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The best gaming laptop 2022 - all the latest models compared

Razer Blade 15 gaming laptop
(Image credit: Future)

The best gaming laptops do more than offering the latest and greatest components in a power-efficient chassis. Our favorite picks do all that while balancing affordability and value for money on top. Whether you're on the hunt for the most powerful model on the market, or the best budget pick, you'll find all our favorite portable PCs right here. 

These gaming laptops pack serious power while also going easy on your backpack, holding their temperatures well, and beaming everything up onto a gorgeous display. There are so many models vying for the top title, however, so it can be difficult to work out not only which configurations are worth your time, but which is the best gaming laptop for you and your playstyle. That's where we come in. 

We've put a wide range of gaming laptops through their paces to find the best rigs in the business, testing performance relative to the specs on offer, efficiency in design and temperature, and overall value for money. We run each machine through a series of performance benchmarks, and live, play, and work with the models we review for an extended period of time - you can check out exactly how we test gaming laptops in our dedicated guide. You'll find all our recommendations for the best gaming laptop on the market just below, and more information on choosing the right configuration for you and your budget as well. 

The world of gaming laptops (and gaming PCs in general) is changing rapidly, with Intel's Alder Lake processors hitting some of the biggest models, and eyes on new GPU options as well. We're keeping this page stocked with all the latest models to make sure you're up to date with all the latest updates. 

The best gaming laptops available now

The best gaming laptop overall

Specifications

CPU: i7-12800H | i9-12900H
GPU: RTX 3060 | RTX 3070 Ti | RTX 3080 Ti
RAM: 16GB | 32GB
Storage: 1TB SSD
Display: FHD at 360Hz | QHD at 240Hz | UHD at 144Hz
Ports: 3x USB-A Gen 2 | 1x USB-C / Thunderbolt 4 | 1x USB-C | 3.5mm audio jack | SD card slot | HDMI

Reasons to buy

+
Cutting edge components
+
Excellent color and contrast
+
Luxury design with solid build quality

Reasons to avoid

-
Proprietary charging connection

Our favorite configuration:

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Razer Blade 15 | RTX 3080 Ti | Intel i9-12900H at Razer (opens in new tab)
This is the best gaming laptop on the market right now, but you're going to be spending a lot to get it. If you've got the budget to play with we'd really recommend going to the top of this spec and packing an RTX 3080 Ti GPU with an i9-12900H processor and helping it all shine with a 144Hz 4K display. Of course, there are cheaper models out there, but if we're really talking about the best of the best, this is where you should start your benchmarks.

Scores

Fire Strike: 20,171
Time Spy: 9,690
PC Mark 10: 7,340

We got our hands on a beast of a Razer Blade 15, but it showed us just how powerful gaming laptops can be these days. The RTX 3080 Ti / i9-12900H configuration I had on my desk was a true monster in its performance. However, this rig's ability to offer such performance while keeping the slimline chassis we've all come to know and love really cemented its top spot among the best gaming laptops on the market. 

Of course, this is no cheap machine. The 2022 Razer Blade 15 starts at $2,499.99 for an RTX 3060 configuration. You're certainly paying for this luxury name here, but if you're on the hunt for one of the most technically capable machines in one of the most portable form factors, the cash is well invested. 

That does mean this isn't necessarily the best gaming laptop for everyone - those playing lighter games won't need the horsepower on offer here, and if you're just after a machine you can sign into every now and then you won't get solid value by going all out. However, if you're interested in a top of the range rig (and have the budget to throw at it), our testing speaks for itself. 

"In 2022, the Razer Blade 15 is still doing exactly what its ancestors did - leading in high-end components and luxury performance."

Razer Blade 15 review

I managed to run Shadow of the Tomb Raider at 74fps in 4K with everything turned up to 11 here. While more demanding titles still struggled in that UHD resolution, though, I was still impressed with the 60+ fps in 1440p on Red Dead Redemption 2 as well as the 78fps in the same resolution on The Division 2. I only needed to drop some more taxing visual effects to hit higher framerates in 4K, and everything looked incredible while doing so.

You can't beat the Razer Blade 15 for performance, component horsepower, and portability. After all, the only other machines offering RTX 3080 Ti graphics cards at the time of writing still can't compete with that 4K 144Hz display for the price.

