IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

The best gaming laptops of 2022, according to experts

Experts explain how gaming laptops distinguish themselves with powerful performance and fast response times.
Experts told us that gamers looking for a new gaming laptop should consider gaming habits, budget and everyday utility when shopping.
Experts told us that gamers looking for a new gaming laptop should consider gaming habits, budget and everyday utility when shopping. Acer; Amazon; Best Buy

When people think of PC gaming, they often conjure up images of massive whirring desktop computers attached to arrays of monitors and clicky, glowing mechanical keyboards. While some desktop gaming stations fit that description, many gamers that I know prefer a more subtle gaming laptop instead.

According to International Data Corporation’s 2021 Worldwide Quarterly Gaming Tracker report, gaming PCs, hot off the heels of explosive pandemic sales numbers, are still expected to see a 4.8% growth in sales over the next five years. That’s in sharp contrast to the declining sales of general use PCs seen in 2022.

Wondering what makes a gaming laptop different from the type of laptop you’d use for other things? We consulted with experts within the tech industry to help break down the key components of a gaming laptop, and what to look for when shopping for your own.

What is a gaming laptop?

“Gaming laptops have specific features and technologies that enhance the gaming experience,” said Lisa Emard, director of media relations at Acer. Such features can range from a faster display to light-up keyboards that mimic the action on-screen.

But our experts agreed that the main difference between gaming laptops and the everyday variety is powerful internal components. “Gaming laptops offer a more powerful processor, dedicated graphics card and higher screen refresh rate,” said Cliff Yeh, an associate product marketing manager at MSI. “A lot of these options are what gamers like to look for when purchasing a gaming laptop since they inherently affect game and player performance.”

The CPU, GPU and screen were cited by experts as the three most important elements to a great gaming laptop. To run the latest games, all three need to be above-average, for different reasons. A CPU with a high clock speed (above 3Ghz) and at least eight CPU cores is important not only for everyday browsing, but for keeping games running smoothly. The GPU affects graphics — having one with a high clock speed (above 1500MHz) and at least 8GB of video RAM will allow you to run games with high graphical settings, increasing detail and fidelity. To keep up with the CPU and GPU, the screen needs to be fast, with a higher than normal refresh rate.

Best gaming laptops in 2022

To be optimal for gaming, laptops must have the aforementioned internal technology. From there, outside details—like premium construction, built-in webcams and more—can help gaming laptops distinguish themselves. . When picking out your next gaming laptop, our experts all recommended to start with your budget rather than a wish-list of features. From there, you should be looking at which gaming laptops give you the best internal components for your money.

Combining expert insight with my personal experience as a tech and games writer, we picked some of the best gaming laptops.

Best all-around gaming laptop

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS

GPU: AMD Radeon RX 6700S

Screen: 120Hz, 1440p

Storage: 1TB SSD

The latest ROG Zephyrus G14 is one of the best all-around gaming laptops. Especially with this recommended configuration (GA402RJ), the Zephyrus balances performance, portability, storage and battery life wonderfully. It leverages a stellar AMD CPU and GPU to play any and every game in style, especially on its 120Hz refresh rate 1440p display. Outside of gaming, the 1TB of storage, comfortable keyboard and built-in webcam make this laptop well-suited for any kind of everyday work.

There are more expensive versions of the Zephrus G14, but we think this model offers the best value for most people.

Best premium gaming laptop

Razer Blade 15

CPU: Intel i7-12800H

GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti

Screen: 240Hz, 1440p

Storage: 1TB SSD

Gamers looking for a top-of-the-line, premium machine should consider the Razer Blade 15. The Blade series is known for its premium design and components, and this 2022 model is no different. It features many high-end parts, such as the 12th generation Intel i7 CPU and blazingly fast 240Hz refresh rate 1440p screen. Perhaps the most premium element of the Razer Blade 15 is its design — it features an all metal chassis reminiscent of a sleek Macbook Pro. But, unlike a Macbook, the Razer Blade 15 is an incredible gaming machine that can tackle any game with ease.

Best budget gaming laptop

Acer Nitro 5

CPU: Intel Core i5-12500H

GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060

Screen: 144Hz, 1080p

Storage: 512GB SSD

Great gaming performance doesn’t have to come with premium pricing. The Acer Nitro series of gaming laptops marries good performance with affordable price tags. While the design isn’t as premium or durable as something like the Razer Blade 15, the Nitro 5 costs half as much, and still allows you to play the latest games, albeit with slightly adjusted graphical settings. The Intel CPU and NVIDIA GPU are great, reliable performers, and the rest of the components run with little fuss. This laptop is a good value, especially if you are shopping for younger gamers who don’t need a premium laptop design.

Best big gaming laptop

Alienware m17 R5

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX

GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti

Screen: 360Hz, 1080p

Storage: 1TB SSD

Speed is king with the m17 R5. It has one of the fastest screens out there at a 360Hz refresh rate, which is great for action-heavy games like Apex Legends and TK. This zippy screen is paired with a very powerful AMD CPU and NVIDIA GPU to deliver desktop-like performance in a laptop-shaped package. It isn’t very portable, with a bulky build that weighs a whopping seven and a half pounds. But all that chassis space does feature tons of connectivity and cooling components, leaning into that desktop-replacement style. For gamers who mostly play in the same space, the m17 R5 is definitely worth a look.

How to shop for a gaming laptop

Shopping for a normal laptop is hard enough — gaming laptops are even more technical products. Our experts broke down what specs to look for, and reminded us that, more than anything, budget will always be the top deciding factor.

Know your gaming habits

Casual gamers enjoying smaller games like Stray and Tunic don’t have the same needs as gamers competing in fast-paced titles like Apex Legends and Overwatch 2. Think about what games you play regularly. “A lot of today’s games will play great on an $800 computer, while other games require more horsepower and a more powerful laptop,” said Emard.

Budget for performance first

It can be easy to get distracted comparing the aesthetics of different laptops. Regardless of your budget, our experts say to place gaming performance first and foremost. “Focus on the components (CPU, GPU) that will enable games to play well,” said Yeh.

Don’t neglect everyday utility

Unless you plan on having two laptops, your gaming laptop will be for video games and everyday tasks. As such, our experts recommend paying attention to how big or small a laptop is as well as how much internal storage space it offers.

Small 14-inch laptops are well-suited to travel, business and school, and can easily be hooked up to an external monitor when necessary. Large 17-inch laptops aren’t very portable, but offer a large, immersive screen. Unlike other specs, screen size really comes down to what’s best for your everyday use.

For storage, we recommend a laptop with at least 512GB of storage space. Games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Red Dead Redemption II take up over 150GB of storage each. Add on everyday apps and documents, and 512GB is actually less than you might think.

Why Trust Select

Select writer Harry Rabinowitz has been playing video games his entire life. He plays games on his desktop and laptop computers, and has spent his professional career as a writer — both experiences have allowed him to test a wide variety of computers and gaming peripherals. For this story, he spoke to multiple experts from the gaming laptop industry. Combining their knowledge with his own expertise, he reviewed highly rated monitors from top brands like Asus, Acer and Razer.

Meet the experts

At Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure that all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and with no undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.

  • Lisa Emard is the director of media relations at Acer.
  • Cliff Yeh is the associate product marketing manager at MSI.

Catch up on Select's in-depth coverage of personal finance, tech and tools, wellness and more, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to stay up to date.