“The Dell XPS 15’s elegant design and spectacular efficiency make it a wonderful selection for inventive professionals.”

  • Environment friendly design
  • An additional Thunderbolt Three port
  • World-class show
  • Glorious efficiency

Dell struck gold with the XPS 15. It was the proper various to the MacBook Professional 15-inch, a laptop computer plagued with points starting from thermal throttling to unreliable keyboards.

However now that Apple has the MacBook Professional 16-inch, the ball is again in Dell’s court docket. Its new XPS 15 is the reply. With tweaks to only about each side of the design, that is the most important overhaul to the XPS 15 since its debut.

Is that this the last word premium laptop computer for creatives?


Acquainted but contemporary. That’s how Dell describes the brand new XPS 15, and I’ve to agree.

The look of the Dell XPS 15 hasn’t modified for nearly 5 years. A redesign has been a very long time coming, particularly with all of the developments the XPS 13 has acquired over time.

Almost each side of the XPS 15 has been up to date indirectly. The one design parts which have remained intact are the black carbon-fiber weave used within the palm rests and the aluminum on the lid. Using aluminum and carbon fiber retains the XPS 15 trying like an XPS product, however that’s the place the familiarity stops.

The factor you’ll discover first is the show. The XPS 15 now has a 16:10 side ratio, for a barely taller display screen. I actually like this selection. It made a distinction on the XPS 13, and it makes an excellent bigger distinction on the bigger XPS 15.

Extra display screen and fewer wasted house is at all times good.

The display screen measures 15.6 inches and packs in 3,840 x 2,400 decision. That’s extra pixels than even a standard 4K display screen, and the next pixel density than the MacBook Professional 16-inch. Whew.

In fact, a bigger display screen usually means a bigger laptop computer typically. Not right here. The brand new laptop computer’s dimensions are roughly the identical because the earlier mannequin regardless of its bigger show. It nonetheless weighs in at simply Four kilos (or 4.5 for the model with the bigger battery) and is 0.71 inches thick. Extra display screen and fewer wasted house is at all times good.

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That emphasis on effectivity applies to different areas as effectively. The keyboard makes use of a wider, extra snug structure with bigger keycaps and loads of journey. The touchpad is considerably bigger, now matching the dimensions of the MacBook Professional 16-inch. You needn’t fear about it being too massive, nonetheless — the palm rejection is pretty much as good because it will get.

My unit had a problem with the touchpad. When pressed, it will transfer barely, as if it had been working, however then wouldn’t register a click on. I realized I needed to press tougher to make it work as anticipated. It’s an annoyance in an in any other case glorious monitoring expertise.

There’s no query that a few of the laptop computer’s design parts take their inspiration from the MacBook Professional 16-inch, nevertheless it doesn’t really feel like an imitator. The look is XPS, by and thru.

The port choice this time has been lower down, changing the HDMI and USB-A ports with loads of USB-C. Two of these are Thunderbolt Three ports and one is a typical USB-C 3.1 port. Thankfully, Dell has stored across the SD card slot, which is a large boon for creatives. Little question some will miss their legacy ports for peripherals like a wired mouse, however embracing extra future-proofed, highly effective ports like Thunderbolt Three isn’t a nasty factor.

Show and audio system

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Dell boasted about its new audio system, which at the moment are situated proper on the keyboard deck. The position supplies a way more satisfying audio expertise than in years previous, and there’s extra bass right here than I’ve ever heard on an XPS product.

That doesn’t imply it competes with the MacBook Professional 16-inch, although. It nonetheless pales by way of clear bass and full mids. Even towards the MacBook Professional 13-inch, the XPS 15’s audio system are extra tinny.

When you’re a video or picture editor, you’ll love this display screen.

The show and audio system have been revamped, each for the higher. The bigger panel Dell has chosen is pretty much as good as they arrive. Whereas it’s LED (not OLED), it scored an ideal 100% in each sRGB and Adobe RGB coloration areas. It additionally has one of the vital color-precise screens I’ve seen — even beating the MacBook Professional 16.

Although I miss the deep blacks and excessive peak brightness of the OLED display screen (which is not provided), that is nonetheless among the finest laptop computer shows I’ve ever examined. When you’re a video or picture editor, or perhaps a graphic designer, you’ll love this display screen.

In fact, you gained’t get this high-resolution display screen within the base mannequin. It’s a $294 improve to make the bounce up from 1,920 x 1,200 — however for creatives, it’s a should.

Battery life

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Because of that insanely high-resolution display screen, battery life takes successful. Dell has stuffed a big 86 watt-hour battery into this mannequin, however the 4K+ XPS 15 nonetheless solely lasts for round 6 hours on a light-weight workload. Don’t count on to spend all day away from an outlet.

The 1080p model of the XPS 15 has been a record-setting battery life champ up to now, however this 4K mannequin will suck away battery like no person’s enterprise.

It’s particularly noticeable when you’re doing any type of heavy work. I examined that with the Basemark benchmark, which pushes the CPU onerous, and it solely lasted beneath 3.5 hours. That’s commonplace for a 15-inch 4K laptop computer, nevertheless it’s one thing to pay attention to.

Towards the MacBook Professional 16-inch and different 4K laptops, although, the XPS 15’s battery life is on even footing.


