The early gaming laptops were largely desktop replacements: clunky chassis, multiple power bricks, and RGB lighting galore. But the top contenders now are different. Manufacturers are finally putting powerful specs into thin gaming machines: sleeker, more portable, and more professional builds. They have excellent, fast refreshing screens that are necessary for a great gaming experience. These laptops aren’t just great for gaming but for everyday work as well.
The best gaming laptop of 2023 is the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14. It can handle the most demanding games on the market today, it’s portable, and it also makes a great daily driver. Other good options are the Razer Blade 16 and the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro.
One more thing to keep in mind is the power you can expect. Not all chips with the same name are created equal — the RTX 4070 in one laptop may not deliver the same frame rates as the RTX 4070 in another laptop due to its wattage (as well as other factors like the processor and cooling). Nvidia now requires companies to disclose clock speeds and graphics power on each model’s product page, but plenty of manufacturers haven’t done that yet.
Out of the many gaming laptops we test each year, here are the ones that make the list. If you’re looking for a more multipurpose device, check out our best laptop page. If you’re an Android gamer, we’ve also got a list of the best Chromebooks you can buy.
The best gaming laptop
The ROG Zephyrus G14 is an astonishingly good gaming laptop for its size. Its AMD Ryzen 9 processor and 40-series GeForce RTX GPU can push powerful, smooth graphics performance in games with its QHD display while also being surprisingly efficient for other tasks.
CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 7940 HS / GPU: GeForce RTX 4070, RTX 4080 / RAM: 8GB, 16GB / Storage: 512GB, 1TB / Display: 14-inch IPS, 2560 x 1600, 120Hz, no touch option / Dimensions: 12.28 x 8.94 x 0.73 / Weight: 3.64 pounds
The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is the best gaming laptop for its price. There are many configurations out there, but right now we feel the AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS processor, with either an RTX 4060 or RTX 4070 GPU, is the best 14-inch gaming laptop you can buy.
This is a great device for travel and commute gaming at just 3.79 pounds and 0.77 inches thick. It comes with a great keyboard, touchpad, port selection, and screen. The frame rates it produced in our testing were solid across multiple generations of this laptop. We also got all-day battery life, which you don’t see in too many gaming laptops these days. Oh, and there’s even a webcam.
If you are interested in having an animated grid of colored lights on your computer, you can also pay more for a model that has Asus’ AniMe Matrix. We don’t think these models offer particularly good value for their price, but they do have some cute benefits: you can customize them to display words or images of your choice, and there’s a virtual pet on it that you can play with. Regardless, if you’re looking for a 14-inch laptop with powerful gaming chops that can double as a daily driver, this device should top your list.
Read our Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 review.
The most powerful gaming laptop
The ROG Strix Scar 17 X3D is one of the fastest gaming laptops you can get, thanks to its AMD Ryzen 9 7945HX3D processor and Nvidia RTX 4090 GPU. With 32GB of RAM, 1TB storage, and a 240Hz 1440p screen, it’s the high-end laptop to beat.
CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 7945HX3D / GPU: Nvidia Geforce RTX 4090 / RAM: 32GB / Storage: 1TB / Display: 17-inch IPS QHD, 240Hz display, 3ms, 300 nits, 100 percent DCI-P3 / Dimensions: 15.55 x 11.1 x 1.11 inches / Weight: 6.51 pounds
The ROG Strix Scar 17 X3D is big, it’s loud, it’s garish, and it’s flat-out the fastest gaming laptop we’ve tested. Thanks to its AMD Ryzen 9 79045HX3D processor, it leaves models with the same top-tier RTX 4090 graphics card and Intel’s fastest CPUs in the dust. It can run many of today’s AAA titles at 1440p with triple-digit frame rates.
The Scar 17 X3D has a 17-inch 2560 x 1440 240Hz screen with G-Sync, oodles of ports, a pleasant keyboard, and RGB galore. At over six and a half pounds and 17 inches on the diagonal, it’s your classic high-performance, barely portable gaming laptop.
