The days when PC gaming could only be enjoyed on a desktop computer are long gone. Gaming laptops are the perfect choice for both casual or mobile gamers.
There are a lot of options to choose from on the market, and before deciding which one is the best for you, you should first consider a gaming laptop’s advantages, its features, and your needs.
There are also a few factors that must be taken into consideration before making the best purchase because every gamer has different needs and expectations from a gaming laptop.
Advanced technology allows gaming laptops to include desktop-grade graphics cards and processors with fewer compromises compared to a desktop. These days, laptops boast near-desktop performance priced reasonably.
Best Gaming Laptops List 2021
|i7-2.8 GHz||16 GB||GeForce GTX 1080 (Max-Q)||15.6”|
|Razer Blade||i7-2.8 GHz||16 GB||GeForce GTX 1060||14"|
|ROG Strix||i7-2.8GHz||16 GB||NVIDIA GTX 1060||15.6"|
|Alienware AW13R3||i5-3.5 GHz||8 GB||NVIDIA GTX 1050Ti||13.3"|
|Razer Blade Pro||i7-2.9 GHz||32 GB||GeForce GTX 1080||17"|
|Acer Predator Helios|
(Best for Money)
|i7-3.8GHz||16 GB||GeForce GTX 1060||15.6"|
|Alienware 17 R4||i7-3.50 GHz||16 GB||GeForce GTX 1070||17.3"|
|Lenovo Legion Y520||i5-2.5 GHz||8 GB||GeForce GTX 1050||15.6"|
|Gigabyte Aero||i7-3.8GHz||16 GB||GeForce GTX 1060||14"|
|Dell Inspiron 7000||i5-2.3 GHz||8 GB||GeForce GTX 1050||15.6"|
Tips for Buying The Best Gaming Laptop for Your Needs
- Avoid touch screens because they are expensive and they also drain the battery fast.
- A glossy display provides vibrant colors, but at the same time, a shiny surface is also susceptible to annoying glare.
- A matte display will not attract reflections, but the colors and details might be a bit washed out compared to a glossy screen.
- OLED (organic light-emitting diode) panels are the future of display, and they are the best choice for increased efficiency and incredibly vibrant colors and deep contrast.
- An Intel Core i5 is the bare minimum regarding processors, and it’s the slowest one.
- Quad-Core is the ideal chip, and it’s better than dual-core.
- Clock speed matters, so keep the clock speed in mind and choose the faster chip.
- Don’t settle for anything less than 8GB of RAM.
- A 17 or 18-inch gaming laptop is usually more powerful, but it’s less portable, so decide what’s more important for your needs and choose between portability and performance.
- Make sure the laptop’s keyboard is comfortable enough before you purchase the laptop.
- Avoid laptops with a low-resolution display, meaning with anything less than 1920 x 1080.
- Go for a solid state storage and invest in an SSD for faster game installation and load time.
- Get a laptop with at least an Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU and an HDMI 1.3 port if you want to be able to enjoy VR games with an HTC Vive or an Oculus Rift.
1. ASUS ROG Zephyrus GX501 – The Best Gaming Laptop 2018 (Editor’s Pick)
The ROG Zephyrus comes with a Max-Q design, an innovative approach to designing the world’s thinnest, quietest and fastest laptops. The laptop is engineered for the ultimate gaming experience including the drivers, chips, and its electrical and thermal components.
It comes with an exclusive Active Aerodynamic System (AAS) that combines intelligent design with the newest technologies to provide gamers with everything they need: an ultra-slim laptop that works quietly without sacrificing performance.
When the computer is opened, there is a portion of the bottom that flexes to create 20% more space for the air to circulate. The gap improves airflow with more than 40%, and it manages to reduce temperature by 20% in comparison with traditional cooling systems.
The Aura RGB lighting allows you to customize colors and dynamic effects for the keyboard. You can also adjust the QWER and the WASD clusters. The anti-ghosting technology will enable you to interpret commands correctly even if you hit more leys at the same time.
The ROG Zephyrus brings innovative technology with Intel’s 7th generation Core i7 processor and NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1070 graphics. The laptop comes with 256GB HyperDrive SSD that is based on the latest NVM Express and PCI Express technologies.
- It provides compatibility with leading headsets such as HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.
- The laptop offers fantastic gaming performance due to the CPU and GPU.
