The best 15-inch laptops for 2022January 8, 2022
Why buy a 15-inch laptop? Well, they’re not only larger than the best 13- or 14-inch laptops, but they’re also often much more powerful. They don’t always need to be big and clunky, either.
Take, for example, our pick for the best overall 15-inch laptop, the Dell XPS 15. It remains our top pick at this size for its ability to cram all that power into a relatively tiny form.
After hundreds of hours of testing time with the best 15-inch laptops, here’s our list of the greatest you can buy.
Dell XPS 15
Why you should buy this: It’s the best overall 15-inch laptop you can buy.
Who’s it for: Anyone who needs serious power on the go but doesn’t want to take up too much room in a backpack.
Why we chose the Dell XPS 15:
There’s no steadier hand in the 15-inch laptop market than Dell, and its XPS 15 exemplifies the reputation 15-inch laptops have rightly earned: They’re dependable, powerful, and robust. The latest XPS 15 features up to an 11th-generation Intel Core i9 processor (starting with the i5-11400H) and graphics up to an Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti. The XPS 15 is best when you pump it full of powerful components, as it’s not quite as thin or light as some of the other laptops on this list.
That’s not to say it’s large in terms of volume — in fact, the XPS 15’s footprint remains one of the smallest on this list thanks to its ultra-thin bezels. The 16:10 aspect ratio ensures that you have plenty of screen real estate too.
Read our in-depth Dell XPS 15 review
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4
Why you should buy this: It’s one of the most powerful 15-inch laptops you can buy that’s not a workstation.
Who’s it for: Anyone who wants high-end components in a package that’s still relatively thin and light.
Why we chose the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4:
You can configure the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4 up to an 11th-gen 8-core/16-thread Intel Core i9-11950H CPU with vPro, 64GB of RAM, 4TB of fast PCIe solid-state drive storage thanks to dual SSD slots, and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 GPU. The laptop gets expensive, but that’s a lot of power for a business-class laptop that’s reasonably thin and light. If you’re a creative or scientific type who needs a lot of power in a (relatively) portable package, then this is the laptop for you.
You also have excellent choices for the 16-inch display (still considered a member of the 15-inch class) that’s in the productivity-friendly 16:10 aspect ratio. You can choose between a WQXGA (2,560 x 1,600) IPS non-touch panel, a WQUXGA (3,840 x 2,400) IPS non-touch panel with Dolby Vision and HDR 400, and a QWUXGA touchscreen with Dolby Vision and HDR 400. You’re promised a bright display across the board, with great colors and contrast and some of the best high dynamic range (HDR) support for bingeing Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
Connectivity is also a strength — two USB-C with Thunderbolt 4 ports, a full-size HDMI port, two USB-A 3.2 ports, and a full-size SD card reader, along with the fastest wireless connectivity available in Wi-Fi 6E. Finally, you’ll also find the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4 to offer excellent build quality that should stand up to significant abuse.
Read our in-depth Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4 review
Microsoft Surface Laptop 4
Why you should buy this: It’s the best ultrathin 15-inch laptop you can buy.
Who’s it for: Those who want a highly portable laptop that still has a large display.
Why we chose the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4:
Most people shopping for a 15-inch laptop are looking for an extra level of performance, which is why the Dell XPS 15 is our first choice. However, if you want a 15-inch laptop primarily for the larger screen and don’t need the additional power that a discrete GPU provides, the Surface Laptop 4 is a fantastic option. The high-resolution 3:2 screen is glorious, and easily one of the best screens to work on.
So, while you can’t put in a more powerful GPU in this system, the Surface Laptop 4 does have some decent processor options in its latest upgrade. The AMD Ryzen 7 model that we tested provides eight processing cores and turns this extremely thin laptop into a fairly powerful machine in certain workflows. Battery life is quite good as well, lasting more than a full day on a single charge.
But obviously, the size of the Surface Laptop 4 is its greatest strength. The 0.57-inch thickness and a weight of just 3.4 pounds make it an extremely portable laptop, perfect for taking your work on the go without sacrificing a large screen.
Read our in-depth Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 review
Razer Blade 15
Dan Baker/Digital Trends
Why you should buy this: It’s the best 15-inch gaming laptop you can buy.
Who’s it for: Any gamer who wants a powerful gaming laptop but doesn’t want to carry around anything too garish.
Why we chose the Razer Blade 15:
Finding a 15-inch gaming laptop is pretty easy — it’s where you’ll find most of them, to be honest. Some hit 14 inches, like the 2017 Razer Blade 14, while others venture into 17-inch territory and beyond, like the Razer Blade Pro. For the most part, though, the best balance between performance and form factor can be found in the 15-inch range. Unsurprisingly, that’s precisely where Razer placed its latest Blade machine, the Razer Blade 15 that’s been significantly enhanced for its 2020 version. It’s relatively thin, looks awesome, and sports a great build.
But most importantly, it performs really well too. The laptop includes a 10th-gen Intel Core processor with up to 5.1GHz in turbo mode, an excellent GeForce RTX 2080 Super with 8GB of VRAM, and 16GB of RAM. A 512GB SSD covers storage. The Blade 15 also supports Chroma RGB lighting for any customization that you may want. Ports now include Thunderbolt 3, USB-C, USB-A, and HDMI, and the laptop is ready for Wi-Fi 6. There’s even some upgraded cooling to help keep the laptop operating efficiently.
