11 Best Laptops For Gaming and School in 2021 [Expert Picks]

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Despite parents trying to delineate academics and leisure as separate entities, only a balanced take can lead to the holistic development of children. Therefore, if you love playing games and need a laptop that can be taken to your school/college and perform high-end gaming, then you’ve arrived at the right place.

While this list includes laptops that are suitable for all type of students, be it college students, teenagers, or small children. Therefore, it doesn’t matter whether you are pursuing engineering, computer science, business studies, art studies, architecture, law, nursing, grad school or are still pursuing high/middle school, there’s a laptop in this list that’ll help you with your school as well as gaming.

That said, identifying the best laptop suited for both gaming and school purposes might get trickier if you aren’t well aware about your needs. While gaming requires decent processing power and at least a mid-range graphics card like NVIDIA GTX 1060, majority of school-based requirements also swear by the same, whilst including a decent chunk of system and storage memory.

Therefore, when it comes to academics and leisure, you need to target the child’s persona and inclinations, more than anything else. Besides, the selections shouldn’t be heavily stacked in favor of gaming firepower as you wouldn’t want to buy gadgets that cater to professional gamers. Instead, you must emphasize portable and powerful notebooks with decent gaming hardware to rely on, if needed.

Apart from power and portability, a good gaming and school-centric notebook should house a beefed-up battery module, the latest wired and wireless connectivity standards, impactful acoustics, and obviously a sturdy yet illuminated keyboard with a decent key travel that facilitates hassle-free content creation. Besides, you should consider notebooks with innovative thermal layouts, precisely to keep throttling at bay.

Moreover, with a majority of students being restricted to online remote classes, the popularity of homeschooling has increased exponentially. Therefore, our experts would suggest you opt for notebooks with dedicated webcams and microphones, preferably with physical shutters to keep cyberattacks at bay.

Besides, every academically aligned laptop to be purchased in 2021 must have enough traits for leisure indulgences. This facet keeps monotony at bay and allows school-going students to keep themselves entertained, even with restricted mobility.

Laptops housing the minimum set of specifications are still handy enough for entry-level, moderately-demanding titles like FIFA 21 and Apex Legends whilst showcasing enough traits for school-level productivity. Gadgets featuring recommended specifications are more like future-proof assets and expected to come in handy even after school.

 Minimum System RequirementsRecommended System Requirements
CPU9th Gen Intel Core i510th Gen Intel Core i7
RAM8GB16GB
Storage256GB SSD512GB SSD
Display14-inch FHD (1920 x 1080)15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)
GPU2GB NVIDIA GeForce MX3506GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
BatteryUp to 4 hoursUp to 8 hours

Best Laptops for Gaming and School in 2020

Considering the diversity of the ‘Gaming and School’ laptop segment, our experts have tested 63 potential gadgets to finally come up with a handpicked list of 11.

Needless to say, each of these gadgets has been reviewed extensively after being used for at least a month for basic school-level, college-level, academic tasks and even mid-range gaming. In addition to testing the machines for gaming and processing performances, our experts even took gadget durability, portability, screen quality, keyboard traits, budget, and other secondary and tertiary aspects into account.

  • CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-10750H
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)
  • GPU: 8GB NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070
  • Battery: Up to 4 hours

While some might consider the MSI GL65 Leopard as overkill for college/school going students with moderate game-playing preferences, this laptop is one of the few options that covers you for the future.

Despite being a bit heavier than expected, the G65 Leopard clearly justifies the price-tag by stacking in some of the more productive features for students and enthusiastic gamers.

MSI persists with an insanely powerful, 10th gen processor, featuring hexa-core architecture and a single-core turbo clock speed limit of up to 5GHz. Needless to say, the Intel i7 (10750H) is one of the more powerful laptop SoCs in the market, capable of holding its own even during CAD, BIM, and DCC applications. Thereby, school-level simulations and academic tasks can be managed almost effortlessly, without you having to rely on the more premium processing attributes.

However, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 is anything but a mid-range graphics card. This GPU, integrated with 8GB VRAM, facilitates seamless transitions from enthusiastic gaming to professional indulgences.

If you are interested in presets and games, the graphics card allows the MSI G65 Leopard to handle titles like Death Stranding, Battlefield V, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, and even a wide range of other demanding games, at ultra 1080p settings.

While the GPU is certainly overpowering for school, it can become a handy professional resource, provided you stick to the laptop for at least a few years from now. Then again, 16GB RAM is a perfect multitasking ally, allowing students to manage multiple files, documents, and projects, at once.

Regardless of what you throw at the MSI G65 Leopard, the laptop doesn’t slow down even a bit, courtesy of the dual-channel system memory, capable of reaching processing speeds of almost 2666MHz.

