The 9 Best Gaming Laptops of 2021

Playing the best video games on a laptop just got easier

The Ultimate Laptop Buying Guide
The Ultimate Laptop Buying Guide

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The Rundown
"The latest iteration of the 17-inch Razer Blade pro dominates the gaming space."
"Built with the latest 7th-generation Intel Core processor with a maximum 5.0GHz Turbo Boost and 16GB DDR4 memory."
"A highly customizable option that can be had at a very affordable price, or specced out to be a powerhouse."
"Uses the Intel Core i7-10875H CPU and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super GPU for all the power you need to tackle the latest triple-A titles."
"For gamers who need a lightweight, ultra-portable laptop, the Razer Blade Stealth is an excellent option."
Best Memory Storage:
Alienware M17 R3 at Amazon
"All the memory you need for large game files."
"The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 has an integrated battery that can give you up to 11 hours of use on a single charge."
Best Mid-tier:
HP Omen 15z at Amazon
"The Omen gaming brand from HP is bringing us another winner with the 15z gaming laptop."
"The ASUS TUF A15 is an excellent mid-range alternative to the high-end ASUS ROG brand laptops."

While desktop rigs still dominate gaming spaces, laptops have started to prove that they, too, can boast the power needed to take on the latest triple-A titles. The best gaming laptops give customers a balance between memory storage, processing power, connectivity, and battery life. Many modern gaming laptops feature 1080p FHD displays with impressive refresh rates, though it is possible to configure models with 4K UHD screens like the Razer Blade Stealth 13 if you're willing to spend a little more. There is even a model that sports dual screens for more efficient multitasking. 

Solid-state drives or hybrid drives are popular for gaming laptops since they give you plenty of storage without being bulky or heavy. Plenty of gaming laptops have innovative, air-based cooling systems; utilizing multiple fans and exhaust vents as well as heat sinks and copper piping to draw even more heat away from vital components. But some use vapor chambers and thermal paste to give you the benefits of liquid cooling rigs without the bulk and mess. No matter what games you play, there is a laptop out there to suit.

To help pick the right laptop for you, make sure to head over to our FAQ on how to pick the best laptop for your needs before you settle on one of our picks for the best gaming laptops. Also, be sure to check out our constantly updated guide to the best laptop deals happening right now, for great machines at steep discounts.

Best Overall: Razer Blade Pro 17

Razer Blade Pro 17
What We Like
  • Elegant and robust design

  • Outstanding performance

  • Beautiful 4K touchscreen d

What We Don't Like
  • Very Expensive

  • No Numpad

The Razer Blade Pro 17 is one of the most powerful gaming machines you can buy, and this is all the more remarkable for how compact and portable this laptop is. It retains a cool gamer aesthetic while also providing an elegant appearance that’s appropriate for professional settings.With a highly detailed and color-accurate 4k touchscreen display, as well as an expansive and responsive keyboard and trackpad, the Blade Pro 17 lends itself well to a wide range of productivity and creative tasks.

It has the specs to back up its exterior quality, packing a 10th gen Intel Core i7, 32GB of RAM, a terabyte of PCIe SSD storage, and a powerful Nvidia RTX 3080. This means that the Blade Pro 17 can handle whatever you throw at it, be it Cyberpunk 2077 at max settings or a massive 4k video editing project. Overall, the Razer Blade Pro 17 is as close to perfect as a laptop can get. It’s expensive to be sure, but in this case, you really do get what you pay for.

