Like their 13-inch counterparts, 15-inch laptops keep getting thinner and lighter, but they’re still the same workhorses they’ve always been. That’s a good thing. They might not be as exciting or flexible as some of the better 2-in-1 laptops, but what they lack in versatility they more than make up for in muscle. Modern 15-inch laptops still routinely outperform their 13-inch counterparts, and usually offer better battery life — after all, a bigger chassis means room for a bigger battery.So, whether you’re in the market for a mobile workstation, a commendable gaming behemoth, or something a little more exotic, there’s something in the 15-inch form factor that’s sure to fit the bill.
That said, here are the best 15-inch laptops on the market today.
Dell XPS 15
Why we recommend this laptop: It’s one of the smallest 15-inch laptops around thanks to some tiny bezels, but it also packs in some seriously powerful components including a fast CPU and GPU.
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.
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 an Intel Core i7 processor, and an optional Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card. The XPS 15 is also one of the smallest 15-inch laptops available, weighing in at just 4 pounds and measuring a svelte 17 millimeters at its thickest point. Remarkably, the XPS 15 is nearly as thin and light as its 13-inch cousin, the XPS 13.
This extra real estate comes with a few perks though, not least of which is the display. The XPS 15 features an Infinity Edge display, meaning its bezels are razor-thin, and in our tests it was incredibly vibrant, hitting a contrast ratio of 770:1, with nearly pitch-perfect color accuracy. It’s also a capable gaming rig — if you don’t mind turning down some settings. All in all, it’s your best option if you’re looking at picking up a 15-inch laptop, and it starts at just $1,000.
The XPS 15 now comes in a 2-in-1 variant too, if that functionality is important to you. It even has the option of an Intel CPU with AMD Vega graphics.
Read our full Dell XPS 15 review
Best 15-inch 2-in-1
Surface Book 2
Why we recommend this laptop: There’s no denying this 2-in-1’s unique and innovative form that gives you a powerful full-size laptop and an expansive but lightweight tablet.
Who’s it for: Anyone who wants to draw or write on a massive slate yet needs a powerful clamshell as well.
Finding a 2-in-1 or tablet that comes in a 15-inch form factor is not an easy task. Thankfully, Microsoft’s latest version of the Surface Book features a massive 15-inch display that detaches from the keyboard to become one of the largest, lightest, and most luxurious tablets on the market today. Coupled with support for a new, more colorful version of the Surface Pen and the intuitive Surface Dial, the Surface Book 2 offers access to a unique ecosystem of peripherals and accessories. When it comes down to it, however, it’s just a super-slick laptop.
If you’re on the fence about whether you should invest in a 2-in-1, a laptop, or a tablet, then you may want to give the Surface Book 2 a good look. This thing does it all, and a little more. The top-end model features an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card, which could mean your Surface Book 2 can pull double duty as a gaming rig, or triple duty, if you count all the other ways you can use it (i.e., on your lap, as a tablet, or flipped around like an easel). Sadly, however, it starts at $1,500, meaning you definitely pay for the added flexibility.
Read our full Microsoft Surface Book 2 review
Best 15-inch gaming laptop
Why we recommend this laptop: It’s a fast and furious gaming laptop that still lets you look like you’re getting some work done.
Who’s it for: Any gamer who wants a powerful gaming laptop but doesn’t want to carry around anything too garish.
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 brand-new for 2018. It’s relatively thin, looks awesome, and sports a great build.
But most importantly, it performs really well too. Featuring an 8th-generation six-core Intel Core i7-8750H processor and a choice between Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q and GTX 1070 Max-Q graphics cards, the Razer Blade offers solid gaming performance for less money than the high-end version of the aforementioned Surface Book 2. The Razer Blade is a bit pricey, but it offers a stunning look that fits as well in a boardroom as at a LAN party.
Read our full Razer Blade 15 review
Best budget 15-inch laptop
Acer Chromebook Spin 15
Why we recommend this laptop: It’s an efficient an economical Chromebook that gives you the flexibility of a 2-in-1 with a full-size display.
Who’s it for: Anyone who likes the simplicity and security of Chrome OS but wants to binge Netflix in comfort.
If you just need a 15-inch laptop to carry to and from class or the office — i.e., the kind of laptop that’s only ever going to open a word processor or send the occasional email — then the Acer Chromebook Spin 15 is a good bet. At just $450, it’s not only one of the least expensive laptops in any segment of the market, but also the cheapest one on our list. To be fair, however, you do get what you pay for. This isn’t a laptop that’s going to run even the most casual game, partially because its budget-oriented design means it’s not very powerful, and partially because it’s a Chromebook.
This also means you’re not running Windows, you’re running Chrome OS, Google’s desktop operating system. Essentially, you’re limited to whatever you could feasibly run in a web browser. However, you can still access cloud storage, check your email, and sign into Slack and productivity suites like Google’s G Suite, and use any number of all the other web applications available. The convertible 2-in-1 form factor is also a plus in that it lets you binge Netflix in style, folding the keyboard back or flipping it over in tent mode. Overall, it’s the Chromebook Spin 15 is a 15-inch laptop that costs a fraction of what you’d spend on even a new smartphone.
Read our full Acer Chromebook Spin 15 review