The Dell XPS 15 is our choice for best 15-inch laptop

The best 15-inch laptops are perfectly sized and configured for those who want a bit of extra screen real estate and some extra performance. The Dell XPS 15 is our top overall pick and one of the best Windows laptop options available today. The latest 9520 model has 12th Gen Intel Core CPUs, NVIDIA RTX 3050 Ti GPU, and OLED display, plus there are still 9510 models available for less money. If you’d like something a bit different, we’ve rounded up a bunch of other great 15-inch laptops right here.

Best overall: Dell XPS 15

The newest Dell XPS 15 (9520) comes with 12th Gen Intel Core i5-12500H, i7-12700H, and i9-12900HK CPUs, as well as up to an NVIDIA RTX 3050 Ti discrete GPU with 4GB of VRAM. You can deck it out with up to 64GB of DDR5-4800MHz RAM and a 2TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD. The XPS 15 now has ray tracing and DLSS capabilities thanks to the discrete GPU, but you’ll still want to check out the best gaming laptops for a true gaming machine.

The previous 9510 model saw the two Thunderbolt 3 ports move up to Thunderbolt 4, and there’s still the awesome 3.5K OLED touch display option with an anti-reflective finish and 400 nits brightness available with the 9520 model. There are also FHD+ non-touch and UHD+ touch displays with Dolby Vision support.

The 9520 model is physically identical to the 9510 and 9500 models; this is mainly a performance upgrade. Check out our comparison if you’d like to see some of the major design changes between the 9500 and 9570 versions that have carried over to the latest 9510 and 9520 models. In his Dell XPS 15 9500 review, Executive Editor Daniel Rubino says that the laptop “is perfect for those who want a great multimedia machine and need performance.”

Dell is still selling the XPS 15 9510 models, albeit with limited stock. If you don’t mind going with older processors and slower RAM, you might be able to get a good deal. Be sure to have a look at the best accessories for the XPS 15 if you’d like to get everything set up properly right away.

Pros:

16:10 aspect ratio displays, now with OLED
Powerful Intel 12th Gen CPU options
Dedicated NVIDIA RTX 3050 Ti GPU
Premium aluminum chassis
Huge 86Wh battery

Cons:

Not as versatile as a convertible
Less expensive options available

Best overall

Dell XPS 15

From $1,420 at Dell

From $4,299 at Amazon

$1,900 (9510) at Best Buy

Beautiful display options, stellar performance

Dell’s XPS 15 is the best 15-inch laptop out there, boasting even more impressive performance in the 9520 model.

Best gaming: Razer Blade 15

The Razer Blade 15 should not disappoint those who love portable PC gaming, and the laptops are now even more powerful than before. Razer announced new Blade 15 models at CES 2022, and they’ve now launched with up to 12th Gen Intel Core H-series CPUs, NVIDIA RTX 3080 Ti laptop GPU, DDR5-4800MHz RAM, and PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD storage.

Displays have also been refreshed, with three options from which to choose. The FHD model has a 360Hz refresh rate, the QHD model has a 240Hz refresh rate, and the UHD model has a whopping 144Hz refresh rate. All have excellent color reproduction, with a thin bezel for a modern look.

All of this is contained in a symmetrical metal chassis with squared edges and an overall thin design. It’s one of the best-looking laptops out there, and it’s built to withstand daily use. The keyboard has RGB lighting, and the enormous Precision touchpad is ideal when not using one of the best PC gaming mice plugged into one of the many ports.

Have a look at our 2019 Razer Blade 15 Advanced review for more information about this gaming laptop. There are still plenty of older 11th Gen Intel (and even 10th Gen Intel) models available, which deliver an awesome gaming experience and are generally more affordable now that the new models are available.

Pros:

Unreal FHD, QHD, and UHD displays
Outstanding audio
Excellent gaming performance
Premium build quality
RGB keyboard

Cons:

Keyboard has short travel
Very expensive

Best gaming

Razer Blade 15

From $2,500 at Amazon

From $2,500 at Best Buy

From $1,800 at Razer

The right choice for gamers

The Razer Blade 15 has the right performance for heavy gaming, as well as beautiful display options.

Best design: Surface Laptop 4 15

Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 4 is available in a 15-inch form factor with either AMD or Intel hardware working behind the scenes. This was a rather mild refresh, focusing on internal performance rather than design changes. Executive Editor Daniel Rubino said in his Surface Laptop 4 review that the Surface Laptop’s special ingredient is Microsoft’s attention to detail. This is especially true here; the PC might not yet have realized its full potential, but it’s still a killer laptop.

The Surface Laptop 4 moves up to Intel 11th Gen or AMD Ryzen 4000 Mobile CPUs, as well as Iris Xe or Radeon graphics. There’s no more 128GB SSD option, with models starting instead at 256GB. New Dolby Atmos spatial audio improves the laptop’s speakers, ideal for those who don’t often use a headset. Battery life has also been improved.

Like the Laptop 3, there’s no Alcantara finish option for the 15-inch version. You’re looking at either Platinum or Matte Black colors. As always, the 15-inch touch display has a 3:2 aspect ratio and 2496×1664 resolution with Surface Pen compatibility. New Surface Laptop 4 models come preloaded with Windows 11, and older models get a free upgrade to Windows 11. If you’re looking for a different Surface product that’s just a bit newer, ships with Windows 11, and has a unique new design, check out the Surface Laptop Studio.

Pros

Stunning design and craftsmanship
Wi-Fi 6 and Instant-On
Comfy keyboard and touchpad
11th Gen Intel and Ryzen 4000 CPUs
High-res touch display with inking

Cons

No Alcantara finish
Ports still limited

Best design

Surface Laptop 4 15

From $800 at Microsoft

From $1,300 at Best Buy

$1,800 at Amazon

A worthy upgrade

The Surface Laptop 4 15 upgrades performance hardware and adds some extra features.

Best for media: Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro 360

In his Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 review, Executive Editor Daniel Rubino made it clear that the laptop filled a gap in the convertible market. Its successor, the Book2 Pro 360, is taking things further with an improved camera, louder speakers, brighter display with HDR, and new performance hardware.

The Galaxy Book2 Pro 360 is still super lightweight and thin, but its 12th Gen Intel Core CPUs and DDR5 RAM push power to the next level. Battery life is excellent, allowing you to work longer without a charge. The AMOLED screen is also absolutely stunning, with VESA DisplayHDR 500 and up to 400 nits brightness. An included Samsung S Pen makes for a quality inking experience, and Samsung’s suite of apps only helps on this front.

You can expect strong performance from 12th Gen Intel Core CPUs, Intel Evo certification, and DDR5 RAM, plus the battery is going to last more than 10 hours with regular use. The original Book Pro 360 is still available if you don’t mind using slightly older hardware; it’s also considerably cheaper as Samsung gets rid of stock.

Pros:

Improved AMOLED display
Excellent inking experience
Thin and light with top performance
Decent battery life
Better camera and speakers

Cons:

Still using 16:9 aspect ratio

Best for media

Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro 360

From $1,350 (Book2) at Samsung

From $1,110 (Book) at Samsung

From $1,400 at Best Buy

Super strong performance and a a quality inking experience

If you need a super-thin laptop that is also a convertible, the Galaxy Book2 Pro 360 is for you.

Best budget: ASUS VivoBook 15

In my ASUS VivoBook 15 review, I call it one of the best budget Windows laptops available. That still holds true. It won’t stand up in a direct comparison to the other laptops on this list, but that’s OK. It costs far less, and it can still deliver quite a few positive features.

It has plenty of ports — including USB-C, USB-A, HDMI, 3.5mm audio, and a microSD card reader, and the keyboard with a full number pad is comfortable for typing thanks to 1.4mm key travel. The 10th Gen Intel Core i3-1005G1 CPU isn’t particularly powerful, but it can still handle standard productivity work. This is an excellent laptop for the kid’s homework or for answering emails and browsing the web.

A fingerprint reader adds some security through Windows Hello, and the front-facing 720p camera is surprisingly good. The RAM and SSD can both be upgraded to keep the laptop running longer if required. If you’re on a tight budget, this is one of the best 15-inch laptops out there.

Pros

Lots of ports
Lightweight build
Fingerprint reader
Backlit keyboard with numpad
Decent performance from Core i3

Cons

Display isn’t overly colorful
Battery life doesn’t impress
Speakers on the quiet side
Slow SSD

Best budget

ASUS VivoBook 15

$370 at Amazon

$478 at Walmart

One of the best for less than $500

The ASUS VivoBook 15 does it better than many other budget laptops, getting you a lot of PC for less.

Best convertible: HP Spectre x360 15

The 15-inch HP Spectre x360 received a mid-gen refresh for Intel’s new 11th Gen hardware. It comes with a Core i7-1165G7 CPU, Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics, and three display options. It’s still a beautiful convertible laptop, and it’s one of the best 15-inch laptops if you like to split time between notebook and tablet modes.

Three 4K touch displays are available no matter the CPU. Two IPS options differ in brightness (340 nits compared to 400 nits), while the AMOLED option brings BrightView tech and 400 nits. AMOLED costs the most, but it’s the right choice for anyone who wants the best picture possible. All displays are compatible with the included active pen. The bezel has been shrunk down considerably, but you’re still getting a 16:9 aspect ratio.

A sizable Precision touchpad makes productivity a breeze, and the full keyboard includes a number pad. The chassis has the same gem-cut design as the smaller 13-inch Spectre x360, and it makes for an ornate laptop.

The latest 11th Gen Intel model includes two Thunderbolt 4 ports, USB-A, 3.5mm audio, and a microSD card reader. Ports on the older model include Thunderbolt 3, USB-C, USB-A, Mini DisplayPort, HDMI, and a 3.5mm audio jack. An IR camera for Windows Hello sits above the display, and there’s a webcam kill switch if you’re worried about anyone looking in on you. Wi-Fi 6 connectivity is included.

Go ahead and have a look at our HP Spectre x360 15 review for more details about performance, design, and display. And note that Windows 11 now comes installed as standard with new Spectre x360 15 models.

Pros:

Wi-Fi 6 compatibility
Awesome 4K display options
Powerful hardware configurations
Ornate gem-cut chassis
IR camera and camera kill switch

Cons:

No FHD option
Still using 16:9 aspect ratio

Best convertible

HP Spectre x360 15

From $1,799 at Amazon

$1,799 at Walmart

Tons of power in a beautiful chassis

The Spectre x360 15 is an excellent convertible laptop with powerful hardware, brilliant display, and unique gem-cut design.

Best business: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme (Gen 4)

The ThinkPad X1 Extreme (Gen 4) is now sporting up to an 11th Gen Intel Core i9-11950H CPU. This chip puts out some serious performance, and it only gets better with up to an NVIDIA RTX 3080 laptop GPU with 16GB of VRAM. Add up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 2TB M.2 PCIe 4.0 SSD, and you have a laptop ready for a heavy workload. Like all ThinkPads, it’s designed and tested to ensure it’ll put up with a hard life. This is one of the best Lenovo laptops available, especially if you’re looking for a business partner.

In my Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme (Gen 4) review I called the new 16-inch 16:10 aspect ratio one of the X1 Extreme’s most significant upgrades. No, it’s not 15 inches, but it remains an honorary member of this list. The screen comes in a few different versions depending on your preference. There’s standard QHD+, UHD+ with Dolby Vision HDR 400 and 600 nits brightness, or UHD+ touch with Dolby Vision HDR 400, 600 nits brightness, and anti-reflective finish.

An FHD webcam with a privacy shutter sits above the screen, and you can add an IR camera for extra security. You also get a fingerprint reader, FIDO authentication, and a Kensington lock slot for further security. The body measures just 0.70 inches thin, weighing in at about 3.99 pounds (1.81kg). It has a lot of power, but it remains relatively portable. Ports include two Thunderbolt 4, SD card reader, HDMI 2.1, two USB-A 3.2, SIM slot, and 3.5mm audio jack. Wi-Fi 6 is included, and you can add a 5G adapter for wireless connectivity everywhere.

Note that a refreshed ThinkPad X1 Extreme (Gen 5) was announced at MWC 2022. It’s not expected until June 2022, but if you can hold out it will deliver better performance. It has 12th Gen Intel Core H-series CPUs, DDR5 RAM, PCIe 4.0 SSD storage, up to an NVIDIA RTX 3080 Ti GPU, and a new 165Hz FHD+ display option.

Pros:

New 16-inch display with 16:10 aspect ratio
Thunderbolt 4, 5G LTE
Top-firing speakers, Dolby Atmos
Best keyboard
1080p camera, IR sensor

Cons:

Very expensive
Battery life suffers
Chassis picks up fingerprints
Some display light bleed

Best business

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme (Gen 4)

From $1,908 at Lenovo

$2,529 at Amazon

Your next business partner

The fourth-gen ThinkPad X1 Extreme is more powerful than ever before, yet it remains portable enough to tag along with you.

Bottom line

Smaller 13- and 14-inch laptops might be more popular, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t many great 15-inch laptops available right now. Any of the options rounded up above should please, but if you’re looking for a well-rounded option for any task, we recommend checking out the Dell XPS 15 9520. It’s a great 15-inch laptop, and it’s also one of the overall best Windows laptop options available today.

The new models have been upgraded with 12th Gen Intel Core H-series CPUs, DDR5 RAM, NVIDIA RTX 3050 Ti discrete GPU, Thunderbolt 4 ports, and there’s a 3.5K OLED touch display option. It’s all wrapped up in a compact, light chassis made from aluminum and carbon fiber, making it easy to take with you wherever you go. An enormous 86Wh battery keeps going through the day, and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity allows for fast wireless speeds.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Cale Hunt is a staff writer at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on PC, laptop, accessory coverage, and the emerging world of VR. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.

Daniel Rubino is the executive editor of Windows Central. He has been covering Microsoft since 2009, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Surface, HoloLens, Xbox, and future computing visions. Follow him on Twitter: @daniel_rubino.

The Dell XPS 15 is our choice for best 15-inch laptop