It’s true that most laptop manufacturing companies are now producing high-end laptops capable of handling most resource-hungry programs and applications.
Despite that, there is no single laptop that can outdo a desktop computer when it comes to customization and performance.
However, if you are looking for portability, and you do not mind sacrificing some minor aspects of a standard computer, there are several laptops that can provide desktop-grade performance.
The first major factor that makes a laptop capable of perfectly replacing a desktop is the performance. For example, suppose a professional gamer is going to dump a desktop for a laptop. In that case, it means that the laptop should handle high-end games like PUBG, Fortnite, etc. and multitask effectively.
I will like to mention that there is no perfect laptop that can replace a desktop computer for everyone.
Some people are looking for an ultrabook with an overclocked processor, while some people are looking for a laptop with gaming-grade specs with a massive screen and full-sized keyboards.
Since you are interested in a desktop replacement laptop, there are some major factors that you need to look out for: the processor, the GPU, the durability of the laptop and reviews from people that are currently using the laptop.
10 Best Desktop Replacement Laptops in 2021
Most of us love desktop-level performance but value portability so much. The truth is, a full PC is not as ideal as a laptop, when it comes to working on the go. But then , performance is all that matters in the end. This is where desktop replacement laptops come in.
There is a lot you can do with a bigger display, and if you can get an impressive 60Hz+ refresh rate as well, it will really count in your favor during intense gaming sessions or whenever you are running grapghics-intensive programs.
I have made a list of some of the best-rated laptops that are suitable for you. Read on!
1. Dell XPS 17
– the best desktop replacement laptop
Processor: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-9750H|Memory: 16GB|Storage: 1TB SSD| Display: 17.3-inch 4K UHD| Graphics: 4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650| Battery: 4 hours| Weight: 4 pounds
Dell XPS 17 is great choice that is quite popular among professionals because it’s the perfect combination of performance and style. It is packed with incredible components that make it capable of replacing a desktop device.
XPS 17 is equipped with a powerful 9th-generation Intel Core i7-9750H with a peak clock rate of 4.5GHz that makes it powerful enough to handle the most resource-intensive programs. You can also rely on the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 with 4GB GDDR5 VRAM for the ultimate gaming experience.
In the RAM department, it comes with 16GB of DDR4 RAM that complements the amazing resources that are packed into this laptop. In terms of storage, it comes with a massive 1TB of PCIe SSD storage, which should be perfect for most people.
One of the features that make the XPS 17 unique is that it comes with a 4K UHD display. So, if you love playing your games in high screen resolution, you can rely on the 15.6-inch 4K IPS panel that comes with the laptop.
In terms of design, the XPS 17 is one of the lightest laptops that can replace a desktop right now. It has a minimum thickness of 0.66 inches and weighs 4lbs, which makes it easy to carry around. Dell has also made sure that the laptop is packed with an excellent cooling technology that prevents overheating.
There are other features that come with the XPS 17, which includes USB Type-A, USB Type-C, an HDMI port, and it also comes with a fingerprint reader that enhances the security of your laptop. Although it’s not the best-looking laptop of the year, but when it comes to performance, there are few laptops that are better than the XPS 17.
The only notable drawback of the laptop is the battery life; it can work for just 4 hours without charging it.
4K UHD display
Excellent connectivity options
2. Razer Blade 15
– portable laptop for gamers
Processor: 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H| Memory: 16GB| Storage: 512GB SSD| Display: 15.6-inch FHD| Graphics: 8GB NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070|Battery: 6 hours| Weight: 4.63 pounds
If you willl like to replace your gaming desktop with a notebook that you can move around with, and you have the money, then Razer Blade 15 is one of the top ones. It is equipped with an incredible Intel Core i7-8750H with a peak frequency of 4.1GHz.
It is powered by an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 graphics card with 8GB of dedicated VRAM, which is one of the top ones you can get today. It also comes with 16GB of DDR4 RAM that ensures that the machine can handle the latest AAA games and most resource-intensive programs and with a decent 512GB of SSD for your important files.
One of the notable features of the Blade 14 that makes it perfect for gaming is the 15-6 inch IPS panel, a standard screen resolution of 1920×1080, and a refresh rate of 144Hz. This helps the laptop in delivering the ultimate cinematic experience despite the size.
