The 6 Best Gaming Laptops for Battery Life in 2021

For long-lasting gameplay

The Ultimate Laptop Buying Guide
The Ultimate Laptop Buying Guide
Introduction

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The best gaming laptops for battery life combine premium components and performance without it being at the battery's expense, so they can still run away from a power outlet. Ideally, such laptops are able to handle being operated under load for 7 hours or more without losing out on performance. 

The sweet spot is a laptop that can handle the latest AAA titles for a decent length of time, while also feeling comfortable to use. You also don't want the laptop weighing you down or feeling far from portable. 

It's important to have a gaming laptop with a dedicated GPU for more powerful graphics processing on the move so that the latest games and other graphically demanding titles still look good. Being able to customize your memory and storage requirements is also helpful with ensuring there's no bottleneck in your laptop's performance. Solid-state drives are preferable for keeping things speedy, but both can be handy if you plan on using the system for other purposes such as 3D rendering or video production. 

Don't forget about the gaming laptop's screen, too. The bigger, the better, with narrow bezels that give an edge-to-edge picture available on the more expensive models. Some also have the option of a 1080p or 4K resolution screen, with the latter providing incredible detailing and color. 

Whatever your priority is, the focus here is on strong battery life. Many modern gaming laptops feature longer-lasting batteries than previous generations, thanks to software allowing you to customize your power consumption.

If you're an on-the-go gamer who needs a laptop that travels easy, read on while we look through models that provide plenty of battery life without being too cumbersome in weight.

The Rundown
Despite being so slim and lightweight, it still packs a punch.
The laptop boasts optimized Dolby Audio Premium sound along with built-in stereo speakers, and it makes a big difference.
The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 weighs only around 3.6 pounds, so you won't struggle with carrying it between work, home, and the coffee shop.
It's a tweaker's dream, with plenty of ways to get the system that's ideal for you.
Best Budget:
Acer Nitro 5 at Amazon
The Nitro 5 can hold its own in 1080p gaming and will last over 8 hours on a single battery charge.
You can take full advantage of the 144Hz display with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD, ensuring you get speedy boot times.

Best Overall: Razer Blade Stealth 13

What We Like
  • 4K touchscreen display

  • Windows Hello compatible

  • Durable but lightweight body

What We Don't Like
  • 16GB max RAM

  • No 4K external display support

For a powerful gaming laptop, the Razer Blade Stealth 13 weighs only an impressive 3 pounds. That means it's ideal for carrying around without feeling weighed down in any way. Despite being so slim and lightweight, it still packs a punch.

Powered by a six-core Intel i7-1065G7 CPU and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650Ti graphics card, the likes of Cyberpunk 2077 may need you to adjust settings accordingly, but pretty much everything else will fly. That's helped by the 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. 

Such specs are backed up by a 13-inch 4K touchscreen that is surrounded by an incredibly thin bezel. The body is made of a single piece of CNC-machined aluminum so you get a sleek and modern look while still being safe knowing this laptop is highly durable. Its matte black color is scratch-resistant too, in case you're a little clumsy. 

Other features include a built-in webcam that uses infrared technology for facial recognition that works with Windows Hello for password-free log-ins. The Blade Stealth is compatible with Razer's Core X external GPU if you need more graphic processing power in a desktop environment.

There's also Dolby Atmos audio, with a four-speaker and dual-mic arrays for virtual meetings and video calls. Finally, the battery life is a truly impressive 11 hours of use on a single charge, although you can expect that number to dip with high-end games.

