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Dell XPS 15 (9500) Review - Thurrott.com

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In late September 2020, we packed my sister’s SUV with our daughter’s luggage and drove it to Charlotte, North Carolina, so that she could be late to start her first year of college. The pandemic has changed many things,

Thing, but I am very happy that she can have the appearance of a normal university experience. And I know it will only improve over time.

Why is this mentioned in the laptop reviews? Well, this is my only trip during the pandemic and my only trip in the past 12 months. Therefore, this is the only opportunity for me to get a semi-normal experience of using technology products from all over the world in the whole year. You may remember-as if it was a lifetime ago-I usually travel a lot. Anyway,

, HP Envy 15 and

. During the trip, I used two machines at the same time, and my wife and I used to watch videos at night.

I published

A few weeks later, October. Apart from a ton of nonsense and clumsy touchpad (rarely seen in the advanced PC world these days), I really like that laptop. Still do. But I obviously never made a comment on XPS 15.

But literally: Even though I wrote a large part of the comment a few months ago, I never made that comment. I always have problems with the timeliness of hardware reviews because it is a slow process for me-I can't or won't fire PC reviews every three days like some people-but this epidemic has already caused People are caught in a casual process. Regardless of whether I was overworked, or stuck in my brain due to months of imprisonment, or for other reasons, censorship never happened. Here we are.

So now is the time to figure it out. Because Dell XPS 15 should not be ignored. In fact, this is the best 15-inch laptop I have ever used.

We rightly attribute it to Dell, which has swept the ultrabook market in recent years in the thin and light boom. With its original XPS 13, the company revolutionized the form factor that is now common in the premium PC market, where a 13.3-inch display panel was used on the fuselage, which was still used on 12-inch PCs until recently. . Of course, in addition to the obvious benefits of small bezels and lightness, this major design change also brings some compromises. The main one is the poorly located webcam, which is the Achilles heel of the previous XPS 13 versions.

Dell finally realized this, thanks to the unremitting efforts of miniaturization, its PC manufacturer's competitors lost their main marketing advantages of their PCs, and PCs usually have larger bezels that can accommodate the network in a normal location webcam. But these competitors have also spent a lot of time in the past few years to copy XPS 13 as much as possible. In a market full of these thin and light high-end PC miracles, we are flooded with many things that look both beautiful and delightful.

Naturally, Dell and other PC manufacturers are trying to use different kinds of PCs to rotate this magic. But these efforts are far from successful. It's hard to explain why 15-inch laptops have problems, but we just don’t see the 15-inch ultrabooks that are usually considered to be 14-inch bodies. Instead, most 15-inch monitors are still large and bulky. Not exactly like they used to be. But it is still huge and heavy.

The newly designed Dell XPS 15 finally reversed this trend. Of course, there are some realities that cannot be overcome, including the basic size and weight of this device. However, because the XPS 15 has a platinum-silver-aluminum CNC structure, diamond-shaped cut edges and a display panel covered by Gorilla Glass 6, it is both durable and attractive while cutting out a relatively slim shape. It is an amazing product with stylish, modern and high-quality design.

Like XPS 13, XPS 15 can come in black or white, and the review components are in a newer white that I like. With the black version, you can get the classic XPS carbon fiber wrist rest. Although it feels good in the hand, it attracts a lot of skin oil stains. The white version has a glass fiber woven surface, which I think is as good as carbon fiber, but has a different soft touch and does not wear out like scratches.

Dell XPS 15 can be equipped with Full HD+ (1920 x 1200) or 4K/UHD+ (3840 x 2400) 15.6-inch InfinityEdge display panels, both of which provide an ideal 16:10 aspect ratio and are very good in all four directions. Small border. . The review unit with 4K version provides Dolby Vision certified HDR 400 function, 500 nit brightness, anti-reflection and anti-fouling coating, and multi-touch function.

This display is a revelation, although it is shiny, quite saturated and has incredible brightness-I have to turn it down from the highest brightness level to a significant level-when used with standard entertainment applications, it is not Like entertainment apps like Netflix, using it is equally enjoyable and filmy. It has accurate colors, 100% Adobe RGB and 94% DCI P3 color gamut coverage, and has a very wide viewing angle, and it does reach its InfinityEdge brand, with its crazy 92.9% screen-to-body ratio, which is my best Ok. Previous experience. It seems to float in the space above the keyboard. It works well indoors or outdoors.

The two display options also provide the EyeSafe blue light elimination function in the hardware, which is superior to the software-based night light function in Windows because it does not significantly turn the display orange. This is an amazing solution and a real difference.

Dell XPS 15 is supported by the 10th generation Intel Core i5, i7 and i9 H series processors, rather than the weaker and more efficient U series processors commonly used in today's Ultrabooks and most portable PCs. The viewing unit has a Core i7-10875H processor, which is an 8-core design that can exceed 5 GHz in some cases.

It is worth noting that XPS 15 integrates Intel UHD graphics

Discrete graphics, in this case in the form of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti with 4 GB of dedicated GDDR6 RAM. These stunning core components are supported by 8 GB, 16 GB, 32 GB or 64 GB DDR4 dual-channel SDRAM (16 GB in the review unit) and 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB or 2 TB PCIe x4 SSD storage. 512 GB is included with the review unit.

