The best gaming laptop for any budget in 2021
The Zephyrus Duo 15 SE’s Achilles heel is the layout of the keyboard and trackpad. The outlandish design, including that sizeable second screen, means the keyboard is pushed to the front of the base. The positioning means your wrists have no support, making an extra wrist-rest a necessity. The keyboard and trackpad layout is also a little cramped – making the whole experience a tad uncomfortable.
From the price to the unique design, this laptop will certainly only appeal to the chosen few. Those with plenty of money to spare and a desire for a second screen won’t be disappointed with the performance of this specced-out beast. However, an uncomfortable typing experience might turn some away.
Pros: Heavy-duty gaming performance; impressive AMD processor; gorgeous 4K panel; actually useful secondary display
Cons: Poor battery life; flawed keyboard and trackpad
Price: £3,500 | Check price on Currys | Asus
Gaming laptops: what to consider
Your first port of call should be to identify which graphics card you’re going to need. New Nvidia cards are now firmly entrenched in the majority of laptops, and top of the laptop stack is the RTX 3080. It’s always tempting to want the best hardware, and it’s worth seeking this if you want to play at top graphics settings, at 4K or at high frame-rates. However, if you’re an e-sports gamer or want to play older titles then it’s going to be overpowered, and not worth the cash.
The RTX 3070 is a great, balanced option that will handle virtually everything, while the RTX 3060 is a capable chip for 1080p gaming at the highest quality levels. You’ll also find cheaper laptops with last year’s Nvidia chips – ideal for esports and modest 1080p games.
If you’re going to be running tough games or want to do some work on your machine, you’ll also need a Core i7 CPU. It’s always worth getting 16GB of memory if you can afford it, and you should find a laptop with an SSD unless you’re on a very tight budget.
There’s a lot to think about on the outside. You’ll need to consider the screen: a 1080p panel won’t be as sharp as a 4K display, but it’ll be easier to run games at the former resolution. Similarly, it’s only really worth opting for a high-refresh-rate panel if you have a GPU that can run games at beyond 100fps.
Take a close look at the dimensions and weight if you’re going to take the machine on the road, and if you want to connect a mouse and other peripherals make sure you’ve got plenty of USB connections. Also examine the display outputs, because only certain connections will properly output to high-resolution screens or VR headsets.
There’s a stunningly broad selection of gaming laptops out there, at price points that range from as low as £600 to upwards of £2500, and many are fantastic. As such, not all of them make our recommended list, but some are worth highlighting for their unique features. Here’s a gaming laptop that might catch your eye but just slightly missed the mark.
Alienware m15 R4 Cherry (from £3,049): Dell’s Alienware brand caught a ton of attention when it announced a partnership with famed keyboard switch maker Cherry. Many gaming laptop fans have longed for an experience closer to a desktop mechanical keyboard. The m15 R4 with Cherry RGB keyboard almost delivers. The keyboard itself is in the top tier of gaming laptop keyboards, with bags of travel and unrivalled amounts of feedback. A small metallic clang as you type away is its only downside.
Published at Thu, 10 Jun 2021 11:53:00 +0000