- Dell XPS 15 is fairly small and light for its screen size and specs
- Good keyboard, Precision Touchpad
- High resolution and accurate gamut display
- Incorporates the Nvidia GTX 1050 gaming GPU which raises playtime performance in general-purpose laptops.
- Gorgeous 4K panel with Adobe RGB support
- Good battery life and excellent screen.
- Noisy fans
- Webcam looks messy
- A little heavy
- The battery doesn’t last for a full day
- Backlight bleeding
- Keyboard should be a little larger
Dell XPS 15 arrived the laptop market just when the laptop market has become so competitive as seen by recent launches of various high-end products by companies such as HP with its HP Spectre x360 (15-inch, 2017 ). Apple also launched its Apple MacBook Pro 15 with Touch Bar (15-inch, 2016). One common struggle by most of these PC companies is the scuffle to make their laptops even thinner and lighter. This trend has not been favorable as these leads to low performance.
Dell XPS 15, much like Apple’s 15-inch MacBook Pro, attempts to straddle the line between svelte and powerful. If you want toned, tight and thin bezels, the Dell’s XPS 15 definitely got the bezels. The slim border around the top and sides of the screen looks pretty cool and also helps Dell reduce the laptop’s footprint, fitting a 15-inch screen into something slimmer and lighter than a 13-inch laptop might have been five or six years ago. The bezels of the screen of the XPS 15 measures just 5.7mm at the top and sides, helping Dell deliver what it calls the world’s smallest 15.6-inch laptop, with a footprint (9.3 by 14.1 by 0.66 inches) closer to most of the 14-inch models.
Dell offers two 15.6-inch display options with the XPS 15: a base 1080p IPS screen with no touch support and a 4k Ultra HD touchscreen. Regardless of screen type, you get that 5.5mm-skinny bezel, and it makes for an impressive presentation for comparison, HP’s Spectre X360 15T has a 15mm-wide bezel.
The Dell XPS 15 is the best 15-inch laptop money can buy. The Dell XPS 15 price starts from $1,250 (£1,350 or AU$2500) to $2,550 (£1800 or AU$3,700). As at the time of review, the Dell XPS 15 price for the version which offers an Intel Core i7-6700 HQ Quad Core Processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB solid state drive and window’s 10 home is $1,449 (£1,395) at Amazon.
When compared to the Apple’s flagship laptop, the XPS 15 is less expensive than the flagship laptop by a considerable margin, but that doesn’t mean it is “low-priced.” The price tends to accelerate swiftly as you add some system upgrades, and looking at the way the brand always present its systems, it’s usually not possible to prioritize some upgrades over others.
XPS 15 Design and Display
There haven’t been many changes made by Dell in terms of the design of its XPS series as the XPS 15 9560 design is very much similar to its previous versions in terms of design. That not withstanding, it still maintains a very clean and functional design that built rock-solid which makes it a great-looking machine anyone with a taste for design and class would love to have. The big selling point of the XPS 15 apart from its slimness and lightness is that it fits 15.6-inch screen into an unusually narrow frame because there’s barely any screen bezel. The XPS 15 has a silver-colored aluminum chassis (smooth anodized aluminium on the top and bottom) but a carbon fibre-reinforced plastic inside with a black Dell’s logo. It weighs 2kg and has a thickness of 17mm.
The XPS 15 is available in two display types – 4K touch display and the Full HD display. The 15.6inch 4K panel has an IPS LCD with 1080p and 4K Infinity Edge resolution options that is almost near-bezel-free. It also comes with a touchscreen and an advanced color which sets the XPS apart from its rivals. The display has a pro-grade color saturation which is nearly impossible to find in monitors that cost almost as much as this laptop. This makes the 4K touch display the finest for photographers and video editors. The Full HD version is a non-touch matte screen, which unlike the 4K touch display is not quite vibrant and sharp but it is surprisingly colour-accurate. It covers 99% of the sRGB and 77% of the Adobe RGB color gamut. The Full HD version is the perfect choice for gamers as you don’t need to reduce the resolution to get a smooth, playable frame and battery life.
