The 5 Best 144hz Laptops for Gaming in 2021
Dec 21, 2020
If you’ve tried 144hz before, then you’ll know how exciting it is that the top manufacturers have moved towards creating more laptops with this high refresh rate.
Gaming feels like a whole new, buttery-smooth experience when you’re reaching such high frame rates, whether it’s for immersive titles or to give you the edge in competitive e-sports.
So, today’s feature is here to take you through the best 144hz laptops for gaming available today with a few different budgets in mind.
Overall Best 144hz Gaming Laptop: Acer Predator Helios 300
Sitting comfortably at the top of the list is this fantastic mid-range offering from Acer.
Lead by its RTX 2060 6GB GPU, you’ll not only be able to run newer/upcoming games at respectable settings, but you’ll have the capability to use this Acer 144hz laptop’s fantastic screen to its full potential with games like Fortnite, Overwatch and other competitive esports titles (playing these in 144FPS really makes all the difference).
Alongside the GPU is an Intel Core i7-10750H CPU & 16GB DDR4 RAM, which are both perfectly placed specs to not only work with the RTX 2060 but ensure your system has some longevity for business and personal use if required.
For storage, you have a 512GB NVMe SSD, which is perfect to maximize the speed of your OS & favorite software/games. If you play large titles and want them installed at once, you will likely need to upgrade the storage at a later date. The Helios 300 has a convenient second drive bay that could easily host a second SDD/HDD at a later date.
But let’s talk more about that screen! On top of its capability as a 144 FPS laptop, the panel is IPS, Full HD with 72% NTSC (good for gaming, effectively the same as 99% SRGB accuracy meaning great colors), 300-nits of brightness, and 3ms response time. We love these specs. Balancing a bright, colorful IPS panel with a high refresh rate and low latency is perfect for snappy gameplay and it’s an impressive set of features for the price.
Finally is the build quality, the Helios 300 not only looks and feels durable and made to last but has a good reputation from its userbase as a laptop with long-lasting, well-performing thermals/cooling (such an underrated feature when buying a laptop, not having good cooling leads to all sorts of doom and gloom down the road).
While you can take the capability of a high refresh rate laptop even further if you invest in one of our slightly more expensive picks below, we think the Helios 300 represents the best balance of build quality, specs, display, and price which is why we confidently rank it as the overall best 144hz laptop available today.
Best 144hz Gaming Laptop Under $1500: MSI GL65 Leopard
Now, as much as we love our top Acer pick, this 144hz MSI laptop is one of the best for gaming in any category (previously featured on What in Tech) if you can stretch your budget a little further.
The difference? Well, the GL65 is an RTX 2070 laptop. While the RTX 2060 is a great GPU, you can expect to see an increased FPS of around 20% in a majority of titles with this upgraded card. Given we’re talking about very high refresh rate laptops here, this performance bonus really means a lot (e.g. being able to max out specs on older games at 144FPS and being able to play newer/upcoming games even more fluidly).
The fact that this bonus comes at around a 15% cost increase feels like a steal, as most laptops with more expensive GPUs tend to have diminishing returns. The GL65, on the other hand, feels like a value add.
Elsewhere on the system, like our top pick, you’re getting the great 10750H CPU, 16GB RAM, and a fast 512GB NVMe SSD (with a second drive bay for a later upgrade should you need it, but we love how these picks have a decently sized main-drive via NVMe as it’s ideal for your OS and favorite software).
You’re getting another fantastic Full HD IPS 72% NTSC 3ms latency display that is so perfectly suited for taking advantage of the powerful hardware on here, games will look fantastic.
And finally is the build quality. With great thermals (gets loud when running games, but keeps temps under control), a sturdy frame/material, a great tactile keyboard, and overall beautiful design (with all the extras you’d expect: USB type C port, decent Wi-Fi, etc.), we don’t really have any major complaints with the GL65 (the battery life isn’t amazing, but then that’s pretty much the case with any demanding gaming laptop at this price).
If you’re looking for a capable 144 fps laptop and can go a little bit beyond the budget of our top pick, this is an amazing offering.
Best Cheap 144hz Gaming Laptop Under $1000: Acer Nitro 5 RTX 2060
Previously featured at the top of our overall best gaming laptops list, the Nitro 5 represents an incredible value offering and is the cheapest RTX 2060 laptop with a high refresh rate (that doesn’t feel like it’s taped together!).
With the fantastic RTX 2060 GPU, it packs a great punch for high FPS Minecraft, Fornite, and other less intensive titles (and can still play any new game at more traditional framerates).
