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The best VR-ready laptops in 2021

Included in this guide:

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.

If you got the money, an easy choice is the Alienware X17 and MSI Creator Z16. If you're looking to get into streaming, check out our Elgato Stream Deck MK.2 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 m17 R4. 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 badass system

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

Alienware m17 R4

The Alienware m17 R4 brings even more power and performance to the table, but at the cost of battery life. (Image credit: Future)

1. Alienware m17 R4

The best VR-ready laptop you can buy

CPU: Intel Core i7/Core i9
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080
RAM: 16GB/32GB
Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB SSD
Display: 17.3-inch (1080p/4K)
Size: 15.7 x 11.6 x 0.7~0.9-inches
Weight: 6.6 pounds
Reasons to buy
+Excellent graphics and overall performance+Comfortable customizable keyboard+Bright, vivid display with super-high refresh rate+Attractive chassis
Reasons to avoid
-Seriously expensive

The fourth iteration of the Alienware m17 is here and it’s even better than the previous models. Sporting Intel’s new 10th Gen HK-Series processor and an Nvidia RTX 30 GPU, the Alienware m17 R4 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.

The Alienware m17 R4 comes to the arena fully cocked with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 GPU with 16GB of VRAM. And believe us, this laptop is not to be trifled with. We played Control at 1080p with the settings on high, including ray tracing. We floated and launched random furniture at enemies before shooting them with our Service Weapon, and the m17 served up a hearty 83 frames per second. The rate jumped to 91 fps on medium and 116 fps on high with ray tracing disabled.

See our full Alienware m17 R4 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
Storage: 512GB SSD
Display: 15.6-inch (1080p, 144Hz)
Size: 14.4 x 10 x 0.9 inches
Weight: 5.5 pounds
Reasons to buy
+Blistering CPU performance+Strong graphics (compared to budget gaming)+Great battery life+Competitive pricing
Reasons to avoid
-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.

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)

3. 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
Storage: 512GB/1TB SSD
Display: 14-inch (1080p)
Size: 12.8 x 8.7 x 0.7 inches
Weight: 3.5 pounds
Reasons to buy
+Killer AMD and Nvidia performance+Longest-lasting gaming laptop ever+Lightning fast SSD+Bright 120Hz display
Reasons to avoid
-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 R4 (RTX 3070) review

The Alienware m15 R4 hits all of the staples of a great gaming laptop: kickass performance, beautiful display and a sexy design. (Image credit: Rami Tabari)

4. Alienware m15 R4

The best 15-inch VR-ready laptop

CPU: Intel Core i7/Core i9
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070
RAM: 8GB/16GB/32GB
Display: 15.6-inch (1080p/4K)
Size: 14.2 x 10.9 x 0.7~0.8 inches
Weight: 5.3 pounds
Reasons to buy
+Awesome performance and graphics+Gorgeous 4K OLED display+Stylish design+Punchy keyboard
Reasons to avoid
-Short battery life

Are you thirsting for some Nvidia 30-series badassery? Well, look no further than the brand spankin’ new Alienware m15 R4. This baby has it all. Power, beauty (on the inside and out) and a soft touch.

For a hefty $2,499, the Alienware m15 R4 will grace you with its intense Intel Core i7-10870H processor and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 GPU, a poppin’ 15.6-inch, 4K OLED display and a punchy keyboard wrapped in a familiar but stylish design. The only real downside to this machine is its short battery life and… well, that $2,499 price tag.

You could say that Alienware didn’t do much to innovate, and you’d be right. But like its predecessors, the Alienware m15 R4 is one of the best gaming laptops you can buy, as long as you don’t mind the poor endurance.

See our full Alienware m15 R4 review.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 (GA503Q) best VR-ready laptops

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 (GA503Q) delivers almost everything you want in a gaming laptop from kickass performance and battery life to punchy speakers and a clicky keyboard. (Image credit: Rami Tabari)

5. Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 (GA503Q)

The longest lasting 15-inch

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 GPU
Storage: 1TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
Display: 15.6-inch, 2560 x 1440, 165Hz
Size: 14.0 x 9.6 x 0.8 inches
Weight: 4.2 pounds
Reasons to buy
+Killer AMD and Nvidia performance+Amazing battery life+Clicky keyboard+Elegant Moonlight White design
Reasons to avoid
-Display could be more vibrant

For a pricier $2,499, the Zephyrus G15 offers amazing performance from its AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS processor and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 GPU. It even boasts a similarly long-lasting battery life, a clicky keyboard, a 15.6-inch, 1440p display and a set of powerful speakers wrapped up in an even more elegant Moonlight White design.

Whereas the G14 was a midrange beast, the Zephyrus G15 comes in at the top of the food chain with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 GPU (with an 80-watt TDP) with 8GB of VRAM. This monster shrugged off Assassin’s Creed Valhalla at Ultra, 1440p settings as I raided a small village on the coast, tearing through my enemies at 51 frames per second.

See our full Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 (GA503Q) review.

MSI GS66 Stealth (2021)

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: Future)

6. MSI GS66 Stealth (2021)

The best Max-Q design

CPU: Intel Core i7/Core i9
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080
Storage: 512GB/1TB SSD
Display: 15.6-inch (1080p)
Size: 14.2 x 9.7 x 0.7 inches
Weight: 4.5 pounds
Reasons to buy
+Sleek, attractive design+Good overall and gaming performance+Excellent battery life+Blistering-fast transfer speeds
Reasons to avoid
-Display could be brighter and more vivid

Nvidia has found a way to take the most powerful graphics card around, the RTX 3080, 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.

The MSI GS66 Stealth is one of the latest gaming laptops to feature a display with a 2560 x 1440p resolution and a 240Hz refresh rate. We expect to see this configuration a lot as time goes on as this appears to be the sweet spot gamers are looking for. 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 27 minutes. 

See our full MSI GS66 Stealth (2021) 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.

7. Asus ROG Mothership

Most innovative VR-ready laptop

CPU: Intel Core i9
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080
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
Reasons to buy
+Excellent graphics and overall performance+Discussion-starting design+Stays cool while gaming+Great audio
Reasons to avoid
-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.

8. Razer Blade 15

The best slim VR-ready laptop

CPU: Intel Core i7
GPU: Nvidia GTX 1060 or RTX 2060/2070/2080
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
Reasons to buy
+Beautiful, head-turning design+Powerful graphics and overall performance+Solid battery life
Reasons to avoid
-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.

9. 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
Reasons to buy
+Attractive design+Excellent graphics and overall performance+Bright, colorful 4K panel+Comfortable keyboard
Reasons to avoid

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 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
Reasons to buy
+Slim, lightweight design+Gorgeous 4K display+Strong performance and graphics+Military-durable and secure
Reasons to avoid

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 m17 R4, 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.

Rami Tabari

Rami Tabari is a Senior Writer for Laptop Mag. He reviews every shape and form of a laptop as well as all sorts of cool tech. You can find him sitting at his desk surrounded by a hoarder's dream of laptops, and when he navigates his way out to civilization, you can catch him watching really bad anime or playing some kind of painfully difficult game. He’s the best at every game and he just doesn’t lose. That’s why you’ll occasionally catch his byline attached to the latest Souls-like challenge.