These are the Best 15 inch Laptops this holiday: Dell XPS 15, HP Spectre x360, Surface Laptop Studio, and more
For many users, a 15 inch screen is the ideal size for a laptop. This is a size where you can still strike a great balance of portability and real estate. Most 17 inch laptops tend to be heavy, and 13 inch laptops just don’t give you as much screen size to comfortably multi-task. Because of this, 15 inch laptops are still very prevalent, and if you’re looking for a new one to buy, you’re bound to find a sea of options to choose from. We’re here to help, so we’ve rounded up the best 15 inch laptops you can buy today.
While the 15 inch form factor is popular, it’s not necessarily for everyone. So it may be worth checking out our general roundup of the best laptops you can buy. Here, we’re focusing almost exclusively on 15 inch devices — with a couple of small exceptions thrown in there.
Navigate this article:
- Best overall: Dell XPS 15
- Best for gaming: Alienware m15
- Best business laptop: ThinkPad X1 Extreme
- Best with a 3:2 display: Surface Laptop 4
- Best convertible: Spectre x360 15
- Best for creators: Surface Laptop Studio
- Best budget laptop: Acer Aspire 5
- Best Chromebook: ASUS Chromebook Flip C536
Best overall 15 inch laptop: Dell XPS 15 9510
We praise the Dell XPS lineup a lot, but there’s a good reason for it. If you’re looking for a 15 inch laptop, the Dell XPS 15 is undoubtedly one of the very best laptops you can buy today, delivering an incredible combination of power and portability that’s very hard to pass up.
First, let’s talk performance. The Dell XPS 15 comes with Intel’s 11th-generation Intel Core processors, up to an Intel Core i9-11900H. That’s an 8 core, 16 thread CPU and can boost up to 4.9GHz. That’s already capable of fantastic performance, but it gets even better with the ability to add dedicated graphics up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti with 45W of power. Now, that’s not the kind of GPU you might find in a high-end gaming laptop, but if you want to play some games in addition to using this for work, you can absolutely do that here.
The rest of the internal specs aren’t any less impressive. You can get up to 64GB of RAM and a massive 8TB of storage right off the bat. Or you can upgrade either of those things after the fact, as Dell makes it fairly easy to upgrade or replace the RAM and storage on the XPS 15. Dell doesn’t necessarily sell the XPS 15 as a business laptop, but it gives you the customizability you’d expect of one, both at the time of purchase and once you have it.
The display options you can choose from are also phenomenal, starting with the fact this is a 15.6 inch 16:10 display. This means it’s going to be taller than a typical 15 inch screen, but not as wide, and combined with the minimal bezels, that really helps the XPS 15 feel more portable. The base configuration is a Full HD+ (1920 x 1200) panel with 500 nits of brightness. This isn’t a particularly fancy display, but it’s brighter than many other laptops, even in this price range, so it’s a great start.
The best part comes with the upgrades. You can choose a 3.5K (3456 x 2160) OLED display with 400 nits, which gets you incredible contrast ratios and deep blacks; or you can get a 4K+ (3820 x 2400) LCD display with 500 nits of brightness, but 100% coverage of Adobe RGB — ideal for color-sensitive work. Both of these options also support touch, plus they’re protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 6, making this a true premium-feeling laptop. The real downside here is the tiny 720p webcam at the top of the display, which isn’t going to make you look your best during video meetings.
And that’s also helped by the design of the XPS 15. Despite being as powerful as it is, the Dell XPS 15 is just 18mm thick, although it’s a bit heavy, starting at just under 4lbs. The materials used are also interesting because Dell uses different materials for the inside and outside of the laptop. The outside is made from aluminum and comes in two shades of silver, but the inside can be made from black carbon fiber or from an “arctic white” woven fiber glass composite, which helps the XPS 15 feel quite different from other laptops when you’re using it.
The ports are a bit limiting here. You get two Thunderbolt 4 ports, one standard USB Type-C (3.2 Gen 2), an SD card reader, and a headphone jack. However, Dell includes a USB Type-C to Type-A and HDMI adapter, so you’re not completely out of luck with legacy devices.