The major aim of the XPS 15 design is to give you the sort of power that makes having another computer unnecessary even if you are a heavy user in terms of graphics. But its major drawback is that the XPS 15 despite been the smallest 15-inch laptop out there is not as portable as the XPS 13, so if you wish to have something to move about with as a companion, the XPS 13 is your sure bet. The display also has its shortcoming as the 4k touch display is very glossy and it has a big impact on the battery life, dropping the battery lifetime from an average of 10 hours to 6 hours.
The Dell XPS 15 offers the option of either an Intel Core i5-7300HQ or i7-7700HQ. There is a Core i3 version available in the U.S. The new XPS 15 makes use of either dual or quad-core Intel Kaby Lake processors, either Intel’s HD 630 integrated GPU or a Nvidia GTX 1050 with 4GB of GDDR5 RAM, PCI Express SSDs and anywhere between 8GB and 32GB of DDR4 memory running at 2,400MHZ spread across two RAM slots.
The system is far more powerful than almost any other style-leaning laptop out there because it uses a quad-core HQ CPU rather than dual-core U-series ones seen in slim and light laptops. This doesn’t just mean it’s twice the power either, as these HQ-series brains can draw up to three times the power of the dual-core Core i7.
Dell XPS 15 Keyboard and Touchpad
The keyboard on the XPS 15 is exactly the same as on the XPS 13. It features a full-size, backlit, Chiclet-style keyboard which offers 1.3mm of travel and requires about 50grams of force to press. The action is responsive and the keys are well-spaced. The only shortcoming I noticed about the keyboard of this laptop is that it’s somewhat too small.
The precision trackpad makes a lot of sense as the smooth surface feels great under your fingers and there are no problems with tracking or responsiveness. Though it is not as responsive as the touchpads found on the latest MacBook Pros, but it’s as good as Windows touchpads.
Audio and Webcam
The speakers of the XPS 15 are reasonably good for a laptop and have a small amount of bass and stereo separation, though it doesn’t have much greater volume than some 13-inch laptops. The speaker’s tone is warmer than the MacBook’s, but with less pronounced treble.
The webcam like other version of XPS series is located on the bottom portion of the bezel which entails that it will be looking up your nose all the time. This is one of the biggest flaws of the XPS series which Dell hasn’t fixed. If you are a regular webcam user for video conferencing and Skype video calls, you might want to reconsider getting this laptop but you can buy external camera anyways. If you type, whoever is on the other end of the video call will get an eyeful of your knuckles. Though the 720p webcam is on the blurry side, it gives full details of the image but not very sharp.
Talking about gaming, the XPS 15 is not really a gaming laptop but you also won’t be a able to find a game that won’t run on it if you’re cool with turning some settings down. The full HD option is the best bet in order to hit playable frame rates for demanding games or plug into a secondary 1080p screen.
Battery Life and Heat
The XPS 15 comes with either a 56Wh or 97Wh battery. Therefore the Dell XPS 15 battery life depends on the specification you go for with the 97Wh lasting longer than the 56Wh, and the Full HD version lasts even longer than the 4K version.
The Dell XPS 15 battery life is estimated to last for 7-9 hours with general use including web browsing, watching YouTube videos and catching up with office work which is quite impressive.
The XPS 15 battery life for the 4K version will have a huge impact on the battery as the screen is pushing four times as many pixels.
The battery charging speed is not that bad as it can be configured in the BIOS to have faster charging.
Dell clearly uses much more dynamic power management than most, scaling back the CPU’s power to suit the situation.
The Dell XPS 15 is good-looking. While it is not ultra-portable, it is not that heavy given the components inside. It is an implausible laptop and a no-brainer purchase for anyone who wants a laptop that lives primarily on a desk at home or office. It is cheaper and has more specifications than a MacBook Pro and purchasing it makes far more sense than a product like Microsoft Surface Pro 3.
The battery life is quite amazing for its class of laptop. Its 15-inch near-bezel-free screen makes it the smallest 15-inch in the market. Its 4K version is the best for photography and video editing as it has the color performance for pro design work. You can grab the best deal now on Amazon here.
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