Best 15-Inch Gaming and Work Laptop for 2022

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The 14-inch and 15-inch laptop offerings have grown in recent years, whether from traditional players like Apple, HP and Dell or newer laptop manufacturers like Acer, Lenovo, Asus and Raze. Companies have significantly broadened their 14-inch laptop choices and directed their marketing efforts away from 15-inch versions. Personally, I am partial to 14-inch models over 15 or 13 inches, at least when you subtract weight from the equation. They just seem to offer the best balance of price, performance and size out of the group. However, that’s why you’ll find many of CNET’s picks for the best 15-inch gaming laptop are… 14 inches. 

These are the laptops, from budget to premium, we consider to be the best 14- and 15-inch laptops based on:

  • Performance and battery life for a given set of specs and intended use, where the configuration specs include the amount of SSD storage and memory, main processor (CPU) and graphics processor (GPU) and operating system (Mac OS or Windows)
  • Features for a given weight class, such as the combination of laptop screen size, type (touchscreen or not) and resolution (4K, QHD or FHD), ports (such as an HDMI port, Ethernet port and the type and number of USB connections), webcam and fingerprint reader
  • Design, both aesthetic and functional, including keyboard layout and feel (lots of people want a backlit keyboard and a numeric keypad on their laptops), build quality, upgradeability and reparability and so on

Specs, price and availability are often in flux, especially these days due to chip shortages and shipping problems, so if you decide to postpone your purchase, here are some . If you do opt to go ahead, . So we’ve limited our choices to powerful laptop models that are still current and that we’ve tested (or tested fundamentally similar older models with refreshed configurations). 

If you’re considering going smaller you can find some 13-inch models on our overall list of and . And if you have more specific needs, check our our recommendations for and advice about and other creative tasks as well as .

This list is periodically updated with new models we’ve tested and reviewed. It’s a great place to start to get an idea of what’s available. If you need advice on whether a particular type of laptop or two-in-one is right for you, below this list.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The newest version of our perennial pick for best budget laptop remains a good option for the money. It’s hard to find an inexpensive model that’s also thin and light, much less one that has decent performance and battery life. The Aspire 5 line starts at $450, but that model has only 4GB RAM — way too little to run Windows comfortably. The slightly higher-end models hit all the necessary targets and more, with a solid assortment of ports (including USB-C, HDMI and Ethernet as well as USB-A) and easily upgradable hard drive storage and memory. It’s got a budget build, but you can’t expect everything for so little money.

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Dan Ackerman/CNET

If you needed any convincing that 15-inch (and 17-inch) laptops are a dying breed, take Apple’s killing them off as a confirmational nail in their coffin. If your major concerns are weight and price and you don’t need much power, then the smaller rules. 

But I disagree with my colleague Dan Ackerman that : I think the MacBook Pro 14 is. It costs a lot more, but it’s significantly better in every way and I think it will meet most people’s needs for a lot longer. (I agree that the gives you very little over the Air for the extra cost and weight, though.) On the flip side, the 14-inch can be configured closely to the weightier and more expensive , with the exception of the bigger screen and option for a higher-performing GPU.

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Lori Grunin/CNET

The 14-inch returnee to Razer’s Blade line of laptops is a much better dual-purpose laptop than the 15-inch model that was my previous choice. It can be configured to be almost as powerful as the 15-inch, but weighs half a pound less and you don’t really miss the screen real estate that much. If you lean more towards gaming than work or love a high-contrast screen, the 15-inch does offer faster gaming displays or a 4K OLED option. We tested the RTX 3080 model, but the significantly cheaper is probably a fine choice as well.


Josh Goldman/CNET

The highlights of this thin and light 15-inch Windows two-in-one are its excellent battery life, high-contrast OLED screen and the plethora of cross-device features it serves up for owners of Samsung’s Galaxy phones and accessories. It’s specifically designed for people who want a laptop experience similar to that of their phones, with similar responsiveness.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Available in both 14- and 15-inch versions, this refreshed and rebranded Yoga C940 remains one of our favorite two-in-ones. It now incorporates up to a quad-core Intel Core i7-1185G7 processor and up to Nvidia GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q discrete graphics. Plus, you gain the design flexibility of a convertible — kiosk mode (also called “”) and tent mode (my personal favorite), which are the best ways to use a laptop with a touchscreen that hangs around the house.

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Lori Grunin/CNET

Dell’s G series comprises some of the best mainstream gaming laptops you can find, with strong performance, a variety of component options and a more travel- and user-friendly design than most. Plus, battery life is a lot better than a typical gaming laptop’s, and a solid-performance base configuration starts at less than $1,000.

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Josh Goldman/CNET

Chromebooks are typically not associated with gaming. However, with  such as  and  able to run on Chromebooks alongside Android and Linux games, you have a lot of options now. The Asus Chromebook Flip CM5 is ready for them, making it one of the best Chromebook options for gaming. 

