The best gaming laptops manage to offer incredible levels of power in portable form factors that will sit just as well on a desk as they would in a backpack. There's a massive range of makes and models on the market right now - all vying for your interest whether you're investing thousands of dollars or simply after a budget starter rig. That means it can be difficult to discern exactly which model will be the best gaming laptop for you and your Steam library, which is 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 the overall value for money on offer. 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'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 the world of 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 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 gaming laptop on the market overall 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.
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.
You're paying a little more for some of the most in-demand components on the market right now, but - after a bit of tinkering in heavier titles - you'll certainly get your money's worth. 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
Our favorite configuration:
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.
While both Intel and AMD models are available, we got our hands on the i7 Alienware M15 R6 (opens in new tab) and were blown away by the way it handled the RTX 3080 GPU sat inside. Not only are you getting premium components under the hood, but this machine knows how to draw out the best of them - even if you opt for a more budget-friendly configuration. That's why this is the best gaming laptop for most people - you won't need to spend too much to pick up some solid mid-range specs, and those cheaper components are still given plenty of room to reach their potential under the hood as well.
Previously Alienware's flagship range, the M15 line has been stripped back a little with the launch of the new X15. However, the price discrepancy between the two (you're paying significantly less for this model) means that this particular gaming laptop can't be beaten for value overall. 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.
We were initially disappointed by the plastic construction in our testing. We received a particularly high-end configuration, though, so a more budget-oriented model will feel right at home in its cheaper chassis. However, despite that plastic design we were impressed by the Alienware M15 R6's ability to handle powerful components without breaking a sweat. While by no means a slimline machine, there's certainly enough grunt in here to wonder where all those pieces are hiding. We easily knocked out 100 fps in The Division 2 on Ultra settings with our RTX 3080 rig, climbing up to 132fps in Shadow of the Tomb Raider testing. This is a seriously well-engineered piece of kit, capable of pushing each spec to its limits.
The good news is that efficiency will last whatever your budget, so we'd recommend budget-buyers in particular pay attention to those falling prices on RTX 3050 and RTX 3060 configurations. You'll find two model names on the shelves right now, the Intel-based R6 and the AMD-based R5. That means you'll find the perfect spec for your library regardless of which camp you find yourself in right now.
Read more: Alienware M15 R6 / R5 review
Our favorite configuration:
Alienware M15 R5 | RTX 3050 Ti | Ryzen 7 5800H at Dell (opens in new tab)
The Alienware M15 line has dropped its price in recent years, appealing more to the mid-range market with its specs. If you're after a solid go-to, then, we'd recommend checking out the RTX 3050 Ti / Ryzen 7 5800H model. At between $1,199 and $1,499 you'll find a solid price for these specs considering the luxury of the chassis. However, keep your eyes peeled for the new R7 model if you're after an Intel device.
If you're looking to grab an RTX 30-Series card but don't want to break $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, but you can still comfortably pick up some of the best specs in the business without breaking the bank.
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
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.
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.
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.
Our favorite configuration:
Dell G15 | RTX 3060 | i7-12700H at Dell (opens in new tab)
The new Dell G15 offers a massive spec bump in its use of Intel's 12th generation processors, and has introduced an RTX 3070 Ti / 32GB RAM option to match that power. However, considering this is Dell's budget machine we'd recommend those on the hunt for a solid mid-range investment stick to the RTX 3060 spec. The RTX 3070 Ti configurations are just knocking on the $2,000 door - and for that cash you can pick up a far superior chassis. You're still benefitting from that turbo-charged Intel brain and a Nvidia's latest 30-Series GPU, but the value for money is far more apparent further down the budget.
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.
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.
With a redesigned chassis and an excellent array of physical ports, the Alienware x17 R1 is the new standard for Dell’s flagship gaming laptops. Naturally, we’ve also got more RGB than you can shake a stick at, from the iconic rear light ring to the new RGB-lit trackpad. This laptop looks and felt great whether we sat it on a desk or a lap, a statement piece for those who take their gaming seriously.
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
Our favorite configuration:
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.
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. The 2021 release is a little graphically limited compared to its peers - offering a maximum RTX 3060 GPU - but if you don't want to break the bank on a top-tier graphics card there's plenty of power and efficiency under the hood here.
With the step to a Ryzen 500-series chip and Nvidia's 3000-series GPUs also comes the jump to WQHD resolution, so 2021's G14 will also give you access to a super clear display running at a max 144Hz refresh rate. Again, this isn't a spec designed to compete with the top dogs like the Alienware x-series or the Razer Blade but for the cash - and the fact that you're getting everything in a dinky 14-inch case - there's plenty of value under the hood.
