Buying a gaming laptop isn't easy as there are many options, with new models releasing every year sporting increasingly more powerful CPUs and GPUs. On top of that, a CPU or GPU might perform very differently from one laptop to another due to their power draw and the chassis' thermal limitations, making the buying decision even harder. To help you, we've narrowed down the best laptops and configurations to give you the smoothest gaming experience for various price segments. The list is short for now but will grow as we review more laptops.
We've bought and tested over 85 laptops. Below are our recommendations for the best gaming laptops you can buy. You can also see our recommendations for the best laptops, the best budget and cheap gaming laptops, and the best Windows laptops.
The best gaming laptop we've tested is the Razer Blade 14 (2022). This premium 14-inch model has a sturdy aluminum chassis, a comfortable keyboard with per-key RGB backlighting, and plenty of ports for peripherals. It's very portable, thanks to its compact design, although you'll have to bring the charger if you want to game on the go, as the battery life is very short when gaming. Its 1080p webcam is good if you want to stream, and it doubles as a Windows Hello IR camera for facial recognition, allowing you to log in quickly.
This laptop is available in three preset configurations. All three have the same AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX CPU, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB of storage, so you only have to choose the display and GPU combo you want. The base model with an FHD 144Hz display and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 GPU and the mid-range model with a QHD 165Hz display and an RTX 3070 Ti are the best value models; however, it might be worth getting the top-end configuration with an RTX 3080 Ti, as newer AAA titles will require more processing power.
If you find our top pick too expensive, consider the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022). This all-AMD system sports an AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS CPU, and you can choose between an AMD Radeon RX 6700S or 6800S GPU. Both GPUs provide smooth gameplay in AAA titles at the display's native QHD resolution. As for the display itself, the 120Hz IPS panel has a fast response time to deliver a clear image in fast-moving scenes and FreeSync support to reduce screen tearing.
The storage maxes out at 1TB, which isn't very much considering the size of modern AAA games; however, it's user-upgradeable. Ports include two USB-As, two USB-Cs, an HDMI, and an SD card reader. One last thing: there's a newer (and more expensive) model of the G14 with AMD Ryzen 7000 CPUs and NVIDIA 40-series GPUs, and consequently, this 2022 model is often on sale at around $1,000 USD, so it's a great time to pick one up.
Another option is the HP OMEN 16 (2022). It's a great alternative if you want a larger 16-inch screen or prefer an Intel/NVIDIA system. It's available with an Intel 12th Gen Core i5 or i7, and there are many GPU options, from an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 to an RTX 3070 Ti. It has a wider port selection than the ASUS, including an Ethernet port and Thunderbolt 4 support. Also, it doesn't get as hot or loud under load. The downside is that none of the available displays get very bright, so it might not be the best option if you often use the laptop in very well-lit settings.
Our best budget pick is the Lenovo Legion 5 Gen 6 15 (2021), an affordable 15.6-inch model that you can configure with an AMD Ryzen 5 5600H or Ryzen 7 5800H CPU and an NVIDIA discreet GPU. The GPU options range from an entry-level NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 to a powerful RTX 3070 with ray-tracing and DLSS support. It's best to get at least an RTX 3060 now, as the RTX 3050 and GTX 1650 will struggle in newer, more demanding games, even at 1080p. For the display, we recommend the 165Hz 1080p or 1440p panel for the best visual experience, as they have the fastest response time and support VRR to reduce screen tearing.
The RAM and SSD are user-replaceable, so you can add more later if you want to spend less upfront. Build-wise, this laptop has a sturdy chassis with a finish that doesn't scratch or smudge easily. The keyboard feels great to type on, and there are many ports, including four USB-As, two USB-Cs, an HDMI 2.1, and an Ethernet port. The USB-C port doesn't support Thunderbolt 4 since this is an AMD system, and there's no fingerprint sensor or a facial recognition IR camera for quick logins either.
If you want to spend as little as possible, get the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2021). Though entirely plastic, this 15.6-inch model feels surprisingly sturdy, especially for a model in its price range. For a little less than $800 USD, you can get a configuration with an AMD Ryzen 5 5600H CPU, an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU, 8GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage. This CPU and GPU combination can deliver a solid 60 fps gaming experience at 1080p with most titles. 8GB of RAM isn't ideal for gaming, and you'll quickly run out of space with only 512GB of storage. You can get this model with 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage if you're willing to spend a little more; otherwise, you can upgrade these components since they're user-upgradeable.
As for the display, this model sports a 120Hz IPS panel. Its response time is rather slow, but it's still better than a basic 60Hz panel and supports VRR to reduce screen tearing. Unfortunately, this laptop does get hot and loud under load, and the battery lasts less than an hour when gaming, which is normal but still disappointing. The main difference between this laptop and the Lenovo Legion 5 Gen 6 15 (2021) above is the lack of a MUX switch. Without this feature, it won't perform as well as the Legion 5 even if it has the same configuration, as all the information processed by the discrete GPU needs to go through the integrated GPU, resulting in a performance loss.
The best gaming Chromebook we've tested is the Acer Chromebook 516 GE (2022). Unlike our picks above, this device runs Chrome OS, an operating system that isn't typically associated with gaming, and it runs on its Intel CPU's integrated graphics. It's because it's made for cloud gaming services like NVIDIA GeForce NOW. Cloud gaming means the processing takes place on NVIDIA's server—or whichever company provides the service—and the image is streamed to your device, alleviating the need for powerful hardware. GeForce NOW is a paid subscription service; the laptop comes with a three-month trial.
The overall build quality is good, and while it's on the bulkier side, it isn't too heavy, so it's still portable. Its 16-inch QHD+ display has a 120Hz refresh rate and a good response time, resulting in a clear image with minimal ghosting in fast-moving scenes. You get Wi-Fi 6E wireless connectivity and an Ethernet port, which is great, as cloud gaming performance highly depends on your internet connection. The keyboard feels spacious and tactile, doesn't get hot under load, and has RGB backlighting. Unfortunately, its battery life is very short, at around six hours of light use or an hour of gaming.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best gaming laptops to buy. We factor in the price (a cheaper laptop wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no laptops that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you prefer to make your own decision, here's the list of all of our laptop reviews, sorted by price from low to high. Keep in mind that most laptops are available in various configurations, and the table only shows the results of the model we tested, so it's best to see the full review for information about other variants.