Read more: Razer Blade 15 review

2. Dell G15

The best gaming laptop under $1,000

Specifications

CPU: Intel i5-12500H / i7-12700H
GPU: up to Nvidia RTX 3070 Ti
RAM: up to 32GB
Storage: up to 1TB SSD
Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080), up to 240Hz
Ports: 1x RJ45 Ethernet | 3x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 | 1x USB-C 3.2 Gen 1 / Thunderbolt 4 | HDMI | 3.5mm

Reasons to buy

+
Solid performance
+
Sensibly priced
+
More powerful configurations now available

Reasons to avoid

-
Gets hot under duress
-
Chassis is a bit lacking

Our favorite configuration:

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Dell G15 | RTX 3050 | Intel i5-11260H at Dell (opens in new tab)
The Dell G15 works best when it's super cheap, which is why this entry level RTX 3050 configuration is our favorite. Those on the hunt for a rig designed for lighter gaming and the odd Apex Legends session will find great value here, without needing to break the bank on gaming laptops over $800.

The Dell G15 isn’t going to light the world of the best gaming laptops on fire, but it is at least a dependable choice of gaming companion. Performance in both gaming and general tasks is good considering the price point, and all the features we’ve come to expect from gaming laptops are present and accounted for - apart from that bank-busting price tag. You'll often find these models on sale with RTX 3050 / RTX 3050 Ti graphics cards for well under $1,000 - sometimes as low as $699.99.

The appearance of this laptop could be a point of contention, though, as we found the chassis to feel a bit old-fashioned for 2022. A dark iridescent finish and thick central hinge feel like throwbacks to a forgotten age of tech design that should perhaps have stayed in the past.

The G15 also runs fairly hot when playing more graphically demanding titles, although not to a worrying extent; we’ve certainly reviewed laptops with noisier fans than this. As it stands, the G15 is a great all-rounder, ideal as a gift for a kid looking to break into PC gaming or the office employee consigned to remote working - and playing.

The best gaming laptop for most

Specifications

CPU: i7-12700H | i9-12900H
GPU: RTX 3050 Ti | RTX 3060 | RTX 3070 Ti | RTX 3080 Ti
RAM: up to 64GB
Storage: up to 4TB SSD
Display: FHD at 165Hz / 360Hz | QHD at 240Hz
Ports: 3x USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 1 | 1x Type-C port with Thunderbolt 4, USB 3.2 Gen 2, DisplayPort 1.4, and Power Delivery, 1x HDMI 2.1, 1x RJ-45 Killer E3100 2.5Gbps Ethernet port, 1x 3.5mm headset jack

Reasons to buy

+
Incredible performance
+
Satisfying keyboard
+
Fast display
+
Some premium design features

Reasons to avoid

-
Cheaper plastic body
-
Difficult to transport
-
Particularly loud fans

Our favorite configuration:

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Alienware M15 R7 | RTX 3060 | Intel i7-12700H at Dell (opens in new tab)
We tested the Alienware M15 R7 with an RTX 3070 Ti GPU at the helm, but considering that configuration comes in at over $2,000 right now, you're getting solid value for money with this RTX 3060 build. You're still getting that uber powerful 12th generation processor, and 16GB DDR5 RAM in here. We've opted to keep the 360Hz panel we tested in this build - it's only $100 more for the luxury and it really was an impressive display, well worth the cash.

Scores

Fire Strike: 24,894
Time Spy: 10,722
PC Mark 10: 7,623

The Alienware M15 R7 is here to bring the now mid-range line of luxury laptops into 2022's standards. With Intel's new 12th generation processors and Nvidia's Ti GPUs at the helm, there's some serious power up for grabs here. While prices are looking a little higher than those of the predecessor (especially now that discounts abound on the outdated model), you're getting enough new tech under the hood to warrant the splurge.

We were blown away by the performance of this machine. Our test unit featured an i7-12700H processor and an RTX 3070 Ti graphics card, and was easily sailing through our benchmarks and stress tests. This beast didn't even flinch at heavier titles like Red Dead Redemption 2 and Metro Exodus - offering up 76fps in RDR2's Ultra settings, and 72fps with all RTX set to max in Metro Exodus. Those are settings that would make the uber expensive RTX 3080 Ti Razer Blade 15 sweat.

Faster action titles ran without a hitch, with that 360Hz refresh rate display acting as the cherry on the stunningly powerful cake.