Its webcam is potato, battery life is exactly as bad as you’d expect from everything we just listed, and it’s expensive, but for now this is the high-water mark for gaming laptops.
For more down-to-earth performance and price, you can also get the ROG Strix Scar 17 with an RTX 4070 for about $1,800 or with an RTX 4080 for about $2,900.
Read our Asus ROG Strix Scar 17 X3D review.
The Asus ROG Strix Scar 17 is a powerful gaming laptop powered by an AMD Ryzen 9 7945HX processor and Nvidia GeForce RTX 40-series GPU. These more reasonable models have the same excellent 17-inch, 2560 x 1440 240Hz screen and comfortable keyboard as the X3D model.
Read our review of the Asus ROG Strix Scar 17 X3D.
The best cheap gaming laptop
This 15-inch gaming laptop is one of the most popular choices for budget shoppers. It’s now available with a 13th Gen Intel processor and Nvidia RTX 3050 graphics.
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600H, Ryzen 7 5800H, Intel Core i5-13500H, Core i7-13700H, Core i7-12700H / GPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600H, Ryzen 7 5800H, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050, RTX 3050 Ti, RTX 4050 / RAM: 8GB, 16GB / Storage: 512GB, 1TB / Display: 15.6-inch IPS, 1920 x 1080, 60Hz / 144Hz, no touch option / Dimensions: 14.09 x 10.04 x 0.93 / Weight: 5.05 pounds
If you’ve got a tighter shopping budget, the HP Victus 15 is worth considering. The model we tested has a 144Hz screen, which is hard to find below the $800 mark. We found the touchpad a bit stiff, but that was our only real issue with the chassis in our testing.
While the Victus 15 doesn’t have the powerful gaming chops to match some of the other devices in this category, it can certainly run a number of games at their maximum settings, particularly lighter titles. If you don’t want to compromise on more modern AAA titles, we recommend going for the RTX 3050 model.
Read our HP Victus 15 review.
A great, affordable 16-inch gaming laptop
Lenovo’s Legion 5i Pro features a 16-inch WQXGA display and stellar build quality.
CPU: Intel Core i5-13500HX, Core i7-13700HX / GPU: Nvidia Geforce RTX 4050, 4060, 4070 / RAM: 16GB / Storage: 512GB, 1TB / Display: 16-inch, 2560 x 1600 IPS, 165Hz / 240Hz, no touch option / Dimensions: 14.3 x 10.25 x 1.05 inches / Weight: 5.51 pounds
The Legion 5i Pro is a fast, well-built gaming laptop from Lenovo. For well under $2,000, you can get exceptional performance from Nvidia 40-series GPUs and Intel’s 13th Gen processors in an attractive 16-inch chassis. It delivered respectable results on every game we tried, even at its native 2560 x 1600 resolution. And with the 240Hz display, you’ll be able to fully take advantage of the Legion 5i Pro’s power.
Performance aside, the highlight of the Legion 5 Pro is its 16:10 screen. A screen this tall is hard to find on the gaming laptop market these days, and it allows you more room for multitasking if you want to use the Legion 5 Pro as a daily driver. The keyboard is also a delight to use, with four-zone programmable backlighting.
The Legion’s main downside is its battery life. We only got about five hours of continuous use in our testing. While that’s not the worst we’ve ever gotten from a gaming laptop, it’s nowhere near what you’ll see from Asus’ Zephyrus G14. However, it does charge very, very fast with the included 300W power brick. Overall, though, the G14 will be a better option for folks who often work on the go. But the Legion is still a solid choice — and we have to give Lenovo props for the 16:10 screen.
Read our Lenovo Legion 5i Pro review.
A sleek 16-inch gaming laptop
The Razer Blade 16 is the best laptop for playing the most demanding games on the market, offering a 16-inch Mini LED display, an RGB keyboard, and hardcore chips from Intel and Nvidia. It’s just not cheap.
