Gaming Laptops in 2021: Worth it?

The idea of a powerful gaming laptop has always been appealing. Who doesn’t want the power of a desktop inside something they can carry around with ease. Unfortunately, that hasn’t always been the case for gaming laptops. In the past, and this isn’t too long ago, gaming laptops were big, bulky, and barely portable.

We can’t deny that gaming laptops have come a long way from the days of terrible battery life, thermal issues, and issues with portability. Because of those issues, gaming laptops were mocked at and looked over for quite a bit. For a while, it looked as if only the hardcore enthusiast crowd cared for these machines. However, things have changed for the better these days.

The major thing preventing gaming laptop sales was desktop PCs. Everyone asked themselves this question quite often: Why buy a more expensive laptop when a desktop has better specs at the same price? To combat this stigma, gaming laptops have to offer more value than just performance.

Manufacturers realize this, and that’s why things are changing quite rapidly. Gaming laptops are one of the best options for laptops in general now. This is because more people are playing games, editing video, or doing some sort of intensive work on their computers. That’s why gaming laptops are getting popular for Windows users, not just for general gamers.

How Powerful Are Gaming Laptops In 2021?

The great thing about PC and laptop gaming is the amount of competition we have between manufacturers. There are a lot of components that go inside of a gaming laptop. The major two are the graphics card and the processor. These are the two most important components when it comes to gaming laptops. Fortunately, this also where the competition is the most heated.

When it comes to graphics, both Intel and AMD have built-in graphics with their processors. Surprisingly, the performance for both of these has gotten better. Of course, you’re not going to run games like Red Dead Redemption 2 at max settings, but you’ll be surprised how well they can get the job done. Especially if you play Esports titles like Valorant, Overwatch, and CS:GO.

Of course, we have the big and beefy dedicated GPUs as well. In 2021, you can get Nvidia’s RTX series of GPUs inside of many laptops. Granted, these aren’t as powerful as the desktop versions, but they’re still an improvement over recent years. Of course, new GPUs come out all the time, and by the time you read this, there will likely be something more powerful, even for laptops.

Other than that, most gaming laptops have 16 gigabytes of RAM, a minimum of quad-core processors (six cores and more is becoming more common), and decent GPUs. So gaming laptops can get as powerful as you’d like. Plus, they have the screens to back it up. High refresh-rate panels are getting more popular in laptops, and they are quickly becoming the norm.

So to answer the questions, most gaming laptops are more than enough for the average person’s gaming needs.

Battery Life

True, there are some really chunky gaming laptops available in the market that are a lot bigger and thicker than your average gaming laptop available in the market, but not all of them fit the bill. The laptops that we are talking about are way high-end, and in all honesty, are not even considered laptops because it is almost impossible to put that much weight on your lap.

Most of the gaming laptops these days will come with a 15.6 or 17-inch screen and will be thin enough to fit the backpack with ease. However, while carrying them might not be a problem, if you are looking for stellar battery life, then that is going to be an issue that you are going to face.

Most entry-level gaming laptops still face issues with sustaining good battery life, so that is always a thing to keep in mind. However, there are a good few options that focus on this issue and have excellent battery life.

What About The Pricing?

We talked above about the fierce competition between manufacturers. This results in better performance and overall better products. The same concept applies to pricing. Manufacturers are constantly trying to undercut each other, and this is ultimately a win for the consumers. AMD’s Ryzen processors are very impressive, and you can find a great laptop with those processors for under $1000.

Previously if you wanted an all-around solid gaming laptop, you’d have to spend at least $1000-$1200. These days, products such as the Lenovo Legion, Acer’s Swift lineup, and Dell’s G3/G5 series of laptops are all great options that can be found under the $1000 mark. In fact, you can get decent performance out of a $700-$800 laptop, depending on the use case.

Of course, if you’re going to go premium, the price goes up. But a lot of companies offer a well-rounded package, so you get what you pay for. For example, the Razer Blade 15, ROG Zephyrus G15, and ASUS Scar 15 are expensive sure. However, they also reflect the premium price tag with the excellent build quality, great thermal performance, battery life, and just overall better reliability.

So, gaming laptops aren’t cheap by any means. But they are more accessible these days than ever before. While pricing is not going to compete with desktops anytime soon, we don’t think that’s going to push away someone who needs portable power.

What About the Design and Build Quality?

Not too long ago, gaming laptops were not exactly what you might call elegant. Manufacturers had this idea that gamers love flashy and aggressive designs. We’re not quite sure where that concept stems from, but design choices are subjective. With that said, the design for gaming laptops has changed quite a lot in the past year, and everyone seems to agree that it’s for the better.

For example, big bulky vents for thermals, and angular designs are not all that common now. Instead, manufacturers are going for that muted look with some accents here and there. There are still some aggressive designs to be found here and there, but they are implemented in a better way. Take a look at the Zephyrus G15 for a better idea.

Build quality is also much better these days. Most gaming laptops under or around the $1000 mark still use plastic. However, it’s not the type of plastic that has a lot of flex to it or bends easily. The Lenovo Legion and Dell G3 are great examples of this idea. Even keyboards are getting better in gaming laptops these days.

The other major concern is portability. Fortunately, big bulky gaming laptops are just a separate market at this point. Enthusiasts who want utmost power along with some sense of portability can go that route. For everyone else, gaming laptops are easier to carry around. While they’re not thin as ultrabooks by any means, they’re still more manageable than they were a couple of years ago.

That’s just the majority of gaming laptops right now. But some manufacturers like Razer, ASUS, and MSI go all-in on portability. Some of these laptops cost a bit more than their thicker counterparts, but they still have decent thermals and are significantly more portable. So, the next someone brings up the fact that gaming laptops aren’t portable, you’ll know that they’re probably not aware of the enormous market of thin gaming laptops.

So, Should You Really Buy a Gaming Laptop in 2021?

Everything we have talked about leads us well into the conclusion. Should you really buy a gaming laptop in 2021? Well, if you are looking for a short answer that explains most of the questions that you may have in mind, you should definitely go ahead and buy one. This is perhaps the best time to buy a gaming laptop as they have finally matured to the point where they make excellent options for gaming and productivity tasks.

Just make sure that whenever you are in the market to buy a gaming laptop, you decide your budget with great vigilance. Once you have decided on that, there is nothing that is going to stop you from getting the best possible gaming laptop available in the market.

Bill Wilson
Bill is a certified Microsoft Professional providing assistance to over 500 remotely connected employees and managing Windows 2008 to 2016 servers.