The best Dell laptop 2024: top picks for work, school, and gaming

PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
The best Dell laptop, the XPS 15, on gray background
(Image credit: Future / Dell)

The best Dell laptops are versatile, capable machines that can always carry their weight. They offer power, precision, and solid build quality, largely without ridiculously inflated price tags – although the flagships do tend to err on the side of premium. To top it off, many also exude style, the kind you want to show off in the office or at a cafe.

That's why you'll find more than one of them on our overall ranking of the best laptops. And Dell is one of the laptop manufacturers that offer a variety of options, so that whether you need one of the best thin and light laptops or one of the best gaming laptops, it has something to offer. 

You want something in the budget range, one that’s thin and light, or something for the kids, guaranteed it’s got the ideal notebook in its roster. Dell even has some of the best Chromebooks around, in case you prefer a laptop with a more lightweight and secure operating system.

With so many Dell laptops to choose from, we thought we’d help you find the right one for your needs. We’ve tested hundreds of Dell laptops over the years, including the current generation ones, so we know better than anyone which ones are worth your money. And we’ve compiled a list of the best Dell laptops below for every user and every need. Take a look at the ones that made the cut.

The best Dell laptop 2024

Dell XPS 15 (2022)

(Image credit: Dell)
The best Dell laptop out there, hands down

Specifications

CPU: Up to 12th Gen Intel Core i9-12900HK
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics – NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti
RAM: Up to 64GB DDR5
Screen: Up to 15.6-inch UHD+ (3,840 x 2,400) 60Hz, 500 nits
Storage: Up to 4TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Sleek, gorgeous design
+
Mighty all-rounder performance
+
Strong battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Very expensive for higher-spec models

The Dell XPS 15 occupies a spot on our best laptops list for a reason - it's simply the best 15-inch laptop you can buy right now. From powerful performance thanks to the 12th-gen Intel processor and dedicated Nvidia RTX GPU, to the sleek and elegant design and lightweight chassis, this is a prime example of how a laptop should be.

While the higher-spec configurations might be a bit pricey for regular students, it’s still easily one of the best laptops for students regardless of discipline: the thin-and-light design makes it easy to take with you on the go, and the discrete graphics card works wonders for running resource-intensive software such as MATLAB.

When we reviewed it, the XPS 15 truly impressed in just about every area: we've got a good amount of physical ports, a bright and colorful high-resolution display (with OLED models also available), and a durable but aesthetically pleasing brushed aluminum chassis. Our coveted 5-star rating speaks for itself.

Read our full Dell XPS 15 (2022) review

Side view of the Dell XPS 13 2022 laptop on white background

(Image credit: Dell)
The best Dell laptop when it comes to value

Specifications

CPU: Up to 12th Generation Intel Core i7-1250U
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: Up to 32GB LPDDR5
Screen: 13.4-inch FHD+ (1920 x 1200) 500 nits
Storage: Up to 1TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Great starting price
+
Good performance in productivity workloads
+
Super lightweight and portable

Reasons to avoid

-
Could use more ports
-
Webcam is only 720p

The Dell XPS line has been putting out bangers for years, and the 2022 version of the compact XPS 13 ultrabook is no exception - even if the aesthetic redesign from the 2020 model proved somewhat controversial within the TechRadar team.

In any case, this is still a fierce productivity laptop for students or fast-moving professionals, ultra-portable thanks to its lightweight chassis and 13.4-inch display, now loaded with even better performance thanks to Intel's 12th-gen laptop CPUs.

The webcam is only 720p (unlike the superior 1080p ones found in many modern ultrabooks) and its compact design means it sacrifices physical ports for a thinner frame, but with an entry price of just $899, it's very hard to argue against the Dell XPS 13's price-to-performance offering. This is without a doubt one of our favorite compact laptops right now.

Read our full Dell XPS 13 (2022) review 

A Dell XPS 17 (2024) against a white background

The best Dell laptop for creatives

Specifications

CPU: Up to 14th-generation Intel Core i9
Graphics: Up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080
RAM: Up to 64GB DDR5-4800MHz
Screen: 17.0" UHD+ (3840 x 2400p) InfinityEdge, Non-Touch Anti-Glare 500-Nit – 17.0" UHD+ (3840 x 2400) InfinityEdge Touch Anti-Reflective 500-Nit
Storage: Up to 8TB M.2 PCIe NVMe

Reasons to buy

+
Great all-rounder performance
+
Excellent physical design
+
Large, vibrant display

Reasons to avoid

-
High-spec configurations are very expensive
-
Only a 720p webcam

The Dell XPS 17 (2024) might be the finest iteration of Dell's large-form-factor XPS laptop yet. Packing some mighty internal components including 14th-gen Intel CPUs with Intel's neural processing unit for AI workloads and up to a mighty Nvidia RTX 4080 graphics card, this is a professional laptop that can handle just about anything you throw at it.

