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Best Gaming Laptop 2022: Top rated laptops for gamers

Introduction

A gaming laptop is a great option for those who want a powerful system to play all your favourite games on the go. But what’s the best gaming laptop option for you?

That’s a difficult question to answer with so many specs to consider, but our team of experts are well placed to help put. We review countless laptops throughout the year, and so have created this list with the top-scoring products to make it easier for you to pick the perfect portable.

Every laptop that features on this list has been thoroughly tested for at least a week, as we used industry-standard benchmarks to evaluate performance, as well as playing a selection of modern games to make sure that performance translates to real-world use.

We also make sure to test the screen, keyboard, ports, design and battery life to make sure each laptop doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses.

Of course, we know that gaming laptops come in all shapes and sizes, with a massive range of price points. And so we’ve tried to make sure this list includes as much variety as possible, whether you want a bargain buy or a monstrously powerful system capable of gaming in 4K.

Still struggling to find a gaming laptop that ticks all of your boxes? Then it may be worth bookmarking this page so you can return later, as we’ll be updating this list as soon as we review more high-quality gaming laptops.

Alternatively, if you’re open to a laptop outside the gaming sphere, then we suggest you check out our Best Laptop, Best Budget Laptop and Best Student Laptop lists instead. We’ve even got a Best Games Console list if you want a more affordable way to play games.

Best gaming laptops at a glance

How we test

Learn more about how we test gaming laptops

Every gaming laptop we review goes through a series of uniform checks designed to gauge key things including build quality, performance, screen quality and battery life. 

These include formal synthetic benchmarks and scripted tests, plus a series of real world checks, such as how well it runs when running a AAA game. 

We also make sure to use every gaming laptop we review as our primary gaming laptop for at least a week to ensure our review is as accurate as possible.

Razer Blade 14 (2021)

Best overall gaming laptop
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Pros

  • Slim, smart and robust 14in design
  • Powerful RTX 3070 graphics core
  • Superb AMD processor
  • High-quality 1440p display

Cons

  • Exterior sometimes gets hot
  • Expensive considering the components
  • No numberpad

The Razer Blade 14 is the best overall gaming laptop that we’ve reviewed. It strikes the perfect balance between performance and portability, with the 14-inch screen small enough for us to squeeze inside a rucksack and the 1.78kg heft light enough to take to work without causing us any back pains. We were also seriously impressed with the metal build, which feels classier than the vast majority of other gaming laptops we’ve reviewed. 

The Razer also excelled in our benchmark tests, with the Ryzen chip excelling at both gaming and content creation workloads, while the Nvidia GPU is powerful enough to play games in both Full HD and Quad HD resolutions. 

There aren’t any obvious flaws with the Razer Blade 14, as we found it to perform admirably in every department. The main sticking point is the price, as it’s very expensive. After testing the laptop, we reckon it’s worth the heavy investment, but you can find other superb gaming laptops that are more affordable, including the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14. The only real sacrifices between the two relate to build quality, with the Razer feeling significantly more robust.

And even if you want to stick with Razer, you’ve also got the options of the Razer Blade 15 and Razer Blade 17 laptops, with additional screen space and a higher performance ceiling. They’re both fantastic alternatives, but the Razer Blade 14 still remains our favourite choice since our tests found it to be easier to carry on the commute to work.

Reviewer: Mike Jennings
Full Review: Razer Blade 14 (2021) review

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 (2021)

Best value gaming laptop
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Pros

  • Excellent CPU and GPU performance
  • Very portable design for a gaming laptop
  • Quad HD screen option now available
  • Great battery life compared to rivals

Cons

  • No webcam
  • Mediocre Quad HD performance
  • Lack of RGB keyboard lighting

Very little separated the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 and the Razer Blade 14 in our tests, but the latter just about edged it since it has more powerful components, while featuring a webcam and RGB lighting. 

Nevertheless, the ROG Zephyrus G14 is still a fantastic gaming laptop, especially since it’s available at a more affordable price. Our benchmark tests showed it to excel at Full HD gaming, and is even capable of pushing the resolution up to Quad HD if you’re happy to settle for ‘Medium’ graphics quality for the most demanding games. 

