These powerful and best gaming laptops offer gaming on the go and won’t leave you over-encumbered. The days of hulking, plastic-clad gaming laptops are over.
Well, nearly over. You may find one of two behemoths undercover as “desktop replacements”, such as the Arous 17X, complete with two power adapters. But beyond these fated few, you might be surprised by how much power comes in a small and sleek package nowadays.
With an impossible quantity of models to choose from, shopping around for that perfect compact gaming laptops can often be an overwhelming experience. That’s why we regularly rustle up every major brand’s best and put them to the test, so that we can tell you which is worth your cash.
List of best gaming laptops
Here are our top rated best gaming laptop under budget of 1000, 1500, and 2000 in 2021.
- Razer Blade 15 Base Gaming Laptop (Best Gaming Laptop Under $2000)
- Dell G3 Gaming Laptop – 15.6″ (Best Gaming Laptop Under $1500)
- ASUS TUF Gaming A15 Gaming Laptop (Best Gaming Laptop Under $1000)
- MSI GS66 Stealth 240Hz Ultra Thin and Light Gaming Laptop (Best Compact Gamin Laptop)
- Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop VR Ready (Best Budget Gaming Laptops)
- ASUS – ROG Zephyrus G14 14″ Gaming Laptop – AMD Ryzen 9 (Best Asus Gaming Laptop)
1. Razer Blade 15 Base Gaming Laptop (The best gaming laptop)
The new Razer Blade 15 takes an otherwise superb laptop and makes it even better. You’ll need to make a choice between the Base Model and the Advanced Model, and each one offers its own wide range of options.
Both models come with a choice of RTX 20-series GPU: up to an RTX 2080 Super Max-Q with the Advanced Model and up to an RTX 2070 with the Base Model. One of the major considerations between the two is your choice of either eight-core or six-core Intel 10th Gen CPU.
That means whichever way you look at it, you’ll be privy to the latest gaming technology and performance on-the-go.
Your choice of screen ranges from 144Hz FHD to OLED 4K. There’s also a 300Hz FHD model if you’re chasing competitive gaming accolades. It’s that wide span of components and high level of customization that has the Razer Blade 15 (2020) sitting in the top spot: you can find a near-perfect combination for your budget and requirements. And for a 15-inch design it’s slim too.
- Processor: Intel i7-10875H
- Graphics: RTX 2080 Super with Max-Q
- Memory: 16GB
- Display: 15-inch IPS-level, 300Hz, 3ms
- Resolution: 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080
- Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD
- Battery: 80WHr
- Connectivity: 3x USB 3.2, 2 x USB-C, 1 HDMI, 1x Mini Display, 1 Ethernet, SD Card Reader
- OS: Windows 10 Home/Professional 64 Bit
- Dimensions: .7″ x 14.11″ x 10.04″
- Weight: 4.73 lbs
2. Dell G3 Gaming Laptop – 15.6″ (The best budget gaming laptop)
Shopping for a budget gaming laptop is fraught with danger. You never know whether a machine is too good to be true, and actually has some major flaw lying in the chassis that will bite you in your bank account a year or two down the line when you have to buy yet another laptop.
It’s for that reason that we love the Dell G315. It’s simple, reliable, the battery is surprisingly good, and you definitely won’t have to fret about whether it will end up leaving you stranded in 12 months time.
With a GTX 1660 Ti at its center, you won’t be able to experience ray tracing on the move like you might the Razer Blade. However, that’s a great GPU for playable 1080p gaming in the latest titles, and can even put the 144Hz panel to good use.
Dell has a great reputation and that’s exactly what you want with a budget gaming laptop. Every model comes with dual-channel memory, either 8GB or 16GB DDR4, and you’ll be able to boot it up in an instant courtesy of a quick NVMe SSD.
3. ASUS TUF Gaming A15 Gaming Laptop
If you’re happy to spend just a little more on your gaming laptop than the Dell G3, but not quite to the fiscal downpour required by the Razer Blade 15, then the Asus TUF A15 is a great choice. A resolutely mid-range laptop through and through, Asus has settled on a clever mix of components to hit that sweet spot with the TUF A15.
At its core is the AMD Ryzen 7 4800H (Ryzen94900Havailable), an eight-core processor from the much-lauded Renoir generation of mobile chips. It’s built using the Zen 2 architecture, the latest 7nm process, and comes with a Radeon Vega 7 GPU built-in. But you needn’t settle for integrated graphics power with the A15 as it also comes packing an Nvidia RTX 2060.
It may be the entry-level RTX card out of the lot, and therefore not particularly great for ray tracing, but it brings with it the ability to enable Nvidia’s Al super sampling technology, DLSS. Whether you enable DLSS or extra smooth gaming or not, the TUF A15 is fit for an excellent experience.
- Model – FA506IV
- Processor – AMD Ryzen 7 4800H
- GPU – Nvidia RTX 2060
- Memory – 16GB DDR4
- Memory Speed – 3,200MHz
- Screen size – 15-inch
- Resolution – 1920 x 1080
- Refresh rate – 144Hz
- Storage – 1TB Intel SSD 660p
4. MSI GS66 Stealth 240Hz Ultra Thin and Light Gaming Laptop
It’s not just a clever name, because MSI’s Stealth really is one of the stealthiest gaming laptops you can buy. What do we mean by that? Well, if you’re a high flying business human, busy doing business, then you’re going to want a gold-trimmed machine that will be at home as much in the boardroom as at a LAN party.