All that processing power is wrapped up in a stylish chassis with a beautiful UHD+ display and comfortable keyboard, with Dell's XPS line once again setting the standard for what a good work laptop should be. It powered through our benchmark suite when we reviewed it, and our only real point of criticism is that it lacks a 1080p webcam, opting for a slightly less sharp 720p one instead - well, that and the fact that the high-end configurations of this laptop get expensive rather quickly.

Read our full Dell XPS 17 (2024) review

Alienware m17 R5

(Image credit: Dell)
The best Dell gaming laptop right now

Specifications

CPU: Up to AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX
Graphics: Up to AMD Radeon RX 6850M XT 12GB
RAM: Up to 32GB DDR5
Screen: 17.3-inch 4K (3840 x 2160), 120Hz, 3ms refresh
Storage: Up to 2TB PCIe NVMe SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Sharp design with clever cooling
+
Stellar gaming performance
+
Large, high-quality screen

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Heavy, bulky chassis
-
Battery life isn't great when gaming

Dell's Alienware range of gaming laptops is the most recent brand to release an 'AMD Advantage' edition exclusively packing AMD internal components, and it might just be the best one yet. The Radeon RX 6850M XT laptop GPU performs fantastically, offering top-notch gaming performance and a pricey but not unreasonable cost.

It won't melt your thighs either - unlike most gaming laptops, this Alienware model has a nifty cooling solution that really works, keeping your device from getting too toasty during long gaming binges (though the fans can get pretty noisy under heavy system loads).

It's worth noting that this configuration is only available in the US right now, although other models of the Alienware m17 R5 are available in different territories - we raved about the quality of the sturdy, RGB-equipped chassis and large, bright display in our review, so if you're looking for a high-end 17-inch gaming laptop, the m17 R5 is an excellent choice.

Read the full Alienware m17 R5 AMD Advantage review

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2023) at an airport

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)
The best Dell laptop for travel

Specifications

CPU: Up to 12th Gen Intel Core i7-1250U
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: Up to 16GB LPDDR4x
Screen: 13" 3:2 3K (2880x1920) Touch 500-Nit Display
Storage: 1 TB, M.2, PCIe NVMe, SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Stunning 3K display
+
1080p webcam plus a rear camera
+
Incredibly portable and ideal for travel

Reasons to avoid

-
New detachable form not for everyone
-
A premium purchase
-
Only two USB-C ports

The thin, light and compact laptop we all knew and loved is gone, replaced by a tablet with a detachable folio that houses its keyboard and trackpad. And we’re not completely sold on this new form factor. It’s not the most convenient to use, and it’s not the most versatile either – we realized during testing, for example, that you can’t just use this on any surface like you would a regular laptop since the folio isn’t exactly rigid.

However, where the new Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2022) lends itself well is travel. It’s considerably lighter, thinner, and more compact than its predecessor, which makes is an even better laptop for those who travel for work, digital nomads, and folks on vacation who need a laptop to take with them.

It’s no slouch either in performance. Touting current generation specs (current to its release), we found this to be a pretty capable laptop not just for general productivity and every day tasks but also some lighter creative work like photo editing. And the 1080p webcam is a pretty nifty bonus – on top of the rear camera it comes with since it is, after all, also a tablet.

We’re disappointed that it isn’t cheaper. We figured Dell could have dropped the price a little since its new tablet form requires less robust materials to build. Also, due to this tablet nature, you’re only getting two USB-C ports. But if you are looking for a laptop to travel with that you’ll hardly feel is there, this is the best Dell laptop to use as your travel companion.

Read our full Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 review 

Alienware M15 R7

(Image credit: Alienware)
The best Alienware laptop with Nvidia hardware

Specifications

CPU: Up to 12th Generation Intel Core i9 or AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX
Graphics: Up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti
RAM: Up to 64GB DDR5
Screen: 15.6" FHD or QHD display, 360Hz
Storage: Up to 4TB RAID0 + 512GB SSD