Best gaming ultrabooks and thin&light gaming laptops in 2021

Best gaming ultrabooks and thin&light gaming laptops in 2021
By Andrei Girbea , last updated on November 24, 2021

Here at Ultrabookreview.com, we’ve been testing and reviewing gaming laptops for more than 10 years, of all kinds and from all the major brands, and our experience qualifies us to help you choose the best gaming laptop for your needs and budget, from the multitude of options available in stores as of the second part of 2021.

I’m Andrei, Editor in Chief here at Ultrabookreview.com, and I’ll primarily cover our recommendations on portable thin-and-light gaming ultrabooks in this article. However, I’ll also touch on some of the best full-size gaming notebooks to some extent, as they can be better value options than the ultraportable models, and most of them are also fairly compact and lightweight these days.

With the multitude of options, I can see how picking the right gaming laptop for your needs and budget can get confusing. That’s why we take a multitude of aspects into consideration for our recommendations. The specs, performance, thermals, and noise levels while running games and other demanding chores come first, but the overall build and screen quality, the typing experience, the audio, and especially any potential crippling flaws count as well. On top of all these, pricing also plays an important role in determining a notebook’s overall worth.

Even when accounting for all these aspects, you’ll find that there are many good-value gaming laptops out there, and that’s why this article is not just a basic Top 10, but a detailed buying guide (with a condensed summary in the beginning). Take your time and go through the entire post, it will help you narrow down your options and make a purchase you won’t regret.

Oh, and a shameless plug. If you find this article helpful, I’d appreciate supporting our independent project and our work by disabling your adblock on the site and buying from our affiliate links. Thank you!

I’ve split the article into a few different sections, in order to make it easier for you to navigate:

The absolute best thin and light gaming laptops

This is the condensed version of the article that covers the cherry-picked thin-and-light no-compromise performance notebooks.

The options here offer compact, thin, and premium builds, high-quality screens with proper brightness, colors, and refresh rates, good-quality RGB keyboards, as well as the latest hardware specs and features. They also do a good job at delivering on the hardware’s performance potential in demanding workloads and AAA games. However, these premium options come with prices to match, and you should also expect them to run warm and even noisy with games, a given when you squeeze powerful hardware inside small form factors.

Heads-up, I’ve only included the portable mid-sized 15 and 16-inch laptops in this first selection, but this part of the guide covers the 13 and 14-inch variants, and this one covers the larger 17-inch ultraportables. And, if you’d rather get something more affordable and you’re willing to somewhat sacrifice on size and weight, the options in this section would most likely better fit your needs.

With that in mind, let’s first go through the specs and particularities of these top options, and then we’ll get in-depth on these picks and explain why they were chosen.

The best portable gaming laptops on the moment

Razer Blade 15 Advancedreview Asus ROG Zephyrus M16  – review Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED review
Screen 15.6-inch – 16:9 FHD 360Hz, QHD 240Hz matte, or 4K OLED touch 16-inch – 16:10 FHD+ 300Hz or QHD 165 Hz matte 15.6-inch – 16:9 4K OLED with 100% Adobe RGB
Processor up to 11th gen Core i7-11800H, 8Core up to 11th gen Core i9-11900H, 8Core up to 11th gen Core i9-11900H, 8Core
Video up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Laptop 90-105W up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop 80-100W up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Laptop 80-105W
Memory up to 32 GB DDR4 (2x DIMMs) up to 48 GB DDR4  (16 GB soldered, 1x DIMM) up to 64 GB DDR4 (2x DIMMs)
Storage 2x M.2 PCIe 2x M.2 PCIe 2x M.2 PCIe
Ports 3x USB-A 3.2 gen2, 1x USB-C 3.2 gen2, 1x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4, HDMI 2.1, SD card reader, mic/earphone 2x USB-A 3.2 gen2, 2x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4, HDMI 2.0b, microSD card reader, LAN, headphone&mic, Lock 3x USB-A 3.1 gen1, 1x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4, HDMI 2.1, miniDP 1.4, LAN, SD card reader, mic/earphone
Battery 80 Wh, 230Wh charger 90 Wh, 240Wh charger 99 Wh
Size 355 mm or 13.98” (w) x 235 mm or 9.25” (d) x 16.9 mm or .70” (h) 355 mm or 13.98” (w) x 243 mm or 9.57″ (d) x 19.9 mm or .78” (h) 356 mm or 14.01” (w) x 250 mm or 9.8” (d) x 19.9 mm or .75” (h)
Weight from 2 kg (4.4 lbs) ~2.05 kg (4.5 lbs) ~2 kg (4.4 lbs)
Price updated configurations and prices updated configurations and prices updated configurations and prices
Particularities unibody aluminum construction, clean design, Chroma RGB backlit keyboard, biometrics, up-firing speakers, vapor-chamber cooling magnesium and aluminum construction, zone RGB backlit keyboard, finger-sensor, HD camera, 6x speakers aluminum build, minimalistic industrial design, RGB keyboard with Numpad, bottom speakers

You’re probably outraged that no AMD Ryzen-based laptop made it to this top selection, and that’s simply because the better AMD models just didn’t fit all the criteria. The ROG Zephyrus M16 is a slight upgrade of the AMD-based Zephyrus G15, and I’ll explain why down below, the dual-screen Zephyrus DUO is too much of a niche product, heavier, and more expensive than these options, and the ROG Strix G15 Advantage is an excellent value laptop, but not the thin and light kind. Furthermore, the compact ROG Zephyrus G14 and Blade 14 are solid options in the 14-inch niche, and we’ll discuss them in a further section.

Nonetheless, if you’re interested in the CPU performance and overall efficiency provided by the AMD Ryzen 5000 computers, you should check out this article that goes in-depth over the Ryzen 9  and 7 laptops, with links to our detailed reviews.

Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 (and AMD-based G15)

Asus chose not to update the ROG Zephyrus S15 series for 2021, and as a result, the M16 and G15 are their top mid-sized offers right now. The G15 came out earlier in the year and is based on an AMD Ryzen 5900HS processor with up to RTX 3080 graphics and a 16:9 display, while the M16 is based on an 11th gen Intel platform paired with up to RTX 3070 graphics and a 16:10 screen. We’ve reviewed both series, here (for the G15) and here (for the M16).

The performance is similar between the two, with a slight edge for the Intel model in single-core CPU loads and slightly lower temperatures in demanding loads. At the same time, the Intel model runs louder at full-blast and is not as efficient as the AMD variant, which outlasts it when used unplugged. Both also use a design that blows the hot air into the screen, which I’m not a fan of.

For what is worth, Asus decided to cap the M16 at a 3070 configuration, while the G15 can be paired with a 3080, but as shown in our reviews, the 3080 isn’t a big step-up from the 3070 in these compact chassis with limited power allocations, unless you’re interested in RTX gaming.

Specs aside, the G15 and M16 are identical products, with the same kind of design, magnesium chassis, and IO layout. The M16 does get an RGB keyboard, though, a camera on top of the screen, and a 16:10 panel with a smaller bottom bezel, and these combined ultimately make it our recommendation between the two. That taller 16:10 display is excellent for daily use, work and gaming.

Availability and pricing are going to play an important role in your decision, though, as the M16 is more expensive at launch, as well as a newer product, so there’s a good chance you’ll find the G15 for a lot less. If in stock, that is.

All in all, the ROG Zephyrus G15 and M16 should be on your list of you’re after powerful and versatile gaming ultraportables with this generation. They’re not without quirks, though, so make sure you understand them from our reviews.

Compared to the other options in this class, the Zephyrus models have an advantage in overall performance and battery life, excellent inputs, screens and audio, and are more competitively priced. At the same time, they’re not as well built and tend to run warmer and noisier on their Turbo profiles, as a result of Asus implementing more permissive power settings that result in that extra performance.

Follow this link for updated Zephyrus G15 configurations and prices at the time you’re reading the article, as well as this one for more details on the Zephyrus M16.

ROG Zephyrus M16 (left) and G15 (right)

ROG Zephyrus M16 (left) and G15 (right)

Razer Blade 15 Advanced

Although it’s starting to show its age here and there, the 15-inch Razer Blade Advanced is still one of our favorite all-around performance ultraportables of the moment. It’s also among the most expensive, and that alone might steer some of you away, and not available all around the world, so might not even be an option for some of you.

We’ve covered the Blade 15 Advanced in-depth in our detailed review. In just a few words, Razer demand a premium for the excellent unibody aluminum build, the simple and clean aesthetics, the fast and customizable keyboard with per-key RGB illumination, the complete IO that includes TB and a fast card-reader, the multitude of screen options, the consistent performance with good thermals and noise levels, as well as the fair battery life.

