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The best gaming laptops you can buy right now

Leave your budget at the door and check out these models from Lenovo, HP, and other brands.
By
January 20, 2022

Our list of the best cheap gaming laptops is a great way to get your foot in the door, but this list offers a taste of gaming’s full potential. We’re taking a look at the absolute best of the best when it comes to gaming laptops, regardless of the price tags. If budget is no issue and you want a high-end gaming experience, read on for our picks of the best gaming laptops available now.

See also: Best gaming laptop deals

The picks are in no particular order, and we’ve tried to note models that received a 2021 refresh. Retail prices can vary wildly based on the configuration, so be sure to double-check before you buy.

Buying the best gaming laptop

Buying the best gaming laptop now is not quite an easy decision to make. You have to consider a lot of factors before you make your pick. A good place to start is by narrowing down your budget, which will make the process a bit easier. Gaming laptops can range between $500 to over $4,000. The $1,000—$1,500 mark offers some well-balanced offerings, providing the ideal value-for-money.

Next up, if you have a brand preference for a CPU/GPU, you might want to narrow down options based on that. The next step would be to consider your portability requirements. Usually, as a loose rule, the more portable a gaming laptop is, the lower CPU/GPU wattages it has. The wattages are lower for thin-and-light form factor gaming laptops. This is the case because thinner laptops can only accommodate so much power while keeping temperatures in check, and having an acceptable battery life when away from the plug.

The baseline for CPU should be at least the latest or last generation of Intel Core i5/AMD Ryzen 5 or above. For GPUs, the latest Nvidia GeForce RTX/AMD Radeon GPUs are solid picks. However, you may have to settle for some older options like the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 or AMD Radeon RX 5500M if you’re on a tight budget.

As always, balance is the key. Make sure to keep your priorities in mind, and make the pick accordingly.

So if portability is your top priority, you will face at least some loss in performance. Similarly, if performance is your priority, you can go for a bulkier and heavier machine. Make sure to check the CPU and GPU wattages before finalizing your pick. Some of the heavier laptops still have models with lower GPU wattages, so you can make your pick with the right balance of these wattages. Common choices are 15-inch and 17-inch screens. 15-inch laptops offer a decent balance of power and portability, while 17-inch laptops generally offer more power and bigger batteries while increasing the overall footprint.

Another important factor to consider is the screen. Make sure the resolution meets your needs, and the refresh rate is at least 120Hz, if not more. The refresh rate of a screen is the number of times a screen refreshes in a second, so a higher refresh rate will equate to the ability to display a higher frame rate in games, provided the rest of the hardware is capable enough.

This is one of those things that will make or break the experience, especially if you’re planning on using the laptop display for gaming, rather than docking the laptop to a monitor. Also, make sure to check the screen’s color accuracy and brightness figures, since many gaming laptops tend to compromise on those in the name of higher refresh rates and response times. The laptop size is also something to consider.

See also: Best laptop deals available right now!

If you’re still unsure which gaming laptop is the best for you, here are our picks of the best gaming laptops to make your laptop buying decision much easier.

Best gaming laptops to buy

Editor’s note: This list of the best gaming laptops will be regularly updated as new models are announced.

1. Lenovo Legion 5 Pro — The best overall gaming laptop

lenovo legion 5 pro gen 6 gaming laptop
Amazon

Lenovo’s Legion 5 Pro has been completely refreshed for 2021. Let’s talk about options — you get an AMD Ryzen 7 5800H CPU, and a choice between the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 or RTX 3070. RAM options include 8, 16, and 32GB, but only the 16 and 32GB models get the RTX 3070 option. This is paired with a really nice 16-inch screen running at a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels at 165Hz.

See also: Best Lenovo laptops to buy

The only downside of this laptop is the massive 300W power brick that is among the biggest and heaviest ones we have seen. Regardless, the Legion 5 Pro is the best gaming laptop you can get right now, with well-balanced specifications and a design that impresses.  

2. HP Omen 15 — The best HP gaming machine

hp omen 15 1

If there were awards to go along with the best gaming laptops, the HP Omen 15 would take home the most improved design. HP has managed to slim the Omen down by 11% without sacrificing any power or comfort. You’ll really start to see how the Omen 15 earns its spot on the list once you add upgrades — there are seven options for processors and graphics cards to pick from.

