Perhaps one of the hardest tasks that the Indian Gadget Awards 2021 jury has is to judge the list of nominees for the best laptops of 2021 across various categories. Our experts – the veterans of the Indian tech industry – broke this down into four major segments that we look at below. They include mainstream laptops, mainstream gaming laptops, premium laptops and premium gaming laptops – therefore covering all the bases in the laptop industry. In the list below you will find the best laptops of 2021, which should give you a fair idea of which one to buy. Here are the winners.
The Xiaomi Mi NoteBook Pro was selected as the winner of the Best Mainstream Laptop of 2021 award, while the runner up is the ASUS VivoBook K15 OLED.
Best Mainstream Laptops of 2021 – Indian Gadget Awards 2021 Nominees
- Realme Book Slim
- RedmiBook 15 Pro
- MSI Modern 14 B11MO-093IN
- Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3i 82H700J7IN
- Mi NoteBook Pro
- HP Pavilion Laptop 14-ec0036AU
- Dell Vostro 3400 14-inch
- Acer Aspire 5 A515-45
- ASUS VivoBook K15 OLED K513EA-L301TS
Realme Book Slim
The Realme Book Slim is a new launch that offers impressive overall specifications. You get the 11th gen Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor, along with 8GB of DDR4 RAM and a 512GB SSD. You also get a 14-inch, 2K resolution display with 3:2 aspect ratio, all of which comes in a body that weighs less than 1.4kg. The design features super slim bezels, and the laptop also comes with a backlit keyboard.
RedmiBook 15 Pro
If you’re looking for an old school, unadulterated take on a budget utility laptop, the RedmiBook 15 Pro ticks pretty much most checkboxes. It features slightly thicker bezels, around a 15.6-inch, full HD display. You get a full-size keyboard, and the overall performance is handled by the Intel Core i5-11300H processor – along with 8GB DDR4 3200MHz RAM and a 512GB SSD for storage. You get most ports and connectivity essentials at hand, too.
MSI Modern 14 B11MO-093IN
The MSI Modern 14 could be billed as one of the better looking mainstream laptops that can be bought, and one of MSI’s more sober designs as well. It features a 14-inch full HD display, a backlit keyboard minus the number pad, the Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor, 8GB DDR4 RAM, a 512GB SSD, and all connectivity and input essentials as well. The laptop is light too, measuring just 1.3kg.
Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3i 82H700J7IN
The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3i is one of the better known mainstream laptop lineups in India, and its 2021 rendition doesn’t sway from a tried and tested formula. It uses the reliable Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor, along with 8GB RAM and 512GB SSD for storage. You get a 14-inch full HD IPS display with slim side bezels, a 45Whr battery for backup, a fingerprint sensor integrated into the power button, and an HD webcam as well.
Mi NoteBook Pro
Xiaomi improved and expanded upon its laptop offerings in 2021 by introducing the much awaited Mi Notebook Pro. The latter has a Apple-like design language, but given the minimalism that Xiaomi has pulled off, that is a good thing. You get a 14-inch, 2.5K quad HD+ display, which is one of the highest resolution displays in the segment, paired with a Core i5-11300H processor, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD, USB-C ports, and finally a backlit keyboard.
HP Pavilion Laptop 14-ec0036AU
The HP Pavilion 14 is a neat take on HP’s new generation design language, and offers users an AMD-powered mainstream laptop that doesn’t compromise on any feature. As a result, you get the AMD Ryzen 5 5500U CPU, alongside 8GB RAM and a 512GB SSD. You also get a 14-inch, full HD display, a well-spaced keyboard, and regular HP features such as Bang & Olufsen-branded laptop speakers.
Dell Vostro 3400 14-inch
The Dell Vostro 3400 still looks rather old school due to the presence of massive bezels around its display, but is a well appointed choice nonetheless. You get the Intel Core i5-1135G7 CPU inside, alongside 8GB RAM and a 1TB HDD. There is no option for an SSD, which is a factor that you miss out on here. Apart from this, it offers all legacy and modern connectivity options in an enterprise-focused offering.
Acer Aspire 5 A515-45
Acer’s Aspire 5 offers a well configured mainstream laptop that weighs less than 1.5kg. Featuring a 14-inch, full HD display, the Aspire 5 offers the Core i5-1135G7 CPU, alongside 8GB RAM and a 512GB SSD. It has a slightly thicker base than competing laptops, and offers Acer’s ‘True Harmony’ custom technology that claims to offer better laptop audio output than its rival offerings.
ASUS VivoBook K15 OLED K513EA-L301TS
The ASUS VivoBook K15 is not powered by an i5 series CPU — instead, it uses a Core i3-1115G4 CPU inside. However, what makes this one stand out is the use of an OLED display panel, which is the only one in this segment to do so. The mainstream offering from Asus presents a 15.6-inch display, a full-size keyboard, 8GB RAM, a 256GB SSD, a fingerprint sensor and all connectivity standards, all at 1.8kg body weight.
The Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch (M1 Max) was selected as the winner of the Best Premium Laptop of 2021 award, while the runner up is the Dell XPS 15 9510.
Best Premium Laptops of 2021 – Indian Gadget Awards 2021 Nominees
- Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch (M1 Max)
- HP Spectre x360 ea0077TU
- Dell XPS 15 9510
- Fujitsu UH-X 4ZR1D71993
- ASUS ExpertBook B9 (B9400)
- Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 Carbon 82EV003WIN
Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch (M1 Max)
Apple’s latest and most powerful MacBook Pro in the market has shifted to its own processors, which have also received reasonable critical acclaim to date. The 10-core CPU features a 16-core neural engine, along with 32GB RAM and 1TB SSD for storage. You also get a 16.2-in Liquid Retina XDR OLED display, and thankfully, Apple’s brought back the HDMI port, a MagSafe 3 port and an SD card slot, alongside USB-C. Whether you like the notch or not is a different argument, though.
HP Spectre x360 ea0077TU
The HP Spectre x360 14 is a very good looking laptop, and pays ample attention to detail — despite minimal design faring. It uses the Intel Core i7-1165G7 CPU, along with 16GB DDR4 memory and a 1TB SSD. This is combined with a 13.5-inch, 3K OLED touchscreen display with a tall, 3:2 aspect ratio. It straddles the space between enterprise and premium home entertainment in laptop classification.
Dell XPS 15 9510
The Dell XPS range has always offered cutting edge specifications, and 2021’s XPS 15 9510 is no different. You get the Intel Core i7-11800H CPU with 32GB DDR4 RAM and a 1TB SSD, and you also get the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti discrete GPU to go with the configuration. The display itself is a 15.6-inch, 4K+ touchscreen panel. All other features, including wi-fi 6 for wireless connectivity, are in tow.
Fujitsu UH-X 4ZR1D71993
The Fujitsu UH-X makes a claim for your attention by pegging itself as a made in Japan product, but what truly draws eyeballs is its sub-1kg weight — 0.997 grams, to be specific. Despite this super light weight, it doesn’t make a lot of compromises. You get the Intel Core i7-1165G7 CPU, 16GB LPDDR4X memory and a 1TB SSD. The display is a 13.3-inch IGZO touch panel that can be flipped over into an entertainment tablet as well.
ASUS ExpertBook B9 (B9400)
The Asus ExpertBook B9 makes the claim of being the world’s lightest 14-inch ultrabook — the weight ranges from 880 grams for basic configuration, to 1.01kg for the top ones. You can get up to the Core i7-1165G7 CPU, along with up to 32GB RAM and 2TB SSDs for storage. The higher configurations also have larger batteries, powering the 14-inch full HD LED display. It also has ASUS’ touch-based number pad on a trackpad layout.
Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 Carbon 82EV003WIN
The Yoga Slm 7 Carbon also weighs under 1kg, and is quite the looker. Its 13.3-inch QHD display offers super slim bezels all around, and it also comes with Dolby Vision certification. This generally good-looking laptop also features 16GB DDR4 RAM and a 1TB SSD, alongside the Core i7-1165G7 CPU. What makes it even more interesting is that it also features a carbon fibre finish on its chassis — making it look uber chic.
The ASUS Zephyrus G14 was selected as the winner of the Best Mainstream Gaming Laptop of 2021, while the runner up is the ASUS TUF Dash F15.
Best Mainstream Gaming Laptops of 2021 – Indian Gadget Awards 2021 Nominees
- Acer Nitro 5 AN515-57 (Core i7 11th 11800H)
- HP Victus 16d0003TX (Core i5 11th Gen + RTX 3050)
- ASUS TUF Dash F15 FX516PM-HN156TS (Core i5 11th Gen + RTX 3060)
- ASUS Zephyrus G14 GA401QH-HZ076TS
- MSI Katana GF66 11UC – 477IN (Core i7 11th Gen + RTX 3050)
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-57 (Core i7 11th 11800H)
The Acer Nitro 5 is one of the most well configured gaming laptops that don’t need you to splurge all the way to flagship-grade pricing. You get the Intel Core i7-11800H CPU, along with 8GB DDR4 RAM. Storage needs are handled by a 256GB SSD and a 1TB HDD. The 15.6-in full HD display offers 144Hz refresh rate, and the graphics duties are taken care of by Nvidia’s RTX 3050 entry level GPU.
