They are also available in a wide range of sizes, prices, and features, from small, inexpensive notebooks with mid-range graphics cards to humongous, expensive desktop replacements with vibrant RGB lighting and a plethora of processing and graphics processing cores.
We’ve put in the time and effort (and played many video games) so that you may pick the perfect laptop quickly and easily from among the many available. We put nine of the best gaming laptops to the test to see which three deserve your money.
How to pick the right laptop for gaming
The central processing unit (CPU) and the graphics processing unit (GPU) are the two most crucial components of any gaming laptop, as they handle the bulk of the system’s administrative and graphical workloads. Gaming laptops typically use an Intel or AMD processor with an AMD or Nvidia graphics card, but other configurations are available.
The choice between AMD and Intel or Nvidia components now comes down to marginal gains in performance. Nvidia and AMD both make excellent graphics cards. If you want to play games that make the most of their unique features (such as ray tracing for ultrarealistic lighting and shadows), you should look at their lists of optimized games.
A $1,000 to $1,500 budget should get you an excellent 1080p gaming PC with an AMD Ryzen 5 or Intel Core i5 processor and Nvidia RTX 3060 or AMD RX 5700 XT graphics. For improved 1080p performance or higher 1440p resolutions, midrange gaming laptops typically have Nvidia RTX 3070 or AMD Radeon RX 6700M graphics, and their costs vary from about $1,500 to $2,000. You may have the highest performance by spending upwards of $2,000 to $3,000 on a system with an Intel Core i7/i9 or AMD Ryzen 9 processor and Nvidia RTX 3080 or AMD 6800M graphics.
The display’s resolution and refresh rate are two crucial metrics to consider. Most gaming laptops start at 1080p, with higher-end versions going up to 2560 x 1440 and even 4K. The resolution measures how much detail a display can output (3840 x 2160). The highest frame rate is directly related to the refresh rate; therefore, a higher value means a smoother gaming experience.
On average, gaming laptops have refresh rates between 144 and 165 hertz, with some models reaching as high as 360 hertz.
The trade-off between a high refresh rate and a high resolution (and vice versa) forces you to prioritize one over the other for your viewing pleasure. The best way to get the most out of your gaming experience is to use a 1440p or 4K display. We feel 1440p to be a great middle-ground that delivers rich images at a fair price, mainly because gaming laptops with 4K panels are somewhat rare and pretty pricey.
However, if you’re a competitive gamer who places a premium on pinpoint accuracy, a 1080p screen with a refresh rate in the 200s or above is your best bet.
Although gaming laptops tend to be larger and heavier than their non-gaming equivalents, a wide variety of sizes and designs is available. There aren’t many possibilities for people looking for a portable gaming laptop with a screen size of 13 inches, although a handful have a 14-inch screen. Most gaming laptops have a screen size between 15 and 17 inches since it’s the sweet spot between power, screen size, and portability.
Suppose you spend most of your time gaming at home. In that case, a 17-inch gaming laptop is a good choice because it has the largest possible screen and typically excellent components.
Our testing methodology
We put each gaming laptop we tested through a series of tests that included synthetic and real-world scenarios. To determine how well each machine could handle today’s blockbusters, we performed the in-game tests for Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Dirt 5 (both at 1080p with graphical settings dialed up). The higher the frame rate, the better. We logged countless hours into games like Marvel’s Avengers and Psychonauts 2, carefully noting the systems’ frame rates, visual fidelity, fan noise, display brightness, and color accuracy, among other metrics.
We also benchmarked each laptop with Geekbench 5, which measures general multitasking performance. Also, we used each of these laptops as our primary computer for at least one entire workday, typing documents and jumping on video chats to assess the usability of the keyboard, trackpad, and speakers. We shot some group selfies using the Windows 10 Camera app to evaluate the built-in or external camera quality of the devices that had one (not all of them did).
Each laptop was put through our own battery endurance test, which consists of continuously playing a 4K video at 50% brightness and airplane mode on. We also considered the aesthetics, functionality, and portability of each system’s additional features, such as performance modes and RGB lighting.
