Here are some of the best gaming laptops in 2021 to buy with your eyes closed (but open enough to read our reviews for why).
Gaming laptops are swiftly getting more powerful and modern. The best upcoming gaming laptops of 2021 should match the performance of a desktop PC, as cooling technologies have come a long way in laptops.
It’s recommended to get an RTX gaming laptop now that most game creators have started utilizing the extra power that comes with it.
The list below is updated to include the best laptops of 2021 that can take your gaming experience to a whole new level.
1. ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX701 – (Best RTX)
ASUS, once again has topped the list and is one of the most praised among gaming beast makers. The legendary Zephyrus line-up is famous for its unconventional design, where the keyboard comes lower to the palm rest area and touch pad lies to the right of it.
A touch-sensitive numpad is incorporated into the touch pad which lights up in bright red. The overall design of the chassis is superb as is slim and lightweight. You can even use it as your daily use laptop in addition to gaming.
Its Core i7-9750h Hexa-Core processor and RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU, throw in enough power to let you play any AAA title smoothly. RTX GPUs have recently made it to laptops and their performance is exceptional. For storage, you get 1 TB PCIe SSD which is the ultimate end and its RAM under the hood is 32 GB DDR 4.
What’s even better is the display, you get a massive 17 inches FHD screen with a refresh rate of 144 Hz. The refresh rate alone is enough to make it a best performing gaming laptop in 2021.
The keyboard on GX701 offers outstanding comfort and comes with per-key RGB lightning. The keys are well-placed for long gaming sessions. One downside is that the GX701 offers only 2 hours of battery backup which should have been 3 to 4 hours at least. More, you get a decent set of ports that will sort out all your connectivity needs. You can read our review of the Zephyrus S GX701 here.
2. MSI GS75 Stealth – (Best Max-Q)
Second on our list of the best laptops in 2021 for gaming is the MSI GS75 Stealth. This is one stunning, sexy looking machine which is sleek, lightweight and clean. Compare it to a clean cut Armani suit, and you’re there. There are no unnecessary cuts on the chassis and offers one hell of a performance.
Comparing the performance of this laptop with the Asus GX701 mentioned above, both of them are almost on the same league. However, this one comes with a lower storage and is slightly behind in performance. But with a 17 inches crisp display coupled with an RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU, it can smoothly run any game that you throw at it.
Under the hood, it is powered by a Core i7-8750H processor with 32 GB of RAM which makes it good enough to run over 40 Google Chrome tabs without any issues. The RTX 2080 GPU makes it an amazing gaming performer and even enables this beast for VR gaming.
With all that power, the battery on this machine isn’t going to impress you, but it gives you a decent backup of 2 hours and 30 minutes under normal use.
Within the optimal range for key-travel at 1.5 mm and actuation at 71 grams, the keyboard on this laptop would be a pleasure to use. Also, each key is individually RGB back-lit which makes it a lot more fun. The touchpad, however, is a slightly elongated one and will take some getting used to.
Its 17.3 inches display with a resolution of 1080p and a 144 Hz refresh rate is definitely impressive. The display is also bright and vivid. Coming to the ports, you get almost all the ports you’d need, including an RJ45 and a Thunderbolt 3.
3. Razer Blade Pro 17 2019 – (Best 4k)
Following its predecessors, Razer Blade Pro 17 2019 still comes with a CNC aluminium chassis, per-key backlighting of over 16.8 millions colors and sleek design as always. Although this is one of the best gaming laptops of 2021, the only thing that prevents it from being an ideal choice is the heavy price tag.
It costs above $3000 which is a high price for many, but there are no doubts about its fantastic performance, making it one of the most powerful gaming laptops to have ever made. The overall design of the laptop is pretty clean, bearing just a logo on the back, which as always is the three-headed snake.
Performance wise, the Razer Blade Pro is a power house, packing the 9th Gen Intel Core i7 9750H 6 core processor alongside 16 GB RAM and 512 GB SSD storage. It also bags the latest RTX 2080 Max-Q which is the most powerful GPU so far in gaming laptops.
