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The 6 best laptops for Excel in 2024

Dell XPS 16 top down view showing speaker.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Buying one of the best laptops for using Excel isn’t as simple as just heading to the best laptops list and buying one of those. Well, it kind of is but using Excel requires slightly different priorities than your average great laptop. The focus needs to be on processing power and memory usage but it also often needs plenty of storage and even a good quality screen. The latter is particularly important if you don’t plan on connecting your PC to an external monitor or you need to look up many spreadsheets at once while on the move.

We’ve appreciated all that and collated a list of the very best laptops for Excel right now. The list includes all the best laptop brands so you’re gaining a highly reliable laptop at every turn. Below, we’ve picked out six great laptops for using with Microsoft Excel. These encompass different price ranges as well as offering different features such as a 2-in-1 design or utilizing macOS so there’s something for every scenario. Take a look at our options. If you’re in a rush, just go for the top one as that’s our best pick overall.

Dell XPS 13

Best all-rounder laptop for Excel

The Dell XPS 13 in front of a window.
Luke Larsen / Digital Trends
Pros Cons
Speedy performance Storage could be better
Highly portable
Great battery life

The latest Dell XPS 13 is the best model yet. It’s the thinnest and lightest XPS around and weighs just 2.6 pounds. Despite that tiny size, it’s also pretty powerful. It has the latest Intel Core Ultra 7 processor with 16 cores while there’s 32GB of memory which is generally the lowest amount of RAM you want when juggling multiple spreadsheets or dealing with particularly large ones. Its 512GB of SSD storage could maybe be a little higher but for most people, this won’t be a major issue. We’re just thinking of value for money here.

For the screen, there’s a 13.4-inch full HD+ screen with 1920 x 1200 resolution. 500 nits of brightness means you can easily use it outdoors in awkward lighting while it has a variable refresh rate of up to 120Hz. If you want to use a regular HDMI-based monitor, you’ll need to buy a hub to do so as the Dell XPS 13 only has two USB-C ports but each port supports DisplayPort 2.1 if you’d prefer a USB-C option.

Designed to last, the Dell XPS 13 is crafted with machined (CNC) aluminum with Gorilla Class 3 on the screen. Above the backlit keyboard and fingerprint reader is a touch function row of media and function keys, while underneath is a haptic touchpad which is super responsive while you browse through your spreadsheets. Up to 18 hours of battery life means you’re all set throughout the day and beyond so the Dell XPS 13 is an excellent all-rounder.

CPU/RAM Intel Core Ultra 7/32GB RAM
Display 13.4-inch full HD+ 1920 x 1200
Storage 512GB SSD

HP EliteBook 865 G10

Best for handling many spreadsheets at once

The HP Elitebook 865 laptop with the Windows interface on the display.
Pros Cons
Huge amount of RAM Expensive
Large display Little heavy

Designed for business users in mind, the HP EliteBook 865 G10 is supremely powerful. It’s the only laptop here featuring 64GB of memory. That’s because for most people, 32GB will be plenty, but if you’re dealing with some particularly hefty spreadsheets, more is more. Its core specs are powerful so it can handle some full-on working practices. Its 16-inch WUXGA screen means it’s a little bigger than other laptops but it has 400 nits of brightness and 100% sRGB so it’s well-suited for giving you plenty of the right kind of space to spread out a little while on the move. The HDMI 2.1 port to the side means you can always easily connect it to a monitor when you’re somewhere more permanent. It also has audio from B&O if you want to enjoy some music while you work, and there’s a full keyboard with numeric keypad which is essential for spreadsheet work.

Because the HP EliteBook 865 G10 is designed with business in mind, it has some great additional features. That includes being highly secure and easy to manage remotely through AMD PRO manageability. On a more individual level though, the HP EliteBook 865 G10 has HP Wolf Security which keeps your data safe thanks to its preconfigured enterprise-level PC protection for small and medium sized businesses. It also has a self healing BIOS in case of attack while there’s HP Sure Run for protection against malware.

All these things make the HP EliteBook 865 G10 particularly safe and important for anyone whose work is mission critical and needs as much security as possible. If you’re dealing with sensitive data and need some extra power, the HP EliteBook 865 G10 is always there to reassure you.

