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The Best Laptops – Early 2024

Pro Tip: Check out our Best Gaming Laptops feature for a larger variety of gaming machines in several categories. The Asus Strix Scar 16 and Lenovo Legion Pro 7i (Gen8) are the joint winners of the Best Premium Gaming laptop award, and for good reason…

The Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 represents a significant leap forward in the realm of high-performance gaming laptops. This 2023 model, particularly in its Core i9 and RTX 4080 variant, stands out for a combination of blistering performance, a competitive price point, and an eye-catching mini LED display.

The 16-inch, 16:10 miniLED panel, which Asus likes to call the “ROG Nebula HDR” display, is a highlight. It offers a 240Hz refresh rate on the 2560×1600 screen, fast response times, 100% sRGB and DCI-P3 color gamut coverage, and 1,024 dimming zones. It can also reach over 1,100 nits of peak brightness, ensuring excellent HDR performance. The vivid colors and brightness make it perfect for both gaming and media consumption.

The refreshed semi-transparent design of the Scar 16 is as sturdy as ever, offering something that feels solid and well-built if a little heavier than previous models. The chassis features blunted edges and corners that are user-friendly, and the hinges allow for easy screen adjustments. It’s also covered in RGB lighting.

The ROG Strix Scar comes in two versions with the Nebula display: one with the RTX 4090 ($3,600) and the other with an RTX 4080 ($2,899.99). Both pack a 13th-Gen Core i9-13980HX, and you can add up to 64GB of RAM, too; the performance on offer here is monstrous. A less expensive version without the miniLED display (FHD 165Hz) is offered with an RTX 4070 for significantly less ($1699), while still keeping the same Core i9 chip.

There are also plenty of connectivity options, including Thunderbolt 4 support, though the ports are only on the sides as the rear is reserved for cooling. Other reasons to buy include a Dolby Atmos quad-speaker system, a virtual numeric keypad on the trackpad, good battery life for a gaming laptop, and a built-in array microphone.

Some less-welcome elements include the Strix getting quite toasty after prolonged use. It also lacks biometrics features like an IR camera or fingerprint sensor, and the 4080/4090-only models are pretty expensive. However, that breathtaking screen, cool design, top-tier performance, and solid build quality make the Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 an excellent choice for those who want a true gaming laptop.

A Worthy Joint Winner

Lenovo Legion Pro 7i (Gen8)

If you want a 16-inch laptop that offers a similar configuration as the Strix with a less extravagant design and can live without the miniLED screen, check out the Lenovo Legion Pro 7i (Gen 8). Like the Asus, the Legion can be specced with up to an RTX 4090, while all models come with an Intel Core i9-13900HX processor.

Where the two machines differ most is the display. The Legion has the same 2560×1600 (WQXGA, 16:10) resolution combined with a 240Hz refresh rate, and it does look nice. But the 500 nits brightness and HDR 400 certification illustrate how it can’t compare to the Strix’s stunning miniLED display.

At the time of writing, the $2,849 price of the RTX 4080 model has been reduced to $2,249, so it is good value. It also has a more grown-up design, even with enough RGB lighting to satisfy fans.

Other features include the Coldfront 5.0 thermal tech, Lenovo’s usual excellent keyboard, and an ability to squeeze so much performance out of the RTX 4080 (150W TGP) that it can match some RTX 4090-powered laptops when it comes to framerates.

The battery life might be on the weaker side, but the power and competitive price of the Legion Pro 7i make it a worthy joint winner.

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