Overall, despite a couple of drawbacks, this is easily one of the best 15 inch laptops out there, and potentially the very best one. You can buy it below or find additional configurations on Dell’s website.
Best 15 inch gaming laptop: Alienware m15 R6
If you’re looking for your next gaming rig, the Alienware m15 R6 is the one we’d recommend. This is a very powerful and capable gaming laptop, with top-tier specs and a high-refresh rate display for extra smooth gaming.
Starting with performance, you can get the Alienware m15 R6 with up to an Intel Core i7-11800H. That’s an 8 core, 16 thread CPU that can boost up to 4.8GHz, and is backed up by dedicated NVIDIA graphics, up to a GeForce RTX 3080. Of course, unlike the Dell XPS 15, this laptop is designed to take full advantage of those high-end specs, so it has a very robust cooling system with dual fans, large air intake and exhaust vents, and plenty of heat pipes to drive heat away from those high-power components. In addition to that, you get up to 32GB of RAM and 2TB of SSD storage, so this will handle most modern games with ease.
The display is also a big factor in making this a great choice for gaming, and you get a few options to choose from. The entry-level option is a Full HD panel with a 165Hz refresh rate, but you can upgrade all the way to a 360Hz, or upgrade the resolution to get a Quad HD display with a 240Hz display. Frankly, we’d recommend the latter, as you’re far less likely to notice the difference in refresh rate from 240Hz to 360Hz than you are to notice the difference in resolution.
Design-wise, the Alienware m15 R6 is very much in line with other Alienware laptops. The back of the laptop houses large exhaust vents, with air intakes on each side to keep air flowing through the inside. The back also houses a good chunk of the ports on this laptop. You’ll find a Thunderbolt 4/USB Type-C port, USB Type-A, HDMI, and proprietary barrel charging port. Also on the back is a giant RGB backlight ring that wraps around the ports and vents. You can customize this to your liking, and it’s sure to get some looks if you ever pull this laptop out in public. The Alienware logo and the keyboard are also RGB backlit for an even more customized look.
The right side houses two extra USB Type-A ports, and the left side has a Gigabit Ethernet port along with a 3.5mm headphone jack. The Alienware m15 also includes some goodies you might not expect from a gaming laptop, like an IR camera for Windows Hello. Being a beefy gaming laptop, it’s not the most portable, being nearly 23mm thick at its thickest point, and weighing 5.34lbs. But of course, that’s to be expected, and that extra thickness also helps make room for a mechanical keyboard co-developed with Cherry, with all of 1.8mm of key travel, which is very impressive for a laptop.
If you’re looking for a gaming laptop that delivers performance, smooth (and sharp) visuals, and a comfortable gaming experience, the Alienware m15 R6 is likely your best choice.
Best business laptop: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme
Imagine taking the power of a high-end gaming laptop and cramming it into a compact package that you can just as well use in an office environment. Actually, you don’t have to imagine it, because that’s pretty much what Lenovo has done with the ThinkPad X1 Extreme.
At least in terms of performance, you’d be forgiven for thinking this is a gaming laptop. The ThinkPad X1 Extreme comes with up to an Intel Core i9-11950H processor, an 8 core, 16 thread CPU that can boost up to 5GHz and features Intel’s vPro technology. Not only that, but you can also get it with dedicated NVIDIA graphics, up to a GeForce RTX 3080, making this the kind of business laptop you might want to have if you work in 3D design or other kinds of content creation. You can also add up to a massive 64GB of RAM and 4TB of SSD storage (although storage is limited to 2TB if you add a high-end GPU). This is truly a laptop that can do almost anything you ask of it.
Of course, it’s not actually a gaming laptop, and you don’t get a high refresh rate display here. Instead, you have a base configuration that’s already very impressive, coming in at 2560 x 1600 resolution and a 16:10 aspect ratio. But that’s not all, as you can upgrade to an Ultra HD+ (3840 x 2400) display, which is even sharper, but also brighter with HDR and Dolby Vision support, and even optional touch. Again, this is a fantastic laptop for content creation. It’s worth noting this is a 16 inch display, not a 15 inch one, but being that it’s a taller aspect ratio, the difference in size won’t be that noticeable in terms of portability.
