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Best Dell Laptop for 2019

March 26, 2019

1:09 pm

Dell has been a stalwart of the home computer space for years, with over three decades of experience in manufacturing and selling PCs and laptops. If you’ve been eyeing up its models with a view to picking up a new laptop, you’ll note that its range is exhaustive – there’s Inspiron, XPS, and the G Series, not to mention Chromebooks and its gaming-devoted Alienware models.

Dell has received a lot of praise for its line up, not least for its XPS range, which many point to as the company’s answer to the Apple MacBook. It’s not hard to see why – the XPS merges style and power, producing a fast, desirable laptop.

However, Dell also caters for all budgets, and you can find laptops in its range available for under $200. We take a look at its entire catalog, and let you know which series would suit you best.

Which is the Best Dell Laptop?

If there’s one thing you can say about the Dell laptop range, it’s that you’re spoilt for choice. Whether you’re looking for an entry level budget model, or a high-end gaming PC, you’ll find something that suits you.

We explain what each of the series offers below, what you get for your money, and which one you should opt for.

Best for budget – The Dell Inspiron 3000 11-inch model starts at just $180, offering a full Windows 10 experience.

Best everyday laptop – The Inspiron 5000 series straddles the line between budget and power pretty well for most users. The Inspiron 5000 15 Intel model is a great daily laptop.

Best for gaming – For hardcore gamers, Dell’s Alienware series is hard to beat. The Alienware 17 offers a blisteringly fast Intel Core i9 processor.

Best Chromebook – Don’t want Windows? The Dell Chromebook 11 gets you a snappy little laptop for under $200.

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Inspiron 3000 seriesInspiron 5000 seriesInspiron 7000 seriesXPS seriesDell G SeriesAlienware SeriesInspiron Chromebook series
VerdictDecent entry level laptops for small budgets and modest needsThe range where specs meet budget, making it a good choice for an everyday laptopDesigned for those who want a traditional laptop that has a little more firepowerHigh end models with plenty of muscle and stylish designGaming laptops that offer an entry point for budding online gunslingersSerious gaming devices stuffed with specs and a price tag that matchesEntry level Chromebooks with slim design and excellent battery life
ProcessorAMD A9 – Intel Core i7AMD Ryzen 3 – Intel Core i5AMD Ryzen 7 – Intel Core i7Intel Core i3 – i7Intel Core i5 – i7Intel Core i7 – i9Celeron – Intel Core i3
RAM4GB – 8GB4GB – 8GB8GB – 12GB4GB – 32GB8GB – 16GBUp to 64GB4GB
Storage128GB – 1TB256GB – 1TB256GB – 1TB256GB – 1TB256GB to 1TB512GB SSD & 1TB HDD16GB – 128GB
Screen size11.6″ – 17″14″ – 15″13.3″ – 17″11.6″ – 16″15.6″ – 18″15.6″ – 17″11.6″ – 14″
2-in-1 models available?YesYesYesYesNoNoYes
Operating systemWindows 10Windows 10Windows 10Windows 10Windows 10Windows 10ChromeOS
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Are Dell Laptops Good?

Talk to anyone who's owned a Windows laptop over the last twenty years, and chances are they will have probably had a Dell at some point – if not at home, then probably for work. Dell may not have the cred of a manufacturer like Apple, but it’s hard to deny the company’s continued devotion to the humble laptop (not to mention its desktop machines).

So, are Dell laptops any good? Well, yes – depending on what you opt for. Go for a high-end XPS or G Series model, and you’ll be more than happy with your experience. Opt for a cheaper model Dell, and you’ll be making some compromises on build quality and design, but it will still get the job done.

One area in which Dell receives universal praise is its after sales support. A strong network of experts and agents are able to help resolve issues, which compels Dell customers to return to them time and again.

Dell Inspiron 3000 Series

If you’re looking to get yourself a Dell and working with a limited budget, then the Inspiron 3000 series is the best place to begin. Granted, specs start modest, but they’ll get the job done for casual users.

The range is rather varied, starting with the 11-inch Inspiron 3000, which costs just $179. You can then go all the way up to the 17-inch Inspiron 3000, which will cost you over $800 if you go for the fully kitted out model with an i7 processor.

As the range is designed with budget in mind, it lacks some of the polish of the later models. Design wise, the 3000 series can be a bit chunky and bulky, lacking the sleek lines and profile of the XPS series, for example. You’ll also only get a standard video card in the 3000 series, so they won’t be up to playing games or heavy duty image editing. Displays on the 3000 are Full HD for the most part.

Key models:

Inspiron 11-inch 3000 – At under $200, the cheapest Windows laptop Dell offers
Inspiron 15-inch 3000 – Available with AMD, Intel Celeron, Pentium, or Core i3 processors
Inspiron 17-inch 3000 – Large screen laptop with 8GB of Ram and at least 1TB storage

Pros:
Cheapest Dell Windows laptops
Plenty of specification options

Cons:
Lack of video card options
Bulky

Dell Inspiron 5000 Series

A step up from the 3000 series, the 5000 range gets a bit of a specs boost, although there are still a lot of similarities between the two line-ups, such as the Full HD display. However, the 5000 series mainly focuses on Intel Core and AMD processors, rather than some of the low powered processors (such as Celeron and Pentium) you find in the 3000 range.

Some models in the range – such as the Intel 15-inch 5000 – introduce more touchscreens, as well as a backlit keyboard as standard. It also has a fingerprint reader located on the power button, as an added security feature.

The 5000 series is best placed as an everyday laptop. It’s a good choice for office workers or for home use, so long as you’re not looking to do anything too strenuous.