Screen Size: 13.3 Inches | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 CPU: Intel Core i7-1065G7 GPU: Nvidia Geforce GTX 1650ti RAM: 16GB Storage: 512GB SSD Touchscreen: Yes

"The version of the laptop I tested (with the GTX 1650) weighs in at 3.13 pounds. Asking for a lighter laptop would probably mean sacrificing the graphics card or using cheaper materials, so I’d much prefer to keep things as they are." — Jonno Hill, Product Tester

Razer Blade Stealth 13

Lifewire / Jonno Hill

Best Sound: Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop

What We Like
  • VR ready

  • SSD/HDD configurations available

  • Gigabit Ethernet support

What We Don't Like
  • Not 4K

  • Only two RAM slots for expansion

The Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop's shell is relatively small for a gaming laptop, but it crams a lot in there. For instance, there's optimized Dolby Audio Premium sound along with built-in stereo speakers, and it makes a big difference.

That's backed up by some convenient specs elsewhere, such as a 9th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, a GeForce GTX 1660Ti graphics card, 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage. The graphics card lets things down ever so slightly despite having 6GB of VRAM but on the plus side, you'll eke out about four hours of solid gaming, which is a huge help while on the move. 

The Predator Helios 300 looks great too, with a reasonably thin metal chassis that's embossed with some diagonal lines to look a little fancier. The display may not be 4K but its 144Hz refresh rate means that gaming will feel silky smooth.

Screen Size: 15.6 Inches | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660Ti RAM: 16GB Storage: 512GB SSD Touchscreen: No

Best Lightweight: ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14

Asus Zephyrus G14
What We Like
  • USB-C charging

  • AMD Ryzen 9 CPU

  • VR ready

What We Don't Like
  • No DisplayPort inputs

  • No 4K screen

  • White shell option may get dirty fast

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 weighs only around 3.6 pounds, so you won't struggle with carrying it between work, home, and the coffee shop. It offers an AMD Ryzen 9 processor in the form of the 4900HS, with AMD processors often providing great speeds. Backing it up is 16GB of RAM and a Nvidia GeForce 2060 Max-Q graphics card.

Storage wise, a 1TB SSD means you won't run out of room any time soon, plus boot times are much faster than with a mechanical hard drive. There's also the option of expanding the RAM to 24GB at a later date if you want to get handy with a screwdriver.

The 14-inch screen is only a full HD display rather than 4K, but it looks good from almost any viewing angle. Elsewhere, there's support for the latest connectivity options such as Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5 for extra reliability. There's an HDMI port for connecting a second monitor, along with USB-C for fast charging. Battery life is roughly 10 hours of use on a single charge, which is ideal for all-day use.

Screen Size: 14 inches | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS GPU: Nvidia Geforce RTX 2060 Max-Q ti RAM: 16GB Storage: 1TB SSD Touchscreen: No

Best Performance: Alienware Area-51m R2

What We Like
  • Customizable memory and storage

  • Eye-tracking software

  • Support for external displays

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Requires two power adapters

  • No 4K screen option

If money is no object, the Alienware Area-51m R2 is a tantalizing option. Configurable with up to an Intel Core i9-10900K processor and Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super GPU, it's able to cope with anything you throw at it. That's even more the case when you consider its support for up to 64GB of RAM as well as SSD, HDD, and hybrid drives up to 4TB. It's a tweaker's dream, with plenty of ways to get the system that's ideal for you. 

Whatever you choose, the laptop uses Tobii eye-tracking software that's ideal for streamers. It means you can highlight UI elements such as rank, killstreaks, or item load-outs for your audience, all at a glance. With Alienware Mobile Connect, you can also integrate your iOS or Android phones with your laptop for easier screen mirroring and fast access to your messages, notifications, and more. It can be used to easily stream mobile games, too.

While the Alienware Area-51m R2 isn't the most portable of laptops, it still achieves up to 6 hours of battery life on a single charge. That's not bad at all given it's powering a 17.3-inch display with a refresh rate of 300Hz, meaning ultra-smooth motion even during the most intense of games. Nvidia G-Sync technology also helps out here. 

Design wise, the laptop looks like a high-end gamer's device. Its chassis is built out of a magnesium alloy for long-lasting durability. It features a honeycomb vent structure for better heat dissipation so your components run at optimal temperatures without a problem. Elsewhere, there's a Thunderbolt 3 input, mini DisplayPort, and HDMI input so you can easily hook up external displays for added flexibility. 

