Ever since the series launched in November of 1982, Microsoft Flight Simulator has been the go-to video game for anyone looking for an engaging and immersive flight simulation experience.  Flight Simulator 2020 was finally released to the public in August of 2020, to the joy of series fans. Much like its predecessor, the game sold incredibly well and was reviewed incredibly well too.

There was just this one tiny problem; the game was hard to run. Indeed in 2020, the game was neither as optimized nor seemingly quite ready for the hardware of the time. Fast forward to 2022, and this is much less of an issue. It has come to the point where laptops have become an increasingly popular medium for flight simulators.

If you’ve clicked on this article, you’re probably looking to do just that. Fear not, we’ve been hard at work looking for the best laptops for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020. With our research, we think we can save you the dirty work of hours of research to find something that suits you best. Fasten your seatbelts, cause this flight is ready for takeoff!

Comparing our Picks for the Best Gaming Laptops for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020

We’ve been hard at work trying to compile a list of the best laptops for Flight Simulator 2020. Here’s what we found, and our thoughts about them in a nutshell.

ImageProductPrice
ASUS ROG Zephyrus 15.6" QHD Gaming Laptop

ASUS ROG Zephyrus 15.6″ QHD Gaming Laptop

  • Presents a unique design element with the Anime Matrix
  • A reliable and powerful system capable of handling Flight Simulator very well
  • Best AMD Ryzen option.
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Alienware m15 R4, 15.6” Gaming Laptop

Alienware m15 R4, 15.6” Gaming Laptop

  • A performance powerhouse which delivers high quality graphics and framerates in a laptop form factor.
  • VR Ready; Can support VR mode on Flight Simulator 2020 for maximum immersion.
  • Is the most expensive of the bunch, but does not compromise on performance.
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Razer Blade 15 Base Gaming Laptop 2021

Razer Blade 15 Base Gaming Laptop 2021

  • Carries the Razer Branding, which may or may not exactly what you’re looking for.
  • Arguably the sleekest and best looking laptop of the bunch.
  • Performs well on its own but seamlessly adds EGPU support for Desktop level Graphics Performance.
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ASUS TUF Dash 15 (2021) Ultra Slim Gaming Laptop

ASUS TUF Dash 15 (2021) Ultra Slim Gaming Laptop

  • An easy recommendation for best value laptop in this list.
  • Carries the latest 11th Gen Intel Processor and RTX 30 series graphics.
  • Powerful on its own with EGPU support.
  • Runs short on battery life
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GIGABYTE AERO 17 KC

GIGABYTE AERO 17 KC

  • Powerful with a very fast screen.
  • Design elements are questionable but acceptable overall.
  • Versatile; will suit you for Microsoft Flight Simulator as well as a variety of life tasks.
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Omen 17

Omen 17

  • Carries the latest Intel CPU and NVIDIA GPU lineup.
  • Stellar Audio and Video Performance.
  • Big screen, basically the AERO but better.
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Lenovo - IdeaPad L340 15 Gaming Laptop

Lenovo – IdeaPad L340 15 Gaming Laptop

  • Cheapest entrant with a playable Microsoft Flight Simulator experience.
  • Will deliver 30fps on lower settings.
  • Subtle design choice and easy to take anywhere.
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The Buyer’s Guide to the Best Laptop for Flight Simulator

Before we go over our best laptops for Flight Simulator, we want to make clear what it takes to run it.

According to Microsoft, a laptop must meet all of the following requirements to run Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020. 

System RequirementsMinimumRecommended
OSWindows 10 version 18362.0 or higherWindows 10 version 18362.0 or higher
Architecturex64x64
KeyboardIntegrated KeyboardIntegrated Keyboard
MouseIntegrated MouseIntegrated Mouse
DirectXVersion 11Version 11
Memory8GB16GB
Video Memory2GB4GB
ProcessorIntel i5-4460 | AMD Ryzen 3 1200Intel i5-8400 | AMD Ryzen 5 1500x
GraphicsNVIDIA GTX 770 | AMD Radeon RX 570NVIDIA GTX 970 | AMD Radeon RX 590
Storage150GB of Free Disk Space150GB of Free Disk Space

We’re aware that many might go into their purchase without knowing all this fully. The thing is, your hunch might take you pretty far with a lot of AAA videogame titles, but not with this one. Running Microsoft Flight Simulator should not be a shot in the dark. In its scale and size, it’s still a game that is constantly receiving performance improvements constantly.

