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The Best Gaming Laptops Under £2500

We graded our selection of laptops based on their ability to deliver the goods in content creation, streaming and of course - top end gaming.

 

The Best Gaming Laptops Under ?2500

 

The year is 2022, folks, and YouTube has become the oracle when it comes to choosing whether or not to shell out on a new purchase. We're not just talking gaming laptops, either. Only last week I needed to look up how to repair my Shark vacuum cleaner when it swallowed an inordinate amount of dog hair.

To quote a friend of mine, "Children are raised by YouTube these days". It's true. But it goes even further than that. We - as a society - now use YouTube for just about everything. Whether you are weighing up the pros and cons of buying those retro Nike Air Jordans or you need a gaming laptop that will allow you to stream in HD, play Fortnite at over 200 FPS and write that biology essay for University.

Entire companies can be run from the humble laptop, and creators and professional gamers alike use them to earn six figure incomes. Gaming laptops are cool again, and can perform alongside PC counterparts by flexing the new microarchitectures and discreet graphics cards - technologies that have culminated in the last couple of years into some of the most powerful machines on the planet. Ergo, to get a good idea of how your next laptop will perform, you will most likely turn to YouTube (or the CCL blog, obviously).

There are multiple influencers on YouTube who specialise in unboxing, reviewing and benchmarking the latest laptops, each with their own unique blend of personality and expertise. Each of the laptop models (or laptop series) below have been appearing a lot in YouTube reviews over the last year, and each one received a positive review from one or more experts.

What Makes "The Best Gaming Laptop"?

The fact is, when you see that the majority of experts in gaming laptops are all waxing lyrical about the same product, it must be good. Before we go on, however, we must stress our position when it comes to gaming laptops:

There is no such thing as "the best gaming laptop".

At least, not a "one size fits all" anyway. The best gaming laptop for a psychology student varies wildly from the best gaming laptop for a professional video editor. Right now, I don't know who is reading this article. Just as YouTube creators have no idea who is watching their video. The gaming laptops below are not suitable for everyone.

When we say these are the "best gaming laptops", we are focusing on a very specific type of buyer when we create the content.

The following article will only make sense if you: -

...want to play games on a laptop in 1080p using High settings

...want the ability to stream in HD on Twitch

...want excellent value for money

...will need to multitask with your laptop (work/study)

...have a maximum budget of £2500

If these statements apply to you, then I have done my job, and you're going to get the best gaming laptop for your needs.

Why We Chose Intel Gaming Laptops

Whether you are Team Red or Team Blue, there's no denying the gap has closed in terms of performance for the two processor manufacturers. Mobile gaming is now a balancing act between game performance and the other day to day tasks we use a laptop for. Gamers demand more from laptops than ever before, with most of us streaming our gameplay online, as well as working remotely, and using a variety of resource crushing applications.

 

Intel Laptops Under 2500

 

If you use your laptop for Microsoft Teams, Google Chrome and Microsoft Outlook, then you're probably already using 1500MB of memory and a decent percentage of your CPU processing power. When you switch to Steam and start up your favourite RPG or open world sandbox game, you want zero drop in performance.

This is why Intel laptops have been all over YouTube lately. 11th-Gen and 12th-Gen laptops are showing their mettle in demanding situations, and the Tiger Lake and Alder Lake architecture has been specifically designed to take on multi-threading and Turbo boost scenarios without breaking a sweat.

AMD vs. Intel - Mobile Redux

The 11th-Gen Tiger Lake H45 is a significant overhaul from the previous Sky Lake architecture (19% gen-on-gen improvement), with 8-core high performance and stability designed for enthusiasts who also need productivity performance, instead of focusing on productivity with a side order of gaming. The PCIe 4.0 direct to CPU design also ensures gamers and creators experience no latency in their workflows, and discreet graphics cards are able to communicate their needs efficiently and swiftly to the processor.

The 12th-Gen Alder Lake chips we see in high performance gaming laptops are currently out-performing AMD's Zen 3 products in almost all departments. There are the odd exceptions, where we see a specific game title perform marginally better on a Ryzen laptop, but overall Intel are having their way with Alder Lake - especially in productivity and application workloads, where AMD's foothold has now slipped.