Compared to the competition, the Blade 15 has an edge in design and overall craftsmanship quality. It’s also one of the very few gaming models with up-firing audio, as well as the single one that offers Thunderbolt 4, a finger sensor and an IR camera at the same time. On top of these, Razer’s control software is some of the better on the market, allowing to easily tweak the keyboard’s RGB and juggle with the performance, thermal, and fan settings.

At the same time, Razer’s keyboard could see an upgrade, as it feels mushier than what the competition offers, and the audio pales in comparison to what Asus offers on their recent Zephyrus models. The Blade 15 is also not as powerful as some of the ROG models, especially in CPU-heavy tasks, and that’s because Razer implements power-constrained profiles in order to keep the thermals and noise levels at bay. Paired with their competent vapor-chamber thermal module, this approach allows the Blade 15 to run quieter and cooler than the competition while sacrificing performance to some extent.

Hardware-wise, the Blade 15 is available in a few different configurations. The recent models are based on a six-core Intel Core i7 8Core processor, up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM, dual M.2 PCIe SSD slots for storage and an 80 Wh battery. You can then opt for either RTX 3070 or 3080 Laptop graphics on the Advanced version, but the screen pairing is limited and might not satisfy some of you. There’s no GSync, just regular Optimus.

Razer also offers a Blade 15 Base variant starting at an RTX 3060 Laptop GPU and a 144 Hz FHD screen. This model is slightly thicker, gets a smaller 65W battery, and room for a 2.5″ storage bay as well, so is definitely an option to consider if you’re shopping at a lower budget, as the difference between the Base and the Advanced is of hundreds of dollars. Professional Studio Editions of the Blade 15 are also available, with a 4K UHD wide-gamut screen and Quadro graphics.

The Razer Blade 15 Advanced starts at $2499 at the time of this update for the RTX 3070 configuration with the 360 Hz FHD screen, 16GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage. The Blade 15 Base starts at a more affordable $1699 level for a 6C Intel i7 processor with the RTX 3060 and 144 Hz FHD screen. You will most likely find both variants discounted, though, so make sure to follow this link for updated configurations and prices at the time you’re reading the article.

Razer Blade 15 - the best thin-and-light gaming laptop

Gigabyte Aero 15 and 15 OLED

While the Asus and Razer models above are more versatile and cater consistently towards gamers with their performance and fast screen, Gigabyte takes a different approach with their 2021 Aero 15: they offer the same premium-tier chassis and features in two types of configurations: one that’s more affordable and pairs a FHD 144 Hz screen with modern Intel + Nvidia specs, and another that primarily caters to creators and those who value an OLED high-gamut screen, on the Aero 15 OLED. But OLED panels are quirky on laptops and not ideal for gaming, with their 60 Hz refresh.

Compared to the competition, Gigabyte’s Aero 15 is one of the very few to offer a complete set of ports, a full-size keyboard with a NumPad section, and a 99 Wh battery. Gigabyte also take a different approach to the power profiles and optimizations, which is controlled by software that automatically adjusts the CPU’s power and fan profiles based on the app that you’re running at a given time. It’s not spotless, but it works surprisingly well, and allows the Aero 15 to run quietly and cooly in most cases, without requiring manual fiddling with the settings.

That makes this Aero 15 friendlier towards less tech-savvy buyers, but at the same time, this is not a match for either the Zephyrus or the Blade in terms of raw performance, unless you’re willing to take the time and dial things up manually. In which case the Aero 15 is going to be an excellent performer, especially since it implements the higher-power RTX chip among these options.

On the other hand, Gigabyte’s design language might not be for everyone, and their software doesn’t tweak the GPU in any way, which can only be done manually. But all in all, this is definitely an option to consider, especially if you want an OLED screen and you’re willing to pay the extra for it.

Follow this link or updated configurations and prices at the time you’re reading the article, as well as user reviews from previous buyers.

Gigabyte Aero 15 - the competitive all-rounder

Almost there: Acer Predator Triton 500 and MSI GS66 Stealth

There are a couple of other good options in this segment and I just can’t move on without at least mentioning them and linking to our detailed reviews for more details.

The Acer Predator Triton 500, which we’ve reviewed in this article, focuses primarily on being a gaming ultraportable, and it might just be the best-value option in this whole segment if that’s all you care for.

Acer prioritized on making this more affordable than the competition, but without compromising on those aspects that matter in games: a fast 300 Hz 3ms screen with GSync support, an RGB keyboard, good thermals, and specs and power-profiles optimized around the gaming experience. That means you’re only getting a FHD 300 Hz screen and a 6Core Intel processor with the Triton 500, but the same kind of RTX 2070 Super and 2080 Super graphics available with the other options, yet overclocked.

This approach allows Acer to sell the RTX 2070 Super version of the Triton 500 for $1799 at the time of this update, several hundreds of dollars cheaper than the competition. Follow this link for updated configurations, prices, and user reviews.

What are the downsides, though? First off, the design and overall build-quality are not really with the other options, and this lacks certain features (such as biometrics, front-facing speakers) and configurations options (such as other screen options or an 8Core processor). It’s also a lot more difficult to open up and upgrade than the other options, and packs rather poor speakers. Can you live with these? Well, that up to you, but if the answer is yes, this Triton could be for you, especially at that price and since it also packs one of the most competent thermal designs in this segment.

Acer Predator Triton 500 - the value model

Finally, our detailed review of the MSI GS66 Stealth Thin is available over here.

MSI went the same route as Gigabyte with this product, offering multiple configurations in the same premium-tier chassis, but sacrificing raw performance to some extent. That’s why the GS66 is not necessarily the ideal gaming-ultraportable, where it loses to the competition and runs fairly hot, but could be an excellent productivity laptop in the lower-tier configurations.

The clean design lines, the quick keyboard, the good IO, and the huge 99 Wh battery tucked inside a premium aluminum chassis recommend it for business and work environments, just make sure to read our detailed reviews for details on all its quirks before jumping on this.

Follow this link for updated configurations, prices, and user reviews.

Smaller 13-inch or 14-inch gaming laptops

Most of the 14-inch or smaller thin-and-light notebooks with dedicated graphics are based on Nvidia’s entry-level MX graphics chips, but there are a few GTX 1650 to RTX 3060 powered exceptions that can truly game in this form-factor, as well as an option that goes all the way up to a 3080, if you’re willing to spend close to 3G for it. We’ll touch on both categories down below.

13-inch gaming ultrabooks

For years, the Alienware 13 has been the only 13-inch performance laptop money could buy. It wasn’t compact and it wasn’t pretty, but it bundled a GTX 1060 GPU in its latest iteration, good enough for FHD gaming at high details.

Since that’s no longer an option, unless you somehow find it used, these days you have to settle for either one of those Nvidia MX models, or one of the two more powerful 13-inch models available: the Razer Blade Stealth 13 and the Asus ROG Zephyrus Flow X13.

Razer Blade Stealth 13

Much like the other Razer products, the GTX 1650Ti Blade Stealth 13 is still an expensive laptop. You’re paying the Razer tax, as well as for the build quality and attention to details you’re getting with this product, as you’ll find out from our detailed review.

Furthermore, this can also game fairly well for its size, and the 2021 update has been improved in terms of CPU and GPU power, as well as in terms of thermals. It’s still built on an Intel 4Core U platform, so can only do so much in CPU-heavy tasks in comparison to the AMD Ryzen options out there, but that’s not going to matter that much when running games. The Blade Stealth 13 also gets a 120 Hz display in the 2021 model. Don’t expect it to be as fast and well suited to gaming as the panels available on the larger 15-inch laptops, though.

Nonetheless, the Razer Blade 13 Stealth remains a solid performance ultrabook, even if it is no longer the best gaming ultracompact laptop on the market, a title it has retained for many past years. And that’s because the ROG Flow X13 is also an option right now, a 13-incher more capable of running the latest AAA games.

Follow this link for more details about the Stealth 13, updated configurations, and prices.

Razer Blade Stealth - the smallest competent gaming ultrabooks

Asus ROG Flow X13

The ROG Flow X13 is a newer design released in 2021, and overall a more complete gaming ultrabook than the Blade Stealth 13.

It’s roughly the same size and weight, but offers a better keyboard and is a convertible with a 360-degrees foldable touchscreen. That’s 16:10, so taller than the screen on the Blade Stealth. It’s the same format that you’re getting on the XPS 13 or MacBook Air ultraportable, but over here available with either a 144 Hz FHD+ panel, or a high-gamut 4K+ on the exclusive Supernova variant (will talk about it in a bit)

It also runs on much faster hardware, with the best mobile CPUs currently available from AMD (up to Ryzen 9 5900HS or 9 5980HS on the Supernova) and an RTX 3050Ti Max-Q graphics chip, paired with 16 or 32 GB of memory. The Ryzen processors inside the Flow X13 smoke the Intel options in the Stealth, and the 3050Ti is also a significant upgrade over the 1650Ti. The Flow X13 does run warmer and noisier, though, but Asus implements power profiles that can cap the noise if you’re willing to somewhat sacrifice the performance. We’re still waiting for our 3050Ti Flow X13 review unit, and we’ll update once we know more.

