These are the top 5 best & worst gaming laptops that I’ve tested in 2022! Starting out with number 5 and working our way down to the best, we’ve got Lenovo’s Legion 5. I thought that this was one of the best mid-range gaming laptops of the year, despite the fact that they didn’t really change it much this year compared to last year’s version. But then again I did also say that the Legion 5 was one of the best last year too. Now I do understand why there aren’t a whole lot of changes with this year’s model.
Don’t break what’s not broken, I get it.
But the fact is the competition is also starting to catch up to Lenovo. Not only that, but it’s possible to save money by getting last year’s version instead. We recently found a good deal for that for $1000 and shared it on the gaminglaptop.deals website.
Anyway I’ve done a whole video comparing this year’s Legion 5 against last year’s version, and although this year’s does have some subtle improvements, at the end of the day in terms of gaming performance, they’re basically equivalent. So if you just care about best gaming performance for the dollar, then last year’s Legion 5 is still worth a look at.
This year’s option is only worth checking out if you want the newer CPU or GPU. Next up is the ASUS TUF A15, which has improved so much compared to last year that I think it’s better than the Legion in some ways. Both laptops perform about the same in games, and given the TUF is usually cheaper, if you just care about best performance for the dollar, then ASUS is probably the way to go.
Compared to the more expensive Legion 5, the ASUS TUF A15 was smaller and lighter, so more portable, it’s speakers sound better, performance while running on battery power was better and the battery life also lasted longer. Now that said the Legion 5 does of course have its benefits too, including a better screen, advanced optimus, more and faster ports, and a better keyboard and touchpad, you’ve just got to pay more to get those things. Ultimately it depends on what your priorities are from a gaming laptop, but I think both are great mid-range options this year, so you could easily swap them around in this list based on what your preferences are.
Number 3 is Lenovo’s Legion 5i Pro, which is a higher tier model compared to the last two, so it costs more as a result. It’s basically a better version of the Legion 5 with a slightly different design and a bigger 16” screen.
That larger screen uses the taller 16:10 aspect ratio and it’s brighter too with a higher color gamut, so it just looks nicer all round. Otherwise it’s still offering a port selection most other laptops can only dream of and a great keyboard and touchpad. Technically speaking, the 5i Pro has far better CPU performance than the Legion 5, but that’s because I had the AMD Ryzen version of the Legion 5, it would be much closer together if I also had the Intel based Legion 5i, but I couldn’t get my hands on that one this year.
If you’re not sure on whether you should go for Intel or AMD CPU, basically to summarize things, Intel CPUs generally perform better both in and out of games when plugged into the charger, while AMD options with their lower core and thread counts generally last longer when running on battery and also perform better on battery too. Obviously that’s not always going to be the case, that’s just the general trend that I’ve noticed from testing 36 laptops this year.
With that in mind, the AMD Ryzen version of the 5 Pro has had some excellent deals lately, which we’ve featured on the gaminglaptop.deals website. And considering that the 5 Pro has a resolution above 1440p, most games are going to be GPU bound anyway, so the CPU difference is going to matter less. Honestly it’s that better screen that’s the main improvement with the Pro version compared to the cheaper non-Pro, so you can absolutely save some money by getting the cheaper non-pro version mentioned earlier. It just depends on whether or not you want to pay more for that better screen.
In second place we’ve got Acer’s Helios 300, which I think is quite comparable to the Legion 5i Pro just before it as both have similar features, except for the screen. The Legion’s screen is bigger, brighter and faster. The Helios performs a little better in games in most cases with the same CPU and GPU as the Legion, but it’s close.
I consider them equivalent in many ways in terms of features, but compared to how bad the Helios was last year I chose to give it the second spot as Acer completely redesigned it this year and fixed every problem that I had with it. This year’s Helios 300 adds a MUX switch, boosts the GPU power limit to maximum, has a better screen, Type-C charging, a better camera and a bigger battery which means more battery life.
It does play a crazy boot sound when you power it on, but you can turn that off, and there’s only one Type-C port which might be limiting, the 5i Pro has more ports. Combined with the fact you can pick up the RTX 3060 model for about $1000 and the Helios is easily a gaming laptop I can recommend. Just make sure it’s not the older 2021 version, which is much worse. We’ve had that Helios 300 deal listed on our gaminglaptop.deals site for a few days now and it’s honestly a steal, so definitely check out that page regularly if you want to find the best deal on your next gaming laptop!
