Dell XPS 15 overview: A MacBook seasoned rival for windows users


by the time I hit post in this evaluation, some thing thrilling had happened: Dell found out that its XPS 15 laptop turned into outselling the smaller XPS 13. How could that be? most flagship notebooks these days have thirteen-inch presentations or smaller. And for right motive: Ultraportables are, by definition,thin and light, turning in longer and longer battery life with every passing yr. but, as they are saying,exclusive strokes for exceptional oldsters. There are indeed humans accessible who need moregreater horsepower and greater display screen real estateeven though it comes with the mildinconvenience of a heavier layout. For those parents (and Dell says there are masses of them), the XPS 15have to in the main healthy the bill. just don’t stray too a long way from a power outlet.

You don’t positioned out the nice windows pc of 2015 and comply with up soon after with a notablydistinctive design. The XPS 15 keeps all of the physical attributes that made the XPS thirteen first-rate,consisting of a robust aluminum body, gentle carbon fiber palm rest, at ease keyboard and a almostbezel-less display that permits for a smaller footprint than you’ll get otherwise. For the XPS 13, that meanta 13-inch display in the frame of 12-inch computer. Likewise, the XPS 15 crams a fifteen.6-inch displayinto the sort of chassis you would typically locate on, say, a 14-inch gadget. indeed, i found that the use of the XPS 15 in my lap was a more comfortable enjoy than balancing HP’s largedisplay screen Spectre x360 on my legs.

like the x360 — and, greater crucially, the MacBook pro it competes with — the XPS 15 is noticeably skinnyand mild. The gadget starts offevolved at 3.9 pounds, going up to 4.4 with a touchscreen, and has a tapered profile that slims to zero.forty five inches thick from from zero.66. i am now not going to pretend it is as light or compact in my bag as all the 13-inch ultraportables i have been trying out these days,however it nevertheless feels transportable for what it’s miles.

Housed inner that slender body is a big sufficient choice of ports to satisfy most electricity users. Overat the left, we have e4028a5c6dae3ad5086501ec6f3534d0 USB and HDMI sockets, a small Thunderboltthree port and a headphone jack, with an SD card reader and a seconde4028a5c6dae3ad5086501ec6f3534d0 USB connection at the right. there’s also a Kensington lock slot tucked on the proper part, up near the hinge.

Keyboard and trackpad
Like I said, Dell didn’t mess with an awesome element. The employer might have trouble making adependable touchpad (nevertheless does), however make no mistake, it knows a way to construct acomfy keyboard. The backlit buttons here are amply good sizedd and nicely-spaced. I typed not simply thisassessment on it, however additionally some different tales I happened to be running on. The most effective aspect i would caution you on is the keys: even though they’re springy enough for clean typing,they are possibly now not as bouncy as they appearance, given how an awful lot journey they’ve. i discovered at times that I needed to strike the buttons a bit more difficult than i would have otherwise, lest the keyboard fail to sign up my presses. If you can get over the mastering curve, as I did, you’ll bejust quality.

Now, about that touchpad. it’s huge, which is right, because it method you may have plenty of room on your arms as you scroll and pinch to zoom. but, while it’s not a nightmare to apply (faint praise), it has a number of the troubles issues plaguing many other home windows touchpads i have tested.specifically, unmarried-finger monitoring may be flaky, with the cursor no longer always going in which Idesired it to, or taking up a existence of its personal, accidentally rearranging my pinned browser tabs.

display and sound
other than the skinny layout and the effective internals at paintings below the hood, the massive drawright here is that 15-inch display. And yes, it has extra to provide than just greater screen real propertyfor spreadsheets and Photoshop workflows. although the device comes popular with a simple 1080p, non-touch panel, it’s offered with a 4K, colouraccurate touchscreen — the one i’m searching at as I kind this.between the 350-nit brightness score and the 100percentage Adobe colorspace coverage, it’s certainly alovable show.

there’s additionally software on board that remaps hues out of doors the RGB shade variety howeverclearly, I do not assume you want to paintings in a creative discipline to justify the improve. To theextent that we all spend too much time these days staring at our displays, we are able to all admire ashow this colorationwealthy. I recognize i am now not searching forward to going lower back to mythree12 monthsvintage MacBook Air after this.

The sound coming from the stereo speakers at the system‘s backside aspect is likewise beautiful,although no longer as mind-blowing as the visuals. The volume is so loud that after paying attention toSpotify by myself in my condo, I tended to preserve the levels at 20-something out of one hundred. Thehigh-quality turned into also excellent sufficient for my non-audiophile ears and indeed, I spent hours one weekend streaming song at the same time as getting paintings completed. (what is a weekend?)

