Best gaming laptops in 2024: I've had my pick of portable powerhouses and these are the best

We've been testing the best gaming laptops, digging deep into the latest flavors of AMD processor and Nvidia graphics silicon, and we know which notebooks sing and which are just tone deaf. We're not just talking about sleek, expensive new machines, either, we've picked a range of gaming laptops at different price points to highlight which give you the best bang for buck and which are just outright awesome.

The current generation of mobile GPU and CPU are now established, offering the best Nvidia, AMD, and Intel has to offer, and Intel's Meteor Lake and Raptor Lake Refresh machines are starting to filter out, too. I've already tested a host of potential alternatives, but the best gaming laptop remains the Lenovo Legion Pro 7i. It makes the best RTX 4090 gaming laptops, including the Razer Blade 16 and Asus ROG Zephyrus M16, and even the frankly ridiculous MSI Titan GT77 HX, look like overkill.

AMD has also now released its new 3D V-Cache mobile chip, and it's absolutely the best mobile gaming chip you can buy, which makes the 17-inch Asus ROG Strix Scar 17 X3D the outright fastest. It's a pricey beast, though, and a lot of money for just a handful of extra frames per second. So, if you can't face spending the big bucks to bag a fine mobile machine, our pick for the best budget gaming laptop is still the Gigabyte G5 KF. You may need to add in some extra RAM to make it really sing, but that's easy enough and cheap enough to do.

Curated by
Dave James
Curated by
Dave James

Dave has had his head in PCs and gaming laptops for a couple of decades now, and knows what makes them tick, and what makes the best gaming laptop for every budget. Whether it's about looking for the highest performance, the best value, best screen, or just the best build quality, Dave has spent time prodding and tweaking pretty much all the laptops on this list.

The quick list

Recent updates

Updated March 21 to include the new and improved Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 2024 as the best 14-inch gaming laptop.

The best gaming laptop

The best gaming laptop

Specifications

CPU: Up to Core i9 13900HX
GPU: RTX 4090, RTX 4080, or RTX 4070
RAM: Up to 32GB DDR5
Screen: 2560 x 1600, 16:10 aspect ratio
Storage: Up to 2TB Gen 4 SSD
Battery: Up to 99.99Wh
Dimensions: 10.32 x 14.3 x 0.86–1.01 inches
Weight: 6.17lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Solid, grown-up chassis
+
Excellent CPU performance
+
Competitive price

Reasons to avoid

-
Weak battery life
-
1600p screen isn't the most punchy

Our favorite config:

Lenovo Legion Pro 7i (Gen 8)| Intel Core i9 13900HX | Nvidia RTX 4080 (150W) | 32GB DDR5 | 1TB NVMe SSD

Lenovo Legion Pro 7i (Gen 8)| Intel Core i9 13900HX | Nvidia RTX 4080 (150W) | 32GB DDR5 | 1TB NVMe SSD
The RTX 4080 model is our absolute favorite version of the Legion Pro 7i. That's the same one we've tested ourselves. This awesome chassis delivers enough headroom for the RTX 4080 to shine in games, and it often matches laptops with more restrained RTX 4090 GPUs inside. Tough to argue with that.

We tested: Intel Core i9 13900HX | Nvidia RTX 4080 (150W) | 32GB DDR5 | 1TB NVMe SSD


Buy if...

You want serious gaming power: The RTX 4080 mobile GPU is a fantastic gaming chip, offering stellar performance on the native 1600p screen. And that Intel CPU is an absolute monster of processor, too.

You value good value: Most of the next-gen laptops we've tested so far have had an almost punitive price premium attached to them, which makes them hard to justify. The Legion Pro 7i, however, can offer performance as high as a Razer Blade 16 with an RTX 4090 inside it, while coming in $2,000 cheaper.

You want a grown-up laptop: The Lenovo chassis is smart, stylish, and doesn't come with any over-the-top 'gamer' aesthetic bull.

