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The Best Laptops for VR in 2024

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Virtual reality (VR) demands anything but virtual hardware. The immersive, interactive worlds of today’s VR games and apps take considerable processing and graphics power. With one notable exception—the standalone Meta Quest 2, our Editors’ Choice pick for cable-free virtual reality—your VR headset must be plugged into a high-end PC. (Yes, Sony’s PlayStation VR plugs into a PlayStation instead of a PC, and an optional cable lets the Meta Quest 2 access PC-based games and apps, but we’ll get to that in a minute.)

Beefy gaming desktops are a common option for VR, but not everyone has the space or the desire for a bulky tower. Being able to move your VR machine from room to room—or take it on the go, if you need to show off VR demos—is more appealing.

This is where a VR-ready laptop comes in. Unfortunately, the average consumer laptop is not suited to the requirements of virtual reality—chances are, it doesn’t have a sufficiently potent graphics processing unit (GPU), or it has an HDMI port for an external monitor when most VR headsets dictate a DisplayPort connector instead. Below, we’ve selected the best laptops for VR in 2024 from our stable of thoroughly tested laptop reviews, which is followed by a detailed buyer’s guide for additional buying advice.

Since 1982, PCMag has tested and rated thousands of products to help you make better buying decisions. See how we test.

Deeper Dive: Our Top Tested Picks

Lenovo Legion Pro 7i Gen 8

Best Overall Performance for VR

Bottom Line:

Lenovo’s Legion Pro 7i Gen 8 delivers pulse-pounding performance in a premium package that costs far less than other top-flight gaming laptops.

PROS

  • Bright and colorful 240Hz display
  • Comfortable keyboard with RGB extras
  • Generous port selection
  • Full HD webcam with extra features
  • Relatively affordable in its category
  • Subtle design avoids gamer stereotypes

CONS

  • Noisy fans under heavy load
  • Lacking in battery life

SPECS

Laptop Class Gaming
Processor Intel Core i9-13900HX
Processor Speed
RAM (as Tested) 32 GB
Boot Drive Type SSD
Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested) 1 TB
Screen Size 16 inches
Native Display Resolution 2560 by 1600
Touch Screen
Panel Technology IPS
Variable Refresh Support G-Sync
Screen Refresh Rate 240 Hz
Graphics Processor Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 Laptop GPU
Graphics Memory 12 GB
Wireless Networking Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.1
Dimensions (HWD) 1 by 14.3 by 10.3 inches
Weight 6.1 pounds
Operating System Windows 11 Home
Tested Battery Life (Hours:Minutes) 6:13

Gigabyte Aorus 15 BMF

Best Budget Gaming Laptop for VR

Bottom Line:

A premium design paired with the latest budget parts, Gigabyte’s Aorus 15 BMF is an excellent gaming-laptop value and an Editors’ Choice winner.

PROS

  • Sturdy, elegant construction
  • On-point performance for the price
  • Commendable keyboard
  • Plenty of ports
  • Rare 1080p webcam
  • Sufficient battery life

CONS

  • Merely average display
  • RTX 4050 is outmatched by the RTX 3060
  • Hit-or-miss touchpad

SPECS

Laptop Class Gaming
Processor Intel Core i5-13500H
Processor Speed
RAM (as Tested) 8 GB
Boot Drive Type SSD
Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested) 512 GB
Screen Size 15.6 inches
Native Display Resolution 1920 by 1080
Touch Screen
Panel Technology IPS
Variable Refresh Support None
Screen Refresh Rate 144 Hz
Graphics Processor Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 Laptop GPU
Graphics Memory 6 GB
Wireless Networking Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi 6E
Dimensions (HWD) 0.82 by 14.2 by 10.7 inches
Weight 5.25 lbs
Operating System Windows 11 Home
Tested Battery Life (Hours:Minutes) 7:10

Razer Blade 14 (2023)

Best Small Gaming Laptop for VR

Bottom Line:

Razer’s high-style Blade 14 gaming ultraportable screams through today’s titles, thanks to an AI-enhanced AMD Ryzen 9 CPU and high-wattage Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 graphics.

