Small but mighty machines make up some of the best gaming laptop deals this Memorial Day

The Acer Predator, HP Omen Transcend 14 and Lenovo Legion Slim 5 on a green blue background
(Image credit: Acer, HP, Lenovo)

Gaming laptops, proper ones I mean, used to be big, cantankerous beasts. And I'll be honest, some of the super high powered ones still are. But thankfully for those of us that don't fancy throwing a lead weight in our backpack to take on the move, it's now possible to buy a very powerful gaming machine in a small and light chassis.

We've been hunting for the best Memorial Day PC gaming deals, and I've pulled out some of the best bargains on compact gaming laptops, to help put portable power in your hands for less.

You might think you'd end up skimping out on specs in a compact machine, but the truth is you can get the all important combination of a fast CPU, RAM and GPU combo, decent storage space and a great-looking screen for very reasonable money. 

All in a form factor that's just as comfortable to use knocking out an email in a coffee shop, or playing a movie on a flight, as it is playing demanding games.

So, let's get cracking with some options, shall we? Mini but mighty this lot, with something of a wild card at the end for good measure...

Lenovo Legion Slim 5

Lenovo Legion Slim 5 | RTX 4060 | Ryzen 7 7840HS | 14.5-inch | 2880 x 1800 | 120 Hz | OLED | 16GB LPDDR5X | 1TB SSD | $1,479.99 $999.99 at Best Buy (save $480)

Lenovo Legion Slim 5 | RTX 4060 | Ryzen 7 7840HS | 14.5-inch | 2880 x 1800 | 120 Hz | OLED | 16GB LPDDR5X | 1TB SSD | $1,479.99 $999.99 at Best Buy (save $480)
How's this for starters? We're big fans of Lenovo's gaming laptops in general, but this one's a real corker for $1,000. It's slim, compact and downright subtle, but alongside all that gaming hardware you're also getting a 1800p OLED screen, which will make everything from games to movies to a boring old spreadsheet look fantastic.

Kicking things off with a bang, this Lenovo Legion Slim 5 has a screen and hardware combination that makes other laptops jealous, all for $1,000 at Best Buy. Bearing in mind that we often see RTX 4060-equipped desktop machines for around the $1,000 mark, here you're getting the mobile version with a decent CPU, 16 GB of LPDDR5X, a 1 TB SSD and an OLED screen, all in one tidy, portable package.

It's a handsome little machine this, and one that you can proudly show off in your next meeting without any overt gamer branding to distract. And for those of you thinking the mobile RTX 4060 isn't particularly powerful, well that may be true. But, you've always got DLSS 3 to take advantage of, pushing those framerates up to smooth levels while keeping image quality looking sharp on that fantastic display.

OLED-equipped laptops can get very pricey. For under a grand, with these sort of specs, this is a straight up bargain.

Acer Predator 14

Acer Predator 14 | RTX 4070 | Core i7 13700H | 14-inch | 250Hz | 1600p | 16GB DDR5 | 1TB SSD | $1,999.99 $1,299.99 at Amazon (save $700)

Acer Predator 14 | RTX 4070 | Core i7 13700H | 14-inch | 250Hz | 1600p | 16GB DDR5 | 1TB SSD | $1,999.99 $1,299.99 at Amazon (save $700)
It's not the prettiest gaming laptop you'll ever see, but underneath the cheap-looking exterior is a pile of really nice hardware. That Intel CPU has 14 cores, 20 threads, and the GPU is a 140 W RTX 4070. Backing them up are 16 GB of DDR5 RAM and, unusually for this price, a full 1 TB NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSD. Even the 2560 x 1600 screen is good, with a 250Hz refresh rate and mini-LED backlighting.

Price check: Newegg $1,399.99

The Acer Predator 14 is, I'll admit, not the best looking machine. That being said, it's not exactly an ugly duckling either, and really this little lappy is all about the huge amount of hardware you're getting for a very reasonable $1,300 at Amazon.

The Intel Core i7 13700H is still a bit of a beast as far as mobile CPUs go, with 14 cores, 20 threads and up to a 5 GHz boost clock, which means it won't just be great for games but all sorts of demanding tasks, like media editing on the go.

If gaming is your thing though—and let's face it, if you're here it probably is—check out that GPU. A lot of laptops feature a mobile RTX 4070, but in small form-factor machines it can often be a low power version. Here you're getting the 140 W model for proper mobile gaming performance.

