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Our Favorite Dell Laptops of 2022

Dell has been one of the world’s leading technology companies for nearly 40 years, producing everything from desktops and laptops to monitors and electronic accessories, like mice, keyboards, and docking stations. Its line of laptops ranges from pricey multimedia powerhouses and affordable lightweight options to 2-in-1s that double as a tablet and laptops with features better suited to gamers. With so many models to choose from, it can be challenging to figure out which one is best for your needs. So I’ve done the research to help you sort through the nearly one hundred laptops and 2-in-1s Dell has to offer.

The Expert: I’m a laptop nut who writes about technology for a living. My articles have appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, Reuters, and other online outlets. Admittedly, I spend far too much time tapping on keyboards and have owned many Dell models over the years. My current laptop arsenal consists of a Microsoft Surface Go 2, whose small size and reasonable price make it ideal for travel, a Microsoft Surface 7 2-in-1 tablet, a MacBook Pro, a Samsung Chromebook, and an LG Gram 17, which has a huge screen that’s great for editing large documents. I’ve tried everything from slow low-end models to high-end speed machines.

What to Look for in a Dell Laptop

Size, Weight, and Form Factor

One of the first things to ask yourself is what you’ll be using your laptop for. If you spend long hours looking at documents or you want a more cinematic experience when streaming movies, you’ll likely want a screen 15 inches or larger. If you commute daily or travel often, you’ll want something that’s thin, light, and small enough to shove into a backpack—the Dell Inspiron 13 5310 on our list weighs just 2.78 pounds and has a 13-inch screen. A 2-in-1, which is both a laptop and a tablet, is ideal for those who want to use their gadget for both work and entertainment.

Screen Resolution and Size

In general, the bigger the screen you buy, the happier you’ll be. Few people regret buying a screen that’s too big, but the opposite is often true. Remember, though, that size isn’t everything when it comes to screens.

A 13-inch screen is a sweet spot for most people, offering a good balance between portability and usability. A 15-inch or larger display can be awkward to place on the tray table of an economy class airline seat, but it can be a better choice for those who keep their laptops on a desk.

The higher a display’s resolution is, the more detailed an image can be, because it has more pixels. Also, more content can fit onto a higher-resolution computer screen than on a lower-resolution screen, so it’s best for viewing large documents. Look for a resolution of at least 1,366 x 768 pixels.

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Processor

Processor speeds are measured in gigahertz (GHz). The higher the GHz, the faster the processor. For example, a laptop with a 4.7 GHz processor will perform twice as fast as one with a 1.6 GHz processor. For simple tasks like word processing, almost any model will do. But if you plan to use your laptop for gaming or editing videos, look for a laptop with a high-end processor. The Dell XPS 17 9710 has a 4.6 GHz Intel Core i7-11800H.

Memory

The amount of memory, or RAM, your laptop has is key to its performance. The more RAM you have, the smoother it will operate. You’ll notice a big difference in the speed of launching and between applications. Most laptops come with 16 GB of RAM, which is the bare minimum. But it’s easy enough to buy and plug in extra memory (another 16 GB will run you about $60). Having more RAM boosts computer speed if you use many programs or browsing tabs at once, or if you do memory-intensive tasks like gaming. A laptop with 16 GB of RAM will often be significantly quicker than one that has 8 GB.

Price

Dell laptops can be had these days for as little as a few hundred dollars. While it’s tempting to save money up front, you might regret those savings in the long run. Lower-end Dells tend to have smaller screens, limited memory, and slower processors. If all you’re doing is casual web browsing or streaming Netflix, a cheaper Dell can work just fine. But if you’re looking for something that allows you to edit videos or perform heavy-duty work like manipulating large spreadsheets or using processor-intensive software like Photoshop, consider investing in a more capable machine.

How We Selected

I researched the nearly 100 Dell laptops and 2-in-1s available to buy, looking at consumer reviews and ratings, and considering size, speed, memory, form factor, and price. I also used my own experience to narrow that list to the ones I find most suitable to all use-case scenarios. To get a final feel for the products I recommend, I tried out the latest Dell laptops in person.

