Dell XPS 15 review: The best laptop just got better

dell xps 15

The Dell XPS 15 is an extremely popular laptop. It is loved by technology journalists and consumers for its sleek design, powerful performance, and good battery life. There are laptops like Lenovo’s which have slightly better keyboards, or Samsung’s Galaxy Book Pro with a more glorious display, but the Dell XPS 15 as a whole is a superior machine.

If you’re looking for a laptop that can last all day, it’s best to look elsewhere, but if you want a compact laptop with pure performance, look no further than the XPS 15.

This laptop doesn’t have powerful specs. If you are looking for a powerful laptop, it is important to note that this one does not have a very strong CPU or GPU. This laptop currently costs $1,999.99 on Dell’s website, as I was told by the person who sent me the unit.


ProcessorIntel Core i7-1180H
Graphics adapterNvidia GeForce RTX 3050Ti
Storage1TB SSD
Screen size (in)15.6
Screen resolution3840 x 2400
Screen typeIPS
Memory card slotYes, SD card
3.5mm audio jackYes
Graphics outputsType-C DisplayPort x 1, Thunderbolt 4 x 2
Other portsType-C 3.2 Gen 2 x 1, Thunderbolt 4 x 2
Speakers2 x 2.5W woofers, 2 x 1.5W tweeters
Wi-FiWi-Fi 6
BluetoothBluetooth 5.1
Operating systemWindows 11 Home
Dimensions mm (WDH)354 x 230 x 18
Weight (kg)2Kg
Battery size (Wh)86Wh

Design and Features

Dell has been loyal to its successful design. The XPS 15 still stands out with its class-leading look and feel, which is made even more beautiful with its thin bezels and a range of ports and vents.

At 2kg, the Dell Inspiron is considerably heavier than the Samsung Galaxy Book Pro. The weight of this laptop makes it consideration if you plan on carrying it around to different locations.

A carbon fiber keyboard deck with a slightly soft touch is an unusual but great design that feels as good as it looks.

The InfinityEdge display on the XPS 15 is impressive. In a way, it’s not able to tilt as far back as some other laptops do, but that also isn’t a problem when you’re sitting at your desk and it’s still very impressive. Despite the small bezels on this laptop, its aluminum lid is rigid and so are the rest of its parts.


Typical of the XPS line, the thin bezels on the laptop are a signature of it. The new XPS 15 has a 3,456 x 2,160 OLED display that is also quite superb but unfortunately, we were sent the 3,840 x 2,400 4K IPS model to test.

We detail the best IPS screens on the market. There are many other features worth mentioning, such as 495cd/m2 of maximum brightness, 1800:1 contrast ratio, sRGB coverage, and 291dpi display pixel density.

The color accuracy of the monitor is one of the only issues. Dell offers software that can be used to recalibrate it easily. Be aware that this software only supports the Portrait Displays C6 and X-Rite iDisplay Pro models.

There is an issue with the maximum refresh rate of 60Hz. For this price, a 90Hz screen would be more desirable. Huawei has given their new MateBook 14s such a screen for much less money than this laptop. The 28-inch LCD model has Gorilla Glass 6 and supports touch, the 32-inch 4K monitor has a Gorilla Glass 7 screen and doesn’t support touch.

Keyboard and trackpad

Dell’s XPS 15 keyboard is a solid improvement to previous models. It’s something that should have been done on their older laptops, but it’s worth mentioning that this is still an improvement over the old standard.

The trackpad of the Laptop is 150 x 90mm. The layout is sleek and smooth. There are multiple levels of feedback in all aspects of the computer, including the click action that was perfectly calibrated.

Specs, Hardware, and Battery life

The Dell XPS 15 houses a processor that is deft and fast. It’s a fast CPU and can handle the toughest of tasks without difficulty. It is almost completely quiet when it runs so you get no extra noise on top of it.

The XPS 15 achieved 272 on an in-house benchmark, which is well above average for a laptop/workstation. The XPS 17 hit 281 on the same test, but it’s important to note that the XPS 17 was an M1-based Macbook Air but the XPS 15 features a dedicated GPU. The two were tested in GeekBench 5, and the XPS 15 turned in single-core scores of 1,551 and multi-core scores of 8,707.

For the SPECviewperf20 workstation benchmark, all of our CPUs meet the minimum requirement. In addition to a GeekBench and in-house test, we ran the 3dsmax07 rendering test on an XPS 15 laptop. The XPS 15 notched up 54.3fps at 1920 x 1080, although laptops with Nvidia’s RTX 3080 GPU can do better.

The Dell XPS 15 (2018) comes with a 1TB Western Digital SN730 NVMe SSD which shows increased read and write speeds of 2.85GB/sec and 1.47GB/sec respectively. Curiously, although the XPS 15 supports the latest PCIe 4.0 standard, Dell ships it with a PCIe 3.0 drive. If you need more storage or RAM, all you have to do is remove 8 Torx screws and access the two SSD bays and both SODIMM memory slots, making the upgrade to 64GB and 2TB extremely straightforward.

We found poor battery life on the Dell XPS 15, lasting for a woeful 7 hours and 16 minutes. We think it may be due to the amount of power the laptop produces but it is hard to confirm without testing other models.

The 4K display and an 86Wh battery make the laptop a good choice if you want to work on a computer while on the go. It’s not as impressive compared to the 16-in Apple MacBook Pro, but it lasts more than 16 hours.

If you regularly use your laptop for long periods of time and mostly listen to music, the XPS will have long battery life. If you need to play games, you might be disappointed with the battery life.

Final Thoughts

The Dell XPS 15 is still an excellent choice for some buyers. It features a premium design and some unique features (such as a small step-back of the chassis) that make it stand out among other gaming-centric notebooks on the market. However, I think Dell could be even more competitive with cooling powerful components and potentially adding an AMD chip to the lineup.

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