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The best Dell laptops

Committed to Dell for your next laptop? Here are the best you can buy

Picking the best Dell laptop is no easy task as the company produces a number of great laptops every year, some of which are our favorite budget laptops, or even one of the best laptops overall. The XPS 13 — which packs an almost magical amount of power and functionality into one of the tiniest chassis of all — is a case in point, and our top pick.

There are some other great Dell laptops to consider though. We’ve tested almost everything the laptop giant has to offer, with hundreds of hours of hands-on time with each of them. Here are Dell’s best — as well as few great alternatives.

At a glance

Best Dell laptop: Dell XPS 13

Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Why you should buy this: It’s powerful, has fantastic battery life, and it’s a stylish trendsetter.

Who’s it for: Just about anyone but gamers.

What we thought about the XPS 13:

We’ve been big fans of the XPS 13 for years now, and the updated 2019 version with Intel’s latest 10th-gen Comet Lake CPUs is no exception. It iterates upon the classic design of the year before with the option for a new paint job, a new fabric feel, and improved weight distribution. It’s a little thinner and lighter than its predecessor, but the true reason we love this laptop more than any other is because of how strong a contender it is at its $1,000 price.

Even the most affordable of the new XPS 13 includes a Core i3-10110U CPU, 4GB of RAM, and 256GB of SSD storage. Dell offers a choice of displays, including beautiful panels at either 1080p or 4K.  The overall performance of this device, with workday-long battery life, makes it our continued favorite laptop of them all — and that includes over the other Dells, too.

Read our Dell XPS 13 review.

Best budget Dell laptop: Dell Inspiron 13 5000

Dell Inspiron 13 5000

Why you should buy this: You want Dell quality at a budget price.

Who’s it for: Anyone who wants the latest Intel CPUs but doesn’t want to spend a lot.

What we thought about the Dell Inspiron 13 5000:

Although not quite as premium as the XPS range of laptops, Dell’s Inspiron notebooks are far from budget portable systems of old. The Inspiring 13 5000 is a case in point: if offers the latest components and value-laden specs at very reasonable prices. In fact, you can purchase the Inspiron 13 5000 with Intel’s 10th-gen Comet Lake CPUs.

You won’t get the same tiny bezels as on Dell’s XPS line, nor all-metal and carbon fiber materials making up the chassis. But even so, the Inspiron 13 5000 is a well-build laptop with reasonable dimensions for the money. The laptop also incorporates several enhancements that are welcome at these prices, including enhanced thermals for better performance and a hinge that lifts the chassis bottom off the desktop for better airflow.

You’ll likely suffer some consequences in display quality and battery life, but the Inspiron 13 5000’s overall performance is solid and it brings a great deal of value at a very attractive price.

Check out the Dell Inspiron 13 5000.

Best Dell 2-in-1: Dell XPS 13 2-in-1

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 review
Riley Young / Digital Trends

Why you should buy this: It’s an XPS 13 with a 360-degree hinge and an flexible design.

Who’s it for: Those who want a great laptop and tablet in one package.

What we thought about the XPS 13 2-in-1:

The XPS 13 2-in-1 hints at the XPS 13 design that we like enough to make it our pick for Dell’s best, and adds a 360-degree hinge to it. That provides real flexibility, letting the laptop morph from a clamshell to a tablet with two useful modes — media and tent — in between. It’s not as light as a tablet as something that can detach the keyboard entirely — like the Surface Pro 7 — but it’s useful in a pinch and the media mode, in particular, is awesome for binging Netflix.

The XPS 13 2-in-1 differs from the XPS 13 in some other important ways as well. First, it borrows the magnetic levitation (maglev) keyboard from its larger XPS 15 2-in-1 cousin, but perfected in its second generation. Second, the 2-in-1s display comes in a 16:10 aspect ratio that’s a little taller than the clamshell’s more standard 16:9 aspect ratio.

Third, and maybe most important, the XPS 13 2-in-1 uses Intel’s 10th-gen Ice Lake CPUs where the XPS 13 uses the Comet Lake version. That means that the 2-in-1 focuses more on doing more instructions per cycle and enjoying faster Iris Plus graphics, which the clamshell has a CPU that’s more brute force and extra cores (up to six).

Read our XPS 13 2-in-1 review.

Best Dell laptop for photo and video editors: Dell XPS 15

Why you should buy this: Its display is beautiful and all-around performance is fantastic for creatives of all types.

Who’s it for: Creative professionals who crave portable power and panache.

What we thought about the Dell XPS 15:

What the XPS 15 loses in portability with its larger form and increased weight over the above 13-inch laptops, it more than makes up for in hardware options and screen real estate. Built upon some solid components that promise excellent performance for productivity and gaming, the XPS 15 is one of the best full-size laptops around.

The latest XPS 15 was recently updated to include some new hardware inside. It still has an affordable starting price of $1,100, but you’ll have to bump it up to around $1,500 to get the beefy GTX 1650 and Core i7-9750H. If you plan to do any sort of gaming or video rendering, that’s a must-have upgrade and a big reason to opt for this laptop over even our favorite, the XPS 13. The larger display looks beautiful — and color accurate — in both 1080p and 4K, including a new OLED panel that’s drop-dead gorgeous, though the higher resolution option does bring battery life down quite a bit.

The XPS 15 is a bigger, badder version of the XPS 13 and although it might not be as cutting edge as some of the alternatives, it’s still one of the best Dell laptops out there.

Read our Dell XPS 15 review.

Best Dell gaming laptop: Dell G7 15 7590

Dell G7 15 7590

Why you should buy this: It’s an affordable gaming laptop with real power.

Who’s it for: Gamers on a (relative) budget who want to play at high-detail.

What we thought about the Dell G7 15 7590:

The Dell G7 15 7590 is a powerhouse gaming laptop that offers some of the most powerful components available today at prices that are easier for gamers to accommodate. For example, the G7 15 can be configured with up to 9th-gen Intel Core i9 CPUs for the fastest processor performance and Intel Optane memory for speedier storage.

But the real gaming power comes from the GPU options. There, buyers can choose up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics, which will support the most advanced games on the market today with all features — such as ray tracing — turned on.

Gamers can also pick a display that can keep up, including 144Hz and 240Hz panel options that ensure the display can keep up with the GPU. Other options include up to 16GB of RAM and up to a 1TB PCIe SSD for optimal performance.

The G7 15 is also a solid choice for anyone who wants to do more than just game on their laptop. The keyboard is okay for productivity, and the battery life is reasonable given the components and the target market. Given that you can configure a powerful gaming laptop for around $1,300 means that the G7 15 is also a great value.

Check out the Dell G7 15 7590.

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