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The best gaming laptops you can buy right now
Our list of the best cheap gaming laptops is a great way to get your foot in the door, but this list offers a taste of gaming’s full potential. We’re looking at the absolute best of the best for gaming laptops, regardless of the price tags. If budget is no issue and you want a high-end gaming experience, read on for our picks of the best gaming laptops available now.
See also: Best gaming laptop deals
The picks are in no particular order, and we’ve tried to note models that received a 2022 refresh. Retail prices can vary wildly based on the configuration, so double-check before buying.
Buying the best gaming laptop
Buying the best gaming laptop now is not quite an easy decision to make. You have to consider a lot of factors before you make your pick. A good place to start is by narrowing down your budget, which will make the process a bit easier. Gaming laptops can range from $500 to over $4,000. The $1,000—$1,500 mark offers some well-balanced offerings, providing ideal value-for-money.
Next up, if you have a brand preference for a CPU/GPU, you might want to narrow down options based on that. The next step would be to consider your portability requirements. Usually, as a loose rule, the more portable a gaming laptop is, the lower CPU/GPU wattages it has. The wattages are lower for thin-and-light form factor gaming laptops. This is because thinner laptops can only accommodate so much power while keeping temperatures in check, and having an acceptable battery life when away from the plug.
The baseline for CPU should be at least the latest or last generation of Intel Core i5/AMD Ryzen 5 or above. For GPUs, the latest Nvidia GeForce RTX/AMD Radeon GPUs are solid picks. However, you may have to settle for some older options like the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 or AMD Radeon RX 5500M if you’re on a tight budget.
As always, balance is the key. Make sure to keep your priorities in mind, and make the pick accordingly.
So if portability is your top priority, you will face at least some loss in performance. Similarly, you can go for a bulkier and heavier machine if performance is your priority. Make sure to check the CPU and GPU wattages before finalizing your pick. Some of the heavier laptops still have models with lower GPU wattages, so you can make your pick with the right balance of these wattages. Common choices are 15-inch and 17-inch screens. 15-inch laptops offer a decent balance of power and portability, while 17-inch laptops generally offer more power and bigger batteries while increasing the overall footprint.
Another important factor to consider is the screen. Make sure the resolution meets your needs, and the refresh rate is at least 120Hz, if not more. The screen refresh rate is the number of times a screen refreshes in a second, so a higher refresh rate will equate to the ability to display a higher frame rate in games, provided the rest of the hardware is capable enough.
This will make or break the experience, especially if you’re planning on using the laptop display for gaming, rather than docking the laptop to a monitor. Also, check the screen’s color accuracy and brightness figures, since many gaming laptops tend to compromise on those in the name of higher refresh rates and response times. The laptop size is also something to consider.
See also: Best laptop deals available right now!
If you’re still unsure which gaming laptop is the best for you, here are our picks of the best gaming laptops to make your laptop buying decision much easier.
Best gaming laptops to buy
- Lenovo Legion 5 Pro — Best overall gaming laptop
- HP Omen 15 — The best HP gaming machine
- Razer Blade 15 — Best Razer gaming laptop
- Razer Blade Pro 17 — Best 17-inch gaming laptop
- Alienware x17 R2 — Best desktop-replacement gaming laptop
- Alienware x15 R2 — Best-looking gaming laptop
- ROG Zephyrus G14 — Best balanced gaming laptop
- MSI GS66 Stealth — Best low-key gaming laptop
- Acer Predator Helios 300 — Best value-for-money gaming laptop
- Gigabyte Aero 17 KC — Best premium gaming laptop
Editor’s note: We will regularly update this list of the best gaming laptops as new models are announced.
Lenovo Legion 5 Pro — The best overall gaming laptop
Lenovo’s Legion 5 Pro has been completely refreshed for 2021. Let’s talk about options — you get an AMD Ryzen 7 5800H CPU, and a choice between the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 or RTX 3070. RAM options include 8, 16, and 32GB, but only the 16 and 32GB models get the RTX 3070 option. This is paired with a nice 16-inch screen running at a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels at 165Hz.
See also: Best Lenovo laptops to buy
The only downside of this laptop is the massive 300W power brick that is among the biggest and heaviest ones we have seen. Regardless, the Legion 5 Pro is the best gaming laptop you can get right now, with well-balanced specifications and a design that impresses.
HP Omen 15 — The best HP gaming machine
If there were awards to go along with the best gaming laptops, the HP Omen 15 would take home the most improved design. HP has managed to slim the Omen down by 11% without sacrificing any power or comfort. You’ll start to see how the Omen 15 earns its spot on the list once you add upgrades — there are seven options for processors and graphics cards to pick from.
See also: The best HP laptops to buy in 2021
The Omen 15 comes with options between AMD Ryzen 5000 series CPUs and Intel 10th generation chips, and Nvidia RTX 3060 or RTX 3070 GPUs. You get up to 32GB of RAM, and a plethora of screen options, going up to a QHD resolution panel running at 165Hz. The Omen 15 doesn’t seem to have the 4K and OLED screen options anymore, but it still offers a great package for the price.
Razer Blade 15 — The best Razer gaming laptop
The Razer lineup is next to benefit from a 2022 refresh. The base model is pricey, but you’re grabbing a 12th-generation Intel Core i7 CPU along with 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. If you want to add a few improvements, you can swap the 360Hz Full HD screen for a 144Hz 4K and up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti graphics. You also get to pick an i9 CPU if you wish.
Razer has slowly expanded the available colors of its laptops to include white and rose quartz, although neither option has made it to the latest Razer Blade 15 quite yet. Regardless, the Blade 15 is still a rather great-looking laptop. The advanced model of the Razer Blade 15 swaps a heat pipe cooling system for a vapor chamber.
Razer Blade 17 — The best 17-inch gaming laptop
Razer also refreshed the bigger high-end Razer Blade 17 in 2022. The 17-inch model also features 12th Gen Intel Core hardware similar to the smaller Blade 15. Of course, the starting price reflects the larger size and more powerful specs.
For your money, you’ll get an 11th-generation Intel Core i7-12800H CPU with Turbo Boost, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU, and at least 16GB of RAM. You can pump up your system up to 64GB of RAM and 4TB of storage, with room for 4TB more with an open M.2 slot. All versions of the Razer Blade Pro come with per-key Razer Chroma setups for up to 16.8 million colors.
Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 help complete the experience, and the Blade 17 comes in the same matte black finish as the Blade 15.
Alienware x17 R2 — The best desktop-replacement gaming laptop
Alienware and gaming laptops have gone hand-in-hand for as long as most people can remember. More manufacturers have imitated the glowing alien logo and the spaceship design than you can count. The x17 is the greatest powerhouse to come from the Dell-owned company.
If you go for the base configuration, you’ll be set with a refreshed 12th-generation Intel Core i7-12800H chip, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 graphics, and a Lunar Light color finish. Alienware is an obvious choice if you want to maximize your ports and you’re not too worried about the size.
The x17 packs a massive 17.3-inch Full HD display, with options to configure it to a 4K 120Hz G-Sync screen. It still manages to be one of Alienware’s lightest and thinnest machines yet. Of course, you can still open it up and tinker with the internals. Alienware’s x17 also highlights Cryo-Tech power with a vapor chamber, high voltage fan, and heat pipes for maximum cooling.
Alienware x15 R2 — The best-looking gaming laptop
Alienware’s big reshuffle in 2021 included the introduction of this peppy little machine, which has the best looks among all the picks on this list. The 2022 Alienware x15 R2 is even better — absolutely jam-packed with the best features you can ask from a gaming laptop and comes with an equally heavy price tag.
Once you get past the eye-watering price, you’ll be able to command the virtual battlefield with a 12th-gen Intel Core i9, 32GB of RAM, and 2TB of storage on the higher trim, with a 3080 Ti GPU. The lower trims have 12th Gen i7 CPUs, and the RTX 3060 and RTX 3070 Ti on offer. There’s a lot to like about the design. It has the typical gamer elements but is packed so that it doesn’t come off as too flashy. It looks great but doesn’t stick out, and it will get the job done.
