Top 5 BEST & WORST Gaming Laptops of 2021!

These are the top 5 best and top 5 worst gaminglaptops that Ive tested this year! Well startout with the 5 best gaming laptops then goto the 5 worst gaming laptops afterwards. Starting out with number 5 and working our way upto the best weve got the Dell G15. This is meantto be a more budget friendly option but honestlyit surprised me compared to what Dell has offeredin the past. I thought the build quality felt finedespite the plastic design and its got some nicefeatures including a MUX switch and a GPU thatsnear full power, so the gaming performance ends upbeing pretty decent.

The battery life was also thebest Ive ever recorded from any gaming laptop sofar. Unfortunately in classic Dell style thoughit can run hot, but I can kind of overlook thata bit when the performance is this good forthe price. Plus honestly, I think people are abit more paranoid about high temperatures thanthey need to be. The only thing I didnt likewith mine was the 120Hz screen wasnt great,but you can spend a little more money in mostregions to get a better screen than this, soif you can do that Id definitely suggest it.

The 4th best gaming laptop I tested this year wasthe ASUS Zephyrus S17.

As far as 17 models go,this is probably the best one Ive used. Theperformance on offer from the S17 was excellent,but unfortunately mine came with a 4K 120Hzscreen, which isnt the best for gaming.If youre doing a mixture of gaming andcontent creation though its not too bad,but unfortunately the 4K model does not have a MUXswitch, so for most people just playing games Idrecommend the 1440p option that does have a MUXswitch, as this will boost gaming performance.Plus the 1440p mode also gets you advanced optimusand G-Sync.

Battery life wasnt amazing due to itbeing Intel based, but generally Intel does betterthan AMD in gaming.

Plus you get Thunderbolt 4and faster PCIe gen 4 storage, so its a bit of atradeoff. The S17 takes full advantage of PCIe gen4 as well and offers some seriously impressivestorage speed. I liked the mechanical keyboardwhich lifts up when you open the lid. This bothgives you a nice angle for typing but also allowsair to get pulled in underneath, resultingin impressively low temperatures consideringthe high performance on offer. Unfortunatelylike other Zephyrus series laptops from ASUS,it has 16 gigs of memory soldered to themotherboard.

Nothings perfect I guess,but that said I dont think this is that big ofa deal. With 16 gigs soldered to the motherboardand a 16 gig stick installed you still get 32gigs in dual channel, which is honestly probablygoing to be enough for most people just playinggames for quite a while yet. Plus if capacityreally is the priority then you could installa 32gb stick for 48 gigs in total. But yeah Isuppose if you do want maximum upgradeabilitythen the Zephyrus series isnt for you, so justsomething to be aware of if you think you mightwant a laptop with 64 gigs of RAM or something. Coming in at 3rd place weve got the LenovoLegion 5 Pro.

The 5 Pro has pretty muchall the key features you could want ina gaming laptop including MUX switch,advanced optimus, full powered GPU and G-Sync,plus it uses a 16:10 screen with a resolutionthats higher than 1440p. So more screenreal estate and just generally some nicefeatures for a gaming laptop that doesntbreak the bank too much for the 3060 modelif you can find a decent sale.

Now while Ithink the 5 Pro is a great gaming laptop,for most people I think the real staris going to be the Lenovo Legion 5,and its that non-pro version of the Legionwhich Im saying is the 2nd best of the year. Now you might be wondering why the Legion5 Pro wasnt ahead of the cheaper Legion 5,I mean its basically the same but professional..

Basically it just comes down to the fact thatthe regular Legion 5 is cheaper while stilloffering the same core features as the 5 Pro,including MUX switch, full poweredGPU, advanced optimus and G-Sync,all while generally being $100-200 less money.You do get a regular 16:9 screen rather than thetaller 16:10 so I guess it depends how much youvalue that, and it is worth keeping in mind thatthat higher resolution screen with the 5 Pro willrequire more GPU horsepower to run games.

So yeah,as far as just gaming goes for most people, Ithink that the regular Legion 5 is the way to go. Alright, just before we get into the 5 worstgaming laptops of the year, lets find outwhich gaming laptop was the best this year! Thebest gaming laptop I tested all year was the Neo15 from XMG, also known as the Mech-15 G3 fromEluktronics in the US market.

