The best gaming laptop market is now spoiling us for choice. Gone are the days when the best gaming laptop would cost you an enormous premium, just by the virtue of being portable. Manufacturers have come a long way in recent years, ensuring that playing high-quality games on the move is easier and more enjoyable than ever before.
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. We've looked across each of the major manufacturers to help find the best gaming laptops on the market, and the best prices. 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 an amount of money 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.
Regardless of what you're looking for, we've divided some of the best choices into relevant niches below - and don't forget to give the best antivirus software a looksie just to make sure you're brand new gaming powerhouse is well protected.
Be sure to check out the latest discounts with our guide to Prime Day laptop deals, too!
Best gaming laptop 2021
Best gaming laptops
The latest version of the m15 has had a terrific redesign on the outside and reshape on the inside. It retains an excellent, thin, and light frame for a gaming laptop, and comes complete with Nvidia graphics, and up to an i9 intel processor. The m15 will be for you to customize and configure in every way, but the new design means the old 10-series GPUs are out and replaced by the 16-series options. It is still priced more aggressively than some of its biggest competitors; spec-for-spec, you can find the m15 for hundreds of dollars cheaper than other contenders, but the brand is strong, the design is excellent, the performance is top-notch and the keyboard, touchpad, and screen are all near-world beaters.
The new m15 laptops are a joy to use and interact with regardless of the task, but it does a seriously good job with any games that are thrown at it and doesn't even get as loud and hot as others do too; it seems the new design, termed 'legend', really has made an impact on the goings-on of the laptop and isn't just a new frame draped over the old. If you can stomach the premium then this is still one of the best gaming laptops you can get anywhere in the world right now.
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.
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.
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…)
We are really impressed with the new ASUS TUF A15 gaming laptop. We've been using it for a little while - our full review is coming - and it's one of the best we've had in recent times, and 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.
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.
The Acer Predator Helios 300 was good back in the height of the 10-series era: at just over a grand, sometimes less if you could find it on sale, it offered a GTX 1060 6GB graphics card that could give you 60 frames per second at near maximum settings in demanding games. This mantle and reputation for reliable quality has now transferred to the latest version of the Helios 300 which comes with a GTX 1660 Ti GPU and a sleeker form factor for basically the same price.
The new and improved Helios 300 has a 144Hz IPS screen as well as smaller bezels, putting it more in line with sleek thin-and-lights, keeping relevant in an ever-slimming marketplace, while the RAM speed has been bumped up to 2666Mhz as well, which is a nice improvement. It's got a small SSD to begin with but there are a range of configurations available so that can be remedied. A brilliant budget performer.
Lenovo has historically, albeit silently advocated for subtlety when it comes to gaming laptop designs. If you were hoping for a dazzling RGB light show from the Legion Y740, you will be sorely disappointed. While this laptop is blessed with up to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 graphics card, or at least its downsized Max-Q equivalent, flashy cosmetic trappings are limited to the per-key backlighting of the Corsair iCUE-powered keyboard and a few smaller lighting zones on the sides and back. Otherwise, stylistically, the Lenovo Legion Y740 differs very little from the company's non-gaming products.
It's pretty bland, sporting a plain gray finish on its all-aluminum chassis. But if you'd rather your laptop not loudly proclaim, "I'm a gamer" every time you enter a room, perhaps this is a good place to start. And that goes without mentioning the primo guts, which you're getting for a bargain here. For nearly 30% less than what you'd pay for a shinier, arguably better looking piece of kit from, say, MSI, the Legion Y740 incorporates Nvidia G-Sync adaptive sync technology and Dolby Vision HDR into the display while integrating Dolby Atmos into the onboard speaker system. In terms of value, so long as you don't mind its so-so looks and inferior touchpad, the Legion Y740 is a mobilized tour de force.
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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.
This great laptop shows that the best gaming laptops aren't just going to cost you an arm and a leg. The GA502 i s 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.
