The best gaming laptop 2023 - all the latest models compared

It's been a fantastic year for the best gaming laptops on the market. With Nvidia RTX 40-Series graphics cards entering the fray and new generation processors powering them, the jump in performance between this and last year's models is impressive. Obviously, these rigs can provide the power of a desktop machine with the portability of a much lighter device. However, truly great gaming laptops manage to do this while remaining cool, balancing price to performance value, and while packing high quality display into their costs. These are the kinds of machines we're interested in, and after extensive testing we've found the models you need to know about this year.

The best gaming laptop of 2023 is the Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 so far, but plenty of our favorite machines balance raw power with value for money. That means some of these top models won't run the most impressive graphics cards or pack bags of RAM - they will simply outperform their price tag. After all, if you don't need an all singing rig, why pay for one. 

We've put a wide range of gaming laptops through their paces to find the best machines in the business, testing performance relative to the specs on offer, efficiency in design and temperature, and overall value for money. We run each machine through a series of performance benchmarks, and live, play, and work with the models we review for an extended period of time - you can check out exactly how we test gaming laptops in our dedicated guide. You'll find all our recommendations for the best gaming laptop on the market just below, and more information on choosing the right configuration for you and your budget as well. 

What do our benchmark scores mean?
We run each gaming laptop we get our hands on through a series of tests across gaming and productivity performance. Of these scores, we're listing two with each of our favorite machines below; Fire Strike and Time Spy. Both tests stress both the graphics and processing of a laptop, returning one final score once completed. The higher the score, the better the performance. 

The quick list

The best gaming laptop overall

The best gaming laptop overall

Specifications

CPU: Intel i9-13980HX
GPU: RTX 4080 | RTX 4090
RAM: 16GB | 32GB
Storage: 2TB M.2 PCL 4.0 SSD
Display: 16-inch QHD+ Mini LED, 240Hz | 16-inch QHD+ IPS, 240Hz
Ports: 1x USB-C Thunderbolt 4, 1x USB-C Gen 2, 2x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2, HDMI 2.1, 2.5G LAN, 3.5mm

Reasons to buy

+
Classic RGB-laden aesthetic taken to new heights
+
Intel i9 absolutely sings
+
Vivid, bright display with excellent contrast
+
Three figure framerates at Ultra settings

Reasons to avoid

-
Ports moved back to sides
-
Translucent design won't be for everyone
-
Trackpad feels a little mushy and clunky

Our favorite configuration:

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Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 | RTX 4080 | Intel i9-13980HX at Amazon
This is the CPU / GPU we tested in our Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 review, and even though you're not going for the top top RTX 4090 model it still provides an eye-watering amount of power. 32GB RAM will see you through the games of the future and that Nebula display certainly isn't to be missed either.

The Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 has taken over from the Razer Blade 15 (still featured below) as the best gaming laptop we've had our hands on yet. This thing flies through anything you can throw at it, without reaching the dizzying heights of other premium RTX 40-Series rigs. That's because the Strix Scar puts its power exactly where a PC gaming enthusiast wants it - cooling, CPU efficiency, and GPU power - all while still offering a crisp set of RGB panels and a Mini LED display worthy of its next generation chassis.

Buy It If

✅You prioritize performance over a slick chassis: The Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 is a powerful machine, but it's certainly not the most expensive model on the market - because it doesn't try and squeeze those components into a more portable form factor.
 

✅You value a high quality display: That Mini LED display does add to the final price, but it's well worth the additional immersion for that crisp QHD+ resolution.
 

✅You don't mind a more gamer-styled aesthetic: The Strix isn't going to fade into the background - while you can turn those glaring LEDs off, the translucent body and chunky grills scream gaming laptop.
 

Don't Buy It If:

You don't want to spend over $3,000: The Strix series is at the top of Asus's range, so we're unlikely to see cheaper configurations surfacing. While it's good value in its price bracket, it's still a premium machine.
 

You prefer a sleek form factor: The extra space required to achieve such performance is a necessary evil here.
 

You don't need the latest top of the range specs: If your Steam library simply won't make the most of those top shelf graphics cards and processors, the Strix isn't going to be worth it.
 

Design: This isn't a machine for the more subtle amongst us, though. While the RGB panel running across the lower lip can be switched off, this is still very much a gaming laptop. The translucent design across the main deck wasn't quite our favorite touch and does add to this gamer aesthetic while slightly cheapening the experience, but this is down to personal preference. 

