Somehow, Dell packed a 13-inch machine into an 11-inch body with the Dell XPS 13 (2015). The company accomplished this impressive feat by putting the smallest bezel (5-mm thick) humanly possible around the 2560 x 1440-pixel display. Under the hood, this laptop sports an Intel 6th Generation Core series CPU, a 128GB SSD and Windows 10, and enough juice to last nearly 12 hours. We particularly like the soft-touch keyboard deck and carbon-fiber bottom.
One of the best Chromebooks yet, the Dell Chromebook 13 combines superb battery life, great build quality and a comfy keyboard. We love the sturdy magnesium-alloy design, as well as the soft-touch carbon fiber on the lid. The more than 13 hours of juice solidify this system as a top pick.
Beneath the spaceship-inspired paneling with its glowing alien head and look-at-me lighting lurks a machine that can't wait to tear into the latest graphics-heavy AAA titles. This laptop's 17-inch, 1080p display puts out a wide range of vivid colors, and with a huge selection of configurable upgrades (up to an Intel Core i7, 16GB of RAM and an Nvidia GTX 980M), you can make your Alienware 17 as powerful as you want. A new feature for 2015 is the optional graphics amplifier, which allows you to connect a desktop-level GPU for graphics power unmatched by other gaming notebooks.
Boasting a 4K display in an attractive aluminum and carbon-fiber chassis, the Dell XPS 15 is a multimedia powerhouse with an Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GeForce 750M graphics. It has a wide and spacious keyboard surrounded by a comfortable, soft-touch deck, as well as some monstrously loud speakers. Our configuration -- which included 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD -- was a pricey $2,549, but the XPS 15 starts at $999 with a 1080p display. For photo or video professionals, though, the 4K panel is the way to go.
For business and work use, sometimes all you want is a no-nonsense system that won't let you down. That's the Dell Latitude E7450 in a nutshell. Instead of a touch screen or flashy lights, it features a simple 14-inch matte display, a comfortable backlit keyboard, and a carbon-fiber and magnesium-alloy case with military-grade, 810G-rated toughness. Inside, there's plenty of power, featuring up to an Intel Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. You also have the ability to choose faster or less-expensive components as you need them, as well as options like a fingerprint reader, a smart card reader, NFC and more.
You won't find a more versatile convertible for the money in Dell's lineup. Starting at $329 ($440 as reviewed), the Inspiron 11 3000 sports a vibrant touch screen that you can easily flip into tent or tablet mode. We also like the comfortable keyboard and fairly loud speakers. The Pentium CPU provides decent performance, while the 500GB hard drive gives you plenty of storage. We just wish the touchpad was more responsive.
Who says gaming laptops have to cost an arm and a leg? The $799 Dell Inspiron 15-7000 Series offers gamers a sexy, head-turning chassis with an Nvidia GeForce 960M chip -- a workhorse of a GPU that delivers satisfying frame rates. And when you're not saving the universe or remaking it in your own image, you can take advantage of the system's great audio quality and nearly 7 hours of battery life to binge-watch your favorite programs.
Who says consumers get all the cool convertibles? Dell's 7350 2-in-1 is a business tablet with military-grade 810G durability, enhanced by a dock that brings more than just a keyboard and touchpad. While the tablet itself is a little light on connectivity, attaching the dock adds two USB 3.0 ports, an SD Card reader and mini DisplayPort, all while doubling the battery life to more than 10 hours. The 7350's performance is fairly strong, too, featuring an Intel Core M CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD.
If you like the sleek looks of the Dell XPS 15, but need plenty of processing power for CAD, 3D modeling or running demanding business applications, the Precision 5510 is your best choice. This 4.6-pound workstation has the same svelte profile and gorgeous, bezel-free Infinity Display as Dell's XPS laptops, but packs in high-end components such as an Intel Xeon processor and Nvidia Quadro M1000M graphics.
Built to withstand whatever you throw at it, the Dell Latitude 14 Rugged Extreme is military-certified to handle extreme temperatures, shock, radiation, rain, sand, dust and water. That's thanks to the magnesium-alloy backbone, shock-absorbent ultra-polymer materials and protected ports. In addition to its rugged construction, this 14-inch laptop offers a resistive touch screen, 8 hours of battery life and discrete Nvidia graphics.
Who says business had to be boring? With Dell's Latitude 13 7000, you get class-leading consumer-level design, with the sort of toughness and security that enterprises demand. Systems start at $1,299, but like all good business machines, can be configured with a wide range of options from Intel m3 to m7 CPUs (with vPro), up to 16GB of RAM and 1TB SSDs. Dell even says the carbon fiber on Latitude 13 7000 notebooks has the same weave as the kind found on the space shuttle.