Buying a gaming laptop? These are the brands to trust

You probably know what the best gaming laptops are, but what if you want some more options? Almost every laptop brand has some gaming angle – even MacBooks are on the gaming train these days – but it’s hard to know who to trust. We’re here to help you narrow down the choices with this list of the best laptop brands.

We review dozens of gaming laptops every year, and there are few brands that consistently deliver high-quality laptops that balance performance, price, build quality, and extra features. If you’re shopping for a gaming laptop, these are the brands that should come to mind first.

Lenovo

The cover of the Lenovo Legion 9i.
Jacob Roach/

Lenovo’s Legion gaming laptop has some kind of secret sauce. In every Lenovo laptop we’ve reviewed, we consistently see that they punch above their weight class in performance, giving you just a hair more than competing laptops with similar components. It could be changes in power management, better thermal design, or “AI graphical wizardry,” as Lenovo sometimes calls it. The end result is the same; Lenovo’s Legion gaming laptops are fast.

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Their price is also reasonable. Lenovo has two main series for its Legion laptops – the Pro line, which focuses on performance, and the Slim line, which focuses on portability. Both start at around $1,000, offering GPUs ranging from the RTX 4050 to the RTX 4070, as well as CPU options from both AMD and Intel. AMD’s latest laptop CPUs are very powerful, and Lenovo is one of the few brands to offer these CPUs in its product stack.

However, there are some laptops that fall outside this limit. At the high end, you have the RTX 4090-packing Lenovo Legion 9i, which is the only gaming laptop we’ve ever awarded a perfect score. It is extremely powerful, relatively portable, and runs efficiently with a liquid-cooled thermal system. Assuming you have $3,000 or more to spend, this is an ideal gaming laptop.

Lenovo, on the other hand, has the new LOQ line. These laptops start at $700 and feature entry-level components like the RTX 3050. LOQ laptops also cut down on screen and keyboard to keep the price down. They’re solid budget options, but if you can stretch your budget by about $200, you’ll get a pretty good laptop with a reasonable Legion machine.

Which Lenovo gaming laptop should you buy?

Cyberpunk 2077 on Lenovo Legion Pro 5.
Jacob Roach/

Since reviewing it, the Lenovo Legion Pro 5 has been at the top of our roundup of the best gaming laptops. It holds up well in a way that no other laptop we’ve reviewed in this generation does. It’s powerful, reasonably priced, well-built, and comes with a fast 165Hz display. It’s not the best display we’ve tested, and it has some minor issues like the bulky body size. But considering everything else the Legion Pro 5 has to offer, these are fair deals.

For most people, we recommend the RTX 4070 configuration, which you can find for between $1,300 and $1,500, depending on sales. At native resolution in the most demanding games, we found that the laptop cracks 60 frames per second (fps) in games like red dead redemption 2, Close to 100 fps in titles like Horizon Zero Dawn. The RTX 4070 also comes with DLSS 3, which gives a massive performance boost in supported games.

The Legion Pro 5 is the perfect gaming laptop for most people, but if you have the money for it, the Legion 9i is worth it. Again, you’ll need at least $3,000 for even the cheapest configuration, but the Legion 9i is the best high-end laptop we’ve reviewed so far for those looking for the best.

Asus

Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 playing Cyberpunk 2077.
Jacob Roach//

If you like choice, you’ll love Asus’ gaming laptops. It has a huge suite of gaming machines, ranging from value-focused powerhouses like the Asus ROG Strix G17 to portable flagships like the Zephyrus M16 and even the handheld ROG Ally. Sometimes to a fault, Asus offers almost any hardware combination you could want in a gaming laptop, including CPU options from Intel and AMD and a full range of Nvidia GPUs.

Asus is one of the few gaming laptop brands that is paying a lot of attention to the display as well. Its ROG Nebula HDR standard has pioneered high-end Mini LED displays in laptops, offering excellent HDR, up to 240Hz refresh rate, and a 16:10 aspect ratio. Asus hasn’t brought over OLED displays from some of its mainstream laptops, but the Nebula HDR display still puts most other gaming laptops to shame.

Apart from traditional gaming laptops, Asus has some unique offerings. The ROG Ele and ROG Flow Z13 are relatively low-powered gaming machines that sacrifice power for portability, but Asus offers its XG Mobile external GPU, giving these devices a huge boost in performance. It’s an ecosystem of products that, despite being expensive, offers something other gaming laptop brands aren’t paying attention to.

Which Asus gaming laptop should you buy?