AMD Ryzen 6000 Series vs. Alder Lake

The fly in the ointment here is the AMD Ryzen 6000 H-series and U-Series. The AMD Ryzen 9 6980HX with Zen 3+ cores and RDNA2 graphics does little to match up against the Core i9-12900HK hybrid mobile CPU, which has 14 cores (6 performance + 8 efficiency cores), in comparison to the 8 cores of the 6980HX.

In a multitasking situation, the money is on Intel here. The Alder Lake hybrid design zeroes in on keeping the important and more demanding workload front and centre, while dealing with less CPU-intensive apps by involving the efficiency cores.

Memory and Connectivity

Where Intel truly rallies, however, is in the memory and connectivity stakes. The Intel H-Series affords DDR5-4800, LPDDR5-5200, DDR4-3200, and LPDDR4x-4267 where AMD only offers DDR5-4800 and LPDDR5-6400 RAM. This essentially means price and availability on AMD OEM laptops will be lacking, and will potentially be priced out by Intel's OEM manufacturers.

 

Thunderbolt 4 - Razer Blade 15 Advanced

 

On the connectivity front, Intel have shown their market knowledge by designing their Alder Lake chips to support Thunderbolt 4 - a massive boon to creative users, with super-fast data transfer speeds on the move, having up to 3GB per second transfer speeds. Let's not forget the ability to charge your laptop via Thunderbolt 4, and being able to hook up dual 4K and a single 8K monitor using this technology. USB4 can handle single monitor displays only. AMD's USB4 support technically allows 40Gbps, but whether or not you achieve this in reality is a different matter. The two are confused often, but objectively speaking, if a laptop comes with Thunderbolt 4, and is in your budget, then you should choose TB4. Performance-wise, it's the better choice.

Best Gaming Laptops Under £2500

Our selection of laptops chosen for their price, performance and ability to get YouTube expert tongues wagging, are as follows: -

  • Lenovo Legion 7i
  • ASUS TUF Gaming F17
  • Razer Blade 15 Advanced
  • MSI Katana GF66

We chose these laptops based on usability criteria, too. They each perform extremely well in the following scenarios: -

  • 1080p High gaming
  • HD streaming
  • High performance productivity & multitasking
  • Creative power (Blender, Photoshop, video editing etc.)
  • Good battery life

Note: We've included the manufacturer code/part number for each laptop, as some of these models have variations in graphics card, memory and other spec.

Lenovo Legion 7i 15.6" GTX 1660 Ti Gaming Laptop

Part number: 81YT001KUK

 

Lenovo Legion 7i 15.6 - Best Value Laptops

 

  • Intel Core i5 10300H Processor
  • Huge 16GB Memory
  • GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Graphics
  • Optical Drive: None
  • 512GB Solid State Drive
  • Windows 10 Home
  • Up to 8 hours battery

The only laptop in our selection without and RTX graphics card, the Legion 7i is in fact still a worthy adversary. The GTX 1660 Ti can perform well enough when you look at new games such as Ghostwire: Tokyo or Elden Ring:

 

Lenovo Legion 7i Benchmarks

Lenovo Legion 7i Benchmarks

 

*Results are an average of various processor/GTX 1660 Ti combinations

Lenovo Legion have been making sure they hit their target audience, with a slew of sponsorships in Esports over the last couple of years. Whilst their high end laptops house some of the beefier RTX cards, the Lenovo Legion 7i is priced to remain attractive to the mid-range gamer, with an Intel Core i5 10300H, 16GB RAM and 144Hz refresh rate for the competitive gamer.

With Legion Edge, you can optimise your laptop for the task at hand. This is perfect for when you enter a gaming session and want to free up resources for maximum framerates, quieter running and smoother gameplay. By tweaking a few settings, you can expect up to 25% increase in framerates - which is huge when you are playing Esports titles, or trying to get the most of the latest AAA title that is yet to be fully optimised by the developer. We're looking at you, Elden Ring.

