Buying the best gaming laptop is no longer as challenging as a game of Tetris. Thanks to smaller chips and lighter hardware, now you can purchase a laptop powerhouse with high refresh rates, 4K displays, and the latest graphics cards for great gaming performance without dealing with the headaches that come with building your own rig.
Not all gaming laptops offer the same perks, of course, but whether you need a budget gaming laptop or a top-of-the-line model, we've tested the gamut.
Our pick for the best overall is the Asus ROG ROG Zephyrus G14(available at Best Buy for $1,649.99), a powerful machine that’s fun to use and delivers superb performance that gamers and streamers can rely on. But if you have specific preferences like keyboard placement, battery life, portability, or other features, we’ve reviewed plenty of great picks so you can find the model that’s perfect for you.
These are the best gaming laptops we tested:
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022)
Lenovo Legion 5 Pro Gen 6
MSI GE76 Raider (2022)
MSI Delta 15
Asus ROG Strix G15 AMD Advantage Edition
Razer Blade 14 (2022)
Acer Predator Helios 300
Acer Predator Triton 500 (2022)
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022)
The all-AMD 2022 refresh to the ROG Zephyrus G14 is a marvel. Not only is it a powerful gaming laptop that can play recent big-name game releases, but it also has the essentials of a great ultrabook: a comfortable keyboard, a huge smooth trackpad, a brilliant 120Hz WQHD display, a small body, and nearly nine-hours of battery life.
The premium metal chassis brings a lot of style to the machine. The multitude of ports puts the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 comfortably at home in conferences and impromptu presentations, as well. You get HDMI 2.0b, a microSD card reader, two USB-C ports, and two USB-A ports.
When it’s time to relax, the powerful Ryzen 9 processor and Radeon RX 6800S graphics card can kick into high gear and pump out up to 120 frames per second games like Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Far Cry 5.
Compared to similar laptops, like the Razer Blade 14 and the MSI Delta 15, the Zephyrus G14 fares well performance and value-wise. It’s not cheap, but it’s well worth it for those who need a laptop that can do it all.
If you’re looking for a solid gaming desktop replacement, Lenovo’s Legion 5 Pro Gen 6 is a top contender. It balances the right components with the right design and features at a competitive price, and its display was chosen with content creators and high-fidelity gamers in mind.
While we reviewed Lenovo's model with an AMD Ryzen 7 5700H CPU and RTX 3070 GPU, the Legion 5 Pro Gen 6 is also available with an RTX 3060 graphics card. It gets comparable performance to Acer's Helios 300 on this list for the price—but the Legion has much better battery life. The laptop is also now configurable with the latest generation of Ryzen CPUs–the Ryzen 7 6800H processor–and DDR5 RAM.
Its ray tracing performance is also better than the laptops configured with AMD graphics cards on this list, about 15-30 frames per second more in games like Metro Exodus and Cyberpunk 2077 at a 1080p resolution.
The display makes those high-fidelity graphics really pop, too. The Legion 5 Pro’s Quad HD (QHD) 2560×1600 resolution display has sharper images and improved clarity over a 1080p display. The combination of its juiced-up resolution and a 165Hz refresh rate really shines.
The laptop’s 16:10 aspect ratio is larger than similar 16:9 displays, and the higher resolution can fill in that pixel density better than regular 1080p. This is another reason we recommend this Legion laptop over the Acer Helios 300 as far as value is concerned.
This laptop does dump a lot of heat out from the sides, so you’ll probably want to move your mouse hand away from the chassis. But that’s a small compromise for an otherwise outstanding machine. For the price, it’ll be hard to find a better value gaming laptop than this one.
MSI’s latest GE76 Raider is a PC gaming flex. Its flagship hardware, like the Intel Core i9-12900HK and mobile Nvidia RTX 3080Ti, give this beast more performance prowess than most desktops.
