The best gaming laptops on the market combine extremely powerful components, slick displays, high quality build design, and - of course - value for money. These rigs can help even the oldest titles in your Steam collection shine, with the very latest Nvidia, Intel and AMD internals and high-end chassis' as well.
Since the move towards more slimline, subtle form factors, though, competition for the best gaming laptop mantle has been heating up. There has never been so many brands, models, and configurations available, which can make it tricky to find out which one will suit you best.
That's where we come in. We're rounding up all the best gaming laptops on the market right now (as well as all the lowest prices from around the web). Whether you're after an RTX 3080 beast or a cheaper sub-$1,000 / £1,000 rig, you'll find plenty of options from this who's who in portable PC gaming.
Not only are the best gaming laptop brands offering some truly dazzling benchmarks, but these portable rigs are one of the only ways to get your hands on the latest generation of Nvidia GPUs (alongside the best gaming PCs). Stock has been difficult to find for a year now, and third party prices are soaring. If you're looking to run your games with as much graphical horsepower as possible, then, it might be time to take a look at some all-in-one options.
The best gaming laptops available now
The Razer Blade 14 sold the idea of smaller, 14-inch gaming powerhouses to us in our testing earlier this year. With some of the most powerful components on the market and an almost impossibly slim form factor, this is a rig to be reckoned with, and easily a contender for the best gaming laptop.
You're blending the best of both worlds here, with an AMD CPU and Nvidia GPU playing nicely together to create an incredible final experience. The 1440p display and RTX 3080 GPU sung in our testing, blowing us away with impressive handling of High and Ultra settings across a range of games. You're paying a little more for some of the most in-demand components on the market right now, but - after a bit of tinkering in heavier titles - you'll certainly get your money's worth.
That's especially true when you take the whole Razer Blade 14 as one package. There's a lot to be said for the fact that you're not just getting some high-performing components under the hood, but also in a machine that would still leave plenty of wiggle room in a backpack. The 14-inch form factor makes the power on offer all the more impressive, but we did notice ourselves wanting a slightly larger screen during certain moments, and having all that gear packed in did get a little warm at times.
Read more: Razer Blade 14 review
We got our hands on the Alienware M15 R6 and were blown away by the way it handled the RTX 3080 GPU sat inside. Not only are you getting premium components under the hood, but this machine knows how to draw out the best of them - even if you opt for a more budget-friendly configuration.
Previously Alienware's flagship range, the M15 line has been stripped back a little with the launch of the new X15. However, the price discrepancy between the two (you're paying significantly less for this model) means that this particular gaming laptop can't be beaten for value overall. You could consider the X15 technically the best Alienware gaming laptop on paper alone, but when it comes down to price and the wider market, this is the winner.
You'll find two model names on the shelves right now, the Intel-based R6 and the AMD-based R5. That means you'll find the perfect spec for your library regardless of which camp you find yourself in right now.
All of that power does come with a drawback when it comes to temperature; our testing unit ran particularly hot during intense moments, but considering the slimline body and sleek design it's easy to forgive here. Plus, there are some seriously potent configurations up for grabs, so if you're willing to put the cash into your machine you'll certainly reap the rewards.
A mechanical laptop keyboard, complete with configurable RGB, N-Key rollover and anti-ghosting feels par for the course on the best gaming laptop, but it's worth noting this is a particularly premium feature hiding in a fairly affordable machine. We rarely see these keyboards in even the most high-end rigs, so the additional attention to detail here is particularly strong.
Read more: Alienware M15 R6 review
If you're looking to grab an RTX 30-Series card but don't want to break $1,000 / £1,000, the Asus TUF Dash F15 is going to be your best bet. In our testing, we found this budget-friendly machine to charge through even some of the more demanding titles as if it sat in a much higher price bracket. Plus, you're still getting the super slimline form factor that has proven so popular over the last couple of years.
The key here is that you can outfit it with the full 11th generation i7 / 1TB / 32GB RAM suite of turbo power - or you can pick up a more conservative spec for a little less cash. That means you won't need to spend on high-end gear that you might not even get to use if you're running less demanding titles, but you can still comfortably pick up some of the best specs in the business without breaking the bank.
