A top-tier gaming laptop in 2023 is a technical marvel. They manage to be as stylish and compact as they are robust gaming performers. We're in an era where truly high-level desktop gaming capabilities can be found in a laptop that's slim enough to fit in a backpack and less than an inch thick.
Your decision to invest in a gaming laptop is well-timed. The newest versions of mobile GPUs and CPUs have just begun to appear on the market, featuring the finest that Nvidia, AMD, and Intel can provide. However, we anticipate that these new processors will largely be incorporated into the same well-loved laptop frames we've become accustomed to over the previous year. Furthermore, the price of last-gen devices should decrease in the near future, marking this juncture between hardware generations an excellent moment to begin shopping for a new gaming laptop.
Annually, we evaluate countless gaming laptops. The ones that make it onto our recommended list offer the greatest value for money, delivering an optimum combination of performance, affordability, and mobility.
Our view is that the 16-inch laptop form factor will always be the perfect blend of performance to weight ratio, allowing gamers to enjoy the awesome visuals without having to squint at the screen to watch your health bars, so our Best Overall Pick comes from the current 16-inch line ups.
Best Gaming Laptop Overall
Lenovo Legion Pro 7i (Gen8)
The Lenovo Legion Pro 7i stands out as the top 16-inch gaming laptop, at its price point, the Legion Pro 7i makes other high-end RTX 40-series laptops seem overpriced. We were particularly taken by its RTX 4080 model during testing, showcasing gaming performance that casts doubt on the necessity of an RTX 4090 machine.
The Legion Pro 7i operates its RTX 4080 at a Total Graphics Power (TGP) of 150W, essentially the GPU's highest possible output. Manufacturers are permitted an extra 25W of flexibility to enhance their specs, but Lenovo has chosen not to leverage this, limiting the TGP to 150W.
The Legion Pro 7i is powered by a 13th Gen Intel chip— the Core i9 13900HX. Unlike what you might anticipate, this is not simply a higher clocked version of the Core i9 13900H used in the Asus Zephyrus M16. Despite the similar nomenclature, this is a significantly superior CPU. The Asus variant is a 14-core design with six Performance-cores (P-cores), while this one boasts a 24-core structure with eight P-cores and twice as many Efficiency-cores (E-cores). Both can achieve 5.4GHz boost clocks, but the larger chip understandably has a higher base TDP of 45W.
Supporting the central CPU/GPU duo is a 1TB PCIe 4.0 Samsung SSD and 32GB of DDR5-5600 SK Hynix memory.
The device comes with a 1600p 240Hz screen, which is satisfactory. Recent experiences with the brilliance of mini LED backlights in laptop displays have set higher expectations, and this screen doesn't quite hit those high notes. Nonetheless, it does feature the 16:10 aspect ratio, the Legion Pro's 2560 x 1600 native resolution pairs well with the 16-inch screen size.
In terms of performance, the Legion Pro 7i consistently outperforms the Razer Blade 16 and Asus Zephyrus M16, both at 1080p and 1440p resolutions. Only the bulky MSI Titan GT77 fully utilizes its RTX 4090 GPU. However, it does so at the cost of noise and possibly user patience.
The Legion Pro 7i may not be the most visually appealing laptop, but if you are looking for power and performance at a great price, you can't beat it.
In summary, it presents itself as a mature and efficient gaming laptop, offering an abundance of performance power, without matching the steep prices of the other next-gen laptops we've seen. It isn't a budget option, but given the power it packs, the cost isn't unexpected for such a potent device.
Best Value Gaming Laptop
MSI Cyborg 15 A12VF-025UK
The MSI Cyborg 15 A12VF-025UK firmly holds its position as the winner in the best value gaming laptop category, packing a power punch way above its weight class while keeping an eye on the wallet.
At the heart of this budget beast lies Intel's 12th Gen Core i7-12650H, offering outstanding performance that effortlessly handles the most demanding games and multitasking needs. Partnered with the GeForce RTX 4060 GPU, it renders stunning visuals with ease, further proving that it is a value-for-money prospect in the gaming world. The GPU's 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM allows for high-quality textures and smooth frame rates even in the most graphic-intense scenes, offering an immersive gaming experience.
The laptop's 512GB PCIe SSD offers lightning-fast load times, meaning less waiting and more gaming. This storage size might feel a bit limiting for gamers who install numerous large games, but it's a common trade-off in budget laptops and is enough for most users.
A standout feature of the MSI Cyborg 15 is its 99 key Single Backlight KB (Blue), which not only adds aesthetic appeal but also enhances visibility during night-time gaming sessions. The layout is spacious and the keystroke feels robust, improving the overall gaming experience.
Cooler Boost technology is another feather in the cap for the MSI Cyborg 15. Despite the laptop's powerful components, this technology effectively dissipates heat, maintaining optimal performance even during long gaming sessions. This system ensures that thermal throttling won't interfere with your epic victories.
All in all, the MSI Cyborg 15 A12VF-025UK delivers where it matters the most, providing robust performance, impressive visuals, and a comfortable gaming experience. It more than justifies its place as the best budget gaming laptop, proving that power and affordability can indeed coexist.
Best 17-Inch Gaming Laptop
ASUS ROG Strix 17 G713PI
The ASUS ROG Strix 17 G713PI, the winner of the best 17" gaming laptop category, is an embodiment of monstrous power coupled with innovative technology and the joy of big-screen gaming.
