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The best VR-ready laptops in 2021

best VR-ready laptops
(Image credit: Future)

Only the best VR-ready laptops are capable of handling virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift S and the HTC Vive Cosmos. And since we tested a bunch, we know which ones will power the VR headsets that'll grant you all of your immersive experiences, including 360-degree games, apps and videos

The best laptops with the proper specifications such as Nvidia's 20-series GPUs or the company's Max-Q GPUs, which essentially make even the smallest laptops a virtual reality powerhouse, will do the trick. We strongly suggest looking at our best gaming deals page to find a gaming laptop for a good price.

Nvidia's RTX Super chips, the 2070 and 2080 (along with Max-Q variants), will give you stronger gaming performance and the option to enable ray-tracing (a realistic lighting system). Of course, we’ve yet to see ray tracing implemented in any AAA VR games. The era of RTX isn't simply a refresh of our best gaming laptops, but a complete redesign of the best VR-ready systems. And now, Nvidia recently introduced RTX 30 chips. which intend to give the aforementioned graphics cards a much needed performance boost.

Check out our Oculus Rift S review and HTC Vive Cosmos review to see which popular VR-headset you prefer, and you can also watch them face-off. If you're done with wires, check out our Oculus Quest 2 review. If you're thinking about getting a more expensive headset, see our Valve Index review.

Recently, we reviewed the HP Omen 15 (2020) and the Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-54), which is are great laptops if you're looking for budget VR gaming. And for the best performance, check out our Acer Predator Triton 500 (2020) review. If you're interested in PSVR, check out our PS5 review.

What are the best VR-ready laptops? 

The best VR-ready laptops can get pretty pricey, especially when you look at the top of our list at the Alienware Area-51m. Armed with a desktop Intel Core i9 processor and one of Nvidia's superpowered RTX GPUs, it absolutely demolished every test we put in front of it with graceful aplomb. It will also make a big dent in your wallet. But you consider that this is the first future-proof gaming laptop, it seems a small price to pay for a truly upgradable system and what Alienware is calling its first real desktop replacement.

The Razer Blade 15 lineup are consistently great VR-ready laptops, especially for those who want something portable to carry around. The company's latest offering is available in a stunning white chassis that's sure to draw every eye in the room. But as pretty as the exterior is, you'd be remiss to ignore the interior. Powered by an Intel Core i7 processor and one of Nvidia's new RTX GPUs, the Blade 15 is power personified.

If you’re looking for a VR-ready laptop for professional purposes, aka not gaming, then you should consider picking up a workstation. MS’s WS65 9TM will do the trick. For the luxurious price of $3,499, the WS65 packs a powerful 9th-Gen Core i7 processor and Nvidia Quadro RTX 5000 Max-Q GPU into a superslim, durable chassis. Top that off with solid battery life, and a gorgeous 15.6-inch, 4K display that you can enjoy when you’re out of the headset.

The best VR-ready laptops you can buy today

  1. Alienware Area-51m
  2. Dell G5 15 SE (2020)
  3. Alienware m17 R3
  4. Asus ROG Zephyrus G14
  5. Alienware m15 OLED
  6. Asus ROG Mothership
  7. Razer Blade 15
  8. MSI GT76 Titan
  9. MSI GS66 Stealth
  10. MSI WS65 9TM

Alienware Area-51m best VR-ready laptops

The Alienware Area-51m is not only one of the most powerful gaming laptops around, but it's also the best VR-ready laptop overall.

1. Alienware Area-51m

The best VR-ready laptop you can buy

CPU: Intel 8th Gen Core i7/9th Gen Core i7/Core i9 | GPU: Nvidia RTX 2060/2070/2080 | RAM: 8GB/16GB/32GB/64GB | Storage: 1TB HDD or 512GB/1TB/2TB SSD | Display: 17.3-inch (1080p/4K) | Size: 16.1 x 15.9 x 1.1~1.7 inches | Weight: 8.5 pounds

Stunning space station aesthetic
Excellent graphics and overall performance
Lightning fast SSDs
All major components upgradable
Exorbitantly expensive

If you want to put a hole in your bank account, this is the way to do it. For $5,099, the Alienware Area 51-m will offer you all the power you could ever need with its 9th Gen Core i9 desktop processor and RTX 2080 GPU. This baby maxed out the SteamVR Performance Test without breaking a sweat. We crept up to an enemy base in Battlefield V (1920 x 1080, Ultra settings). But it wasn't long before our cover was blown and we were tossing a grenade at a group of explosive barrels, which went up in a cloud of red, yellow and orange flame at 122 frames per second.