We were particularly impressed by how well those more power-hungry components played together in a cheaper chassis. We didn't notice any over-heating issues here, and while we did have to make some sacrifices to more demanding titles, we still managed to hit 60fps+ on an RTX 3070 with consistency.
Read more: Asus TUF Dash F15 review
The Dell G5 isn’t going to light the world of the best gaming laptops on fire, but it is at least a dependable choice of gaming companion. Performance in both gaming and general tasks is good considering the price point, and all the features we’ve come to expect from gaming laptops are present and accounted for.
The appearance of this laptop could be a point of contention, though, as we found the chassis to feel a bit old-fashioned for 2021. A dark iridescent finish and thick central hinge feel like throwbacks to a forgotten age of tech design that should perhaps have stayed in the past.
The G5 also runs fairly hot when playing more graphically demanding titles, although not to a worrying extent; we’ve certainly reviewed laptops with noisier fans than this. As it stands, the G5 is a great all-rounder, ideal as a gift for a kid looking to break into PC gaming or the office employee consigned to remote working - and playing.
Note: There are a couple of versions of the G15 now, all with slight variations in configuration and display. The links here will still get you in the right place though, absolutely.
Although it might start at an already-whopping price and comes in models that go above the $3,000 / £3,000 mark, the Alienware x17 R1 works hard to earn its price tag and is one of the best gaming laptops to come out of 2021. The X-Series is Alienware's latest and greatest selection of laptops, designed to appeal to the brand's more premium customers looking for the very best gaming laptop money can buy. If you're after a larger display panel, the merits of the 17.3-inch Alienware X17 are obvious, but under the surface there's plenty more going on here.
A choice of 1080p or 4K display, a variety of RAM and storage specs, and either a membrane or compact mechanical keyboard makes it easy to tailor this laptop to your personal needs. With the ability to move up to an Intel i9 processor, 64GB RAM, 4TB of SSD storage and a 120Hz 4K display, it's possible to create a real beast out of this machine. Even more entry level configurations will still set you back a bit of cash, but that's because of the premium additional features that make this one of the best rigs on the market.
With a redesigned chassis and an excellent array of physical ports, the Alienware x17 R1 is the new standard for Dell’s flagship gaming laptops. Naturally, we’ve also got more RGB than you can shake a stick at, from the iconic rear light ring to the new RGB-lit trackpad. This laptop looks and feels great, a statement piece for those who take their gaming seriously.
A slimline design works nicely in this size, especially considering the additional bulk that a larger display usually brings with it. However, you're also picking up a mechanical keyboard, plenty of ports, and a gorgeous display panel up top. If you're looking to splash the cash on something that's truly going to make a statement, the Alienware X17 is an excellent option.
Read more: Alienware X17 review
For those looking to wield genuine power - of the ray-tracing kind - with genuine portability, with a splash of style then the Asus Zephyrus G14 is for you. This blends components from the two major players and implements them excellently to offer balanced performance without totally destroying the wallet and bank balance. It's excellent value.
This balance and performance come from the use of AMD Ryzen 4000 processors and Nvidia graphics card - with the ability to choose a ray-tracing capable 2060 card too. This is a great match and is something ASUS particularly have nailed. Throw in as great battery life that will last you all day long, a speedy display with a 120Hz refresh rate on an IPS-level screen, and a lightweight, ultrathin design and you have one of the best small gaming laptops going right now.
This is our favorite, and the very best gaming laptop you can buy right now. Razer is absolute stalwarts in the gaming laptops business now, offering a refined and powerful selection of gaming-focused Razer laptops. Its sheer excellence is plentiful and comes in many areas, the first and instantly noticeable one is the design. It's a sleek machine, oozing elegance and lacking any garish or questionable design motifs, sporting only some traditional Razer green in its ports and a Razer serpent as the machine's emblem. It's also pretty light and very thin which is astonishing considering the powerful components found within.
Yes, the Pro 17 model will bag you some extra screen space and a slightly heftier machine, but, on balance, this is probably the best laptop you could buy right now for gaming. Team this with a Razer headset, Razer controller, or some of the best Razer streaming gear going and you'll be racing toward an ideal gaming setup based on performance - but built around a machine that still offers portability.
