If you want the Goldilocks of notebooks, the best 15-inch laptop is the perfect fit. The not too big, not too small display and form factor allows them to have that size that’s just right for most users. Sitting between the massive 17-inch notebooks to the more compact 11 to 13-inch portables, these 15-inch laptops are, in fact, the most popular – especially among professionals and content creators.
That’s because the best 15-inch laptops offer just enough display area for productivity tasks, while still staying slim and lightweight – portable enough for those on the go. Their size also affords another advantage: they have a decent amount of room under the hood to accommodate more powerful components like high-end processors and the best graphics cards. And, that gives them more than enough juice for intensive tasks like video editing and gaming.
We gathered the best 15-inch laptops 2020 has to offer, each one of which we’ve tested and reviewed ourselves. Whether you’re looking for a versatile hybrid laptop, a tough business machine or a lightweight Chromebooks, you’ll find the perfect 15-inch notebook for you on this list.
The best 15-inch laptops at a glance
- Microsoft Surface Book 2 (15-inch)
- Acer Swift 3
- HP Spectre x360 15T (2019)
- Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2019)
- Asus VivoBook S15 (S532F)
- Dell G5 15
- Razer Blade 2019
- Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED
- Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (15-inch)
- Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme
- Also check out all the best Windows laptops of 2020
The best 15-inch laptops of 2020
The best overall 15-inch laptop
CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 (i5) – Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (i7) | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15-inch 3240 x 2160 PixelSense touch display | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD
Microsoft produced something pretty special with the Surface Book 2. It’s an extremely versatile machine being a 2-in-1, and it has a ton of power packed into its relatively slim convertible form factor. Thanks to its discrete GTX 1060 graphics, its Core i7 configuration can even tackle newer games at Full HD resolution and showing off decent details so you want to kick back and relax.
But, there are a few more reasons why this Microsoft laptop gets the top spot on our best 15-inch laptops list. For instance, it delivers incredibly long battery life, as we discovered in our testing, and boasts a gorgeous display that’s impressively light when detached as a tablet.
The only thing that may dissuade potential buyers with is that high price tag. Yes, this is one pricey 15-inch laptop. On the upside, there’s decent discounts popping up regularly – and Microsoft has also manufactured a significantly cheaper Core i5 version, though this configuration has no discrete GPU.
As usual, if you want the best, it will cost you – but check out our next entry for a great alternative that won’t damage your wallet to anything like this extent.
Read the full review:Microsoft Surface Book 2 (15-inch)
The Acer Swift 3 is an excellent alternative if affordability is a priority. (Image credit: Acer)
2. Acer Swift 3
The best all-rounder 15-inch laptop
CPU: Intel Core i3 – i7 8th-gen | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 – Nvidia GeForce MX150 (2GB) | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 15.6-inch 1920 x 1080 | Storage: 256GB SSD / 1TB HDD + 256GB SSD or 16GB Intel Optane
If you don’t want to shell out a lot of cash for the Surface Pro 2, then consider the Acer Swift 3. It’s an excellent alternative if affordability is a priority. This laptop is not a hybrid, but it is feature-rich and can turn its hand to pretty much everything as a result.
Bear in mind that there are a number of different configurations and models of the Acer Swift 3 on hand, including 14-inch and 15-inch models that we reviewed, and loved. What we are referring to in this list, however, are its 15.6-inch variants that rock 8th-gen Intel processors, and pack impressively powerful components given their price tags. Some configurations even offer both hard drives and SSDs, giving you space and speed, as well as Intel Optane options.
These laptops will see you through any everyday computing task without breaking a sweat, with a spot of light gaming on the side. You also get an impressive selection of ports, along with great input peripherals (including a large trackpad and backlit keyboard), a fingerprint scanner, and sterling battery life.
At first glance, Acer’s Swift 3 might look like a bland budget portable, but don’t judge a laptop by its cover. This is a great all-rounder with some tempting deals to be had online.
Read the full review: Acer Swift 3
The best 2-in-1 15-inch laptop
CPU: Intel Core i7 6-core | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch 3160 x 2140 touchscreen | Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD
If you want a 15-inch convertible with versatility in spades must consider HP’s popular Spectre x360. It’s a gorgeous-looking laptop with an elegant design, albeit with a few oddities, including an awkwardly positioned trackpad. However, this laptop isn’t just pretty – it backs these good looks with enough power to cut through any computing task you might wish to tackle. Of course, it helps that the very latest incarnation of this hybrid has updated its hexa-core CPU to a 9th-gen Intel Core i7-9750H.
Creative types will also appreciate the bundled Tilt Pen that can be used for drawing and designing on its exquisite 4K IPS touchscreen display. This 2-in-1 also packs a discrete GTX 1650 graphics card, which means it can even tackle 1080p gaming to boot.
As we said, this 15.6-inch laptop delivers versatility in spades, but it also doesn’t come cheap. At least, it’s more affordable than Microsoft’s Surface Book 2.
Read the full review:HP Spectre x360 15T (2019)
4. Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2019)
The best 15-inch laptop for creatives
CPU: Intel Core i7 – i9 | Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 555X – Radeon Pro Vega 20, Intel UHD Graphics 630 | RAM: 16GB – 32GB | Screen: 15.4-inch 2880 x 1800 IPS | Storage: 256GB – 4TB SSD
If you’re after a powerful notebook in a 15-inch form factor which is ideal for creative usage – such as video editing or Photoshop – then you’ll be well served by taking the macOS route rather than Windows, with the larger MacBook Pro.
