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The best thin and light gaming laptops 2021

Most gaming laptops are large, ostentatiously styled with massive vents and a fighter jet-like aesthetic, and they’re heavy. They’re not meant to be carried around everywhere like regular laptops, but rather from place to place for gaming sessions. Not everyone wants a massive laptop for their gaming needs, though, and that’s where a new breed of thin and light gaming laptops comes into play.

The Razer Blade 14 tops this list. It’s not only a great gaming laptop, but it’s one of the best laptops, period. It’s not the only excellent thin and light laptop worth considering, though. These are our favorites.

The best thin and light gaming laptops at a glance:

Razer Blade 14

Razer Blade 14 front view showing display and keyboard deck.

Why you should buy this: It’s the best thin and light gaming laptop you can buy.

Who’s it for: Anyone who wants a thin and light laptop but doesn’t want to give up any gaming prowess.

Why we chose the Razer Blade 14:

The Razer Blade 14 epitomizes the thin and light laptops on this list. It’s thin and light, of course, at 0.66 inches and 3.9 pounds. It’s also elegantly designed with its all-black aluminum chassis and just a single green Razer logo on the lid. You get per-key RGB backlighting, which gamers want, and that’s the most apparent visible nod to this being a gaming laptop.

Inside, you’ll find a blazing-fast 8-core, 16-thread AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX CPU that makes it a powerhouse for CPU-intensive games, and you can configure up to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 GPU. Even the base RTX 3060 will let you play most games at 1440p and high settings. Razer designed the thermals to handle long-term gaming sessions while maintaining performance.

The Razer Blade 14 utilizes a 14-inch, 16:9, 1440p IPS display with a 165Hz refresh rate, providing both high resolution and a high refresh rate. There’s simply not a better thin and light gaming machine available today.

Read our in-depth Razer Blade 14 review

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 top view showing dots and vents.

Why you should buy this: It’s a solid alternative to the best thin and light gaming laptop.

Who’s it for: Anyone who wants a thin and light gaming laptop with a bit more gaming aesthetic.

Why we chose the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14:

The Razer Blade 14 is the best 14-inch thin and light gaming laptop, but the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 deserves an honorable mention. It’s 0.70 inches thick, which is a hair more than the Razer, but it’s also lighter at 3.5 pounds. The ROG Zephyrus G14 also has a more gamer-inspired aesthetic for those who want their laptop to stand out. The laptop sports an optional AniMe Matrix Display design on the lid that uses LEDs to create patterns and designs. The Asus also has a more aggressive style, with large vents along the sides and back that scream “gaming.”

The ROG Zephyrus G14 is also a powerful gaming machine with up to an AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS (albeit a specialized 35-watt version compared to the usual 45 watts). The “S” stands for slim, allowing it to fit into a thinner chassis and remain cool. GPU options include the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 and 1660 Ti at the low end and the RTX 2060 at the high end. Those are not as powerful as the Razer Blade 14, but it’s enough for maxed-out 1080p gaming.

Display options include a 16:9 QHD (2,560 x 1,440) IPS panel at 60Hz or a Full HD IPS screen at 120Hz. That’s a good match for the ROG Zephyrus G14‘s performance. If you want a thin and light gaming laptop that looks like a gaming laptop, then this is the one for you.

Read our in-depth Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 review

Razer Blade 15

Fortnite running a Razer Blade 15.

Why you should buy this: It’s the best thin and light 15-inch gaming laptop.

Who’s it for: Anyone who wants a 15-inch gaming laptop but doesn’t want the typical 15-inch size and weight.

Why we chose the Razer Blade 15:

For quite some time, the Razer Blade 15 topped our list of the best gaming laptops. It’s gorgeous, with the iconic Razer all-black chassis and green logo on the lid, and an elegant design that’s simple yet lovely. In those respects, it’s much like the Razer Blade 14 that replaced it at the top. Like its smaller sibling, the Razer Blade 15’s one nod to gamers is the per-key RGB keyboard backlighting. You can get the laptop as thin as 0.62 inches depending on the model, with a weight of 4.6 pounds.

If you’re looking for a 15-inch gaming laptop that’s thin and light, then the Razer Blade 15 is the best around. It offers a plethora of configurations utilizing Intel 10th- and 11th-gen Core i7 and i9 H-series CPUs and GPUs ranging from the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 to the RTX 3080. It’s fast enough for playing modern titles at 4K with graphics turned up.

You also have a choice of displays, including Full HD IPS at 144Hz, QHD IPS at 240Hz, and UHD (3,840 x 2,160) OLED at 60Hz. The Razer Blade 15 is a powerful machine that only narrowly loses out to the Razer Blade 14 on this list.

Read our in-depth Razer Blade 15 review

Alienware x15

Alienware X15 front view showing display and keyboard deck profile.

Why you should buy this: It’s the second-best thin and light 15-inch gaming laptop.

Who’s it for: Anyone who wants a 15-inch gaming laptop that’s not just thin but packed with technology.

