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.
- These are the best budget gaming PCs of 2021
- Here are the best free PC games right now
- These top-notch Dell laptops are worth checking out as well
Best gaming laptops 2021
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
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
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)
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)
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)
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
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
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
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)
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.