When it comes to laptops and ultrabooks, the 15-inch laptops seem to rule the market and with good reasons. The 13-inch and 14-inch laptops are pretty small and portable, but they fail to pack the sheer raw horsepower for any intensive task. On the other hand, the 17-inch systems are loaded with beefy specs, but they are way too heavy and, thus, not quite portable.
We think 15-inches is the sweet spot when it comes to laptops. They’ve got a screen that’s big enough to produce and consume content, but their form factor is still light and slim enough to make them portable. This ideal form factor also allows the manufacturers to house rather powerful specs while maintaining ideal temperatures compared to their 13- and 14-inch counterparts, which can get way too hot with beefy specs. The sheer power from the components such as high-end processors and graphics cards, along with enough memory, makes these machines perfect for intensive tasks such as gaming and editing on the go.
|Dell XPS 15 Our Top Pick|
Processor :10th Gen Intel Core i7-1065G7 Quad-Core Processor (Turbo up to 3.9 GHz)
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|Microsoft Surface Book 3 15″ Best 15-inch 2-in-1 Laptop|
Processor :10th Gen Intel Core i7-10750H Hexa-Core Processor (Turbo up to 5.0 GHz)
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|Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 Best 15-inch Business Laptop|
Processor :10th Gen Intel Core i5-10210U Quad-Core Processor (Turbo up to 4.2 GHz)
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Since 15-inch laptops are the most popular segment of laptops, the market is flooded with them. You can get a 15-inch laptop for as low as $300, and they go all the way up to $2000 and even beyond that. Within that space, you’ve got models that are light and made for portability, while there are a few that are made for extreme productivity and weigh a ton. There are also few models that are light and still pack hefty specs for pretty much anything you can throw at them. You’ll find them in our list of most recommended 15-inch laptops below.
With so many options on hand, it’s easy to get confused while finding the best 15-inch laptop for you. That’s where this guide steps in. We’ve carefully reviewed and hand-picked an array of laptops to help you find the best 15-inch laptop for your needs.
1. Dell XPS 15 Our Top Pick
It’s astonishing yet praiseworthy how much power Microsoft was able to pack in such a light and compact machine. The 4.1 pounds machine, along with the keyboard, can be specced all the way up to 10th gen Intel core i7, 32 GB RAM and a 2 TB SSD. Along with Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti with Max-Q Design, the thin and compact Surface book can handle pretty much everything you can throw at it. It’s designed for productivity and will perform excellently under pressure while editing photos and videos. With those specs, you can easily play modern AAA titles like Star Wars Fallen Jedi at respectably high settings with a stable frame rate. Even under pressure, the Surface book’s thermal performance stays stable and keeps the laptop under 110° F.
The exterior is built out of magnesium and feels robust and strong. Despite the slim form factor, it’s got pretty much all the ports you’d need including USB-C, USB-A ports plus a full-size SD card slot. But the magical part, the centre of attraction, is the detachable display, which becomes a powerful tablet on its own. Microsoft even improved the detaching mechanism on this model after the complaints received on the Surface Book 2. The tablet mode, paired with the Surface Pen, is an excellent package for artists and allows you to draw unlike any other 15-inch 2-in-1 laptops. Although it’s worth noting that the Surface Pen is sold separately. The tablet mode is also amazing for watching YouTube and Netflix on the couch where you don’t need the keyboard.
The only thing that may prevent you from picking it off the shelves is the fact that the Surface Book 3 is not built for the budget consumer. The 15-inch model starts at $2,299 and goes all the way up to $3,399 for the highest specced model.
2. Microsoft Surface Book 3 15″ Best 15-inch 2-in-1 Laptop
Since its release, the Dell XPS lineup has been the epitome of premium Windows laptop, and the latest iteration is no different. The XPS 15’s modern look, lightweight chassis and powerful components make it a perfect pick as the best 15-inch laptop that money can buy right now.