Why we chose the Alienware x15:

The Razer Blade 15 is the tiniest bit thinner than the Alienware X15 at 0.62 inches compared with 0.64 inches and it’s lighter at 4.6 pounds compared to 5.2 pounds, but the Alienware is packed full of technology. It all starts with Alienware’s Cryo-Tech thermal design, which uses quad fans and exotic materials like encapsulated gallium-silicone to ensure adequate cooling for the high-end components packed away inside. It also looks more like a gaming laptop, with a space-age design that includes RGB lighting along the rear edge, stylized venting, and per-key RGB keyboard backlighting.

Even though it’s very thin and light for a more traditionally styled gaming laptop, it maintains power-packed components inside. You can choose between 11th-gen Intel Core i7-11800H and Core i9-11900H CPUs, and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 or RTX 3070 GPUs. RAM runs up to 32GB and 1TB of SSD storage is available. The Alienware X15 is powerful enough for running modern titles at the highest graphics settings.

Display options include a 15.6-inch FHD IPS display at 165Hz and an FHD IPS display at 360Hz with G-Sync. The Alienware X15 is the modernistic thin and light laptop on this list.

Acer Predator Triton 500 SE

Acer Predator Triton 500 SE front view showing display and keyboard deck.

Why you should buy this: It’s the best 16-inch gaming laptop.

Who’s it for: Anyone who wants a slightly larger gaming laptop without breaking their back.

Why we chose the Acer Predator Triton 500 SE:

The Acer Predator Triton 500 SE isn’t the thinnest or lightest laptop on this list, coming in at 0.78 inches thick and weighing 5.4 pounds. But it’s a 16-inch laptop, offering a little bit more size than either of the 15-inch laptops on our list, but not quite matching the girth of the MSI GS76 Stealth that sports a 17-inch display. Its design is mostly conservative, with only some aggressive venting and per-key RGB keyboard backlighting giving it away as a gaming machine.

Like most of the gaming laptops here, Intel’s 11th-gen Core i7-11800H and Core i9-11900H and Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3070 and RTX 3080 GPU power the gaming experience. Even the base configuration of a Core i7 and RTX 3070 will run today’s games at 1440p and maximum graphics, aided by up to 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD.

There’s only one display option, an IPS display in the 16:10 aspect ratio with a WQXGA (2,560 x 1,600) resolution and 165Hz refresh rate. The Acer Predator Triton 500 SE balances screen size with powerful components, earning a spot on this list.

MSI GS76 Stealth

MSI GS76 Stealth front view showing display and keyboard deck.

Why you should buy this: It’s the best 17-inch thin and light gaming laptop.

Who’s it for: Anyone who wants an truly massive display in a thin and light gaming laptop.

Why we chose the MSI GS76 Stealth:

If you want a massive display but still don’t want to lug around a massive gaming laptop, the MSI GS76 Stealth is for you. It packs a 17.3-inch display into a chassis that’s just 0.80 inches thick and weighs 5.4 pounds. That’s not a lot for a powerful laptop in this class. Like the Razer laptops, the GS76 Stealth has an all-black chassis with minimal venting, and its keyboard is its standout gaming design feature.

You’re not limited in performance, though. You can choose either an 11th-gen Core i7-11800H or a Core i9-11900H CPU, and the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060, 3070, and 3080 are the GPU options. That’s good enough for gaming at 4K with graphical details turned all the way up in almost any game.

You can choose between three display options. The UHD IPS panel runs at 60Hz, the QHD screen at 240Hz, and the Full HD display at a whopping 360Hz. The MSI GS76 Stealth will meet your large-screen gaming needs, and then some.

Asus ROG Flow X13

Playing Fortnite on the ROG Flow X13.

Why you should buy this: It’s the best 13-inch thin and light gaming laptop.

Who’s it for: Anyone who wants the most portable gaming laptop but doesn’t want to give up the power.

Why we chose the Asus ROG Flow X13:

There aren’t many 13-inch gaming laptops — and for good reason. It’s hard to pack gaming-level performance into such a tiny package. Razer did it with its Stealth 13, but that’s been superseded by the Asus ROG Flow X13. Not only is the ROG Flow X13 thin at 0.62 inches and light at 2.87 pounds, it’s also a 360-degree convertible with active pen support. It’s useful for more than just playing games.

It’s also surprisingly powerful, with an AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS or 5980HS CPU and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU. That’s if you buy the configuration that’s not bundled with the XG Mobile expansion dock. If you buy a bundle, you’ll get an RTX 3050 inside the chassis and up to an RTX 3080 in the dock. That makes the ROG Flow X13 not just fast enough for modern titles at 1080p and medium graphics, but upgradable to handle 4K gaming at higher graphical settings.

We also love that the display is in the taller 16:10 aspect ratio, which is unusual for gaming laptops. The ROG Flow X13 can be purchased with either a 13.4-inch IPS Full HD+ (1,920 x 1,200) panel at 120Hz or a UHD+ (3,840 x 2,400) screen at 60Hz. And all of that can fit most comfortably in your backpack.

Read our in-depth Asus ROG Flow X13 review

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