Its high-refresh 360Hz display is perfect for big-budget games— Shadow of the Tomb Raider on its highest graphics settings at 1080p ran at 160 frames per second in our testing. It’s also faster than the MacBook Pro 16 M1 Max for tasks like video encoding and 3D rendering. If you need a laptop that can churn through intense workloads as well as your favorite games, this one excels.
The build quality on the GE76 Raider is excellent. Audio sounds crisp and clear coming from the onboard speakers. There’s a multitude of ports, and the laptop does a great job of keeping its internals cool.
Unfortunately, such powerful hardware comes with drawbacks. While the internals stay relatively cool, the chassis can run on the hot side if you’re pushing the performance. Meanwhile, the three-hour battery life is poor, even for a gaming laptop.
By far, the biggest deterrent to most people will be the GE76’s price. The performance justifies the high cost, but its no-holds-barred approach is undeniably aimed at those who need the best performance possible in a laptop.
As far as gaming laptops go, MSI’s Delta 15 is the most well-rounded and versatile laptop we have ever tested for both work and play. Its subtle, business-like design and near 10-hour battery life makes it a perfect professional companion, but its high-end processor and graphics card make it a powerful portable gaming machine, too.
The MSI Delta 15 easily reached over 60 frames per second at 1080p on the highest graphics preset in all the games we tested, even heavy-hitters like Control and Cyberpunk 2077.
Esports fans should also be pleased with the MSI Delta 15’s 240Hz refresh rate display, as this laptop can also support frame rates that high; on the ultra graphics setting, this laptop reached an average of 174 fps while playing Overwatch, but can go much higher than that if you turn down the graphics preset.
This Delta 15 is also faster than other gaming laptops we’ve tested when it comes to content creation. Compared to the likes of Razer, Acer, and a few other gaming laptops from big-name brands, MSI’s Delta 15 can render 3D images and transcode 4K video to a lower resolution in mere minutes.
It also has an extremely color-accurate display, although serious creative professionals will probably want a laptop with a higher color gamut coverage, not to mention the Delta 15 tops out at just 300 nits of brightness.
Unfortunately, thermals keep this gaming laptop from upsetting our Best Overall pick. While the WASD and immediately surrounding keys stay at a decently cool 45 Celsius (113 Fahrenheit), other parts of the laptop chassis reached up to 55 C (131 F), which is too hot to touch.
But everyday tasks like web browsing and typing reports keep the laptop running at an ideal 35.5 C (95.9 F), so if you want to kick back on your couch with the laptop in your lap as you write that paper for school you can do so comfortably.
Unfortunately, although one of the best on the list, the MSI Delta 15 is still only available with a last-generation Ryzen 7 5800H processor. The Delta line is currently unable to be configured with Ryzen 6000 series or 12th-generation Intel CPUs.
The Asus ROG Strix G15 AMD Advantage Edition was configured with a Ryzen 9 5900HX processor and Radeon RX 6800M GPU. It has since been superseded by the 2022 edition of the ROG Strix G15, which features a Ryzen 9 6900HX CPU and RTX 3080 GPU.
The Asus ROG Strix G15 AMD Advantage Edition is a unicorn among gaming laptops. With an amazing combination of hardware components, design, features, and battery life for its price point, it’d be hard to find another laptop that hits just as many high notes. It’s also one of the best laptops Asus has put out with an AMD CPU and an AMD graphics card. Those two components together in this form factor are truly a sight to behold.
The Ryzen 9 5900HX runs at tip-top speeds so every task feels snappy. Running 50 Chrome tabs at once, rendering 3D images, transcoding 4K video, working in Excel—it all flows seamlessly.
The Radeon RX 6800M GPU keeps your games running at high frame rates. At 1080p resolution, graphically demanding games like Control run at 96 fps on the highest graphical settings. Esports games like Overwatch reach up to 159 fps at the same settings, although to take advantage of the Strix G15’s 300Hz display, the graphics will need to be turned down.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of this stellar gaming laptop is the battery life. It lasts for nine hours! In a world where gaming laptops generally last around four to five, the ROG Strix G15 AMD Advantage Edition is a powerhouse.