In case you consider this laptop for the future, you can always upgrade the RAM up to 64GB, courtesy of the dual sockets in play. Storage-wise, the 512GB SSD is more than adequate for a school-going student and even a mid-level professional.

As far as the user interface is concerned, MSI offers Windows 10 Home OS for you to rely on. The OS boots up at enviable speeds due to the ultrafast SSD and even ensures that the 15.6-inch display looks even more resounding, in an effort to project the operating platform.

Not just that, the featured screen also flaunts a 72 percent color gamut for improved accuracy, slimmer bezels, and a cumulative 1920 x 1080 pixels, as the overall resolution.

As a gamer, the 144Hz screen refresh rate comes forth as one of the best display-centric attributes. This feature, clubbed with a 100 percent sRGB palette ensures the smoothest possible projection of in-game graphics. However, the MSI G65 Leopard isn’t all Power as it also houses some of the niftier, productivity-centric resources, including a Hi-Res acoustic setup, Dragon Center for seamless resource customization, and the innovative keyboard with per-Key RGB compatibility.

If you consider relentless gaming, the G65 Leopard also accommodates decisive thermal hardware, clubbed with 7 heat-dissipating pipes and the Cooler Boost 5 technology. Then again, the thermals ramp up the heft with the gadget weighing more than 5 pounds. Not just that, it also brings in a decent set of ports, including Type-C, USB 3.2 Gen 1, and more for connecting data repositories and peripherals.

In addition to the famed SteelSeries keyboard, the MSI G65 Leopard also paves the way for an HD webcam and studio-grade microphones, thereby ensuring seamless commencement of online classes. However, the battery backup at close to 4 hours is a major let down. However, the Intel WiFi AX support and your ability to establish fast internet connections make up for this bottleneck;

Therefore, if you are looking for a powerful, future-proof and, desktop-replacement for gaming and school laptop without budget constraints, the MSI G65 Leopard is the one to consider.

Pros
  • Future-proof processor
  • Brings Ray Tracing to games
  • Innovative keyboard
  • Wi-Fi AX compatibility
  • Upgradeable RAM
Cons
  • Heavy
  • Subpar battery backup
  • CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-10750H
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)
  • GPU: 6GB NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060
  • Battery: Up to 6 hours

If you are in the retail arena seeking a performance-oriented gaming and school-focused laptop, the Acer Predator Helios 300 offers excellent value for money. Besides housing a powerful processing conglomerate, this notebook also excels when keyboard durability, thermal layout, and screen quality are concerned.

The Intel Core i7-10750H processor gets the ball rolling for the students and gamers, allowing them to manage almost every relevant task without breaking a sweat. The CPU can reach the highest possible clock speeds of up to 5GHz, a feature that allows you to manage large Excel sheets, QuickBooks (Accounting software), voluminous tasks, and pursue part-time indulgences like editing and graphic designing, programming, etc, with ease.

Lending assistance to the hexa-core processor is the RTX 2060 graphics card. This discrete GPU is more than capable of running every high-end game like GTA V, Control, Battlefield V, Fortnite, Minecraft, Overwatch, PUBG, and more at the highest possible settings.

Besides, if you are an enthusiastic gamer, the 6GB VRAM and Real-Time Ray tracing support allow you to indulge in texture-heavy and Ray-traced titles with DirectX 12 support to rely on.

Basic and even demanding school-based activities like assignment management, online sessions, and more can be taken care of by the 16GB RAM. The dual-channel RAM module is significantly fast at 2933MHz and works in cohesion with the 512GB of dedicated storage space.

While the existing SSD module is fast enough and boots up the Windows 10 Home OS in a heartbeat, Acer offers an option to upgrade the capacity with 2 PCIe M.2 slots and a relevant hard drive bay.

As far as display is concerned, the 15.6-inch screen is bright, sharp, and exceedingly color accurate. Nonetheless, the gamer-friendly display ensures that you can pursue gaming professionally and not just as a hobby. Be it the 144Hz screen refresh rate or the 3ms overdrive response time, these attributes ensure seamless gaming performances, sans frame drops, or horizontal screen tearing lines.

Most importantly, this is one of the few gadgets to feature an Overclockable GPU with DX12 Ultimate support. Besides, there is a dedicated Predator Sense UI in play that helps you allocate resources, including lighting, overclocking, fan speed, and more, based on the tasks at hand.

However, our experts were specifically pleased with the 4-zone, illuminated keyboard with dedicated keys to activate the Turbo mode. Besides, Acer also takes pride in the DTS:X acoustic setup, Killer DoubleShot Pro technology for realizing Gig Ethernet and Wi-Fi AX speeds, and a revolutionary cooling technology with AeroBlade Fan technology at the helm.

