The best laptops for game development in 2022 (2022)

The best laptops for game development in 2022 (1)

The best laptops for game development can help you channel your inner Miyamoto and produce your next gaming jewel. Whether you're already a professional game developer or you're still studying – or even if you're a hobbyist, the laptop you choose to work on is an important consideration.

Of course, there are all kinds of games, and the type of game that you're developing will affect the type of laptop you need. If you're working on a Triple-A cinematic experience with cutting-edge 3D graphics, you're going to want a powerful machine with a dedicated graphics cards. But there are also simpler, and far less graphically intensive games that can be just as successful (and sometimes more addictive!)

That means that we've got a wide range of laptops to choose from in our pick of the best laptops for game development. We've chosen the options below based on our reviewers' own experiences with the machines, their stated specs and recommendations from the many gaming developers in our contact book. When we reviewed them, we tested them through our own use but also against a range of benchmarks (see full details of how we test laptops).

If you want to play games as well as create them, make sure you also see our guide to the best laptops for gaming. You might also be able to pick up some inspiration from the best PS5 games and the best Xbox Series X games guides. We also have a guide to the best laptops for programming.

The best laptops for game development available now

The best laptops for game development in 2022 (2)

01. Dell XPS 15 (2021)

The best laptop for game development overall

Specifications

CPU: Up to 11th Generation Intel Core i9-11900H

Graphics: Up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti 4GB GDDR6

RAM: Up to 64GB DDR4-3200MHz

Screen: 15.6" FHD+ (1920 x 1200) InfinityEdge Non-Touch Anti-Glare 500-Nit – 15.6" UHD+ (3840 x 2400) InfinityEdge Touch Anti-Reflective 500-Nit

Storage: Up to 4TB M.2 PCIe NVMe

Reasons to buy

+

Speedy performance

+

Gorgeous display

Reasons to avoid

-

Not the most powerful graphics

If you want a powerful, dependable and well-built laptop for game development, and you'd also like it to be sleek, stylish and portable, then we would certainly recommend considering the Dell XPS 15.

Packing powerful components like an 11th generation Intel processor and one of the best screens on a laptop, the Dell XPS 15 makes designing and coding games a joy. Even better, you can configure it to come with an Nvidia GeForce 3050 Ti graphics card. While this isn't the most powerful GPU out there, it's still more powerful than any integrated GPU, and it supports cutting-edge technology like ray tracing.

This means that while the Dell XPS 15 isn't a gaming laptop, it'll let you create, edit, render and test your 3D games, while being slim and light enough to easily take with you no matter where you go.

The best laptops for game development in 2022 (3)

02. MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021)

The best laptop for iOS game development

Specifications

CPU: Apple M1 Pro 8-core – M1 Max 10-core

Graphics: Integrated 14-core – 32-core GPU

RAM: Up to 64GB

Screen: 14-inch Liquid Retina XDR display

Storage: Up to 8TB

Reasons to buy

+

Brilliant performance

+

Best screen on a laptop

Reasons to avoid

-

Screen may be a bit small for some

(Video) Best Laptops For Game Development & Design in 2022 [Top 5 Picks]

While Apple Mac computers aren't known for gaming, Apple's iPhone and iPad systems have huge libraries of mobile games, and making a hit iOS (the operating system iPhones use) game can earn you a lot of money.

If you want to design iOS games, the new MacBook Pro 14-inch is a brilliant option. It's incredibly powerful, allowing you to compile code in seconds, and it can run emulations of various iPhone models to allow you to see how your game plays on Apple's smartphones. It's powered by a choice of either the M1 Pro or M1 Max chip from Apple. These are seriously powerful and can run iOS games natively, so you can play your game (and check out the competition) without needing an iPhone.

We also reckon it has the best display you can currently get on a laptop (along with its larger sibling further below). This is thanks to the stunning miniLED technology that offers astounding image quality. We've placed the 14-incher higher because we like its portability, but if you prefer a larger laptop for game development, simply turn to the 16in MacBook further down in the list.

