What’s the best gaming laptop in 2021?
With the new graphics cards proving extremely difficult to purchase in 2021, it’s a very good time to consider a gaming laptop as an alternative to a desktop gaming rig. We’ve made a list of the very best gaming laptop options of the year, with every single one capable of AAA gaming.
We’ve included gaming laptops of various price points, so you should find the perfect portable no matter your budget. There are also laptops from a multitude of brands, including Asus ROG, HP Omen, Gigabyte and Razer.
We’ll be constantly updating this list too, so if you can’t find anything you like right now, bookmark this page and return in the future to check out the latest and greatest gaming laptop options.
1. Asus ROG Zephyrus G14
The king of gaming laptops
Display: 14in, FHD, 120Hz | CPU: Ryzen 9
GPU: RTX 2060 | Storage: 1TB | Weight: 1.69kg
- Incredible CPU performance
- Great for Full HD gaming
- Ultra-portable design
- Impressive battery life
- Lack of RGB lighting
- No integrated webcam
- Underwhelming SSD speeds
The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 addresses two of the biggest issues in the gaming laptop world: weight and price. The Zephyrus G14 only weighs 1.69kg, yet still flaunts decent power thanks to the combo of a Ryzen 4000 processor and Nvidia’s ray tracing-capable RTX 2060 card – and it only costs £1799 for the privilege.
Any Full HD game is playable with respectable frame rates here, exceeding the 60fps target for the majority of titles. CPU-focused games such as Civilization VI and Total War: Warhammer 2 will particularly benefit here, as will creative applications if you like to edit video in-between gaming sessions.
There is a lack of RGB lighting with the keyboard, but this means the Zephyrus G14 can easily fit in non-gaming environments such as the office. With a fantastic keyboard, gorgeous 120Hz display, whopping 1TB SSD and decent battery life, the Zephyrus G14 is an extremely versatile system, albeit one without an integrated webcam.
2. Asus TUF Gaming A15
Best value gaming laptop
Display: 15.6in, FHD, 144Hz | CPU: Ryzen 7
GPU: RTX 2060 | Storage: 1TB | Weight: 2.3kg
- Great value price
- Fantastic Full HD performance
- Quiet and comfortable keyboard
- Better than average battery life
- Unattractive and hefty design
- Loud fans when gaming
- No macro keys
The Asus TUF Gaming A15 is not a very good looking and is a little unwieldy, but offers cracking value.
The A15 packs decent power, with the option to fit the Nvidia RTX 2060 for some ray tracing glory. Such a graphics card also allows for a fantastic Full HD performance, pairing with the 144Hz screen for some eye-candy action. AMD’s Ryzen processor also gives it a great CPU performance and better-than-average battery life for a gaming laptop of this ilk.
It is a bit of an ugly laptop and it can get rather loud when playing games, but the TUF Gaming A15 is still one of the best value options around if you don’t fancy paying more than £1500.
3. HP Omen 15 (2020)
Best Full HD performance
Display: 15.6in, FHD, 300Hz | CPU: Intel i7
GPU: RTX 2070 | Storage: 1TB | Weight: 2.4kg
- Great value
- Fantastic Full HD performance
- High refresh rate
- Design has broad appeal
- Fairly heavy
- A bit of screen wobble
- So-so battery life
The HP Omen 15 (2020) is a fantastic laptop, offering a top class Full HD performance while remaining very much affordable. HP currently lists this laptop at £1099.99, which features a GTX 1660 Ti GPU. There’s also an RTX 2070 option available for £1600, which is supremely good value considering you get access to ray tracing and DLSS.
We’re also big fans of the new HP makeover, with more subtle styling appealing to a wider audience. Build quality is a mixed bag, with a flimsy hinge a cause for concern, but it’s easily forgivable since you’re getting so much bang for your buck here.
Those who want to take their laptop out of the home may want to look at the Zephyrus G14 instead, as the Omen is a rather hefty portable, but this is an otherwise superb option for portable gaming.