- You will enjoy wide viewing angles and 100% sRGB gamut coverage of the panel for providing amazing colors.
- It comes with the latest connectivity for fast transfer rates.
- The USB Type-C port delivers up to 40GBps to Thunderbolt devices.
- The Smart Amp Technology improves the audio output and protects the speakers.
- It may happen that the machine sometimes boots to a blank screen, but usually, this turns out to be due to some type of firmware issues. After updating all drivers from the operating system, this won’t happen anymore.
2. The Razer Blade (GeForce GTX 1060) – Best Gaming Laptop with Dedicated Graphics Card
The7th Gen Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor provides the 14-inch Razer Blade 2.8GHz of quad-core processing power. This will enhance the speed of active cores up to 3.8GHz.
The advanced GeForce graphics card is created with high-speed FinFET technology, and it also supports DirectX 12 features, allowing you to get a fantastic experience. You will be able to enjoy immersive VR Ready games as well.
The Razer Blade is made from precision cut CNC aluminum, and it has 0.70 inches. This incredibly thin laptop embodies extreme performance on the go, and it provides gamers with enough freedom to play anywhere.
The laptop provides insane frame rates and the maximum graphics setting in Full HD. It features extensive viewing angles with fast response times for blur-free gaming and smooth videos. The display is optimized for gaming with amazing 350-nit high brightness from the LED backlight.
Razer Chroma powers the laptop, and it gives you access to 16.8 million color options per key. The computer also comes with an anti-ghosting keyboard that registers simultaneous key presses with high precision.
- Both fans turn completely off during idle or office type use.
- The laptop is remarkably silent.
- A slight undervolt on the CPU makes temperature cool.
- It provides incredible power and performance in a small, good-looking package.
- The PCI Express SSD allows you to experience speeds up to three times faster.
- The Razer Synapse allows you to remap the keys and create macros easily.
- You can personalize your own lighting effects.
- Some users experienced troubles with the WiFi connection, but everything is back on track once you update the necessary drivers.
3. ROG Strix GL502VM – Best Lightweight Gaming Laptop
The ROG Strix packs the latest 7th Gen Core i7 Processors and 10-series Graphics in a really slim and lightweight design.
The laptop is ideal for gamers who need enhanced mobility to take their favorite games anywhere. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 graphics with Pascal architecture is the most powerful computing technology ever built into a graphics card.
The ROG Strix used an FHD 15-inch panel matching the laptop’s compact design. You can see the display clearly up to 170 degrees due to its extensive view panel. There won’t be any color shift when you are watching the screen from more extreme positions.
The USB Type-C port provides easier device connections and fast 10Gbps data transfer speeds. You will be able to transfer a 2GB movie in less than 2 seconds. The ROG Strix comes with 16GB of DDR4 which is the latest standard in memory.
- The tactile keyboard is designed with red-backlit scissor-switch keys.
- The array microphones are designed to filter out the noise.
- You can hook up to laptop to a more extensive display via mini DisplayPort for more immersive gaming experiences.
- The graphics card enhances smooth gaming and synchronizes display refresh rates to the GPU.
- The laptop provides maximum cooling efficiency.
- The keyboard feels comfortable for gaming and typing.
- The fans are quiet.
- The battery life is not that great, and after an intensive marathon of three hours of gaming, you should consider bringing a charger along.
4. Alienware AW13R3 – The Best Gaming Laptop Under 1000
The LCD 13-inch screen supports FHD resolution, and it features an anti-glare finish for sharper details and bright colors.
Thanks to the laptop’s upgraded design, there’s also a more effective and a more substantial speaker box installed. This will improve audio output for a more dramatic and a clearer gaming experience.
The keyboard supports n-key rollover, and it enables over 80-key commands for maximum actions per minute. You will also get the fastest responses for any keystrokes.
The new Always Ready Mode is ideal for putting your system in a state between sleep and awake, and this will allow the programs to still run in the background while the computer runs quietly in a lower power mode.
You can change settings and monitor the internal temperatures and speeds of particular fans using this Active Thermals module. The AlienFX lighting feature uses fiber-optic guides to deliver uniform and bright colors.
- Alienware is a VR-ready system that passes the Vive Optimized and Oculus Ready certifications.
- It brings physically realistic visuals, touch, sound, and simulated environments to reality.