Things can get a little hot under here, as is the case with many compact machines, but all in there's little out there that can compete with this 14-inch price point. The Razer Blade 14 would be the obvious comparison, but it's clear that the Asus G14 is taking aim at a different kind of player. If you have the budget for it, Razer's 14-incher is going to offer you far more sophisticated configuration options. However, those shopping under $2,000 will have a far easier time scouting Asus's instalment into the slimline market.
Our favorite configuration:
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 | RTX 3060 | Ryzen 9 5900HS at Amazon (opens in new tab)
Packing a Ryzen 9 5900HS processor and a 1TB SSD into a sub $1,500 price tag is no mean feat, but the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 has consistently been offering this spec for some time now. It's the top end of this lower-mid range machine, packing a more than capable RTX 3060 GPU and all the grunt you need to push it to the max.
Razer are absolute stalwarts in the gaming laptops business now, offering a refined and powerful selection of gaming-focused Razer laptops (opens in new tab). The Razer Blade 15's sheer excellence is plentiful and comes in many areas, the first and instantly noticeable one is the design. It's a sleek machine, oozing elegance and lacking any garish or questionable design motifs, sporting only some traditional Razer green in its ports and a Razer serpent as the machine's emblem. That means it slots straight into that slimline Macbook feel and workflow, sitting just as neatly in a work backpack as it does on a gaming desk. If you're looking for the kind of screen real estate that our top contender, the Razer Blade 14, can't offer we'd recommend skipping straight down here.
Yes, the Pro 17 model will bag you some extra screen space and a slightly heftier machine, but, on balance, this is probably the best laptop you could buy right now for gaming. Team this with a Razer headset (opens in new tab), Razer controller (opens in new tab), or some of the best Razer streaming (opens in new tab) gear going and you'll be racing toward an ideal gaming setup based on performance - but built around a machine that still offers portability.
It's worth noting, though, that the new 2022 Razer Blade 15 boasts up to i9-12900H processors and an RTX 3080Ti GPU.
Our favorite configuration:
Razer Blade 15 | RTX 3070 Ti | Intel i7-12800H at Razer (opens in new tab)
The RTX 3070 Ti GPU is the most comfortable option for the Razer Blade 15. Considering that 240Hz QHD display and the heft of the 14-core i7-12800H processor, you'll easily be getting your money's worth on this expensive graphics card. By contrast, the RTX 3060 model feels a little weak to run in a machine capable of such performance, and the RTX 3080 Ti will set you back an extra $700 while only doubling your RAM on top.
At just below the four-figure mark, (or less!), the Acer Nitro 5 has everything the budding gamer needs, working effectively to replace a beefy gaming desktop PC at a fraction of the price. You're getting some excellent spec value here, with these units pushing the budget category hard.
11th generation Intel and AMD 5000-Series processors lead the charge, with up to RTX 3080 graphics cards - those are specs it's particularly difficult to argue with. Sure, the chassis design is a little outdated and you're not picking up the slimmest machine on the market - but if you're looking to maximise your power output while spending as little as possible, the Acer Nitro 5 is likely the best gaming laptop for you.
The Nitro 5 is a bit on the hefty side, so it’s not the most portable of gaming machines, but nor are most laptops with 17-inch screens. Overall, this is an excellent choice of entry-level gaming system, with the flexibility needed for work as well (provided your co-workers won’t judge you for that red-and-black paint job…)
Our favorite configuration:
Acer Nitro 5 | RTX 3050 Ti | Intel i7-11800H at Amazon (opens in new tab)
The Acer Nitro 5 is designed to offer a barebones approach on the outside, and some seriously competitive components on the inside - all while keeping that price affordable. It's well worth taking advantage of this, though, which is why we'd steer clear of the dirt cheap GTX 1650 and 10th generation processor configurations out there. This RTX 3050 Ti / i7-11800H spec offers up enough power to keep that $1,100 - $1,250 price exciting - especially with the 1TB SSD and 17.3-inch 144Hz display.
This great laptop shows that the best gaming laptops don't need to cost an arm and a leg. The 2021 model goes a step further than the Asus ROG Zephyrus GA502 did, offering up Ryzen 5000-series processors and Nvidia 3000-series graphics cards to compete with today's offerings.
However, we've never seen as many RAM / SSD configuration options on a gaming laptop as we have with this model. The Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 is available with up to 40GB RAM and 4TB of SSD space. Those are some hefty specs, but if you pick your parts carefully you'll find some respectable pricing up for grabs - even when paired with RTX 3080 GPUs. If you're coming from the RAM-heavy world of gaming PCs, or you're concerned about the upgradeability of your machine, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 offers a unique resolution that we're just not seeing on many other models.
