Purists will argue that you need a PC to play games, especially if you’re a fan of pushing the levels of graphics quality beyond the capabilities of a mere gaming console. However, the best gaming laptops of 2021 prove that they can hang with the best gaming PCs, offering awe-inspiring performance that’s almost on par with their desktop counterparts. This article will highlight and explain the best gaming laptops for 2021.
Gaming laptops are getting even thinner and lighter year after year. However, gaming PCs are still king, particularly when it comes to having the kind of components and horsepower needed to run 4K games smoothly and support virtual reality (VR) setups. Gamers who want or need something mobile can easily carry it to their friend’s house or tote it around the house and keep reading to see the best gaming laptop you can buy.
The best gaming laptops offer an unrivaled combination of portability, feature set, and performance that lets you dive into the most graphics-heavy PC games without tethering you to a desk. These laptops feature powerful processors like Intel Comet Lake, the newest AMD Big Navi or Nvidia RTX 3000 series GPUs, and high-speed RAM.
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However, these gaming laptops are unmatched for gaming on the go. Some of them even rival the size and battery life of the best laptops 2021, all while staying uncompromised on performance. High-end systems also guarantee smooth gameplay at 1080p with graphics details maxed out, often with a high-refresh screen. If the screen supports it, they might let you play at 4K resolution. A high-end model should also be able to power a VR headset and support additional external monitors.
How Much Should You Spend on a Gaming Laptop?
Gaming systems have higher-end components than run-of-the-mill consumer laptops, so their prices will be higher, but the range across the category is huge: from under a grand to $5,000 and up. The budget gaming laptops start at around $700 and can go up to about $1,250. You get a system that can play games at full HD resolution (1080p) with the settings turned down in most titles or at maximum quality settings in simpler games. Storage may be a hard drive or a modest-capacity solid-state drive (SSD). Of course, an SSD is always preferable.
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However, some machines tend to come with speedy storage components, such as PCI Express solid-state drives, and they are priced above $2,000, often closer to $3,000. Want something better? Midrange systems give you smoother gameplay at high or maximum settings on a better-quality 1080p screen and should add support for VR headsets. These models will range in price from around $1,250 to $2,000.
Here Are Best Gaming Laptops 2021
1. Asus ROG Zephyrus G14
The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is couple with AMD Ryzen 7 4800HS – 9 4900HS CPU, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Graphics, Up to 32GB RAM, 14-inch Non-glare Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS-level panel, 120Hz – 14-inch Non-glare WQHD (2560 x 1440) IPS-level panel, 60Hz Screen, and 512GB / 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 Storage. However, Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is not perfect, missing a webcam and a Thunderbolt 3 port.
The laptop’s damn close to being one, garnering our coveted yet rarely given five-star rating. We couldn’t resist. This is an absolute beast of a gaming laptop. It delivers an incredible performance with its AMD Ryzen 4000 processors and Nvidia RTX 2060 graphics card while touting the best-in-class battery life that will last you all day long. It has a fast display with a 120Hz refresh rate and a lightweight, ultrathin design.
The best part of this gaming laptop is that you’re getting all that without burning a hole in your pocket. Though this laptop is not cheap, we’re surprised Asus is not asking for more for a computer this impressive.
2. Acer Predator Helios 300
Acer Predator Helios 300 now feature these high-refresh-rate screens (144Hz is emerging as the most common, but we’re also seeing some 240Hz and even 300Hz options in pricey models), so they can display more than 60 frames per second (for example, up to 144fps, in the case of 144Hz screens). Of course, this makes gameplay look smoother, but only high-end GPUs can push those limits in many cases.
Additionally, the aforementioned ray-tracing techniques are demanding to run, and as more video games implement the technology, the more you’ll wish you could flip them on. (For now, they’re a factor in just a smattering of AAA games, such as Battlefield V and Metro: Exodus.)
Nvidia’s G-Sync and AMD’s FreeSync technologies are more down-to-earth. They help increase the quality of the gaming experience and smooth out frame rates by letting the laptop screen rewrite the image onscreen at a variable rate that depends on the output of the GPU (rather than the fixed rate of the screen). These technologies, collectively known as “adaptive sync,” are becoming more common, but they tend to show up in pricier machines, with G-Sync much more common.
