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The best Dell laptops to buy in 2022
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 gaming and everyday options portfolio. 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 two Chromebooks as well. If you’re set on ChromeOS, you can check out more of our Chromebook picks.
How to find the best Dell laptop for your needs
Dell has most price brackets covered with excellent offerings across the board, and actually has a few more device categories than we’re covering in this list.
From top to bottom for general-use machines, there’s Latitude for mobile professionals, XPS for creative professionals, Alienware for premium gaming, G for budget-minded gamers, Inspiron for budget-minded students and small workloads, and Chromebooks for ultra cost-effectiveness. Some of the Chromebooks share branding with the Windows machines.
Be honest about your needs and use case; you might not need that i7 processor.
Core i7 and Ryzen 7 processors are best for creative use such as photo manipulation, video editing, and 3D rendering, while Core i5, Ryzen 5, Core i3, and Ryzen 3 processors are mid-range chips best for general use loads such as web browsing, multitasking, and school use. Use the system that best fits your needs, as you can save quite a bit of money by going with a Core i5 machine, even if the i7 device looks shinier.
Ryzen 3 and i3 machines make for fantastic budget offerings, and this “low-tier” of power has significantly improved from what it used to be many years ago. Ryzen 5 and i5 machines can very well get away with light creative workloads these days, but these are usually best coupled with plenty of RAM too.
Here are the best Dell laptops you can buy:
- The Dell XPS 13 is Dell’s most compact machine. It offers solid build quality and powerful processing without being a brick in your backpack or a burden to carry around by hand.
- The XPS 15 is the most versatile machine that Dell offers. You’ll get all the benefits from the smaller sibling, but its extra size allows some configurations to sport dedicated graphics while maintaining a slim package.
- The XPS 17 is the best workhorse machine from Dell. This big boy is best paired with dedicated graphics, and you can do some serious creative work on these machines. The extra weight is well worth it if you need a powerhouse on the go.
- The Alienware Area M17 R4 is the best premium gaming machine that supports up to a Core i9 processor and RTX 3080 graphics. If you’re looking to take your heavy games on the go, this is your best bet.
- The Dell G5 Special Edition is the best budget gaming laptop that will put out high framerates without burning a hole in your pockets. It’s a step down from the premium Alienware, but the cost savings are massive.
- The Dell Inspiron 14 5000 is the best budget offering for general use computing. Its power and value make it accessible to many, and the build quality assures that it will last a long while.
- The Dell Inspiron 14 7000 is the best budget 2-in-1 machine, giving it the power of a computer and the versatility of a tablet at the same time. It’s highly configurable and inexpensive for a high-quality 2-in-1, too.
- The Dell Latitude 7520 is the best laptop for business, as it offers features catered towards productivity and speed. Express Sign-in, for example, will wake the computer via a proximity sensor and unlock with your face using Windows Hello.
- The Dell Latitude 7410 Chromebook Enterprise is the best Chromebook for business. It’s probably not what you’d think of as an enterprise machine, but look again. It’s configurable with killer specs for a Chromebook and is certified to withstand harsh, on-the-go conditions.
- The Dell Chromebook 3100 Education is the best Chromebook for kids and will serve the needs of a grade school student or those of a budget-conscious buyer who wants a web browsing and media machine. It isn’t the prettiest, but it is the cheapest.
Editor’s note: We’ll regularly update this list of the best Dell laptops as new devices launch.
Best compact laptop: 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 2022. 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. You get even more room to accessorize once you jump to a more expensive XPS 13. 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.
Most versatile machine: 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. To complete your overall look, you can grab the XPS 15 in Platinum Silver and Frost White finishes.
Best workhorse machine: 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 up to 20 hours of battery life if you’re not demanding performance from it.
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 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.
Most powerful gaming machine: Alienware Area X17
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 and Dell have to offer, it’s tough to top the Alienware 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.
Best budget gaming laptop: Dell G15 gaming laptop
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.
See also: Which Wi-Fi router is right for you?
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 256GB SSD for plenty of storage space.
Dell’s best budget laptop: 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 it’s far more accessible for most people. The Inspiron 14 5000 utilizes an 11th-gen Intel Core i3 processor. In its lowest-spec i3 configuration, it runs Windows in S Mode, which will prevent you from downloading apps from anywhere but Microsoft’s app store for security. It is easily removed by searching “S mode” in the settings, but it’s something to consider if you go for the base configuration.
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 are also some good configuration options, supporting up to an i7 processor and 16GB of RAM. The Dell Inspiron 14 5000 keeps a wide selection of ports, including USB-A, USB-C, and HDMI options.
Best budget Dell 2-in-1: Inspiron 14 7000 2-in-1
If you want to mix it up from the traditional laptop form factor, the Inspiron 14 7000 series 2-in-1 is here to save the day. This laptop is highly configurable with both Intel and AMD options, up to 12GB of RAM on Intel and 16GB on AMD, Core i7, or Ryzen 7 processors, and much more.
This is a great option if you can see yourself using the versatile form factor of a 2-in-1 machine. For media consumption, handwritten note-taking, games, and many other uses, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better machine.
Best Dell laptop for business: Latitude 7520 15-inch
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 and an HDMI port. You can even opt for a 4K display if you frequently find yourself working on content creation.
Best Chromebook for business: Dell Latitude 7410 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. This is plenty, as most of your work is saved to the cloud.
The Chromebook Enterprise is built for business, so 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.
Best Dell laptop for kids: Dell Chromebook 3100 Education
Top Dell-related questions
Absolutely. Dell’s Inspiron lineup has provided excellent bang for the buck machines that punch far above their price brackets for a long time.
They’re great machines, but no laptop is perfect. The XPS laptops suffer from a pretty bad selection of ports, only containing USB-C, microSD, and a 3.5mm jack. Also, if you want an XPS 2-in-1 machine, they tend to cost a lot more money.
The Inspiron lineup is great for students. They strike the perfect balance between price, build quality, and great processing power that is perfect for high school and college workloads.
2-in-1 laptops are versatile machines. They can be turned into a tablet for media consumption, handwritten notes taken by stylus, used as a drawing tablet flat on a desk, and much more. The sky is the limit.
Yup, rugged laptops are included in Dell’s Latitude lineup for productivity out in the field. Be prepared to spend a pretty penny, though.