- The Killer DoubleShot Pro provides a wired and wireless network setup for powerful Internet traffic.
- The Graphics Amplifier support enables future proofing of upgradable graphics.
- The battery will last for maximum 7 hours of gaming combined with general use.
- It also works flawlessly with photos and video editing.
- The display is bright and clear, but it may take a little getting used to. If you want a larger display, you can easily connect a larger monitor to play your favorite games.
5. Razer Blade Pro 4k – Gaming Laptop With Best VR Technology
The Razer Blade Pro comes with an Overclocked 7th Gen Intel Core i7 Quad-Core Processor, and it provides high-fidelity support for simultaneous 4K or 360-degree streaming videos on more displays.
With up to 4 cores with hyper-threading technology, you will be able to enjoy the best immersive VR technology. It is able to unleash extreme gaming with its graphics card that delivers all the performance of a desktop in a mobile form factor.
The Razer Blade Pro is one of the first laptops in the world that is a THX Certified Mobile device. Its display colors are pre-calibrated for accuracy, and they produce the best visuals for videos, gaming and content creation.
It comes with anti-ghosting capabilities and its optimized to deliver the same performance as a traditional keyboard. You can personalize it with Razer Chroma.
- The Razer Blade Pro comes armed with the NVIDIA Pascal architecture GPU for a fantastic gaming experience.
- You can play your favorite games in 4K resolution and VR.
- The Razer Blade Pro allows you to hear every sound with high-fidelity audio output through the headphone jack that is able to cover the full range of human sounds.
- It comes with individually backlit keys and trackpad providing vibrant lighting effects.
- It can be a bit difficult to find out what are the exact drivers that you need to download for the laptop to work flawlessly, but there are plenty of tutorials online that can help you out.
6. Acer Predator Helios 300 – Best Gaming Laptop 2018
The Acer Predator Helios is designed with speed in mind, and it combines powerful 7th Gen Intel Core processor with high-performance GeForce GTX graphics card that is VR ready.
The dual-fan cooling system avoids the overheating while you’re in the middle of a gaming tournament. The laptop’s components are kept cool, and the hardware will remain at its optimum performance to offer you a smooth gaming experience.
The display is 1080p, and it’s surrounded by a bezel that features the Predator logo on the bottom and the Acer logo on the left corner. The display is sharp, and the colors are incredibly vibrant.
You will be able to leap straight into the action with the new flagship GeForce GTX 1060 Graphics with 6GB of GDDR5 Video Memory. This is one of the most potent and advanced gaming graphics created.
From a strictly price to performance standpoint the Helios 300 absolutely crushes. Any gaming laptop that we’ve looked at before. But in order to get the same basic gaming specs as a $1,900 Razor Blade into a laptop for only $1,100 !
What other sacrifices did they have to make ? lots, it turns out.. But that doesn’t mean that it’s a bad product either.
We were pleasantly surprised by the predator Helios 300. The brushed aluminum on the back of the display and the palm rest of the keyboard gives the laptop an unexpectedly premium feel.
The rigidity of the chassis helps here as well it certainly looks the part of a gaming laptop with red accents.
It’s not terribly subtle but in my opinion it doesn’t go over the top in its attention-seeking behavior. There are areas like around the screen and the bottom where materials like plastic reigned supreme and it doesn’t have the reassuringly solid feel of something like Alienware.
But it avoids feeling cheap so, I’m willing to forgive that. But what’s more than pretty good maybe even fantastic are the internal specs of this shockingly potent little devil with a mindblowing hardware at just over a thousand bucks this was legitimate.
I go around to people’s booths at trade shows. This was the first time in years that I was shocked to see the price tag on a gaming laptop. Obviously there are differences, but for the pieces of hardware that actually affect gaming performance the Acer Helios on paper is the same as much more expensive competing products.
But how about the experience ? well let’s put it this way.. You won’t have to worry about having to set a game at anything lower than high since this thing has no problem pinning the framerate at the 60 Hertz refresh rate of the display. Now it’s your turn to decide.
- The laptop comes with high-level specs that will offer you the opportunity to play your favorite games in style.
- It comes with two built-in stereo speakers.
- The GTX 1060 easily pushes the 1080 monitor.
- The laptop’s cooling system works as advertised and it manages to keep the internal components at optimal temperature.