The range kicks off at $1,299.99, which comes with a 10th Gen Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD storage. It can be specced up to an 8-core Intel Core i9 processor, 64GB RAM and 2TB SSD, all of which costs about $3,000. On the graphics front, except for the base model, all other XPS 15 models features an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti discrete graphics card. So, despite it’s thin and light form-factor, it doesn’t lack behind in terms of performance. It can do all sorts of heavy lifting, and if you go with the higher specced version, you can even play demanding games on it at stable frame rates.
The 2020 XPS 15 comes with a refined 16:10 InfinityEdge display, which basically means that it’s got a really narrow bezel on all four sides. Thus, Dell was able to pack a 15-inch screen in the thinnest and smallest form factor possible. As far as resolution is concerned, there are two options, a full HD+ non-touch display and UHD+ touch display. Both panels get bright up to 500-nits, which is enough to work comfortably outside on a bright sunny day. Plus, they cover 100% of the Adobe sRGB color spectrum, making the Dell XPS 15 a perfect machine for color-accurate photo editing and video editing jobs.
There’s no shortage of ports either as it features two Thunderbolt 3 ports, a USB-C 3.1 port, a full-size SD card reader and a headphone jack. Unfortunately, there’s no USB A port, which may be a deal-breaker for some people. The keyboard feels nice to type on and seems similar to the last year’s model, however, the trackpad has been tweaked prominently on the new XPS 15. It’s bigger now, in fact, it’s the biggest trackpad you’ll find on any laptop. Thankfully, it runs on Windows precision drivers, and it has an excellent palm rejection system, so it doesn’t make the cursor move accidentally while typing.
Apart from that, there’s an infrared camera with webcam and a fingerprint sensor on the power button for secured Windows Hello login.
3. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 Best 15-inch Business Laptop
If you’re tired of all the expensive high-end 15-inch laptops that we’ve been going through until now, then this one’s for you. The Acer Aspire 5 is basically one of the best 15-inch laptops you can nag under $600 (sometimes even under $500!).
Despite the low price tag, the Aspire 5 manages to pack the latest specs in 2020. It is powered by a 10th Gen Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB DDR4 RAM and a 256GB SSD. This laptop can easily handle day to day tasks like browsing the web, watching videos, taking notes and writing without lagging once. In terms of port selection, there is one USB 2.0 port, 3 USB 3.0, a USB-C, Ethernet, audio jack and a display port. The keyboard feels clicky and provides a satisfying typing experience. The keyboard is also backlit, something that is rarely seen at this price point.
Design is the only aspect of this laptop that fails to impress, and with good reasons. Acer was able to pack substantially powerful specs in a cheap machine. Naturally, they had to cut back somewhere or the other. The laptop doesn’t look bad, per se, it simply looks outdated. It’s build-out of cheap plastic, with a premium aluminum finish on the lid. The screen isn’t remarkable either. It’s a 15.6 inch IPS panel that is not quite color accurate. The huge bezels around the screen only add to the outdated look of the laptop.
4. Acer Aspire 5 Budget All-Rounder
Lightweight, phenomenal performance and top of the class security are the three ideal characteristics of a business laptop, and the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 shines the brightest in all.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme earns its title for the best 15-inch laptop for business by providing powerful specs in a very light form factor that has professionalism written all over it. It weighs just 3.76 pounds and can be configured with a 9th Generation Intel® Core™ i9 processor, up to 64GB DDR4 RAM, and 1TB SSD. It also has a dedicated Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q graphics card to handle the graphic-intensive tasks. With those specs in such a light machine, you can do even the most intensive tasks on the go. The powerful Nvidia GPU makes it VR capable, and although you’ll look weird doing it, you can actually play all the newest games on this laptop. On the productivity front, that powerful hardware means you can hook up four independent monitors to the ThinkPad X1 Extreme and use it to power your primary work rig.
It’s powered by an 80 Wh battery that can go on for up to 14 hours. Plus, it supports Rapid Charge with a 135W Adapter, which comes included in the box.