What makes this all the more impressive is the ThinkPad X1 Extreme still feels like part of the ThinkPad family. It has the same classic look, the pointing stick, a Full HD webcam with privacy shutter (and optional IR for Windows Hello), and it meets the same durability standards as other ThinkPads. On top of that, these specs fit in a chassis that’s just 17.7mm thin, but its weight does start at just under 4lbs.
You get plenty of ports too, with two Thunderbolt 4/USB Type-C, two USB Type-A ports, an SD card reader, HDMI, and a headphone jack. There’s even the option for 5G cellular connectivity (not yet available at the time of writing), but you won’t be able to get it alongside the higher-end GPU (RTX 3060 and higher). Overall, this is an incredibly capable business laptop and the best one you can buy if you need that kind of power.
Best 15 inch laptop with a 3:2 display: Surface Laptop 4
We’ve seen some 16:10 displays on this list already, but if you enjoy taller screens, then the 3:2 form factor of the Surface Laptop 4 is certainly appealing. Surface devices have used this aspect ratio for a few years now, and this is a very premium-feeling laptop.
Performance-wise, the Surface Laptop 4 is essentially what you’d expect from a modern ultrabook. It’s powered by either an Intel Core i7-1185G7 processor or an AMD Ryzen 7 4980U Surface Edition. These are two fantastic processors, and while the former is a bit more recent, you might get better multi-core performance from the AMD version. Both models also have integrated graphics, so this won’t really be a gaming PC, but it can handle most day-to-day tasks gracefully. You can also get it with up to 32GB of RAM (16GB for the AMD model) and a 1TB SSD (512GB for the AMD versions).
The display is definitely one of the highlights of this laptop, as it tends to be with many Surface devices. It’s a 15 inch display (though you can find a 13.5 inch model, too) with a very sharp 2496 x 1664 resolution. That’s going to look fantastic no matter what you’re using it for, and that tall aspect ratio makes it fantastic for productivity. Having a tall screen means you can fit a lot more text, web content, or UI elements in complex apps like Photoshop on the screen. Plus, you get touch and Surface Pen support across the board, which is a nice bonus.
The design of the Surface family is also iconic, and it shines through on the Surface Laptop 4. It’s a sleek-looking laptop all round, with a minimalist aesthetic, and measures just 14.7mm thin. There are practically no visible holes on the Surface Laptop 4 — even the speakers are hidden under the keyboard. In terms of ports, the Surface Laptop 4 offers a decent variety, with one USB Type-A, one USB Type-C, a headphone jack, and a Surface Connect port. That last port gives you docking options to connect more peripherals and external displays, but it’s unfortunate you don’t get a connector like HDMI out of the box.
If you’re looking for a premium-feeling 15 inch laptop with a fantastic display and solid day-to-day performance, this is one of your best options.
Best 15 inch convertible: HP Spectre x360 15
For some users (myself included), the convertible form factor is much more appealing than a typical laptop. And if you want a fantastic convertible, especially at this size, you won’t find better than the HP Spectre x360. This is a beautiful and capable laptop that you can use as a tablet whenever you want.
First off, as you’d expect from a modern laptop, this is powered by the latest Intel Core processors, including up to an Intel Core i7-1165G7, a quad-core, 8 thread processor that can boost up to 4.7 GHz. This processor also includes Intel’s Iris Xe graphics, so while it may not be capable of playing the latest high-profile games, it’s certainly capable of handling some older titles or those with simple enough graphics. Additionally, you get 16GB of RAM and up to 2TB of SSD storage, so all your files can easily fit in here.
The display is also absolutely fantastic, and you can get the Spectre x360 with up to a 4K AMOLED panel, which is just stunning. Not only is 4K resolution sharper than you’ll ever need on a display this size, but being an AMOLED panel means you get incredible contrast ratios, true blacks, and vivid colors. And of course, it’s a convertible, so it supports touch and you even get an active pen in the box for taking notes or digital art. The only downside here is the webcam, which is only a 720p camera, and a very small one at that, so it doesn’t do a great job of capturing light.