It has a starting weight of just 1.6kg, making it even more portable than the Razer Blade 14. We found this to be very beneficial when transporting the laptop around in a rucksack, which is an important consideration since our tests show this to be a great productivity machine for when you’re not gaming – the keyboard feels great to type on and our uniform battery tests saw it last 6 hours and 30 minutes when given office workloads. 

So while you can find more luxurious gaming laptops by spending more, we still think this is the best gaming laptop in terms of pound-for-pound value – just remember to buy an external webcam for Zoom meetings.

Reviewer: Ryan Jones
Full Review: Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 (2021) review

Gigabyte AORUS 17G (2021)

Best keyboard on a gaming laptop
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Pros

  • Excellent gaming performance
  • Mechanical keyboard feelsfantastic
  • Big and beautiful 17-inch screen

Cons

  • Too large and heavy to be a true portable
  • Webcam is located under the screen
  • Software isn’t as customisable as Razer Synapse

Many modern gaming laptops feature membrane keyboards, but we find these to have shallow keystrokes and poor tactile feedback. Our testing shows that’s fine for typing out essays, but it pales in comparison to the experience we’ve had with some of the best gaming keyboards with mechanical switches. 

Fortunately, there are a select few gaming laptops that feature mechanical keyboards, including the Gigabyte AORUS 17G. We were really impressed with the keyboard during testing, as we found the crunchy tactile feel to be incredibly helpful for letting the user know when a key has hit its actuation point.

The Gigabyte AORUS 17G is no one-trick pony either, as it posted impressive performance results in our benchmark test. The screen also excelled in our review process, with our colorimeter showing it to have above-average brightness and great colour accuracy. There’s also plenty of screen space thanks to the 17-inch panel, while we found the high 300Hz refresh rate to be great for multiplayer shooters where fast reactions are essential. 

There are a few other superb gaming laptops with mechanical keyboards, including the Asus ROG Strix Scar 15 (2021), so it’s worth looking around if that’s your priority. But after reviewing a number of gaming laptops, we’ve found that mechanical keyboards are generally only found on large and heavy laptops, and so aren’t very portable – so make sure you factor that into your final decision.

Reviewer: Ryan Jones
Full Review: Gigabyte AORUS 17G (2021) review

Acer Nitro 5 (2022)

Best 1080p gaming laptop
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Pros

  • Fast, well-balanced spec
  • Excellent 165Hz 1080p screen
  • Full set of features

Cons

  • Chunky style
  • Can run hot and noisy
  • Poor battery life

The Acer Nitro 5 is a gaming laptop that excels at 1080p gaming. It has everything you’d want from a mainstream gaming portable, including a high 165Hz refresh rate and enough power to play any PC game with a smooth performance.

We were really impressed with the laptop’s performance, packing the new 12th Gen Intel Core chip, as well as a generous selection of Nvidia GPUs. Our review model featured Nvidia’s RTX 3070 Ti graphics, and was capable of running games such as Rainbow Six Siege at up to 314fps, making it a good option for online multiplayer.

When activating the performance mode, the Nitro managed to play both Horizon Zero Dawn and Borderlands 3 at over 90fps. However, boosting the performance in this way will see the laptop fans become distractingly noisy. We were also impressed by the SSD speeds, ensuring this laptop can blaze through loading times.

But with great power comes great heft, as the laptop weighs 2.4kg which isn’t ideal if you wanted this machine to double up as a productivity portable. Still, if you’re craving a great value laptop for 1080p gaming, you’ll struggle to find a better option than the latest Acer Nitro 5. And if you want an even cheaper gaming laptop, we suggest checking out the Lenovo Legion 5 (Advantage Edition) instead.

Reviewer: Stuart Andrews
Full Review: Acer Nitro 5 (2022) Review

Gigabyte G5

Best budget gaming laptop
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Pros

  • Surprisingly strong display
  • Punchy 105W Nvidia RTX 3060 GPU
  • Good value

Cons

  • Uses an old, if powerful, CPU
  • Poor battery life
  • Keyboard gets a bit toasty in parts thanks to limited thermal isolation

The Gigabyte G5 is an unusual gaming laptop, as it packs an outdated 10th Generation Intel Core processor, despite most modern portables now moving onto the 12th Gen. But while that does see performance speeds compromised, it also means Gigabyte has been able to push the price far below the $1000 mark, making it the most affordable gaming laptop on this list.