Alienware M15 R7 review

However, it's worth noting that this machine is built purely for power. It's a stocky design, and a particularly heavy one at that - the charging brick alone nearly runs the full length of the keyboard. So no, this isn't going to be a gaming laptop you'll easily throw into a backpack - and those fans can certainly scream - but if you're looking for an all-rounder that can level with machines far pricier than itself, these are easy sacrifices to make. 

Alienware is, after all, a luxury brand. With its M-series now falling to the middle of its range (thanks to the advent of the X-series last year), the Alienware M15 R7 is affordable by the brand's standards. That means you'll find far cheaper machines out there, but without that Alienware pedigree to speak of. Still, with performance to rival some of the best gaming laptops in the business, and only a few sacrifices to get there for a great price, this is an excellent option for most players. You could consider the X15 technically the best Alienware gaming laptop on paper alone, but when it comes down to price and the wider market, this is the winner. 

Read more: Alienware M15 R7 review

The best gaming laptop for budget 1440p

Specifications

CPU: i5-11300H | i7-11370H | i7-11375H
GPU: RTX 3050 | RTX 3050 Ti | RTX 3060 | RTX 3070
RAM: 16GB | 32GB
Storage: 512GB | 1TB
Display: FHD at 60Hz | 144Hz | 240Hz
Ports: 1x 3.5mm | 1x HDMI 2.0 | 3x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 | 1x RJ45 LAN port | 1x USB-C / 1x Thunderbolt 4

Reasons to buy

+
Great pricing
+
Slimline design 
+
Solid performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Soft membrane keys

Our favorite configuration

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Asus TUF Dash F15 | RTX 3070 | Intel i7-11370H at Amazon (opens in new tab)
The Asus TUF Dash F15 manages to pack some incredible graphics into a much smaller MSRP than you'd usually find because it sacrifices a little processing power. That i7-11370H processor will remain whichever configuration you choose, but it chugs along nicely and we never experienced any slowdown during everyday play on medium settings. Not only that, but this spec also sends you home with a 1TB SSD, 16GB RAM, and a 240Hz display to boot.

Scores

Fire Strike: 17,365
Fire Strike Extreme: 9,870
PCMark 10: 6,022

If you're looking to grab an RTX 30-Series card but don't want to break too far past $1,000 / £1,000, the Asus TUF Dash F15 is going to be your best bet. In our testing, we found this budget-friendly machine to charge through even some of the more demanding titles as if it sat in a much higher price bracket - despite the weaker 4-core i7-11370H processor at the helm. Plus, you're still getting the super slimline form factor that has proven so popular over the last couple of years. 

You'll be hitting 60fps+ in most games as long as you're happy not playing everything maxed out.

Asus TUF Dash F15 review

The key here is that you can outfit it with the full 11th generation i7 / 1TB / 32GB RAM suite of turbo power - or you can pick up a more conservative spec for a little less cash. That means you won't need to spend on high-end gear that you might not even get to use if you're running less demanding titles.

We were particularly impressed by how well those more power-hungry components played together in a cheaper chassis. We didn't notice any over-heating issues here, and while we did have to make some sacrifices to more demanding titles, we still managed to hit 60fps+ on an RTX 3070 with consistency. We also tested an RTX 3060 unit and found similar performance levels when dropping a few sliders down a fraction as well, which means you're sorted at all ends of the budget here. 

As of CES 2022, there is a new Asus TUF Dash F15 on the way, featuring a larger touchpad, 12th generation Alder Lake processor, and a new cooling system. However, pricing and release date information is still unknown. 

Read more: Asus TUF Dash F15 review

The best 14-inch gaming laptop

Specifications

CPU: Ryzen 6900HS
Graphics: Radeon RX 6700S / 6800S
RAM: Up to 32GB DDR5
Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD
Resolution: QHD+ 16:10 (2560 x 1600)
Refresh rate: 120Hz
Ports: 2x USB-A 3.2 | 2x USB-C Gen 2 | 1x HDMI 2.0 | UHS-II micro SD

Reasons to buy

+
Clean, compact design
+
Gorgeous 16:10 display
+
High quality speakers
+
Speedy processor

Reasons to avoid

-
Poor thermals
-
Ray tracing heavily impacts performance

Our favorite configuration:

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Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 | Radeon RX 6700S | AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS at Best Buy (opens in new tab)
There is a more expensive RX 6800S configuration on offer, but it's not going to fix the performance under ray tracing conditions and we were still getting some excellent performance out of our 6700S. That means the cheaper option is our go-to for the G14, especially considering you're still getting the same Ryzen 9 6900HS CPU whirring away under the hood as well.

