Playing your favorite games on one of the best gaming laptops can be transformative. You’ll be playing on desktop-level hardware, enjoying high frame rates, top detail settings, and even a little ray tracing in compatible games, all on the go if you so choose. The top gaming laptops are faster than ever, and they no longer make major sacrifices for it like they once needed to.
Gone are the overweight designs of yesteryear too. The best gaming laptops aren’t just fast, but they’re almost as lean as some of the best laptops period, and some could even be considered lightweight. You don’t even need to spend a whole ton with gaming laptops under $500 that are able to keep up well enough depending on the games you like to play. With high-end components, a great gaming laptop can feel like taking your desktop with you wherever you go—perfect for LAN parties or being ready for a game at any time.
You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to get a cutting edge gaming laptop though. You should do that if you want to play the most demanding games at 4K with ray tracing enabled, but if you have a smaller budget or play lightweight games and just need a decent laptop with a high refresh rate display, there are plenty of those at much more affordable prices. Here are the best gaming laptops you can buy in 2022.
Best Gaming Laptop Overall
Cutting Edge Hardware In a Streamlined Chassis
CPU: Intel Core i7 12800H
GPU: Nvidia RTX 3070 Ti
Storage and Memory: 1TB SSD, 16GB DDR5
Display: 15.6-inch, 2560 x 1440, 240Hz
Who’s it for: Gamers who want a do-it-all high-end gaming machine to fit in with their other Razer accessories.
The Razer Blade 15 Advanced features the most cutting edge mobile gaming hardware money can buy. From its Intel Alder Lake 12th-generation 12800H processor to its NVIDIA RTX 3070 Ti graphics chip and high-refresh rate QHD screen, this is a new laptop for a new year, with a lot of new hardware. That means big gains in graphical performance, especially with it fully leveraging Nvidia’s Ampere architecture to deliver higher frame rates, finer detail settings and better support for higher resolutions, like the 144op display it dons.
It features Razer’s iconic Blade build quality with a sleek finish on every surface, a minimalist chassis with thin bezels, and the classy Razer Chroma backlighting for the keyboard. Inside, it also comes with 16GB of RAM, a terabyte of fast storage, and a capable and quiet cooling solution. Other hardware options include the new RTX 3080 Ti graphics chip for even more GPU power, and both 1080p and 4K screens, perfect for juggling performance in esports titles or cranking the visuals in more atmospheric single player experiences.
Alongside the internal hardware upgrades, Razer has also improved the keyboard on the 2022 Blade. It now has slightly bigger keycaps which should make it more comfortable and accurate to type on. As a result, the gap between keys is reduced a little, so the keyboard itself isn’t any bigger.
As with most gaming laptops, you’ll get far better performance out of this high-end machine if you run it while plugged in. If you do need to switch to battery while gaming, you should get a couple of hours of play, but don’t expect much more.
Excellent build quality
Runs cool and quiet
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Best 17-inch Gaming Laptop
Big, Bold, And Beautiful
CPU: Intel Core i7 12700H
GPU: Nvidia RTX 3070 Ti
Storage and Memory: 1TB SSD, 16GB LPDDR5
Display: 17.3-inch, 1920 x 1080, 360Hz
Who’s it for: Gamers who want to play on a big-screen with a mains socket nearby.
The biggest gaming laptops might start to sacrifice a little portability, but what you get in return is a near-desktop-like experience in a still-compact package. The Alienware x17 R2 is the latest in a long line of high-end gaming laptops from the company, and it shows not only in its powerful array of internal hardware, but how refined the overall design is. It’s leaner than previous generation big-screen gaming laptops, and it stands out from the usual crowd of black and gamer-y options out there.
Inside this chassis is a monstrous hardware combination, pairing the Intel Core i7-12700H CPU with all of its 14 cores (6P + 8E) all running at up to 4.7GHz when boosted, with 16GB of high-speed new generation LPDDR5 memory. That gives this more general compute power than even the best gaming laptops from last year, and when combined with the Nvidia RTX 3070 Ti, it’s a stellar gaming laptop with all the power you need to play just about anything.
