The best gaming laptops used to be vastly inferior to their desktop cousins. These days, however, they can definitely go toe-to-toe running the newest games. Not only is the gap in performance much smaller than before but so is the gap in price between these portables and the best gaming PCs, while also offering portability and a smaller footprint. Here are our top picks for the best gaming laptop of the year.
When you think about the best laptops for gaming, you might think of a thick chassis, accented with aggressive angles and vents everywhere possible. But not the Razer Blade 15. It changes your perception of just how sleek a gaming laptop can be, without sacrificing any of the performance you expect. It’s not much larger than a MacBook Pro 16-inch or Dell XPS 15, yet packs in a powerful Nvidia RTX 2080 Super Max-Q graphics card.
The Razer Blade 15’s gaming experience is as much about the screen as it is about the GPU. A 300Hz refresh rate screen might sound like overkill, but it ensures that your GPU is never held back by your display. The result is insanely fast and fluid gaming, no matter what genre you play. There’s a 4K OLED option as well, but the 1080p 300Hz model is the best choice for gamers.
Dell G5 SE Gaming Laptop
You can’t expect a sub-$1,000 gaming laptop to sport a cutting-edge design. But thanks to the Dell G5 SE, you can expect top-notch performance. It’s an all-AMD solution, featuring the latest Ryzen 4000 processors with 8 cores and 16 threads. These are killer gaming and content creation chips, and the G5 SE makes great use of them.
The Radeon RX 5600M is the graphics card choice, even available in the $880 configuration, which easily beats the Nvidia GTX 1650 that shows up in many gaming laptops at this price.
The G5 SE also comes with the option for a 1080p 144Hz screen, as well as four-zone RGB backlighting. It may look clunky and outdated, but the Dell G5 SE Gaming Laptop is the best bang-for-your-buck gaming laptop you can buy.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14
The G14 is unlike any gaming laptop you’ve used. It’s incredibly lightweight, at just 3.5 pounds — and uses just a 14-inch screen rather than the typical 15-inch variety. The result is the smallest gaming laptop ever made, especially given how powerful this thing is.
The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 also provides excellent gaming performance, of course. You have options for either a GTX 1650, a GTX 1660 Ti, or an RTX 2060. If you can opt for the RTX 2060, you’ll be able to play most games over 60 frames per second. You’ll have to pay an extra $500 for the fancy programmable LEDs on the lid, but the $1,450 RTX 2060 model (without LEDs) is a great value.
Acer Predator Triton 500
G-Sync might kill battery life, but when it comes to smooth gameplay, it’s a beloved feature for many PC gamers. The Predator Triton 500 is a fantastic gaming laptop that just happens to include Nvidia’s important display technology.
It comes with an Intel Core i7-10750H and up to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q GPU and topping out with an RTX 2080 Super Max-Q upgrade, the Triton 500 can stand toe to toe with many of the other laptops on this list for significantly less cash. As if G-Sync wasn’t enough, the Triton 500 also ships with up to a 300Hz refresh rate. Like its aesthetics, the Triton 500’s battery performance is also underwhelming. But if you’re looking for the best gaming bang for your buck with a G-Sync screen, it’s hard to do better than this.