We are really impressed with the ASUS TUF A15 machine. We've been using it for a little while and it's one of the best gaming laptops we've had in recent times, and it was certainly one of the top laptops of 2020. It harnesses great capability and performance through a great AMD and Nvidia combo: a new 8-core APU teamed with an Nvidia RTX 2060 graphics card, supported by a 1TB NVMe SSD. It's a great gaming laptop that munches through anything you throw at it, and it offers that sneak into ray-tracing.
Its price tag is pretty good too but the only reason for pause here is the value on offer given that we may well be getting a whole host of sub-$1000 RTX gaming laptops in the near future.
However, the TUF A15's sheer gaming chops offered by the graphics card and processor, teamed with impressive battery life, still make it a great option and one that you won't look back on.
Read more: Asus TUF A15 review
At just below the four-figure mark, (or less!), the Acer Nitro 5 has everything the budding gamer needs, working effectively to replace a beefy gaming desktop PC at a fraction of the price. Our particular unit had an Nvidia RTX 2060 GPU and 8GB of RAM that chews up most games at 1080p high graphical settings, with Acer’s nifty NitroSense software allowing for quick system adjustments for improved performance.
The 256GB SSD might be on the small side for some gamers, and the 1080p display suffers from somewhat lacklustre colour reproduction, but the NVMe 3.0 drive loads games quickly and the screen’s 120Hz refresh rate allows for super-fast framerates.
The Nitro 5 is a bit on the hefty side, so it’s not the most portable of gaming machines, but nor are most laptops with 17-inch screens. Overall, this is an excellent choice of entry-level gaming system, with the flexibility needed for work as well (provided your co-workers won’t judge you for that red-and-black paint job…)
This great laptop shows that the best gaming laptops aren't just going to cost you an arm and a leg. The Asus ROG Zephyrus GA502 is a well-performing entry- to mid-level portable machine that knows what it is and is comfortable in its own limitations and capabilities.
Under the sleek design - that can hold its own in any new tech sphere - the GA502 teams a Ryzen 7 processor with a GTX 1660Ti graphics card and a healthy 16GB of RAM and two 512GB SSDs - a great bonus. These front line specs are not mind-blowing by any means but the performance they combine to create is incredibly solid and will have you beaming if you're happy to be in the middle of the pack.
It offers a more affordable, but still quality, way into PC gaming and will have you playing any AAA game you desire (like The Division 2 or Shadow of the Tomb Raider), steadily and confidently, just on graphical settings turned down a notch or two. Turning down the graphics is really no big deal now as today's mediums are still great, matching the highs and ultras of a few years ago. Elsewhere, it will absolutely fly with more 'lightweight' games however, like Rocket League, Fortnite and Overwatch. All in this will play everything you want, bag you a stylish and modern gaming laptop and won't totally ruin your bank balance doing so.
Read more: Asus ROG Zephyrus GA502 review
The latest in a burgeoning line of super-portable best gaming laptop contenders, the MSI Stealth 15M manages to pack some top line specs into a compact chassis and still pulls off some incredible performance in the process. You'll be pushing 1080p titles at between 50 and 60fps reliably here, with a little leeway in more and less demanding titles as well. With Nvidia's next-gen GPU at the helm, albeit the entry level model, you're getting buttery smooth gameplay across a range of titles, though those framerates won't quite be pushing the 144Hz display to its full potential.
All that power must come with a drawback, though, and with so much crammed in under the hood here, cooling and battery certainly suffers the consequences. This machine can get particularly hot, especially underneath the main body. If placed on a desktop you won't tend to notice this issue too much - it'll be the constant hum and random whirrs of the fans that will take some getting used to instead.
If you're after a machine that will sit as well in a backpack as it would on a full gaming desk setup this is certainly an interesting choice. Performance remains smooth and excellent though don't expect to be hitting Ultra settings with wild abandon.
Read more: MSI Stealth 15M review
Sporting the brand new hardware combo that comes from blending a 10th-generation Intel processor with one of Nvidia's high-end 20-series graphics cards, the MSI GE66 Raider is one of the best gaming laptops for 2020 when considering power alone. It'll handle anything thrown at it, on the highest settings and if you go for one of the north-of-144Hz screen options it'll all be as smooth as you like too. These headline acts are supported well by very decent RAM and SSD offerings, and it all comes with that MSI-level of quality.
