Editor’s note: April 2023
Gaming laptops equipped with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4000-series and AMD Radeon 7000-series GPUs have started to drop. There are several new additions to our list: the Alienware m17 R5 AMD Advantage, the Lenovo Legion Pro 7i, and the MSI GT77 Titan (2023). All three are coming out swinging with their superior specs and performance.
– Allisa James, Computing Writer
There are several important things to keep in mind when searching for the best gaming laptops as they come in a variety of sizes, specs, and designs. And as such, we’ve put together a list of some of the top choices, all of which have been thoroughly tested to guarantee their quality and performance.
Though the current cost of living crisis has driven up the cost of tech in general, that doesn’t mean that it’s harder to find the best gaming laptop for your needs and budget. The best laptop you’re using to play PC games can cover the gambit between more expensive options with better specs or something more budget-minded with lower-end specs. And no matter what games you choose, the best cheap gaming laptops are sure to be able to handle them.
For instance, the best thin and light gaming laptops are made to be extremely portable, while desktop replacement laptops are more powerful yet bulkier and heavier in return. Because of the difficulty of choosing between a desktop PC and a desktop replacement laptop, it’s important to compare the pros and cons of getting a gaming PC versus a gaming laptop, in order to see what works best for you.
You can also purchase laptops based on the manufacturer like the best Asus gaming laptops, the best MSI gaming laptops, and the best AMD gaming laptops. In the meantime, we’ve got all the best gaming laptops we’ve already reviewed and tested below. No matter what you need in a laptop for gaming, we have options that best fit your needs.
The best gaming laptops 2023
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It’s not quite so new and shiny anymore, but the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 is still the best of the best. The Asus ‘Republic of Gamers’ brand has produced some truly excellent gaming laptops (you’ll see a few more if you keep scrolling) but this is the definitive pick.
A high-end AMD Ryzen processor, choice of Nvidia RTX 3000 GPU, a great screen, and generally fantastic design mark the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 as a top-notch gaming laptop that can comfortably power through all the latest games. It also packs some truly legendary battery life, lasting about eight to nine hours during our rigorous testing process, which puts it up alongside the long-lasting Asus TUF Dash F15.
All this great performance is wrapped up in a robust chassis with a stylish design, an aesthetic that manages to look good and doesn’t scream ‘I’m a gamer!’ to everyone within a ten-mile radius. To cap it all off, while this isn’t a budget machine, it offers an absolutely stellar price-to-performance ratio. So if you want a high-performing gaming laptop that’s competitively priced to boot, nothing beats this one.
Read the full Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 review
For those wanting the full gaming experience without breaking the bank or breaking your back in the process, the Gigabyte G5 is an excellent budget alternative that’s also ridiculously portable. Its starting price is downright svelt, a price point that the vast majority of gaming laptops can’t hope to match, especially in this generation of bulky gaming behemoths.
Its specs include an Intel Core i5-10500H CPU and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU, and we found through extensive testing that it’s more than a match for any PC game on high settings, though you may have to hold off on the ray-tracing for Cyberpunk 2077. The display is a solid FHD one that won’t blow your mind with a crazy high refresh rate or HDR but still offers a clear and clean picture quality.
On the downside, due to the very portable nature of this laptop, its port selection suffers drastically. It only has two USB Type-A 3.2, one USB Type-A 2.0, one HDMI 2.0, one DisplayPort 1.4, and one Mini DisplayPort 1.2. No ethernet port or miniSD card reader in sight. Also, the Core i5-10500H is a bit dated, and we found it struggles a bit with more advanced productivity work.
Read the full Gigabyte G5 review
Sure, it might be very expensive (the version we tested and reviewed costs $2,600), but the new Razer Blade 14 is just a thing of beauty; a compact, quiet, durable, and powerful gaming laptop that ticks just about every box. Top-notch internal components are joined by an incredibly bright and vivid screen, with the classic machined metal chassis that has come to define the aesthetic of the Blade laptop line.