The laptop is quite lightweight (weighs only 4.63lbs), and it’s considered one of the slimmest gaming laptops that you can get today. It also comes with an amazing cooling technology that ensures that the laptop does not overheat.
In terms of connectivity options, the Blade 15 comes with a dedicated power port and Kensington lock. It also comes with 3 USB 3.1 Type-A ports and 1 Thunderbolt 3-enabled Type C port. The laptop also comes with the popular Chroma keyboard and glass-based precision keypad.
These features provide a desktop-like experience and allow you to connect several Razer devices. The Blade 15 also comes with a Razer Synapse feature that gives the user full access to customize its features. Talking about battery life, the Razer Blade 15 can work for up to 6 hours.
Decent dedicated graphics
Powerful components and features
Multiple connectivity options
144Hz Full HD screen
3. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme
– great all-round desktop replacement
Processor: 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H| Memory: 16GB| Storage: 512GB SSD|Display: 15.6-inch FHD LED |Graphics: 4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti|Battery: 8 hours|Weight: 3.7 pounds
Although not a new product, Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme remains one of the most affordable desktop replacement laptops that you can buy today. It is packed with fantastic resources that make it perfect for anyone looking for a laptop for content creation, rendering, image editing, etc. It can also handle some light gaming.
It is equipped with an eighth-generation Intel Core i7-8750H with a clocked at 2.2GHz, that can reach 4.1GHz, which is quite impressive. It comes with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti with 4GB VRAM, which is not really suitable for high-end gaming but ideal for programs that rely heavily on the GPU.
It comes with an impressive 16GB of DDR4 RAM, which makes it perfect for multitasking effectively. It also comes with 512GB of NVMe SSD storage for your files and games and also enhances the overall speed of your laptop.
In terms of display, it sports a 15.6-inch Full HD panel with a standard screen a resolution of 1920 x 1080, with minimal bezels.
This laptop is quite portable, with a thickness of 0.7 inches and a weight of 3.7lbs. Connectivity is a major factor that you should always look out for when buying a laptop. This Lenovo device has only the basic connectivity options, which include a USB Type C and Thunderbolt. If you have a lot of external devices, you can connect a ThinkPad Dock for extended options.
This incredible laptop comes with one of the best keyboards that you can find right now. It is comfortable to type and provides an excellent tactile feedback. It comes with an impressive battery that can work for up to 8 hours for general computing, and you should expect less for gaming.
Advanced docking options
Average battery life
4. Dell Alienware 17 R5
– runner-up desktop replacement laptop for gaming
Processor: 2.9GHz Intel Core i9-8950HK| Memory: 16GB| Storage: 512GB SSD + 1TB HDD| Display: 17.3-inch FHD| Graphics: 8GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080| Battery: 6 hours| Weight: 9.74 pounds
The first laptop that I will be mentioning in this guide is the amazing Dell Alienware 17 R5. Most professional gamers prefer desktops to laptops; however, if you are interested in a gaming laptop that can handle high-end games like a desktop, you should check out this beast.
Quite pricey but not surprising because it is packed with an amazing level of components, which includes an Intel Core i9-8950HK that can reach a maximum frequency of 2.9GHz. It comes with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 OC Edition, which complements the processor and 8GB of dedicated GDDRX5 VRAM.
It is equipped with 16GB of DDR4 RAM that ensures that you can use the machine seamlessly run several high-end programs. This amazing laptop comes with a dual storage system in the storage department: 512GB of SSD and 1TB of HDD.
One of the major factors of a good gaming laptop is the screen size, and this Dell laptop sports a 17.3-inch Full HD display that provides the ultimate gaming experience. It has a screen resolution of 1920×1080.
In terms of design, the Alienware 17 R5 is quite rugged and firm, weighs 9.74 lbs, which makes it a bit difficult to carry around but still decent for a desktop replacement laptop. The laptop comes with heat-dissipation vents on both sides and also at the bottom to prevent overheating during long gaming sessions.
