The best gaming laptops provide the power of a high-end desktop with the portability of a much smaller, lighter machine - that much is obvious. However, truly great gaming laptops manage to do all this while remaining cool and comfortable enough to run for long periods of time, all while packing high quality graphics, displays, and performance into a fair price tag.
Thankfully, those on the hunt for the best gaming laptop in 2023 have plenty to choose from. With 16-inch and 18-inch form factors taking over from the previous 15.6-inch and 17.3-inch mainstream, we're getting bigger screens, boosted graphics power, and the latest generation of blindingly fast processors. That means PC gaming on the go has never felt so good - and we're bringing you all the top models right here.
The best gaming laptop of 2023 is the Razer Blade 15, but plenty of our favorite machines balance raw power with value for money. That means some of these top models won't run the most impressive graphics cards or pack bags of RAM - they will simply outperform their price tag. After all, if you don't need an all singing rig, why pay for one.
We've put a wide range of gaming laptops through their paces to find the best machines 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.
What do our benchmark scores mean?
We run each gaming laptop we get our hands on through a series of tests across gaming and productivity performance. Of these scores, we're listing two with each of our favorite machines below; Fire Strike and Time Spy. Both tests stress both the graphics and processing of a laptop, returning one final score once completed. The higher the score, the better the performance.
The quick list
The best gaming laptop overall
Impressive performance, a sleek slimline chassis, and a stunning display make the Razer Blade 15 the overall best we've tested yet. It's pricey but well worth it if you're after an investment.
Best under $1,000
The best under $1,000 / £1,000
If you play lighter titles and don't need a super slimline machine, the Dell G15 is a go-to. RTX 3060 configurations are usually well under $1,000 and still offer great performance.
Best for most
The best for most players
The M15 R7 walks a fine line between price and performance. Configurable across the component scale for serious power across genres, it's an excellent all-rounder.
Best for budget 1440p
The best for budget 1440p
The Asus TUF Dash F15 is a solid bet if you're after 1440p gaming that won't run into dangerous price territory. The slightly weaker processors are saving you cash but performance is still solid.
The best 14-inch gaming laptop
The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 does everything a 14-inch machine should, keeping a compact footprint while working its hardest to keep up with the performance of larger devices.
The best 17-inch gaming laptop
17-inch laptops have a tough job, but the Razer Blade 17 packs some incredible performance while holding onto a slimline form factor. That's rare to find, especially with a screen this good.
The most powerful we've tested
The Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 has overtaken the Strix Scar 16 to be the most powerful gaming laptop we've tested yet. Of course, there's lightning fast performance here, but also two screens running.
The best slimline gaming laptop
The Alienware x14 is an impossibly thin machine, and while you're dropping down to weaker components to achieve this portability factor there's still plenty of luxury in everyday use.
The best gaming laptop overall
Our favorite configuration:
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.
Fire Strike: 20,171
Time Spy: 9,690
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.
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.
Note: The 2023 Razer Blade 15 is on its way, and once we've had our hands on the newer device we'll update this guide accordingly.
Read more: Razer Blade 15 review
|Shadow of the Tomb Raider||High: 101fps / Highest: 97fps||High: 94fps / Highest: 67fps||High: 66fps / Highest: 74fps|
|Total War: Three Kingdoms||High: 107fps / Ultra: 79fps||High: 67fps / Ultra: 49fps||High: 33fps / Ultra: 23fps|
|Red Dead Redemption 2||Balanced: 84fps / Highest: 67fps||Balanced: 69fps / Highest: 52fps||Balanced: 43fps / Highest: 26fps|
|Metro Exodus||High: 87fps / Ultra: 67fps||High: 69fps / Ultra: 53fps||High: 42fps / Ultra: 25fps|
|The Division 2||High: 107fps / Ultra: 86fps||High: 78fps / Ultra: 61fps||High: 45fps / Ultra: 35fps|
Buy the Razer Blade 15 if you:
- Prefer a more subtle aesthetic
- Are looking for a playable 4K display
- Travel with your laptop regularly
- Need a machine for work, content creation, and play
The best gaming laptop under $1,000 / £1,000
Our favorite configuration:
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.
Buy the Dell G15 if you:
- Want to stay firmly in the three-figure price range
- Don't need the latest and greatest components
- Play less graphically demanding games
- Don't prioritize aesthetics
The best gaming laptop for most players
Our favorite configuration:
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.
Fire Strike: 24,894
Time Spy: 10,722
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.