Now to be fair thisis a more pricey option compared to the Legion5 that was just looked at, but it does have someexcellent features on offer including MUX switch,full powered RTX 3070 or 3080 graphics, softwareto adjust power limits and fan control, largebattery, good 1440p screen, mechanical keyboard,2.5 gigabit ethernet, SD card slot and just a nicemetal feeling chassis that feels solid. Seriously,the build quality of this thing is excellent andits what I would personally pick if I was goingfor a high end gaming laptop, though of coursethat higher price point isnt for everyone,so in that case Id refer you to the second bestlaptop mentioned just before which is the LenovoLegion 5.

As shown in my big GPU comparison video,generally the Nvidia RTX 3060 or AMD RX 6600Moffer the best bang for buck while stillgiving great performance. Generally payingmore money for higher tier graphics does resultin diminishing returns, so going for somethinglike this above RTX 3060 graphics is only reallyrecommended if youve got the money to burn.

Some special mentions that didnt quitemake it into the top 5 include LenovosLegion 7. Technically the Legion 7is better than both the 5 and 5 pro,though it does also cost more money,but considering the battery drainissue with their included Corsair iCUEsoftware thats existed for years now,basically means it just doesnt make the cut.The ASUS Zephyrus G15 and M16 are quite nice too,though no MUX switch with those models and likethe S17 youre also subject to soldered memory.

Alright now lets get into the 5 worst gaminglaptops that Ive tested this year! Now Im notnecessarily saying that you shouldnt buy any ofthese laptops, its just that when you test out 34laptops in a whole year theres obviously goingto be some laptops that are better than others,its just the way it is, and these are theones that are on the bottom of that list.

First up weve got Alienwares m15 R5 andR6 gaming laptops. Theyre basically boththe same laptop chassis, its just the R5 is AMDRyzen 5000 based while the R6 is Intel 11th genbased. Now both of these gaming laptops generallyperform quite well in games with decent GPU powerlimits and a MUX switch, but there are just somesilly problems that shouldnt exist with a higherprice tag. The software takes a full minute toload up after boot which is just embarrassing,literally no other gaming laptop takes thislong. The R5 with RTX 3070 graphics originallyshipped missing 10% of its CUDA cores, butthat was patched in a BIOS update.

Likewise,the R5 also didnt initially come with a MUXswitch. The underlying hardware functionalitywas always there, and eventually they did put outa BIOS update that let us use this, but Im stillgoing to argue that this shouldnt have been thecase in a more premium laptop design. It soundslike it just wasnt finished and they sent it outearly so that people could beta test it for themor something. I dont know, surely they would haveknown that so why did they send the laptop outto me and others to review it in a state thatsnot going to represent what people actually buy?Because now Ive got my review and game test videoup and all of the benchmarks are done with no MUXswitch, so it doesnt actually represent what youwould get today.

I dont know, its clearly justa mistake from Alienwares side because this justmakes my video make it look worse than it actuallyis. Basically its just a whole thing thatisnt really a problem anymore, I just thinkits something really silly that happened fora laptop that costs more than most others. Iguess if you really want that RGB light bar onthe back then sure go ahead. Apart from that Ialso had some issues with the display outputsnot working properly on the R6. I guess I mightof gone a bit far into the rant there, if you dowant absolutely all the details and problems onany of these new laptops mentioned the full reviewvideos will be linked in the description below.

Next up is Acers Nitro 5. Now dont get me wrong,the $600 version of the Nitro 5 with the GTX 1650graphics does offer pretty good value for low tomedium settings gaming, and hey when youre tryingto sell a gaming laptop at such a competitiveprice point it kind of makes sense to not putone of the RAM sticks in. Extra RAM costs moremoney, I get it, but unfortunately this doesmean that the laptop ends up running in singlechannel. Cool, it is what it is for a lower price1650 option, whatever. Where Ive got a problem iswhen these sorts of cost cuttings still take placein the higher specced configurations like the3060 model I reviewed.

