We saw a number of great gaming laptops released in 2021. Machines like the Razer Blade 17 and Maingear Vector Pro impressed us with powerful performance, vibrant screens and slick designs. While these gaming laptops will be viable for the next few years, I can’t help but think about the rigs we’ll see in 2022 — more specifically, what I want to see in gaming laptops for the new year.
While the tech world is currently suffering from supply chain issues and chip shortages, the wheels of technology must continue to turn. Gaming laptops will see improvements in 2022. Whether these are incremental improvements or radical ones, I can’t say, but advances will happen regardless. To that end, I want to see laptop manufacturers take specific initiatives to improve gaming on the go.
Here’s what I'm looking forward to from gaming laptops in 2022.
Better gaming laptop displays
We’ve seen Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 30-series graphics cards become more available for gaming laptops. Despite the ongoing supply chain woes and chip shortage, this trend will continue in 2022. This is great, since we want our gaming laptops to produce the best graphics possible. But what use is playing a game at high settings if your laptop’s display isn't capable of presenting games at their best?
It’s somewhat baffling how display quality is all but an afterthought for many gaming laptops. Most devices still come with full HD screens. To be fair, 1920 x 1080 resolution isn’t horrendous by any means. But if your portable rig packs an RTX card, you’ll want a better display to see every gorgeous pixel on the screen.
I want 1440p to become the minimum standard for gaming laptops in 2022. 4K and OLED options would be even better, even if those laptops would naturally be more expensive. While 1080p is fine for 13-inch displays, 15-inch screens and above should offer 1440p as the absolute bare minimum in 2022.
Higher refresh rates
Higher refresh rates are essential for getting the most out of the latest gaming hardware. After all, you want whatever big-budget game you’re playing to run as smoothly as possible at high settings. This is even truer if you play a lot of competitive multiplayer games. You don't want to get dusted online because your refresh rate is too low.
To be fair, there are plenty of gaming laptops on the market with 120 Hz refresh rates and higher. That’s great. But in 2022, we really need to get away from 60Hz displays for high-end machines.
It isn’t fun having your almost-new gaming laptop become a relic a few months after release. Right now, the only solution to this problem is to buy another rig. But that can get wildly expensive – especially if you want the most powerful machine available. Upgradability is one way to solve this issue.
Making upgradable gaming laptops would require several things to happen. The first would be for manufacturers to design upgrade-friendly machines. Dell’s recently unveiled Concept Luna is a great example of laptops designed with upgradability in mind. The Framework Laptop – a device you can buy right now – also provides a (pardon the pun) framework for upgradable and repairable laptops. There would need to be an industry-wide consensus for upgradable laptops to become the standard, but we can take the first steps in 2022.
The other hurdle is being able to easily buy the parts you want from local retailers or online vendors. At present, I can't see Dell selling parts that you could then use on an Asus or MSI rig. Each manufacturer would have to provide parts on their respective websites or at retail outlets. I don’t believe this would be difficult to implement.
Still, gaming laptop manufacturers might prefer that people spend more money on new laptops, rather than less money on cheaper components. Hopefully, we’ll see more companies release machines similar to the Framework Laptop and Dell’s Concept Luna.
This is geared specifically toward high-end/flagship gaming laptops but I want to see DDR5 RAM in more gaming laptops in 2022.
DDR5 RAM will allow several things. The most obvious is that games will run better than on DDR4 RAM. This is especially important considering how demanding big-budget games have become in recent years. Another benefit of DDR5 is how it reduces power consumption. As things stand, it’s difficult getting more than a couple of hours of playtime from a high-end rig. This RAM configuration could allow gaming laptop users to play for longer.
I don’t expect DDR5 to become standard in 2022, but I would like to see it become more prevalent moving forward.
Longer battery life
It’s no secret that high-performance gaming laptops have short battery lives. Sure, you can keep your laptop plugged in while gaming, but that defeats the purpose of having a portable machine. Even external power supplies that keep your laptop going outdoors undermine portability. That’s why I want to see high-end machines last longer in 2022.
I’m no engineer, but I recognize that this will not be an easy feat to pull off. Running demanding games at max settings on machines with powerful components naturally requires a lot of power. Not only that, but doing so also generates an excessive amount of heat. DDR5 RAM and TMSC’s 5nm chips will help reduce power consumption in future hardware. However, laptops with those components won’t be the standard for some time.
I don’t know what technological magic laptop manufacturers can conjure in order to improve battery life, but it’s something I want to see progress on.
Gaming laptop outlook
Despite the ongoing supply chain issues and chip shortage, I think 2022 holds promise for gaming laptops. We’re going to see more rigs with RTX 30-series cards, and displays capable of delivering higher resolutions and refresh rates. PC gaming in general has gained significant traction over the last five years, and I don’t see that slowing down. Technology will improve, and thus enhance our gaming experiences on both desktops and laptops. In that sense, the future looks bright.
While I’m optimistic about what gaming laptops will offer in the future, I'm less enthusiastic about the potential price of these machines. Razer CEO Min-Lian Tan already said that the company’s gaming laptops will cost more in 2022. I think this will be true for other manufacturers as well. That’s unfortunate, but given the state of the world, it’s not at all surprising. Hopefully, companies can find a way to keep prices relatively reasonable in 2022.