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
|Shadow of the Tomb Raider||High - 148fps / Highest - 129fps|
|Total War: Three Kingdoms||High - 120fps / Ultra - 83fps|
|Red Dead Redemption 2||Balanced - 79fps / Highest - 76fps|
|Metro Exodus||High - 98fps / Ultra - 72fps|
|The Division 2||High: 124fps / Ultra: 97fps|
Buy the Alienware M15 R7 if you:
- Need solid all-round power across a range of genres
- Would like a super-fast display
- Want an Ethernet port
- Don't travel with your machine often
The best gaming laptop for budget 1440p
Our favorite configuration
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.
Fire Strike: 17,365
Fire Strike Extreme: 9,870
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.
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.
Read more: Asus TUF Dash F15 review
|Shadow of the Tomb Raider||High: 79fps / Highest: 60fps||High: 72fps / Highest: 57fps|
|Total War: Warhammer II||High: 82fps / Ultra: 63fps||High: 76fps / Ultra: 53fps|
|Red Dead Redemption 2||Balanced: 63fps / Highest: 57fps||Balanced: 54fps / Highest: 51fps|
|Metro Exodus||High: 72fps / Ultra: 51fps||High: 64fps / Ultra: 46fps|
|The Division 2||High: 86fps / Ultra: 54fps||High: 76fps / Ultra: 47fps|
Buy the Asus TUF Dash F15 if you:
- Want to pack a mid-range 1440p spec into a three figure price point
- Don't mind sacrificing a little CPU power for a better GPU
- Travel regularly with your laptop
- Don't need a webcam
The best 14-inch gaming laptop
Our favorite configuration:
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.
Fire Strike: 21,728
Time Spy: 8,644
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.
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
|Shadow of the Tomb Raider||High: 108fps / Highest: 100fps||High: 82fps / Highest: 66fps|
|Total War: Three Kingdoms||High: 95fps / Ultra: 66fps||High: 51fps / Ultra: 36fps|
|Red Dead Redemption 2||Balanced: 81fps / Highest: 73fps||Balanced: 62fps / Highest: 48fps|
|Metro Exodus||High: 82fps / Ultra: 36fps||High: 57fps / Ultra: 25fps|
|The Division 2||High: 100fps / Ultra: 78fps||High: 73fps / Ultra: 51fps|
Buy the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 if you:
- Travel regularly with your laptop
- Need a machine for everyday work and play
- Prioritize high quality display and speakers
- Don't value ray tracing in graphically demanding games
- Don't mind a little heat
The best 17-inch gaming laptop
Our favorite configuration:
Razer Blade 17 | RTX 3070 Ti | i9-12900H at Razer (opens in new tab)
This i9-12900H configuration of the Razer Blade 17 still manages to pack a serious punch even though it's sitting in the middle of the laptop's lineup. It's around $200 more than the same spec with an i7 CPU, but when you're spending this much it's well worth diving a little deeper. An RTX 3070 Ti will shine on this QHD 240Hz display (4K is overkill for even an RTX 3080 Ti GPU) and still stops you spending close to $5,000.
Fire Strike: 25,484
Time Spy: 12,244
2022's Razer Blade 17 is here, which means there's a new beast in town - and this one's looking particularly flashy. Don't get us wrong, this is a pricey piece of kit. The i7-12800H / RTX 3080 Ti model we tested runs in at nearly $3,999 / £4,099 - but if you're investing in a gaming and content creation powerhouse, this is the best 17.3-incher in the business. Yes, there's a Razer tax here. You'll find budget machines packing similar specs for slightly less (though not by dramatic amounts) out there, but in return you are investing in a durable, quality piece of kit with some excellent engineering under the hood.
For example, we were particularly impressed with the eight-speaker array - there's some serious power behind these grills, so much so that we didn't feel the need to slap on a gaming headset during our time. Similarly, the expansive display doesn't drop its clarity or color reproduction like many wider models. In fact, we found the screen so impressive that we would happily recommend it for more artistic purposes. Add a wide range of all the latest ports, that classic Razer suave aesthetic, and a clean, tactile glass touchpad and the Razer Blade 17 feels like it could handle anything.
And it can. This machine ripped through benchmarks like they were calculators, spitting out an impressive 25,484 Fire Strike score and a blitzing 12,244 Time Spy result when placed under stress. Results in real-world play were similarly breathtaking - Total War: Three Kingdoms ran buttery smooth at 98fps in High settings and Red Dead Redemption 2 continued to clock 90fps when cranked up to Ultra.
The only issues we faced in our testing were those standard of larger gaming laptops - namely the poor battery life and lack of portability. Of course, if you're in the market for a bigger machine you've already reconciled these facts of life - making the Razer Blade 17 the best 17-inch gaming laptop on the market.