What that means is that despite all improvements, it may still be hard to run. That’s because of a mix of the game being relatively demanding and in the process of being better optimized for a lot of hardware out there. The last thing you want is splashing hundreds if not thousands of dollars on something that cannot handle it. Indeed, the game is a lot better optimized than it used to be, but why take the risk? In particular, we want to clarify CPU, GPU, Storage and RAM requirements so you’re able to understand them better.

CPU

Microsoft Flight Simulator is pretty taxing on CPUs, as you’d probably expect. The game does a lot of high-level math in the background for its simulations. There’s a lot of physics at play, including the actual dynamics of the flight you’ll be simulating. A lot of this is extremely accurate science. Microsoft, of course, does this to give you the most realistic and captivating experience possible.

 A CPU is exactly what makes all of this computational work possible, and a solid CPU facilitates that at higher levels. Naturally, you’d expect a laptop running Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 to be fashioned with an adequate CPU.

For your new laptop, it should be pretty easy to find at least an 8th Gen Intel Core CPU in 2022. Said CPU’s have actually been around since 2017, so our recommendation would be to at least go for a 10th Gen Intel Core CPU or an AMD equivalent. Maybe do not go for the U series processors, and opt instead for the H or K suffix models. They’re inherently more powerful and capable chips.

GPU

So now you know about all the science and math that goes behind something like Microsoft Flight Simulator, we can move on to something more visible. Flight Simulator’s graphics and environment are front and center of what you can actually see. The game literally renders a map of the ENTIRE WORLD as you play it. That is not an exaggeration.

Microsoft have recreated the entire planet and it’s yours to explore. From Seattle’s rainy cityscape to the arid deserts of Cairo, you can actually take your plane wherever you want in the world. What’s even more impressive is how certain locations appear in-game. A staggering 341 cities across Europe, Canada and the United States have been detailed in photorealistic effect. Watch in awe as you fly over New York’s towering skyscrapers with actual 3D models present in game for maximum immersion.

It goes without saying you need a solid GPU to render all of this detail. This means the game will not really be playable on older, less powerful cards, least of all integrated GPUs. You won’t even have the best experience with the late 10 series NVIDIA GTX cards or possibly even the early 20 series RTX cards, but that’s where you can start. We highly recommend taking a look at late RTX 20 series or, even better, 30 series GPUs to maximize performance. We can definitely vouch for something like an RTX 3070 or 3080 in what should get you decent FPS and visuals at high resolutions.

RAM

While Microsoft says you can get by with 8GB of RAM, we highly recommend going for 16GB instead. The game will eat it all up, so it’s better to give it some breathing room.

STORAGE

The game requires a hefty 150GB of free disk space to install to begin with. If you’re stuck with a 256GB drive, it might actually be time to upgrade. A terabyte of storage is the sweet spot for both this game and everything else you’ll be doing on your system. Of course, SSD storage is always the best idea. Loading times have long been a constant complaint for the Microsoft Flight Simulator series.

Therefore, a laptop with a Gen 3 or Gen 4 M.2 SSD is your best bet to reduce those loading times and trust your system to be fast and reliable all the same.

You could definitely opt for an HDD for additional storage; they come cheap for large storage options. They’re significantly slower storage mediums, but that’s a sacrifice you’ll have to make if you go that route.

The 7 Best Laptops for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020

Following are our editor’s picks for the best laptops for Flight Simulator. These are sure to give you a respectably playable experience, and you’ll be set.

1. Best Ryzen Build: ASUS ROG Zephyrus

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Specifications

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 @ 4.6GHz
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070, 8GB GDDR6
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4
  • DISPLAY: 15.6” ‎QHD (1440p) Display @ 165Hz
  • STORAGE: 1TB PCIe SSD Storage

Design & Hardware

At first glance, a lot about the Eclipse Gray variant of the Zephyrus is unassuming. That is, until you actually power on the device. An array of over a thousand Mini LEDs light up forming what ASUS calls the Anime Matrix. It is the device’s trademark visual feature. ASUS allows you to customize the Anime Matrix to display a variety of messages, images and animations.

 A sleek, dark trim on the exterior gives the laptop a stealthy look.  As you open the lid, you’re greeted by the screen and the chassis which all fit the aesthetic perfectly. There’s nothing particularly flashy about it at inside. There’s not a lot of gaming gimmicks like accented keys or RGB lighting. There’s no obnoxious logos or trademarks for that matter either. Honestly? We’re huge fans of the design choice.

The Zephyrus should pass comfortably in any setting, be it the workplace or something more casual. You could be in a meeting one minute and ready to hop back into Flight Simulator on your laptop the next. The screen is passable. It’s bright and has alright colors, plus the 165Hz refresh rate is incredible for gaming. However, it does leave a bit to be desired with color accuracy and sharpness. 