In terms of connectivity, the laptop is packed with all the necessary ports and slots: 3 USB Type C ports, 1 Thunderbolt 3 port, 2 USB Type-A ports, and one full-sized HDMI port. The device has a comfortable keyboard that makes for a smooth typing experience with a built-in touchpad that enhances precision. However, despite the fantastic resources that come with this laptop, it has an average battery life and can only work for 6 hours before you will need to charge it.
WLED display with comfortable viewing angles
Decent connectivity options
Several features designed for gaming
5. New Apple MacBook Pro
– best Apple laptop for portability
Processor: 2.3GHz Intel Core i9-9980HK| Memory: 16GB|Storage: 1TB SSD|Display: 16-inch FHD Retina |Graphics: 4GB AMD Radeon Pro 5500M|Battery: 11 hours|Weight: 4.3 pounds
Apple is one of the few laptop manufacturing companies that you can trust to produce models that are perfectly capable of replacing any desktop computer, and the new MacBook Pro 16-inch is another great example.
This amazing machine is packed with an impressive Intel Core i9-9980HK with a maximum clock speed of 4.8GHz. It also comes with Intel integrated graphics and a decent AMD Radeon Pro 5500M GPU with 4GB of GDDR6 VRAM.
You can always trust macOS RAM management, especially when running Apple-built programs, and 16GB of DDR4 RAM will be perfect for a lot of computing tasks. You don’t have to about storage problems because it comes with a massive 1TB of full SSD storage.
This laptop sports a decent 16-inch screen, and it comes with the popular retina display. It sports a screen resolution of 3072 x 1920 that delivers an amazing level of sharpness and picture clarity. In terms of design, the MacBook Pro is extremely lightweight, weighs 4.3lbs, which makes it very portable and can be the perfect traveling companion.
However, some tech professionals believe that Apple might be using some forms of thermal throttling to ensure that the laptop does not overheat. The laptop comes with 4 Thunderbolt 3 Type C ports in terms of connectivity options, which is quite limited. You have to purchase an adaptor, dongle, or hub to have more connectivity options.
The device also has a key travel of 1mm, a dedicated Escape key, and an impressive trackpad. Even with all the high-end components that are packed in this slim machine, the battery can still work for up to 11 hours, which is quite impressive.
Sleek and lightweight
Excellent SSD storage capacity
Fantastic battery life
Thermal throttling issues
Limited connectivity options
6. ASUS ZenBook Pro 15
– best with 4k quality
Processor: 2.9GHz Intel Core i9-8950HK|Memory: 16GB | Storage: 512GB SSD| Display: 15.6-inch UHD |Graphics: 4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1550Ti| Battery: 6 hours| Weight: 4.10 pounds
Although this laptop does not belong to the category of gaming laptops, however, it can still handle modern games in moderate settings. The ASUS ZenBook Pro 15 is perfect for anyone that is looking for a notebook that can handle resource-intensive computing tasks like photo editing and rendering.
The ASUS ZenBook Pro 15 is equipped with an 8th gen Intel Core i9-8950HK processor with a maximum clock speed of 4.8GHz. You will also get an impressive NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1550Ti with 4GB of dedicated VRAM, which is perfect for handling multitasking but not ideal for high-end gaming.
The laptop comes with a decent 16GB of DDR4 RAM that can handle smoothly handle any program that you run on the machine, and it’s backed by 512GB of full SSD storage to provide adequate space to save your important files.
The ASUS ZenBook Pro 15 sports a 15.6-inch UHD 4K display with a screen resolution of 3840×2160that delivers decent image quality that you can view accurately from wide angles. In terms of design, the ASUS ZenBook Pro 15 is quite sleek and weighs 4.10 lbs, which make sit east to move around with.
The ZenBook Pro 15 has a dual-fan cooling technology to ensure that the laptop’s major components do not get burned out during long computing sessions. It comes with Thunderbolt 3 USB Type C ports, 2 USB Type-A ports, an HDMI port, and a micro-SD card slot for your external devices.
The ASUS ZenBook Pro 15 comes with a comfortable keyboard with a decent key travel of 1.5mm, making it easy to type. In terms of new innovative features, this laptop comes with an Adaptive ScreenPad, which makes it possible to use the trackpad as a touch-enabled screen.