That said, I could listen a bit tinniness creep in on diverse tracks going for walks the gamut from oldies and show tunes to classical and jazz. it is not a dealbreaker — as a minimum not for me — however you would be unsuitable in case you idea a big, powerful gadget meant you would additionally be gettingbig, effective sound.

performance and battery life
PCMARK 7 PCMARK 8 (innovative accelerated) 3DMARK eleven 3DMARK (SKY DIVER) ATTO (topREADS/WRITES)
Dell XPS 15 (2.6GHz Intel middle i7-6700HQ, 2GB NVIDIA GeForce 960M) five,530 four,263 E8,616 / P5,438 / X1,796 11,797 1.88 GB/s / 598 MB/s
HP Spectre x360 15t (2.4GHz middle i5-6200U, Intel HD 520) 5,040 three,458 E2,672 / P1,526 / X420 3,542 561 MB/s / 284 MB/s
Razer Blade Stealth (2.5GHz Intel middle i7-6500U, Intel HD 520) five,131 3,445 E2,788 / P1,599 / X426three,442 1.5 GB/s / 307 MB/s
Toshiba Radius 12 (2.5GHz Intel middle i7-6500U, Intel HD 520) five,458 3,684 E2,865 / P1,622 three,605 552 MB/s / 489 MB/s
Microsoft floor pro 4 (2.4GHz middle i5-6300U, Intel HD 520) five,403 3,602
E2,697/ P1,556/ X422

3,614 1.6 GB/s / 529 MB/s
Lenovo Yoga 900 (2.5GHz core i7-6500U, Intel HD 520) five,368 three,448
E2,707 / P1,581

three,161 556 MB/s / 511 MB/s
Microsoft floor ebook (2.4GHz core i5-6300U, Intel HD 520) five,412 three,610
E2,758 / P1,578 / X429

three,623 1.6 GB/s / 571 MB/s
Microsoft surface e-book (2.6GHz middle i7-6600U, 1GB NVIDIA GeForce pix) five,740 three,850
E4,122 / P2,696

6,191 1.fifty five GB/s / 608 MB/s
it is uncommon that we get to check a pc with specifications like this: a quad-core, 2.6GHz Intel middlei7-6700HQ processor, 16GB of RAM and a dualportraits answer that combines Intel’s integrated HD pix530 with a discrete 2GB NVIDIA GeForce 960M GPU. As you could consider, then, with regards toartificial benchmarks the XPS 15 smokes every different pocket book we’ve tested lately, particularly insnap shots tests. would it carry out on par with a in addition specced notebook? I really cannot say, butthat is additionally beside the factor. And the point is that it’s unusual for a notebook this thin and lightto actually have a quad-center processor and discrete photos. (sixteen gigs of RAM is less complicated todiscover, though nonetheless fairly rare.)

In practice, my unit’s 512GB NVMe solidcountry pressure notched marvelous read speeds of 1.88 gigabytes per second, with writes maxing out a median of 598 megabytes consistent with second. to place that discern in context, a non-PCIe SSD might pinnacle out at half of the speeds for both reads and writes. The startup series consistently took 16 seconds from button-press to the laptop, which is nothorrific, although we have visible different highstop laptops that boot simply as rapid or quicker.
I also had no trouble doing my regular multitasking (Slack, Skype, Spotify, Microsoft phrase, plenty of pinned Chrome tabs), but clearly, whoever will pay the cash for this types of horsepower will likely be doing some thing extra pixextensive. I also observed that even though the gadget got heat, I ought tostill simply use it for hours in my lap, in spite of shorts leaving my legs uncovered.

To be clean, I wouldn’t necessarily advise this to game enthusiasts, because the graphics card is notthat new, and this gadget wasn’t particularly built for gaming, besides. however human beings runningapps like Photoshop and most efficient have to get the processing they need. all people who needs extramuscle can bear in mind a mobile notebook, however it’ll be greater costly and no longer as skinny orlightweight. As with something, it relies upon on your specific desires.

by the point I completed my checking out, I had set up one foremost BIOS update. (i’m currently onversion 1.01.19.) further to extending the battery existence underneath lighter loads (more on that duringa second), the update corrected an problem that made the XPS 15 hard to wake from sleep. This certainlychanged into quite vexing for me when I first unboxed the unit, but the hassle has long gone awaypublishreplace. I say this because I realize some readers available might also have already purchasedand installation an XPS 15 in their own. when you have, head to Dell’s aid site to make sure you havethe modern day drivers.