Keep in mind that the best specs are reserved for what Asus calls the Supernova special edition, with the 5980HS processor, 32 GB of RAM, and the 4k+ display. However, the Supernova is only available in a bundle that also includes the XG Mobile eGPU unit with an RTX 3080 Laptop 150W inside, for a total of around 3000 USD, and that makes it a hard sell for most people.

If you’re only interested in the stand-alone Flow X13, that goes for between 1200 to 1500 USD as of right now, with a Ryzen 9 5900HS, 16 GB of RAM, and the FHD+ screen, which makes a lot more sense on 3050Ti 35-40W configuration anyway.

Follow this link for more details, updated configurations, and prices.

Asus ROG Flow X13 ultrabook and XG Mobile eGPU

Asus ROG Flow X13 ultrabook and XG Mobile eGPU

If these two options are not within your budget, there are a couple of others for you to consider, especially if you’re rather interested in simpler titles such as Minecraft or Fornite or Dota2 or the likes, or perhaps older games. You’ll find quite a few 13-inch laptops based on Nvidia MX250/MX350/MX450 dGPUs, which should appeal to those of you on a tighter budget. They’re listed in this article and we’ve reviewed plenty of them in recent years, if you’re interested in how well they perform and their overall worth.

14-inch gaming notebooks

While manufacturers have neglected this segment for a few years, that’s changing now, with more and more competent 14-inch gaming laptops being released. Among them, the Razer Blade 14, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14, the Acer Predator Triton 300 SE, and the Acer Swift X stand out from the crowd.

Razer Blade 14

The Blade 14 is the most recent product in this segment and the most powerful 14-inch gaming ultrabook out there, built on a Ryzen 9 5900HX processor with up to RTX 3080 Laptop (80-100W) graphics.

These specs are even more powerful than what Razer put on the current full-size Blade 15 and 17 models, and a lot more powerful than any of the other OEMs offer on their 14-inchers. Of course, these come with a price to match, especially for the RTX 3080 configuration, but the mid-level 3070 + QHD screen and the base-level 3060 + FHD screen models are definitely worth considering if you’re shopping in this class.

Our full review of the Blade 14 is available over here, and in just a few words, it’s an amazing little laptop, more powerful than the Blade 15 and significantly smaller, as you can tell from the picture down below.

With this 14-inch Blade, Razer kept consistent with their premium build and design language, and implemented the same kind of features, IO, and inputs that are also available on the larger models. They had to go with a smaller battery, though, so the battery life is only OK and not impressive, plus they also had to shrink the vapor-chamber thermal module in order to cool the specs inside this chassis. And as you’d expect when you put this hardware in a small package, this Blade 14 does run noisier and warmer than the other Blades, something you’ll just have to accept if you’re after this sort of performance in a sub-15-inch product.

I did mention that all the Blade 14 variants are built on the Ryzen 9 5900HX processor, which performs excellently in this product, as shown in the review. The RAM tops out at 16 GB, and is soldered and non-upgradable, and the GPU options are RTX 3060 (up to 95W) and 3070/3080 (up to 100W). Razer pairs these with two screen options: a 144 Hz FHD panel with 100% sRGB colors is available on the base 3060 variant, for $1799 MSRP, which the 3070 is paired with a nicer QHD 165Hz screen with 100% DCI-P3 colors at $2199. Both are pricey, but also both have their own appeal to potential buyers.

Follow this link for updated prices and configurations at the time you’re reading the article.

Aside from the steep entry price and warm temperatures with games and demanding loads, the Blade 14 could also benefit from better speakers and a less mushy keyboard, but even so, it’s a package like no other out there at this point.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

We’ve tested the Zephyrus G14 in multiple configurations and gathered our impressions in these several articles, both on the 2020 and the 2021 generations. Our latest-gen Zephyrus G14 review is also available here.

On the outside, the Zephyrus G14 is an uncompromised 14-inch laptop built out of magnesium and aluminum alloys and with an overall weight of roughly 3.7 lbs (1.7 kilos). That makes it significantly larger and heavier than the Razer Blade 13, but also lighter than the Blade 14. The Blades do feel sturdier and more premium, though.

The G14 is also a better type than the Blades, but only gets a white backlit keyboard, complemented by a large glass clickpad, a fair set of ports, a finger-sensor, and either a choice of a FHD 144 Hz or a QHD 120 Hz screen, the latter with 100% DCI-P3 colors. So in that regard, the Blade and the Zephyrus are almost the same.

On the inside, though, the G14 is based on the more efficient Ryzen 9 5900HS platform, and tops at an Nvidia RTX 3060 60-80W graphics chip. In comparison, the 3060 in the Blade 14 is 80-100W, and 3070/3080 options are also available on that model. The G14 wins in the ability to configure some models with up to 48 GB of RAM, though, and with its larger 76 Wh batter, that leads to longer runtimes. The G14 also runs slightly cooler and quieter than the Blade 14 with daily use, but heats up just as much with games, unless you choose to manually tweak it.

I will also mention that the G14 sells for significantly less than the Blade 14, and is more widely available. The 3060 configuration with 16 GB of RAM and the FHD screen goes for $1499 MSRP at the time of this post, while for the QHD model with 32 GB of RAM you’ll have to pay extra, close to 2000 USD, especially since that also comes with the secondary Anime matrix display on the lid. That mid-range model is good value, though, and cheaper variants are also available, just beware of the base level FHD 60 Hz panel, it’s rather wahsed out and not a great choice.

Follow this link for updated prices and configurations.

Acer Predator Triton 300 SE and Swift X

Acer offer two interesting performance laptops in the 14-inch segment as well. The Predator Triton 300 SE is a baby Triton built on Intel hardware and up to RTX 3060 Laptop graphics, while the Swift X (reviewed here) is a more affordable model built on Ryzen 7 U processors with up to RTX 3050Ti graphics.

Both to be aggressively priced and competent options in their segments, as you’ll find from our reviews. I’m especially interested in that Swift X with the Ryzen 7 5800U and 3050Ti graphics available for around 1000-1100 USD in the US, this is one of the best value options in this class this year. It’s not as affordable in Europe, though.

Asus VivoBook Pro 14X and MSI Prestige/Modern 14

These aside, Asus and MSI also offer some interesting 14-inch ultraportables with dedicated graphics, such as the Asus VivoBook Pro 14X OLED (up to Ryzen 9 + 3050Ti) reviewed here, or the MSI Prestige 14 and Modern 14 laptops built on Intel platforms with RTX 3050Ti or GTX 1650 graphics.

Finally, there are a couple of older laptops that might still be worth getting in this class, if you can still find them in stores.

The ZenBook Pro 14 UX480 is based on a Core U + GTX 1050 MQ hardware platform, much like the ZenBook 15 or the Dell XPS 15 of that generation, but in a smaller package. It weighs roughly 1.6 kilos (3.5 lbs), so it’s only marginally heavier than the other options above, but performs well in games, gets a complex thermal module and a large 70 Wh battery. It also gets a secondary screen integrated withing the clickpad, which Asus calls the ScreenPad and now includes on most of their ZenBook and VivoBook lines.

The ZenBook Pro is also fairly competitively priced for what it is, selling for around 1200 EUR in Europe (follow this link for more details in your region). It is not worldwide available, though, and the availability will most likely dwindle even more as it’s phased out by the updated 2019 variant, the ZenBook Duo UX481. This one, unfortunately, only gets MX250 graphics.

The Gigabyte Aero 14 is an even more powerful 14-inch gaming ultrabook, based on an Intel Core H + GTX 1060 platform. It’s slightly larger and heavier, at about 1.8 kg(4.1 lbs), but also comes with a full set of ports and a huge 94 Wh battery. This hasn’t been updated in more than a year and I doubt it will ever be, thus it’s even harder to come by these days. In all fairness, though, the Aero 15 is not a lot larger or heavier, so perhaps could be an option to consider instead.

Premium 14-inch gaming notebooks: the ZenBook Pro, the ZenBook Duo and the Aero 14

Premium 14-inch gaming notebooks: the ZenBook Pro, the ZenBook Duo and the Aero 14

And then there are all the MX250, MX350, and MX450 models available in the market, some of them in a 14-inch format.

I’m not going to list them in here, instead, you should follow the links for a more detailed selection of these products, as well as our reviews where available.