That’s what it’s targeting, too, as though it has heaps of GPU power, this laptop has a 1080p display. That’s a relatively low resolution for a high-end laptop, but where some gaming laptops target higher resolutions, this one goes for frames. With a 360Hz refresh rate, this laptop makes high-speed games look gorgeously smooth, and if you’re playing against other players, it’ll even give you an edge by lowering your response time and input lag.
Battery life isn’t extensive (that’s to be expected with such a powerful laptop), but it does stay pretty cool due to advances in Dell’s cooling technologies. The overall look of the laptop is stellar, too, giving you a really different looking laptop without it screaming “gamer” at anyone who dares look its way.
As this size, with this power, this is easily the best 17-inch gaming laptop you can buy in 2022.
Big, super-fast display for competitive gaming
High-end hardware can play anything at high FPS
Best Gaming Laptop Under $500
A Decent Budget Gaming Laptop
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5500U
GPU: AMD Radeon 7
Storage and Memory: 256GB SSD, 8GB DDR4
Display: 14-inches, 1920 x 1080, 60Hz
Who it’s for: Gamers on a budget who don’t want to play the latest AAA games.
Good gaming laptops at around $500 are a rare breed, especially with any kind of power behind them. This Dell Inspiron isn’t some cutting edge monster of a gaming machine, but its AMD Ryzen 5 5500U CPU with its onboard Radeon Vega graphics are more than enough for basic indie game play and hitting high frame rates in older esports games like League of Legends, Overwatch and DotA 2.
The 1080p display is bright and vibrant, and you get a full 256GB of SSD storage. That’s not a lot, but it’s more than enough for Windos and a handful of even modern games. There’s also 8GB of RAM, which again isn’t a lot, but it’s upgradeable, so if you need more or want a little performance bump in the future, doing that will give
This laptop enjoys Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 support, and comes with a USB-C connector modern convenience. Cooling in this laptop is solid, and when combined with the relatively efficient hardware, it stays cool and quiet during even heavy gaming. It also has great battery life, lasting over 10 hours of mixed usage or well over five when gaming. This isn’t a gaming laptop, but it can game and it does it well, especially for such an affordable price.
Playable esports gaming performance at a low price
CPU and SSD keep general use snappy and responsive
Cool and quiet even when gaming
Onboard graphics are underpowered for AAA gaming
256GB SSD doesn’t have much space for bigger game libraries
Best Gaming Laptop Under $1,000
A Great Budget Gaming Laptop
CPU: Intel Core i7 10500H
GPU: Nvidia RTX 3060
Storage and Memory: 512GB SSD, 8GB DDR4
Display: 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080, 144Hz
Who’s it for: Gamers on a budget who still want to enjoy new-generation gaming performance.
The $1,000 mark is the point where you start to get a seriously good gaming laptop for your money—and that’s even better if you can get it at a serious discount. With the MSI GF65, you get just that and then some, with a combination of new generation and recent generation hardware delivering fantastic performance at a price well south of $1,000. At $850, there’s nothing quite like it for delivering impressive gaming performance at 1080p, whether you’re playing esports games or dipping your toe into something more graphically demanding.
This laptop pairs an Intel Core i5-10500H CPU with the excellent RTX 3060 GPU, letting you take full advantage of its 144Hz high refresh rate screen. It means you can play faster and more responsive than the competition.
Storage space is also impressive with over half a terabyte to play with. That’s more than enough for larger game libraries, and with support for Wi-Fi 6, you can stay connected to your network and the wider internet with blazing fast speed. Although four pounds isn’t light by mainstream laptop standards, it’s practically svelte for a gaming laptop, making this one of the more portable gaming machines you can buy in 2022.
When you do sit down to game with the MSI GF65, there are plenty of ports you can take advantage of. Whether you’re looking to plug in a gaming mouse, a headset or even a high-speed Ethernet cable for a more reliable connection, this laptop lets you. It comes with two USB-C 3.2 Gen1 ports, two USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports, an HDMI output, an RJ45 Ethernet connector and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Excellent performance for the price
Supports DLSS and ray tracing with new-gen GPU
Great gaming display
CPU is outdated, but still capable
8GB of RAM is a little weak
Best Lightweight Gaming Laptop
Super Portable And Super Powerful
CPU: Intel Core i7-11375H
GPU: Nvidia RTX 3060
Storage and Memory: 1TB SSD, 16GB DDR4
Display: 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080, 144Hz
Who it’s for: Gamers who don’t want it to be obvious that their laptop can play.
