Best Gaming Laptops 2024: Tested, benchmarked and reviewed

Whether you want to take your rig on the road, carry it to the couch, or just save space on your desk, a gaming laptop packs PC performance into a compact, portable form factor. Because people have different needs and budgets, the market is loaded with choices that come with screens ranging from 14 to 18 inches, graphics cards that can handle a variety of resolutions and prices that start at less than $999 but creep over the $5,000 mark. The best gaming laptops often come with fancy RGB lights, high refresh rate panels and, sometimes, even mechanical keyboards.

To help you choose the right gaming laptop for you, we test many models each year, benchmarking them in popular games such as Cyberpunk 2077 and Borderlands 3, measuring the color gamut and brightness of their screens, determining battery life and, of course, playing with them. Below, we’ve listed the best gaming laptops for different sizes, price points and use cases. For those on a tight gaming budget, we also have dedicated pages for the best gaming laptops under $1,500 and the best gaming laptops under $1,000.

The quick list

MSI Titan 18 HXBest overall

The Best Gaming Laptop

MSI’s flagship gaming laptop has a gorgeous 18-inch Mini-LED display, an RGB touchpad, and a mechanical keyboard. For gaming, it’s powered by an Intel Core i9-14900HX and Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 Laptop GPU, plus luxurious amounts of RAM and storage. The downside? It’s $5,399.99, putting it out of reach for most.

Read more below

Acer Nitro 16Best Budget

Best Budget Gaming Laptop

The Acer’s Nitro line has often a place on this list, mixing build quality, performance, and low pricing to create a reasonable product. The Nitro 16, replacing the old Nitro 5, delivers the entry-level power of an RTX 4050 and a Ryzen 5 7640HS, but with some niceties, you can get for under $1,000.  

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MSI Katana 15Best Budget Alternative

Best Budget Gaming Laptop Alternative

The $999 model features a Core i7-13620H and Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 and offers strong 1080p performance. It includes 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage, which is nice to see, as those are often some of the first specs to get cut for a budget PC. Its 144 Hz refresh rate will be a boon for esports players. We also appreciate the quality of the speakers for the price. 

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Asus ROG Strix G16Best thin/light

Best Thin and Light Gaming Laptop

The Asus ROG Strix G16 is catching up to Razer in powerful, portable gaming laptops well. The Strix G16’s Core i9-13980HX and Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 provided great performance in a  0.89-inch thick chassis. Is the design as sleek as Razer’s Blades? No, but at $1,999.99 when we tested it, Asus is also competing on price.

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Lenovo Legion Pro 5i (Gen 8)Best Esports Machine

5. Lenovo Legion Pro 5i (Gen 8)

Best Esports Machine 

Sometimes you want to run your games fast, and sometimes you prioritize making them look great. The Lenovo Legion Pro 5i splits the difference, with a 2560 x 1600 screen that goes up to 165 Hz, allowing for both quick-twitch esports alongside immersive action games. The fact that you can get it for under $1,500 sure doesn’t hurt, and the gaming performance with an RTX 4060 is solid.

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Alienware m18 R2Best Desktop Replacement

The Best Desktop Replacement 

With strong build quality and powerful performance, the Alienware m18 R2 makes a strong case if you’re using it to replace a desktop. We appreciate its plethora of upgradeable parts, including room for a ton of M.2 SSDs. The Cherry keyboard option is excellent and well worth the extra cost.

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Alienware m16 R2Best Crossover Productivity/Gaming Laptop

Best Crossover Productivity/Gaming Laptop 

Think of the Aliewnare m16 R2 as a crossover laptop. It’s got gaming-grade components, but it’s styled to look a bit more like a productivity-focused machine, with strong build quality and sleek looks. We loved the keyboard and touchpad for work, and the gaming performance here delivered for play.

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Best Gaming Laptops 2024

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The Best Gaming Laptop

MSI Titan 18 HX

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

The Best Gaming Laptop

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i9-14900HX

GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090

Display: 18-inch, 3840 x 2400, Mini-LED, 120 Hz

Weight: 7.93 pounds (3.6 kg)

Reasons to buy

+

Clicky mechanical keys

+

Bright, beautiful mini-LED screen

+

Strong gaming performance

+

Opulent amounts of RAM and storage

+

Three-year warranty

Reasons to avoid

The fans are very loud

Audio is disappointing for music

Price puts it out of reach for most people

The MSI Titan GT77 HX has everything, and, we’ll be honest, it should. We tested it at $5,399.99, which is way out of reach for most people (don’t worry, there are cheaper options further down the list). Between powerful performance, an excellent 18-inch mini-LED screen, and a clicky, mechanical keyboard, there’s a lot to enjoy here.