ROG Zephyrus G14 —The best-balanced gaming laptop
So far, this list has been the Intel show, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Intel makes some top-notch hardware, but this option shows that AMD can compete with its Ryzen 9 chip, now refreshed with the 6000 series. Since it first launched, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 has been on our list, strengthening it with the 2022 refresh.
Not only will your wallet thank you, but your performance might too. ROG’s Zephyrus G14 is rocking an AMD Ryzen 9, as mentioned before, and it’s paired with 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. You also get both USB-A and USB-C ports, and the laptop ships with Windows 11 Home onboard. The Anime Matrix lighting on the back has been upgraded too, with more and brighter LEDs. The G14 is all-AMD, with GPU options limited to an AMD Radeon RX 6800S or RX 6700S.
ROG has managed to stuff a 14-inch screen into an even smaller body thanks to slim bezels and an impressive 81% screen-to-body ratio. Thanks to the lightweight design, unlike many gaming setups, you can easily use the Zephyrus G14 in the classroom and even the boardroom.
MSI GS66 Stealth — The best low-key gaming laptop
We’re not playing favorites, but MSI is a popular pick among the staff here at Android Authority, and with good reason. MSI has an extensive list of options that fit pretty much any gamer, and the GS66 Stealth is the one we’ve chosen. The GS66 Stealth got a full hardware refresh in early 2021, and a 2022 refresh to bring it up to the latest specs.
You’ll be able to tap into a 15.6-inch with options between Full HD 360Hz, QHD 240Hz, and a 4K screen. GPU options include the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070, 3070 Ti, and 3080 Ti. The GS66 Stealth is a smaller sibling of the GS75 Stealth. It now packs a 12th Gen Intel Core i7 or i9 chip with up to 32GB of RAM. You’ll find the GS66 with a matte black finish that disguises the power within — hence the Stealth name.
Acer Predator Helios 300 — The best value-for-money gaming laptop
The Predator Helios 300 is your best bet if you want to grab an Acer laptop. It’s been a solid option for a while now, but with the 2022 refresh, it now has a brand new look. Acer has also updated with newer 12th Gen Intel hardware. This new Helios 300 packs all of the power you could ask for.
In addition to the Core i7 processor, the Helios 300 wields 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. Nvidia GeForce RTX 30 series graphics card options at reasonable prices tie the whole Helios 300 lineup together. You get two versions of this laptop now, in the 15 and 17-inch sizes. Display options go up to QHD running at 165Hz.
Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED — The best premium gaming laptop
The final option on the list of the best gaming laptops might be one you’ve never heard of. Gigabyte’s Aero 15 OLED is designed to be fast and lightweight compared to its beefy, powerful Aorus line. It’s equipped with the latest and greatest as far as the internals are concerned.
So just what does this somewhat mysterious gaming laptop have to offer? You can spec your device up to an 11th-generation Intel Core i7 chip and Nvidia GeForce RTX 30 series graphics for a price. The Aero 17 KC can handle 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage for workhorse-level performance on the go. The 15.6-inch 4K OLED display is glorious.
While Razer has long been the king of powerful and slim gaming laptops, the Aero 15 OLED is a worthy competitor. It’s rocking large fans and cooling systems. You can attach plenty of peripherals with USB-A, HDMI, and Gigabit Ethernet ports.
Those are our picks for the very best gaming laptops you can buy right now. The list is long, and the prices are high, but there’s more to the perfect setup than just your laptop. Check out these resources while you’re here:
Frequently asked questions
Gaming laptops today provide some of the best value for money in laptops and are worth it, especially in the $1,000—$1,500 price bracket.
You can absolutely use gaming laptops for school. They have enough power to get through the more demanding tasks and more than enough for basic school tasks. If you’re looking for a gaming laptop that you can use for school, you can go with our choice of the best low-key gaming laptop.
Upgradeability varies from model to model, but most gaming laptops will let you upgrade the RAM and storage. Other components like the CPU, GPU, and screen are generally not upgradeable.
Gaming laptops generally have decent enough cooling systems to stay cool. However, these may not work too well if you live in the warmer parts of the world. In that case, you can get a laptop cooling pad or a similar device. It will help keep your gaming laptop cool if using the laptop in an air-conditioned room is not an option.