17-inch ultraportable gaming laptops

These are a newer breed of gaming laptops that have developed in the last years. They are mostly larger versions of the 15-inch models mentioned above, however, the increase in size allowed the manufacturers to implement more powerful hardware components and tweak the thermal modules, resulting in superior performance and lower temperatures and/or noise levels.

Still, the larger 17-inch screens and their increased real-estate is the main reason to opt for one of these over their 15-inch brethren. We’re not going to get in-depth on these models here, but we’ll link to our reviews for more details.

Asus ROG Zephyrus S17 – reviewconfigurations and prices

Pros: premium build quality and a unique design with the keyboard separated from the main chassis; fast optical-mechanical RGB keyboard; fast FHD and QHDscreen options with MUX/GSync and Advanced Optimus; solid performance and thermals, but not the most powerful hardware implementation in this class; useful software package; punchy audio with 6x speaker.

Cons: not as fast as other RTX 3080 models; some potential QC issues; expensive

Bottom point: If you’re lucky enough not to get any light-bleeding or electronic noises on your unit, the ROG Zephyrus S17 is one of the best-balanced 17-inch gaming ultraportables on the market. That’s primarily thanks to its unique design that separates the keyboard from the hot components underneath, but also due to its hardware specs. This is expensive, though, and not as powerful as some of the other models in this niche.

Gigabyte Aero 17 – configurations and prices

Pros: simple, sober aesthetics and good build quality; RGB keyboard with NumPad; multiple screen options – 240 Hz for gaming, or UHD IPS/OLED for multimedia; complete IO; best battery life in the class

Cons: a bit dated design; not as fast as other options and still runs hot and noisy; same poor speakers from the Aero 15

Bottom point: The Aero 17 is pretty much a larger Aero 15 with a 17-inch screen. None of the other important specs and design elements have changed, but thermals are somewhat improved thanks to the larger chassis. All in all, though, this will appeal to the same crowd as primarily a thin-and-light allrounder, and not necessarily as a gaming device.

Gigabyte Aero 17 - again, the versatile all-rounder

MSI GS75 Stealth Thin – reviewconfigurations and prices

Pros: compact and the lightest in its class – 5 lbs; one of the better keyboards in the class, with NumPad; good IO; brighter display than on the competition; Core i9 option and excellent performance once tweaked; good battery life

Cons:  not as strongly built as the competition; not as fast as some of the other options in games, with the 80W RTX 2080 as the top configuration; poor speakers; rather expensive

Bottom point: Much like the smaller GS65, the GS75 Stealth Thin is the fashion icon in its segment: compact, lightweight, and great looking, but not as sturdy as the other options and not as fast in games. It does perform well, but only by ramping up the fans to high levels and still running hotter than the bunch. Unlike the GS65, this series hasn’t been updated with a 2020 redesign, and we’re looking forwards for a potential GS76 Stealth at some point.

MSI GS75 Stealth - the model, once more

Razer Blade 17 – review – configurations and prices

Pros: great build and clean design; good keyboard and the best clickpad in the class; QHD 165 Hz or UHD 120 Hz screen options; good performance, thermals, and useful software package; front speakers and biometrics

Cons: beware of coil whine; smallest battery in the segment (70 Wh) and subpar battery life; steep entry price

Bottom point: The updated Blade Pro 17 addresses most of its predecessor’s issues. It inherits many of the strong selling points of the popular Blade 15 Advanced, with improved thermals, but also a smaller battery as a result. Razer still expects you to pay a premium for the craftsmanship quality and the overall solid bundle, but even so, the entry price is very steep.

Razer Blade Pro 17 - much like the 15-inch variant gaming laptop, but with better thermals and shorter battery life

These are all high-tier premium gaming ultraportable. We’ll talk about better value 17-inch models down below.

More portable, less powerful gaming laptops

If you don’t have around $2000 to spend, but you still want a portable laptop that can handle gaming, albeit, not with the highest graphics settings, you should consider the options in this section instead.

With these you’ll somewhat compromise on the performance, opting for a mid-range graphics chip, but not on the thin-and-light form factor. On the other hand, if you’d rather get something with beefier specs or better overall value (same specs, but at a more affordable level), and don’t care as much about portability, you’d better jump straight to this next section.

I still want to play modern games

In this case, I suggest going with one of the available models built on a GTX 1660Ti graphics chip or higher, or a GTX 1650Ti chip in the thinnest and most compact options. These will handle most recent PC games at FHD resolution and medium-to-high graphics settings. Older GTX 1060 models might still be an option for those of you on a very limited budget, but the performance gap to the Turing GTX 1660Ti is significant, and most likely not worth the price difference.

We’ll touch on the 15-inch models first, and then cover the 13 and 14-inch ultrabooks in the next subsection.

Asus Zephyrus M15 and Zephyrus G15

Asus did well with their 2020 lineups of Zephyrus models, that’s why the mid-range Zephyrus M and the entry-level Zephyrus G get to be mentioned in this article as well, alongside the Zephyrus S included in a previous section.

The Zephyrus M15 is a simpler, lighter and more affordable version of the Zephyrus S15, as explained in our detailed review.

It’s built on a similar barebone, with the same design lines, the same magnesium main-deck, and the same excellent keyboard. Hardware-wise, though, the Zephryus M15 only gets GTX 1660Ti, RTX 2060 and RTX 2070 Super graphics, and it’s primarily available in the former variant in most regions. It also drops the AAS cooling system available on the S15, as well as the dual GSync/Optimus mode, but it does keep the complex thermal module and power-profiles implemented on the top-tier S15 option.

As a result, as explained in the review, this Zephyrus M is one of the best-performing sub 2 kilos notebooks on the market and also one of the better-balanced options out there. Asus are aware of what they got here, so they charge quite a premium for this laptop in comparison to the other matching configuration on the market, but I’d expect the price to drop in the months to come.

Follow this link for updated prices and configurations.

Asus Zephyrus G GU502 - the value ultraportable

The Zephyrus G15 is a more affordable option for you to consider, based AMD Ryzen hardware and power-constrained versions of the 1660Ti and 2060 graphics chips.

As you’ll find from our detailed review, the G15 is a competent all-round laptop and excels in CPU-heavy loads, where the AMD Ryzen HS platform truly shines. It’s not the best gamer, though, due to its limited thermal design and lower-power implemented dGPUs, and pales in comparison to the Zephyrus M15 when it comes to the overall build-quality and typing experience. It keeps the lightweight build and overall design lines, as well as the 76 Wh battery inside.

At the same time, the Zephyrus G15 is a more affordable product, but you should aim for the 240 Hz display configuration of this laptop, as the 144 Hz panel available in some of the cheaper models is fairly slow and merely a washed-out 60% sRGB panel, so not a good option by any means.

Follow this link for updated configurations and prices.

Asus Zephyrus G GA502 - great price, but with compromises

MSI GS66, Gigabyte Aero 15, Razer Blade 15 Base

We’ve mentioned these laptops in the first section of our review, and I’ll reiterate them here as well, as they are all available in a couple of different configurations, including affordable models with GTX 1660Ti graphics. With these, you’re getting the premium builds and features available with this class of top-end laptops, and don’t compromise on thermal designs, battery life or screens.

Check out our detailed reviews for more details: GS66, Aero 15, Razer Blade 15.

Tongfang barebones – Eluktronics MECH-15 G2Rx Slim or Schenker XMG Neo 15

A few different smaller-tier OEMs sell a competitively priced thin-and-light gaming laptop based on the Tongfang GK5CN6Z barebone, Eluktronics (in the US) and Schenker (in Europe) being the most popular brands.

If you’ll look through the reviews on Amazon, Newegg and other stores, you’ll see that these products score very high with their buyers. That’s both because they offer excellent specs and features for an affordable price, but also because these buyers usually know in advance what to expect from such a computer.

So what should you expect? A compact metallic chassis with fair build quality, a mechanical chiclet keyboard that’s different than what you’ll otherwise find in this class, a 144 Hz IPS screen, good CPU and GPU specs, multiple configurations options, and a rather small battery.

However, you should also be aware that these computers might not be as nicely polished as a Razer or an Asus or an MSI, and the post-sale client support is not something you should rely on.

That’s why I’d recommend these barebones to tech-savvy users, but not necessarily to the average customer. However, if you’re buying from Amazon or other big stores, you’ll get the option to just send the product back within 30-days in case there’s something wrong with it, and that should be reassuring enough, in case you want to give this a try.

Follow these links for more details and updated configurations on the Eluktronics MECH-15 G2Rx Slim (mostly available in the US/CA) or Schenker XMG Neo 15 (mostly available in Europe).

Premium lightweight options: Dell XPS 15, Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme, MacBook Pro, and others

These are all premium ultraportable performance laptops, with an emphasis on premium and ultraportable, and less so on performance.

