Gaming laptops are enjoying ever greater popularity, which is also directly reflected in the wide range of products available.
So that you don’t lose track of things, we have compiled a list of models that are particularly worthwhile due to their excellent price-performance ratio or practical features. In addition, we will reveal what you should pay particular attention to before making a purchase.
There are numerous gaming laptops on the market that differ in many features: the size of the screen, graphics card, processor, RAM, weight, and dozens of other criteria. Hence, you will not only get stuck between different manufacturers but also within a model series with different configurations.
We are therefore going to introduce different gaming laptops, all of which differ in terms of price and functionality – from entry-level models to compact high-end computers, everything is included.
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The best gaming laptops 2021: an overview of our recommendations
|TechGiig price tip||Entry-level model||Best model for on the go||High-end laptop|
|model||HP Pavilion Gaming 15||Asus TUF Gaming A15||Asus ROG Zephyrus G14||Razer Blade Pro 17|
|advantage||Affordable price||Good mix of price and performance||Compact design||Outstanding performance|
|disadvantage||Without a Windows license||Heavy||No webcam||Extremely expensive|
Note: By the way, we present laptop recommendations for work in the office or everyday university life in the article “The Best NoteBooks For Work”
HP Pavilion Gaming 15″
- Good mix of price and performance
- Fast 144 Hz display
- 3-in-1 card reader
- Without a Windows license
- Relatively small battery
- Relatively small SSD storage
HP’s entry-level series for gaming laptops is called “Pavilion” and offers a good mix of price and (gaming) performance. This is also the case with the HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec1148ng – catchy name, right? Joking aside.
While the marketers apparently name these laptops by generating random numbers, the product development team seems to put significantly more brainpower into the hardware configuration.
The AMD Ryzen 5 4600H operates on a 15.6-inch Full HD IPS screen with a refresh rate of 144 Hz in conjunction with Nvidia’s GTX 1650 Ti – a balanced combination.
However, you will only achieve the full 144 FPS with eSports games such as Fortnite, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Rocket League, and Co., but the 144 Hz also makes a noticeable difference when working with normal office programs or surfing the Internet smoother user experience.
Also, this laptop offers a 226 GB SSD, which ensures excellent start and load times for programs, games, and the operating system. The built-in 8 GB RAM also offers video producers and tab junkies enough space to work.
Another advantage: the SD card slot. More and more models often do without this feature, which fortunately is not the case here.
|Display||15.6 inches (Full HD, 144 Hz, anti-glare)|
|processor||AMD Ryzen 5 4600H|
|graphic card||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti|
|Storage||226 GB M.2 SSD, 8 GB RAM|
|Connectivity||– 1x USB-A 2.0, 1x USB-A 3.1 Gen 1, 1x USB-C 3.1 Gen 1|
– Headphone / microphone combo jack
– Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5, Ethernet
– 3-in-1 card reader
|Battery life||up to 8.25 hours (52.5 Wh)|
Asus TUF Gaming A15
- Powerful processor and graphics card
- RTX graphics card with ray tracing and DLSS
- Fast 240 Hz display including Adaptive-Sync
- Big battery
- Enough SSD storage
- Heavyweight (2.3 kg)
Again, behind an almost unpronounceable name is a very successful gaming laptop. The AMD Ryzen 7 5800H provides sufficient performance – and not only when gaming.
Even those who want to work on full HD videos or edit images will enjoy the performance it offers. The RAM also provides sufficient capacity with 8 GB so that a bottleneck is avoided.
But gaming is not just about the processor or RAM. The graphics card plays a much more important role in most cases. With the built-in NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 4GB GDDR6 Graphics, you don’t have to worry in this regard.
This is underlined again by the built-in display with a refresh rate of 240 Hz. Especially with less demanding games, you should be able to enjoy it to the full in order to enjoy an absolutely smooth display.
The only drawback in this price range would be the relatively small SSD. 512 GB may sound like a lot at first, but games today eat up a good 100 GB or more. If necessary, you can retrofit at any time using the maintenance flap.
The battery’s capacity is more than generous at 90 Wh. The battery life is accordingly good with this model, but it always depends on the respective application scenario. When gaming, the battery runs out of breath after 2-3 hours.
The Asus TUF Gaming A15 shares this characteristic with most gaming laptops – if you want to play longer and with optimal performance, you should do so with a computer that is connected to the power supply.
In the Asus TUF Gaming A17 review, you’ll find more detail about the strengths and weaknesses of this laptop.
|Display||15.6 inches (Full HD, 240 Hz, Adaptive Sync, anti-glare)|
|processor||AMD Ryzen 7 5800H|
|graphic card||Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070|
|Storage||512 GB SSD, 8 GB RAM|
|Connectivity||– 3x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, 1x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2|
– Headphone / microphone combo jack
– Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5, Ethernet
|Battery life||up to 12.3 hours (90 Wh)|
The best model for on the go: Asus ROG Zephyrus G14
- Compact design and good workmanship
- Charging by proprietary power supply via USB-C possible
- Programmable mini LED display (AniMe Matrix)
- Wi-Fi 6 already supported
- Fingerprint sensor
- 120 Hz display only
- No webcam
- No ethernet connection
If you decide to buy this machine, you may like to have a look at our list of best webcams.
