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Best 15-inch laptop 2021: top picks with 15-inch displays

MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2019)
(Image credit: Future)
PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

It’s no mystery why most people prefer the best 15-inch laptops over those 17-inch behemoths and tiny 13-inch offerings. Keeping things in moderation – at least in size and weight – these portables are neither too big nor too small, making them the Goldilocks of laptops.

That doesn’t mean that the best 15-inch laptops are in any way mediocre, however. Whether they’re laptops for gaming or creative workstations meant for content creation, these are packing serious internals like the best processors and the best graphics cards as well as premium features while still keeping things nice, light and accessible. 

So, no matter if you’re upgrading from that 17-inch you’ve been lugging around, that 13-inch whose display you’ve been putting up with, or a desktop PC, it’s time to take stock of the best 15-inch laptops 2021 has to offer. They’ll give you everything you could hope for without compromises. From the traditional choices to Chromebooks and versatile 2-in-1s, here are our top picks.

The best 15-inch laptops at a glance

  1. Dell XPS 15
  2. Asus TUF Dash F15
  3. Asus VivoBook S15 (S532F)
  4. Microsoft Surface Book 3
  5. HP Envy 15 (2020)
  6. Razer Blade 15 (2020)
  7. Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (15-inch)
  8. Lenovo Legion 7i
  9. Asus ROG Zephyrus M15 GU502
  10. Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2019)

The best 15-inch laptops of 2021

Dell XPS 15

(Image credit: Dell)

1. Dell XPS 15 (2020)

The ultimate laptop has arrived

Specifications
CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i5 – i7
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti
RAM: 8GB – 64GB
Screen: 15.6" FHD+ (1920 x 1200) InfinityEdge Non-Touch Anti-Glare 500-Nit – 15.6" UHD+ (3840 x 2400) InfinityEdge Touch Anti-Reflective 500-Nit Display
Storage: 256GB – 2TB M.2 PCIe NVMe
Reasons to buy
+Amazing speakers+Beautiful display+Comfy keyboard
Reasons to avoid
-GTX 1650 Ti is a little weak

The Dell XPS 15 might just be incredible enough to tempt hardcore Mac users. It’s easily the best 15-inch laptop in 2021, and in a lot of ways, the best laptop (period). Combining staggering power in a stylish thin and light chassis, this laptop doesn’t hold back when it comes to internals and features that improve your computing experience overall. Among those amazing features are a gorgeous bright display with 500 nits of brightness, an extremely comfortable keyboard, impressive speakers, and a terrific trackpad. We’re not saying that this laptop is perfect, but our coveted 5 out of 5 rating should speak for itself.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 15

Asus TUF A15

(Image credit: Asus)

2. Asus TUF Dash F15

The new affordable gaming king

Specifications
CPU: Up to Intel Core i7-11375H
Graphics: Up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070
RAM: Up to 16GB DDR4-3200
Screen: Up to 15.6-inch WQHD anti-glare 165Hz IPS-level display with Adaptive Sync
Storage: Up to 1TB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Long battery life+Super thin and light+Strong gaming performance
Reasons to avoid
-No webcam-Keyboard lighting color can't be changed

The Asus TUF line is no stranger to affordable laptops that are also great performers. Last year’s Asus TUF A15, for instance, was simply brilliant while keeping things accessible to budget-conscious gamers. The Asus TUF Dash F15 is back to preserve that affordability while also delivering brute strength. It brings in Intel Tiger Lake processors, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3000 mobile GPUs, and up to a 240Hz 1080p display without costing a fortune while also keeping things light, thin, and military-grade durable. If you’re looking for an affordable and portable gaming laptop, this is the best 15-inch laptop for you.

Read the full review: Asus TUF Dash F15

Asus VivoBook S15 (S532F)

(Image credit: Asus)

3. Asus VivoBook S15 (S532F)

Thin, light and capable

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+Bright, colourful 15.6-inch screen+Weighs just 1.8kg
Reasons to avoid
-Merely average battery life

While Asus VivoBook S15 has been designed to become among the best ultra-portables on the market this 2021, 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)

Microsoft Surface Book 3

(Image credit: Microsoft)

4. Microsoft Surface Book 3

An extremely premium piece of kit

Specifications
CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i7-1065G7
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti with Max-Q Design
RAM: 16GB or 32GB 3733Mhz LPDDR4x
Screen: 15-inch 3240 x 2160 (260 PPI) PixelSense Display
Storage: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB PCIe SSD
Reasons to buy
+Beautiful design+Comfortable keyboard+Gorgeous screen
Reasons to avoid
-Weak U-series processor-Tiny trackpad-Lackluster speakers

In many ways, the Surface Book 3 is an example of just how far the best laptops have come in just a few short years. With an extremely premium piece of kit – with one of the best displays we’ve used in a laptop and a keyboard that will put the MacBook Pro’s new Magic Keyboards to shame – this follow-up to the outstanding Surface Book 2 is truly one of the best 15-inch laptops 2021 has to offer. Unfortunately, it’s held back by a weaker processor (next to its rivals), lackluster speakers and a high price tag. Still, it’s an excellent portable, if you’ve got the money for it.

Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Book 3

HP Envy 15 (2020)

(Image credit: HP)

5. HP Envy 15 (2020)

Elegance meets affordability

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i7-10750H - Core i9-10885H
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics - GeForce RTX 2060 w/Max-Q design (6 GB)
RAM: 16 – 32GB
Screen: 15.6" diagonal FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – 15.6" diagonal 4K UHD (3,840 x 2,160) multitouch display
Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Great value+Sleek design+Gorgeous 4K display
Reasons to avoid
-A bit hefty-Can run hot

The HP Envy 15 (2020) marries the elegance of the best ultrabooks with an affordable price tag. And, it does so without compromising on its performance. Sure, it will cost extra to get that gorgeous 4K display and the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060, but even a souped up model comes in at a pittance compared to some of the other high-end offerings on the market. The Envy might not be a perfect machine – it’s heavier than some of the other options, runs hot, and comes with some bloatware – but its pros vastly outweigh its cons and is an ideal machine for content creators on the go.

Read the full review: HP Envy 15 (2020) review

Razer Blade 15 (2020)

(Image credit: Razer)

6. Razer Blade 15 (2020)

Gaming in style

Specifications
CPU: 10th-generation Intel Core i7
Graphics: up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Super
RAM: 16GB DDR4
Screen: 144Hz FHD Matte or OLED 4K – 300Hz FHD Matte or OLED 4K Touch
Storage: Up to 1TB PCIe
Reasons to buy
+Powerful+Plenty of ports+Top-mounted speakers
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Short battery life

Expensive though it may be – as is usual with the Razer Blade line – 2020’s installment of the Razer Blade 15 is staggeringly powerful, more than capable of annihilating any PC game you throw at it. With up to an RTX 2080 Super in the GPU department, there’s no doubt of its extra oomph, which makes it an excellent candidate for creative professionals as well, especially with that design that keeps things classy and a trackpad that’s among the best we’ve tested on a gaming laptop. If you’ve got deep pockets and you like to keep things stylish, this is the best 15-inch laptop for the gamer in you.

Read the full review: Razer Blade 15 (2020)

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3

(Image credit: Microsoft)

7. Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (15-inch)

Longer-lasting than most

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+Excellent battery life+Exciting AMD flagship debut
Reasons to avoid
-Far too few ports

We hoped for great things in the next Surface Laptop model. However, when this installment of the 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)

Lenovo Legion 7i

(Image credit: Lenovo)

8. Lenovo Legion 7i

Perfect 15-inch laptop for work and play

Specifications
CPU: Up to 10th-generation Intel Core i9
Graphics: Up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super Max Q
RAM: Up to 32 GB DDR4 2933MHz
Screen: Up to 15.6" FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS, anti-glare with Dolby Vision, HDR 400, 500 nits, 240Hz
Storage: Up to 1 TB PCIe SSD + 512 GB PCIe SSD
Reasons to buy
+144Hz display, 240Hz models available+Solid chassis and great build quality+Quiet fans that keep their cool
Reasons to avoid
-Some may find the design a little bland-Mediocre battery life

Can Nvidia’s Turing GPUs still pull some punches in this Ampere world? Absolutely, and gaming laptops like the Lenovo Legion 7i are here to prove that. In fact, this sleek yet sturdy portable packs enough punch for both work and play. And, it comes in several configurations that cater to different gamers. There’s a lot of features here as well – the immersive RGB lights and fantastic thermals are only the beginning. The highest configuration is plenty pricey, but the other builds are affordable enough. 

Read the full review: Lenovo Legion 7i

Asus ROG Zephyrus M15 GU502

(Image credit: Asus)

9. Asus ROG Zephyrus M15 GU502

Intel’s latest mobile tech brings its A-game

Specifications
CPU: 10th-generation Intel Core i7
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660Ti – RTX 2070 Super
RAM: 16GB
Screen: 15.6-inch 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) 16:9 anti-glare display, 60Hz – 15.6-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS, 144Hz
Storage: 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD
Reasons to buy
+Excellent battery life+Good gaming performance+Fast screen
Reasons to avoid
-Not the most powerful-You're paying a lot for the design

Those in the market for a mid-range gaming device might adore the Asus ROG Zephyrus M15 GU502. It’s a great-looking piece of kit, serving as another entry to Asus’ much-vaunted ROG Zephyrus lineup of stylish thin and light gaming laptops. And, that fast screen makes it a joy for gamers with a predilection for fast-paced games. But, does it measure up to the most powerful laptops out there? While not cutting-edge, the Asus ROG Zephyrus M15 GU502’s specs are decent for graphically intensive games and its battery can last a while, which makes it the best 15-inch laptop if you’re not looking for a maxed-out machine.

Read the full review: Asus ROG Zephyrus M15 GU502

MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2019)

(Image credit: Apple)

10. Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2019)

The best 15-inch laptop for creatives

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+Speedier performance than ever+Option for 32GB of RAM+Useful Touch Bar
Reasons to avoid
-High price tags

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 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)