Today’s best gaming laptops are performance monsters. These portable powerhouses are packed with the latest-generation components available from Intel, AMD and Nvidia. Better yet, this new generation of hardware is more efficient than ever, leading to improved battery life and laptop designs, too.

The Razer Blade 15 Advanced continues to be one of the best gaming laptops you can buy in 2022.

Razer

The best gaming laptops also pack great features like comfortable and responsive keyboards, with surprising key travel and subtle backlighting for gaming in the dark. Many have high resolution displays—either a 2K display (also referred to as 1440p) or a 4K display—and fast refresh rates, which lead to smoother gameplay and lower input lag. The input lag is an important criteria during competitive gaming, when you want every edge you can get against your opponents.

We’ve rounded up nine of the best gaming laptops available now. All of these models make the cut for their combination of components, features and design.

Best Gaming Laptop Overall: Razer Blade 15 Advanced
Best 17-Inch Gaming Laptop: Dell Alienware X17 R2
Best Casual Gaming Laptop Under $500: Acer Aspire 5
Best Budget Gaming Laptop: HP Victus 15.6-Inch
Best Gaming Laptop Under $1,000: Acer Nitro 5 15.6-Inch
Best Mid-Range Gaming Laptop: Dell G15 5520
Best Small Laptop For Students: Asus ROG Zephyrus G14
Best Gaming Laptop For Work: MSI GS66 Stealth

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Best Gaming Laptop Overall

High-End Hardware In A Streamlined Chassis

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Razer

Razer Blade 15 Advanced

CPU: Intel Core i7-12700K | RAM: 16GB DDR5 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti | Storage: 1TB SSD | Display: 15.6-inch | Resolution: 2,560 x 1,440 | Refresh rate: 240Hz

Best for: Gamers who want a high-end gaming machine that does it all.

The Razer Blade 15 Advanced features the best mobile gaming hardware money can buy. From its Intel 12th-generation Core i7-12700H processor to its fast 240Hz 2K display, this laptop is stacked with power. (Razer sells a similar config via its own site, but with the slightly newer Core i7-12800H chip.) The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti graphics card gets big gains in performance over lower tier cards by using Nvidia’s Ampere architecture, which delivers higher frame rates, finer detail settings and better handling at high resolutions. Inside, the Blade 15 Advanced has 16GB of RAM, 1TB of fast storage and a capable and quiet cooling solution to keep you gaming for hours.

With a solid design, this stylish laptop has a sleek finish on every surface and a minimalist chassis with a thin-bezel display. The revamped, comfortable keyboard has new, bigger keycaps and snappy responsive switches, making for more accurate typing and gaming over longer sessions. Razer’s classy Chroma backlighting highlights the keyboard, and makes this a distinctly gamer laptop. Battery life isn’t extensive with such a high-end configuration, but you can get a solid few hours of play away from a power socket.

Pros:

High-end components
Excellent build quality
Runs cool and quiet

Cons:

Expensive

forbes.comRazer Promo Codes | 20% Off In August 2022 | Forbes

Best 17-Inch Gaming Laptop

Big, Bold And Beautiful

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Dell Alienware X17 R2

CPU: Intel Core i7-12700H | RAM: 16GB DDR5 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti | Storage: 1TB SSD | Display: 17.3-inch | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | Refresh rate: 360Hz

Best for: Gamers who want fast speed on a big-screen.

With a giant 17-inch screen and powerful components, the Dell Alienware x17 R2 rivals desktop gaming rigs—and it does so in a more portable chassis than many of its contemporaries at similar sizes. This laptop’s Intel Core i7-12700H CPU and 16GB of DDR5 memory give this model impressive general compute power, and combined with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti graphics card, this becomes a stellar gaming laptop with all the power you need to play anything.

One drawback: The display is only 1080p, a relatively low resolution for a high-end laptop. But where some gaming laptops target higher resolutions, this one goes for boosting frames. With its 360Hz refresh rate, this laptop makes high-speed games look gorgeously smooth, and if you’re playing against other players, it gives you an edge by lowering your response time and input lag. Battery life isn’t extensive, but it does stay pretty cool due to advances in Dell’s cooling technologies. The laptop’s styled aesthetics scream “gamer” at anyone who dares look its way.

