Dell is one of the biggest, most successful PC manufacturers around, and for good reason – its hardware is consistently high quality, and built to last.
Dell has two main lines for general work and home use. The mid-range Inspiron range is available with a wide range of specifications and includes some superb budget notebooks, while the premium XPS laptops boast super-fast performance and stunning graphics, all within a chassis light and stylish enough to rival any Apple device.
If you’re looking for a laptop that’ll let you play the latest AAA games, Dell’s Alienware brand has you covered. These laptops have all the power you need for silky smooth frame rates, and they look the part too, with backlit keyboards and customizable lighting profiles.
Whatever your budget and requirements, if you’re in the market for a new laptop, these are our top recommendations.
1. Dell XPS 13
Dell's super-chic answer to the MacBook Pro
CPU: 8th generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – 4k (3840 x 2160) | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD
The Dell XPS 13 is among our highest-rated laptops of all time, and thoroughly earned its five-star review. With its 8th-gen Intel Kaby Lake R processor (even the lowest spec model boasts four cores), gorgeous design and super sleek lines, it's Dell's answer to the Macbook Pro - and much more affordable.
When we say sleek, we're not kidding - the XPS is a razor-thin 3.4mm at its narrowest point and 11.6mm at its widest, and weighs just 1.21kg. Its screen is bright and vibrant, with rich blacks, and it's super responsive to touch gestures.
If it's within your budget, we can't recommend the XPS 13 highly enough.
2. Dell XPS 15 2-in-1
Thin, light and powerful - a near-perfect convertible
CPU: Intel Core i5-i7 | Graphics: Radeon RX Vega M GL Graphics with 4GB HMB2 Graphics Memory | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 512GB PCIe SSD
The Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 cuts no corners, delivering serious power within a thin, light package that flits easily between laptop and tablet configurations. It's a truly stunning device, and although it doesn't have the XPS 13's discrete graphics card, it still has ample grunt for gaming.
The XPS 15 2-in-1 weighs a shade under 2kg and is just 16mm thick, making it easy to hold, carry and use on the move. Despite those sleek lines, it also offers an impressive array of ports: two Thunderbolt 3 and two USB-C, plus a headphone jack and MicroSD card reader.
The XPS 15 2-in-1 has come down in price considerably since launch, and is amazingly well priced considering the specification. Easily one of the best Dell laptops you can buy.
3. Dell Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1
Powerful, portable, and surprisingly affordable
CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 – 620 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) touchscreen | Storage: 500GB – 1TB HDD, 128GB – 256GB SSD
The Dell Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 strikes a comfortable balance of power and price. Even its starting specification will prove ample for most everyday use, and it's surprisingly affordable.
As part of Dell's mid-range Inspiron line, this convertible is designed with practicality in mind. It weighs a mere 1.45kg, and is just 15.5mm at its thickest point, making it one of the slimmest laptops of its type. Its hinge is robust - as you'd expect from Dell - and its screen is particularly impressive,
The battery life is a little on the low side, and it's a pity the Dell Active Pen is sold separately, but this is still a great convertible for the price.
4. Dell Alienware 17 R5
A super-powerful beast of a gaming laptop
CPU: Intel Core i9-8950HK | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 (8GB GDDR5X VRAM) | RAM: 32GB | Screen: 17.3-inch QHD (2,560 x 1,440)144Hz | Storage: 246GB PCIe M.2 SSD, 1TB 7,200RPM HDD
The Dell Alienware 17 R5 is a mighty gaming laptop in more ways than one. Not only is it incredibly powerful, equipped with an Intel Core i9 processor and overclocked GTX 1080 GPU, it tips the scales at 4.4kg.
This certainly isn't a laptop you'll be tossing into a work bag, but for serious gaming you'll be hard pressed to find a better machine. It's a sound investment, too - that top-end processor ensures it'll serve you well for several years, running the latest AAA titles with ease.
It's certainly at the higher end of the price scale, but factor in the trademark Dell build quality and it's definitely worth the outlay.
5. Dell Alienware 15 R3
More modestly sized, but with plenty of power where it matters
CPU: 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 (8GB GDDR5); Intel Graphics 630 | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Screen: 15.6-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS, 120Hz, Anti-Glare, G-SYNC enabled | Storage: 512GB M.2 SATA III SSD, 1TB HDD (7,200 RPM)
The Dell Alienware 15 R3 is the Alienware 17 R5's little brother, cramming similar punch into a more compact package. Its 15-inch display is still large enough to show off games at their best, but its slightly more modest size specs make it a more affordable alternative if you don't need that much sheer horsepower.
The Alienware 15 R3 is still a weighty laptop - just a fraction lighter than its larger sibling at 3.5kg, not including its power brick - but it looks stunning, with coloured LEDs beneath practically every surface. Its gaming performance is brilliant, and it's VR-ready if you fancy getting immersive.
Dell will be launching a new version of the Alienware 15 before too long, so if you're not quite ready to invest now, keep an eye out for the update soon.
- Check out our list of the best laptops of 2018