CPU/RAM AMD Ryzen 7 Pro 7840HS/64GB RAM
Display 16-inch WUXGA 1920 x 1200
Storage 1TB SSD

Dell XPS 16

Best for using Excel on the move

Dell XPS 16 front angled view showing display and keyboard.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends
Pros Cons
Large display Limited storage for price
Slick design Not as lightweight as others
Able to play some games

Continuing the trend that you can’t go wrong with Dell, the Dell XPS 16 is a great option if you want strong performance but with a screen that means you can get plenty done while on the move without being dependent on an external monitor. This model has the latest Intel Core Ultra 7 155H processor along with 32GB of memory and 512GB of SSD storage. We’d have preferred to see more storage given the price involved but it’s a small concession to make and you could always add on one of the best external hard drives.

For the screen, you get a 16.3-inch full HD display with 1920 x 1200 resolution, anti-glare properties, and 500 nits of brightness. Unusually too, this is the only laptop on this list that has a dedicated graphics card with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 meaning you could play some games in-between your spreadsheet sessions.

There’s no numeric keypad here which isn’t ideal but the backlit keyboard looks great and has a fingerprint reader for your needs. For the most part, we’re expecting the bulk of your Excel work to be conducted at a desk so add on a keyboard to reap the easiest results. You get three USB-C ports along with Bluetooth 5.4 so you’re all set for however you plan on connecting your accessories. An HDMI adapter is included if you want to hook up a monitor too.

The killer feature behind why the Dell XPS 16 is so good when used portably is the impressive battery life of up to 28 hours which means you can happily use it throughout the day. Battery life estimates can be a little optimistic but when it’s this high, you’re still all set for a productive day.

CPU/RAM Intel Core Ultra 7/32GB RAM
Display 16.3-inch full HD+ 1920 x 1200
Storage 512GB SSD storage

ThinkPad X1 Yoga

Best 2-in-1 option

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga in tent mode on a white background.
Pros Cons
Highly flexible display 2-in-1 design won’t be necessary for everyone
Plenty of storage
Includes stylus

If you want a laptop for Excel that’s a little different from the usual route, check out the ThinkPad X1 Yoga. It’s a 2-in-1 laptop so you can easily transfer it to tent or presentation mode. You can also use it as a tablet if you prefer to use the stylus or your finger to perform certain operations. Ultimately the advantage here is if you want to present figures to someone, it’s easier to do so in a portable format here than with a regular laptop.

The ThinkPad X1 Yoga is also pretty powerful. It has the 13th-generation Intel Core i7-1365U processor powering proceedings along with 32GB of memory so it’s just what you need for dealing with Excel and other business-focused apps. Refreshingly, there’s 1TB of SSD storage so there’s plenty of room for all your files. The aforementioned screen is a 14-inch model with 1920 x 1200 resolution, 100% sRGB and an LED backlight so it looks great, while also being a touchscreen display.

Elsewhere, useful extras include a 1080p full HD webcam while there’s an integrated stylus for being more exact with your touches. While not relating to Excel, there are four integrated AI-based noise-cancelling mics with Dolby Voice and four speakers with Dolby Atmos, so it’s great for taking video calls via the 1080p full HD webcam. It all comes together to ensure that the ThinkPad X1 Yoga is great for all your productivity needs — Excel or otherwise.

CPU/RAM 13th-generation Intel Core i7-1365U/32GB RAM
Display 14-inch WUXGA 1920 x 1200 touchscreen
Storage 1TB SSD storage

Dell XPS 13

Best budget option

The Dell XPS 13, open on a table in front of a window.
XPS 13 9315 Digital Trends
Pros Cons
Affordable Little slower than others here
Lightweight build

The older Dell XPS 13 is likely to be phased out soon but it remains a great option for anyone on a budget who still wants a well-made laptop. If you’re handling just a few relatively lightweight spreadsheets in Excel, the Dell XPS 13 will be just fine if a little slower than other models here. This particular model has a 12th-generation Intel Core i5-1230U processor, 16GB of memory, and 512GB of SSD storage. Yup, that means half the RAM of others here but that’s still often satisfactory for your needs. It’s the lowest we’d consider for Excel and other tasks similar to it. You can even cut costs further by reducing the storage if you want down to 256GB but we’d recommend holding fast at 512GB as 256GB can be pretty limiting these days.

The Dell XPS 13 may be cheaper but it still has potential when it comes to upgrades. It has two USB-C ports for hooking up accessories or hubs. It also has adapters for your 3.5mm headset and any USB-A devices you need to use. The screen is a 13.4-inch full HD+ model with 1920 x 1200 resolution and 500 nits of brightness. It’s a little small for complex spreadsheets but it’s fine for the basics.

That’s kind of the thinking behind the Dell XPS 13. It’s ideal as a simple and basic entry point to the world of Excel. Thin and lightweight, you can take it around with you easily enough and you’re still guaranteed up to 12 hours of battery life which is great going.