Unlike the Blade or the Zephyrus or the Stealth mentioned earlier, most of these get 60 Hz screens (with many UHD/OLED options) and lower-end graphics, mostly variations of the GTX 1650Ti chip and only some RTX 2060 options. That means these are not primarily gaming laptops, instead, they are premium productivity/creator/work tools. However, they can still tackle most titles at FHD resolution and mid-level graphics.

We’re not going to get in-depth on all these options here, instead, we’ll just list them (alphabetically) and link towards our available reviews and analysis:

  • Apple Macbook Pro – Core H hardware, optional Radeon Pro and Vega graphics, 15.4″ glossy retina screen, aluminum unibody construction, 4x TB3 ports, 84 Wh battery, starts at 1.83 kg / 4.05 lbs;
  • Asus ZenBook Pro – Core H hardware with GTX 1650Ti MQ graphics, 15.6″ UHD OLED touchscreen, slim and lightweight aluminum construction, 1x TB3 ports, up to 96 Wh battery, starts at 1.8 kg / 4 lbs;
  • Asus ZenBook Pro Duo – Core H hardware and RTX 2060 graphics, dual-screens with OLED main screen and matte touch second Screen, chunky all-metal build, 1x TB3 ports, 71 Wh battery, starts at 2.5 kg / 5.4 lbs ;
  • Dell XPS 15 and 17 – Core H hardware and up to RTX 2060 MQ graphics in the XPS 17, multiple screen and configuration options, up to 4x TB3, up to 97 Wh battery,  starts at 1.85 kg / 4.1 lbs for 15-inch, 2.2 kg / 4.8 lbs for 17-inch;
  • Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme – Core H hardware and Nvidia 1650Ti MQ graphics, multiple screen and configuration options, ThinkPad looks, features and construction, 2x TB3, 80 Wh battery, starts at 1.7 kg for non-touch version;
  • Lenovo Legion Slim 7 – Ryzen H hardware and up to Nvidia 3060 MQ graphics, RGB keyboard with NumPad, 165 Hz FHD or 60Hz UHD screen option, aluminum build, 71 Wh battery, starts at 1.9 kg /4.2 lbs;
  • HP Envy 15 – Core H hardware and up to Nvidia RTX 3060 graphics, UHD AMOLED touchscreen, aluminum build, 2x TB3, 71 Wh battery, starts at 2.05 kg /4.5 lbs;

Keep in mind that given the portable and slim form-factor of these products, the thermal design plays a crucial role in the way these perform with games and demanding loads, and I suggest carefully looking into detailed reviews to figure out what to expect from the units of your choice. Follow the links for our in-depth reviews and coverage, and get in touch in the comments section at the end if you have any questions about them.

2018 ZenBook Pro (left) vs 2019 ZenBook pro Duo (right)

ZenBook Pro (left) vs ZenBook Pro Duo (right)

More powerful, less portable – the best value gaming laptops

This section of the article focuses on the value gaming laptops, those that will give you the best gaming experience for your money. It includes our recommendations in a few price-brackets, without taking the thin-and-light form-factor into consideration. Even so, most of these computers are still compact and fairly portable, and only the most powerful models completely leave that aspect aside.

Options under $1000

Your sure bet at this price is still with one of the Pascal GTX 1060 variants of last years. The Acer Predator Helios 300, the MSI GL63 Raider the Lenovo Legion Y530 come to mind as the better options, and you’ll find all about them from our reviews.

With these, you’ll somewhat sacrifice on the build quality, the design lines, and the battery life, but not on the performance, thermals or on a fast 144Hz screen. As a result, these can handle FHD gaming at medium-high settings well.

However, several of the newer GTX 1660Ti models are creeping under $1000 as well. I’d primarily keep an eye on the 1660Ti variants, as these are not only faster in games, but they also benefit from the generation update. That means most of these laptops are more compact and lighter than those 2018 models, get RGB keyboards and improved thermal modules, among others.

The Asus TUF Gaming A15 or the Lenovo Legion 5 are some of the options that sell for just under $1000 often, both based on the modern AMD Ryzen platforms. Intel-based models still perform better in games, though, so I’d have those on my list as well. Among them, the Acer Nitro 5, the HP Omen 15, the Lenovo Legion Y540, IdeaPad Gaming 3 or the Dell G3 Gaming fall in this price-range. However, you will occasionally find discounted higher-tier models for under $1000 as well, like the Predator Helios 300 or even the Asus ROG Strix G.

Follow the links above for our in-depth reviews, or this one for an updated selection of sub-$1000 gaming laptops based on GTX 1660Ti graphics at the time you’re reading the article.

Gaming laptops under $1000: Lenovo Legion Y540, Acer Nitro 5 or Dell G3 Gaming

Gaming laptops under $1000: Lenovo Legion Y540, Acer Nitro 5 or Dell G3 Gaming

Options in the $1000-$1500

This is where you’re getting the best return for your money, and there are a lot of good options in this segment.

First though, let me summarize what you should look for.

The build and design are subjective and you should choose based on your preferences and taste, but make sure you’re getting something that’s at least made well and will last for a while, has a strong screen hinge, grippy rubber feet, friendly corners and edges, and ergonomically positioned ports. For instance, if you plan to hook up peripherals, it’s best to get something with the outputs on the left side or on the back, so the cables won’t interfere with your mouse area.

Then you should carefully consider the screens. What I recommend is at least a 144 Hz IPS panel, but careful that there are several different kinds, so aim for something with 100% sRGB color coverage and above-average response times, especially if you plan to run fast-paced games such as shooters. A 240 Hz screen might also benefit you in CS:GO and the likes, paired with a matching GPU, but that might not always be an option at sub $1500.

For specs, the GPU is what matters most when it comes to gaming, so I’d aim to maximize that. One of the newer RTX 2060 115W chips would be the ideal pick in this segment, but you might even find an older RTX 2070 model here. Pair that with SSD storage and at least 16 GB of RAM.

As for the CPU, if gaming is all you want, an Intel Core i5 or a Ryzen 5 4600H should be good enough for that, and there’s no need to go with the i7 or Ryzen 7 options unless you also plan to run some CPU-demanding loads on your laptop for either work or school. For what is worth, AMD has a clear performance and efficiency advantage over Intel at this point in multi-threaded applications, but at the same time, there are far less AMD options with higher tier graphics to choose from, so you’ll most likely still end up with an Intel laptop, which is perfectly fine for gaming and alright for other stuff. I’d look through the list of AMD Ryzen H options nonetheless, and see if you can find one of those options within your budget (and in stock).

This aside, keep in mind that not all laptops are created equally, and the thermal designs and power-profiles play a major role in how a specific model ends up performing. That’s only something reviews can reveal for you, the kind we put up here on the site. Make sure to go through at least a couple for the product that you decide on, so you’ll understand what to expect, the strong points, and the potential quirks.

Before drawing the line, there are a couple of other aspects to consider, such as battery life (if you plan to use the laptop unplugged), audio quality, and a few other lesser aspects. They might not majorly impact your gaming experience, but will have a saying in your life with the laptop you end up choosing.

With all these in mind, let’s look at some options.

At the lower limit in this price bracket, you’ll be able to get a better-specced version of one of the units mentioned above, with more RAM, more storage, and perhaps a faster processor.

Towards the middle of this price range is where you’ll find the real gems. On the Intel camp, the GTX 1660Ti and RTX 2060 variants of the Acer Predator Helios 300, Asus ROG Strix G15, Alienware m15, Dell G5 Gaming, HP Omen 15, Lenovo Legion 5, and MSI GL63 fall within this segment. 17-inch variants of these notebooks are also up to grab if you prefer a larger screen, as well as improved thermals and a larger battery in some cases. There’s an updated selection of these 17-inch mid-range gaming laptops over here.

On the AMD side, the Asus TUF Gaming A15, Lenovo Legion 5, the HP Omen 15, and the Eluktronics RP-15 come to mind as options available (in some regions) with up to RTX 2060 graphics, but there are no 2070+ models. As mentioned already, while AMD have a considerable platform advantage in multithreaded CPU loads over the Intel alternatives, that’s not going to make a big difference in games, so I wouldn’t necessarily restrict my options to an AMD model when primarily looking for a gaming laptop.

Among these, my favorites are the Predator Helios 300 and the Lenovo Legion 5, I just find them the best balanced and best-priced of the bunch. The other models have their advantages as well, so again, there’s no clear winner here. Think about what matters for you and where you can compromise, and pick the one that best caters to these needs. And of course, if you need any help, get in touch in the comments section.

The potential sweet-spots: Lenovo legion Y740, Acer Predator Helios 300 and the Alienware m15

The potential sweet-spots: Lenovo legion Y740, Acer Predator Helios 300 and the Alienware m15

At the higher limit, you can find better-specced versions of the models above, but also a few RTX 2070 models. At the time of this update, the HP Omen 15 or the MSI GP65 Leopard sell for under $1500 with an RTX 2070.