See also: The best HP laptops to buy in 2021

The Omen 15 comes with options between AMD Ryzen 5000 series CPUs and Intel 10th generation chips, and Nvidia RTX 3060 or RTX 3070 GPUs. You get up to 32GB of RAM, and a plethora of screen options, going up to a QHD resolution panel running at 165Hz. The Omen 15 doesn’t seem to have the 4K and OLED screen options anymore, but it still offers a great package for the price.

3. Razer Blade 15 — The best Razer gaming laptop

Razer Blade 15 2021 Lifestyle 1
Razer

The Razer lineup is next to benefit from a 2021 refresh, with a 2022 refresh on the way. The base model is pricey, but you’re grabbing an 11th-generation Intel Core i7 CPU along with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. If you want to add a few improvements, you can swap the 300Hz Full HD screen for a 4K touchscreen and up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 graphics. You also get to pick an i9 CPU if you wish.

See also: The best Razer laptops you can buy right now

Razer has slowly expanded the available colors of its laptops to include white and rose quartz, although neither option has made it to the latest Razer Blade 15 quite yet. Regardless, the Blade 15 is still a rather great-looking laptop. The advanced model of the Razer Blade 15 swaps a heat pipe cooling system for a vapor chamber.

4. Razer Blade 17 — The best 17-inch gaming laptop

razer blade pro 17 2021 gaming laptop
Razer

Razer continued its 2021 refreshes with the high-end Razer Blade, and you can finally add a few configurations to your cart. The 17-inch model features 11th-gen Intel Core hardware similar to the smaller Blade 15. Of course, the starting price reflects the larger size and more powerful specs. A 2022 refresh should arrive soon as well.

For your money, you’ll get an 11th-generation Intel Core i7-11800H CPU with Turbo Boost, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU, and at least 16GB of RAM. You can improve your system all the way up to 64GB of RAM and 2TB of storage. All versions of the Razer Blade Pro come with per-key Razer Chroma setups for up to 16.8 million colors.

Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 help complete the experience, and the Blade 17 comes in the same matte black finish as the Blade 15.

5. Alienware x17 — The best desktop-replacement gaming laptop

alienware x17 1
Alienware

Alienware and gaming laptops have gone hand-in-hand for as long as most people can remember. More manufacturers have imitated the glowing alien logo and the spaceship design than you can count. The x17 is the latest powerhouse to come from the Dell-owned company.

See also: The best Alienware laptops currently available

If you go for the base configuration, you’ll be all set with an 11th-generation Intel Core i7-11800H chip, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 graphics, and a Lunar Light color finish. Alienware is an obvious choice if you want to maximize your ports and you’re not too worried about the size.

The x17 packs a massive 17.3-inch Full HD display, but it still manages to be Alienware’s lightest and thinnest machine yet. Of course, you can still open it up and tinker with the internals. Alienware’s x17 also highlights Cryo-Tech power with a vapor chamber, high voltage fan, and heat pipes for maximum cooling.

6. Alienware x15 — The best-looking gaming laptop

alienware x15 1
Alienware

Alienware’s big reshuffle in 2021 included the introduction of this peppy little machine, which has the best looks among all the picks on this list. The Alienware x15 is absolutely jam-packed with the best features you can ask from a gaming laptop and comes with an equally heavy price tag. 

Once you get past the eye-watering price, you’ll be able to command the virtual battlefield with an 11th-gen Intel Core i9, 32GB of RAM, and 2TB of storage on the higher trim. The lower trims have i7 CPUs and the RTX 3060 and RTX 3070 on offer. There’s a lot to like about the design. It has the typical gamer elements but are packed in a manner that doesn’t come off as too flashy. It looks great but doesn’t stick out, and it will get the job done.

7. ROG Zephyrus G14 —The best-balanced gaming laptop

asus rog zephyrus g14
Amazon

So far, this list has been the Intel show, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Intel makes some top-notch hardware, but this option shows that AMD can compete with its Ryzen 9 chip. The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 was brand-new in 2020, and it cemented itself as a top option in 2021.

