In 2021, gaming laptops are the easiest way to get into PC gaming. They’re portable, powerful, and can even be used as a work machine when you need them.
The best laptops you can buy. There are plenty of excellent options beyond the Blade, though, including larger options and more affordable budget gaming laptops.is your overall best option. It has it all as a gaming laptop and is even among the overall
The best gaming laptops at a glance:
- Razer Blade 14
- Asus ROG Strix G15
- Lenovo Legion 5 Pro
- Asus ROG Zephyrus G14
- Acer Predator Triton 300 SE
- MSI GS66 Stealth
- Asus ROG Flow X13
- HP Victus 16
Why you should buy this: It’s the best overall gaming laptop you can buy.
Who it’s for: Gamers who need something small and light that can still pack a punch.
Why we picked the Razer Blade 14:
When you think about the best laptops for gaming, you might think of a thick chassis accented with aggressive angles and vents everywhere possible. The Razer Blade 14 couldn’t be more different. The Razer laptops have successfully changed the perception of just how sleek a gaming laptop can be without sacrificing too much of the performance you expect. The Razer Blade 14 feels like the fulfillment of that vision.
Despite having a smaller 14-inch screen, the Razer Blade 14 packs in up to an RTX 3080 graphics card. It’s also the first Razer laptop to embrace AMD’s Ryzen 5000 processors, which are a match made in heaven for Razer’s ultra-compact gaming laptops.
Trying to decide between this and the Razer Blade 15? Well, the 15-inch model will produce slightly better frame rates, but the 14-inch model is smaller, cheaper, and gets better battery life. That makes it the best of Razer’s offerings and the best overall gaming laptop you can buy right now.
Read our in-depth Razer Blade 14 review
Why you should buy this: It is a high-performing gaming laptop for an affordable price.
Who it’s for: The gamer who wants the best performance at the lowest price.
Why we picked the Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage:
AMD has made a name for itself in gaming laptops, beating Intel out in many of the best gaming laptops. But all-AMD gaming laptops are still very rare, which is unfortunate, given how powerful they’ve proved to be. The ROG Strix G15 Advantage model is the flagship example. It sports the Ryzen 9 5900HX and the Radeon RX 6800M — a true competitor of the Nvidia RTX 3080.
Despite being much cheaper, theperforms great, offering high-performance gaming at a cheaper price. Of course, it’s far from a sleek or subtle design, taking inspiration from racing and sports, as is common with the Strix brand. If you don’t mind the look and the extra heft in this one, you’ll love the performance-per-dollar value of the ROG Strix G15 Advantage.
Why you should buy this: It’s a large, powerful gaming laptop with great performance.
Who it’s for: A gamer who doesn’t mind accepting some bulk for higher frame rates.
Why we picked the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro:
Tired of thin-and-light gaming laptops that sacrifice performance for portability? If that’s you, the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro should be at the top of your list. It’s a bit larger and chunkier than the Razer Blade 15 or MSI GS66 Stealth, but it provides great gaming performance paired with a great overall laptop experience.
The 16-inch display is a 16:10 screen with both a high resolution and refresh rate — exactly what you want to pair the RTX 3070 and Ryzen 5000 CPU with. We don’t love the design of the chassis — it looks disjointed and inconsistent. But we appreciate how thin the bezels are, and you won’t be disappointed by its performance.
Read our in-depth Lenovo Legion 5 Pro review
Why you should buy this: It’s the best portable gaming laptop you can buy.
Who it’s for: Gamers, students, and content creators.
Why we picked the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14:
The G14 is unlike any gaming laptop you’ve used. It’s incredibly lightweight at just 3.5 pounds and uses just a 14-inch screen rather than the typical 15-inch variety. The result is the smallest gaming laptop ever made, especially given how powerful this thing is.
The heart of it is AMD’s Ryzen 4000 eight-core processor. It’s a beast. Multi-threaded performance is off the chart for a laptop this small, making it a capable option for video editors, 3D modelers, and content creators of every kind.
Thealso provides excellent gaming performance, of course. You have options for either a GTX 1650, a GTX 1660 Ti, or the new RTX 3060. If you can opt for the RTX 3060, you’ll be able to easily play most games over 60 frames per second at Ultra settings. The latest model also comes with the new Ryzen 5000 processors, which are fantastic.
If you’re looking for a bit more power, the company also offers a popular 15-inch model with more gaming performance and a 1440p screen.
Read our in-depth Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 review
Why you should buy this: It’s a great alternative to the Razer Blade 15.
Who’s it for: Gamers who want a sleek laptop without sacrificing an iota of performance.
Why we picked the MSI GS66 Stealth:
Gaming in 1440p is finally possible, and the MSI GS66 Stealth is one of the few options available to make it happen. It starts with the power of the Nvidia RTX 3080, allowing the system to push frame rates higher and higher, even on a native 1440p display. Of course, MSI also sells a 1080p model with up to a 360Hz refresh rate, but the 1440p 240Hz model strikes a better balance of resolution and refresh rate.
The thin, understated chassis of the MSI GS66 Stealth is its other claim to fame. It’s not much bigger or heavier than the Razer Blade 15, but it does a better job of keeping the surface temperatures a bit lower and the fan noise quieter. It doesn’t have as nice of a touchpad and keyboard, but if you’re primarily interested in the GS66 Stealth for gaming, it’s a great alternative to the Razer Blade 15.