The design is rather simple compared to the devices that otherwise look like sports cars or alien spaceships. Thanks to the narrow bezels of the screen, you can enjoy the matt 14-inch display with little reflection.
The display is sufficiently responsive at 120 Hz, but there are significantly faster panels beyond 144 Hz in this price range. In return, it comes with a sharp QHD resolution, which should make games and other content appear a lot sharper.
The necessary computing power is provided by the AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS in combination with the GTX 3060 including 6 GB of video memory. Speaking of memory, in this configuration, you have 16 GB of RAM available.
According to the manufacturer, the battery with its 76 Wh should also last almost 14 hours. Such values are subject to strong fluctuations depending on user behavior.
One of the USB-C ports supports Power Delivery and, on top of that, DisplayPort 1.4 – if required, an external monitor can also be connected here.
The AniMe Matrix – which has over a thousand individual LEDs on the notebook lid – also you to set a wide variety of beautiful effects via software. At this point, everyone has to decide for themselves whether it makes sense.
Finally, where we all agree: The absence of a webcam and an integrated microphone is a shame. So if you want to use the device for video conferences, you need external peripherals. A LAN connection is also missing, which is why you have to be contented with a USB dongle.
In our Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 review, you will find more details about the device and our final rating.
|Display||14 inches (QHD, 120 Hz, Adaptive Sync, anti-glare)|
|processor||AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS|
|graphic card||Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060|
|Storage||1 TB SSD, 16 GB RAM|
|Connectivity||– 2x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, 2x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 (incl.Power Delivery, DisplayPort 1.4)|
– Headphone / microphone combo jack
– Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5
|Battery life||up to 13.7 hours (76 Wh)|
High-end laptop for high demands: Razer Blade Pro 17
- Outstanding performance
- Attractive design and fine workmanship
- Touch screen
- 4K display with 120 Hz
- SD card reader
- Relatively low battery life
- Reflective display
- High price
The crowning glory of our list is the Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021). This year’s new edition of the popular model series impresses everyone with its minimalist design and fantastic workmanship.
Also, this gaming laptop has nothing to envy from its competitors: The processor used is the Intel Core i7-10875H and has a total of 16 GB of RAM. Added to all of that is an RTX 3080 – the Razer Blade Pro 17 is bursting with performance.
A 17.3-inch 4K panel is used as the display. In addition to a crisp refresh rate of 120 Hz, this device also has the option of receiving touch inputs.
The time it takes to boot up the laptop, start programs and load times in games is relatively small thanks to the built-in 1 TB NVMe SSD (very quick).
A second SSD in M.2 format can also be retrofitted to the Razer Blade Pro 17 (2021). If you want more memory, you only have to loosen a few screws on the bottom of the laptop, remove the cover, and then you have access to mass and working memory.
In addition, the already rather tight battery with 70.5 Wh only lasts about 6 hours according to the manufacturer. Even if you mainly play games or do other computationally intensive tasks, you should probably not leave the house without a charger.
|Display||17.3 inches (4K, 120 Hz, touchscreen)|
|processor||Intel Core i7-10875H|
|graphic card||Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080|
|Connectivity||– 3x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2, 2x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2, 1x Thunderbolt 3|
– Headphone / microphone combo jack
– Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 6, Ethernet
– U- HS III SD card reader
|Battery life||up to 6 hours (70.5 Wh)|
|Storage||1 TB SSD, 32 GB RAM|
The Best Gaming Laptops: Here’s How We Chose
There are now countless gaming laptops on the market. Some offer you the absolute maximum in terms of performance and others place great value on mobility and thus compact dimensions.
For this reason, we have selected different models that cover different areas of application on the one hand and the broadest possible price range on the other. In order to be able to give you the best possible overview, we have taken into account not only our own assessments but also user ratings and external test institutions.
Buying a gaming laptop: you need to know that
Before you start clicking your way through the huge range of different gaming laptops, you have to clarify the following things in order to narrow down the selection:
- What’s my budget What is the maximum amount you are willing to spend on your gaming laptop?
- How big should my gaming laptop be? will you prefer a reasonably compact machine? Or would you prefer 17 inches to maximize the screen size? Ultra-compact gaming laptops with 13- and 14-inch displays also exist, but they are extremely expensive.
- What additional features do I need? Illuminated keyboard, SD card slot, Thunderbolt 3, a separate number pad on the keyboard, a webcam with a microphone? Not all devices offer such extras with an added price if in doubt.