While the Predator Helios 300 is extremely resourceful, it isn’t light and portable, courtesy of the 5.51 pounds’ worth of heft. However, you can still make peace with a decent port arrangement with the Type-C, USB 3.2 Gen 2, HDMI 2.0, and Mini DC 1.4 being the usual suspects, the featured HD webcam and integrated microphones are also expected to come in handy.

That said, the existing battery unit is more than capable of lasting for up to 6 hours, depending on usage patterns. Besides, you are also free to make use of the USB charging support, if and when necessary. Overall, if you are interested in an all-inclusive, functional laptop that is future-proof and affordable at the same time, nothing can match up to the Acer Predator Helios 300.

Pros
  • Powerful processor
  • GPU with RT cores and overclocking cores
  • Gamer-friendly keyboard
  • Dual-channel RAM
  • Upgradeable storage capacity
Cons
  • Heavy
  • Speakers could have been louder
  • CPU: 2.9GHz AMD Ryzen 7 4800HS
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 1TB SSD
  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)
  • GPU: 6GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
  • Battery: Up to 9 hours

The ROG Zephyrus G15 from ASUS is a crowd-pleaser, especially when the portability quotient is concerned. While this gaming/school-centric notebook leaves no stone unturned when processing power is concerned, it is best known for striking the perfect balance between slimness and power.

For starters, the Zephyrus G15 ditches the Intel chipsets for the incredibly powered, Octa-core, AMD Ryzen 7 4800HS CPU. Based on the nifty Renoir, Zen 2 architecture, this is one of the fastest mobile SOCs in the retail space, capable of competing directly with Intel’s 10th gen i9 processors.

While the boosted clock speed of 4.2GHz isn’t at par with Intel i7 processors, it is the SMT; 16-threaded functioning that makes it a great gaming and even professional resource.

It wouldn’t be wrong to state that the AMD processor makes the ROG Zephyrus G15 a future-proof laptop. However, graphics support is rendered by the Turing-based GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q GPU and 6GB of dedicated VRAM. While the existing graphics card flaunts 1536 CUDA cores, much like the desktop variant, the Max-Q variant makes it more power-efficient and conducive for slimmer gaming notebooks.

As far as gaming benchmarks are concerned, the GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q GPU allows you to play titles like SIMS 4, League of Legends, Horizon Zero Dawn and Death Stranding at ultra 1080p settings, hitting 51 FPS and 80 FPS, consistently. The Zephyrus G15 also houses 16GB of RAM, capable of processing files and necessary data sets at close to 3200MHz.

Storage-centric requirements are deftly handled by the 1TB SSD module, equipped with NVMe-support. The solid-state drive is great at booting up the Windows 10 OS and loading relevant school-based applications and games at enviable speeds. What stands out though is the gamer-friendly, 15.6-inch screen that exhibits an overall resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels.

Our experts were specifically pleased with the slimmer 6.2mm bezels that further enhance the display-to-body ratio and the cumulative screen real-estate. Other display-centric specs include the 144Hz screen refresh rate and the In-plane switching technology.

Most importantly, this thin and powerful notebook is capable of meandering through demanding academic tasks, courtesy of innovative productivity-centric features, including the desktop-styled keyboard with Overstrike and N-key rollover support, powerful Smart AMP stereo speakers, and the innovative cooling design with ADC technology and Intelligent Cooling expertise at the helm.

Despite the additional bells, whistles, and hardware-centric modifications, the AMD-powered Zephyrus G15 is still on the lighter side, at 4.85 pounds. While the gadget misses out on the Thunderbolt 3 port, you still get access to Type-A, Type-C, HDMI 2.0, and more. Connectivity-wise, you get access to Wi-Fi AX support and ultrafast Bluetooth standard.

The battery stacked within is capable of churning out close to 9 hours at once, before requiring a refill. Therefore, if you want to purchase a lightweight gaming laptop without compromising on raw processing power and autonomy, the ROG Zephyrus G15 is certainly worth investing in.

Pros
  • Octa-core processor
  • GTX 1660Ti GPU
  • Stellar display
  • Wi-Fi AX support
  • Long-lasting battery
Cons
  • Lacks Thunderbolt 3 support
  • Heats up a bit more than usual
  • CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-9750H
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD
  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)
  • GPU: 6GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
  • Battery: Up to 6 hours

The Razer Blade 15 is easily one of our top picks in the given category, considering the enviable slimness of profile and a full-blown connectivity suite on display.

When it comes to raw processing power, the Blade 15 houses the popular Intel Core i7-9750H chipset. The best thing about the processor is the single-core potential that allows it to scale speeds close to 4.5GHz. With six cores to work with, this laptop SoC is more than capable of simultaneously handling gaming logic and graphics-centric tasks such as game designing, photo editing, and video editing effortlessly.

