CES is the world’s biggest consumer technology show, and all the big laptop makers love to duke it out to earn the accolade of best gaming laptop. So, who are the contenders for best gaming laptop of CES 2022? Here are four that stand out from the rest.
Looking for a regular laptop?
Price & availability: “This winter” from $1,799
Alienware (by which I really mean Dell, which owns the brand) describes the x14 as “the world’s thinnest 14in gaming laptop”. At 14.5mm thick, I can well believe it.
It certainly isn’t the world’s shortest from back to front, because the screen hinges an inch from the rear of the machine. This all adds to the x14’s distinctive looks and also means the company can cram in an 85W graphics card – that’s the most powerful specification for a GeForce RTX 3060.
The starter price of $1,799 is for a 65W GeForce RTX 3050. That also buys you a 14-core Core i7-12700H processor, which we expect to be a great performer in games, and you’ll also benefit from 16GB of DDR5 RAM. Tasty.
Alienware m17 R5 Ryzen Edition
Price & availability: Spring 2022 from $1,599
If the Alienware x14 is beauty, the m17 R5 is the beast. At 26.7mm it’s almost twice the height of the x14, and not far off double its weight at 3.3kg.
In return, you get ludicrous amounts of power in the form of AMD Ryzen 6000 Series processors (up to the Ryzen 9 6980HX) and graphics chips that don’t hold back: a 115W GeForce RTX 3060 and 175W AMD Radeon 6850M XT are both on offer. There’s also room for up to 64GB of DDR5 memory and 4TB of storage via two 2TB M.2 SSDs.
You have a choice when it comes to the screen too: a “basic” 165Hz Full HD, a 360Hz Full HD (with 1ms response times) and a 4K display with 120Hz refresh rates.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14
Price & availability: March/April 2022 from £1,700
The Zephyrus range of gaming laptops is slimmer than Asus ROG’s other brands, but I’ve tested several models over the past couple of years and they always impress for gaming performance. I expect the same for 2022’s update, which features a double AMD whammy: its new Ryzen 9 processor and Radeon RX 6000S graphics card.
The laptop includes a MUX Switch, which means it can call upon both the integrated graphics (built into the processor) and the discrete card. This means faster frame rates in games and speedier performance in creative apps that take advantage.
You don’t get all the storage options of bigger machines – up to a 1TB SSD – but like a magician trying to distract your attention Asus conjures up a sharp 14in screen that packs in 2,560 x 1,440 pixels. Add 3ms response times and up to 120Hz refresh rates, plus 100% coverage of the DCI-P3 colour space, and it will be a superb choice for keen (as opposed to esports competitive) gamers.
All this and it looks great too, with 1,449 mini LEDs on its rear for detailed animations via Asus’ AniMe Matrix technology.
Razer Blade 15
Price & availability: Available to pre-order from Razer.com on 25 January. Prices from $2,500
Razer announced updates to all three of its Blade family of gaming laptops at CES 2022, but the 15in version has always been my favourite – and the 14in and 17in editions are predictable variants on the formula.
There are six new Blade 15 models to choose from, with the base model offering a combination of RTX 3060 graphics, Intel’s new 14-core Core i7-12800H processor along with 16GB of DDR5 memory and a 1TB SSD.
It also features a 360Hz 15.6in Full HD IPS display, all wrapped up in a CNC-milled aluminium chassis. In truth, it’s not much different to the Blades of 2021, but with a tweaked keyboard design that features larger keys.
With a design so strong already, I don’t mind this fiddling at the edges. The Blade 15 (and the 14 and 17 variants) look set to remain the pick of the world’s sleek, gaming laptops.