Beneath its sophisticated exterior, the ROG Strix 17 G713PI houses AMD's latest Ryzen 9-7845H processor. This CPU, known for its superior multitasking and excellent performance, easily handles intensive gaming sessions and resource-heavy tasks. It guarantees smooth gameplay with no lags or stutters, demonstrating that ASUS takes no compromises when it comes to performance.
A gaming laptop is incomplete without a top-notch display, and the ROG Strix 17 doesn't disappoint. Its 17.3” Full HD 144HZ display delivers crisp, sharp visuals with a high refresh rate that ensures smooth transitions, perfect for fast-paced gaming scenarios. The larger screen size is a pure joy, offering an immersive gaming experience unparalleled in smaller counterparts.
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 Laptop GPU, with its TGP of 140W, adds impressive muscle to the graphical department. Coupled with the ultra-efficient Ada Lovelace architecture and Max-Q Technologies, this GPU produces stunningly realistic graphics and maximizes efficiency to deliver the best possible performance. NVIDIA's DLSS 3 further enhances image quality with AI rendering, providing gamers with breathtakingly detailed game environments and smoother frame rates.
The ROG Strix 17 G713PI also comes with Microsoft Windows 11 pre-installed. This latest operating system from Microsoft offers a more streamlined user interface, improved performance, and better support for gaming, thus enriching the overall user experience.
To sum it up, the ASUS ROG Strix 17 G713PI stands tall in the 17" gaming laptop category, thanks to its blend of powerful performance, immersive visuals, and modern technology. It's a dream come true for gamers seeking a blend of large screen real estate and high-end gaming power.
Best 15-Inch Gaming Laptop
ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 GA503QS
Earning the title of the best 15" gaming laptop, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 GA503QS convincingly asserts its dominance with its combination of high performance, advanced graphics, and stunning display.
The laptop is driven by the AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS processor, renowned for its powerful performance and energy efficiency. With a base clock speed of 3.1 GHz and the ability to turbo up to 4.5 GHz, this processor is more than capable of running the most demanding games and multitasking operations with effortless ease.
On the memory front, the Zephyrus G15 boasts a generous 16GB DDR4 on-board RAM, ensuring smooth and lag-free gaming and multitasking. In combination with the ultra-fast 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD, the laptop offers speedy load times and ample space for all your games and data.
The 15.6-inch 144 Hz IPS-Type FHD (1920 x 1080) display is another noteworthy feature. The adaptive sync technology ensures a smooth, tear-free gaming experience, while the Full HD resolution and IPS panel ensure vivid colours and crisp visuals from virtually any angle. This combination makes for immersive gaming experiences that pull you right into the heart of the action.
The real game-changer here is the NVIDIA RTX 3080 GPU with a whopping 16GB RAM. It's this GPU that enables the Zephyrus G15 to deliver astounding graphics and fluid gameplay. Whether you're traversing lush game landscapes or battling enemies in frantic firefights, this laptop's graphics will not disappoint.
In summary, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 GA503QS sets a high standard for 15" gaming laptops with its mighty performance, high-end graphics, and fantastic display. Its victory in the category is well-deserved, making it a top choice for any gamer seeking power packed in a compact package.
Best 14-inch Gaming Laptop
Razer Blade 14 (2022 Model)
Our top pick among gaming 14" laptops, based on our testing, is the Razer Blade 14 (2022). This upscale 14-inch laptop comes with a solid aluminum body, a comfortable keyboard that features RGB lighting for each key, and a generous assortment of ports for accessories. It boasts a compact build, enhancing its portability, though if you plan on gaming during travels, it's advisable to bring the charger, as the battery life decreases significantly during game play. Its 1080p webcam provides decent quality for streaming, and it also functions as a Windows Hello IR camera for facial recognition, allowing quick logins.
Under high-performance load, the keyboard tends to heat up a bit, however, the cooling fans maintain a relatively quiet operation, preventing any distraction. The Razer Blade 14 (2022) comes in three default configurations. All of them feature the same AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX processor, 16GB RAM, and 1TB of storage space, leaving you to decide on the display and GPU combo that suits you best.
Our recommendation leans towards either the base model equipped with an FHD 144Hz display and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 GPU or the mid-tier variant that comes with a QHD 165Hz display and an RTX 3070 Ti. Both of these are capable of delivering seamless gameplay on contemporary AAA games with minor adjustments to the graphical settings. The top-line RTX 3080 Ti model can deliver higher frame rates, but its substantially higher cost doesn't represent the best value for your money.
As we have journeyed through the dynamic universe of 2023’s gaming laptops, we have encountered an array of impressive machines that blend form and function with finesse. These laptops, sleek yet powerful, have truly encapsulated the spirit of technological advancement. The manufacturers’ prowess in packing desktop-like performance into a portable form is a testament to the prowess of Nvidia, AMD, and Intel.
In our extensive review process, we have analyzed numerous devices, ultimately handpicking those that strike a harmonious balance between top-notch performance, value for money, and portability. The stand-out category in our review is the 16-inch laptops, lauded as the ideal choice for their perfect blend of power, immersive visuals, and easy portability.
As we anticipate a significant drop in prices of last-gen devices with the introduction of new-gen GPUs and CPUs, this represents a timely and golden opportunity for gamers to invest in a gaming laptop. Whether you are an experienced gamer looking to upgrade or a newcomer to this fascinating world, our carefully curated list aims to guide you to the best possible choice that matches your needs and budget.
From the best budget laptop to the top-performing 17″ and 15″ laptops, and, of course, our best overall pick from the 16-inch range, our review offers a comprehensive guide to each category. As we conclude our exploration, we hope this review has equipped you with the necessary insights to make an informed decision on your next gaming laptop.