Scores

Fire Strike: 21,728
Time Spy: 8,644
PC Mark 10: 6,706

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 long reigned over the slimline gaming laptop world. It was one of the first easily portable machines, built with a form factor that respected your backpack and your desk top. 2022 heralds in a new AMD future for this fan favorite, and despite some thermal concerns and ray tracing throttling, the G14 is all the more impressive for it.

That's a serious amount of power to pack into this super small form factor after all, and we managed to squeeze some impressive numbers out of this compact design as well. While it does feel built for 1080p (framerates do cliff-dive at the native QHD+ resolution), we were getting some excellent scores in Fire Strike and in-game benchmarking considering the stress this machine is under. Metro Exodus was flying at High settings, hitting 82fps consistently, and The Division 2 managed to hold onto 78fps in Ultra settings as well.

Whether trundling through Red Dead Redemption 2's snowy landscapes or skimming webpages, everything feels sharp and snappy

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 review

Not only that, but the new 16:10 display was a sight to behold. Crisp and clean, the extra height offered in the display was easily welcomed over the cramped feeling Alienware and Razer offerings. You'll also find an improved LED display running along the back, with sharper customizable animations for an extra personal edge. 

We did notice those temperatures creeping under intense workloads, though, so this will be one to keep on a desk rather than a lap. That said, not many 14-inch rigs can keep up with these specs, and even fewer can do so with the extra screen space afforded to you here. The G14 is the best 14-inch gaming laptop we've had our hands on so far. 

Read more: Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 review

The best 17.3-inch gaming laptop

Specifications

CPU: i7-11800H | i9-11980HK
GPU: RTX 3060 | RTX 3070 | RTX 3080
RAM: up to 64GB
Storage: up to 4TB SSD (2x2TB)
Display: FHD at 165Hz / 360Hz | UHD at 120Hz
Ports: 1x HDMI | 2x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 | 1x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 | 1x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 / Thunderbolt 4 | Micro SD | Mini Display Port | 1x RJ45 Ethernet | 3.5mm

Reasons to buy

+
Fantastic gaming performance
+
Good keyboard and trackpad
+
Mechanical Cherry MX keyboard

Reasons to avoid

-
More expensive than most
-
Gets hot

Our favorite configuration:

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Alienware X17 R2 | RTX 3070 Ti | Intel i7-12700H at Dell (opens in new tab)
The X17 is a beast, so you might as well push your investment. This RTX 3070 Ti configuration nestles itself neatly between the extraordinarily expensive RTX 3080 Ti model and the only slightly cheaper RTX 3060. With 16GB of DDR5 4800 MHz RAM as a baseline, there's plenty of room to customize here, but that i7-12700H processor will see you through heavy releases all the same.

Scores

Firestrike: 18,061
Timespy: 8,040

If you're after a larger display panel, the merits of the 17.3-inch Alienware X17 are obvious, but under the surface there's plenty more going on here.  Although it might start at an already-whopping price and comes in models that go above the $3,000 / £3,000 mark, the Alienware x17 R1 works hard to earn its price tag and is one of the best gaming laptops to come out of 2021. The X-Series is Alienware's latest and greatest selection of laptops, designed to appeal to the brand's more premium customers looking for the very best gaming laptop money can buy. 

Despite its noisy fans, the Alienware x17 R1 is a beast of a gaming laptop that will serve as an ideal desktop replacement for any serious gamer.

Alienware X17 review

A choice of 1080p or 4K display, a variety of RAM and storage specs, and either a membrane or compact mechanical keyboard makes it easy to tailor this laptop to your personal needs. One of the best things about larger 17.3-inch devices is that they can pack considerably more power under the hood, without overheating. While we did experience some considerable warmth (and noise in performance mode) in our testing, but we never neared dangerous temperatures. 

With the ability to move up to an Intel i9 processor, 64GB RAM, 4TB of SSD storage and a 120Hz 4K display, it's possible to create a real beast out of this machine. We tested an i7-11800H configuration packed with an RTX 3080 GPU and 16GB RAM, and even this more conservative spec managed to push 99fps on Shadow of the Tomb Raider's Ultra settings, and 112fps with the same settings on The Division 2. Even more entry level configurations will still set you back a bit of cash, but that's because of the premium additional features that make this one of the best rigs on the market.