While it might seem that Razer strong-arms users into paying an exorbitant sum for a school-based laptop, it is the advanced, GTX 1660 Ti discrete graphics card that justifies every buck asked for. The existing GPU features the Turing architecture and a better CUDA core response, allowing you to handle several GPU-accelerated tasks and texture-intensive gaming requirements with precision.

The 16GB RAM isn’t the fastest but good enough for most games and academic aspirants. However, it is the storage support that stands out with Razer accommodating a separate 256GB SSD boot drive for the Windows 10 OS and other applications followed by a sizable 1TB hard disk. Then again, the dual-channel system memory and dual storage modules support upgradeability, if and when required.

It is the brilliant, 15.6-inch screen that validates the presence of the Razer Blade 15. While the 100 percent sRGB color palette is a ready gaming asset, our experts were more thrilled about the inclusion of a 144Hz refresh rate. Not just that, Razer takes mobility into the equation and features an edge-to-edge matte panel for better sunlight visibility, provided students consider taking the laptop out for a productive stroll.

Nonetheless, this laptop is loaded with several nifty, productivity-enhancing specifications, including a standard backlit keyboard, IR-powered webcam, powerful stereo speakers, and an aluminum-clad chassis that is light and durable at the same time.

The previously mentioned slimness of the profile renders the Blade 15 light at 4.63 pounds. However, it is the connectivity suite that steals the show with the laptop accommodating Type-C, Thunderbolt 3, and Wi-Fi 6 compatibility followed by the availability of the Core X support for pairing external rigs, in a hassle-free manner.

The battery on offer is pretty standard, capable of lasting for almost 6 hours, at one go. Overall, the Razer Blade 15 is easily one of the best gaming and school laptops in the market, provided you are ready to make peace with the inflated price tag.

Pros
  • Powerful chipset
  • High-end GPU with 6GB VRAM
  • Exceptional screen with 144Hz refresh rate
  • Thunderbolt 3 support
  • Dual-channel RAM
Cons
  • Single-zone keyboard restricts customizability
  • Pricey
  • CPU: 2.9GHz AMD Ryzen 7 4800H
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)
  • GPU: 6GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
  • Battery: Up to 9 hours

Here is yet another AMD-powered addition to the list, featuring an insanely powerful processor and a host of resourceful attributes for your academic and leisure indulgences. Besides, the 15-inch Lenovo Legion 5 houses enough firepower to be considered a reliable gaming notebook.

At the core, Lenovo houses the AMD Ryzen 7-4800H chipset which is discretely powerful when compared to the 4800HS variant. While the boosted clock speed for both the chipsets are fixed at 4.2GHz, the former consumes additional energy and exhibits 45W as the existing TDP level. Therefore, it wouldn’t be wrong to state that the Legion 5 heats up a bit more than expected but the temperature surges are within the permissible standards.

Graphics-intensive support is rendered by the GTX 1660 Ti GPU that comes equipped with 6GB of VRAM and an unmatched ability to handle a majority of games like Gear Tactics, Doom Eternal, and more at ultra 1080p settings.

As far as the system memory is concerned, the 16GB DDR4 RAM is worth applauding, considering the excellent processing speed of up to 3200MHz. Furthermore, students considering the Legion 5 can benefit from the ultrafast, 512GB solid-state drive.

In case you are concerned about the operating platform, Lenovo offers the Windows 10 Home OS, right out of the box. As far as the display is concerned, the 15.6-inch 1080p panel is exceedingly vibrant courtesy of the 100 percent sRGB palette and full HD resolution. However, the screen refresh rate of 144Hz readily complements the GPU and allows you to play mid-range and even entry-level games sans screen tearing issues to worry about.

Other display-centric specs include the 5ms response time for minimizing trailing and the Dolby Vision enhancement for making the visuals come to life. The Legion 5 is also known for the durable TrueStrike keyboard with an exceptional key travel of 1.5mm for the content creators to make good use of. Besides, you also get access to the innovative cooling technology, bolstered further by polymer-coated blades, stealth copper pipes, and the Coldfront 2.0 technology.

The Legion 5 also features an extended array of school-centric attributes, including the 720p webcam with integrated physical shutter, studio-grade microphones, and Harman-Kardon speakers with Dolby Atmos enhancement for music listening.

Despite this being a heavy notebook at 5.41 pounds, there is no shortage of functionality with 4 USB 3.1, solitary HDMI, and a standalone Type-C port to show for. Besides, students can initiate the fastest possible online research with the Wi-Fi 6 functionality to rely on.

Most importantly, the Legion 5 is a battery-heavy laptop, capable of lasting for up to 9 hours on a single charge. To sum it up, this is one of the best, all-inclusive laptops to consider for your game-playing and schooling requirements as it strikes the perfect balance between pricing and power, sans compromising on autonomy.