PROS

  • Exemplary 14-inch gaming performance
  • QHD+ 240Hz display
  • Long battery life
  • Quiet fans
  • All-aluminum build

CONS

  • Shallow keyboard
  • Much higher starting price than the original

SPECS

Laptop Class Gaming
Processor AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS
Processor Speed 4 GHz
RAM (as Tested) 16 GB
Boot Drive Type SSD
Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested) 1 TB
Screen Size 14 inches
Native Display Resolution 2560 by 1600
Touch Screen
Panel Technology IPS
Variable Refresh Support FreeSync
Screen Refresh Rate 240 Hz
Graphics Processor Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 Laptop GPU
Graphics Memory 8 GB
Wireless Networking 802.11ax, Bluetooth 5.2
Dimensions (HWD) 0.7 by 12.2 by 9 inches
Weight 4 lbs
Operating System Windows 11 Home
Tested Battery Life (Hours:Minutes) 10:35

Lenovo Legion 9i Gen 8

Best Gaming Laptop for VR if Cost Is No Object

Bottom Line:

The Legion 9i is a showcase powerhouse for what Lenovo’s high-end gaming line can do, driven to new heights by its marquee liquid-cooled RTX 4090 GPU.

PROS

  • Top-level performance
  • Advanced liquid-cooled RTX 4090 GPU
  • Unique pressed carbon fiber lid
  • Useful extras and customizable software
  • Wide array of connectivity

CONS

  • Pricey even in base model
  • Loud fans on performance mode
  • So-so battery life

SPECS

Laptop Class Gaming
Processor Intel Core i9-13980HX
Processor Speed
RAM (as Tested) 32 GB
Boot Drive Type SSD
Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested) 2 TB
Screen Size 16 inches
Native Display Resolution 3200 by 2000
Touch Screen
Panel Technology Mini LED
Variable Refresh Support None
Screen Refresh Rate 165 Hz
Graphics Processor Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 Laptop GPU
Graphics Memory 16 GB
Wireless Networking Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth
Dimensions (HWD) 0.74 by 14.1 by 10.9 inches
Weight 5.64 lbs
Operating System Windows 11 Home
Tested Battery Life (Hours:Minutes) 4:43

Alienware m18

Best 18-Inch Gaming Laptop for VR

Bottom Line:

With top-end components and a spacious 18-inch display, the Alienware m18 is the best giant-screen gaming laptop so far, aimed at enthusiasts and pros with cash to burn.

PROS

  • Blistering performance as configured
  • Sturdy build with metal lid, customizable lighting
  • Superior Cherry MX mechanical keyboard option
  • Sharp 1600p/165Hz display, with 1080p/480Hz option
  • Reasonable starting price with lots of configuration

CONS

  • Rear-facing ports are awkward to reach
  • Short battery life
  • Big and heavy

SPECS

Laptop Class Gaming
Processor Intel Core i9-13980HX
Processor Speed
RAM (as Tested) 32 GB
Boot Drive Type SSD
Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested) 1 TB
Screen Size 18 inches
Native Display Resolution 2560 by 1600
Touch Screen
Panel Technology IPS
Variable Refresh Support G-Sync
Screen Refresh Rate 165 Hz
Graphics Processor Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 Laptop GPU
Graphics Memory 16 GB
Wireless Networking Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth
Dimensions (HWD) 1.05 by 16.15 by 12.59 inches
Weight 8.9 lbs
Operating System Windows 11
Tested Battery Life (Hours:Minutes) 5:36

Gigabyte Aero 16 OLED (2023)

Best Laptop for VR Content Creators

Bottom Line:

A slick content-creator laptop, Gigabyte’s Aero 16 OLED keeps pace with top-rated competitors, while costing less and beating most of them on port selection.

PROS

  • Impressive OLED screen returns
  • Satisfying TKL keyboard
  • Sturdy aluminum body
  • MicroSD card slot
  • Decently priced

CONS

  • Short battery life
  • Single, rear-mounted USB-A port

SPECS

Laptop Class Desktop Replacement
Processor Intel Core i9-13900H
Processor Speed
RAM (as Tested) 32 GB
Boot Drive Type SSD
Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested) 1 TB
Screen Size 16 inches
Native Display Resolution 3840 by 2400
Touch Screen
Panel Technology OLED
Variable Refresh Support None
Screen Refresh Rate 60 Hz
Graphics Processor Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 Laptop GPU
Graphics Memory 8 GB
Wireless Networking Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth
Dimensions (HWD) 0.87 by 13.9 by 10.1 inches
Weight 4.6 lbs
Operating System Windows 11
Tested Battery Life (Hours:Minutes) 8:09

Buying Guide: The Best Laptops for VR in 2024


What Do I Need for VR on Laptop? It’s All About the GPU 

Laptops that rely on their processors’ integrated graphics are useless for VR apps. Check the specs: If your laptop uses Intel HD Graphics, UHD Graphics, Iris Graphics, Iris Xe Graphics, or Intel Arc Graphics (without a model number), it’s integrated. Just as when shopping for a gaming laptop or a mobile workstation, your priority must be a discrete or dedicated GPU, and a powerful one. Even avid gamers are often satisfied with a GPU capable of showing 60 frames per second (fps) on a laptop screen or desktop monitor, but on a headset that frame rate can at best look choppy and at worst cause nausea—a sustained 90fps is more comfortable. 