Read our in-depth MSI GS66 Stealth review
Why you should buy this: It’s a great alternative to the ROG Zephyrus G14.
Who’s it for: Gamers who want a small 14-inch laptop with great cooling.
Why we picked the Acer Predator Triton 300 SE:
The Predator Triton 300 SE feels like a revolutionary laptop, sporting both a 14-inch screen and a 35-watt Intel processor. It’s certainly unique, though it comes after a goal the ROG Zephyrus G14 already accomplished on the AMD side of things.
Both sport an Nvidia RTX 3060 GPU, a surprisingly slim chassis, and a high refresh rate. The Zephyrus G14 outperforms the Triton 300 SE in some games, thanks to its more aggressive cooling. However, that also turns out to be a strength of the Triton 300 SE, which stays cooler and quieter during operation. That includes both while gaming and during work.
It’s a tough choice between the two, but if you’ll be using your gaming laptop for work just as much as gaming, the Predator Triton 300 SE ekes out a win over the Zephyrus G14. If you like this design but want something larger and more powerful, the 16-inch Predator Triton 500 SE might be a better option.
Read our in-depth Acer Predator Triton 300 SE review
Why should buy this: It’s the best 13-inch gaming laptop.
Who’s it for: Gamers who want the smallest possible gaming laptop.
Why we picked the Asus ROG Flow X13:
The ROG Flow X13 was made famous for its ability to connect to the XG Mobile, a remarkably small external GPU that used a proprietary PCIe interface. But Asus also sells a stand-alone model that pumps up the graphics to an RTX 3050 Ti and leans in on this laptop’s ultra-compact form factor.
To consider the ROG Flow X13, you need to be attracted to the size of this laptop. Otherwise, you’ll be let down by the performance and price. But for a compact convertible 2-in-1 that you can bring to school while also being able to play some games in the evening at decent frame rates, the Asus ROG Flow X13 is in a category of its own. The Razer Blade Stealth 13 is technically the closest rival, but it’s still currently stuck on old hardware.
Read our in-depth Asus ROG Flow X13 review
Why should buy this: It’s a lot of gaming power for not a lot of money.
Who’s it for: Anyone who wants a bona fide gaming laptop for under $1,000.
Why we picked the HP Victus 16:
If you want a true gaming laptop, then you need a real GPU. No integrated graphics allowed. But can you get such a machine for under $1,000? Thanks to HP’s Victus 16, yes, you can. Not only that, but you also get 11th-gen Intel H-series CPUs, with the Core i5-11400H, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, a 16.1-inch IPS Full HD display, and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 for just $750. You can boost the GPU to an RTX 3050 Ti and RAM to 16GB and still stay under $1,000.
The Victus 16 is a replacement for HP’s previous entry-level gaming system, the Pavilion Gaming 15. But it’s an upgrade all around, with a better thermal design to keep things cool and faster components. You get the OMEN Gaming Hub software pre-installed to allow for undervolting and other performance adjustments, and a solid but minimalist design lets you use the Victus 16 in a boardroom as well as a LAN party.
For just an additional $20, you can get a 144Hz Full HD display, or spend $130 more to get a QHD display running at 165Hz. Either way, theis a bargain-basement gaming laptop that provides real gaming power.
Research and buying tips
- How much is a gaming laptop?
- What should I look for in a gaming laptop?
- Are gaming laptops good for work?
- Are Mac laptops good for gaming?
Gaming laptops tend to be more expensive than more general-purpose laptops because they generally include a dedicated graphics chip for better game visuals and frame rates. The cheapest options start at around $700, though you can’t expect great performance at that level. Our favorite budget gaming laptop, the budget laptops that we like, although you’ll struggle to find something that’s great for gaming once you edge toward $500. On the higher end, you can end up spending well over $2,000 if you want the latest components and fastest screens., can be found for under $1,000. There are some alternative
If you’re going to play anything other than classic games or very low-intensity indie games, you want a dedicated graphics chip. It doesn’t need to be something amazing, and AMD APUs with Vega graphics onboard are worth considering at the low end. Either way, you’ll want something more than Intel integrated graphics if you want decent frame rates in most games.
If you expect to hit frame rates over 60 fps, it’s also worth looking out for a high refresh rate display. We consider them more important than higher resolutions when it comes to gaming, and they typically aren’t too costly.
Usually, yes. You don’t need a dedicated graphics chip for working, but the fast processors and high-speed RAM that gaming laptops are typically equipped with are just as good at handling spreadsheets and Word documents as they are at crunching the numbers for the latest games.
Then again, a larger, thicker gaming laptop with RGB lighting might not be appropriate for every job setting. A more subdued design, like the Razer Blade or the G-series Dell gaming laptops, fit in much better.
Some aren’t bad, but most of them aren’t great. Apple only puts dedicated graphics chips in its MacBook Pro 16-inch models, and they come at a hefty price. There’s also software compatibility to consider, as many more games are available on Windows than MacOS, even with the addition of Apple Arcade.
If all you want is a little Fortnite on the side, a 16-inch MacBook Pro will get you by, but these are not gaming machines by any means. That being said, if you really want to stick with a Mac, there’s always the option to dual-boot in Boot Camp, which lets you run Windows 10 games on your MacBook hardware.
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