You’re not just looking for a workhorse. You want a laptop that’s got game. Maybe that means frame rates, maybe even a high-refresh-rate screen for enhanced responsiveness in less demanding games. But above all, you want bang for the buck. That’s why you’re buying right now, during Black Friday week, when some of the best deals (and a bunch of predatory fake ones) show up.
These are the deals that caught my eye — the ones I might consider myself or recommend to a friend, depending on their needs and budget. Let’s start with the least expensive and go from there!
The best Black Friday gaming laptop deals
Black Friday bang for the buck doesn’t get much better than this — just be prepared for a bit of a boat when it comes to the chassis.
The Gigabyte A5 K1 is $749 at Best Buy, a killer deal for midrange specs — an RTX 3060 (130W) and Ryzen 5 5600H power its 15.6-inch, 144Hz 1080p IPS screen, with 16GB of DDR4 and 512GB of PCIe Gen 3 storage. But it’s also got a chunky, decidedly old-school 4.68-pound chassis. Read Notebookcheck’s review.If you don’t need a webcam or the most potent GPUs, look no further than the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 for $899 at Best Buy (save $500). The G14 has been a contender for the best thin gaming laptop three years running, and while we felt this 2021 model was a little overpriced and ran hot in our review, it was still one of the best all-around machines you could buy, with excellent performance, design, and battery life. This one’s got a 60W RTX 3060, Ryzen 7 5800HS, 14-inch 1080p 144Hz, Wi-Fi 6, and the typical 16GB / 512GB in a 3.53-pound chassis. Want this year’s model instead? Scroll down a bit.
The 2021 version of the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 doesn’t have a webcam and can get a bit hot, but not many laptops balance gaming performance, design, and battery life so well.
The Acer Predator Helios 300 is $999 at Best Buy ($500 off) and feels like a Black Friday slam dunk on paper. It pairs its 130W RTX 3060 graphics with a 165Hz G-Sync IPS display at 15.6 inches and 1080p resolution, an i7-12700H CPU, with Wi-Fi 6E, a Thunderbolt 4 port, among many others, and a programmable RGB-backlit keyboard. Note that this version isn’t the same model most reviewers got to play with — but weaknesses are likely to include speakers and battery. It’s also heavy at nearly six pounds.The Asus ROG Flow X13 is $999 at Best Buy ($600 off), and while it’s not the most powerful gaming machine with its 35W RTX 3050 Ti graphics, you should absolutely give it a look for portability’s sake. My colleague Monica genuinely liked last year’s model, calling it one of the most powerful 13-inchers and praising its keyboard and tall 16:10 display. This one’s a bit lower-resolution at 1920 x 1200, but it runs at 120Hz, and it’s got the newer Ryzen 9 6900HS chip, 1TB of PCIe Gen 4 storage, Wi-Fi 6E, and 100W USB-C charging in a 0.62-inch thick, 2.87-pound frame.The MSI GS76 Stealth is $1,199 at B&H ($550 off) with a 95W RTX 3060 and i7-11800H, which might sound a little weak, but I’m including it because it’s not only got a big 17.3-inch screen (at 240Hz, with QHD resolution!), but it also manages to be portable at 5.4 pounds and 0.8 inches thick. Port selection is also good for a thinnish laptop with a UHS-III SD card reader, ethernet, Thunderbolt 4, USB-C, HDMI, and Wi-Fi 6E, plus an RGB keyboard. Monica liked the more powerful RTX 3070 model, though the webcam’s terrible.
For a big screen in a thin laptop, the Stealth might be your best bet this Black Friday.