You may be asking “why didn’t we rank this as #1 if it runs an RTX 2060 at the price”. Well, it’s a great laptop, but for people specifically focussed on very high FPS gaming, there’s a couple of slight downfalls:
- The CPU is an i7-9750H – don’t get us wrong, this is still a great processor at the price range. But with our top two picks coming with the 10th gen version of this processor, you’re going to be slightly more bottlenecked with this previous-gen CPU.
- The display (available in 15.6 or 17.3-inches), while still a great-looking 144hz IPS panel, lacks a couple of the extra-sharp specs our top picks possess, namely the color accuracy and response time which are not as good on this model. We think these improvements are worth the extra money for a competitive gaming laptop.
- The included storage is a 256GB NVMe SSD – like our top picks, you have the option to add a second SSD/HDD, but we like the main NVMe storage to be a little larger to handle your favorite software.
Now with all that said, this is still a fantastic deal if your budget is around the $1000 mark.
There’s a reason we ranked this is as the top overall choice on our larger laptop feature, we just think that high refresh rate laptop-focussed users may appreciate the lower response times, better colors, and faster CPU of our top picks.
But if you want to stick to this price range, go for it. The Nitro 5 is easily the best budget 144hz laptop available today.
Best 17.3″ 144hz Gaming Laptop: ASUS ROG Strix G17 2020 Edition
Also ranking as the most powerful 144hz laptop for those with an extended budget, the G17 2020 edition is a beast of a gaming laptop.
Leading this PC’s graphical capability is an RTX 2070 Super GPU. This is easily the best video card on the list, and you can expect around a 10% performance increase in games compared to the RTX 2070 MSI laptop listed above, perfect for 144fps gaming with esports titles (and you’ll still get great settings/frame rates from new & upcoming games too).
The other important specs are similar to the MSI Leopard. With an Intel Core i7-10750H, 16GB DDR4 RAM (upgradable to 32GB+ in the future if needed, but 16 is more than enough) & a 512GB NVMe SSD (with a second slot for upgrades). All of these, especially the 10th gen Intel processor, compliment the RTX 2070 GPU beautifully. It feels like a well-balanced machine that isn’t getting bottlenecked in any area.
The display also looks phenomenal for gaming, with a Full HD IPS panel, 3ms response time, and its large 17.3″ screen size. Combined with the most powerful GPU we’ve seen for today’s 144hz picks, this laptop is a great sweet-spot for gaming.
Finally, with this being one of ASUS’s premium 144hz laptops, the build quality, design, and thermal functionality of the device are all fantastic. The addressable RGB lighting on the keyboard and bottom strip is particularly stunning (if you don’t know, ARGB means that instead of being stuck with a static single color, you can change the lighting to however you please, as the stock photo suggests).
If you’re in the market for a large gaming laptop or are simply looking for the most powerful 144hz portable computer we recommend, this is it.
Cheapest 144hz Gaming Laptop: ASUS TUF Gaming A15
What about those who want to game at 144hz as cheaply as possible? This ASUS laptop is your ideal choice.
The A15 is lead by a GTX 1650 GPU. Now, while we would recommend at least an RTX 2060 if possible, the GTX 1650 can still get a lot done for high refresh rate gaming if you’re playing older esports titles and don’t mind lower settings (laptop benchmarks have seen this machine play Overwatch, CS: GO Fornite and more at 144 fps with a balance of medium-low).
Elsewhere on the system is a Ryzen 5 4600H CPU, 8GB DDR4 RAM & a 512GB SSD. We like that at this budget range, the CPU is one of AMD’s new models (which have recorded some great performance in and out of games), and the A15 could’ve easily included a 256GB SSD at this price. It’s nice that budget gamers won’t feel the need to upgrade their storage early on.
Of course, 8GB RAM feels a little low, but thankfully ASUS has sensibly installed a single 8GB stick (as opposed to 2 x 4GB that some brands frustratingly go with). So upgrading with an additional 8GB RAM at a later date is entirely doable.
Note: As per the laptop Amazon listing, there are two versions of this model: the AMD 4600H version, and the Intel i7-9750H version. While the AMD CPU is the new generation, the Intel processors is a higher version of their previous 9000 series. Essentially, these two CPUs perform very similarly, so pick whichever model is in stock/lower-priced (we’ve only focussed on the AMD model here because it is currently the best price).
Finally, we’re happy to see that despite this being a very cheap 144hz laptop, ASUS has still retained great build quality (including the RGB keyboard/trackpad), decent thermals, and an IPS panel for a good display (albeit not as good as our top picks, but great for the cheapest option).
If possible, we recommend forking out the extra %10-20 cost for our Acer Nitro pick as an RTX 2060 and 16GB RAM makes all the difference.
That being said, we know some users just want a machine for 144 fps Fortnite, Minecraft, Overwatch, and other less-demanding esports titles. If that’s you, then the A15 is a great budget choice.
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