Pros:

Big, super-fast display for competitive gaming
High-end hardware can play anything at high frame rates
Gorgeous design

Cons:

Bulky
Poor battery life

Best Casual Gaming Laptop Under $500

A Low-Cost Model For Less-Demanding Games

Acer

Acer Aspire 5

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5500U | RAM: 8GB DDR4 | Graphics: AMD Radeon 7 | Storage: 256GB SSD | Display: 15.6-inches | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | Refresh rate: 60Hz

Best for: Budget-conscious casual gamers not focused on competitive play or the latest AAA games.

Most gaming laptops are priced around the $800 mark, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a gaming laptop if your budget is lower. The Acer Aspire 5 isn’t a gaming-laptop per se, but its AMD Ryzen 5500U processor with onboard Radeon Vega graphics and 8GB of RAM is enough compute power to handle casual, indie and esports games. It’ll even play less-demanding, older AAA games, though you may need to adjust the settings given this system’s specs.

The prosaic 1080p display ensures the onboard graphics processing isn’t stressed too much when playing games at native resolution. The 256GB of SSD storage is more than enough for Windows and a handful of even modern games. This laptop has Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, as well as a built-in 720p webcam. It also has great battery life, lasting over 11 hours of mixed usage or well over five when gaming. This isn’t a gaming laptop on paper, but it can play less demanding games reasonably well for a low price.

Pros:

Good for casual, less-demanding games
Cool and quiet even when gaming
Wi-Fi 6 support

Cons:

Onboard graphics are underpowered for AAA gaming
Limited storage for bigger game libraries

Best Budget Gaming Laptop

Affordable, But Packed With Real Power

Best Buy

HP Victus 15.6-Inch

CPU: Intel Core i5-12450H | RAM: 8GB DDR4 |Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 | Storage: 512GB SSD | Display: 15.6-inch | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | Refresh rate: 144Hz

Best for: Gamers looking for a basic gaming system with a not-so-basic screen.

The HP Victus is an entry-level gaming laptop with a good processor and a more basic graphics card. It has enough performance to deliver excellent frame rates in esports games, and with a 144Hz display, animations look smooth and fluid and you won’t be giving up any response-time to gamers with more expensive laptops. The improved efficiency of its Intel 12th-generation CPU, this model has a reasonable six hour battery life for video playback. The laptop’s thermal design is optimized to keep the components cool through long gaming sessions. The keyboard has an HP Omen Gaming Hub key and is matched with a bigger-than-usual keypad.

The HP Victus is among the handful of entry-level gaming laptops priced smack in between the $500 to $1,000 range. And when it goes on sale, it can be a real steal. While its components are decidedly ordinary, you’d need to spend another $300 for the Victus version with a better CPU, better graphics card and double the memory.

Pros:

Fast display
Low price
Capable computer power

Cons:

Lower-end graphics

Best Gaming Laptop Under $1,000

Won’t Break Your Wallet

Best Buy

Acer Nitro 5 15.6-Inch

CPU: Intel Core i5-12500H | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti | Storage: 512GB SSD | Display: 15.6-inch | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | Refresh rate: 144Hz

Best for: Gamers who need performance without breaking the budget.

The Acer Nitro 5 packs a strong selection of components, with more memory and a faster display than other models at this price. The Nitro 5 has a 12th-generation Intel Core i5-12500H, 16GB of DDR4 system memory, and a Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics. This combo of components won’t perform at the same level as the Core i7 or Core i9 series with RTX 3070 Ti graphics, but it still has a respectable punch for full-blast gaming. The display has a fast refresh rate of 144Hz, so animations and gameplay render smoothly and multiplayer games have a faster response time.

One trade-off on this model: Weight. This model weighs 5.5 pounds, still portable but heavy enough you’re less likely to pop it into your backpack. The dual speakers on the Nitro 5 support DTS:X Ultra spatial audio. The gaming-friendly keyboard has four zones and highlights the WASD and arrow keys to make keyboard gaming easier. The webcam is a prosaic 720p, not as good as on some competing laptops.

Pros:

Display supports fast frame rates

Cons:

Heavy weight
Only 720p webcam

Best Mid-Range Gaming Laptop

Step-Up Processor And Fast Display

Amazon

Dell G15 5520 15.6-Inch

CPU: Intel Core i7-12700H | RAM: 16GB DDR5 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 | Storage: 512GB SSD | Display: 15.6-inch | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | Refresh rate: 120Hz

Best for: Gamers who want mid-range performance with less of a hit to their wallet.