Read more: Razer Blade 17 review
|Shadow of the Tomb Raider||High: 146fps / Highest: 134fps|
|Total War: Three Kingdoms||High: 98fps / Ultra: 69fps|
|Red Dead Redemption 2||Balanced: 104fps / Highest: 90fps|
|Metro Exodus||High: 90fps / Ultra: 75fps|
|The Division 2||High: 101fps / Ultra: 73fps|
Buy the Razer Blade 17 if you:
- Want the big screen experience without the bulk
- Use your laptop for both gaming and content creation
- Don't need to run off battery alone
- Don't travel with your laptop often
- Would like a fast 4K display
The most powerful gaming laptop we've tested
Our favorite configuration:
Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 | RTX 4090 | AMD Ryzen 9 7945HX at Newegg (opens in new tab)
We're going straight to the top for this one. The RTX 4090 and Ryzen 9 combination is one that outperformed everything else we've ever tested in the majority of categories. Not only that, but it's doing so while running a second screen as well.
Fire Strike: 36,768
Time Spy: 15,713
The Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 isn't the first dual-screened gaming laptop Asus has brought to market, but it is by far the most powerful. The AMD Ryzen 9 7945HX is a force to be reckoned with, posting some incredible numbers all while running a second touch-sensitive display underneath the main Mini-LED panel. We benched numbers far higher than that of the Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 in Fire Strike, PC Mark 10, and Cinebench R23 tests, with in-game performance offering equally impressive results. Meanwhile, the Duo thrashed the Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 across all tests as well.
The form factor might trip you up, though. While the second screen sits in an excellently angled design, allowing for additional airflow, it does take up half the main body. That means the keyboard and trackpad have been reorganised, with the deck of keys pushed right to the lower lip of the chassis and the mouse shifted to the right hand side. We were originally dubious of this design, but in practice it's remarkably comfortable. Yes, you'll need to switch up your typing style a little, but we came to love the relaxed feel of a sideways trackpad and the smaller keys didn't get in the way of a week's worth of work from the couch.
The touchscreen itself comes in particularly handy for work purposes. We got a far greater mileage out of this panel when using it as a standard second display for everyday productivity. Some games shift the display down the actual screen and others won't allow the screen to display at all, which means it's not a key gaming feature. However, there aren't that many uses for it outside of streaming and performance specs anyway. It works just fine for both of these use-cases, but we would still recommend this rig to those after an all-in-one gaming and productivity powerhouse.
The main panel offers a gorgeous picture, though. With the crisp details and gorgeous color contrast of a Mini-LED display and a super-fast 240Hz refresh rate, everything absolutely sings up here.
The Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 is an expensive machine, and it certainly won't be for everyone, but it is the most powerful gaming laptop we've had our hands on so far and well worth it for a unique design.
Read more: Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 review
|Benchmark Test||1080p||1440p (2560 x 1600)|
|Shadow of the Tomb Raider||High: 219fps | Highest: 211fps||High: 189fps | Highest: 182fps|
|Total War: Three Kingdoms||High: 190fps | Ultra: 158fps||High: 134fps | Highest: 97fps|
|Metro Exodus||High: 175fps | Ultra: 172fps||High: 129fps | Ultra: 121fps|
|Red Dead Redemption 2||Balanced: 163fps | Highest: 153fps||Balanced: 158fps | Highest: 120fps|
|The Division 2||High: 203fps | Ultra: 192fps||High: 187fps | Ultra: 179fps|
Buy the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 if you:
- Have a lot of budget to play with
- Want a machine for work and play
- Don't need a lightweight laptop
- Want high-end performance without a bulky feel
The best slimline gaming laptop
Our favorite configuration:
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.
Fire Strike: 17,408
Time Spy: 7,807
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.
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
|Shadow of the Tomb Raider||High: 116fps / Highest: 108fps|
|Total War: Three Kingdoms||High: 83fps / Ultra: 58fps|
|Red Dead Redemption 2||Balanced: 55fps / Highest: 52fps|
|Metro Exodus||High: 65fps / Ultra: 47fps|
|The Division 2||High: 90fps / Ultra: 68fps|
Buy the Alienware x14 if you:
- Prioritize aesthetic and build quality over heavy components
- Travel regularly with your laptop
- Play lighter, less graphically demanding games
- Don't want to spend conventional Alienware prices
- Want a slimline build
The best value gaming laptop
Our favorite configuration:
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.
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.