Best for Kids or Travel

Dell Inspiron 3583

Key Specs

  • Screen Size: 15-in.
  • Weight: 4.41 lb.
  • Resolution: 1,366 x 768 pixels
  • Processor: 1.6 Ghz Intel Celeron N4020 CPU
  • Memory: 128 GB hard drive, 4 GB RAM

This inexpensive laptop offers a relatively large 15-inch screen for its price, although it’s not the sharpest display I’ve ever seen. The Intel Celeron processor won’t win any speed prizes, but it’s snappy enough for clicking through websites, and I was even able to watch a YouTube video at a decent frame rate. Even though the 3583’s casing is plastic, I found the machine to feel solid enough, with a pleasant texture that makes holding it easier.

Best Budget Notebook

Dell Inspiron 15 5510

Key Specs

  • Screen Size: 15.6 in.
  • Weight: 3.6 lb.
  • Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
  • Processor: 2.6 GHz Intel Core i5-11300H
  • Memory: 512 GB hard drive, 8 GB RAM

My favorite part of the 5510 is the built-in lid-open sensor, which lets the laptop know to start up when it’s opened, even if it’s completely off or hibernating. In practice, this made jotting down notes much quicker as all I had to do was open the laptop and start typing instead of having to wait. The screen is sharp and crisp enough that I’d be happy to watch movies on it or scroll through long spreadsheets.

  • Sharp screen
  • Quick startup time
  • Battery life could be better

Best 2-in-1

Dell Inspiron 17 7000 2-in-1

Key Specs

  • Screen Size: 17.3 in.
  • Weight: 5.36 lb.
  • Resolution: 2,560 x 1,600 pixels
  • Processor: 4.7 GHz Intel Core i7-1165G7
  • Memory: 1 TB (1,000 GB) hard drive, 32 GB RAM

This is the only 2-in-1 laptop on this list because I’m generally not a fan of the category. Too often, these tablets that turn into laptops are clunky and awkward to use. But I’ve made an exception for the 7000 because it functions perfectly in either tablet or laptop mode. A sturdy hinge keeps it upright when you want to use it as a tablet and prop it up in bed for watching movies.

  • Terrific hinge design
  • Giant, gorgeous screen

Best MacBook Alternative

Dell Inspiron 13 5310

Key Specs

  • Screen Size: 13.3 inch
  • Weight: 2.78 lb.
  • Resolution: 2,560 x 1,600 pixels
  • Processor: 4.8 GHz Intel Core i7-11370H
  • Memory: 512 GB hard drive, 16 GB RAM

This thin and light laptop looks and acts suspiciously like the famous Apple MacBook Air. It has a similar comfortable keyboard and a bright and colorful screen. In practice, I found the 5310 a joy to use for light computing tasks with applications launching quickly. It also has great battery life that lasted around nine hours in my real-world tests.

  • Great keyboard and screen
  • Some users say it runs hot

Best for Multimedia

Dell XPS 17 9710

Key Specs

  • Screen Size: 17 in.
  • Weight: 4.65 lb.
  • Resolution: 1,920 x 1,200 pixels
  • Processor: 4.6 GHz Intel Core i7-11800H
  • Memory: 1 TB (1,000 GB) hard drive, 16 GB RAM

If you don’t mind a chunky laptop, the 9710 might be the best you can get for multimedia. It’s got a huge and beautiful 17-inch screen that’s perfect for editing videos or getting immersed while watching movies. The speakers are among the best I have ever heard on a laptop and can easily fill a room with sound.

Best for Business on a Budget

Dell Inspiron 15 3593

Key Specs

  • Screen Size: 15.6 in.
  • Weight: 3.73 lb.
  • Resolution: 1,366 x 768 pixels
  • Processor: 1.3 GHz Intel Quad-Core i7-1065G7
  • Memory: 512 GB hard drive, 12 GB RAM

The 3593 looks all business with its black case, but the large and bright screen is nice enough to enjoy watching movies on. This model packs a solid keyboard, although the processor isn’t the fastest as you would expect at this price point. Still, this is an excellent choice for anyone who wants a decent laptop for basic computing tasks.

