Display Size: Do You Need A 17
In terms of display size, a 15-inch screen is the sweet spot for a gaming laptop. You can buy models with larger 17-inch displays, but this will almost certainly jack up the weight to well beyond 5 pounds and put portability in question. In terms of resolution, however, it’s less of a question: A full HD native-resolution screen is the default minimum at this point, whatever the screen size.
Larger displays are capable of giving you higher-than-1080p resolutions, but choose wisely, as a resolution of QHD , QHD+ , or 4K will boost the final cost twice: first for the panel, and second for the higher-quality graphics chip you’ll need to drive it to its full potential. As mentioned, look for increasingly common G-Sync or high-refresh-rate screens if you want smoother visuals.
Because they require the most potent GPUs for smooth gameplay at native resolution, gaming laptops with a 4K screen are still an exception, and still expensive. And keep this in mind: Only the most powerful graphics cards can render complex game animations at playable frame rates across the full screen at 4K, so a 1080p screen may actually be a better use of your money if all you do is play games . Even though the RTX 3070 and RTX 3080 can handle 4K gaming much more reasonably than any laptop GPUs before them, we still don’t think it’s worth the cost to seek out 4K gaming in laptops. The screens sure do look nice, though, especially since they’re often paired with OLED technology.
Would It Be Advisable To Purchase A Gaming Laptop For Work
If you do lots of video editing, software compiling, or other demanding work then buying a gaming laptop over a regular laptop makes more sense. However, if you simply need to reply to emails, make Skype business calls, and make PowerPoint presentations, a standard normal laptop will serve you better.
Whether to get a gaming laptop for work depends on the type of work you do. Also, keep in mind that gaming laptops are generally more expensive than normal laptops. Therefore, if you are working with a limited budget, a normal laptop is a better choice.
Gaming On The Go Has Never Been Easier Here Are Our Pick Of The Best Gaming Laptops For Every Budget
Now that Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 30-series graphics chips have made their way to portable computers, the best gaming laptops are more powerful than ever.
Nvidia’s new GPUs represent a significant step up in performance from the RTX 20-series, meaning gaming laptops housing them offer a true next-gen experience, complete with stunning graphics and super-smooth framerates.
In addition to that supreme performance, we’re now seeing more console exclusives being ported to PC, while Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass for PC gives players the opportunity to enjoy a wide range of premium titles for a monthly fee.
That combination of factors means there’s no better time to buy one of the best gaming laptops and join the huge community of PC gamers. You could, of course, build your own desktop gaming setup, but if you want to play your games on the go then buying one of the best gaming laptops is the way forward.
Our team of experts are regularly testing the latest and greatest gaming devices and you’ll find our pick of the best gaming laptops listed below. Each has undergone an extensive range of benchmarking tests, which include our in-house 4K processing test, read and write speed tests, graphical tests and a battery rundown test.
Before we jump into our list of the best gaming laptops on the market right now, we’ve put together a handy buying guide detailing all the things you should take into consideration before splashing out on new gaming hardware.
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Meet Amd Ryzen 5000 Series
AMD made a triumphant return to laptops last year, delivering surprising performance as we witnessed in the Acer Swift 3 and endurance from the Zephyrus G14, our current longest-lasting gaming laptop. The company is planning to make a repeat performance with its new 5000 series mobile processors. Built on AMDs 7nm Zen 3 architecture, the company is promising big boosts to performance and battery life.
So what makes the 5000 series so special? With the Zen 3 architecture, AMD is bringing a lot of desktop features to mobile. And AMD will finally have a larger presence in the world of high-end gaming laptops. And since were talking about gaming, were going to focus on AMDs new H-series lineup, which like other Ryzen chips, are designated by Ryzen 3, 5, 7 and 9.
The AMD Ryzen 9 5980HS CPU is a flagship component, serving up 8 cores and 16 threads and a base clock speed of 3.0GHz that can be boosted to 4.8GHz, which AMD dubs as the fastest mobile processors you can get. But if you need even more power, keep your eyes out for the upcoming HX chips, like the overclockable Ryzen 9 5980 HX, which has a max clock speed of 4.8GHz.
