Dell Xps 15 9500Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central

Best 15-Inch Laptops Windows Central 2020

A 15-inch laptop is a perfectly sized device for those who want a bit of extra screen real estate and some extra performance. The Dell XPS 15 9500 is our top overall pick and one of the best Windows laptop options available today. It's available with two 15.6-inch display options, up to a 10th Gen Intel Core i9-10885H processor (CPU), 64GB of DDR4 RAM, and NVIDIA GTX 1650 Ti dedicated graphics card (GPU) with 4GB of VRAM. That's some serious power, and it's all wrapped up in a beautiful chassis. If you'd like something a bit different, we've rounded up a bunch of other great 15-inch laptops right here.

Best Overall: Dell XPS 15 9500

Dell Xps 15 9500Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central

The refreshed 9500 model of the XPS 15 is an all-around impressive Ultrabook, complete with a couple of changes since the 9570 version. The Precision touchpad has been blown up to an enormous size, keycaps are larger for easier typing, and audio is boosted thanks to two top-firing speakers and two down-firing speakers.

The real draw though is no doubt the IGZO display options, now using a 16:10 aspect ratio. Almost all bezel is gone, with the screen reaching from top to bottom and side to side. The 1920x1200 (FHD+) version is non-touch with an anti-glare finish and up to 500 nits brightness. Color reproduction focuses on sRGB, hitting 100%. It's a fine display, but if you need touch or just want the boost up to 4K, the 3840x2400 resolution is the better choice. It costs more and draws more power, but it hits 500 nits brightness and offers 100% AdobeRGB and 94% DCI-P3 color reproduction.

The 10th Gen Intel Core i5-10300H and Core i7-10750H CPUs are workhorses with four and six cores respectively, but you can opt for a Core i7-10875H CPU with eight cores and a clock speed up to 5.1GHz or a Core i9-10885H CPU with eight cores and a clock speed up to 5.3GHz. That's a lot of power. Add in a dedicated NVIDIA GTX 1650 Ti GPU with 4GB of GDDR5 VRAM, and you have a laptop that can handle some specialized design and editing work.

The slim aluminum and carbon fiber chassis includes two Thunderbolt 3 ports, USB-C, an SD card reader, and 3.5mm audio jack. The power button includes a fingerprint reader for Windows Hello, and the webcam is back above the display where it belongs. It also has an IR sensor for facial recognition. A massive 86Wh battery inside gives you a workday of life without needing to find a plug.

Pros:

  • 16:10 aspect ratio displays
  • Powerful Intel 10th Gen CPU options
  • Dedicated NVIDIA GTX 1650 Ti GPU
  • Premium aluminum chassis
  • Huge 86Wh battery

Cons:

  • Not as versatile as a convertible
  • Less expensive options available

Best Overall

Dell XPS 15 9500

Beautiful display options, stellar performance

Dell's XPS 15 is one of the slimmest 15-inch laptops out there, boasting impressive performance and a knockout 4K display option.

Best Gaming: Razer Blade 15

A pair of Razer Blade 15 laptops.Source: Razer

For those who love PC gaming, the Razer Blade 15, in the base and advanced models, should not leave you wanting. Depending on the performance hardware you opt for — up to an NVIDIA RTX 2080 Super Max-Q GPU, 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10875 CPU, and 16GB of dual-channel DDR4 RAM — you'll get access to up to a 4K OLED display option. You can also opt for an FHD display with a 144Hz or 300Hz refresh rate.

The 4K OLED touch display comes with 100% DCI-P3 color reproduction, 60Hz refresh rate, and HDR400 certification. If you're a designer or editor, this would no doubt also make a stellar system, especially now that Razer is offering an NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 GPU. Top-firing quad speakers provide loud audio, and you might be tempted to use them instead of a gaming headset.

All this is contained in a symmetrical metal chassis with squared edges, available in either black or Mercury White colors. It's one of the best looking laptops out there, and it's built to withstand daily use. The keyboard has RGB lighting, and the enormous Precision touchpad is ideal when not using an external gaming mouse plugged into one of the many ports.

Pros:

  • 4K OLED display is stunning
  • Outstanding audio
  • Excellent gaming performance
  • Premium build quality
  • RGB keyboard

Cons:

  • Keyboard has short travel
  • Very expensive

Best Gaming

Razer Blade 15

The right Ultrabook for gamers

The Razer Blade 15 has the right performance for heavy gaming, as well as beautiful display options.

