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Since its humble beginnings in 1984 as a dorm room-based company selling custom-built IBM computers, Dell has established itself as one of the most trusted brands for business and personal computers. They build everything from workstation desktop towers to ultra-thin laptops and 2-in-1 laptops.
With features like fingerprint scanners for accessing your computer, full HD displays, and touchscreen, Dell has a laptop to fit almost any need. They even have a discount program for college students to help them get the technology they need to succeed. We've broken down our best Dell laptops to help you choose the right laptop for your home, dorm, or business.
Slim and lightweight
Short battery life
Dell’s flagship XPS lineup of laptops also come in a 2-in-1 variety. With the enhancements made in 2019, it’s easy to recommend the XPS 13 2-in-1 as our top pick for users looking for a powerful laptop that doubles as a sleek and lightweight tablet. Fitted with an Infinity Edge panel that maximizes screen space and minimizes bezels, the XPS 13 2-in-1 has a radiant 13.4-inch display that benefits greatly from its 1920x1200 resolution and 16:10 aspect ratio.
Dell has refined the cooling system in the 2019 version of the XPS 13 2-in-1 in order to prevent the chassis from overheating. It has also provided a more comfortable user experience in both laptop and tablet modes. Though it’s certainly pretty, the true beauty of the XPS 13 2-in-1 is found on the inside. With four configurations featuring 10th-generation Intel Core processors, fast RAM, and lightning-quick NVMe SSD storage, the XPS 13 2-in-1 boasts stellar performance.
The base configuration — ideal for students and everyday use — has a Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage. To up the power, you may want to consider the mid-tier Core i5 processor fitted with 8GB of RAM. Those longing for optimal performance to handle intensive work and software should look into the pair of i7 configurations. Each Core i7 model has 16GB of RAM, more advanced graphics, and up to 512GB of storage. You have the option to significantly increase the resolution with an Ultra-High-Definition display.
"Flipped over in a sandwich board layout, you can prop it up and watch videos. Since it has a touch screen, however, you never lose usability, even when the physical keyboard is oriented away from you." — Nick Jaynes, Product Tester
Only up to 6 hours battery life
Can't open one-handed
Dell’s flagship Inspiron 7000 computer is a 2-in-1 laptop that’s ideal for both work and play and offers impressive performance in a slim design. It's juiced up with a 7th generation Intel Core i5 3.4GHz processor, 8GB of RAM, 256GB SSD and a 13.3-inch 1920 x 1080 IPS touch screen. Weighing 3.59 pounds doesn’t allow the Inspiron to slide into the Ultrabook category, but it’s still very much a portable computer. The display itself offers a 360-degree hinge that enables four modes for your computing needs, including laptop, tent, stand and tablet mode for varying levels of viewing and enjoyment.
Dell also included its well-performing MaxxAudio speakers for an improved audio experience that helps highlight the entertainment and business side of this computer for video viewing or Hangout/Skype calls during the workday. Additionally, the backlit keyboard will help keep you going right into the night, though the seven hours of battery life will have you charging throughout the day if you’re constantly online.
"It's built for more casual users, focusing instead on surfing, video streaming, and word processing." — Nick Jaynes, Product Tester
15-inch HD display
Plenty of inputs
From one of Dell's most popular lines of computers, the new Inspiron 15 3000 does not disappoint. The multimedia-forward design sets this laptop apart from the rest. Enjoy your favorite movies, shows, and websites on its crisp and vivid 15-inch HD display. High-quality audio provided by two tuned speakers with Waves MaxxAudio Pro complete the viewing experience. A headphone jack is available for more personal experience. The laptop also includes a built-in DVD for offline video consumption as well as high capacity file storage.
This powerful laptop delivers performance you can count on. It's decked out with a 10th-generation Intel core processor, 8 GB of DDR4 RAM, and a huge 256GB solid-state drive. The 42 watt-hour, 3-cell, integrated battery supports the device for over six hours of continuous use. The Inspiron 3000 is equipped with all the ports you could need, including two USB 3.1s, an HDMI, and an SD card reader.
Full HD 1080p display
Cortana voice controls
No optical drive
Dell’s Inspiron 11 sleek laptop has an 11.6-inch HD display and weighs 2.82 pounds, so if it's portability you're after, this is your guy. Powered by an Intel Celeron N3060 2.48GHz processor, 4GB of RAM and 32GB eMMC storage, performance is about what you would expect from a lower-end machine, but it’s more than enough power for everyday computing activities that include Word processing and Web browsing. Throw it in your bag, take it to work or school or on a trip where its small size can truly be appreciated without sacrificing a great keyboard or touchpad. The 1366 x 768 11.6-inch display isn’t terribly exciting, but In-Plane Switching (IPS) and Full HD 1080p displays are generally found on more expensive computers, so it’s still above average for its price point.
It runs Windows 10 and there’s a full suite of Microsoft options, including Microsoft 365 software, plus a microSD card reader and USB 3.0 for added storage and quick-charging external hardware. The Waves MaxxAudio speakers punch well above their class with clear sound, especially during Google Hangouts or Skype calls.
Good for outdoor use
Chest harness compatible
Small hard drive (128GB)
No keyboard included
The Dell Latitude 7212 Rugged Extreme Tablet can endure pretty much anything short of a high-caliber bullet. It may not be the only ruggedized laptop available to consumers, but the 7212 is certainly one of the best and is available at a price that makes this robust piece of hardware surprisingly accessible.
The 7212 is built to military durability standards, meaning that its capable of withstanding drops, explosive pressure or temperature changes, and even electromagnetic interference. Your typical user might scoff at these standards, but this type of endurance is a godsend to anyone who works outdoors or in potentially hazardous environments. Dell also provides an array of accessories specifically for this device, including hot-swappable batteries, a chest harness or a scanner module for barcodes.
Equipped with a 2.6Ghz CPU, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, the specs aren't going to blow away any gaming benchmarks, but packs enough heat to handle just about any task you can throw at it. This tough laptop certainly serves a very particular niche of the market, but for users that need a computer that can withstand some serious abuse outside of an office environment, the choice is obvious.
The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 laptop is an impressive competitor in the laptop space. It’s nicely designed, lightweight, and packs a big, high-resolution touchscreen display. Consider it is also a 2-in-1, and it’s hard not to love this machine. Yes, some might be put off by the keyboard key feel. If you can look past that, you’ll have in front of you a robust, very enjoyable, and equally affordable 2-in-1 laptop.
David Beren has over 10 years of experience writing about technology and is the founder of TmoNews.com. He has written content for companies like T-Mobile, Sprint, and TracFone Wireless. He has also worked as a social media and content marketing manager for major consumer brands.
Nick Jaynes has a degree in online media journalism from University of Oregon. He started writing for Lifewire in February 2019. Before that, he had written for Mashable, Digital Trends, Cool Hunting, and Travel + Leisure.
Portability - Dell XPS laptops are classed as ultra-portable, so they’re super easy to carry around. If portability isn’t as important to you, a high-end Alienware laptop can weigh two to three times more than most of Dell’s other laptops, but its power blows the competition out of the water.
Windows vs. Chrome OS - The majority of Dell’s sub-brands are Windows-based, so you can find Windows-based Dell laptops that are perfect for business, students, entertainment, and even gaming. If you’re looking for a less expensive laptop that’s great for web browsing, word processing, and other basic tasks, take a look at Dell’s line of Chromebooks.
Gaming - Most Latitude and XPS models have enough power under the hood to run games to some degree, and a higher-end Precision model can do double duty as a business machine and gaming rig. If you want to really get down to the business of gaming, Dell’s Alienware line has the power you need to run newer games at higher settings.