With plenty of gaming laptops to choose from, from brand new designs to refreshes to highly successful laptops that have improved smaller details and upgraded internals from last year's releases. Here are our recommendations for the best gaming laptops you can buy right now, discussing the different options and alternatives. Our categories are a mixture of price points and use cases that cover most of what we believe PC gamers will be interested in getting.
Best Gaming Laptop
While 120Hz would once have been a mythical refresh rate for a gaming laptop, even that isn’t enough for some demanding gamers today. That’s where laptops such as the Razer Blade 15 Advanced comes in, which features an astounding 300Hz screen. Like all Razer laptops, this one is incredibly stylish, with its CNC-milled aluminum chassis in metallic black combined with per-key RGB lighting. At five pounds, it’s far from the lightest but no heavier than most extreme gaming machines.
Opting for the Advanced Edition over the Base models means access to that stunning 300Hz 1080p IPS screen. Reaching those frame rates takes some power, which is why the GPU options reach the RTX 2080 Super Max-Q. It’s backed up with an eight-core i7-10875H CPU (turbo speed: 5.1GHz), up to 64GB of RAM, and a 1 TB M.2 NVMe SSD.
Elsewhere, the Blade 15 advance comes with three USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports, a USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 port, HDMI 2.0b, a 3.5mm jack, and a Thunderbolt 3 USB-C port. You also get Wi-Fi 6, vapor chamber cooling, and an SD card reader. Plus, the keyboard and trackpad are both excellent.
The Blade Advanced also comes with the option of a 60Hz 4K OLED screen, but gamers will likely prefer the 300Hz model.
As for drawbacks, it can get quite toasty and the webcam is just 720p, but what’s likely to put most people off is the price: The RTX 2080 Super version is a massive $2,999.
Runner Up for Gaming and Work
OLEDs might be common in the world of high-end TVs and phones, but they’re not seen too often in laptops. When they are used, though, you get the kind of display that annihilates the LCD-based competition.
The Gigabyte Aero OLED 15 4K AMOLED screen is superb. It boasts VESA DisplayHDR 400 True Black certification—meaning true HDR performance—100 percent DCI-P3 coverage, 99.8 percent sRGB coverage, 93.5 percent Adobe RGB coverage, X-Rite Pantone Certification, and is individually factory calibrated to a deltaE of below 1.0. All of which makes it fantastic for creators.
Pushing pixels around that screen takes some serious hardware, which is why the Aero comes with an RTX 2070 Super Max-Q, and can be upgraded to the 2080 S Max-Q. You can also pick from a Core i7-10750H, Core i7-10875H, or an i9-10980HK, up to 64GB of RAM, and two 512GB SSDs. It’s all kept cool using Gigabyte’s Windforce tech, which consists of two 71-blade fans and five heat pipes for increased heat dissipation.
Aimed at creators as much as gamers, there’s a fairly extensive port selection: three USB 3.2 Gen1 (Type-A), one 1x Thunderbolt 3 (Type-C), an HDMI 2.0, one mini DP 1.4, 3.5 mm jack, a card reader, and RJ-45. There’s also Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5, and Killer Ethernet E2600.
While the screen is amazing, it is of the non-touch 60Hz variety, and there’s always the concern of burn-in on an OLED. It’s also expensive, with the RTX 2070 Super version starting at ~$2,500. Still, many would argue that the display alone is worth the money.
Ryzen + Gaming on 14"
Capable gaming laptops no longer mean something the size of a sedan that weighs more than a collapsing star.
The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is closer to an ultrabook than a traditional mobile gaming machine, offering the perfect combination of weight (3.5 pounds), performance, price, display, footprint, and battery life.
The Zephyrus’ magnesium alloy case oozes style, and while the keys are restricted to white backlighting, you can opt for the AniMe Matrix lighting feature. These 1,215 individual LEDs are placed under the lid, allowing buyers to customize the laptop with their own designs and animations. It can even show notifications and battery life.
But it’s what’s under the hood that should interest enthusiasts and gamers alike. The G14 is one of the first laptops (and arguably the best so far) to feature a Ryzen 4000 chip; in this case, it’s the 8-core/16-thread Ryzen 9 4900HS. We praised the 7nm processor for its incredible performance, awarding it a score of 90.
Complementing the Ryzen 9 4900HS is an RTX 2060 Max-Q GPU, 16GB of 3200MHz SDRAM, and a 512GB/1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD. There’s also a 120Hz FHD display that covers 100 percent of the sRGB color gamut and AMD’s FreeSync tech is supported, which works with Nvidia components as of last year.
Connectivity consists of two USB-C (one of which supports DisplayPort), two USB-A, a full-sized HDMI 2.0, a 3.5mm audio jack, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5, but no Thunderbolt 3. It can also charge over USB-C, and there’s a jack for the 108W adapter.
Battery life, often one of the worst elements of gaming laptops, is great, lasting almost 13 hours in a looping video test. It may lack Thunderbolt 3 and a webcam, but at $1,449 for the 1TB model, it’s an amazing price for a balanced gaming machine with almost no flaws.
Gaming on a Budget
It used to be that any kind of gaming experience on a laptop would mean handing over at least $1,000. These days, however, a grand is no longer the minimum requirement for mobile PC gaming. The Dell G5 15 ticks plenty of gaming laptop boxes for under $700: a stylish design, decent discrete graphics power, optional 4-zone RBG backlit keyboard, and dual speakers with Nahimic 3D audio. It’s also a bit bulky and heavy.
You’re obviously going to want the Dell G5 to handle games well, and it does a good job at this price point.
The base model features a 10th-gen Core i5-10300H, 8GB of DDR4-2933MHz RAM, and a 256GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD. The most important component, of course, is the graphics card, which comes in the form of a GTX 1650 Ti (4GB GDDR6). That’ll get you over 60 fps in Gears 5 at high settings, and can even manage over 50 fps on the demanding Metro Exodus. You can improve gaming performance slightly by opting for the GTX 1660 Ti, which adds $80 to the price.
Depending on your region, Dell is also offering a G3 SE version with the powerful Ryzen 4800H CPU and Radeon RX 5600M graphics that could pose a very interesting alternative for the price.
There's good connectivity, consisting of 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1, USB-C, and HDMI 2.0, while the GTX 1660 Ti model adds a Thunderbolt 3 port, a mini-DisplayPort, and a Killer E2500 v2 2x2 Gigabit Ethernet port.
Battery life is another one of the G5’s best elements, offering around 8 hours of web browsing. On the less positive side, the display could be brighter and isn’t great when it comes to color accuracy. Still, Dell’s machine is a great price vs performance option for gaming on the go.