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The best 15-inch laptops in 2021

best 15-inch laptops
(Image credit: Future)

The best 15-inch laptops effectively walk the line between performance and portability, packing enough power to handle all your daily tasks in a svelte chassis that's light enough to carry to the coffee shop. They also have a nice big screen that's easy on the eyes, and ideally enough battery life to let you carry them all day without worrying about packing a charger.

Finding the laptop that's right for you can be challenging when there are so many options to choose from. 15-inch laptops are the sweet spot between the portability of an 11- or 13-inch notebook and the hefty power of 17-inchers, which are almost always unwieldy gaming laptops. And thanks to shrinking component sizes and costs, the 15-inch laptop market is full of quality machines — including some of the best laptops you can buy — that are portable, powerful, and look good on a desk.

To help you find the right one for your needs we've assembled this list of the best 15-inch laptops you can buy. Every single one is rated 4 stars or above, most are under $2,500, and some can be had for around $1,000 or less. 

What are the best 15-inch laptops right now?

Right now our recommendation for the best 15-inch laptop you can buy is the Dell XPS 15 because it's a versatile, powerful machine that delivers great performance and a gorgeous bezel-less display in a svelte, attractive chassis. If you can afford to pay the hefty $1k more it costs to upgrade to the Dell XPS 15 OLED, it's worth considering because you get beefy components and a gorgeous 3.5K OLED touchscreen. 

If you love the idea of a 15-inch OLED laptop but want something a bit more affordable, Samsung's Galaxy Book Pro 360 2-in-1 laptop is another great choice. While it's not quite as good a gaming machine thanks to its lack of a discrete GPU, the Galaxy Book Pro 360 sports a beautiful 1080p AMOLED display that will make everything you do on it look better. Plus, it has better battery life than the XPS 15 OLED and comes with a packed-in stylus, making it a better choice for creatives who'd like a gorgeous 15-inch laptop which doubles as a tablet.

If you're on a budget, consider the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex. It's one of the cheapest 15-inch laptops we recommend — you can often find it on sale for less than its ~$800 asking price. Yet it still delivers good performance, a bright screen, and incredible battery life (15+ hours) in a convertible chassis that lets you use it as a tablet or laptop. Oh, and it also comes with a packed-in stylus, which is always a nice touch. 

Read on for all our top picks for the best 15-inch laptops.

The best 15-inch laptops you can buy today

best 15-inch laptops: Dell XPS 15 OLED

(Image credit: Future)

1. Dell XPS 15 OLED

Best 15-inch laptop overall

Specifications
Display: 15.6 inches; 3.5K
CPU: 11th Gen Intel Core i7
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti
RAM: 16 GB
Storage: 512 GB SSD
Weight: 4.2 pounds
Reasons to buy
+3.5K OLED display impresses with beautiful contrasts+Remarkable performance+Spacious, comfy keyboard+Svelte chassis still looks great
Reasons to avoid
-Disappointing battery life-720p webcam delivers grainy, washed-out images

The Dell XPS 15 is one of our favorite laptops here at Tom's Guide because it's powerful, portable, and easy on the eyes. We especially love its immersive 15.6-inch InfinityEdge display, which ditches the bottom bezel for a stunning 92.9% screen to body ratio. The new XPS 15 is also made better by some smart design tweaks, such as bigger keycaps and a responsive touchpad that’s more than 60% larger than that of the previous generation.

Plus, in 2021 Dell began offering the XPS 15 with a 3.5K OLED touchscreen option. If you can afford the extra $1k or so it costs (though you get a few upgraded components bundled in with that, in addition to the OLED screen) it's well worth the investment, as the OLED's deep, inky blacks, vibrant colors, and high contrast ratios really shine when mounted in the XPS 15's eye-catching InfinityEdge design.

Read our full Dell XPS 15 OLED review.