This year Apple has boosted the power of the MacBook Pro 15-inch with new 9th-generation Intel processors, with options that run up to a mighty 8-core Intel Core i9. So you most certainly won’t be left wanting on the performance front, with our review benchmarks showing that this 2019 incarnation is a considerably more powerful MacBook than its predecessor.
This 15-inch laptop is ideal for heavyweight editing with a choice of AMD Radeon Pro graphics solutions and the possibility to spec up the notebook to 32GB of RAM. And don’t forget the high-quality Retina display along with that improved Touch Bar which can certainly prove a very useful tool with creative applications.
Read the full review:Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2019)
5. Asus VivoBook S15 (S532F)
Thin, light and capable
CPU: Intel Core i5-8265U – Intel Core i7-10510U | Graphics: Intel UHD 620 | Screen: 15.6” LED-backlit Full HD (1920 x 1080) 16:9 | Storage: 256GB / 512GB / 1TB PCIe SSD
While Asus VivoBook S15 has been designed to become among the best ultra-portables on the market this 2020, it also aims to provide a large enough display for those who need it. That’s a hard undertaking, but one that this top-performing laptop has achieved with high marks. It boasts a 15-6-inch display and a solid performance without compromising its slimline design. You might not be able to do some heavy gaming on this, but you should get some photo editing done.
Read the full review: Asus VivoBook S15 (S532F)
The best affordable 15-inch laptop for gaming
CPU: Up to Intel Core i7-9750H | Graphics: Up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 (Max-Q) | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch 1920 x 1080 – 15.6-inch 1920 x 1080 Anti-Glare LED with 144Hz refresh rate | Storage: 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD – 1TB SSD
If your budget won’t stretch to something like the MSI laptop above, then this more affordable gaming laptop from Dell makes a great choice for a 15-inch model that won’t make such a hole in your bank balance.
We reviewed the Dell G5 15 5590 and found it could easily deal with 1080p gaming, while giving you a pretty incredible level of battery longevity (around 10 hours for movie playback, which is remarkable for a gaming portable).
Overall, it’s a really well-balanced machine with a reasonable price tag, and the latest versions of the Dell G5 15 have been refreshed to include 9th-gen Intel Core processors (up to six-core models).
Read the full review: Dell G5 15 5590
7. Razer Blade 2019
The sharpest Blade yet
CPU: Intel Core i7-8750H – Intel Core i7-9750H | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR6 VRAM) – Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q (8GB GDDR6 VRAM) | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) 144Hz – OLED 4K (3,840 x 2,160) Touch 60Hz | Storage: 256GB – 512GB SSD
Rocking 8th-generation and 9th-generation Intel Core processors – not to mention, powerful graphics and a gorgeous display to boot, the Razer Blade isn’t just one of the best gaming laptops on the market. It’s also one of the best 15-inch laptops to consider, if you’re seeking to update your aging gaming laptop. That’s more than impressive for a laptop this thin that is also upgradeable. Expect to pay a lot for all that, but you’re paying for style and power that will last you a while.
Read the full review: Razer Blade 2019
For an awesome RTX gaming experience
CPU: 9th-generation Intel Core i7 – i9 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 630 – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti | Screen: 15.6″ Thin Bezel Samsung UHD 3840×2160 AMOLED display | Storage: 512GB – 1TB NVMe SSD
We didn’t think that gaming ultrabooks were ready for RTX graphics until the Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED proved us otherwise. This isn’t just a solid gaming laptop; this is a solid gaming laptop that delivers incredible RTX gaming experience and touting a reasonable price to boot. It’s not that it’s cheap, especially at higher configurations. However, for what you’re paying, you’re getting a lot of power for your gaming needs.
Read the full review: Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED
9. Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (15-inch)
Longer-lasting than most
CPU: 10th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus | Screen: 15-inch PixelSense Display 2496 x 1664 | Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB SSD
We hoped for great things in the next Surface Laptop model. However, when the 2019 installment of this 15-inch laptop came out, it fell a bit short on both power and versatility. However, if it’s spec above are satisfactory to you and you require a device that will last you the whole work day on a single charge, then the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (15-inch) might just be the best 15-inch laptop for you. During our review, this device lasted 10 hours and 18 minutes in our TechRadar battery test. As long as you can forgive the lack of ports.
Read the full review:Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (15-inch)
The best 15-inch laptop for business
CPU: Intel Core i7-8750H | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Max-Q) | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch 1920 x 1080 – 3840 x 2160 4K HDR | Storage: 512GB – 1TB SSD
The good news for those after a business laptop in the 15-inch form factor is that there’s an incredible machine available in the form of the ThinkPad X1 Extreme. The bad news, though, is that the price tag is as extreme as the superb performance levels you’ll get with this portable.
It’s difficult to know where to start in describing just how good this machine is. Maybe the 15.6-inch multi-touch display, which in the 4K HDR option is simply stunning and benefits from top-notch color accuracy? Or the speedy performance driven by a six-core CPU, GTX 1050 Ti graphics and superfast NVMe SSD? Or just the little things, like the well-featured connectivity, the refined keyboard, or the potential for upgrades with this laptop?
As we already mentioned, the price may cause the odd eyebrow to rise or jaw to slacken – possibly both – but some corporate users will doubtless want to own the ultimate business laptop for their mission-critical tasks. And the ThinkPad X1 Extreme definitely fulfils that ‘ultimate’ billing, and arguably not just in the 15-inch world.
Read the full review:Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme
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