When 17-inch laptops are too big and 13 and 14-inch systems are too small, the best 15-inch laptops are there to fill that medium gap in your life. When it comes to portability, performance, and real estate display, 15-inch laptops are a top choice as they split the difference between slim ultraportables and bulky desktop replacement. And with laptop manufacturers getting smarter with the design, notebooks are becoming lighter and slimmer across the board, making the decision to put it in the bag so much easier.
Even better, although 15-inches are getting thinner, in many cases it’s not due to sacrificing performance with many laptops with powerful processors, graphics cards, and SSDs. In other words, for those of us who love the middle, it’s a great time to invest in a 15-inch laptop. But the question is, which one?
Best 15-inch Laptops
In the course of the year, our team thoroughly vetted more than 100 laptops. We use rigorous benchmarks, hands-on testing, and comparisons to separate the wheat from the chaff. We’ve identified some of the best 15-inch laptops on the market based on budget and use cases.
Dell XPS 15
Best 15-inch laptop
Like the latest Dell XPS 13, the XPS 15 2020 makes one of the best laptops available. That’s mostly thanks to an even more immersive 15.6-inch InfinityEdge display, which throws out the bottom edge of the screen for a stunning 92.9% aspect to body ratio. The new XPS 15 is also enhanced by several smart design adjustments, including larger keyboards and a responsive touchpad more than 60% larger than the previous generation.
Don’t be fooled by its sleek and stylish design either; the XPS 15 2020 is an absolute workhorse. Its 10th Gen Intel’s Core processors can juggle multiple tasks with ease, and it’s optional Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1650 Ti GPU gives us some serious muscle for graphics and gaming. Factor in a pair of impressively loudspeakers and stable battery life for a 4K laptop, and the new Dell XPS 15 2020 is one of the best 15-inch laptops that you can buy.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme
A powerful 15-inch laptop
If you have the resources for an unstoppable workhorse, Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Extreme mobile workstation is the best laptop to program for you. It gets our vote as one of the best Lenovo laptops for many reasons. It has different configurations at your fingertips, depending on your needs and budget. Still, in its most basic way, it’s already pretty powerful, packaged with a rugged graphics card in a robust carbon fiber and aluminum package that will survive any office or field. Currently, this is the best 15-inch laptop that you can buy right now.
MSI GS66 Stealth
15-inch compact gaming laptop
The MSI GS66 Stealth is a sparkling font. From its stellar graphics and overall performance, lightning-fast transfer speeds, and surprising stamina, there’s just a lot of gain under that 0.7-inch chassis. Not to mention the beautiful display and customizable keyboard. With the hands down, it’s a great gaming laptop that looks good and plays hard.
What makes the Stealth stand out is the battery life. The notebook has a 99.9-watt-hour battery, which is the most massive battery the TSA allows onboard an airplane. The laptop lasted more than 6 hours on our battery test. The laptop also dominated our gaming and overall performance thanks to the system’s 10th generation Intel Core i7 processor and an Nvidia’s GeForce 2080 Super Max-Q GPU. Overall, this is one of the best 15-inch laptops right now.
Microsoft Surface Book 3
A premium 2-in-1 detachable laptop
The 15-inch version of Microsoft’s Surface Book 3 is a stunning technical performance that packs a powerful Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU into the basics of a detachable 2-in-1. With that kind of graphics power, you can edit 4K videos or create professional 3D animations while connected to the keyboard and then turn off the screen for drawing or taking notes. Surface Book 2 also features a brilliant PixelSense screen, a powerful Intel 10th Gen Core i7 CPU, and over 11 hours of battery life in laptop mode. Overall, this is one of the best 2-in-1 laptops right now.
Asus ProArt StudioBook 15
Powerful performance in a sleek design
The slim laptop delivers excellent performance thanks to the Core i7 CPU, 32GB RAM, and Nvidia’s RTX 2060 GPU. It also has a stunning 4K panel that can compete with the best of them. However, there are a few frustrating omissions and disturbing drawbacks to consider before buying the ProArt StudioBook 15. Because of this, the ProArt StudioBook 15 barely misses its chance to be among the best 15-inch laptops.