Not interested in OLED? Don't miss our Dell XPS 15 (2020) review.

best 15-inch laptops: Alienware m15 R4 2021

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2. Alienware m15 R4 (2021)

The best 15-inch laptop for gaming

Specifications
Display: 15 inches, 4K OLED
CPU: Intel Core i7-10870H CPU @ 2.20GHz, 2.21 GHz
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 1TB SSD
Weight: 5.3 pounds
Reasons to buy
+Sleek design+Strong performance+Decent keyboard and touchpad+Highly customizable
Reasons to avoid
-Fan gets very loud-Short battery life

The Alienware m15 R4 is one of the best 15-inch gaming laptops on the market because it's got a ton of power for running all of the titles you could want, even in full UHD 4K. Speaking of 4K, its screen is vibrant and gorgeous, so everything you play will look as great as it runs. Its design is also impeccable, with a beautiful white chassis that's also pretty portable. And when it's time to get productive, it's got an excellent keyboard for a comfortable typing experience. 

That's not to say we wish there were some changes. Most notably, its battery life is on the short side, which will leave you hunting for wall outlets. But that's hardly surprising, as gaming notebooks are infamously short-lived on battery power. And like most gaming laptops, the m15 R4's fan can get pretty loud, and its price is on the high end of the spectrum. But for those who want a 15-inch laptop that plays the latest games with speed and style, this is the machine you need to check out.

Read our full Alienware m15 R4 review.

Best 15-inch laptops: Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 review

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3. Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360

Best 15-inch 2-in-1 laptop

Specifications
Display: 13.3- or 15.6-inch 1080p Super AMOLED
CPU: Intel Core i7
RAM: 8-16 GB
Storage: 512 GB - 1 TB
Weight: 3 pounds
Size: 14 x 8.9 x 0.5 inches
Reasons to buy
+Beautiful 1080p display with thin bezels+Great battery life+Remarkably thin and light+Comfy S Pen stylus 
Reasons to avoid
-Bad webcam-Screen could be brighter-Samsung apps feel like bloatware if you don't own Galaxy devices

With its beautiful AMOLED touchscreen, excellent battery life, and comfortable S Pen stylus, the Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 is the best 15-inch 2-in-1 laptop for creatives, students, and professionals who like to take notes or doodle.

While the webcam is disappointing, the Galaxy Book Pro 360 unites some of the latest and greatest Windows ultraportable components with the Super AMOLED display tech and Galaxy device ecosystem Samsung is known for — though that last part may be more hassle than help if you're not already a Galaxy device owner. If you're in the market for a new 15-inch laptop that also doubles as a tablet in a pinch, this is currently our top recommendation. 

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 review.

Best 15-inch laptops: Samsung Galaxy Book Flex

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4. Samsung Galaxy Book Flex

Longest-lasting 15-inch laptop

Specifications
Display: 15.6-inch QLED (1920 x 1080 pixels)
CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i7 (Ice Lake)
Memory: 12 GB RAM
Storage: 512 GB SSD
Weight: 3.4 pounds
Size: 14 x 8.9 x 0.6 inches
Reasons to buy
+Amazing battery life+Striking blue design+Built-in S-Pen
Reasons to avoid
-Hinge could be stronger-Fingerprint reader disrupts typing-QLED display could be better

From its bright 15-inch screen to its strong performance and even more-striking color, the Galaxy Book Flex is a great 2-in-1 laptop, and its nifty Qi-charging touchpad offers the kind of unique functionality we’d like to see other laptop makers toy with.

We also love the Galaxy Book Flex's fantastic endurance and solid performance, but there are some asterisks getting in the way. Specifically, its keyboard takes some getting used to, thanks to a questionably placed fingerprint reader and shallow keys. Still, if you need the best 15-inch 2-in-1 with the longest battery life on the market (the Flex lasted an amazing 15 hours and 44 minutes in our battery test), this is the laptop for you. 

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Book Flex review.

