Best Gaming Laptops 2023

Gadget EDZE

Buying a gaming laptop is challenging as there are many options, with new models released every year sporting increasingly more powerful CPUs and GPUs. When shopping for the best gaming laptop, you'd want to focus on a few aspects, like its CPU and GPU performance, performance over time (thermal throttling), as well as the display's refresh rate, motion performance, and VRR support. A good keyboard helps, too, as you'd want one that can give you clear tactile feedback and won't cause fatigue over long gaming sessions. If you don't plan on using a headset, you might want to look at the fan noise, as most gaming laptops can get pretty loud under load. If you plan on gaming on the go, you'll also want to look at the laptop's portability and battery life.

We've bought and tested over 95 laptops. Below are our recommendations for the best gaming laptops you can buy. You can also see our recommendations for the best laptops, the best budget and cheap gaming laptops, and the best Windows laptops.

Best Gaming Laptop

The best gaming laptop we've tested is the Dell Alienware m16 R1 (2023). This 16-inch model provides an amazing gaming experience. It's available with fast AMD Ryzen 7000 CPUs and various discrete AMD and NVIDIA GPUs, up to an RTX 4090. Display options include two QHD+ panels (165Hz or 240Hz) and an FHD+ 480Hz panel, so you can choose based on your preference and CPU/GPU configuration. Even the keyboard is customizable, as you can get it with scissor or low-profile CherryMX mechanical switches. RAM and storage max out at 64GB and 8.5TB, respectively; both are user-replaceable. If you game online, you'd be happy to hear it has Wi-Fi 6E and an Ethernet port to ensure a reliable internet connection. You can get this laptop directly from Dell if you have trouble finding it elsewhere.

Unfortunately, this is a pretty chunky laptop, so it isn't very portable, and its battery lasts less than an hour when gaming. If you only intend to play at home and want a larger, more immersive display, you can go with the 18-inch Dell Alienware m18 (2023). It has near-identical configuration options, performance, and features as its smaller sibling.

  1. Best Mid-Range Gaming Laptop

    Our best mid-range pick is the Lenovo Legion Pro 5 Gen 8 16 (2023). This 16-inch model is available with AMD Ryzen 7000 CPUs and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 40-series GPUs, but unlike our top pick, you can only get up to an RTX 4070 GPU. You can get up to 32GB of RAM and 1TB of storage; both are user-replaceable. As for the display, you can choose between a 165Hz or a 240Hz QHD+ IPS panel. Both displays have a fast response time and support VRR to reduce screen tearing.

    The build quality is great. It doesn't feel as premium as the Dell above, but is sturdy. It has a tactile, full-size keyboard, Wi-Fi 6E wireless connectivity, and tons of ports, including an HDMI 2.1 and Ethernet. The fans get pretty loud, but on the upside, neither the CPU nor the GPU throttles under load, so you won't get performance dips when playing for an extended period. Unfortunately, this laptop and its power adapter are bulky and heavy, and the battery lasts less than five hours of light use.

    See our review

Best Budget Gaming Laptop

The best budget gaming laptop we've tested is the ASUS TUF Dash F15 (2022). You can get this 15.6-inch model with an Intel 12th Gen Core i5 or i7 CPU paired with an NVIDIA 30-series discrete GPU, up to an RTX 3070. These last-generation CPUs and GPUs provide smooth gameplay, though in the case of the GPU, you do lose Frame Generation, a feature that boosts frame rates using AI. The RAM and storage drive are user-replaceable, so if you're on a strict budget, you can get a cheaper configuration to start and upgrade later.

There are three display options: two 1080p (144Hz or 300Hz) and a 1440p 165Hz panel; unfortunately, none support VRR to reduce screen tearing. Ports include two USB-As, two USB-C/Thunderbolt 4s, an HDMI, and an Ethernet port. Thermal throttling is minimal, but the laptop gets hot and loud. As for portability, this laptop isn't overly bulky or heavy, but you'll have to bring the charger, as the battery lasts only a little over an hour when gaming.

Best Cheap Gaming Laptop

The best laptop for gaming we've tested in the cheap category is the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2021). Though entirely plastic, this 15.6-inch model feels surprisingly sturdy, especially for a model in its price range. For a little over $800 USD, you can get a configuration with an AMD Ryzen 5 5600H CPU, an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU, 8GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage. This CPU and GPU combination can deliver a solid 60 fps gaming experience at 1080p with most titles. 8GB of RAM isn't ideal for gaming, and you'll quickly run out of space with only 512GB of storage. Thankfully, you can upgrade these components yourself later on.

As for the display, this model sports a 120Hz IPS panel. Its response time is rather slow, but it's still better than a basic 60Hz panel and supports VRR to reduce screen tearing. Unfortunately, this laptop does get hot and loud under load, and the battery lasts less than an hour when gaming, which is normal but still disappointing. One last note: cheaper variants are around $650 USD; however, those models have a GTX 1650 GPU, which doesn't perform quite as well as the RTX 3050 Ti. It may be worth it if you only play lighter, less graphically-intensive games.

Best Gaming Chromebook

The best gaming Chromebook we've tested is the Acer Chromebook 516 GE (2022). Unlike our picks above, this device runs Chrome OS, an operating system that isn't typically associated with gaming, and it runs on its Intel CPU's integrated graphics. It's because it's made for cloud gaming services like NVIDIA GeForce NOW. Cloud gaming means the processing takes place on NVIDIA's server—or whichever company provides the service—and the image is streamed to your device, alleviating the need for powerful hardware. GeForce NOW is a paid subscription service; the laptop comes with a three-month trial.

The overall build quality is good, and while it's on the bulkier side, it isn't too heavy, so it's still portable. Its 16-inch QHD+ display has a 120Hz refresh rate and a good response time, resulting in a clear image with minimal ghosting in fast-moving scenes. You get Wi-Fi 6E wireless connectivity and an Ethernet port, which is great, as cloud gaming performance highly depends on your internet connection. The keyboard feels spacious and tactile, doesn't get hot under load, and has RGB backlighting. Unfortunately, its battery life is very short, at around six hours of light use or an hour of gaming.


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