Gaming laptops are a great way to play the latest games when you’re away from home, and they’re getting more and more powerful to make great desktop replacements for multiplayer.
It’s no wonder then that gaming laptops are some of the most popular deals during Black Friday, especially since many of the best gaming laptops are also quite expensive. This is even more true for laptops with RTX 3080 GPUs or high-resolution, high-refresh displays from top brands like Razer, Gigabyte, and Alienware. But with some good Black Friday gaming laptop deals, these laptops can see some dramatic price cuts, sometimes more than $500/£500.
But even if you’re looking for something more in the mid-range or budget category, there are still great deals on gaming laptops, and in many cases, you’ll be able to find a great deal, like the HP Victus 15, that won’t make you break the bank. too much when it comes to hardware or performance.
However, there are some laptop deals you’ll want to avoid, and not just at the low end of the price spectrum where you’d expect to find some of the worst products. There will be plenty of high-end gaming laptops that look great at first glance, but are much less efficient when you dig deeper into the specs.
As we all gear up for the holiday sales event, there are plenty of reasons to look forward to great deals this year, and we’ll help you sort out which ones to look for and which ones to avoid.
What to look for in a Black Friday gaming laptop deal
So what should you look out for when you go Black Friday shopping? There are a few key points to remember when it comes to buying a gaming laptop.
First, we’re already pushing the limits of what a great gaming laptop really needs to play the best PC games, as almost every modern AAA game aims for console compatibility first instead of trying to maximize what the best gaming PC can do Handling, or Coping. The days of asking “Can Crysis run?” they came and went, honestly.
As such, there’s very little reason to turn your nose up at a 12th Gen Intel Core i5 or an AMD Ryzen 6000 series processor paired with an Nvidia RTX 3060 GPU, as this kind of gaming laptop is more than capable of currently playing everything. available at fairly high settings at 1080p.
And since 1080p is what even high-end gaming laptops generally stick with to maximize screen refresh rates, you don’t need much more than that right now, and you’ll see some big price drops this Black Friday.
Second, keep in mind that on a laptop, a 4K screen doesn’t really give you much more than a 1080p one in terms of sharpness. Yes, you’re doubling the pixels per inch, so images will be twice as sharp, but images will also be much smaller on a 14- or 15-inch screen than they would be on the best gaming monitors that squeeze 32 or 42 inches across. .
Our eyes simply aren’t capable of appreciating fine details on something as small as a gaming laptop screen, especially not when things are unfolding in an action-packed title like Doom Eternal or some competitive shooters. At most, look for 1440p if all you care about is PC gaming. You’re not missing out on much if you settle for 1080p, but you’ll probably save a lot of money.
There are also a few thoughts specific to Black Friday. First, you’ll see a lot of high-end portable computers with very specific gaming hardware, get impressive price reductions this Black Friday.
Here’s an example from last year:
If you’re looking to get a laptop that can play the latest games at the highest possible graphic fidelity, then you can find some great deals on the best laptop workstations for creative professionals that have all the same hardware as the most premium laptop games. but it comes with perks like 4K OLED displays that gaming laptops generally lack.
The downside is that these monitors will have standard 60Hz refresh rates, which isn’t the kind creatives really need for their work. Non-OLED displays can also have terrible pixel response, making them less suitable for fast-paced gaming.
That said, if you’re looking to take your eyes off at a leisurely pace, then a creative workstation can be a smart way to get a lot into very powerful material. But if you want to play competitively, you’ll want to stick to proper gaming laptops with more responsive, higher refresh screens.
Gaming laptops in general will see price cuts
We’ve been doing this for many, many years now, and we’ve had plenty of experience watching how Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales events tend to play out. The past two years, with the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting supply chain issues, have certainly changed things.
However, there are still some fairly consistent lines, namely that the pace of gaming laptop releases provides plenty of incentive for retailers to clear some inventory and make room for newer products with the latest hardware.