4. Gigabyte Aorus 17G (2021)
Best gaming laptop for mechanical keyboard fans
Display: 17.3in, FHD, 300Hz | CPU: Intel i7
GPU: RTX 3070 | Storage: 512GB | Weight: 2.7kg
- Excellent gaming performance
- Mechanical keyboard feels fantastic
- Big and beautiful 17-inch screen
- Too large and heavy to be a true portable
- Webcam is located under the screen
- Software isn’t as customisable as Razer Synapse
The Gigabyte Aorus 17G is the very first gaming laptop we’ve reviewed to feature Nvidia’s brand new 30-Series GPU, making it one of the most powerful portables on this list. But rather than relying solely on next-gen grunt, Gigabyte has added a number of extra features that will excite competitive gamers.
This is one of the very few portables to feature a mechanical keyboard which we loved using for first-person shooters. It’s massive 17-inch display allows for a blockbuster experience too, with a 300Hz refresh rate keeping on-screen action as smooth as possible.
The downside to its large screen and power is that it’s not a very portable device, but this remains our favourite option if you want a gaming laptop for eSports-grade competitiveness.
5. Razer Blade 15 Base Edition (2021)
Best Quad HD gaming laptop
Display: 15in, FHD/QHD, up to 165Hz | CPU: 10th Gen Intel
GPU: Nvidia RTX 3070 | Storage: 512GB SSD | Weight: 2.09kg
- Packed with next-gen gaming features
- Solid gaming performance
- Fantastic screen can be used for creative work and gaming
- Battery life is short, even by gaming laptop standards
- Design is showing its age
The Razer Blade Base Edition (2021) is one of Razer’s latest gaming laptops, packing plenty of new features from Nvidia’s 30-Series GPUs to the optional Quad HD display that provides a sharper, more detailed image than the standard 1080p screens.
The RTX 3070 GPU that our review unit featured is powerful enough to play AAA games at a high frame rate in both Full HD and Quad HD resolutions. Nvidia’s GPU technology also allows you to take advantage of next-gen features such as DLSS and ray tracing.
But while Razer’s laptop also have excellent build quality, the Blade 15 design is starting to feel outdated at this point, relying solely on internal and resolution upgrades in recent years. And as always, you have to pay a premium for Razer laptops, with alternatives from the likes of Asus and HP offering better value. Still, if you like this Razer brand this is an excellent laptop.
6. Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 SE (GX551)
Best dual-screen gaming laptop
Display: 15in, 4K, 120Hz | CPU: Ryzen 9 5900HX
GPU: Nvidia RTX 3080 | Storage: 2TB | Weight: 2.48kg
- Incredible gaming speed
- Powerful AMD processor
- Superb screen quality
- Second display is potentially useful
- Keyboard and trackpad are cramped
- GPU can’t always handle 4K gaming
- Underwhelming battery life
The Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 SE is a peculiar dual-screen laptop, allowing you to look up guides on Google without pausing your game while also making it easier to stream games on Twitch.
This is the second iteration of the Zephyrus Duo, with Asus slapping in a new Nvidia 30-Series GPU and AMD Ryzen CPU, and pushing the refresh rate up to 120Hz. These are very welcome improvements, making it one of the most powerful gaming laptops on this list.
Asus has made compromises to make such a unique design possible, however, with the keyboard shunted to an awkward position and trackpad squeezed into the bottom-corner of the chassis. It’s also an extremely expensive gaming laptop, so is only worth considering if you you’ll make the most out of the dual-screen setup.
7. Razer Blade Pro 17 (2019)
Best 4K gaming laptop
Display: 17.3in, 4K, 120Hz | CPU: 9th Gen Intel i7
GPU: Nvidia RTX 2080 | Storage: 1TB | Weight: 2.75kg
- Plenty of grunt
- Can be upgraded
- Gorgeous 4K visuals
- Super pricey
- Poor portability
The Razer Blade Pro 17 is essentially the bigger and more expensive sibling to the Razer Blade 15, with this 2019 model including the option of an Nvidia RTX 2080 GPU and 9th Generation Intel Core i7-9750H processor.