Again just like the first 2 laptops, you could easily swap around my number 2 and number 3 choices based on your personal preferences. As I mentioned I did find them to be fairly equivalent. Basically with the Legion 5i Pro you’ve just got to pay a bit more to get the better screen. Alright, just before we get into the 5 worst gaming laptops this year that you probably want to avoid, let’s find out which was the best! I’ve really got to give it to Lenovo’s Legion 7i this year.
Last year the main thing holding the Legion 7 back from the top spot was the Corsair iCUE battery drain issue. But as all of the RGB lighting is now managed by Lenovo’s own software that’s not a problem. Not to mention all of its other improvements. Obviously all that RGB lighting isn’t going to be for everyone, but you can customize it or just turn parts of it off if you prefer. It’s actually got the exact same screen panel as the Legion 5i Pro, so taller 16:10 aspect ratio, great brightness and a resolution higher than standard 1440p.
Unlike the lower tier 5 Pro series, this one uses Intel’s HX processors, which go up to 16 cores and 24 threads, and although this doesn’t give that much of a gain compared to Intel’s other 12th gen chips in gaming, it does give it better multicore performance which could be great if you run CPU heavy workloads. Despite the higher performance the machine doesn’t feel hot thanks to a vapor chamber cooler, however that more powerful CPU means battery life and performance while running on battery power aren’t super impressive.
It’s also got other unique features like pressure sensitive WASD keys and just other nice to have small things, like the port icons on the back that light up. Again just like the lower tier 5 Pro series, the Legion 7 is also available with an AMD Ryzen CPU. However unlike the 5 Pro series, Lenovo have decided to give the AMD version of the 7 an AMD Radeon GPU, rather than Nvidia.
So based on the Legion 7 being Ryzen based, I would expect it to last longer on battery power. But the performance probably isn’t going to be quite as good as it will be limited to 8 cores and 16 threads.
But yeah again like I mentioned with the 5i Pro, due to that high resolution screen many games at higher settings are going to be GPU bound anyway, so CPU selection will matter less. Just before we get to the 5 worst gaming laptops tested this year, I’ve got some special mentions that didn’t quite make it into the top 5, including the ASUS Zephyrus G15 and Zephyrus M16. If you’re after a thinner gaming laptop then these received nice improvements compared to last year’s models, including higher GPU power limits and a MUX switch, so better gaming performance compared to last year.
As you might have noticed, the top 5 laptops I picked weren’t exactly on the thinner side. I mean they weren’t super chunky or anything, but personally I just prefer having a slightly thicker laptop that’s going to give more performance.
MSI’s GP66 is also a decent option at the right price if you’re not interested in extra bells and whistles. It offers a maximum GPU power limit, MUX switch and fast screen, all the core parts for a good gaming experience. If you want to reduce fan noise and get the best cooling possible then the Mech-15 G3 from Eluktronics in the US aka Neo 15 from XMG in Europe is also worth checking out as you can attach a liquid cooler.
Alright now let’s get into the 5 worst laptops that I’ve tested this year! You’re probably going to want to avoid these. That said, if you do own one of these laptops, don’t get upset and feel the need to justify your purchase in the comments with an angry message. These are just my opinions and I think there are better options available for most people. I’m absolutely not saying that you can’t buy any of these laptops and have a great time playing games.
The first is Gigabyte’s Aorus 17, which is a bit of a weird one. You can only get it with a 17” 1080p 360Hz screen, which would be perfectly fine if the goal is an eSports gaming machine, but it fails at this task. Despite the high 360Hz refresh rate, the screen response time isn’t impressive, and there’s no MUX switch, a feature that’s objectively critical for eSports gaming, as it greatly boosts FPS in such games. I also tested both the RTX 3070 Ti and RTX 3080 Ti options, and the higher tier 3080 Ti barely performed much better at all, again because the laptop is limited to a 1080p screen. To be fair, the GPUs would probably perform better if you connected an external screen and bypassed optimus, but honestly at the larger 17” size, I just think a 1440p 144Hz option would have been a better sweet spot.
The battery life was poor, and the CPU performance was worse compared to thinner and smaller gaming laptops. Along with Alienware, Gigabyte’s software is just some of the worst out there right now, and there are just small annoyances that most other gaming laptops don’t have, like secondary key functions not getting lit up. All things considered, this sounds kind of rough to say, but the Aorus 17 was just objectively the worst gaming laptop that I tested this year. Again like I said before, don’t get me wrong, you can absolutely buy this laptop and have a great time playing games, I just think there are better options that most people should consider. Next up is MSI’s Crosshair 15, the yellow gaming laptop they did as it’s part of a Rainbow Six collaboration, so if you’re not into that game or don’t like yellow then this model might already be out for you.