Along with the Area 51-m’s awesome power, you get a gorgeous sci-fi inspired chassis that packs lightning fast SSDs and a solid 17.3-inch, 1080p panel. To top it all off, its major components are completely upgradable. This is easily at the top of the best VR-ready laptops.

See our full Alienware Area 51m review.

Dell G5 15 SE (2020) best VR-ready laptops

If you're looking for a great budget rig, the Dell G5 15 SE (2020) is not only a great gaming laptop but also ranks as the best VR-ready laptop. (Image credit: Future)

2. Dell G5 15 SE (2020)

The best budget VR-ready laptop

CPU: AMD Ryzen R7 4800H | GPU: AMD Radeon RX 5600M | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 512GB SSD | Display: 15.6-inch (1080p, 144Hz) | Size: 14.4 x 10 x 0.9 inches | Weight: 5.5 pounds

Blistering CPU performance
Strong graphics (compared to budget gaming)
Great battery life
Competitive pricing
Middling graphics (compared to mainstream gaming)

The Dell G5 15 SE (2020) is one of the first gaming laptops to pack all new AMD hardware. For $1,199, the Dell G5 15 SE with an AMD R7 4800H CPU blows its competitors out of this realm. When paired with a 15.6-inch display that covered 108% of the sRGB color gamut and emitted 301 nits of brightness, and a battery life that lasted 7 hours and 14 minutes, the G5 15 SE seems like a catch. 

The Dell G5 15 SE nailed 46 fps on Metro: Exodus benchmark (Ultra, 1080p), surpassing the average mainstream gaming laptop (40 fps) as well as the Zephyrus G14 (41 fps), Omen 15 (40 fps) and Legion Y545 (41 fps). It also slid by the 31-fps budget gaming average. It’ll be able to handle basic VR games, and it even has a Mini DisplayPort to ease the process.

See our full Dell G5 15 SE (2020) review.

Alienware m17 R3 review

The Alienware m17 R3 serves up plenty of beauty and performance, but it costs a pretty penny. It's the best VR-ready laptop for 4K gaming. (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

3. Alienware m17 R3

The best 4K gaming laptop

CPU: Intel Core i7/Core i9 | GPU: AMD Radeon RX 5500M/Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super/RTX 2080 Super | RAM: 16GB/32GB | Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB SSD | Display: 15.6-inch (1080p/4K/4K OLED) | Size: 15.7 x 11.8 x 0.7~0.8 inches | Weight: 6.6 pounds

Attractive, lightweight design for a desktop replacement
Great graphics and overall performance
Beautiful 4K display
Comfortable keyboard
Seriously expensive

The third iteration of the Alienware m17 is here and it’s even better than the previous models. Sporting Intel’s new 10th Gen H-Series processor and an Nvidia Super GPU, the Alienware m17 R3 is a formidable force in the gaming laptop arena. Not only is the laptop powerful, but it’s got an intergalactic elegance that’s a bonafide headturner. It’s also one of the lightest desktop replacements on the market.

Watching the trailer for Miss Virginia, actress Uzo Aduba’s bronze skin looked great on the 17.3-inch display, especially when set against her cranberry blouse with its blood-red embossed flower pattern. And while Trials of Mana is already a beautiful game, playing it on the m17 R3’s screen just seemed to elevate the visuals. In line with Alienware’s characteristic vividness, the m17 R3 reproduced 166% of the sRGB color gamut. The m17 R3’s screen is also seriously bright, averaging 591 nits.