Screen Size: 17.3 Inches | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 CPU: Up to Intel Core i9-10900K GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super RAM: Up to 64GB Storage: Up to 1TB SSD Touchscreen: No

Best Budget: Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop

Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop
What We Like
  • Solid value

  • More than 8 hours of battery life

What We Don't Like
  • Lower-end performance

  • Heavy

The budget-friendly Acer Nitro 5 has some configurations available for as low as $879. As expected, that means it won't outpace many of the other picks here, but it can hold its own in 1080p gaming and will last over 8 hours on a single battery charge.

The basic Nitro 5 includes an AMD Ryzen 5 4600H processor along with 8GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. There's also a 1TB mechanical drive for slower storage and a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 GPU. That's sufficient for some gaming on the move, although bear in mind you'll need to lower some settings on the latest titles. 

The Acer Nitro 5 is far from the best performer in our lineup but it's definitely a sensible option if you're on a budget and want to game on the move. With additional features such as three USB-A sockets, one USB-C port, and HDMI out, it covers all the bases.

Screen Size: 15.6 Inches | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 4600H GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti RAM: 8GB Storage: 512GB SSD Touchscreen: No

Best Display: Lenovo Legion 5i 15-inch Gaming Laptop

What We Like
  • Bright, high-refresh rate display

  • Great battery life

  • Solid 1080p performance

What We Don't Like
  • Quite heavy

  • No RGB lighting

The Lenovo Legion 5i is solid middle-range option with a fantastic 15-inch display. That's thanks to its high-refresh rate and bright, vibrant appearance. The laptop also boasts a 10th-generation Intel Core i5 processor and GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card.

You can take full advantage of the 144Hz display with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD, ensuring you get speedy boot times and similarly fast multitasking capabilities. There's also a single USB-C port for charging plus four USB-A ports for everything else. Dedicated Ethernet and HDMI connections are also included.

The downside? Well, the Lenovo Legion 5i is pretty heavy. It weighs almost 5.5 pounds before you factor in the 230W adapter. On the plus side, the battery life is about 9 hours, so you won't need the adapter too often throughout the day.

Screen Size: 15.6 Inches | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 CPU: Intel Core i5-10300H GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti RAM: 16GB Storage: 512GB SSD Touchscreen: No

Final Verdict

If you want something light and portable, check out the Razer Blade Stealth 13 (view at Amazon). It's thin and lightweight so it'll easily fit into your backpack without weighing you down. Its specs are respectable for the size and you'll appreciate its 4K touchscreen that's sRGB calibrated. 

About Our Trusted Experts

Jennifer Allen has been writing about technology and gaming since 2010. She specializes in video game, iOS and Apple technology, wearable technology, and smart home devices.

Jonno Hill has been obsessed with technology ever since he built his first computer in middle school. He is an expert in computers and gaming equipment.

FAQs

Why are gaming laptop power adapters so big, and can you use a smaller one?
Gaming laptops typically use much more powerful hardware than regular laptops, so they have higher power demands. As a result, some AC adapters are much larger than you'd see elsewhere. These adapters can range from 180 to 230W and often weigh a lot, so it's important to factor them into your plans. Rarely can you use a smaller one.

What screen size should you get?
Unlike desktop PCs, the size of your screen often dictates the overall size of your gaming laptop. If portability is essential for you, purchase a gaming laptop with a smaller screen. However, if you plan on using it as a desktop replacement that won't be moved often, then a larger screen will work well. Don't forget that whatever you decide, you can often hook up your laptop to an external display if you need more screen space.

What ports do you really need?
Laptops generally have a limited amount of space for extra ports. Look out for USB-C, USB-A ,and an HDMI out port as the bare essentials. That way, you can connect an external display along with a mouse or keyboard, and you'll have the option of adding a USB-C hub for even more functionality. An ethernet port can also be convenient if you plan on using the gaming laptop as a desktop replacement.