Gaming performance is solid across the board, with the RTX 3070 Ti model we reviewed capable of hitting 60+fps in the majority of games at 1440p resolution. It’s also surprisingly quiet for a gaming laptop, with the fans not reaching the same roar of many of the others on this list. Even the battery life is solid. Well, solid for a gaming laptop – it’s not going to give any ultrabooks reason to worry!
Read the full Razer Blade 14 (2022) review
The Alienware m17 R5 AMD Advantage is an excellent gaming laptop that delivers on every front. The 17-inch display is a ridiculous 120Hz 4K screen, further enhanced with Dolby Vision support. During our testing, we found that the gorgeous crystal clear image paired well with a smooth enough refresh rate for most gamers.
Its performance during our own benchmark testing was even more impressive, with eye-watering high scores on every GPU test. And when it came to testing out general gameplay performance, most games hit the highest highs in terms of framerate and more. Not only is its performance top-notch, but it also has a gorgeous design befitting the Alienware line.
The clamshell design is not only aesthetically pleasing but keeps the main vent clear and more effective at proper ventilation, something absolutely vital when it comes to high-power gaming sessions. It’s a bit heavy and bulky with a somewhat decent battery life of about six hours, but if you’re getting a desktop replacement gaming laptop then you know the deal.
Read the full Alienware m17 R5 AMD Advantage review
MSI’s laptops and desktops run the gauntlet from impressive to lackluster, but the GF63 Thin definitely sits in the former category. It’s far from the most powerful gaming laptop on this list, but with some very competitive pricing, it’s an excellent choice for any gamer on a budget. When we reviewed it, we found that it also feels quite well-constructed, despite the sensible price tag.
That price is kept low by wisely employing some slightly older components, like the 11th-gen Intel Core i7 processor and the PCIe 3.0 SSD, but these are paired with an Nvidia RTX 3000 GPU that still offers excellent gaming performance. It’s not quite as flexible a laptop as some of those found on this list (many of which can easily pull double duty for demanding content creation work), but if you’re just looking for a straightforward 1080p gaming system, this is the one for you.
Read the full MSI GF63 Thin (2022) review
Corsair only broke into the gaming laptop space this August, and we have to say we’re seriously impressed with the manufacturer’s first attempt. The Corsair Voyager a1600 is a laptop that stands out from the crowd, from its big, beautiful 16:10 screen to the bar of touch buttons (and a tiny LCD display) that rests above the keyboard.
That keyboard is great too – it uses Cherry MX Ultra-Low Profile mechanical key switches, a rare sight in gaming laptops, which feel absolutely incredible to play games with. This is a fully AMD-powered gaming laptop too, with the excellent Radeon RX 6800M graphics card and a powerful Ryzen 9 6900HS processor.
One other nifty feature is seamless ‘Slipstream’ connectivity, which allows you to instantly connect compatible Corsair peripherals (say, a wireless headset or mouse) without the need for a plug-in dongle. The touch bar and included software are also geared towards streamers, so if you’re waiting for your big break on Twitch, this could be the laptop for you.
Read the full Corsair Voyager a1600 review
If you’re looking for a contender for the most powerful gaming laptop, the MSI GT77 Titan (2023) has the competition beat so far. It comes with the latest in specs, including a 13th-gen Intel Core i9-13980HX CPU and an Nvidia RTX 4080 12GB Laptop GPU. During our extensive testing, we found that it managed to beat out the Lenovo Legion Pro 7i in most of our benchmark scoring when it came to GPU performance.
Its display is a ridiculous 4K resolution with a 144Hz refresh rate, and as we tested this behemoth we found that PC games never looked and moved better. The cherries on top are that this laptop comes with a Mini DisplayPort output and, according to our tests, the battery life is okay for a gaming laptop four and a half hours. It does charge fast, so that’s another positive to add.
