8 Best Gaming Laptops for College Students (2022)

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Many college students are leaning towards gaming laptops as their daily driver for school work because of their unrivaled power and exceptional graphics performance. Gaming laptops can handle most demanding tasks like video rendering, 3D modeling, and other complex programs with ease compared to the thin and light 13-inch ultrabooks.

Besides, most gaming laptops today are getting thinner, lighter, and more affordable while packing some serious power like the bulkier 17-inchers. You can safely carry a gaming laptop to school by the day and enjoy uninterrupted hours of immersive and breathtaking gaming sessions by night.

Here are the best gaming laptops for college students.

Best Gaming Laptops for College Students Compared

Image Product Details Check Price
ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 on Amazon
ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 Size, Resolution: 14-inch, 1920x1080
Refresh Rate: 144Hz
Processor: AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 (60W, up to 80W)
Storage: 1TB
RAM: 16GB
Battery Life: 9 hours (76WHr)
Weight: 3.53lbs
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Razer Blade 14 on Amazon
Razer Blade 14 Size, Resolution: 14-inch, 2560x1440
Refresh Rate: 165Hz
Processor: AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 (100W)
Storage: 1TB
RAM: 16GB
Battery Life: 12 hours (61.6WHr)
Weight: 3.92lbs
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Lenovo IdeaPad 3 on Amazon
Lenovo IdeaPad 3 Size, Resolution: 15.6-inch, 1920x1080
Refresh Rate: 120Hz
Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 5600H
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
Storage: 256GB
RAM: 8GB
Battery Life: 5 hours
Weight: 4.96lbs
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Lenovo Legion 5 15 AMD on Amazon
Lenovo Legion 5 15 AMD Size, Resolution: 15.6-inch, 1920x1080
Refresh Rate: 165Hz
Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 5800H
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti (95W)
Storage: 512GB
RAM: 16GB
Battery Life: 6 hours (60Whr)
Weight: 5.3lbs
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MSI Stealth 15M on Amazon
MSI Stealth 15M Size, Resolution: 15.6-inch, 1920x1080
Refresh Rate: 144Hz
Processor: Intel Core i7-11375H
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 (65W)
Storage: 512GB
RAM: 16GB
Battery Life: 6 hours (52Whr)
Weight: 3.73lbs
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Legion 5 Pro Gen 6 (16
Legion 5 Pro Gen 6 (16" AMD) Gaming Laptop Size, Resolution: 16-inch, 2560x1600, 16:10
Refresh Rate: 165Hz
Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 5800H
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 (130W)
Storage: 512GB
RAM: 16GB
Battery Life: 8 hours (80Whr)
Weight: 5.4lbs
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ASUS ROG Strix G15 (2021) Gaming Laptop on Amazon
ASUS ROG Strix G15 (2021) Gaming Laptop Size, Resolution: 15.6-inch, 1920x1080
Refresh Rate: 144Hz
Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 4800H
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 (80W, up to 95W)
Storage: 512GB
RAM: 8GB
Battery Life: 5 hours (56WHrs)
Weight: 4.63lbs
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2021 ASUS TUF Gaming F17 on Amazon
2021 ASUS TUF Gaming F17 Size, Resolution: 17.3-inch, 1920x1080p
Refresh Rate: 144Hz
Processor: Intel Core i7-11800H
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti (60W, up to 75W)
Storage: 512GB
RAM: 16GB
Battery Life: 3 hours (48Whr)
Weight: 5.73lbs
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1. ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 – Top Pick

The Zephyrus range of laptops from ASUS offers some of the best thin and light gaming laptops you can find today, and that’s the case with the Zephyrus G14. It’s the best laptop for college students looking for an ultraportable laptop that can double as a top gaming rig. At 3.53 pounds, this laptop is easy to carry around school, and its compact 14-inch form factor means it takes up less space on your backpack.

The 2021 model packs an 8-core Ryzen 9 5900HS processor, which is more efficient than other Ryzen 9 series CPUs, but the performance you get from it is exceptional. Paired with an RTX 3060, the Zephyrus G14 can push higher framerates in most games and breeze through the most demanding tasks in school. And thanks to its power-efficient CPU, you can get more than nine hours of use without a recharge.

The screen is right there on top with the best gaming laptops. It’s a 1080p 144Hz display with Adaptive-Sync support, so your gameplay will be smooth responsive. Better still, the display is Pantone Validated for color accuracy, making it perfect for gaming and professional creative tasks. The ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 is also reasonably priced than other 14-inch gaming laptops in its class, making it more appealing to students.