Players will need a dedicated gaming PC, but XPS 15 has desktop-level processing power and graphics processing capabilities, so it can constitute a powerful 1080p (medium setting is 60 fps) video game console, although it should be Plug in the power source.

But this powerful component poses some dangers in terms of heat dissipation and battery life. Battery life will be discussed below, but Dell has adopted a new thermal design that is 8% thinner than the previous version, which enhances Intel’s Thermal Velocity Boost technology (an automatic overclocking technology that can instantly evaluate operating conditions to determine The operating speed of the processor). Double fans, heat pipes, exhaust holes and insulation materials to keep everything as cool as possible. I found it to be adequate for the job, but you need a good pair of headphones during the game: when the system is pushed hard, the fan will spin as expected.

XPS 15 also has outstanding performance in the following aspects: when you open the display cover, the display lights up and the PC starts immediately, which is almost magical. Dell has solved this problem in a unique way-built-in a sensor that can work regardless of the power management status-in doing so, it has realized the arduous "getting the job" challenge that I have been on endlessly. This attention to detail should be commended, and I feel very happy every time I use XPS 15.

Connectivity is as modern as one would expect: Wi-Fi 6 functionality is provided by the Intel-based Killer chipset and has Bluetooth 5.1, but no cellular data option. Dell claims that Wi-Fi has the ability to prioritize streaming video, communication and game traffic, but I am not sure if it is different from other PCs.

Despite its large size, the Dell XPS 15 offers very few port options, which may disappoint anyone who wants to use a full-size HDMI or USB-A port. On the left side of the device, you will find two USB-C / Thunderbolt 3 ports and a small wedge lock slot.

On the right is a USB-C 3.1 port with power supply and DisplayPort functions, a full-size SD card slot, and a combo audio jack.

It is commendable that the XPS 15 comes with at least a USB-C to USB-A 3.0 dongle and a USB-C to HDMI 2.0 dongle. But I prefer to find these ports on the computer itself.

The Dell XPS 15 has a powerful Waves Nx four-speaker design with two 2.5-watt woofers and two 1.5-watt tweeters, providing a total peep performance of 8 watts. The system is supported by Waves Maxx Audio Pro and Waves Maxx Nx 3D audio and... my god. The voice is

.

As mentioned above, my wife and I tested Dell XPS 15 and HP Envy 15 during our trip to North Carolina in late 2020. We prefer Dell to a large extent, especially audio. I tested audio playback recently and I understand why. The music is clear, clean, and loud, with excellent stereo separation and no distortion at high volume. I can hardly believe that this sound comes from the laptop.

Thanks to Dell's sleek, vibrant display, the video performance will be even better. Watch the upcoming parkour chase scene

I was shocked by the sense of immersion. Its appearance and sound are better than my home theater settings, which is both annoying and exhilarating.

Like XPS 13, XPS 15 offers a top-mounted 720p webcam with small bezels, which is almost a miracle, and features Windows Hello facial recognition. The quality is good...but it's darker and more blurry than the standalone webcam I usually use. Dell also provides dual digital array microphones with echo cancellation and noise reduction, and is optimized by Waves MaxxVoice.

The XPS 15 seems to be equipped with the excellent backlit keyboard that Dell provided with the XPS 13, and has a clear 1.3 mm key pitch and an excellent overall typing experience.

However, I do have a question: Since the power button and its integrated fingerprint reader are implemented as keys and are located at the top right of the keyboard, the Delete key has been moved to the left. I suspect that actual customers will get used to this change over time, but I never did it. (Fortunately, pressing the power button normally will not activate.)

The Dell XPS 15 has a larger working space and a huge and deep wrist rest, which I find very comfortable. There is also a huge glass precision touchpad, the size of which is as large as any product Apple offers. It must be the largest PC-based touchpad on the market. I don't like such a large touchpad, but Dell equipment is always reliable and accurate, and I haven't encountered any handheld-based errors.

The portability of a 15-inch laptop is always relative, but for the Dell XPS 15, this is a double fact, because the display and battery options you choose will directly affect the weight and battery life. As mentioned above, you can choose between Full HD+ and 4K/UHD+ display panels, and the latter will of course have a negative impact on battery life. However, you can also choose between 56 watt-hour (WHr) and 86 watt-hour (WHr) batteries (they are internal and cannot be repaired by the user), the latter of course will affect battery life in a positive way and negatively The way it affects weight. How negative? The 86-watt-hour battery upgrade increases the weight from 4 pounds to 4.5 pounds.

You can check the impact of battery selection by looking at the Dell number. This is what I have to do because I did not get two evaluation units, one for each battery type. According to Dell, depending on the workload, the XPS 15 with the Core i7 processor and 86WHr battery is usually twice as high as the model with the Core i5 processor and 56 WHr battery. For example, using the MobileMark 2014 benchmark test, the former system can provide 13 hours and 46 minutes of battery life, while the latter can reach an incredible landing time of 25 hours. Using MobileMark 2018, the numbers are converted into nearly 10 hours and nearly 7 hours respectively. Streaming video test shows that switching to 4K / UHD / 86-WHr option can get nearly 2 times the income. It's great to have choices.