Don't buy if:

You need looong battery life: The biggest downside with the Legion Pro 7i is its gaming battery life is one of the weakest we've seen. Given the high-powered GPU that's maybe not a surprise, and realistically you are going to gaming plugged in for the most part.

You're after something super portable: The 16-inch chassis isn't that much bigger than a standard 15-inch machine thanks to the thin bezels around the screen, but they don't offer the same level of portability as the excellent 14-inch options around today.

The bottom line

🪛 The Legion Pro 7i is a stunning gaming laptop that really cements Lenovo's place in the top tier of gaming machines. The performance and value of the high-end components inside this laptop means it can rival far more expensive systems without sounding like a jet turbine to do so. It's both the best gaming laptop, and the best 16-inch laptop right now.

The Lenovo Legion Pro 7i is the best 16-inch gaming laptop, and since 16-inch is the best form factor for a gaming laptop, it is therefore the best gaming laptop overall as well. Win and win.

It's a machine that comes in at a price point that makes the rest of the high-end RTX 40-series look even more ridiculous on their lofty $4,000+ perches. And its the RTX 4080 model that has us impressed in testing, offering the sort of gaming performance that has me questioning why anyone would want an RTX 4090 machine.

The Legion Pro 7i runs its RTX 4080 at a 150W TGP, which is the effective maximum of the GPU. Though manufacturers are given an extra 25W leeway to bulk up their own specs if they feel they can push a little extra juice through their own systems. Lenovo hasn't gone down that route, the Legion Pro knows what it likes, and it likes the 150W TGP and no more.

This Gen8 machine uses a 13th Gen Intel chip—the Core i9 13900HX. If, like me, you were to assume that would essentially be a slightly higher clocked version of the Core i9 13900H Asus has used in its excellent Zephyrus M16 gaming laptop, then you'd be wrong.

There are obviously similarities, they are both using the same essential Raptor Lake architecture after all. But the HX isn't just quicker, it has eight Performance cores, vs the 13900H's six, and twice the number of Efficient cores taking its total up to 24 cores of processing grunt. The clock speeds remain the same, with 5.4GHz boost clocks, though inevitably the bigger chip has a higher base TDP of 45W. Which will go some way to explaining the terrible battery life you get when gaming.

Because, it has to be said, Lenovo machines are universally terrible at gaming away from a plug socket. I've tested a host of Legion laptops over the past year, and to a machine they all suffer from very poor gaming battery life, though are admittedly still performance heroes when they're powered from the wall. Realistically, you're going to do most of your PC gaming when you're plugged in, largely because all gaming laptops have pretty terrible gaming battery life metrics, so how much of a dealbreaker that is for you depends on how mobile you want to be when playing Helldivers 2.

The only other place I'm feeling a little comparatively conflicted with the Lenovo is in the screen. I've been spoiled by gorgeous mini-LED panels in recent times, most recently by that in the Lenovo Legion 9i, which makes the standard backlighting in this 1600p 240Hz screen feel a little lacklustre.

It's still a good screen, and it does have the 16:10 aspect ratio I never knew I needed in a gaming laptop until I started using them on the regular. The 2560 x 1600 native resolution is a great match for the 16-inch screen size the Legion Pro comes rocking.

The Legion Pro 7i manages to outperform both the Razer Blade 16 and the Asus Zephyrus M16 regularly, at both 1080p and 1440p resolutions. Only the chonky boi MSI Titan GT77 is able to utilise its RTX 4090-ish GPU to its fullest potential. And then at the expense of acoustics and potentially your sanity.

Because that's the thing I keep coming back to when I'm looking at this Lenovo machine. It's not the prettiest, but it sure can smash out them high gaming frame rates. And does it for around $2,000 less than the Blade 16.

The other thing that makes me love the Legion Pro 7i so well is that it's been on sale for the last eight months or so, making the RTX 4080 version around the $2,000 mark and sometimes even below that. It's a grown-up looking laptop, with serious gaming performance behind it. And it's serious good value to boot.

Read our full Lenovo Legion Pro 7i (Gen 8) review.

