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 5th Generation Core series CPU, a 128GB SSD and Windows 8.1. We particularly like the soft-touch keyboard deck and carbon-fiber bottom.
Just because it's simple doesn't mean it has to be slow. Dell's Chromebook 11 powers Chrome OS with an Intel Core i3 CPU, 4GB of RAM and a 16GB SSD for speedy performance. It also has more than 10 hours of battery life, so it can last all day. And with its minimalist design, it will still look good next to more expensive machines. For less than $400, what more do you want?
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 $1,599 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 $399 ($479 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 were less stiff.
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.
There was once a time when PC owners had to sacrifice portability for power. That time is over. The Alienware 13 (starting at $999) packs a 13-inch 2560 x 1440 display, GeForce GTX 860M GPU and one of the longest-lasting batteries in a gaming laptop (over 6 hours) into a svelte 4.4-pound chassis. And that's before you add Alienware's secret weapon. When set up at home, a separate graphical amplifier pairs a full-fledged desktop graphics card with the laptop, boosting the system's gaming prowess above other portable rigs while simultaneously future-proofing your purchase.
Windows 7 is alive and well, and it's living on the Dell Precision M2800. This 15-inch beast can be outfitted with an Intel Core i7 CPU and AMD FirePro graphics. The crisp 1920 x 1080-pixel display offers a sharp picture, while the comfy, soft-touch deck and keyboard make getting work done a breeze. Plus, the military-tested chassis and robust security software make sure this workhorse will last.
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.