CPU: Intel Core i9-13980HX, Core i9-13950HX / GPU: Nvidia Geforce RTX 4060, RTX 4070, RTX 4080, RTX 4090 / RAM: 16GB, 32GB / Storage: 1TB, 2TB / Display: 16-inch Mini-LED, Dual UHD / FHD+, 120Hz / 240Hz / Dimensions: 13.98 x 9.61 x 0.87 inches / Weight: 5.4 pounds
If you want your games to look as gorgeous as they possibly can, the Razer Blade 16 is worth considering. The Blade comes with an optional Mini LED screen that can swap between native UDH Plus / 120Hz and FHD Plus / 240Hz modes with one click.
Inside, the Blade is equipped with top-end chips from Nvidia and Intel and can run most of today’s demanding games at their highest settings with all the effects you want. If the dual-mode display isn’t a priority for you, you can go for more affordable (but still pricey) models. The Blade 16 does run hot, as is traditional with the Razer Blade laptops, especially with an RTX 4090. Stepping down to the RTX 4080 saves about $700 bucks, doesn’t lose you much performance, and might save your fingers.
Read our Razer Blade 16 review.
The best big-screen gaming laptop
The Razer Blade 18 is a powerful 18-inch gaming laptop with an attractive and relatively compact design.
CPU: Intel Core i9-13980HX, Core i9-13950HX / GPU: Nvidia Geforce RTX 4060, RTX 4070, RTX 4080, RTX 4090 / RAM: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB / Storage: 1TB, 2TB / Display: 18-inch, 2560 x 1600, 240Hz / Dimensions: 15.74 x 10.84 x 0.86 inches / Weight: 6.8 pounds
The Blade 18 delivers some of the best gaming performance you can find in a laptop — but that’s not even its superpower. What makes Razer’s flagship so impressive is its massive 18-inch screen that delivers a fully immersive gaming experience. And at 0.86 inches, it’s impressively thin for such a powerful device — thin enough to carry in a briefcase or backpack.
This year’s model comes with a QHD Plus 240Hz display. It also has a customizable per-key RGB keyboard, which adds a touch of color without being too intense for the office. It runs cooler than the Blade 16, not that that’s saying much. The Blade 18 certainly isn’t cheap, but it’s the laptop to buy if you want a really big screen in a relatively slim frame.
Read our Razer Blade 18 review.
The best convertible gaming laptop
The ROG Flow Z13 is a gaming tablet with a detachable keyboard, kickstand, and plenty of chops for QHD gaming.
CPU: Intel Core i9-13900H / GPU: Nvidia Geforce RTX 4060 / RAM: 16GB / Storage: 1TB SSD / Display: 13.4-inch IPS, 2560 x 1600, 165Hz, touch option / Dimensions: 11.89 x 8.11 x 0.51 inches / Weight: 2.6 pounds
If you’re looking for a super-portable gaming laptop that doubles as a tablet, the Flow Z13 is one of your only options. The model we tested is the Acronym Edition, which has a funky and unique design done in collaboration with the apparel brand Acronym. You don’t have to buy this particular model (and the plain one will certainly be more affordable, so that’s what’s linked here), but it’s covered in logos and typography, with a multicolored keyboard that looks like it belongs at a fashion show. We recommend going for the non-Acronym model if you’re looking for the best value.
Design aside, the Flow Z13 has the chops to run all kinds of demanding titles at its native QHD resolution. What’s more, it’s compatible with Asus’ XG Mobile external GPU. That means you can plug the Z13 in for heavy-duty performance while you’re at your desk at home. That setup should give you a better gaming experience than you can expect from most gaming laptops on their own.
Read our Asus ROG Flow Z13 review.
Updated November 21st, 4:35PM ET: Updated pricing and recommended configurations; added new high-end laptop pick.