A good gaming laptop is about more than just how fast it is. Even if it has the best graphics card, the fastest, most colorful screen, a gazillion-core processor, a lot of fast solid-state storage for your games and a rock-solid hard drive for secondary storage, it might not be enough. These powerful parts could overheat at the worst times, your battery could die, or you could have a problem that makes it hard to play games. Or, maybe you don’t want to use an external mechanical keyboard with per-key RGB backlighting all the time, but the WASD keys on your system feel like mashed potatoes.
All of that doesn’t come cheap, but if you’re on a tight budget and know where to make concessions, you can still get something that will give you a good gaming experience. For example, you could look for a model with parts you can upgrade later to lower your initial cost or choose a screen with a lower resolution and slower speed.
Plus, improvements in cloud gaming mean that you can play more games than ever before on less powerful hardware. So it’s not a given that you’ll have to spend all your money on a new laptop. You do have to pay for subscriptions, so make sure to take that into account.
Check out what we think are the best gaming laptops below. This list is updated as we test and review products, so that you can hopefully find your own best gaming laptop.
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Best Gaming Laptop for 2022
HP Victus 16
The HP Victus 16 is a good choice that won’t break the bank. It gives people with different needs for work and play a good balance. If you spend more, you’ll probably get better build quality and better sound. But if you can get used to the shaking screen, the Victus can compete with more expensive models.
The 15-inch model starts at about $700, but I would stay away from configurations with 8GB RAM. MacOS can handle that much RAM, but Windows can’t. For $890, you can get a decent low-end model that you won’t quickly outgrow. It has an Intel i5-12450H processor, 12GB RAM, 512GB PCIe NVMe storage, a 144Hz 1080p screen, and a GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card.
Even the cheapest model should be able to play most 1080p games with medium to high graphics settings.
Acer Nitro 5
The Acer Nitro 5 is available in two sizes: 17.3 inches and 15.6 inches. Most gaming laptops under $1,000 have 15.6-inch screens, so the Acer’s larger screen lets you get lost in your game. The 17-inch version we looked at starts at less than $900 with an AMD Ryzen 5 5600H, a 1080p screen, and a GTX if you’re fine with 8GB RAM. But for about $200 more, you can get a much better system with an i7-11800H, an RTX 3050 Ti, and 16GB of RAM.
At this level, you’ll be able to play current games with FHD resolution and medium to high graphics settings, depending on the game. Still, Acer makes a gaming laptop that isn’t too expensive and has some nice extras, such as direct controls for power and cooling and upgrades to memory and storage.
Razer Blade 14
The 14-inch Razer Blade is a smaller version of the 15-inch standard. It has a lot of gaming power for its size without feeling too small, which is important for a gaming laptop. It also has a good battery life, a good size for traveling, and (for a gaming laptop) a simple design that looks professional enough to bring to a meeting with the boss or clients.
Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition
With a top-of-the-line Ryzen 9 5900HX CPU and Radeon RX 6800M GPU, Asus’ $1,650 all-AMD gaming laptop has great performance and battery life. And that’s before you realize that its performance and parts are way above its price class. Even when running close to full speed, it stays cool and quiet. At higher prices, though, it’s not so easy to decide.
Asus ROG Flow X13 With XG Mobile
When Asus puts together a 13-inch ultraportable two-in-one with a fairly powerful AMD CPU and an external GPU dock with a near-top-of-the-line Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 mobile processor, the result is a system that can be used for both work and play and is better than many larger, more cumbersome gaming laptops. Because it’s a two-in-one, you can use an external gaming keyboard without the built-in keyboard getting in the way. Since I reviewed it, the stand-alone version has been upgraded to an Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti, but the version that comes with the XG Mobile still has a GTX 1650.