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  • Acer Nitro 5 (2020)

  • Asus ROG Strix G15 AMD Advantage Edition (2021)

  • Acer Predator XB253Q Gwbmiiprzx

  • HyperX Cloud II

  • SteelSeries Apex Pro

  • Corsair Dark Core RGB Pro

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The Acer Nitro 5, opened and resting on a desk, showcasing its backlit keyboard.
Credit: Adrien Ramirez

Acer's Nitro 5 laptop is an excellent choice for gamers who don't want to drain their bank accounts.

Best Value Gaming Laptop
Acer Nitro 5 (2020)

The Acer Nitro 5 strikes a nice balance between performance and affordability. As such, it’s a great entry-level machine for newcomers to the gaming world, or those looking to save a few bucks without making too many sacrifices.

It’s powered by an AMD Ryzen 5 processor and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650, allowing the Nitro 5 to pump out 60 frames per second on many taxing AAA games. Even many multiplayer games, including Genshin Impact and Valorant, run smoothly at high settings.

That kind of power and doesn’t come without a few sacrifices at this price, though. The Ntiro 5 isn’t the lightest laptop. Measuring 15.6 inches diagonally, it weighs in at a total of five pounds, so it isn’t the best portable option. Its display is also underwhelming, and it may not be able to churn out heavy graphics for newer games like Cyberpunk 2077.

Pros

  • Affordable

  • AAA gaming-ready hardware

  • Respectable battery life

Cons

  • Heavy and thick

  • Muddy display

  • Small keys and trackpad

A close-up of the ROG Strix G15's right side, focusing on the hinge and backlit keyboard.
Credit: Joanna Nelius

The Asus ROG Strix G15 AMD Advantage Edition (available at Best Buy for $1,649.99) sets a high bar that will be tough for other AMD machines to match.

Best Performing Gaming Laptop
Asus ROG Strix G15 AMD Advantage Edition (2021)

Asus’s ROG Strix G15 AMD Advantage Edition is a rarity among gaming laptops. Its unique blend of hardware components, design, useful features, and battery life, are all impressive for a gaming laptop at this price point; it’d be hard to find another one with packing this much value.

It’s powered by AMD’s Ryzen 9 5900HX, which keeps programs running at fast speeds so you won’t lag behind on getting through your tasks. Even while running 50 Chrome tabs at once, rendering 3D images, transcoding 4K video, and working in large spreadsheets, the laptop performed impressively with few hiccups.

It’s great for keeping games running at a high frame rate, too, thanks to its AMD Radeon RX 6800M GPU. That’s impressive, but the most surprising thing about this laptop is is battery life. Among gaming laptops that typically last around four to five hours on a single charge, the ROG Strix’s nine hour battery life makes it a powerhouse. It’ll die faster when gaming, but for everyday work, this computer can last the entire day without much fuss. It’s a bit bigger than the ideal workstation, but then again, that might be worth the tradeoff for a bit of gaming on your lunch.

Pros

  • Stellar battery life

  • 300Hz refresh rate

  • Great non-ray tracing performance

Cons

  • Mushy keys

  • CPU runs hot

  • Disappointing ray tracing

Related content

Acer's Predtor monitor set up at a desk, along with a wireless keyboard and mouse.
Credit: Matthew S. Smith

Acer's 24-inch beauty packs a punch on all fronts, making it the best gaming monitor for most people.

Best 24-Inch Gaming Monitor
Acer Predator XB253Q Gwbmiiprzx
  • 24-inch screen
  • 1,920 x 1,080
  • 240 Hz
  • No "sync" type
  • Flat screen
  • IPS panel

If you need a great compact manager that’s versatile enough for every type of gamer, Acer’s Predator XB253Q is just the ticket. Its combination of high refresh rates and top-notch image quality make it uniquely suited for both beginners and seasoned gamers.

Competitive gamers will like the fact that this monitor’s 240Hz refresh rate can be overclocked to 280Hz. While some monitors can hit 360Hz, the difference is negligible to the naked eye. The monitor produces minimal ghosting and looks crisp when producing motion on-screen.

If you’re more concerned with visuals than performance, this monitor’s color accuracy will also impress. Its color gamut isn’t particularly wide, so colors may look a bit washed, but it still looks quite accurate. It’s also among the brightest monitors we’ve tested, so it works well in both bright and dark rooms.

Pros

  • Excellent image quality with 280 Hz refresh rate

  • Highly adjustable stand

  • Great build quality

Cons

  • Unattractive design

An image of the HyperX Cloud II wireless headset being worn while playing a game.
Credit: HyperX

HyperX's Cloud II headset packs excellent audio into an affordable package.

Best Gaming Headphones
HyperX Cloud II

We like HyperX’s Cloud II headset, thanks to its extremely comfortable design, audio control box, and detachable mic. We’re also fans of its cross-compatibility—it works with PC, Playstation, and Xbox, without any fuss.

Its aluminum body is strong and durable, and although it’s a wired headset, it works well even for long gaming sessions and doesn’t get in the way. Fair warning, though, when it comes to audio performance, this headset gets explosively loud. If you’re not careful, you could damage your hearing, but it’s not too hard to dial it to the right volume.