The display on this laptop is 17.3 inches with a refresh rate of 144 Hz and 4k resolution. This configuration helps it go beyond 80 or even 90 fps in most games. This definitely is going to be one sweet game-play.
Either sides of the laptop come equipped with plenty of ports to do a lot, including USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A and Type-C ports. Usually, a 17 inches laptop will have a full size keyboard with a numpad included in it, but here it’s a bit different. You do not get a numpad in it because of speakers on either side of the keyboard.
These top mounted speakers are loud and honestly, you won’t be needing an external pair. The keyboard of the Razer Blade Pro has a decent space between the keys, with a key-travel of 1.1 mm and actuation of 79 grams, both of these metrics are a bit out of the optimal range but they work fine. The battery stays alive for over 3 hours which is good for a gaming laptop of this caliber.
4. Acer Predator Triton 900 – (Best Powerful)
Triton 900 by Acer is one of the best gaming machines to get in 2021 as it’s something totally out of the box! The odd flex it has for its screen becomes a positive and a negative at the same time.
While some people view it as a next-gen technological gadget, others find it odd and skip it because it is not a normal laptop. So why is it number 4 on our list of best gaming laptops of 2021? The answer to this is the power inside this beast.
This gaming laptop rocks an RTX 2080 GPU along with a touch enabled 4K display. Apart from gaming, it is one hell of a laptop for designing and video content creators as well. For processing, you get Intel Core i7-9750H and 32 GB DDR 4 RAM. And similar to all other massive things in this package, you get 1 TB of SSD storage as well. Its 17.3 inches display is backed by G-Sync which obviously enhances the quality and decreases tearing.
When it comes to the keyboard, this gaming laptop has got some nice keys that feel as if they are from a mechanical keyboard. You also get other features like per-key RGB backlighting and the touchpad on it sits to the right of the keyboard.
But, it’s not just a touchpad, it comes with an embedded numpad which you can use whenever needed. The audio performance is a bit unbalanced but delivers deep and punchy bass.
5. Lenovo Legion Y740 – (Best Keyboard)
Legion Y740 is an amazing performer and has a relevantly sleek design. It will get you some pretty amazing FPS and raw gaming power, but the display on this beast might not impress everyone.
While there are no issues with resolution of the display, it’s rather the lack of brightness which might push some people away from this gaming beast. Apart from this, for gaming, it is an unbeatable gaming notebook.
The keys on the keyboard have 1.2 mm travel and require 69 grams of actuation force, which makes it an optimal gaming keyboard. In addition, it has got per-key backlighting and you can choose between many RGB themes which are awesome. Similarly, the touchpad on this laptop is good and responsive.
For ports, you get pretty much everything you’d expect and some of them lie on the backside of the laptop. The battery on the Legion Y740 lasts around 2 hours and 30 minutes when used for normal work like browsing.
With an Intel Core i7-8750H Processor, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD, and RTX 2080 GPU, this is definitely one hell of a gaming machine. The 17.3 inches display is backed by Nvidia G-Sync, and has FHD resolution. Had it been a better display, the Legion Y740 would have been among the top 3 of best gaming laptops that you can get today.
6. ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX531GW – (Best Lightweight and Budget Friendly)
The GX531 has multiple variants, but the GW variant comes up as a powerful yet budget option. Its price remains below $2000 and still has an RTX series GPU alongside a good display and audio performance. Design wise, it can become your daily pal because of its portable nature. It is sleek and is not too heavy either.
Also, typical of the ROG Zephyrus, the keyboard has been pushed down towards the palm rest area and the touchpad lies to the right of it.
An RTX 2070 is responsible for its graphical powers and is only second to the RTX 2080 in performance and therefore the price of laptop also comes down a tad. This GPU is capable of playing all AAA titles and will give above average performance for normal usage as well.