Best 15-inch laptops: Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 (15-inch, AMD) review

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5. Microsoft Surface Laptop 4

Best 15-inch laptop for productivity

Specifications
Display: 15-inch touchscreen, 2496 x 1664
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 4980U
GPU: Integrated Radeon graphics
RAM: 8GB to 32GB
Storage: 256GB to 1TB SSD
Weight: 3.4 pounds
Reasons to buy
+Great speakers+Respectable battery life+Good keyboard+Big 3:2 display is great for getting work done
Reasons to avoid
-Needs more ports and a better webcam-Unsightly thick bezels-Underwhelming file transfer speeds

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 is the closest thing the company makes to a flagship Windows laptop. This 2021 addition to the Surface Laptop line packs premium components into a svelte chassis, and it comes with a clean Windows 10 install that's bloatware-free.

If you're looking for a premium 15-inch Windows laptop to work from anywhere, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 is the way to go. It has a comfy keyboard with well-sized, satisfying keys, as well as a surprisingly great speaker setup. Factor in the respectable 10+ hour battery life and the screen's tall 3:2 display ratio, which can help you read and edit documents more comfortably, and you have a great 15-inch Windows machine for getting things done on the go. 

Read our full Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 (15-inch, AMD) review.

Best 15-inch laptops: Razer Blade 15 Advanced

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6. Razer Blade 15 Advanced

Another great 15-inch gaming laptop

Specifications
Display: 15.6-inch QHD, 240Hz as reviewed
CPU: 10th-Gen Intel Core i7-10875H 2.3GHz
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080
RAM: 32 GB
Storage: 1 TB SSD
Dimensions: 14.0 x 9.3 x 0.7 inches
Weight: 4.4 lbs
Reasons to buy
+Sleek, lightweight design+Great gaming performance+Lots of ports+Easy to control with Synapse
Reasons to avoid
-Lackluster touchpad and keyboard-Convoluted screen options

The Razer Blade 15 Advanced does exactly what you’d expect a Razer laptop to do: it looks great, offers plenty of ports and runs games beautifully. It’s also as expensive as you’d expect a Razer laptop to be; you could easily spend $3,000 on a higher-end model.

The Blade 15's uncomfortable keyboard, unresponsive touchpad, and unintuitive screen refresh rate are less than thrilling, but these don’t do much to detract from an otherwise excellent product — particularly if you’re willing to bring some of your own peripherals to the party.

The Alienware m15 R4 is similarly priced and scoped, and both offer great gaming performance in a slim package, though the Razer Blade 15 Advanced is just a bit lighter and a bit smaller. If you want a 15-inch laptop for playing games, this is a great choice.

Read our full Razer Blade 15 Advanced review.

Best 15-inch laptops: Acer Predator Triton 500

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6. Acer Predator Triton 500

The best 15-inch gaming laptop for great refresh rates

Specifications
Display: 15.6 inches, 1920 x 1080
CPU: 10th gen Intel Core i7-10750H processor
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super
RAM: 32 GB
Storage: 1TB SSD
Weight: 4.6 pounds
Reasons to buy
+Excellent screen+Good gaming performance+Lots of ports
Reasons to avoid
-Short battery life-Keyboard gets hot

If you're looking for a premium 15-inch laptop with great gaming performance — and an especially killer display — the Acer Predator Triton 500 is one of the best laptops you can buy. The latest Triton 500 stands out thanks to its 15.6-inch 1080p screen, which looks great and packs a blistering 300Hz refresh rate for playing the top PC games at the fastest framerates possible. 

The laptop's Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super GPU can handle the latest PC games at high graphical settings, and its 10th Gen Core i7 CPU blows through everyday productivity tasks with ease. There's also its elegant black design, which packs in plenty of ports for connecting peripherals and external monitors. While its performance comes at the cost of battery life and heat, the Triton 500 is a great 15-inch laptop for folks who want great performance and an even greater display.

Read our full Acer Predator Triton 500 review.