Best Design: Surface Laptop 3 15 (Intel)

Surface Laptop 3 15Source: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central

Whereas the AMD variants of the 15-inch Surface Laptop 3 — the more common option offered to customers — were somewhat underwhelming, "Business" models available with 10th Gen Intel hardware are much more appealing. You get Instant-On and excellent battery life, Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, and rock-solid performance, especially from the Core i7 option. Best part? They're available to anyone who wants them.

In any case, whether you go with AMD or Intel, the real appeal of the Surface Laptop 3 is its design. Like the smaller 13.5-inch Laptop 3 model, it has a premium all-metal design with smooth lines. It's available in two colors (without Alcantara fabric). The keyboard and Precision touchpad are some of the best around, and those typing all day should have no issues. The laptop remains relatively thin and light despite its 15-inch form.

The 15-inch touch display has a boxy 3:2 aspect ratio with 2496x1664 resolution, and it works with the Surface Pen for a satisfying inking experience. Color accuracy hits 96% sRGB and 72% AdobeRGB, and you can expect peak brightness to reach just less than 400 nits. Ports have been updated for the third-generation; expect USB-C, USB-A, 3.5mm audio, and Surface Connect.

Pros

  • Stunning design and craftsmanship
  • Wi-Fi 6 and Instant-On
  • Comfy keyboard and touchpad
  • 10th Gen Intel CPUs
  • High-res touch display with inking

Cons

  • No Alcantara finish
  • Ports still limited

Best Design

Surface Laptop 3 15 (Intel)

A worthy upgrade

Intel versions of the 15-inch Surface Laptop 3 bring high-end performance, features, and design.

Best Convertible: HP Spectre x360 15t

The 15-inch HP Spectre x360 is available with either a 4K LCD panel or 4K AMOLED display, both with touch functions to accommodate the convertible design. You can use this PC as a tablet or as a standard notebook for productivity purposes. You're going to pay more for AMOLED, but for anyone who wants the best picture possible, it'll be worth the money. All displays are compatible with the included active pen. The bezel has been shrunk down considerably, but you're still getting a 16:9 aspect ratio.

Performance hardware includes up to a 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10750H CPU, NVIDIA GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q dedicated GPU, and 8GB or 16GB of DDR4 RAM. This laptop is no slouch. No issues with storage either, as it has plenty of SSD options up to 1TB in size. The touchpad is now using Precision drivers for a much better pointing experience.

The chassis has the same gem-cut design as the smaller 13-inch Spectre x360, and it makes for an ornate laptop. Ports include Thunderbolt 3, USB-C, USB-A, Mini DisplayPort, HDMI, and a 3.5mm audio jack. An IR camera for Windows Hello sits above the display, and there's a webcam kill switch if you're worried about anyone looking in on you. Wi-Fi 6 connectivity is included.

Pros:

  • Wi-Fi 6 compatibility
  • Awesome 4K display options
  • Powerful hardware configurations
  • Ornate gem-cut chassis
  • IR camera and camera killswitch

Cons:

  • No FHD option
  • Still using 16:9 aspect ratio

Best Convertible

HP Spectre x360 15t

Tons of power in a beautiful chassis

The Spectre x360 15t is an excellent convertible laptop with powerful hardware, brilliant display, and unique gem-cut design.

Best Modular: Surface Book 3 15

Surface Book 3 Review TabletSource: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central

The 15-inch Surface Book has been refreshed, now for its third generation. Some changes compared to the Surface Book 2 include Wi-Fi 6 connectivity with Intel chip, 16GB of RAM in base models, storage up to 2TB, NVIDIA GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q or NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000 dedicated GPUs, and 10th Gen Intel Core CPUs. Ports and cameras have otherwise remained the same, as has the display.

The display portion can still be removed from the base to act as a standalone tablet, complete with battery, CPU, RAM, and storage. Connected to the base, you get full battery and access to a dedicated GPU. This adds quite a bit of versatility, especially when you add a Surface Pen for inking. The touch display has a boxy 3:2 aspect ratio and hits a stunning 3240x2160 resolution.

The magnesium chassis is as good as ever, and though the design is unchanged, it is still unique. The keyboard is excellent for long days of typing, and the touchpad uses Precision drivers. The only complaint there is the size, which is relatively small compared to the huge touchpads most manufacturers are now using.