The screen on the Asus Zephyrus G14 gaming laptop.
Jacob Roach/

There are a ton of gaming laptops from Asus, so narrowing it down to one that’s right for everyone is tough. For our money, the ROG Zephyrus G14 is hard to beat. This is a highly portable 14-inch gaming laptop at a reasonable price, and it doesn’t sacrifice any power in achieving its size. Asus offers this laptop with up to an RTX 4090, but we’d recommend sticking with a less powerful GPU like the RTX 4070 in such a portable machine.

However, we strongly recommend shopping the sale for the Zephyrus G14. It’s constantly on sale at retailers like Best Buy, with the price sometimes dropping to less than $1,000 if you shop last-generation options. At the time of writing, the 2023 Zephyrus G14 with RTX 4060 is priced at $1,200, which is a pretty good deal for this laptop. Thankfully, these types of discounts for machines are often available.

At the high end, you have the Asus ROG Strix Scar 17. It packs an RTX 4090, and is one of the most powerful gaming laptops you can buy. However, the big deal here is that this is the only gaming laptop that sports AMD’s 3D V-Cache CPU, which offers a huge boost in gaming performance – assuming you can afford that high a price.

Razer

The Razer Blade 15's OLED screen on a table.
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Razer would easily be the best gaming laptop brand if there was one thing missing: price. Razer laptops are expensive. Razer doesn’t compromise on quality, which is why even its lowest-end laptops are so expensive. This is what makes them so excellent; Razer doesn’t compromise on quality.

They’re the MacBooks of gaming laptops, crafted with an aluminum frame that can withstand years of abuse. You’re spending a lot to buy a Razer laptop – at least $2,400 and often even more – but you’ll also get a lot more life out of one. And because of the aluminum frame, you get a much thinner laptop than some of the larger plastic machines from other brands.

Razer doesn’t just borrow the shell from Apple. In true MacBook fashion, the Razer Blades are packed with some of the best gaming keyboards, huge trackpads, and displays that are as good for content creation as they are for gaming. The latest Razer Blades also come with excellent speakers, which are surprisingly hard to find on gaming laptops.

For most budgets, the Razer laptop doesn’t make sense. However, if you can spend more, the Razer justifies the purchase with a premium gaming laptop experience you can’t get anywhere else.

Which Razer gaming laptop should you buy?

The Razer Blade 14 is sitting on a coffee table.
Jacob Roach/

There aren’t many options with razor blades. There are only four models available, with screen sizes ranging from 14 inches to 18 inches. For most people, we recommend the Razer Blade 14. Not only is it the cheapest blade you can buy, but it’s also highly portable and features powerful hardware like the AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS and Nvidia RTX 4070.

Plus, it stays cool and quiet under load – a nice change of pace compared to previous Razer laptops – and it supports USB-C charging, so it’s handy when you want to take the laptop with you for the day. So you can skip the heavy power brick. , It also posted excellent battery life in our testing, in no small part due to the fact that the display automatically reduces the refresh rate when you’re away from the charger.

If you need extreme power, Razer also offers its Blade 16 and Blade 18, which both go with 24-core Intel processors up to the RTX 4090. These are great if you need one of the most powerful laptops money can buy, but it’s hard to beat the Blade 14.

Alienware

Doom Eternal running on Alienware x14 R2.
Jacob Roach/

Alienware’s desktops are hit-or-miss, but its laptops are excellent in every way. A lot of this depends on pricing, with Alienware offering a range of configurations even on its high-end machines to fit different budgets. Even if you don’t get flagship hardware, you still get the same world-class build quality that comes with the most expensive Alienware laptops.

Its laptops are broadly divided into two categories. You have the thin and light X-series and the powerful, but thick M-series. The X-series machines are fantastic, offering some of the thinnest designs we’ve ever seen in a gaming laptop. They’re also made with an aluminum shell, and you can get yours on for as little as $1,400. It’s expensive, but with premium build quality that can rival Razer’s offerings, it’s not too bad.

The M-series laptops aren’t as impressive, but they trade the thinness of the X-series machines for raw power. Alienware has 16-inch and 18-inch models available with up to RTX 4090. They’re firmly in the desktop replacement class of laptops, assuming you can muster a few thousand dollars for a higher-end configuration.

Which Alienware gaming laptop should you buy?

Diablo 4 running on Alienware x16.
Jacob Roach/

For our money, the Alienware x16 is the preferred Alienware laptop. It’s a large 16-inch machine that offers the remarkable thinness of the X-series machines, but with Alienware flagship hardware. You can pack up to a 14-core Intel CPU and an RTX 4090, and that’s crazy because you can easily carry the Alienware x16 with you in a backpack.

It also has the Alienware x14 R2. It has the same slimness, and being a 14-inch gaming laptop, it’s even easier to carry. The main difference is that Alienware has massively cut the specifications of the x14 R2 to achieve its smaller size. It’s still a great gaming laptop, but it definitely has a ceiling when it comes to performance.






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