The Best Gaming Laptop Under $2,500: 5 Premium Gaming Laptops in 2021

The Best 15 Inch, 17 Inch, 1080p, 1440p, 165Hz, And 240Hz Gaming Laptops For $2,500

BEST GAMING LAPTOP UNDER 2500

What is the best gaming laptop under 2500 USD? In this guide we will be reviewing and comparing five gaming laptops targeted at this price range.  Each laptop has its own pros and cons, which may make them more or less suited to your particular needs, but any one of them would be a solid purchase. In each case, we will discuss the main specifications you need to consider, including the GPU, CPU, RAM, hard drive, display, and general ergonomics to help you work out which one is right for you. If you’re not limited to this one particular price range and you want to see the best gaming laptops platforms overall, take a look at our best gaming laptop page.

Is The Best Gaming Laptop Under 2500 USD Worth Buying?

Above the $1,000 threshold gaming laptops really start becoming worthy of the name: enabling the user to play the latest, most demanding games, on at least the lower graphical settings. A $2,500 gaming laptop is the point where you can pretty much guarantee you will be able to play the latest AAA titles on the highest graphical settings, although if you turn things up to their absolute max you may still have slower than desirable FPS for competitive gaming – this is the unfortunate reality of laptop gaming compared to using a desktop PC.

If you have a quick read of our Things To Consider When Buying A Gaming Laptop Under $2,500 section below we will elaborate on this further and talk about everything you need to know before coming to a decision about your purchase.

Note: The ongoing GPU shortage has led to inflated prices in some gaming laptops, particularly those with Nvidia RTX 30-series graphics cards. As a result, you may see some fluctuation in the prices of the below selections.

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Our Top Picks

01
Editor's Pick
A Superb Value 1440p Gaming Laptop With Mechanical Like Keyboard
02
17 Inch Pick
A High TGP RTX 3080 Gaming Laptop With Thunderbolt And DisplayPort That Demolishes The Competition
03
300Hz Pick
A 1080p Gaming Laptop With A Lighting Quick Display - Perfect For Competitive Gaming

The Best Gaming Laptops For Under $2,500: First Look

01
Editor's Pick
A Superb Value 1440p Gaming Laptop With Mechanical Like Keyboard
Eluktronics MECH 15 G3 Ultra Performance

Eluktronics MECH-15 G3 Ultra Performance 15.6″

0 /5
Editor's Rating

The Eluktronics MECH-15 G3 Ultra Performance gaming laptop comes from a lesser-known brand but is a superb all-rounder – offering better value than most bigger name laptops in this price range. The different options for upgradability on this laptop offer power/price flexibility to suit your needs – the 32GB RAM and 2TB SSD are top-notch and can both be easily upgraded for a bit more cash. The mechanical-like keyboard is a relatively unique feature and the trackpad is of good quality. Although the fans on this beast are particularly loud, this is the price you pay for a superb high TGP RTX 3070 GPU, which can actually compete with and beat many a laptop RTX 3080 in-game benchmarks.

02
17 Inch Pick
A High TGP RTX 3080 Gaming Laptop With Thunderbolt And DisplayPort That Demolishes The Competition
MSI GE76 Raider

MSI GE76 Raider (1080p)

0 /5
Editor's Rating

This 17” MSI Ge76 Raider is an absolute powerhouse – coming with a high TGP RTX 3080 that has FPS output up to 30% better than competing laptops with the same graphics card. The Intel Core i7-10870H isn’t quite as good as competing AMD CPUs, however it’s nothing to be sniffed at, and if you don’t mind spending extra beyond the limits of this price range you can get the upgraded version with Intel Core i9-11980HK. Thunderbolt and DisplayPort coverage is a rarity among many gaming laptops, yet this machine comes with both, not to mention a fantastic 1080p webcam. The 1080p display has middling color replication and contrast, though

03
300Hz Pick
A 1080p Gaming Laptop With A Lighting Quick Display - Perfect For Competitive Gaming
ASUS ROG STRIX SCAR 15

ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15 (1080p)

0 /5
Editor's Rating

For fast-paced, competitive 1080p gaming this ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15 is a superb gaming laptop with a lightning-fast display. The 3.8ms response time is a rare feature for a laptop display, and the 300Hz refresh rate will be able to match any FPS you could feasibly get to with this hardware. Besides this, the 2TB SSD and 64GB RAM options are top-notch, as is the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X / 5900HX CPU (depending on which version you decide to go with). The RTX 3080, whilst not the most powerful of its kind in terms of TGP, still packs a mighty punch. Although this laptop lacks an SD card reader, a webcam and Thunderbolt or Displayport, it’s still great value for the money given the specs you do get.

