Lenovo vs Dell – Which Brand Makes the Best Laptops?

VERDICT: To conclude, while the best brand in the entry-level laptop category is Lenovo, the crown goes to Dell when we move up the mid and the high-end price tiers.

Check out our huge guide to get a detailed review on several laptops and why we chose one brand over the other.

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When it comes to buying a good laptop, there is no dearth of options. From Acer to Apple, HP to Asus, there are many great brands offering decent machines.

But if we are to name a brand as the best for a laptop – considering both performance and the price at which it comes – then it has to be Dell… or maybe Lenovo.

We are not sure yet.

Both Dell and Lenovo are known for their budget laptops that defy expectations and are well regarded by customers across the world.

Between themselves, these two brands sell more than a third of the laptops sold worldwide, and that is no small feat to achieve.

But which of them is the absolute best? Dell or Lenovo?

Let’s find out.

Lenovo vs Dell – The Key Differences

PRICE

Before we go into discussing the specifications or the technical prowess, the most important factor to consider is the price. Because if you throw enough money, you are bound to get something good, no matter which brand you are going for.

The important thing is how well the different options match up at a certain price point, and how cost-effective a brand is.

And in this respect, Lenovo is the clear winner.

From surprisingly low-cost workhorses to a lineup of quality Chromebooks, Lenovo has come to dominate the budget-friendly space. And with good reason; the combination of power and pocket-friendly rates offered by Lenovo is not matched by any other brand on the market.

That said, Dell isn’t that far behind.

The best thing about Dell is that it doesn’t cut corners; even their budget laptops are built with quality hardware and materials and can easily last you for years. The prices are quite reasonable, especially considering that many Dell laptops compare favorably to more expensive computers sold by other brands.

Dell tries to offer an option in every price segment, giving you plenty of cost-efficient options to choose from at every price point, assured that you are unlikely to find a better deal elsewhere.

CUSTOMER SUPPORT

After price, customer support is the next thing that a laptop buyer thinks of when investing in a machine they hope to use for the next couple of years, if not more.

Customer support is why buying from those cheap knockoff brands is a bad idea. Even if they might appear inexpensive at the first glance, you end up spending much more on repairs just to keep the thing running.

But out of Dell and Lenovo, which brand has the best customer support?

Dell, without a doubt.

Don’t take it wrong; Lenovo has decent customer support, as can be expected from a brand trusted by millions across the world. But the customer service offered by Dell is on another level altogether.

You can reach out for help through a live chat, a phone call, and of late, even a tweet. Dell maintains a dedicated customer support team that is known for being quite responsive, a far cry from Lenovo where customers routinely complain of being forced to wait long periods to simply connect with an executive.

Dell is also quite good at troubleshooting all those pesky problems that other customer support services usually trip over. The online self-help resources themselves are quite considerable, and usually contain every common problem faced by users. And in case that proves insufficient, Dell’s support executives will walk you through the problem, or even fix it remotely if that’s not enough.

Compare that to Lenovo, where the online support offers little better than vague advice relating to general product lines rather than a specific model, and the technical advisor – when you manage to connect with one – encourages you to subscribe to their premium services to get your issue rectified.

FEATURES AND PERFORMANCE

While specifics differ across models and product lines, there are some general trends followed by both companies.

Lenovo does not use AMD processors, relying solely upon Intel processors, and in a couple of Chromebooks, MediaTek’s ARM CPUs. This greatly limits the choices available, besides having an adverse effect on the graphics capabilities of entry-level laptops – Intel’s integrated graphics are not particularly good, especially in its cheaper chips.

Apart from this small issue, Lenovo’s laptops leave no room for complaint. It is well known for its incredible battery backup in its budget-friendly products, apart from high-quality screens, often with anti-glare technology.

The keyboards are another great feature; inherited from IBM, they are ergonomic, spacious, and above all, durable. Lenovo users rarely need to look for a separate keyboard for heavy typing, and that is something not found on many laptops.