The MSI Stealth 15M blurs the lines between professional ultrabooks and gaming laptops. It retains the performance and raw capability of a gaming laptop whilst enjoying the portability and lightweight design of an ultrabook. But for the power it offers, the tradeoff is that the battery doesn’t last as long as dedicated office machines, and it doesn’t have the same grunt as chunkier gaming devices with huge fins, grills and GPUs.
But if you want to game anywhere with great performance without worrying about breaking your back (or your bank) to get it there, then this is the laptop for you. At just 3.7 pounds, the MSI Stealth 15M is well under the typical 4-5 pound mark of most modest gaming laptops, and at 15 inches, it offers plenty of screen space while still being easy to fit into a backpack or laptop messenger bag.
The Intel Core i7-11375H and NVIDIA RTX 3060 offer stellar gaming performance in esports and AAA games, letting you enjoy the 1080p 144Hz screen to its fullest at an affordable price. With all of that, this laptop not only has solid performance, but a great selection of up to date features, including cutting edge connectivity in Thunderbolt 4 and USB 4.0.
Super sleek look and feel
Very lightweight and portable
Solid gaming performance, despite size
You can get more performance for your money
Best 4K Gaming Laptop
CPU: Intel Core i9-12900HK
GPU: Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti
Storage and Memory: 1TB SSD, 32GB DDR5
Display: 17.3-inch, 3840 x 2160, 120Hz
Who it’s for: Mobile gamers who want a no-compromise gaming laptop.
Playing any game on any platform at 4K resolution is seriously demanding. That goes doubly so for mobile platforms like laptops, where there just isn’t much room for cooling. Still, the MSI Raider GE76 manages to be a fully capable 4K gaming system in a relatively small package, delivering stellar gaming performance no matter what you want to play.
It combines the top performing processor and graphics chip for a near-unparalleled mobile gaming experience. The Core i9-12900HK packs a total of 14 cores (six performance cores and eight efficiency cores) at a blistering 5GHz boost clock, and will tear through any games you throw at it, whether you’re targeting high frame rates at 1080p and low settings or the highest-quality visual fidelity in the latest AAA games.
With no RTX 3090s in modern laptops—not yet at least—the Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti is the best mobile GPU you can buy in 2022, and with the capable cooling of this laptop, it has plenty of headroom to work. That makes it more than capable of handling any game at 4K with maximum detail settings and even a bit of ray tracing if you fancy it. You can expect high frame rates in even the most demanding games, letting you take full advantage of the 120Hz 4K display.
With 32GB of high-speed DDR5, this machine is a capable workhorse if you want to do some video editing or 3D modeling in your downtime. This is a laptop that might be designed for games, but it has everything you need for serious work too.
It’s not the lightest laptop at over six pounds. Battery life isn’t particularly impressive, either—it offers a mere few hours of light web browsing, and gaming is surely worse. But you get a robust selection of ports, including USB-A, USB-C and Thunderbolt 4. All in, this is the most capable gaming laptop available today, but you’ll have to pay quite a ransom for the privilege.
The fastest mobile gaming hardware possible
Big and beautiful gaming display
Excellent port selection
Big and heavy
Runs hot and loud
Best Laptop for Gaming and School
Good At Everything
CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS
GPU: Nvidia RTX 3060
Storage and Memory: 1TB SSD, 16GB DDR4
Display: 14-inches, 2560 x 1440, 120Hz
Who it’s for: Anyone who wants a great all-round laptop with solid gaming performance.
For gaming and school work, you need a capable GPU and a powerful processor, and few laptops can come close to the near-perfect combination inside the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14. It combines an AMD Ryzen 5900HS with an NVIDIA RTX 3060 for fantastic gaming power and packs it all inside one of the classiest chassis money can buy.
