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Best gaming laptop under $2,500: 5 premium gaming laptops in 2022

The best 15 inch, 17 inch, 1080p, 1440p, 165Hz, & 240Hz gaming laptops for $2,500

Updated: Nov 18, 2022 11:22 am
BEST GAMING LAPTOP UNDER 2500

The best gaming laptop under 2500 USD is a competitive field among only the cream of high-end gaming laptop devices, and with Black Friday gaming laptop deals starting to roll in, now has never been a better time to get one.

In this guide, we will be reviewing and comparing five of the top gaming laptops targeted at this price range. Each laptop has its own pros and cons, which may make them more or less suited to your particular needs, but any one of them would be a solid purchase.

In each case, we will discuss the main specifications you need to consider, including the GPU, CPU, RAM, hard drive, display, and general ergonomics to help you work out which one is right for you. If you’re not limited to this one particular price range and you want to see the best gaming laptop platforms overall, take a look at our best gaming laptop page, or check out our picks for the best gaming laptop under $1500 for more options.

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Is the best gaming laptop under 2500 USD worth buying?

Above the $1,000 threshold gaming laptops really start becoming worthy of the name: enabling the user to play the latest, most demanding games, on at least the lower graphical settings. A $2,500 gaming laptop is the point where you can pretty much guarantee you will be able to play the latest AAA titles on the highest graphical settings, although if you turn things up to their absolute max you may still have slower than desirable FPS for competitive gaming – this is the unfortunate reality of laptop gaming compared to using a desktop PC.

If you have a quick read of our Things to consider when buying a gaming laptop under $2,500 section below we will elaborate on this further and talk about everything you need to know before coming to a decision about your purchase.

Note: The ongoing GPU shortage has led to inflated prices in some gaming laptops, particularly those with Nvidia RTX 30-series graphics cards. As a result, you may see some fluctuation in the prices of the below selections.

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Our Top Picks

01
A superb value 1440p gaming laptop with mechanical-like keyboard
XMG Neo 15 E21
XMG Neo 15 E21 / Eluktronics MECH-15 G3 (5900HX)
02
A high TGP RTX 3080 gaming laptop with Thunderbolt & DisplayPort that demolishes the competition
MSI GE76 Raider
MSI GE76 Raider (1080p)
03
A 1080p gaming laptop with a lighting quick display - perfect for competitive gaming
ASUS ROG STRIX SCAR 15
ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15 (1080p)

Things to consider when buying a gaming laptop under $2,500

The below considerations are the specific things you should bear in mind when looking to buy a $2,500 laptop. For a more general guide as to what to bear in mind when making your gaming laptop purchase, have a look at this same section underneath our Best Gaming Laptops guide for any budget.

1080p vs 1440p gaming laptops

At around the $2,000 mark, 1440p laptops begin making sense even for those who want to maximize FPS in competitive gameplay, as the FPS the laptop can generate at this resolution is high enough to not overly hinder performance in competitive shooters and the like. 1080p displays are still obviously the king for this type of gamer, but the handicap of 1440p becomes less of an issue. The question remains as to whether it’s worth having such high resolution on anything smaller than a 17” display, but this is down to personal preference, and if you’re doing any graphical design or photography work the higher resolution may suit your needs. Take a look at our Best Gaming Laptops in 2022 guide for our overall best 1440p laptop and 1080p laptop recommendations.

4K gaming laptops

Although 4K gaming laptops do exist at this price point, none are included in this particular list, as currently the trade-off one must make in other areas to get one for under $2,500 is too great to justify it. Ultimately, for anything below 17” the benefit of a 4K laptop screen is of less importance to a gamer than a powerful GPU or CPU. If you were to get a 4K 17 inch or above display laptop, then don’t expect to have a powerful enough machine to run any reasonably demanding game at high FPS on it, at least not in 2021. If you have your heart set on a 4K gaming machine then we’d advise you to increase your budget, and take a look at our Best Gaming Laptops in 2022 guide for our recommendation there.

Workstation use & color replication

For a budget of $2,500 you can definitely get yourself a machine with the color gamut and accuracy to do color-accurate workstation tasks on, which can be limited in the more budget options. At this level, a dual-use workstation/gaming laptop is certainly feasible, particularly with the higher power components, although some are better in this regard than others – chiefly you’ll want to prioritize a powerful CPU, lots of RAM, and a color-accurate screen with a wide gamut.

