Finding a gaming laptop used to be easy, as there were only a few recognizable brands. Now, though, with companies dropping new laptops every year, finding the best gaming laptop can be a challenge. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to make the journey easier.
If you’re looking to buy a gaming laptop, you’ll want to take a number of things into consideration. First, keep the memory (RAM) in mind. Some games use up a lot of RAM, so having a good amount of memory on your laptop is going to be important. The graphics card and processor are also super important, so make sure you look for laptops with newer and more powerful internals. You’ll also want to pay attention to the display type, which can change how smoothly games play and how good they look. Comfort and portability are two other important aspects to keep in mind, especially if you plan on playing games while on the go.
Armed with that knowledge, you can start your trek to find the perfect gaming laptop with some of the best choices out there right now. From powerful to portable, to the unorthodox of gaming on a Mac, there are a lot of great laptop options out there and these are some of our favorites.
Best gaming laptop overall: Razer Blade 15 Advanced Gaming Laptop 2021
Pros: Powerful GPU and CPU options, aluminum build feels reliable yet light
Cons: Expensive, only a 1080P display
There are a lot of great gaming laptop options out there, but if you’re looking for a mix between powerful and light, the Razer Blade 15 is a perfect fit. Not only does it come with a slew of options when ordering directly from Razer, but the aluminum body gives a light but cool feel that makes it easy to spend hours using this laptop. Additionally, Razer has filled the sides of the Razer Blade 15 with a slew of ports, including an SD card reader, 2x Thunderbolt 4 ports, a USB Type-A, Type-C, and HDMI 2.1.
The body itself is one of the biggest standout features of the Razer Blade lineup. Its thin material means you won’t have to worry about a bulky setup when you’re playing games on the go. The build also benefits from being extremely light compared to other options out there. The Razer Blade 15 also comes with enough juice to work as a complete replacement for your desktop, all without giving up the power that comes with a desktop gaming PC. The full HD display features 1080P resolution with refresh rate support for up to 360Hz for smooth visuals on the latest games and applications.
Razer Blade 15 Advanced Gaming Laptop Price:$3,099.99 Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission
Best 4K gaming laptop: Alienware m17 R4 Gaming Laptop
Pros: bright and vivid 4K display, powerful GPU and CPU options
Cons: Very pricey, large design makes it hard to move around
Alienware is another staple name in the big-budget gaming computer world, and the company’s laptops have always been some of the most powerful options out there. That performance does come at a price, but if you’re looking for a vivid 4K display to play your games on, then Alienware’s m17 R4 Gaming Laptop is a perfect example of dynamite in a small-ish package.
You’ll also find plenty of options for customizing the internals, including your choice of processor, RAM limit, internal SSD or HD space, and—of course—access to the latest graphics cards. The downside to these powerful laptops—outside of the price—is how bulky they are.
Bulk isn’t the only concern, either. During intense use, these laptops can often get very warm, which means you’ll want to keep them on a desk or other solid surface instead of directly on your lap. That makes them less portable than other options on our list, but if you’re looking for 4K, you’ll have to sacrifice some of that portability.
Despite that all, the power included with the m17 R4 makes it well worth the asking price, especially if you’re a fan of Dell’s gaming branch.
Price: BGR may receive a commission
Best compact gaming laptop: Razer Blade 14 Gaming Laptop
Pros: light and thin design, Wide array of ports, powerful GPU and CPU options
Cons: Price, can get warm on the bottom
The Razer Blade 14 is one of the most powerful compact laptops you’ll find out there, especially for gaming. With the newest refresh, Razer has dumped a lot of thought into the design and overall specs of the laptop. These builds are complete with the latest AMD processors and graphics cards. If you’re more of an Nvidia fan, then you can always go for an RTX card instead.
14-inches might not seem that compact, but when you’re talking about gaming laptops, a lot of them just aren’t that small. The fact that Razer has managed to pack so much power into the Razer Blade is impressive. Additionally, the laptop itself is stylish and slick. It’s also very thin, thanks to the aluminum body design that it shares with the slightly larger Razer Blade 15.
There are also a ton of ports on the side of the Razer Blade 14, making it a perfect laptop computer for any gamers with a ton of peripherals they need to plug in. Of course, you’ll need to worry about the usual suspects on powerful gaming computers like this. Excessive heat can build up on the bottom, making it tough to use this laptop without a solid surface underneath it. Thankfully, the smaller size means it can fit onto smaller surfaces you might not be able to use with other gaming laptops.
Razer Blade 14 Gaming Laptop Price:$2,199.99 Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission
Best budget gaming laptop: Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop
Pros: Price, Alexa support built-in
Cons: GPU and CPU aren’t very powerful, might be sluggish under heavy load
If you’re working with a budget, then going with a desktop is probably your best bet. But, if you need a laptop, then there are a few options out there. The Acer Nitro 5 isn’t the most powerful gaming laptop out there. The included GeForce GTX 1650 is good enough to keep you playing newer games at decent settings.
As with anything budget, it’s important to remember that the included CPU and GPU here aren’t going to deliver the same results as more expensive options. If you start doing a lot of multitasking, it’s also possible you could run into some sluggishness, as the weaker components just can’t keep up as well. Still, that doesn’t mean you should write this laptop off just yet.
Despite being budget, the Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop delivers everything you need in a basic gaming laptop. The display is full HD at 1080P, which means crisp and clear visuals. There are also optional variants that include more expensive graphics cards. The price can go up significantly depending on the one you choose. If you really need to watch your spending limits, though, Acer’s budget-friendly gaming laptop is a solid one to put on your desk.
Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop, 9th Gen Intel Core i5-9300H, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650, 15.6″ Full HD… Price:$760.00 Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission
Best MacBook for Gaming: 2021 Apple MacBook Pro with M1 Max
Pros: Fantastic multitasking laptop, great build quality and internal hardware
Cons: Price, still limited support for apps and games
The idea of gaming on a MacBook has been the butt of more than a few jokes over the years. While it still has a long way to go in the Mac OS ecosystem, the new 2021 MacBook Pros bring a lot of power to the table. This is mostly thanks to Apple’s new M1 Max and M1 Pro chipsets. Like most Apple computers, you’re going to be paying a hefty price for that power, though. These devices are definitely more geared towards professional users than gamers. But, they’re great options if you love the Apple ecosystem, especially if you don’t want to buy a Windows PC.
The new M1 Max and M1 Pro have delivered some stellar benchmarks since their launch. Plus, the amount of games available on macOS continues to grow, too. Of course, there’s still a long way to go for Apple’s premium laptop to reach the same level of gaming proficiency as the most powerful Windows laptops, but it isn’t really a hardware issue anymore. Instead, it’s just a matter of time before more developers start supporting Apple’s ecosystem with full game releases of the latest and hottest titles.
2021 Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, Apple M1 Max chip with 10‑core CPU and 32‑core GPU, 32GB RAM,… Price: Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission Source: BGR