144Hz laptop & 165Hz laptop buyer's guide

If you want to know what to consider when looking for a gaming laptop in general, regardless of subcategory, have a quick look at this same section on our Best gaming laptop in 2022 page. The below points will be a quick summary of what you need to be aware of when shopping for a 165hz or 144hz laptop specifically.

Is a 144Hz refresh rate good for gaming?

The short answer to this question is yes, at least for the vast majority of gamers. Whilst the perceptible difference between 60Hz and 100Hz is huge, and almost the same gap between 100Hz and 144Hz is less significant, but still substantial, by the time you go from 144Hz or 165Hz up to 240Hz or higher, the same numerical gap (in terms of Hz) just doesn’t feel as noticeably different. 240Hz or even 300Hz and 360Hz are only for those gamers who are committed to squeezing every edge they can out of games like CS:GO, the Call Of Duty, or Battlefield series etc. Even so, you will need a truly beastly gaming laptop, and a willingness to turn the graphical settings down, in order to achieve these kind of FPS in your games. For most people a 144Hz laptop or a 165Hz one will be more than adequate.

FreeSync and G-Sync support

FreeSync and G-Sync are collectively known as Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) or adaptive sync technologies, which help to smooth out motion displayed on the screen, and reduce the artefact known as screen tearing. This is accomplished through more precisely matching (i.e. synchronizing) the frame rate output of your PC with the refresh rate of your display.

FreeSync is AMD’s version of the technology, whereas G-Sync is Nvidia’s, although GPUs from both manufacturers can use either technology to a degree, full G-Sync is often only usable by machines with an Nvidia graphics card. G-Sync Compatible is the term used to describe the less potent version of the technology, and you’ll find a lot of gaming laptop display with native FreeSync support which are also G-Sync compatible.

1080p vs 1440p gaming laptops

Every laptop you will see recommended on this page which comes with either a 144Hz or 165Hz refresh rate will have 1080p (aka HD) or 1440p (aka QHD or WQHD) resolution. Refresh rate and resolution are the chief determinants (besides size) of the price of a screen, so if we’re keeping the refresh rate constant then you can expect the 1080p models to be the cheaper options available. 165Hz is increasingly the standard for any recently released 1440p gaming laptop, and you’ll only find higher refresh rates on premium end 1440p laptops.

Generally speaking, we’re of the opinion that 1080p is the perfect resolution for any gaming laptop with a 15-inch display or smaller. At this size, the benefits of a 1440p display, whilst noticeable, aren’t usually worth the sacrifices that must be made in other areas (i.e. price and the lower FPS performance on the higher resolution screen). Still, if you have your heart set on a 1440p display, either for light workstation use, watching higher-res movies and films, or just because you like the look of them, you can always turn down the resolution settings in-game to 1080p to maximize your FPS.

4K 165Hz & 144Hz laptops

At the time of writing, 165Hz or 144Hz laptops with 4K resolution aren’t a reality. The highest refresh rate you’re likely to see in a 4K gaming laptop is 120Hz, such as the MSI GE76 Raider 10UH or the Razer Blade Pro 17 4K Touch, though even these are rare. Most 4K laptops tend to come in at a refresh rate of 60Hz, which isn’t a high enough refresh rate for competitive online gaming, and is only around the minimum we’d recommend for slower-paced, single-player titles.

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