In our testing, we were impressed with how many detailed sounds we could hear while in the game. We also like its detachable mic, which produced good sound while still being removable when not in use.

Pros

  • Extremely comfortable

  • Durable aluminum body

  • Cross compatible with multiple platforms

Cons

  • Loud volume could cause hearing damage

Credit: Reviewed / Simon Hill

The Apex Pro has a lot of extra buttons and features that should prove useful for gamers and power users alike.

Best Gaming Keyboard
SteelSeries Apex Pro

Even though the SteelSeries Apex Pro is a full-sized keyboard with a number pad, it doesn’t take up too much room on the desktop (there is also a tenkeyless version, though). The build quality is top class, with a matte black aluminum board, and an incredibly comfortable, soft-touch wrist rest that connects magnetically. There’s a small OLED at the top right, along with a clickable roller and a large key that serve as dedicated media controls. You can make the OLED display your gamer tag or even a GIF animation, but it also offers some welcome feedback on your chosen settings and profiles, so you don’t need to tab out of your game to tweak things.

The headline feature here comes courtesy of the Omnipoint switches. Not only does SteelSeries claim that they’re much more responsive and durable than conventional mechanical keyboard switches, they also offer customizable actuation. This means you can configure your preferred sensitivity level, dictating whether you’d like the lightest of touches to register or a deeper press. It doesn’t change the feel of typing on the keyboard (which is excellent by the way) but it does change when the key press registers.

Since you can set sensitivity per individual key, it allows you to dampen certain keys you find yourself accidentally pressing, but leave WASD super sensitive, for example. Take the time to set up different profiles for work and play, and even for individual games and you will feel the benefit. I found accurate typing a breeze on this keyboard and it’s relatively quiet for a mechanical board.

The SteelSeries Apex Pro features bright RGB lighting which is also fully configurable on a per key basis. The SteelSeries Engine 3 software is fairly easy to get to grips with. You can set main and meta key bindings, use a macro editor, tweak the actuation, set up lighting effects and colors, and even load a custom image or GIF for the OLED screen. There’s room for five onboard profiles.

With cable routing left, middle, or right, and a pass-through USB with its own lit-up port on the left, the SteelSeries Apex Pro embodies thoughtful design. Gaming and general typing on this keyboard is an absolute pleasure and nothing offers deeper customization, but the price makes it a serious investment.

Pros

  • Beautiful design

  • Customizable key actuation

  • Per-key RGB lighting

Cons

  • Expensive

Credit: Reviewed / Simon Hill

This speedy mouse sneaks in features normally seen on mice almost twice its price.

Best Gaming Mouse
Corsair Dark Core RGB Pro

Comfort and grip are supreme with this full-featured, right-handed, wireless gaming mouse which packs in an impressive amount for the money. It’s quite large and weighty, so it’s best suited to larger hands. There’s a textured surface for enhanced grip on your palm and there’s a textured thumb rest on the left. You can remove the right-side panel (which reveals a slot for the USB receiver) and switch in a textured pinkie rest to keep your hand completely off the desktop. It’s incredibly comfortable to use for long periods.

Connectivity is seamless, thanks to Corsair’s “Slipstream” technology which can switch channels on the 2.4 GHz frequency automatically. There’s also Bluetooth support as a backup. This mouse handles frenetic in-game action with aplomb, boasting a sensor that goes up to 18,000 DPI with a 2,000 Hz polling rate. There are eight programmable buttons you can remap or customize with shortcuts and macros. You’ll also find nine RGB lighting zones. Everything is configured via Corsair’s iCue software, which takes some concentration to get to grips with, but proves to be very versatile indeed, offering deep customizability.

With a suggested battery life of up to 50 hours, the Corsair Dark Core RGB Pro has some stamina, though you’ll need to be in power-saving mode with lighting off to get close to that time. There’s a USB-C port, so you can always plug in and keep playing when the battery runs down. If you really want Qi wireless charging support, you can get it for a price upgrade with the Dark Core Pro RGB SE . You could buy Corsair’s MM1000 Qi Wireless Charging Mouse Pad at $34.99, or you can charge the mouse on any Qi wireless charging pad. Just know that the wireless option can tend to add more to the bottom line than we feel is worth it at most retailers.

Weighing up the feature list here, the $79.99 price is currently unbeatable, especially if wireless charging isn’t a big deal to you. At the end of our testing, this was the mouse we wanted to return to. The Corsair Dark Core RGB Pro offers everything you could want in a gaming mouse.

Pros

  • Lots of useful buttons

  • Customizable lighting

  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Best with palm grip

Meet the testers

Reviewed Staff

Reviewed Staff

Contributors, Writers, Editors

@revieweddotcom

The Reviewed staff is based in the heart of Cambridge, MA. Backed by our knowledgeable writers and rigorous test labs, we're working hard to make sure you can make the right decisions about what to buy.

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Adrien Ramirez

Adrien Ramirez

Staff Writer

@itsaramkat

Adrien is a staff writer for Reviewed, mainly focused on reviewing laptops and other consumer tech. During his free time, he's usually wandering around Hyrule.

See all of Adrien Ramirez's reviews

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