Why buy a 15-inch laptop? Well, they’re not only larger than the best 13- or 14-inch laptops, but they’re also often much more powerful. They don’t have to be bulky and cumbersome.
Take, for example, our pick for the best overall 15-inch laptop, the Dell XPS 15. This is our favorite laptop because it packs all the power in a small package.
After hundreds of hours of testing time with the best 15-inch laptops, here’s our list of the greatest you can buy.
Why you should buy this: It’s the best overall 15-inch laptop you can buy.
Who’s it for: Anyone who needs serious power on the go but doesn’t want to take up too much room in a backpack.
Why we chose the Dell XPS 15:
There’s no steadier hand in the 15-inch laptop market than Dell, and its XPS 15 exemplifies the reputation 15-inch laptops have rightly earned: They’re dependable, powerful, and robust. The latest XPS 15 features up to an 11th-generation Intel Core i9 processor (starting with the i5-11400H) and graphics up to an Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti. The XPS 15 is best when you pump it full of powerful components, as it’s not quite as thin or light as some of the other laptops on this list.
That’s not to say it’s large in terms of volume — in fact, the XPS 15‘s footprint remains one of the smallest on this list thanks to its ultra-thin bezels. The 16: 10 aspect ratio ensures that you have plenty of screen real estate too.
Read our in-depth Dell XPS 15 review
Why you should buy this: It’s one of the most powerful 15-inch laptops you can buy that’s not a workstation.
Who’s it for: Anyone who wants high-end components in a package that’s still relatively thin and light.
Why we chose the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4:
You can configure the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4 up to an 11th-gen 8-core/16-thread Intel Core i9-11950H CPU with vPro, 64GB of RAM, 4TB of fast PCIe solid-state drive storage thanks to dual SSD slots, and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 GPU. Although the laptop is expensive, it’s still a good deal for a small business-class laptop. This laptop is for scientists and creative types who need a lot of power in an easily portable package.
You also have excellent choices for the 16-inch display (still considered a member of the 15-inch class) that’s in the productivity-friendly 16: 10 aspect ratio. You can choose between a WQXGA (2,560 x 1,600) IPS non-touch panel, a WQUXGA (3,840 x 2,400) IPS non-touch panel with Dolby Vision and HDR 400, and a QWUXGA touchscreen with Dolby Vision and HDR 400. The display is bright and vibrant, with high contrast and great colors. It also supports Amazon Prime Video and Netflix binging and a QWUXGA touchscreen with Dolby Vision and HDR
Connectivity is another strength. It has two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4, two full-size HDMI ports, two USB 3.2 ports and a full size SD card reader. Wi-Fi 6E offers the best wireless connectivity. Finally, you’ll also find the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4 to offer excellent build quality that should stand up to significant abuse.
Read our in-depth Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4 review
Why you should buy this: It’s the best ultrathin 15-inch laptop you can buy.
Who’s it for: Those who want a highly portable laptop that still has a large display.
Why we chose the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4:
Most people shopping for a 15-inch laptop are looking for an extra level of performance, which is why the Dell XPS 15 is our first choice. However, if you want a 15-inch laptop primarily for the larger screen and don’t need the additional power that a discrete GPU provides, the Surface Laptop 4 is a fantastic option. It is a stunning screen with a 3:2 resolution.
While you cannot put in a faster GPU, the Surface Laptop 4 has some decent options for processors in its most recent upgrade. We tested the AMD Ryzen 7 model, which has eight cores. This makes this ultra-thin laptop a powerful machine for certain tasks. The battery life is excellent, lasting over a day on one charge.
But obviously, the size of the Surface Laptop 4 is its greatest strength. Its 0. 57-inch thickness and a weight of just 3.4 pounds make it an extremely portable laptop, perfect for taking your work on the go without sacrificing a large screen.
Read our in-depth Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 review
Why you should buy this: It’s the best 15-inch gaming laptop you can buy.
Who’s it for: Any gamer who wants a powerful gaming laptop but doesn’t want to carry around anything too garish.
Why we chose the Razer Blade 15:
Finding a 15-inch gaming laptop is pretty easy — it’s where you’ll find most of them, to be honest. Some hit 14 inches, like the 2017 Razer Blade 14, while others venture into 17-inch territory and beyond, like the Razer Blade Pro. For the most part, though, the best balance between performance and form factor can be found in the 15-inch range. Unsurprisingly, that’s precisely where Razer placed its latest Blade machine, the Razer Blade 15 that’s been significantly enhanced for its 2020 version. It is very thin and light, with a beautiful build.
But most importantly, it works well. The laptop includes a 10th-gen Intel Core processor with up to 5.1GHz in turbo mode, an excellent GeForce RTX 2080 Super with 8GB of VRAM, and 16GB of RAM. A 512GB SSD covers storage. The Blade 15 also supports Chroma RGB lighting for any customization that you may want. The laptop has Thunderbolt 3, USB C, USB-A and HDMI ports. It is also ready for Wi-Fi 6. The laptop has upgraded cooling to keep it running efficiently.
