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The 9 Best Gaming Laptops of 2021

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The RundownBest Overall:Razer Blade Pro 17 at B&H Photo Video"The latest iteration of the 17-inch Razer Blade pro dominates the gaming space."Runner-Up, Best Overall:Acer Predator Helios 300 at Amazon"Built with the latest 7th-generation Intel Core processor with a maximum 5.0GHz Turbo Boost and 16GB DDR4 memory."Best Budget:Lenovo Legion Y540 15" at Lenovo"A highly customizable option that can be had at a very affordable price, or specced out to be a powerhouse."Best Splurge:ASUS ROG Zephyrus S17 at Amazon"Uses the Intel Core i7-10875H CPU and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super GPU for all the power you need to tackle the latest triple-A titles."Best Lightweight:Razer Blade Stealth 13 at Amazon"For gamers who need a lightweight, ultra-portable laptop, the Razer Blade Stealth is an excellent option."Best Memory Storage:Alienware M17 R3 at Amazon"All the memory you need for large game files."Best Battery Life:ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 at Amazon"The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 has an integrated battery that can give you up to 11 hours of use on a single charge."Best Mid-tier:HP Omen 15z at HP"The Omen gaming brand from HP is bringing us another winner with the 15z gaming laptop."Best Value:ASUS TUF A15 at Amazon"The ASUS TUF A15 is an excellent mid-range alternative to the high-end ASUS ROG brand laptops."in this articleExpandOur PicksAbout our Trusted ExpertsWhat to Look for in a Gaming LaptopFAQs

While desktop rigs still dominate gaming spaces, laptops have started to prove that they, too, can boast the power needed to take on the latest triple-A titles. The best gaming laptops give customers a balance between memory storage, processing power, connectivity, and battery life. Many modern gaming laptops feature 1080p FHD displays with impressive refresh rates, though it is possible to configure models with 4K UHD screens like the Razer Blade Stealth 13 at Amazon if you're willing to spend a little more. There is even a model that sports dual screens for more efficient multitasking. 

Solid-state drives or hybrid drives are popular for gaming laptops since they give you plenty of storage without being bulky or heavy. Plenty of gaming laptops have innovative, air-based cooling systems; utilizing multiple fans and exhaust vents as well as heat sinks and copper piping to draw even more heat away from vital components. But some use vapor chambers and thermal paste to give you the benefits of liquid cooling rigs without the bulk and mess. No matter what games you play, there is a laptop out there to suit.

To help pick the right laptop for you, make sure to head over to our FAQ on how to pick the best laptop for your needs before you settle on one of our picks for the best gaming laptops. Also, be sure to check out our constantly updated guide to the best laptop deals happening right now, for great machines at steep discounts.

Best Overall:Razer Blade Pro 17

4.7 Buy on B&H Photo VideoBuy on Adorama.comBuy on Razer.comWhat We Like

Elegant and robust design

Outstanding performance

Beautiful 4K touchscreen d

What We Don't Like

Very Expensive

No Numpad

Razer Blade Pro 17 Review

The Razer Blade Pro 17 is one of the most powerful gaming machines you can buy, and this is all the more remarkable for how compact and portable this laptop is. It retains a cool gamer aesthetic while also providing an elegant appearance that's appropriate for professional settings.With a highly detailed and color-accurate 4k touchscreen display, as well as an expansive and responsive keyboard and trackpad, the Blade Pro 17 lends itself well to a wide range of productivity and creative tasks.

It has the specs to back up its exterior quality, packing a 10th gen Intel Core i7, 32GB of RAM, a terabyte of PCIe SSD storage, and a powerful Nvidia RTX 3080. This means that the Blade Pro 17 can handle whatever you throw at it, be it Cyberpunk 2077 at max settings or a massive 4k video editing project. Overall, the Razer Blade Pro 17 is as close to perfect as a laptop can get. It's expensive to be sure, but in this case, you really do get what you pay for.