A slimline design works nicely in this size, especially considering the additional bulk that a larger display usually brings with it. However, you're also picking up a mechanical keyboard, plenty of ports, and a gorgeous display panel up top. If you're looking to splash the cash on something that's truly going to make a statement, the Alienware X17 is an excellent option. 

Read more: Alienware X17 review

The best slimline gaming laptop

Specifications

CPU: i5-12500H / i7-12700H
Graphics: RTX 3050 / RTX 3050 Ti / RTX 3060
RAM: 16GB - 32GB DDR5
Storage: : 512GB - 2TB SSD
Screen:: 14-inch, 1080p, 144Hz
Ports: 1x USB Type-A | 1x USB Type-C | 2x USB Type-C / Thunderbolt | 1x 3.5mm | microSD

Reasons to buy

+
Super slimline form factor
+
Impressive performance
+
More affordable than other Alienware rigs
+
Sleek aesthetic

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited configurations available
-
Increased depth leaves larger footprint
-
Matte display can dull colors

Our favorite configuration:

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Alienware x14 | RTX 3050 | Intel i5-12500H at Dell (opens in new tab)
The Alienware x14 holds most of its value in its super slimline form factor and flexible (though still incredibly luxurious) design. While cheap by Alienware's standards, though, it's still a costly affair. If you're looking for that super thin profile above all else, we'd recommend taking a look at the base RTX 3050 configuration. You're getting that luxury chassis with Intel's latest processing chip and DDR5 RAM for $1,499.99 here, the best value out of all the options.

Scores

Fire Strike: 17,408
Time Spy: 7,807
PC Mark 10: 7,123

The Alienware x14 is the thinnest laptop we've had on our desks, and it delights in its performance relative to the lower mid-range components under the hood. Of course, Intel's latest 12th generation processors are helping those RTX 3050 / RTX 3060 graphics cards (as is that DDR5 RAM), but all together these specs are working particularly hard to offer silky smooth framerates in even more demanding titles.

We found that the overall build quality was particularly impressive here, with the x14 shrinking exactly what makes the Alienware x17 feel so solid and premium down into a super flexible form factor. This thing is only 14.4mm thick, and if it weren't for the glowing RGB alien head on the top panel you'd be forgiven for thinking it was a slick business ultrabook.

The Alienware X14 earns its place on the mid-range shelf but will appeal more to those after a premium feel than those chasing framerates.

Alienware x14 review

In fact, there's some serious gaming chops under the hood. Of course, we didn't get numbers to threaten RTX 3070 or RTX 3080-toting machines in our testing, but with the Nvidia optimised Shadow of the Tomb Raider hitting an average of 108fps on Highest settings, there's plenty we shouldn't take for granted here. The Alienware x14 did struggle under heavier titles like Red Dead Redemption 2, but we could still draw 55fps in High settings. With a little tweaking, these more humble configurations can easily soar thanks to the engineering under the hood. 

During our testing, though, it quickly became obvious that the RTX 3050 / RTX 3050 Ti configurations would offer the best value for money here. We were a little disappointed by the 1080p 144Hz display considering the fact that our test unit was just knocking on the $2,000 price point. By contrast, this is a more than passable screen when placed on a $1,499 RTX 3050 rig. It feels like there's diminishing returns heading up the price scale here. 

Still, if you're looking for a super slimline, easily portable machine, the Alienware x14 is an excellent premium option. Not only are you getting that backpack-friendly form factor, but the USB-C charging makes it particularly easy to juice up on the go as well. 

Read more: Alienware x14 review

The best looking gaming laptop

Specifications

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX
GPU: RTX 3060 | RTX 3070 | RTX 3080
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 1TB SSD
Display: FHD at 144Hz | QHD at 165Hz
Ports: 2x USB-A 3.2 | 2x USB-C 3.2 | 1x HDMI 2.1 | 1x 3.5mm

Reasons to buy

+
Great components
+
Tangible benefits of a Ryzen CPU 
+
Excellent compact build quality

Reasons to avoid

-
A little small
-
Temperature can climb

Our favorite configuration:

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Razer Blade 14 | RTX 3080 | Ryzen 9 5900HX  at Razer (opens in new tab)
The Razer Blade 14 really needs a GPU that can put that screen to work. This RTX 3080 configuration comes in around $700 cheaper than the RTX 3080 Ti model, and strikes that perfect balance between power and value for money. In our testing, that RTX 3080 / Ryzen 9 5900HX offered an incredible performance in itself, but if you are interested in pushing this thing to the max, it's worth noting that the Ti configuration does also come with a 6900HX processor and DDR5 RAM these days.

