In just a few weeks, we should have the first shipment of the next generation of gaming laptops. Nvidia promised we’d see more machines announced at CES in February, and we’ve already gotten a good taste of the notebooks that will define the list of best gaming laptops for next year. But you shouldn’t wait to buy one.
AMD, Nvidia, and Intel all have next-gen components to power the gaming laptops of 2023, and they’re sure to see a jump in performance. They also tend to bump up in price, and with previous generation alternatives being so cheap, we’re in a situation where you can spend less money and get a more powerful laptop.
Next-gen gaming laptops are more expensive
The main problem with waiting on the next generation of gaming laptops is that they’re getting more expensive. We recently highlighted MSI’s upcoming Cyborg as an example of what a $1,000 gaming laptop will look like in 2023. It is also the lowest price. When Nvidia announced its RTX 40-series mobile graphics, it said the laptops would start at $1,000.
RTX 3050 laptops start at around $800. It’s already cheap, but an important note for the MSI Cyborg. It comes with the latest generation Intel processors, possibly to keep the price down. It’s hard to say with prices so low, but this could be a trend we see with the RTX 40-series gaming laptops.
However, it is possible that we might not see too many models at that price. Nvidia announced that laptops with the RTX 4080 or RTX 4090 will start at $2,000, but early price leaks for the upcoming XMG laptops suggest you’ll be spending around $4,000 for the RTX 4090 and $3,500 for the RTX 4080. In a different light, it indicates that the RTX 4090 could represent a $2,000 increase in the laptop’s base price (over the desktop RTX 4090’s price).
XMG is not alone. The Alienware x16, for example, starts at $3,100 with the RTX 4050. The Alienware x14 starts at just $1,800, but that’s with the last-gen RTX 3050. Similarly, the Razer Blade 16 with RTX 4060 starts at $2,700.
Although we could see gaming laptops priced around the same as the previous generation, I’m not holding my breath. Nvidia’s latest desktop GPUs have seen huge price increases, and there’s no reason to believe the mobile range won’t follow suit. Even if we do, last year’s models are going for bargain bin prices right now, and you can buy a more powerful laptop for the same price as a new RTX 40-series machine.
what should you buy instead
We’re still waiting on prices for a lot of next-gen laptops, but last year’s stock is already being offered at clearance prices. Using prices of around $1,000 and $2,000, here are the last-gen gaming laptops you should be buying instead.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 – $450 off
By far, the best gaming laptop deal you can get right now is on the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14. I picked one up for full price in the middle of last year, and although I’m kicking myself for not waiting on this deal, I’ve enjoyed every minute with this laptop.
It’s been marked up for the past several months, anywhere from $400 to $600 (it could be had for $1,200). For that price, you’re getting a Radeon RX 6700S and AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS, along with a 1600p 120Hz screen. Initial leaks of the upcoming RTX 4050 Mobile suggest that it is about 15% faster than the previous generation RTX 3050. The RX 6700S inside the 2022 Zephyrus G14 is about 25% to 30% faster than that card.
Lenovo Legion 5i Pro – $600 off
Read our Lenovo Legion 5i Pro review for a full breakdown of this laptop, but it’s easy to say that this is one of the best gaming laptops you can buy. Lenovo’s Legion machines have a little thermal secret sauce that allows them to perform much higher than their specs suggest. The RTX 3070 Ti inside the Legion 5i Pro also competes with the RTX 3080 Ti inside the Razer Blade 17.
Now under $2,000, it’s the same price as the cheapest RTX 4080 laptops we’ll see. And for a machine of similar quality, including an excellent screen and keyboard, you’ll probably spend far more. The model I’m recommending comes with an Intel Core i7-12700H and an RTX 3070 Ti. I’m sure it will be outclassed by RTX 4080 laptops, but I’m confident that the next-gen machine will be able to touch the price of the Legion 5i Pro right now.