The Intel Core i9-14900HX and Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 Laptop GPU are powerful, though they admittedly don’t offer a huge bump over previous generations. But with 128GB of RAM and 4TB of SSD storage there’s plenty of room for games and more memory than you’ll ever need for gaming. This would be a great machine for video editors.

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MSI Titan 18 HX(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)MSI Titan 18 HX(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)MSI Titan 18 HX(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)MSI Titan 18 HX(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)MSI Titan 18 HX(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

Admittedly, the 14th Gen Intel Core processor doesn’t have any huge performance gains over 13th Gen Core gaming laptops, but the Titan 18 HX did great in some of our most difficult tests, like running Cyberpunk 2077 on the Ray Tracing Ultra preset. 

MSI is using a Cherry MX mechanical keyboard, which is clicky and comfortable. It’s a luxury for typing and gaming, though it’s unfortunate that MSI doesn’t also use these switches for the number and arrow keys.

But the highlight is the 18-inch, mini-LED display, which covered 112.4% of the DCI-P3 color gamut in our testing and measured an incredibly bright 559 nits with our light meter. Games and movies look excellent on this HDR display.

With the Titan, MSI has come as close to cramming a desktop into a laptop chassis as possible. It’s for people who don’t have room for — or don’t want — a desktop. It’s the best in many ways, assuming you can afford it.

Read: MSI Titan 18 HX review 

The Best Budget Gaming Laptop

Acer Nitro 16

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

The Best Budget Gaming Laptop

Specifications

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 7640HS

GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050

Display: 16-inch, 1920 x 1200, 165 Hz, G-Sync

Weight: 5.95 pounds (2.7 kg)

Reasons to buy

+

Competent gaming performance

+

Bright G-Sync screen

+

Solid battery life

+

Quiet fans

+

Lots of ports, including USB 4

Reasons to avoid

Subpar webcam

Hollow speakers

Lots of bloatware

The Acer’s Nitro line has often a place on this list, mixing build quality, performance, and low pricing to create a reasonable product. The Nitro 16, replacing the old Nitro 5, delivers the entry-level power of an RTX 4050 and a Ryzen 5 7640HS, but with some niceties you can get for under $1,000.

Our $999 review unit included a 1920 x 1200, 165 Hz display with G-Sync support, which is great for esports gaming. It’s nice and bright at 371 nits on our light meter, and covered 91% of the DCI-P3 color gamut.

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Acer Nitro 16(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)Acer Nitro 16(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)Acer Nitro 16(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)Acer Nitro 16(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)Acer Nitro 16(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

 In our game testing, we found that the system is not the most powerful, but that it has enough power for today’s games at the system’s native 1920 x 1200. In almost every game we tested, the Nitro surpassed 60 fps.  

We also appreciated that the laptop offered 8 hours and 24 minutes of battery life on our test, which beat other laptops in i’s class — some by multiple hours.

The webcam isn’t amazing, and Acer has a habit of putting too much bloatware on laptops that you’ll spend some time uninstalling. But getting USB 4 under $1,000, alongside a solid screen and decent performance for the price makes this a great choice for someone whose budget it set at $1,000.

Read: Acer Nitro 16 Review 

Best Budget Alternative

MSI Katana 15 (2023)

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

Best Budget Alternative

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i7-13620H

GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050

Display: 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080, 144 Hz

Weight: 5.51 pounds / 2.5 kg

Reasons to buy

+

Strong 1080p gaming performance

+

Good speakers

+

Excellent value

Reasons to avoid

Short battery life

Washed-out display

The MSI Katana 15 is among our favorite gaming laptops for those with just $1,000 to spend. We tested a $999 model with a Core i7-13620H and Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 offering strong 1080p performance, though you may have to turn down some settings in some games.

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MSI Katana 15 (2023)(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)MSI Katana 15 (2023)(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)MSI Katana 15 (2023)(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)MSI Katana 15 (2023)(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)MSI Katana 15 (2023)(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

 In our testing, the Katana passed 60 fps in most benchmarks at some pretty high settings, though some, like Red Dead Redemption 2, were run lower. As games get more challenging, budget laptops won’t run at the highest settings for long. 

Even under $1,000, you get 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage, which is nice to see, as those are often some of the first specs to get cut for a budget PC. Instead, the chassis is made of cheap plastic, but the internals should get the job done.

MSI Katana 15 (2023)

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

The display could be a bit more vivid, but its 144 Hz refresh rate will be a boon for esports players. And for its price, it delivers solid audio.