Gaming on battery power will drain it fast. However, for your everyday computing needs, this laptop will last longer than an entire workday. It might get some inquisitive looks in the office due to its size and color scheme, but if this is your only laptop it’ll serve all your needs.
The attention to detail Razer gives its Blade laptops is impressive. You could even say Razer’s latest Blade 14 rivals Apple’s MacBook Pro 14 M1 Pro, but with more powerful hardware and access to tens of thousands of games. Gamers and content creators who want style and performance should seriously consider the Blade 14, especially if you’re willing to throw down the cash.
The 2022 Blade 14 is outfitted with AMD’s Ryzen 9 6900HX, and Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3070 Ti graphics card. Those two components (along with 32GB of RAM) make a powerful combination, with in-game frame rates for esports exceeding 200 frames per second at 1080p and the highest graphics preset.
In high-fidelity single-player games the Blade 14 outputs close to or over 100 fps. But games with ray tracing turned on yielded lower-than-average frame rates for a laptop of its caliber.
One of the downsides to the Blade 14 is that Razer limits the amount of power the graphics card can draw. Other laptop manufacturers sometimes do this as well to help keep internal temperatures down (and fit powerful components into a small chassis), but the problem is that less power equals lower in-game frame rates.
That said, the Blade 14 is still a top performer overall. It also gets up to eight hours of battery life, which is long for a gaming laptop. Its membrane keyboard feels more like a mechanical one, and the 1440p IPS display can make nearly anything look great. Its speakers are nothing to fuss about, so you’ll need to bring your own headset.
Considering everything the Blade 14 provides, it's worthy of consideration for those who demand a premium experience—and don't mind paying for it.
The Acer Predator Helios 300 reviewed below was configured with an Intel Core i7-11800H processor. It has since been superseded by the 2022 edition of the Predator Helios 300 that features an Intel i7-12700H CPU.
Acer’s Predator Helios 300 may not be the best-looking laptop, but thanks to an Intel Core i7-11800H, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060, and 16GB of memory, it outperforms many other similarly configured gaming laptops.
For Acer to get its price so low on this Helios 300, they made some concessions. Its design and chassis haven’t changed much and feel a little outdated. The keyboard lacks the snappy feel of something like the Legion 5 Pro Gen 6 for fast-paced games.
However, all the hallmarks of a gaming laptop are there: high frame rates at 1080p resolution, a high refresh rate display, RGB lighting, and loads of connectivity options. The display itself covers the full sRGB color gamut with high max brightness, so games look extremely vibrant.
Like many of Acer’s other gaming laptops, this Helios 300 is best suited as a desktop replacement, since its battery only lasts for about three hours and 46 minutes—and that’s while performing light tasks like browsing websites and watching short YouTube videos. You’ll need to keep the laptop plugged in while gaming, but because of its size, you likely won’t be traveling with it often anyway.
For a little over a grand, it hits many of the core tenants that make a gaming laptop worthy of a spot on your desk.
The Acer Predator Triton 500 SE is a monster of a laptop. Even though it’s under an inch thick, it manages to cram an Intel Core i9-12900H processor and an Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti graphics card into its chassis. This laptop can run basically anything. The 1080p display’s 240Hz refresh rate accentuates the smooth performance.
If you’re wondering just how fast a flagship laptop can get, the Predator Triton 500 SE’s processor scored 15276 points in the Cinebench R24 benchmark, which is 29% higher than the MSI Raider GE76’s 11th gen Core i9 processor. Even the desktop-grade AMD Ryzen 5 5600X processor can’t surpass it.