Some key improvements have been made over last years Zen 2 line. In addition to the higher boost clocks, all of the new chips will have threading enabled and use CPPC . That means you can expect more performance at more efficient rates which translates into longer battery life this is sure to be a boon for gaming laptops.
Who Are The Best Gaming Laptop Manufacturers
In the gaming laptop field there are, as you might expect, a lot of makers. Some of these have been producing laptops for gaming for decades, and have serious pedigree, while others are newer to the game and are producing exciting and innovative new models.
Here at T3 we rate and review the finest offerings from these makers and, as such, have created our own list of what we consider the best gaming laptop makers in the world. We think it is pretty much impossible to objectively rank these makers, as each keeps outdoing the other with new systems, but we think if you buy a system from one of these firms then chances are you’re going to be very, very happy.
Alienware Dell’s elite gaming-focussed arm has been turning out luxe, drool-tastic gaming laptops for 25 years now . As you would expect from that legacy, that means that basically every system it makes is top-tier. There’s a great attention to detail on each system’s build quality, and thanks to its backing from Dell, each is often very customisable, too.
Razer Razer’s systems don’t come cheap, at all, and they aren’t very configurable either, but they are truly elite-tier in terms of fit, finish and style. If your pockets are deep enough you can get a system with loads of gaming power, too, and thanks to Razer’s professional aesthetic, these systems can also be used in an office setting. Many models are also light and very portable.
There’s much to consider when testing out a new gaming laptop.
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What Other Specs Should I Look For
While the GPU is important, youll also want to be on the lookout for a good CPU, enough RAM and lots of storage space.
- CPU: Depending on your budget, you can get a very powerful Core i7 CPU or even one that you can overclock such as the Intel Core i9-9980HK. You can also find laptops with desktop CPUs. However, most games benefit more from a quality GPU than a CPU so you can definitely get by with a Core i5 processor.
If you see something older than the most current Intel 10th Gen Core or with less power, consider saving a bit. CPUs usually arent upgradeable, so youre making this choice once. Intel launched its 11th Gen Intel Core H35 at CES 2021, while a 45W part will come later in the year.
Like memory, storage is often upgradeable in gaming notebooks. So if you need more space, you can toss in a 2TB or larger HDD.
Great Performance Great Price: Hp Omen 15
HP’s lineup of OMEN 15 gaming laptops was refreshed mid-2020 with a new look and some interesting new features. The laptops look a lot more modern with dual hinges and discrete lines, and OMEN has a new diamond logo. Thermal efficiency is optimized thanks to an IR thermopile sensor and up to a 12V fan with larger vent openings.
That’s a good thing since this laptop has inside up to an Intel Core i7-11800H or AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX CPU. The Intel model has up to an NVIDIA RTX 3060 Laptop GPU for best performance, while the AMD model has up to an NVIDIA RTX 3070 Laptop GPU.
Yes, there are both AMD and Intel CPU options on offer here to help serve as many gamers as possible. Up to 16GB of DDR4-3200MHz RAM can be added to the AMD laptops, while up to 32GB of DDR4-2933MHz RAM is available in Intel models. Both laptops can be configured with up to 1TB of M.2 PCIe storage.
Display options differ depending on the CPU you choose. AMD models come with up to a 15.6-inch QHD display at a 165Hz refresh rate and 300 nits brightness. Those are decent specs, especially paired with the RTX 3070 GPU. Intel models have an FHD display available with up to a 300Hz refresh rate. Though there is also a 144Hz model, the higher refresh rate makes more sense when paired with RTX 30-series GPUs. All models come with Wi-Fi 6 wireless connectivity, and all models also come with an RJ45 Ethernet port for a reliable wired connection.