Your display options range from 240Hz Full HD to 4K OLED (our Amazon pick includes the 4K OLED option) meaning you can dial in exactly the display performance that’s perfect for your gaming needs. The Razer Blade 15 is a bit pricey, but it offers a stunning look that fits as well in a boardroom as at a LAN party.
Read our in-depth Razer Blade 15 review
HP Spectre x360 15
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends
Why you should buy this: It’s a great alternative to the Dell XPS 15.
Who’s it for: Anyone who needs a large, powerful laptop and likes the extra design flourishes of the Spectre brand.
Why we chose the HP Spectre x360 15:
The HP Spectre x360 15 is another gorgeous 15-inch Windows laptop. It’s similar to the XPS 15, but it certainly has a glitzier design. The panache of the color options and gold accents make it stand out from the crowd — no doubt about that.
More than that, the Spectre x360 15 has a few key features that the XPS 15 is missing. It has a number pad, which some people will prefer to have. It also has a 360-degree hinge and touchscreen in all configurations, which is another feature many people will appreciate. Lastly, the Spectre x360 15 has a better port selection, offering two USB-A ports and an HDMI port in addition to the USB-C that the XPS 15 offers.
You can choose between 10th-generation H-series Intel processors and a discrete GTX 1650 Ti GPU, or an 11th-gen Core i7-1165G7 with either Intel Irix Xe graphics or an Nvidia GeForce MX330 GPU. Note that if you like the design and ethos of the Spectre x360 15, you can opt for the smaller and taller Spectre x360 14 or the speedy HP Envy x360 15 instead.
Read our in-depth HP Spectre x360 15 review
Samsung Chromebook 4+
Why you should buy this: It’s the best budget 15-inch laptop.
Who’s it for: Anyone looking for a cheap 15-inch laptop that still has a large screen.
Why we chose the Samsung Chromebook 4+:
Budget laptops always come with compromises, and 15-inch laptops are no exception. If you’re looking for a basic laptop to get you by, the Samsung Chromebook 4+ is a great option. It’s a surprisingly sleek-looking laptop, resembling a device not so dissimilar to a MacBook Pro. Even the bezels around the screen are fairly trim, making for a modern laptop you’d never guess was so cheap.
It comes with a 1080p screen, 6GB of RAM, and an Intel Celeron processor. The Chromebook 4+’s performance won’t blow you out of the water, but Chrome OS makes good use of even lower-powered processors like the Intel Celeron. If your needs are fairly limited, you’ll be hard-pressed to find another 15-inch laptop this good at such a low price.
Lenovo ThinkPad P15 Gen 2
Why you should buy this:
Who’s it for: Creative and scientific types who need to be able to configure a really powerful laptop.
Why we chose the Lenovo ThinkPad P15 Gen 2:
Today’s thin-and-light 15-inch laptops can get pretty powerful, such as with the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4. However, sometimes you need to be able to configure an even more powerful machine, and that’s where the Lenovo ThinkPad P15 Gen 2 comes in. It’s a thick and heavy, old-school workstation that can be configured to the extreme.
For example, you can select up to an 8-core/16-thread 11th-gen Intel Xeon W-11955M CPU, 128GB of RAM, 16TB of storage via the two PCIe SSD slots, and an Nvidia Quadro RTX A5000 GPU. You’ll spend a pretty penny, but if you’re editing 8K video or running machine-learning algorithms, then you’ll appreciate all this power.
You’ll also appreciate the display options, including Full HD 16:9 IPS, FHD IPS with Dolby Vision, UHD (3,840 x 2,160) IP with Dolby Vision and HDR 400, and UHD OLED with touch, Dolby Vision, and HDR 400. The Lenovo ThinkPad P15 Gen 2 is a true workhorse that can meet the most demanding performance needs.
Read our in-depth Lenovo ThinkPad P15 Gen 2 review
Research and buying tips
What are the benefits of a 15-inch laptop?
Simply, the 15-inch laptop benefits from the size of its display. First, you get plenty of screen real estate for getting your work done, without needing to step up to a massive 17-inch laptop. Second, the chassis is naturally larger, providing more space for powerful components and lots of battery capacity. This will let you run more windows at once and split them comfortably on your display while enjoying superfast processors and GPUs that will keep your applications humming along.
Should you buy a 15-inch laptop or a 13-inch laptop?
If you crave a highly portable laptop that’s fine for general productivity tasks, then a 13-inch laptop will get the job done. And today’s 13-inch laptops are excellent. You won’t want the typical 13-inch laptop if you’re a creative type who needs to edit complex photos and video, but for productivity users, a 13-inch laptop is a great choice.
If you want a powerful laptop that can churn through demanding creative tasks, as well as provide tons of screen real estate for heavy multitasking, then a 15-inch laptop is the better choice. It will be larger and heavier, but far more capable.
What should you look for in a 15-inch laptop?
There’s no reason to go with a 15-inch laptop if it won’t meet your performance and display quality needs. Therefore, look for a laptop that can configure fast CPUs and discrete GPUs if you need the power, although a very thin-and-light 15-inch laptop with less powerful components can still be of value. That’s where the display comes in — you’ll want a high-quality IPS or OLED display that offers high enough resolution for your needs and, if you’re creative, wide and accurate colors with lots of contrast.
Otherwise, you’ll want to look for the same things as with any laptop. You’ll want a solid build quality, a great keyboard and touchpad, and long battery life — or at least, long battery life given the powerful components and power-hungry display you might configure. Overall, 15-inch laptops are no different than other laptops when it comes to basic quality and functionality.
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