Coming to the specs, you get an Intel Core i7-8750H with 16 GB RAM and a 512 GB SSD. This is standard for all good gaming laptops these days. The display you get is 15.6 inches FHD with precise colors and impressive brightness.
The keyboard comes with amazing looking RGB backlighting. Although the keyboard is oddly placed, once you get used to it, this won’t be an issue at all. Under normal use, the battery goes 2 hours but not beyond that. This isn’t great, but since it’s a gaming laptop most people wouldn’t worry about this. Finally, for connectivity, it has almost everything on it including USB-C.
7. MSI GV63 8SE-014 – (Best Battery Life)
The GV63 lies a bit on the bulky side, it is heavy, not very sleek and so the portability dies there. Well, you can take it around for gaming tournaments or from home to college, but in terms of using it as your daily work laptop, it won’t happen.
And for this reason it comes at a lower price, also the specs are not ultimate either. What it hides under the hood makes it an above average gaming laptop, but you may face some issues with VR use.
Also, it has got too many cuts and accents all over the chassis which comes down to personal preference. Some may like it and some, not so much.
Speaking of the performance, although it heats a bit when under load, there is no drop in the gaming performance at all. Because of the heat dissipated, it is better to use it on a table or other hard surface but not your lap.
For graphics, you get an RTX 2060 which means you get ray tracing but not the ultimate graphics performance, although this is good enough for most games out there. Coming to the specs, you get an Intel Core i7-8750H processor with 16GB of RAM, 256GB SSD and a secondary 1TB Hard Drive.
The display on this laptop is exceptional. It’s a 15.6 inches FHD display with a refresh rate of 120 Hz which is a bonus at such a price. Also, there is nothing to complain when it comes to the brightness and colors. Now comes the best part, the keyboard you get is by SteelSeries which means you really are going to love the way you press them and play your games.
Finally, unlike many other gaming laptops, this one has a nice battery backup. You can easily hit the 4 hours mark with normal use like browsing. And of course for gaming, like every other laptop, it needs to be plugged-in to get the best performance.
8. HP Omen X 2S 2019 – (Best Dual Screen)
We can call Omen X 2S the best unconventional gaming laptop for 2021. Firstly, because of the design, when you lift the lid, it leaves narrow spaces from the lower body. Secondly, the dual display. Its keyboard has been pushed down and an additional small display has been embedded in there.
This display allows you to do a lot without interrupting your primary gaming. Experts speculate that the secondary display might become a proper standard for gaming laptops in the future.
Talking about the specs, you get an Intel i7-9750H Processor with 16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD and an RTX 2070 GPU. There is also an RTX 2080 variant available but the price for that is above $3000. On the contrary, the RTX 2070 variant is around $1900.
The display is 15 inches with 1080p resolution at 144 Hz refresh rate, and is exceptionally bright and colorful. Then comes the secondary display, it basically acts like a dual monitor setup. So play music on one and it won’t affect what you are doing on the other main screen.
The best thing about the keyboard is the nice key-travel which is great for gaming. Now, there is always an issue about forward-facing keyboards and it is the lack of a palm-rest area. But that has been covered as well, HP puts in a rubber palm-rest in the package.
About the battery, it can give you a backup of over 2 hours and 30 minutes on normal use, it’s not great but isn’t bad either for a gaming laptop of this caliber. Although the laptop gets a bit hot, the performance is never compromised at any time.
9. Asus ROG Strix Hero III – (Best Value)
Rounding up the race of best laptops of 2021 for gaming is the Asus ROG Strix Hero III. It provides the best value and good performance whilst being budget friendly. Design wise, it is one sexy looking laptop and can be easily used for other purposes as well. It is pretty clean from the outside, which really gives it awesome looks. And even with power hungry components, it manages to give you a decent battery backup.
Speaking of performance, you get an Intel Core i7-9750H CPU, 16 GB RAM and a 512 GB SSD. This is what you get in other expensive gaming laptops as well, the only thing it lacks is an ultimate gaming graphics card, but it has an RTX 2060 in it which is pretty much capable of giving you good gaming power. This won’t be enough for VR, but it can handle all the AAA titles like butter. The display you get is 17.3 inches IPS with a resolution of 1920 x 1080, and not to forget, it has a refresh rate of 144Hz.