The battery life is also decent, and you will be able to use it for up to 6 hours for general computing tasks.
UHD 4K display with touch feature
Fantastic s processor
Decent connectivity options
7. HP Envy 17
– perfect desktop replacement for students
Processor: 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-8565U |Memory: 16GB|Storage: 512GB SSD|Display: 17.3-inch FHD Touch| Graphics: 4GB NVIDIA GeForce MX150|Battery: 7 hours|Weight: 6.63 pounds
This is another old model from HP; however, the Envy 17T is an excellent desktop replacement laptop that is perfect for college students. You can always trust HP to produce performance laptops that are lightweight and flexible.
The Envy 17T is equipped with a decent Intel Core i7-8565U, with a moderate clock speed of 1.8GHz that can be optimized to reach 4.6GHz, which is perfect for handling high-end programs.
It comes with an NVIDIA GeForce MX150, with its 4GV dedicated VRAM, making it possible for the laptop to handle high-end games in low settings.
In terms of storage and memory, the laptop is equipped with 16GB of DDR4 RAM, which makes it capable of handling general computing tasks and some resource-intensive programs. Aloe, the 512GB of SSD storage can be used to save your important documents, and since its SSD, you can expect excellent transfer speeds.
The laptop sports a massive 17.3-inch Full HD panel that is perfect for a gaming laptop and with a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080, and with minimal bezels. The laptop is incredibly lightweight and has a thickness of 1 inch, and weighs 6.63lbs.
In the connectivity aspect, the laptop comes with all the important ports for your peripheral devices. It is packed with USB Type-A, Type C, full-sized HDMI, an Ethernet port, and a media card reader that can be very useful for photographers.
Envy 17T comes with a full-sized keyboard with a numeric keypad, which is quite impressive; in addition, the keyboard is backlit, which can be very useful for students. The battery life is also impressive and can work for up to 7 hours.
Multiple connectivity options
8. ASUS ROG Strix Scar II
– best screen refresh rate
Processor: 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H|Memory: 16GB|Storage: 512GB SSD| Display: 15.6-inch FHD IPS| Graphics:: 8GB NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070|Battery: 4 hours Weight: 5.29 pounds
This is another amazing choice if you are looking for a laptop to replace your gaming desktop; it comes with an Intel Core i7-8750H, with a maximum frequency of 4.1GHz with Turbo Boost. It is powered by NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 with 8GB VRAM that ensures that you can run high-end programs seamlessly.
Just like other laptops in its price category, it is equipped with 16GB DDR4 RAM and 512GB SSD storage. This implies that you can use the laptop to run RAM-intensive games without experiencing any disruption. The 521GB storage space is also decent, and you will be able to save your important documents and games.
Another important feature is the display that comes with the laptop. It sports an impressive15.6-inch Full HD IPS panel with a screen resolution of 1920×1080 that delivers the ultimate gaming experience.
The Scar II is definitely one of the most portable gaming laptops that you can get right now; it weighs 5.29lbs with a 1-inch thickness. It comes with all the important ports and slots, which include an HDMI port, 3 USB Type-A ports, 1 USB Type C port, an RJ45 port, a dedicated MicroSD reader, and a mini-DisplayPort.
Scar II comes with a full-sized keyboard that is optimized for gaming, and its features include backlit WASD keys and a row key placed at the top of the keyboard for easy access and an impressive RGB lighting option. The battery is quite average and can only work for 4 hours.
Full HD display
Decent connectivity options
Impressive screen-to-body ratio
Average battery backup
9. LG Gram
– best for artists
Processor: 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-8565U| Memory: 16GB| Storage: 512GB SSDDisplay: 17-inch FHD IP| Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 610|Battery: Up to 19 hours|Weight: 2.95 pounds
As an artist, if you are interested in getting a portable performance laptop that you can carry everywhere, this is the perfect laptop for you. The LG Gram is equipped with a U-series Intel Core i7-8565U, with a low clock speed of 1.8GHz that can reach up to 4.1GHz when running high-end programs.
In an attempt to make the laptop as soon as possible, the company has gone for integrated graphics from Intel, which also works perfectly. The laptop comes with a decent 16GB DDR4 RAM that ensures that you can multitask effectively.