Our Take

The ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 is a lightweight, solidly built, and powerful 14-inch gaming laptop at a reasonable price, making it a perfect laptop for college and gaming.

PROS
  • Lightweight gaming laptop
  • Lightning-fast Ryzen 9 processor
  • Good battery life
  • Nice keyboard and touchpad
CONS
  • No webcam

2. Razer Blade 14 – Best High-End Option

The Razer Blade 14 has everything you would want in a gaming laptop for school. It packs serious gaming power in a compact and lightweight form factor, featuring one of the fastest mobile CPUs available, the AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX. You can spec it all the way out to an RTX 3080, although what most students really need is the base version with an RTX 3070.

Compared to the Zephyrus G14, the Blade 14 offers a quantum leap forward in performance in terms of gaming and content creation while maintaining the same form factor. It will cost you a lot more money, but you’re paying for the highest possible framerates and lowest rendering times you can get on a thin and light gaming laptop.

The 14-inch 1440p display is very sharp and crisp and supports a higher 165Hz refresh rate, perfect for playing highly competitive shooters and racing titles. Compared to other gaming laptops, there are some excellent additions here, including a per-key RGB keyboard, 720p webcam, and all-metal build quality.

Our Take

The Razer Blade 14 is the epitome of a portable gaming laptop. It bests all the other compact gaming laptops in almost every way, but you must be ready to part ways with a huge amount of money.

PROS
  • Exceptionally fast CPU
  • Power efficient, cool, and quiet
  • QHD 165Hz display
  • Solid build quality
  • Portable
CONS
  • Expensive
  • No model with 32GB RAM

3. Lenovo IdeaPad 3 – Best Budget Gaming Laptop for Students

Those who want to stay on a budget but need a good laptop for school and gaming should consider the Lenovo IdeaPad 3. It’s one of the cheapest gaming laptops available, and for the money, you’re getting a faster 6-core Ryzen 5 5600H processor and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 dedicated graphics card.

It’s a decent entry-level laptop and performs exceptionally well in light gaming and everyday productivity tasks such as working on documents, checking email, and browsing the web. The 15.6-inch 1080p screen is sharp and bright and has a higher 120Hz refresh rate for smooth and responsive gaming. Lenovo claims over eight hours of use on a single charge, which is excellent for school, and there is also a 720p webcam for all your online classes and video calls.

Our Take

The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is the best cheap gaming laptop for college students. It is not as powerful as the other options in this list, but it’s hard to find a better alternative at this price.

PROS
  • Affordable
  • High refresh rate screen
  • Good battery life
  • Upgradeable RAM and storage
  • 720p webcam and USB-C port
CONS
  • Only 8GB onboard memory

4. Lenovo Legion 5 15 AMD – Best 15-inch Gaming Laptop for Students

The Zephyrus G14 and Razer Blade 14 are undoubtedly exceptional thin and light gaming laptops, but if you want a little bit of more screen real estate, the Lenovo Legion 5 is a good pick. It’s an excellent all-around gaming laptop with a larger 15-inch screen, offering plenty of space to organize your school work and make your gameplay more immersive.

The Legion 5 packs plenty of power right out of the box with a Ryzen 7 5800H and an RTX 3050 Ti, but its understated design makes it a perfect pick for college students. It has a clean and professional look that does not scream, “Hey, I’m a gamer.” It is also well priced, and its 60Wh battery can push through an entire school day with lightweight tasks.

The resolution is standard 1080p, but it is plenty sharp at 15.6 inches. With 100 percent coverage of the sRGB color gamut, you can use this laptop for gaming and other creative tasks. Lenovo didn’t skimp on the screen, too, when it comes to gaming. You’re getting a 165Hz refresh rate and quick 3ms response time, making your gameplay feel more responsive.

Our Take

The Lenovo Legion 5 hits the sweet spot between the portability of a 14-inch gaming laptop and the unrivaled power of massive 17-inch gaming laptops. It’s a good laptop for college students looking for both portability and a large screen for gaming and multitasking.

PROS
  • Clean, understated design
  • Plenty of power for high framerate gaming
  • Fast and colorful display
CONS
  • A tad heavier

5. MSI Stealth 15M – Best Portable

If you’re looking for something portable, well-priced, and good for gaming and content creation, the MSI Stealth 15M is a great choice. This laptop is based on Intel’s new H35 series of processors, which promise powerful ultraportable gaming on laptops.