Performance

As you’d probably expect, this laptop shreds through gaming like no big deal. But this is a guide to the best laptops for Microsoft Flight Simulator, so what about that? This laptop can comfortably push 30 fps with a lot of options set between ultra and high in 1080p, which for a laptop is nothing short of remarkable.

For reference, Microsoft’s own lineup of next generation consoles with the Xbox Series X is itself capped at 30 fps. If you play around with the settings a little bit, you could even aim for 60 fps. Again, it’s all about personal preferences in regards to performance over visuals, but this laptop can definitely handle Microsoft Flight Simulator.

Pros

  • The Anime Matrix is a huge plus for personalization.
  • Impeccable performance.
  • Great Battery Life.
  • Very portable.

Cons

  • Lack of a webcam
  • Average Display Quality

2. Best High End: Alienware m15 R4 Gaming Laptop

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Specifications

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-10870H 10th Gen @ 5.0GHz
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 8GB GDDR6 Graphics
  • RAM: 32GB DDR4 2933MHz Memory
  • DISPLAY: 15.6-inch FHD (1080p) @ 300Hz, 3ms response w/300-nits
  • STORAGE: 1TB PCIe M.2 SSD Storage

Design & Hardware

The Alienware m15 R4 immediately stands out in its size and scale. Let’s get this out of the way, this laptop is huge.  The chassis houses the laptop’s very impressive internals and an equally impressive cooling system. Search the back and you’ll find a lot of your I/O and the air vents framed by a blue lightbar. Just above that you’ll find your Alienware branding, which does light up in the same blue color. White accents support the blue in a manner we find extremely tasteful.

For the price they charge, they did definitely not cheap out on design. Everything about the laptop looks and feels premium and well built. Plus, for what is clearly a “gamer” oriented device, we find that the style is actually pretty muted. Two thumbs up for that. The screen is a real winner. While you’re obviously never going to utilize the full 300Hz on Flight Simulator, it’s an impressive piece of hardware nonetheless. Besides, one can definitely appreciate the quick 3ms response time, which helps finetune your simulation to a sensitive and accurate degree.

Performance

Take one look at the spec sheet and it’s easy to figure out why the m15 R4 blows the competition out of the water. Sporting a 10th gen, H series Intel processor at 5.0 GHz with a whopping 32GB of RAM, there’s enough horsepower here for an actual plane. The real star of the show however, is the RTX 3080 Graphics Card. This laptop runs Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 remarkably well.

The sim both looks and plays incredible. You’ll find this machine average 40fps on ULTRA settings comfortably, which is something most desktops will struggle with. You can still get a visually fantastic experience at 60fps by tweaking down the settings a bit, if that’s what you’re looking for. Remember the 300+ photorealistic cities we mentioned were a part of Flight Simulator 2020? They’re best experienced on a laptop with a 3080. Details are crisp, with locations and planes looking remarkably lifelike.

The laptop also offers an experience the likes of which the other laptops on this list do not quite match up to; VR. As true to life as this sim already is, virtual reality takes it to a whole new level. Put on your favorite headset and live out your aviation fantasies as this laptop’s support for Flight Simulator VR all but grants you a pilot’s license. It’s an incredibly immersive experience that a monitor setup simply cannot match.

Pros

  • Performance Monster
  • 300Hz display is a great bonus
  • VR Ready
  • Offers one of the best laptop experiences for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, period.

Cons

  • Subpar trackpad.
  • Not easy to carry around.
  • Expensive

3. Razer Blade 15 Base Gaming Laptop 2021 (Best integration with EGPU)

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Specifications

  • CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10750H
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070
  • RAM: 16 GB DDR4
  • DISPLAY: 15-Inch FHD display @ 144Hz
  • STORAGE: 512GB SSD Storage

Design & Hardware

Looking as if it were chiseled out of a block of solid aluminum, the Razer Blade is truly a sight to behold. Take our word for it, it’s actually the prettiest laptop on the list. Razer is great at making products that are really aesthetically pleasing. Everything about the design screams luxury. From the all metal build to the dark accents that are consistent throughout the whole device, this is a device that demands your attention.

 What’s also really cool is the (customizable) RGB lighting that you’ll find on the keyboard. We’re also huge fans of the video and audio options here with the impressive 144Hz panel and the two speakers up top. The trackpad is easily some of the best we’ve ever used on a laptop period. Honestly? If you can’t find your mouse it’s still very usable for gaming sessions, which is more than we can say for basically any other laptop in comparison.