- The matte screen provides impressive contrast and vibrant colors.
- The build quality is instantly noticeable due to its design and materials that are used for the red and black chassis and the metal cover.
- The only downside of the laptop is that your fingerprints will show easily on its metal exterior, but obviously, you can easily clean them.
7. Alienware 17 R4 AW17R4 – The Fastest Gaming Laptop on The List
The gaming laptop features a 17-inch display and its gunmetal-gray looks aggressive and powerful, while also being classy and refined.
The computer uses magnesium alloy for rigidity, copper for better performance and the steel is ideal for tactile comfort.
The keyboard is comfortable, and even if it’s set farther on the deck, the soft-touch plastic feels pleasant enough to type on.
As a result, it enables a higher level of performance. Thanks to the upgraded design, the laptop comes with a larger speaker that improves the audio output and provides a more exciting gaming experience.
- The VR ready system passes the Oculus Ready and Vive Optimized certifications.
- The NVIDIA G-SYNC provides the fastest and smoothest experiences due to its ability to synchronize display refresh rates to the GPU.
- It provides excellent performance even under full load.
- The display comes in 1440p/120Hz and 4K variants.
- The laptop seems to be a bit noisy, but this is expected considering its size. The extra-large vent area makes this huge laptop appear even larger.
8. Lenovo Legion Y520 – Best Budget Gaming Laptop
The Lenovo Legion features the newest generation of processors, sporting a 7th Gen Intel Core CPU. It also comes with the next-gen NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti graphics that allows you to play your games smoothly and with high frame rates.
The Lenovo Legion laptop includes 2 Harman speakers with Dolby Audio Premium that is custom-tuned to offer premium-quality audio for all content.
You can easily customize your setting including the active keys, cooling, audio and network priority and this way you will be able to focus on your gaming only.
- The Extreme Cooling shortcut within Lenovo Nerve Sense provides an additional push of cooling.
- The red backlit keyboard lets you play day and night.
- The gaming laptop is both lightweight and portable, and you’ll be able to take it anywhere easily.
- It delivers crisp, accurate and responsive keystrokes that are perfect for in-game chatting.
- It doesn’t come with enough RAM for some gamers, but this can be fixed by upgrading to 16GB, and you’ll be pleased.
9. Gigabyte Aero 14Wv7 – Best for High0resolution Game
The graphics card features the latest Pascal architecture, and it breaks the limits of laptop performance.
It provides the most immersive VR experiences and smooth high0resolution gameplay.
The Gigabyte Aero comes with the latest Kaby Lake architecture 7th generation Intel Core i7 processor that can outperform its predecessors in all aspects. It provides impressive 4K capabilities and seamless performance.
The QHD IPS Wide Viewing Angle Display allows you to see every detail of your game, providing you a premium viewing experience and accurate colors.
- The laptop’s unique aesthetics feature a sleek design, and it provides an original solid metallic feel.
- You can enjoy more productivity with its dual 4K Ultra-HD output.
- The Aero 14 keyboard includes a macro hub capable of setting combination keys for more complicated operations.
- It comes with Smart Dashboard that offers real-time monitor on the system information.
- The Fan Tweak tailors the fan speeds to different user scenarios.
- The fans are a bit loud, but if you put the laptop into the quiet mode and power-saving mode, it will become absolutely silent.
10. Dell Inspiron 7000 – Best Gaming Laptop for College Student
You can enhance every battle from your games with the front firing speakers, a subwoofer and the Waves Maxx Audio Pro.
The Dell Inspiron comes with more power than ever before. The 7th Generation Intel Core i7 Quad-Core processor complements the graphics architecture for the most visual clarity.
Dell gaming laptops are engineered with the specific needs of gamers in mind, and they provide discrete graphics cards and fast processors for making the gaming experience as compelling and immersive as possible.
- The non-touch anti-glare options in full high-definition display and the 4K UHD provide clear images.
- The GPU has its own video memory that is not shared with the CPU, and this provides gaming on higher settings.
- The advanced thermal cooling design keeps the internal components at optimal temperatures.
- The 15-inch display is ideal for gaming anywhere.
- It doesn’t come with enough storage space and RAM, but if you upgrade the laptop with an extra TB hard drive for storage and if you also upgrade the RAM to 16 GB you will not have anything to worry about regarding performance and storage space.
