Choosing the best Dell laptop is not an easy task as the company makes a number of great laptops every year, some of which are the best budget laptops or even the best laptops overall. The XPS 13 – which packs an almost magical amount of performance and functionality into one of the smallest chassis of them all – is a case in point and our first choice.
However, there are some other great Dell laptops that need to be considered. We've tested almost everything the laptop giant has to offer, with hundreds of hours of hands-on time with each of them. You can find the best from Dell here, as well as some great alternatives.
Best Dell Laptops
Best Dell Laptop: Dell XPS 13 (2020)
Why You Should Buy This: It's powerful, has fantastic battery life, and is a stylish trendsetter.
Who is it for: Almost everyone except gamers.
What we thought about the XPS 13:
We have been big fans of the XPS 13 for years, and the updated 2020 version with the latest 10th generation Ice Lake CPUs from Intel (starting with the 10th generation Core i3-1005G1) and a 13.4-inch display is no exception. It picks up on the classic design of the previous year and offers the option of a new paintwork, a new fabric feel and improved weight distribution. It's slightly thinner and lighter than its predecessor, but the real reason we love this laptop more than anyone is how strong it competes at its $ 1,000 price point.
The ports now include two Thunderbolt 3 ports, but the model has one less USB-C port than the previous version. This is our only real complaint with this excellent notebook.
Even the cheapest of the new XPS 13 includes a Core i3-10110U CPU, 4 GB of RAM and 256 GB of solid-state drive storage. Dell offers a range of displays including beautiful 1080p panels with up to 500 nits of brightness. The overall performance of this device with a day of battery life makes it our everyone's favorite laptop – and so do the other Dells.
Read our full Dell XPS 13 review
Best Budget Dell Laptop: Dell Inspiron 13 5000
Why You Should Buy This: You want Dell quality at a great price.
Who is it for: Anyone who wants the latest Intel CPUs but doesn't want to spend a lot.
What we thought of the Dell Inspiron 13 5000:
The Inspiron notebooks from Dell may not be as high quality as the XPS laptops, but they are far from cheap, portable systems of the old days. The Inspiron 13 5000 is a case in point: It offers the latest components and valuable technical data at very affordable prices. In fact, you can get the Inspiron 13 5000 with Intel's 10th generation Comet Lake CPUs.
You don't get the same tiny bezels as the Dell XPS line, or all-metal and carbon-fiber materials that make up the case. Even so, the Inspiron 13 5000 is a well-built laptop with reasonable dimensions for the money. The laptop also includes some improvements that are welcome at these prices, including improved thermals for better performance and a hinge that lifts the bottom of the case off the desktop for better airflow.
You'll likely have some ramifications for display quality and battery life, but the overall performance of the Inspiron 13 5000 is solid and offers great value at a very affordable price.
Read our full Dell Inspiron 13 5000
Best Dell 2-in-1: Dell XPS 13 2-in-1
Riley Young / Digital Trends
Why You Should Buy This: It's an XPS 13 with a 360-degree hinge and a flexible design.
Who is it for: Those who want a great laptop and tablet in one package.
What we thought of the XPS 13 2-in-1:
The XPS 13 2-in-1 hints at the XPS 13 design we like to make it our pick for the best from Dell and adds a 360 degree hinge to it. This offers real flexibility and lets the laptop switch from a clamshell to a tablet with two useful modes – media and tent – in between. It's not as light as a tablet or something that can completely detach from the keyboard – like the Surface Pro 7 – but it's useful in a pinch, and Media Mode in particular is great for enticing Netflix.
The XPS 13 2-in-1 also differs from the XPS 13 in a few other important ways. First, it borrows the magnetic levitation keyboard (maglev train) from its larger XPS 15 2-in-1 cousin, but has perfected it in the second generation. Second, the 2-in-1 display has an aspect ratio of 16:10, which is slightly higher than the clamshell's standard 16: 9 aspect ratio.
Third, and perhaps most importantly, the XPS 13 2-in-1 uses Intel's 10th generation Ice Lake CPUs, while the XPS 13 uses the Comet Lake version. That means the 2-in-1 is more focused on completing more instructions per cycle and enjoying faster Iris Plus graphics. The clamshell has a CPU with more brute force and additional cores (up to six).
Read our XPS 13 2-in-1 review
Best Dell Laptop for Photo and Video Editors: Dell XPS 15 (2020)
Why You Should Buy This: The display is beautiful and the all-round performance is fantastic for creatives of all kinds.
Who is it for: Creative professionals who crave portable energy and panache.
What we thought of the Dell XPS 15:
What the XPS 15 loses in portability due to its larger shape and heavier weight than the 13-inch laptops mentioned above, it more than makes up for in hardware options and screen real estate. Built on some solid components that promise great performance for productivity and gaming, the XPS 15 is one of the best full-size laptops out there.
The latest XPS 15 was recently updated to include new hardware. It still has an affordable starting price of $ 1,175, but you'll have to increase it to around $ 1,700 to get the beefy 10th generation GTX 1650 and Core i7-10750H processor. If you have plans to render games or videos, this is a must have and a big reason to choose this laptop over our favorite, the XPS 13. The larger display looks gorgeous and color accurate in both 1080p and 4K versions, including a new OLED panel that is mind-boggling, although the higher resolution option cuts battery life significantly.
Storage options range from 256 GB to 1 TB PCIe SSD. The ports include two Thunderbolt 3, a USB-C and a DisplayPort port. The XPS 15 is a bigger, worse version of the XPS 13, and while it may not be as modern as some alternatives, it's still one of the best Dell laptops out there.
Read our predecessor Dell XPS 15 review
Best Dell Gaming Laptop: Dell G7 15 (2020)
Why You Should Buy This: It's an affordable gaming laptop with real performance.
Who is it for: Players with a (relative) budget who want to play in great detail.
What We Thought About the Dell G7 15:
The Dell G7 15 7590 is a high performance gaming notebook that offers some of the most powerful components available today at prices that are easier to use for gamers. For example, the G7 15 can be configured with 10th Gen Intel Core i9-10885H for the fastest processing power and Intel Optane memory for faster storage.
However, the real gaming performance comes from the GPU options. There, buyers can choose up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q graphics that support the most advanced games on the market today, with all of the features – such as: B. Raytracing – are enabled.
Gamers can also choose a display that can keep up, including up to 300Hz panel options that ensure the display can keep up with the GPU. Other options are up to 16 GB RAM and up to 1 TB PCIe SSD for optimal performance.
The G7 15 is also a great choice for anyone who wants to play more than one game on their laptop. The keyboard is okay for productivity, and the battery life is reasonable given the components and target market. Given that you can configure a powerful gaming laptop for around $ 1,300, the G7 15 is great value too.