Pros
  • Octa-core AMD Ryzen processor
  • Color accurate display
  • Top-notch thermal design
  • TrueStrike keyboard for seamless content creation
  • Wi-Fi 6 support
  • Privacy shutter on HD webcam
Cons
  • Heavy
  • CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-10300H
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Display: 15.6-Inch FHD WVA (1920 x 1080)
  • GPU: 4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
  • Battery: Up to 8 hours

If you are looking for a sub-$1000 gaming notebook that doubles down as a decent academic resource, the Dell G3 15 3500 is the perfect gadget to invest in.

When it comes to processing performances, the Intel Core i5-10300H is a reliable asset, capable of reaching excellent single-core turbo clock speeds of up to 4.5GHz. Despite housing a quad-core processor, the laptop can still manage school-based applications and tasks without getting stretched to the brink. The featured SoC is duly complemented by the mid-range NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 GPU.

Although the graphics card is strictly mid-range, it can still run games like COD Black Ops Cold War, Dirt 5, Watch Dogs Legion, and more at medium to high 1080p presets. Besides, the 4GB VRAM is also a resourceful ally when it comes to managing texture-intensive, open-world titles like GTA V. As it is more of a budget-centric laptop, you need to make peace with 8GB of built-in RAM.

The existing chunk of system memory might not be overwhelming but can hold its own when mid-range gaming and basic academic tasks are concerned. What stands out is the dual-channel RAM module, followed by the excellent data processing speeds of up to 2933MHz. Also, the 512GB solid-state drive is sizable enough and capable of booting up the pre-existing Windows 10 Home OS, at lightning speeds.

The 15-inch display projected by the Dell G3 15 3500 is a reasonable gaming asset, courtesy of a 120Hz refresh rate and the Wide-angle viewing experience, as and when exhibited. In terms of resolution, the 15.6-inch screen flaunts 1920×1080 pixels, which is perfectly complemented by the dual-edged narrow bezels. Besides, LED-backlit technology helps with the power-efficiency.

In terms of productivity, the Dell G3 15 3500 incorporates an illuminated, Alienware-powered gaming keyboard, Nahimic speakers, and a navigable trackpad. Besides, Dell also incorporates a serviceable webcam and standard microphones for helping school-going students manage online classes better.

As far as gadget heft is concerned, the Dell G3 15 3500 weighs close to 5.20 pounds but doesn’t let go of the optimal thermal layout. The port arrangement, on the other hand, is pretty diversified with Dell featuring HDMI, Type-C, and SuperSpeed USB slots for connecting data drives and peripherals, sans hassles. In terms of autonomy, the existing battery module offers up to 8 hours of extended support, on a single charge.

Therefore, if you are planning to get a more affordable notebook for your school-going child albeit giving preference to gaming-friendly hardware, the Dell G3 15 3500 is the option to go with. Then again, if you seek some additional processing firepower, the higher variant of Gaming G3 15 3500 featuring the Intel Core i7-10750H processor is also up for grabs. This laptop is precisely manufactured as a mean machine, courtesy of the 16GB high-speed RAM.

Pros
  • 10th gen processor
  • Reliable GPU
  • Power-efficient display
  • Powerful acoustics
  • Ultrafast RAM
Cons
  • Heavier than expected
  • CPU: 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-9300H
  • RAM: 12GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)
  • GPU: 4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
  • Battery: Up to 8.5 hours

The Pavilion 15 gaming laptop from HP is one of the better choices in the given segment, considering the value of money, ultrafast storage, and several productivity-centric features.

In terms of processing power, you get hold of the Intel Core i5-9300H CPU, with a turbo clock speed limit of up to 4.1GHz. As it is an H-series processor, you can expect higher TDP levels and exceptional multitasking performances. The quad-core processor gets adequate assistance from the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 GPU, which works in tandem with 4GB of integrated Video RAM.

According to our experts, the existing GTX 1650 graphics card is one of the most reliable processing elements for budget and mid-range laptops, courtesy of the 1024 CUDA cores and the 128-bit data bus. While you cannot expect RTRT functionality, the GTX 1650 still flaunts the Turing Architecture and can drive exceptional gaming performances, at high, medium, and ultra 1080p settings.

The featured CPU gets the deserved support from the 12GB SDRAM, capable of processing files and data at close to 2400MHz. As far as storage is concerned, the 512GB SSD module is more of a standard addition followed by the innovative 32GB Intel Optane storage unit.

Coming to the display, HP persists with an otherwise predictable, 15.6-inch screen. The existing display exhibits the WLED-backlit technology and perfectly pairs the power-efficiency with a decent, 60Hz refresh rate. This feature allows you to indulge in mid-range gaming without experiencing frame drops.