See our full Alienware m17 R3 review.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 best VR-ready laptops

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is the longest lasting gaming laptop ever, easily making one of the best VR-ready laptops (Image credit: Future)

4. Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

Longest lasting VR-ready laptop

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7-4800HS, Ryzen 9-4900HS | GPU: Nvidia GTX 1650 or RTX 2060 Max-Q | RAM: 8GB/16GB | Storage: 512GB/1TB SSD | Display: 14-inch (1080p) | Size: 12.8 x 8.7 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 3.5 pounds

Killer AMD and Nvidia performance
Longest-lasting gaming laptop ever
Lightning fast SSD
Bright 120Hz display
No webcam

Packed under the hood of the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q GPU with 6GB of VRAM that ripped and tore through Doom Eternal at 90 frames per second (fps) at 1080p on Ultra settings as I hopscotched with my shotgun up in demons' faces. This machine is also ready for some virtual reality, hitting 9.8 out of 11 on the SteamVR Performance Test, which is above the 9.2 category average.

Along with the Zephyrus G14's killer performance, what stands out about the laptop is its wild battery life. After the Zephyrus continuously surfed the web over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness, its battery died at 11 hours and 32 minutes. However, keep in mind that the Zephyrus G14 does not have a Mini DisplayPort, so you'll have to buy an adapter for a USB Type-C port.

See our full Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 review.

Alienware m15 OLED best VR-ready laptops

At 15 inches, the Alienware m15 gives you a whole lot of OLED and a whole lot of power, making it one of the best VR-ready laptops.

5. Alienware m15 OLED

The best 15-inch VR-ready laptop

CPU: Intel Core i7/Core i9 | GPU: Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti or RTX 2060/2070/2080 | RAM: 8GB/16GB/32GB | Storage: 1TB HDD/256GB SSD 1TB HDD/512GB 1TB HDD/1TB SSD/2TB SSD | Display: 15.6-inch (1080p/4K) | Size: 14.3 x 10.8 x 0.8~0.7 inches | Weight: 4.8 pounds

Beautiful OLED display
Good overall and gaming performance
Comfortable keyboard
Sleek, lightweight design
OLED severely impacts battery life

In an effort to cut down on its beefy gaming laptops, Alienware developed the Alienware m15, a 0.7-inch slim speed demon. The laptop is still a head-turner with its Epic Gray anodized aluminum lid, black magnesium underbelly and strategically placed customizable LED lights. The Alienware m15 also has a bangin' 4K OLED display that covers 265% of the sRGB color gamut and emits 376 nits of brightness.

You can cram an 8th Gen Core i7 CPU and RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU into this baby, and despite being Max-Q, it still blows away the SteamVR performance test with a perfect 11. In Far Cry: New Dawn, a well-placed circular saw blade from my saw cannon gruesomely found a home in a nearby enemy, chewing up his flesh at 59 fps in 1920 x 1080 on Ultra settings. 

See our full Alienware m15 OLED review.

Asus ROG Mothership best VR-ready laptops

The Asus ROG Mothership is a 2-in-1 / detachable monster with enough horse power to easily land it among the best VR-ready laptops around.

6. Asus ROG Mothership

Most innovative VR-ready laptop

CPU: Intel Core i9 | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 | RAM: 64GB | Storage: 3 512GB SSD | Display: 17.3-inch (1080p or 4K) | Size: 16.1 x 12.6 x 1.2 inches | Weight: 10.5 pounds

Excellent graphics and overall performance
Discussion-starting design
Stays cool while gaming
Great audio
Incredibly expensive

Asus is pushing innovation with this wacky new gaming laptop / 2-in-1 / detachable monster, otherwise known as the ROG Mothership. What sets this apart from most gaming laptops is its adjustable kickstand and detachable keyboard, so all of the components are actually behind its 17.3-inch,1080p panel. 

And its badass name does it justice, as it's armed with an Intel Core i9-9850HK processor, up to 64GB of RAM, three NVMe M.2 PCI SSD in RAID 0 configuration and a Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 GPU with 8GB of VRAM. It powered through Rise of the Tomb Raider (Very High, 1080p) at 86 fps. The keyboard's island-style keys are nice and big with good spacing. Meanwhile, its 1080 panel wasn't overly saturated and delivered warm, realistic color. The performance speaks for its ranking as one of the best VR-ready laptops.

