Dell XPS 15 review

The Dell XPS 15 reincarnates itself for a blinding 2012 upgrade

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Dell XPS 15 review
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Dell XPS 15 review
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Dell XPS 15 review
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Dell XPS 15 review
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Dell XPS 15 review

For

  • Awesome build quality
  • Excellent screen and speakers
  • Enough power for gaming

Against

  • Average battery life
  • A bit on the heavy side
  • No internal SSD

Fusing raw power with good looks, the Dell XPS 15 is Windows’ answer to the Macbook Pro and one of the best laptops we’ve seen this year

If there was a Windows machine to rival the mighty MacBook Pro, the Dell XPS 15 would be it. Dell’s latest offering has bleeding-edge specifications, a fantastic HD screen and great usability. Of course, it’s all wrapped up in a gorgeous silver chassis typical of the XPS range.

Taking the fight to other top-tier laptops like the HP Envy 17 and the Sony S Series, the Dell XPS 15 boasts an Ivy Bridge processor, dedicated graphics and a full 1080p Gorilla Glass display. Trust us, the result is seriously impressive.

Dell XPS 15: Features

Dell’s customary XPS chassis hasn’t changed drastically despite several updates. The silver brushed metal chassis still looks fantastic and is offset with the black interior, complete with an isolation-style backlit keyboard. There’s not a hint of cheap plastic, and the glorious screen is almost bezel-less, meaning that the XPS 15 could be mistaken for a 14-incher.

Elsewhere you’ll find a built-in Blu-ray drive, 8GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive. There’s no solid state drive, so start-up can seem a bit sluggish – especially when compared to super speedy Ultrabooks – but once it’s out of the blocks this machine goes strong even under heavy strain from multitasking.

If there’s one criticism that could be levelled at the Dell XPS 15, it’s the weight, and while the Apple MacBook Pro has been on a diet, this 2.5kg model is still a burden to carry.

Dell XPS 15: Screen

Fans of 1080p high definition video need look no further than the XPS 15. Dell has crammed 1,920 x 1,080 pixels on to the 15-inch screen which has been crafted from Corning’s Gorilla Glass.

There’s very little reflection from the glossy finish and viewing angles are excellent thanks to the 350nit brightness.

Dell XPS 15: Performance

The Intel Ivy Bridge CPU inside the XPS 15 stormed through our benchmarking tests and totally outperformed even the top-level second generation Intel-powered laptops. No matter what programs you’re looking to run – from video editing software through to Minesweeper or Online Scrabble, this machine can handle it.

Our gaming benchmark scores were some of the highest on test, thanks to the Nvidia GeForce 640M processor with 2GB of dedicated video memory. The XPS 15 tapped out with the likes of Battlefield 3 on full detail settings, but Batman: Arkham City ran without any problems.

Dell XPS 15: Battery

We tested the XPS 15 out with some looped 1080p high definition video, on top of a high-performance benchmarking program and the battery gave out after 226 minutes of continuous use.

We expect any machine at this price point to hit well above the 200 minute mark – so in fairness we’d have to say this is an average result. We’d ideally like to see the XPS 15 pushing for 300 minutes. However, with conservative use you can probably squeeze five hours from this machine.

Dell XPS 15: Verdict

Criticising the Dell XPS 15 is a bit like taking a crack at Helen of Troy - we could do it, but history doesn’t remember such transgressions. If you’re looking for a laptop that combines enough power to multitask your most demanding programs and look good doing it, then you’ve arrived at the right review.

The amazing HD display, great usability and Ivy Bridge power are all standout highlights and make the Dell XPS 15 the inevitable Windows alternative to the Macbook Pro. This is easily one of the best laptops we’ve ever seen.

Dell XPS 15 release date: Available now

Dell XPS 15 price: £1,299

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