Best Gaming Laptop 2021: For Gamers on the Go
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Until now, those who know their stuff can’t deny that a desktop gaming PC is the ultimate machine if you want to enjoy high resolution, high frame rate gaming. Indeed, these upgradeable solutions are the best in the business for a no-compromise gaming experience.
However, gaming laptops have started to catch up in terms of performance and quality that can even go head to head with their desktop counterparts – and all for a reasonable price! These laptops are specially designed for efficient cooling, in order to facilitate more powerful hardware like the latest generation of CPUs and graphics cards (even desktop-grade ones). They are also equipped with high-refresh-rate panels, premium chassis, and RGB accents that were once exclusive for desktop gaming PCs only.
For those who value portability while still enjoying a viable gaming experience, here are some of the best gaming laptops money can buy in 2021. We will be working with $1500, $1000, and $600 price points to cater to a wide range of gamers on the go. So, if you are on the lookout for a hardcore gaming laptop, continue reading.
|MSI GL65 Leopard 10SFK-062||Nvidia RTX 2070||Core i7-107050H||4.9|
|Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-53-72XD||Nvidia RTX 2060||Intel Core i7-10750H||4.9|
|HP OMEN 15 15- dh1060nr||Nvidia RTX 2070 Max-Q||Intel Core i7-10750H||4.8|
|Razer Blade 15 2020||Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti||Intel Core i7-9750H||4.8|
|Dell G5 SE 5505||Radeon RX 5600M||AMD Ryzen 5 4600||4.5|
|Lenovo Legion 5||Nvidia GTX 1650||AMD Ryzen 7 4800H||4.4|
|ASUS TUF Gaming A15||Nvidia GTX 1660Ti||AMD Ryzen 7 4800H||4.6|
|Acer Nitro 5 AN515-54-5812||Nvidia GTX 1650||Intel Core i5-9300H||4.3|
|ASUS VivoBook 15||AMD Radeon Vega 8||AMD Ryzen 5 3500U||4.0|
|Acer Swift 3 SF314-42-R9YN||Nvidia MX 250/350||Ryzen 7 4700U||4.2|
Best Gaming Laptop – Overall Pick
Looking for the ultimate gamers’ laptop? MSI is amongst the best gaming laptop companies as it is renowned for manufacturing all things gaming – from desktop components to specialized laptops – with this offering being one of the best value picks around. Unlike the brand’s gaming laptops of years gone by, the MSI GL65 Leopard sports a sleek, thin build supported by a rugged metallic chassis to provide resilience against constant movement and handling.
It also sports a 10th-generation Intel Core i7-107050H, 16GB of DDR4 memory, a 512GB SSD, and an amazing Nvidia RTX 2070 graphics card in the mix. This allows you to game without worry even when multiple programs are running in the background, with the multi-core/thread CPU offering an optimal level of resource handling while the robust RAM configuration allows you to upload several applications without experiencing any performance hiccups.
Moreover, you’ll find running even the most challenging triple-A games and competitive titles easy with the powerful RTX 2070 graphics card, boasting improved clock/memory speeds and size to load high-resolution textures and resources while pushing a consistently high framerate performance. The SSD facilitates fast OS boot-up and program load times as well, providing you with a seamless browsing experience.
You are able to maximize its performance thanks to the 144 HZ, 3 ms IPS screen that provides a buttery-smooth gaming experience with its optimal viewing angles and color representation. In order to maintain this level of operation without suffering from performance dips and hiccups, the MSI GL65 Leopard uses the Cooler Boost 5 technology that features the optimal mix of copper heat pipes, fans, and vents to keep things cool even during intense gaming sessions.
Best Gaming Laptops Under $1500
It appears that Acer’s Predator product line has won the market over lately, especially with the Acer Predator Helios 300 (product SKU PH315-53-72XD). It is packed to the gills with the latest specs that make up a well-rounded gaming PC configuration. Of course, gaming laptops have tweaked components that adapt to a mobile use-case which are slightly underpowered in comparison to their desktop counterparts, but the Acer Predator Helios 300 is nothing of the sort.