The keyboard is average for gaming, but it comes with per-key RGB backlighting which is an interesting addition in a budget gaming laptop. For connectivity, you get everything that you will be needing these days, even a USB-C port.
Battery backup on this laptop as mentioned earlier is good, it gives you battery juice for over 3 hours which is impressive for a best value gaming laptop with such power. Keep in mind that it gets hot and is better used on a hard surface like your table when playing games.
Choosing the Best Gaming Laptop
A good gaming laptop can only selected when several important factors are kept tightly in consideration. Compromising on any of these important things can spill water on your efforts towards a good gaming experience. So, make sure you pay attention to these.
The Graphics card is one of the most important components as far as gaming laptops go. If your graphics card is not up to the mark, you will face difficulties in achieving a smooth gaming experience. When it comes to the ultimate gaming laptops of 2021, AMD is seen left behind and they all pack graphics cards from Nvidia which belong to RTX or GTX series. For a better understanding, let’s break it down based on the usage of laptop.
- Entry-level Gaming: If you are a beginner and new to all this, do not compete with high-profile opponents Instead, you need to go with a GPU which is suitable for beginner level. Graphics cards like GTX 1050 or GTX 1060 are most recommended. They are powerful enough to play most games at average or above settings and they won’t cost you a big sum either. Gaming Laptops with GTX 1050 or 1060 should cost you anywhere near $1300 or somewhat above this.
- Proper Gaming: This refers to mainstream gaming where you can play most games at good settings and have nice gameplay experience. Laptops with GTX 1070, RTX 2060 or above are most recommended here. They allow you to play almost all AAA titles at good FPS and you won’t have to put in a very big amount into them either. Such gaming laptops should cost anywhere below $2000.
- Ultimate Gaming: If you want a powerful gaming laptop and your gaming involves the use of VR, then you should go for laptops having RTX 2070 or RTX 2080. These are the most powerful graphics cards that you’d find inside a gaming laptop so far. But mind the price, these laptops will probably cost over $2500.
The display of a gaming laptop is an important factor, after choosing GPU. A gaming laptop would not be worth the money or enhance your gaming life, if its display is not up to the standards. Aside from the many things mentioned below, it should be colorful, bright and have wide viewing angles.
- Size: 15 inches or above is the recommended size for gaming laptop displays. Anything below this and you won’t get the kick out of it. For sure, you can go for a lower size screen if you want your laptop to be portable but 15 inches and above will actually give you a nice gaming experience.
- Resolution: Guess what? Resolutions higher than 1080p makes the cost go up and they really aren’t worth it. But Why? Actually, a 1080p screen maxed out at its best is one hell of a view, everyone loves it. Going beyond this can become a disaster because there simply isn’t enough power provided to take them at a better FPS and refresh rate. 2k or 4k screens at 60 Hz are simply a waste of money. Definitely, in the future, this is going to become better and high resolution screens will be preferred, but for now you should stick to 1920×1080. And most importantly, do not go below 1080p either. You will come across some 4k gaming laptops, but only go for them if you really want to have a UHD screen no matter what.
- Touch Screen: Nope, touch screen takes the price higher and are useless if you use your laptop for gaming only. It’s not a bad thing to have on your laptop, it might come in handy someday but the only reason you should skip a touch screen is because the overall cost goes up with it. You can instead use that money to get a nice pair of headphones.
The three main things to keep in mind are the CPU, RAM and Storage. The last two can always be upgraded afterwards, in case you are tight on a budget at the time of purchase. But a good gaming laptop should never compromise on the CPU. Core i7 and above processors are recommended for best gaming performance, but a core i5 will work good too if you’re on a tight budget. When it comes to buying the RAM and Storage, you should not go below 16GB of RAM and a minimum of 512 GB SSD is recommended.