The configuration we tested was . A $500 configuration of the Asus Chromebook Flip CM5 is sometimes available from Amazon, but it drops to a slightly slower Ryzen 3 processor, 4GB of memory and 64GB of slower eMMC flash memory for storage. That configuration would be fine for general use, but spending the extra $100 (if you can) gets you a much better Chromebook.

Josh Goldman/CNET

The two-in-one design means you can use the HP Chromebook x360 as a tablet (though it’s a bit heavy to use as a handheld device), and 14 inches is much less awkward to use that way than a 15-inch model. You can also tent it, connect an external keyboard and mouse and use it as a small all-in-one computer. 

The Core i3 processor and 8GB of memory keep this HP Chromebook running smoothly even with a couple dozen tabs open and streaming editor video in the background. And this Chromebook laptop has a long battery life, lasting 10 hours, 40 minutes in CNET’s tests.

Josh Goldman/CNET

The Duo’s tilt-up second screen can act as an ancillary display, an extension of the primary display (for viewing those long web pages) or a separate control center from which you can run Asus’ custom utilities or as control surfaces for select creative applications. Plus, Asus excels at squeezing every bit of performance out of its high-end laptops, and the 14-inch delivers great battery life, as well. 

It comes in two models, the , an update to the model we last reviewed in 2019, which now has up to an Intel Core i9-10980HK, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 discrete graphics and up to 32GB of memory. The 2021 14-inch Duo 14 has either 11th-gen Core i5 or i7 low-power processors, optional Nvidia MX450 discrete graphics and up to 32GB of memory — a lot less powerful than the 15-inch, but lighter and cheaper.

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Laptop FAQs

Which is better, MacOS or Windows?

Deciding between MacOS and Windows laptop for many people will come down to personal preference and budget. Apple’s base model laptop, the M1 MacBook Air, starts at $999. You can sometimes find it discounted or you can get educational pricing from Apple and other retailers. But, in general, it’ll be at least $1,000 for a new MacBook, and the prices just go up from there. 

For the money, though, you’re getting great hardware top to bottom, inside and out. Apple recently moved to using its own processors, which resulted in  compared to older Intel-based models. But, the company’s most powerful laptop, the 16-inch MacBook Pro, still hasn’t been updated to Apple silicon. 

But, again, that great hardware comes at a price. Also, you’re limited to just Apple laptops. With Windows and Chromebooks (more on these below), you get an amazing variety of devices at a wide range of prices. 

Software between the two is plentiful, so unless you need to run something that’s only available on one platform or the other, you should be fine to go with either. Gaming is definitely an advantage for a Windows laptop, though.

MacOS is also considered to be easier and safer to use than Windows, especially for people who want their computers to get out of the way so they can get things done. Over the years, though, Microsoft has done its best to follow suit and, with , . Also, while Macs might have a reputation for being safer, with the popularity of the iPhone and iPad helping to drive Mac sales, .

What size screen do I need? Do I need a 4K screen?

One of the reasons I like 14-inch more than 15-inch displays is because they strike a much better balance among price, size and performance while sacrificing only about 0.6 inches (15.2mm) horizontally and 0.8 inches (20mm) vertically of screen real estate (although you lose more like 2 inches (50mm) horizontally if the comparison is between a 16:9 aspect ratio screen and 3:2).

Resolution, the number of vertical x horizontal pixels that comprise the image, is inextricable from screen size when you’re choosing a screen. What you really want to optimize is pixel density, the number of pixels per inch the screen can display, or its reciprocal, pixel pitch. Those determine how sharp the screen looks (though there are some other factors), as well as how big elements of the interface, such as icons and text, can appear. 

You can easily calculate the pixel density of any screen at . But my rule of thumb for laptop screens in the 14- and 15-inch size class: FHD is fine, QHD is better and 4K is usually overkill.

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Can I get a Chromebook instead of a Windows laptop?

A lot can be done entirely on the web these days, though you can use Chromebooks offline in some cases. Take stock of everything you do on a daily basis, and you may find there’s nothing you can’t accomplish with Chrome at its most basic level. 

That said, a Windows laptop or MacBook can run the Chrome browser as well as other software supported by those operating systems. Even if you don’t immediately need a particular piece of software, it’s nice to have the option. Plus, if you’re shopping for a Chromebook for remote learning with Google Classroom, a Mac or Windows PC will work as well. 

Chromebooks are not natively compatible with Windows or Mac software, though  and there are also web apps that are available through . You can’t install the full Office software on a Chromebook, but Microsoft makes both web-based and Android versions available  and , respectively. But generally speaking, if you need or want a specific Windows or Mac application — and there’s no suitable web or Android app substitute and you don’t want to use VMware — don’t get a Chromebook.

Also, if you need advanced photo- and video-editing capabilities, you’ll want a Windows, Mac or Linux laptop. Basic photo and video editing is fine, but Chromebooks typically don’t offer the graphics performance you need for demanding tasks or, again, the option to install Windows or Mac software and games. 

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