The Dell G15 5520 doesn’t cut corners. This iteration has a 12th-generation Intel CPU, 16GB of system memory and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card—a capable array of components to handle AAA and esports gaming at high frame rates. The overall laptop has a solid build, with an atypical split-level design. It also has strong battery life, making it a great portable gaming machine for taking on the road with you.

While the display is an unremarkable 1080p resolution, it does have a fast 120Hz refresh rate to provide competitive gameplay in fast games and smooth animations in slower games. It also supports Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth, and has four USB ports (one Thunderbolt 4/USB Type-C and three USB Type-B 3.2 Gen 1), which makes it easy to connect all of your peripherals, accessories and controllers. This model can dynamically adjust performance by activating Game Shift, a technology first seen in Dell’s Alienware line. Game Shift pushes the fans’ speed to maximum to help keep processors stay cool and run efficiently while gaming.

Pros:

Attractive design
Strong battery life

Cons:

Underwhelming display
Heavy

Best Small Gaming Laptop For Students

Good At Everything—And A Sharp Screen, Too

Best Buy

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS | RAM: 16GB DDR5 | Graphics: AMD Radeon 6700S | Storage: 1TB SSD | Display: 14-inch | Resolution: 2,560 x 1,600 | Refresh rate: 120Hz

Best for: Gamers after a solid all-around gaming machine with a fast, high-resolution display.

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is one of the best all-around gaming laptops ever made. It has strong components for high-performance gaming, a gorgeous display with a fast refresh rate, and plenty of ultra fast storage for quick game load times. With its smaller, 14-inch display the chassis is both sleek and light, with an understated and classy design which looks good for gamers and serious students alike. The 2K display means text and graphics are sharp—helpful when writing papers in between gameplay. And at 3.6 pounds, this laptop can go to class or to your friend’s dorm room just as easily as it can stay on the desk at your home.

The Ryzen 9 6900HS CPU is more energy efficient than previous chip designs, which means this laptop can get a reasonable battery life. It has Dolby Atmos support for decoding spatial entertainment audio, and a built-in microphone with noise cancellation, a handy inclusion if you don’t have a gaming headset nearby. The Radeon 6700S is one of AMD’s new breed of energy-efficient RDNA2 graphics, which further enhances battery life without sacrificing gaming performance. Between its professional look, moderate size and plenty of gaming horsepower, this laptop is the perfect companion for a hardworking student gamer—or even a mobile professional who appreciates gaming in their downtime while on the road.

Pros:

Clean aesthetic
Strong performance in esports and AAA games
Long battery life

Cons:

A bit expensive for the configuration

Best Gaming Laptop For Work

A Trim Form Factor

Best Buy

MSI Stealth GS66

CPU: Intel Core i9-12900H | RAM: 32GB DDR5 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti | Storage: 1TB SSD | Display: 15.6-inch | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | Refresh rate: 360Hz

Best for: Gamers who value high-performance gaming in a thin, professional-looking chassis.

If you’re a professional who wants to game in after the work day is done, look no further than the MSI Stealth GS66. This laptop is incredibly slim for a gaming machine, and it has limited styling that screams “gamer” so it will fit in better if you’re using while meeting a client. Inside it has top-tier gaming components, including one of Intel’s most powerful processors and a massive 32GB of DDR5 RAM. These components, together with Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3070 Ti graphics give this model all the power it needs for high-powered AAA gaming at the highest settings and frame rates—and it can handle demanding professional tasks.

The Stealth GS66 has a prosaic 1080p resolution, but has a super-fast 360Hz refresh rate for buttery-smooth gameplay and minimal lag during competitive gaming. The downside to all that power in a slim chassis is that this laptop gets rather hot during long game session—its fans get loud, too. But if you want to try and get your boss to sign off on a gaming laptop that looks like anything but, this is a great laptop for the “job.”

Pros:

Impressive performance for such a thin and light machine
Understated design doesn’t look like a gaming machine
Large and comfortable keyboard/trackpad

Cons:

Unimpressive battery life
Fans get loud during intense gaming

Best Gaming Laptop Deals You Can Buy Today

With so many gaming laptop configurations, it’s easy to find great alternatives to the picks above on sale. Here are some additional models worth considering.