The The top gaming laptops for under $2,500 in 2022

01
XMG Neo 15 E21
XMG Neo 15 E21 / Eluktronics MECH-15 G3 (5900HX)
03
ASUS ROG STRIX SCAR 15
ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15 (1080p)
04
ASUS ROG STRIX SCAR 15
ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15 (1440p)
05
Razer Blade AMD
Razer Blade 14 AMD Gaming Laptop (RTX 3080, 1440p, 165Hz)

In-depth Review

01
A superb value 1440p gaming laptop with mechanical-like keyboard
XMG Neo 15 E21 / Eluktronics MECH-15 G3 (5900HX)
XMG Neo 15 E21
CPU AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX CPU
Graphics Nvidia RTX 3070 (125-140W) / 3080 (150-165W)
RAM 32GB
Storage 1TB SSD
Screen Size 15.6"
Max Refresh Rate 240Hz/165Hz
PROS
  • High TGP RTX 3070 GPU competes with RTX 3080
  • 1440p Display
  • 32BG RAM
  • 2TB SSD
  • Great Value
  • Mechanical like keyboard
  • AMD version has good battery life
  • SD card reader
  • Good trackpad
CONS
  • Loud fans
  • No G-Sync
  • Speakers could be better
  • Intel version has mediocre battery life
  • Build quality could be better

One could be forgiven for wondering why we’ve picked a gaming laptop such as the Eluktronics MECH-15 G3, which comes with an RTX 3070 GPU, above some of the other RTX 3080 laptops listed below. Well the simple fact is this particular RTX 3070, with its variable TGP of 125-140W packs a punch above many lower TGP versions of the RTX 3080, and competes with the majority you’ll find in laptops at this price range. The Eluktronics MECH-15 G3 isn’t the most powerful laptop here in terms of FPS generation (that honor goes to the MSI Ge76 Raider), though it does scrape into second place, but in terms of price per performance, this laptop is the definite winner.

Depending on where you buy it, you can find this laptop well within this price range, and for that you get a great array of specs: a 2TB SSD, 32GB of RAM (both of which can be upgraded to 4TB and 64GB respectively), an SD card reader, a great quality trackpad, and a mechanical-like keyboard! Keyboard preference is of course somewhat subjective but we found it to be a pleasure to type on and a mechanical-like keyboard will be an attractive feature for many.

The 1440p 165Hz display is as good as you’d need for a gaming laptop – with solid response times (around 7ms gray to gray), a great contrast ratio and superb color accuracy. At 98% sRGB color gamut the laptop won’t quite do for professional color grading, but definitely suffices for gaming.

In terms of the downsides, like many gaming laptops the speakers aren’t the best, though not terrible. The laptop only comes with Freesync rather than G-sync, which is a feature we miss. Build quality isn’t as good as on some of the better-known brands on this list, though we wouldn’t describe it as bad. The fans on the machine get fairly loud under load, so we’d advise wearing headphones.

Battery life depends on the specifications of the version you go with. Although the version listed here comes with the Intel Core-i7 10875H, if you can get hold of the AMD 5900HX for a good price we would heartily recommend it, as the battery life on that model is substantially better, not to mention the CPU performance also being superior.

All things considered, the Eluktronics MECH-15 G3 is one of the best value, high-end gaming laptops you’re likely to come across.

02
A high TGP RTX 3080 gaming laptop with Thunderbolt & DisplayPort that demolishes the competition
MSI GE76 Raider (1080p)
MSI GE76 Raider
CPU Intel Core i9-11800H or higher
Graphics Nvidia RTX 3070 (125-140W) / RTX 3080 (150W)
RAM 16GB
Storage 1TB SSD
Screen Size 17.3”
Max Refresh Rate 240Hz/300Hz
PROS
  • RTX 3080 laptop GPU
  • High TGP GPU performs up to 30% better than competing RTX 3080s
  • 17” display
  • Thunderbolt and Displayport
  • Good array of ports and sockets
  • 1080p webcam
CONS
  • No SD card reader
  • Not the cheapest

The MSI Ge76 Raider is one of the few gaming laptops we’ve seen that comes with an RTX 3080 with 16GB VRAM (as opposed to the less powerful 8GB VRAM version) with as high a TGP as 150W. As a result, the MSI Ge76 Raider is a much better performer than the vast majority of laptops with lower wattage RTX 3080 and the FPS of this model (coupled with an Intel Core i7-10870H) in games is one of the best we’ve seen. Unfortunately, the MSRP of this laptop is currently somewhat out of the price range of this guide, and the current market scarcity for RTX 3080s has pushed the market price further up, but if you can get hold of one on sale then snap it up!