Offering the wonderful combination of large screen real estate and RTX graphics card power, the MSI GS75 Stealth is built on a solid and powerful basis - open which will offer supremely enjoyable gaming, and all in an MSI chassis. Not to mention the 17.3-inch screen can offer refresh rates of up to 300Hz but also 240Hz as the basic screen. Also, concentrating only on the high-grade RTX graphics cards means that realistic lighting and shadows on offer in games is offered by default. Team that with a one of the most competent 9th generation Intel processors, a healthy SSD-based storage and space for a colossal 64GB of RAM, and you are absolutely brimming with quality options right from the off.
Away from the impressive internal component choices, the GS75 Stealth is also a looker. A mighty fine looker. It has a sleek chassis, and gold accents that perfectly accentuate the otherwise plain black finish but in a very complementary way.
The one stumbling block for this wonderful machine, however, will always be the price tag. At its lowest price and most modest configuration, the GS75 Stealth will bust your bank account balance somewhat, but take that up to a top-end RTX 2080 model and you may have to look for another mortgage on the house. However, this is not that unusual in gaming laptops so it will still be right for some, and if you want to save a big budget for a seriously great laptop - with that larger 17.3-inch screen - then the GS75 is a wonderful choice.
The GS65 Stealth is still a great option too, though now as powerful; you can find that model below on this guide.
While not as supremely powerful as the MSI GS75 Stealth above in this guide, the MSI GS65 Stealth offers a great value vs performance option for those looking for a 15.6-inch gaming laptop. Straight from the off, one can see it shares that MSI chic and sleek aesthetic - it really does look premium in its design and build. This design is also incredibly light and thin for a gaming laptop. Given it has a frame that's only 0.7 inches (at its thickest), it's incredibly cool, and a great success, that it can get an RTX 20-series graphics card, 32GB of RAM a beastly 1TB hard drive and an i9 processor inside. It's important to note that you can find some excellent modest builds centered around the 1660Ti graphics cards that will offer strong performance - though no ray-tracing of course - while not breakingthe bank.
It's this marrying of design, style and powerful components that really make the GS65 Stealth an attractive proposition. It won't blow you away like its bigger brothers, and it might get a bit hot and blowy when pushed, but it'll do everything well, and even give some more complete and premium models a run for their money.
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.
This is the laptop that really manifests and demonstrates the often mental approach to gaming laptops that Alienware machines often exude. It's a bit of a honk, but the design of this machine is seriously cool and out of this world. It's a stunner to have around but it's a big boy nonetheless. And that chassis has got to be robust and spacious to fit all the awesomeness inside it and to keep it all cool.
It's one of the best gaming laptops of 2020 in terms of raw power and sheer gaming chops. And that's because, when you turn this up to 11, a 9th-generation i9 processor, with a 2080 graphics card and up to 64GB of RAM can devour any game or task that's thrown at it. Even the 'toned down' variants featuring i7 processors or 2060 graphics cards will have you gaming away the hours with ease and incredibly smoothly. Whatever the configuration, it'll look great on that 17.3-inch screen too.
Yes, it'll be a bit loud at times in the fan department, and it really does demand a high price tag but if we want something that's a bit mental, a bit mad, and can reach dizzying heights of performance and design style, then the Area 51m is the machine for you.
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And if you prefer your gaming machines static then check out the best gaming PC guide we have for the best beastly machines going.
The latest version of the m15 has had a terrific redesign on the outside and reshape on the inside. It retains and excellent, thin and light frame for a gaming laptop, and comes complete with an Nvidia Max-Q graphics, and up to an i9 intel processor. The m15 will be for you to customise and configure in every way, but the new design means the old 10-series GPUs are out and replaced by the 16-series options. It is still priced more aggressively than some of its biggest competitors; spec-for-spec, you can find the m15 for hundreds of dollars cheaper than other contenders, but the brand is strong, the design is excellent, the performance is top notch and the keyboard, touch pad and screen are all near-world beaters.
The new m15 laptops are a joy to use and interact with regardless of task, but it does a seriously good job with any games that are thrown at it and doesn't even get as loud and hot as others do too; it seems the new design, termed 'legend', really has made an impact on the goings on of the laptop and isn't just a new frame draped over the old. If you can stomach the premium then this is still one of the best gaming laptops you can get anywhere in the world right now.