Update 24 March 2017: This article has been updated with a new choice for Best Business and Best Workstation laptops.

Best overall

Dell XPS 13

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It's pretty well known by this point how much we love the Dell XPS 13. Its 1800p, 13.3-inch touch display sits in a chassis that would normally house an 11-inch screen, which thanks to an almost complete lack of bezel. A 7th-generation Intel Core i7 processor keeps things humming along smoothly, and up to 16GB of RAM ensures you can power through anything you need to accomplish. With a battery that will last you through a workday, the XPS 13 really is not only one of the best Dell laptops, it is one of the best laptops, period.

Bottom line: For the best Dell laptop there is, check out the Dell XPS 13.

One more thing: Our collection of the best Dell deals has some additional savings on an XPS 13. This is the best place to find the latest deals, discounts, and coupons on Dell laptops.

Why the Dell XPS 13 in the best

This small, light powerhouse boasts a beautiful display, comfortable keyboard, and a battery that will last you through a workday.

The Dell XPS 13 is an all-around fantastic laptop, but the thing that really sets it apart from others is its body design and display. In order to fit a 13.3-inch touch display into the undersized chassis, Dell removed nearly all of the bezel — the screen practically stretch from edge to edge. It's a beautiful display to look at, especially with the 3200x1800 resolution.

The outer body of the XPS 13 is made from a durable aluminum, and the bottom has some grippy rubber bumpers that keep the laptop from slipping around. It looks great when it's closed, and when you open it, the black carbon fiber on the palm rests and around the keyboard and trackpad is a nice contrast. The keyboard on the XPS 13 has perfectly spaced keys and a decent amount of key travel which makes it extremely comfortable to type on.

As far as performance goes, you're getting a 7th-generation Intel Core i7-7500U processor with a clock speed up to 3.5GHz, 16GB of DDR3 RAM, and Intel HD Graphics. The XPS 13 is perfect for a medium workload — word processing, web browsing, and some multimedia editing — as well as some light to medium gaming. Up to a 1TB solid-state drive will hold all your files and will boot Windows 10 extremely fast, and a 60wHR battery will keep you on the job for an entire workday and more.

Configurations of the Dell XPS 13 start at about $800 for a non-touch version, all the way up to about $2300 for a touch version with the best hardware Dell has to offer. Don't forget to have a look at our selection of the best Dell laptop deals available now.

Best budget

Dell Inspiron 11 3000 2-in-1

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The Inspiron 11 3000 2-in-1 is a great little package despite the low price you'll pay. It comes with up to a 7th-generation Intel Core m3-7Y30 processor with a 2.60GHz clock speed, 4GB of DDR3L RAM, and a 128GB solid-state drive. The display sits at 11.6 inches with a 1366x768 resolution, and has full touch function to work with the convertible design — use the laptop in tent, stand, tablet, or standard notebook mode. Configurations start at about $250 for a Celeron processor, and all the way to up about $450 for the new Kaby Lake m3 processor.

Bottom line: If you're a fan of Dell laptops but you don't want to pay top dollar, the Inspiron 11 3000 2-in-1 is your go-to choice.

One more thing: These laptops are available in blue, silver, red, and black color options.

Best gaming

Dell Alienware 15

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When it comes to gaming laptops from Dell, you can't look anywhere other than Alienware. Anything you play will look downright gorgeous on the 15.6-inch, 4K display, and the combination of an NVIDIA GTX 1070 graphics card with 8GB of GDDR5 VRAM and up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM will be able to easily handle any game you throw at it. You're getting a beastly Core i7-6820K processor that can be overclocked up to 4.1GHz, as well as a 1TB PCIe solid-state drive for fast Windows 10 boots and a 1TB HDD for all your games.

Bottom line: If you're looking for a Dell laptop that will be used for gaming, you won't be disappointed with the Alienware 15.

One more thing: If you're looking for a laptop to run your Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, this one will do the trick.

Best business

Dell Latitude 7280

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Everything about the Latitude 7280 says business, and it's clear that Dell has Lenovo and HP in their sights when it comes to laptops for the professional-minded. The 12.5-inch non-touch display is available in 1080p and 768p. It's not as high-quality as the InfinityEdge found on the XPS line, but it gets the job done and is well-suited for its purpose.

Inside is up to an Intel Core i7-7600U processor, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 1TB PCIe solid-state drive, and there's a built-in fingerprint reader compatible with Windows Hello. You can also upgrade to an IR camera if you'd rather use facial recognition. Toss in plenty of ports, an outstanding battery, and a mobile SIM feature, and you have an almost-perfect business partner.

Bottom line: The Latitude 7280 is tops when it comes to business laptops from Dell.

One more thing: Check out our review for more information on what makes the Latitude 7280 great.

Best for photography

Dell XPS 15

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Photographers need to see what they're working with; for you the gorgeous 4K display on the Dell XPS 15 just makes sense. The display is 15.6 inches and has full touch function for those of you who like to be hands-on. A 7th-generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ quad-core processor with up to a 3.8GHz clock speed and 32GB of DDR4 RAM is more than enough power to handle the software needed to work with high-res images, and an NVIDIA GTX 1050 with 4GB of GDDR5 VRAM powers that beautiful 4K display. A handful of ports — including HDMI, USB 3.0, and Thunderbolt 3 — round out this powerful laptop.

Bottom line: For a Dell laptop with a beautiful 4K display — crucial for photography — go with the Dell XPS 15.

One more thing: Included with this configuration is a beefy 1TB PCIe solid-state drive that will provide quick access to all your photos.

Best Workstation

Dell Precision 5520

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If the Precision 5520 and the XPS 15 were next to each other, you'd have a hard time telling them apart. The sleek chassis, the 4K touch display, the comfortable keyboard, and the Precision touchpad are all pretty much identical; inside is where the difference can be found. Available with up to an Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6 processor with up to a 4.0GHz clock speed, 32GB of DDR4 RAM, and an NVIDIA Quadro M1200 GPU with 4GB of GDDR5 VRAM, it's clear that this laptop performs.

While these internal changes don't really benefit a casual user, mobile professionals, architects, and video editors will notice the upgraded performance immediately. With plenty of ports, including HDMI, USB 4.0, and Thunderbolt 3, this laptop should be all you need to finish your project.

Bottom line: For an incredibly powerful laptop that resembles Dell's XPS line, have a look at 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 love Dell but don't want to shell out big money, go with the Inspiron 11 3000 2-in-1. If you plan on using your laptop mostly for gaming, the Alienware 15 is your best choice. For the business-oriented out there, you can't go wrong with the Latitude 7280. Photographers will love the 4K screen on the XPS 15, and professionals will love the Precision 5520 workstation, but the best Dell laptop overall remains the Dell XPS 13.

Best overall

Dell XPS 13

See at Dell

It's pretty well known by this point how much we love the Dell XPS 13. Its 1800p, 13.3-inch touch display sits in a chassis that would normally house an 11-inch screen, which thanks to an almost complete lack of bezel. A 7th-generation Intel Core i7 processor keeps things humming along smoothly, and up to 16GB of RAM ensures you can power through anything you need to accomplish. With a battery that will last you through a workday, the XPS 13 really is not only one of the best Dell laptops, it is one of the best laptops, period.

Bottom line: For the best Dell laptop there is, check out the Dell XPS 13.

One more thing: Our collection of the best Dell deals has some additional savings on an XPS 13. This is the best place to find the latest deals, discounts, and coupons on Dell laptops.