Of course, a gaming laptop isn’t worth it without stellar gaming performance. The Predator Triton 500 SE boasts a Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti, the best mobile graphics card available. It won’t beat out a desktop-grade RTX 3080, but it can run Cyberpunk 2077 at its max 1080p graphics settings with ray tracing enabled at 58 frames per second. Shadow of the Tomb Raider which is less demanding, runs at 116fps at max settings at 1080p, and Overwatch runs at 128fps at 1080p at max settings. If you want great ray-tracing performance in a portable form factor, that’s as fast as it gets for a laptop.
It’s no slouch in the productivity department, either. If you need to run 3D modeling software, game development software, or edit a boatload of 4K and 8K footage, you’ll want to take a look at this laptop.
Battery life is a bit skimpy at just under six hours, but the laptop makes up for it with a springy keyboard, large and smooth trackpad, useful feature keys, a wide port selection, and general good looks. The Predator Triton 500 SE isn’t cheap at over $2,500, but it’s well worth the price for the most demanding users.
Joanna Nelius is a Senior Editor of Electronics at Reviewed. She has reviewed gaming products for the last several years and has written for PC Gamer, Maximum PC, and Gizmodo in the past. In addition to gaming desktops and laptops, Joanna specializes in CPU and GPU reviews. Performance, thermals, and value are usually the main things I look for in a gaming laptop, but I love a high refresh rate display and stellar ray tracing performance.
Adrien Ramirez is a laptop staff writer here at Reviewed. Adrian has worked professionally with tech and PCs for six years, from game development to reviewing and everything in between. Before coming to Reviewed, Adrian worked with Lifewire and the MIT Game Lab.
Matthew S. Smith is a technology journalist, reviewer, and editor with 14 years of experience. He’s tested over 600 laptops over the past decade, In addition to evaluating monitors, laptops, and other gear for Reviewed, you can find his other work published at Insider, IGN, and Digital Trends.
David Murphy was formerly the Senior Technology Editor at Lifehacker. Across his 15+ career in technology journalism, his work has appeared in The New York Times, Wirecutter, PCMag, Reviewed.com, Computer Shopper, Laptop Mag, PCWorld, PC Gamer, Tom's Hardware, World of Warcraft: The Magazine, Maximum PC, Buzzfeed, Engadget, and Ars Technica (to name a few places).
To help determine a gaming laptop’s ability as a portable powerhouse, we first push each machine’s processor to its brink. These tests help us determine the responsiveness of the laptop and whether it’ll be able to handle streaming or running Google Chrome in the background with simultaneous gameplay.
We then run a series of tests on the graphics card to figure out how fast graphics and images are rendered on a particular machine, and whether your gameplay will run smoothly.
Since gaming laptops are smaller and thinner than gaming desktops, we tested the heat output and fan noise of each machine during sustained gameplay. If you plan to use a gaming laptop for everyday tasks, you might find the sound of whirring fan blades to be distracting.
Once that’s established, we run a battery test overnight. We unplug the laptop, set the display brightness to 200 nits, and then cycle through popular websites like Discord and Twitch until the battery dies. This is how we figure out how much action we can get on a single charge.
The idea is to emulate daily tasks. Even if you’re buying this laptop solely to play Overwatch, you’ll also likely use it for web browsing.
Lastly, we evaluate the overall build quality like how sturdy the hinges feel and if there’s any flex to the display. We also take into account how light the machine is—under five pounds is ideal—and how many ports it offers.
What You Should Know About Buying Gaming Laptops
Under the Hood
When you start your search for gaming laptops, you’ll notice that there isn’t much variety when it comes to internal hardware. The most popular graphics cards these days are made by Nvidia. Companies like AMD also manufacture high-performing graphics cards, but most of the laptops we tested have Nvidia hardware powering their insides. However, with AMD's newest mobile GPUs now coming to market, we'll most likely start seeing more laptop configurations include them.
The latest Nvidia graphics cards are the 30-series, but you can still find older laptops offering 16-series and 20-series options.