Screen Size: 17.3 Inches | Resolution: 3840x2160 CPU: Intel Core i7-10875H GPU: Nvidia RTX 3080 RAM: 16GB Storage: 1TB SSD Touchscreen: No

“Much like a habitable world orbiting its star at the precise distance to support life, the Razer Blade Pro 17 inhabits that rare Goldilocks zone of the perfect laptop.”Andy Zahn, Product Tester

Best Keyboard: Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop

What We Like
  • High-end performance

  • Comfortable keyboard

  • Competitive price

What We Don't Like
  • No USB-C support

  • Sub-par cooling

Satisfy your need for speed with the Acer Predator Helios 300. Built with the latest 7th-generation Intel Core processor with a maximum 5.0GHz Turbo Boost and 16GB DDR4 memory, the Helios guarantees accelerated boot-up and in-game loading speeds. This particular model's hard drive comes with 512GB SSD, but if you need more storage space, there’s an additional compartment to fit a second 2.5-inch storage drive. It also contains a powerful NVIDIA GeForce GTX graphics card with 6GB of dedicated GDDR6 VRAM for crisper, lag-free processing power.

The Predator Helios 300 is quite the beast, weighing in at a solid six pounds. The 15.6-inch screen features a full HD widescreen display with a black keyboard to complement the per-key RGB backlighting. The spacious keys offer a decent amount of travel and comfortable typing feedback. Underneath the laptop, you’ll find a custom-engineered cooling system that keeps your system well-regulated, even during high-intensity gaming sessions. The Helios features a seven-hour battery life and is VR-ready: all you need is a compatible headset to start experimenting with the new medium.

Screen Size: 15.6 Inches | Resolution: 1920x1080 CPU: Intel Core i7-10750H GPU: Nvidia RTX 2060 RAM: 16GB Storage: 512GB SSD Touchscreen: No

Best Budget: Lenovo Legion Y540 15"

Lenovo Legion Y540
What We Like
  • Excellent battery life

  • Lightweight

  • Above-average speakers

What We Don't Like
  • Feels a bit flimsy

  • No memory card reader

There’s no shortage of budget-friendly gaming laptops, but few are as capable as the Legion Y540 from Lenovo. The old black and red colorway is gone in favor of a more refined aesthetic. The sleek hardware looks (and feels) more expensive than it’s priced, and the unique hinge is slightly offset from the back of the laptop to allow for a slimmer profile. The body is about as heavy as expected for a gaming laptop, and the five hours of battery life are pretty standard, too.

Powering the Y540 is a highly customizable list of specs, starting with a 9th generation Intel processor alongside a range of GPUs from Nvidia, from a GTX 1650 up to a 1660 Ti (an RTX 2060 is also available if ray tracing is a priority). A 720p HD camera with an integrated microphone makes it easy to play online and stream yourself while gaming, which is aided by an 802.11AC with 2x2 MIMO technology.

Screen Size: 17.3 Inches | Resolution: 1920x1080 CPU: Intel Core i7-9750F GPU: Nvidia GTX 1650 RAM: 8GB Storage: 1TB HDD + 256GB SSD Touchscreen: No 

Best Splurge: ASUS ROG Zephyrus S17

What We Like
  • Dual power modes

  • Great CPU/GPU

  • 7.1 virtual surround sound

What We Don't Like
  • Very short gaming battery life

  • No 4K screen

  • Only supports 1TB SSD

Another top-tier gaming laptop is the Asus ROG Zephyrus S17. It uses the Intel Core i7-10875H CPU and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super GPU for all the power you need to tackle the latest triple-A titles. It comes with 32GB of RAM, and it supports up to 48GB for more speed when you need it. With a 1TB SSD, you'll not only get plenty of storage, you'll get faster and more reliable access to all your programs. The 17.3-inch display is Pantone calibrated for excellent color accuracy, and with a refresh rate of 300Hz, screen tearing and stuttering is eliminated. The Zephyrus S17 uses G Sync for optimized gaming graphics and Asus' Optimus mode for enhanced battery life during normal use. With the ROG intelligent cooling system, the laptop uses four heatsinks and six heat pipes to draw excess heat away from vital components; there is also an Active Aerodynamic System that lets you open the area above the keyboard for enhanced air intake. 