The lid sports a large ROG logo and a series of etched diagonal lines along the chunky grill towards the back, further removing this rig from your everyday office laptop. However, it's not such an in your face design, and putting those LEDs to sleep certainly keeps the vibe slick. 

Features: We've also got one of the best screens we've had the pleasure of using on a gaming laptop. Asus has branded its Mini LED screens 'Nebula HDR', and they sing. Between 1,024 dimming zones and 1,100+ nits of peak brightness, colors pop with an excellent vividity and balance well with a deep, rich contrast. Throw in Dolby Atmos and a solid virtual surround system and you've got a seriously immersive experience. 

That's, of course, backed up with a high-end set of configuration options. The ROG Strix Scar 16 can move up to an i9-13980HX CPU with an RTX 4090 card - those are specs that are sure to satisfy anyone looking for a top shelf rig. 

Performance: We tested an RTX 4080 rig with the Intel i9-13980HX processor that comes with both this and the 4090 configuration, drawing a 17,611 Time Spy score and 32,876 Fire Strike score to beat out the Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 by some margin. The Scar 16 even beat the larger (and far more expensive RTX 4090-toting) Razer Blade 18 in these benchmark tests as well. Those are numbers that will comfortably see you through the next five years of gaming, and potentially much more if we don't see any particularly demanding graphical breakthroughs.

No, framerates weren't as impressive as the ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 listed below - but equally you're not spending an extra $1,000 on a fancy second screen (and the power to run it) you might not use. Plus, at three-figure framerates in Ultra settings across demanding titles, there's no arguing the raw horsepower baked into this machine.

With HDR content represented in gorgeous detail and colors popping from the screen with excellent vibrancy, this is a real feast for the eyes.

Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 review

Verdict: We're getting our hands on more RTX 40-Series gaming laptops all the time, but for now the Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 is the best model to pass our desks. It's well worth the investment for anyone on the hunt for a high-end machine with bags of power to spare for future releases. 

Read more: Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 (2023) review

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Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 Benchmarks (RTX 4080)
Benchmark Test1080pQHD+
Shadow of the Tomb RaiderHigh: 201fps / Highest: 191fpsHigh: 179fps / Highest: 173fps
Total War: Three KingdomsHigh: 193fps / Ultra: 148fpsHigh: 121fps / Ultra: 87fps
Red Dead Redemption 2Balanced: 118fps / Highest: 107fpsBalanced: 95fps / Highest: 94fps
Metro ExodusHigh: 134fps / Ultra: 115fpsHigh: 101fps / Ultra: 93fps
The Division 2High: 167fps / Ultra: 138fpsHigh: 140fps / Ultra: 108fps

The best gaming laptop for most players

The best gaming laptop for most

Specifications

CPU: i7-12700H | i9-12900H
GPU: RTX 3050 Ti | RTX 3060 | RTX 3070 Ti | RTX 3080 Ti
RAM: up to 64GB
Storage: up to 4TB SSD
Display: FHD at 165Hz / 360Hz | QHD at 240Hz
Ports: 3x USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 1 | 1x Type-C port with Thunderbolt 4, USB 3.2 Gen 2, DisplayPort 1.4, and Power Delivery, 1x HDMI 2.1, 1x RJ-45 Killer E3100 2.5Gbps Ethernet port, 1x 3.5mm headset jack

Reasons to buy

+
Incredible performance
+
Satisfying keyboard
+
Fast display
+
Some premium design features

Reasons to avoid

-
Cheaper plastic body
-
Difficult to transport
-
Particularly loud fans

Our favorite configuration:

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Alienware M15 R7 | RTX 3060 | Intel i7-12700H at Dell
We tested the Alienware M15 R7 with an RTX 3070 Ti GPU at the helm, but considering that configuration comes in at over $2,000 right now, you're getting solid value for money with this RTX 3060 build. You're still getting that uber powerful 12th generation processor, and 16GB DDR5 RAM in here. We've opted to keep the 360Hz panel we tested in this build - it's only $100 more for the luxury and it really was an impressive display, well worth the cash.

The Alienware M15 R7 brought the now mid-range line of luxury laptops up to 2022's standards last year, and while current sales hold out it's the go-to for anyone after a performance punching machine in 2023. With Intel's 12th generation processors and Nvidia's Ti GPUs at the helm, there's some serious power up for grabs here.