Read more in our full Apple MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021) review.

The best laptops for game development in 2022 (4)

03. HP Chromebook 14

The best budget laptop for game development

Reasons to buy

+

Excellent keyboard, trackpad

+

Crisp, vivid screen

Reasons to avoid

-

Slower than some rivals

-

Average battery life

At the opposite end of the laptop spectrum, you might not normally think of a Chromebook as being a good laptop for game development. And no, they don't have the power to actually handle very advanced gaming themselves, but there's no reason why you cant code on them.

So if you're looking for an affordable option and don't need to test high-performance games, then a Chromebook can make sense. They offer long battery life and might even save you from getting distracted while you're working since they can do fewer other things. The HP Chromebook 14 is a well-built machine that runs Chrome OS, and it's also a lot more affordable than a Windows laptop or a MacBook.

Very long battery life and a thin and light design make it a good option if you want to work on game development when you're out and about. You can test Android games on this Chromebook since Chrome OS can run Android apps, and Android games are less graphically intensive than console and PC games. Of course, for heavier workloads, you will need to invest in a more powerful laptop.

The best laptops for game development in 2022 (5)

04. Razer Blade 17

The best laptop for game development with a larger screen

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i7-12800H

Graphics: Up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti

RAM: 16GB

Screen: 17.3in 165Hz QHD or 240Hz QHD

Storage: 1TB SSD

Reasons to buy

+

Lovely build and design

+

Powerful components

Reasons to avoid

-

Very expensive

Speaking of heavier workloads, if you do need the power to be able to test demanding 3D games that you're developing, the Razer Blade 17 is a fantastic choice in our opinion. The brand should be familiar to you if you're a fan of PC games, and it's well respected for making powerful gaming laptops as well as peripherals.

When it comes to laptops, the Razer Blade 17 packs some of the latest and most powerful tech. When we reviewed it, we found it to be a great gaming laptop, but a great laptop for game development too, thanks to some powerful mobile components, along with top Nvidia graphics cards.

(Video) Laptop For Game Development -- What I Chose... And Why in 2022.

It's also stunningly designed, with excellent build quality, so you can take this around with you without worrying about it getting knocked or scratched. It weighs a fair bit (2.75kg), but that's not bad for a 17in scree. Unsurprisingly for a laptop with gaming specs of this calibre, battery life isn't spectacular, and It's also very expensive. So if you don't need this kind of power, you might prefer one of the more affordable laptops for game development on this list.

See our full Razer Blade 17 review for more details.

The best laptops for game development in 2022 (6)

05. MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021)

A great MacBook with larger screen

Specifications

CPU: Apple M1 Pro 10-core – M1 Max 10-core

Graphics: Integrated 16-core – 32-core GPU

RAM: Up to 64GB

Screen: 16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display

Storage: Up to 8TB

Reasons to buy

+

Extremely long battery life

+

Plenty of ports

Reasons to avoid

-

On the bigger side

We mentioned the MacBook Pro 14 above as our top choice as a MacBook for game development thanks to its portability (and it's also slightly cheaper). But if you want a larger screen, the MacBook Pro 16-inch released alongside is an equally impressive laptop. It offers the same level of performance as the 14-inch MacBook and uses the same M1 Pro or M1 Max chip depending on the configuration you choose.

This means like the smaller model, this is a brilliant laptop for iOS game design especially, but it also has the chops to handle complex 3D games as well. The 16-inch model is a lot larger, which makes it harder to carry around. However, many people may find a larger screen more comfortable to work on, It uses the same miniLED tech as the 14-inch screen, so you get stunning image quality. If you want a laptop with a larger screen and don't fancy a gaming laptop like the Razer Blade 17 above, this is a great choice.

See our full MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021) review for more details.