An rear lid view of the Acer Predator Helios 300 (2022) gaming laptop

(Credit: Molly Flores)

The two major pioneering (and now discontinued) VR headsets, the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive, recommended at least an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 or an AMD Radeon RX 480 for tolerable performance in VR. Officially, things haven’t changed much—the advanced, pricey Valve Index specifies the GeForce GTX 1070, and the HTC Vive Pro 2 still only requires a GTX 1060. HP’s Reverb G2 headset merely lists any DirectX 12-capable GPU, and a wide range of Quadro and Radeon Pro lines for workstations.

You may be familiar with Meta’s (formerly Facebook’s) Meta Quest headsets, which are referred to as “standalone” since they don’t need to be connected to a PC to operate, given their internal hardware guts. They do have an optional cable to use them with your PC for gaming, though, and any GeForce GTX 16-series, or RTX 20-, 30-, or 40-series GPU is supported. (See Meta’s list of supported GPUs here.)

PCMag Logo The Best VR Headsets of 2023

You won’t find those exact chips in modern gaming laptops, though; they have been surpassed. Nevertheless, our advice is to aim higher, at the very least to the neighborhood of the mobile GeForce GTX 1660 Ti (if you can still find one) on the Nvidia side and the Radeon RX 5500M for AMD-based laptops—or, better yet, a newer GeForce RTX or a Radeon RX series solution. Those GPUs may be the minimum needed to run the headsets, but more demanding games will need better GPUs to run well, just like they would outside of VR.

The Oculus Quest 2 VR headset on a table

(Credit: Zlata Ivleva)

This probably means you won’t get away with spending much less than $1,000 on a gaming laptop. In the sub-$1,000 ballpark, you’ll likely be torn among options like an RTX 3050, an RTX 3050 Ti, or an RTX 4050, with a relative smattering of Radeon RX 6000-series machines tempting those on Team Red.

Of course, if you can spend more, you can get a truly powerful GPU. Among Nvidia’s offerings, stepping up to a GeForce RTX 4070, RTX 4080, or RTX 4090 will help you run games at much higher frame rates, even at maximum settings, which may make the difference between a dizzying experience and avoiding motion sickness altogether. For games that are particularly demanding outside of VR, an upper-tier RTX 40-series GPU is recommended.


What Processor and Memory Do I Need for VR? 

Outside of the graphics card, component hardware requirements for VR are easier to hit. As far as the CPU goes, the Vive Pro 2 lists an Intel Core i5-4590 or equivalent. That’s a quad-core desktop processor that Intel introduced in 2014, which, needless to say, you won’t find in any new desktops or laptops today.

The same goes for that Meta Quest Link cable that connects a Quest headset to a PC to play games like Half-Life: Alyx. The minimum for AMD CPUs is equally light—the Ryzen 5 1500X, a desktop quad-core that dates back to 2017. The HP Reverb G2 lists a minimum requirement of any Core i5, i7, or Ryzen 5, while the Valve Index requires a dual-core CPU as a bare minimum, but recommends four cores or more. This is all to say anything CPU-wise sold in a modern gaming laptop is going to do the job just fine.

An opened view of the MSI Katana GF66 (Late 2021) gaming laptop

(Credit: Molly Flores)

What to know when looking at CPUs: While four processing cores are a necessity (and six or eight cores naturally better still), any modern (from 10th Generation on) Intel Core i5 laptop chips, or AMD Ryzen 5 4000 or 5000 series ones, will be fine for even the latest VR apps. A Core i7 or a Ryzen 7 will give you ample headroom for future software, and the latest generations of these chips will run games smoothly when paired with the right GPU. 

What’s nice: You’d be hard-pressed to find a current- or previous-generation gaming laptop that won’t meet any of those CPU minimums across these headsets. Gaming laptops almost universally use one of Intel’s or AMD’s H-series CPUs, which are higher-powered processors than the U-series silicon in most thin non-gaming laptops, and a minimum of four cores. Any late-model Core i5, i7, or i9, or a Ryzen 5 or 7 H-series chip, should do the job nicely for VR. (For a much deeper dive, see our guide to understanding laptop CPUs.)

As for system memory, the Vive Pro 2 asks for 8GB, as do Meta headsets and HP’s Reverb. Since every current gaming laptop comes with at least 8GB of RAM and plenty include 16GB, you won’t have to go out of your way for sufficient memory or processing power, unless you’re shopping for a used laptop.


