Laptop Price

Why you shouldn’t wait to buy a next-gen gaming laptop

In a few weeks we should be launching the first batch of next-gen gaming laptops. Nvidia has promised that we’ll see machines announced at CES in February, and we’ve already gotten a good taste of the notebooks that will define next year’s list of best gaming laptops. But you shouldn’t wait to buy one.

AMD, Nvidia, and Intel all have next-gen components to power the gaming laptops of 2023, and they’re sure to bring a leap in performance. They also want to bring a price jump, and with last-gen options being so cheap right now, we’re in a situation where you can spend less and get a more powerful laptop.

Next-gen gaming laptops are much more expensive

The MSI Cyborg Gaming Laptop on a white demo table.

The main problem with waiting for a next-gen gaming laptop is that they’re going to be more expensive. We recently highlighted MSI’s upcoming Cyborg as an example of what a $1,000 gaming laptop will look like in 2023. This is also the lowest price. When Nvidia announced its RTX 40-series mobile graphics cards, it said laptops would start at $1,000.

RTX 3050 laptops start at around $800. It’s cheaper, but there’s an important note for the MSI Cyborg. It comes with a last generation Intel processor, presumably to keep the price down. With so few prices, it’s hard to say, but that could be a trend we’re seeing in RTX 40-series gaming laptops.

However, it’s possible we won’t see too many models at this price point. Nvidia announced that laptops with an RTX 4080 or RTX 4090 would start at $2,000, but an early price leak of upcoming XMG laptops shows you around $4,000 for an RTX 4090 and $3,500 for an RTX 4080 will be issued. This sheds a different light on Nvidia’s upcoming generation, showing that the RTX 4090 can represent a more than $2,000 increase in the base price of a laptop (more than the price of a desktop RTX 4090).

The Alienware x14 R2 lid on a wooden table.

XMG isn’t the only one. The Alienware x16, for example, starts at $3,100 with an RTX 4050. The Alienware x14 starts at just $1,800, but that’s with a last-gen RTX 3050. Likewise, the Razer Blade 16 with an RTX 4060 starts at a cool $2,700.

Although we could see gaming laptops for the same price as the previous generation, I’m not holding my breath. Nvidia’s latest desktop GPUs have seen massive price increases, and there’s no reason to think the mobile range won’t follow suit. Even if we do, last year’s models are currently at bargain prices, and you can pick up a much more powerful laptop for the same price as a new RTX 40 series machine.

What to buy instead

Screen on the Asus Zephyrus G14 gaming laptop.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

We’re still awaiting pricing for many of the next-gen laptops, but last year’s stock is already being sold at clearance prices. Priced at around $1,000 and $2,000, here are the last generation gaming laptops you should buy instead.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 – $450 off

By far the best gaming laptop deal you can get right now is the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14. I bought one at full price in the middle of last year, and while I regret not waiting for that deal, I’ve enjoyed every minute with this laptop.

It’s been discounted between $400 and $600 in the last few months (it retails for $1,200). For this price you get a Radeon RX 6700S and AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS and a 1600p 120Hz screen. A preliminary leak of the upcoming RTX 4050 Mobile shows that it’s about 15% faster than the last-gen RTX 3050. The RX 6700S in the 2022 Zephyrus G14 is around 25% to 30% faster than this card.

Lenovo Legion 5i Pro – $600 off

Read our Lenovo Legion 5i Pro review for a full breakdown of this laptop, but it’s easy to say that it’s one of the best gaming laptops you can buy. Lenovo’s Legion machines have a bit of a thermal secret ingredient that allows them to achieve performance much higher than their specs suggest. The RTX 3070 Ti in the Legion 5i Pro even rivals the RTX 3080 Ti in the Razer Blade 17.

Now down to $2,000, it’s the same price as the cheapest RTX 4080 laptop we’ll see. And for a machine of similar quality, including an excellent screen and keyboard, you’re likely to spend a lot more. The model I recommend comes with an Intel Core i7-12700H and RTX 3070 Ti. I’m sure it will be outperformed by RTX 4080 laptops, but I find it hard to believe that a next-gen machine can match the price of the Legion 5i Pro can achieve at the moment.

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