Pros

  • Excellent build quality
  • Unique design
  • All-day battery life
  • Good performance
  • Quite versatile

Cons

  • Design is a bit stale
  • Touchpad is small

Best Modular

Surface Book 3 15

Power on the go

The Surface Book 3 gets new Intel 10th Gen processors, more powerful GTX graphics, and much better Wi-Fi, SSD, and RAM options.

Dual Displays: ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo

If you're a professional creator who wants to shake things up by adding a second display to your 15-inch laptop, the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo is likely on your radar. It's quite expensive, but it's unlike just about any other laptop out there. The main 15.6-inch OLED touch display has a 3840x2160 resolution and full DCI-P3 color gamut coverage that is stunning in its own right, but just below it, where the keyboard on most laptops is placed, is a secondary 14-inch touch display with 3840x1100 resolution. It's known as a ScreenPad Plus, and it gives users a whole new way to use the device, especially with the included active pen.

Below the two displays is a physical keyboard with a touchpad off to the right, giving you the full laptop experience. The touchpad can even turn into a number pad thanks to embedded LED illumination. Don't worry … an attachable palm rest is included to keep your hands comfortable during long periods of typing. It's all built on an attractive chassis that includes Thunderbolt 3, HDMI, USB-A 3.1, and 3.5mm audio. Unfortunately, there's no SD card reader.

Up to a 9th Gen Intel Core i9-9980HK CPU is available, alongside an NVIDIA RTX 2060 dedicated GPU, 32GB of RAM, and 1TB SSD. You'll get the performance needed for specialized work, and it even has Wi-Fi 6 for incredibly fast wireless speeds. An IR camera for Windows Hello adds security. These are expensive devices, but they're also unique and offer a glimpse at the future of high-performance laptops.

Pros:

  • Dual 4K displays
  • Dedicated NVIDIA RTX graphics
  • Active pen and palm rest included
  • 9th Gen Intel Core CPU
  • Premium, unique design

Cons:

  • Steep price
  • Small touchpad
  • No SD card slot

Dual Displays

ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo

A multitasker's dream

The ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo not only includes a stellar second display, but it's also stacked full of powerful specs.

Best for Media: Samsung Galaxy Book Flex

Samsung Galaxy Book Flex HeroSource: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central

Convertible laptops are great for watching and creating content, but some just do it better than others. The 15.6-inch Samsung Galaxy Book Flex sports a QLED display that delivers color differently from a traditional LED. Colors are more vibrant, and brightness can get up to more than 600 nits. It manages 100% sRGB, 88% AdobeRGB, and 100% DCI-P3, which are quite impressive color reproduction numbers. The only downside here is that there's no 4K option; displays are capped at 1080p.

An S-Pen is built right into the side of the laptop with a silo for charging. It's sized like a stylus rather a full-size pen, but it's still accurate and smooth. Samsung's proprietary software makes the pen even better, taking it beyond the stock Windows Ink experience you get with most inking-compatible laptops. Myriad other Samsung apps are also a definite bonus that will help with productivity and organization.

It's all contained in a sleek metal chassis with squared edges. It feels premium, and the convertible function works without a hitch. The keyboard is a bit shallow, but the enormous Precision touchpad helps make up for it. For hardware, get up to a 10th Gen Intel Core i7-1065G7 CPU, 12GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD. Ports include two Thunderbolt 3, USB-C, 3.5mm audio, and a microSD card reader. Wi-Fi 6 connectivity is also available.

Pros:

  • Beautiful convertible design
  • Slim, light, and flexible
  • Bright, colorful display
  • Good battery life
  • S-Pen included for inking

Cons:

  • No 4K display option
  • Keyboard is a bit shallow

Best for Media

Samsung Galaxy Book Flex

QLED is hard to beat

The Book Flex is the rare 15-inch convertible laptop that is both slim, stylish, but also packs a lot of features.

Best Business: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme (Gen 2)

The ThinkPad X1 Extreme is now in its second generation, and it has been updated with 9th Gen Intel Core CPU options up to an i9-9880H vPro. This chip puts out some serious performance, and it only gets better with an NVIDIA GTX 1650 GPU with 4GB of VRAM. With up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM and a 1TB M.2 PCIe SSD, this is a laptop cut out for power users. Like all ThinkPads, it's been put through the wringer to ensure it will withstand and harsh life on the road.