See our full Asus ROG Mothership review.

Razer Blade 15 best VR-ready laptops

The Razer Blade 15 is one of the best VR-ready laptops due to its oh, so slim chassis packed with power that can tear through any VR headset.

7. Razer Blade 15

The best slim VR-ready laptop

CPU: Intel Core i7 | GPU: Nvidia GTX 1060 or RTX 2060/2070/2080 | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 128GB SSD 1TB/512GB SSD | Display: 15.6-inch (1080p/4K) | Size: 14 x 9.3 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 4.7 pounds

Beautiful, head-turning design
Powerful graphics and overall performance
Solid battery life
Dim display
Weak audio

The advanced model of the 15.6-inch Razer Blade once again takes the lightweight crown. The Razer Blade 15 ($2,649) retains its 0.7-inch thin chassis while pumping an 8th Gen i7 processor comboed with the GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU through its VR-ready veins. The Blade 15 nailed a perfect 11 out of 11 on the SteamVR Performance Test.

Within its svelte design lies a battery that lasts over 5 hours, which topples competing companies like Asus and MSI in terms of portability. And when you’re not in VR, you get a colorful 144-Hz display surrounded by paper-thin bezels that make it that much more charming. You can also check out our face off between the Razer Blade 15 and the Aero 15 Classic.

See our full Razer Blade 15 review.

MSI GT76 Titan best VR-ready laptops

Step aside, the MSI GT76 Titan is coming through will all 10 pounds of its best VR-ready laptop kind of attitude -- not to mention its beastly mechanical keyboard.

8. MSI GT76 Titan

The best 17-inch VR-ready laptop

CPU: Intel Core i7/Core i9 | GPU: Nvidia RTX 2070/2080 | RAM: 32GB/64GB | Storage: 256GB SSD/ 512GB SSD 1TB HDD | Display: 17.3-inch (1080p/4K) | Size: 15.6 x 12.9 x 1.3~1.7 inches | Weight: 10 pounds

Attractive design
Excellent graphics and overall performance
Bright, colorful 4K panel
Comfortable keyboard

MSI’s GT76 Titan got a major redesign and looks as dazzling as it has ever been. Decked out in a slate-gray aluminum and a black plastic undercarriage, the notebook looks like an imposing set of armor ready to protect a gamer headed into battle. It's still boasting Nvidia’s latest RTX 2080 GPU, maxing out the SteamVR Performance Test with ease and being able to nail 79 frames per second on the Shadow of the Tomb Raider benchmark (Ultra, 1080p). 

At 10 pounds and 1.3~1.7 inches thick, the GT76 Titan also packs an overclockable 9th Gen Core i9 processor accompanied by a vivid 4K panel. While it doesn't have a mechanical keyboard, the keys were large, generously spaced and offered bouncy feedback without a hint of bottoming out. MSI made this one of its best VR-ready laptops.

See our full MSI GT76 Titan review.

MSI GS66 Stealth review

Thanks to its slim chassis and sleek design, the MSI GS66 Stealth is not only superportable, but it's also one of the best VR-ready laptops. (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

9. MSI GS66 Stealth

The best Max-Q design

CPU: Intel Core i7/Core i9 | GPU: Nvidia RTX 2060/2070/2080 Super | RAM: 16GB/32GB | Storage: 512GB/1TB SSD | Display: 15.6-inch (1080p) | Size: 14.2 x 9.7 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 4.6 pounds

Lightweight, gorgeous chassis
Powerful graphics and overall performance
Great battery life for a gaming laptop
Agile SSD
Weak audio

Nvidia has found a way to take the most powerful graphics card around, the RTX 2080 Super, and work some Max-Q magic to fit it in the MSI GS66 Stealth’s 0.7-inch slim chassis. MSI has stripped all the accent color from the design, leaving an elegant Core Black aluminum chassis. Even the dragon emblem, which is usually done in a bright color, has been toned down to a semi-gloss matte that still manages to draw the eye.