There are also a couple of options based on barebone designs from Togfang or Clevo, like the compact and portable Eluktronics MECH-15 G2R, or the SAGER NP8966 / CLEVO P960RD models. I would recommend buying from these companies for those of you who understand what a barebone design means. Future software support, post-sale client support, and warranty could be problematic with some of these units, but you should be fine as long as you’re buying from a trustworthy seller. In fact, looking at the reviews on Amazon and other stores, buyers are actually satisfied with these products and rate them highly, in many cases even higher than the A-brand alternatives.

Options above $1500

At this point, your options get incrementally better, but most of them are not significant upgrades from the models in the previous subsection.

If we’d focus on what $1500 to $2000 can get you in terms of performance, that’s mostly tier-A RTX 2070/2070 Super notebooks in better built and more portable designs, and with extra features such as 240 Hz screens, per-key RGB keyboards, improved thermals, larger batteries, and slightly improved performance.

As for specific models to check out, the Asus ROG Strix SCAR, the Alienware m15, the MSI GE65 and GE66 Raider, or the Lenovo Legion 7i lines come to mind. Most of these are also available in 17-inch formats.

Of course, once we push above $2000 and no longer have a limited budget, we end up with all sorts of possibilities.

If you opt to go the ultraportable way, then the Razer Blade and the Asus ROG Zephyrus come up, laptops we’ve already covered in a previous section. On the other hand, if you opt for performance without compromise and don’t care much about the compact form-factor, there are quite a few interesting desktop replacements to check out. Among them, there are the unusual Asus ROG Mothership tablet-pc and Acer Predator Helios 700 sliding notebook, the upgradeable Alienware Area 51m with desktop-grade components, and the more classic looking, but beastly, Asus ROG G703, ROG Scar 17 or MSI GT75 Titan.

Neither of these are value buys anymore, though.

The no-compromise gaming notebooks: Asus Mothership, Alienware Area 51m and Acer Predator Helios 700

The no-compromise gaming notebooks: Asus Mothership, Alienware Area 51m and Acer Predator Helios 700

Wrap-up

All in all, there are many good gaming notebooks in this list, of different sorts and budgets, and more will be launched in the months and years to come.

Thus, as potential buyers interested in a compact gaming computer, you’ve got a wide array of options to choose from, starting with the highly portable 13-inch ultrabooks with some gaming abilities, and ending up with the powerful 17 inchers with beefy specs and yet surprisingly thin-and-light builds, or the desktop-grade behemoths tucked inside laptop form-factors.

In the end, it’s up to you to choose that gaming laptop that best suits your requirements and budget, and find that good balance between power, portability, features, and price. We’re here to help, though, so drop your comments below if you have any questions or anything to add to this post and we’ll get back to you.

Disclaimer: Our content is reader-supported. If you buy through some of the links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
Andrei Girbea, Editor-in-Chief of Ultrabookreview.com. I've been covering mobile computers since the 2000s and you'll mostly find reviews and thorough guides written by me here on the site.

323 Comments

  1. Alex

    December 1, 2019 at 3:23 pm

    Hi Andrei. Would I be able to play WarHammer 2 on a HP Envy 13? Which model of this laptop would be good? I don’t know if I’m asking the right question, but please give me an opinion or a recommendation.
    Multumesc.

    • Andrei Girbea

      December 2, 2019 at 11:21 am

      Hardly. Warhammer is fairly demanding as far as I know, and the MX150 chip on the Envy is not good enough unless you're willing to drop the details all the way down and maybe even drop the resolution to HD.

  2. xy

    February 4, 2020 at 9:33 am

    Hi Andrei, right now I'm in the market for a new gaming/editing laptop and after seeing one in real life it has to be something with OLED screen (in my opinion once you see one you can never go back to IPS panel). Another condition is per-key RGB and at least GTX1660ti (or more likely RTX 2060 and up). So far I only really like Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED. Not Dell/Razer/Alienware, I don't like design of those ones. Are there any other options? Thanks!

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 4, 2020 at 1:02 pm

      The Asus ZenBook Pro Duo could be an alternative, but you're paying a hefty premium for the form-factor. Make sure to read the screen part of our review, I share my thoughts on OLED in that.

  3. Serge

    February 22, 2020 at 5:34 pm

    Hi, Andrei!
    I‘m in troubles:)
    My budget is about €1.500 and I’m trying to choose a laptop for the following tasks:
    • 2-8 hours working per day (MSOffice as well)
    • ~2 Hours surfing
    • TV Shows (Streaming, YouTube, Movies)
    • sometimes light photo editing
    • The hardest one: someday I have a strong desire to play one game (WoW, dota2 and some of this newEra stuff like RDR2)

    So for the first tasks it’s quite clear: the laptop has to have good screen. The last point is a corner stone cause I want this experience to be VERY GOOD – not the „top“ but decent. So maybe the cooling system > edge performance.
    Honestly, good using experience at all is a main requirement.

    As I want my laptop to stay „up-to-date“ longer, it’s seems that it should carry at least Turing dGPU. Could you please comment this point and the following „high-tech features“ as well:
    1) I guess that WiFi ax (6) will be a pretty useful thing in the nearest future (I want it)
    2) I guess that Type-C with TB3 and Charging is quite useful

    So for me:
    • CPU: Intel (guess better, discuss please)
    • Memory: 16 or 8-upgradable
    • Storage: no matter, may be at least 128 SSD (I have a lot of HDDs and one Samsung 840EVO SSD 120)
    • GPU: d, may be Turing
    • Screen: a good one of 15-15.6, may be 17. FHD/UHD/4K. IPS (?)
    • IOs: ideally like good workstation – USB3 (+/- TB3, DP, charge), LAN, DP/HDMI, SD, mic – all things are Discussable
    • Size and weight: not a point
    • Materials and design: has to be good quality, „nice to touch“. Not every model in this class has it. And also I don’t like so much these „monster-aggressive-RGB-teenager“ style but ready to discuss:)

    The options I’ve found:
    1) Lenovo Yoga s740 (15) – rather a „toy“ then a workstation, but I like it a lot. My „wish“:)
    2) Lenovo Legion Y540 15IRH
    3) ASUS ZenBook 15 UX534 – I don’t like ASUS but my wife likes it a lot :) at least it’s she who will work with it every day
    4) ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502 (I would like a GX but it’s out of budget a bit)
    5) MSI Prestige 15
    6) DELL G3 15 3590

    I’ve read a lot of bad feedback on all of these laptops, they have own pros and cons. As you can see there’s no ThinkPad – it’s because I had an experience with it and didn’t have any fun =\ discuss ;)

    Great Thank you in advance!

    • Serge

      February 22, 2020 at 5:51 pm

      Sorry guys for not mentioning all of you! You all doing a very great job! Thank you for all your reviews and articles:) despite the fact that they contain a bulk of information, I had to ask a question;)

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 25, 2020 at 12:39 pm

      Hi. You narrowed down your options well, and I would also include the Dell XPS 15 in there.

      Hardware-wise, you've got two options: either more efficient, but less powerful Core U platforms, (such as the ZenBook 15, Prestige 15), or more powerful, less efficient Core H platforms. I'd also go with 16+ GB of RAM and definitely SSD storage. As for graphics, a GTX 1650/1660 Ti should handle those older titles well, but for RDR I'd go with at least a 1660 Ti.

      Those being said, the Zephyrus M is, imo, an excellent laptop, but Asus's quality control isn't great and I'd suggest buying from a place that allows returns, test the laptop for flaws when you get it, and then ask for an exchange if you're unlucky. Keep in mind that most reviews tend to exaggerate the negatives, simply because most of those satisfied with their product don't bother leaving a review, but those who got a faulty unit will be more vocal about it.

      Depending on where you're from, there are also some barebone options you could consider, from Eluktronics (Mag 15) or XMG (Fusion 15). Furthermore, if you're willing to skimp on the graphics, the Yoga S740 and the Dell XPS 15 should also be on your list.

      As for your other options:
      2. Y540 – good value laptop, but lower-end in terms of quality, build and features. also fairly heavy and chunky, could be an option if you're looking for a better GPU at a lower price.
      3. Thin and light, but not a fan of the thermal design that blows hot air into the screen, and overall dated compared to other options. See the review.
      5. Thin and light, efficient hardware, big battery, but poor thermals and some performance limitations in demanding loads. Could be an option with the six-core i7, but read reviews to understand the quirks.
      6. haven't tested it, but it's a lower-tier product like the Y540.

      Hope this helps.

      • Serge

        February 25, 2020 at 11:44 pm

        Wow! Great reply! =)

        We're living in Austria and have to drive to the stores or wait for the delivery. So it’s kinda problem to check it in time. Also the price for DELL 15 XPS here is out of budget (1.600) and it has i7-8750H, GTX1050Ti, 8Gb.

