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What to look for in a gaming laptop in 2022

Gaming laptops don’t come cheap. Not only do they need to include a bunch of powerful hardware, but they also need to be durable, reliable, and have a display that can hold up after years of relentless travel.

However, having the option to play all your favorite games wherever you go can’t be understated, and the convenience of gaming laptops continues to make them one of the most popular products for PC gaming.

Unfortunately, buying a gaming laptop isn’t as easy as gaming on one. Hundreds of models have flooded the market in recent years, and there’s no shortage of marketing jargon to cut through before you can start comparing different models. However, understanding a few key aspects of a good laptop will make finding the perfect gaming laptop a breeze.

Above all, pay close attention to the graphics processing unit (GPU) on your possible platform. If you have a GeForce RTX 30-series GPU, chances are you’re buying a device that will run popular games for years to come. You’ll also want to look at at least an Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 CPU. , since they are powerful enough to play almost all the most demanding versions of today.

Buying a laptop with a high-end GPU and processor doesn’t come cheap, so you’ll need to consider your budget carefully. We do not recommend spending too in a gaming laptop, as they often feature non-upgradeable components, meaning you’ll be buying a whole new rig sooner than you think. This is very different from gaming desktop PCs, which allow you to swap individual components as necessary.

If your game library consists of just a handful of games, you can save a few bucks by opting for a laptop without a lot of internal storage space. Alternatively, you can buy a SSD or hdd external to host a growing catalog. Internal storage is always the best option, as it tends to load games faster than external solutions, but often comes at a higher price.

In short, pay close attention to the GPU, processor, and SSD of your future gaming laptop. Just keep in mind that unless you’re willing to break the bank, you probably have to make some compromises.

There are plenty of other things to consider when shopping for a gaming laptop, but the five products below offer the best mix of performance, price, and reliability for their respective category.

Best Gaming Laptop Overall: Razer Blade 15

Razer Blade 15 on textured floor
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Razer constantly produces high-end gaming products, and the Razer Blade 15 is not an exception. There are a variety of configurations available, but we recommend opting for GeForce RTX 3070 and Intel Core i7 to get the most for your money.

As one of the most powerful GPUs money can buy, the RTX 3070 enables this portable behemoth to run today’s most demanding games without flinching. The action is captured on a 15.6-inch QHD display with a 165Hz refresh rate, offering buttery-smooth performance that wouldn’t be out of place on a bulky desktop rig.

Completing the package is a list of specifications that never seems to end. Vapor chamber cooling, Wi-Fi 6, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD are packed inside an intricate aluminum chassis, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a better-looking laptop.

If you don’t mind the price, the Razer Blade 15 is close to being a perfect gaming rig.

Best Budget Gaming Laptop: ASUS ROG Zephyrus

ASUS Rog Zephryus on pink background
ASUS

There’s a lot to love about ASUS ROG Zephyrus . The popular laptop can somehow pack a GeForce RTX 3070, AMD Ryzen 9, 1TB SSD, and a 15.6-inch QHD display without breaking its price point above $1,900. It is also equipped with 16 GB of DDR4-RAM for all your multitasking needs.

Unlike some tickets in this list, the Zephyrus is built around an unassuming chassis. You’ll still get backlit keys and some sharp edges, but its all-black design is surprisingly professional. It weighs just 4.21lbs, making it easy to slip into a backpack and carry around without adding too much weight to your inventory.

Its minimalist design, RTX 3070, and Ryzen 9 are the specs that will keep you gaming for years to come, and Zephyrus spares no effort to offer a sub-$2000 price point. Dolby Atmos compatibility the HDMI output, WiFi 6 and even AI noise cancellation for voice chat make the laptop a surprisingly well-rounded purchase.

The Zephyrus is only missing a ten-key number pad, but that’s a small price to pay for such a powerful, portable and well-priced gaming laptop.

The best gaming laptop under $1,000: Acer Nitro 5

Acer Nitro 5
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Often available well below the $1000 price point, Acer has managed to pack a ridiculous amount of firepower into a budget package. Some shortcuts had to be made to stay below that price (like a meager 256GB SSD), but you won’t find a better product than the Acer Nitro 5 in this price range.

The Nitro 5 won’t give you a coveted RTX 30-series GPU, but it does come with a GTX 1650. This highly rated next-gen graphics card should be more than capable of handling today’s most popular games on medium or high settings. , and it does so in style on a 15.6-inch FHD display.

Acer continues its tradition of making reliable products with the Nitro 5, though you’ll have to get used to its ultra-aggressive ‘gamer’ design. Its all-black design is accented by backlit red keys, and it’s sure to turn heads if you open it in the library or coffee shop.

The best gaming laptop under $500: Acer Aspire 5 Slim

Acer Aspire slim on gray background
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Finding a gaming laptop under $500 isn’t easy. And although he Acer Aspire 5 Slim it ticks a lot of boxes, there are still a lot of limitations for a product in this price range.

The most notable sacrifice is the Vega 3 GPU, which won’t let you run anything above low settings. In fact, most of today’s most popular games probably won’t even be GPU playable, though you can probably get away with some late-gen games with the setting disabled. However, if you mainly play indie games with lower graphics loads, the Aspire 5 Slim will be a worthwhile purchase.

If you can look past the Vega 3, the Acer Aspire 5 is a solid laptop. The Ryzen 3 CPU remains an affordable solution for low-end gaming, 4GB DDR4 memory lets you multitask a bit, and it’s all wrapped up with a premium design and Full HD display.

We highly recommend saving a little more to choose other gaming laptop on this list if you want modern games, but if you don’t mind being relegated to games from another era, the Aspire 5 might be perfect.

The best 17-inch gaming laptop: Razer Blade Pro 17

Razer Blade 17 with Call of Duty game
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Gaming on a laptop often means missing out on those little details that you’d only see on a larger screen. And while it certainly can’t replace an ultrawide monitor or a 75-inch QLED TV the Razer Blade Pro 17 could be the best option for your gaming experience.

Razer’s pricey gaming laptop comes in a variety of versions, but one of our favorites pairs the RTX 3070 with an FHD display with a 360Hz refresh rate. This gives you the best combination of price, power, and a sharp display that will easily immerse you in the action. You can also go to a 4K monitor with a refresh rate of 120 Hz but that can be a bit excessive and it’s often out of stock.

Gaming on the Blade Pro 17 offers more than just a buttery smooth experience, as Vapor Chamber cooling technology helps keep things from overheating without sounding like a jet engine. This model even includes a 1TB SSD to easily store a huge library of games and the option to customize the keyboard backlight with a variety of adjustable zones and hundreds of selectable colors.

All of this is combined with an aluminum body that offers reliability and durability that will make the Razer Blade Pro 17 last for years.

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