CPU/RAM 12th-generation Intel Core i5-1230U/16GB RAM
Display 13.4-inch full HD+ 1920 x 1200
Storage 512GB SSD storage

Apple MacBook Pro M3 Pro

Best macOS option

Apple MacBook Pro 16 front angled view showing display and keyboard.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends
Pros Cons
Speedy performance Storage could be higher
Great screen

One of the best MacBooks around, the Apple MacBook Pro with M3 Pro is a true powerhouse that’s going to easily cut through all your spreadsheets. It runs macOS instead of Windows but Microsoft Excel is available for Mac as well as other spreadsheet software so there’s nothing to lose here. With its 12-core CPU and huge 36GB of memory, its performance flies and you’re going to love how fast the MacBook Pro is.

Alongside the core specs, the MacBook Pro with M3 Pro has a gorgeous 16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display. It has Extreme Dynamic Range, over 1,000 nits of brightness for HDR content, while there’s up to 600 nits for SDR content. It also has pro reference modes so it looks truly gorgeous. This may not be truly essential for working with spreadsheets but its sharpness is kinder on your eyes which is always a welcomed move. Its bigger size is useful too as you have more room to work with.

We wish the MacBook Pro had more storage than just 512GB at this price but it’s not a huge barrier. You could always add an external hard drive. Similarly, you can easily hook it up to a HDMI-based monitor or TV for more screen space. It’s the speed that you’ll love most with extras like the Magic Keyboard with Touch ID support, a 1080p FaceTime HD camera, studio-quality three-mic array, and six-speaker sound system all sweetening the deal.

CPU/RAM M3 Pro 12-core, 18-core GPU/36GB RAM
Display 16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR
Storage 512GB SSD storage

How we chose these laptops for Excel

Buying a laptop specifically with Excel in mind requires a slightly different way of thinking than simply buying any laptop. When we picked out these laptops for Excel, we considered some key elements that you should also think about before buying. Here’s what to consider.

What’s your budget?

It’s an obvious question for any purchase but never forget it. How much can you afford to spend on a laptop for Excel? It’s good to plan accordingly, as with any expensive purchase. Generally, the more you spend, the faster the laptop (we’ll get to that) will be, but if you can’t afford it, you can still find some great bargains by looking around for slightly older models, older processors, and so forth. Don’t go too far back though. That’s why we’ve focused on processors from the last few years.

Focus on processing power and memory

Excel can use up a ton of memory and also needs a fast processor to work well. Aim for 16GB of RAM as your absolute minimum but you really need 32GB if you want to plan ahead or you manage a lot of large spreadsheets. Similarly, the processor needs to be relatively recent so you’re not slowed down too much. These figures tend to relate to your budget so that’s why it’s important to figure out what you can afford.

Think about flexibility

For work purposes, it’s important to have a laptop that can easily be adapted to a desktop arrangement. That means you want to be able to plug in an external monitor as well as accessories like a keyboard or mouse. Frustratingly, many laptops lack a numeric keypad which is an important detail for Excel-based work so that’s where being able to connect a keyboard either via Bluetooth or via a USB port. We’ve listed some that have numeric keypads but it’s far from guaranteed in a bid to keep laptops more lightweight and portable.

Do you want any fun extras?

Your work might be focused on Excel but we all take breaks. That’s where having a laptop with a great sound system can help, giving you the chance to listen to some great music. Alternatively, a laptop with a dedicated graphics card means you can play a game during your downtime. Even a 2-in-1 laptop can be useful as it typically makes it easier to watch a movie on the move by putting it into presentation mode. None of these are essentials but while you’re investing in a new laptop, it’s important to think if you solely plan on using it as a work machine or if you have other aims too. After all, it’s an expensive purchase for just one task.

How much do you use Excel?

If your life is all about spreadsheets and organization then go for a laptop from this list — one that focuses on helping you with Excel. However, if you’re only actually juggling a few spreadsheets at a time or not even dealing with any particularly large ones, you might not need to think so deeply. A more general laptop should suffice or even one targeted at other purposes. Think long and hard about what your core priority actually is.

This article is managed and created separately from the Digital Trends Editorial team.

Editors' Recommendations

Jennifer Allen

Jennifer Allen is a technology writer with over 10 years of experience. She primarily writes about the best deals coverage for Digital Trends but also has a keen interest in Bluetooth speakers, smart home technology, wearables, and all things gaming.

As well as writing for Digital Trends, she regularly contributes at TechRadar, Lifewire, Mashable, and numerous others. She's also featured on the BBC. In her spare time, she watches many movies, plays many games, and enjoys the outdoors.

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