As if that wasn't enough, the screen is a bit of a corker, too. It's a 1600p Mini-LED IPS backlit panel with a 250 Hz refresh rate that should look pretty fantastic in motion, and it's DisplayHDR 600 rated.

A lot of laptop, in a small (if not particularly pretty) chassis. Personally, I reckon the hardware trumps the looks on this one all day long.

HP Omen Transcend 14

HP Omen Transcend 14 | Nvidia RTX 4060 | Intel Core Ultra 7 155H | 14-inch | 120Hz | 2880 x 1800 | OLED | 512GB SSD | 16GB DDR5-7500 | $1,699.99 $1,379.99 at HP (save $320)

HP Omen Transcend 14 | Nvidia RTX 4060 | Intel Core Ultra 7 155H | 14-inch | 120Hz | 2880 x 1800 | OLED | 512GB SSD | 16GB DDR5-7500 | $1,699.99 $1,379.99 at HP (save $320)
This lovely 14-incher is still one of the the best value compact gaming laptops around. You get an excellent OLED panel as standard, and a 65W GPU that will still deliver a quality gaming experience. The 512GB SSD is a bit small, but you can configure the machine with a 1TB drive if you're willing to spend a bit more, or an RTX 4070 if you really want to spec it out.

The HP Omen Transcend 14 has a tendency to bounce in and out of the deals, but it's one of our go to recommendations for a great compact gaming laptop. The configuration I've picked here here gets you one of Intel's latest Meteor Lake CPUs, the Core Ultra 7 155H, a 65W RTX 4060 (upgradeable to an RTX 4070 for a fair bit more) and a 512 GB SSD. 

That's a little on the small side, admittedly, but you can upgrade to a 1 TB version for $90 if you don't mind spending up a bit.

There are two major factors here that make this laptop of note. Number one is that fantastic OLED panel. It's a 1800p OLED model with a peak brightness rating of 500 nits covered in edge-to-edge glass, which should really help those colors pop.

Two, is that chassis. This is an ultra stylish, very slim laptop with a configurable RGB backlit keyboard. In shadow black (or ceramic white, if you prefer) it really does look like the cats pyjamas, in the sort of way that inspires laptop envy wherever you go. 

It's super slim, very light, and about as sleek as they come. Combine that with the eye-popping screen, and you've got a performant little package that really does look every inch the money you paid for it.

And at $1,380 in the configuration above at HP, that'll be less than most would expect. We won't tell them if you don't. Promise.

Wildcard - Steam Deck original

Steam Deck (original) | 256 GB SSD | $399 at Steam

Steam Deck (original) | 256 GB SSD | $399 at Steam
Okay, the Steam Deck may have had an OLED refresh but the original version is still the archetype of what a mobile PC gaming device should be. It's just as powerful as the most recent model so all those Steam Deck compatible games should run well. It's also well worth considering picking up a storage upgrade like the 1TB Lexar Play for extra capacity on the cheap. Still, It's the OG PC gaming handheld, and it demands respect.

Okay, okay, you don't have to all yell at once. It's not a laptop, I know. But you came here for great deals on compact gaming power, and I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that the OG Steam Deck is still something of a steal at a mere $399.

This is the 256 GB model, which is a bit on the small side for gaming storage. You know what else is a great deal though? This 1 TB Lexar Play 2230 SSD drive for $90 at Amazon, which can fit straight into your new Steam Deck after five minutes of fiddling with some screws.

While the Steam Deck isn't a productivity machine in the slightest, if all you want is something very portable to play games on the go for not much cash, this is a brilliant way to do it. I've very much enjoyed my time with the Deck, as —while it's not the most powerful handheld on the market—it delivers a genuine PC gaming experience for much less than, well, almost anything else.

It's not a laptop. Big deal. It's compact gaming power for relatively little cash, and that makes it a brilliant shout for those of you looking to take PC gaming out into the big wide world.

Andy Edser
Hardware Writer

Andy built his first gaming PC at the tender age of 12, when IDE cables were a thing and high resolution wasn't. After spending over 15 years in the production industry overseeing a variety of live and recorded projects, he started writing his own PC hardware blog for a year in the hope that people might send him things. Sometimes they did.

Now working as a hardware writer for PC Gamer, Andy can be found quietly muttering to himself and drawing diagrams with his hands in thin air. It's best to leave him to it.