The 15.6-inch screen can be configured from four different display panel options with up to 4K OLED and optional touch compatibility. The 4K display is crisp, color-accurate, and the small bezels add a modern look to the laptop. Given that it is a business laptop, the keyboard is exceptional and provides a top-of-the-class typing experience. You get a TrackPoint, the small red dot, nestled between the ‘G’ and ‘H’ key along with the trackpad. The purpose of TrackPoint is to allow users to move the cursor on the screen without taking hands off the keyboard. However, it’s not the most accurate tracking device, and you’d mostly be better off using the trackpad provided. There is no shortage of ports here. The Thinkpad X1 Extreme has two USB-C Thunderbolt 3, an HDMI port, an audio jack, an SD card reader, and two standard USB-A ports, which is a rare scene these days in modern ultrabooks of 2020.
The base 15-inch model of ThinkPad X1 Extreme kicks off at $1,475 with an Intel Core i5 processor, 8 GB RAM, and 256 GB storage and can be configured up to Core i9 and all other top-of-the-line specs which would cost you around $3000. In our opinion, if you plan to use this business laptop purely for emails, reports, and accounts, the base version will suffice.
5. HP Chromebook 15 Best 15-inch Chromebook
If you’re looking for a 15-inch MacBook, then the Apple MacBook Pro 16″ is your only option since Apple discontinued the MacBook Pro 15. Although the MacBook Pro 16’s screen is bigger than its 15-inch predecessor, its physical footprint is just slightly larger thanks to the shrunk bezels. Here are the dimensions of MacBook Pro 15 (13.8 x 9.5 x 0.6 Inch) and MacBook Pro 16 (14.1 x 9.7 x 0.6 Inch) for your reference.
The MacBook Pro 16 is a productivity beast and can be configured up to 8‑core Intel Core i9, 64GB RAM, AMD Radeon Pro 5600M series graphics, and 8TB SSD storage. The 16-inch Retina display can produce 500 nits of brightness and supports DCI-P3 wide color gamut, which displays accurate colors. The MacBook Pro 16 also comes with a very intuitive touch bar up top that can be useful depending upon the apps you use for your work. The touch bar is a blessing for those who produce videos and music as it makes guiding through the timeline a piece of cake. Apple finally bid adieu to the blunderous butterfly keys and replaced them with the trusted scissor keys. The developers will be happy to know that the ‘escape’ key, which was previously a part of the touch bar, is now a full-fledged physical key with 1mm key travel. The MacBook Pro 16 also features the best speaker system on any laptop out there with a six-speaker sound system and dual force-canceling woofers. The whole system is powered by a 100Wh battery with a claimed battery life of 11 hours.
The port selection on the latest iteration of the new MacBook Pro is a bit disappointing. It’s got just 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports and an audio jack. There is no dedicated power input either, so you’ll have to use one of the Thunderbolt ports for charging. On the positive end, the Thunderbolt ports can support up to 40 GB/s data transfer and two 6k monitors at once. In order to get the most out of it, it is better to purchase an adapter. On the subject of build quality, Apple reigns supreme, and the MacBook Pro 16 is another testament to that. It’s build-out of premium aluminum without any plastic in sight and feels like you’re holding a high-end laptop.
The baseline MacBook Pro starts at $2,399. While you can get laptops with better specs at this price point, most people that pick up a MacBook get it for the macOS and its exclusive apps such as Logic Pro X and Final Cut Pro.
6. Apple MacBook Pro 16 The Only Mac Option
If you’re on the lookout for a 15-inch Chromebook that balances price and performance, then look no further than the HP Chromebook 15. On the subject of specs, you’re running an Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB RAM and 128GB storage. On paper, that doesn’t sound like a lot, but you need to remember that this machine is running Google’s Chrome OS, which is a lot less demanding than Windows. You certainly do lose the versatility of a full-fledged Windows laptops here, but the Chrome OS is fast and peppy at what it can do. So if you’re looking for a laptop for just emails, notes, presentations and content consumption, then a Chromebook may better than a Windows laptop.