Screen Size: 17.3 Inches | Resolution: 3840x2160 | CPU: Intel Core i7-10875H | GPU: Nvidia RTX 3080 | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 1TB SSD | Touchscreen: No

“Much like a habitable world orbiting its star at the precise distance to support life, the Razer Blade Pro 17 inhabits that rare Goldilocks zone of the perfect laptop.” — Andy Zahn, Product Tester

Runner-Up, Best Overall:Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop

Buy on AmazonWhat We Like

High-end performance

Comfortable keyboard

Competitive price

What We Don't Like

No USB-C support

Sub-par cooling

Satisfy your need for speed with the Acer Predator Helios 300. Built with the latest 7th-generation Intel Core processor with a maximum 5.0GHz Turbo Boost and 16GB DDR4 memory, the Helios guarantees accelerated boot-up and in-game loading speeds. The hard drive comes with 1TB SSD, but if you need more storage space, there's an additional compartment to fit a second 2.5-inch storage drive. It also contains a powerful NVIDIA GeForce GTX graphics card with 6GB of dedicated GDDR6 VRAM for crisper, lag-free processing power.

The Predator Helios 300 is quite the beast, weighing in at a solid six pounds. The 15.6-inch screen features a full HD widescreen display with a black keyboard to complement the per-key RGB backlighting. The spacious keys offer a decent amount of travel and comfortable typing feedback. Underneath the laptop, you'll find a custom-engineered cooling system that keeps your system well-regulated, even during high-intensity gaming sessions. The Helios features a seven-hour battery life and is VR-ready: all you need is a compatible headset to start experimenting with the new medium.

Screen Size: 15.6 Inches | Resolution: 1920x1080 | CPU: Intel Core i7-10750H | GPU: Nvidia RTX 2060 | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 1TB SSD | Touchscreen: No

Best Budget:Lenovo Legion Y540 15"

Buy on LenovoWhat We Like

Excellent battery life

Lightweight

Above-average speakers

What We Don't Like

Feels a bit flimsy

No memory card reader

There's no shortage of budget-friendly gaming laptops, but few are as capable as the Legion Y540 from Lenovo. The old black and red colorway is gone in favor of a more refined aesthetic. The sleek hardware looks (and feels) more expensive than it's priced, and the unique hinge is slightly offset from the back of the laptop to allow for a slimmer profile. The body is about as heavy as expected for a gaming laptop, and the five hours of battery life are pretty standard, too.

Powering the Y540 is a highly customizable list of specs, starting with a 9th generation Intel processor alongside a range of GPUs from Nvidia, from a GTX 1650 up to a 1660 Ti (an RTX 2060 is also available if ray tracing is a priority). A 720p HD camera with an integrated microphone makes it easy to play online and stream yourself while gaming, which is aided by an 802.11AC with 2x2 MIMO technology.

Screen Size: 17.3 Inches | Resolution: 1920x1080 | CPU: Intel Core i7-9750F | GPU: Nvidia GTX 1650 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 1TB HDD + 256GB SSD | Touchscreen: No 

The 9 Best Gaming Laptops for Under $1,000 in 2021

Best Splurge:ASUS ROG Zephyrus S17

Buy on AmazonBuy on Best BuyBuy on B&H Photo VideoWhat We Like

Dual power modes

Great CPU/GPU

7.1 virtual surround sound

What We Don't Like

Very short gaming battery life

No 4K screen

Only supports 1TB SSD

Another top-tier gaming laptop is the Asus ROG Zephyrus S17. It uses the Intel Core i7-10875H CPU and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super GPU for all the power you need to tackle the latest triple-A titles. It comes with 32GB of RAM, and it supports up to 48GB for more speed when you need it. With a 1TB SSD, you'll not only get plenty of storage, you'll get faster and more reliable access to all your programs. The 17.3-inch display is Pantone calibrated for excellent color accuracy, and with a refresh rate of 300Hz, screen tearing and stuttering is eliminated. The Zephyrus S17 uses G Sync for optimized gaming graphics and Asus' Optimus mode for enhanced battery life during normal use. With the ROG intelligent cooling system, the laptop uses four heatsinks and six heat pipes to draw excess heat away from vital components; there is also an Active Aerodynamic System that lets you open the area above the keyboard for enhanced air intake. 