From a portability point of view, 4 pounds is a game changer for 15-inch laptops. Of course, it is still heavy compared to any 13-inch (or even 14-inch) laptop, and at 13.57 x 9.06 x 0.71 inches, it will need to be carried in a large bag. However, the evaluation unit with a Core i7 processor and 86-WHr battery provides incredible performance and longer battery life, but it weighs only 4.5 pounds. For this type of equipment, this is more typical and heavy. But in comparison, the HP Envy 15 is even heavier. It weighs 4.74 pounds.

As for battery life, in this pandemic era of unmanned travel, I am more and more concerned about the reliability of my observations. Taking Dell as an example, I can certainly spend months between initial use and recent catch-up. However, regardless of the price, what I have seen is that the average battery life exceeds 6 hours in both time periods.

Although the XPS 15 has powerful components, it still uses USB-C for power connections, but depending on the configuration, the power provided is a powerful 90-watt or 130-watt device. The review unit is provided with a subsequent version, which is large and heavy compared to a typical laptop charger.

Checking the power requirements of the unit also brings a strange side effect: You can use a smaller power adapter to charge it, but Windows 10 will warn that it is charging slowly. I also encountered this warning on the USB-C / Thunderbolt 3 docking station, including

Provided by Intel; it provides 87 watts of charging power. I assume and hope that there are some terminals that can better handle this level of power transmission.

Dell XPS 15 was released with Windows 10 Home, with a small amount of junk software such as Dropbox promotions, and a surprising number of Dell-branded utilities. There are few Dell apps that I call junk software, and some of them are really useful. But it is too much, and some are at least redundant.

Consider the "Dell Cinema Guide", which is obviously some sort of front end to the streaming video service you actually use. Useless. Dell Customer Connects seems important, but when I run the application, it tells me to notify me when new surveys are available. ???? Dell Digital Delivery also provides an almost blank window with the message "You have no applications available." What should I do now? Dell Update provides the firmware and driver updates you expect, and I hope that through Windows Update, you can easily get the features you need.

Among Dell's semi-useful utilities, there is Dell CinemaColor, which allows you to optimize the color profile of the monitor for movies, nighttime, sports and, strangely, animation, which can be fine-tuned between saturation, temperature, and contrast. Dell Mobile Connect provides wireless integration with your smartphone, so considering that Windows 10 includes your phone, it is somewhat redundant. But there is an important difference: the app can be used normally on the iPhone, but your phone cannot.

Dell Power Manager extends the power management capabilities in Windows 10 through thermal management profiles and even planned battery and power usage. Dell Premier Color (which should probably be used in conjunction with CinemaColor) provides a display calibration wizard, advanced color configuration, and a display splitter function that can be expanded on the functions provided by Snap. There are also "My Dell" and "SupportAssist" applications.

In addition to the Dell utility, you will also find the Dolby Access app, which helps you configure Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos for headphones and home theater, Intel graphics, Optane memory and Thunderbolt utility, Killer Kontrol Center, and To analyze and manage Wi-Fi. , Two MaxxAudio Pro utilities, McAfee Personal Security and two NVIDIA utilities that are never necessary.

It's a bit overwhelming, and although most people didn't completely hinder it, I hope to see some reduction here. You can spend a whole day figuring out what this is.

Not surprisingly, Dell offers many different XPS 15 build levels, and then seems to configure countless options for each. After all, Dell actually invented a build-to-order product in the personal computer market. But these many options can cause confusion. Depending on the configuration, your spending on the XPS 15 may be only $1200 or more than $3000.

The entry-level Dell XPS 15 offers a Core i5 processor, Intel UHD graphics, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB storage and a Full HD + display for a price of $1,199. Upgrade to NVIDIA graphics and Core i7 processor, your price is $1599. The evaluation unit with a high-end Core i7 processor, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB storage space, and 4K/UHD display is priced at $2,200. However, you can also upgrade to a Core i9 processor, 64 GB RAM and/or 2 TB storage. The only thing missing is the OLED display option, but checking the display quality on the unit made me wonder if it is necessary.

I will not purchase the configuration of the review unit personally, not for any technical reason (which is incredible), but because I cannot afford such a thing. But I have not experienced a full HD+ display, so I am not sure where to recommend the configuration. In other words, based on my focus on productivity, I might choose a configuration with a Core i5 processor, 16 GB RAM, 256 GB storage space, Full HD + display and a smaller battery, and the price is $1,299. Assuming that the display is acceptable, this seems to be an excellent price for this type of machine.

With its gorgeous appearance, first-class display, and powerful internal structure, the Dell XPS 15 is the best 15-inch laptop I have reviewed, and an ideal choice for all kinds of creators. It can be configured according to your needs, from basic models focused on productivity applications to high-end versions for producers, portable workstations and entry-level gaming PCs, including its 4K/UHD display panel, independent NVIDIA graphics and high-end processors. , RAM and storage. This is an easy-to-recommend PC, and it will change my view of the 15-inch notebook market forever.

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