There are some caveats we found, however. The biggest one is the sheer size of this behemoth, which weighs over seven pounds. You will never move this laptop off your desk, it’s the truest form of desktop replacement. And thanks to its size, it sounds like a jet engine. Cost is also an issue, but if money isn’t a problem then you can’t go wrong investing in this exceptionally powerful laptop.
Read the full MSI GT77 Titan (2023) review
The MSI Raider GE67 HX is a great choice for gamers who want a well-performing gaming laptop. Despite the specs coming from last-gen — a 12th-gen Intel Core i9-12900HX CPU and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti GPU —, we found after extensive testing that it’s able to keep up with the likes of the current-gen Lenovo Legion Pro 7i in terms of pure performance. Not to mention its meaty 32GB of RAM and 1TB of storage, which sweetens the deal.
It has a solid 15.6-inch display with a 2560×1440 resolution, meaning it can game comfortably at either 1080p or 1440p. It also sports an incredibly high 240Hz refresh rate, and an OLED screen that we found makes any PC game absolutely shine in crystal clarity. It also features a 1080p webcam. The build quality is also nice and sturdy thanks to that extra bulk, and the keyboard is SteelSeries, which has pleasant key travel and no sponginess or real input latency. We wish the touchpad was as high quality, as it’s a little flimsy.
Unfortunately, its battery life is its downfall. We found that, after testing, the battery lasts for an abysmal two hours max and less than six with normal productivity work. And if you plan on carrying this behemoth around, it’s heavy and bulky so you’ll be in for a bad time. The fans are very, very loud so be prepared for the sound of jet engines as you use this laptop.
Read the full MSI Raider GE67 HX review
The Lenovo Legion Pro 7i is one of the most powerful gaming laptops we’ve tested so far, thanks to its RTX 4080 mobile GPU. When we tested it out, it delivered some incredible gaming performance, absolutely smoking through every one of our graphics-based benchmark tests with flying colors, and nearly matched our scores for the Alienware Aurora R15 gaming PC. This level of power also translates to gaming performance, with titles like Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered looking its best.
Its display is an absolutely ridiculous 16-inch WQXGA, 240Hz, 500nits screen, which means that when we took it for a gaming test drive, we found the refresh rate to be butter smooth enough for professional gamers. The screen is extremely bright with a high-definition resolution, and it also features an RGB-lit keyboard with an excellent port selection to boot.
The chassis is very bulky and heavy, as befitting of a desktop replacement laptop, with an abysmal two-and-a-half-hour battery life. This laptop was made purely for performance, with not a thought to its aesthetics, but for the performance it’s worth it.
Read the full Lenovo Legion Pro 7i review
If you’re after something a bit different — or you’re a content creator who wants a laptop for gaming too — then the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 is an incredible (if expensive) choice. The 16:10 main display is joined by the delightful ScreenPad Plus, a secondary touchscreen that elevates out of the chassis when you open the lid, creating a laptop that’s reminiscent of a certain beloved handheld console.
Nintendo DS references aside, the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 is also an absolute monster of a system thanks to its Ryzen 9 6900HX processor and RTX 3080 Ti graphics card, backed up by a whopping 64GB of DDR5 RAM. It’s great for gaming and watching movies, in no small part due to a set of powerhouse speakers that provide shockingly good room-filling audio.
Read the full Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 review
How to choose the best gaming laptop for you
Choosing the best gaming laptop is easy when you’ve got deep pockets or have a couple of thousand dollars to spare. It’s when your budget is more limited that getting a great gaming laptop becomes trickier.
Lucky for us, we’re getting plenty of more affordably-priced CPUs and GPUs that don’t compromise on power. The latest internals are more capable yet also cheaper than ever. That means that gaming notebooks under $1000 can be just as capable as any gaming PC while keeping things portable and space-saving.
Still, some components are more powerful or cheaper than others. While it’s no longer a hard and fast rule, AMD’s offerings are generally more affordable, which means that AMD Ryzen-powered laptops tend to be slightly cheaper.