Your display options range from 240Hz Full HD to 4K OLED (our Amazon pick includes the 4K OLED option) meaning you can dial in exactly the display performance that’s perfect for your gaming needs. The Razer Blade 15 is a bit pricey, but it offers a stunning look that fits as well in a boardroom as at a LAN party.
Read our in-depth Razer Blade 15 review
Why you should buy this: It’s a great alternative to the Dell XPS 15.
Who’s it for: Anyone who needs a large, powerful laptop and likes the extra design flourishes of the Spectre brand.
Why we chose the HP Spectre x360 15:
The HP Spectre x360 15 is another gorgeous 15-inch Windows laptop. It’s similar to the XPS 15, but it certainly has a glitzier design. It stands out from the rest with its panache in color choices and gold accents.
More than that, the Spectre x360 15 has a few key features that the XPS 15 is missing. Some people prefer a number pad. It also has a 360-degree hinge and touchscreen in all configurations, which is another feature many people will appreciate. Lastly, the Spectre x360 15 has a better port selection, offering two USB-A ports and an HDMI port in addition to the USB-C that the XPS 15 offers.
You can choose between 10th-generation H-series Intel processors and a discrete GTX 1650 Ti GPU, or an 11th-gen Core i7-1165G7 with either Intel Irix Xe graphics or an Nvidia GeForce MX330 GPU. Note that if you like the design and ethos of the Spectre x360 15, you can opt for the smaller and taller Spectre x360 14 or the speedy HP Envy x360 15 instead.
Read our in-depth HP Spectre x360 15 review
Why you should buy this: It’s the best budget 15-inch laptop.
Who’s it for: Anyone looking for a cheap 15-inch laptop that still has a large screen.
Why we chose the Samsung Chromebook 4+:
Budget laptops always come with compromises, and 15-inch laptops are no exception. The Samsung Chromebook 4+ is an excellent choice if you are looking for a basic laptop that will get you by. The Samsung Chromebook 4+ is a sleek, modern-looking laptop that looks almost identical to a MacBook Pro. The bezels around it are quite thin, which makes for a sleek modern laptop that you wouldn’t believe was so inexpensive.
It comes with a 1080p screen, 6GB of RAM, and an Intel Celeron processor. The Chromebook 4+‘s performance won’t blow you out of the water, but Chrome OS makes good use of even lower-powered processors like the Intel Celeron. If your needs are fairly limited, you’ll be hard-pressed to find another 15-inch laptop this good at such a low price.
Why you should buy this:
Who’s it for: Creative and scientific types who need to be able to configure a really powerful laptop.
Why we chose the Lenovo ThinkPad P15 Gen 2:
Today’s thin-and-light 15-inch laptops can get pretty powerful, such as with the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4. However, sometimes you need to be able to configure an even more powerful machine, and that’s where the Lenovo ThinkPad P15 Gen 2 comes in. This old-school workstation is heavy and bulky. It can be configured to extreme settings.
For example, you can select up to an 8-core/16-thread 11th-gen Intel Xeon W-11955M CPU, 128GB of RAM, 16TB of storage via the two PCIe SSD slots, and an Nvidia Quadro RTX A5000 GPU. It will cost you a lot, but you’ll be able to edit 8K video and run machine-learning algorithms with it.
You’ll also appreciate the display options, including Full HD 16:9 IPS, FHD IPS with Dolby Vision, UHD (3,840 x 2,160) IP with Dolby Vision and HDR 400, and UHD OLED with touch, Dolby Vision, and HDR 400. The Lenovo ThinkPad P15 Gen 2 is a true workhorse that can meet the most demanding performance needs.
Read our in-depth Lenovo ThinkPad P15 Gen 2 review
Simply, the 15-inch laptop benefits from the size of its display. First, you get plenty of screen real estate for getting your work done, without needing to step up to a massive 17-inch laptop. The second advantage is that the chassis is larger and can hold more powerful components as well as a lot of battery power. This allows you to run multiple windows simultaneously and allow you to split them on your screen. You will also enjoy superfast processors, GPUs, and will keep your applications running smoothly.
If you crave a highly portable laptop that’s fine for general productivity tasks, then a 13-inch laptop will get the job done. And today’s 13-inch laptops are excellent. You won’t want the typical 13-inch laptop if you’re a creative type who needs to edit complex photos and video, but for productivity users, a 13-inch laptop is a great choice.
If you want a powerful laptop that can churn through demanding creative tasks, as well as provide tons of screen real estate for heavy multitasking, then a 15-inch laptop is the better choice. Although it will be heavier and more powerful, it will also be much larger.
There’s no reason to go with a 15-inch laptop if it won’t meet your performance and display quality needs. Therefore, look for a laptop that can configure fast CPUs and discrete GPUs if you need the power, although a very thin-and-light 15-inch laptop with less powerful components can still be of value. This is where the display plays a major role. You’ll need a high-quality OLED or IPS display with high resolution that can meet your needs. If you’re artistic, you will also want accurate colors and lots of contrast.
Aside from that, you will want to search for the same things with every laptop. A solid build quality, great touchpad and keyboard, as well as long battery life are all important. This is especially true considering the power-hungry display and powerful components. Overall, 15-inch laptops are no different than other laptops when it comes to basic quality and functionality.
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