Easily one of the best things about the Spectre lineup is its design. You get this gorgeous dual-tone look that comes in either Nightfall Black — combining black with bronze-colored edges — or Poseidon Blue, which combines a dark blue tone with more gold-like accents. It’s truly beautiful, and is made even more unique by the cut-off corners under the display. These corners make room for an angled Thunderbolt 4 port and the power button, so they get out of your way when you’re using the laptop.
The rest of the ports include another Thunderbolt 4 port, USB Type-A, HDMI, and a headphone jack, so you have all of the basic connections you might need out of the box. With Thunderbolt 4, you can also connect a dock and other devices like monitors or external GPUs. Another great thing about this laptop is the inclusion of a number pad, which many 15 inch laptops don’t offer.
Overall, this is a fantastic 15 inch laptop, and as far as convertibles go, it’s one of the very best.
Best for creators: Surface Laptop Studio
Alright, we’ll admit it. The Surface Laptop Studio isn’t actually a 15 inch laptop, it has a 14.4 inch display. But if we’re including laptops that go as far as 16 inches, surely we can include one that’s a little smaller, right? Please bear with us here.
The Surface Laptop Studio is Microsoft’s most powerful Surface ever, and it’s packing Intel’s H35-series processor, giving you the choice of an Intel Core i5-11300H or an Intel Core i7-11370H. These are 4 core, 8 thread processors, but they’re significantly faster than Intel’s 15W CPUs, and they still include Iris Xe graphics built-in. That gives you a solid starting point, but you don’t have to be limited to integrated graphics. You can also get the Surface Laptop Studio with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti, which makes the Surface Laptop Studio viable for more resource-heavy content creation and even gaming. Plus, you can get up to 32GB of RAM and 2TB of storage, so you’ll have power and space to spare here.
The display, as we’ve mentioned, is a 14.4 inch panel, but it’s in the taller 3:2 aspect ratio, so it’s going to feel more expansive than your typical 14 inch display. It’s not just a matter of diagonal size, a taller display gives you more surface area, so you get more space for content, text, and UI elements. It’s also a very sharp display, coming in at 2400 x 1600 resolution, it supports Dolby Vision, and based on our review, it has very solid coverage of various color gamuts, so it’s a great tool for content creators.
If all that’s not enough, this is one of the very few non-gaming laptops to have a 120Hz display, which makes animations, transitions, and everything else feel a lot smoother. There’s also a 1080p webcam here, a rarity among the laptops on this list, complete with IR facial recognition for Windows Hello.
The form factor is what really sells this laptop, and personally speaking, that’s what makes this my favorite laptop on this list. At first glance, the Surface Laptop Studio is just a laptop. But then you can pull that screen closer to you and be more immersed when you’re watching a video or movie. Or you can fold the display down over the keyboard and use it for drawing or taking notes. It’s a convertible, but takes a very unique approach to how it changes modes, and it’s fantastic. You can even get haptic feedback with the Surface Slim Pen 2 to make it feel like you’re writing on paper. And of course, it still feels like a premium laptop through and through thanks to the all-aluminum build.
There aren’t a lot of ports on the Surface Laptop Studio, but it’s one of the first Surface devices to include Thunderbolt 4, so you at least get a lot of options for docking, monitors, and even external GPUs. If you were already in the Surface ecosystem before, the Surface Connect port is still here to support a Surface Dock you may have lying around. Still, you may miss some of the more traditional connections like USB Type-A and HDMI out of the box.
Even with that drawback, it’s one of the best laptops out there, and though it’s not quite a 15 inch display, it definitely earns a recommendation.
Best 15 inch laptop on a budget: Acer Aspire 5
All of these laptops are great, but the fact of the matter is not everyone is willing to shell out over $1,000 for a new laptop. If you’re looking for something affordable that still gets you all the basics and performs great in day-to-day tasks, the Acer Aspire 5 is a fantastic option.
First off, the performance here is great. If you want to save the most money, it starts with an Intel Core i3-1115G4, and it’s still a decent laptop at that price. However, we’d recommend springing for the Intel Core i5 model for a little over $600, or you can go all the way to an Intel Core i7-1165G7, which makes this almost as powerful as some of the flagships on this list. Even that top-tier configuration is just $850, which is fantastic value for what you get. RAM goes all the way up to 16GB, and you also get 512GB of storage, but it’s naturally lower depending on the processor you choose.