The best laptops for game development in 2022 (7)

06. Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel Pro

A powerful mobile workstation for game development

Specifications

CPU: 11th-generation Intel Core i7

Graphics: Up to NVIDIA RTX A5000

RAM: Up to 32GB

Screen: 15.6" 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) 16:9 IPS touchscreen

Storage: Up to 2TB

Reasons to buy

+

Stunning design and multiple screen modes

+

Powerful specs

+

Good selection of ports

Reasons to avoid

-

Expensive compared to some rivals

The Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel is a powerful computer aimed at creatives, but it also has the specs to be a great laptop for game development. It comes with a 4K Pantone-validated display for accurate colours. It can also be configured with some mightily NVIDIA graphics cards which offer plenty of power, and will allow you to see how your games perform on powerful gaming hardware.

This laptops has a very versatile design too, allowing you to position the screen in multiple modes, like a 2-in-1 but the 4K touchscreen actually it has six rather than two positions. This all makes the Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel a brilliant portable workstation that we think rivals the MacBook Pro for its build quality and performance. So if you're not a fan of Apple of iOS, but want raw power, this is a fantastic option.

Read more details in our hands-on Acer ConceptD7 Ezel Pro review.

The best laptops for game development in 2022 (8)

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07. Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020)

One of the best laptops for game design at under $1,000

Specifications

CPU: Apple M1

Graphics: Integrated 7-core /8-core GPU

RAM: 8GB – 16GB

Screen: 13.3-inch (diagonal) 2,560 x 1,600 LED-backlit display with IPS technology

Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD

Dimensions: 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.63 inches (30.41 x 21.24 x 1.61cm; W x D x H)

Reasons to buy

+

Silent to use

+

Amazing battery life

Reasons to avoid

-

No new design

-

Fanless design could impact performance

Apple started its winning stream of modern MacBooks with the brilliant MacBook Air (M1, 2020). This was the first MacBook to come powered by Apple's own M1 chip - rather than Intel's hardware, which older MacBooks used.

The M1-powered MacBook Air was a revelation, offering incredible performance and battery life in the iconic thin and light design the MacBook Air has been known for. Even two years after release, the MacBook Air is a brilliant laptop for game design, offering you plenty of power to code on. And, like the MacBook Pros on this page, it can run iOS apps natively.

Best of all, the MacBook Air is more affordable than ever, and can often be found in sales for around $900/£800, making it one of the best value laptops money can buy right now. There's rumours that Apple will be releasing a new model this year with an improved M2 chip, but for now, the M1 model from 2020 remains a brilliant laptop for game development.

See our complete Apple MacBook Air (2020) review for all the details.

The best laptops for game development in 2022 (9)

08. Lenovo ThinkBook 14S Yoga

The best 2-in-1 laptop for game development

Specifications

CPU: 11th Gen Intel Core i5 – i7

Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics

RAM: up to 24 GB DDR4 3200MHz

Screen: 14.0” FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS, glossy, touchscreen, 300 nits

Storage: up to 1TB PCIe SSD

Reasons to avoid

-

Battery life is just OK

The ThinkBook 14S Yoga is a great choiceIf you fancy using a 2-in-1 laptop, which can be used as a traditional laptop, but can also be used like a tablet by folding back the touchscreen behind the keyboard. While it doesn't feature a dedicated graphics card (which are incredibly rare in 2-in-1 devices), it is packed with modern, and powerful, mobile components.

For writing and compiling code, then, this is a brilliant laptop. And, when used in tablet mode, you can test out how your game will work with touchscreen devices, while also making it more comfortable for reading reams of text, or for watching movies when you want to wind down. It also comes with a stylus, so if you want to create hand-drawn art for your game, this offers you a handy way to do just that.

The best laptops for game development in 2022 (10)

09. Asus TUG Gaming F15

A more affordable gaming laptop for game development

(Video) My Top 10 Laptops of 2022 - Not What I Expected!

