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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. And take a peek at our constantly updated guide to the best laptop deals for more great picks (at deep discounts).
Thin and light
Premium build quality
Bright and beautiful display
No dedicated GPU
Few laptops have received more praise over the years than Dell’s premium XPS line, and the Dell XPS 9300 is no exception. You can’t really ask for more in a thin and light ultrabook - a tenth generation Intel Core i7, 16GB of RAM, and a 500GB solid-state drive make for a slick operating experience that should hold up for years to come. The 1920 x 1200 13.4 inch Infinity Edge display provides great color accuracy and is bright enough to use outdoors in bright conditions. You needn’t fear for that display either, as it’s built of rugged Corning Gorilla Glass 6, and the chassis of the XPS 9300 is cut from solid aluminum. This laptop is as durable as it is elegant.
The trackpad and keyboard deserve special mention. You will be hard-pressed to find a more expansive and accurate trackpad, and the keyboard provides a tactile, satisfying typing experience. The only thing missing here is a dedicated GPU, which is to be expected in such a thin and light device. It also comes at a high price point and reflects it’s premium design. Overall, the Dell XPS 9300 is perhaps the perfect laptop.
Good build quality
Fast 10th generation intel processor
Not for games or photo/video editing
Low resolution display
For the business person on the go, the Dell Inspiron 15 is a snappy companion capable of handling all your professional needs. Its utilitarian good looks fit perfectly in a corporate setting, and its large touchscreen provides plenty of room for work and allows for intuitive navigation.
Inside, the Inspiron 15 packs a 10th generation Intel Core i3, which is both powerful and power-efficient, and 16GB of RAM guarantees that having dozens of tabs open in Chrome won’t slow you down. A 128 GB SSD provides a zippy and responsive experience, while a 1TB HDD offers plenty of storage space for documents, photos, and video. Just be aware that the Inspiron 15 isn’t cut out for gaming, video editing, or other power-intensive tasks, and that its screen is the rather low resolution at just 1366 x 768 pixels.
Designed for outdoor use
Bright, easy to see display
If you’re out in the wilderness or working at a chaotic construction site, and you need a robust computer with you, then the Dell Latitude 7212 Rugged Extreme Tablet will help you get the job done. Though it doesn’t have the most powerful and up to date processor and components with only 8GB of DDR3 RAM and an older Intel i5-8350U, its key feature is not raw computing power. It has more than enough juice for the fieldwork it’s designed for, and with a gorilla glass display and shockproof design, you’ll be able to rely on it in any condition. The capacitive multi-touch screen is bright and designed to respond to heavy gloves.
Dell also sells a variety of useful accessories for the Latitude 7212, including a detachable keyboard, various docks, swappable batteries, and more, though at fairly steep price points. Still, it's an excellent value for such a reliable and durable machine if your job depends on portable power and connectivity.
Powerful 10th Gen processor
Available in several configuration
Fast SSD storage means short boot and load time
Bezel is slightly wide
If you're looking for a powerful laptop with a spacious 17.3-inch screen, but don't want to spend a fortune, Dell's latest Inspiron 17 has you covered. With a 10th Gen Intel processor, fast SSD storage, and 16GB of RAM (in the mid-range model), the new Inspiron 17 is a multitasking beast. The bright, crisp FHD display is a perfect match for the hardware, and the Inspiron also includes an HDMI out if you want to pipe video to a TV or monitor.
It's also a great option for Zoom calls and virtual classes, with an integrated 720p webcam and built-in microphone. That 17" display is also great for streaming Netflix between classes or on break, with plenty of horsepower to ensure you can keep all your other tabs open at the same time without bogging down the machine.
If you’re looking for the best Dell Laptop (and perhaps the best laptop, period), the XPS 9360 is hard to beat in terms of power, looks, and portability.
When he’s not writing for Lifewire on his own Dell laptop, Andy Zahn can often be found tinkering with one of several home-built PCs. Andy spends as much time following the home computer industry as he does playing games or crafting videos on his laptops and computers.
Performance: The power you need from your laptop is dictated by what you’re going to use it for. Professionals and students should prioritize processing power and fast SSD (Solid State Drive) storage, while gamers and creators will need a dedicated graphics card. Most laptops will have at least 8GB of RAM (Random Access Memory), though some budget models might have as little as 4GB. Look for 16GB in higher-end models for better multitasking. Most Dell laptops feature the latest Intel CPUs (Central Processing Unit). An Intel i3 is the base model processor and is good for basic tasks, while an i5 provides a great price-to-performance ratio. An Intel Core i7 is ideal if you need as much power as possible.
Portability: Not too long ago it was necessary to sacrifice performance for portability, but that need for compromise has dwindled as technology continues to advance. Now it’s quite possible to buy a thin and light laptop that also packs in impressive capabilities. Of course, if you want something seriously tiny then you will have to give up some power, but for the most part, the only obstacle to portability and power in a convenient package is the thickness of your wallet. 10 to 14-inch laptops are the most portable but usually aren’t very powerful. 15 inches is most common, still fairly convenient for travel, and laptops of this size can be very powerful indeed. 17-inch laptops are true desktop PC replacements but are generally large, heavy, and not very easy to lug around.
Display: 4K displays are wonderful, but they're far from universal even in high-end models. Keep in mind that the more resolution you have, the more powerful components you will need. Also, for gaming, the refresh rate (measured in hertz) is probably more important than resolution beyond 1080P. Creators will want to keep an out for color accuracy, and anyone wanting to use their laptop outdoors will want a particularly bright screen.