In dedicated gaming PCs, the graphics are powered by industry-standard Nvidia cards, or occasionally AMD Radeon.

When it comes to Dell, the set of features is far more variable.

Dell uses both AMD and Intel chips, picking the best processor for each product. Thus its entry-level laptops often get the cost-efficient AMD processors with decent integrated graphics, while the more expensive models are outfitted with powerful Intel CPUs to squeeze out the most from discrete GeForce graphics cards.

This is a trend that carries on to every feature; components are chosen to best fit the intended audience of a particular product, keeping in mind the cost and the expected usage.

In case a user is unsatisfied with the products on offer, Dell even builds a customized laptop using their required specs.

But all this variability does not mean any compromise in quality. Dell’s products are reputed for their longevity, with quality components that work well past their life cycles. Their screens are true HD, giving crisp displays, with large sizes on gaming models.

The only grouse is the low battery life; Dell’s laptops rarely have more power backup than 4-5 hours, compared to Lenovo’s 10-12 hours even on budget models. 

OPTIONS

If you are looking for a diversity of choices, then Dell is the way to go.

Dell offers a surprisingly vast range of options in every price range, more than any other brand on the market. This is because Dell tries to customize its products, tailoring its models to suit every possible need.

As a result, for a discerning user with a bucket list of demands, Dell is the brand to look for that perfect match.

Lenovo’s options are more about utility and looks.

The company has separate product ranges for different user segments, such as the IdeaPad for students, the ThinkPad for office use, and Yoga for people on the move. Within each segment, the differences tend to be minimal, with significant jumps in prices and features rather than the smooth transitions of Dell.

The good thing is the different laptops actually look different with their own design and style, as opposed to Dell where entire lineups have a generic look with just varying specs. 

GAMING

Unless you are into video editing or 3D modeling, gaming is the only activity that will bring your laptop to its knees.

While almost every laptop will serve you well in most casual tasks, if you want to play video games without crashing your computer, you need a better than average laptop.

This is where Dell really shines.

Even outside of its dedicated gaming segment, Dell’s laptops are always built with performance in mind. With decent RAM capacities and powerful processors, its laptops are capable of casual gaming without overheating.

Most budget laptop brands have poor gaming performance due to their reliance on weak integrated GPUs and an outdated chipset. With Dell though, you are guaranteed to get an Nvidia or at least AMD Radeon GPU, which is the recommended choice for gaming.

With Lenovo, things get a little dicey.

Its budget laptops tend to emphasize battery life and productivity and to achieve this go for processors with a small footprint and weak output, which is the opposite of what you want for gaming. Some models don’t even have an Intel or AMD processor, using ARM chips like MediTek to keep costs and power usage low.

Also, Lenovo generally does not use AMD processors, whose integrated graphics tend to be better than that of Intel. This means that your only bet if you want to game with a Lenovo laptop, is to go with a gaming system with a discrete GeForce graphics card which can run games smoothly.

DESIGN

Both Dell and Lenovo have completely opposite goals when it comes to designing their products.

Dell favors functionality and durability over looks, and its laptops are built keeping this in mind. None of its products are particularly sleek or stylish, but get the job done. The emphasis is on a long-lasting, easy to use laptop, rather than making a style statement.

This lack of attention to appearance is also due to the sheer variety of options that Dell offers – instead of building highly specialized machines with a determined specification, Dell creates a general-purpose chassis that can accommodate a wide variety of hardware load-outs.

The only exceptions to this rule are its more ‘premium’ products, such as the Alienware and the XPS range of laptops.

Lenovo, on the other hand, is all about style. With sleek builds and glossy finishes, its laptops can give its more expensive competitors a run for their money.

Whether it is the casual vibe of the IdeaPad line or the classy look of the ThinkPad range, Lenovo’s machines are some of the best-designed laptops in the market. Even its budget-friendly Chromebooks have the trademark slim and stylish aesthetic, and the Yoga laptops are just a work of art.