Buy It If

✅You need all-round power across a range of genres: The M15 R7 is well suited for a massive range of games, offering excellent performance at a solid mid-range price.
 

✅You're a more competitive player: With its super-fast display and Ethernet port, this is a machine built with competition in mind.
 

✅You want to save by opting for an older machine: The R7 has been superseded by the M16 in 2023, which makes it a generation behind. However, that means we regularly see it on sale. 

Don't Buy It If

You travel regularly with your laptop: The Alienware M15 R7 weighs in at just under 6lbs (2.7kg) and packs a massive charger to boot. This isn't a backpack friendly machine.
 

You want the latest components: As a previous generation machine, you're locked into RTX 30-Series graphics cards and Intel's 12th generation processors. There's still plenty of power here, but not quite as much value as a newer build.
 

You want a luxury chassis: Alienware shaves the price of its M-Series devices by dropping the premium build materials of its X-Series. 

Design: It's worth noting that this machine is built purely for power. It's a stocky design, and a particularly heavy one at that - the charging brick alone nearly runs the full length of the keyboard. So no, this isn't going to be a gaming laptop you'll easily throw into a backpack - and those fans can certainly scream - but if you're looking for an all-rounder that can level with machines far pricier than itself, these are easy sacrifices to make. 

Everything is as you would expect from an Alienware laptop, from the slim-bezel design on the face to the 15 watermark on the back - and of course that RGB strip running around the rear port area. The matte finish works hard to cover up a cheaper plastic chassis, but everything still feels durable - despite some considerable flex in the screen. 

Features: The M15 R7 certainly doesn't disappoint when it comes to connectivity. There's a massive selection of ports here, so you're covered whether you're on the USB-C or USB-A train, and whether you prefer WiFi or Ethernet. The keyboard also manages to delight, with a taller 1.8mm travel distance and a tactile feel this is a particularly satisfying set of keys for both gameplay and typing. 

Up top, our test unit sported a 360Hz FHD display which proved particularly adept at motion handling and tear reduction thanks to that incredible speed. We did notice lighter colors handling a little worse than darks, being a little washed out overall, but everything came together nicely even in bright conditions.

Performance: We were blown away by the performance of this machine. Our test unit featured an i7-12700H processor and an RTX 3070 Ti graphics card, and was easily sailing through our benchmarks and stress tests. This beast didn't even flinch at heavier titles like Red Dead Redemption 2 and Metro Exodus - offering up 76fps in RDR2's Ultra settings, and 72fps with all RTX set to max in Metro Exodus. Those are settings that would make the uber expensive RTX 3080 Ti Razer Blade 15 sweat.

Faster action titles ran without a hitch, with that 360Hz refresh rate display acting as the cherry on the stunningly powerful cake.

Alienware M15 R7 review

Verdict: Alienware is, after all, a luxury brand. With its M-series now falling to the middle of its range (thanks to the advent of the X-series), the Alienware M15 R7 is affordable by the brand's standards. That means you'll find far cheaper machines out there, but without that Alienware pedigree to speak of. Still, with performance to rival some of the best gaming laptops in the business, and only a few sacrifices to get there for a great price, this is an excellent option for most players. You could consider the X15 technically the best Alienware gaming laptop on paper alone, but when it comes down to price and the wider market, this is the winner. 

Read more: Alienware M15 R7 review

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Alienware M15 R7 Benchmarks (RTX 3070 Ti)
Benchmark Test1080p
Shadow of the Tomb RaiderHigh - 148fps / Highest - 129fps
Total War: Three KingdomsHigh - 120fps / Ultra - 83fps
Red Dead Redemption 2Balanced - 79fps / Highest - 76fps
Metro ExodusHigh - 98fps / Ultra - 72fps
The Division 2High: 124fps / Ultra: 97fps

The best gaming laptop under $1,000 / £1,000

The best gaming laptop under $1,000

Specifications

CPU: Up to AMD Ryzen 7 5800H / Intel i7-11800H
GPU: RTX 3060 | RTX 3070 Ti | RTX 3080 Ti
RAM: 16GB | 32GB
Storage: up to 1TB SSD
Display: FHD at 360Hz | QHD at 240Hz | UHD at 144Hz
Ports: 1x 3.5mm Combo Audio Jack, 1x HDMI, 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, 1x RJ45

Reasons to buy

+
Good gaming performance at 1080p
+
Solid chassis and keyboard

Reasons to avoid

-
Battery life is quite poor
-
Display is unexciting

Our favorite configuration:

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Acer Nitro 5 | AMD Ryzen 7 5800H | RTX 3060 at Amazon
The Acer Nitro 5 provides plenty of balance in this configuration, and the best part is we often see this model on sale at Amazon as well. Balancing some solid components under the hood, and a 144Hz display up top, there's some nice horsepower for your cash here. We often see it at between $1,049 and $1,329.

