In these uncertain times, it’s tougher than usual to validate spending as much as a completely packed Dell XPS 15 expenses. However, kid, the screen is gorgeous, and the power under it will crunch through whatever you toss at it—– video encoding, software putting together, or video gaming.
It is, simply put, a powerhouse device. It’s the Microsoft Windows 10 equivalent of the 15-inch MacBook Pro, and as such, if you choose to avoid the future drama surrounding Apple’s chip migration, and just want a big, effective laptop computer today, the Dell XPS 15 provides.
As I discussed in the review of the 13-inch XPS, on paper this larger-sized screen sounds minimal, but in daily use, it’s actually great to have, specifically when editing images, videos, or playing games.
Dell has a variety of spec setups available. There’s the base model, which gets you a more recent 10th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, 8 gigabytes of RAM, and integrated graphics. This design is$1,300, but it does not have the 4K screen and has a fairly paltry 256-gigabyte hard disk drive. If you bump the processor to an Intel Core i7, include a discrete video card (Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti), the 3,840 x 2,400 pixel(4K)touchscreen, and 16 gigabytes
of RAM, it will cost you $2,200. That’s on par, both on specs and cost, with Apple’s 16-inch MacBook. The model I tested was even fancier. It costs$2,350 and comes with 16 gigabytes of RAM and a 512-gigabyte hard disk. Like on the MacBook Pro, there’s likewise an option to opt for an Intel i9 processor, which puts the cost up to$2,800, but it consists of a bigger 1-terabyte disk drive and the 32 gigabytes of RAM. If you’re a designer putting together software application or are trying to find a mobile video modifying station, you’ll wish to stick to the mid- to higher-end setups.
This latest design features a brand-new trackpad, which is, frankly, giant. But it can be found in helpful for moving rapidly around the substantial screen.
Battery life on the XPS 15 is so-so. It’s not as excellent as the smaller XPS 13. I managed to get around 9 hours out of it most days, however, when I looped an HD video on it to test the length of time it lasted, it barely handled to hit the 8-hour mark. That’s definitely adequate to edit video at the coffee bar for a couple of hours, but if you’re doing anything processor-intensive with this thing, you’re going to want the power cable useful—– particularly after you’ve owned it for a couple years. It’s also probably worth noting that the power cord is bigger and heavier than what you get with the XPS 13.
As on the smaller design, there are three small USB-C ports, any of which can deliver power. The 2 USB ports on the left side also support Thunderbolt 3 for an external display. There’s also an SD card reader and (fortunately) a headphone jack. Dell also includes a helpful little dongle with bigger USB-A ports and a USB-C-to-HDMI cable.
Dell loads all of this into a slim aluminum chassis with carbon-fiber palm rests and a Gorilla Glass screen. The result is surprisingly little for a 15-inch laptop computer. Thanks to those thin bezels, the entire plan is just 13.5 inches by 9 inches.
My other problem with the XPS 15 is that it can be loud, or a minimum of what passes for loud in laptop computers these days. All that power has thermal discharge after all, and you need to get that heat out somehow, which indicates the XPS 15 spins up its fan relatively routinely—– and it’s not specifically peaceful. This was most pronounced when I was exporting big 4K video clips.
The XPS 15 can manage whatever you throw at it, and even during a pandemic, that’s sometimes worth paying for—– if you can still manage it.