Top 10 laptops for gamers

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Looking to buy a new gaming laptop that will allow you to play your favourite PC games on the go? Then you’re in the right place, as we’ve reviewed and ranked the very best gaming laptops currently available. 

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.

Our team of experts have reviewed every laptop on this list, putting each one through various performance benchmark tests while also using them as our day-to-day laptop to see how they perform at real world tasks.

If gaming isn’t the ultimate priority for you, then check out our Best Laptop list instead. Or alternatively, you can check out our Best Graphics Card guide if you fancy building/upgrading a gaming desktop PC instead.

For those of you still confident that you want to buy a gaming laptop, keep scrolling down. 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.

Learn more about how we test gaming laptops

Every gaming laptop we review goes through a series of uniform checks designed to gauge key things including build quality, performance, screen quality and battery life.

These include formal synthetic benchmarks and scripted tests, plus a series of real world checks, such as how well it runs when running a AAA game.

We also make sure to use every gaming laptop we review as our primary gaming laptop for at least a week to ensure our review is as accurate as possible.

Best overall gaming laptop

Pros

  • Slim, smart and robust 14in design
  • Powerful RTX 3070 graphics core
  • Superb AMD processor
  • High-quality 1440p display

Cons

  • Exterior sometimes gets hot
  • Expensive considering the components
  • No numberpad

The Razer Blade 14 is a sign that team green is back on form when it comes to gaming laptops, deciding to switch over to AMD to boost the CPU performance and introducing a more 14-inch design to make it a more portable machine.

Its benchmark results absolutely trounced the Intel-powered Razer Blade 15 that launched earlier in the year, while the 1440p resolution and 165Hz refresh rate pair up for a top-notch mainstream display.

The biggest issue with the Razer Blade 14 is its steep price, with the below Zephyrus G14 available for less. But Razer does justify that price hike with more powerful specs, including the RTX 3070 GPU.

Reviewer: Mike Jennings
Full Review: Razer Blade 14 (2021) review

Best value gaming laptop

Pros

  • Excellent CPU and GPU performance
  • Very portable design for a gaming laptop
  • Quad HD screen option now available
  • Great battery life compared to rivals

Cons

  • No webcam
  • Mediocre Quad HD performanc
  • Lack of RGB keyboard lighting

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 (2021) is the successor to the best gaming laptop of 2020. It retains the same 14-inch ultra-portable design that made its predecessor so popular, but adds in the option of a Quad HD display and more powerful components.

The unit we reviewed featured an Nvidia RTX 3060 GPU and an AMD Ryzen 5000 Series processor, pairing up to provide an ideal performance for mainstream gamers. You even get up to a 144Hz refresh rate for smooth visuals.

Our only major concerns are the lack of webcam and omission of RGB keyboard lighting. But if you can look past those faults, this is one of the best gaming laptops you can buy.

Reviewer: Ryan Jones
Full Review: Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 (2021) Review

One of the best value Full HD gaming laptops you can buy

Pros

  • Great value price
  • Fantastic Full HD performance
  • High refresh rate
  • Design has broad appeal

Cons

  • Fairly heavy
  • A bit of screen wobble
  • So-so battery life

The HP Omen 15 (2020) is a fantastic laptop, offering a solid Full HD performance while remaining very much affordable. HP currently lists this laptop at £1099.99, which features a GTX 1660 Ti GPU.

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.

Reviewer: Ryan Jones
Full Review: HP Omen 15 (2020) Review

Best high-end gaming laptop

Pros

  • Excellent gaming performance
  • Mechanical keyboard feelsfantastic
  • Big and beautiful 17-inch screen

Cons

  • 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 was 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.

Reviewer: Ryan Jones
Full Review: Gigabyte AORUS 17G (2021) Review

Great option for multiplayer gamers

Pros

  • Great mainstream gaming power
  • Superb AMD processor
  • Very good keyboard
  • Cheaper than rivals

Cons

  • Rivals offer more GPU ability
  • Underwhelming USB ports
  • Thicker and heavier than competitors

The Asus ROG Strix G15 G513 is a gaming laptop that aims to provide the full package. It provides a great mainstream performance, the option of a 300Hz refresh rate and has been decorated with lots and lots of RGB lighting.

You can even equip this laptop with a 1TB SSD and support for Wi-Fi 6, making it difficult to fault the spec sheet.

However, at 2.3kg it’s a rather hefty portable, so you may want to leave it sitting on your desk for the most part. But if you don’t care about taking your gaming laptop out of the house, this is a leading candidate.

