Finding the right gaming laptop can be difficult. Do you want something that isn’t too expensive? Something on the slimmer side? Or do you want gaming performance outside the hood?
From budget casual models to powerful hardware, there is a bewildering choice of laptops available for serious gamers.
Whatever you need, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite gaming laptops of the moment. There’s plenty of power for hardcore gamers, and it’s all (reasonably) portable.
Our pick of the best gaming laptops
Alienware has always been a huge beast in the gaming laptop space, and that’s set to continue with the x15. It’s a modified version of the company’s m15, featuring a more elegant design with premium components and top-notch display options.
As usual, there is a wide range of customizable specs, and this excavator is also available in a whopping 17.3-inch form factor as the x17.
The updated x15’s design is unmistakably Alienware thanks to honeycomb slots and RGB LEDs. It’s made of magnesium, aluminum and plastic, and has an almost flawless build quality. It is also lighter than its predecessor.
Game grunt comes from Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3070 and RTX 3080 cores and you can choose from three monitors: Combine the RTX 3070 with a 165Hz display for buttery-smooth mainstream gaming, or choose the RTX 3080 with 1080p at 360Hz or 2560 x 1440 at 240Hz if you’re You want to excel in esports or HD visuals. It has the best of the 11th generation Intel processors, the memory cap, and it’s available with up to 4TB of SSD storage.
The x15 has the speed to handle any gaming scenario, while the screens have huge brightness and color gamut. Wi-Fi 6 ensures fast networking, USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports and a fast keyboard support 1.5mm travel distance and per-key RGB LED backlighting.
Acer Nitro 5
If you want the best gaming power without rinsing your bank account, Acer is our top budget pick. It comes with current generation Nvidia graphics along with Intel processors and displays with refresh rates to handle games at decent speeds.
The most powerful Nitro 5 models pair an RTX 3070 GPU with AMD’s Ryzen 7 5800H for £1,399. That’s a great price, and these components provide enough gaming power to take down any title.
The more expensive specs are based on the RTX 3050 and 3060 graphics cores – the former is ideal for casual gaming and older titles, while the latter is a solid chip for esports. Intel’s options aren’t current-generation and can’t keep up with AMD, but they’re respectable and won’t slow you down…plus they’re getting an update later this year, which bodes well for performance.
The 15.6-inch screens have a refresh rate of 144Hz – which is fine in most situations – and offer good depth and contrast. You get three full-size USB ports, HDMI out, dual-band Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth, plus a keyboard with a number pad and four-zone RGB LED lighting. These buttons are quick and convenient, so they are perfect for long gaming sessions.
concessions? Build quality is modest, so we recommend a protective case if you’re traveling with this laptop. Plus they are heavy, the speakers are laminate and only lasted a little over 3 hours during our working test.
Asus ROG Flow X13
Gaming laptops are usually big blocks that don’t travel much, but the Asus ROG Flow X13 turns that tradition on its head: it packs a 13.4-inch screen inside a body that’s just 16mm thick and weighs 1.3kg.
Of course, this limits what hardware can be fitted indoors, but Asus has thought of that too – because that’s sold alongside a graphics dock with the RTX 3080. The laptop alone costs £1,500, and the dock brings that price up to £2,600.
X13 is small and impressive. Its RTX 3050 Ti graphics core can handle most games at decent frame rates, and it has a great AMD Ryzen 9 processor that cuts the job. It also has a great screen: the 16:10 aspect ratio adds height, it’s a touch screen, and it has amazing contrast and accurate colours.
Impressively, this is a hybrid, so it can swing in both tent and tablet modes. It even has good speakers and a crisp keyboard, and it’s sturdy thanks to the aluminum-magnesium chassis.
However, there are negative sides. The X13 doesn’t have many ports, external surfaces can get hot, sometimes it’s as loud as larger laptops, and the battery life is just average; And while the RTX 3050 Ti offers a reasonable pace, it won’t run the best games at high quality levels.
But that’s where the XG dock comes in. The RTX 3080 has the power to handle any gaming task, even if you take out an external monitor with a higher resolution or refresh rate. The dock also offers plenty of extra connectivity and is nice and easy to use — it just slots into a dedicated port on the laptop’s left edge.
The dock weighs 1kg, so carrying it along with your laptop in a bag means you’ll carry the same weight as any traditional gaming laptop – but in a smaller, more versatile package. And that’s what this mix is really about: flexibility for more than just gaming.
