Technology Best 15-inch laptops for 2019

01:45  25 october  2019
01:45  25 october  2019 Source:   cnet.com

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Why 15? As the middle child between more expensive, big-screen 17-inch models and smaller, less powerful laptops that are 13 inches, 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 options to choose from in both sizes.

a laptop computer sitting on top of a wooden table: tk© Sarah Tew/CNET


Many of these are on the pricey side; if you're looking for a broader set of options, check out our picks for budget laptops and budget gaming laptops. And picking just a handful out of a sea of hundreds pretty much ensures you'll miss some important options, especially if you're looking for something more tailored to specific needs, so you should also head over to see our best gaming laptops, two-in-ones and Chromebooks, as well as the best choices for college students, creatives and MacBook Pro alternatives for the Windows set. Plus, if you just want pure power or long battery life, our rankings of battery life and performance are for you.

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Because configurations, specs, designs and availability tend to change so frequently, we've limited our choices to laptops we've reviewed in the past year -- the individual stories above cover a longer span of time. So, for instance, the LG Gram 15, which blew us away with its battery life and light weight in March 2018, isn't here because we haven't run the battery tests on current configurations and specs, which, of course, directly affect it.

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Best 15-inch for work and play

Razer Blade 15 Advanced

a close up of a computer© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc.Sarah Tew/CNET

Razer's featureless-slab aesthetic slips seamlessly fits 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, Razer Blade 15 Advanced is (unsurprisingly) a great device for both creative work and gaming.  If you're willing to go with a black Razer Blade and an emptied wallet, you can get an Adobe RGB calibrated 4K OLED display and a GeForce RTX 2070 for $3,300.

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Best 15-inch Chromebook

Lenovo Yoga Chromebook C630

  Best 15-inch laptops for 2019 © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc.Sarah Tew/CNET

The Lenovo Yoga Chromebook C630 further expands the boundaries of what you can expect from a Chromebook in 2019. The standout feature is a terrific convertible, 15.6-inch, 4K 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 the Chrome OS). And like most Chromebooks, it costs hundreds less than a similarly configured Windows counterpart.

Best dual screen

Asus ZenBook Pro Duo

a close up of a computer© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc.Sarah Tew/CNET

Given that there are only really two dual-screen options available at the moment -- the other is the fast HP Omen X 2S gaming laptop -- choosing one seems kind of moot. But the ZenBook Pro Duo has a lot going for it in general, including a color-accurate OLED screen plus a smaller IPS panel below it. The secondary display may only be about half an extra screen, but it's still really useful 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 8-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 (though it should be respectable) from the less expensive Core i processor, RTX 2060 configuration. Plus, the battery life isn't very good and the keyboard can be uncomfortable without the wrist rest.

The best gaming laptop performers of 2019

  The best gaming laptop performers of 2019 Alienware and Origin PC still dominate the top spots, with Acer's Triton 900, the Razor Blade Pro and Asus' ROG Zephyrus GX701 the best of the rest.For this roundup, we've taken all the laptops with discrete graphics hardware we've tested over the past year and a half and ranked them based on 3D performance. Below are those with top performance from that group, and you can also scroll through the full list of game benchmark results here.

Best balance of speed and battery life

Apple MacBook Pro

a close up of a computer© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc.Sarah Tew/CNET

I'm not a fan of the keyboard or Touch Bar, but 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 screen remains terrific. You pay for it, though -- base price for the 15-inch Macbook Pro model is $2,399 and that's with a meager 256GB SSD.

Best 15-inch gaming performer

Acer Predator Triton 500

a close up of a computer© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc.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 and 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 the battery life is pretty short. But if you need maximum graphics and CPU performance in a reasonably portable device, this is a good option.

Best 15-inch budget gaming

Dell G5 15 5590

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

Samsung Galaxy Book Flex and Ion laptops first with QLED displays, wireless charging touchpads

  Samsung Galaxy Book Flex and Ion laptops first with QLED displays, wireless charging touchpads You'll have to wait until 2020 to get your hands on them, though.Both available in 13.3-inch and 15.6-inch sizes, the Flex and Ion will be the world's first laptops to use Samsung's QLED displays in 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution. The displays on the preproduction models Samsung showed us looked amazing and they'll cover 100% sRGB and DCI-P3 color spaces and have a brightness up to 400 nits. But there will also be a setting for an Outdoor mode that pushes them up to 600 nits. And if you need more graphics power than Intel's integrated solutions, the 15-inch size will be available with entry-level Nvidia GeForce MX250 discrete graphics.

Bonus 14-inch: Lightest and best battery life

Lenovo Yoga C930

a close up of a computer© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc.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. And for a two-in-one, the slightly smaller size makes it less awkward when using it as a tablet. The Yoga C930 has a great design in addition to its weight and battery-life advantages; small touches like the bundled active pen has a storage and charging slot in the body and physical webcam shutter make it stand out from the crowd.

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