Reviewer: Mike Jennings
Full Review: Asus ROG Strix G15 G513 review

Best gaming laptop for eSports

Pros

  • Brilliant gaming power
  • A fantastic 360Hz display
  • Impressive design and connectivity
  • A versatile, high-quality keyboard

Cons

  • AMD processors are faster
  • No real battery life
  • Very expensive

The Alienware m17 R4 is one of the more expensive gaming laptops on this list, packing premium features such as a 17-inch Full HD 360Hz display and a Nvidia RTX 3080 GPU.

Those specs are overkill for the majority of gamers, but prove very ideal for eSports gaming, with multiplayer games running at incredibly high refresh rates for buttery smooth visuals.

This laptop is not perfect, however. Battery life is dreadful and you can get faster processors than Intel’s 10th Gen chips in rival systems. That said, this is still a fantastic laptop choice for competitive gamers.

A multi-tasking dual-screen gaming laptop

Pros

  • Incredible gaming speed
  • Powerful AMD processor
  • Superb screen quality
  • Second display is potentially useful

Cons

  • Expensive
  • 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’ll make the most out of the dual-screen setup.

Reviewer: Mike Jennings
Full Review: Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 SE (GX551) Review

Best 4K gaming laptop

Pros

  • Plenty of grunt
  • Can be upgraded
  • Gorgeous 4K visuals

Cons

  • 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.

Reviewer: Chris Barraclough
Full Review: Razer Blade Pro 17 Review

Best gaming laptop with a desktop processor

Pros

  • Incredibly powerful
  • Can be upgraded
  • Stylish and premium design
  • Excellent keyboard

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Extremely large and heavy
  • Underwhelming display

Most gaming laptops 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 GPU, 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.

Reviewer: Ryan Jones
Full Review:
Alienware Area 51m Review

A decent affordable gaming laptop

Pros

  • Consistent, fast performance
  • Good keyboard and trackpad
  • Robust and reasonably light exterior
  • Cheaper than many rivals

Cons

  • 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 look to offer far better value while packing 30% more power than a PS5.

Reviewer: Mike Jennings
Full Review: Acer Predator Triton 300 (2020) Review

FAQs

What is a gaming laptop?

A gaming laptop is a portable computer that has been purposefully designed for gaming workloads. This means it should feature a discrete graphics card from either AMD or Nvidia, enabling it to run AAA games with a smooth performance. Gaming laptops are also likely to have RGB lighting on the keyboard, and more overt design choices than conventional notebooks.

What is a good refresh rate on a gaming laptop?

A high refresh rate will ensure your display can keep up with the number of frames generated per second by the GPU. It’s generally recommended to opt for at least a 144Hz refresh rate on a gaming laptop. You’ll probably only need a faster display if you’re sticking to a Full HD resolution and want to play competitive online games such as Apex Legends and Fortnite, which aren’t very taxing on your laptop’s graphics card.

What is ray tracing?

Ray tracing is an advanced graphics technology that can render realistic lighting and shadow effects. Nvidia’s RTX GPUs are currently required for ray tracing in a gaming laptop, but AMD is expected to launch its own mobile GPU rivals.

What is DLSS?

DLSS is a smart feature from Nvidia that can boost the frame rate performance of a game. This is done by rendering a game at a lower resolution, but using upscaling technology so there isn’t a noticeable negative impact to the image quality. AMD is currently working on its own solution to DLSS, but only Nvidia RTX GPUs currently support the technology.

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Front Camera

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Weight

ASIN

Operating System

Release Date

First Reviewed Date

Model Number

Model Variants

Resolution

Refresh Rate

Ports

Audio (Power output)

GPU

RAM

Connectivity

Colours

Display Technology

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Touch Screen

Convertible?

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PCMark 10

Cinebench R23

Geekbench 5 single core

Geekbench 5 multi core

3DMark Time Spy

CrystalDiskMark Read speed

CrystalMarkDisk Write Speed

Brightness

Black level

Contrast

White Visual Colour Temperature

sRGB

Adobe RGB

DCI-P3

PCMark Battery (office)

PCMark Battery (gaming)

Battery Life

Battery recharge time

Borderlands 3 frame rate (4K)

Borderlands 3 frame rate (Quad HD)

Borderlands 3 frame rate (Full HD)

Horizon Zero Dawn frame rate (4K)

Horizon Zero Dawn frame rate (Quad HD)

Horizon Zero Dawn frame rate (Full HD)

Dirt Rally (4K)

Dirt Rally (Quad HD)

Dirt Rally (Full HD)

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