The Stealth 15M features an RTX 3060 and a quad-core Intel Core i7-11375H processor, which is obviously not the fastest, but it still manages to put out some amazing framerates. The main advantage is that the processor produces less heat, making it easier to cool, and as a result, keep the laptop lighter. The Stealth 15M is just 0.63-inch thin and weighs 3.73lbs, so it won’t weigh you down when late for a class.

The carbon gray finish looks so sleek and attractive compared to the somewhat all similar black gaming laptops. The 144Hz screen comes in handy when playing competitive games, giving you an edge over opponents with standard 60Hz laptops. Add support for Thunderbolt 4, and you get the perfect laptop for college, gaming, and work.

Our Take

The MSI Stealth 15M is a beautiful and powerful portable gaming laptop. It runs very quietly and cool and offers modern features such as Thunderbolt 4 and a dedicated 30 series NVIDIA GPU.

PROS
  • Very thin and lightweight for a fully powered gaming laptop
  • Excellent GPU performance
  • High refresh rate screen
  • Thunderbolt 4 connectivity
CONS
  • Only four cores

6. Legion 5 Pro Gen 6 (16″ AMD) Gaming Laptop

The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro also makes an appearance in this list, thanks to its gorgeous 16:10 2560×1600 screen with a higher 165Hz refresh rate and NVIDIA G-Sync, good color accuracy with up to 100 percent sRGB, and an incredibly bright 500nits panel. The 16:10 aspect ratio provides students a lot more vertical screen space for working with documents, programming, and browsing the web, making the Legion 5 Pro one of the best laptops for college and gaming.

The Legion 5 Pro features an 8-core AMD Ryzen 7-5800H processor and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 GPU. The GPU has a higher wattage than other 3060s in other laptops, which means you’ll be getting the best possible graphics performance and higher framerates with this laptop. Overall, the laptop is well built and has ports at the back to keep everything clean.

Our Take

The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro is a powerful gaming laptop with a tall 16:10 QHD+ display, a 165Hz refresh rate with G-Sync and 3ms response time, and an impressive 500nits sustainable brightness.

PROS
  • All the power you need for gaming
  • Fantastic display for work and gaming
  • Faster refresh rate, quick response time, and G-Sync support
  • Solid build quality
  • Decent battery life
CONS
  • Heavy to carry around

7. ASUS ROG Strix G15 (2021) Gaming Laptop – Best Budget Powerhouse

There is a lot to love with the 2021 ASUS ROG Strix G15, despite having aggressive RGB lighting. It’s one of the cheapest gaming laptops with an RTX 30 series GPU and an equally capable Ryzen processor. The Ryzen 7 4800H and RTX 3050 (with no power restrictions) combine to drive higher framerates on most games without breaking the bank.

This laptop is geared towards avid gamers, evident with the RGB light bar at the front and the per-key RGB keyboard. The good thing is that you can turn off all the RGB lighting if you want to maintain a clean and professional look in class. At 4.63 pounds, the ROG Strix G15 isn’t the lightest, but it won’t break your back either.

The 15.6-inch 1080p display is excellent for gaming. It’s fast and has incredible response times, allowing for quick reflexes in the most action-packed and fast-paced scenes. The overall build quality of the laptop is excellent, with a metal top and solid plastic wrist that stays cooler under longer gaming periods. The only downside is that you only get 8GB of memory, but you can upgrade it to 32GB.

Our Take

The ASUS ROG Strix G15 is a good gaming laptop for students who need a computer with exceptional gaming power without paying a premium. It’s cheap, portable, and can breeze through most of today’s games and everyday tasks.

PROS
  • Reasonably priced
  • Faster processor and GPU
  • GPU operates at maximum power
  • 144Hz refresh rate
  • Portable
CONS
  • 8GB isn’t enough for powerful gaming

8. 2021 ASUS TUF Gaming F17 – Best for Multitasking and Gaming

While 17-inch gaming laptops might not be the first option for students due to their bulky nature, they still offer something unique compared to compact 14-inch and 15-inch screen laptops. The 17-inch screen in the ASUS TUF Gaming F17 provides a lot of room for students to multitask and organize their work when doing assignments and other productivity work.

It’s also a capable gaming machine powered by an 8-core Intel Core i7-11800H processor and NVIDIA’s RTX 3050 Ti dedicated GPU. Its 144Hz display makes 144FPS gaming alive, allowing gamers to react faster to in-game action and enjoy improved clarity in fast scenes.