The Gigabyte Aero 16 XE5 is $1,299 at Newegg ($1,150 off), and it’s very similarly specced to the above, except the chassis is totally different. Minimalist I/O (two Thunderbolt 4 on the left, one USB-C on the right), and it comes with a plug-in hub to add ethernet, HDMI, USB-A, and mini DisplayPort. Also, DDR5 instead of DDR4. The webcam is better placed here but still mediocre. TrustedReviews says battery life is poor. We reviewed a more powerful config of this one. “The price is no longer right,” we wrote about Asus’ flagship 2022 ROG Zephyrus G14, previously our best thin gaming laptop. But now, the price is $1,399 at Best Buy (save $500) for the model with a Ryzen 9 6900HS, RX 6800S graphics, 16GB of DDR5, a 1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD, and a 16:10 2560 x 1600 120Hz screen. It’s one of the most well-rounded machines you can get. It’s even got a webcam this year. The Alienware M15 R5 Ryzen Edition is $1,499 at Dell for perhaps its most frame rate-friendly configuration for competitive gamers: the one with a Ryzen 9 5900HX, RTX 3070 graphics, and a 360Hz ultra-high-refresh-rate G-Sync screen at 1080p and 15.6 inches — plus 1TB of storage, an RGB backlit keyboard, and an excellent array of ports. While I don’t see a lot of reviews of this config, Cameron generally liked the Ryzen Edition in our review.
Alienware’s AMD-equipped laptop didn’t struggle to get high frame rates and good battery life in our review — though this one has more potent components, including a 360Hz 1080p G-Sync panel.
The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro is $1,399 at eBay via Antonline, with an RTX 3070 Ti and Ryzen 7 6800H driving its 16-inch 165Hz 2560 x 1600 IPS screen, plus 16GB of DDR5 RAM and a 1TB SSD. Cameron really liked an earlier version in our review, and this laptop generally gets high marks, just note that not everyone’s selling the same version this Black Friday week, with some passing off versions with lackluster screens. The only other one I’d recommend is the one at Walmart — scroll up!The MSI GP66 Leopard is on sale for $1,569 at Walmart. I can only really recommend it to those who value performance above all, because we weren’t impressed by its chassis, screen, or touchpad in our review — and this model has an even weaker 1080p screen with just 45 percent of the NTSC color gamut, at only 144Hz. With only 512GB of storage at this price, I’d sooner point you at other systems on this list.The Gigabyte Aorus 17 is $1,449 at Best Buy ($950 off), a deal for those who want frames and want them big. Your 17.3-inch IPS screen runs at a mere 1080p resolution but at up to 360Hz — powered by an RTX 3070 Ti and an i7-12700H that could actually hit that frame rate in some games. PCMag, PCGamer, and TechRadar were all pleasantly surprised by the combination. Wi-Fi 6E, a Thunderbolt 4 port, and a Windows Hello cam come standard.
The Asus ROG Strix Scar 15 is meant to be a fully featured beefy desktop replacement — without as much beef to haul around.
The Asus ROG Strix Scar 15 is $1,799 at Amazon ($200 off) with an RTX 3080 in a laptop you’d actually want to touch. That chip is driving a 15.6-inch 300Hz ultra-high-refresh screen at a mere 1080p, so you’ll absolutely get wild framerates in e-sports games, and we were pleased with its chassis and keyboard when we reviewed a version with earlier internal components. This one’s got a Ryzen 9 5900HX, 1TB PCIe 3.0 SSD, a fancy opti-mechanical RGB keyboard, and USB-C charging — but no webcam, no Thunderbolt, and only Wi-Fi 6.The MSI Creator 17 Professional is $1,899 at Amazon ($850 off) and while it might not be a gaming machine with its preloaded Nvidia Studio drivers and 4K display, there shouldn’t be much keeping you from pointing its RTX 3070 and 17.3-inch 120Hz, 100% DCI-P3 screen at games instead. It’s got an i7-11800H CPU, 1TB of NVMe SSD storage, Wi-Fi 6E, and a 99.9Wh battery you can charge at 100W over its Thunderbolt 4 port — with a second USB-C 3.2 Gen 2, full size HDMI, Ethernet, and a UHS-III card reader despite its 0.8-inch thick frame. Just note this specific model doesn’t seem to have the mini-LED screen, despite the Amazon listing.The Razer Blade 14 with an RTX 3080 is $2,099 at Best Buy for Nvidia’s RTX 3080 and AMD’s Ryzen 9 5900X, again with that same great QHD 165Hz display we describe above and a great array of features. It’s not the best price we’ve ever seen but close. Just know Blades tend to run hot, and this model’s more likely to be.
One of the best screens you can get on a gaming machine and incredible power for a laptop this thin.
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Update November 23rd: Added several more deals.
Update, November 25th: Noted items that were sold out.