04
Also Consider
A Decent Value 1440p Gaming Laptop With RTX 3080 GPU And AMD Ryzen 9 CPU
ASUS ROG STRIX SCAR 15

ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15 (1440p)

0 /5
Editor's Rating

This 1440p 165Hz version of the ASUS ROG STRIX SCAR 15 might not quite match up to the Eluktronics MECH-15 G3 Ultra in terms of features for the money, but it is still a great value and quality gaming laptop with superior color replication and overall aesthetics. The AMD Ryzen 9 5900X / 5900HX CPU (depending on which version you go with) is also a superior CPU to the nearest Intel models, and provides great power in CPU-heavy workstation tasks. The Freesync support and 32GB of RAM are both welcome features, and though a webcam and SD card reader would have been nice, for a pure gaming laptop this is still up there with the best at this price point.

05
14” Pick
A Compact Lightweight Gaming Laptop with Superb Build Quality
Razer Blade AMD

Razer Blade 14 AMD Gaming Laptop (RTX 3080, 1440p, 165Hz)

0 /5
Editor's Rating

The Razer Blade 14 is the best compact gaming laptop currently on the market. The 165Hz 1440p display has some of the best color replication available for a gaming laptop, as you’d expect from Razer, as well as great contrast and peak brightness. Response time is as good as you’re going to get in a laptop with this size display. Although the 8GB VRAM RTX 3080 doesn’t match the performance of the 16GB SKUs on this page, especially given its low TGP, this is the limitation imposed by such a portable chassis. Build quality is great and the whole machine is thin and elegant.

Things To Consider When Buying A Gaming Laptop Under $2,500

The below considerations are the specific things you should bear in mind when looking to buy a $2,500 laptop. For a more general guide as to what to bear in mind when making your gaming laptop purchase, have a look at this same section underneath our Best Gaming Laptops guide for any budget.

1080p vs 1440p Gaming Laptops

At around the $2,000 mark, 1440p laptops begin making sense even for those who want to maximize FPS in competitive gameplay, as the FPS the laptop can generate at this resolution is high enough to not overly hinder performance in competitive shooters and the like. 1080p displays are still obviously the king for this type of gamer, but the handicap of 1440p becomes less of an issue. The question remains as to whether it’s worth having such high resolution on anything smaller than a 17” display, but this is down to personal preference, and if you’re doing any graphical design or photography work the higher resolution may suit your needs. Take a look at our Best Gaming Laptops in 2021 guide for our overall best 1440p laptop and 1080p laptop recommendations.

4K Gaming Laptops

Although 4K gaming laptops do exist at this price point, none are included in this particular list, as currently the trade-off one must make in other areas to get one for under $2,500 is too great to justify it. Ultimately, for anything below 17” the benefit of a 4K laptop screen is of less importance to a gamer than a powerful GPU or CPU. If you were to get a 4K 17 inch or above display laptop, then don’t expect to have a powerful enough machine to run any reasonably demanding game at high FPS on it, at least not in 2021. If you have your heart set on a 4K gaming machine then we’d advise you to increase your budget, and take a look at our Best Gaming Laptops in 2021 guide for our recommendation there.

Workstation Use And Color Replication

For a budget of $2,500 you can definitely get yourself a machine with the color gamut and accuracy to do color-accurate workstation tasks on, which can be limited in the more budget options. At this level, a dual-use workstation/gaming laptop is certainly feasible, particularly with the higher power components, although some are better in this regard than others – chiefly you’ll want to prioritize a powerful CPU, lots of RAM, and a color-accurate screen with a wide gamut.

The Best Gaming Laptops For Under $2,500 In 2021

01
Editor's Pick
Eluktronics MECH 15 G3 Ultra Performance

Eluktronics MECH-15 G3 Ultra Performance 15.6″

CPU

Intel Core-i7 10875H

Graphics

Nvidia RTX 3070 (high TGP)

RAM

32GB

Storage

2TB SSD

Screen Size

15.6"

Max Refresh Rate

165Hz

02
17 Inch Pick
MSI GE76 Raider

MSI GE76 Raider (1080p)

CPU

Intel Core i7-10870H / Intel Core i9-11980HK

Graphics

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Max-Q / RTX 3080 (16GB) Max-Q

RAM

32GB

Storage

1TB SSD

Screen Size

17.3”

Max Refresh Rate

300Hz

03
300Hz Pick
ASUS ROG STRIX SCAR 15
Asus Logo 500x177 1

ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15 (1080p)

CPU

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X / AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX

Graphics

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 (16GB) Max-Q

RAM

64GB

Storage

2TB SSD

Screen Size

15.6”

Max Refresh Rate

300Hz

04
Also Consider
ASUS ROG STRIX SCAR 15
Asus Logo 500x177 1

ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15 (1440p)

CPU

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X / AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX

Graphics

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Max-Q / RTX 3080 (16GB) Max-Q

RAM

32GB

Storage

1TB SSD

Screen Size

15.6”

Max Refresh Rate

165Hz

05
14” Pick
Razer Blade AMD

Razer Blade 14 AMD Gaming Laptop (RTX 3080, 1440p, 165Hz)

CPU

AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX

Graphics

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 (8GB) 90-100W

RAM

16GB

Storage

1TB SSD

Screen Size

14”

Max Refresh Rate

165Hz

In-depth Review

01
Editor's Pick
Eluktronics MECH 15 G3 Ultra Performance

Eluktronics MECH-15 G3 Ultra Performance 15.6″

CPU

Intel Core-i7 10875H

Graphics

Nvidia RTX 3070 (high TGP)

RAM

32GB

Storage

2TB SSD

Screen Size

15.6"

Max Refresh Rate

165Hz

Pros

High TGP RTX 3070 GPU competes with RTX 3080

1440p Display

32BG RAM

2TB SSD

Great Value

Mechanical like keyboard

AMD version has good battery life

SD card reader

Good trackpad

Cons

Loud fans

No G-Sync

Speakers could be better

Intel version has mediocre battery life

Build quality could be better

One could be forgiven for wondering why we’ve picked a gaming laptop such as the Eluktronics MECH-15 G3, which comes with an RTX 3070 GPU, above some of the other RTX 3080 laptops listed below. Well the simple fact is this particular RTX 3070, with its variable TGP of 125-140W packs a punch above many lower TGP versions of the RTX 3080, and competes with the majority you’ll find in laptops at this price range. The Eluktronics MECH-15 G3 isn’t the most powerful laptop here in terms of FPS generation (that honor goes to the MSI Ge76 RaiderMSI Ge76 Raider), though it does scrape into second place, but in terms of price per performance, this laptop is the definite winner.

Depending on where you buy it, you can find this laptop well within this price range, and for that you get a great array of specs: a 2TB SSD, 32GB of RAM (both of which can be upgraded to 4TB and 64GB respectively), an SD card reader, a great quality trackpad, and a mechanical-like keyboard! Keyboard preference is of course somewhat subjective but we found it to be a pleasure to type on and a mechanical-like keyboard will be an attractive feature for many.

The 1440p 165Hz display is as good as you’d need for a gaming laptop – with solid response times (around 7ms gray to gray), a great contrast ratio and superb color accuracy. At 98% sRGB color gamut the laptop won’t quite do for professional color grading, but definitely suffices for gaming.

In terms of the downsides, like many gaming laptops the speakers aren’t the best, though not terrible. The laptop only comes with Freesync rather than G-sync, which is a feature we miss. Build quality isn’t as good as on some of the better-known brands on this list, though we wouldn’t describe it as bad. The fans on the machine get fairly loud under load, so we’d advise wearing headphones.

Battery life depends on the specifications of the version you go with. Although the version listed here comes with the Intel Core-i7 10875H, if you can get hold of the AMD 5900HX for a good price we would heartily recommend it, as the battery life on that model is substantially better, not to mention the CPU performance also being superior.

All things considered, the Eluktronics MECH-15 G3 is one of the best value, high-end gaming laptops you’re likely to come across.

02
17 Inch Pick
MSI GE76 Raider

MSI GE76 Raider (1080p)

CPU

Intel Core i7-10870H / Intel Core i9-11980HK

Graphics

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Max-Q / RTX 3080 (16GB) Max-Q

RAM

32GB

Storage

1TB SSD

Screen Size

17.3”

Max Refresh Rate

300Hz

Pros

RTX 3080 laptop GPU

High TGP GPU performs up to 30% better than competing RTX 3080s

17” display

Thunderbolt and Displayport

Good array of ports and sockets

1080p webcam

Cons

No SD card reader

Not the cheapest

The MSI Ge76 Raider is one of the few gaming laptops we’ve seen that comes with an RTX 3080 with 16GB VRAM (as opposed to the less powerful 8GB VRAM version) with as high a TGP as 150W. As a result, the MSI Ge76 Raider is a much better performer than the vast majority of laptops with lower wattage RTX 3080 and the FPS of this model (coupled with an Intel Core i7-10870H) in games is one of the best we’ve seen. Unfortunately, the MSRP of this laptop is currently somewhat out of the price range of this guide, and the current market scarcity for RTX 3080s has pushed the market price further up, but if you can get hold of one on sale then snap it up!