These latest gaming laptops are usually the least likely to see price drops, but that will continue to happen, so don’t expect the only gaming laptops to come out to be the ones that are a generation or two behind everyone else.
Additionally, most of the newest mobile computing hardware, such as new mobile processors and GPUs, are announced early in the year, usually around CES. And since most notebook hardware has been on the market for several months, if not more than a year, we expect new notebook CPUs and GPUs to be announced or at least shown in January from AMD, Intel, and Nvidia.
That means demand for the current-gen tech is likely to soften this Black Friday as people wait to see what’s revealed next year. As a result, prices on current-gen gaming laptops will have to drop lower to compensate, and you should definitely take advantage of these deeper price cuts.
One of the best ways to see what kind of gaming laptop deals to expect this year is to look at what we saw last year. Thanks to the magic of the internet, we’re able to bring you some of the highlights from our 2021 Black Friday coverage to show you.
No matter what kind of game you plan to play, there are a few things you’re likely to see this Black Friday that you’ll want to avoid unless the price is absolutely unbeatable.
First, don’t look for anything less than 8GB of RAM unless you only plan on gaming occasionally. Windows 11 is going to take up a lot of RAM, so you won’t have much to work with your other programs, and games generally require a bit of RAM to run smoothly.
If you’re looking for high-end devices, make sure you’re not paying extra for “premium” hardware from two or three generations ago. If you see a $2,000 gaming laptop with a 9th Gen Intel Core i7, you can get new hardware for about the same price elsewhere, and you definitely should.
Another thing you might see a lot of right now is a “gaming” Chromebook. Look, don’t get us wrong, we love Chromebooks, but Chromebooks usually don’t have the specs needed for locally installed games (and couldn’t run almost any of them even if they did) and cloud gaming is viable, but still on a Chromebook. Check back next year, once we’ve had a chance to really push the new Chromebook gaming lineup to see what they’re capable of before we make that leap.
Finally, there is the issue of MacBooks. Typically, MacBooks aren’t thought of as gaming machines in a serious way, and that hasn’t really changed even with Apple’s latest silicon.
There are plenty of games you can play on a Mac, mind you, and some of us are actually quite bullish on the Mac’s gaming potential over the next few years. Capcom just released Resident Evil Village on the Mac, and other developers are likely to start following suit in the coming years, but we’re not there yet, and the future of Mac gaming remains to be seen. If you want to play all the latest PC games right nowyou will still need a Windows laptop.
Gaming Laptop Specs Cheat Sheet
One of the most overwhelming things about shopping for a gaming laptop on Black Friday is trying to make sense of the completely incomprehensible specs that manufacturers tend to throw at customers. If you’ve never bought a gaming laptop, or you’re buying one for someone else and you’re not a gamer, it can feel like you’re reading a foreign language.
Fortunately, we’ve tested so many gaming laptops that we’ve learned what’s worth buying and what’s best to avoid. We’ve broken down the kinds of specs you’ll want to aim for for premium devices, our recommended specs for the best balance between performance and price, and the minimum specs you should aim for if you’re looking for a more budget option but still want the laptop to deliver a stable gaming experience.
|Processor||Intel Core i9-12XXX or AMD Ryzen 9 6XXX||Intel Core i7-12XXX or AMD Ryzen 7 6XXX||Intel Core i5-11XXX or AMD Ryzen 5 5XXX|
|GPU||Nvidia RTX 3070 Ti or higher||Nvidia RTX 3060 or RTX 2070||Nvidia GTX 1650|
|PLUNGER||32 GB or larger||16 GB||8 GB with free DIMM slot|
|Save||Over 1 TB||1 TB||256 GB|
|Screen resolution||2160p (4K)||1440 p||1080p|
|Screen refresh rate||240 Hz or higher||165 Hz||144Hz (60Hz if 4K resolution)|
The best deals on gaming laptops today
If you don’t want to wait for Black Friday, you can check out some of the best laptop gaming deals available right now.