        Nonetheless, thanks to your reply now we have 2 options to choose: yoga s740 and Zephyrus GU502.
        The last two stages now are to „touch“ and to get an answer about the need for WiFi 6, and also TB3 and charging by Type-C. Could you please comment this features?

        Thank you again! I was waiting for the answer with opened 35 tabs in browser and it was painful. And then I’ve received your answer and it was really breathtaking;) thanks for your job! I’ve read all those mentioned reviews. You make a great job!

      • Andrei Girbea

        February 26, 2020 at 12:06 pm

        WiFi 6 – not a must imo, WiFi AC is more than fast enough for regular use
        TB3 – also not a must, unless you need very fast data transfer or an external dGPU, or perhaps you plan to use a TB3 dock
        USB-C charging – nice to have, as it would allow to only grab along an USB-C charger when raveling that could take care of your laptop, phone, tablet, etc. More powerful laptops would require a barrel-plug charger as well, so USB-C would be secondary

    • Superguy

      August 16, 2021 at 10:03 am

      Biggest knocks on the Swift X: 3050 Ti is only a 40w part and the SSDs are limited to PCIe 3.0. RAM's soldered on too. I also have a dim keyboard brought zone that Acer said I'd have to send in. Not cool on a brand new laptop. I'm sending it back for those reasons.

      It's overall a nice laptop, but a gaming laptop it is not. I still bought one for my son for him to do have an ultralight that can do more casual gaming. It'll fit well with him being in the military and moving around. He's holding going to get a bigger gaming laptop sometime next year. The 40w 3050 Ti only scores avoiding 4200 in TimeSpy. I was able to push that up to 4700 using MSI's afterburner app.

      It has onr of the best gen 3 SSDs out there – OEM version of the SK Hynix P31 Gold drive. Very speedy, and compared well against the WD Black SN850 in 3.0 mode I tried.

      This is much more a creator laptop that can do some gaming. As long as you don't expect much in the gaming department, it's a solid choice for the money. It's well-built.

      I recommend replacing the Wifi with an Intel card though as the Mediatek one it ships with is garbage. It wouldn't connect to my main Wifi, only the guest network. Speed sucked too. Replaced it with an Intel AX210 and the problems went away.

      It's a great value and a solid PC overall. I live it a lot better than the Lenovo Ideapad 720S I'm using now. I just need something beefier than what it could give.

  4. plzlol

    March 4, 2020 at 9:52 am

    Good article and guide, thanks !

    I'm looking for a light, 1.5kg max, 13.3 to 14.9" laptop.
    I came up with the MSI prestige 14 in i7 configuration with 1650 Max-Q but was wondering if it's really worth it since it needs some thermal modding to squeeze max performance (repaste + heatpipe added). Ref: https://www.reddit.com/r/intel/comments/e5fzc1/i710710u_revisited_msi_prestige_14_w_lm_mods_3064/

    I was considering to do the mod myself or via HID, but being in Europe it adds a lot to the cost if ordered in the US.
    Is there any alternative to this MSI with a price from 1000-1500 USD ?
    Can we expect price drops when Ryzen 4000 laptops start to be available ?

    • Andrei Girbea

      March 4, 2020 at 7:42 pm

      We had big troubles with the MSI Prestige 14 we had for reviews, and it was only the MX250 25W version. We sent it back to MSI and never heard back for a replacement, so I wouldn't go with it, based on my experience with that sample.

      As for Ryzen 4000 laptops, I don't think they will affect this segment of light-weight laptops, but rather the segment of mid-range full-size notebooks

      • plzlol

        March 5, 2020 at 7:45 am

        Thanks for your reply. I also previously had issues with MSI about the MXM replacement GPU with the GT70/GT72/GT80…
        BUt was considering giving them another chance since other than a contractual/commercial issue, my GT72 has been running flawlessly since 2014 with very good temps for the 980M.

        ANy alternative then ?

      • Andrei Girbea

        March 5, 2020 at 11:12 am

        Do you need to go with a 14-inch laptop? There are many good portable 15-inch models such as the MAG 15 or the Zephyrus M GU502.

      • tilarou

        March 16, 2020 at 9:24 am

        The weight is important for me so if there are 15" with 1.3kg or less it work, but as far as I saw there is none…

      • Andrei Girbea

        March 16, 2020 at 7:10 pm

        There are some options, but not with gaming-capable specs. See this list: https://www.ultrabookreview.com/4219-the-lightest-ultrabooks/

  5. César E.

    June 3, 2020 at 6:15 am

    Hello Andrei:
    – First congratulate all the workers of the web, it is an excellent place to clear your mind in order to make a better purchase. Still doubts come to me and for that I use this comments section.
    – I am a university student but the truth is that I hardly ever take the laptop to college, I use it to study at home, the portability issue interests me only to be able to achieve the best possible experience.
    – I am going to allocate a budget of 1400 dollars to buy a video game laptop in the United States and I plan to be with her for 2 or 3 years; I have read a lot and I am convinced that the best solution for me is the full size laptops (lenovo legion, acer helios hp omen, etc) where I can maximize performance for the money invested.

    I am interested in the following characteristics:
    a) Harware: i7 (thinking that it will age better, although this implies lowering the dgpu) preferably above the i5 although you could also use this without a doubt.
    b) dgpu: at least a gtx 1660ti and if it is possible to get to the 2060 better, but not for the rtx, but for the performance improvement it can provide me.
    c) screen: yes or if I want it of 144hz, but with a range of decent colors and brightness, (the new tuf a15 from asus I don't want them for that reason and also for the high temperatures of the components, despite the good price) I have many doubts between a 15 or 17-inch screen, portability is secondary to the best experience (I want to insist on this) although I think I prefer the screen of 17 (I have never had a laptop with that size) I must take into account the increase in price compared to the 15 model when we talk about the same laptop.
    d) other aspects: the cooling has to be competent for the presented components, good construction, good keyboard but it does not have to be outstanding, 16gb ram and the storage does not matter what is little, then I can increase it in almost all the models, the battery nor is it vital.

    – After investigating, I have these two options as more interesting:
    1- Acer predator helios 300: I find the 17-inch model interesting because of the best thermic, the speakers and the screen, of course, that for my money I would choose the 1660ti gpu model and very little storage. Do you think this model is more interesting than the 15-inch one, although it may be inferior in storage and some other hardware details?
    2- Lenovo Legion y540, I like this laptop, but I am more inclined to the predator, especially for the best construction.
    3- Lenovo Legion 5i: Very soon they will be on the market and I really like how they look, but be very uncertain about the price, I think it will be a good laptop, but you have to wait for the reviews, perhaps with the release of these new laptops , last year's prices drop and would be a point in favor of previous models.

    1.1 Do you think it is more interesting to opt for a 17-inch model over a 15-inch model, even if that means that the larger model has lower hardware than the 15-inch one?
    1.2 Will there be much difference in the gaming experience on a screen of 15 to play on one of 17?
    -Note: I know that these questions at the end seem strange and it should not be easy to answer it because it depends on each one, but I ask for your personal experience, as you prefer.

    – I will appreciate all the answers tremendously, greetings.

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 3, 2020 at 11:16 am

      1.1 I'd go with the 15-inch option, better specs for less money, and good enough thermals and performance with the latest drivers.
      1.2 that's up to you. I'd be fine with either one

  6. César E.

    June 3, 2020 at 4:49 pm

    Thanks for the reply.
    I will opt for the 15-inch model with the consequent improvement of hardware for the same money, I trust that the gaming experience is good in both models, as you tell me.
    I suppose you agree with the choice of the acer helios 300 over the lenovo y540, that does seem safe.

  7. Rohit Bakshi

    June 13, 2020 at 6:42 pm

    hello awesome review and in depth info.
    if I have to choose between acer helios 300 rtx 2070 17inch vs Triton 500 rtx 2060. In India it costs 1853$ for the acer and 2000$ for the Triton.
    Also if I am going to spend that much is there a better alternative than the above two.

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 13, 2020 at 7:14 pm

      Depends on what you need it for. Thr triton is more portable and nicer made, plus includes a bigger battery, Gsync or TB3. The Helios is a more mid-tier laptops and looks like the better performer based on those specs. up to you to pick what suits your needs

  8. Khurelkhuu T

    June 25, 2020 at 12:16 pm

    a very good structured read. helped me decide on exactly what i needed. keep it going guys!

  9. Mikell

    July 29, 2020 at 5:35 pm

    Hi there!

    I see you replying to pretty much all of the comments posted here, that's very admirable and impressive!