Lenovo Legion 5 Pro
A lot of people buy a gaming laptop and also use it for work which is not surprising given the huge power available in the latest gaming focused mobile devices. If you’re looking for a device that can work and play, the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro does a massive job without costing you ridiculous money.
It has more screen space than most gaming laptops, and it has some amazing features along with a lot of power. More importantly, it looks more “mature” than most gaming laptops, so it won’t look weird out of place in the office.
Lenovo has many features that enhance its ability in business situations. The screen has a 16-inch diagonal, 16:10 aspect ratio, and 2560 x 1600 resolution, which means you get more vertical space and more pixels than most. It accurately displays the sRGB color gamut, with great contrast, and has great brightness levels which means it performs well outdoors.
Elsewhere, the Legion has plenty of USB connections, a webcam with a privacy shutter, and Windows Hello support. The keyboard is fast and convenient and includes a number pad.
On the inside, it’s available with AMD Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 processors, with the former suitable for mainstream work and the latter the power of content creation. These rigs can run with up to 32GB of memory and 1TB of SSD space. It’s impressive specs, especially when you consider Legion prices start at around £1,000 – and upgrades later in the year will see some models equipped with better processors, graphics and screens.
If you want to play the best games without compromise, you’ll want to select the RTX 3080, and esports enthusiasts may not be happy with the 165Hz refresh rate. For most people, this is the best option if you need a laptop for gaming and work.
Gigabyte Aorus 15P
The Gigabyte Aorus 15P is a great mid-market laptop. A variety of specifications, consistent levels of quality and good prices make it the best choice if you want to buy a powerful laptop that will last for years… without bankrupting yourself.
It might not make it sound exciting, but GIGABYTE eschews innovation for the sake of distinction and balance. And when you spend your hard-earned money on a machine that you want to last, that counts.
The 15P is available with good graphics chipsets, ranging from the RTX 3060 all the way up to the 3080, that will effortlessly handle any high-end gaming scenario. These GPUs are paired with gorgeous 240Hz, 300Hz, and 360Hz displays. The lowest refresh rate is still perfectly suited for esports and fast-paced games, while the latter satisfies the most demanding of competitive gamers.
You also get powerful speakers with good detail, even if they lack a little bass, and the rest of the components hit the mark: Intel’s Core i7-11800H is a solid chip for everyday work and gaming, while these laptops come with 16 or 32 GB of memory and 1 TB SSD hard drives.
The 15P has three full-size USB ports along with Thunderbolt 4, as well as HDMI and Mini DisplayPort as well as a card reader. The keyboard is great, with fast, consistent buttons, a number pad, and per-key RGB LED lighting.
As always, there are compromises. The webcam is pretty bad thanks to its placement under the screen, and the fan noise is noticeable if you push the device. Battery life is unsurprisingly modest, at 1 hour for gaming and 4 hours for work.
However, they are more elegant and better defined than gaming laptops, and they offer excellent performance and good screen quality. If you want a versatile and reliable mid-ranger, stick with this one.
Razer Blade 15 Advanced
Razer makes some of the best gaming laptops on the market, and its latest hardware is aimed at competitive gamers who want every feature in the best esports games. That’s not surprising given the company’s pedigree in peripherals – they’ve spent years building the best mice and keyboards around.
The Razer Blade 15 Advanced uses lightning-fast 360Hz displays with 2ms response times, so there’s no difference in performance between these and the best desktop monitors.
These 360Hz panels pair ace performance with excellent visuals, including 100% sRGB reproduction and high contrast – and they’re easy to see enemies lurking in the darkest angles. Alternative display specs are available: 1080p and 240Hz variants have Nvidia G-Sync for smooth gaming, and a 4K model ideal for creative work.
Razer machines have internal parts to keep up with those offerings. Powered by Nvidia’s latest GeForce RTX 3070 Ti and 3080 Ti GPUs, which deliver additional cores and higher clock speeds than non-Ti models, it has 12th Gen Intel processors that prove exceptional for gaming and work. There’s a lot to like about the rest of the specs, too – like Thunderbolt 4 ports with charging, SD card slots, Killer Wi-Fi 6, and RGB-lit keyboards.
High-quality speakers, and a 17mm body and 2.01kg weight mean this device is slimmer and lighter than most 15.6-inch devices. The aluminum exterior gets warm in tough gaming situations, but it doesn’t bring in much fan noise.
The updated Blade 15 Advanced isn’t cheap: the more expensive model with a 12th-generation CPU costs £2,800. There are also 17.3-inch and 14-inch variants, but for us, the 15.6-inch model with a 360Hz screen is the perfect place for the esports.