After several years of missteps, Dell is hitting all the right strides this year. First, there was the groundbreaking ultra-portable Dell XPS 13, which in a brand-new version has become even more groundbreaking. Now, Dell has just released the XPS 15 – a rival to Microsoft’s 15-inch MacBook Pro.
The unit for this review has a sixth-generation Intel I7 processor, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a 4K touchscreen. It’s a 15.6-inch screen that fits into the chassis of a 14.5 inch laptop. A minor disappointment is that it definitely doesn’t feel like the bigger version of the XPS 13, which is what it is being sold as. The XPS 15 is large and it feels so. At about four pounds, it is also sort of heavy, but one may say it’s light for a device with a 15.6-inch screen. It is certainly thicker than the XPS 13. However, judging on its own merits, the XPS 15 is still a beautiful and powerful device.
There is one problem with the Dell XPS 15 and it may not be that huge of a problem to people who don’t spend all day typing: The keyboard is the exact same one used in the Dell XPS 13, which means the keys are shallow and have a narrow space between them. The keyboard on the XPS 15 definitely feels cramped. The keyboard could be excused for the XPS 13, a 13-inch laptop that crams everything for the sake or portability. But it feels like a lazy decision not to upgrade the keyboard for the XPS 15.
Now comes the good, which represents 95 percent of the device. Let’s start with the screen — the most gorgeous one that exists on a laptop today. The 3840 x 2160 resolution is stunning and shows itself when playing 4K videos on YouTube. Who would have ever thought, even five years ago, that such a stunning and detail-oriented screen would exist on a device? You can literally see details you never thought existed when looking at an ultra-HD video clip or even a picture.
The overall design of the device is great and feels like a lot of thought went into it. Like in the XPS 13, there is practically no bezel space, which means the videoconferencing camera is on the bottom — it’s awkward, but certainly acceptable. The cramped keyboard, as earlier mentioned, feels like a copout, but the trackpad is the best one that has existed on a PC device. It feels every bit as comfortable as the trackpad on the MacBook Pro. Windows 10 has apparently added trackpad drivers that can make you feel almost like you are using a Mac.
In terms of battery life, using the Dell XPS 15 on 80 percent brightness while streaming a bunch of videos, one can get about five hours of battery life. This means that the normal user will get about seven to eight hours of use, which is perfectly acceptable for a device this powerful. It’s certainly not the type of laptop where you think you can leave your charger at home. You certainly have to carry the big and bulky charger with you.
Overall, the Dell XPS 15 is one of the best and most powerful laptops on the market today, with the most gorgeous and stunning display ever seen on a laptop. However, those who are thinking that the XPS 15 is an ultraportable 15-inch laptop will be disappointed since it is big and bulky. Still, advanced gamers and 4K video editors will want to run — not walk — over to their local Microsoft Store and pick up the Dell XPS 15 right now.
[Photo via Daryl Deino]