Summary: Battery life is disappointing, especially as the XPS 15 is intended as a lightweight Ultrabook, although as a desktop replacement system it ticks more of the right boxes. It provides outstanding display quality and high-end performance at a competitive price, while still being slim and light enough to slip into a bag for the occasional business trip or weekend away.
Conclusion: Dell’s XPS 15 is a system of extremes. The display provides incredible sharpness, but its quality is well below average. The processor and video card perform well, but the fan struggles to cool them at full load. The 512GB solid state drive is massive, but contributes to the notebook’s hefty $2,349 asking price. The Apple MacBook Pro 15 with Retina is the XPS 15’s only direct competitor.
Pros: Attractive and well-built, Excellent performance, Good battery life, Four USB ports, Quiet at idle
Cons: Sub-par display quality, 3200x1800 display saps the GPU’s power in games, Runs hot and loud at load
Dell XPS 15 Haswell Edition: QHD+ with a Refined Design
6 March 2014
Conclusion: At the end of the day, what can be said about the XPS 15 is that it’s a great looking laptop and on paper it checks all the right boxes. In practice, I’ll be frank and state that it’s been a bit of a love/hate relationship with the XPS 15, but the hate comes more from being frustrated by my inability to get consistent results.
Conclusion: You would expect a fair amount of performance for the kind of investment it takes to own a top-of-the-line XPS 15 Touch system, and Dell's spunky laptop certainly delivered. Compared to its Ultrabook kin, it took them behind the barn and gave them all a thorough beating in practically every benchmark.
Conclusion: Dell’s XPS 15 is a valiant attempt to compete with the best premium notebooks but, ultimately, it falls a bit short. The blame for this lies with the display, which pads the price but doesn’t add much to the user experience. Is it sharp? Certainly. But poor black levels sap contrast and ultimately sour the overall package.
Pros: Attractive and durable exterior, Very thin and light for a 15.6” laptop, Four USB 3.0 ports, Bright 3200 x 1800 display, Quick, well-rounded performance
Cons: Expensive, Display lacks contrast, Loud fan at load
Summary: I'm sexy and I know it. The Dell XPS 15 is a multimedia powerhouse with premium-level features. The most recent version of the notebook series, which has been around for quite a few generations, not only brings changes to the design, but also updates to the internal components.
Pros: High-end materials, Sturdy chassis and superb build quality, Upgradable by the user, High display brightness and contrast, Very sharp picture, Very high performance, Good battery life, Dell's premium notebook affirms its status without any compromises.
Cons: Frequent rendering issues due to the high resolution under Windows, Highly reflective display, High temperatures under load, Expensive, Windows 8.1 should be able to handle the high-resolution display without any issues.
Conclusion: The Dell XPS 15 is a well-rounded mainstream multimedia machine that will give you plenty of power while still being portable enough to carry around if needed. The design is attractive enough, and the machine is comfortable to use. We’re fans of the beautiful HD display; though it lacks a touchscreen, it doesn’t make Windows 8 any harder than necessary. It’s unfortunate that it gets so hot and that the line’s legendary audio quality isn’t what it used to be.
Pros: Attractive and comfortable design, Good touchpad, Beautiful full HD display, Robust performance
Cons: No dedicated number pad, Speaker placement diminishes audio quality, Gets noticeably warm
Conclusion: Despite its thin profile, it may not be the best choice for frequent travel, but it's certainly not out of the question, and you'll get a full day's worth of battery life if you're unable to plug in. With its superb battery life, solid productivity performance, top-shelf parts, and premium design, the 2012 Dell XPS 15 earns our Editors' Choice award for mainstream entertainment notebooks.
Pros: Strong all-around performance, Long battery life, Sturdy, stylish design