Not only will your wallet thank you, but your performance might too. ROG’s Zephyrus G14 is rocking an AMD Ryzen 9, as mentioned before, and it’s paired with 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. You also get the freedom to choose between USB-A and USB-C ports, and the laptop ships with Windows 10 Pro onboard.

ROG has managed to stuff a 14-inch screen into an even smaller body thanks to slim bezels and an impressive 81% screen-to-body ratio. Thanks to the lightweight design, unlike many gaming setups, you can easily use the Zephyrus G14 in the classroom and even the boardroom.

8. MSI GS66 Stealth — The best low-key gaming laptop

msi gs66 stealth
MSI

We’re not playing favorites, but MSI is a popular pick among the staff here at Android Authority, and with good reason. MSI has an extensive list of options that fit pretty much any gamer, and the GS66 Stealth is the one we’ve chosen. Better yet, the GS66 Stealth got a full hardware refresh in early 2021.

You’ll be able to tap into a 15.6-inch Full HD screen powered by Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Max-Q graphics. The GS66 Stealth is a smaller sibling of the GS75 Stealth, and it packs an 11th-gen Intel Core i7 chip with 32GB of RAM. You’ll find the GS66 with a matte black finish that disguises the power within — hence the Stealth name.

If you want to add a bit more power, MSI has configurations for an Intel Core i9 processor and 1TB of storage, too. Just be careful because MSI laptops tend to run hot.

9. Acer Predator Helios 300 — The best value-for-money gaming laptop

acer predator helios 300 rtx 3060 laptop
Amazon

The Predator Helios 300 is your best bet if you want to grab an Acer laptop. It’s updated with newer 11th-gen Intel hardware, and it packs all of the power you could ask for.

In addition to the Core i7 processor, the Helios 300 wields 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. Nvidia GeForce RTX 30 series graphics card options available at reasonable prices tie the whole Helios 300 lineup together. The Helios 300 is 26.7mm thick and weighs about 2.9 kilograms. Not the most portable system, but it’s a 17-inch powerhouse.

You should have no problem gaming on the 17.3-inch display with a 2,560 x 1,440 resolution and a 165Hz refresh rate.

10. Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED — The best premium gaming laptop

Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED
Amazon

The final option on the list of the best gaming laptops might be one you’ve never heard of. Gigabyte’s Aero 15 OLED is designed to be fast and lightweight compared to its beefy, powerful Aorus line. It’s equipped with the latest and greatest as far as the internals are concerned.

So just what does this somewhat mysterious gaming laptop have to offer? Well, you can spec your device up to an 11th-generation Intel Core i7 chip and Nvidia GeForce RTX 30 series graphics for a price. The Aero 17 KC can handle 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage for workhorse-level performance on the go. The 15.6-inch 4K OLED display is glorious.

While Razer has long been the king of powerful and slim gaming laptops, the Aero 15 OLED is a worthy competitor. It’s rocking large fans and cooling systems, and you can attach plenty of peripherals with USB-A, HDMI, and Gigabit Ethernet ports.


Those are our picks for the very best gaming laptops you can buy right now. The list is long, and the prices are high, but there’s more to the perfect setup than just your laptop. Check out these resources while you’re here:

Frequently asked questions

Q: Are gaming laptops worth it?
A: Gaming laptops today provide some of the best value for money in laptops and are worth it, especially in the $1,000-$1,500 price bracket.

Q: What should I look for in a gaming laptop?
A: Our buying guidelines explain everything you need to look for in a gaming laptop. Key aspects are the CPU and GPU and their respective wattages and the screen resolution and refresh rates.

Q: Can gaming laptops be used for school?
A: Gaming laptops can absolutely be used for school. They have enough power to get through the more demanding tasks and more than enough for basic school tasks. If you’re looking for a gaming laptop that you can use for school, you can go with our choice of the best low-key gaming laptop.

Q: Can you upgrade a gaming laptop?
A: Upgradeability varies from model to model, but most gaming laptops will let you upgrade the RAM and storage. Other components like the CPU, GPU, and screen are generally not upgradeable.

Q: How do you keep a gaming laptop cool?
A: Gaming laptops generally have decent enough cooling systems to stay cool. However, these may not work too well if you live in the warmer parts of the world. In that case, you can get a laptop cooling pad or a similar device to keep your gaming laptop cool if using the laptop in an air-conditioned room is not an option.