Hardware & Features
The Dell XPS 15 is a premium desktop replacement laptop for home entertainment and multimedia use, and it comes with a configuration to do sufficient justice to the claim. The laptop has a quad-core Intel Core i7-740QM 1.73-GHz processor (Turbo Boost speed of 2.93-GHz), 4GB DRR3 RAM, 500GB (7200rpm) hard drive, and an Nvidia GeForce GT 435M GPU.
The XPS 15 is also offered in two other configurations with a dual-core Core i5 and Core i3 processor and Nvidia GeForce GT 420M graphics.
The Dell XPS 15 comes with 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium OS and a host of features unrivalled by most laptops available in the market. Apart from the standard offering of connectivity ports, USB, HDMI, eSATA, optical drive, audio ports, card reader, ethernet, etc.
But the XPS 15’s USB ports support USB 3.0, its optical drive a Blu-ray BD-ROM drive, its Nvidia GPU supports 3D TV Play, connect the laptop to any HDMI-enabled HDTV and play 3D movies on your non-3D ready TV. The Dell XPS 15 also comes with Intel’s Wireless Display (WiDi) technology.
The laptop also supports face detection for login (like Lenovo IdeaPad Y560s VeriFace technology). Onboard on the Dell XPS 15 is powered by JBL speakers with Waves MaXXAudio 3 technology for better-than-average sound quality.
The Dell XPS 15 performs admirably well for its target audience. It blazed through our synthetic benchmarks, a WorldBench 6 score of 111 is a very good achievement, the MSI GT663R with a similar processor but better GPU and RAM managed 120.
That’s performance close to a high-end gaming laptop at less than half the price, which is great from the Dell XPS 15. However, its 3D Mark 06 score isn’t stellar, 7430 that’s less than the Lenovo IdeaPad Y560, but you can game on the XPS 15's Nvidia GeForce GT 435M or 420M GPU.
Of course, the XPS 15 premium laptop’s focus is squarely on home entertainment and multimedia usage. The Dell XPS 15 comes with a very good pair of JBL 2.1 speakers, two 4W speakers on either side of the keyboard and a 12W subwoofer tucked away on the bottom panel.
Audio from the XPS 15’s speakers isn’t as excellent as the Dynaudio speakers on the MSI GT663R but its definitely better than most laptops we’ve reviewed, the bass is boomy and sound’s clear even at 70 to 80-percent volume. Audio quality is at par with the Lenovo IdeaPad Y560, actually, which also comes with JBL speakers. Watching HD 1080p and 720p videos on the Dell XPS 15’s full-HD screen was a very good experience, too.
As is the case with powerful desktop-replacement laptops, battery life is never a great expectation, unless it's a MacBook Pro, and it’s unrealistic to expect so. The Dell XPS 15’s six-cell battery lasted for exactly 1 hour in our synthetic test (full-screen brightness and dedicated GPU), which is lesser than the Lenovo IdeaPad Y560 and the Acer Aspire TimelineX 4820TG. With Dell’s power management utility on, I managed to surf the web over 3 hours just fine.
Reasons to buy the Dell XPS 15 are many. It’s a refreshing update to Dell’s premier laptop range, combining features and options that are hard to find in many other mainstream laptops. A full-HD screen, USB 3.0 ports, Nvidia 3D TV Play, very good onboard sound, striking looks and features, all this at a not quite insanely high price. If you’re looking for a very good desktop replacement laptop, make sure you check out the new Dell XPS 15.