Which Ports Does My Laptop Need for VR? 

Being able to plug in all of your headset’s required connectors is the main concern here, and realistically more of a limiting factor than the CPU or GPU in your gaming laptop, given the modest spec requirements. Modern VR headsets don’t hog three USB ports as the original Oculus Rift did (it required cables for the headset, as well as two wired sensors), but you’ll still need to be careful about your new laptop’s selection of ports. Knowing which ports you’ll need requires checking the fine print. One laptop may be a good fit for one VR headset, but not have what you need for another, so make sure to check the laptop against the specific cabling needs of the VR headset you’re using.

A straight view of the Alienware x15 gaming laptop

(Credit: Molly Flores)

The Meta Quest 2 and Quest 3’s optional Oculus Link is a fancy USB Type-C 3.2 cable, but other headsets like the Vive Pro 2 and the Valve Index require both a USB 3.0 port and a DisplayPort video connector to work with a PC. The HP Reverb G2 asks for a DisplayPort 1.3 and a USB Type-C port.

The DisplayPort is critical because many laptops, as mentioned, have an HDMI output but no DisplayPort. An adapter that links a full-size DisplayPort to a mini DisplayPort will work (and is sometimes included with the headset), but an HDMI-to-DisplayPort adapter—and this is very important to note when shopping—will not. (We haven’t tried a Thunderbolt-to-DisplayPort adapter, but we wouldn’t count on it. You want the “real deal” ports to match.) Note that many laptops, gaming and otherwise, now implement the DisplayPort output as a protocol (as opposed to a physical connector) over one or more of the USB-C ports; this can work, but make sure you get the right cables to match.

Fortunately, several gaming laptops and some content-creation laptops do have DisplayPort connectors, but triple-checking the necessary mix of ports before you buy a laptop for VR is essential. If you have ports left over beyond what’s required, you can chalk that up as a win, since it will allow you to keep other peripherals plugged in alongside the headset without swapping cables. 


Other VR Laptop Concerns: Screen, Storage, and Battery 

After meeting the VR hardware requirements, other factors come down to your personal preferences and needs. You’ll find 14-inch, 15.6-inch, 16-inch, and 17.3-inch laptops compatible with popular headsets (with some goliath 18-inch models emerging), but of course, you’ll wear your headset while playing, not looking at the screen. The display size you pick should depend on how you use your laptop when you’re not using VR. 

An angled view of the Razer Blade 15 Advanced (2021) gaming laptop

(Credit: Molly Flores)

Our laptop buying guide will walk you through the pros and cons of different screen sizes. If your work is mostly confined to your desk, a 17.3-inch or even 18-inch notebook is a plus, though some can weigh a barely luggable 8 pounds or more. (Also see our guide to the best 17- and 18-inch laptops, VR-ready and not.) If you’ll often take your laptop on the go, a lighter 15.6-inch system makes sense. (Again, check that it has the ports you need; the more compact the machine, the fewer ports it’s likely to have.) In addition to the screen size, you’ll want to assess the display characteristics, notably the peak refresh rate; modern gaming laptops use panels with faster refresh rates than most older models. (See our guide to whether you need a high-refresh screen.)

All laptops have their distinct visual styles as well, ranging from businesslike bland to gamer garish. The difference is subjective, but you don’t want to be stuck looking at something you don’t like. For example, Alienware machines tend toward flashy; most Gigabyte machines look much more conservative.

The HTC Vive Cosmos VR headset on a table

(Credit: Zlata Ivleva)

VR games and apps take up a lot of storage space, so you’ll want a machine that can at least hold your favorite titles while letting you rotate others out. Teaming up a speedy solid-state drive (at least 512GB, preferably 1TB) with a larger hard drive is a popular solution. If the laptop of your dreams has room for only one SSD without a supplemental hard drive, buy the highest-capacity SSD you can afford. 

Battery life is generally less of an issue for gaming and VR laptops than for ultraportables and convertibles because gaming laptops are usually plugged in. Playing on battery rather than AC power usually diminishes performance, and VR is so power-hungry that you’ll rely on a wall outlet for all but the shortest explorations. 


Which Laptop Should I Buy for VR? 

The systems below represent the best VR-ready laptops we’ve reviewed. Also check out our roundups of the best gaming laptops (VR abilities aside)—or, if you decide to keep things wholly at home, the best gaming desktops, most of which can easily handle VR duties, so long as they’re equipped with at least the minimum recommended GPU for the VR headset you have.



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