School-going students can specifically benefit from the anti-glare panel that minimizes strains and unwanted glares.

As far as academic and gaming productivity is concerned, the advanced backlit keyboard is one of the more standout inclusions followed by a VR ready UI, loud B&O speakers, integrated webcam, and serviceable speakers. The cooling technology also deserves a special mention with HP accommodating symmetrical fans and innovating vent placement for better heat dissipation. Despite the advanced thermal layout and a beefed-up specs sheet, the gadget weighs under the 5-pound mark.

The connectivity suite is pretty standard yet effective with Type-C, Type-A, HDMI, and RJ45 connector being the standard inclusions followed by Wi-Fi 5 standard. However, we were specifically happy with the 8.5 hours’ worth of autonomy provided by the pre-existing battery module, making the HP Pavilion 15 one of the most complete budget-centric gaming and school laptops on the list.

Pros
  • Quad-core processor with Turbo Boost 2.0 
  • Mid-range GTX 16-series GPU
  • Innovative thermal layout
  • Long-lasting battery
  • Sturdy keyboard
  • Durable
Cons
  • Looks chunkier
  • Lacks Wi-Fi AX standard
  • CPU: 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-9300H
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920×1080)
  • GPU: 4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
  • Battery: Up to 6.5 hours

For Lenovo lovers, the IdeaPad L340 comes forth as one of the best gaming laptops on the list, occasionally doubling down as a productivity-centric machine.

The Intel Core i3-9300H processor is a decent selection, boasting of a single-core turbo clock speed of up to 4.1GHz. For school-going students who are more inclined towards minimalistic academic and project management tasks, the existing quad-core processor with 8MB of cache memory is a decent bet. Graphics-centric workload, in regard to gaming, is shared by the GTX 1650 GPU, along with 4GB of video RAM.

While the graphics card is powerful enough to handle several mid-range games like Battlefield V and Darksiders III at 1080p presets, it is the 8GB DDR4 RAM that helps hit decent frames per second, regardless of the title. The existing chunk of system memory is good at processing files and data at enviable speeds, which can drive exceptional gaming performances.

The 512GB SSD unit is more than adequate for school goers and occasional gamers. The solid-state drive, as a boot drive, is best known for loading the Windows 10 OS at enviable speeds.

The 15.6-inch display featured by the IdeaPad L340 is sharp yet predictable. While Lenovo doesn’t add a lot of thrills to the existing screen, you can still benefit from the 1920 x 1080 pixels’ worth of screen resolution and the Vantage ‘Eye Care’ mode.

Lenovo also incorporates a backlit keyboard, 180-degree hinge, HD webcam with physical shutter, and powerful speakers with Dolby Audio enhancement. In addition to these professionally-productive specs, you also get access to a pretty standard yet effective thermal layout, led by fans and carefully placed vents.

The IdeaPad L340 is one of the more bankable gadgets on the list owing to the dual usage mode in play. This means you can either use the Quick working mode for unhindered gaming or content with the quiet, low-noise mode for carefully meandering through the school work.

Most importantly, the gadget is still quite portable, courtesy of the light-weighted chassis at 4.84 pounds and a decent battery backup of up to 6.5 hours. As far as the ports are concerned, the IdeaPad L340 houses USB Type-A, USB 3.1 Type-C, HDMI 2.0, and other legacy slots.

Overall, this laptop readily hogs the limelight if you are interested in a machine that can easily handle gaming and academic indulgences with comparable precision.

Pros
  • Powerful processor
  • Anti-glare display
  • Dual usage mode
  • Powerful speakers
  • Mid-range GPU
Cons
  • Lacks Wi-Fi 6 support
  • Predictable design
  • CPU: 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-9300H
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)
  • GPU: 4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
  • Battery: Up to 8 hours

Unlike Acer’s Predator series of gaming notebooks, the Acer Nitro 5 offers additional productive meat, especially for the budget-centric price range. While this is one of the few gadgets on the list to feature Alexa-compatibility, the primary specs sheet is certainly worth every buck spent on the same.

At the core, Acer houses the Intel Core i5-9300H chipset, bolstered by Turbo Boost technology, HyperThreading support, and four cores. While a majority of mid-range school-based tasks would even challenge the processor, the boosted clock speed of up to 4.1GHz can be quite a handful for your gaming inclinations.

Furthermore, the mid-range GeForce GTX 1650 is a reasonable graphics card, best known for the exceptional gaming performances at 1080p settings. Apparently, the 4GB VRAM associated with this graphics card is more than useful for managing texture-intensive games and Full HD and HD presets.

Despite being a mid-range notebook with eyes on affordability the 8GB RAM comes forth as a reliable gaming ally, allowing you to drive excellent performances, courtesy of the above-average processing speeds that reach up to 2666MHz. Storage-wise, you get a restrictive yet upgradeable 256GB SSD module.