This gaming laptop features a 10th-generation Intel Core i7-10750H (6-core/12-thread) CPU, 16GB DDR4 RAM, an RTX 2060 graphics card, and a 512GB SSD. What this means is the Acer Predator Helios 300 can easily juggle multiple workloads ON TOP of your games without buffering, while the decent 16GB memory buffer allows you to load multiple programs in one sitting. The blazing-fast SSD also facilitates faster boot-up and loading times, while the Nvidia graphics card takes care of your game’s high level of detail without frame dips.
For the screen, the Acer Predator Helios 300 makes use of an IPS display for that vivid color representation as well as improved viewing angles. Moreover, it has a 144 Hz refresh rate to allow high fps gaming, giving you a buttery-smooth experience by allowing the GPU to continually push a consistently high frame rate. The display is significantly bright as well, so you won’t have to worry when gaming in low-lit environments.
The Acer Predator Helios 300 sports an excellent build quality as well, showcasing a durable metal housing to give it that premium aesthetic and feel, while cooling is handled by the patented Aeroblade system with metallic fans to push an optimal level of airflow over the power-hungry components. You also get tons of USB 3.0 connectivity, Wifi and Bluetooth, and other options that make the laptop’s quality of life excellent.
Amongst the relatively affordable gaming laptops, the Acer Predator Helios 300 is the best gamers laptop on the market.
Let’s set the stereotypes aside and allow the HP OMEN 15 take the spotlight for a while. We all know, one way or another, that HP is renowned in the office and productivity scene and it is only recently that the brand branched out into the gaming scene with its OMEN product lineup. The HP OMEN 15 (product SKU: 15- dh1060nr) is one of the representatives of this new, but recognized family of gaming solutions.
Housed in a uniquely-shaped, robust metal chassis, the HP OMEN 15 packs a beefy 10th-gen Core i7-10750H, 16GB of 2933 MHZ memory, and a 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD – topped off by the amazing RTX 2070 Max-Q graphics card. This provides the gaming machine with the necessary resources to run multiple applications without slowing down, provide a quick and responsive operating system navigation, and provide a high framerate output that prides itself in a consistent and buffer-free operation at all times.
Of course, you get an anti-glare 144 Hz monitor to make use of the frames being pushed by the RTX 2070 Max-Q graphics unit. Its IPS panel technology gives it improved color reproduction and viewing angles, but do note that the top and bottom bezels are awkwardly thick which might ruin the aesthetic experience for you. Being a portable battle station, the HP OMEN 15 provides up to 6 hours of uninterrupted gaming with its beefy battery unit, and sports a generous amount of connectivity for your peripherals and networking needs.
To fit powerful components inside, most of our gaming laptop recommendations come in slightly thick chassis that help facilitate an optimal airflow path to keep them cool in the heat of the moment. While this can never be truly avoided, one brand has dared to defy the norm by bringing one of the thinnest gaming laptops to date.
The Razer Blade 15 2020 carries an impressive low-profile chassis that still packs some of the latest and greatest in gaming laptop hardware. This Mac-like 0.7-inch chassis doesn’t compromise on durability either, using a CNC-processed alloy housing to protect the internals while exuding a premium feel at the same time.
At the heart of the Razer Blade 15 2020 is a 9th-gen Intel Core i7-9750H, a GTX 1660 Ti, a 256 GB SSD, and 16GBs of RAM. While a generation behind the other suggestions in our list, the i7-9750H is no slouch with its 6-core/12-thread configuration that can handle multiple processes simultaneously without suffering from performance hiccups, and can boost its clock speeds to up to 4.5 GHz for maximum framerate production – aided by the GTX 1660Ti graphics card with its excellent mid-range rendering performance. The storage configuration is a bit on the low side, but this can be expanded upon in the future.
Moreover, the Razer Blade 15 2020 boasts one of the best screens in the business, with the 15.6-inch display capable of Full HD representation and a 100% sRGB coverage that not only improves in-game detail, but also benefits content creators who take color accuracy seriously. It also has a 144 Hz refresh rate so you don’t miss out on the competitive edge offered by high framerate gaming.