The S17 features two USB-C inputs, one of which supports DisplayPort 1.4 output and the other allows for charging via portable battery packs so you don't have to hunt for a wall outlet when you need to recharge. It features Gigabit Ethernet and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity for ultra-fast internet speeds to suit eSports and MMO players as well as Bluetooth 5.1 for wireless peripheral use. The dual, 2 watt speakers use 7.1 channel virtual surround sound for room-filling audio and a more immersive gaming experience. The battery gives you just over two hours of use while gaming, but up to 9.5 hours during general use.

Screen Size: 17.3 Inches | Resolution: 1920x1080 | CPU: Intel Core i7-10875H | GPU: Nvidia RTX 2080 Super | RAM: 32GB | Storage: 1TB SSD | Touchscreen: No

Best Lightweight:Razer Blade Stealth 13

4Buy on AmazonBuy on Best BuyBuy on MicrosoftWhat We Like

CNC aluminum body

Great battery

4K touchscreen display available

What We Don't Like

Weak integrated/discrete GPU

Low memory

Razer Blade Stealth 13 Review

For gamers who need a lightweight, ultra-portable laptop, the Razer Blade Stealth is an excellent option. This laptop weighs just 2.89 pounds and is just .5-inches thin, making it perfect for slipping into a backpack or tote bag for gaming or work on-the-go. The chassis is made of CNC machined aluminum and an anodized black coating that resists scratches and fingerprints for long-lasting strength and style. It's powered by an 8th generation Intel i7-8565U CPU and you can choose between integrated Intel UHD 620 graphics or a discrete Nvidia GeForce MX150 GPU; the Razer Blade Stealth is compatible with the Razer Core X external graphics unit for more powerful image rendering. 

The 13.3-inch screen is available in both 1080p FHD or a 4K touch screen and is calibrated for 100 percent sRGB calibration to give you more lifelike colors. Four stereo speakers use Dolby Atmos technology to produce virtual surround sound audio for a more immersive gaming experience without a headset. For memory, the Razer Blade Stealth has 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD to give you plenty of storage for your most-played games and fast access to your programs and files. The built-in infrared camera is compatible with Windows Hello facial recognition software for password-free log-ins to your laptop and added protection for your computer. The battery gives you up to 11 hours of use on a single charge, so you can work and play all day.

Screen Size: 13.3 Inches | Resolution: 3840x2160 | CPU: Intel Core i7-1065G7 | GPU: Nvidia GTX 1650Ti Max-Q | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 512GB SSD | Touchscreen: Yes

Best Memory Storage:Alienware M17 R3

Buy on AmazonBuy on DellWhat We Like

4K UHD display

Excellent memory storage

Stylish chassis

What We Don't Like

Very short battery life

RAM can't be expanded

Besides processing power and graphics abilities, memory storage is the most important factor to consider when shopping for a new gaming laptop, and the Alienware M17 R3 has an impressive capacity. It supports a boot drive up to 4TB of RAID0 SSD and a secondary 512GB SSD storage drive to give you all the memory you need for large game files. It's powered by a 10th generation Intel Core i9-10980HK CPU and 32GB of RAM for more than enough power to tackle the latest triple-A game titles, and the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super graphics card is VR ready to take you into the next level of gaming. The 17.3-inch display is 4K UHD and is calibrated for 100 percent Adobe RGB color ranges for lifelike images and incredible detailing. It also uses Tobii eye tracking technology to bring up in-game UI elements and highlight areas of your map or game screen for Twitch viewers. 