The catch? Not many colors to choose from. Taking a leaf out of Henry Ford’s book, Lenovo offers only black and silver colors, which while timeless and elegant, does leave users who wish for a splash of color high and dry.

INNOVATION

After a certain point, all the different options offered by various manufacturers begin to blur together. Every laptop appears more or less the same, with minor cosmetic differences or just changed specs.

What is it that sets a brand apart from the others? What can it do that none of its competitors can’t?

When it comes to innovation, there is no beating Lenovo.

Lenovo loves to experiment, and has shipped many models with unique features that are not offered by other manufacturers or are quickly copied by the industry.

Take Lenovo’s Yoga range of laptops. Boasting an incredibly flexible hinge couple with a 2-in-1 form factor, these laptops are a great choice for those who stay on the move, as it lets them switch seamlessly between whatever configuration works best for their current environment, ensuring comfort everywhere.

There are less drastic innovations too like the TrackPoint Lenovo introduced in some of its models. A touch-based pointer control device in the middle of the keys, it allowed users to navigate their mouse without lifting their hands from the keyboard.

This was an excellent feature for those who dislike breaking their flow of typing to grab the mouse or move a finger to the trackpad. Initially considered a gimmick, it ended up being copied by some other brands as well.

Compared to Lenovo, Dell’s innovations are more understated.

The thing with Dell is that they release multiple models with small variations targeted at specific needs.

Maybe you like a particular laptop but want a more powerful GPU for gaming? Here you go. Perhaps you are willing to sacrifice CPU performance for some cost gains? Got you covered.

Innovation for Dell means customizing their products endlessly to meet the unique needs of every kind of customer, at every price range. So while Dell will not give you fancy looks or groundbreaking features, it will give you a laptop exactly suited to your needs – or build you one from scratch.

WHERE ARE THE LAPTOPS MANUFACTURED?

Like every electronic device, the majority of the laptops you use – whichever brand it belongs to – originates from China. This includes both Dell and Lenovo (and other industry heavyweights like Apple too).

But of late, there has been a trend of moving away from Chinese goods, partially due to consumer sentiment, and partially due to the duties and cess imposed by most countries to discourage cheap imports.

Dell has been particularly aggressive in moving its manufacturing facilities out of China.

Many of its machines are now made and sold in the same country, avoiding cess and reducing pollution. These efforts are only going to be accelerated as time goes on.

But Lenovo is a Chinese company.

While it has made some token efforts to open manufacturing centers in the USA and parts of Europe, a bulk of its capacity is still in China, and likely to remain so. This is one of the key reasons which allows Lenovo to offer their products at such competitive prices.

WHAT DO OTHER PEOPLE SAY?

In this age of information, the final step before purchasing anything is to sift through customer reviews and ask yourself the question, ‘what do other people say about this thing?’

People mostly have only good things to say about Dell. Their incredibly responsive customer support means that even disgruntled users can get help for their issues readily, resolving the biggest gripe point most people have with any brand.

Dell’s products, while not making waves, are well regarded by the tech community, who praise its commitment to quality and functional design.

The response to Lenovo is a bit more polarized.

While tech reviewers gush over the stylish looks and the innovative features, general users often complain about their non-responsive customer service, with long wait times and inconclusive assistance.

Leaving aside customer support, however, paints a much better picture. Lenovo’s business is driven largely by the sale of its budget-friendly models, and users love the sheer value for money brought by these laptops.

Top 10 Lenovo vs Dell Laptops

This is our table of the Top 10 best Lenovo and Dell Laptops you can currently find that you can quickly scour. If you are looking for a more in-depth review of the Top 4 Laptops then check out our comparison right below this table!

Price Legend (estimates): $ = under $500 | $$ = $500-$1000 | $$$ = $1000-$1500 | $$$$ = over $1500

Top 4 Lenovo vs Dell in Detail

BEST FEATURES: Dell XPS 15

15.6 INCHES

64GB DDR4

2GB SSD

WINDOWS 10

9.5 HOURS

4.5 LBS

If you are looking for a laptop to carry you through the next five years without upgrades, and are willing to spend a bit extra for it, then you would love the Dell XPS 15.