The Acer Nitro 5 offers Windows 10 Home edition OS as the pre-existing platform whereas the 15.6-inch 1080p display makes it look even better, owing to the widescreen projection and LED-backlit technology. As far as school-based productivity and usage patterns are concerned, the WASD-supported backlit keyboard makes an impression, owing to the excellent travel of 1.6mm.

Other relevant specs include Waves MaxxAudio speakers with Acer TrueHarmony enhancement followed by a brilliant thermal layout, led by the CoolBoost technology and the twin fan setup. Acer also stacks in a ready-to-use professional suite, including integrated stereo speakers, HD webcam, and dual microphones. All these attributes add to the plastic-clad heft with the Nitro 5 weighing a tad less than the 5-pound mark.

As far as the connectivity-suite is concerned, the Type-C, USB 3.1 Gen 1, HDMI with HDCP functionality, Wi-Fi 6, USB charging support in the power-off mode, and other specs make an appearance. The existing battery module churns out 8 hours of backup on a single charge, a feature that readily validates the Nitro 5 as one of the best laptops on the list, especially for gaming and school-based requirements.

Pros
  • CoolBoost thermal layout
  • Wi-Fi 6 support
  • Excellent keyboard
  • Voice-purified microphones
  • Mid-range GPU
  • Alexa compatibility
Cons
  • Chunkier than usual
  • CPU: 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-9300H
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)
  • GPU: 4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q
  • Battery: Up to 8 hours

As a parent, you might be tempted to gift the MSI GF63 Thin to your school-going child owing to the pocket-friendliness and the extensive specs sheet.

Despite the budget price tag, MSI persists with a 9th gen i5 processor. The Intel Core i5-9300H CPU is worth applauding, considering the quad-core architecture and the maximum turbo clock speed limit of up to 4.1GHz. Therefore, it wouldn’t be surprising to see your child using this laptop even after the school days are over.

Besides, if the child is into mid-range games with a penchant for professional exposure, the GTX 1650 GPU is expected to give the relevant exposure. Clubbed with 4GB of Video RAM, the existing graphics card is more than capable of driving excellent 1080p gaming performances, regardless of the title and the power-efficient Max-Q layout. Assisting the processor and GPU is the single-channel, 8GB RAM, which is capable of being upgraded up to 64GB, via the dual-sockets in play.

As far as storage requirements are concerned, the 256GB SSD unit is restrictive in terms of capacity but makes up for the same with ultrafast NVMe-compatibility. Not just that, the solid-state drive is also capable of loading the Windows 10 OS in a heartbeat. When it comes to the display, the MSI GF63 Thin doesn’t offer a lot of surprises but relies on the 15.6-inch conventionality.

Moreover, the 1080p IPS screen gets additional support from the 60Hz screen refresh rate and the 45 percent NTSC color gamut. In case your child is more invested in enhanced screen real-estate, the thinner bezels are expected to come in handy. In addition to the mentioned specs, MSI also accommodates a backlit keyboard, a nifty 720p webcam, potent and impactful speakers, and a reliable design with aluminum brushed top cover to show for.

When it comes to the heat-dissipating capabilities, the Cooler Boost 5 technology, and the relevant thermal hardware is expected to make a difference. However, the thermal layout doesn’t contribute to the chunkiness of form as the GF63 Thin probably is the lightest laptop on the list at 4.1 pounds. Despite the slimmer chassis, MSI doesn’t make any connectivity compromises with USB 3.1 Gen 2, Type-C, and 2×2 Wi-Fi 5 standard being the more obvious inclusions.

In terms of autonomy, the existing, 51Whr battery module promises at least 7 hours of backup and MSI lives up to the claims, as validated by MobileMark standards and our expert analysis. Overall, the MSI GF63 Thin is easily the thinnest and lightest productivity-focused laptop on the list, best known for the decent levels of autonomy and mid-range, budget-justified, gaming performances.

Pros
  • 9th gen processor
  • Light and portable
  • Long-lasting battery
  • Innovative thermal layout
  • Mid-range GPU
Cons
  • Max-Q graphics card is underpowered 
  • Lacks Wi-Fi 6 support
  • CPU: 1GHz Intel Core i5-1035G1
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)
  • GPU: 2GB NVIDIA GeForce MX350
  • Battery: Up to 8 hours

The Acer Aspire 5 is a minimalistic gaming laptop flaunting the sub-$700 price tag. However, the unmatched affordability doesn’t impact the functionality of the specs sheet as you still get access to a reliable set of productivity-centric attributes, content creating assets, and requisite gaming hardware.