Alienware's Cryo-Tech cooling system uses a vapor chamber to give you the benefits of liquid cooling without bulky equipment as well as copper-core heat pipes and heatsink fins to draw heat away from vital components. The body of this laptop is made from a clear-coated magnesium alloy for style, strength, and durability. With Gigabit Ethernet and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, you can dominate online games with virtually zero lag. The battery only gives you 2.5 hours of use on a single charge, so you'll need to stay near a wall outlet for all-day gaming.

Screen Size: 17.3 Inches | Resolution: 1920x1080 | CPU: Intel Core i7-1065G7 | GPU: Nvidia RTX 2070 | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 1TB SSD | Touchscreen: No

The 9 Best Lightweight Laptops of 2021

Best Battery Life:ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14

4.7 Buy on AmazonBuy on Best BuyBuy on WalmartWhat We Like

Excellent battery

USB-C charging

Fingerprint reader

What We Don't Like

Pricey

No 4K screen

Gamers on-the-go know that battery life can make or break a decision when shopping for a new gaming laptop. The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 has an integrated battery that can give you up to 11 hours of use on a single charge, and with both DC 12V and USB-C charging ports, you can choose between traditional wall outlets or portable battery packs to top off your laptop when you need a power boost. You can also use the USB-C port to charge your smartphone or tablet to stay powered up wherever you are.

It's powered by a third-generation AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS CPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q graphics card, and 16GB of RAM to give you all the power you need to play your favorite games. The 1TB SSD gives you plenty of storage for games, streaming apps, and other programs you need to work and play. The GPU uses Nvidia's Turing architecture to give you real-time ray tracing capabilities for exceptionally lifelike lighting and detailing. The 14-inch 1080p FHD display is Pandone Validated for incredible color accuracy, and with a refresh rate of 120Hz, you'll get smooth motion even during action sequences. The four speaker array uses Dolby Atmos technology to produce room-filling, virtual surround sound for a more immersive gaming experience without a headset. The chassis is made of CNC machined magnesium alloy and features a precision-cut honeycomb design for long-lasting strength while still being lightweight. You can configure the Zephyrus G14 to have custom LED backlighting for the honeycomb chassis to show off your personal style and stream team loyalty. The power button features a built-in fingerprint reader for one-touch power and secure log-ins.

Screen Size: 14 Inches | Resolution: 1920x1080 | CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS | GPU: Nvidia RTX 2060 Max-Q | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 1TB SSD | Touchscreen: No

Best Mid-tier:HP Omen 15z

Buy on HPWhat We Like

144 Hz Panel

16GB of RAM

Drastically improved aesthetic

Solid value

What We Don't Like

512GB of storage will get used up quick

Pretty heavy

The Omen gaming brand from HP is bringing us another winner with the 15z gaming laptop. This 15-inch beast brings all the features you want out of a gaming laptop at a price point south of $900. This relatively slim, matte-black laptop is just shy of an inch thick, and a little over 5 Lbs without the additional power brick.

What the 15z lacks in portability it more than makes up for in performance. This laptop pairs a 4 GHz Ryzen CPU with a GTX 1650 Ti, a duo that's more than capable of pushing excellent framerates to its 144Hz FHD display. The A15 also includes 16GB of 3200MHz RAM for multitasking as well as a 512GB M.2 SSD for storage. The GTX 1650 Ti will struggle a bit pushing higher framerates for more modern titles but should be more than sufficient as long as you dial down the quality a bit.

Overall, if you're looking for a solid mid-tier gaming laptop that'll cost you less than $900, the HP Omen 15z hits all the marks without cutting too many corners.

Screen Size: 15.6 Inches | Resolution: 1920x1080 | CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 4600H | GPU: Nvidia GTX 1650Ti | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB SSD | Touchscreen: No 

Best Value:ASUS TUF A15

Buy on AmazonBuy on B&H Photo Video

Excellent value for performance

Upgradeable

Good connectivity options out of the box

Can only fit specific RAM kits in its chassis

The ASUS TUF A15 is an excellent mid-range alternative to the high-end ASUS ROG brand laptops. This 15-inch laptop still has all the trappings of an excellent gaming laptop, at a price point that won't disappoint. The A15 features a 4.2GHz Ryzen processor and a 1660Ti graphics card, perfect for its high-refresh 144Hz display. Storage is handled by a 512GB M.2 SSD, which could be a bit more substantial, but still helps to keep load times to a bare minimum.

