Our Favorite Gaming Laptops

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Our Favorite Gaming Laptops

For those willing to invest in one, gaming laptops offer many benefits. The best gaming laptops pack the power of a desktop machine into a much lighter device, but the tradeoff is usually price. However, for those looking for a powerful machine without the hassle of putting one together yourself, there are still gaming laptops that offer a healthy balance of performance and price.

Shopping for a good gaming laptop means not only considering factors like how much performance you need from key components like a CPU or GPU, but also keeping in mind other specs like your display's refresh rate, a good keyboard layout, or port selection. Laptops are a lot less modular than their desktop counterparts, and what you're buying is what you're stuck with. Some laptops let you add additional storage or RAM after the fact, but that's not always guaranteed. With the constant influx of new models, the market can be a bit intimidating, especially if you're a first-time buyer. Luckily, this guide is here to help point you toward some of our favorite picks and get you started on your search.

Best Overall Gaming Laptop: ASUS 16" Republic of Gamers Strix SCAR

ASUS 16" Republic of Gamers Strix SCAR G634JZR-XS96 Notebook
ASUS 16" Republic of Gamers Strix SCAR G634JZR-XS96 Notebook

The SCAR from ASUS is our choice for the best overall gaming laptop for most people. Gamers can rest easy knowing it's got enough power under the hood to play today's games comfortably at solid framerates via its vivid 16-inch QHD+ Mini LED display with up to a 240Hz refresh rate. ASUS calls it the "Nebula HDR Display," and it features more than 2,000 dimming zones in addition to 100% DCI-P3 coverage and 1100 nits of peak brightness, making HDR content look great. The SCAR was also designed with thermals in mind, setting it apart from other laptops. There's a full-width heatsink in addition to a triple-fan cooling system to maximize cooling and keep temperatures low when its powerful components start ramping up. In terms of ports, you've got all the essentials covered with a Thunderbolt™ 4 port, one USB-C port, HDMI 2.1 support, and more.

A 14th-generation Intel® Core™ i9 24-core CPU and 32GB of RAM ensure you'll get great performance from the SCAR for the foreseeable future, as well. As for the GPU, we would point you toward the configuration carrying NVIDIA's RTX 4080 series card, although you can upgrade to a 4090, which also has an 18" display, or downgrade to the variant with a 4070 card, if you so choose.

Beware if you're looking for a laptop that's a little more understated, since ASUS's Republic of Gamers branding is featured pretty heavily, in addition to an RGB strip along the base. But if you're looking for machine that can handle whatever you throw at it, the SCAR is a worthwhile investment for anyone looking for a serious gaming laptop.

As a great alternative, the 16" Blade, from Razer is comparable to our top choice. It also comes in a ton of different configurations that you can opt for, based on your specific needs.

Best Midrange Gaming Laptop: 16" Legion Pro 5i 16IRX8 Gaming Laptop

Lenovo 16" Legion Pro 5i 16IRX8 Gaming Laptop
Lenovo 16" Legion Pro 5i 16IRX8 Gaming Laptop

Our selection for the best midrange gaming laptop you can purchase today is the Legion Pro 5i Gaming Laptop from Lenovo. We like the configuration with a 2.2 GHZ Intel® Core™ i9 24-core processor and NVIDIA RTX 4070 under the hood. The 13th-gen processor still packs plenty of power and the 4070-series card will have no problem delivering consistently high frame rates at 1440p or 1080p. But if you need more power, the 7i is also a worthy upgrade, with its 4080-series card.

The Legion also comes with 32GB of DDR5 RAM and 1TB of storage, which is very solid at this price point. The power selection isn't bad, if not a little limited, with two USB-C ports and four USB-A ports in addition to HDMI 2.1. Another standout feature of the Legion 5i is the ability to add more storage via an M.2 slot if you need more than the included 1TB.

Design-wise, the Legion Pro 5i is rather straightforward when compared to some of our other picks. While there are definitely some "gamer" elements to it, like the vent design, overall it’s pretty subtle in comparison. It’s not the best-looking laptop, but we think the Legion Pro 5i is a great midrange option that stands out with excellent specs and a serviceable display that offers a good compromise between performance and price. The 4070-equipped configuration in particular retails for around $1,499 and offers tremendous value if you're looking for a capable machine that won't beat your bank account senseless.

Best Budget Gaming Laptop: Lenovo 15.6" LOQ 15IRH8 Gaming Laptop

Lenovo 15.6" LOQ 15IRH8 Gaming Laptop
Lenovo 15.6" LOQ 15IRH8 Gaming Laptop

We think the best budget laptop you can buy today is the Lenovo LOQ, which offers good performance at a price that's hard to beat. The LOQ features a 15.6" 1920 x 1080 IPS display with a 144Hz refresh rate. It's got a 2.4 GHz Intel® Core™ i5 14-core processor, 16GB of DDR5 RAM, and this version features an RTX 4050 that should have no problem delivering consistent frame rates at 1080p. As for ports, the LOQ has a USB-C port, three USB-A ports, as well as HDMI 2.1 support, Ethernet, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. It’s currently priced at around $799, which is pretty much as good it gets for anyone seeking a budget machine that'll get you gaming without too heavy of an investment up front.

If you're looking for a great alternative, we also like the 15.6" TUF F15 gaming laptop from ASUS. Although it's a bit more expensive than the LOQ, the price tag is worth it; it’s got great build quality, more memory, and a bit more power with its NVIDIA 4060-series graphics card.

ASUS 15.6" TUF Gaming F15 Laptop
ASUS 15.6" TUF Gaming F15 Laptop

What laptop are you currently using? Whether you're researching something to replace your current setup or if this is your first time shopping for a gaming laptop, be sure to check out the individual product pages for more detailed specs on the laptops mentioned. And if none of our favorites fit your particular bill, we invite you to drop a comment or ask a question below, so we can help find the best laptop for you.

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