The 15.6-inch display is available in standard FHD, FHD with Dolby Vision HDR400, 4K LCD with Dolby Vision HDR400, or stunning 4K OLED with HDR500. The OLED option is the most expensive, but it's also undoubtedly the most fetching. If you have the budget, it's likely going to be your first choice. Above the display is a webcam with privacy shutter, as well as an optional IR camera for Windows Hello. Other security features include a Kensington lock slot, fingerprint reader, and FIDO authentication.

The chassis is just 0.74 inches (18.7mm) thin, and it weighs in at about 3.75 pounds (1.7kg for non-touch), keeping it portable. Ports include two USB-A 3.1, two Thunderbolt 3, HDMI 2.0, an SD card reader, Ethernet expansion port, and a 3.5mm audio jack. A Wi-Fi 6 adapter is included for fast wireless speeds, and the 80Wh battery delivers solid battery life. The keyboard, in true ThinkPad form, is what you want to use for long days of typing. Prices are high but be sure to check in on the seemingly constant discounts Lenovo has to offer.

Pros:

  • Powerful hardware options, including dedicated GPU
  • 4K OLED display is a knockout
  • Plenty of ports
  • Durable ThinkPad chassis
  • Keyboard is perfect

Cons:

  • Very expensive
  • Battery life suffers with 4K

Best Business

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme

Your next business partner

The second-gen ThinkPad X1 Extreme is more powerful than ever before, yet it remains portable enough to tag along with you.

Best for Creators: MSI Prestige 15

MSI Prestige 15Source: MSI

Most laptops that feature a dedicated NVIDIA GTX 1650 GPU are coupled with a 9th Gen Intel Core CPU that sips considerably more power than the 10th Gen U-series, but not the MSI Prestige 15. Along with the dedicated GPU, it has up to a 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10710U CPU with six cores and just a 15W TDP. This allows for better life, and the 10th Gen improvements include Wi-Fi 6 connectivity. Along with up to 64GB of RAM and a 2TB M.2 PCIe SSD, this is an ideal laptop for creators.

The 15.6-inch display with 16:9 aspect ratio is available in FHD or 4K resolutions. The former offers 100% sRGB color reproduction, while the latter offers 100% AdobeRGB color. Both have a thin bezel with a premium appearance, and the lid opens to lie flat. This is a solid display for photography, design, or editing tasks.

It measures just 1.54 inches (39mm) thin and weighs in at about 3.64 pounds (1.65kg), making it portable enough to carry daily. The backlit keyboard is comfortable, the touchpad is huge, and port selection is generous with two Thunderbolt 3, two USB-A 3.2, HDMI, 3.5mm audio, and a microSD card reader.

Pros:

  • Intel U CPU with NVIDIA GTX 1650 GPU
  • FHD or 4K display options
  • Wi-Fi 6 connectivity
  • Long battery life
  • Thin and light build

Cons:

  • Relatively expensive

Best for Creators

MSI Prestige 15

Intel U-series CPUs and dedicated NVIDIA graphics

It's thin and light, but it has a unique blend of 10th Gen Intel hardware and a dedicated NVIDIA GTX 1650 GPU.

Bottom line

Smaller 13- and 14-inch laptops might be more popular, but that doesn't mean there aren't a bunch of great 15-inch laptops available right now. Any of the options rounded up above should please, but if you're looking for a well-rounded option for any task, we recommend checking out the Dell XPS 15 9500. It's a great 15-inch laptop and it's also one of the overall best Windows laptops available today.

Its displays now have a 16:10 aspect ratio with almost no bezel at all, available in FHD+ non-touch or UHD+ touch options. These displays offer plenty of brightness and precise color reproduction, making them ideal for a variety of work. Add up to a 10th Gen Intel Core H-series Core i9 CPU, 64GB of RAM, and 2TB M.2 PCIe SSD, as well as an NVIDIA GTX 1650 Ti GPU for awesome performance. It won't quite measure the best graphics cards, but it's still a good power boost.

It's all wrapped up in a compact, light chassis made from aluminum and carbon fiber, making it easy to take with you wherever you go. An enormous 86Wh battery keeps going through a day, and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity allows for fast wireless speeds.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Cale Hunt is a staff writer at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on PC, laptop, and accessory coverage, as well as the emerging world of VR. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.

Daniel Rubino is the executive editor of Windows Central. He has been covering Microsoft since 2009 back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Surface, HoloLens, Xbox, and future computing visions. Follow him on Twitter: @daniel_rubino.

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