The best budget gaming laptop

The best budget gaming laptop

Specifications

CPU: Up to Intel Core i7 12th Gen
GPU: Up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060
RAM: Up to 32GB DDR5-4800
Screen: 15.6-inch IPS 1080p @ 144Hz
Storage: 512GB M.2 PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD
Battery: 54Wh
Dimensions: 14.2 x 9.4 x 0.89 inches
Weight: 4.19lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Great gaming performance
+
Nice-looking screen
+
Solid chassis
+
Easy to upgrade storage
+
Roughly the price of a similar RTX 30-series model

Reasons to avoid

-
Loud under load
-
Larger SSD upgrade is a must
-
Would prefer more P-cores

Our favorite config:

Gigabyte G5 (2023) | Intel Core i5 12650H | Nvidia RTX 4060 | 16GB DDR4-3200 | 512GB SSD

Gigabyte G5 (2023) | Intel Core i5 12650H | Nvidia RTX 4060 | 16GB DDR4-3200 | 512GB SSD
It's going to be tough to beat the Gigabyte G5 (2023) for the best affordable gaming laptop of last year, and it's still just as good today. It's smartly provisioned with an RTX 4060 and good on price. There is a cheaper version with just 8GB of system memory, which is a bit miserly, but it is possible to upgrade the RAM with easy access to the insides of the G5 chassis.

We tested: Intel Core i5 12500H | Nvidia RTX 4060 | 16GB DDR4-3200 | 512GB NVMe SSD


Buy if...

You want a cheaper RTX 40-series GPU: With a price tag not dissimilar to RTX 3060 gaming laptops, you're not paying a large premium for Nvidia's latest RTX 40-series architecture.

✅ You're after a laptop for both work and play: The G5 is predominantly a gaming laptop, but it's a relatively sleek chassis and its Alder Lake CPU does come with plenty of E-cores to throw at other tasks beyond gaming.

Don't buy if...

You want to install a lot of games at once: With just a 512GB SSD installed out of the box, and the OS taking up some of that already, there's not a huge amount of room left for large game libraries.

You want a quiet gaming device: Better stick to the Steam Deck or Asus ROG Ally if you want something quieter. The G5 makes a helluva noise when it's gaming.

The bottom line

🪛 You might reasonably assume that a next-gen gaming laptop will cost considerably more than the previous generation, but the Gigabyte G5 (2023) is basically the exact same machine as the 2022 model, at a bargain price, just with a new RTX 40-series GPU parachuted in. And that works for us.

The Gigabyte G5 (2023) is a great deal, and that's a little surprising considering the price hike we usually see for RTX 40-series gaming laptops. But you'll find no fad features or unnecessary add-ons to push up the costs here. Just a straightforward, well-built, and cleverly provisioned gaming laptop for less than $900 or £900 that delivers plenty of frames in games. For us, that makes it easily the best budget gaming laptop you can buy right now.

Let's start with the star of the show here: the RTX 4060. We're yet to see Nvidia's RTX 40-series drop to this level on desktop, but even this budget-friendly card delivers superb 1080p performance befitting the G5's 1080p 144Hz display. That's partially down to the power Gigabyte's prepared to pump into the GPU inside this machine: 75W. 

That might not seem like much next to the 175W RTX 4090 laptops we've reviewed, but it's 30W more than MSI is ready to run through its own RTX 4060-powered gaming laptop, the Cyborg 15. And you can watch the frame rate go up with every extra watt pulsing through the G5's GPU. 

The Gigabyte G5 is up to 27% faster than the Cyborg 15 in our testing, and the Cyborg 15 even has a better CPU for gaming under the hood. It's this gaming prowess that helps make it the best affordable gaming laptop around.

The CPU in question here is Intel's Core i5 12500H. A fairly sensible choice, though let down a little by only four Performance-cores (P-cores). This is one of Intel's hybrid Alder Lake chips, so it comes with a basket of Efficient-cores (E-cores) to help lighten the load on the quicker gaming silicon. There are eight E-cores here, which makes for a 12-core chip in total.

