Update 7 April 2017: We've refreshed this list to include a new best 15-inch laptop — Samsung's Notebook 9 — as well as new workstation and convertible options.

Best overall

Samsung Notebook 9

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A recent refresh to the Notebook 9 line sees this 15-inch laptop get a 7th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, up to 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a 256GB PCIe solid-state drive, an NVIDIA GeForce 940MX GPU with 2GB of GDDR5 VRAM, and a battery that can last up to three days of casual use. The astounding thing is that this laptop weighs only 2.73 pounds (1.24kg), which is about half as much as the Dell XPS 15. Check out the full review for everything you need to know about the Notebook 9.

Bottom line: For the best 15-inch laptop you can buy, look no further than the Samsung Notebook 9.

One more thing: There is currently limited availability of these laptop outside the U.S. and South Korea.

Why the Samsung Notebook 9 is the best 15-inch laptop

Samsung's Notebook 9 series has long been underrated, and with their latest refresh of the 15-inch model, we have here one of the best laptops around, no matter the size.

These laptops are perfect for anyone who doesn't need a 4K display, a touchscreen, or a convertible feature. Samsung chose to stick with a classic notebook design, and they were able to create something special.

Inside you get a dual-core 7th-generation Intel Core i7-7500U processor with a clock speed up to 3.5GHz, a 256GB PCIe SSD, up to 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and an NVIDIA GeForce 940MX GPU with 2GB of GDDR5 VRAM. You won't be able to play The Witcher 3 on Ultra specs, but you definitely have a performer in the area of word processing, web browsing, video watching, and other work-related activities that don't require a beefy GPU. Of course, thanks to its USB-C Thunderbolt port, you can hook the Notebook 9 up to a e-GPU housing like the Razer Core for some serious gaming juice.

The 15-inch 1080p display has relatively thin bezels (not quite as thin as those on the XPS 15) and a webcam located above. The picture is sharp, bright, and has deep colors. Rounding out this package is a fingerprint reader compatible with Windows Hello, a backlit keyboard, and a Precision touchpad. This laptop starts at about $1250.

Best budget

Acer Aspire E5-575

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The price of this laptop, about $350, is hard to believe considering the hardware inside. You get a 7th-generation Intel Core i3 processor with up to a 2.4GHz clock speed, 4GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 1TB hard-disk drive. The 15.6-inch display, usually the part that takes the hardest hit in a budget laptop, actually has a 1920x1080 HD resolution, deep color, and decent brightness. The battery should last you upwards of 10 hours, so feel free to take it with you while you're on the move.

Bottom line: Budget 15-inch laptops don't get much better than the Acer Aspire E5-575.

One more thing: Take advantage of 802.11ac wireless with MU-MIMO technology for better internet.

Best gaming

Alienware 15

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Dell's gaming division has created here a gaming laptop with a 1080p, 15.6-inch display and a new NVIDIA GTX 1070 graphics card with 8GB of GDDR5 VRAM to power it — you'll have no problem playing current games, and it will easily handle running an HTC Vive or Oculus Rift VR headset. Choose up to a 7th-generation Intel Core i7-7820HK processor with up to a 4.4GHz clock speed and 32GB of DDR4 RAM; this is serious power. Also get up to a 1TB PCIe solid-state drive for a fast Windows boot, and a 1TB PCIe SSD to hold all your games. Configurations start at about $1200.

Bottom line: Love to game? Don't pass up the Alienware 15.

One more thing: Killer 1535 802.11ac Wi-Fi delivers better internet because lag and gaming don't mix.

Best business

Lenovo ThinkPad T560

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When it comes to business laptops, Lenovo's ThinkPad T560 is at the top of the class. It was put through rigorous military testing to ensure it's durable enough to keep up with your demands — use it wherever you go, and enjoy being connected at all times thanks to optional LTE connectivity. For hardware, choose up to a 6th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, 32GB of RAM, and a 512GB solid-state drive. The 15.5-inch display has a 2880x1620 resolution and enough brightness to use even in sunlight, and an optional fingerprint reader gives an added layer of security over important business information. Configurations start at only about $800.

Bottom line: The business-oriented will want to check out the Lenovo ThinkPad T560.

One more thing: Choosing the 72WHr external battery — coupled with the 44WHr internal battery — will give you upwards of 13 hours of battery life when you're using your laptop at high performance.

Best for Photography

Dell XPS 15

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The amazing 4K touch display on the XPS 15 makes sense for photographers; you need to see exactly what you're doing. The 15.6-inch screen has almost no bezel around it, making it seem like it stretches to all corners. Inside is up to a quad-core 7th-generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor, 32GB of DDR4 RAM, and an NVIDIA GTX 1050 GPU with 4GB of GDDR5 VRAM. This is a monster performer for anyone who needs the extra power and 4K display to work with media.

Bottom line: For a 15-inch laptop with a 4K display and all the power you need, check out the XPS 15.

One more thing: Check out the full review for more information about the Dell XPS 15.

Best convertible

HP Spectre x360

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This slim convertible laptop features a 15.6-inch 4K touch display with a slim bezel; it has full pen support for Windows Ink. Get inside up to an Intel Core i7-7500U processor with a clock speed up to 3.5GHz, an NVIDIA GeForce 940MX GPU with 2GB of GDDR5 VRAM, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 1TB SSD. The IR camera is compatible with Windows Hello, you have plenty of ports (including Thunderbolt 3), and the battery will get your through the workday. These laptops start at about $1279.

Bottom line: Need a 15-inch laptop that can be used as more than just a notebook? Check out the HP Spectre x360.

One more thing: Check out the full review for more details on the HP Spectre x360.

Best workstation

Dell Precision 5520

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The Precision 5520's sleek chassis, 4K touch display, comfortable keyboard, and Precision touchpad are all pretty much identical to the XPS 15, but there are plenty of differences on the inside. Grab up to an Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6 CPU with up to a 4.0GHz clock speed, 32GB of DDR4 RAM, and an NVIDIA Quadro M1200 GPU with 4GB of GDDR5 VRAM. This laptop performs. With plenty of ports, including HDMI, USB 3.0, and Thunderbolt 3, your laptop won't stand in the way of getting things done. These laptops start at about $1400.

Bottom line: For a powerful laptop that will be mistaken as an XPS, consider the Precision 5520.

One more thing: To get a better idea of what the Precision 5520 is all about, check out our full review.

Conclusion

If you'd like a 15-inch laptop but don't want to pay top dollar, check out Acer's Aspire E5. Gamers out there will want to have a look at the Alienware 15, and photographers will love the XPS 15's 4K display. Need something strictly business? Have a look at the ThinkPad T560 from Lenovo, and for more power check out the Dell Precision 5520. The best convertible 15-inch laptop is the HP Spectre x360, but for the overall best 15-inch laptop, go with the Samsung Notebook 9.

Best overall

Samsung Notebook 9

See at Amazon

A recent refresh to the Notebook 9 line sees this 15-inch laptop get a 7th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, up to 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a 256GB PCIe solid-state drive, an NVIDIA GeForce 940MX GPU with 2GB of GDDR5 VRAM, and a battery that can last up to three days of irregular use. The astounding thing is that this laptop weighs only 2.73 pounds (1.24kg), which is about half as much as the Dell XPS 15. Check out the full review for everything you need to know about the Notebook 9.

Bottom line: For the best 15-inch laptop you can buy, look no further than the Samsung Notebook 9.

One more thing: There is currently limited availability of these laptop outside the U.S. and South Korea.