Specifications

CPU: Up to 12th Gen Intel Core i7-12700H Processor 2.3 GHz

Graphics: Up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU

RAM: Up to 16GB

Screen: Up to 15.6-in WQHD (2560 x 1440) 16:9, anti-glare display, DCI-P3:100, 165Hz

Storage: Up to 1TB

Reasons to buy

+

Good value for gaming specs

+

Decent battery life for a gaming laptop

Reasons to avoid

-

Not the best screen quality

We've already mentioned one gaming laptop above – the mighty Razer Blade 15. But if you're looking for the best gaming laptop for game development that doesn't cost the Earth, we'd recommend considering the Asus TUG Gaming F15. When we reviewed it, we found this great value gaming laptop to offer impressive performance for its price, making it an option if you need to test more demanding games.

It's been updated for 2022 with 12th Gen Intel processors, and the 1440p screen boasts a 165Hz refresh rate and 100 per cent coverage of the DCI-P3 gamut. It's by no means the most powerful gaming laptop out there, but these specs are fantastic for the price.

Read our full Asus TUF Gaming F15 review for more details.

How should I choose the best laptop for game development

Since games themselves can vary hugely in terms of their complexity, the best laptop for game development for you may depend on the type of game you want to create. For creating modern 3D games, you'll generally want a laptop with a powerful recent processor and a dedicated graphics card so you to check out your game in all its glory.

For less demanding games, you won't need such a powerful laptop. Something that's portable, has a great battery and is dependable will be enough. This doesn't mean you have to lower your ambitions or scale back your audience – and being able to create an indie game is more accessible than ever.

Note that you may not necessary need to play or test your game on the laptop that you're designing it on. If you only need to program, then sometimes even a Chromebook will do, which is why we've included one in our list of the best laptops for game development above.

Read more:

  • The best student laptops for optimal learning
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The best laptops for game development in 2022 (11)

Matt Hanson

Matt has been a technology journalist for well over a decade, writing for publications such as T3, MacFormat and Creative Bloq. He's a senior editor of TechRadar, Creative Bloq's sister site, where he can be found writing about and reviewing laptops, computers, monitors and more. He often writes for Creative Bloq, helping creatives find their perfect laptop or PC.

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FAQs

The best laptops for game development in 2022? ›

10+ Best Laptops for Game Development & Design in 2022
  • Razer Blade 15 Advanced Edition (Editor's Choice)
  • Acer Predator Helios 300.
  • Acer Swift 3.
  • Asus Zenbook Pro Duo.
  • ASUS ROG Strix G17.
  • Apple MacBook Pro (2021)
  • HP Spectre x360.
  • ASUS TUF Gaming F17.
May 19, 2022

Which processor is best for game development? ›

Best CPU for gaming 2022
  1. Intel Core i5-12600K. The best current generation Intel CPU for gaming. ...
  2. AMD Ryzen 5 5600x. The best overall value Ryzen CPU for gaming. ...
  3. Intel Core i9-12900K. The best current gen high-end Intel CPU for gaming. ...
  4. Intel Core i7-12700K. ...
  5. AMD Ryzen 9 5900x. ...
  6. Intel Core i5-11600K.
May 9, 2022

Which laptops can run Unreal Engine 5? ›

DELL G15 Ryzen 5 Hexa Core 5600H - (8 GB/512 GB SSD/Windows 10/4 GB... Buy DELL G15 Ryzen 5 Hexa Core 5600H - (8 GB/512 GB SSD/Windows 10/4 GB Graphics/NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050) G15-5515 Gaming Laptop Online For Rs. 101185 , Also get DELL G15 Ryzen 5 Hexa Core 5600H - (8 GB/512 GB SSD/Windows 10/4 GB Graphics/NVIDIA...

What kind of computer do I need for game development? ›

Generally, a computer with at least 16 GB of RAM will be sufficient for most types of game development, although a minimum of 8 GB will be sufficient for mobile games. For PC and console games, 16 GB is the minimum requirement, with two GHz being the optimal speed.

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