Best 15-inch Laptop Of 2020 For Work Gaming Or Both

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Why a 15-inch [ laptop]? As the middle child between smaller, less powerful [ ] and more expensive, big-screen 17-inch models, 15 inches strikes the Goldilocks balance between price, performance and size for many people -- at least in the US. Some other regions find 14 inches more to their liking, which is why we have so many similar laptop computer options to choose from in both sizes.
There are a lot of powerful laptops out there, so we've culled a lineup of our best 15-inch [/news/best-chromebooks-to-consider-2020/ laptop] picks based on design, performance for a given set of specs (aka, their configuration) and features for the money. Because configurations, specs, designs and availability tend to change so frequently, we've limited our choices for this particular roundup to laptops we've reviewed roughly in the past year. So, for instance, the [/reviews/lg-gram-15-2018-review/ LG Gram 15], which blew us away with its [/news/best-laptop-deals-in-2020-windows-and-chromebooks-for-under-500/ battery life] and light weight back in March 2018, isn't listed here because we haven't run our battery tests on current configurations. 

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We've included both budget and premium laptops, and taken into consideration features like battery life, GPU and graphics card, processor, hard drive, SSD storage, whether or not it has a touchscreen, fingerprint reader, 4K display or a backlit keyboard, and more. Screen size shouldn't be the only thing dictating your laptop computer purchasing decisions! 

If you're looking for a focus on lower prices or a broader set of options, check out our picks for [/news/windows-laptops-and-chromebooks-for-under-500/ budget laptops] and [/news/best-cheap-gaming-laptops-under-1000-in-2020/ budget gaming laptops]. And picking just a handful out of a sea of hundreds pretty much ensures that you'll miss some important devices, especially if you're looking for a more powerful laptop that's tailored to specific needs, like video editing, so you should also head over to see our [/news/best-gaming-laptops-for-2020/ best gaming laptops], [/news/best-2-in-1-pcs-in-2020-when-you-need-a-laptop-and-tablet-in-one/ two-in-ones] and [/news/best-chromebooks-to-consider-2020/ Chromebooks], as well as the [/news/best-college-laptops-in-2020/ best choices for college students], our picks of [/news/best-laptops-desktops-tablets-for-designers-in-2020/ computers and tablets for creatives] and the best [/news/best-macbook-pro-alternatives-for-2020/ MacBook Pro alternatives] for the Windows set. Plus, if you just want a model with pure power or long battery life, our rankings of [/news/best-battery-life-laptops-for-2020/ battery life] and [/news/best-gaming-laptop-performers-in-2020-alienware-compared/ performance] are for you. We update this list periodically with new products and information.

Read more: [/news/best-laptop-backpack-for-2020/ Best laptop backpack for 2020]  

[ Best budget 15-inch laptop]

[ Acer Aspire 5]

[ ]

Sarah Tew/CNET

[/awards/ ED I T O R S ' C H O I C E Nov 2019]

It's hard to find a budget laptop that's also thin and light, much less one that has decent performance and battery life. The Aspire, which starts at $400, hits all those targets and more, including a solid assortment of ports (including a USB type-C port) and easily upgradable hard drive storage and memory. It's got a budget build, but you can't expect everything for so little money.

[/reviews/acer-aspire-5-2019-review/ Read our Acer Aspire 5 (2019) review].

[ $489 at Amazon]

[ Best 15-inch for work and play]

[ Razer Blade 15 Advanced]

[ ]

Sarah Tew/CNET

Razer's featureless-slab aesthetic fits seamlessly into almost any environment, making it the best 15-inch laptop for work and play. If you opt for one of the higher-end configurations and specs -- like a great graphics card -- the Razer Blade 15 Advanced is a great device for creative work and is a stellar gaming laptop. If you're willing to go with a black Razer Blade and an emptied wallet (this is among the most premium laptops), you can get an Adobe RGB calibrated 4K OLED display and a GeForce RTX 2070 for $3,300.

[/reviews/razer-blade-15-advanced-review/ Read our Razer Blade 15 Advanced review].

[ $3,710 at eBay]

[ $3,717 at Walmart]

[ Best 15-inch desktop replacement]

[ Lenovo Yoga C940]

[ ]

Sarah Tew/CNET

A middle ground between smaller 13-inch [ ] and heavier, faster or more expensive models -- it weighs about the same as a 16-inch MacBook Pro, at 4.4 pounds (2 kg) -- the Yoga C940 incorporates a six-core Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GTX 1650 Max-Q discrete graphics. The result is quite respectable performance for a two-in-one. Plus, you gain design flexibility -- kiosk mode (also called "[ stand mode]") and tent mode (my personal favorite), which are the best ways to use a laptop with a touch screen that hangs around the house.

[/reviews/lenovo-yoga-c940-15-6-inch-review/ Read our Lenovo Yoga C940 (15.6-inch) review].

[ $1,565 at Amazon]

[ $1,700 at Best Buy]

[ Best mainstream 15-inch Windows laptop for photo editing]

[ Dell XPS 15 9500]

[ ]

Lori Grunin/CNET

If, like me, you're not a big fan of [ ] -- they're not optimized for Adobe RGB and aren't great at tonal range in the shadows -- then what you need is a laptop with a good IPS display. The Dell XPS 15 9500 with the 4K screen option delivers that, and it's not as reflective as the OLED screens I've seen. It doesn't qualify as an "[ ]" laptop because it tops out at a GTX 1650 Ti, but that graphics processor is sufficient for most photo editing and you don't need the Nvidia Studio drivers for most photo editing. Dell's PremierColor software isn't perfect, but it gives you more control over screen settings than most I've seen, and it's got two Thunderbolt 3 controllers to make your external drives happy.

