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Thanks to the recent boom in the video game industry—which is now worth a staggering $300 billion globally—there has been a massive demand for gaming rigs. While PC setups and consoles are go-to options for many, gaming laptops are also a solid choice for those who value performance and portability. Presently, the success of the gaming laptop market is even supposed to usher in a 22% market value growth until 2027.
Given this industry growth, though, the market can be overwhelming for consumers. With hundreds of models available, it can be hard navigating which one is best for you. To help reduce your guesswork, we’ve narrowed down our top three picks that will satisfy your budget and your gaming preferences:
Budget Range: Acer Nitro 5
First on our list is Acer’s 2021 release of the Nitro 5. Priced at a very modest $699, there’s a reason why this model remains one of Acer’s best-sellers. Featuring an eight-core, 3.2GHz Ryzen 7 5800H processor, 8BG GPU, 16BG memory, and Window 10, this model can do a lot with its base components. For avid gamers, the specially molded plastic chassis will protect your unit from any scratches while also offering a cool aesthetic. Despite its price tag, the Nitro 5’s WQHD display and configurable RGB backlit keyboards ensure that you’ll be enjoying all the graphics and gameplay shortcuts with ease.
As an added bonus, the Nitro 5 also does fairly well as an everyday laptop. Considering that there is still a component shortage, many laptop users are on the hunt for well-rounded models that can mix business and pleasure. Thanks to its storage and processors, the Nitro 5 can decently complete work-focused tasks like word processing, web browsing, video meetings, and spreadsheet creation. On top of this, the Nitro 5 is also highly upgradeable, so it can literally improve as your skills and schedule need it to.
Mid Range: MSI Katana GF66
Although the MSI Katana GF66 has a reasonable street price of $799, it can easily keep up with higher-end models. Designed to complement eSports-level gaming, this is easily considered one of the best gaming laptops. Powered with NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050, the Katana GF66 offers realistic ray-traced graphics and AI features. This comes on top of an 11th Generation Intel Core i5 processor which can keep up with intense gameplay and multi-tasking. Because it is crafted for both new and experienced gamers, this model also has MSI’s exclusive Cooler Boost Technology. This avoids overheating no matter how long you use it.
Since its release last year, the Katana GF66 has also become a widely favored laptop by industry experts. Just last December, it was deemed PC Mag’s newest editor’s choice laptop. In terms of its other features, the Katana GF66 also has a 1920×1080 pixel display, eight-core, and 16GB RAM. Together, these make sure that you can easily run demanding games and applications. This includes processing tasks like scene rendering, which means the Katana GF66 is also a solid choice for those with a gaming career like game development.
Upper Range: Razer Blade 15 Advanced Edition
Recently, the Hong Kong-listed Razer has been under fire after its co-founder offered to take the company private. While this resulted in an 8% drop in share prices, don’t let this turn you off their products. Still considered one of the leading gaming hardware companies, Razer recently cemented its reputation with the Razer Blade 15 Advanced Edition. A reimagined version of their classic Blade 15, this advanced 2021 edition melds fan-favorite features with new gaming elements. This is perhaps why its base price starts at $2,499.
Notably, the iconic slim metal chassis of the original Blade 15 had been retained for its style and durability. This time around, though, the model has been slimmed down even further to just under 0.7 inches thick and 4.4 pounds. In terms of its display, the Blade 15 is among the first laptops to have a 1440p resolution and 249Hz refresh rate. This promises crisp imagery throughout. This new edition also comes with an impressive RTX 3070 GPU, 16BG RAM, 1TB of storage, and Intel’s Core i7-108075H CPU. Admittedly, this last detail may be a let-down for gamers who’ve come to prefer Ryzen. Considered among the top CPU brands, Ryzen is only really present in the Razer Blade 14. That said, this new Blade 15 is by no means lagging behind in power.
If you’re looking to really invest in your gaming experience but don’t want a stationary PC or bulky console, a gaming laptop will be your new best friend. Whereas gaming laptops a few years ago were more limited in terms of specs or price range, today, there’s a model for everyone.