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The best Dell laptops to buy in 2021: Mainstream, business, and gaming

Whether you want a gaming powerhouse or an every day workhorse, Dell has something for you.
The Best
July 22, 2021
dell inspiron chromebook 14 2 in 1 aa 9
Andrew Grush / Android Authority

If you’re in the market for a new laptop, Dell is easily worth your consideration. The tech giant is the third biggest PC maker globally, with an impressive portfolio of gaming and everyday options. To help you figure out exactly which Dell laptops are worth your money, we’ve rounded up the best ones for every situation you might face.

Though the list primarily includes Windows machines, we’ve added a Chromebook as well. If you’re set on ChromeOS, you can check out more of our Chromebook picks right here. Ready to get started? Let’s jump in.

The best Dell laptops:

Editor’s note: We’ll update this list of the best Dell laptops regularly as new devices launch.

1. Dell XPS 13

dell xps 13

Our top pick should come as no surprise to anyone. Dell’s XPS 13 has been one of the best laptops for several years, and it’s not losing any ground in 2021. From the powerful processor to the razor-thin bezels, the XPS 13 is well worth the price of admission.

See also: The best Dell laptop deals

If you decide to splash the cash on the XPS 13, you’ll be greeted with up to an 11th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, 32GB of memory, and 2TB of storage. Dell reimagined the hinge to drop part of the wider bottom bezel out of sight for a true InfinityEdge display. Once you jump to a more expensive XPS 13, configurations you get even more room to accessorize. For example, it comes in the classic Platinum Silver design or a new Frost White finish.

Unfortunately, the XPS 13 has opted to drop a few ports to favor a slimmer body and lighter weight. With just two USB-C ports, a microSD slot, and a headphone jack, you might find it worth your while to invest in a USB-C adapter to regain some functionality.

2. Dell XPS 15

dell xps 15

A 13-inch laptop isn’t perfect for everyone, which is why the Dell XPS 15 is up next on our list. It’s been refined in much the same way as the smaller XPS 13 — with slimmer bezels and more powerful graphics options, and now Dell has added 11th-gen internals to the mix as well.

The XPS 15 is configurable with up to 4TB of storage. You can pair that storage with the power of an Intel Core i5-11400H or i7-11700H chip and up to 64GB of DDR4 memory — far beyond the amount of the smaller XPS. As for graphics, the XPS 15 swaps the Intel Xe GPU for an optional Nvidia GeForce GTX 3050 Ti offering.

The Dell XPS 15 also reclaims one of the lost ports for a total of three USB-C options, and the SD card reader is bumped up to full size. You can grab the XPS 15 in Platinum Silver and Frost White finishes to complete your overall look.

3. Dell XPS 17

dell xps 17

The Dell XPS 17 is one of the newer kids on the block for Dell. It’s the largest XPS released in a decade and packs the same excellence as the XPS 13 and XPS 15. It tops the smaller laptops with peak power and performance, a bigger screen, and comes with more ports. At the top, you can max out to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060, 32GB of RAM, and you’ll get up to 20 hours of battery life if you’re not demanding performance from it.

See also: Need a new gaming mouse? Here are the best ones you can buy

Interestingly, thanks to its slim bezels, Dell claims the XPS 17 is smaller than 48% of 15-inch notebooks on the market, so it’s not even a big boy, although it does weigh a bit more as you spec it up. The touchscreen option will give your laptop bag more than five pounds of PC to deal with.

Configurable up to 4TB of storage and even an i9-11900H CPU, this really is a performance machine that’s great for those who want to game, edit videos, or do other demanding tasks. Given the specs and sizing, it’s also an expensive option, with pre-built top-specs running up to $2,999, but you can easily add more RAM and a hard drive to blow past $3,000.

4. Alienware Area X17

alienware x17 1

The XPS line is one of the most powerful on the market today, but you’ll have to look elsewhere if you want high-end gaming performance. Dell owns the Alienware brand, a top name in gaming since its launch in 1996. If you want the best that Alienware has to offer, it’s tough to top the brand-new X17.

See also: The best Alienware laptops you can buy

While you might have trouble lugging the X17 around — it weighs in at over 5 pounds — that hefty chassis houses a new 11th-gen Intel Core i7 or Core i9 CPU and full desktop-size Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 or 3080 graphics. Backing up the powerful CPU and GPU, you can configure the M17 R4 with 64GB of memory and a whopping 4TB of storage.

The large 17.3-inch display is complemented by a per-key RGB keyboard, plenty of port options, and powerful cooling to keep you in the zone. Overall, the Alienware X17 is the best successor to the M17 lineup that you could ask for.

5. Latitude 7520 15-inch

dell laptops latitude 7520

Switching over to a business option, the Latitude 7520 is the best Dell business option you can get. It’s available either as a clamshell or a 2-in-1, and it packs many of the latest options to keep you productive. The 15.6-inch screen size is a nice compromise between the portability of a 13-inch and the power of a 17.3-inch option.

Under the hood, you’ll find an 11th-gen Intel Core i7 chip and integrated Intel Xe graphics. The Latitude 7520 runs Windows 10 Pro to keep you focused on your work. Along with the Core i5 chip, the Latitude 7410 is loaded with 16GB of memory and 256GB of storage.

The Latitude line retains a variety of USB-A and USB-C options as well as an HDMI port. You can even opt for a 4K display if you find yourself working on content creation frequently.

6. Inspiron 14 5000

inspiron 14 5000

The best Dell laptop for everyday use is one from the Inspiron line. It’s not as high-end as the XPS, but that also means that it’s far more accessible for most people. The Inspiron 14 5000 utilizes an 11th-gen Intel Core i3 processor and powerful Iris Xe graphics for a smooth experience.

See also: The best keyboards you can get for work or play

All of that power is supported by 8GB of DDR4 memory and a 256GB SSD. Even better, the Inspiron 14 5000 is a 14-inch non-touch device, but it packs the right mix of power and value. There aren’t too many configuration options, but a unique hinge helps trim off the bottom bezel.

The Dell Inspiron 14 5000 keeps a wide selection of ports, including USB-A, USB-C, and HDMI options.

7. Dell G15 gaming laptop

Dell G15 Ryzen Edition Gaming Laptop Widget Image

While the Alienware Area X17 may be the best Dell gaming laptop around, the price keeps it out of reach for many. Dell’s own G line of gaming laptops brings some of the same high-end performance in a far more affordable package. This is also the only laptop on the list with AMD hardware instead of Intel, at least in the special Ryzen version.

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If you crack into the G15, you’ll find up to an AMD Ryzen 7 5800H processor and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 graphics. The Full HD 15.6-inch display has a 120Hz refresh rate that should do its part to keep your games running smoothly. Dell packed the G15 with 8GB of memory and up to a 256GB SSD for plenty of storage space.

8. Dell Latitude 7410 Chromebook Enterprise

latitude chromebook enterprise

The name may seem familiar, and that’s because this is the Chromebook version of Dell’s powerful business machine. Instead of offering unique Chromebook platforms, Dell adapts some of its Latitude offerings for the lighter system. 

See also: The best Dell Chromebooks you can buy

The 10th-gen Intel Core i5 processor is more than you might need for a Chromebook, but the extra power is always nice. It’s available with up to 16GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD, which are both plenty as most of your work is saved to the cloud.

The Chromebook Enterprise is built for business — not to fight Klingons — and you can choose from plenty of business software options. They’ll cost a bit extra, but it helps you take full advantage of the Chrome OS.