Razer Blade Stealth 13

Lifewire / Jonno Hill

What to Look For in a Gaming Laptop

Gaming laptops have recently become much more advanced, adding more features and flashier hardware than conventional laptops. With so many things to consider, picking the right gaming laptop can seem complicated. We're here to break down all the most important considerations as well as decipher what's pure gimmickry.

Laptop vs. Hybrid

Hybrid laptops, or 2-in-1 laptops, are designed to serve as both a laptop and a tablet. These are devices like the Surface Pro, Asus Chromebook Flip, and the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1. Hybrids typically have a touchscreen, and they have either a removable keyboard or a hinged keyboard you can flip around and out of the way when you want to use the device as a tablet.

For working on the move, 2-in-1 devices are great for being able to switch between typing and a more tactile approach, but gamers really don't have to worry about this. Avoid hybrid laptops if you're looking for a solid gaming device, as you're typically paying extra for the convertible side of things rather than strong specifications that will be useful when playing the latest games.

Screen Size

Screen size is one of the first things people look at when buying a laptop. Like TV and smartphone screens, laptop screens are typically measured corner-to-corner (diagonally), and not from side-to-side. Most people want a screen that’s large enough so they won’t be squinting when trying to read an email or research a topic, but people have different preferences when it comes to portability. Some people want a laptop that’s as lightweight and portable as possible, while others are going to keep the unit stationary for the most part, and move it around the house only occasionally.

Compact: 11- to 14-inch display

If you’re looking for something ultra-lightweight you can take with you on the go, a compact laptop may be a good solution. You can easily find a compact laptop that’s extremely lightweight (under 4 pounds), and many have slim profiles. Don't expect to find a gaming laptop with a smaller screen than 13-inches however, and even that may feel too small for extended gaming sessions.

Average: 15- to 16-inch display

Many gaming laptops offer 15.6-inch or 16-inch displays, and that's quite a dependable size. It's not so large as to be tricky to carry but also not so small as to make you feel you're missing out on the action. Such sizes can also mean you have more room for a sizeable keyboard and trackpad, which is useful when gaming while out and about.

Large: 17-inch display or larger

A 17.3-inch screen size looks great and is common in high-end gaming laptops, but it does mean you'll need to make compromises when it comes to portability. These gaming laptops tend to weigh a lot more and aren't as simple to toss into a bag while you move between locations. However, with better viewing angles, they can look a lot better when gaming. Budget options in this size are typically quite rare, so plan accordingly if you're on a tight budget.

Screen Resolution And Graphics

A high refresh rate is increasingly popular amongst gaming laptops. It's worth paying extra for a 144Hz refresh rate or higher if you want a dependable gaming laptop. 

You'll also need a dedicated graphics card, as an integrated solution just isn't up to scratch. Nowadays, a GeForce GTX 1650 is the lowest you'll want to consider when buying a gaming laptop but ideally, you'll want something from the RTX-20 or RTX-30 series. 

Aim for a laptop with a resolution of at least 1920 x 1080 (FHD) for the best performance. Some will also offer a 4K resolution, but you'll have to pay extra for the privilege.

Keyboard And Controls

It's easy to overlook the keyboard and trackpad you're investing in, but it's a good idea to check how comfortable it looks. Ideally, you want a full-size keyboard for added comfort although a numpad may not be necessary. Check that the trackpad is spacious if you don't plan on hooking up a separate mouse very often.

Also look for additional features such as backlighting so you can see the keys in the dark. It's a nice extra that looks pretty cool, especially if you've invested in the gamer aesthetic. Security features like fingerprint readers can also be useful, although don't count on too many gaming laptops taking advantage of the technology just yet.

Razer Blade Stealth 13

Lifewire / Jonno Hill

CPU

A laptop's CPU, or central processing unit, is a chip that acts as its brain. Several factors affect a CPU’s performance, from heat to other components in the system, but these are some of the main factors to look at in a CPU that can quickly help determine its quality: the manufacturer, the number of cores, and the clock speed.