Great Performer, High-Resolution Display

Best Buy

Asus ROG Zephyrus G15

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 is a hot competitor for one of the best all-round gaming laptops, but it just loses out to some of its leaner, more affordable competition. This model has an AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS processor, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 graphics card and a fast 165Hz display—top-tier components which can play any game you want at high frame rates. Save $300 at Best Buy.

A Budget Gaming System For $600

Best Buy

Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3

This Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3’s typical price is a little on the high side for a laptop with entry-level graphics and a last-generation Core i5 Intel CPU. But with 36% off at Best Buy, it becomes a far more attractive proposition. That combination of CPU and GPU is more than enough for entry-level and esports gaming at 1080p resolution, and with a 120Hz refresh rate display, you can enjoy much smoother animations and more responsive competitive play.

Best Buy

Asus TUF Dash 15.6-inch

This Asus TUF Dash gaming laptop is one of the most affordable ways to get your hands on high-end gaming components. The Intel Core i7 12th-generation processor is an absolute powerhouse in esports and more demanding games, and when paired up with an Nvidia RTX 3070, it packs admirable power. Save $250 at Best Buy.

Boosted Config On A Solid Gaming Laptop

Acer

Acer Nitro 5 15.6-Inch

This version of the Acer Nitro 5 15.6-inch boosts the CPU to an Intel 12th-generation Core i7-12700H and the graphics card to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 mobile GPU. These configuration tweaks cost a little more than the model in our list, but those costs are mitigated by this 20% discount at Amazon.

Fast Display At A Big Discount

Best Buy

Dell Alienware m15 R5 15.6-Inch

This Dell Alienware m15 R5 is a holdover with the best components of 2021, which means it remains a capable high-end gaming machine in 2022. With a $500 savings at Best Buy, this model is even more attractive—especially if you want a fast 360Hz display.

What’s The Best Graphics Card For Laptop Gaming?

The graphics card or chip is the most important component in a gaming laptop, helping to drive higher resolutions, higher frame rates and higher detail settings than any mainstream laptop can manage.

At the most entry-level end of the spectrum, for lightweight esports and indie games, integrated graphics may suffice, but better to find an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 or AMD Radeon RX 6400—either is a great option. These GPUs are perfect for simple 1080p gameplay at high frame rates and low detail settings. If you want to play more demanding games, step up to Nvidia’s GeForce 3060 Ti or 3070 Ti, or an AMD Radeon RX 6700M. For 4K gaming look for the best graphics card you can afford (Nvidia’s 3080 Ti or AMD’s 6800M represent the top models available now).

Is $1,000 A Good Price For A Gaming Laptop?

The best general purpose laptops usually start around $1,000 and that’s not too dissimilar for gaming laptops. With that kind of laptop, you typically get a solid 1080p gaming machine which won’t be the best for the latest and greatest games, but will give you great frame rates in esports games.

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If you want to play at higher resolutions, aim for a model priced around the $1,300 mark; though again, the higher you go, the better performance. The best gaming laptops can cost $2,000 or more, with many of the most elite models costing north of $3,000. So your budget is your only limitation once you get into the high-end models.

All that said, if you time it right and buy one of the best gaming laptop deals available during a big sale, you can grab much more powerful gaming laptops for around the $1,000 mark, especially if you make do with a last-generation flagship which still offers excellent performance.

Do You Need A High Refresh Rate Display?

High refresh rate displays are a great way to improve your gaming experience, especially if you’re playing esports or older games at higher frame rates. With a high refresh rate display and a high frames per second, you can enjoy smoother animations and a more responsive gaming experience, with limited input lag. That means that as well as making your games look and play better, it can actually make you play better too, giving you a light performance advantage in competitive gaming.

Higher refresh rates are often a more beneficial upgrade than a higher resolution, especially on the smaller displays on most gaming laptops. While you won’t see a huge difference between 1080p and 4K on a 15-inch screen, you will be able to tell the difference between 60Hz and 144Hz. The difference between that and 240Hz or 360Hz isn’t as pronounced, but you should still be able to feel it, even if it isn’t super obvious.

Is A 13-Inch, 15-Inch Or 17-Inch Gaming Laptop Better?

When it comes to gaming immersion, a larger screen will almost always deliver a better experience. There’s a reason there are gaming monitors that can stretch as big as 49-inches in 2022: it’s an amazing gaming experience. You don’t get anything that big on gaming laptops, with the largest typically maxing out at 17-inches. That’s still an impressive size for a gaming laptop, though, and it’ll certainly give you a more engaging gaming experience than a 13-inch model.