Generally, I'd prefer a few more P-cores in the mix, at least six. Like the Core i7 12650H CPU found on the MSI Cyborg 15, in fact. That comes with six P-cores and just four E-cores. The MSI laptop also comes with faster DDR5 memory than the legacy DDR4 on the Gigabyte machine, too. But in real terms that doesn't actually make a huge difference in the benchmarks.

You can open this laptop up relatively easily with a Phillips-head screwdriver to access its innards. You will poke through a couple of stickers over the screws that might void your warranty, so be sure you want to be diving in there before you do, but behind the back panel you'll find one free M.2 SSD slot for an easy storage capacity upgrade. You'll probably want to take advantage of that eventually as the 512GB SSD included in this machine will fill up quickly.

There is also the fact that the cheapest Gigabyte G5 models on offer often come with just 8GB of memory, and that's just wrong. As it's so easy to open, and RAM is both so cheap and easy to upgrade, that doesn't take away a lot of points of for us. Either bag a second 8GB stick, or go for a new 16GB dual-channel (2x 8GB) kit to make sure it's completely compatible.

The biggest drawback of the G5 is the noise this thing makes when it's running any marginally demanding game. That's not a new experience for anyone who has used a gaming laptop in the past, but take this as your warning that gaming laptops are generally not any quieter than they used to be, at least not if you want high performance. 

There's plenty of good things to say about the screen on the G5, too. It's vibrant and responsive, and while 15.6-inches can feel a little encroaching at 1080p, it's a happy median for frame rate, resolution, and size. While this laptop does suffer a little in contrast, colours are nicely saturated and it's an all-round solid panel.

The G5 (2023) just feels such a solid design for a gaming laptop. The performance is there, the flexibility and upgradeability too, and you aren't paying over the odds for the hot new thing. It's actually pretty affordable. This is going to be tough to beat for the best affordable gaming laptop to buy right now.

Read our full Gigabyte G5 (2023) review.

Best Razer laptop for gaming | Best Acer laptop for gaming | Best MSI laptop for gaming| Best gaming keyboard | Best gaming mouse | Best gaming chair

The best 15-inch gaming laptop

The best 15-inch gaming laptop

Specifications

CPU: Up to Core i9 13800H
GPU: Up to RTX 4070
RAM: Up to 32GB DDR5
Screen: 1080p @ 360H or 1440p @ 240Hz
Storage: Up to 1TB SSD
Battery: 80Wh
Dimensions: 9.25 x 13.98 x 0.67 inches
Weight: 4.40lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Unparalleled build quality
+
Wide range of CPU/GPU options
+
Looks as good as it performs
+
Great battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Trackpad can be awkward
-
Razer premium price

Our favorite config:

Razer Blade 15 | Intel Core i7 12800H | Nvidia RTX 3070 Ti

Razer Blade 15 | Intel Core i7 12800H | Nvidia RTX 3070 Ti
You can, of course, go for the old big boi—the RTX 3080 Ti—but in this slimline chassis, the Nvidia RTX 3070 Ti will deliver fantastic frame rates, even at the 1440p resolution of the gorgeous 240Hz OLED screen. You also get a 1TB PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD and 16GB of dual-channel DDR5 RAM at a blistering 4,800MHz.

We tested: Intel Core i7 13800H | Nvidia RTX 4070 | 16GB DDR5-5200 | 1TB NVMe SSD


Buy if...

You want a premium build: Razer's Blade 15 is as close as you're going to get to a gaming MacBook aesthetic. Well, apart from that big green logo on the lid...

You want options: There are a huge number of Blade 15 configurations out there, going from the Base to the Advanced systems, with a variety of price points.

You want battery life: If we're honest, game time away from a plug is always limited in a modern gaming laptop. But the Blade 15, even with the RTX 3080 in it, is the best performing on that front of all the machines in this list.

Don't buy if:

You need peak plugged-in performance: That slimline chassis is an essential part of the Blade 15's charm but is also why Razer limits the TGP of the graphics cards in them.

You're on a budget: Razer's gaming laptops are not cheap, and always come with a price premium on top of the likes of Asus or Acer's more affordable machines.