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3. Gigabyte Aorus 17G
Gigabyte Aorus 17G features 10th-generation Intel Core i7 CPU, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3000 Series Graphics, Up to 64GB RAM, 17.3-inch FHD 300Hz NTSC 72% IPS panel Display, and 512 GB PCIe SSD Storage. The tactile mechanical keyboard and a 300Hz refresh rate display are just the beginning.
The Gigabyte Aorus 17G (2021) touts an incredible gaming performance that might be worthy of desktop gaming PCs. With one of the RTX 3000 GPUs under the hood, this will see you through the most graphics-intensive games, including competitive ones. And, because of its impressive battery life, you can do so away from a power source.
4. Acer Predator Triton 500
For a high-end system, we recommend 16GB, so you can have more than one gaming session, your messaging app, several websites, a webcam program, and your video streaming program open simultaneously. A midrange gaming laptop should function fine with 8GB of memory, but be aware that many new laptops are not upgradable. So you may be stuck with the amount of memory you order. 16GB is the ideal target; for most folks who aren’t extreme streamers or multitaskers, more than that is overkill.
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5. Asus TUF Dash F15
This gaming laptop is no stranger to great affordable performers. Last year’s Asus TUF A15, for instance, was simply brilliant while keeping things accessible to budget-conscious gamers. The Asus TUF Dash F15 is back to preserving that affordability while also delivering brute strength. It brings in Intel Tiger Lake processors, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3000 mobile GPUs, and up to a 240Hz 1080p display without costing a fortune while keeping things light, thin, and military-grade durable.
Asus TUF Dash F15 features up to 1TB SSD storage, up to 15.6-inch WQHD anti-glare 165Hz IPS-level display with Adaptive Sync screen, up to 16GB DDR4-3200 RAM, up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 graphics, and up to Intel Core i7-11375 CPU.
6. Alienware Area-51m
Keep it in mind, only the most powerful graphics cards can render complex game animations at playable frame rates across the entire screen at 4K, so a 1080p screen may be a better use of your money if all you do is play games (particularly if you can also get a high refresh rate screen). Alienware Area-51m requires the most powerful GPUs for smooth gameplay at native resolution. Gaming laptops with a 4K screen (3,840 by 2,160 pixels) are still an exception and expensive.
Even though the RTX 3070 and RTX 3080 can handle 4K gaming much more reasonable than any laptop GPUs before, we still don’t think it’s worth the cost to seek out 4K gaming in laptops. The screens look nice, though, especially since they’re often paired with OLED technology.
7. Razer Blade Pro 17
Razer Blade Pro 17 is an RTX 3000 gaming goodness that features 10th-generation Intel Core i7 CPU, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 – 3080 graphics, up to 32GB RAM, 17.3″ Full HD 360Hz – 17.3″ 4K Touch 120Hz screen, and 512GB – 1TB SSD storage that makes it great.
If you’re looking for an absolute beast, the best gaming laptop for you might be this follow-up to Razer’s 17-inch leviathan. More than just a gaming portable, it makes for an excellent mobile workstation for creators as well – although gamers who have the cash will appreciate the RTX 3000 GPU, up to 64GB of memory, and display with fast refresh rates. It’s pretty expensive, though, so unless you need all that power or have the money to throw away, you have to make sure you’ll make the most of it.
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8. MSI Bravo 15
Before the launch of Turing, budget systems were equipped with true lower-tier Nvidia Pascal GPUs like the GeForce GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti, with the GeForce GTX 1060 as the top “inexpensive” option. Current Turing graphics options (the GTX 1650 and GTX 1660 Ti, and most recently the GTX 1650 Ti) have stepped into the value shoes of those chips and have supplanted them. The GeForce RTX 2060 is the entry option for 20-Series GPUs, and while it’s less expensive than a GeForce RTX 2070 or RTX 2080, it’s no budget-grade GPU.
However, the graphics chip almost single-handedly defines the class of laptop you’re dealing with, so it’s essential to pay attention to that part when browsing options. Fortunately, even the less powerful GPU options these days are pretty capable.
9. Alienware m17 R4
Alienware m17 R4 is a big, powerful, and beautiful gaming laptop. This laptop features up to 10th Generation Intel Core i9-10980HK CPU, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 graphics, 32GB DDR4 2933MHz RAM, 17.3″ UHD 60Hz 25ms 500-nits display screen, and up to 4TB SSD + 512GB SSD storage.