The King: Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition
The Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition is the best gaming laptop we tested in terms of performance, battery life, and features for the money; plus, it also looks great and isn’t too intimidating to bring into the office if you need to. For its reasonable middle price of $1,649, this laptop consistently outperformed its competitors in our performance testing while also providing us with a wealth of fun extras to experiment with.
The G15 Advantage Edition is undeniably a gaming laptop with just the right design touches to differentiate it without being excessive. There is a beautiful mild underglow on our desk thanks to the RGB lighting on our Asus laptop, which stretches from the keyboard to a light strip at the bottom of the PC. The G15 comes with three interchangeable faceplates that can be used to change the color of the laptop’s hinge. We found the red plate it came with too flashy, so we swapped it out for the silver one. Seeing a gaming laptop with this level of hardware customization is refreshing.
The G15’s keyboard isn’t as gratifying or snappy as those on the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro and Razer Blade 15 Advanced. However, it’s still incredibly comfortable to type on for extended stretches, thanks to plenty of bounce and an excellent soft-touch substance coating each key. The G15’s dedicated media playback, volume, and performance mode settings are instrumental because they eliminate the need for annoying keyboard shortcuts or a separate program.
The 1080p display of the Strix G15 Advantage Edition is vibrant and colorful, making the cartoonish action of Psychonauts 2 look notably rich and brilliant while keeping all of the cinematic richness of Marvel’s The Avengers. While the G15’s display was a little too saturated and bright for general use (such as browsing Discord or working on Google Docs), it was okay for gaming.
The Strix G15’s 300 Hz refresh rate is impressive, making it one of the fastest monitors we tested. This implies that the ultra-competitive Fortnite and Valorant gamers out there will be able to play their games at extremely high frame rates on the laptop and that regular web browsing will seem silky smooth. Asus now provides a Strix G15 model with a quad HD (2560 x 1440) display at 165 Hz for those who value more clarity above fluidity.
The Strix G15 Advantage Edition’s performance is where it shines, with some of the best benchmark results we’ve seen across all of our test devices. It was also more than powerful enough for our typical gaming needs. Except for the even more pricey Razer Blade 15 Advanced, Asus’ laptop had the best visuals for the real racing action of Dirt 5 of all the laptops we tested. Also, while we played Marvel’s Avengers for long periods, we had highly smooth frame rates of up to 80 frames per second (fps), even with the graphics turned all the way up to 11. Simply put, you won’t have any problems playing even the most demanding games on this.
The Strix G15 Advantage Edition’s battery life is the best we’ve seen, lasting an incredible eight hours on our uninterrupted 4K playback test, easily beating out the rest of our comparison group. That’s excellent, especially for a gaming laptop (the runner-up result was Asus’ own Zephyrus G14, at just under six hours), and it suggests that Asus’ notebook can handle a whole workday of mixed-use.
We found the Asus Armoury Crate companion software to be one of the most feature-rich and straightforward ones we’ve used, letting us keep tabs on system consumption, switch between several performance settings, and, of course, fiddle with the RGB lighting. The Aura Creator software enables us to construct patterns by altering particular zones on the keyboard. There are plenty of more methods for making the G15 pulsate in a rainbow of hues.
As impressive as the Asus laptop is in other respects, its lack of a webcam is a huge drawback. Since the laptop’s display bezels aren’t very slim and its price is comparable to similarly equipped computers with built-in cameras, we’re at a loss to explain this. It’s important to note that just about every gaming laptop webcam we tried was subpar and that if you care about your appearance in online video chats or Twitch streams, you can acquire a decent dedicated webcam for about $100. The G15’s lack of a built-in camera limits its usefulness as a go-anywhere computer for remote workers.
The Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition is the best gaming laptop you can buy for the money, provided you don’t mind carrying your own webcam to the party (or can live without one).
The Queen: MSI GS76 Stealth
The MSI GS76 Stealth is an excellent choice if a large, stunning display for immersing yourself in your games is your top priority. The 17.3-inch display on this laptop is among the best we’ve seen, striking an outstanding balance between sharpness and fluidity, and it’s supported by some of the best overall capabilities available in a laptop today.
