Zephyrus in the Ryzen 9 5900HX, but this 8-core, 16-thread chip is still a beast. You also get a Radeon RX 6800M to push around all those pixels on its 15.6-inch display, available in 1080p or 1440p with refresh rates up to 300Hz.
Even for an AMD-powered laptop, the battery life in this system is exceptional, especially considering its gaming prowess. You also get a pair of top-quality Dolby Atmos speakers and the usual splattering of Asus RGB, including a light bar on the bottom.
The laptop boasts features such as AMD SmartShift that dynamically shifts power between the CPU and GPU, three USB-A 3.1 Gen 1 and one USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 port, and 16GB of DDR4.
The Strix has some drawbacks compared to the Zephyrus, lacking a webcam might put people off. The display isn't the brightest, either, and it doesn't offer the latest hardware like its sibling. However, it can be found for less at around $1,500 or less if you look around for offers.
Best Ultra-Thin Laptop
Most modern gaming laptops are thinner than what we were used to seeing a few years ago, but possibly the thinnest you can buy today is the Alienware x14. Dell's machine can be specced up to an RTX 3060, measuring an incredible 14.5mm (0.57 inches). For comparison, the already thin Razer Blade 14 is 16.8mm, while the Asus Zephyrus 14 is 20.3mm thick. The Alienware x14 is also light at just 3.9 lbs.
Thinner than a MacBook Air (16mm), the Alienware x14 certainly doesn't lack in power though it doesn't max out like other gaming laptops. In addition to the RTX 3060, it can be packed with a Core i7-12700H, 32GB of 5200MHz LPDDR5, and up to 4TB of M.2 PCIe storage. You also get vapor chamber cooling and Smart Fan control for keeping it all cool in that confined space.
The laptop features the usual build quality and distinctive, futuristic design found on Alienware laptops. It also has USB-C with Thunderbolt 4, USB-C with DisplayPort, HDMI, a microSD card reader, a 720p webcam, and WiFi 6E.
While the FHD screen is nice, the lack of an upgrade option to a higher-resolution display might put some off. It also has a poor battery life, so while it may be nice to carry around, gaming sessions are meant to take place plugged to a wall socket. The $1,699 price tag also makes the Alienware pretty expensive for a 1080p laptop with an RTX 3060, but that's the price to pay for an ultra-thin chassis.
Best Money-No-Object Desktop Replacement
If you want a gaming laptop that replaces your desktop in terms of raw power and productivity, the best option is a 17-inch model. The downside is that it'll cost you. However, if money is no object, the Razer Blade 17 is the best you can get for work, games, and content creation.
A 17.3-inch laptop usually means more to haul around, but Razer has shaved 25% off the size of its latest Blade 17, giving it a body comparable to many 15-inch laptops (19.9mm thick). It sports the usual sleek and sturdy chassis, CNC-milled from a single block of aluminum, accented by the RGB-backlit keyboard and stereo speaker grilles on the side.
A desktop replacement means an extensive port selection that includes three USB-A, two USB-C with Thunderbolt 4, an SD card reader, Ethernet, and an HDMI output. Creators of all types should appreciate the Blade 17's 99% sRGB color reproduction, an eight multi-driver speaker array, speedy Gen4 M.2 SSD, 1080p webcam, Wi-Fi 6E, and Bluetooth 5.2. Razer also bundles productivity software with each purchase.
As with the other Blade laptops, buyers have a range of hardware options to choose from: 144Hz to 360Hz screens, up to an RTX 3080 Ti and Core i9-12900H, 32GB of DDR5 RAM (4800 MHz), and FullHD/1440p/4K resolutions. All of which means you'll be enjoying some ray-traced gaming after you're done working on it.
The Blade 17 is still pretty heavy at around six pounds, despite Razer shrinking its size. And, as is usually the case with powerful, large-screen laptops, the battery life is poor. It's also very expensive, ranging from $2,800 to an eye-watering $4,299 for the 4K/144Hz/RTX 3080 Ti model. Still, you get what you pay for.