Are Gaming Laptops Worth Buying in 2021?

Updated as of

Gaming laptops are totally worth it if you are a customer that needs both good performance while playing your favorite games and portability.

Check out all the reasons for and against buying a gaming laptop down below, and decide if a gaming laptop suits your needs:

A Razer laptop, a mouse, game controller, keyboard and headset on a brown table

Is a Gaming Laptop Worth It?

Gaming laptops have a price range that starts at slightly under 500 dollars, which is a higher price than a standard entry-level gaming desktop pc or most gaming consoles. Even if it has a slightly higher entry price, it might be worth it for many people:

One of the key things that makes a gaming laptop stand out compared to game consoles such as the PS5 and Xbox Series X is that it’s not only good for gaming. A gaming laptop allows for both gaming and everyday activities such as emailing, web browsing and watching Netflix.

Another significant advantage of gaming notebooks is that it’s portable and you can bring it with you anywhere with ease.

Man wearing a gaming headset

Reasons For Buying A Gaming Laptop

In this section, I will present five main reasons in favor of buying a gaming laptop instead of other similar gaming devices.

The main reasons for purchasing a laptop for playing games would be its portability, dual usage, versatility, high-end options, and style.

Portability

If you doubt whether to buy a gaming laptop, this is probably the first reason that got you thinking of having one in the first place.

When the gaming era started, you couldn’t imagine playing games without leaving your room.

Now, gaming laptops offer you the flexibility to play games in another room, building, or even place.

You can take your laptop with you if you are commuting often or even on your vacation.

Portability is one of the luxuries a PC does not offer.

Dual Usage

The second advantage of buying a gaming laptop is its dual usage.

Dual usage refers to the possibility that you could play games on this laptop and conduct other activities such as surfing the net or writing answering e-mails.

Dual usage is the main reason gaming enthusiasts who also do other activities prefer gaming laptops to Xbox.

Xbox is one of the most popular gaming consoles; however, you cannot multitask with it. For example, you cannot write a work e-mail while being on a break from your game.

In order to multitask, you would need at least two devices; with a gaming laptop, you have a complete package.

Added versatility

A gaming laptop is actually surprisingly versatile. I’ve already mentioned a laptop’s dual usage, but there are also some more often overlooked aspects of versatility:

Let’s start with the versatility of controllers. Of course, you can plug in an external keyboard and mouse to your gaming laptop, but there’s also tons of controllers for gaming, no matter if it’s a standard gamepad or a yoke for flight simulators.

It’s also easy to have a larger screen hooked to the laptop when the small laptop screen isn’t enough.

When it comes to gaming compared to consoles, PC gamers have the advantage of mods that will make the game better and will often give countless more hours of new content to your favorite game.

Gaming controllers on a white table

High-End Options

Many ask if the price for a gaming laptop justifies its features? Even though the price range is higher, it offers some excellent options that may interest you.

If you are a fan of visuals, the fact that gaming laptops have high-resolution screens will suit you.

If you are used to mobile gaming, consoles, or cheaper gaming notebooks, you will be amazed by the resolution of your favorite games on a quality gaming laptop.

Another benefit is that today gaming laptops come with Solid-State Drives (SSDs). Basically, that means that you have faster load times and virtually silent operations compared to a standard gaming PC.

Aesthetics and Style

The last but not the least important feature is definitely the style and aesthetics of gaming laptops.

Gamers are known for an eye that is keen on visuals, so many would prefer a modern gaming laptop that can both run games and look attractive.

More and more gamers are willing to invest a bit more in a gaming machine that they can show off to their friends and family.

You’ll find large exhaust ports, fancy full metal designs, and flashy keyboard backlighting that will truly make a gaming laptop stand out.

Reasons Against Buying A Gaming Laptop

Obviously, modern gaming laptops have unique features that will enhance your gaming experience, but certain aspects may make you reconsider. I have listed six points that you should consider before buying a gaming laptop.

A man playing PC games on a white computer

Price

The first thing that anyone can notice is the price range of gaming laptops. The price of gaming laptops is usually twice more expensive than the price of a PC with the same specifications.

You are looking at a price range of $500 for a budget gaming laptop, while Xbox and PS4 are around 400$.

For the best gaming experience, the price range can get up to 2000$. On the other side, many gaming laptops under $1000 will fit most budgets and still provide some of the best features.

Size

Clearly, a gaming laptop can’t have the same size as a standard PC because of its portability.

Most laptops have a screen size of 15-17 inches. This means if you are used to a big screen, you may be disappointed by the smaller screen.

Weight

Related to the previous section, one of the things you should consider is the laptop’s weight. If you’re buying a laptop you can take anywhere, be sure to check its weight.