Despite our benchmark tests showing the CPU speeds to be behind the competition, this laptop arguably makes up for that with the inclusion of Nvidia’s RTX 3060 GPU. Our testing showed this laptop to be a fine choice for 1080p gaming. You will see higher frame rates with the Acer Nitro 5, but those who just want a casual gaming performance will benefit from the more affordable price.

Bargain laptops usually have poor screen quality, but that’s not the case here. During testing, we were impressed with contrast and colour accuracy, as well as the fact you get a 144Hz refresh rate. Our only major concern is the poor battery life, lasting for only 2hrs and 44mins in our benchmark test. But that shouldn’t be an issue if you plan on using this laptop within reach of a power source. Plus, its 2.1kg heft rules this out as a laptop for on-the-go use anyway.

So if you want the cheapest gaming laptop possible that still provides a good 1080p performance, we recommend checking out the Gigabyte G5. You only really need to look elsewhere if you crave a higher resolution, faster refresh rate or a more portable and premium design.

Reviewer: Andrew Williams
Full Review: Gigabyte G5 Review

Asus ROG Flow X16 (2022)

Best hybrid gaming laptop
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Pros

  • Impressive hybrid design
  • Great gaming ability
  • Bold, high-resolution screen
  • Satisfying keyboard

Cons

  • Faster, cheaper rivals available
  • Hot, loud operation during games
  • Missing connectivity features

The Asus ROG Flow X16 is a remarkable gaming laptop, featuring a 180-degree screen hinge that allows you to flip the device into a tablet form. This enables you to use the laptop like a 16-inch tablet, or even prop it up in tent mode to continue gaming with a controller.

The screen looks lovely too, with a sharp 2560 x 1600 resolution and speedy 165Hz refresh rate. We were impressed with the results when testing the screen too, with an incredibly high brightness that enables you to use the laptop outside without fear of sun glare impairing your view.

This 2-in-1 laptop is packing powerful specs too, including an AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS processor and Nvidia RTX 3070 Ti GPU. Our performance tests show that you can find more powerful systems for less money (such as the Razer Blade 15 and Alienware x15 R2) but then you’d be missing out on that versatile screen hinge.

There are a couple of noticeable omissions such as Thunderbolt 4 connectivity, while the laptop can get hot and noisy when under stress. But if you’re really keen for a hybrid gaming laptop, those minor blemishes are easy to forgive.

Reviewer: Mike Jennings
Full Review: Asus ROG Flow X16 review

Alienware x17 R2 (2022)

Best high-performance gaming laptop
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Pros

  • Sensational gaming and CPU speeds
  • Top-quality 360Hz screen
  • Crisp, satisfying keyboard
  • Good connectivity

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Poor battery life
  • Underwhelming overclocking

The Alienware x17 R2 (2022) is a fantastic gaming laptop for several reasons. It has a huge 17-inch screen with speedy 360Hz refresh rate, and packs some of the most powerful laptop specs currently available with the option of a Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti GPU paired with an Intel 12th Generation (Alder Lake) CPU.

During testing, we found this behemoth a laptop to be capable of playing Horizon Zero Dawn at 120fps in Full HD at max graphics settings, and a jaw-dropping 226fps average in Rainbow Six Siege. That leaves sitting the Alienware x17 R2 right near the top in our benchmark scores, second to only the Razer Blade 17 (2022) – the Razer is another superb option, but costs considerably more.

We also loved the Alienware’s fast and crisp keyboard, and the design is one of the snazziest we’ve seen from a gaming laptop in recent years.

The Alienware x17 R2 is admittedly very expensive, while the weight and battery life limits the laptop’s portability, but this is nevertheless our absolute favourite high-performance laptop right now.

