High refresh-rate gameplay is one of those things you have to experience firsthand to truly appreciate. Visuals are buttery smooth and controls feel more responsive when playing at 90 or 120fps, and the benefits only increase the higher the frame count goes. But in order to achieve such high frame rates, you need the right hardware, including a high refresh-rate display and a graphics card and processor fast enough to handle the task.
One may assume high FPS gaming is strictly for the most expensive PCs, but there are numerous gaming laptops that feature 144Hz displays and hardware strong enough to take advantage of the high refresh rates. We’ve hand-picked five of the best options available right now. We’ve got 14-, 15-, and 17-inch models ranging in price and power to suit your 144Hz gaming needs. Just remember that, like with pre-built PCs, laptops often come in a variety of hardware options, so if you like the look of one of the selections below but need something stronger, or even something cheaper, take a moment to see what other configurations are available.
As the name implies, the ROG Strix G17 G712LW-ES74 has a 17.3-inch 1080p display. It uses an IPS panel and features a low 3ms response time and, of course, a 144Hz refresh rate.
The ROG Strix G17’s packs an Intel Core i7-10750H, an 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070, plus 16GB RAM and a 512GB SSD. Don’t worry that the GPU isn’t from the latest RTX 3000 series -- the RTX 2070 supports the same ray tracing and DLSS capabilities as the new RTX cards, and is strong enough to deliver smooth 1080p gameplay at the high frame rates the laptop’s screen enables.
The laptop’s overall specs are also great for resource-intensive non-gaming processes like streaming, editing videos, 3D modeling, and more. However, those components use a lot of power, and the ROG Strix G17’s battery only lasts about five hours depending on what you’re doing.
Of course, there are other Asus models with 144Hz displays, including the ROG Strix G15, which is a 15-inch alternative with slightly weaker specs that’s more affordable and more portable. But if you’re after the best, the ROG Strix G17 is our pick.
A 14-inch laptop might seem like a poor choice for high-end PC gaming, but you’d be surprised how much power Razer manages to cram into the Razer Blade 14’s smaller chassis. The laptop is simultaneously the best 14-inch laptop in the 144Hz category and the most powerful device on our list.
The Razer Blade 14 comes in two versions: a $2,800 model outfitted with an 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 graphics card, and a $2,200 variant with an 8GB RTX 3070. Both models outshine other gaming laptops, though the RTX 3080 model will naturally play games at higher fidelity.
Outside of the GPU differences, the two models are identical, running an AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX CPU, 16GB RAM, and a 1TB SSD. These high-end specs are also helpful since the Razer Blade 14’s 14-inch screen hits 1440p, and sports super high refresh rates from 144Hz (in 1080p) up to 165Hz (in 1440p). That means you’ll get crisper visuals than 1080p laptops, but that increase requires more power. It’s also one of the few laptops to include an HDMI 2.1 port, so you’ll be able to connect to monitors and TVs that support HDMI 2.1 and its unique features like built-in variable refresh rate (VRR), and its strong GPU will ensure games still look good on these bigger external displays.
Acer’s Nitro 5 laptops come in several models ranging from $700 to $2,100, but the $999 AN515-57-700J loadout is a great balance of specs and affordability in the lineup.
The Nitro 5 AN515-57-700J is one of Acer’s 15-inch Nitro 5 models. The 15.3-inch IPS display screen has a max 1080p resolution, 144Hz refresh rate, and 3ms response time. There are also 17-inch models with 1440p screens that reach 165Hz refresh rates that make up the higher tier Nitro 5 configurations, but the 15-inch models are more affordable and games will look just fine when sitting this close to a 1080p screen.
As for under-the-hood specs, this specific model has an Intel Core i7-11800H processor and GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics card, which are great components for a sub-$1,000 laptop. The 16 GB RAM and 512GB SSD are standard for a gaming-focused machine like this, but still noteworthy considering many sub-$1,000 models will cut those numbers in half. It’s also a great choice for players concerned with portability thanks to its excellent 8-hour battery life--much longer than many of the other choices on this list. And if the Nitro 5 AN515-57-700J specs aren’t quite right for you, you can always spring for a more powerful (or less powerful) model that better matches your needs.
If you plan to use your gaming laptop without being plugged in, then a battery life that only lasts 4 or 5 hours during normal use--and even less during long gaming sessions--isn’t gonna cut it. The Lenovo Legion 5, on the other hand, can hit 8.5 of battery life on a single charge. That’s not a ceiling-shattering figure, to be fair, but it’s nearly twice as long as much of the competition can last. And best of all, Lenovo managed to hit nearly 9 hours of battery without skimping on power.
The Lenovo Legion 5 has an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti to handle gaming visuals and Ryzen 7 4800H processor flanked by 16GB RAM and a 512GB hard drive, making this a decently powered laptop for 1080p gaming. Granted, you may have to turn down a few settings to creep past 60 FPS on newer releases, but you should be able to see frame rates above 90 and well into the 100-plus range on older and/or less-taxing games.
Gaming laptops are notoriously bulky. Even 14-inch models can be thick, heavy machines. The larger chassis make sense given the power these devices need to run, but the point of a laptop for many people is to have a compact, portable computer.
Luckily, Asus’s ROG Zephyrus M manages to achieve a thin profile without sacrificing much power. The laptop is just .78-inches thick and weighs a smidge over four pounds. That makes it the thinnest on this list, and one of the lightest.
As with the other picks on this list, there are multiple models available, but the GU502GU-XB74 variant we selected includes a GeForce GTX 1660 Ti with 6GB VRAM and is bolstered by an Intel Core i7-9750H CPU, which can easily take advantage of the 1080p screen’s high refresh rate. The 16GBs of RAM and 512GB aren’t anything special, but it’s nice to know that you’ll have enough memory for gaming and other high-resource tasks in such a sleek frame. Even the battery life, which should average about five hours with normal use, is on-par with most of its bulkier competitors, as is its full array of USB and HDMI ports.
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