The Stealth’s screen is one of the largest we’ve seen and one of the sharpest and most vivid. Focusing on work and being completely engaged in movies and games was simple. Everything, from the black-and-white text of a Word Document to the blues and oranges pouring the trailer for Marvel’s “Shang-Chi,” seemed thick and bold.
The MSI GS76’s screen is sharp and clear because it strikes a good balance between resolution and refresh rate. The 2560 x 1440 resolution of the laptop’s screen provides more pixel density than the 1080p displays often found on gaming laptops but without the astronomical price tag of a 4K panel. Similarly, the screen’s 240 Hz refresh rate is higher than that of many popular gaming laptops, enabling games to run at an extremely high frame rate and improving the fluidity of ordinary tasks like browsing the web. The GS76 Stealth is as close as you’ll get to get the best of both worlds, with a high resolution and a fast refresh rate. And if you’re a serious gamer who needs the fastest possible refresh rate, you can get a 1080p, 360 Hz screen for the same price.
Not only does the MSI GS76 have a stunning, silky-smooth display, but it also has some of the overall best speed we’ve seen in a gaming laptop. MSI’s laptop efficiently handled long periods of intensive Chrome browsing, Slacking, and word processing without a hiccup. It posted the highest Geekbench 5 processor scores of all the notebooks we tested. The GS76 Stealth also performed admirably in gaming benchmarks, repeatedly placing in the top three and delivering excellent frame rates in games like Dirt 5 and Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
During more casual play, we could run Marvel’s Avengers at its maximum settings and 1440p resolution and still experience a consistent 60 frames per second (our benchmark for seamless gaming). To sum up, this computer can run the vast majority of commercially available games without a hitch and with relatively little loss in visual fidelity.
The Stealth’s performance is even more astounding, given its slim profile for a 17-inch laptop. Its 5.4-pound construction doesn’t feel excessively weighty, even though its wide chassis appears better suited to your desk than an aircraft seat. In terms of understated style, it’s comparable only to the Razer Blade 15 Advanced Edition among the gaming laptops we’ve tested. Furthermore, the GS76 features a fantastic keyboard, easily the best we’ve experienced on a gaming laptop. It has plenty of travel, and the feedback is just springy enough that we can use it for long periods without getting tired.
The GS76 Stealth has a respectable battery life when you drag it away from the house. Our endurance test showed that MSI’s notebook lasted for 5 hours and 30 minutes, which was above average compared to the other machines we tested and was sufficient for an afternoon’s worth of gaming without an external power source.
MSI’s laptop boasts many valuable functions starting with the MSI Center software, which allows you to watch your CPU and GPU utilization and block the Windows key to prevent accidental dropouts while gaming. The ability to toggle between the normal, silent, super battery and high-performance modes is fantastic. The latter setting allowed us to experience marginally better frame rates in Shadow of the Tomb Raider, but be forewarned that the machine can get rather noisy when put into overdrive.
The Stealth’s RGB keyboard lighting may be customized to your liking using the SteelSeries GG app. There was a slight learning curve with the software compared to what companies like Acer and Razer provide, but after some time, we were able to change the color of specific keys and even have the whole keyboard throb through intricate and visually appealing patterns.
The GS76 Stealth has minor flaws, but they aren’t deal-breakers. Like most webcams we examined, its resolution is low, and fingerprints readily stain it. Although expensive at $2,199, you get a large, best-in-class display and top-notch performance for your money.
The Prince: Razer Blade 15 Advanced Model
The Razer Blade 15 Advanced Model is worth the extra money if appearances are as important to you as maxing out Call of Duty’s settings.
We found the high-end powerhouse from Razer to be the most visually appealing laptop. Its sleek black metal construction is understated enough to take to a cafe. Yet, the keyboard’s RGB illumination can be adjusted to suit your fancy. In addition to being the lightest gaming laptop we’ve handled at 4.6 pounds, its corners measure around half an inch in thickness.
The Blade 15 Advanced is not just a pretty face; it is also one of the most powerful gaming laptops we’ve tested. The Razer laptop had the smoothest overall frame rate in our Rise of the Tomb Raider benchmark. In our Dirt 5 benchmark and Geekbench 5 raw processing power tests, it also achieved some of the best results we’ve seen.