The 15.6-inch, 4K screen on the StudioBook 15 is fantastic. The detailed panel has vibrant, accurate colors, and the matte finish prevents reflections from getting in the way when editing photos or videos. The Asus ProArt StudioBook 15 has an Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2060 GPU with 6GB of VRAM. The ProArt StudioBook 15 is equipped with an Intel Core i7-9750H CPU and 32GB RAM. Overall, this is one of the best 15-inch laptops.
Alienware M15 R3
One of the best gaming laptops
Dell’s Alienware gaming laptop line has established itself as one of the very best on the market. But by 2020, it’s back and better than ever, rocking the best gaming internals that money can buy. Of course, that means the configurations cost a nice penny, but if you have the money to save, it’s definitely worth the splurge because of its sublime gaming performance. That’s without factoring in its quirky yet attractive design, excellent build quality, and display with fast refresh rates. We had been fans of the line since its creation a few years ago, and that hasn’t changed. Overall, this is one of the best 15-inch laptops.
HP Spectre x360 15-inch
15-inch 4K OLED laptop in a 2-in-1 form factor
What do you get when you combine a luxurious design with serious power? If you’re talking about laptops, you’re probably talking about the HP Spectre x360. In addition to a gloriously vivid touchscreen, you get an Intel Core i7 CPU, an Nvidia GeForce Mx150 GPU, 16GB RAM, and a 1TB SSD, all in a sleek, foldable aluminum chassis. But the piece the resistor is the 4K OLED panel that is stunningly beautiful.
And while it has discreet graphics, the x360 is aimed at creative professionals, allowing consumers to quickly transform from a traditional laptop to a tablet to a tent stand. However, with only 7 hours and 46 minutes of battery life, you’ll want to keep the power cord handy. But overall, the 15-inch OLED Spectre x360 is an excellent laptop with a truly stunning display and great features that consumers and professionals will appreciate.
Razer Blade 15 (OLED)
The best 15-inch 4K OLED gaming laptop
Besides a beautiful 4K display with G-Sync technology, the Razer Blade 15 is the thinnest desktop replacement. It clocked around 438 nits of brightness and 243% of the sRGB color spectrum. The Core i9 processor and the Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU will drive you crazy. Not to mention the fact that it took more than 4 hours on our battery test.
Gaming is a feast for the Blade 15. Playing through Far Cry New Dawn, we were impressed by the golden yuka plants and the blue-green hummingbird buzzing and feeding it. The green meadows were dotted with neon pink flowers. The details were clear enough that we noticed the bark of each tree. Some had the usual texture you would expect, while others were stripped bare by grazing by the local fauna, and others were covered with moss. Overall, this is one of the best 15-inch laptops.
Dell G5 15 SE
The best 15-inch budget gaming laptop
If you’re looking for an affordable but well-prepared gaming laptop, the Dell G5 15 SE 2020 is worth considering. Its un-flashy name hides a highly capable machine clad in a rather neat and modest chassis, for less than $1,000. And despite its price, it can keep up with some more expensive gambling laptops, especially at 1080p. You can expect very playable framerates in the form of Shadow of the Tomb Raider when running at maximum settings.
Dell has chosen to deal with an all AMD configuration, with a Ryzen 5 4600H or 4800H taking care of the processor tasks, and the Radeon RX 5600M taking care of the graphics. With up to 16GB RAM and 1 TB of SSD space, the Dell G5 15 SE 2020 is a highly capable gaming laptop. You will have to pay $1,049 for the best specifications, but that price also gives you a fast 144Hz refresh rate display. A plastic case may not scream ‘premium,’ but it still looks pretty sharp and can even perform double tasks as a powerful work machine when needed.
Acer Aspire 5
The best 15-inch budget laptop
The Acer Aspire 5 proves that you don’t have to spend a lot to get a great laptop. This notebook has a full HD screen that is pretty bright, so it’s great for surfing the web, doing quick photo editing, and watching videos on Netflix, YouTube, or Disney Plus. And it has all the power you want for everyday tasks and multitasking, thanks to a 10th generation Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of SSD. It’s all packed in a pretty lightweight 3.8-pound package.
The most pleasant surprise with the Aspire 5 is battery life. This laptop lasted almost 9 hours on our web surf battery test, which is very good for a 15-inch system. There are a few things we don’t like about this budget laptop; while the lid is aluminum, the rest of the laptop is made of plastic. You shouldn’t expect to play the latest games either. But overall, the Aspire 5 is one of the best laptops that you can buy right now.