Scores

Firestrike: 21130
Timespy: 9432
PCMark 10: 6792

The Razer Blade 14 sold the idea of smaller, 14-inch gaming powerhouses to us in our testing last year. With some of the most powerful components on the market and an almost impossibly slim form factor, this is a rig to be reckoned with, and the best 14-inch gaming laptop on the market right now. That's because you're blending the best of both worlds here, with an AMD CPU and Nvidia GPU playing nicely together to create an incredible final experience. 

It's incredible to think that there's so much oomph and beastly power in this tiny thing.

Razer Blade 14 review

The 1440p display and RTX 3080 GPU sung in our testing, blowing us away with impressive handling of High and Ultra settings across a range of games. We were especially impressed by just how much power was up for grabs considering the lightweight, slimline chassis. 

The 14-inch form factor makes the power on offer all the more impressive, but we did notice ourselves wanting a slightly larger screen during certain moments, and having all that gear packed in did get a little warm at times. Still, we loved the 1440p / 165Hz pairing on the display - this machine doesn't feel like it would benefit from a costly 300Hz panel and, considering the size, it's easy to be blown away by the quality overall. 

We managed to push Red Dead Redemption 2 to near-consistent 60fps on maximum settings in 1440p resolution - astounding considering the form factor here. While Metro Exodus did present more of a challenge (generally hitting 48fps with RTX Ultra settings), a few tweaks still saw us through to 66fps on High. 

All of that means you'll easily get a better response from the Razer Blade 14 than you would the similarly designed Asus ROG Zephyrus G14. However, this is certainly a model reserved for those willing to pay for that premium quality. If you don't want to break $2,000 we'd recommend you head a little further down the page.

Read more: Razer Blade 14 review

The best gaming laptop for component value over aesthetics

Specifications

CPU: Up to AMD Ryzen 7 5800H / Intel i7-11800H
GPU: RTX 3060 | RTX 3070 Ti | RTX 3080 Ti
RAM: 16GB | 32GB
Storage: up to 1TB SSD
Display: FHD at 360Hz | QHD at 240Hz | UHD at 144Hz
Ports: 1x 3.5mm Combo Audio Jack, 1x HDMI, 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, 1x RJ45

Reasons to buy

+
Good gaming performance at 1080p
+
Solid chassis and keyboard

Reasons to avoid

-
Battery life is quite poor
-
Display is unexciting

Our favorite configuration:

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Acer Nitro 5 | AMD Ryzen 7 5800H | RTX 3060 at Amazon (opens in new tab)
The Acer Nitro 5 provides plenty of balance in this configuration, and the best part is we often see this model on sale at Amazon as well. Balancing some solid components under the hood, and a 144Hz display up top, there's some nice horsepower for your cash here. We often see it at between $1,049 and $1,329.

Scores

Firestrike: 17,524
Timespy: 7,456

It’s not about to blow anyone away with flashy features or top-tier performance, but the Acer Nitro 5 is a very respectable choice of gaming laptop for the busy gamer who doesn’t want to break the bank. A good full-scale keyboard with numpad makes this laptop appropriate for both work and play. That means it's a great replacement for a full-tower desktop PC at home that also offers portability thanks to its relatively low weight as gaming laptops go.

All but the most demanding games should run comfortably above 60fps at maximum graphical settings

Acer Nitro 5 review

The RTX 3060 GPU paired with a Ryzen 5800H processor offered up strong performance in our testing, hitting 86fps in High settings on The Division 2, and only dropping to 77fps in Ultra. While the SSD could be a bit speedier, it’s not going to cause any major headaches. Most games will run above 60fps at maximum settings, and ray-tracing is also an option, though it does come with an associated performance hit.

We found the screen to be somewhat dull compared to other laptops in the same price range, and the battery life is decidedly unimpressive, but given the budget cost, these do feel like fair tradeoffs. Especially since the display does retain an excellent 144Hz refresh rate. At $1,129 (with other models varying from $700 to $2,100), the RTX 3060 Nitro 5 manages to pack some impressive components into a budget price tag by dropping nice-to-have features. That makes it perfect for anyone after raw power without all the fancy extras that can sometimes bloat gaming laptop costs.