It’s not about to blow anyone away with flashy features or top-tier performance, but the Acer Nitro 5 is a very respectable choice of gaming laptop for the busy gamer who doesn’t want to break the bank.

Buy It If:

✅ You want high-end components without breaking the bank: The Acer Nitro 5 manages to pack some solid components without bumping the price up. That's because there are sacrifices elsewhere, but it does mean great value for money.
 

✅You're buying your first gaming laptop: With its low price and entry level features, the Nitro 5 is the perfect starter laptop. Use this for a couple of years to decide what you really value in a rig before you make a big purchase.
 

✅You play casually and not every day: If you don't think you'll be able to warrant the higher price tag of a more sophisticated machine with your daily use, it's well worth picking up a cheaper runner. 

Don't Buy It If:

You need a particularly fast display: The Acer Nitro 5 display isn't particularly impressive and has certainly been sacrificed to keep that price low.
 

You prioritize aesthetics: Its older style aesthetics have been outdated for a while now, so that chunky, angular design won't be to everybody's taste.
 

You're looking for a longer term investment: These are older laptops, so they're not going to be able to keep up with more demanding games of tomorrow. 

Design: The Acer Nitro line has a distinct look about it, the most recent Nitro 5 doesn't stray too far. It's a plastic chassis which can collect fingerprints quickly, but feels remarkably durable in the hand. It also helps that at 2.3kg this is one of the lighter gaming laptops on the market right now. Yes, those bezels do keep the screen from looking its best and the angled corners and harsh lines feel a little old fashioned, but overall this is an inoffensive design scheme for a cheaper laptop.

Features: Regularly available for under $1,000 / £1,000, the RTX 3060 Nitro 5 manages to pack some impressive components into a budget price tag by dropping nice-to-have features. That makes it perfect for anyone after raw power without all the fancy extras that can sometimes bloat gaming laptop costs. 

A good full-scale keyboard with numpad makes this laptop appropriate for both work and play. That means it's a great replacement for a full-tower desktop PC at home that also offers portability thanks to its relatively low weight as gaming laptops go. We found the screen to be somewhat dull compared to other laptops in the same price range, and the battery life is decidedly unimpressive, but given the budget cost, these do feel like fair tradeoffs. Especially since the display does retain an excellent 144Hz refresh rate.

Performance: The RTX 3060 GPU paired with a Ryzen 5800H processor offered up strong performance in our testing, hitting 86fps in High settings on The Division 2, and only dropping to 77fps in Ultra. While the SSD could be a bit speedier, it’s not going to cause any major headaches. Most games will run above 60fps at maximum settings, and ray-tracing is also an option, though it does come with an associated performance hit.

All but the most demanding games should run comfortably above 60fps at maximum graphical settings

Acer Nitro 5 review

Verdict: We'd recommend the Nitro 5 to anyone after their first gaming laptop - it's the perfect way to spend less, get a few good years of gaming in, and work out exactly what you need from a larger purchase further down the line. 

You'll also find excellent options in the Dell G15 and Asus TUF Dash F15. The former is generally found on sale for slightly less than the Acer Nitro 5, but doesn't quite pack the same thermal regulation. Meanwhile, Asus's budget option is pitched at a slightly higher price point, sacrificing processing power for a 1440p display. 