Performance

If you’ve noticed that the Razer Blade 15 has a similar spec loadout to the Zephyrus G14 with its 3070 Graphics and 10th Gen Intel processor, you’d probably expect a repeat in performance. Well, you’re actually right in that regard. By default, you should expect to see pretty similar numbers to its ASUS counterpart. Expect an easy 30fps with respectable visuals and if that’s fine with you you’re good to go. So, is that the end of the performance review already? Not quite.

You see, a lot of Razer’s newer laptops come with Thunderbolt ports. For the uninitiated, this means many things; faster transfer speeds, a wide range of peripheral support, simultaneous high fidelity video/audio connectivity etc. For Flight Simulator 2020 enthusiasts, you should know this laptop can connect to External GPU enclosures to deliver desktop grade performance out of something this portable. I

n particular, Razer devices can seamlessly connect to Razer’s own Core X enclosures which support virtually any full sized desktop GPUs. This means that you could very easily go ahead and connect an RTX 3090 to your laptop and have the ultimate desktop Flight Simulator 2020 experience on a LAPTOP. A card of that caliber can push 60 fps on Ultra Settings like a charm. In fact, it very nearly goes there on ultra in glorious 4K resolutions. Do not take us lightly when we say that the sim looks like real life on a 3090, it’s ridiculously good. If you’re looking for potentially unrivaled performance in a compact frame, it might be worth splashing the cash on the Razer Blade 15.

Pros

  • Well-built.
  • Highly Portable.
  • Respectable performance to portability ratio.
  • Can seamlessly connect an external GPU casing for superior performance.

Cons

  • Razer Tax.
  • Prone to getting a little too hot at times.

4. ASUS TUF Dash 15 (2021) Ultra Slim Gaming Laptop (Best Value for Money)

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Specifications

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-11370H
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050-Ti
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4
  • DISPLAY: 15.6” 1080p display @ 144Hz
  • STORAGE: 512GB SSD Storage

Design & Hardware

The TUF Dash is by all means compact. This is doubly impressive considering the internals they managed to fit in this thing. You’ll find a metal lid with the TUF branding on it, signifying its robust build. The rest of the laptop is made out of plastic, but we’ll reiterate the fact that it’s built remarkably well. It feels sturdy and kinda ready to take a beating. The keyboard is backlit, and has translucent WASD keys so you’re at ease with your Flight Sim sessions at all times. We’re beginning to see high refresh rate panels a lot more often, and the fact that ASUS included one this good at this price point is a huge plus.

Performance

Even if you ignore the price for the second, it’s impossible to ignore how well this laptop performs. When one finds out that it’s powered by an RTX 30 series card and an 11th Gen i7 processor, it’s easy to see why. Expect the TUF gaming to meet or even exceed a lot of your expectations. You’ll be pleased to find out that it should hit 30fps on a medium preset on Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 at 1080p. Besides that, like the Razer Blade, you can also take performance of the thunderbolt port and connect an EGPU. This makes the TUF Dash 15 a sure inclusion on our list of best laptops for flight simulator. We’ll double down on the inclusion because the value for money here is pretty great!

Pros

  • Value for money.
  • Solid build.
  • Ultra-portable.
  • Respectable cooling.

Cons

  • Battery Life leaves a lot to be desired.

5. GIGABYTE AERO 17 KC (Most Versatile)

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Specifications

  • CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10870H
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060, 6GB GDDR6
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4
  • DISPLAY: 17.3″ “FHD IPS-level” @ 300Hz
  • STORAGE: 1TB PCIe SSD

Design & Hardware

When we looked at this laptop for this laptop for the first time, nothing really stood out visually. Sure, it kinda has a low profile, but design choices like the lines on the lid are questionable at best. Let’s face it, you’re not buying this laptop cause it’s pretty. Doesn’t mean there’s nothing redeeming about the external hardware, far from it actually. The screen is an absolute looker. It’s “only” 1080p, but has incredible colors, gets plenty bright and offers a full 17” experience to fulfill your usability needs. Did we mention it’s also ridiculously fast with a 300Hz refresh rate? The speakers are nice and loud, plus there’s a fingerprint sensor which is a welcome security feature.

Performance

The AERO is an all-round solid performer with plenty of space for your games. The RTX 3060 can handle Microsoft Simulator 2020 like a charm. The laptop plays at an easy 30+fps between medium and high settings, and can go between 5060fps should you play around with the settings a little bit. Honestly, it’s more than playable. The experience is great coupled with the huge 17” screen that helps you immerse yourself in the sim a little better. You can rest easy knowing that you’ll have bought a laptop that can handle Flight Simulator 2020. Plus, the AERO is remarkably versatile as it’s use extends to professional and creative fields as well.