    I'm currently in the market for a high-end gaming laptop to replace my nearly 6 year old MSI GS60 Ghost Pro. Thing was an absolute unit when I got it. Less than 0.80 inches thick, 1080p 340+ nit display, Core i7 6700HQ, 16GB DDR4 RAM, Dual 512 GB PCIe SSDs in Raid 0, GTX 970m (third party overclocked). Cost me $3,000 and was worth every penny. But it's sadly pretty outdated now, and can only run newer games at the lowest settings (and still usually with bad FPS). It seems to be bottle-necking not even really at the graphics card but at the CPU so that's a done deal.

    I am looking for something somewhat similar, though I am thinking I probably don't need to (and don't really want to) spend as much as I did on the MSI. I am leaning toward a 17-inch since there are many out there with footprints about the same size as my MSI (which was a little big for a 15-inch back then) and want a core i7 108750H (or possibly core i9) and at least an RTX 2070 (no max q); a 2070 super or 2080 max q would also do, but those two would likely push me past my price range (though I am willing to pay what I need to in order to get the overall configuration I want). At leas 1TB SSD, 32 GB of RAM, Windows Hello (camera and/or fingerprint) would be nice.

    I'd be using it mostly for RTS games (at ultra settings), but also some top down and/or first person RPGs and the occasional 1st person shooter (so refresh rate isn't all that important but a consistent frame rate is; if there's one thing I can't stand it's choppy unit movement and a sluggish UI in my RTS games). I still want something thin and light (the Ghost Pro has completely spoiled me in that department) but a little bigger/thicker/heavier is okay. The keyboard has to be good enough but doesn't need to be great. Display should be bright (but doesn't have to be blinding, I won't be outside with this thing) and color accurate, and the chassis should stay relatively cool under load (even if the fans have to get loud to do that).

    I've had my eye on the new Eluktronics Max 17 as it seems to pretty much tic all those boxes for a very reasonable price. The new Lenovo Legion 7i also looks pretty nice, though it is a bit pricey for what you get in terms of performance (at least compared to the Max 17). Do you have any other recommendations?

    Lastly, part of the reason I've been holding off for a while is to see what OEMs do with the new Ryzen processors, particularly the 9 series. Unfortunately, it seems like feet are being dragged and there just isn't much available in the configuration I want (the Zephyrus G14 is nice enough but it's too small, I'm not crazy about the design, and I'm a little worried about longevity with only the RTX 2060). Should I wait? Please give me your thoughts.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Andrei Girbea

      July 29, 2020 at 10:50 pm

      Please summarize this in a shorter format

      • Mikell

        August 3, 2020 at 8:23 am

        Done!

        I'm currently in the market for a high-end gaming laptop I am leaning toward a 17-inch but the right 15-inch would work too.

        I'd be using it mostly for RTS games (at ultra settings), but also some top down and/or first person RPGs and the occasional 1st person shooter. I'd prefer something thin and light. The keyboard has to be good but doesn't need to be great. Display should be bright (but doesn't have to be blinding, I won't be outside with this thing) and color accurate, and the chassis should stay relatively cool under load (even if the fans have to get loud to do that).

        I've had my eye on the new Eluktronics Max 17 as it seems to pretty much tic all those boxes for a very reasonable price. Do you have any other recommendations?

        Lastly, part of the reason I've been holding off for a while is to see what OEMs do with the new Ryzen processors, particularly the 9 series. In addition, the RTX 3000 series is on the horizon, but apparently won't be available in laptops until this time next year. Should I wait? Please give me your thoughts.

  10. Joseph

    September 17, 2020 at 2:19 am

    I thought this was an ultrabook article. What happened?

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 17, 2020 at 1:55 pm

      it's an all-in-one article, and it will be updated shortly

  11. Gunnar

    April 25, 2021 at 8:52 pm

    There is a reference to coil whine being a con with the Razer Blade Pro 17, "beware of coil whine".

    However, there is no mention of coil whine in the original review (2020 model), nor could I find it in the newest review on the 2021 model. Could you elaborate on what you mean by this? Is there a significant risk of coil whine with the Blade Pro 17?

    In the 17 inch market, what would you recommend right now?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Andrei Girbea

      April 26, 2021 at 11:56 am

      Coil whine is a random and fairly common issue with modern laptops. While our review units did not experience any, that doesn't meant your retail product will absolutely not, based on what some users are reporting on Reddit and forums. So I prefer to warn people of any potential issue that have been commonly reported, just so they know there's a chance that might happen on their unit. That being said, the Blade Pro 17 is a fairly solid option in its class, but rather expensive imo, and only gets a smaller battery.

  12. Gunnar

    April 26, 2021 at 4:56 pm

    Thanks Andrei. I did not follow you fully – are you saying that coil whine is a general problem with modern laptops, or is it a specific problem with the Blade Pro 17? Or at least, a more frequent problem? I have checked Reddit and other sources, and I could not find many references of it (but it certainly occurs). However, I would greatly appreciate any input as I am contemplating the new Blade Pro 17 2021 model, and it is a key concern for me as you listed it as a potential issue.

    • Andrei Girbea

      April 26, 2021 at 5:04 pm

      I'm saying that it can happen with every laptop brand, but also that I've seen it reported by Blade Pro buyers over the years. I don't think it's more common on the RBP than on other models, but RBP buyers are probably more vocal about it than others.

      Is there an option to buy from a store that allows free non-stocking returns? Not sure what's Razer's policy on this if you're buying from their site. As far as I can tell, that's the only way to make sure you're not getting any hidden flaws these days: buy it, test it (for coil whine, keyboard/screen quality, audio, performance, etc), keep it if it's OK or return if not.

  13. Gunnar

    April 26, 2021 at 8:05 pm

    Thanks Andrei, that clarifies it. I will be reviewing the return policy before buying.

    What are your top 3 picks in the 17 inch market right now?

    • Andrei Girbea

      April 27, 2021 at 10:03 am

      Depends on what you want. If it's the portable kind, then this RBP, the Gigabyte Aero 17 and the Dell XPS 17 would be towards the top. If it's full-size full-performance, you've got other options from Asus, Alienware or MSI.

  14. Paula

    May 10, 2021 at 10:38 am

    Hi! Andrei, thanks for all of your reviews! I use them really often when mi friends ask me for good options and I redirect them here…
    I'm about to buy a new laptop, but I'm really unsure of the best option.
    My main use is going to be photo editing (not professional) studying, design sometimes, music production in a future, occasionally playing a game but not often and not a demanding one.

    My budget is 1300€
    I'm in between: • msi prestige 14 (https://www.fnac.es/Portatil-MSI-Prestige-14-A10RB-021ES-14-Negro-Ordenador-portatil-PC-Portatil/a7238803) or • Huawei matebook X pro (https://www.fnac.es/Portatil-Huawei-MateBook-X-Pro-13-9-16GB-1TB-Gris-Ordenador-portatil-PC-Portatil/a7827413) (sorry. Can't find English links of the exact model)
    One thing that concerns me about the msi is that has no 3.0 usb type A. Just 2.0..
    My main request is good quality of the materials in general so this purchase lasts a few years at least and fidelity in color show.
    If not, would you recommend me one you think it could suit me in that budget?
    Thank you very much!

    • Andrei Girbea

      May 10, 2021 at 10:54 am

      Hi Paula. Careful about the MateBook X Pro, which's designed to be efficient and quiet in an ultra-compact shell, and as a result, it somewhat sacrifices on performance, so it might not be powerful enough for those kinds of activities that you mentioned. On the other hand, is gets an amazing screen that will surely help in your creative endeavors.

      The Prestige is a better performer and it should have USB 3.0, but I haven't tested it so I can't tell for sure if the screen is any good. I'd look into some reviews on this matter.

      Is a Lenovo Legion Slim 7 within your budget, preferably with a Ryzen 4700U (or 4800U) processor and 16 GB of RAM? That would probably be my go-to recommendation in this class.

  15. Paula

    May 12, 2021 at 9:10 am

    Oh! Thank u very much. I'll give a look at the Lenovo. Couldn't find it here in Spain with ryzen, but I'll keep digging.
    And about the msi, I read this answer you gave to someone and made me suspicious about buying it (below). But I think it's another model. Anyway, thank u very much, I hope I decide soon hahaha.

    "March 4, 2020 at 7:42 pm
    We had big troubles with the MSI Prestige 14 we had for reviews, and it was only the MX250 25W version. We sent it back to MSI and never heard back for a replacement, so I wouldn't go with it, based on my experience with that sample…."

  16. manjot

    June 11, 2021 at 2:59 pm

    Just wondering how well does the asus rog zeph g15 2021 model compare to some of these nearly 3k laptops? From what it seems like the g15 is really good at its price range if the only issue is the fan???

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 28, 2021 at 11:04 am

      it does fare very well and will be included in the next major revision on this article

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