Given the size of the laptop, it’s amazing how it is able to cram three USB 3.1 ports, two USB Type-Cs with Thunderbolt support, a full-sized HDMI port, and a Gigabit Ethernet port. If you need a professional solution that doesn’t pull its punches in gaming, the Razer Blade 15 2020 is a great choice to pick up.
Best Gaming Laptops Under $1000
We’re starting off our list of the best $1000 gaming laptops with the Dell G5 SE 5505. Unlike most gaming laptops that sport aesthetic gimmicks, the Dell G5 SE 5505 doesn’t follow the trend and instead dedicates its resources to pure performance. The chassis is a no-nonsense metal-finished structure that is surprisingly lightweight at a mere 5.51 lbs, allowing power users to carry it with ease wherever they need a portable gaming machine to do its job.
The Dell G5 SE 5505 swings for the red team this time, as it features an AMD Ryzen 5 4600 CPU which is a 6-core/12-thread processor that can boost its clock speed up to 4.0 GHz when needed to give you the maximum amount of framerate performance, which is handled mainly by the decent mid-range Radeon RX 5600M graphics card. You may be underwhelmed by the low-capacity 256 SSD, though, but worry not as the laptop can accommodate expandable storage options should you want to upgrade in the future. As per usual, you also get 16GB of memory to provide you with lots of buffer space to run multiple programs at once.
It is paired with a 15.6-inch Full HD 1080p screen capped at 60 Hz, which may be a bit disappointing for some, but this is enough to accommodate the mid-range performance of the RX 5600M. The Dell G5 SE 5505 also boasts a 51 WHr battery to power your gaming sessions without fail, and a dual-fan cooling system to keep the internal’s temperature at bay when you’re dishing out game-winning moves and combos.
Another rising model in the budget gaming laptop department is the Lenovo Legion 5. Unlike our previous suggestion, the Lenovo Legion 5 carries a rugged, gaming-oriented chassis with special vents at the back to promote an optimal level of airflow over the internal components. While not using a full-metal or alloy chassis, this gaming laptop feels premium thanks to the anti-smudge properties of the housing, along with an industrial aesthetic that is enhanced by the robust edges and bezels.
For this particular model of the Lenovo Legion 5, it sports a Ryzen 7 4800H, which is an 8-core/16-thread processor that provides an amazing price-to-performance value versus competing Intel models. With this beefy core and thread count, you can simultaneously run multiple processes and workloads without slowing the processing power at all.
You also get an Nvidia GTX 1650 graphics card, which is a great entry-level option that still has the power to run sandbox titles and esports games with a decent performance level. While the storage configuration is generous at 512GB of SSD space, the RAM setup is crippled by the measly 8GB stick handling your desired programs and OS essentials. Worry not, as you still have the option to upgrade this in the future via an extra RAM slot.
You’ll be able to enjoy your games with the clarity of the FHD IPS display that can accommodate high refresh rates thanks to its 120 Hz capabilities. All in all, while a bit short in some aspects, the Lenovo Legion 5 is a great platform to game on from the moment you take it out of the box.
While Asus makes really great gaming laptops, most of them are situated in the ranks of the ROG product line, making them highly expensive compared to most offerings with the same specifications. Fortunately, the brand developed its TUF lineup to aid budget-restricted gamers with their needs, with viable solutions at reasonable prices. Such is the ASUS TUF Gaming A15, a Ryzen-powered portable gaming machine that has proven its mettle with its impressive spec allocation and performance.
The ASUS TUF Gaming A15 uses the Ryzen 7 4800H processor to power its main computing needs, being a favorite pick among mid-range gaming laptops due to its amazing performance and value for money. This is assisted by the GTX 1660Ti, another great graphics card that can handle even the most demanding triple-A games and push out consistent frames per second without suffering from buffering. You also get 512GB of SSD storage for that fast and smooth ecosystem browsing, and a 16GB memory kit that allows you to run multiple programs in one sitting without the fear of slowdowns.