Another alternative is to go with the RTX 3070 GPU version – significantly less powerful but selling for an MSRP $600 cheaper than the RTX 3080 version with the same CPU, RAM, SSD, Display and other specifications. What’s more, given that the RTX 3070 version also comes with one of the highest TGP/Wattage you will find, its graphics card performs almost as well as some of the RTX 3080 laptops on the market that have much lower power draw!

Besides the graphics card, different options exist for the CPU, including the more powerful Intel Core i9-11980HK, though we’d recommend going with the Intel Core i7-10870H to keep costs down. Similarly, a 360Hz version of the display is also available, but the 300Hz should be more than enough.

The 1080p 17.3” display gives plenty of immersion in gaming, and color replication and contrast are respectable, definitely worthy of a gaming laptop. The 32GB of RAM is most welcome and should help make heavy-duty web browsing and even some workstation tasks a breeze. The 1TB SSD is about what you’d expect at this price point, though the 1080p webcam is a fairly rare sight – usually 720p is the best you’ll get. An SD card reader would have been nice, but you can’t have everything in life! All told, despite the high price point, this gaming laptop is one of the most powerful money can buy, and actually good value given the big performance boost the high TGP GPU brings.

03
300Hz Pick
ASUS ROG STRIX SCAR 15
Asus Logo 500x177 1

ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15 (1080p)

CPU

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X / AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX

Graphics

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 (16GB) Max-Q

RAM

64GB

Storage

2TB SSD

Screen Size

15.6”

Max Refresh Rate

300Hz

Pros

RTX 3080 laptop GPU

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X / 5900HX CPU

300Hz Display

sub 4ms response time

2TB SSD

64GB RAM

Good value

Freesync

Cons

TGP of RTX 3080 laptop GPU only 115-130W

No webcam

No G-Sync

No Thunderbolt or Displayport

Array of ports and sockets could be better

No SD card reader

The 1080p version of the ASUS ROG STRIX SCAR 15 comes with a blisteringly fast 300Hz display that has one of the best response times you’ll find in a gaming laptop: achieving a gray to gray response time of around 3.80ms in our tests when overdrive was enabled – up there with the best of the best. This makes it an ideal machine for those interested in competitive gaming. Although the laptop doesn’t have G-Sync it does support Freesync to help reduce any screen tearing.

Most of the non-gaming features of this laptop have been stripped back in order to keep the price this low: there is no webcam, no SD card reader, a relatively basic array of ports and sockets (no Displayport or Thunderbolt – just HDMI 2.0b). Color replication and brightness is definitely good enough for gaming (around 98% sRGB and 73% AdobeRGB) but not up there with Razer models – you won’t be doing any color grading work on this machine.

We were able to find a version of the laptop on offer only slightly above $2,500 with an ample 2TB SSD and a ludicrous 64GB of RAM, though 32GB is more than enough for even the most strenuous non-workstation tasks.

The GPU and CPU are of course the most important components when it comes to generating Frames Per Second in-game, and both the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X and the more powerful 5900HX CPU option are top of the line at this price point. Unfortunately, the particular RTX 3080 that the laptop comes with, does not compare to the most powerful out there in terms of TGP, which means the FPS performance is not quite up there with the best, however, what you get in exchange is a very good value laptop with a superb display, SSD space, and RAM, for what is a relatively cheap price for such premium features.

04
Also Consider
ASUS ROG STRIX SCAR 15
Asus Logo 500x177 1

ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15 (1440p)

CPU

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X / AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX

Graphics

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Max-Q / RTX 3080 (16GB) Max-Q

RAM

32GB

Storage

1TB SSD

Screen Size

15.6”

Max Refresh Rate

165Hz

Pros

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X / 5900HX CPU

1440p display

Great color replication

32GB RAM

Good value

Freesync

Cons

No webcam

No G-Sync

Array of ports and sockets could be better

No SD card reader

The 1440p version of the ASUS ROG STRIX SCAR 15 has the option for all the same features as the 1080p iteration, besides the display of course. At this price level though you will likely have to restrict yourself to only going with the RTX 3070 graphics card, as opposed to the more powerful RTX 3080, though if prices fall and you get lucky with a sale, this latter option would be preferable. If you decide to go with the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X or the 5900HX CPU, either way, you will have yourself one of the best processors available in a laptop in this price range.

The spec we have here comes with a generous 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. Like the 1080p model however it does not have much in the way of port coverage: there is no webcam, no SD card reader, and only a HDMI 2.0b connection.