Just based on how the laptop feels and build quality, I get the impression it’s meant to be a more budget friendly, especially when you consider that it’s got things like older USB 2.0, but it’s just too expensive for what’s on offer.
Just for quick comparison, right now you can get MSI’s Crosshair 15 with RTX 3070 graphics for the same price as Lenovo’s Legion 5i Pro with RTX 3070 Ti. And that Legion was in my top 5 list, so it’s just an obvious choice when they’re the same money. The Crosshair 15 just needs to be way cheaper for it to make any sense.
Its gaming performance wasn’t too bad despite there not being a MUX switch, but the fans were always audible and constantly loud when under load regardless of the performance mode used. If you can get a great deal on it or you really like Rainbow Six or the color yellow, then sure go ahead. Again I just think for most people there are better options. Next up is another MSI laptop, the Stealth GS77. The GS series is meant to be a thinner, more portable stealthy design, and while the smaller GS66 pulls this off fairly well, the larger GS77 still has to be fairly big to fit the 17 inch screen.
I just don’t think that thinner 17 inch gaming laptops make a whole lot of sense. The laptop still has to be fairly big in order to fit the 17 inch screen anyway, so even if it ends up being thinner you’re still carrying a big slab of metal. But I’m willing to accept that this could just be a personal preference thing. Like the MSI Crosshair just before it, weirdness with the fans randomly turning on even when you’re not doing anything was a bit annoying. For some reason the bigger GS77 does not have a MUX switch, despite the fact that the smaller GS66 does, so not sure if MSI just forgot to put it in, as that would give a speed boost in games.
And gaming performance isn’t amazing primarily due to low GPU power limits, which you might expect from a thinner gaming laptop, but Razer’s Blade 17 has a much higher GPU power limit resulting in better performance despite actually being a thinner and lighter laptop. Now you might argue that Razer costs more, which is true, but when I tested the GS77 it was the top-end model with RTX 3080 Ti graphics, so it was already not cheap. By the time you get to this high-end price range around the $3000 USD price point, honestly I think it makes sense just to spend a few hundred dollars extra to get the far superior Blade 17. Of course assuming that the goal is a thin 17 inch all black stealthy gaming laptop, as apart from these two I don’t think there’s a whole lot of other option out there.
So I’d only really consider this one if that’s something that you really care about and you can’t quite afford the Blade 17.
Next up is MSI’s GF63, which was the cheapest gaming laptop I tested all year. I’m not sure if they just had to cut lots of corners in order to get the lower price tag, because the laptop feels super cheap. There’s lots of flex and if you open the screen back too far the panel near the keyboard actually pops off. Obviously if you’re literally buying the cheapest gaming laptop possible, you should expect some compromises. And look, if you’ve only got $500 or so and it’s not possible to save any extra, then the GF63 might make sense.
I just really think that it’s worth saving an extra $100 or so even if it takes you a few months, because it’s going to be a machine that you’re going to use for years, and for just $100 more you can get some seriously better models.
I mean right now we’ve got Black Friday deals going and you can get HP’s Victus with faster CPU and same graphics for less money, so better performance as well as better build quality. And this was another great deal that we recently featured on the gaminglaptop.deals website, so again make sure you check that site out regularly to get the best deal on your next gaming laptop! In 5th position is the Aorus 17X.
Now this isn’t quite as bad as the Aorus 17, in fact it actually improves on that in many ways.
The 17X adds a MUX switch and provides a faster screen response time, two things which actually make it better for what I assume it’s designed for – eSports gaming, at least based on the fact that they still only sell it with a 1080p 360Hz screen. What really gets me though is that although the 17X does have a faster screen response time, the actual screen panel is the exact same as the non-X laptop. So from a hardware perspective they’re using the exact same screen in both laptops, but they must just be using software to give the 17X an overdrive mode and give it a faster screen response time.
So as far as I can tell there’s no reason why they can’t just do that with the Aorus 17 as well.
It seems like they’re just trying to make the 17X look better. Although the 17X does improve a bit over the non-X, it’s not quite enough to escape my top 5 worst laptops tested this year. There are just plenty of other gaming laptops I’ve tested this year that I think you should look at instead, and I’ve ranked all 36 of them from best to worst in this video. So come and check that one out next to find out where absolutely everything fits in. Or if you instead want to learn how to pick the best gaming laptop, then check this one out instead!