Best 15-inch laptops: Dell G5 15 SE (2020)

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6. Dell G5 15 SE

Best budget 15-inch gaming laptop

Specifications
Display: 15.6 inches, 1920 x 1080, 60Hz/144Hz
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 4600H/Ryzen 5 4800H
GPU: AMD Radeon RX 5600M
RAM: 8-16GB
Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB SSD
Weight: 5.5 pounds
Reasons to buy
+Great overall performance+Impressive battery life+Colorful display
Reasons to avoid
-So-so speakers-Keyboard can get cramped

If you’re after an affordable but powerful 15-inch gaming laptop, the Dell G5 15 SE 2020 is well worth your consideration. Its distinctly un-flashy name hides a very capable machine clad in a rather neat if unassuming chassis, for less than $1,000. And despite its price, it can keep up with some of the more expensive gaming laptops, especially at 1080p. You can expect very playable frame rates in the likes of Shadow of the Tomb Raider when running at max settings.

Dell has opted to go with an all AMD configuration, with a Ryzen 5 4600H or 4800H taking care of processor duties, and the Radeon RX 5600M handling the graphics. With up to 16GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD space, the Dell G5 15 SE 2020 is a very capable gaming laptop. You'll have to pay $1,049 for the best specs, but that price also gets you a speedy 144Hz refresh-rate display. A plastic build might not scream ‘premium’ but it still looks rather sharp and could even pull double duties as a powerful work machine if needed.

Read our full Dell G5 15 SE (2020) review.

How to choose the best 15-inch laptop for you

Performance: If you only need something to get work done and watch videos on, don't bother shelling out for one of the laptops on this list with a discrete graphics card. The Samsung Galaxy Book Flex or Galaxy Book Pro 360 are both cheaper than most of the laptops listed, but still deliver plenty of power for getting through your day-to-day tasks. If you do want to play games well, invest in something with a discrete GPU, as well as at least an Intel Core i7/AMD Ryzen 5 CPU and 16 GB of RAM.

Graphics and gaming: Most mainstream 15-inch laptops feature integrated graphics, which can handle lightweight titles such as Minecraft and Overwatch but aren't ideal for graphically-intensive games or heavy visual work. For that, you'll want a laptop with a discrete graphics card, such as the Nvidia cards you can get in the Dell XPS 15 or the AMD Radeon cards you can configure the Dell G5 15 with.

Screen quality: More and more 15-inch laptops are shipping with high refresh rate screens or OLED display options, though you may need to pay extra to get one. If you plan to play a lot of games on your laptop, it's a good idea to get one with a high-refresh screen, like the Acer Predator Triton 500. If you value image quality and plan to watch a lot of UHD HDR videos on your laptop, getting one with an OLED display is well worth it because OLEDs deliver deep, inky blacks and striking contrasts between light and dark. The Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 has a great AMOLED display, and you can also pay about $1k extra to upgrade the Dell XPS 15 with a gorgeous 3.5K OLED touchscreen.

Whichever system you decide on, you may also want to pick up the best mouse for your particular work situation.

How we test the best 15-inch laptops

To find the best 15-inch laptop, we run every machine we review through a rigorous suite of benchmarks and real-world tests to gauge how it will perform during everyday use.

We measure the average brightness and color quality of each laptop's display using our in-house light meter and colorimeter. For general performance, we run our machines through tests that include Geekbench 5 (CPU performance), as well as various 3DMark tests to measure graphics capabilities. We also run a file transfer test to measure how fast a machine's hard drive is, and a custom battery test that has the machine browse the internet over Wi-Fi until it runs out of juice.

When testing dedicated gaming laptops, we run benchmarks for popular games such as Grand Theft Auto V, Hitman 2 and Far Cry: New Dawn.

Alex Wawro

Alex Wawro is a lifelong tech and games enthusiast with more than a decade of experience covering both for outlets like Game Developer, Black Hat, and PC World magazine. He currently serves as a senior editor at Tom's Guide covering all things computing, from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice.