The best 15-inch laptops tow the line between performance and portability. They pack enough power to handle daily tasks in a slim chassis that's light enough to carry to your local cafe, with big screens that won't strain your eyes and enough battery life to last all day.
Finding the ideal laptop for you can be challenging because 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. 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 device for your needs, we've assembled this list of the best 15-inch laptops you can buy, based on our own hands-on testing and review of dozens and dozens of the top models from leading manufacturers. And stay tuned for the best Black Friday deals if you're looking to save a bit of money during the holidays!
The best 15-inch laptops you can buy today
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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.
The 15-inch MacBook Air delivers some of the best battery life you can get from a laptop this size, with the M2 model lasting roughly 15 hours in our battery life test. But you get so much more than great battery life with this MacBook.
Like its smaller 13-inch sibling, the MacBook Air 15-inch packs the powerful Apple M2 chip, a gorgeous Liquid Retina display and the sleek design introduced with the MacBook Pro line in 2021. Though it’s not as powerful as those Pro laptops, the 15-inch MacBook Air packs enough punch for most people. Despite its larger size, this is still one of the lightest and thinnest laptops out there, and the 1080p FaceTime HD camera and killer speakers will ensure you have a premium experience.
Read our full MacBook Air 15-inch M2 review.
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.
The Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro 360 ($1,249 to start) is an ultra-thin 2-in-1 laptop that's tailor-made for people who are always on the go. Like last year's Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360, this iteration features a gorgeous AMOLED screen that's perfect for media consumption. It's also ideal for work thanks to its speedy performance.
Though a Windows laptop at its core, the Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro 360 comes loaded with a slew of Samsung software. This could be good or bad, depending on how invested you are in the Samsung ecosystem. If you are, then you'll find that this 2-in-1 pairs nicely with your Samsung tablets and phones. Otherwise, all of these applications are effectively bloatware.
Despite the middling webcam and Samsung bloatware, the Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro 360 has a lot going for it and is a 2-in-1 we highly recommend to those who are in the market for a powerful, portable laptop that pairs nicely with Samsung devices.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.