Dell is now among the top PC makers out there: over the last decade it’s created some of the best, highest quality, and most lauded notebooks you can buy, building a loyal following as a result.
If you’re looking for the best Dell laptop to invest in, know that you’re already making a sound decision. Even better news is that Dell has a variety on offer, encompassing all types, designs, and prices, which means that whatever you want and need, you should be able to find the perfect fit from its roster.
Photographers can sit comfortable knowing that Dell laptops frequently make it into our guide of the best photo editing laptops. Designers, content creators and those heading back to school hoping to get the best Dell laptop that is capable of seeing them through their creative workflows will want to stick with the more robust, premium options, packed with the vital trimmings (like all the necessary ports, an SD card reader, and a display that supports the right color space), which should shorten their list of options.
On the other hand, if they’ve already got that machine at home and are looking for a backup to use in the field or while traveling, then something less powerful and more portable or rugged should do the trick. Students might be looking for value for money, like the best student laptops.
Meanwhile, those who just want the best Dell laptop for the less glamorous parts of business like jumping on video calls with clients, sending emails, and putting together invoices and contracts will probably want a capable business laptop with decent power and more robust security features.
We know that makes choosing the best Dell laptop sound like a lot of work, but don’t worry. Just figure out what you’re going to need it for the most, and consult our list. Below, we’ve gathered the best Dell laptops out there for creative pros and novices, keeping in mind their different needs and budget.
Best Dell laptops in 2023
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The Dell XPS 15 has always been among the best laptops for prosumers, but it takes things to another level with this latest instalment. It’s one of a growing number of laptops to boast an OLED display - the finest screen tech money can buy. An OLED display means deeper blacks, wide colour gamuts, and excellent contrast ratios as well as HDR support – though if you want a non-OLED screen, that is still an option. There's also plenty of processing power inside, with Nvidia RTX discrete graphics that should see you through your demanding photo editing and less demanding video editing needs.
This hybrid notebook is an ace in so many ways. It’s one of the best 2-in-1 laptops out there; it’s thin, light, and portable – and therefore, travel-friendly; and it’s extremely capable for its size. It might waste a bunch of your time if you’re video editing on it, especially if it’s in 4K, as there is no dedicated graphics inside. But, it’s great for editing high-res photos on Lightroom, and for graphic design on Photoshop and Illustrator. And, once you’re done with work, you can seamlessly switch to relaxation mode on tent or tablet mode, which give this a lot more value than other options. See also Best 2-in-1 laptops
Read our full Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 review.
Unlike Dell’s flagships, the Dell Inspiron 15 delivers more than enough power for photo editing and graphics design (as long as you’re not doing 3D stuff), but for much less – specifically, under $1,000/£1,000. That alone makes it an already fantastic value. It isn’t exactly a budget, under $500/£500 laptop, but it is a mid-range option that’s accessible for most people. It also boasts an SD card reader, a variety of ports, and the option for a fingerprint reader for effortless login. There are some compromises here to keep the price down, but nothing major to be a deal-breaker.
Often, gaming laptops make for great creative laptops, especially the best of them like Dell’s Alienware m15 R7. This powerful and great-looking laptop delivers a whole lot of power, thanks to those mighty innards. The lower-end configuration here will see you through your photo editing and graphic design needs, while the highest one with the RTX 3080 graphics inside should run your video editing workloads smoothly. And, even though it is a gaming laptop, its space-age inspired design looks good enough to show off to clients. Just keep in mind that it is expensive and has a very short battery life so you’ll need to be carrying that heavy charger around.
This Dell laptop is really well designed, oozing quality in terms of its build and aesthetics, and offers lightweight computing in a compact package that you can take just about everywhere. We're not convinced by everything that the Dell XPS 13 offers. The battery life could certainly be better, as could the quality of the webcam and the resolution of the screen. Performance is decent enough for everyday tasks, but you're not going to be able to get through anything really demanding on this laptop, and gaming is out of the question.
While those are negatives, there are plenty of positives that in the end tip the balance. It's a laptop that looks gorgeous, that's smooth in operation, that's a pleasure to work on, and that can go to places other, heavier, larger laptops can't reach. And in the end, that's a pretty appealing deal.
Read our full Dell XPS 13 review.
You don’t have to splurge on a premium gaming laptop to get the kind of power you need for your photo and video editing needs. Dell’s G15 line is among the most capable and most affordable gaming laptops out there, despite the fact that it sits in the budget to mid-range market. With solid-performing specs like the RTX 3060, plenty of ports for your peripherals (except, sadly, for an SD card reader), and a fast display, it can handle many creative workflows. Just keep in mind that it’s not going to be as powerful as the RTX 3070 and RTX 3080-powered ones, so it might take a while to get through rendering and exporting 4K videos.
The Dell Latitude 3420 is more than capable of handling editing high-res images so it can be your go-to tool for photo editing on the go. However, this is first and foremost a business laptop, which makes it a versatile tool that will see you through every aspect of your business – from communicating with clients and drawing up contracts to the less demanding creative bits of it. Like most business laptops, it won’t come cheap. But, it isn’t that pricey either, which means it’s among the best value laptops out there for business. We only wish it has a high-resolution camera and a brighter display.
How we test laptops
When reviewing a laptop, we assess its internal hardware features, build quality, ergonomics, performance in a variety of usage scenarios, value for money, and its overall suitability for its target buyer. Although we'll evaluate a laptop with a typical user in mind, we will also pay particular attention to the perspective of photo and video enthusiasts, with special focus given to screen quality and color space coverage. Where possible, a monitor calibrator will be used to measure a laptop's display performance to assess whether it matches a manufacturer's claims, and software benchmarks like GeekBench are used to measure a laptop's processor and graphics card capabilities.
If none of these products fit what you were looking for, be sure to check out our expert guides to the best laptops for video editing, space-saving Ultrabooks with a thin and light design or even (if you have the space), the best desktop computers.