With a range of 20-series Nvidia RTX graphics cards (the mobile 30-series cards will take a while to filter into gaming laptops) and 16-series GTX GPUs, the GS66 is able to be specced out with whatever high-end silicon you could wish for. One thing to note, however, is that because we are looking at a thin gaming laptop here, you need to be realistic about the parts you pick.
We’ve tested the GS66 with an RTX 2080 Super inside it, and GPU performance unfortunately becomes compromised in the slimline chassis.
With a GTX 1660 Ti or RTX 2060, however, the GS66 Stealth will make a powerful gaming machine that fits its thin, light and lovely looking frame.
- Display: 15.6 inches, 1,920 x 1,080 (FHD), Non-touch, anti-glare, 300Hz refresh rate, 3ms
- Processor: 10th Gen, Intel Core i7-10875H, Up to 5.1 GHz (boost)
- RAM: 32GB (16GB x 2) DDR4 3200MHz
- Storage: 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER Max-Q, 8GB GDDR6 VRAM
- Ports: 3x USB 3.2 Gen 2, 1x Thunderbolt 3, 1x USB-C 3.2, HDMI (4K @ 60Hz), 1x audio combo, 1x Killer LAN E3100 (ethernet)
- Audio: 2x 2W Dynaudio speakers
- Connectivity: Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201(2×2 ax)
- Camera: 720p HD webcam, Windows Hello IR cam
- Battery: 99.9Whr
- Dimensions: 14.17″x9.65″x0.71″
- Weight: 4.63lb
4. Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop VR Ready
The Predator Helios 300 has long been a mainstream darling, offering Acer’s high-end gaming laptop heritage but in a far more reasonable, affordable form. It’s a device that we’ve long been happy to recommend in its myriad forms over the years, and it’s only getting better.
The whole Predator lineup has been upgraded recently to sport the latest Intel 10th Gen mobile processors and, while that will put you on the absolute latest numerical spec from the big blue chip making machine, it’s not wholly necessary.
The 9th Gen mobile CPUs are almost identical to their new 10th Gen siblings, and so these older Helios 300 machines are absolutely still worth checking out. They’re likely to be cheaper than the newer design and still mostly sport the same graphics card options.
We like the Core i5 with GTX 1660 Ti pairing, it’s a great low-cost option that will deliver the goods when it comes to 1080p gaming performance and enough CPU power to cope with all but the most intense tasks.
- CPU: Intel Core i7-10750H
- GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q
- RAM: 16GB
- Storage: 512GB SSD
- Display: 15.6-inch, 1080p
- Battery: 3:12
- Size: 14.3 x 10.5 x 0.8 inches
- Weight: 5.5 pounds
6. ASUS – ROG Zephyrus G14 14″ Gaming Laptop – AMD Ryzen 9
The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is not your average gaming laptop. It’s something quite special. I’m not talking about the machined magnesium-aluminum 14-inch chassis either. It’s more that it highlights AMD’s performance lead over Intel in the mobile CPU stakes.
The currently Asus exclusive Ryzen 7 4800HS is a monster of a laptop chip, smashing anything Intel has been able to produce in terms of pure processing performance. It’s essentially the same Renoir eight-core, 16-thread chip but one that will Turbo up to 4.3GHz, slightly higher than the 4800H in the TUF A15.
You can also squeeze a 1TB SSD, upgrade to 32GB of 3,200MHz RAM, and a 120Hz I PS-a-like 1080p screen.
Packing the RTX 2060 Max-Q into its 14-inch frame the G14 is an impressively capable machine that’s able to mix productivity prowess with genuine 1080p gaming performance. Ray tracing might be a bit of a stretch for serious frame rates on the RTX 2060, but for anything else the G14 is going to nail it.
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 9-4900HS
- GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q
- RAM: 16GB
- Storage: 1TB SSD
- Display: 14-inch, 1080p, 120Hz
- Battery: 11:32
- Size: 12.8 x 8.7 x 0.7 inches
- Weight: 3.5 pounds
Single or Dual Channel
You’ll only find out whether your device is equipped with dual or single-channel memory if you dive into the specs. It’s an important marker of performance, however, especially for gaming.
It really comes down to physical hardware configuration – the actual RAM sticks inside your laptop or desktop PC. Dual-channel memory will often mean you have two or more discrete RAM sticks fitted into your system, most often either in a 2x8GB or 2x4GB configuration and for a total of 16GB or 8GB. Single-channel memory tends to be just a single stick of RAM: 1x8GB orlxl6GB.
The issue here is that CPUs and motherboards offer two or more channels for data to travel between your chip and your RAM. With only a single stick of RAM installed, you’re only making use of a single channel, ergo only half the available bandwidth is being utilized.
How this affects performance depends on the applications you’re using regularly. While dual-channel is superior for every case imaginable, you may get away with single-channel for some less intensive games. If you intend to use a laptop for creative purposes, say Adobe applications, you’ll want dual-channel. And if you’re looking at one of AM D’s mobile Ryzen processors with built-in graphics, you’ll want to make sure you’re running with two sticks for optimal performance.
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