The bottom line

🪛 The Razer Blade 15 has long been our favorite 15-inch gaming laptop. It mixes style with performance and a wealth of screen real estate, and comes in a wide variety of configurations. Now, those configs may not necessarily suit every budget because of the Razer price premium, but if you're willing to pay for the absolute best the Blade 15 deserves to be at the top of your list.

The latest spin of the Razer Blade 15 once again improves on one of the greatest gaming laptops ever made, and the best 15-inch gaming laptop today. It has the same gorgeous CNC-milled aluminum chassis as its predecessor, only this time it can house one of Nvidia's latest RTX 40-series GPUs and an Intel 13th Gen Core i9 CPU.

Though it's days may well be numbered. Right now, it doesn't look like Razer is going to release a new Blade 15 with the 14th Gen Intel chips inside it, which could indicate that this is the last run for the venerable machine.

In a way, that's understandable given the Blade 16 isn't much bigger yet can house a larger screen. But, importantly, it is thicker. Yes, the Blade 16 is a fair bit chonkier than the older Razer chassis, and I very much prefer the more svelte, older design.

Missing out on the 14th generation of Intel's mobile Core CPUs isn't an issue in real terms, however, as the Raptor Lake Refresh is just that, a mild refresh of the 13th Gen chips. So, with the current Razer Blade still sporting up to the RTX 4070 as its GPU component it still represents the best 15-inch gaming laptop you can buy.

As hinted at before, that scale does limit the screen. In the Blade 15 you have a QHD 240Hz panel, so that's a 2560 x 1440 native resolution. I mean, that's still great and all, but I've been spoiled by the 16:10, 1600p mini-LED displays modern laptops can offer. It does also mean the Blade 15 has a fairly sizeable 'chin' by which I mean a large bezel along the bottom side of the panel.

I'd maybe want the screen to be brighter, but it's certainly responsive and that 240Hz refresh makes it feel super slick. It's sharp, too, with that 1440p res squished down to only 15-inches of real estate.

The gaming performance certainly isn't impacted by the lack of the latest CPU, with the 115W RTX 4070 proving a very capable gaming GPU, even in the confines of the slight Blade 15 chassis. The RTX 4070 inside our latest review machine easily outpaces the mobile RTX 3080 in the last version we tested of Razer's 15-incher, and that's without the added benefits of DLSS 3 and Frame Generation.

The issue, as ever with Razer gaming laptops, is the price premium. Our pick for the best gaming laptop, the 16-inch Lenovo Legion Pro 7i is consistently much cheaper than the top RTX 4070 SKU of the Blade 16 and that comes with a much faster RTX 4080. It isn't quite as nice a device, given the unibody aluminium chassis of the Razer machine, but if you're on a tight budget it's hard to recommend the Blade.

But it is a lovely device, even if it has barely changed in the past few years. It's also pretty well connected, with a pair of Thunderbolt 4 ports and three USB 3.2 Type-A connections, too. There's also the requisite combined 3.5mm audio jack and a full HDMI 2.1 output.

For me, it's still the best 15-inch gaming laptop on the scene and as ever really does nail that gaming MacBook aesthetic, which has always made the Blades such a hit. 

The best 14-inch gaming laptop

The best 14-inch gaming laptop

Specifications

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 8945HS
GPU: Up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070
RAM: 32GB LPDDR5X 6400
Screen: 14-inch 1800p @ 120Hz | OLED
Storage: 1TB SSD NVMe PCIe 4.0
Battery: 73Wh
Dimensions: 31.1 x 22.0 x 1.63 cm / 12.24 x 8.66 x 0.64-inches
Weight: 1.50 kg / 3.3 lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Stylish
+
All-metal chassis
+
120Hz OLED screen
+
Highly portable
+
Good gaming performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Memory is soldered
-
1TB SSD

Our favorite config:

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 (GA403UI) | AMD Ryzen 9 8945HS | Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 (GA403UI) | AMD Ryzen 9 8945HS | Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070
The model we looked at review is the best configuration for most PC gamers. The RTX 4070 is a powerful GPU that won't age too quickly and all current models of the 2024 Zephyrus G14 come with the Ryzen 9 chip and 32GB of LPDDR5X. That includes the cheaper models, too, like this RTX 4060-powered G14.