In terms of graphics cards, Nvidia is still king when it comes to performance, although which RTX card you should go for depends on the type of gaming experience you want. The RTX 3060, for example, is a terrific mid-range contender with lots of power for 1080p gaming. However, if you want that 4K goodness, an RTX 3070 or higher is the way to go.
Consider the RAM as well. Other things to look at are the amount of storage, type of display, and type and variety of ports. Take a look at the battery life as well, especially if you plan on gaming on the go. Know that just because something is premium doesn’t automatically mean it’ll deliver a long battery life – the Alienware laptops are a cautionary tale. And, of course, since you do have to like how your gaming notebook looks, think about the design and whether or not you want RGB lighting.
Whichever one you pick however, we guarantee one of our picks below will let you dive into your favorite games, from the best cheap PC games to the best laptop games and the best PC games – all without tethering you to a desk.
How we test gaming laptops
Testing a gaming laptop isn’t as easy as you might think. But, then again, neither is narrowing down your options and choosing the best one for you, which is why we take our job seriously. Even if that means gaming for hours on end – hey, someone’s gotta make the sacrifice, right?
In all seriousness, we put every gaming laptop we test through its paces to make sure it delivers as promised and is worth your hard-earned case. That means that on top of playing the latest and hottest games on it, noting things like gaming and thermal performance, we also run synthetic benchmarks like PCMark 10, 3DMark and Geekbench 5 as well as battery tests.
Because a gaming laptop is only as good as its peripherals, we take a look at how smooth and fast the display is, how comfortable and responsive its keyboard is, whether or not there are enough ports on hand, and how good its overall design is. We also test its webcam, in case users want to utilize it for game streaming.
We then take everything we’ve learned about the gaming laptop and compare it to its price – whether or not it’s performance and features are worth that price tag, and whether or not it offers the best value to customers.
Which laptop is best for gaming?
At a base level, you’re going to need a gaming laptop that runs the newest game releases, whether they’re AAA or games that require lower graphics settings. Ideally, you’ll want to pick a gaming laptop with a decent graphics card – it doesn’t have to be as advanced as the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070, which can play even the most graphically intense games at the highest settings, but you’ll want something that can play any and every game you might play.
RAM is crucial in the best gaming laptops as well, as it makes sure there aren’t performance issues within the laptop. The last thing you want is for your game to sputter or freeze in the middle of important action sequences or cutscenes, so you’ll want a gaming laptop with plenty of RAM to tackle those high-intensity games.
Screen size should also factor into your gaming laptop decision. If you’re someone who likes having the biggest screen to see as much as possible of your game, you’re going to want a bigger screen, ideally something from 16- to 17.3-inches. If you’re okay with having a standard size screen, you may be able to get away with getting a gaming laptop with a screen anywhere from 14 to 15.6 inches.
If you travel a lot you’re going to want to consider how heavy the gaming laptop is, as well as any necessary accessories you’ll need to pack. Travelling often will also mean you need to make sure your gaming laptop has a decent battery life, otherwise you’ll be trekking from outlet to outlet on your journey.
How much RAM do I need for gaming?
There are many gaming laptops that start you off with an 8GB DDR4 memory, which is the minimum these days. However, that might not be enough for a speedy performance.
If you play a lot of demanding AAA titles, at least 16GB is recommended for the smoothest experience. If you can afford to splurge, a 32GB memory will give you the smoothest, most immersive experience.
Is it worth it to get a gaming laptop?
Absolutely. Gaming PCs are no longer incomparable, thanks to mobile devices getting smaller yet also more powerful. If you need something that’s space-saving and/or portable yet powerful enough to tackle your favorite games, no matter if those are not-so-demanding games or the most graphically-intensive titles, one of the best gaming laptops is worth considering.
What is a good thin gaming laptop?
There aren’t a lot of thin and light gaming laptops out there, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find several options to choose from.
The best ones are impressively portable without sacrificing power or battery life. The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 sits at the top of that pile, with MSI GS65 Stealth and the Razer Blade Stealth following closely behind.
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