The efficiency of the XPS 15 has at all times been its most vital function. Not like laptops just like the Floor Laptop computer 3 15 or the LG Gram 15, the XPS 15 isn’t only a greater display screen. It’s extra energy. It has a 45-watt processor with as much as eight cores and 16 threads. It additionally has an possibility for a discrete graphics card and tons of reminiscence and storage.

My evaluation unit got here with the Intel Core i7-10875H, Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB of SSD. That’s one of many higher-end configurations, in fact, costing $2,200. That’s costly, sure — although it’s $500 cheaper than a equally configured MacBook Professional 16-inch.

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The system benchmarks fairly effectively. In Cinebench R20, it stomps the MacBook Professional 16-inch, and final 12 months’s XPS 15. The hole is even wider in Geekbench 5. That lead doesn’t maintain up in real-life efficiency, although. It’s 5% slower than the MacBook Professional in video encoding in Handbrake, and 15% behind final 12 months’s XPS 15.

problem for each discrete graphics and a strong processor is video exports in Adobe Premiere Professional. It took eight minutes and 42 seconds to complete rendering a 2-minute 4K clip to ProRes 422. Evaluate that to the 9 minutes and 27 seconds it took for the Razer Blade, which comes with a six-core processor and a beefy Nvidia RTX 2070 for graphics.

That’s strong efficiency, although it’s not earth-shattering. The XPS 15 I reviewed final 12 months completed that very same activity in just below 5 minutes, because of the Core i9-9880HK. It was a sooner, fully unlocked processor, and the 32GB of RAM that got here in my evaluation unit didn’t harm both. The newest 10th-gen model of this unlocked chip hasn’t but shipped within the XPS 15, although Dell says it’s coming quickly.

Whereas the XPS 15 is a superb efficiency laptop computer, it’s additionally a improbable 15-inch laptop computer typically.

The Microsoft Floor Ebook Three was one other laptop computer that beats this XPS 15 by way of video enhancing. Regardless of having solely a quad-core processor, its beefy graphics let it dominate in Premiere rendering.

The XPS 15 begins at $1,300 for the bottom mannequin, which solely will get you a quad-core processor, built-in graphics, and 8GB of RAM. That mannequin won’t carry out practically in addition to the mannequin I examined, nevertheless it needs to be greater than satisfactory for consumers who don’t have a particular, demanding use case in thoughts. Whereas the XPS 15 is a superb efficiency laptop computer, it’s additionally a improbable 15-inch laptop computer general, and the bottom mannequin is an efficient match for customers who desire a top-tier laptop computer for on a regular basis use.

Gaming efficiency

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The XPS 15 has by no means been a gaming laptop computer, and that hasn’t modified. The system nonetheless prioritizes processor efficiency, which doesn’t let the GPU shine in the identical manner a gaming laptop computer may.

The improve from the Nvidia GTX 1650 to the 1650 Ti, although, does present a hearty bump by way of recreation efficiency that I used to be glad to see. It was 105 to 20% sooner than the earlier mannequin, and might play most video games at no less than 60 frames per second (FPS). In Battlefield V, I wanted to scale back settings to Medium to get there, however in Fortnite and Civilization VI, you possibly can fortunately play at max settings and nonetheless hit 60 FPS.

This is a vital quantity as a result of the display screen is locked at a 60Hz refresh fee. Something over 60 FPS gained’t be seen.

The one recreation that proved unplayable at max settings was Murderer’s Creed Odyssey. At Extremely Excessive, it solely hit 26 FPS, and at Excessive (the sport’s medium setting), it performed at 47 FPS.

There are many extra highly effective gaming laptops on the market. Laptops with extra graphics choices just like the Floor Ebook Three or Dell G5 SE are higher gaming experiences, too. However for individuals who wish to use the XPS 15 for some gaming on the facet, it does the job.

Our take

The Dell XPS 15 is the most effective 15-inch laptop computer you should buy. The design is beautiful, the display screen is out of this world, and the efficiency is spectacular. The eight-core Intel Core i7 mannequin I reviewed isn’t probably the most highly effective model of this laptop computer, however with the Core i9 on the way in which, the XPS 15 will seemingly be one of the vital highly effective video-editing laptops you should buy too. It’s not low cost although. To get a mannequin much like the one I reviewed, you’ll simply be spending over $2,000 for the mixture of a premium chassis, a color-accurate 4K show, and highly effective internals.

Are there any options?

If you’d like an much more highly effective XPS laptop computer, await the Dell XPS 17. Not solely does it have a bigger display screen, it additionally comes with a robust Nvidia RTX 2060 graphics card for even higher efficiency.

The MacBook Professional 16-inch is an in depth various, although it’s fairly a bit costlier.

How lengthy will it final?

The Dell XPS 15 ought to final you no less than 4 or 5 years. Every part from the parts inside to the sturdiness of the chassis is top-notch. There’s nothing particular concerning the guarantee although. It’s nonetheless simply a typical one-year {hardware} guarantee, although Dell does provide premium care packages like prolonged help as much as 4 years or unintended injury service.

Must you purchase it?

Sure. It’s the most effective 15-inch laptop computer you should buy, and a very good selection for inventive professionals who want important energy beneath the hood.

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