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Best Gaming Laptops In 2021
Predator Helios 300
The best gaming laptop used to mean picking a bulky clam that you could barely describe as portable, due to only chunky “desktop replacements” having enough space under the hood for a worthwhile GPU. That’s no longer the case. Today’s top gaming laptops are able to squeeze desktop-level performance into some impressively slight chassis.
The newest portable powerhouses pack all of the features of big desktop gaming rigs, including multicore CPUs, the latest Nvidia RTX 30-series or AMD Radeon RX 6000-series GPUs, and speedy NVMe SSDs. This includes configurations with heaps of RAM and super-high refresh screens. You can even find laptops with mechanical keyboards.
Gaming laptops have also sidestepped the silicon shortage, as there appears to be plentiful stockat least at the high end. Manufacturers have been focusing on high-end offerings, though, so midrange and budget models may be a little more sparse. Still, there are enough models out there to meet demand.
We’ve tested hundreds of gaming laptops over the years and continually update this guide with the latest models. What you’ll find below are the laptops that stand out as offering the best balance of performance, portability, and price. Whatever you’re in the market for, you should find the laptop that’s right for you right here.
Asus Rog Flow X13 Display
The ROG Flow X13 has a 13.4-inch, 3840 x 2400-pixel touch display, similar to the XPS 13. It manages to get this super-high-resolution display thanks to smaller bezels along the top and the sides of the panel. However, the chin is still a bit thick, especially when compared to the XPS 13s near bezel-less InfinityEdge design.
I played CyberPunk: 2077 for its unending parade of high-gloss neons and I was not disappointed. I camped out in my apartment waiting for day to turn to night and was treated to a glowing metropolis painted in neon pink, blue and yellow. It didnt matter that I couldnt see the stars in the night sky because the city was the only light show needed.
When I watched the Samsara trailer, I was awestruck by the crisp details and striking hues. I saw nearly every detail in the lead dancers sunflower yellow costume, including the sparkling sequins and delicate scales in the headpiece. The blood-red jewels in the headpiece popped from their emerald green perch.
The color looked so good that I was genuinely surprised when the 4K panel had a narrow 69.9% of the DCI-P3 color gamut. Its well below the 85.6% premium laptop average. It just edged out the XPS 13s 69.4% but the Spectre, ZenBook and MacBook Pro were all more vivid at 77.4%, 76.1% and 78.3%, respectively.
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Which Gaming Laptop Should I Buy
Buying a gaming laptop is quite an investment. Possibly more so than buying a regular laptop. The internal specifications have to be more powerful than your regular word processing computer.
But that doesnt mean you will have to invest your lifes savings. Rather you have to compromise on different features to a regular laptop. Rather than a touch screen laptop that is thinner than a pencil, a thick laptop with a dedicated GPU may be more preferable. Maybe even the ability to use VR.
Thats not to say that all gaming laptops are thick these days. Thick laptops and gaming laptops for a long time have gone hand in hand. But now you can buy slim gaming laptops. The sacrifice for this sort of laptop are plenty. Mechanical keys can not fit in a thin laptop. Heat dispersion is harder in a small laptop body, the thicker the better air flow, although some slim laptops have got around this issue by expanding the chassis when lifting up the lid. And you also have to compromise on internal specs as well, some big gaming laptops have desktop grade specs. We have added in a mix of thick gaming laptops and more travel capable thinner gaming laptops.
Take the gaming laptop quiz to find out which one is best for you.
Stellar Amd Power: Lenovo Legion 5 Pro
The Legion 5 Pro is one the best gaming laptops Lenovo has ever released. It’s powered by AMD Ryzen 5000 Mobile gaming CPUs, with up to a Ryzen 7 5800H, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, 2TB of M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD storage, and an NVIDIA RTX 3070 Laptop GPU. Performance is stellar â at least while the laptop is on AC power due to some AMD tuning â but the real attraction might be the display.