As far as the processing performances are concerned, you get access to the Intel Core i5-1035G1 CPU. Despite being a graphics-optimized quad-core processor, it exhibits a middling base clock speed of 1GHz. However, the CPU still has you covered when moderately-demanding schooling and gaming tasks are concerned, courtesy of the turbo clock speed of 3.6GHz. Working in close proximity is the NVIDIA MX350 GPU that stacks in 2GB of dedicated VRAM.

Quite fittingly, the MX350 is an entry-level graphics card that can still run certain demanding games like Metro Exodus, Rage 2, and more at low, 720p presets. However, if you are planning to make the most of the 60Hz refresh rate, we would suggest indulging in Fifa 21 and Star Wars Squadrons at ultra 1080p presets, hitting close to 60fps, at all times. Complementing the existing processing conglomerate is 8GB of integrated DDR4 RAM.

While the system memory is good enough for covering a wide-range of multitasking needs, storage support is rendered by the ultrafast, 512GB of NVMe-compatible, solid-state drive. Besides being fast, the SSD is also capable of booting up the pre-supplied Windows 10 OS, in virtually no time. While the device starts up instantly, the process leads you straight to the 15.6-inch display, which is sharp and flaunts the In-Plane Switching technology.

In case you are interested in casual gaming and vigorous media consumption, the visibly stunning panel packs a punch, courtesy of Acer’s Color Intelligence technology. Besides, Acer protects you from the unnecessary glare with the BlueLightShield feature in play. The Aspire 5 also stacks in a host of productivity-centric features, including the backlit keyboard with excellent travel, TrueHarmony speakers, aluminum-clad cover, HD webcam, and voice-purified microphones.

Nonetheless, the Aspire 5 is appropriately light at 3.97 pounds but still manages to throw in an extensive connectivity suite, featuring the reversible Type-C, USB 3.1 Gen 1, USB 2.0, Gig Ethernet, and Wi-Fi 6 support. As far as battery life is concerned, you can expect the laptop to last for at least 8 hours, on standard usage. Therefore, if the budget is one of your primary concerns, Aspire 5 is one of the best laptops to invest in.

Pros
  • 10th gen processor
  • 6MB of cache memory
  • Vibrant display
  • Support Power-Off charging
  • Wi-Fi 6 support
Cons
  • Not meant for power users

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do school goers prefer future-proof laptops?

Future proof notebooks, especially the ones stacking in 10th gen processors are mostly preferred by school students owing to the longevity and relevance of the machine. As a rule of thumb, they consider laptops with a 10th gen processor, 16GB RAM, and an RTX-tagged GPU that can even manage some of the more demanding games, launched in time.

Which is the best processor that can manage gaming and schooling requirements with comparable ease?

As reviewed by our experts, it is advisable to consider the Intel i7-9750H chipset as the best-in-line chipset for your all-inclusive processing requirements. Despite being a 9th gen SoC, it is one of the more popular variants considering the manageable TDP levels, HyperThreading support, and hexa-core architecture. In case you are an AMD-fan, the Ryzen 7 4800H is a good enough choice.

Should you consider spending on the RTX 20-series GPUs for the given segment?

We wouldn’t recommend overspending if you aren’t into professional gaming as a GTX 16-series GPU is expected to suffice for mid-level gamers, school students, and part-time professionals. However, the only way RTX 20-series graphics cards can be justified for the given laptop segment is if you are seeking a future-proof option.

What is the most underrated feature for the school going students and even teachers to rely on?

Regardless of an expansive specs sheet and beefed-up processing hardware, your laptop must feature a reliable webcam with integrated studio-grade microphones. This underrated yet important feature allows students to attend online classes and lectures in the post-pandemic era, without having to worry about academic compromises.

How much storage space is preferred by gamers and students provided they would be juggling the laptop between the concerned activities?

As a rule of thumb, you should opt for a minimum of 512GB if you are interested in moderate gaming, extensive schoolwork, and selective media consumption. However, we would mostly recommend dual storage modules with a separate boot-drive to strike the perfect balance between cost and capacity.

Verdict

Selecting the perfect laptop for gaming and school can get extremely difficult if you aren’t aware of the preferences, gaming tendencies, and academic workload. Therefore, it is necessary to quickly sift through the mentioned choices as each laptop covers a certain segment and comes forth with a few exclusives.

  • In case you are looking for our personalized recommendations based on usage and reviews, we would recommend purchasing the Acer Predator Helios 300 if future-proofing the setup is one of your priorities.
  • If you are more into aesthetics, the Razer Blade 15 is one of the best laptops to purchase, bolstered further by a dual-storage module.
  • Last but not least, for the budget seekers, the MSI GF63 Thin is one of the more competent laptops in the market, closely followed by the productivity-oriented, Acer Aspire 5

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Freedom 251 Staff

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