The HP Chromebook 15 follows HP’s signature design language. It’s built out of plastic, but all the cheap plastic is neatly tucked away under a metallic finish on the deck and a ceramic finish on the lid. The port selection is versatile enough for a Chromebook with two USB-C ports, an audio jack and a dedicated micro SD card reader which can be used to expand the storage. There are also front-facing B&O tuned speakers that will surprise you with their performance.
The 15.6-inch Full HD screen supports touch input, something that can be hardly found in the sub-$500 range. The keyboard is well laid out and comes with backlit keys. The typing experience is clicky and testifying. The full-fledged number pad on the right end is a blessing if you work a lot with numbers in a program such as Excel.
7. ASUS TUF Gaming A15 Best Budget 15-inch Gaming Laptop
HP Spectre x360 is where elegance meets performance. It’s powered by a 10th Gen Intel Core i7 Hexa-core processor, 8GB RAM, and a 256GB SSD. There’s even a dedicated graphics unit powered by a Max-Q variant of Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti. With those specs, the HP Spectre x360 is a productivity beast where you can edit and create photos and videos on the go. Although the GTX 1650 Ti isn’t the most powerful graphics card for gaming, this machine can handle modern AAA games on lower settings. The build quality isn’t compromised anywhere, and everything you can touch is built out of high-quality materials. HP has kept portability in mind while designing this laptop, and accordingly, the HP Spectre x360 weighs 4.2 lbs and features a slim and sleek chassis despite such powerful hardware.
The 15.6 inch UHD touchscreen display is crisp and covers 157% of the sRGB color spectrum, making it perfect for all sorts of color-accuracy work. In addition to the touch input, the HP Spectre x360 also supports HP’s digital pen, which can be used to draw on the screen with minimum latency. Add that to the tablet mode, and you’ve got yourself a proper digital drawing station. The bezels around the screen are also small and thin that lend a modern look to this laptop.
On the subject of ports, it’s got an HDMI port, a headphone jack, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, one USB Type-A port, a privacy camera kill switch, and a microSD card slot. There is a front-facing Bang and Olufsen speaker on the keyboard deck that produces amazing and loud sounds with sufficient bass. The keyboard is backlit and well laid out for comfortable typing. There’s also a fingerprint scanner for secure log-in.
8. HP Spectre x360 15″ Best 15-inch Convertible Laptop
ASUS TUF Gaming A15 should be your pick if you’re looking for a high-octane 15-inch gaming laptop on a budget. To start off with the specs, it’s powered by the latest AMD Ryzen 7 octa-core processor, 16GB DDR4 RAM, a 512GB SSD, and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU with 6 GB of dedicated VRAM. It can easily handle any game that you can think of at a respectable setting with a stable frame rate. The storage, for a gaming laptop, is on the lower end, but thankfully you can upgrade the storage.
Being a gaming laptop, it’s got a 15.6-inch full HD 144Hz display with a 3ms response time. While the high refresh-rate may not add value to the day to day tasks, it comes in handy while playing fast-paced games such as Overwatch or Apex Legends. The bezels around the screen are much smaller than the previous model, but the chin is still quite noticeable. Overall, the display on TUF A15 is great for gaming and productivity tasks, but don’t expect to do the color-accuracy tasks on it.
On the deck, you’ve got an RGB backlit keyboard that marks this laptop as a gaming machine. Since it’s not exactly a thin and portable laptop, you’ve got ample of key travel. There’s also a decent amount of palm rest area to rest your hands while gaming. The trackpad is just fine with separate left and right buttons. Its good for everyday usage, but you’ll be better off connecting a mouse while gaming.
The exterior of the gaming laptop is all plastic as you would expect from a budget gaming laptop, but Asus prides itself on the subject of TUF Gaming A15’s durability. It can resist damage from shortfalls, shakes from traveling, and is capable of operating in extremely hot as well as extremely cold climatic conditions. It also looks good with a sandblasted finish on the lid and brushed aluminum finish on the deck. Overall, it’s a flashy gaming laptop with a presence that’s far from discrete. Since it’s a thick and heavy laptop, over 5 lbs, there is no shortage of ports. It has one USB Type C port, three USB Type-A ports, an HDMI port, a 3.5mm audio jack, and an RJ45 ethernet port for wired connection.
