The best gaming laptops are starting to get major refreshes this year, which should see a lot of shakeup on our list in the months to come.
For now though, last year's gaming laptops still dominate the top entries in our list, with the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 holding onto the top spot for its fantastic mix of performance and price. We have a new entry though, the HP Victus 15, which is definitely the best budget gaming laptop right now, coming in well under $1,000/£1,000 and putting out some pretty impressive performance for the price.
- John Loeffler, US Computing Editor
Game on the go with the best gaming laptops. These notebooks aren't just powerful; they're made specifically for gaming, thanks to the best mobile GPUs in their portable form factor.
We're not only talking about high-end, super-expensive machines here. These days you don't need to spend a huge amount of money to get a great laptop to game on. Thanks to internal mobile components getting cheaper, even affordable and budget laptops can see you through the most demanding and best PC games, which is great news for gamers especially right now.
Most of us are also now facing a cost of living crises with rising food, fuel and utility prices. So, now more than ever, best value wins over the most expensive and kitted out gaming rig.
We've overhauled our best gaming laptops list to highlight devices that suit a range of budgets. We still have our high-end favorites, but we've also packed it with budget and exceptional value picks. That includes laptops from HP, Lenovo and Median that can handle games with relative ease without costing the earth.
Don't just consider the cost, however. As always, you’ll also want to think about the type of games you play. That will help determine which hardware you’ll want to focus on in your gaming laptop. Luckily, our best gaming laptops list should give you several excellent options to consider, no matter if it's narrative-driven games you love or fast-paced competitive games.
The best gaming laptops 2022
The Asus ROG Zephyrus line has produced some of the best gaming laptops out there, and the new ROG Zephyrus G15 is no exception. Fitted with the latest and most powerful AMD Ryzen and Nvidia RTX 3000 series, it's incredibly powerful and able to see you through the most demanding games. Of course, that legendary battery life has made an appearance, lasting about eight to nine hours during our tests, putting it up there alongside the Asus TUF Dash F15.
The chassis is also stylish, something you don't often see in gaming laptops. Still, this is a pure gaming machine, none of that crossover business like the Gigabyte Aero 17. Plus, while it's not exactly a budget option, its performance for the price is phenomenal. So if you want a high-performing gaming laptop that’s affordably priced to boot, nothing beats this one.
Read the full Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 review
The Asus TUF line is no stranger to affordable excellent performers. Last year’s Asus TUF A15, for instance, was simply brilliant while keeping things accessible to budget-conscious gamers. In our view, this is the best gaming laptop you can buy if you're on a budget, as while it's more expensive than the MSI GF63 above, it has more powerful, and more recent, components, while still keeping the price impressively low. So, it brings in Intel Tiger Lake processors, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3000 mobile GPUs, and up to a 240Hz 1080p display without costing a fortune.
Naturally, its legendary chassis is back, keeping things light, thin, and military-grade durable. At under an inch thick and less than 5lb, this is a gaming laptop you want with you wherever you need to go. As is its long battery life, this time around nearing 10 hours, so you have the juice to last you an entire workday if you also want to use it for work.
Read the full Asus TUF Dash F15 review
The Gigabyte Aorus 17G (2021) gaming laptop’s design may be a bit outdated. Its chunky aesthetic not only feels old school but also makes it harder to carry around. Plus, without the customizable RGB lighting on the keyboard, it isn’t exactly the most exciting or appealing either. That’s why it’s also a little weird that it’s as expensive as it is.
If you want power and speed, however, you’ve got it here and then some. The tactile mechanical keyboard – one of the best integrated laptop keyboards we’ve ever used – and a 300Hz refresh rate display are just the beginning. It also boasts an incredible gaming performance that might just be worthy of desktop gaming PCs. With one of the RTX 3000 GPUs under the hood, this will see you through the most graphics-intensive games, including competitive ones. And, because of its impressive battery life, you can do so away from a power source.
Read the full Gigabyte Aorus 17G (2021) review
A fantastic laptop that delivered astounding performance across the board during our tests, the Lenovo Legion 7 (Gen 6) has proven itself already worth its steep price tag – even if it’s not exactly something most people can afford. This is a pricey behemoth, to be sure, and with only about three hours of battery life.
Still, this is the best gaming laptop if you’re ok with something you wouldn’t want to travel with. Its gaming performance is superb – especially at the specs we received for our review. You’re also getting a bunch of RGB lighting options and a bunch of ports – three USBs, three USB-C, an HDMI 2.1 and two DisplayPort 1.4 ports – so you’ll never need a separate hub for your peripherals. And, if you’re an RGB fan, it comes with a bunch of RGB lighting options across multiple different components.
Read the full Lenovo Legion 7 (Gen 6) review
Substance is much more important than style. But, if there’s one thing that the Alienware m17 series continues to prove, it’s that you can have style and substance (and not necessarily pay a lot for it, as the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 demonstrates.) The Alienware m17 R4 is on the pricey side; however, it’s just as gorgeous as it is powerful, boasting an extremely stylish chassis that lights up like a Christmas tree and a fast gaming performance.
Don’t worry so much about the price. Sure, there are more affordable options out there. Heck, there are longer-lasting alternatives too. However, this powered latest AAA games with no compromises during our tests. Plus, an Alienware gaming laptop is essentially the cream of the gaming crop. And, this comes plenty of ports for your gaming peripherals. If you have the money, you’ll be glad you chose this.
Read the full Alienware m17 R4 (2021) review
Powerful great-value laptops aren’t exactly a dime a dozen, so when one does come out every now and then, we’re only too happy to test it out. We found the Asus ROG Strix G15 AMD Advantage Edition to be one of the latest best value laptops to hit the streets. Not only that, but it’s also a successful swing at the high-end on AMD’s end, boasting Team Red’s top processor and GPU.
It delivered some seriously powerful gaming performance during our tests. Plus, it isn’t just its performance that takes center stage here. That battery life is astounding as well, giving us 11 hours 23 minutes when we ran the PCMark10 test. That’s impressive for a gaming laptop, but it’s even more so considering those powerful specs. If you want a powerful gaming laptop that lasts all day, this is the one to get.
Read the full Asus ROG Strix G15 AMD Advantage Edition review
The Alienware X14 is one of the thinnest and lightest gaming laptops we've ever tested. At just over half an inch thick and under 5 lb of heft, it's easy to slip into your bag and forget it's even there. Plus, because it can charge off of a USB-C cable, you don't have to worry about hauling around a huge charging brick like with other gaming laptops.
It does peak at just an RTX 3060 for a GPU, but that's more than enough when you're just looking to do some gaming on the go. Plus, the 1080p display is perfect for that graphics chip. The Alienware X14 is a bit lacking when it comes to battery life and the webcam, but it's not enough to keep us from singing this laptop's praises. We highly recommend, as long as you have the money for it.
Read the full Alienware X14 review
One of the best gaming laptops that money can buy, the Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 G733 barely breaks a sweat. That excellent performance is due to the impressive specs it’s kitted out with, combining the best of what AMD, processor-wise, and Nvidia, on the GPU side, has to offer. Sadly, it also put out of most people’s reach, price-wise.
If you can afford it, however, there are a few other things you’ll love about it. That design is unapologetically gaming-esque, with its resplendent RGB lighting that allows it to light up like Christmas and its optical mechanical keyboard that’s simply one of the best we've experienced on a laptop, gaming and otherwise. This is among the best of the best out there, and a worthy consideration if you’re not limited by your budget.
Read the full Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 G733 review
Hands down one of the best gaming laptops we’ve tested, the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro comes with all the makings of a nearly perfect portable for gaming. Its incredible performance is matched only by that gorgeous QHD IPS screen with up to 500 nits of brightness, Dolby Vision, and up to a 165Hz refresh rate. It can certainly go toe-to-toe with its better-known peers, including Razer’s and Alienware’s premium offerings.
That’s while having a more reasonable price that allows it to be a better value – something that budget-minded gamers can appreciate. It also boasts admirable battery life and a full-sized keyboard. Of course, it also comes with hardware controls that make a noticeable impact on performance for both battery life and graphics performance. It isn’t the most portable or the longest-lasting, but it’s an appealing option.
Read the full Lenovo Legion 5 Pro 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.