Read more: Acer Nitro 5 review

The best component value in a gaming laptop in the UK

Specifications

CPU: Up to Intel i9-12900HK
GPU: RTX 3070 Ti | RTX 3080 Ti
RAM: 16GB | 32GB
Storage: up to 2TB SSD
Display: 17.3-inch QHD @ 240Hz
Ports: 1x USB Type A 3.2 Gen 2, 2x USB Type A 3.2 Gen 1, 1x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4, 1x HDMI 2.1, 1x Gigabit Ethernet, 2x 3.5mm audio, MicroSD card reader, power

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent spec sheet for the price
+
Promising performance
+
Slimline design
+
Crisp, clear QHD display

Reasons to avoid

-
Not available in the US
-
Runs loud when under pressure

Our favorite configuration:

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Medion Erazer Beast X30 | i9-12900HK | RTX 3080 Ti at Ebuyer (opens in new tab)
The Medion Erazer Beast X30 excels in its most powerful configurations. This is a machine made to tailor to high end tastes while keeping costs low relative to the rest of the luxury market. That's why we'd recommend going all out with an i9-12900HK processor and RTX 3080 Ti GPU - it's in these extreme upper ranges that the costing on the Beast X30 makes the most sense.

Scores

Fire Strike: 26,542
Time Spy: 12,049
PC Mark 10: 7,369

High end gaming laptops pack the latest and greatest specs into sleek, slimline chassis', but if you're in the UK we'd recommend looking to the traditionally budget-oriented Medion Beast line. We were impressed when we got our hands on the Beast X30 model, packed out with an RTX 3080 Ti GPU, i9-12900HK processor, 32GB RAM, and 1TB SSD. Yes, this machine will run you £2,699 at the time of writing - but you'd usually be paying far more for such luxurious specs at this.

This is a gaming laptop for the budget-minded among high-end users

Medion Erazer Beast X30 review

As it stands, then, this is incredible value relative to today's market. The matte black coating and skinny design feels more like the Razer Blade 15 than the similarly budget-minded Acer Nitro 5, with a gorgeous overall form factor. Underneath that getup sits a solid spec list. It's rare to find all those components sitting under a 17.3-inch 240Hz QHD display - ticking all the boxes will usually see you cross the £3,000 threshold. The fact is not many machines can offer such a complete package at this price point - while pricey, anyone on the hunt for a luxury machine should certainly consider investing. 

In practice, we found the Medion Erazer X30 to be more than capable of anything we decided to throw at it. With Fire Strike scores that almost caught up with that of i9 Razer and Alienware models and benchmarks running in at well over 60fps in High settings across 1080p and 1440p, there's plenty to love here. The only times we saw the Beast X30 drop below 60fps was in heavier titles like Red Dead Redemption 2 and Total War: Three Kingdoms, running both on Highest / Ultra settings at 1440p. Even then we only dipped to 58 / 59fps. 

Unfortunately, the Medion Erazer Beast X30 is only available in the UK. 

Read more: Medion Erazer Beast X30 review


How we test gaming laptops

Every gaming laptop that we review is stress-tested against a series of benchmarking processes and everyday use. We run a standardised series of performance tests on each rig, benchmarking on both High and Ultra / Highest across: 

  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider 
  • Total War: Three Kingdoms (Battle)
  • Metro Exodus
  • The Division 2
  • Red Dead Redemption 2

We carry out these benchmarks at both 1080p and other native resolutions offered by each individual system. 

We then test gaming laptops against 3DMark Firestrike and Firestrike Extreme (for 1440p rigs), using Firestrike Ultra for our 4K machines. We also use PC Mark 10 tests (including battery performance), as well as Sky Diver, Cinebench, and Crystal Disk Mark. 

Of course, we also live with these machines. We find the best gaming laptops by playing, binge-watching, and working with them for as long as we can, using them as we would our own machines (while pushing them a little further for the sake of science). 

Read more about how we find the best tech with our full Hardware Policy and find out exactly how we test gaming laptops.

How to find the best gaming laptop for you

Not sure what screen size you'd ideally want and what minimum spec you'd ultimately like to get in your search for the best gaming laptop? If you need help working that out, we're here to help. 

In our opinion, the key is to opt for something with a balance between performance, budget, and components – you want something that will play your favorite games now, but still have enough bandwidth to help you find a new favorite in the future.

