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, and the Dell XPS 15 9500 is our top overall pick. It's available with two 15.6-inch display options, up to a 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10875H 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
- Best Gaming: Razer Blade 15
- Best Design: Surface Laptop 3 15 (Intel)
- Best Convertible: HP Spectre x360 15t
- Best Modular: Surface Book 3 15
- Dual Displays: ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo
- Best for Media: Lenovo Yoga C940
- Best Business: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme
- Best for Creators: MSI Prestige 15
Best Overall: Dell XPS 15 9500
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 screen reaching 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. 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.
- 16:10 aspect ratio displays
- Powerful Intel 10th Gen CPU options
- Dedicated NVIDIA GTX 1650 Ti GPU
- Premium aluminum chassis
- Huge 86Wh battery
- Not as versatile as a convertible
- Less expensive options available
Beautiful display options, stellar performance
Dell's XPS 15 is one of the slimmest 15-inch laptops out there, boasting impressive performance and knockout 4K display option.
Best Gaming: Razer Blade 15
For those who love PC gaming, the Razer Blade 15, in 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.
- 4K OLED display is stunning
- Outstanding audio
- Excellent gaming performance
- Premium build quality
- RGB keyboard
- Keyboard has short travel
- Very expensive
The right Ultrabook for gamers
The Razer Blade 15, in base or advanced models, has the right performance for heavy gaming, as well as beautiful display options.
Best Design: Surface Laptop 3 15 (Intel)
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.
- Stunning design and craftsmanship
- Wi-Fi 6 and Instant-On
- Comfy keyboard and touchpad
- 10th Gen Intel CPUs
- High-res touch display with inking
- No Alcantara finish
- Ports still limited
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 4K LCD display or 4K AMOLED display, both with touch function 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. 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.
- Wi-Fi 6 compatibility
- Awesome 4K display options
- Powerful hardware configurations
- Ornate gem-cut chassis
- IR camera and camera killswitch
- No FHD option
- Still using 16:9 aspect ratio
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
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. Only complaint there is the size, which is relatively small compared to the huge touchpads most manufacturers are now using.
- Excellent build quality
- Unique design
- All-day battery life
- Good performance
- Quite versatile
- Design is a bit stale
- Touchpad is small
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.
- Dual 4K displays
- Dedicated NVIDIA RTX graphics
- Active pen and palm rest included
- 9th Gen Intel Core CPU
- Premium, unique design
- Steep price
- Small touchpad
- No SD card slot
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: Lenovo Yoga C940
The larger 15-inch Yoga C940 from Lenovo — there's also a 14-inch version available — brings 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H and Core i9-9880H vPro CPU options for impressive performance, as well as a NVIDIA GTX 1650 dedicated GPU for a gaming and editing boost. Models can also be configured with up to a 2TB M.2 PCIe SSD and 16GB of DDR4 RAM.
The 15.6-inch display comes in two flavors, both touch, to work with the convertible design. If you have the budget, the 4K option is stunning, while there's also an FHD version for considerably less money. It still looks great, and both are compatible with an active pen and feature HDR400 with Dolby Vision. To go along with the display, the convertible hinge doubles as a soundbar for impressive audio, making this a laptop ideal for media.
Wi-Fi 6 connectivity offers impressive wireless speeds, and the chassis includes two Thunderbolt 3, one USB-A 3.1, and a 3.5mm audio jack for accessories. A privacy shutter blocks the webcam when you're not using it, and a fingerprint reader offers improved security through Windows Hello.
- Beautiful convertible design
- 4K touch display with Dolby Vision HDR400
- Soundbar hinge with impressive audio
- Dedicated GPU and 9th Gen Intel CPU options
- Compatible with Wi-Fi 6
- 4K display saps battery life
- Prices climb quickly
Best for Media
Awesome display and audio
The combination of convertible design, 4K display, and soundbar convertible hinge make the 15-inch Yoga C940 ideal for media.
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.
- Powerful hardware options, including dedicated GPU
- 4K OLED display is a knockout
- Plenty of ports
- Durable ThinkPad chassis
- Keyboard is perfect
- Very expensive
- Battery life suffers with 4K
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
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.
- Intel U CPU with NVIDIA GTX 1650 GPU
- FHD or 4K display options
- Wi-Fi 6 connectivity
- Long battery life
- Thin and light build
- Relatively expensive
Best for Creators
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.
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.
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 CPU, 64GB of RAM, 2TB M.2 PCIe SSD, and a NVIDIA GTX 1650 Ti GPU for awesome performance.
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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