As its name suggests, the TUF Gaming F17 is tough, meeting MIL-STD-810H military-grade standards of durability. The laptop is also readily upgradeable, supporting both RAM and storage upgrades. If you’re not bothered with the additional weight, you’re going to get excellent performance for gaming and college work at a reasonable price.

Our Take

The 2021 ASUS TUF Gaming F17 provides a large screen for gaming and multitasking at a reasonable price. It has a clean design, good performance, and Thunderbolt 4 connectivity, but also heavier than the other options in this list.

PROS
  • Large screen for multitasking and productivity
  • Faster processor and GPU
  • Thunderbolt 4 support
  • Durable
CONS
  • Average battery life

Choosing the Best Gaming Laptops for College Students – Buying Guide

When choosing a gaming laptop for college, you want it to have a super clean and understated design, lightweight chassis, good battery life, and excellent power to handle the most demanding tasks on your coursework. Here are the features to look out for in the perfect laptop for gaming and college.

Weight

Chances of finding a sub-3 pound gaming laptop are close to none, so we recommend getting one that weighs less than five pounds. If you’ll be carrying the laptop around college every day, a gaming laptop that weighs less than four pounds is a perfect choice.

The ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (14 inches) and MSI Stealth 15M (15 inches) weighing 3.53lbs and 3.73lbs, respectively, are the lightest gaming laptops you can find with powerful processors and graphics.

Processor

A faster processor is always better when choosing a gaming laptop. Look for gaming laptops with high-performance H-series processors such as the AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX and Intel Core i7-11800H. We recommend at least a 5000 series Ryzen 7 or an 11th Gen Intel Core i7 for the highest framerates and best multitasking performance.

The Razer Blade 14 with an AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX processor is the fastest and most powerful gaming laptop you can buy with a compact and portable form factor.

GPU

You would think picking the high-end GPU is enough when buying a gaming laptop, but no. A low-end GPU with higher wattage can outclass a high-end GPU with restricted power.

For the best graphics performance, go for the most high-end GPU you can get with your budget, but also make sure the laptop can supply it with the required power. The RTX 3070 and 3060 are powerful enough for the student/gamer and don’t cost a premium like RTX 3080 laptops.

The Razer Blade 14 with an RTX 3070 ranks on top for graphics power, but also the Lenovo Legion Pro with an RTX 3060 operating at 130W is also capable of very high framerates.

RAM and Storage

16GB memory is the best entry point for a gaming laptop for the highest framerates and multitasking performance. If you get a laptop with less than 16GB RAM, make sure the memory is upgradeable down the line.

The same applies to storage. We recommend at least 512GB of SSD storage and if the storage is upgradeable. If you don’t want to get your hands dirty, you’ll be better off paying for 1TB of storage. Most modern games occupy demand a lot of storage, so make sure you don’t skimp here.

Display

Recently, there has been a new wave of gaming laptops with 14-inch displays. While they may seem small to the pro gamer, 14-inch gaming laptops provide the perfect form factor for college students. For instance, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 and Razer Blade 14 offer a fantastic form factor for portability while not giving up on specs and performance.

If you want to enjoy games on a big screen or make multitasking easier, a 15.6-inch or 16-inch is a better option, although these come with added weight.

We also recommend a gaming laptop with at least a 120Hz refresh rate (144Hz the sweet spot) to gain a competitive advantage over your opponents. Some gaming laptops even feature a 360Hz refresh rate, but these are reserved for the most high-end and expensive gaming laptops.

The Lenovo Legion Pro with a 16:10 QHD+ screen with a 165Hz refresh rate has the best display you can find on a gaming laptop.

Battery Life

Good battery life comes in handy when in class. The best laptops for gaming and college can last an entire school day without needing a recharge. You can check review sites to get the actual battery life in real-world use.

The ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14, Razer Blade 14, and Lenovo Legion 5 Pro rank highly in battery life.

The Best Gaming Laptops for College Students – Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a Good Laptop for College and Gaming?

A good laptop for college and gaming has not only the best CPU and GPU to push the highest framerates possible but also good battery life, lightweight chassis, and reasonable price.

Can Gaming Laptops Be Used for College?

Gaming laptops can be used in college and school to perform the most demanding graphics tasks such as 3D modeling, video editing, and rendering, thanks to their powerful GPUs and processors.

Is a 15.6 Inch Laptop Too Big for College?

15.6-inch laptops are excellent for college as they strike the right spot between portability, power, and ports. 15.6-inch laptops pack more powerful dedicated graphics and fit in most laptop bags.

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