But you need to factor something else in with gaming laptops: portability. A bigger screen means a bigger, heavier, less wieldy laptop, and it often has worse battery life too.

Gameplay on a laptop.

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A 17-inch gaming laptop isn’t really designed to be played on the go; it’s just a portable gaming desktop, really. You’ll get bigger and better hardware in the largest systems too, with generally greater performance because the thermal headroom is greater. But you won’t want to be using it to try to play on a bus or train ride.

Meanwhile, 13-inch gaming laptops are the most portable, offering true on the go gaming and often with good battery life, too. But the hardware will be weaker.

For a good middle ground, the latest crop of 14-inch and 15.6-inch gaming laptops offer excellent performance and much improved portability over their larger 17-inch cousins.

Pick the size, shape, and performance profile that’s right for you.

Is A Gaming Laptop Worth The Money?

If you are looking to play games on your laptop more than anything else, then yes, absolutely. You’ll get much better performance out of a gaming laptop than you will a more general-purpose laptop. On top of that, gaming laptops will also give you a much more responsive and fluid gaming experience, with high refresh rate and low response time displays helping to reduce input lag, ghosting, and screen tearing, which can be a real problem on non-gaming laptops.

Gaming laptops are also future proofed where non-gaming laptops aren’t. With a powerful graphics chip, the best gaming laptops of today will still be able to play the latest games in years to come. While they might not be able to hit the highest detail settings anymore, non-gaming laptops without a decent GPU just don’t be able to play them at all.

Who Makes The Best Gaming Laptops?

Modern gaming laptops are more mainstream, with many of the players in all-purpose laptops having a contender among gaming systems, too. You’ll also find a number of brands that specialize in systems fine-tuned for gaming.

The best brands for gaming laptops today include Razer, Asus, Acer, Dell Alienware, MSI and Lenovo. Most of these manufacturers have gaming laptop lines, but some also have options not branded as for “gaming” that can capably play games as well. Some companies focus on designs that are both lightweight and powerful, while others go all-in with more powerful systems that can rival some gaming desktops.

Do I Really Need A Gaming Laptop?

Gaming laptops aren’t a necessity for anyone, especially if you don’t do much gaming at all. In fact, if you don’t plan to use your new laptop primarily for gaming, you’ll get a lot more value for money by looking at more mainstream laptops without a dedicated GPU: Their battery life is better and they tend to have more vibrant displays designed for movies and office work.

If you are a gamer, though, and want to spend most of your time on your laptop gaming, then you should definitely consider it. The latest gaming laptops offer amazing performance that rivals some powerful desktops, and they almost all come with fast displays so you get a smoother and more responsive gaming experience.

Gaming laptops also come with handy features like smart power switching technologies that maximize efficiency and performance so make sure your games are playing at their best without sapping too much battery life or outputting too much heat. Speaking of which, most gaming laptops have excellent cooling, too, to make sure your system stays relatively cool and doesn’t get too noisy while playing (although some gaming laptops can still get loud).

Most gaming laptops have good quality keyboards too, since a responsive keyboard can make all the difference in some games. Still you may want to add an external gaming keyboard and also a gaming mouse as touchpad gaming is notoriously difficult.

What CPU Do You Need For Gaming?

Intel and AMD are the main processor brands used for any computer, and the only two you want for a gaming computer. Their chips have gone through huge revolutions in design and performance potential in recent years. Chips continue to gain in efficiency and battery life is better than ever.

Although CPU performance isn’t the keystone of gaming performance it once was, it’s still important to have a good CPU, and some games, like F1 22 and Microsoft Flight Simulator (2020) that really benefit from it.

The specific performance of the CPU in your laptop will depend as much on the system’s cooling as it will the CPU model, but as a general rule, you want a gaming laptop with a recent-generation CPU. For AMD laptops, that’s a Ryzen 4000, 5000, or 6000 chip. For Intel, it’s 11th or 12th generation. In both cases, though, you’ll get a much better CPU if you can stick to the AMD Ryzen 6000 and Intel 12th-generation ranges, as they made big leaps in performance and efficiency over their predecessors.

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The types of games you play has a big impact on the type of processor you need. If you’re a casual gamer or playing simpler indie games, then you likely won’t need anything too powerful.