High Performance Laptops’ laptop reviews use of an exhaustive scoring system that mathematically compares every new laptop with everything that’s come before it. However, price and availability changes all the time and, consequently, so do the value proposition and overall rank. That’s why we always update our monthly best laptop group test – to produce the definitive Australian laptop buying guide.
As we go into December, some Black Friday sales are still live while others have stopped and this has shaken up the rankings in some places. We suspect that prices will fluctuate as we approach Christmas and will update everything throughout the month. Nonetheless, be prepared for fluctuating prices and some availability issues.
Table of Contents
Australia’s Best Laptop in December 2023
The best laptops have an excellent combination of 2D performance, 3D and gaming power, useful features, plus intuitive and comfortable ergonomics. They’ll be built well enough to survive being carried around, not be too heavy, have a small power brick and a long battery life. Ideally they’ll look good in their target environment and not cost too much either. Naturally, all high performing laptops come with at least one compromise in these regards, but these are the best overall laptops in Australia in December 2023.
Price: $3,799 | It’s excellent at everything and it’s still massively discounted
Lenovo’s flagship laptop range has a long lineage of success. The latest model looks great in all settings – office and gaming related. It’s got excellent ergonomics and it’s still very powerful – though Asus’ more-expoensive SCARs are faster. Still, the Intel Core i9-13900HX processor and Nvidia RTX 4080 graphics are hardly second-tier. Not surprisingly, it’s also our best gaming notebook. The only potential weak point is portability.
December update: It’s still on sale and you can even pick up a 4070 model for under three grand. That’s incredible value!
Price: $5,599 | Adding AMD to Asus’ legendary SCAR makes it all-powerful and cheaper
The latest 17-inch Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 might not have had long to wear its regal robes, but it’s still a phenomenal buy. It has a top-tier Nvidia RTX 4090 graphics chip, plus an AMD Ryzen 9 7945HX CPU that gives it the fastest 2D performance we’ve ever seen! On top of this, we recently reviewed the Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 X3D (for $5,699), which updates the powerful processor with AMD’s 3D V-Cache technology to become even faster. It’s hard to find, though.
Furthermore, if you can find one, it’s still worth checking out the excellent 12th-Gen Intel Special Edition (pictured) which has a few extra bells, whistles and design flourishes, but we’re not going to have a list full of SCARs. That would be cra…
Price: $6,899 | Superlative performance and excellent ergonomics make it one of the very best
Related: Best laptop November 2023
Related: Best Business Laptop
Related: Best Gaming Laptops
Related: Best Portable Laptop
Related: The Coolest Laptops ever
Related: Acer Black Friday Laptop Sale
Related: MSI Black Friday Laptop Sale
Here is another SCAR which is also a former Number 1. From our first look, we suspected that the 18-inch SCAR 18 would be tough to beat. Both its 2D performance and 3D performance scores are excellent thanks to its Core i9-13980HX processor and Nvidia RTX 4090 GPU. Its design elements and ergonomics are excellent. It might be expensive, but this is (still) one of the very biggest and best high performance laptops so, what do people expect? It’s updated chassis is somewhat smarter than its 17-inch siblings, but you pay a lot more for that and the extra inch.
Price: $3,999 | MSI’s long-awaited new Raider is almost unrecognisable
Gone is the classy, gun-metal grey livery – the new Raider looks like a baby Titan. Consequently, you’ll now struggle to get away with it in an office: for better or worse, it’s become a fully blinged-out gaming laptop. Our review spec wasn’t the fastest, with its Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 graphics but it still has an Intel Core i9-13950HK CPU and is very fast. The ergonomics are all excellent and it’s good value.
Price: $4,299 | Asus’ other flagship looks unbelievable
April delivered a slew of amazing new-generation laptops. If the Zephyrus had come in first it would likely have hit Number 1 spot. As it is, it beat April’s early Number 1, the Legion Pro 5i (see below) but not by very much at all: only better 3D performance and portability edged it ahead. It also looks much more like a gaming laptop thanks to the Matrix display on the lid but others may still prefer the Lenovo if they want a more-discreet appearance in the office (along with even-better ergonomics and better 2D performance).
December update: We still can’t find the SKU that we reviewed, but December’s variant, with slightly lower specs, can be found for less money.
6. Asus Vivobook Pro 16X (New Entry)
Price: $3,098 | The Best Creator Laptop
We might not have published our review, yet, but the Asus Vivobook Pro 16X is too good not to have on this list. It’s got a full set-of Creator credentials, including an OLED screen that supports 100 per cent of the difficult DCI-P3 colour space plus Asus DialPad shortcut technology for design productivity. On top of that there’s a hugely powerful processor (Core i9-13980HX) for 2D rendering tasks and an Nvidia RTX 4060 GPU for 3D rendering tasks. Did we mention the 120Hz screen facilitates gaming? Just note that it’s not very portable.