Daily use was where the Blade shone, as we were able to blast up killer robots in Marvel’s Avengers at over 100 frames per second on high settings and a very smooth 60 to 70 on ultra. The Blade’s 15.6-inch screen enhanced the laptop’s already smooth performance, making the purples, oranges, and blues of Hawkeye’s arrows leap off the screen as he shot them through a dystopian wasteland.
At 360 hertz, the Blade 15 Advanced offers the smoothest screen of any laptop we tested. The advantages of this screen type were immediately apparent, with the movement of the mouse cursor and the scrolling of a web page having a pleasing smoothness that we did not experience on any of the other laptops we tried. However, competitive gamers who need the utmost accuracy when attempting headshots in their game of choice can benefit significantly from screens with a high refresh rate.
Because of this, we were pleasantly surprised to see that, with the graphics settings set to their lowest levels, the laptop could produce over 200 to 300 frames per second in Fortnite. This impressive result is partly due to the laptop’s potent Nvidia RTX 3080 graphics card. An extra degree of smoothness like that may not be noticeable to the casual gamer. Still, it could be critical for the serious player who values responsiveness and accuracy above all else.
The software and extra features on the Razer laptop are some of the best we’ve seen in a gaming laptop. The keyboard’s appealing RGB lighting can be easily adjusted using the bundled Synapse app, whether you want the keys to flash a single visual color or cycle over the entire rainbow. In particular, we appreciated setting the function keys as multimedia controls by default, allowing us to adjust the volume or manage media playing with a single tap rather than a cumbersome multi-button shortcut.
The Blade 15 Advanced’s battery life is one of its glaring flaws. We found that Razer’s laptop had the worst battery life of all the models we tested, at just three hours while using a 60 Hz display and just two hours and forty-four minutes when using 360 Hz mode. If you do most of your playing at your desk while plugged in, this may not be a deal breaker, but it does mean you’ll need to bring a charger wherever you go. The webcam on the Blade 15 is one of the best we’ve seen on a gaming laptop, but it still made us appear flat and washed out in our tests.
Yes, it’s indeed somewhat pricey. If you can afford it, the Blade 15 Advanced offers one of the best gaming laptop capabilities currently available in a sleek and attractive package that you won’t be ashamed to carry around.
With its sleek two-tone white and silver appearance, the ROG Zephyrus G14 is one of the most appealing gaming laptops we’ve tried. The upward slant of the keyboard is another perk that made even lengthy periods of typing a pleasure. The Zephyrus G14’s performance results were middle of the road to below average, and its display is more saturated than usual.
The lack of a webcam is standard across all Asus ROG laptops, so you’ll have to get used to that. For those who spend much time on the road, the G14’s compact form factor is a definite plus. Still, there are more powerful alternatives available for the same price.
The Predator Helios 300 is an excellent choice if you’re trying to save money. It has a reasonably vivid and smooth 1080p display, a premium-feeling appearance, appealing angled corners, and some excellent RGB keyboard illumination choices. Its battery life and gaming performance are average at best compared to other laptops we evaluated. However, it’s still solid for the price.
The ROG Zephyrus G15 expands on the G14’s strengths and addresses its weaknesses in a larger 15-inch chassis. Our battery life test showed that it lasted much less time than its smaller sister, and we found the speakers to be relatively muted. The machine’s gaming performance is excellent, but you can get alternatives with higher-resolution displays and even webcams for the asking price.
Offering a magnificent quad HD display and a superb keyboard within a sleek and well-built chassis, the Legion 5 Pro 16 came close to earning our top picks. Despite this, its battery life is significantly less than the ROG Strix G15’s, and its gaming prowess was only average on our benchmarks.
Although it is more expensive than the other Acer laptop we reviewed, the Acer Nitro 5 gives off an impression of being less well made. It’s made entirely of plastic, so it bends and flexes easily, and the shiny exterior shows fingerprints quite easily. The laptop’s gaming performance is respectable, and the 1440p screen is sharp. Still, you can find more robust machines with more attractive designs for the same price.
Nexym's editorial team handpicks all of the products and services it recommends, regardless of external influences. Affiliate links appear in some of our stories. We may receive an affiliate commission if you purchase something through one of these links, which helps us stay independent and support our great team.