The 16-series includes 1650 and 1660 Ti cards. They perform alright at 1080p and 1440p resolutions and offer better memory bandwidth so that graphics continually render smoothly at high frame rates. The only caveat of the 16-series is that they tend to ship with less virtual memory, which can become a future-proofing issue down the line.
The 20-series includes the RTX 2060, 2070, and 2080 (and Ti versions). The RTX in their name stands for ray tracing, which generates realistic lighting, shadows, and reflections, contributing to more immersive gameplay. Games like Metro Exodus and Cyberpunk 2077 support this rendering technology. The top of the 20-series can also facilitate gaming on a 4K monitor, which you might consider if you’re springing for our best all-around gaming laptop picks.
The 30-series includes the RTX 3080, 3070, 3060, and 3050 (and Ti versions). and they’re considered some of the best cards in their class. Like the 20-series, these cards also support ray tracing and can easily facilitate gaming on a 4K monitor. Thanks to a new GPU architecture these cards are miles ahead of the 20-series. Gaming laptops with any of these cards will be the most expensive options, but they've earned those prices thanks to that performance.
Then there's the new kid on the block, AMD's Radeon RX 6000M-series. These cards typically achieve more frames per second than RTX 30-series cards but have ray tracing performance equivalent to the RTX 20-series. If you're mainly into esports and cranking out the highest frame rate possible, these are the cards you'll want.
The processor inside your gaming laptop won’t directly affect your gaming prowess, but it does matter for day-to-day tasks and simultaneous streaming. Some of what you’ll find on our list comes with Intel Core 10th-gen chips, although there are now 11th-gen and 12th-gen mobile Intel chips on the market.
AMD's Ryzen 9 and Ryzen 7 5000- and 6000-series processors are also in a lot of good gaming laptops. They're usually a tad slower than Intel's chips in terms of single-core performance, but they shred in multi-core performance, which makes them a great choice for anyone who needs a machine for content creation and gaming. Laptops with 6000-series Ryzen processors typically achieve slightly better battery life than their Intel counterparts thanks to AMD’s more aggressive power management.
If you’re looking at budget gaming machines, you’ll want a laptop with Intel’s Core i5 or AMD's Ryzen 5 processors. They’re capable chips, but you will see a performance difference as you push the machine to its capacity.
The standard screen size for gaming laptops is 15.6-inches with a 1080p resolution. It’s enough screen for partaking in action without carting around a laptop that’s breaking your back. There are 17-inch gaming laptops available, too, but you might want to avoid that much screen if portability matters to you.
You may have noticed that a majority of our picks include a 144Hz refresh rate, with machines like the MSI Delta 15 with RX 6700M graphics clocking in at 240Hz, but the Asus ROG Strix G15 has a 300Hz refresh rate. The higher frame rate effectively smooths out gameplay and leads to fewer stuttering issues.
It used to be impossible to find a competent gaming machine under a grand, but not anymore. Now you can find plenty of options starting with decent processors and enough graphics power to fuel your third playthrough of The Witcher 3.
Anything over $1,000 belongs in the mid-range category, though that label doesn’t necessarily refer to a laptop’s specifications. You’ll still be able to find machines with current-generation hardware, decent battery life, lots of memory, and plenty of storage space. Some last-generation gaming laptops may also appear at this price point.
Laptops that cost well over a grand are considered top performers because they’re equipped with top-tier specs. Machines in this category also tend to offer better display options, and in some instances, allow you to upgrade components down the line.
Joanna specializes in anything and everything gaming-related and loves nerding out over graphics cards, processors, and chip architecture. Previously she was a staff writer for Gizmodo, PC Gamer, and Maximum PC.
Our team is here for one purpose: to help you buy the best stuff and love what you own. Our writers, editors, and lab technicians obsess over the products we cover to make sure you're confident and satisfied. Have a different opinion about something we recommend? Email us and we'll compare notes.