BATTERY lifestyles

Dell XPS 15 (2016) five:25 (7:forty with the cellular charger)
floor ebook (core i5, integrated portraits) thirteen:54 / 3:20 (tablet handiest)
MacBook Air (thirteen-inch, 2013) 12:51
HP Spectre x360 (13-inch, 2015) eleven:34
floor book (middle i7, discrete portraits) 11:31 / 3:02 (pill best)
Apple MacBook seasoned with Retina display (13-inch, 2015) eleven:23
iPad seasoned 10:47
HP Spectre x360 (15-inch, early 2016) 10:17
Chromebook Pixel (2015) 10:01
Lenovo Yoga 900 nine:36
Microsoft surface three nine:11
Apple MacBook (2015) 7:forty seven
Dell XPS 13 (2015) 7:36
Microsoft surface seasoned four 7:15
Microsoft floor seasoned three 7:08
HP Spectre x2 6:forty three
Razer Blade Stealth five:forty eight
Toshiba Radius 12 five:12
Dell says on its web site that the XPS 15 can last up to 17 hours on a fee. that’s with the lower-res 1080pdisplay, though, and a workload that in general includes wireless net browsing. Make that continuousvideo playback, and the predicted runtime drops to 9 hours and 14 mins. As you would count on, too, the battery existence expectations get decrease whilst you step up to a 4K display. On 4K, which is what I had, Dell claims round 10.five hours of wireless internet surfing and 7 hours and 18 mins of video playback.

I never came near any of those estimates. With video looping at the 4K machine, I got five hours and 25mins of playback. it’s hardly accurate for a present day pc, however it’s approximately on par with other4K machines specially, including the 12-inch Toshiba Radius 12 (five:12) and the 12.5-inch Razer Blade Stealth (five:forty eight). i’m sure one day it will likely be possible to discover a 4K laptop withrespectable battery lifestyles, but that day isn’t now.

luckily, Dell sells an 18,000mAh cellular charger for $120 that, in my exams, prolonged the runtime to seven hours and forty minutes. it could be a worthwhile investment, then, especially for the reason thatcharger’s USB ports assist you to rejuice different gadgets as nicely. just be conscious that the accentweighs nearly a pound, this means that a few added heft on your bag.

Configuration alternatives
My check unit takes place to sell for $2,130, however the cost of an XPS 15 can run anywhere from $1,000 to $2,850, relying on the configuration. For that entrystage rate, you get a few quite modestspecs, such as a middle i3 processor, 8GB of RAM, a 500GB hybrid power (7,200RPM + 32GB SSD) and a non-contact 1080p display. Discrete photos and middle i5 each kick within the subsequent version up, which costs $1,2 hundred. center i7 skus begin at $1,450 (that still takes place to be the most inexpensive one with a strongcountry power). if you need 4K, those fashions begin at $1,900.

All instructed, the maximum steeply-priced configuration on Dell’s web page as of this writing is a $2,850edition with the identical quad-core processor, 4K display and NVIDIA photographs as my unit, but with 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. Have that kind of money mendacity around? Congrats. It have to be high-quality to be you.

The opposition
a skinny-and-mild 15-inch system with a pixel-dense show that can be configured with discretephotographs? it’s the XPS 15, of route, but it also describes the MacBook pro to a tee. The 15-inchversion, which starts offevolved at $1,999, weighs four.forty nine pounds and measures 0.seventy oneinches thick. At that entry rate you get a 2.2GHz quad-core processor, 16GB of RAM, a 256GB PCIe SSD and Intel Iris pro images, however you’ll want to pay extra for a discrete AMD Radeon R9 M370X GPU and a 512GB force. That up-sell version costs $2,499 and has a slightly quicker 2.5GHz processor. if you reallywanted to trick out both machine, you can step as much as a 2.8GHz middle i7 CPU and a completeterabyte of solidcountry garage.

again inside the global of windows laptops, the HP Spectre x360 15t ($1,a hundred and fifty-plus)additionally has a 15-inch, 4K-optional touchscreen, now not to say a skinny and light layout that comes in at four.05 pounds and 0.63 inches thick. The thing to preserve in thoughts there’s that even though it‘s a similar length because the XPS 15, its specs aren’t any greater effective than what you would get on a regular 13-inch ultraportable. that means dualcenter core i5 and i7 processors, no more than 256GB of storage and Intel Iris as your top pics alternative.

So if you want some greater horsepower to match the ones greater pixels, you are nevertheless higheroff with a souped-up XPS 15 or MacBook seasoned. That stated, the Spectre x360 gives long battery lifewith the 1080p display screen, and it is also thinner and less pricey than the competition, so it’s no longer without advantage. simply pass it in case you want a discrete pix option.
if you‘ve been looking for a home windows alternative to the 15-inch MacBook pro, Dell’s XPS 15 is yourbest guess — and i’d argue your only suitable one. it is powerful and skinny and light for what it is, with a cozy keyboard and a lovely 4K, colouraccurate screen option. My best real sadness is that the batterylife is as a substitute quicknot a marvel with a 4K show, however nonetheless a shame. in case youthink you may generally be inside range of a power outlet — or are willing to spend $one hundred twenty on the optionally available cell charger — you need to be quite glad indeed.