The best gaming laptop can give desktops a run for their money, with the added conveniences of better portability and a built-in display. However, for all the similarities these clamshell computers share with tower PCs, they have a number of unique quirks you need to be aware of before buying on. So, whether you’re in the market for a desktop replacement or a mighty micro machine, we’re here to help.
The latest laptops pack Nvidia GeForce RTX 40 or AMD Radeon RX 7000 series graphics, alongside AMD Ryzen 7000 and 13th Gen Intel Core processors, all of which will handily run the latest games. Just note that higher-spec models will typically run hot and loud under full load, as the components inside them pull the most power and so require more active cooling.
While battery life is understandably an important consideration when buying a gaming laptop, you’ll get the most performance out of one by having it plugged in. This is true at every price point, from the best budget laptops to the most expensive. Generally, the most critical specs will be your GPU and CPU, as the majority of models feature upgradeable RAM and SSD storage.
There are other factors like a laptop’s screen that also greatly impact the experience of using it, with resolution, refresh rate, and panel type all affecting usability in their own ways. Some even feature dual-mode displays, as seen in our Razer Blade 16 (2023) review. We’re constantly testing the latest models and adjusting our list here accordingly, so be sure to read our reviews for each entry.
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Are gaming laptops worth the cost?
A common misconception is that all gaming laptops are too expensive and not worth the cost. Unlike desktops, where you can pick and choose your components and then build them yourself, gaming laptops charge a premium for being a pre-built package designed to achieve the best gaming performance possible (within the limits of its specs). As long as you’ve done your research on the specifications you want, you’ll see that gaming laptops follow a standard pricing structure with only certain brands charging well above these costs based on their own proprietary features. All in all, the convenience of a gaming laptop is worth the cost.
How long should a gaming laptop last?
Gaming laptops tend to have a shorter lifespan than a typical daily-use machine. This is due to the strain they perform under while gaming. We would say that a gaming laptop should last anywhere between three and five years if well-maintained. This means regular cleaning and ensuring your game settings are always optimized so your hardware isn’t working overtime every time you boot up a game.
What size screen is best for a gaming laptop?
This is a decision that could come down to personal preference, but we believe that 17.3 inches is the ideal screen size for gaming. You will find that 15-inch screens are the most common, but our reasoning behind 17.3 inches comes down to more than just screen real estate. With a larger screen comes a larger frame, and this can often allow manufacturers to implement a better cooling system to keep your laptop at a more manageable temperature for longer gaming sessions. It will also come down to the technology included with the screen, as we’d take a 15-inch 4K 144Hz OLED display over a 17.3-inch 1080p 60Hz option any day.