The design is slick and sleek, and very 2020, with a smart RGB band at the front, two solid speakers built into the modern chassis, and an overall weight and size combo that registers very pleasingly too. Elsewhere, the keyboard is a slight weak point and is just OK, but the mouse pad is solid, the camera is good and the 99.9wh battery is a good bit of kit to get bundled within. If you're looking for one of the best of 2020 and don't mind spending handsomely, then this is a great laptop for you.
Read more: MSI GE66 Raider review
The Razer Blade Pro 17 is the choice for gamers-on-the-go who demand the absolute best from their portable hardware and are looking for a desktop experience they can carry in their bag. The Pro combines the latest in the component department with options on graphics cards going right up to the latest Nvidia RTX 3080, and the newest Intel processors, with a superb 4K touch screen, or 360Hz 1080p screen to create an absolute beast of a gaming laptop - and one that will comfortably replace a creative workstation desktop pc.
It also features one of the best keyboards to be found in gaming laptops that's comfortable and looks and feels great, with Razer’s proprietary ultra-low-profile mechanical switches. In a nod to desktop users, the trackpad is positioned to the right of the keyboard where a mouse might normally sit, and just like the pad on the other models, it’s a very precise and comfortable pointer.
If you're after the biggest and best Razer gaming laptop where budget is no constraint, then this is it. It’s a beautiful, incredibly powerful piece of portable computing that could easily replace your desktop as your go-to PC for gaming and more mundane applications.
How to find the best gaming laptop for you
Not sure what screen size you'd ideally want and what minimum spec you'd ultimately like to get in your search for the best gaming laptop? If you need help working that out, we're here to help.
In our opinion, the key is to opt for something with a balance between performance, budget, and components – you want something that will play your favorite games now, but still have enough bandwidth to help you find a new favorite in the future.
So what's your first step when you start browsing for the best gaming laptop? You can start by having a budget or total price ceiling in mind, but generally (and somewhat predictably), you'll want to prioritize the hardware in the machine. As you've made it to this page, you're looking for a gaming-focused portable powerhouse and, as a result, want to aim high in the graphics card department, like a GPU from the RTX family of cards from Nvidia.
This can be an excellent starting point to refine your search - but don't forget to look at laptops with a 16-series card in too as they offer incredible value when complemented by other, well-balanced components. A quick note on components: availability, as everyone knows, has been incredibly unreliable and volatile in recent months. As a result, it might be that when you visit retailers or makers of these machines, only some configurations are available at the time.
If you're unsure of which components you need, it's wise to consider the CPUs and GPUs on offer in tiers. If you only play lighter games that aren't too demanding, you might fall into the entry level tier, if you're looking to hit High settings with a few tweaks and still hit 60fps, it's worth looking in the mid-range. However, if you're going all-in on Ultra settings for the most demanding titles, the best gaming laptop for you might be a more premium option.
You'll find all the most popular components commonly found in the best gaming laptops laid out like this below.
|11th generation i5 / Ryzen 5000 Series||11th generation i7 / Ryzen 7000 Series||11th generation i9 / Ryzen 9000 Series|
|Nvidia GTX 1650Ti - RTX 3050Ti||RTX 3060 - RTX 3070||RTX 3080 - RTX 3090|
|16GB RAM||16GB - 32GB RAM||32GB - 64GB RAM|
|256GB - 512GB SSD||1TB SSD||1TB - 4TB SSD|
|60-120Hz||120-240Hz||240Hz - 300Hz|
|$600 - $1,000||$1,000 - $1,800||$1,800 - $3,000+|
Where to buy gaming laptops
You'll find plenty of gaming laptops up for grabs at a range of retailers in both the US and UK, though some do specialize in certain price ranges and brands. However, in general, you should be able to find RTX 3060 laptops, RTX 3070 laptops, and RTX 3080 laptops readily available on the shelves.
We're also rounding up all the best Razer laptops and cheap gaming laptop deals if you're looking for more savings. Or, check out all the cheap Alienware laptop deals currently on sale for some serious discounts.