The 17-inch screen is the main sell here, as it’s not only a blockbuster size for AAA games, but boasts a 4K resolution for some stunning visuals. The 240Hz refresh rate also ensures fast-paced action still looks sharp and smooth.
The only negatives about this gaming laptop is it weighs a hefty 2.75kg and is dauntingly expensive. If you want your games to look as good as possible on the go though, there are few better options than the Razer Blade Pro 17.
8. Alienware Area 51m
The best desktop-replacement gaming laptop
Display: 17.3in, FHD, 144Hz | CPU: 9th Gen Intel i9
GPU: Nvidia RTX 2080 | Storage: 2TB | Weight: 3.87kg
- The most powerful gaming laptop available
- Can be upgraded
- Stylish and premium design
- Excellent keyboard
- Incredibly expensive
- Extremely large and heavy
- Underwhelming display
Most gaming laptop use mobile iterations of components in order to maximise portability. The Alienware Area 51m throws away the rule book, and instead fits a desktop processor inside. This not only makes this behemoth laptop incredibly powerful, but also allows you to upgrade it just as you would with a traditional desktop gaming PC.
With the option of an Nvidia RTX 2080 graphics card, you’re essentially getting a desktop-equivalent performance. However, you’re limited to a Full HD display unless you hook up an external monitor, which is a real shame since this laptop has a jaw-dropping price climbing all the way up to £3799 with maxed out specs.
Of course, the term ‘laptop’ is used very lightly since the hulking 3.87kg weight brings the Alienware Area 51m’s portability credentials into question. This is not something you want to carry on a commute, but a brilliant option if you’re happy to keep it rooted to your desk. Dell has now announced the new Alienware Area-51m R2 which takes the mammoth machine to a whole other level.
9. Acer Nitro 5
Best budget gaming laptop
Display: 15.6in, FHD, 144Hz | CPU: 9th Gen Intel i5
GPU: Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti | Storage: 512GB | Weight: 2.2kg
- Astonishing performance considering the price
- Can run the likes of Fortnite and Apex easily
- Great value for money
- Keyboard layout is a little cramped
- Screen quality and brightness is sub-par
The Acer Nitro 5 is one of the best gaming laptops we’ve reviewed that’s available for less than £1000, proving a great option for students who want a machine than can blast through essays but also cope with the odd gaming session.
With the option of a GTX 1650 and GTX 1660 Ti GPU, the Nitro 5 won’t be able to run every single AAA game smoothly with graphics settings cranked to the max. But if you’re happy to stick to low intensive games, such as the likes of Fortnite, Rocket League and Sims 4, the Nitro 5 is a superb option.
This isn’t the most glamorous laptop, with a plasticky casing and boring design, but that will hardly be a concern when you remember how little you spent on the Nitro 5.
10. Acer Predator Triton 300 (2020)
Unspectacular but affordable 1080p gaming laptop
Display: 15.6.3in, FHD, 144Hz | CPU: 9th Gen Intel i7
GPU: RTX 2070 | Storage: 1TB SSD | Weight: 2kg
- Consistent, fast performance
- Good keyboard and trackpad
- Robust and reasonably light exterior
- Cheaper than many rivals
- Other machines are faster
- Mediocre screen
- Connectivity could be improved
- Short battery life
The Acer Predator Triton 300 (2020) isn’t a remarkable gaming laptop, with a poor battery life and mediocre screen. However, it remains one of the most affordable portables packing the impressive Nvidia RTX 2070 GPU, which can comfortably run AAA games at a 60fps performance and beyond.
If you want to play some of the biggest modern games at a high frame rate while spending as little money as possible, then the Acer Predator Triton 300 is worth considering. We were also a big fan of the keyboard, trackpad and robust design, making it a decent option for doubling up as your productivity machine, despite the 2kg heft.
That said, we recommend waiting until we review more RTX 3060 gaming laptops, which potentially look to offer far better value while packing 30% more power than a PS5.