Furthermore, the 15.6-inch 144 Hz IPS display provides you with a clear image reproduction while facilitating a high refresh rate experience to give you a competitive edge in esports titles. The ASUS TUF Gaming A15 comes in a rugged MIL-STD-810H chassis that can take a beating without so much as breaking a sweat, and is ventilated by two self-cleaning fans with anti-dust technology to extend the gaming laptop’s service lifespan.
Best Gaming Laptops Under $600
We’re going with the $600 price bracket as our bare minimum as a smaller budget, as any less is simply too low to even net an entry-level gaming experience. With that aside, the Acer Nitro 5 (product SKU: AN515-54-5812) sports one of the best options for budget-restrained gamers with its great mix of specs (as you even get an Intel 9th-gen processor on this one).
For the spec rundown, the Acer Nitro 5 has an Intel Core i5-9300H, powered by a 4-core/8-thread configuration that provides decent computing capabilities and an excellent frame rate output. This CPU is paired with a GTX 1650 graphics card, which hosts 4GB of VRAM to handle most esports titles with ease, although you might need to turn down some settings if you wish to play triple-A games at a decent frame rate.
You also get a 256GB NVMe SSD, which at this price range is already a steal – most of the time, competitors opt for large but slow storage options like a 1TB HDD, which can seriously impact browsing and gaming performance. The only downside to this is the measly 4GB stick of RAM, which is barely enough to run Windows 10. You can definitely game on this machine out of the box, but for the best possible performance, adding another stick of ram can greatly help you out.
Unlike its Predator counterparts, the Acer Nitro 5 only has minor metal parts comprising its chassis – but fret not, as the build quality isn’t shabby at all. With this setup, you get the basic 2 x USB 3.0 and a USB 2.0 port, an Ethernet jack, an audio jack, and a Kensington lock. It also sports room for upgrades with the extra 2.5” hard drive slot and 2 RAM slots.
If you want a machine that can provide decent productivity with some light gaming on the side, the ASUS VivoBook 15 is a viable choice to go with. While not specifically designed for gaming, the ASUS VivoBook 15 has the hardware specification needed to run esports titles and older games decently. It comes in a professional-looking chassis that certainly doesn’t look cheap, but isn’t on par with the previous suggestion’s build quality as well.
The ASUS VivoBook 15 is powered by a Ryzen 5 3500U processor which has a 4-core/8-thread configuration to provide smooth and decent load handling, although its low-powered design may choke some performance out of gaming. It makes use of integrated Radeon Vega 8 graphics instead of a dedicated graphics card, which is great for keeping temperatures down albeit you will most likely be stuck playing less-demanding applications like esports games or older games that run well on entry-level hardware. To augment that, you get an 8GB stick of RAM and a 256GB SSD, which is a pretty great combination considering the price you’re getting this unit at.
For connectivity, you get USB 3.0, 2.0, and a 3.1 Type-C port along with HDMI and Wifi to get you gaming on the go. You won’t be running triple-A games anytime soon with the ASUS VivoBook 15, but at least you get a starting point to scratch your gaming itch.
Another viable contender in our budget-oriented list is the Acer Swift 3 (product SKU: SF314-42-R9YN). Searching for the best gaming laptop under $500 or $600 is no joke, but it’s a good thing that manufacturers like Acer are dedicating resources in providing solutions in this price bracket, this specific unit being one of them.
This particular iteration of the Acer Swift 3 has an amazing processor for the money – a Ryzen 7 4700U that boasts 8 physical cores, something you’d be hard-pressed to find in its competitors. It also comes with an integrated graphics setup that has 7 cores in its array, with a performance that matches its Nvidia MX 250/350 dedicated GPU counterparts quite well. The laptop comes with the usual 8GB stick of RAM but impressively upsizes its storage with the help of a 512GB SSD.
While certainly not made to crush graphically-demanding games, the Acer Swift 3 excels in running even the latest esports titles with a respectable and consistent frame rate performance to provide an enjoyable gaming experience on a budget.