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ASUS TUF Gaming F17 17.3" RTX 3070 Gaming Laptop

Part number: 90NR0B01-M000N0

 

ASUS TUF Gaming F17 17.3 RTX 3070 Laptop

 

  • Intel Core i7 12700H Processor
  • Enormous 16GB Memory
  • GeForce RTX 3070 Graphics
  • Optical Drive: None
  • 1TB Solid State Drive
  • Windows 11 Home

The first mention should go to ASUS TUF's durability, rather than performance. I say this for many reasons, but the main one is that I have experienced the heartache of having a flimsy chassis or poor display housing reducing the lifespan of my laptop. ASUS TUF is designed to last. With a literal military spec chassis and internal build quality, the manufacturer has a good lead on the market in terms of durability and toughness. When you are working or gaming on the move, this is critical in getting value for money.

 

ASUS TUF F17 Gaming Laptop - Durable Gaming Laptop

ASUS TUF F17 Benchmarks

 

When it comes to performance, however, ASUS have ticked all the boxes for gamers - an RTX 3070 is paired here with a 12th-Gen processor, meaning significant gains where it really matters. For those who need a workhorse, whether full HD video editing or 3D design, the Alder Lake/Nvidia combo will ensure smooth workflows.

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Razer Blade 15 Advanced 15.6" 16GB Gaming Laptop

Part number: RZ09-0367BWC3-R3W1

 

Razer Blade 15 Advanced 15.6 Gaming Laptop Under ?2500

 

  • Intel Core i7 10875H Processor
  • Enormous 16GB Memory
  • GeForce RTX 3070 Graphics
  • Optical Drive: None
  • 1TB Solid State Drive
  • Windows 10 Home

The Razer Blade laptop brand is synonymous with the higher echelons of gaming, but have been criticised for their lack of Thunderbolt support, hot running, and inability to upgrade RAM. The Razer Blade 15 Advanced answers all of these cons, and delivers the full package gamers have been asking of the brand.

Aside from the above, razer have cleverly matched the RTX 3070 with the Core i7 10875H, which offers lower latency than its 12th-Gen cousin, the i7 12700H, even at overclocked speeds. For your hard earned cash, you're also getting Thunderbolt 4, 16GB DDR4 RAM at 2933MHz, extendable to 64GB, and a display with an extraordinary 360Hz Refresh Rate. For those on the move, there's Wi-Fi 6, and a battery with a 7 hours working life from a full charge.

The RTX 3070 is equipped with 3rd-gen Max-Q technologies, using AI and system optimizations to achieve levels of performance and speed you need when it's time for a session. This compact technology also enhances the Vapor Chamber Cooling in the Razer Blade, a proprietary cooling technology that "quietly and efficiently dissipates heat through the evaporation and condensation of an internal fluid", and features a bespoke heat pipe system that is custom designed for handling intense temperature build-ups that arise from heavy loads. Think Chrome, Discord, Twitch streaming, and 1080p High while playing your favourite game and you know what I mean.

 

Razer Blade 15 Advanced Benchmarks

Razer Blade 15 Advanced Benchmarks

 

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MSI Katana GF66 15.6" Core i7 Gaming Laptop

Part number: 9S7-158332-402

 

MSI Katana GF66 15.6 Core i7 Gaming Laptop

 

  • Intel Core i7 12700H Processor
  • Enormous 16GB Memory
  • GeForce RTX 3070 Ti Graphics
  • Optical Drive: None
  • 1TB Solid State Drive
  • Windows 11 Home

This would not be a fair comparison unless we included one of the much-loved gaming laptops among YouTube creators. The GF66 continues to wow gamers with amazing pricepoint and a stack of features that belies it's great value cost of entry.

 

MSI Katana GF66 Gaming Benchmarks

MSI Katana GF66 Gaming Benchmarks

 

The Katana range has been covered many times in our articles, and each model brings something new to the table. MSI tend to balance the processor with the GPU to enable you to maximise your spend vs. specification, but with the GF66 it is difficult to know where the savings are. The spec is incredible, and comes in the second cheapest behind the Lenovo Legion. Considering the RTX 3070 Ti on board, and the 12th-Gen processor, the value is plain to see.

Overall, the MSI is the clear winner for anyone's money, and it is testament to how hard the company has worked on getting the build quality, cooling system and compact components just right, so each new model takes a step forward from the last. Though you may be troubled by the fan noise and need external speakers (due to the small internal speakers) to get the most out of the GF66, these are small sacrifices to make in order to enjoy the sheer performance it offers.

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