The S17 features two USB-C inputs, one of which supports DisplayPort 1.4 output and the other allows for charging via portable battery packs so you don't have to hunt for a wall outlet when you need to recharge. It features Gigabit Ethernet and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity for ultra-fast internet speeds to suit eSports and MMO players as well as Bluetooth 5.1 for wireless peripheral use. The dual, 2 watt speakers use 7.1 channel virtual surround sound for room-filling audio and a more immersive gaming experience. The battery gives you just over two hours of use while gaming, but up to 9.5 hours during general use.

Screen Size: 17.3 Inches | Resolution: 1920x1080 CPU: Intel Core i7-10875H GPU: Nvidia RTX 2080 Super RAM: 32GB Storage: 1TB SSD Touchscreen: No

Best Lightweight: Razer Blade Stealth 13

Razer Blade Stealth 13
What We Like
  • CNC aluminum body

  • Great battery

  • 4K touchscreen display available

What We Don't Like
  • Weak integrated/discrete GPU

  • Low memory

For gamers who need a lightweight, ultra-portable laptop, the Razer Blade Stealth is an excellent option. This laptop weighs just 2.89 pounds and is just .5-inches thin, making it perfect for slipping into a backpack or tote bag for gaming or work on-the-go. The chassis is made of CNC machined aluminum and an anodized black coating that resists scratches and fingerprints for long-lasting strength and style. It's powered by an 8th generation Intel i7-8565U CPU and you can choose between integrated Intel UHD 620 graphics or a discrete Nvidia GeForce MX150 GPU; the Razer Blade Stealth is compatible with the Razer Core X external graphics unit for more powerful image rendering. 

The 13.3-inch screen is available in both 1080p FHD or a 4K touch screen and is calibrated for 100 percent sRGB calibration to give you more lifelike colors. Four stereo speakers use Dolby Atmos technology to produce virtual surround sound audio for a more immersive gaming experience without a headset. For memory, the Razer Blade Stealth has 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD to give you plenty of storage for your most-played games and fast access to your programs and files. The built-in infrared camera is compatible with Windows Hello facial recognition software for password-free log-ins to your laptop and added protection for your computer. The battery gives you up to 11 hours of use on a single charge, so you can work and play all day.

Screen Size: 13.3 Inches | Resolution: 3840x2160 CPU: Intel Core i7-1065G7 GPU: Nvidia GTX 1650Ti Max-Q RAM: 16GB Storage: 512GB SSD Touchscreen: Yes

"The version of the laptop I tested (with the GTX 1650) weighs in at 3.13 pounds—not exactly featherweight for its size, but light enough to never really make portability an issue." — Jonno Hill, Product Tester

Best Memory Storage: Alienware M17 R3

What We Like
  • 4K UHD display

  • Excellent memory storage

  • Stylish chassis

What We Don't Like
  • Very short battery life

  • RAM can't be expanded

Besides processing power and graphics abilities, memory storage is the most important factor to consider when shopping for a new gaming laptop, and the Alienware M17 R3 has an impressive capacity. It supports a boot drive up to 4TB of RAID0 SSD and a secondary 512GB SSD storage drive to give you all the memory you need for large game files. It's powered by a 10th generation Intel Core i9-10980HK CPU and 32GB of RAM for more than enough power to tackle the latest triple-A game titles, and the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super graphics card is VR ready to take you into the next level of gaming. The 17.3-inch display is 4K UHD and is calibrated for 100 percent Adobe RGB color ranges for lifelike images and incredible detailing. It also uses Tobii eye tracking technology to bring up in-game UI elements and highlight areas of your map or game screen for Twitch viewers. 

Alienware's Cryo-Tech cooling system uses a vapor chamber to give you the benefits of liquid cooling without bulky equipment as well as copper-core heat pipes and heatsink fins to draw heat away from vital components. The body of this laptop is made from a clear-coated magnesium alloy for style, strength, and durability. With Gigabit Ethernet and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, you can dominate online games with virtually zero lag. The battery only gives you 2.5 hours of use on a single charge, so you'll need to stay near a wall outlet for all-day gaming.