- What exactly do I want to play on my laptop? For less demanding games like League of Legends, Fortnite, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, an inexpensive entry-level model is completely sufficient. However, if you want to play the very latest AAA games in the coming years, you have to dig deeper into your pockets.
- Do I really need a gaming laptop? More on this below.
Display, graphics card, processor and Co.
As much as we would like to give you a general answer here – it always depends. The most important factors to consider are your budget and the type of games or applications that you intend to run on the laptop. The following table provides rough guidelines for what a current gaming laptop should have:
|Beginners||Middle class||High end|
|Processor (cpu)||Intel Core i5|
AMD Ryzen 5
|Intel Core i7|
AMD Ryzen 7
|Intel Core i9|
AMD Ryzen 9
|Graphics card (GPU)||GeForce GTX 1650 Ti|
Geforce GTX 1660 Ti
|GeForce RTX 2060|
GeForce RTX 3060
|GeForce RTX 3070|
GeForce RTX 3080
|Random Access Memory (RAM)||8 GB||8 to 16 GB||16 to 32 GB|
|Storage||at least 250 GB SSD + 1 TB HDD||at least 512 GB SSD||at least 1 TB SSD|
|Display||Full HD with at least 120 Hz||Full HD with at least 144 Hz|
QHD with 120 Hz
|Full HD with at least 240 Hz|
QHD with 144 Hz
4K with 120 Hz
|price||up to $1,000||up to $2,500||from $2,500|
It should not be forgotten that the configurations shown here are by no means set in stone. Manufacturers often deliberately offer different versions of their respective models, which, depending on the configuration, are better equipped for certain tasks.
Often it is also worthwhile to look specifically for a model from the previous year. The hardware is then no longer up-to-date, but you could still get more performance for your money under certain circumstances.
For even more information on the subject, you can take a look at our overview of the best gaming monitors or check our article on “How to build your own gaming PC”.
Save money when buying a gaming laptop
If you want to buy a gaming laptop at an affordable price, don’t limit yourself to a single model. Keep an eye out for devices from other manufacturers that have similar or, in the best case, the same hardware equipment.
If you have a small pool of different models on your radar, it is much more likely that one of them will have a reduced price in the near future.
Think about whether it might be worthwhile for you to buy a cheaper laptop without a fast SSD or with less RAM, which you can upgrade afterward. Some devices have a maintenance hatch that gives you easy access to the relevant slots.
Otherwise, in most cases, you will find a corresponding tutorial online that describes the disassembly and installation in detail.
The same applies to the operating system. Many manufacturers offer their gaming laptops with or without a pre-installed OS. Anyone who still has a Windows license laying around or is moving from their old to the new computer can save a lot of money in this way.
Is a gaming laptop worth it for me?
Sorry for asking this crucial question, but it is definitely something to think about before throwing away your money.
This guide is limited to devices that are primarily intended for gaming. Most of the models, however, do not have mobility and battery life as strengths, and the devices are significantly more expensive compared to stationary gaming PCs (desktops) and consoles.
If you just want to play at home, you might be better off with a powerful desktop PC or console, plus a non-gaming laptop. Sure, desktop computers need space and you still have to take care of additional peripherals such as screen, mouse, and keyboard. In return, you get more performance for the money with a gaming PC and can upgrade it more easily in the future.
If you need a laptop, but only want to play less resource-hungry or older games from time to time, you can also use a laptop without a separate graphics chip.
Devices with a graphics unit (GPU) integrated into the processor cannot compete with their big brothers when it comes to gaming, but their battery does not run out as quickly.
Another advantage: Devices without a dedicated graphics chip are usually more compact, lighter, cooler, and also cheaper.
With cloud gaming services such as Google Stadia and Geforce, you can also play sensibly on weak notebooks – at least if the internet connection allows it.
With the consoles, you get inexpensive machines that are completely optimized for gaming. The Nintendo Switch (the best games), for example, is much more mobile than any gaming laptop, no matter how compact – they are usually cheaper too.
Don’t forget that your budget should also include the cost of accessories such as a suitable bag, gaming mouse, or gaming headset. Almost all gaming laptops develop into real jet turbines under full load in network operation. If you still want to enjoy the audio backdrop of the game in this state, you shouldn’t rely on the built-in speakers .
Another alternative would therefore be an iPad – it is significantly lighter, versatile in use, and with a keyboard, it can be used at least to a limited extent like a conventional notebook. In addition, the Apple tablet now also supports controllers. However, you usually have to do with non-graphically impressive triple-A games on the tablet.
Otherwise, the following applies: trying is more important than studying – especially in terms of the processing quality, the tactile feedback of the keyboard, the sliding properties of the touchpad and the quality of the display.
Everyone has different preferences here. So before you buy, see if you can find your dream model in the local electronics store as an exhibit and play around with it a bit. If you don’t have this option, you can simply order the laptop home and, if you don’t like it, demand a refund within 14 days without giving a reason.