Reviewer: Mike Jennings
Full Review: Alienware x17 R2 (2022) review

Asus ROG Flow X13

Best ultra-portable gaming laptop
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Pros

  • Superb, versatile design of laptop and dock
  • RTX 3080 delivers great gaming speed
  • GTX 1650 is a solid eSports chip
  • High-quality display

Cons

  • Laptop and dock design won’t suit everyone
  • Laptop is sometimes too hot
  • Middling battery life
  • Minimal laptop connectivity

One of the biggest issues we’ve found when reviewing the majority of gaming laptops is that they’re substantially larger and heavier than your average notebook. That isn’t the case with the Asus ROG Flow X13, which impressed us during testing thanks to its ultra-portable design, weighing a dainty 1.3kg.

Asus has been forced to make compromises to the power of the laptop to achieve such a portable design, although our benchmarks results showed it can still achieve 30fps and beyond for modern games at a 1080p resolution.

Fortunately, Asus also provides the option of an external RTX 3080, which plugs into both the laptop and a power source simultaneously to provide the GPU with a major performance boost. Our benchmark results saw the gaming performance climb above 90fps for the likes of Horizon Zero Dawn and Borderlands 3, which is remarkable. However, the ROG XG Mobile is extremely expensive and so won’t be worthwhile for everyone. 

Still, we really enjoyed using the Asus ROG Flow X13 (2021) without the external GPU, with the ultra-portable design allowing us to use it for both productivity and gaming workloads. Just be mindful that our benchmark results prove you can find more powerful portables elsewhere. It’s also worth considering the Asus ROG Flow Z13, which also supports the external GPU, but has a 2-in-1 form factor so you can use it like a tablet.

Reviewer: Mike Jennings
Full review: Asus ROG Flow X13 review

Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16

Best dual-screen gaming laptop
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Pros

  • Brilliant main display
  • Useful secondary screen
  • Impressive gaming performance
  • Ultra-fast storage

Cons

  • Large, heavy and expensive
  • Lack of game support for second screen
  • Poor positioning of keyboard and touchpad
  • Noisy in Performance and Turbo modes

The Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 is the latest iteration in the company’s dual-screen gaming laptop series. With a second display, this laptop allows you to perform multiple tasks simultaneously, so you can navigate the web, skip a track on Spotify or video chat with a friend all without pausing your game. We found this feature to be incredibly useful, especially if you’re editing video and need multiple windows open at once.

There is a major drawback to the dual-screen design however, as the keyboard has been shunted to the front of the laptop’s deck while the trackpad has been squashed into the bottom-right corner. We found both the keyboard and trackpad to be awkward to use, which could be problematic if you need to churn out long essays or reports on the regular.

This laptop is also packing cutting-edge specs such as the Ryzen 9 6900HX and Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti. Our benchmark results show this laptop to have one of the most powerful graphics performance currently available, although its CPU single-core processing speeds weren’t quite as high as what Intel’s 12th Gen chip is capable of.

But with such powerful specs, and the inclusion of the second screen, the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 is very large and heavy. From our experience, we’d only really recommend this as a laptop that’s going to spend most of its time sitting on your desk at home. But if you’re simply looking for a versatile alternative to a desktop gaming PC, and like the idea of a dual-screen setup, then you’ll likely be very happy with a Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 purchase.

Reviewer: Stuart Andrews
Full review: Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 review

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FAQs

What is a gaming laptop?

A gaming laptop is a portable computer that has been purposefully designed for gaming workloads. This means it should feature a discrete graphics card from either AMD or Nvidia, enabling it to run AAA games with a smooth performance. Gaming laptops are also likely to have RGB lighting on the keyboard, and more overt design choices than conventional notebooks.

What is a good refresh rate on a gaming laptop?

A high refresh rate will ensure your display can keep up with the number of frames generated per second by the GPU. It’s generally recommended to opt for at least a 144Hz refresh rate on a gaming laptop. You’ll probably only need a faster display if you’re sticking to a Full HD resolution and want to play competitive online games such as Apex Legends and Fortnite, which aren’t very taxing on your laptop’s graphics card.

What is ray tracing?

Ray tracing is an advanced graphics technology that can render realistic lighting and shadow effects.

What is DLSS?

DLSS is a smart feature from Nvidia that can boost the frame rate performance of a game. This is done by rendering a game at a lower resolution, but using upscaling technology so there isn’t a noticeable negative impact to the image quality.

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