In terms of storage capacity, it is equipped with 512GB full-SSD storage, so you don’t have to worry about transfer speeds, especially if you are a artist with a lot of clients. It sports a 17-inch display that delivers amazing picture quality. The WQXGA IPS panel comes with a screen resolution of 2560 x 1600 that ensures that you have the sharpest visuals on any day. You can adjust the brightness of the laptop screen, which makes it perfect for outdoor use.
LG Gram is one of the slimmest laptops that you can buy right now. The system comes with a thickness of 0.7 inches and weighs just 2.95 lbs, which makes it perfect for college students and artists. In terms of connectivity, the amazing LG Gram comes with all the necessary ports, including 3 USB Type-A ports and 1 Thunderbolt 3-enabled USB Type-C port. There is also an HDMI port and a micro-SD card reader.
The keyboard that comes with the LG Gram is also decent and easy to use. The backlit feature makes it perfect for students, and the trackpad is quite responsive. The laptop has a super-responsive fingerprint reader that ensures that no one can have access to your files without your permission. LG claims that the battery can work for up to 19 hours, which is impressive.
Multiple connectivity options
Fantastic storage feature
Excellent battery life
10. MSI GV72 8RE-007
– best lightweight and slim laptop
Processor: 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H| Memory: 16GB|Storage: 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD|Display: 17.3-inch FHD| Graphics| 3GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060|Battery: 3 hours|Weight: 5.95 pounds
Maybe you have been using a desktop device that can only run your favorite games on low settings; the MSI GV72 8RE-007 is an affordable laptop to replace that kind of desktop gaming device.
It is equipped with a 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H, which is quite decent and can definitely perform better than most ultrabooks that are in the market right now. It comes with a GeForce GTX 1060 with 3GB VRAM that good enough to run most modern games.
This MSI machine comes with 16GB of DDR4 RAM and a dual-storage system of 256GB SSD and 1TB HDD. So, you have no reason to be bothered about storage space for your big files.
It sports a massive 17.3-inch Full HD panel, which is impressive and a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 and comes with 72% of NTSC color gamut. In terms of portability, the MSI GV72 8RE-007 is quite bulky, with a thickness of 1.25, and weighs 5.9lbs. It comes with an impressive cooling system that makes sure that the laptop does not overheat.
In terms of connectivity options, this laptop comes with all the important ports, which include a good number of USB Type-A and Type-C ports, a dedicated HDMI port, an Ethernet port, and a media card reader.
In the keyboard department, the laptop comes with an ergonomic keyboard that is easy to use and also comes with preinstalled software that gives you full access to the backlighting. This amazing laptop also comes with an excellent cooling technology that prevents overheating.
The only drawback that is worth mentioning is the battery life; it can only work for up to 3 hours before you will need to charge it.
Excellent storage capacity
An abundance of connectivity options
Poor battery life
Cannot handle high-end games
Frequently Asked Questions
Which is the best CPU for a desktop replacement laptop?
Basically, you should go for any laptop with an Intel Core i7 or i9 processor. However, these two processors are not available for every budget. If your budget is limited, the least you should go for is Intel Core i5.
Is it true that an overclocked processor enhances the performance of a laptop?
Yes, if you have high-end programs that require higher clock speed to run smoothly. However, overclocked processors negatively affect the battery life of the laptop.
Can I expect the desktop-level gaming performance from these laptops?
Not always. There are some major factors that contribute to a desktop-level gaming experience, which include the cooling technology of the desktop, which is always better than that of a laptop, and also the desktop designed processor. Yet, there are laptops that can offer you competitive performance that will be similar.
Which is the top brand for desktop replacement laptops?
Picking the best brand can be a challenging task because user requirements differ. If you are interested in relatively cheap ultrabook devices, you should check out models from ASUS and Apple.
How much should I spend on a desktop replacement laptop?
You might not need to spend up much, but I will recommend that you set apart a budget of $2000 if you do not want to go back to your desktop.
I hope you now have all the important details that you need to know about the laptops that are capable of replacing your desktop. While some are high-end laptops, some are budget laptops. It all depends on the laptop that you are looking for.