The Alienware m17 series continues to prove this with the new Alienware m17 R4, a compelling gaming laptop with plenty of ports and an incredibly stylish chassis that lights up like a Christmas tree. You can play all the latest AAA games smoothly and in style.
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10. Alienware m15 R3
The next biggest difference on this one is processors. You’ll likely get a capable Core i5 instead of a faster Core i7. Still, some of the benefits of an i7 machine aren’t a major factor for gaming but instead benefit video editing and other creative uses so that an i5 will do the job. In addition, the newest generation of these chips is fast and efficient at a base level and won’t be too much of a bottleneck for gaming.
The other components should be closer to more expensive machines than you’d expect outside the graphics card and processor. As far as storage is concerned, the price margin between hard drives and SSDs is narrowing, but hard drives hang on more stubbornly here than in other gaming-laptop classes.
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AMD GPUs are still uncommon. The few new ones we have seen in the last year mainly use the Radeon RX 5500M or 5600M paired with an Intel CPU, but on the whole, budget-minded all-AMD gaming laptops are something we expect to ramp up more as the year goes on. However, A 1TB hard drive with maybe a tiny boot-drive SSD alongside is common in budget laptops, but watch for hard-drive-only models; we strongly prefer an SSD boot drive, even in this price range.
The display will certainly be 1080p, as 1,366-by-768-pixel panels are now reserved only for cheap non-gaming systems and are increasingly uncommon. The RAM will likely top off at 8GB in budget laptops, but you will find some (more ideal) 16GB laptops in this range.
11. Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 G733
Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 G733 is listed as the best of AMD snd Nvidia, this gaming laptop include 1TB + 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 storage, 17.3-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) 16:9 anti-glare – 17.3-inch WQHD (2560 x 1440) 16:9 anti-glare display screen, 16GB – 64GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 graphics, and AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX CPU.
This laptop was one of the most powerful gaming laptops in 2021, and the Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 G733 barely breaks a sweat. That excellent performance is due to the impressive specs it’s kitted out with, which sadly put out of most people’s reach, price-wise. However, if you can afford it, you’ll love a few other things, including that unapologetic design that lights up like Christmas due to its bright RGB lighting and that optical, mechanical keyboard that’s simply one of the best we’ve experienced on a laptop. This is among the best and a worthy consideration if your budget does not limit you.
12. Dell G5 15 SE
Though Dell has its premium lines, it’s also been very good at building excellent budget machines and also features AMD Ryzen 5 4600H – 7 4800H CPU, AMD Radeon RX 5600M graphics, 8GB – 16GB RAM, 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-Glare LED Backlight Non-touch Narrow Border WVA Display – 15.6-inch FHD(1920×1080) 300nits WVA Anti-Glare LED-Backlit Display(non-touch), 144Hz refresh rate screen, 256GB – 1TB SSD storage.
The Dell G5 15 SE (2020) is a perfect example of that, touting impressive AMD specs, especially in the CPU department, to keep costs down without compromising performance. As a result, this is among the very few gaming laptops that are affordable and deliver a staggering performance for the price, with a stunning display to boot. Of course, being a budget laptop, some sacrifices have been made: its build and heat management. However, this is undoubtedly among the best gaming laptops out there for gaming for the budget-minded.
What Else Do You Need To Up Your Game?
Gamers should know that high-end components tend to drain battery life, don’t plan on taking any of these gaming rigs too far from a wall socket very often. Cutting-edge ports like USB Type-C and Thunderbolt 3 are beneficial now and will only be more so down the road, but look for at least two ordinary-shaped (aka, “Type-A”) USB 3.0 ports so you can plug in an external mouse and a hard drive for your saved media files.
Look for the right loadout of ports to attach a VR headset to your GeForce GTX 1660 Ti-or-better rig. Additionally, You’ll need a well-placed HDMI or DisplayPort video out (it depends on the VR headset which one you’ll need) and enough USB ports for a possible hydra-head of cabling.
Choosing The Best Gaming Laptop
When choosing the best gaming laptop for you, there are a few things you must take into consideration.
Firstly, the most crucial thing to consider in the best gaming laptops is how well they play the latest games.
Secondly, display, sound quality, keyboard, trackpad, and the overall design of the laptop matter as well, so these are things you’d want to check out before hitting that buy button.
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