Compared to standard laptops, gaming notebooks are usually a few pounds heavier due to the powerful hardware and the cooling system needed to keep the temperatures down.

Less upgrade potential

A sata hard drive

In simple terms, what you get at the beginning, is all you will ever have. You can’ replace the graphics card or upgrade the CPU on most gaming laptops.

However, RAM and HDD/SDD can be upgraded on most laptops, but upgrading the graphics card can require changing the whole motherboard.

A kind of a positive note to all of this would be that there are ways in which you can improve your laptop gaming performance, such as regularly updating your drivers for GPU, closing background apps, and optimizing the power settings.

Reduced power

Their portability eventually reveals a significant disadvantage compared to a gaming desktop that most gaming laptop manufacturers don’t list as a fact.

A gaming laptop’s graphics processing system offers less graphical power than its desktop counterparts, especially the more affordable ones.

Heat buildup

A final con for gaming laptops is how much they generate heat. A powerful gaming laptop can often get hot when running modern games with its high-end graphics.

However, a rather economic solution can reduce heat buildup and prolong your laptop’s lifespan:

Cooling pads or coolers are accessories that can reduce your laptop’s temperature so that you can continue to use it normally. They don’t affect the laptop’s performance directly, but they cool down the temperature so that it does not overheat.

A desktop PC next to a laptop

Gaming Laptops vs. Desktop PCs

When you are looking for a device for gaming, most people will choose between gaming laptops and gaming desktops.

To make your choice easier, I will compare these two in terms of price, performance, weight and build, upgradability, and heating and battery life.

Price

Gaming laptops are usually more expensive than their desktop counterparts.

The årice difference can be somewhat justified because the best gaming laptops require more powerful batteries and smaller components to fit their smaller chassis.

If you plan to use your laptop for portable gaming, you are paying extra for that flexibility.

Performance

Many gaming laptops tend to have worse performance than a similarly priced desktop computer.

Both gaming laptops and gaming rigs have options that will run all the latest games, but be prepared to spend more on the gaming laptop.

Make sure you’re also aware that laptops often don’t have the same processors as their desktop counterparts. Most gaming laptops have a memory that runs at a slower speed compared to PCs. This means that desktops generally have better overall performance.

Weight

If you are looking for a device that you can transport easily and run on battery power, you should be on the lookout for a laptop.

However, take into consideration the weight of the laptop and the size of the screen. With a larger screen, you will consequently end up with a heavier laptop.

Upgradability

Almost every gaming laptop brand has laptops where you can upgrade the hard drive, RAM, and battery.

On most gaming laptops, you cannot replace the graphics or upgrade the CPU. However, if you buy a new high-end laptop, you won’t have a need to replace anything.

Heating and battery life

The last point of comparison would be heating and battery life. Gaming laptops accumulate more heat faster than ordinarily laptops. However, there are modern coolers that can help you optimize your laptop’s temperature.

As for battery life, high-end gaming laptops drain more battery compared to standard laptops. Some of the best gaming laptops require to be plugged in most of the time so that they can perform without a glitch.

When buying a laptop for PC gaming, take all things into consideration and think about if a gaming laptop is worth it for you. 

FAQ

Blue illuminated keyboard

Are gaming laptops a waste of money?

Gaming laptops are not a waste of money if you are a specific user that will settle for lower gaming performance to gain portability and lighter weight.

On the other hand, if maximum gaming performance is the only priority, desktop computers pay off more.

Are gaming laptops better than regular laptops?

Gaming laptops are better than regular laptops in terms of better processors, better system memory, better graphics cards, and better cooling systems.

However, a standard laptop is lighter and has better battery life because it is mainly used for light work.

A laptop intended for playing games has more graphical power for better performance, so they are more expensive than a regular lightweight laptop.

Do gaming laptops last long?

Gaming laptops generally last somewhere between 3 to 6 years. How long it will last will depend on the model and the laptop brand and the use and regular care of the machine.

Are gaming laptops good for everyday use?

Gaming laptops have essential features for everyday gaming enthusiasts; however, gaming laptops can also be used for other everyday activities. When looking for a gaming laptop for everyday use, make sure it has good battery life and a fast hard drive.

Do Gaming laptops overheat?

Most of the laptops designed for playing games usually overheat when running games for a long time.

However, a simple and affordable solution is called a cooling pad which helps the laptop get back to standard temperature.

When is it not worth buying a gaming laptop?

If portability is not one of the main features of interest, there is no need for a laptop.

If the laptop is needed mainly for everyday activities and less for playing games, then a standard laptop with more affordable hardware will suffice.