Key models:

Inspiron 14-inch 5000 2-in-1 – A tablet/laptop hybrid, configurable with either a 1TB hard drive or 128GB or 256GB solid state drive
Inspiron 15-inch 5000 – Not convertible like the 2-in-1, but a good workhorse with an 8th generation Intel Core processor and up to 8GB RAM

Pros:
Good value everyday laptop
Available with optical drive

Cons:
Slightly bulky

Dell Inspiron 7000 Series

The Dell Inspiron 7000 steps things up once more, bolstering Dell’s range with more attention paid to design, reflected in the slimmer, lighter frames of the 7000 series compared to previous ranges.

Processor wise, you’re looking at 8th generation Intel Core processors for the most part. Many of the larger models (15-inch and 17-inch) in the range come with dedicated NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards, which means that they’re well suited to heavier graphics work such as light image editing and some gaming.

The Inspiron 7000 series bridges the gap between the 3000/5000 ranges and the premium XPS models. While the 7000 series is fine in its own right, if your budget allows, we’d suggest making the jump to an XPS model instead.

Key models:

Inspiron 17 7000  2-in-1 – A huge 17-inch laptop with Dell's folding screen, this model effectively doubles as a great big tablet with touchscreen

Inspiron 17 7000 – Available with a dedicated GeForce graphics card and an 8th generation i7 processor, the 7000 17-inch packs a punch

Pros:
Graphics cards on top end models
Powerful processors

Cons:
Lacking the design ethos of the XPS series

Dell XPS Series

Pitched as Dell’s premium series, you can consider the XPS to be the company’s MacBook competitor. Slim, sleek, and boasting impressive specs, these are the Dell laptops most likely to turn heads. The range has found many fans, especially tech reviewers, who praise their excellent displays and responsive start times.

The XPS range can be configured to up to 16GB RAM, making it super snappy and a great multi-tasker, while its InfinityEdge display all but eliminates the bezel. Depending on the model you opt for, it’s available with a 4k screen, offering up crisp image with excellent color reproduction.

The range isn’t cheap, starting at just shy of $1,000, and gets considerably more expensive if you’re looking to add a dedicated graphics card, such as the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti.

Key models:

XPS 13-inch 7000 – Super slim and lightweight
XPS 13-inch 7000 2-in-1 – A laptop/tablet hybrid with plenty of power
XPS 15-inch 7000 – Available with a dedicated NVIDIA graphics card and 4K screen

Pros:
Excellent slim design
Light and portable
Don’t compromise on specs

Cons:
Can be pricey

Dell G Series

If you’re a serious gamer, then you should be looking at Dell’s G Series, a range that it specifically designed with games in mind. This means fast processors, large screens, and dedicated graphics processors.

Display sizes range from 15 to 17 inches, but visual buffs might be disappointed to learn that Dell doesn’t offer a 4K screen in this range. For higher resolution displays, you’ll need to check out the Alienware series instead.

However, the G Series does come with a slew of graphics card options designed to make your games look great and run smoothly, including the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 and GeForce RTX 2060.

The line up offers a great set of options for gamers, but the hardcore will probably lean more towards Dell’s Alienware line-up.

Key models:

G7 15 Gaming – Entry-level gaming laptop, with 8th gen Intel Core i5 and GTX 1050 graphics card
G7 17 Gaming – Available with an 8th Gen Intel Core i7 processor and GTX 1070 graphics card

Pros:
Designed for gamers
Decent specs

Cons:
Overshadowed by the Alienware series

Dell Alienware Series

With their striking designs and serious hardware, the Alienware range is bound to get gamers hot under the collar. Previously independent, but purchased by Dell in 2006, Alienware is one of the most recognisable game-focused laptop manufacturers out there.

Are Alienware laptops cheap? No – but a cursory glance at the specifications soon explains this away. Available with a range of high-end processors, including an Intel Core i9, Alienware designs its laptops for peak performance rather than budget. Many of the models are VR ready, something that not even many desktops can boast.

While the Alienware desktops are portable, they’re bulkier and heavier than your average laptop, thanks to the heavy-duty hardware they’re packing, as well as the in-built cooling systems.

Key models:

Alienware 17 – Available packing an Intel Core i9, with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX1080 graphics card
Alienware m15 – Alienware’s thinnest design, with a hard drive/SSD combo for fast load times and a 15.6-inch Ultra HD display.

Pros:
Serious gut-punching hardware
Gorgeous displays

Cons:
Not that portable
Expensive

Dell Inspiron Chromebook

If you don’t want a Windows laptop, then Dell has a range of Chromebooks to choose from. Traditionally low-powered and inexpensive, Chromebooks ditch Microsoft’s operating system in favor of the ChromeOS and Google’s infrastructure. Usually coming with little storage, these devices rely heavily on the cloud, and are best suited to those with constant internet connections.

While Dell’s offerings start with a $200 model, a fairly typical price for a Chromebook, it also offers higher spec devices that come with an Intel Core i3 processor under the hood, and with a flexible design that effectively makes it a laptop/tablet hybrid.

Key models:

Inspiron Chromebook 11 – An 11-inch Chromebook for under $200
Inspiron Chromebook 14 2-in-1 – A tablet/laptop hybrid Chromebook with an Intel i3 processor

Pros:
Inexpensive
Slim and portable

Cons:
Audio is poor

Verdict: Should you buy a Dell laptop?

The Dell range is large and varied, with almost everyone catered for; whether you’re a casual social media user, or a daily gamer. As a company, it is well established, and its products, for the most part – are well designed and well priced. Additionally, Dell has a solid reputation for its customer service, so you won’t be left in the dark if you need help.

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Jack is the Content Manager for Tech.co. He has been writing about a broad variety of technology subjects for over a decade, both in print and online, including laptops and tablets, gaming, and tech scams. As well as years of experience reviewing the latest tech devices, Jack has also conducted investigative research into a number of tech-related issues, including privacy and fraud.