What is there to say? The laptop has everything you could want from a computer, from a powerful 10th Gen Intel processor to an anti-glare, anti reflective full HD display that looks just great.

The 2GB of M.2 NVMe storage operates at lightning speeds, keeping pace with the 64GB of DDR4 memory. Sound quality is simply superb, and the keyboard unbelievably comfortable.

The only drawback – if it could even be called that – is the somewhat weaker graphics capability. While the GTX 1650 Ti is up to the mark, the absence of a bulky cooling system limits its output considerably.

But even so, it is more of a nitpick than an actual issue, and unless you just have to play the latest AAA games at their maximum settings, it will not hold you back.


KEY FEATURES
● Intel Core i7 10th Gen Processor
● NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti Graphics
● 15.6″ UHD+ (3840 x 2400) InfinityEdge Touch Anti-Reflective 500-Nit Display


Pros
  • Crisp display
  • Comfortable keyboard layout
  • Brilliant audio quality
  • Smooth performance
Cons
  • Priced a tad on the higher side
  • Graphics support could be better

BEST GENERAL PURPOSE: Lenovo ThinkPad X1

14.0 INCHES

16GB DDR4

512GB SSD

WINDOWS 10

10 HOURS

2.4 LBS

For those people who are not too hung up about gaming and only want the best general-purpose laptop that money can buy, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is the thing to look into.

With the top of the line 10th Generation Intel i7 processor, business applications are a breeze, and the lack of a dedicated graphics card only helps save power, extending the power backup significantly.

A crisp 4K display gives stunning visuals, complemented by an understated aesthetic that lends an aura of class.

The keyboard is incredibly comfortable to use, in keeping with Lenovo’s style, and the build quality has the durability traditional to the ThinkPad series.

Altogether, only gaming and multimedia users will have room to complain due to the smaller display and absence of discrete graphics, but business users would be hard pressed to find a better option.


KEY FEATURES
● Intel Core i7 10th Gen Processor
● Intel UHD Graphics 620
● 14.4″ (1920 x 1080) 4K Display


Pros
  • Sleep black and red aesthetic
  • Blazing fast performance
  • Sturdy build quality
  • 4K display
  • Very comfortable and ergonomic keyboard
Cons
  • Does not possess a discrete graphics card
  • Has a simpler look compared to the Yoga lineup

BEST GAMING LAPTOP: Dell G5 15 SE

15.6 INCHES

16GB DDR4

2TB SSD

WINDOWS 10

7 HOURS

5.5 LBS

It is well known that a gaming laptop doesn’t come cheap; the graphics card along with a powerful CPU and decent cooling systems make the system rather expensive.

The Dell G5 15, however, does just that. Using a Ryzen 7 processor with Radeon RX graphics, the G5 gives you decent graphics at a very affordable price.

The second most important factor for a gaming PC, the display, has also been given its due attention. The display is rich and responsive, which is exactly what you need for gaming or watching high-definition videos.

Coupled with its incredible battery life, the Dell G5 15 makes for a great computer for gaming.

The only place where the laptop really misses out is the build quality, which in a break from the usual Dell tradition, does not appear particularly sturdy.

The cooling system could also do with a bit more work, as heavy gaming tends to cause overheating.


KEY FEATURES
● AMD 7 4800H Processors
● AMD Radeon RX 5600M Graphics
● 15.6” FHD (1920×1080) 300nits WVA Anti-Glare LED-Backlit Display


Pros
  • Priced low for a gaming laptop
  • Vivid display
  • Powerful Ryzen 7 CPU
Cons
  • Priced low for a gaming laptop
  • Vivid display
  • Powerful Ryzen 7 CPU

BEST BUDGET: Lenovo Chromebook Duet

10.1 INCHES

4GB

64GB eMMC

WINDOWS 10

13 HOURS

2 LBS

When it comes to budget systems, Lenovo offers the best value-for-money. Lenovo’s Chromebook Duet is hands down the best laptop you can buy when on a tight budget.