HP Victus 16d0003TX (Core i5 11th Gen + RTX 3050)
The Victus by HP offers a range of features that you wouldn’t have previously found in mainstream gaming laptops. For instance — a 16.1-inch, 144Hz full HD display, and a gaming keyboard with minimal aesthetics, too. It offers the Intel Core i5-11400H CPU, and the Nvidia RTX 3050 GPU for casual gaming on it. The laptop also gets 8GB DDR4 RAM, and a 512GB SSD for storage.
ASUS TUF Dash F15 FX516PM-HN156TS (Core i5 11th Gen + RTX 3060)
The Asus TUF Dash has a cyber-themed aesthetic, masking its ‘tough’ notebook bearings. Despite its rugged nature, you get a 15.6-inch full HD display with 144Hz refresh rate, 16GB DDR4 memory, a 512GB SSD, and upgraded graphics in the form of the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060. The only qualm is the presence of an Intel Core i5-11300H CPU — and not something a touch more powerful.
ASUS Zephyrus G14 GA401QH-HZ076TS
The Zephyrus line of Asus’ Republic of Gamers portfolio has always focused on sober aesthetics, and this one’s no different, either. You get the AMD Ryzen 7 5800HS CPU, which is powerful enough in benchmark ratings. You further get 8GB DDR4 RAM and a 1TB SSD to spice things up, but the GTX 1650 GPU from Nvidia is a slight letdown.
MSI Katana GF66 11UC – 477IN (Core i7 11th Gen + RTX 3050)
The MSI Katana GF66 is yet another super interesting, full-size mainstream gaming laptop. It features the Core i7-11800H CPU that has already been highly acclaimed, along with 8GB DDR4 memory and a 512GB SSD. You further get a 15.6-inch 144Hz panel, and an Nvidia RTX 3050 GPU as well.
The ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15 and Lenovo Legion 5 Pro were selected as the joint winners of the Best Premium Gaming Laptop of 2021.
Best Premium Gaming Laptops of 2021 – Indian Gadget Awards 2021 Nominees
- ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15 G533QS-HF210TS
- Lenovo Legion 5 Pro 82JQ009DIN
- MSI GE 66 Raider 10UG
- ASUS Zephyrus M16 GU603HR-K8004R
- ASUS ROG Flow X13 GV301QH-K5040T
- Dell Alienware X17
ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15 G533QS-HF210TS
The Strix Scar lineup under Asus’ ROG is the flashiest that you can ask your gaming laptops to be. Thankfully, even in terms of performance, they do not disappoint. You get the AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX top of the range CPU, along with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 GPU. Other key details include a 300Hz 15.6-inch display, 16GB DDR4 RAM and a 1TB SSD.
Lenovo Legion 5 Pro 82JQ009DIN
Yet another AMD-powered flagship gaming laptop, the Legion 5 Pro from Lenovo has been acclaimed for offering an excellent keyboard — among other aspects. You get a 16-inch QHD+ display with 165Hz refresh rate, powered by the AMD Ryzen 7 5800H CPU. It gets the Nvidia RTX 3070 GPU, 32GB DDR4 memory and a 1TB SSD as well.
MSI GE66 Raider 11UG
The GE66 Raider from MSI stands out for being one of the best looking premium gaming laptops in the market. It offers suave LED lighting that would please hardcore gamers as well. In terms of specifications, you get a 15.6-inch QHD+ panel with 165Hz refresh rate. The Core i7-11800H CPU powers it, along with 16GB DDR4 RAM and 1TB SSD. The Nvidia RTX 3070 GPU handles the graphics.
ASUS Zephyrus M16 GU603HR-K8004R
Powered by the top-spec Intel Core i9-11900H, the Zephyrus M16 means serious business. This is backed up further by the Nvidia RTX 3070 GPU, a 165Hz, 16-inch QHD display, 32GB DDR4 memory, 2TB SSD storage, and a host of input ports. While it may not look the most adventurous, it is undoubtedly one of the most well configured premium gaming laptops around.
ASUS ROG Flow X13 GV301QH-K5040T
The Asus ROG Flow X13 makes it to this list not because of swashbuckling performance — but because of its innovation. The key here is the external GPU, which uses a proprietary slot concealed on one side of the otherwise slim laptop to connect an attachment that can add an Nvidia RTX 3080 to it. Otherwise too, its AMD Ryzen 7 5800HS CPU, 16GB DDR4 RAM and 512GB SSD do a pretty solid job.
Dell Alienware X17
No premium gaming laptop list can be complete without an Alienware, so here’s the Dell Alienware X17 for 2021. You get the typical Alienware swagger from its design, and a 17-inch gaming display with 360Hz refresh rate on offer. You get the Intel Core i7 11th gen chip inside, along with the Nvidia RTX 3070 GPU. There’s 32GB DDR4 RAM and a 1TB SSD too, making it ready for AAA gaming.
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