If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, Variety may receive an affiliate commission.
Everyone looks for different features in a gaming laptop. Some want a great display, while others might prioritize killer hardware. However, these days you don’t have to compromise. More devices than ever do it all without a hefty price tag.
Gaming laptops aren’t cheap, though. So, you’ll want to make sure you make the right choice the first time around. Otherwise, you might spend all that effort getting your machine set up perfectly just to find one thing that makes you send it back.
Here are a few things you should mull over when trying to find the best gaming laptop for you:
Display Size – The display is the most significant contributing factor when it comes to a laptop’s size. The entire device is built to conform to this, so most laptops with similar screen dimensions will have a similar form factor and weight regardless of the manufacturer.
Battery Life – If you’re using your laptop as a desktop replacement, battery life isn’t a big deal. However, if you plan to use it on the go, it might be worth trading some power to get more battery life. Also, bigger laptops don’t always come with bigger batteries, so make sure to check the specs.
Weight – Most gaming laptops weigh less than 7-8 lbs these days, but that can be a lot to carry all day. When choosing a computer, be mindful of how far and how often you intend to tote it around. That 17-inch screen isn’t going to be so pretty when your back is aching from dragging it with you all day.
Now, check out our list of the laptops we count among the best models currently available.
Razer Blade 15 (2022)
The Razer Blade 15 continues the line’s excellent design. Like in previous years, 2022’s version does an excellent job of balancing performance and form factor. It’s just a bit thicker than an ultrabook while providing the power to run the latest games at max settings. The anodized black aluminum chassis feels sturdy, and its understated design is great for those who want a gaming laptop without broadcasting they’re a gamer to the world.
The Razer Blade 15 is available in multiple configurations. The low-end is marked by the RTX 3060, but you can move all the way up to an RTX 3080 Ti if you desire. It can also be configured with a 360Hz FHD, 240Hz QHD, or 144Hz UHD display. You can also get up to an i9-12900H CPU, though the i7 model should be up to any gaming task.
Unfortunately, all this great hardware in such a small package has to have at least one drawback. For the Razer Blade 15, it’s the battery. It should last a decent amount of time for simple tasks like browser and light productivity work. However, you’ll want to connect it to AC power if you’re planning an extended gaming session.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 (2022)
The ROG Zephyrus G15 makes an excellent alternative to the Razer Blade 15, especially if you want to go with an AMD processor. It’s available with the top-of-the-line (for laptops) Ryzen 9 6900HS, but unfortunately is missing an AMD graphics option. Like we’ve come to expect with premium gaming laptops, the G15 has a metal chassis and feels like it’s built to last.
In contrast to our previous pick, the G15 has respectable battery life. This makes it a great selection for someone who wants a laptop to use for productivity as it can last through a workday without too much trouble. Afterward, you can jump on it and game, but you’ll likely need a charge beforehand.
Unfortunately, you’ll want to keep your lap away from this laptop. It heats up fast, when gaming or streaming video, so you’ll want to make sure you’ve got a sturdy desk to put it on.
Alienware X17 R2
Alienware laptops have always had a bit of flair around them, and the x17 R2 is no different. While it’s not as crazy as some of Alienware’s designs from the past, it’s got some flourish that sets it apart from its contemporaries. With its 17-inch display, the x17 R2 is massive. It has an aluminum and magnesium chassis, and a unique hexagonal vent design on the back brightens up a normally run-of-the-mill part of a laptop.
The optional mechanical keyboard is one of our favorite features of the Alienware X17 R2. Most gaming laptops use membrane keys, but the x17 R2 can be outfitted with optional Cherry MX switches to give you crisp keypresses on the go. However, for all its perks, it has some irregularities Most of the ports are on the rear, which makes them hard to reach quickly and despite its hefty size, it has a rather average battery life.
Acer Predator Triton 500 SE Gaming Laptop (2022)
This is another excellent choice for those that want a fabulous all-around computer that’s also a gaming powerhouse. The industry is moving away from dedicated gaming laptops, and there are few greater exemplifiers of that than the Acer Predator Triton 500 SE. It’s another 17-inch model, so it’s not petite by any means. However, it’s extremely thin for the hardware included and has an excellent all-metal design that gives it a premium feel.
One of the unique features the Triton brings to the table is its “Turbo” button. Above the keyboard, there’s a single button labeled “Turbo,” which is reminiscent of those found on old desktops. When you press it, the laptop will max out all its fans and automatically overclock its hardware. When Turbo Mode is active, you’ll give around a 10% boost in performance at the expense of having to hear the extremely loud and high-pitched fans.
ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 (2022)
The Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 is ostentatious in the best way. However, if you’re out to live the good life at any expense, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better laptop. After all, why get a gaming laptop with one screen when you can get one with two?
At around $4,000 for the fully-loaded model, the Zephyrus Duo 16 isn’t for those shopping on a budget. Instead, this is a laptop for someone who wants something out of the norm. No machine on the market is like it, which can be good or bad. Even the touchpad is in an unusual location to accommodate the second screen.
If you want to watch YouTube or Twitch when playing games, but without using more than one device, look no further than the Duo 16. What looks like a gimmick at first sight will become indispensable once you realize how much freedom it gives you to consume content over a regular laptop.