The screen is sized at 16 inches, with a taller 16:10 aspect ratio with 2560×1600 resolution. There’s just the one display option available, but its thin bezel, 165Hz refresh rate, 3ms response time, anti-glare finish, and more than 500 nits brightness are all keys to a great gaming experience. Testing color accuracy, I got back 100% sRGB color reproduction. NVIDIA G-Sync is also included for a smoother experience.
Overall build quality is excellent. The TrueStrike RGB keyboard feels great while gaming, and the touchpad is plenty big for easy pointing. Port selection, mostly arranged along the back edge for easy cable management, is generous. You get four USB-A 3.2, two USB-C 3.2, Ethernet, HDMI 2.1, and a 3.5mm headset jack.
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Gaming Laptop Vs Normal Laptop: Portability
Even though both normal laptops and gaming laptops are portable, there is usually a difference in their size and weight.
Normal laptops weigh less and are smaller in size than gaming laptops. This is because they have fewer components such as fans, dedicated graphics card, and external ports. They also pack a lighter battery because they are very power efficient.
Their displays are also smaller it is more common to find regular laptops with 13.3-inch displays than it is to find gaming laptops with this screen size. Most gaming laptops will have a larger 15.6-inch or 17.3-inch display.
Gaming laptops have come a long way from being the bulky briefcase-sized machines they once were. But, due to the extra hardware they carry, they still struggle to beat the portability of regular laptops.
For example, the Razer Blade 15 gaming laptop is considered the smallest gaming laptop but its still not as portable in terms of both weight and size as the HP Spectre X360 notebook.
The Razer blade 15 measures 14 x 9.3 x 0.7 inches and weighs roughly 4.6 pounds while the HP Spectre measures 12.2 x 8.6 x 0.6 inches and weighs 2.8 pounds.
Standard Equipment For Hardcore Gamers
Our new gaming laptops differ in some areas, which well get to in a moment, but they also share a lot of core attributes. They all have 6th Generation Intel Core i7 processors otherwise known as Skylake. The quad-core chips use Hyper-Threading to execute up to eight threads in parallel, allowing them to effortlessly everything from gaming to content creation to heavy multitasking workloads. In the G752VS OC Edition and G701VI, the CPU is factory overclocked and unlocked for further tweaking.
As one of the most popular producers of gaming monitors, were keenly aware of how much gamers value their displays. Thats why all our Pascal gaming laptops feature NVIDIAs G-Sync technology, which synchronizes the refresh rate of the display with the frame rate of the GPU. This tight integration makes gameplay smoother by reducing perceptible stuttering, makes graphics more immersive by eliminating visual tears, and makes the whole experience feel more responsive by reducing input lag.
Backlighting illuminates the keyboard during late-night raids, and anti-ghosting technology prevents the system from missing vital input during frantic key mashing. All our Pascal gaming laptops can capture more simultaneous key presses than you have fingers. The G752VS and G701VI support 30-key rollover, which is more than sufficient, while the others go gloriously overboard with n-key rollover that lets you press every single key at once.
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How Much Should You Spend On A Gaming Laptop
Gaming systems have higher-end components than run-of-the-mill consumer laptops, so their prices consequently will be higher, but the range across the category is huge: from under a grand to $4,000 and up. Budget gaming laptops start at around $750 and can go up to about $1,250. For that, you get a system that can play games at full HD resolution with the settings turned down in most titles, or at maximum quality settings in simpler games. Storage may be a hard drive, or a modest-capacity solid-state drive . An SSD is always preferable.
Want something better? Midrange systems give you smoother gameplay at high or maximum settings on a better-quality 1080p screen , and should add support for VR headsets. These models will range in price from around $1,250 to $2,000.
High-end systems, meanwhile, should guarantee you smooth gameplay at 1080p with graphics details maxed out, often with a high-refresh screen. They even might let you play at 4K resolution, if the screen supports it. A high-end model should also be able to power a VR headset and support additional external monitors. These machines tend to come with speedy storage components such as PCI Express solid-state drives, and they are priced above $2,000, often closer to $3,000.