Desktop computers are what you will find with most PC gamers, but there are times that even gamers need something mobile and more portable. A gaming laptop is a machine that can be moved around and used on the go. It is portable enough to carry with you everywhere you go without feeling like a burden.
When buying a gaming laptop, the specs are not the only thing you should pay attention to. You need to consider every component up to the display and the built-in keyboard. In this post, we point out the things to look out for when buying a gaming laptop in 2021. These tips will help you get the best gaming laptop within your budget.
Before we go deeper into details, here are some quick tips for you:
- The GPU is important: having a good GPU will make sure that your laptop can play games at the highest settings for the next few years. Games are usually GPU-dependent, and the GPU cannot be upgraded, so you must get it right when buying your laptop.
- You can upgrade later: a lot of gaming laptops allow you to upgrade your storage and RAM. You should always take that option if available.
- Speed of resolution is essential: 360Hz is the fastest display right now but it is only available at 1920 x 1080 resolution. This means you will get a slower speed with a 4K screen.
- Good keyboard: you are going to need your keyboard for gaming, and what you do not want is a stiff or mushy keyboard that will frustrate your gaming experience.
- Poor battery life is a norm: only a few gaming laptops reach 8 hours of battery life after a full charge. To get the best performance, you need a power supply.
Now, let us go into details of what you need to look out for.
Most games that are available right now are GPU-dependent, only a few of them depend on the CPU. This is why getting the right GPU is very important when buying a gaming laptop. Right now, what you will find in most gaming laptops is the Nvidia GPUs – GTX or RTX.
The RTX-30 series are the newest GPUs from Nvidia. There is also AMD, with the Radeon RX 5000M series being the latest. However, a fresh set of discrete GPs is expected from AMD later in the year.
Other specs you should look out for
The GPU is very important, but there are other specs you need to look out for like a good CPU, adequate storage space, and enough RAM.
The CPU is largely dependent on your budget. There is the option of powerful CPUs like the Intel Core i9 and i7, and there are gaming laptops with desktop level CPUs. Although games depend more on GPU than the CPU, so you can manage the Core i5 CPU once your GPU is solid enough.
Gaming needs a lot of RAM and you need at least 8GB for smooth running of productivity tasks. For your gaming laptop, we advise 16GB of RAM if you can get that. If you cannot get 16GB RAM at first, you can always upgrade your 8GB RA in the future on a lot of gaming laptops. If your gaming laptop has upgradeable RAM, you should boost it later.
For storage, there is the SSD or HDD option. You can get a gaming laptop with both. Some of the budget gaming laptops come with the only HDD but most gaming laptops include an SSD to work as a boot drive. A larger SDD may allow your loading time to be faster, but that means more money. Storage is also often upgradeable in most gaming laptops. So you can always get larger storage in the future.
Displays are also important in a gaming laptop. Even if you are planning to connect to a bigger monitor, the games will still appear in the resolution of the built-in screen.
Size, resolution, and refresh rates are what you want to look out for. Avoid anything below 1920 x 1080 display. For size, it is dependent on preference but the bigger the screen size, the heavier the laptop. a 60Hz refresh rate is enough in most cases for gaming laptops.
For your keyboard, you want to consider key travel, backlighting, actuation, and anti-ghosting.
Key travel is how far you can press the key. You don’t want to hit the keyboard frame every time you press a key. Actuation is the amount of force you need to press the key, you don’t want it soft or stiff.
RGB backlighting is the best, but some laptops allow you to customize the backlighting. Anti-ghosting will make sure your keyboard registers every key when you play a combo in your game.
When you are buying a gaming laptop, you want to get one that will last for some years. Otherwise you will need to trade your laptop sooner than later. The better your GPU, the better the performance. Other features like CPU, RAM, storage, and display resolution are as well important but not on the level of the GPU for performance.
The combination of all of these factors will determine how well you enjoy your gaming laptop. Also, remember that battery life is generally poor in gaming laptops.