The performance these specs combine to create is incredibly solid and will have you beaming, even if you're sitting in the middle of the pack. We've also got a far sleeker design that builds on the original slimline, though blocky, aesthetic.
The Asus ROG Zephyrus line has always strived to offer a more affordable way into PC gaming that doesn't sacrifice quality. We'd recommend going with the G15 over the 14-inch model if you're really looking to invest a little more in your machine, though.
Our favorite configuration
Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 | RTX 3080 | AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS at Amazon (opens in new tab)
There are some interesting RAM / SSD configurations available for the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15, which means the value of this RTX 3080 spec becomes all the more apparent when you clock up other aspects of the build. For example, this model packs an astounding 40GB RAM and 2TB SSD into a sub-$2,500 price point - making this an excellent turbo-charged spec for anyone looking to invest.
The latest in a burgeoning line of super-portable best gaming laptop contenders, the MSI Stealth 15M manages to pack some top line specs into a compact chassis and still pulls off some solid performance in the process.
The MSI Stealth 15M sits at a more budget-friendly end of the market, but stands tall in its display quality at 1080p. Similar to the Asus TUF Dash F15, this model packs a smaller i7-11375H processor and a slimline build. In our testing, we were able to push 1080p titles at between 50 and 60fps reliably with some tweaking, though there was a little more leeway in results here compared to the Dash F15. We found that the display itself far outshone that of Asus's similar build, offering a clarity that we can't quite replicate on our own RTX 3060 F15. However, the volume and temperature of MSI's model stops it a little short here.
After all, that power must come with a drawback, and with so much crammed in under the hood here, cooling and battery certainly suffers the consequences. This machine can get particularly hot, especially underneath the main body. If placed on a desktop you won't tend to notice this issue too much - it'll be the constant hum and random whirrs of the fans that will take some getting used to instead.
If you're after a machine that will sit as well in a backpack as it would on a full gaming desk setup this is certainly an interesting choice. Performance remains smooth, though don't expect to be hitting Ultra settings with wild abandon.
Read more: MSI Stealth 15M review
Our favorite configuration
MSI Stealth 15M | RTX 3060 | Intel i7-11375H at Amazon (opens in new tab)
The MSI Stealth 15M sits in the same budget category as the Asus TUF Dash F15, offering a watered down 4-core i7-11375H processor to be able to squeeze an RTX 3060 GPU into its price. We'd recommend that baseline spec for anyone after this slimline rig as it's not too easy to find alternative configurations on the shelves, and this level of power feels just about matched to the capabilities of this chassis.
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).
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 generation i5 / Ryzen 5000 Series||11th generation i7 / Ryzen 7000 Series||11th generation i9 / Ryzen 9000 Series|
|Nvidia GTX 1650Ti - RTX 3050Ti||RTX 3060 - RTX 3070||RTX 3080 - RTX 3090|
|8GB - 16GB RAM||16GB - 32GB RAM||32GB - 64GB RAM|
|256GB - 512GB SSD||1TB SSD||1TB - 4TB SSD|
|60-120Hz||144-240Hz||240Hz - 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.
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.
Can you use an ultrabook as a gaming laptop?
The term Ultrabook is a tricky one, seeing as it was essentially drawn up by Intel to suggest that any slimline machine running an Intel processor and an SSD should be considered premium. The times have changed since then, and some super cheap machines can technically slide as ultrabooks these days which means the term generally covers expensive laptops running powerful configurations with a small form factor - like the Dell XPS 13 and HP Spectre.
Unfortunately, these machines do often still ship with standard Intel graphics chips, which means they likely won't be running the Nvidia and AMD GPUs that tend to set gaming laptops apart. An ultrabook gaming laptop can still be built - should you wish to configure an XPS 13 with an RTX graphics card, for example - but it will cost far more than the comparative spec sheet in a purpose built machine.
Where to buy gaming laptops
You'll find plenty of gaming laptops up for grabs at a range of retailers in both the US and UK, though some do specialize in certain price ranges and brands. However, in general, you should be able to find RTX 3060 laptops, RTX 3070 laptops, and RTX 3080 laptops readily available on the shelves.
US: Amazon (opens in new tab) | Best Buy (opens in new tab) | Dell (opens in new tab) | Newegg (opens in new tab) | B&H Photo (opens in new tab) | Adorama (opens in new tab)
UK: Amazon UK (opens in new tab) | Currys (opens in new tab) | Argos (opens in new tab) | Overclockers UK (opens in new tab) | Laptopsdirect (opens in new tab)
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.