Dell XPS 15 reviewed: The legendary XPS gets even better

Recommended
Dell XPS 15 reviewed: The legendary XPS gets even better
Rating
Overall:

By adding Sandy Bridge to an already fine laptop, Dell has created an entertainment tour-de-force with the Dell XPS 15. Read our review.

Performance:
5
Features & Design:
5
Value for Money:
5
Price
Price: $1333
> Pricing info
Specs
Price 1333

 

Revisiting past glories is a path fraught with peril, but Dell’s resurrection of its once-legendary XPS range is one of the success stories. Fusing power, panache and a fantastic pair of speakers, the XPS 15 gained a Recommended award in late 2010. Now, with added Intel Sandy Bridge processors, it’s even better.

Performance
Our model came equipped with the mid-range 2.3GHz Core i5-2410M, and it flew through our new Real World Benchmarks to an overall score of 0.66. That’s more than quick enough for most people, and it’s worth noting that’s the slowest processor Dell offers for the XPS 15.

Graphics
Whichever CPU takes your fancy, it comes paired with Nvidia’s mid-range GeForce GT 540M graphics chipset. That might sound a little underwhelming, but it’s no slouch: it wasn’t until we pushed our Crysis benchmark up to High settings at the screen’s Full HD resolution that the action slowed to a sluggish 15fps. If you’re dead set on playing Crysis at this detail level, you’ll have to reduce the resolution; at 1280 x 720 and High settings, the Dell averaged 27fps. 

Battery life
With Nvidia’s Optimus technology dynamically switching between the Nvidia and integrated Intel HD graphics chipsets and a huge battery propping up its rear, the XPS 15 boasts a enormous amount of stamina for such a powerful laptop. In our light-use battery test, it lasted for 7hrs 25mins. That huge battery also helped in our heavy-use test: with brightness set to the screen’s maximum, the XPS 15 kept going flat-out for 1hr 59mins. 

The XPS 15: improved performance, incredible stamina and smorgasbord of features

There are downsides to having a protruding battery – for one thing, the XPS 15’s thick chassis weighs a hefty 3kg even without the 650g power supply – but it also has some rather welcome side-effects. The Scrabble-tile keyboard was already excellent, but with the battery now leaning it slightly towards the typing position, it’s even more comfortable. 

Design, display
Previously, our only major disappointments with the XPS 15 were the average quality of the display and the flimsy feel of its lid. Unfortunately, the lid doesn’t feel any more durable, with even light prods resulting in ripples of showthrough. Image quality, however, is vastly improved. Dell obviously heard our complaints, and this time sent us a review unit with the superior Adobe RGB, or wide-gamut, Full HD display. Viewing angles are much wider, and the panel’s ample brightness and strong black levels result in an excellent 671:1 contrast ratio. 

The panel’s only weakness is colour reproduction, which, while stunningly vivid, suffers from the usual issues associated with wide-gamut displays. As most applications, images and games are designed to be viewed on standard sRGB laptop panels, they can look cartoony and over-saturated when viewed on a display capable of producing a wider range, or gamut, of colours. Admittedly, many people will love the lurid colour reproduction, but those wanting colour accuracy will need to invest in a calibration tool.

Other features
Elsewhere, the XPS 15 cements its reputation as an entertainment thoroughbred. With our review unit sporting both Blu-ray and a DVB-T TV tuner, the Dell makes for a compact media centre. It also helps that the JBL speakers are among the best we’ve ever heard on a laptop.

There’s no lack of connectivity, either. A D-SUB output is a notable absentee, but HDMI 1.4 – which means you can connect the XPS to a 3D TV – and mini-DisplayPort are arguably far more useful additions. With two USB 3 ports, a USB 2/eSATA combo port, a three-in-one card reader and an optical S/PDIF output, the XPS 15 ticks all the boxes.   

Conclusion
We were already fans of Dell’s XPS 15, but the improved performance, incredible stamina and smorgasbord of features make it more alluring than ever. We’d prefer a sturdier lid, but at $1333 the Dell is a fine example of just how much a Sandy Bridge entertainment laptop can offer. 

 

 

Source: Copyright © PC Pro, Dennis Publishing

See more about:  dell  |  xps  |  15  |  laptop  |  review
 
 

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Comments: 9
avoidz
23 July 2011
I have the 17.3 Core i7 version with 8 GB RAM, GF 555M graphics, and twin 750 GB HDDs. It's a very nice machine, but the screen is a bit disappointing only in its poor viewing angles. Battery lasts about 4–5 hours with constant web browsing and light video playback.


Comment made about the PC & Tech Authority article:
Dell XPS 15 reviewed: The legendary XPS gets even better?
By adding Sandy Bridge to an already fine laptop, Dell has created an entertainment tour-de-force with the Dell XPS 15. Read our review.

What do you think? Join the discussion.
avoidz
23 July 2011
^^ I also don't quite understand the logic of placing the HDD activity light behind the screen so you can't see it at all. As a power user, I use that indicator a lot to determine what's going on inside the computer.
rubaiyat
23 July 2011
I'm looking at this and the Macbook Air and I know which one I want and that rings a lot more bells.
Slatts
23 July 2011
I bought a 17.3 inch version for my youngest a couple of weeks ago.

While specing it I found the option for a display port to Dsub adapter for (I think) about $9 extra.

As with avoidz I went with the i7 processor and the young bloke is more than happy with it.

j876
25 July 2011
One of my immediate family bought this laptop on my reccomendation for its excellent value for money. The computer she ordered was the 15" i7-2720QM with Geforce 540M Graphics, 750 GB HDD, and Blu-Ray reader DVD burner combo drive. It runs like a dream including her design programs for uni.

I agree about the HDD Activity light though. It needs to be at the front.

Edited by J876: 25/7/2011 10:33:54 AM
ravi12
11 October 2011
Check out http://www.procompare.com/best-laptops
I think it’s the best place to get personalized, reliable and quick advice. They rank the best laptops in different categories based on both experts and users’ reviews. They also have a cool personalization slider that lets you optimize the results based on the criteria that are most important to YOU.
kettysimpson
30 November 2011
It has a good screen of 15.6 inches. Pretty good in gaming and for multimedia it is great. Its battery life is not good compare to others. But it is too heavy so you will not fill comfortable during travelling.
rubaiyat
30 November 2011
j876 wrote:
One of my immediate family bought this laptop on my reccomendation for its excellent value for money. The computer she ordered was the 15" i7-2720QM with Geforce 540M Graphics, 750 GB HDD, and Blu-Ray reader DVD burner combo drive. It runs like a dream including her design programs for uni.

I agree about the HDD Activity light though. It needs to be at the front.

Edited by J876: 25/7/2011 10:33:54 AM


Hmm, designers working with crap screens!

Explains a lot.
batguide
7 January 2012
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