For peripheral connectivity, the A15 has a trio of USB-A ports and a USB-C port for hooking up with either a USB-C hub or eGPU. The laptop also includes a dedicated ethernet port, HDMI hookup, and a 3.5mm audio jack. The A15 remains compact and lightweight despite its hardware, weighing in at just over 5 pounds and a little less than an inch thick.

Perhaps the coolest addition to this laptop is the inclusion of vacant SSD and RAM slots that allow you to upgrade the A15 down the line. Just bear in mind that while you shouldn't have a problem finding an M.2 SSD that can fit inside the chassis of your laptop as long as it doesn't have a heatsink bolted onto it, finding a RAM kit that fits inside the laptop could be a little more difficult.

Screen Size: 17.3 Inches | Resolution: 1920x1080 | CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 4800H | GPU: Nvidia GTX 1650Ti | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 512GB SSD | Touchscreen: No

Final Verdict

Our favorite gaming laptop is definitely the Razer Blade Pro 17. There are few other laptops that can support a 30-series Nvidia GPU, but the Blade Pro manages to support one without becoming entirely cumbersome. If you have the budget to burn, this laptop is the one to beat. If you're in the market for something a little more sensible, however, the HP Omen 15Z fills a solid, middle-ground between performance and cost.

About our Trusted Experts

Taylor Clemons has over three years of experience writing about games and consumer technology. She has written for Ach5, Digital Trends, TechRadar and her own publication, Steam Shovelers.

Alice Newcome-Beill is an avid gamer and has reviewed gaming systems for PC gamer and PCMag. She currently uses a Lenovo Y740.

What to Look for in a Gaming Laptop

Video Card

The single most important feature of any gaming laptop is its video card. If you want to play games, you absolutely need a discrete video card. Look for a laptop that has an NVIDIA or AMD GPU. If you want to play a specific game, check the recommended and minimum video card specifications and choose a gaming laptop that meets (or exceeds) them.

Memory

If you buy a gaming laptop that doesn't have a decent amount of RAM, you're just setting yourself up for disappointment. It's also important that the video card has its own VRAM.

Processor

The CPU is also an essential consideration in gaming laptops, even if it does take a back seat to the GPU. Most great gaming laptops come with Intel Core i7 processors, but you may be able to get by with less. Just make sure that the processor doesn't clock in below the recommended specifications for your favorite games.

FAQs

Why is the adapter for this gaming laptop so big and can I use a smaller one?Gaming laptops utilize more powerful hardware that has greater power demands than most laptops. As a result, some of the AC adapters they use are typically much larger than what you'd see on other laptops. These adapters can range from 180 to 230W and usually weigh more than 5 pounds, making them a serious consideration if you plan on toting your gaming laptop around with you.

What screen size should I get?Unlike desktops, the size of your screen will usually dictate the overall size of your gaming laptop. Much of this depends on how portable you want your laptop to be. If you're planning on keeping your laptop at home and primarily connected to an external display, you can typically go with a smaller screen. However, if you're going to be relying solely on your laptop display and need more screen real-estate, you may want to spring for a larger model.

What ports do I need, really?While having a greater variety of redundant ports is always preferable, laptops generally have a limited amount of space for extra ports. The bare essentials you'd like to see on a gaming laptop are a USB-C, USB-A, and an HDMI out port. This allows you to connect to an external display, as well as a mouse or keyboard, and also allows you to connect a USB-C hub for added connectivity. Some other features you may want to keep an eye out for are ethernet ports and a microSD card slot, although this will be less important if you can connect to a USB-C hub.