Read: MSI Katana 15 Review 

Best Thin and Light Gaming Laptop

Asus ROG Strix G16

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

Best Thin and Light Gaming Laptop

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i9-13980HX

GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 (8GB GDDR6, 2,225 MHz Boost Clock, 140 W Max Graphics Power)

Display: 16 inches, 1920×1200, 165 Hz, 16:10

Weight: 5.51 pounds (2.5 kg)

Reasons to buy

+

Excellent gaming performance

+

Great battery life

+

Excellent keyboard

+

Good build quality

Reasons to avoid

720p webcam

Competing laptops start often have 1440p resolution standard

The Asus ROG Strix G16 is catching up to Razer in powerful, portable gaming laptops well. The Strix G16’s Core i9-13980HX and Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 provided great performance in a  0.89-inch thick chassis. Is the design as sleek as Razer’s Blades? No, but at $1,999.99 when we tested it, Asus is also competing on price.

Asus ROG Strix G16

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

We also appreciated the Strix’s battery life — it lasted for 8 hours and 49 minutes on our battery test, as well as the RGB keys with 2 millimeters of travel.

The laptop’s lid is aluminum, but the rest is plastic. In our time with the laptop, not once did we think the ROG Strix G16 felt cheap.

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Asus ROG Strix G16(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)Asus ROG Strix G16(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)Asus ROG Strix G16(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)Asus ROG Strix G16(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)Asus ROG Strix G16(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

In fact, in each of the benchmarks we ran, the ROG Strix G16 surpassed 60 fps (often handily!), showing solid performance at both 1080p and its native 1920 x 200. Perhaps the biggest issue we had is that our unit had a 1920 x 1200 touch screen. The RTX 4070 should power that no problem based on our benchmarks, and in this price range you often see 1440p (or, in 16:10 screens like this one, 1600p) display panels.

Read: Asus ROG Strix G16 Review

Best 16-inch Esports Machine

Lenovo Legion Pro 5i (Gen 8)

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

A 16-inch Esports Machine

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i7-13700H

GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060

Display: 16-inch, 2560 x 1600, 165 Hz

Weight: 5.6 pounds / 2.55 kg

Reasons to buy

+

Competitive gaming performance and speedy SSD

+

Improved 1080p webcam

+

Attractive pricing

Reasons to avoid

Fan noise is an annoyance

Audio quality could be better

Mediocre battery life

For under $1,500, you can get a 16-inch esports machine with a screen that also allows for high-resolution, intensive titles. The 2560 x 1600 display goes up to 165 Hz, which is fast enough for esports at 1080p, while the high resolution will make action games look great. Sure, some gaming laptops have faster displays, but they’re often more expensive.

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Lenovo Legion Pro 5i (Gen 8) BenchmarksShadow of the Tomb Raider(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)Lenovo Legion Pro 5i (Gen 8) BenchmarksGrand Theft Auto V(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)Lenovo Legion Pro 5i (Gen 8) BenchmarksRed Dead Redemption 2(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)Lenovo Legion Pro 5i (Gen 8) BenchmarksFar Cry 6(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)Lenovo Legion Pro 5i (Gen 8) BenchmarksBorderlands 3(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

The “i” in 5i Pro stands for Intel. We tested with an Intel Core i7-13700HX along with Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 4060. Our system also had 16GB of DDR5 RAM and a 512GB SSD.

This model has an improved 1080p webcam over previous generations, which is good for working as well as gaming. We found that its SSD was fast in our testing, and it offered competing gaming performance. That being said, you may want to consider one of the best gaming headsets because there’s plenty of fan noise and the audio quality isn’t the best.

Read: Lenovo Legion Pro 5i (Gen 8) Review 

The Best Desktop Replacement

Alienware m18 R2

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

The Best Desktop Replacement

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i9-14900HX

GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090

Display: 18-inch, 2560 x 1600, 165 Hz

Weight: 8.63 pounds (3.91 kg)

Reasons to buy

+

Solid build quality

+

Lots of upgrade and repairability options

+

Strong gaming performance

+

Cherry keyboard option feels great

Reasons to avoid

Display is dimmer than the competition

Heavy, even for its size

Touchpad feels cheap

If you get an 18-inch laptop, it’s likely a semi-permanent fixture on your desk. The Alienware m18 R2 is good for that, as it’s pretty heavy at 8.63 pounds, but it also delivers strong gaming performance on a large, high-resolution display.

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Alienware m18 R2(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)Alienware m18 R2(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)Alienware m18 R2(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)Alienware m18 R2(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)Alienware m18 R2(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

While a gaming laptop won’t compete with a desktop for upgradeability, the Alienware m18 R2 is still impressive. When we opened it up, we found a slew of extra slots for M.2 SSDs, as well as slotted RAM, a replaceable Wi-Fi card, and, of course, the battery.

The laptop is built solid, with plenty of aluminum along the frame (though that may be part of what makes it a bit heavy). Perhaps our favorite part is the Cherry MX low-profile mechanical keyboard, which is excellent for both typing and gaming. It’s worth the $50 upcharge, and I wish all sorts of laptops had mechanical keyboard options. Unlike the MSI Titan, Alienware’s mechanical keyboard covers every key.