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
|Shadow of the Tomb Raider||High: 118fps / Highest: 107fps|
|Total War: Three Kingdoms||High: 81fps / Ultra: 58fps|
|Metro Exodus||High: 79fps / Ultra: 39fps|
|The Division 2||High: 86fps / Ultra: 77fps|
Buy the Acer Nitro 5 if you:
- Want high-end components without breaking the bank
- Don't need the latest and greatest display
- Play while plugged in to an outlet
- Don't prioritize aesthetics
How we test gaming laptops
Why you can trust GamesRadar+ Our experts review games, movies and tech over countless hours, so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about our reviews policy.
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 the GPUs inside these 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).
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.
|11th / 12th generation i5 | Ryzen 5||12th / 13th generation i7 | Ryzen 7||12th / 13th generation i9 | Ryzen 9|
|Nvidia GTX 1650Ti / RTX 3050 RTX 3050Ti||RTX 3060 / RTX 3070 / RTX 3070 Ti||RTX 3080 / RTX 3080 Ti / RTX 4080 / RTX 4090|
|8GB - 16GB RAM||16GB - 32GB RAM||32GB RAM|
|256GB - 512GB SSD||1TB SSD||1TB - 4TB SSD|
|60-120Hz||144-240Hz||240Hz - 300Hz|
|$500 - $800||$800 - $1,800||$1,800 - $3,000+|
Best gaming laptops: FAQs
What new gaming laptops are coming for 2023?
CES 2023 gave us a first look into the next class of gaming laptop, and with everyone from Razer to MSI getting involved, we've got a pretty good idea of where this year is taking us. You'll find the biggest announcements from the biggest brands just below.
Razer Blade 16
Razer Blade 18
Acer Predator Helios 16
Acer Predator Helios 18
Acer Nitro 16
Acer Nitro 17
Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 / 18
Asus ROG Strix G16 / G18
Asus ROG Scar 17
Asus ROG Strix G17
Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16
Asus ROG Zephyrus G16
Asus ROG Zephyrus M16
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14
Asus ROG Flow Z13
Asus ROG X13 / X16
Asus TUF F15 / F17
Asus TUF A15 / A17
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.
Gaming laptops glossary
AMD is a brand that develops a wide range of processors and graphics cards for business and gaming laptops. The latest GPU series is the AMD Radeon RX 7900, while it releases processors under the Ryzen name, offering Ryzen 3, 5, 7, and 9 in ascending power levels.
AMD Freesync is a software found in many gaming laptop displays that reduces screen tearing and stuttering. The majority of laptops ship with the base FreeSync features, but there are also FreeSync Premium and FreeSync Premium Pro tiers which offer support for higher refresh rates and resolutions, as well as HDR.
Bluetooth is the wireless connection gaming laptops can use to take input from a range of devices such as keyboards, headsets, and mice. However, these devices tend to use 2.4GHz adapter dongles these days (a small USB receiver with a lower latency connection), which means you'll be using Bluetooth for controllers more than anything else. The latest Bluetooth version is 5.0.
The term chassis relates to the main body of the laptop, housing the components under the keyboard and the back of the lid.
Cinebench is a benchmarking software developed by Maxon, designed to test the rendering power of a gaming laptop's processor. We use Cinebench to test the power of CPUs across both single-core and multi-core stress tests - the higher the number, the better the performance.
CPU / Processor
The CPU (Central Processing Unit) or Processor is the central component of a gaming laptop, completing instructions and operations across the machine. Intel and AMD are the leading manufacturers of processors, with Core and Ryzen product lines respectively.
Crystal Disk Mark
Crystal Disk Mark is a benchmarking software to test the storage performance of the SSD or hard drive used in a gaming laptop. We use Crystal Disk Mark to report on read and write speeds, which can translate to launch, loading, and rendering times.
DisplayPort is a port found on many gaming laptops, offering the ability to connect your machine to an external monitor. Unlike HDMI, DisplayPort allows for multiple displays to be connected through a single port, however is not compatible with anything other than monitors and computers. The latest version of DisplayPort is 2.1.
Ethernet is the term given to both the port and cable used to connect your gaming laptop to the internet via a wire. Rather than using a less reliable WiFi connection, hardwiring your machine into your router can be faster and offer lower latencies.
Fire Strike is a graphics and physics test within the 3D Mark suite of benchmarks. We use Fire Strike to stress test the processor and graphics card, returning a figure as the result. The higher the number, the better the score.
FPS (Frames Per Second)
Frames per second refers to the number of frames that are displayed on a screen every second. This is a handy way to measure the speed and fluidity of the graphics on your gaming laptop. Most titles run smoothly at 30fps, however faster action titles are better enjoyed at 60fps and up. Competitive esports-level framerates are often over 100fps.