Price: $3,946 | This former Number 1 is still a good combination of performance and value
The Lenovo Legion Pro 5i might represent Lenovo’s second-tier of gaming laptops, but it has it where it counts. The keyboard is excellent and the screen is still one of the very best we’ve seen thanks to its UHD resolution, fast 240Hz refresh rate, smooth chromatic transitions and HDR contrast. It also wields a tidy Intel Core i9-13900HX CPU and an Nvidia 4070 GPU.
It started April as our Number 1 laptop but faced some serious competition once the updated vendor flagships start arriving.
December update: The insane price drop is over but it’s still available for under under four grand. The superior Legion Pro 7i (above) is a similar price, but you can find lower specs of that for a lot less money.
Price: $3,099 | One of the best ultraportable gaming laptops is back and this time, it doesn’t overheat!
It’s hard to find fault with this miniature marvel. It might not have the classy aluminium finish of the Razer Blade 14, but its ‘Anime Matrix’ LED lid is cool as heck and dramatically cheaper. The ergonomics and build quality are excellent plus, we’re relieved it’s no longer such a noisy room-heater. We did have some issues with its Optimus settings not working in battery mode, but we’re talking to Asus about this glitch. Either way, the 2023 version of the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is once again one of our favourite laptops.
Price: $5,399 | MSI’s flagship has a few niggles, but it’s powerful
MSI’s flagship gaming laptop is absolutely massive. It’s also very powerful indeed and there’s a great deal of headroom for overclockers to push the performance. Our review model didn’t have the highest spec, which left it uncompetitive in the hunt for being our Number 1 Best Laptop. But, despite a few niggles it’s still a great gaming laptop. December update: If you want this laptop, buy it now while it’s cheap. It seems to wobble between $5,399 and $6,999 a lot!
10. Razer Blade 14
Price: $4,628 | Razer is back and its showing off a great combo of power and portability
AMD sent us the latest Razer Blade 14 and it’s impressive. The black-with-green-flourishes, CNC-milled aluminium chassis hasn’t changed – which is a very good thing. Despite its diminutive dimensions it’s got good gaming power in an ultraportable body. Sure, it can get a bit warm (it’s also a bit of a fingerprint magnet) and it’s really rather expensive, but this is one of the coolest and most desirable laptops around and its predecessors even became our Number 1 Best Laptop.
11. HP Omen Transcend 16 (New Entry)
Price: $3,959 | What HP’s Omen has lost in logo, it’s made up for in quality
HP’s flagship gaming laptop is back and beefier than before. There’s an Intel Core i9-13900HX processor and Nvidia 4070 graphics. While we lament the loss of the original, blowing logo, the all-round build quality has been enhanced.
We haven’t published our review yet, Our review is now live and the results speak for themselves. It’s an excellent gaming laptop.
12. Asus Zenbook 14 (New Entry)
Price: $2,099 | The AMD version of this popular ultraportable is highly attractive
It’s another new entry and another laptop that we’ve not published the review for yet. However, there’s heaps to like about the latest version of the 14-inch Zenbook 14. The AMD Ryzen 7 7730U processor is relatively powerful – especially for a 1.4KG ultraportable. Battery life is more-than 17 hours, there’s plenty of connectivity and the OLED screen has a faster-than-usual 90Hz refresh rate (not that you can play many games on it, but it’s still fast).
It’s worth noting that you can still buy cheaper, Intel-based variants of the Asus Zenbook 14 OLED (12th-Gen) laptop although our review specification isn’t available anymore. These are attractive, great-value notebooks, whichever version you choose.
Price: $4,699 | Another former Number 1. It’s older, but some may prefer the classic styling
When the MSI Raider GE77 HX first appeared, it had a powerful processor that decimated everything that had come before it. This, in turn, boosted the phenomenal, 3D performance which came courtesy of an Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti GPU while the tweaked Cooler Boost 5 technology made it run relatively cool and quiet. There’s also considerable headroom to make it even faster with overclocking. Combine this with excellent ergonomics, which include a fast, 4K screen and you’ve got a laptop that is still a great, portable powerhouse. The main downside is battery-life.
December Update: Despite getting a bit long in the tooth, it’s still relatively low in price and represents a very good buy. Just note that some of the components aren’t quite as top-end as those that appeared in our original review. We do feel, though, that some people may also prefer this older, ‘Classic Raider’ styling more than the updated livery on the new Raider with its full-blown-gamer livery.