Screen Size: 17.3 Inches | Resolution: 1920x1080 CPU: Intel Core i9-10980HK GPU: Nvidia RTX 2080 RAM: 16GB Storage: Up to 4TB SSD | Touchscreen: No

Best Battery Life: ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14

Asus Zephyrus G14
What We Like
  • Excellent battery

  • USB-C charging

  • Fingerprint reader

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

  • No 4K screen

Gamers on-the-go know that battery life can make or break a decision when shopping for a new gaming laptop. The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 has an integrated battery that can give you up to 11 hours of use on a single charge, and with both DC 12V and USB-C charging ports, you can choose between traditional wall outlets or portable battery packs to top off your laptop when you need a power boost. You can also use the USB-C port to charge your smartphone or tablet to stay powered up wherever you are.

It's powered by a third-generation AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS CPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q graphics card, and 16GB of RAM to give you all the power you need to play your favorite games. The 1TB SSD gives you plenty of storage for games, streaming apps, and other programs you need to work and play. The GPU uses Nvidia's Turing architecture to give you real-time ray tracing capabilities for exceptionally lifelike lighting and detailing. The 14-inch 1080p FHD display is Pandone Validated for incredible color accuracy, and with a refresh rate of 120Hz, you'll get smooth motion even during action sequences. The four speaker array uses Dolby Atmos technology to produce room-filling, virtual surround sound for a more immersive gaming experience without a headset. The chassis is made of CNC machined magnesium alloy and features a precision-cut honeycomb design for long-lasting strength while still being lightweight. You can configure the Zephyrus G14 to have custom LED backlighting for the honeycomb chassis to show off your personal style and stream team loyalty. The power button features a built-in fingerprint reader for one-touch power and secure log-ins.

Screen Size: 14 Inches | Resolution: 1920x1080 CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS GPU: Nvidia RTX 2060 Max-Q RAM: 16GB Storage: 1TB SSD Touchscreen: No

"With moderate usage, the G14 got me through a day of work without recharging." — Andy Zahn, Product Tester

Best Mid-tier: HP Omen 15z

HP Omen 15z
What We Like
  • 144 Hz Panel

  • 16GB of RAM

  • Drastically improved aesthetic

  • Solid value

What We Don't Like
  • 512GB of storage will get used up quick

  • Pretty heavy

The Omen gaming brand from HP is bringing us another winner with the 15z gaming laptop. This 15-inch beast brings all the features you want out of a gaming laptop at a price point south of $900. This relatively slim, matte-black laptop is just shy of an inch thick, and a little over 5 Lbs without the additional power brick.

What the 15z lacks in portability it more than makes up for in performance. This laptop pairs a 4 GHz Ryzen CPU with a GTX 1650 Ti, a duo that's more than capable of pushing excellent framerates to its 144Hz FHD display. The A15 also includes 16GB of 3200MHz RAM for multitasking as well as a 512GB M.2 SSD for storage. The GTX 1650 Ti will struggle a bit pushing higher framerates for more modern titles but should be more than sufficient as long as you dial down the quality a bit.

Overall, if you're looking for a solid mid-tier gaming laptop that'll cost you less than $900, the HP Omen 15z hits all the marks without cutting too many corners.

Screen Size: 15.6 Inches | Resolution: 1920x1080 CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 4600H GPU: Nvidia GTX 1650Ti RAM: 8GB Storage: 256GB SSD Touchscreen: No 

Best Value: ASUS TUF A15

  • Excellent value for performance

  • Upgradeable

  • Good connectivity options out of the box

  • Can only fit specific RAM kits in its chassis

The ASUS TUF A15 is an excellent mid-range alternative to the high-end ASUS ROG brand laptops. This 15-inch laptop still has all the trappings of an excellent gaming laptop, at a price point that won't disappoint. The A15 features a 4.2GHz Ryzen processor and a 1660Ti graphics card, perfect for its high-refresh 144Hz display. Storage is handled by a 512GB M.2 SSD, which could be a bit more substantial, but still helps to keep load times to a bare minimum.