Read more: Acer Nitro 5 review

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Acer Nitro 5 Benchmarks (RTX 3060)
Benchmark Test1080p
Shadow of the Tomb RaiderHigh: 118fps / Highest: 107fps
Total War: Three KingdomsHigh: 81fps / Ultra: 58fps
Metro ExodusHigh: 79fps / Ultra: 39fps
The Division 2High: 86fps / Ultra: 77fps

The best 14-inch gaming laptop

The best 14-inch gaming laptop

Specifications

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS / Ryzen 7 7735HS
Graphics: Nvidia RTX 4060 / 4070 / 4080 / 4090
RAM: Up to 32GB DDR5
Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD
Resolution: 14-inch QHD+ Mini LED / IPS
Refresh rate: 144Hz / 165Hz
Ports: 1x 3.5mm audio, 1x HDMI 2.1, 1x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2, 2x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2, 1x USB-C 4 (Display Port + PD), 1x Micro SD card reader

Reasons to buy

+
Perfect mix between portability and power
+
Slick design and subtle aesthetic
+
Durable and reliable build quality
+
Nvidia graphics make for excellent performance
+
Impressive speaker system

Reasons to avoid

-
Mini LED display isn't as slick as other 2023 options

Our favorite configuration:

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Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 | RTX 4070 | i9-13900H at Best Buy
We tested the RTX 4090 version of the G14, but that comes in at a whopping $3,799. While you're dropping the Mini-LED display on this RTX 4070 version it does strike the perfect balance in value for money.

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 long reigned over the slimline gaming laptop world. It was one of the first easily portable machines, built with a form factor that respected your backpack and your desk top. In 2023, Asus has doubled down on its power. With RTX 40-Series graphics heralding a return to Nvidia (last year's AMD build was certainly speedy but dropped a few fancy graphical tricks), and Intel's 13th generation processors at the helm, the latest iteration embodies that classic power / portability balance.

Buy It If

✅You travel regularly with your laptop: Its 14-inch form factor is the giveaway here, but the G14 is particularly easy to transport thanks to its light weight and sturdy design.
 

✅You want portability and power: While the Alienware x14 prioritizes portability at the expense of more powerful components, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 packs offers far greater choice.
 

✅You don't want to dip below Ultra settings: We noted that the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 performed pretty much just as well at Ultra as it did High. That efficiency means you won't need to make sacrifices in the settings menu here. 

Don't Buy It If

You want the best display possible: Asus has cut back on the power of its MiniLED display in this 14-incher which means things aren't quite as vibrant as other 2023 releases.
 

Weight is a key factor: The G14 is certainly compact, but it's got nothing on the slimline Alienware x14 when it comes to the scales. If you're looking for an ultralight experience, and you don't need all this power, Dell has it in the bag.

Design: The G14 nailed its aesthetic and build a long time ago, and the 2023 iteration only improves this slick but compact design ethos. The magnesium alloy chassis keeps things feeling dense and secure while still endlessly portable thanks to those soft rounded corners and 1.7kg weight. The AniMe Matrix LED display is still available, but we'd recommend avoiding it for a cheaper final price if you can. However, both models still look subtle enough to sit in a professional or gaming space. 

One of our favorite design aspects was the hinge, though. Like in previous models, lifting the lid also angles the body of the laptop, creating space for extra ventilation and creating a floating effect. It's a luxury aesthetic that works hard to keep your laptop running at its best at the same time. 

Features: While last year's venture into AMD graphics had us wanting a little more from the G14, 2023's return to Nvidia is triumphant. There's plenty of choice here as well, with configurations spanning all the way from RTX 4060 to RTX 4090. 

You're still getting the 16:10 display introduced on the previous model, but at the top RTX 4090 tier Asus has added its Nebula HDR MiniLED panel. While a jump from IPS in its own right, though, this screen has had its specs trimmed to slot into the Zephyrus G14's bracket. Whereas other 2023 Asus laptops are wowing with their vibrant 1,100 nits of peak brightness and 1,024 dimming zones, the G14 trades down to 600 nits and 504 zones. That's a noticeable sacrifice having had the other models in-hand. 

Performance: We managed to squeeze some impressive numbers out of this compact design as well. Consistently hitting well over 120fps in in-game benchmarks at a High setting, and holding that performance pretty well across Ultra, those new generation components certainly aren't put to waste in this smaller chassis. Whether you're in 1080p or 1440p, everything is silky smooth. 

We did notice those temperatures creeping under intense workloads, though, so this will be one to keep on a desk rather than a lap. That said, not many 14-inch rigs can keep up with these specs, and even fewer can do so with the extra screen space afforded to you here. 

The G14 not only proves you can hit both power and portability with the latest components under the hood, but do it in style.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 review

Verdict: The G14 is the best 14-inch gaming laptop we've had our hands on so far. It manages to combine power and portability in a package that very few rigs can match. You're getting better value for money, more component choices, and lower prices than the Alienware x14, making it the go-to for anyone after a compact PC. 

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