Gaming laptops are about to get a refresh this year and although that may sound like par for the course, when it comes to portable hardware this year’s refresh is fairly massive. Not only is NVIDIA bringing its Ampere line
of GeForce RTX 30 Series graphics cards to laptops en masse
, with the RTX 3060, 3070, and 3080 set to provide a massive jump over the previous gen, but AMD is bringing its latest and greatest Ryzen CPUs too. The next-gen AMD Ryzen 5000 H-series Mobile Processors are hitting the scene before the arrival of Intel’s latest.
Which, for the first time will see a large number of top-of-the-line gaming laptops decked out with AMD/NVIDIA combos in the coming months. This year will also see the arrival of several laptops coming in 1440p QHD variants -- bringing many gaming laptops in-line with the trends seen in the display space.
Lenovo Legion 7 and Lenovo Legion 5
The Lenovo Legion 7
is the company's flagship gaming laptop, and as such it’s something of a beast -- building on the impressive Legion range that has proven to be one of the best performers in recent years. With the Legion 7 featuring up to the AMD Ryzen 9 5900H Mobile Processor and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 GPU, performance will be a major step up over the 2020 model -- so much so that this Legion will also ship with a crisp QHD 2560x1600 16” 165Hz IPS display that also features Dolby Vision support. Couple this with the latest version of the Legion TrueStrike Keyboard and advanced cooling and this will no doubt be one of the
high-end gaming laptops of 2021. Lenovo will also be releasing a RTX 3060 Max-Q powered Lenovo Legion Slim 7
, a new ultrathin that looks slick.
: March 2021 Price
: from $3299 AUD
On the more affordable tip the impressive and versatile Lenovo Legion 5
range is also getting its AMD and NVIDIA Geforce RTX refresh this year with the base model supporting up to a AMD Ryzen 9 5800H Mobile Processor and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 GPU -- offering up, again, a sizeable performance jump over last year’s model. Keeping the price down the Legion 5 will retain its 1080p IPS display, though on that front it’s bumping up the refresh rate to 165Hz.
: April 2021 Price
: from $1999 AUD
MSI Stealth 15M and MSI GE76 Raider
MSI is not only claiming that the Stealth 15M is the world’s thinnest 15-inch gaming laptop, and at 16mm of thickness odds are the company is right, but that it will pack some serious performance grunt too. This new 2021 gaming laptop that is also a thin and light workhorse is set to sport the new Intel 11th Gen H-series CPU, which will support up to 5GGz at 35W -- impressive. MSI’s Stealth 15M will pair the new Intel CPU with NVIDIA's RTX 3060 with Max-Q, a GPU that reportedly outperforms the previous mobile flagship -- the RTX 2080. Weighing it at 1.7kg and sporting custom cooling designed specifically around the new Intel and NVIDIA components, this will no doubt be the sort of machine that will surprise many with its raw game performance. Plus, it will feature a 4K 100% Adobe RGB panel.
: February 2021 Price
: from $2999 AUD
Elsewhere the new MSI GE76 Raider is the company’s regular-old top of the line gaming laptop - featuring a sizable 17.3 inch 300Hz display, a 1080p webcam, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 Series graphics and a Intel Core i9 Processor. On the GPU/CPU front the GE76 Raider will support “Resizable BAR” which is set to boost performance for all GeForce RTX 30 Series cards when paired with specific CPUs (here this will be the current Intel gen). The chassis itself sports a stylish etched dragon design that basically serves as a precursor to everything found under the hood.
: February 2021 Price
: from $3499 AUD
Razer Blade 15
The Razer Blade is something of a gaming laptop institution, from its iconic look and feel to the premium display and high-end performance -- plus, all that RGB goodness. In 2021 the Razer Blade goes QHD with the Base Model shipping with a 165HZ 1440p display and the new Advanced Model taking that QHD goodness all the way up to 240Hz -- which would no doubt pair well with the new GeForce RTX 3080. The Advanced Model is the premium version featuring the RTX 3080 GPU, vapor chamber cooling, and per-key lighting where the Base Model will only go up to an RTX 3070. That said we use the world “only” very loosely here. Seeing 1440p displays hit the entire Razer Blade line-up is very cool, especially when you factor in that these new displays will offer 100% DCI-P3 colour accuracy.
: March 2021 Price
: from $3149 AUD (for the Base Model)
ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 SE and ROG Strix SCAR 15
ASUS have always pushed its designs forward in meaningful, and admittedly very stylish, ways over the years and the new ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 SE
definitely falls into this category. Featuring what the company is calling the ROG ScreenPad Plus, what you get is basically the most advanced Nintendo DS ever made - a second screen that can be used when playing games or for additional productivity tasks. On that front ASUS have said it will support both popular streaming software in addition to the Adobe creative suite. Underneath the hood the Zephyrus Duo 15 SE is powered by up to an AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX CPU and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 GPU, and will come with either a 4K or 300Hz 1080p display.
: 2021 Price
Okay, so for those looking for a “regular” gaming laptop the new ROG Strix SCAR 15
will no doubt be a great option, building on the great SCAR range with AMD Ryzen CPU power and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 Series graphics (RTX 3070 or RTX 3080). Like we’ve seen elsewhere the new SCAR line-up for 2021 will arrive with either a 1080p or 1440p display -- both offering high refresh-rates and low response times. Plus, all of the colour accuracy goodness we love to see.
: 2021 Price
Gigabyte AORUS 15P
Cooling and performance are two areas that see continued improvement in the laptop space, and with company’s all sporting their own custom designs there are still signs out there that we’ve got a while to go before gaming laptops are quiet, cool, and efficient. Though, with performance trumping all that day may never come. Which is to say that the new Gigabyte AORUS 15P
sounds facianting, which not only sports brand new WINDFORCE cooling that is said to keep the CPU and GPU temps 10-degrees cooler than ever before but also Microsoft Azure AI for machine-learning and dynamic CPU and GPU power optimisation. Throw in NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 graphics and a 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10870H -- and this could tick some pretty elusive boxes when it launches.
: 2021 Price
Alienware m15 and m17 R4
Last and certainly not least comes the Alienware m15 and m17 R4
, which sees the latest version and revision of Alienware’s m-range come equipped with NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 series graphics in addition to some of the best components, whether that’s a super-fast PCIe M.2 SSD or high-speed memory. This year though, thanks to the new RTX 3080, Alienware will also be offering a 360Hz 1080p panel which is, yeah, insane. But, paired with G-Sync, and NVIDIA Reflex technology the results will be immediately noticeable in a range of competitive titles. The only downside seems to be a lack of a QHD 1440p option, as seen in other revisions. Still, the Alienware range represents premium quality across the board - and the 2021 models will be no different.
: January 2021 Price
: from $4,799 AUD