That octa-core processor was one of the best of its generation, and even as newer designs begin to show up in new laptops, it’s still hotly competitive. It’s fantastic for gaming or even more CPU intensive tasks like video editing or transcoding. If you’re just throwing a few Office tasks at it, it’ll blow through them with ease, even if you’re working with large spreadsheets or lengthy documents.
It’s the combination of that CPU with the Nvidia RTX 3060 mobile GPU that makes it truly special, though. It gives great performance in esports games and AAA titles, and in games where the frame rate climbs high, you can really enjoy a smoother gaming experience thanks to the 120Hz display. Better yet, it’ll give you a competitive edge over gamers with slower screens, and the keyboard is both comfortable and accurate with plenty of travel for such a thin frame.
There’s heaps of storage space (1TB SSD) and all the RAM (16GB DDR4) you’ll need for current and next-gen games. With support for the latest Wi-Fi 6 standards, you’ll have access to the fastest network speeds no matter where you want to play too. At just 3.5 pounds, this powerful little laptop won’t hold you back when gaming on the go, and its sleek white paint job really helps it stand out from the crowds of RGB-lit black and silver.
Great blend of performance and portability
Comfortable and accurate keyboard
Best Budget Gaming Laptop
An Affordable Gaming Laptop With Real Power
CPU: Intel Core i7-11800H
GPU: Nvidia RTX 3060
Storage and Memory: 512GB SSD, 16GB DDR4
Display: 15.6-inches, 1920 x 1080, 144Hz
Who it’s for: Gamers who want a compact, attractive laptop with impressive performance, at a great price.
The entire Acer Predator line of affordable gaming laptops is great, but the Predator Helios 300 is something quite special. At around the $1,200 mark, it’s just starting to nudge into the mid-range laptop territory and that brings with it a lot of advantages. This is a capable gaming laptop built to a great standard, and with some very capable hardware inside.
Inside, you’ll find the Intel Core i7-11800H, an eight-core processor with heaps of power for gaming, working and anything else besides. It’s partnered with an Nvidia RTX 3060, which is one of the better mobile GPUs of its generation and gives this laptop all the power it needs for high frame rate gaming at 1080p. With a 144Hz display to power, the internals give you all the performance you need to enjoy a smooth and responsive gaming experience in esports and AAA games.
One real standout feature of this laptop is its cooling, which runs hard to keep it running cool and still relatively quiet while ensuring thermals won’t hold you back. The RGB keyboard is well made and responsive whether you’re typing or gaming.
Acer has also made it easy to upgrade this model, so if in the future you need more RAM or additional storage space, just pop the back panels off and install the drive or sticks that you need. This is by no means a cheap gaming laptop, but it still makes the most of your budget to come in at an attractive price.
High-end performance at an affordable price
Strong cooling keeps the laptop cool and quiet
Older processor isn’t as strong as new-gen options
Best 300Hz Gaming Laptop
A Last-Gen Flagship
CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX
GPU: Nvidia RTX 3070
Storage and Memory: 1TB SSD, 16GB DDR4
Display: 15.6-inches, 1920 x 1080, 300Hz
Who it’s for: Esports gamers who want a competitive edge.
High frame rate displays have become seriously popular among competitive gamers in recent years, and with good reason. They can give you a small but notable edge in fast paced games, so a higher refresh rate can sometimes make the difference between winning and losing. Although 120Hz and even 240Hz displays have become relatively common place, it’s still rare to find something much faster. Enter the Asus Strix Scar G15 which has something truly special: a 300Hz display.
This was arguably the best gaming laptop you could buy in 2021, and it still holds its own in 2022. Combining an AMD Ryzen 5900HX eight core processor with an Nvidia RTX 3070 mobile graphics chip, you have all the power you need to play the latest games at the highest detail settings.
Its 1080p display may not be super high resolution, but the 300Hz refresh rate helps make the action buttery smooth no matter what you’re playing. It’s especially important in esports games, where not only will the action look smooth when you hit those high frame rates, but you’ll get a few milliseconds advantage over your opponents.
Asus put a lot of effort into this laptop’s cooling. It uses the iconic liquid metal thermal compound from Thermal Grizzly to maximize heat dissipation through the intelligent cooling system, which helps prevent noise levels from ever getting too high and ensures that you maintain maximum performance even when the laptop starts to warm up.
