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Best gaming laptops 2021: top laptops to game on

Best gaming laptops
(Image credit: Future)
PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

The best gaming laptops of 2021 are proving that they can hang with the best gaming PCs, offering exceptionally impressive performance that’s almost on par with their desktop counterparts. That’s while getting even thinner and lighter year after year. 

Featuring powerful processors like Intel Comet Lake, the newest AMD Big Navi or Nvidia RTX 3000 series GPUs, and incredibly quick RAM, the best gaming laptops are unmatched when it comes to gaming on the go. A few of them even rival the size as well as battery life of the best laptops 2021, all while staying uncompromised on performance. 

The best gaming laptops offer that unrivalled combination of portability, feature set, and performance that let you dive into the most graphics-heavy PC games (or just the best free games on Steam, if you're on a budget) without tethering you to a desk. For those who just don’t have space for a full-fledged desktop PC or want to game on the go, these gaming monsters are the perfect solutions.

Complete your gaming setup with the best gaming mouse and the best gaming keyboard. Need a bigger screen? We found the best gaming monitors as well.

Best gaming laptops 2021

Best gaming laptops: Asus Zephyrus G14

The Asus Zephyrus G14 is an absolute beast of a gaming laptop. (Image credit: Asus)

1. Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

The best gaming laptop around

Specifications
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 4800HS – 9 4900HS
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060
RAM: Up to 32GB
Screen: 14-inch Non-glare Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS-level panel, 120Hz – 14-inch Non-glare WQHD (2560 x 1440) IPS-level panel, 60Hz
Storage: 512GB / 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0
Reasons to buy
+Best battery life in a gaming laptop+Excellent performance+Thin and light
Reasons to avoid
-No webcam-Fans can get loud

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is not perfect, missing a webcam and a Thunderbolt 3 port. However, it’s damn near close to being one, garnering our coveted yet rarely given five-star rating. We couldn’t resist. This is an absolute beast of a gaming laptop, delivering an incredible performance with its AMD Ryzen 4000 processors and Nvidia RTX 2060 graphics card while touting best-in-class battery life that will last you all day long, a fast display with a 120Hz refresh rate and a lightweight, ultrathin design. The best part is that you’re getting all that without burning a hole in your pocket. Don’t get us wrong; it isn’t cheap. However, for a laptop this impressive, we’re surprised Asus isn’t asking for more.

Read the full review: Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 

Best gaming laptops: Asus TUF Dash F15

(Image credit: Asus)

2. Asus TUF Dash F15

Affordable CAN mean sheer power

Specifications
CPU: Up to Intel Core i7-11375H
Graphics: Up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070
RAM: Up to 16GB DDR4-3200
Screen: Up to 15.6-inch WQHD anti-glare 165Hz IPS-level display with Adaptive Sync
Storage: Up to 1TB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Long battery life+Super thin and light+Strong gaming performance
Reasons to avoid
-No webcam-Keyboard lighting color can't be changed

The Asus TUF line is no stranger to affordable great performers. Last year’s Asus TUF A15, for instance, was simply brilliant while keeping things accessible to budget-conscious gamers. The Asus TUF Dash F15 is back to preserve that affordability while also delivering brute strength. It brings in Intel Tiger Lake processors, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3000 mobile GPUs, and up to a 240Hz 1080p display without costing a fortune while also keeping things light, thin, and military-grade durable.

Read the full review: Asus TUF Dash F15

Best gaming laptops: Gigabyte Aorus 17G (2021)

(Image credit: Gigabyte)

3. Gigabyte Aorus 17G (2021)

New age hardware, old school vibes

Specifications
CPU: 10th-generation Intel Core i7
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3000 Series
RAM: Up to 64GB
Display: 17.3-inch FHD 300Hz NTSC 72% IPS panel
Storage: 512 GB PCIe SSD
Reasons to buy
+Incredible mechanical keyboard+Powerful gaming performance+300 Hz display
Reasons to avoid
-No upgraded design-Extremely heavy

A tactile mechanical keyboard and a 300Hz refresh rate display are just the beginning. The Gigabyte Aorus 17G (2021) touts an incredible gaming performance that might just be worthy of desktop gaming PCs. With one of the RTX 3000 GPUs under the hood, this will see you through the most graphics-intensive games, including competitive ones. And, because of its impressive battery life, you can do so away from a power source.

Read the full review: Gigabyte Aorus 17G (2021)

Best gaming laptops: Alienware m17 R4 (2021)

(Image credit: Dell)

4. Alienware m17 R4 (2021)

Big. Powerful. Beautiful.

Specifications
CPU: Up to 10th Generation Intel Core i9-10980HK
Graphics: Up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080
RAM: Up to 32GB DDR4 2933MHz
Screen: 17.3" UHD 60Hz 25ms 500-nits display
Storage: Up to 4TB SSD + 512GB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Blazing fast performance+Stylish chassis+Plenty of ports
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Basically no battery life

It’s not always going to be substance over style. The Alienware m17 series continues to prove this with the new Alienware m17 R4, an extremely powerful gaming laptop with plenty of ports and an extremely stylish chassis that lights up like a Christmas tree. That way, you can play all the latest AAA games smoothing and in style. Of course, this being one of the fastest gaming laptops in 2021, it won’t be cheap. However, if you have the money, you’ll be glad you chose this.

Read the full review: Alienware m17 R4 (2021)

Best gaming laptops: Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021)

(Image credit: Future)

5. Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021)

RTX 3000 gaming goodness

Specifications
CPU: 10th-generation Intel Core i7
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 – 3080
RAM: Up to 32GB
Screen: 17.3" Full HD 360Hz – 17.3" 4K Touch 120Hz
Storage: 512GB – 1TB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Extremely powerful+Gorgeous display+Great performance at 1080p
Reasons to avoid
-Very expensive-Gaming at 4K needs tweaking

If you’re looking for an absolute beast, the best gaming laptop for you might just be this follow-up to Razer’s 17-inch leviathan. More than just a gaming portable, it makes for an excellent mobile workstation for creators as well – although gamers who have the cash will appreciate the RTX 3000 GPU, up to 64GB of memory, and display with fast refresh rates. It’s pretty expensive, though, so unless you need all that power or you just have the money to throw away, you really have to make sure you’ll make the most of it.

Read the full review: Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021)

Best gaming laptops: Asus ROG Zephyrus M15 GU502

(Image credit: Asus)

6. Asus ROG Zephyrus M15 GU502

Intel’s latest mobile tech brings its A-game

Specifications
CPU: 10th-generation Intel Core i7
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660Ti – RTX 2070 Super
RAM: 16GB
Screen: 15.6-inch 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) 16:9 anti-glare display, 60Hz – 15.6-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS, 144Hz
Storage: 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD
Reasons to buy
+Excellent battery life+Good gaming performance+Fast screen
Reasons to avoid
-Not the most powerful-You're paying a lot for the design

Those in the market for a mid-range gaming device might adore the Asus ROG Zephyrus M15 GU502. It’s a great-looking piece of kit, serving as another entry to Asus’ much-vaunted ROG Zephyrus lineup of stylish thin and light gaming laptops. And, that fast screen makes it a joy for gamers with a predilection for fast-paced games. However, does it measure up to the most powerful laptops out there? While not cutting-edge, the Asus ROG Zephyrus M15 GU502’s specs are decent for graphically intensive games and its battery can last a while, which makes it a great candidate if you’re not looking for a maxed out machine.

Read the full review: Asus ROG Zephyrus M15 GU502

Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 G733

(Image credit: Asus)

7. Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 G733

The best of AMD and Nvidia

Specifications
CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080
RAM: 16GB – 64GB
Screen: 17.3-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) 16:9 anti-glare – 17.3-inch WQHD (2560 x 1440) 16:9 anti-glare display
Storage: 1TB + 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0
Reasons to buy
+Excellent performance+Cool design+Brilliant mechanical keyboard
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Poor battery life

One of the most powerful gaming laptops that money can buy in 2021, the Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 G733 barely breaks a sweat. That excellent performance is due to the impressive specs it’s kitted out with, which also sadly put out of most people’s reach, price-wise. If you can afford it, however, there are a few other things you’ll love about it, including that unapologetic design that lights up like Christmas due to its resplendent RGB lighting and that optical mechanical keyboard that’s simply one of the best we've experienced on a laptop. This is among the best of the best out there, and a worthy consideration if you’re not limited by your budget.

Read the full review: Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 G733

Gigabyte Aorus 17G

(Image credit: Gigabyte)

8. Gigabyte Aorus 17G

Big, powerful, industrial

Specifications
CPU: 10th-generation Intel Core i7 – i9
Graphics: up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Super with Max-Q
RAM: Up to 64GB DDR4
Screen: 17.3-inch Thin Bezel 240Hz FHD 1920x1080 anti-glare display LCD
Storage: 2x M.2 SSD
Reasons to buy
+Excellent performance+Top-shelf build quality+Fast and color accurate display
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Heavy

If you want an absolute beast of a gaming laptop, Gigabyte’s Aorus 17G is a worthy candidate both inside and out. While this megalithic portable has a substantial weight of 5.95Ib to match, it’s a small price to pay for such power inside – namely, 10th-generation processors and up to 64GB of memory, as well as Nvidia’s most powerful RTX and Super RTX cards. There’s nothing this laptop can handle (or annihilate), making it a prime example of what a next-generation desktop replacement can be. And, that’s without mentioning its 1080p display touting a whopping 240Hz refresh rate and its solid build. Just be ready to break that piggy bank, as this won’t be cheap.

Read the full review: Gigabyte Aorus 17G

Dell G5 15 SE (2020)

The Dell G5 15 SE (2020) boasts impressive AMD specs, especially in the CPU department. (Image credit: Dell)

9. Dell G5 15 SE (2020)

A fantastic value

Specifications
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 4600H – 7 4800H
Graphics: AMD Radeon RX 5600M
RAM: 8GB – 16GB
Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-Glare LED Backlight Non-Touch Narrow Border WVA Display – 15.6 inch FHD(1920x1080) 300nits WVA Anti-Glare LED Backlit Display(non-touch), 144Hz refresh rate
Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Excellent CPU performance+Very affordable for a gaming laptop+Quick and vibrant display
Reasons to avoid
-Gets pretty hot under strain-Plastic build feels flimsy

Though Dell has its premium lines, it’s also been very good at building excellent budget machines. The Dell G5 15 SE (2020) is a very good example of that, touting impressive AMD specs, especially in the CPU department, to keep cost down without compromising performance. This is among the very few gaming laptops out there that are affordable and also deliver a staggering performance for the price, with a stunning display to boot. Of course, being a budget laptop, some sacrifices have been made – namely, its build and heat management. However, for the budget-minded, this is certainly among the best gaming laptops out there for gaming.

Read the full review: Dell G5 15 SE (2020)

Razer Blade Stealth 13 (Late 2020)

(Image credit: Razer)

10. Razer Blade Stealth 13 (Late 2020)

The gaming Ultrabook returns

Specifications
CPU: 11th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics – Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti
RAM: Up to 16GB
Screen: 13.4" 60Hz Full HD – 13.3" 120Hz Full HD
Storage: Up to 512GB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Sleek and quality design+Solid gaming performance+THX Spatial Audio
Reasons to avoid
-Average battery life-Mediocre speakers

The world’s first gaming ultrabook is back with updated internals. Unlike most gaming laptops out there, this offering from Razer is incredibly thin – so thin, in fact, it’s thinner than a MacBook Pro 16-inch. While that forces it to sacrifice a bit of power, it still delivers a solid gaming performance that’s good enough if you want to play or game competitively while traveling or on the go. The fact that it offers a 1080p display with 120GHz refresh rate and four stereo speakers capable of delivering 7.1 surround sound using THX Spatial Audio helps as well.

Read the full review: Razer Blade Stealth 13 (Late 2020)

Choosing the best gaming laptop

When choosing the best gaming laptop for you, there are a few things you must take into account.

First and foremost, the most crucial thing to consider in the best gaming laptops is how well they play the latest games. When creating this list, not only do we delve deep into the specifications of each gaming laptop to see if they are up to snuff, but we also run benchmarks on each one to check out the raw performance.

Benchmarks only tell part of the story however. So, we also make sure we play a number of the latest games on each laptop to see just how well they perform. It's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it.

Display, sound quality, keyboard, trackpad and the overall design of the laptop matter as well, so these are definitely things you’d want to check out before hitting that buy button.

In fact, if the device scores highly in all these areas, it has a good chance of making it to our best gaming laptops 2021 list. That means you can buy any of the best gaming laptops in this list in full confidence that you're getting a killer gaming device that will last you for years to come.