We tested: AMD Ryzen 9 8945HS | Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 | 32GB LPDDR5X | 1TB NVMe SSD


Buy if...

✅ You want a laptop for work and play: The G14 is good looking enough to carry around to your very important meetings yet still has plenty of performance in-game.

✅ You want an OLED screen: It's all the rage nowadays, but the G14's OLED panel makes everything pop on-screen. It makes taking pictures of the screen easier, too. Games naturally look amazing.

Don't buy if:

You would like the option to upgrade: The G14 sacrifices an upgrade path for its plucky new shell. That means soldered memory and just a single SSD NVMe slot. Darn.

The bottom line

🪛 Asus' Zephyrus G14 is deservedly one of the best gaming laptops around today. The newer 2024 model comes with many improvements over the previous one, including a lovely all-metal chassis and OLED panel. It's quite an upgrade on an already impressive machine.

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 (2024) is the best 14-inch gaming laptop, taking the spot from the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 (2023). That might make it seem like the newer model was a shoe-in for the top position in this guide, but actually there have been some serious design changes and improvements made to the newer model. Those which make it entirely deserving of a top spot all on its own.

The G14 2024 comes with a new all-metal chassis that is quite simply lovely. It's the chassis that has finally convinced a few of us in-office to look beyond the Razer Blade, which is famed for its all-metal construction. The metal build on the Zephyrus feels great, looks great, and importantly trims down the footprint of the Zephyrus G14 to an even more travel-friendly size. It's just 1.63 cm at its thickest point.

Now before we get to the other good bits, it's worth saying that the shrunken form factor has led Asus to sacrifice the single removable SO-DIMM slot found on previous years' G14 models. There's no longer an upgrade path for the memory. That said, 32GB of LPDD5X is included as standard on all the available models at time of writing. That should see most people through for years to come, but I understand some users won't like the lack of options here. Also while you can replace the SSD, there's only one NVMe slot available, which can make transfers a pain, as you'd need to make a complete switch, SSD for SSD.

If you're still with me, let's talk one of the G14's best features: the OLED screen. If it looks good in the gallery images above, it looks even better in-person. Excellent breadth of colour and contrast make for a stunning display for gaming. The increased resolution of 2880 x 1800 and slightly larger aspect ratio at 16:10 help to prevent that compact screen from feeling too closed-in.

A surprisingly plus point on the G14 are its speakers, which have seen significant improvement year-on-year. There are now four tweeters and two woofers built into the G14, split on either side of the keyboard, and they sound genuinely good. Our Andy was also impressed with the Zephyrus G16's speakers, which have similarly been zhushed up with the latest laptop.

For a compact 14-inch gaming laptop, which remains one of the more desirable form factors around, there's no beating the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 2024. 

Read our full Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 (2024) review.

The best 17-inch gaming laptop

The best 17-inch gaming laptop

Specifications

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 7945HX
GPU: Up to Nvidia RTX 4090
RAM: Up to 32GB DDR5-4800
Screen: 17.3-inch 1440p @ 240Hz
Storage: Up to 2TB M.2 PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 SSD
Battery: 90Wh
Dimensions: 15.55 x 11.10 x 0.92 inches
Weight: 6.61lbs

Reasons to buy

+
That new 3D V-Cache AMD CPU is a star
+
RTX 4090 can flex its gaming muscles
+
Relatively slim chassis for a 17-incher
+
More affordable than equivalent specs

Reasons to avoid

-
Poor ergonomics
-
Terrible trackpad
-
Weak battery life
-
Can get loud

Our favorite config:

Asus ROG Strix Scar 17 (2023) | AMD Ryzen 9 7945HX3D | Nvidia RTX 4090 | 32GB DDR5-4800 | 1TB SSD

Asus ROG Strix Scar 17 (2023) | AMD Ryzen 9 7945HX3D | Nvidia RTX 4090 | 32GB DDR5-4800 | 1TB SSD
The Scar 17 is one of the fastest, most powerful gaming laptops I've ever tested, especially now it's been updated with the ultimate mobile gaming CPU, the new AMD X3D chip. And if that's all you care about this is the machine for you. For me, the ergonomics make it feel like a second-tier system despite the fact it can outperform far more expensive gaming laptops. Asus giveth, and Asus taketh away.