GPU / Graphics Card
The GPU is responsible for the graphics your gaming laptop is capable of reproducing. AMD and Nvidia produce the majority of graphics cards found in today's gaming laptops, offering a range of different performance levels and prices. The latest AMD GPU is the Radeon RX 7900 XT, and the latest Nvidia range is the GeForce RTX 40-Series.
HDD is the acronym for a Hard Disk Drive, otherwise known as a hard drive. This is a form of storage often found in older, cheaper gaming laptops, or in addition to an SSD (Solid State Drive) in newer machines. An HDD is typically slower but cheaper (and therefore more readily available in higher capacities) than an SSD.
HDMI stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface, and is the primary connection method used to link a computer to an external monitor, TV, or projector. The latest HDMI version is 2.1.
Intel is one of the leading producers of processors in both business and gaming laptops. Intel's CPUs are released in four tiers; i3, i5, i7, and i9 with various different models between them. The latest generation of Intel processors is the 13th.
Kensington Lock Slot
A Kensington Lock Slot is an additional accessory sometimes found on gaming laptops. It is a port to enable the user to keep their machine secure by tethering a lock and wrapping it around the leg of a table or chair, ensuring nobody else can remove the laptop from its position.
Nvidia is a brand best known in the gaming laptop space for producing graphics cards. The company's GeForce RTX GPUs are the most popular on the market right now. Nvidia also runs a game streaming service called GeForce Now, which can be used to run your Steam or Epic libraries on other devices.
Nvidia G-Sync is similar to AMD FreeSync (see above), and used to reduce screen tearing and stuttering during fast moving games. G-Sync is designed for use with Nvidia graphics cards, however.
OLED displays are gathering momentum in the world of gaming laptops, offering an alternative to traditional LED screens. An OLED panel is able to produce better color contrasts and higher brightness.
A computer's OS is its Operating System, most likely Windows. You'll very rarely find a gaming laptop shipping with a different operating system. The latest release is Windows 11.
PC Mark 10
PC Mark 10 is a benchmarking software designed to test the power of a PC in a productivity setting. The program runs a series of mock work scenarios to test efficiency and processing performance, resulting in a single number response. The higher the number, the better the result.
RAM stands for Random Access Memory, and allows your computer to streamline its efficiency in running tasks. The more RAM you have, the more space your gaming laptop has to keep required data easily accessible (and therefore recalled faster).
Refresh rate in the context of gaming laptops generally refers to the speed at which the display refreshes the picture. A higher refresh rate provides smoother motion, which is required for faster paced titles. Gaming laptops today generally offer at least 120Hz refresh rates, but can move up to 360Hz.
The resolution of your screen is the number of pixels on the display. This is usually split into HD (1920 x 1080 or 1080p), QHD (2560 x 1440 or 1440p), or UHD (3840 x 2160 or 4K), however different screen proportions can bend these definitions a little - you may see QHD+ resolutions listed on a screen that isn't exactly 16:9 in dimensions (the standard for displays that these resolution numbers were based off).
RGB refers to the lighting often found on gaming laptops, particularly in the keyboard. The term RGB denotes a range of colors rather than limiting backlighting to a single color.
An SSD (or Solid State Drive) is the primary format of storage used in today's gaming laptops. It's faster than an HDD but is more expensive, which means you'll generally find SSD space tapping out at 1TB if you're browsing under $2,000.
A Thunderbolt port uses the same design as USB-C but a vastly different experience overall. Machines incorporate Thunderbolt to allow faster data transfer and charging speeds as well as connecting multiple devices via a single cable. The latest version is Thunderbolt 4.
Time Spy is another DirectX test for the performance of a graphics card inside your gaming laptop, similar to Fire Strike.
USB Type-A ports are standard USB connections used by the majority of external devices and are characterized by their larger square shape compared to the smaller USB-C. However, USB Type-C (below) is set to take over from the older A model over the next few years. Type-A supports the speed of data consistent with USB 3.0 (the latest version).
USB Type-C is a newer connection type for adding external devices, shaped in a smaller, more rounded port style. USB-C can be used for power delivery if the port on your laptop accepts this feature, but is generally used for the same inputs as USB-A.
Vapor Chamber Cooling
Vapor Chamber Cooling is a relatively new method of keeping a gaming laptop's temperature down so that it can perform at its best. Rather than solely using air vents and fans, vapor chamber cooling relies on a liquid cooling system to distribute heat more effectively.
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.