The best gaming laptops are available in a variety of sizes and styles to suit a variety of purposes and budgets. Because, while a $5,000-plus model with the finest graphics and display might provide the best gaming laptop experience, most of us can’t afford such a laptop. Our recommendations are frequently high-end models (we are, after all, an enthusiast site), but they are available in a number of configurations and pricing points.
Thankfully, there are more gaming laptop options than ever before, ranging from low-cost to full-fledged desktop replacements. Some are equipped with full-size Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics cards, while others opt for the more energy-efficient Max-Q designs, which allow for slimmer chassis and (in some cases) quieter fans.
While many of the best gaming laptops have 1080p displays and fast refresh rates, some also have 4K displays, giving you the option of choosing between fidelity and resolution. Several gaming laptops have a refresh rate of 360 Hz.
In terms of components, there is more option than ever before. While Intel CPUs remain prevalent, AMD’s Ryzen processors are becoming increasingly popular, yet Intel processors are still used in the majority of notebooks. Nvidia’s RTX GPUs are found in far more laptops, while AMD is gradually beginning to pair its own graphics cards with its CPUs for what it calls an “AMD Advantage.”
Intel’s 11th Gen “Tiger Lake” processors and AMD’s Ryzen 5000 CPUs are among the latest processor advancements. Due to a global component shortage, anything with the latest graphics, including desktops, can be difficult to come by right now. We expect Intel’s 12th Gen “Alder Lake” CPUs to be available in laptops soon.
It may be difficult to locate the finest gaming laptops right now, as it is with a lot of other technology. It may take some time to find exactly what you want in stock once you’ve done your research.
To assist you in your search for the best gaming laptop available today, we’ve assembled a list of the best machines we’ve recently tested and reviewed.
Best Gaming Laptops You Can Buy Today
1. MSI GE76 Raider
Our selection for a gaming laptop that can replace your desktop is the MSI GE76 Raider. It does, however, have a large RGB light bar. With components ranging from an Intel Core i9-11980HK to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080, it delivers extremely impressive performance.
For those who wish to play esports titles like Dota 2 or League of Legends as smoothly as possible, the 17.3-inch display is bright and goes up to 360 Hz.
The Raider, however, is not as thin as many of the other laptops on our list. In reality, it’s rather enormous, but that’s necessary given the amount of power inside (and for the 17.3-inch build quality).
2. Razer Blade 15 Advanced Model
The new Razer Blade 15 upgrades on the previous model in small ways, but they’re apparent and make for a better experience.
There’s a 1080p webcam, for example, which is crucial since so many people work from home or in a mixed setting. There are also additional QHD (2560 x 1440) versions available, which is a nice upgrade from 1080p.
We put the Blade through its paces with an Intel Core i7-11800H and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070, both of which proved to be powerful gaming machines. It wasn’t as productive as some competitors in productivity tests, but it’s more than adequate for web browsing and other typical work.
3. Razer Blade 15 Advanced Model
The Razer Blade 15 Advanced Model is a good choice if you want higher specs and are prepared to pay more for a thin and light gaming laptop. It features a slim design that makes it easy to carry around, and it has a good number of ports if you want to connect a lot of peripherals.
The Blade goes up to an Nvidia RTX 2080 Super Max-Q, while the Zephyrus stops at an RTX 2060. A faster 300 Hz display is also available, which is ideal for esports.
The Blade 15 is powered by Intel’s 10th Gen H-series processors rather than a Ryzen chip. It is not as energy efficient as the previous model, but it provides excellent performance.
4. Alienware m17 R4
A 17-inch gaming notebook falls into the desktop replacement category, and the Alienware m17 R4 is one of them. It can get quite pricy in its top-end configurations, such as the one we evaluated, but you also get the top-end Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Laptop GPU with 165W TGP. For esports fans, there are alternatives for 4K or our 1920 x 1080 360Hz option.
Other RTX laptops we’ve examined haven’t come close to matching the performance of the m17, which foregoes Max-Q features in favor of the most powerful component available in a notebook.
It also boasts a great, responsive RGB keyboard, and the design is still very covert for a laptop with this much power, at 0.87 inches.
5. Acer Nitro 5
For those on a tight budget, the Acer Nitro 5 is the best gaming laptop. You’ll receive a wonderful deal on entry-level performance for the money. While the display isn’t as brilliant as it could be, the keyboard is comfy, and there’s even a great webcam.
The AMD Ryzen 5 4600U processor was paired with an Nvidia GeForce 1650 graphics card in our review unit. We’ve seen a few Ryzen-based gaming laptops with longer battery life than expected, and the Nitro 5 was no exception.
There’s lots of potential for upgrades if you’re handy (and you’ll want to think about it with only 256GB of storage in our review device), but for $700, you’re getting a lot for your money..
6. Acer Nitro 5 (Alternate Configuration)
Since our study of the Acer Nitro 5, the company has produced further variants with improved specifications. The most recent one we tested has a Ryzen 7 5800U processor and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 graphics card, allowing for improved performance and ray tracing in certain titles.
This model also has a 1440p display with a refresh rate of 165 Hz, which is significantly higher than the budget model’s 1080p. This one, on the other hand, looks clumsy, and the parts cost $1,699 to buy.
The Nitro 5 is still available in affordable configurations from Acer, but there is a newer model that adds to the portfolio with a more premium setup.
7. Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition
The Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition is the first laptop to be released under AMD’s Advantage program, which matches AMD’s CPUs and GPUs with premium designs that have solid-state displays and are designed for comfortable gaming. The Strix delivers on several of these criteria thanks to the Ryzen 9 5900Hz processor, Radeon RX 6800M graphics card, and SmartShift technology that moves power between the two.
We found the laptop to be quite cool at most touchpoints, even while gaming, and it has strong audio with Dolby Atmos support. When you aren’t gaming, the battery lasts a long time.
8. Asus ROG Strix Scar 17 G733
You’ll need a laptop with the fastest screen you can find if you want to play esports professionally. The Asus ROG Strix Scar G733 has an FHD screen with a 360 Hz refresh rate and top-of-the-line components to power esports games to frame rates that can truly utilise it.
The design has a premium feel to it, with an unusual mix of dark and clear materials. It looks like a hot rod automobile and a 1990s MP3 player, which may put some people off.
Even if you don’t like looking inside your laptop, the comfy keyboard, good overall performance, and bassy audio all contribute to a great gaming experience.