Gaming has been one of the few bright spots during the ongoing pandemic as people mostly stayed indoors. Coupled with the work-from-home trend, a gaming notebook that can handle both work and entertainment with ease, while still remaining portable, sounds perfect. Especially if you have limited desk space at home.
The latest crop of gaming notebooks sees AMD getting more love from manufacturers — at the expense of Intel. Meanwhile, Nvidia continues to dominate on the graphics front with its GeForce RTX 30 series featured in all our picks. AMD, though, plans to change this in the near future. In any case, our five favourite gaming notebooks of 2021 so far are all mid-size (15 to 16 inches) models, which offer the best mix of portability and usability. And with prices ranging from around S$2,000 to S$5,000, there’s something for every budget. TLDR: all can buy la.
Acer Nitro 5
The 2021 Acer Nitro 5 puts AMD’s Ryzen 5000 series processor together with Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 30 series graphics. The affordable mid-tier version (~S$2,500) here comes with a RTX 3060 chip that’s good enough for 1080p gaming. While it’s lacking in some frills, you do get a decent 144Hz display, good port selection, as well as ample memory and storage (with option for additional storage).
Aftershock Forge 15X
The cheapest gaming notebook here, the Aftershock Forge 15X (~S$2,100) is similar to the Acer Nitro 5 in terms of features (144Hz screen and RTX 3060 graphics). But the Aftershock uses an Intel chip instead of AMD. In benchmarks, the Forge 15X narrowly edges out the Acer, though you probably won’t be able to tell the difference in actual games. In short, it’s very good value for money.
Asus ROG Strix Scar 15
For those with a larger budget, consider the Asus ROG Strix Scar 15 (S$4,798), a gaming powerhouse featuring the best from AMD and Nvidia. Its 300Hz display may give you the edge in competitive esport titles, while its optical mechanical keyboard is suited for fast-paced games. Its dot-matrix chassis design is also pretty cool, though the LED overdose is not for everyone.
Lenovo Legion 5 Pro
The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro may just be the ideal work-and-play gaming notebook. Its 16:10 aspect ratio (unusual for the genre) offers more vertical screen space than conventional 16:9 displays, and is hence better for documents and content creation. The Web camera, too, can be disabled for privacy. Yet, the Lenovo is no slouch in gaming, with a 165Hz, 1,440p display powered by AMD Ryzen 7 58000 chip and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 graphics. It’s also priced for the mainstream user at around S$2,600.
Razer Blade 15 Advanced
Willing to pay a premium for style and gaming performance? Check out the Razer Blade 15 Advanced (~S$5,000), which has been upgraded with Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 30 graphics. Its display also gets bumped up to 360Hz — currently the fastest in the market. Razer has retained the same unibody aluminium design as last year’s model. In short, it’s slim and sturdy, like a gaming MacBook if Apple cared to make one.