For peripheral connectivity, the A15 has a trio of USB-A ports and a USB-C port for hooking up with either a USB-C hub or eGPU. The laptop also includes a dedicated ethernet port, HDMI hookup, and a 3.5mm audio jack. The A15 remains compact and lightweight despite its hardware, weighing in at just over 5 pounds and a little less than an inch thick.

Perhaps the coolest addition to this laptop is the inclusion of vacant SSD and RAM slots that allow you to upgrade the A15 down the line. Just bear in mind that while you shouldn't have a problem finding an M.2 SSD that can fit inside the chassis of your laptop as long as it doesn't have a heatsink bolted onto it, finding a RAM kit that fits inside the laptop could be a little more difficult.

Screen Size: 15.6 Inches | Resolution: 1920x1080 CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 4800H GPU: Nvidia GTX 1660Ti RAM: 16GB Storage: 512GB SSD Touchscreen: No

Final Verdict

Our favorite gaming laptop is definitely the Razer Blade Pro 17 (view at Amazon). There are few other laptops that can support a 30-series Nvidia GPU, but the Blade Pro manages to support one without becoming entirely cumbersome. If you have the budget to burn, this laptop is the one to beat. If you're in the market for something a little more sensible, however, the HP Omen 15Z (view at Amazon) fills a solid, middle-ground between performance and cost.

About our Trusted Experts

Taylor Clemons has over three years of experience writing about games and consumer technology. She has written for Lifewire, Digital Trends, TechRadar and her own publication, Steam Shovelers.

Andy Zahn is a writer specializing in tech. He's reviewed cameras, weather stations, noise-cancelling headphones, and more for Lifewire.

Jonno Hill is a writer who covers tech such as computers, gaming equipment, and cameras for Lifewire and publications including and

Alice Newcome-Beill is an avid gamer and has reviewed gaming systems for PC gamer and PCMag. She currently uses a Lenovo Y740.

What to Look for in a Gaming Laptop

Video Card

The single most important feature of any gaming laptop is its video card. If you want to play games, you absolutely need a discrete video card. Look for a laptop that has an NVIDIA or AMD GPU. If you want to play a specific game, check the recommended and minimum video card specifications and choose a gaming laptop that meets (or exceeds) them.


If you buy a gaming laptop that doesn’t have a decent amount of RAM, you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment. It’s also important that the video card has its own VRAM.


The CPU is also an essential consideration in gaming laptops, even if it does take a back seat to the GPU. Most great gaming laptops come with Intel Core i7 processors, but you may be able to get by with less. Just make sure that the processor doesn’t clock in below the recommended specifications for your favorite games.


Why is the adapter for this gaming laptop so big and can I use a smaller one?
Gaming laptops utilize more powerful hardware that has greater power demands than most laptops. As a result, some of the AC adapters they use are typically much larger than what you'd see on other laptops. These adapters can range from 180 to 230W and usually weigh more than 5 pounds, making them a serious consideration if you plan on toting your gaming laptop around with you.

What screen size should I get?
Unlike desktops, the size of your screen will usually dictate the overall size of your gaming laptop. Much of this depends on how portable you want your laptop to be. If you're planning on keeping your laptop at home and primarily connected to an external display, you can typically go with a smaller screen. However, if you're going to be relying solely on your laptop display and need more screen real-estate, you may want to spring for a larger model.

What ports do I need, really?
While having a greater variety of redundant ports is always preferable, laptops generally have a limited amount of space for extra ports. The bare essentials you'd like to see on a gaming laptop are a USB-C, USB-A, and an HDMI out port. This allows you to connect to an external display, as well as a mouse or keyboard, and also allows you to connect a USB-C hub for added connectivity. Some other features you may want to keep an eye out for are ethernet ports and a microSD card slot, although this will be less important if you can connect to a USB-C hub.      

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