So what's your first step when you start browsing for the best gaming laptop? You can start by having a budget or total price ceiling in mind, but generally (and somewhat predictably), you'll want to prioritize the hardware in the machine. As you've made it to this page, you're looking for a gaming-focused portable powerhouse and, as a result, want to aim high in the graphics card department, like a GPU from the RTX family of cards from Nvidia. 

This can be an excellent starting point to refine your search - but don't forget to look at laptops with a 16-series card in too as they offer incredible value when complemented by other, well-balanced components. A quick note on components: availability, as everyone knows, has been incredibly unreliable and volatile in recent months. As a result, it might be that when you visit retailers or makers of these machines, only some configurations are available at the time.

If you're unsure of which components you need, it's wise to consider the CPUs and GPUs on offer in tiers. If you only play lighter games that aren't too demanding, you might fall into the entry level tier, if you're looking to hit High settings with a few tweaks and still hit 60fps, it's worth looking in the mid-range. However, if you're going all-in on Ultra settings for the most demanding titles, the best gaming laptop for you might be a more premium option. 

Entry levelMid-rangePremium
11th / 12th generation i5 | Ryzen 5 11th / 12th generation i7 | Ryzen 711th / 12th generation i9 | Ryzen 9
Nvidia GTX 1650Ti - RTX 3050TiRTX 3060 - RTX 3070RTX 3080 - RTX 3090
8GB - 16GB RAM16GB - 32GB RAM32GB - 64GB RAM
256GB - 512GB SSD1TB SSD1TB - 4TB SSD
60-120Hz144-240Hz240Hz - 300Hz
$600 - $1,000$1,000 - $1,800$1,800 - $3,000+

Which brand is best for gaming laptops?

Overall, the best gaming laptop brands include Razer, Alienware, MSI, Asus and Acer. However, there are a number of companies all competing for the title right now, from budget-oriented developers to high-end industry staples. Finding the best gaming laptop brand, however, may come down to how much you're willing to pay and how much you value extra features like mechanical keyboards and RGB lighting in your chassis. Alienware, for example, produces some incredible machines with these features built in, but at a significant premium - whereas Acer's machines tend to be more conservative in their builds but offer reduced prices. 

Can you spend under $1000 on a gaming laptop?

It's absolutely possible to spend less than $1,000 and still pick up one of the best gaming laptops on the market. Our favorite models under this price range are the Dell G15 and the Asus TUF Dash F15, though the Acer Nitro 5 also offers plenty of value in its cheaper configurations as well. You might be dropping down to 8GB of RAM or a cheaper version of an Intel processor, but if you're playing lighter titles or you're not fussed about the latest and greatest in performance there are plenty of options out there. 

Do you need a gaming laptop with an RTX GPU?

Picking up one of the latest Nvidia GPUs in your gaming laptop doesn't need to be a costly affair - RTX 3050 machines have been spotted at prices that would previously have sat on older GTX models. Nvidia's RTX chips are currently in their 30-Series, one up from the 20-Series launched last year, and you'll find the vast majority of gaming laptops on the shelves are sporting them. That doesn't necessarily mean you need one if you're just playing smaller games on a budget, in which case a GTX 1650 is still a worthy consideration. However, the bottom line is if you're buying a gaming laptop today, the choices on offer will revolve around the RTX 30-Series line. 

If you're looking to save some cash, though, you'll find plenty of RTX 3050 laptop deals and RTX 3060 laptop deals if you're looking for something with a little more power. However, if you're going big, it's worth checking out all the RTX 3070 laptops on offer, as well as the serious savings on RTX 3080 laptop deals as well.

If you've managed to find the right rig for you, it's worth investing some thought into the best laptop backpacks to get you out and about. Or, check out our guide to the latest cheap gaming laptop deals if you're looking for more savings. Or, check out all the cheap Alienware laptop deals and Razer laptop deals currently on sale for some serious discounts. 

Tabitha Baker
Tabitha Baker

Managing Editor of Hardware at GamesRadar+, I originally landed in hardware at our sister site TechRadar before moving over to GamesRadar. In between, I've written for Tom’s Guide, Wireframe, The Indie Game Website and That Video Game Blog, covering everything from the PS5 launch to the Apple Pencil. Now, i'm focused on Nintendo Switch, gaming laptops (and the keyboards and mice that come with them), and tracking everything that suggests VR is about to take over our lives.

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