For years, Intel has been known for creating powerful and reliable CPUs. You’ll also see brands like AMD. Both Intel and AMD are a pretty safe bet when it comes to processor brands, and it’s a good idea to opt for a more recent generation, rather than choosing a laptop with a processor that’s three generations old.

Most modern processors will have at least two cores. What are CPU cores? Well, they’re basically separate CPUs. And, since a computer isn’t like a human—its brain isn’t as good at multitasking as ours—a computer can benefit from having more than one “brain.” The more cores a computer has, the better it can multitask, and the faster it can compute (generally speaking).

If you have a dual-core processor, does that mean your computer can perform only two tasks at a time? Not really. Processor cores have threads as well, which also help the computer multitask. So, even if your laptop is only a dual-core, modern hyper-threading makes it possible for laptops to efficiently perform multiple tasks at the same time. You should opt for a higher-core processor if you’re going to be working extensively on your laptop, performing a lot of video or photo editing, or conducting time-consuming research.

Your processor’s speed is even more essential for day-to-day operations. You want a laptop that can keep up with your demands. Speed is measured in GHz, and it’s important for tasks like gaming and watching videos.

RAM

RAM, or random access memory, is important in a laptop because it helps the machine access information it needs quickly. Imagine RAM like your bedroom closet. When you need something from your closet, you can just go in and grab it, as opposed to driving all the way to the storage unit or going into the attic and searching through a bunch of boxes. You can randomly access the items in your closet, without having to go through too much effort or take too much time.

RAM is similar for a computer. That’s why more RAM is better. The more it can randomly access (without having to go through too much effort), the better and faster it can perform. A gaming laptop with 8GB of RAM will suffice if you have lower expectations but ideally, you want to invest in 16GB or more. It can be useful to see if the laptop allows you to upgrade the RAM yourself at a later date too.

You may also see laptops with DDR4 RAM and DDR3 RAM. DDR stands for Double Data Rate, and the number represents the version. DDR4 RAM is more efficient, and therefore, it’s preferable over DDR3.

SSD vs. HDD Storage

SSD storage is an essential for gaming. While mechanical hard drives will be sufficient for a budget, productivity-focused laptop, an SSD will help your games load much faster and be more efficient. Aim for 256GB of SSD storage as an absolute minimum, but even 512GB will fill up fast given the size of modern games. 

Some gaming laptops offer extra mechanical drives alongside SSD storage, and these can be useful if you want to store files. Expect to often monitor where you're storing content to get the most from this arrangement.

Ports

Does the laptop have enough USB ports? Does it have an HDMI port? What about a card reader? How about a headphone jack? Examine all of the devices you plan on connecting to your laptop—mice, headphones, speakers, monitors—and make sure the laptop has compatible ports for each of your devices.

Battery Capacity

Battery life on a gaming laptop can be heavily affected by the games you play. For instance, using it to browse emails or watch streaming content will put less load on your laptop's battery, while playing a fast-paced game at high resolutions will make a significant dent in the capacity. When picking out a gaming laptop, bear in mind that your mileage will always vary depending on what you're doing. Don't rely on the concept of an all-day battery when gaming.

Operating Systems

While it's possible to play some games on Mac, it's not advisable when specifically looking for a gaming laptop. A Windows 10 laptop gives you greater flexibility and often works out to be better value for money when considering gaming hardware.

Conclusion

When buying a gaming laptop, you want to focus on power and screen size. It's difficult to upgrade the hardware in a gaming laptop, so it's important to future proof and plan ahead as much as possible.

As a general rule, aim for at least 8GB of RAM (with 16GB of RAM as the ideal), while picking out one of the latest Intel or AMD processors. Buy a gaming laptop with SSD storage and a dedicated graphics card, otherwise you'll struggle to play the latest games at the speeds you want.

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