Just specs and performance wont do. The gaming laptop you buy only provides value if it comes with a good keyboard and audio performance as well. For keyboards, besides these two important things mentioned below, a key-travel of 1.5 mm to 2 mm and an actuation of 65 to 70 grams is recommended. Also, anti-ghosting is an important thing to have on your keyboard, it ensures that if multiple keys are pressed simultaneously, all of them will be registered and the expected actions will be performed.
- Macro Keys: These are the keys which you program yourself and use them for anything you want. There’s usually a built-in software from the manufacturer where you can do the customization. However, this feature is usually seen in high-end gaming laptops. So if you are spending a big sum, make sure you get these keys.
- Backlighting: It is not an essential thing for gaming. But without it, no gamer would prefer to buy a gaming laptop. Some keyboards will simply glow red, green or blue while others provide multiple colors at once. The latter type can offer multiple colors for specific keyboard zones or even an individual color for each key out there. But truth behold, the better this feature gets, higher goes the price.
There is no second opinion about the battery life of gaming laptops, it is not anywhere near to conventional daily use laptops, the maximum a gaming laptop could go, would be 5 or hardly 6 hours. Most gaming laptops will give you a battery backup of 2 – 3 hours and this is pretty understandable because of the power hungry components they have inside.
So, just don’t be worried about lower battery life and don’t waste any time looking for an 8 or 10 hours battery backup, those gaming laptops simply don’t exist. And it’s unrealistic when it comes to gaming.
The cliche while gaming is the preference towards using headphones during gaming sessions but you simply can’t ignore the audio performance of the laptop’s built-in speakers. Go for those which are loud and top mounted. Sometimes you may need these speakers and therefore they should be top of the line.
In 1980 to late 1990’s laptops used to be bulky and heavy but not anymore. Now, they are thin and lightweight, this is why you can consider your gaming laptop to become your daily use buddy as well. For this reason you need to understand what size would be good to carry around.
- 17 inches & above: Those with a 17 inches or larger display are not good to be carried around. Their dimensions are not suitable for many laptop bags and they are heavy too. But they provide ultimate gaming performance. So if you want such a big screen, you might as well forget about portability.
- 14 – 15 inches: This size is most recommended for portability purposes, you can carry them along very easily and at the same time they provide good gaming performance. There are many gaming notebooks with a 15 or 15.6 inches screen which are considered to be good laptops for games and at the same time are very easy to carry around.
- 13 inches & below: These sizes tend to be most portable, but at the same time the gaming performance goes down. This is obvious, you simply can’t place big and high-performing components in this size.
Among many other important things, the ports you get on your laptop are crucial to know beforehand. These days, USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 are most important ports to have on your laptop. Some also use these for charging purposes – in case you are travelling and use a portable charger, besides, they are becoming the future of ports.
Some normal laptops even these days come with USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 only, because they do everything for you. But besides these, make sure you have multiple USB-A 3.1, mini DisplayPort or HDMI etc. Also, an SD Card Reader is important for many people.
Manufactures compete all over the world for the best gaming laptops. But does it even matter? Well, one can not talk about the quality (RTX, Max-Q, 4 k, Powerful, Keyboard, Lightweight, Battery Life, Dual Screen, Connectivity or Portability) straight forward. Each best gaming laptop brand is known for a unique quality. For example, the ASUS gaming laptops have become one of the best as they are sleek and at the same time powerful.
MSI gaming laptops on the other hand are powerful gaming conglomerates, but most of the models are big and bulky with huge accents and cuts all over. With aesthetics and backlighting, Razer has got it covered for you, there simply isn’t any better backlighting technology than what Razer gaming laptops have. We our review of an Acer gaming laptop you’ll see that they are known for affordable prices and good performance, but for most of them the design still is bulky.
Or some of the best laptops for 2021 are from Lenovo and HP, though not very popular, they have a few number of models which really hit the top notch performance. Lenovo has got some serious minimal designs, but HP on the other side still come in large chassis.
