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Our picks for when it's time to play.

Sarah Tew/CNET ED I T O R S ’ C H O I C E Oct 2020

There's no such thing as a budget gaming laptop. But solid gaming graphics power and strong battery life are the foundation of a good gaming laptop, and the price makes this budget gaming Dell G5 15 a great bargain. It comes in two flavors, a standard Intel-based model and the AMD Ryzen-based special edition.

Read our Dell G5 15 (2020) review.

 

$961 at Dell

Best midrange gaming laptop

Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition

Lori Grunin/CNET

Asus' $1,650 all-AMD gaming laptop delivers excellent performance and battery life, with a top-of-the-line Ryzen 9 5900HX CPU and Radeon RX 6800M GPU -- and that's before you realize that the performance and components are way above its price class. It runs cool and quiet, even running close to full tilt.

Read Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition review.

 

$1,650 at Best Buy

Best gaming laptop for impressing at work

Razer Blade 15 Advanced

Sarah Tew/CNET

I tested the early 2021 model of the Advanced, but Razer decided to switch processors and update the design after just a few months, and it's slated to be available this month. The company made so many updates, that while you can still buy that older model, I highly recommend against it.

I haven't gotten a chance to look at the new one, but Razer fixed my biggest complaints about the old design by giving it a fingerprint resistant coating, improving the palm rejection on its touchpad and upgrading to a 1080p webcam. Additionally, the chassis is about 1mm thinner as well, though only on the entry RTX 3060-based model. The updated line goes up to the Core i9-11900H processor (only on the 4K OLED model) and includes all the accompanying upgrades, including dual Thunderbolt 4 ports, PCIe Gen 4 storage and Wi-Fi 6E. Like almost everyone else, Razer's also offering the 240Hz P3-gamut QHD screen instead of the 165Hz sRGB model, which I had on my evaluation unit. Razer's understated style won't leave bored coworkers wondering what games are monopolizing your screen during meetings. They may wonder if you're overpaid, though, since this laptop isn't cheap.

Read about the mid-2021 updates to the Razer Blade Advanced.

 

$2,699 at Best Buy

Best gaming laptop overall

Razer Blade Pro 17

Lori Grunin/CNET ED I T O R S ’ C H O I C E Jul 2020

If you're going for the best, go big. Yes, there are faster 17-inchers, but I draw the line at dual humongous power bricks. (Doesn't matter to you? Check out the Gigabyte Aorus 17X, Alienware Area-51m and other mammoth systems.) The Blade Pro is fast and provides powerful gaming performance with an Intel Core i7-10875H Processor and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 20 Series super graphics, but doesn't sacrifice its svelte figure.

While I recommend getting this Blade Pro laptop with its 4K-resolution display option for creators, gamers will want to get the display with a 300Hz refresh rate that Razer offers for this model.

Read our Razer Blade Pro 17 (early 2020) review.

 

$3,500 at Best Buy $3,990 at eBay $3,800 at Amazon

Best balance of portability and gaming power

Asus ROG Flow X13 with XG Mobile

Lori Grunin/CNET

Asus pairs an ultraportable 13-inch two-in-one with a relatively powerful AMD CPU with an external GPU dock equipped with a top-of-the-line Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 mobile processor and the result is an incredibly flexible system for both work and play that outperforms many bigger, clunkier gaming laptops. Because it's a two-in-one you can comfortably use an external gaming keyboard without the built-in keyboard getting in the way. Sadly, I can't find it in stock anywhere at the moment.

Read Asus ROG Flow X13 with XG Mobile review.

 

$2,800 at Asus

Best gaming laptop for customizers

Origin PC Evo17-S

Lori Grunin/CNET

You can add some custom graphics to make the generic chassis a little more stylish, but it's the wealth of component choices that makes this 17-inch gaming laptop an appealing buy for a gaming beast -- though not a cheap one, starting at $2,200. It may be somewhat thin, but you can cram it with up to an Nvidia RTX 3080 GPU, 4K 100% Adobe RGB display and Core i7-10870H.

Read Origin PC Evo15-S hands on.

 

$2,215 at Origin PC

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