That’s not to say we have no qualms. The display, while usable, isn’t as bright as some of the OLED options out there. And while you’re likely using a gaming mouse, the touchpad could use some love. But the build quality, performance, and upgradeability still make this one a winner in our book.

Read: Alienware m18 R2 Review

Best Crossover Productivity/Gaming Laptop

Alienware m16 R2

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

Best Crossover Productivity/Gaming Laptop

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core Ultra 7 155H

GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 laptop GPU

Display: 16-inch, 2560 x 1600, 16:10, IPS, 240 Hz

Weight: 5.75 pounds (2.61 kg)

Reasons to buy

+

Everyday-friendly looks

+

Excellent build quality

+

Comfortable keyboard and touchpad

+

Solid gaming performance

Reasons to avoid

Display should be brighter

Budget models aren’t cheap enough

Many laptop companies have aimed to make gaming machines that look more like traditional PCs while still maintaining a bit of personality. These crossover laptops have often been lower on power, but we found that the Alienware m16 R2 offered strong gaming performance alongside its relatively muted design.

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Alienware m16 R2(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)Alienware m16 R2(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)Alienware m16 R2(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

We were impressed with the build quality, including the frame but also the keyboard and touchpad, which we found comfortable to use in our testing.

Additionally, the m16 R2 has plenty of aftermarket upgradeability. When we opened the machine up, we were happy to see that the RAM, SSD, Wi-Fi card, and battery are user-serviceable.

We do wish the display were a bit brighter and that Alienware would bring the price down on the most entry-level models, but in general, this is a well-built machine for work and play. It looks good just about anywhere.

If you want something smaller, we also tested the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 and the HP Omen Transcend 14, but we preferred the is larger PC because it delivers more graphics power.   

Read: Alienware m16 R2 review 

How We Test Gaming Laptops

How we test gaming laptops

Every gaming laptop that we review goes through a rigorous series of tests and benchmarks to decide whether it’s worth your consideration. 

Currently, games that we run and may include in our reviews are:

Swipe to scroll horizontally

Game Preset
Shadow of the Tomb Raider Highest
Grand Theft Auto V Very High
Cyberpunk 2077 Ray Tracing Ultra
Far Cry 6 Ultra
Red Dead Redemption 2 Medium
Borderlands 3 Badass

We also run a stress test, which currently consists of the Metro Exodus benchmark on the RTX preset, run 15 times in a loop while recording system statistics with HWInfo. (This is also when we take our heat tests).

Additionally, we run a series of productivity benchmarks, including Geekbench, Handbrake, and our in-house file transfer test. These test both single-core and multi-core performance on the processor, as well as all-around performance.

We measure gaming laptop displays with our colorimeter and light meter, and report brightness in nits, as well as the volume of the DCI-P3 and sRGB color gamut that the screen covers.

Our battery test connects to a local web server over Wi-Fi, and continuously browses the web, runs simple OpenGL graphics tests, and streams videos. We report the amount of time the laptop ran the test in hours and minutes.

Benchmarks aren’t everything. We also actually use the gaming laptops that we review. Our writers and editors spend time playing games and using gaming laptops for writing, watching videos, listening to music, and browsing the web. This gives us the experience to report our own thoughts and feelings about the keyboard, design, port selection, audio, and other features. It also helps us get some valuable play time in!

Because the ability to upgrade and repair gaming laptops is particularly important, we open every system to see which parts are user-replaceable, and document that experience so you know what you can change down the line.

Gaming Laptop Shopping Tips

  • Focus on the GPU: Most games are heavily dependent on the GPU, and those aren’t upgradeable. If you splurge on a powerful GPU now, you’ll be gaming comfortably for a few years.
  • You can upgrade some parts later: While the best CPUs for gaming and GPUs are almost always soldered down, most gaming laptops let you replace the RAM and storage, so you can buy cheaper now and add more memory and a bigger best hard drive or SSD down the road. Thicker, more powerful laptops are often easier to upgrade than thinner ones, so be sure to do some research before buying. (We include this information in our reviews).
  • Battery life will probably be bad: Very few gaming notebooks get 8 hours or more on a charge, and you need the power supply to get the best gaming performance anyway. However, we’ve seen some strong times from AMD’s Ryzen processors, and Nvidia suggests its improved Optimus technology may help turn the tide. For peak gaming performance, however, you’ll want to be sure to be plugged in while playing.

Discounts on the Best Gaming Laptops

Whether you’re shopping for one of the best gaming laptops or another model that didn’t quite make our list, you may find some savings by checking out our lists of Dell coupon codes, HP coupon codes, Lenovo coupon codes, Razer promo codes or Newegg promo codes.

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