The fastest gaming laptop display you can buy
Strong hardware helps hit high frame rates
Hardware is overkill for most esports games
Who makes the best gaming laptops?
Part of the reason that modern gaming laptops are so exciting is because there is so much competition. There are no longer just a couple of decent brands.
The best brands for gaming laptops today are Razer, Asus, Acer, Dell, MSI, and Lenovo, though you’ll also find a few options from HP, and certainly Dell’s sub-brand, Alienware is always worth considering.
Most of these manufacturers have a few clean-cut dedicated gaming laptops, but some also offer more modest stealth designs, which are both lightweight and powerful, while others are more overt with a focus on bigger and more powerful systems that can even rival some gaming desktops.
Do I Really Need A Gaming Laptop?
If you want to play the latest games on your laptop, then you need a gaming laptop. Although there are some business laptops with capable onboard graphics chips that can game as well as work, that’s not what they’re designed for, and performance will suffer. Those laptops also tend to be very expensive for what you get, as they’re built for durability and meeting higher standards than are strictly necessary for gaming.
Gaming laptops are designed for gaming, so you’ll be investing your money in things that help you game better, whether that’s a more powerful graphics card, more SSD storage space, more RAM, a better and faster display, or better system cooling. You’re less likely to get a quiet system, or one with extensive battery life — although there are gaming systems that offer that — because gaming laptops aren’t designed with that in mind.
If you want to game and everything else is secondary, a gaming laptop is a great investment.
What CPU Do You Need For Gaming?
Whether you prefer AMD or Intel, as a baseline, you want at least four cores and preferably with simultaneous multithreading for eight-thread support. The ideal gaming CPU for modern games in 2022 is six cores, with eight and above offering diminishing returns for gaming performance.
The only caveat there is that next-generation games designed for the new-generation Xbox and PlayStation consoles will take better advantage of higher core counts, so eight-core CPUs will have greater future proofing. Although the processor isn’t the most important part of a gaming system, desktop or laptop, it still plays its part–especially at 1080p resolution. Faster CPUs will give you greater performance, but it’s more important to meet the recommended requirements for the games you want to play.
Beyond core count, per-core performance is king. Clock speed makes a huge impact in how capable a CPU is for gaming, which is why all of the best gaming laptops in this guide feature processors with high clock speeds and great per-core performance.
The types of games you play has a big impact on the type of processor you need, as if you’re playing much older or indie games, then you won’t need anything to powerful. That said, as a general rule of thumb for buying or building a new PC, an AMD Ryzen 3000, 4000, 5000, or 6000 CPU will be excellent. For Intel processors, at least a Core i5 from the 10th generation is best, though you’ll see a big leap in performance from the 11th or 12th generations.
Note, that higher-end Core i9 or Ryzen 9 processors will give you a slight performance bump at lower resolutions, and you might as well get the best of the best if you have the money to burn, but you won’t see a huge difference between a good mid-range CPU and a top of the line chip when it comes to high-resolution gaming.
Does A Gaming Laptop Last Long?
There are two factors which determine the longevity of a gaming laptop: The build quality and its performance. Most gaming laptops are built well enough that they can go for years without breaking down, but if its hardware is weak, it may no longer be able to play the latest and greatest games.
High-end gaming laptops with powerful components can last for five years or more and still act as capable gaming machines. Those with more entry-level hardware, particularly those without dedicated graphics, are only going to be able to play contemporary games for 2-3 years or so before they really start to show their age.
As long as you buy a gaming laptop from a reputable brand—like Razer, Asus, Acer, Lenovo, HP or MSI—you should be able to enjoy your gaming laptop for many years to come. Just bear in mind that you may have to start playing at lower settings, or accept they you can’t play the latest games after a few years.
Some gaming laptops do allow upgrades, specifically memory and storage, and those laptops can remain competitive gaming machines for a bit longer — especially if you have an ever-expanding game library you need to cater for. There are some very-niche laptops that allow CPU and GPU upgrades, but those rarely have options for more than an additional generation or two, so are rarely worth purchasing for that feature alone.
Is $1,000 Good For A Gaming Laptop?