We tested: AMD Ryzen 9 7945HX and 7945HX3D | Nvidia RTX 4090 | 32GB DDR5-4800 | 1TB SSD


Buy if...

✅ You want the most powerful gaming laptop: The combination of AMD's latest Ryzen mobile chip and Nvidia's RTX 4090 makes this a real frame rate spitting monster of machine.

You want a desktop replacement: The large 17-inch screen and 1440p resolution gives you a lot of space to work on without taking up the same space as a full desktop+monitor setup.

Don't buy if...

❌ You want good battery life: at just 55 minutes in gaming terms, the battery life is among the worst I've ever tested.

Ergonomics is key to you: the typing experience isn't great with such a defined chassis edge that digs into your forearms, and the trackpad is horrible.

You like a quiet life: it gets LOUD.

The bottom line

🪛 The Asus ROG Strix Scar 17 uses AMD's latest Dragon Range CPU, and it knocks even the most powerful Intel laptop chips off the top perch. Combined with the RTX 4090 that makes this a combination for gaming and productivity that's hard to beat at this price.

As well as being the best 17-inch gaming laptop available today, Asus' ROG Strix Scar 17 X3D is also probably the fastest machine around, too. The latest AMD Zen 4 chips are the top mobile number-crunchers you can buy, and the addition of the cache-heavy Ryzen 9 7945HX3D gives this big boi system sometimes ultimate gaming performance.

It's a shame that it's currently restricted to a single model, however, because the Scar 17 X3D is the only place you'll find AMD's finest. This is a really impressive gaming laptop that makes the ridiculous MSI Titan look even more dumb. The Asus is near $2,000 cheaper and outperforms it in practically every metric that matters.

This is also one of the most affordable RTX 4090 machine I've seen in this generation, so I guess in some regards being seen as a lesser light in laptops terms has maybe served this AMD-powered system after all. It's also one of the best performing RTX 4090 machines I've seen, which is a double whammy that makes it difficult to recommend any of the rest.

You absolutely do need to be plugging it in because, despite that big 90Wh battery, it really doesn't last long away from a wall socket. If you're gaming, consider the battery like some sort of uninterruptible power supply rather than something to rely on for long.

The special X3D version of the laptop, still only machine to host the ultimate mobile gaming CPU, AMD's Ryzen 9 7945HX3D, is identical to the standard Scar 17 laptop, with its Ryzen 9 7945HX chip, but the updated version comes with the 3D V-cache technology which stacks more cache memory atop one of the Zen 4 compute blocks.

And that can make a huge difference to gaming performance specifically.

The nominal clock speed of the chip is just 2.5GHz, with a boost clock of 5.4GHz. And that's actually a reliable boost, too, because I was reliably seeing the chip ramping up to that level during single-core loads in my testing. In heavily multithreaded loads I was seeing a regular 4.7GHz, which is no mean feat. I repeat, we are talking about 16 full Zen 4 CPU cores here.

The most powerful Intel mobile chip we've seen has been the Core i9 13980HX in the Asus Strix Scar 16, this machine's smaller sibling. That's a 24-core processor with 32-threads, but remember Intel is mixing eight of its Performance cores with 16 Efficient cores to hit its thread target. And that shows in the CPU benchmarks.

I keep coming back to my irredeemably negative experience of using the MSI Titan machine. That's an offensively chonky, loud machine that still only just delivers the sort of performance this Asus Scar 17 can. And that means as much as the ergonomics of this big boi ROG laptop don't sing to me, the raw performance absolutely does. 