Common Gaming Laptop FAQs
Buying a normal laptop for work or college isn’t daunting, anyone can recommend a laptop based on your personal preference. But when you ask yourself what is the best gaming laptop for 2021, you may not hear a lot from everyone.
We’ll be getting into the details and buying guide towards the top gaming laptop in 2021 at the end. For now, let’s get to the answers for some commonly asked questions for gaming laptops.
1. Are Gaming Laptops worth the cost?
A laptop made for the sole purpose of gaming, is always expensive. Nowadays, a laptop which can be worth considering good for gaming would be anywhere above $1500. This raises the question whether they really are worth the money. Well, they excel over gaming PCs in many ways. You get them in one unit, everything is inside it, you do not have to worry about the portability and you can even use some of them as your daily routine laptops if you put in a good amount.
Additionally, there are very few chances that you will need to repair certain components inside a laptop. Whereas in gaming PCs, you will be doing one thing or another every month. So, in short, gaming laptops are worth the money you invest.
2. Are Gaming Laptops suitable for other purposes?
Another question that most people ask is, “ will my gaming laptop in 2021 also be used as a daily use laptop?” Well, this depends on the size and form factor of the laptop. You could either go for a sleek and stylish gaming laptop or a bulky one. Some of the best new gaming laptops these days are sleek and portable, but they are expensive compared to those that are bulky in nature.
In terms of performance and technicalities, a gaming laptop can be used for anything but the only thing which may constraint it is the size and design of it. In addition to that, people argue about the battery timing. No doubt gaming laptops have a short battery life, but for normal routine tasks they can certainly give you a good battery time.
3. As a beginner, where do I start?
Experts know when, where and what the best laptops of 2021 are as they only want to explore more options and go for the ultimate best in the industry. But for beginners, or let’s say first time buyers, this may get a bit daunting. Many experts argue over this, as some say that your first best laptop for gaming should be an ultimate heavyweight in the sense that you should only use it with care and then stick to it for years to come.
This way you are future-proof and won’t have to buy another one soon. On the other hand, some recommend to go for an average level gaming laptop for now and once you are good to go, you should invest a real good amount for buying high-end gaming laptops. Personally, I think the second option is better because you can always change your mind and have a second chance to go for another brand or some other form factor.
Gaming Laptop Quick Tips
Here are a few quick tips for buying the best laptop in 2021 for gaming, you can always take the time to read the detailed buyer’s guide at the end of the page.
- Display Size: A gaming laptop having a display size of 15 inches or above is recommended. Anything below this won’t be fun as it won’t fulfil the purpose of gaming.
- Battery Life: Gaming laptops come with short battery life, this is because of the ultimate power they provide. Do not worry about it and simply don’t waste your time looking for longer battery life.
- Keyboard: Specs of gaming laptops are important, but so is the keyboard. You should really dig deep into it and get to know what features it has and whether or not it has RGB backlighting.
- Resolution: Many manufacturers and users brag about ultimate high resolutions like 4 k or 2 k. But the truth is that 1080 p is so far the best resolution, anything above is useless for gaming laptops, it simply can not reach its peak because of the limited power.
- CPU: The CPU is the brain inside a PC or laptop and therefore it needs to be fast. Make sure you stick with latest Gen processors and an i7 or above is most recommended.
- GPU: The graphics card is an important component when it comes to best gaming notebook, it definitely needs to be a powerful one. You should stick to an RTX series GPU, they are the latest and powerful. However, you can jump a bit back into GTX 1080 or 1070, they too are powerful for most games as of now. But if you are constrained on budget then a GTX 1050 can be a good option, definitely not the best.
- Upgrade Later: Things like RAM and storage can always be upgraded later. In the case that you want to compromise on something because of budget, it should be RAM and Storage. Go for 16 GB/256 GB, but do not compromise on GPU or CPU. You can always increase these specs later on, when you have cash in your pocket
With this read, we hope you find best gaming laptop in 2021 that meets your requirements.