[/reviews/dell-xps-15-9500-review/ Read our Dell XPS 15 9500 review].

[ $1,300 at Dell]

[ Best 15-inch Chromebook]

[ Lenovo Yoga Chromebook C630]

[ ]

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Lenovo Yoga Chromebook C630 further expands the boundaries of what you can expect from a [ ]. The standout feature is a terrific 15.6-inch, 4K convertible display -- but it also has a complement of solid components and a sturdy, tasteful aluminum chassis (though the keyboard is a little mushy and you can't run those few Windows- and MacOS-only applications on Chrome OS).The battery in this device should last about 10 hours after being fully charged. Like most Chromebooks, it costs hundreds less than a similarly configured Windows counterpart.

[/reviews/lenovo-yoga-chromebook-c630-review/ Read our Lenovo Yoga Chromebook C630 review].

[ $678 at Amazon]

[ $630 at Best Buy]

Best 15-inch budget gaming

Dell G5 15 5590

Sarah Tew/CNET

[/awards/ ED I T O R S ' C H O I C E Nov 2019]

Dell's G series comprises some of the best mainstream gaming laptops you can find, with strong performance, a variety of component options and a more travel- and user-friendly design than most. Plus, battery life is a lot better than a typical gaming laptop's, and a solid-performance base configuration starts at less than $1,000.

[/reviews/dell-g5-15-5590-review/ Read our Dell G5 15 5590 review].

[ Best 15-inch for creative work]

[ Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED XA]

[ ]

Sarah Tew/CNET

[/awards/ ED I T O R S ' C H O I C E Nov 2019]

[ ] have a combination of color gamut (100% P3) and contrast that IPS panels are struggling to match, but need calibration to keep your colors from chaos. The 15-inch Gigabyte is sleek and powerful -- it's got all the Nvidia Studio specs, it just lacks the logo, and you can download the more creative-application-focused Studio driver yourself. A color-profile switcher utility makes it more convenient to use, and it's a well-designed laptop that performs solidly. Note that the battery life isn't great, though better than a lot of the gaming notebooks these laptops are based on, and the webcam is in a ridiculous spot.

[/reviews/gigabyte-aero-15-oled-review/ Read our Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED review].

[ $2,481 at Amazon]

[ $2,000 at Best Buy]

[ $2,599 at Adorama]

[ Best balance of speed and battery life]

[ Apple MacBook Pro]

[ ]

Sarah Tew/CNET

It may now have a 16-inch screen, but the MacBook Pro remains a 15-incher in size and spirit. I'm not a fan of the Touch Bar, but at least the keyboard's improved, and the combination of the MacBook Pro's hardware and MacOS extracts the maximum performance from the components while delivering class-leading battery life in a way Windows systems never seem to do, and the Retina Display screen remains terrific. You pay for it, though -- base price for the 16-inch MacBook Pro model is $2,399.

[/reviews/apple-macbook-pro-16-inch-2019-review/ Read our Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019) review].

[ $2,399 at Apple]

[ $2,079 at Back Market]Refurbished

[ $2,199 at Amazon]

[ Best dual-screen]

[ Asus ZenBook Pro Duo]

[ ]

Sarah Tew/CNET

Given that there are only really two dual-screen options available at the moment -- the other is the fast [ ] -- choosing one doesn't seem that big a deal. But the ZenBook Pro Duo has a lot going for it, including a color-accurate OLED screen plus a smaller IPS panel below it. The secondary display may be only about half an extra screen, but it's still really useful for video editing and other tasks when you want to fit more video or photos on the main 15-inch monitor or work in a small space. The ZenBook Pro Duo's primary OLED touchscreen display provides excellent color accuracy for Adobe RGB and P3, plus it's got a high-powered i9-9980HK eight-core processor, making it a portable powerhouse. It's relatively heavy for its class at 5.5 pounds, though, and the high-end model we loved costs $3,000 -- don't expect blazing speed from the less expensive Core i processor and RTX 2060 configuration (though it should be respectable). Plus, the battery life isn't very good and the keyboard can be uncomfortable without the wrist rest.

[/reviews/asus-zenbook-pro-duo-review/ Read our Asus ZenBook Pro Duo review].

[ $3,033 at eBay]

[ Best 15-inch gaming performer]

[ Acer Predator Triton 500]

[ ]

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Acer Predator Triton 500 is a gaming powerhouse in a thin and light package, at least in the pricey full-on configuration with specs including an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q. The keyboard isn't terrific and it can run hot and loud, and like any gaming laptop it has pretty short battery life. But if you need maximum graphics and CPU performance in a reasonably portable device, this is a good option.

[/reviews/acer-predator-triton-500-review/ Read our Acer Predator Triton 500 review].

[ $3,000 at Best Buy]

Bonus 14-inch: Best business laptop for travelers

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (7th Gen)

Angela Lang/CNET

Dropping down to 14 inches does confer some benefits, notably lighter weight, and since the components tend to be less powerful than in the 15-inch models, battery life is typically much better. Toss in Lenovo's latest privacy and security updates and the ThinkPad X1 Carbon makes a great business travel companion. If you want a two-in-one instead, its sibling the [ ] earns a similar recommendation.

[/reviews/thinkpad-x1-carbon-7th-gen-review/ Read our ThinkPad X1 Carbon (7th Gen) review].

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