Chromebooks aren’t exactly known for their cutting-edge performance, but the Duet is surprisingly smooth and responsive on most common tasks.

The ARM processor powering the Lenovo Chromebook Duet also keeps the power usage low, allowing the 2-in-1 laptop to run continuously for 13 hours at a stretch – enough to get you through a whole day without needing to charge.

But the best thing is probably the screen. At this price, on one expects the sharp and colorful display the Duet comes with.

The only issue lies with its biggest selling point; the detachable keyboard, while handy and stylish, can a bit cramped.


KEY FEATURES
● MediaTek Helio P60T Processor
● ARM G72 MP3 Graphics
● 10.1″ (1920×1200) FHD FHD Touchscreen IPS Display


Pros
  • Budget-friendly
  • Clear and vivid display
  • Long battery life
  • Detachable keyboard
Cons
  • Limited ports
  • Small keyboard

Why Dell Stands Out and When to Choose Them

The factor that makes Dell Dell is their commitment to quality. No matter which model you buy, from their cheapest budget laptop to their most expensive Alienware machine, you are guaranteed a product of the finest quality.

Dell is the brand to go for when you want a laptop that can carry you through the entirety of college without being outclassed or breaking down.

With their stellar customer support and solid build quality, every Dell laptop you buy is a product that is going to stay with you for a while, not thrown away the next year for the next snazzy thing.

You might end up spending a few bucks extra, but that nets a laptop with all the features that you need, and a performance that allows you to do anything, from casual usage to even gaming.

Why Lenovo Stands Out and When to Choose Them

Lenovo is quintessentially described with two words; stylish and budget-friendly. It does not sell the hyper-expensive premium models like Dell’s Alienware but focuses on affordable laptops that do not look or feel cheap.

Even its super low-cost Chromebooks sport the same sleek and classy aesthetic as its mid-range models, and at times look even better than the high-end models of other brands.

The 2-in-1 models especially, are designed to impress and make them the perfect buy for style-conscious students seeking some computing power in their hands.

From the ergonomic and solidly built keyboards to the amazing battery life, many small things make Lenovo’s budget offerings better than anything else you can get at that price.

Lenovo is thus the brand of choice for casual users, who just want a good looking laptop at the lowest price possible, and do not expect to do more than write a few emails or catch a movie or two at it.

THE VERDICT

When comparing two brands with very similar products, giving the verdict is easy – the better one wins. But when the brands have completely different strengths and weaknesses, a clear answer is harder to arrive at.

Both Dell and Lenovo are great companies with an excellent product lineup, but they are good in different ways.

When looking at performance alone, Dell is undoubtedly the better choice. While more expensive than Lenovo, Dell’s laptops have superior specs and sturdier build quality.

You are more likely to find a laptop perfectly customized to your needs, and its top-notch customer service means that you have someone to walk you through any issue that may arise.

The only area that Dell loses out on is style; save for its premium Alienware machines, Dell’s laptops aren’t really built with looks in mind.

And that is where Lenovo comes in.

If you want your laptops to be capable and also look good at the same time, then Lenovo is your best bet. Their products are designed to be aesthetically pleasing, echoing the slim and shiny theme that the industry favors these days.

This aesthetic refinement goes more than just skin deep, encompassing factors like the keyboard layout and the screen bezel, giving a classy look to even its cheapest offerings.

Lenovo’s greatest strength lies in its budget laptops. Cheaper than the competition, yet packing in more features, Lenovo’s budget laptops give you unmatched value for money.

To conclude, while the best brand in the entry-level laptop category is Lenovo, the crown goes to Dell when we move up the mid and the high-end price tiers.

If you are not interested in either Dell or Lenovo, check out our Laptop Finder and take a deep dive into the best available laptops in the market today such as our list of best gaming laptops under $500.

Happy Laptop Shopping!