The ASUS TUF A15 is our top pick currently in the sub-$1000 gaming laptops segment. From newest and powerful hardware to fast refresh-rate display and RGB keyboard, it offers almost everything that a professional gamer expects and for a lot less than every other gaming laptop of its caliber. Apart from gaming, it is also an excellent option for doing CPU intensive tasks such as Music Production or virtualization. The new AMD Ryzen CPU inside with 8-cores and excellent multi-core rendering capabilities will help a lot with such demanding jobs.
9. Lenovo ThinkPad P53 Best 15-inch Workstation Laptop
If you’re looking for the most powerful and capable 15-inch gaming laptop and your budget has no bar, then the 2020 ASUS ROG Zephyrus M15 will suit your needs. It packs a 10th Gen Intel Core i7 Hexa-core processor, 16GB DDR4 RAM and a 1 TB SSD. The graphics are powered by the latest NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q with 8GB GDDR6 VRAM, and yes, it supports Ray Tracing. So this machine can not only play the current AAA titles on ultra settings at a stable framerate, but it is also future-proof. The 15.6-inch full HD IPS display supports a refresh rate of 240Hz with a 3ms response time. You can easily get over a hundred FPS on games like Overwatch, Battlefield V and Witcher 3.
Despite the beefy specs, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus M15 is just 0.8inch thick and weighs 4.4 pounds, making it one of the most portable gaming laptops. While its design leans on the sober end, there are hints of the gaming architecture all around it, the biggest of which is the diagonally divided back panel with small prismatic dot-matrix LEDs and subtle ROG branding. On the inside, you’ve got an RBG keyboard. Unfortunately, there is no dedicated number pad. The bezels on display are extremely thin, except for the chin, and the laptop prides itself with an 81% screen to body ratio. Despite the slim form factor, there is no shortage of ports. There’s a USB Type-C, 3 USB Type-A ports, an HDMI port, an ethernet port, an audio jack and a dedicated 3.5mm mic-in port.
10. ASUS ROG Zephyrus M15 High-end 15-inch Gaming Laptop
Lenovo ThinkPad P53 occupies the title of the best 15-inch workstation on our list. It’s powered by an Intel Xeon E-2276M, 128GB RAM, up to NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 16GB graphics and 6TB SSD storage. The colossal specs on this laptop make it one of the most powerful 15-inch laptops that you can buy. The over the top processor and graphics can handle hefty CGI and CAD tasks without a sweat. It’s got an ISV certification for almost all the mainstream productivity Softwares that you can imagine.
On the subject of connectivity, it’s got two x USB 3.1 ports, 3 USB Type-C ports, a 4-in-1 media card reader, an HDMI port, an ethernet port and an audio jack combo. The 15.6-inch display can be configured up to UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) OLED panel and 400 nits peak brightness with 100% color accuracy. This machine is a productivity beast for the pros, and it’s got a price tag for that pro performance as well. The top-specced version will cost you $4,899. The laptop is also quite big, bulky and its weight starts at 5.51 pounds.
That concludes our long list of the best 15-inch laptops that you can buy in 2020. The 15-inch form factor is the most popular laptop segment among both consumers and producers as it allows a high degree of versatility and offer the perfect balance between performance and portability, so there is a 15-inch laptop for everyone out there.
If you’re a student on a strict budget, then stick to the HP Chromebook 15 or Acer Aspire 5 if you need the full-blown Windows OS. The Dell XPS 15, Surface Book 3 and the HP Spectre x360 are the top-notch offerings in the 15-inch laptop space, while the MacBook Pro 16 is your default option if you want Mac OS. The ASUS TUF Gaming A15 serves as an excellent 15-inch gaming machine on a budget; however, if you’ve got a little more to spend, we’d recommend the ASUS ROG Zephyrus M15 or the Razer Blade 15 if you’re looking for a sleek and slim gaming machine.
We hope that this guide helps you make an informed and confident decision on your next purchase of a 15-inch laptop.