Pros

  • A big, good looking 17” display.
  • Comfortable performer.
  • Versatile

Cons

  • Runs hot at times.

6. Omen 17 (Best with Big Screen)

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Specifications

  • CPU: 11th Generation Intel Core i7-11800H Processor
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Graphics
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4
  • DISPLAY: 17.3” QHD IPS Display @ 165Hz, 3ms response time
  • STORAGE: 512GB PCIe NVME M.2 SSD Storage

Design & Hardware

In many ways the Omen 17 is an upgrade on the Gigabyte AERO. To start with, it’s just that much better looking. Probably one of the cleanest, if not THE cleanest looking gaming laptops on the market, the Omen 17 is a total eye catcher. It’s just as easy to switch this between a professional and casual environment as anything else is on the list.

The laptop’s mostly a uniform matte-black color with the blue-green diamond shaped Omen branding on the back. Striking, if we do say so ourselves. Inside you’ll find the large 17.3” display rated for 165Hz at a full 1440p; it’s very, very good. You’ll also find the keyboard with full RGB lighting. Along the sides you get a respectable amount of I/O (including Ethernet), plus the air vents for cooling. HP’s deal with Danish designer electronics company Bang & Olufsen brings the speakers to the Omen 17, and they do sound very decent.

Performance

Again, this is kind of like the Gigabyte AERO, but better. You have a similar screen profile at 17.3”, so immersion is pretty much the same with regards to screen size. Performance is where it leaves the AERO behind. Powered by an 11th Gen Intel Core processor as opposed to the 10th Gen on the AERO, plus the obvious improvement with the RTX 3070 on the 3060, of course this runs better.

In particular, Microsoft Flight Simulator can hit between 30-60fps depending on how you choose to play it. Want it to look nice and crisp? You’ll probably be edging towards 30fps. Want a buttery smooth flight with low turbulence? You can go 60 if you trade some of the visuals. You know what else we like though? The connectivity features here. Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 is a pretty big game, but this laptop will get it downloaded fast! Wi-Fi 6 and the included ethernet ports which will definitely help expand your bandwidth capabilities.

Pros

  • All round powerful
  • Great video and audio features
  • Newest internals w/Wi-Fi 6 connectivity to top
  • Solid battery life

Cons

  • Keypad less keyboard
  • Prone to getting hot

7. Lenovo – IdeaPad L340 15 Gaming Laptop (Best for those on a Budget)

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Specifications

  • CPU: 9th Gen Intel Core i5-9300HF
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4
  • DISPLAY: 15.6″ Full HD display
  • STORAGE: 256GB SSD Storage

Design & Hardware

Lenovo took a very subtle approach with the L340’s design. There’s nothing glaringly fancy or noteworthy about it, but it looks sleek and inviting all the same. The laptop is plastic made, but sports a brushed metal finish and has a very small blue Lenovo badge on the lid. The color scheme extends to the keyboard, with a blue accent to compliment all the keys, which are also backlit.

Performance

The truth is this laptop has the worst spec loadout of the bunch, and is expectedly not as good as the rest of our recommendations. However, it is also the most budget friendly of the lot. Many of you might not care about a consistent 60fps or the prettiest graphics possible. Many of you might just care about being able to actually play the sim.

If you see yourself as one of those people, this is the flight simulator laptop for you. You can squeeze a playable experience out of the L340. Keep the settings mostly on the lower side and you’ll find the 30fps mark achievable. Granted, your game isn’t going to look pretty, but you’ll still be able to play it just fine.

Pros

  • A relatively cheap entry into the world of Flight Simulator for laptop PCs
  • Sleek and subtle design
  • Decent IPS Panel

Cons

  • Keyboard and trackpad leave much to be desired.
  • Poorest performer on the list.

Conclusion

To conclude, we’ve learned that it does take a pretty hefty laptop to run Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020. Luckily, we’re in 2022, hefty laptops come a dime a dozen. Not only is it possible to run Flight Simulator on a laptop, but it’s also possible to have a great experience. If you’re looking for the best experience possible, check out the Alienware m15. If you’re looking to maybe save some money without compromising too much on the experience, the TUF Dash 15 is an easy recommendation. Somewhere in the middle? Why not go for the Zephyrus?

All we wanna say is you’re ready to jump in as soon as you pick a laptop from our suggestions. Happy Flying!