Dell XPS 15 – A Better Laptop

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Dell XPS 15

If you’re in the market for a really good laptop, you can’t do much better than the Dell XPS 15.

The “15” designation means there’s a 15.6-inch display, which on the highest end model of the line is a 4K Ultra HD display – just HD on the less expensive ones – and all but the lowest priced model have Nvidia GeForce video cards with 4 GB of display RAM.  The Dell XPS 15 models come as Windows 10 Home computers, all have high definition stereo sound, dual microphones, an all-aluminum chassis and a Gorilla Glass screen mounted on a thin bezel.

There are two USB 3 ports, a USB C port, plus HDMI and audio outputs, an SD card reader and a fingerprint reader. No place to plug in a network cable, but there are Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and you can purchase a separate adapter for Ethernet & a VGA output. All the Dell XPS 15 models have back-lit, chicklet keyboards, and a generous size touchpad. They also come with a one-year McAfee LiveSafe subscription and the usual 30-day trial of Microsoft Office.

All but the lowest priced model have a 97 watt-hour battery and weigh about 4.5 pounds. With the smaller battery, take off half-a-pound.

The highest end model, which we were sent for review, has a touchscreen, the others don’t, but the display on all is bright & clear, the back-lit keyboard with real keys makes it easy to use. Our review model came with a 7th Generation i7 processor and 16 GB of RAM, and a 512 GB solid state drive, so we saw the maximum performance.  There’s a slightly less expensive non-touchscreen model with the same processor and RAM, the lower priced models are i3 or i5 processors and only 8 GB of RAM. All the Dell XPS 15 models are upgradeable to 32 GB of RAM.

Others have tested the battery time on the XPS 15 and found it among the highest for its class of laptops, about 8 hours for average use.

The one major ding on this model is where they put the webcam – in the lower left corner of the screen. I get that they wanted to keep the top edge thin, but from the lower left viewers have a nice shot of your knuckles on the keyboard & are looking up your nose (or at your double-chin!). The webcam is only 720 pixels, not particularly sharp, which I suppose is good since it’ll be harder for viewers to count your nose hairs.

But other than that, the Dell XPS 15 is a keeper, especially the highest end model, or its non-touch screen sibling (I’m not much for touchscreens on laptops anyway…).

The high-end model currently sells on Dell’s website for just under $2000 with a 1-year warranty. The lowest-end configuration, with a slower processor, less RAM, Intel graphics card and a 500 GB “regular” hard drive, is half that price. Your best buy might be the currently $1650 non-touchscreen version of the Dell XPS 15.  Also sold on Amazon.

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