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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

Choosing the best gaming laptop is easy when you’ve got deep pockets or have a couple of thousand dollars to spare. You can pick the biggest and baddest around, and not have to worry about performance and features. It’s when your budget is more limited that getting a great gaming laptop becomes trickier.

Lucky for us, component manufacturers have been producing better and more affordably-priced CPUs and GPUs without compromising on power. In fact, the latest internals like the Intel Comet Lake and AMD Big Navi chips as well as the Nvidia RTX 3000 series are more capable yet also affordable than ever. That means that best gaming laptops can be just as capable as any gaming PC without costing a fortune and while keeping things portable and space-saving like the best Ultrabooks and some of the best laptops.

What does that mean to you, the consumers? Well, now you can take one of the best gaming laptops home no matter your budget, which leads us to our list. We put together the best of the best out there, with options for all budgets. Whichever one you pick however, we guarantee it’ll let you dive into your favorite games, from the free PC games and the best free games on Steam to the best laptop games and the best PC games – all without tethering you to a desk.

Gaming on the go is best done on one of the best gaming laptops so take a look at our picks below. Then round out your gaming rig with the best gaming mouse, the best gaming keyboard, and the best gaming monitor without spending a ton.

Best gaming laptops 2021

Asus Zephyrus G15 on a white background, with the ROG logo on the display. The gaming laptop is at an angle.

(Image credit: Asus)

1. Asus ROG Zephyrus G15

Desktop-replacement performance

Specifications
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5800H – 9 5900HS
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 – 3080
RAM: Up to 32GB
Screen: 15.6-inch QHD (1440p), 165Hz, 3ms, 300 nits
Storage: 1TB
Reasons to buy
+Outstanding performance+Incredible battery life+Great price
Reasons to avoid
-No webcam-Tenkeyless keyboard

The Asus ROG Zephyrus line has produced some of the best gaming laptops out there, and the new ROG Zephyrus G15 is no exception. Fitted with the latest and most powerful AMD Ryzen and Nvidia RTX 3000 series, they’re incredibly powerful and able to see you through the most demanding games. Of course, that legendary battery life has made an appearance, as well as that stylish chassis. If you want a high performing gaming laptop that’s affordably-priced to boot, nothing beats this one.

Read the full review: Asus ROG Zephyrus G15

The Asus TUF Dash F15 from the side, where you can see the gaming laptop's left-side ports. There's an Asus TUF logo on the display.

(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

The Gigabyte Aorus 17G on a white background. The gaming laptop is open and has the Aorus 17G logo, along with a badge advertising its Omron switches.

(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)

Alienware m17 R4 at an angle on a white background. The gaming laptop is open, with a screenshot of Halo: The Master Chief Collection. You can see the right-side ports, along with some ventilation.

(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)

Asus ROG Strix G15 AMD Advantage Edition. The gaming laptop is shot from the back, showing the Asus ROG logo and the red accent on the back of the device.

(Image credit: Asus)

5. Asus ROG Strix G15 AMD Advantage Edition

AMD's swing at the high-end

Specifications
CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX
Graphics: AMD Radeon RX 6800M
RAM: 16GB
Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1080pp), 300Hz
Storage: 512GB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Excellent performance+Jaw-dropping battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Some growing pains

Powerful great-value laptops aren’t exactly a dime a dozen, so when one does come out every now and then, we’re only too happy to test it out. The Asus ROG Strix G15 AMD Advantage Edition, one of the latest best value laptops to hit the streets, is AMD’s successful swing at the high-end, boasting AMD’s top processor and GPU. But, it isn’t just its performance that takes center stage here. That battery life is astounding as well, especially considering those powerful specs.

Read the full review: Asus ROG Strix G15 AMD Advantage Edition

Razer Blade 17 on a white background. The gaming laptop is open, and there's a colorful background with the Razer Logo in the center. It's very colorful.

(Image credit: Razer)

6. 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)

Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 G733 on a white background. The gaming laptop is open, and there's a pink and purple background on the screen with the Asus ROG logo.

(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

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro on a white background. The laptop is open, and there's a colorful background on the display with the Legion logo and what looks like black rocks surrounding it.

(Image credit: Lenovo)

8. Lenovo Legion 5 Pro

Nearly perfect

Specifications
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5800H
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 – 3070
RAM: 16GB DDR4 3200MHz
Screen: 16-inch 2560 x 1600 IPS 500 nits, 165Hz
Storage: Up to 2TB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD
Reasons to buy
+Incredible gaming performance+Fantastic QHD display+Excellent hardware controls
Reasons to avoid
-On the heavy side-Fairly generic design

Hands down one of the best gaming laptops we’ve tested, the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro comes with all the makings of a nearly perfect portable for gaming. Its incredible performance is matched only by that gorgeous QHD IPS screen with up to 500 nits of brightness, Dolby Vision, and up to a 165Hz refresh rate. It also boasts excellent hardware controls, admirable battery life, and a full-sized keyboard. Budget-minded gamers will also appreciate the fact that while it’s among the best in its class, it’s also reasonably priced, making it a better value than its peers.

Read the full review: Lenovo Legion 5 Pro

Dell G5 15 SE (2020) on a white background. The gaming laptop is turned to the side, where you can see the ports, along with the Dell logo on the back of the laptop. You can also see the venting on the back of the device.

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 gaming laptop, some sacrifices have been made – namely, in the chassis and with heat management. However, this is still a great gaming laptop.

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

Razer Blade 14

(Image credit: Razer)

10. Razer Blade 14

Portability and performance

Specifications
CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 – 3080
RAM: 16GB
Screen: 14-inch 144Hz Full HD – 14-inch 165Hz QHD
Storage: 1TB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Beautiful chassis+Rigid+Thin and light
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Lower performance than other laptops

A luxurious portable option comes in the form of a Razer, naturally. The manufacturer’s latest gaming laptop release, the Razer Blade 14, comes with lots of power with a Ryzen 9 from the 5000 series as well as the most powerful Nvidia 3000 graphics. That means you can pretty much play the latest AAA game on it without lugging around a heavy device around with you. At 0.66 inches thick and just under 4lb, that thin and light chassis is definitely a boon to gamers who often travel. Luckily, it also boasts a luxe design so you won’t hesitate to pull it out at a cafe or on a train. Of course, things are still solid, from performance to build.

Read the full review: Razer Blade 14