Another alternative is to go with the RTX 3070 GPU version – significantly less powerful but selling for an MSRP $600 cheaper than the RTX 3080 version with the same CPU, RAM, SSD, Display and other specifications. What’s more, given that the RTX 3070 version also comes with one of the highest TGP/Wattage you will find, its graphics card performs almost as well as some of the RTX 3080 laptops on the market that have much lower power draw!

Besides the graphics card, different options exist for the CPU, including the more powerful Intel Core i9-11980HK, though we’d recommend going with the Intel Core i7-10870H to keep costs down. Similarly, a 360Hz version of the display is also available, but the 300Hz should be more than enough.

The 1080p 17.3” display gives plenty of immersion in gaming, and color replication and contrast are respectable, definitely worthy of a gaming laptop. The 32GB of RAM is most welcome and should help make heavy-duty web browsing and even some workstation tasks a breeze. The 1TB SSD is about what you’d expect at this price point, though the 1080p webcam is a fairly rare sight – usually 720p is the best you’ll get. An SD card reader would have been nice, but you can’t have everything in life! All told, despite the high price point, this gaming laptop is one of the most powerful money can buy, and actually good value given the big performance boost the high TGP GPU brings.

03
A 1080p gaming laptop with a lighting quick display - perfect for competitive gaming
ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15 (1080p)
ASUS ROG STRIX SCAR 15
CPU AMD Ryzen 9 5900X / AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 (16GB) Max-Q
RAM 64GB
Storage 2TB SSD
Screen Size 15.6”
Max Refresh Rate 300Hz
PROS
  • RTX 3080 laptop GPU
  • AMD Ryzen 9 5900X / 5900HX CPU
  • 300Hz Display
  • sub 4ms response time
  • 2TB SSD
  • 64GB RAM
  • Good value
  • Freesync
CONS
  • TGP of RTX 3080 laptop GPU only 115-130W
  • No webcam
  • No G-Sync
  • No Thunderbolt or Displayport
  • Array of ports and sockets could be better
  • No SD card reader

The 1080p version of the ASUS ROG STRIX SCAR 15 comes with a blisteringly fast 300Hz display that has one of the best response times you’ll find in a gaming laptop: achieving a gray to gray response time of around 3.80ms in our tests when overdrive was enabled – up there with the best of the best. This makes it an ideal machine for those interested in competitive gaming. Although the laptop doesn’t have G-Sync it does support Freesync to help reduce any screen tearing.

Most of the non-gaming features of this laptop have been stripped back in order to keep the price this low: there is no webcam, no SD card reader, a relatively basic array of ports and sockets (no Displayport or Thunderbolt – just HDMI 2.0b). Color replication and brightness is definitely good enough for gaming (around 98% sRGB and 73% AdobeRGB) but not up there with Razer models – you won’t be doing any color grading work on this machine.

We were able to find a version of the laptop on offer only slightly above $2,500 with an ample 2TB SSD and a ludicrous 64GB of RAM, though 32GB is more than enough for even the most strenuous non-workstation tasks.

The GPU and CPU are of course the most important components when it comes to generating Frames Per Second in-game, and both the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X and the more powerful 5900HX CPU option are top of the line at this price point. Unfortunately, the particular RTX 3080 that the laptop comes with, does not compare to the most powerful out there in terms of TGP, which means the FPS performance is not quite up there with the best, however, what you get in exchange is a very good value laptop with a superb display, SSD space, and RAM, for what is a relatively cheap price for such premium features.

04
A decent value 1440p gaming laptop with RTX 3080 GPU & AMD Ryzen 9 CPU
ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15 (1440p)
ASUS ROG STRIX SCAR 15
CPU AMD Ryzen 9 5900X / AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Max-Q / RTX 3080 (16GB) Max-Q
RAM 32GB
Storage 1TB SSD
Screen Size 15.6”
Max Refresh Rate 165Hz
PROS
  • AMD Ryzen 9 5900X / 5900HX CPU
  • 1440p display
  • Great color replication
  • 32GB RAM
  • Good value
  • Freesync
CONS
  • No webcam
  • No G-Sync
  • Array of ports and sockets could be better
  • No SD card reader

The 1440p version of the ASUS ROG STRIX SCAR 15 has the option for all the same features as the 1080p iteration, besides the display of course. At this price level though you will likely have to restrict yourself to only going with the RTX 3070 graphics card, as opposed to the more powerful RTX 3080, though if prices fall and you get lucky with a sale, this latter option would be preferable. If you decide to go with the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X or the 5900HX CPU, either way, you will have yourself one of the best processors available in a laptop in this price range.