By the time youre lookingat the RTX 3060 configuration, its no longer acheap laptop, and selling it with one stick ofmemory instead of two makes the RTX 3060 graphicsperform worse than a GTX 1660 Ti from a couple ofyears ago. Kind of embarrassing considering a1660 Ti is available for less money in a betterdesigned laptop. Now of course you can always goand upgrade the memory yourself if you know whatyoure doing, but that is an extra cost that doesneed to be factored into the overall laptop cost,and I would also argue that most peoplebuying a budget friendly gaming laptop justarent aware of the performance differencesbetween single and dual channel memory. Fact is,a lot of people just sort from lowest price tohighest price and go with the lowest option.Now all that said, you can absolutely get the 3060Nitro 5 with single channel memory and still playpretty much any game on it no problem at all,Im sure youll still have a great time on it,its just that when youre paying more for the3060 model when you could pay less for a 1660 Ti,I dont know, at what point doesit become misleading marketing?

Next up is MSIs Stealth 15M.

This is a thinnerquad core laptop, though with upside downmotherboard upgrades are a bit awkward.Honestly the laptop wasnt all that bad,its just for that price generally you can get aslightly thicker gaming laptop that will performmuch better because it can have higher powerlimits. Higher power generally means highertemperatures and you generally just cant haveas high temperatures or power limits in thinnermachines. So it really depends how much youvalue the thinner and lighter design.

PerhapsI can sum up my main issue with the Stealth 15Mis that friends dont let friends buy quad cores. The ASUS TUF Dash F15 is another quad core gaminglaptop, and is next up on the list. I tested minewith RTX 3070 graphics, but it ended up performingworse than most cheaper 3060 laptops. It doesnthave a camera built in like most other laptops andits got memory soldered to the motherboard whichmay affect upgradeability. At least there areoptions with 8 or 16 gigs of soldered memory.

AsI mentioned earlier with the Zephyrus S17, I think32 gigs in dual channel is going to be plenty forgaming, and this laptop can support that. Ihad some comments in my recent laptop rankingvideo that I wasnt properly factoring in thelower price of the Dash F15. Well, I dont knowwhat region theyre living in, but I checked theprice of 3060 models and generally most other 3060laptops that perform better cost less money, so itreally seems like youre paying a premium for thatthinner and lighter design.

I mean thats just theway tech works, right? If you want more power inless space it costs more money, thats just theway it is.

So ultimately it just depends on howmuch you personally value things like thinner andlighter. I think most people watching probablyjust want the best performance per dollar, andin that case, the TUF Dash F15 just isnt it. The most disappointing gaming laptop I testedthis year was easily Acers Helios 300.Now even I was saying that the Helios 300 was oneof the best gaming laptops available just a coupleof years ago, but they havent really improvedit since and it seems like theyve actively goneout of their way to make it worse. I reviewed theRTX 3070 model and it had a low GPU power limit,a screen that was worse than the Nitro 5, and alsolike the Nitro 5, single channel memory.

Look,I get trying to cut costs in the budget friendlyNitro 5, its a budget friendly gaming laptop.But in the Helios 300? Come on..

Even thelast gen 2070 model outperformed it in games,kind of embarrassing.

Now it is importantto note that in many countries you can buy aconfiguration of Helios 300 that doesnt suck.Theres a 3060 model thats available for adecent price in the US, and I believe it has abetter screen and also dual channel memory. Sobasically none of the problems Ihad with mine, and in that case,sure get the Helios 300, it wouldnt be as badas Im saying it is here.

It would definitelyperform pretty well and youll have a good timewith it, but the configuration that Acer sellshere and that they sent to me is just bad.Seriously, it just shouldnt be an option.

Please try not to get upset with me ifI put your laptop on the worst list.Im not saying that any of these are especiallyterrible, just that there might be better optionsout there for people to consider. You dont haveto get mad and try to justify your purchase justbecause you bought one of these laptops. If youdo want to get mad at anyone then it should bethese companies making these decisions. BasicallyIm just trying to call them out, not you.

Thefact is any of those 5 laptops I mentioned in theworst list will do pretty well for most people,and hey, maybe thats saying something.Its kind of hard to buy a laptop thathas super serious flaws this year, atleast out of all the models I tested. Ive ranked and sorted through all 34 gaminglaptops that Ive tested this year in this video,so check that one out next if you wantway more details and explanation comparedto what Ive gone through in this videowith more models.

Itll give you a muchbetter understanding of where every laptopfits in, so Ill see you in that one next..

Read More: The ULTIMATE Gaming Laptop RAM Comparison!