Best Gaming Laptops Buyer’s Guide – Main Factors to Consider
You will find hundreds of option while looking for the best gaming laptops and it can become a challenge to find the one that fully suits your needs. To make the best out of your purchase, it’s recommended to take into consideration a few factors.
The primary factor to consider when buying a gaming laptop is the processor.
The central processing unit is an essential chip in a gaming laptop because most new games use a lot more horsepower than previous generations of games to be able to run all the functions.
This is especially true in the case of multiplayer because the processor must keep track of dozens of players.
This requires a lot of processing and lack of lagging. Intensive gamers usually settle down for an Intel Core i7 quad processor because this is the most potent quad-core CPU.
Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)
The graphics processing unit is another essential chip in a gaming laptop because this element is the one doing all the hard work of providing the most amazing images and details for gamers.
The minimum requirement for a gaming laptop would be the GeForce GTX 850M or the GTX 760M.
Any graphics card of the GeForce GTX 700 and 800 series is excellent for today’s gamers, but it’s good to know that the GeForce GTX 800 series has better features such as 3D surround, battery boost, and streaming.
Memory is essential for a graphics card to work correctly, so VRAM is also a vital factor to consider when purchasing a gaming laptop.
Graphics card should have their own VRAM or memory so that they can store all the frames, textures and more necessary properties to provide the best quality images.
The best thing is to get as much VRAM as possible, but as long as you have 3 or 4GB of memory, you will be good.
Resolution is another factor you have to consider, and 1080P has been the norm for quite a while.
Depending on what kind of gamer you are, the higher the resolution, the better results you will get. Anything less than 1920 x 1080 will offer muddy graphics.
RAM or memory is also crucial because the processor needs to store all the game files and settings that it requires in the system RAM.
For intensive gaming, it’s best if you go for 8GB of RAM, but you can also get away with 6GB of RAM as well.
Storage Space (HD)
Storage space is an essential issue because games today usually require 5-10GB of storage or even more, so you will need a large drive.
You should get at least a 1TB hard drive, and an SSD (external drive) is also recommended because it will provide you with higher boot times.
Screen Size and Portability
Screen size is significant as well and probably the optimum size for a gaming laptop’s screen in terms of both visuals and portability would be a 15.6-inch one.
Anything that’s closer to 17 inches will indeed be wider, but it will also weigh more than 6.6 pounds taking you to the point where you are sacrificing the laptop’s portability.
On the other hand, if you are willing to carry the load, a 17-inch screen will undoubtedly provide an extra viewing experience.
Portability is related to screen size, and when it comes to gaming systems, there are different levels of portability that you have to consider. As a general rule, the more powerful the laptop, the less portable it will be. A laptop with a screen size of 17-18 inch provides minimal portability.
A gaming laptop featuring a screen of 15 inches provides medium portability, and a device with a screen size of 13-14 inches offer you the best portability.
The last ones, on the other hand, don’t come with the most powerful processor or graphics card because they don’t have enough space to dissipate the amount of heat that is released from the best processors and graphics cards.
Weight is another factor you should be considering, and you should know that gaming laptops are usually pretty heavy compared to traditional laptops.
Almost all 15-inch laptops weigh about 4.4 pounds, and the 17-inch ones will weigh 6.6 pounds or even more.
Gaming laptops are not usually known for their staying power, and most of them will only last for four hours on moderate use. There are also a few economic models that can last for seven hours or even more.
Anyway, you should also check the gaming laptop’s battery life information before purchasing it just to make sure it will last long enough.
Benefits of Buying a Gaming Laptop
There are lots of benefits of purchasing a gaming laptop compared to a desktop. First of all, gaming laptops are ultra-portable.
The best feature of a laptop is that it’s a mobile device, so it’s easily portable from one location to another. Gamers can take their laptop to a tournament center, or they can play their favorite games at a friend’s home, or anywhere they please.
My top recommendation for this roundup of best gaming laptops is the ASUS ROG Zephyrus GX501 due to its powerful specifications and features. It is designed for gamers who are speed enthusiasts, and it manages to combine Intel’s powerful processing performance with amazing graphics driven by the new Pascal architecture that is VR ready. All the stellar capabilities are packed into a black chassis for a dramatic look. With the ROG Zephyrus Gaming Laptop you’ll be able to make your presence known anywhere you take it.