The spec we have here comes with a generous 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. Like the 1080p model however it does not have much in the way of port coverage: there is no webcam, no SD card reader, and only a HDMI 2.0b connection.

What you do get though is a cracking 1440p 165Hz IPS display with great color replication (for a gaming laptop). Tests show virtually 99.8% sRGB coverage as well as 86% of the AdobeRGB space, not to mention 98% DCI-P3 – significantly better results than the 1080p version and up there with some of the new Razer Blades. Gray-to-gray response time is not as good as on the 1080p, 300Hz version, but if you’re a competitive gamer who is particularly concerned about such things, we’d recommend going with this faster, lower res, display instead.

All told this is a superb gamer’s laptop for those who favor a lush, immersive experience in their games, over squeezing out the maximum edge possible in competitive shooters.

05
A compact lightweight gaming laptop with superb build quality
Razer Blade 14 AMD Gaming Laptop (RTX 3080, 1440p, 165Hz)
Razer Blade AMD
CPU AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 (8GB) 90-100W
RAM 16GB
Storage 1TB SSD
Screen Size 14”
Max Refresh Rate 165Hz
PROS
  • AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX is a great CPU
  • RTX 3080 in a compact gaming laptop
  • 1440p display
  • Great color replication
  • Great contrast and brightness
  • Great build quality
  • Thin and lightweight
  • FreeSync
  • Good response times for a smaller laptop
CONS
  • Only 16GB RAM which cannot be upgraded
  • Expensive
  • Low TGP RTX 3080 GPU
  • Only 8GB VRAM RTX 3080
  • Fairly loud fans

Typically we wouldn’t advise going with a gaming laptop as small as 14” – for us the loss of immersion is just too great for it to be a premium gaming experience. That being said, some people genuinely don’t mind a smaller screen and/or absolutely prioritize portability; for those people the Razer Blade 14 (2021) with AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX CPU is the best out there.

Color replication is as good as you’d expect from a Razer Blade laptop with around 99.8% sRGB coverage and 83% AdobeRGB, making it suitable for light color work in the sRGB space – it certainly looks great when gaming. Add to this the great contrast ratio and peak brightness, and you have a display where the colors really pop on the lush 1440p screen.

Response time is not the best of the laptops on this page, coming in at around 9ms gray-to-gray, however this remains possibly the best response time you are likely to see from a 14” gaming laptop – typically the larger screen sizes just perform better in this area, and so this is a trade-off you need to factor in when considering buying a laptop this small. The 165Hz refresh rate is respectable unless you’re a serious competitive gamer playing First Person Shooters, whose priority is maximizing their edge over their opponents; though if you are you shouldn’t really be looking at this laptop in the first place.

As with most Razer laptops, the build quality of the body of the laptop is superb – the aluminum chassis is durable and feels nice to the touch. Despite the power of the core components (even one of a relatively low TGP RTX 3080) the laptop manages to be both slimline and lightweight – a Razer specialty – and combined with the mere 14” size of this laptop it is a highly portable yet potent gaming machine.

As for how it actually runs games, the RTX 3080 the machine comes with has a TGP of only 90-100W (unsurprising given the small size and thin dimensions of this laptop) and it is the lower 8GB VRAM version, which means you won’t get the same performance from it as you would the other selections on this page. That being said, the AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX CPU is top of the line, and helps bolster FPS performance somewhat. Ultimately these are still very powerful core specs, and you can expect to get between 90 – 115 FPS in even demanding games on the highest settings at 1080p.

If portability is your priority, you won’t find a better option out there than the Razer Blade 14.

Final Word

This has been our guide to the best gaming laptop under 2,500 USD, we hope you have found something you like here among the top gaming laptops that money can buy.

To recap, the Eluktronics MECH-15 G3 Ultra Performance 15.6″ is our best all-rounder and comes with a juicy 1440p display, though the MSI GE76 Raider is the most powerful in terms of FPS performance in gaming, assuming you can find one discounted. Every selection on this page however is a worthy choice for a gaming laptop under $2,500.

Please have a look above for recommended laptop guides for different budgets if you fancy something cheaper or more expensive.

If there’s a specific laptop you’d like us to review that we haven’t looked at yet, please leave a comment below.

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