Price: $2,200 | A dramatic price drop means it’s once again a great value, gaming laptop
The Acer Predator Helios Neo is the company’s new flagship gaming laptop and it’s designed to be a bit more sober than its Helios 300 predecessors. Both the ergonomics and design are very desirable while inside there’s a 13th-Gen Intel Core i7-13700HX CPU and an Nvidia RTX 4060 GPU – placing it in the mid-market tier of gaming laptops. December update: It sold out on Acer’s site and is full price at Harvey Norman. However, you can still get it cheap via Catch… but be quick.
Price: $1,966 (US$1,300) | One of the best laptops we’ve ever used. But, it’s still very hard to find
We just straight-up love the Acer Swift Edge 16 and we don’t want to give it up when AMD comes knocking. Why AMD? Because the Edge 16 is the first to use the AMD Ryzen 7 7840U CPU which is the first x86 (i.e. not Apple) laptop processor with A.I. processing inside.
That’s not even the best part, though. While the processor makes it fast for an ultraportable, the fast, 120Hz, UHD, OLED, HDR screen is one of the very best we’ve ever seen. It also weighs only 1.2KG despite being 16-inches. It’s a magnificent machine but it’s not widely on sale globally yet. Once we’ve locked down price and availability, it will likely win many more awards.
16. Alienware M16 R1
Price: $2,549 | Normally expensive, all versions have now crashed in price
Alienware makes very desirable gaming laptops but they’re often very expensive. The good news is that one of the latest and greatest versions has plumeted in price to under three thousand dollars, making it one of the best value gaming laptops on the market. You can use Dell’s configurator to choose your dream spec and make it more powerful or less expensive accordingly.
December Update: The Intel version that matches our review spec is now back in stock and the price has dropped again.
17. Lenovo Yoga 7i
The business-oriented Lenovo Yoga 7i started off as a very good value choice. Now, it’s almost the Best Value laptop we’ve tested. It’s packed full of features, is very usable and it’s impressively portable. We’re also fans of Lenovo’s genuinely green credentials which offset all elements of the laptop’s lifespan – from construction, through electricity usage to recycling. It won’t suit everyone, but there’s very little business-wise that it isn’t suited for.
December update: It’s collapsed in price again and you can still reduce the specs to get it under two grand. It’s still one of the very best, work-oriented laptops.
18. MSI Pulse 17
Price: $2,498 | Our first-ever 13th-Gen, Nvidia 40-series laptop is still a good 17-inch gaming laptop
It always felt weird calling the MSI Pulse 17 a budget gaming laptop when it originally cost a hefty $3,199 but, in October, it dropped by $1,200. That scraped it into our Budget Gaming Laptop category which has unwillingly increased to $2,500 because of inflation.
Still, the screen, features and ergonomics might feel less-than-premium but they’re enough to please plenty of purchasers. Superior 17-inch laptops have since appeared, but the MSI Pulse 17 is still one of the better choices for those seeking 17-inches on a budget.
Price: $2,649 | A thin, straight-laced-looking gaming laptop that will also appeal to Creators and office workers
The Acer Predator Triton 500 SE is part of Acer’s gaming laptop range, but it doesn’t look like it. The fast, high-performing screen is excellent (despite some foibles) and it folds down flat while supporting 100 per cent of the difficult DCI-P3 colour gamut. Connectivity is top-notch and it has dropped in price. You can find it, and other SKUs, here.
20. Acer Nitro 5 (Re-Entry)
Price: 2,399 | The updated Acer Nitro 5 is, once again, one of the best value gaming laptops
When we first saw the first Nitro 5 (2021 version) we were stunned by the value on offer. However, COVID and supply chain issues weren’t kind and it ballooned in price. However, now it’s back and affordable once more. The Intel Core i7-12650H processor and impressive Nvidia RTX 4060 are just what a budget gaming laptop needs. Our updated review is now live.
Price: $1,129 | This popular workhorse is still available for a crazy-low price
The Asus Vivobook S 14 is a good, general-purpose laptop. It might not stand-out in one (physical) area but it has few weak points and offers a well-rounded combination of ergonomics, features and performance. In December, the price has remained stable after collapsing in previous months. . It remains one of the very best value Laptops you can buy. We still recommend you hurry if you want this bargain laptop.
Price: $1,499 | A powerful, well-featured ultraportable
Our updated benchmarks boosted the importance of features and portability in our monthly, best laptop group test and Lenovo’s ThinkPad Z13 was an early beneficiary. The price has collapsed since we reviewed it. It might not fly at gaming, but it can do pretty much everything else. It was our best business-oriented ultraportable laptop when it appeared. Now it’s won a Good Value award, too.