What you do get though is a cracking 1440p 165Hz IPS display with great color replication (for a gaming laptop). Tests show virtually 99.8% sRGB coverage as well as 86% of the AdobeRGB space, not to mention 98% DCI-P3 – significantly better results than the 1080p version and up there with some of the new Razer Blades. Gray-to-gray response time is not as good as on the 1080p, 300Hz version, but if you’re a competitive gamer who is particularly concerned about such things, we’d recommend going with this faster, lower res, display instead.

All told this is a superb gamer’s laptop for those who favor a lush, immersive experience in their games, over squeezing out the maximum edge possible in competitive shooters.

05
14” Pick
Razer Blade AMD

Razer Blade 14 AMD Gaming Laptop (RTX 3080, 1440p, 165Hz)

CPU

AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX

Graphics

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 (8GB) 90-100W

RAM

16GB

Storage

1TB SSD

Screen Size

14”

Max Refresh Rate

165Hz

Pros

AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX is a great CPU

RTX 3080 in a compact gaming laptop

1440p display

Great color replication

Great contrast and brightness

Great build quality

Thin and lightweight

FreeSync

Good response times for a smaller laptop

Cons

Only 16GB RAM which cannot be upgraded

Expensive

Low TGP RTX 3080 GPU

Only 8GB VRAM RTX 3080

Fairly loud fans

Typically we wouldn’t advise going with a gaming laptop as small as 14” – for us the loss of immersion is just too great for it to be a premium gaming experience. That being said, some people genuinely don’t mind a smaller screen and/or absolutely prioritize portability; for those people the Razer Blade 14 (2021) with AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX CPU is the best out there.

Color replication is as good as you’d expect from a Razer Blade laptop with around 99.8% sRGB coverage and 83% AdobeRGB, making it suitable for light color work in the sRGB space – it certainly looks great when gaming. Add to this the great contrast ratio and peak brightness, and you have a display where the colors really pop on the lush 1440p screen.

Response time is not the best of the laptops on this page, coming in at around 9ms gray-to-gray, however this remains possibly the best response time you are likely to see from a 14” gaming laptop – typically the larger screen sizes just perform better in this area, and so this is a trade-off you need to factor in when considering buying a laptop this small. The 165Hz refresh rate is respectable unless you’re a serious competitive gamer playing First Person Shooters, whose priority is maximizing their edge over their opponents; though if you are you shouldn’t really be looking at this laptop in the first place.

As with most Razer laptops, the build quality of the body of the laptop is superb – the aluminum chassis is durable and feels nice to the touch. Despite the power of the core components (even one of a relatively low TGP RTX 3080) the laptop manages to be both slimline and lightweight – a Razer specialty – and combined with the mere 14” size of this laptop it is a highly portable yet potent gaming machine.

As for how it actually runs games, the RTX 3080 the machine comes with has a TGP of only 90-100W (unsurprising given the small size and thin dimensions of this laptop) and it is the lower 8GB VRAM version, which means you won’t get the same performance from it as you would the other selections on this page. That being said, the AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX CPU is top of the line, and helps bolster FPS performance somewhat. Ultimately these are still very powerful core specs, and you can expect to get between 90 – 115 FPS in even demanding games on the highest settings at 1080p.

If portability is your priority, you won’t find a better option out there than the Razer Blade 14.

Final Word

This has been our guide to the best gaming laptop under 2,500 USD.

The Eluktronics MECH-15 G3 Ultra Performance 15.6″ is our best all-rounder and comes with a juicy 1440p display, though the MSI GE76 Raider is the most powerful in terms of FPS performance in gaming, assuming you can find one discounted. Every selection on this page however is a worthy choice for a gaming laptop under $2,500.

Please have a look above for recommended laptop guides for different budgets if you fancy something cheaper or more expensive.

If there’s a specific laptop you’d like us to review that we haven’t looked at yet, please leave a comment below.

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The Author Who Worked On This Article

Technology Writer
at
WePC
From halcyon days playing Sonic 2 on the Megadrive, to trying to work out how to make the “TOASTY!” man appear on Mortal Kombat 3 round his mate’s house, many of Aaron’s fondest childhood memories are associated with gaming. This might sound a sad state of affairs to some, but he regrets nothing. First getting into PC gaming through exposure to text game Drug Lord and then the original Half Life, still one of his all-time favourites, Aaron has been a PC gamer ever since. A practical need to squeeze the most out of his machine turned into a genuine interest in the technology of PC hardware, a passion which fuels his desire to always be up to date on the latest tech news.

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