It's also my first taste of AMD's latest range of laptop processors, and it's certainly pleasing my techie palate. The red team is really nailing mobile chips at the moment, with the power of this Ryzen 9 7945HX, the gaming prowess of the Ryzen 9 7945HX3D, and the efficiency and performance of its Z1 Extreme, née Ryzen 7 7840U, that is gracing the excellent ROG Ally handheld gaming PC et al.

Read our full Asus ROG Strix Scar 17 (2023) review.
Read our full
AMD Ryzen 9 7945HX3D testing.

The best gaming laptop screen

The best gaming laptop screen

Specifications

CPU: Up to Core i9 13900HX
GPU: RTX 4080, RTX 4070 or RTX 4060
RAM: Up to 32GB DDR5
Screen: 16-inch, 2560 x 1600, 16:10 aspect ratio, Mini LED
Storage: Up to 2TB M.2 PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 SSD
Battery: 90Wh
Dimensions: 10.9 x 14.08 x 1.05 inches
Weight: 5.73 lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Mini LED screen is gorgeous
+
Smart-looking chassis
+
Reasonable price

Reasons to avoid

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Sometimes off the pace for performance
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Turbo mode is monstrously loud

Our favorite config:

Acer Predator Helios 16 | RTX 4080 | Core i9 13900HX | 16GB DDR5-5600 | 1TB SSD | Mini LED

Acer Predator Helios 16 | RTX 4080 | Core i9 13900HX | 16GB DDR5-5600 | 1TB SSD | Mini LED
Considering this laptop is quite a bit cheaper than its RTX 4080 competition, it doesn't feel that pared back for it. In fact, this laptop has one of the most gorgeous screens we've seen on a mobile device yet, powered by Mini LED. Its performance is a little off the pace of the rest of the pack, but it's still a high-end laptop that can deliver immense frame rates.

We tested: Intel Core i9 13900HX | Nvidia RTX 4080 | 16GB DDR5 | 1TB NVMe SSD


Buy if...

You value a gorgeous screen: The Acer Predator's Mini LED screen is stunning. This new panel technology really works wonders on a smaller laptop screen.

You want a large laptop: The 16-inch form factor is a fantastic mix of screen and size.

Don't buy if:

You need top performance: This isn't the fastest RTX 4080 laptop we've tested, though it's not too far off the pace.

You need a portable laptop: While this 16-inch laptop is fairly compact considering its screen size, it's still very large, heavy, and comes with a huge power brick.

The bottom line

🪛 The Mini LED screen on this laptop is absolutely stunning. It's bright when it needs to be, but black levels are great and you can pick out finer details in the murkiest of images. The foibles of Mini LED aren't as pronounced in such a small screen as this, either. While you will find this screen on the likes of the Asus ROG Zephyrus M16, this Acer laptop is usually far cheaper.

The Acer Predator Helios 16 isn't the fastest gaming laptop with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 stuffed inside it, but it does have many redeeming qualities. You should absolutely look elsewhere if you want pure performance, but for the raw quality of the Mini LED screen on this laptop and its comparatively affordable price tag, there's something to really like here. This is hands-down the gaming laptop with the best screen you can buy.

Let's talk about the screen, then. It's one of the Helios 16's strongest features. It's a Mini LED panel with 1000 zones, and those zones are delivered by miniature LEDs packed together behind the screen, rather than your more traditional diodes. The extra zones aim to produce brighter peaks without washing out the darker areas of a picture. Admittedly, Mini LED is no microLED, but over a traditional LED screen I'll take it any day.

The screen on the Helios 16 looks lush. The colours are rich, vibrant, and it doesn't struggle to deliver a punchy image like some cheaper laptops. Crank the brightness right the way up and the image is super impressive, both on the desktop and in games.

I've been playing some Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition and this display is so, so good at showing off areas with bright flames erupting out of the darkness, or rays of light breaking through windows or a hole in the roof.

This laptop's Mini LED screen really is a highlight—an enviable 240Hz and 16:10 (25