For $1,000 you can get a great general purpose laptop, and though it doesn’t go quite so far with a gaming laptop, there are still plenty of capable machines for under $1,000 that will let you play just about anything. The MSI GF65 is the best laptop under $1,000 you can buy right now, and at a heavy discount, it brings mid-range gaming hardware into a much more affordable price bracket.
If you can raise your budget to $1,300, or even $1,500, you’ll get quite a lot more for your money. It’ll give you a much better GPU and more storage space, maybe a fancier display. All of that will help your gaming experience now, but will also significantly improve the longevity of your gaming laptop, helping it to stay relevant for newer games in years to come.
What’s The Best Graphics Card For Laptop Gaming?
The graphics card or chip is the most important component in a gaming laptop, helping to drive higher resolutions, higher frame rates and higher detail settings than any mainstream laptop can manage.
At the most entry-level end of the spectrum, for lightweight esports and indie games, an Nvidia GTX 1650 or AMD Radeon RX 6400 are great options. They’re perfect for simple 1080p gameplay at high frame rates and low detail settings. If you want to play more demanding games, you’ll need to step it up to Nvidia’s RTX 3000 range, with an RTX 3060, or 3070, or an AMD Radeon RX 6700M. For 4K gaming you’ll want the best you can afford, like Nvidia’s 3080 Ti, or AMD’s 6800M.
For more stealth gaming laptops, AMD’s new range of RX 6600X, 6700S, and 6800S offer great gaming performance without such heavy power draws. Nvidia’s Max-Q and Max-P designs do something similar.
Do You Need A High Refresh Rate Display?
High refresh rate displays let you take full advantage of higher frame rates in esports and other competitive multiplayer games for smoother animations and lower input lag. While not a necessity to enjoy games, faster-paced games look and feel better for it, and they can improve your reaction speed in game too. If you’re looking for a competitive edge in your favorite multiplayer games, a high refresh rate display can make a small but tangible difference.
Since laptop screens are typically much smaller than their desktop counterparts, it can often be more beneficial to opt for a higher refresh rate than higher resolution when you’re gaming. A 4K display is mostly wasted at 15-inches or below, with very little discernible difference in detail unless you are sitting inches from the screen. It’s much more taxing on your graphics chip too. In comparison, a high refresh rate display can be leveraged as long as your system is outputting frames higher than 60, and can deliver a consistently improved experience.
Is A 13-inch, 15-inch, Or 17-inch Gaming Laptop Better?
Bigger displays are almost always better when it comes to immersion and visual clarity. If you can see more of the screen, you can have a wider field of view, larger HUD elements, and take better advantage of the higher visual fidelity of modern games. The bigger you go, though, the less portable a gaming laptop is.
The big reason to buy a gaming laptop is that your gaming machine becomes portable. While 17-inch gaming laptops with the top hardware aren’t going to be comfortable to carry around in a backpack all day, they still let you take your gaming PC to a friend’s house or LAN party easily enough.
There are also plenty of smaller, lightweight gaming laptops that you can cart around with you for gaming on a train or on a long car ride. Those tend to be not as powerful, but they’ll give you the kind of battery life that lets you be a truly mobile gamer, rather than one restricted to only gaming when there’s a power socket within reach.
For those who want to game in a variety of situations, a 14 or 15-inch laptop is an excellent middle ground. They have the size and scope for more powerful hardware, and give you plenty of screen space to enjoy your favorite games, but they’re nowhere near as heavy or bulky as their 17-inch counterparts.
Is A Gaming Laptop Worth The Money?
If you take your gaming seriously and would rather play on a laptop than a desktop, then buying a gaming laptop can be a great investment. They come with the kind of components you need to play the latest and greatest games and have high refresh rate displays to help you stay competitive in fast paced esports games.
Their battery life isn’t typically as good as mainstream laptops, and you’ll pay a bit extra for fancy features like RGB backlit keyboards and a fast and responsive keyboard, but they give you excellent performance and decent cooling so you can enjoy that added power for sustained gaming sessions. Some non-gaming laptops may have a powerful CPU and a decent GPU, but rarely do they have the kind of cooling you need to play intense games for long periods of time without thermal throttling impacting your performance, and therefore how well your games play.