Its svelte stature is paired with a 15.6-inch panel. Matte displays can be great as they eliminate any potential glare, but there’s also a danger of washing out colors. Luckily, the Stealth’s 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080-pixel panel doesn’t fall into that trap. To ensure you can take your games on the road, MSI has outfitted the Stealth with a 99.9 watt hour battery, which allowed it to last 6 hours and 36 minutes. And of course, the GS66 Stealth had no issue maxing out the SteamVR Performance Test.

See our full MSI GS66 Stealth review.

MSI WS65 9TM best VR-ready laptops

If you're looking for a workstation that's still one the best VR-ready laptops, look no further than the MSI WS65 9TM. (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

10. MSI WS65 9TM

The best workstation

CPU: Intel Core i7/Core i9 | GPU: Nvidia Quadro T2000/RTX 5000 Max-Q | RAM: 16GB/32GB | Storage: 512GB/1TB SSD | Display: 17.3-inch (1080p/4K) | Size: 14.1 x 9.8 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 4.3 pounds

Slim, lightweight design
Gorgeous 4K display
Strong performance and graphics
Military-durable and secure

The MSI WS65 9TM packs a beastly Nvidia Quadro RTX 5000 GPU with 16GB of VRAM, which is more than capable of handling VR despite being designed for 3D modeling, video editing and engineering. It even has a mini DisplayPort at the ready for all of your VR adventures.

Its 17.3-inch, 4K display is also ridiculously vivid, as it covered 251 percent of the sRGB color gamut and emitted 393 nits of brightness. Jack Black's green-and-brown bow tie in the Jumanji: Next Level trailer might've been glossed over on another panel because of the darker shades, but it popped on the MSI WS65's panel. On top of that, the MSI WS65 passed several MIL-SPEC durability tests and even has a decently long battery life for a souped up workstation.

See our full MSI WS65 9TM review.

How to choose the best VR-ready laptops for you

Before you get around to choosing the best VR-ready laptop for you. Consider the specs you’ll need in the gaming laptop you’re looking at. 

Here are the VR minimum specs:

The main thing you have to worry about when picking out a VR-ready laptop is what kind of specs it has and if it has a mini DisplayPort. Anything apart from those features are negligible if you’re just focused on the VR portion, but you should be mindful of the display, keyboard and size of the laptop, as you’re likely to use it as a normal gaming laptop as well.

If you’re on a budget, consider looking at laptops with lower-end AMD GPUs, such as the Dell G5 15 SE (2020). It won’t be ideal, but it’ll get your VR setup up and running. Of course, you can spring for a laptop with an RTX GPU, like the Alienware Area-51m, which would absolutely kill it in VR, but that’s going to cost you. Overall, you have to figure out your budget and what’s important to you in a VR-ready laptop.

How we test the best VR-ready laptops 

We put each laptop through extensive benchmark testing — both synthetic and real-world — before they end up in the hands of our reviewers. We evaluate each aspect of the laptop, including its performance, battery life, display, speakers and heat management.

In our benchmark testing, we use a Klein K10 colorimeter to detect the brightness and sRGB color gamut of the laptop's display. For performance testing, we run the laptop through a gauntlet of benchmarks, including Geekbench 4.3 and 5.0 and 3DMark professional graphics tests. 

To determine real-world performance, we task the laptop to convert a 4K video to 1080p resolution and to duplicate a 4.97GB multimedia file. Our real-world graphics test is the Dirt 3 benchmark with medium settings at 1080p resolution.

We also run heat tests by playing a 15-minute full-screen video and measuring temperatures in different areas of the laptop. Last but not least, our battery test consists of continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness. For MacBooks and premium Windows 10 laptops, a runtime of over 9 hours is considered a good result whereas gaming laptops and workstations that can stay powered for longer than 5 hours deserve praise. 

These tests are complemented with extensive hands-on testing from our reviewers who critique everything from the laptop's materials to the feel of its touchpad.