The display is also a highlight here. Sure, it’s not on par with the other laptops on this list, but seeing a budget laptop with Intel Core processors and a Full HD display at this price is still very rare. Usually, a Full HD display is something you have to pay extra for, but even the models with an Intel Core i3 include it on the Acer Aspire 5. It’s an IPS panel too, so you should get pretty great viewing angles from it. There’s no touch support, but that would add a bit to the cost, and this is meant to be an affordable device.
Of course, the design is where budget laptops tend to cut corners, and that’s the case here too. The display has some large bezels, and the laptop isn’t as light as other models with similar specs, weighing around 4lbs. Still, the build quality is solid, and you get plenty of ports too. This includes three USB Type-A ports, one USB Type-C, HDMI, Ethernet, and a headphone jack. That gives you all the basic connectivity you should need, and while it doesn’t have Thunderbolt 4, that’s usually the case with affordable laptops like this. One benefit of this model is the inclusion of a full number pad, which many laptops don’t have. It even has a fingerprint reader on the touchpad.
All in all, anyone looking for a solid 15 inch laptop on a budget would do best to check out the Acer Aspire 5. It delivers the performance and connectivity you need at a very affordable price. It misses out on some bells and whistles, but it’s overall a great experience.
Best Chromebook: ASUS Chromebook Flip C536
Not everybody is a Windows fan, and if you’d rather use Chrome OS, the options for 15 inch laptops are somewhat slim. Still, the ASUS Chromebook Flip C536 is a great option in the Chrome OS space.
Performance-wise, it’s about what you’d expect from a Chromebook, powered by an Intel Core i3-1115G4. That’s not an incredibly fast processor, but considering Chrome OS is a fairly lightweight operating system, it’s going to get you solid performance, especially compared to most other Chromebooks using Intel Celeron processors. Perhaps more importantly, you get 8GB of RAM, which is going to be very helpful for multitasking. Finally, 128GB of storage may not sound particularly impressive, but it’s important to remember Chrome OS is a heavily web-based operating system, so you won’t be installing a lot of apps locally, and many files will also be on Google Drive.
The display on the Chromebook Flip C536 is also pretty good, being a Full HD panel with a 16:9 aspect ratio. It doesn’t have a particularly high resolution, and it’s not one of the taller aspect ratios some may prefer. But 16:9 is still the most common aspect ratio, and Full HD is sharp enough to give you a pretty good experience already. Since this is a convertible, of course, the screen supports touch input, and you can use it as an oversized tablet. It’s also got dual stereo speakers with Harman/Kardon audio, so you should get a solid media experience out of it.
The design of the Chromebook Flip C536 is fairly unique in that it’s white on the outside, but black on the inside. White laptops aren’t all that common, and dual-tone designs are even less so, so this is certainly something that helps the laptop stand out. Plus, it’s built from an aluminum alloy, so it’s going to feel like a premium device when you use it. However, at 4.3lbs, it’s not exactly a lightweight laptop, so carrying it around may be uncomfortable for a student who has this in their backpack all day.
Back on the bright side, this is one of the rare laptops with a full number pad. In terms of ports, it’s not going to blow you away, but it has two USB Type-C ports with display output, one USB Type-A, HDMI, and a microSD card reader, so all the basics are covered.
Overall, the ASUS Chromebook Flip C536 is a solid laptop, comes in at a reasonable price, and is one of the best 15 inch Chromebooks you can find.
These are our picks for the best 15 inch laptops you can buy today. The Dell XPS 15 is definitely worthy of being considered the best one, seeing as it blends together powerful specs, a compact and premium design, and absolutely fantastic display options. Some may not like the clamshell form factor, but this is certainly one of the very best laptops out there. On the other hand, if you’re like me and love unique form factors, the Surface Laptop Studio is an incredibly tempting option too.
If you have a bunch of CDs or DVDs in your home that you want to be able to play, you may want to check out our list of laptops with optical drives in them. They’re a dying breed, as evident by the fact that not a single one shows up on this list.