  • Great screen
  • Good keyboard

Best for Basic Writing Tasks

Dell Inspiron 3510

Key Specs

  • Screen Size: 15.6 in.
  • Weight: 3.91 lb.
  • Resolution: 1,366 x 768 pixels
  • Processor: 1.1 GHz Intel Celeron N4020
  • Memory: 128 GB hard drive, 16 GB RAM

The sleek 3510 looks much more expensive than it is. You get a surprisingly decent and bright screen for the price, and a lot of computer for doing things like writing documents and browsing the web. The processor is more tortoise than hare, and the resolution isn’t as good as you might find in more expensive models.

  • Inexpensive
  • Big bright screen

Best for Long Typing Sessions

Dell Inspiron 15 3511

Key Specs

  • Screen Size: 15.6 in.
  • Weight: 3.82 lb.
  • Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
  • Processor: 4.1 GHz Intel Core i3-1115G4
  • Memory: 256 GB hard drive, 8 GB RAM

The modestly priced 3511 boasts one feature that I wish every laptop maker would steal: a lift hinge that raises the device to an ergonomic angle that’s more comfortable for typing. It’s this seemingly simple gimmick that makes the 3511 stand out from its competitors. The screen is large and bright, and the basic Intel processor gets the job done.

  • Innovative hinge design
  • Nice screen

Best for Working From Home

Dell Inspiron 17 3793

Key Specs

  • Screen Size: 17.3 in.
  • Weight: 7.78 lb.
  • Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
  • Processor: 1.0 GHz Intel Core i5-1035G1
  • Memory: 1 TB (1,000 GB) hard drive, 16 GB RAM

If you don’t need to tote your laptop, there’s not much to dislike about this model. The 3793 has a great keyboard and a bright, spacious display with a non-glare coating that makes looking at it for long periods much easier on the eyes. The gray case is elegant-looking and all business. Users report that the 3793 ran cool even during extended work sessions. One downside is that the 3793 is heavy and bulky, so it’s best for those who plan to use it mostly at home.

  • Nice looking
  • Good keyboard

Best All-Around

Dell XPS 13 9310

Key Specs

  • Screen Size: 13.4 in.
  • Weight: 2.8 lb.
  • Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
  • Processor: 5 GHz Intel Core i7-1195G7
  • Memory: 512 GB hard drive, 16 GB RAM

The 9310 is one of my favorite laptops on the market thanks to its combination of sleek lines and solid specs. It has a high-resolution touchscreen that’s a delight whether you’re viewing movies or scrolling through long documents. The machined aluminum case looks and feels like a premium product. The late-model Intel processor was fast enough for any task I threw at in casual tests, although I wouldn’t expect to use this laptop for serious gaming. The keyboard is comfortable, and the carbon-fiber palm rest is a genius addition that I wish other manufacturers would adopt.

  • Great screen
  • Fast processor
  • Small screen for the price

Our Expert, Sascha Brodsky, on His Dream Laptop, His Favorite Laptop, and the Laptop He Wishes Would Get a Modern Reboot

Q: Laptop you wish you owned?

A: I crave perhaps the least practical laptop of all time, the GPD Pocket 3. This tiny laptop has an 8-inch screen and a compact keyboard that’s too small to write a novel on. Nevertheless, it’s super cute and weighs just 15.5 ounces. Plus, it has a surprising list of features, including a 1920 x 1200 resolution, a touch screen, integrated graphics, a camera, a 7-hour battery life, a 1 TB hard drive, 8 GB of RAM, and a 1.1 GHz processor.

Buy GPD Pocket 3

Q: Favorite laptop purchase?

A: This might date me, but I loved the IBM Thinkpad 701C from 1995 far more than it deserved. My devotion was due to its unusual design with a folding “butterfly” keyboard that allowed the laptop to fold up small but have a solid place to type. It was kind of like having both a mini laptop and a large one simultaneously. There’s never been anything like the 701C, and I keep hoping some manufacturer will bring back the folding keyboard.

Q: Laptop purchase you regret?

A: The Sony 505-G was one of the prettiest laptops ever made when it was released in 1998. It had an iridescent aluminum case and weighed a stunningly light 3.1 pounds for its time. I loved the look of it, but it was also unusable. Its processor was so underpowered that it could barely open Microsoft Word. The battery life also could be measured in minutes rather than hours. Still, I’d be happy to buy a reincarnation of this laptop if it ever got updated with modern specs since the design was just so terrific.

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