We’re also fans of Lenovo’s Green credentials which don’t just factor in sustainable packaging and recycling, but also offset the expected electricity you’ll use for the first five years of ownership. December update: Our review spec is still available and it’s available at a ridiculous $1200 off!!
23. MSI Katana 15
Price: $1,798 | One of the best budget gaming laptops is back, and it’s very attractive
October saw a slew of budget gaming laptops arrive and the Katana was one of the very best. Its 144Hz screen, RTX 4050 graphics and relatively low price made it a Best Budget Gaming Laptop Award winner along with our Best Value awards. Even though that’s becoming a tightly contested race with the likes of the Acer Nitro 5, Gigabyte G5 and its larger sibling, the Pulse, it’s still a great choice for those on a budget.
Price: $2,799 | A potential unicorn laptop with power, portability and gaming potential
Gigabyte’s laptops made a welcome return in September and the Aero was the model we most wanted to see. It’s ultraportable and yet sports a gaming screen and Nvidia RTX 4050 graphics. We wanted to really love it but there are a few thermal foibles that we’re still working with Gigabyte to isolate. Still, at less-than 1.5KG, this is a desirable notebook.
25. MSI Cyborg 15
Price: $2,499 | MSI’s newer, budget gaming laptop is still a real winner in terms of looks, ergonomics and value
While it’s overall appeal is dented by poor battery life, there’s still a great deal to like about the MSI Cyborg 15. It looks good, has good ergonomics, performs well for the price and represents great value. It sits in a crowded market which includes more-powerful, last-gen models and some new budget gaming laptop arrivals, but many of the former are hard to find. As such, if you, like many, are cash-strapped at the moment, it’s a good, budget gaming laptop.
26. Gigabyte G5
Price: $1,378 | The current Best Value Laptop and Best Value Gaming Laptop
Since the Gigabyte G5 first landed in our labs, we’ve received a second model that upgraded the Nvidia RTX 4050 GPU to a 4060. If you shop around, the upgrade can cost less money than the original review spec. Performance is boosted across the board but battery life suffers slightly. Just note that while it stole some of the MSI Katana 15’s awards, the G5 doesn’t quite match the quality of the Katana. However, it’s got similar specs (where it matters) and is much cheaper, meaning it’s still a great choice for those on a budget.
Price: $3,945 | One of the best ultraportable laptops we’ve ever used
The HP Elite G4 Dragonfly is a luxuriously built business-grade ultraportable. It was our daily workhorse for a long while before HP demanded it back. Everything about it, in terms of features, ergonomics and design is superb. It’s not the most powerful, but it’s not without power either – thanks to its Intel Core i7-1355U processor. It also weighs just 1.25KG and has an 18-hour battery life. It’s expensive, but, it’s worth it.
28. MSI Vector GP66
Price: $3,799 | A winner from MSI’s lesser known premium gaming laptop range
We hadn’t reviewed one of MSI’s Vector’s before but, considering the success of its siblings, we were very keen to. The Vector range is one of MSI’s premium gaming brands but it’s also designed to appeal to Creators. It eschews many fancy design elements and OTT RGB for a lower price while leaving the important performance elements intact. Our only issues were the poor battery, constant fan noise (which is very minor) and its propensity for being a fingerprint magnet.
29. Acer Swift Go 14
Price: $1,269 | Acer’s latest GO offers some very attractive, portable power
The Acer Swift Go 14 was our daily driver for a long time. It’s robust, highly portable, relatively powerful and has very usable ergonomics. Specs include a 14-inch OLED screen, a punchy 13th-Gen Intel processor, a 1.33KG chassis and an 11+ hour battery. There are no real weak points and it’s very good value. Also check out the 16-inch version in our Acer Swift Go 16 review.
Price: $6,070 | The local contender helped redefine gaming laptop power
In April, we were deluged by a bunch of top-tier gaming laptops, but the first to arrive was the Pioneer DreamBook Power X370 RTX 4090. It straight-up destroyed every benchmark we had – even scoring OVER 9,000!!1! in PCMark 10 for the first time. It’s not perfect, as its speakers are a bit weak and it’s a bit of a fingerprint magnet. It’s also very heavy although its portability is helped by a 10+ hour battery life – something that powerful rivals have struggled with.
Ultimately, despite the high price, it represents good value. Note too that, with Pioneer’s online configurator, you can save a lot of money on this monster – almost a thousand dollars just by dialing down from an Nvidia RTX 4090 to a 4080!
November update: We’ve (hopefully temporarily) dropped the Pioneer right down the list because we need to confirm availability. It’s Top 10 material otherwise.