Timing is all the things within the PC enterprise, and the Dell XPS 15 9500, an overdue refresh to the corporate’s high-end workhorse, arrives simply in time for it to be actually thought-about the “MacBook Pro killer” it’s at all times aspired to be.
Yes, we all know “MacBook Pro killer” is overused Internet clickbait. But with Apple’s choice to throw within the towel on x86-based laptops, anybody shopping for a Mac at this time is basically volunteering to stand on the deck of the Titanic and wave as the last lifeboats pull away.
This evaluate is a part of our ongoing roundup of the best laptops. Go there for data on competing fashions and the way we examined them.
Some laptop computer refreshes will be pretty minor. For the XPS 15 9500 ($2,254 at Dell.com), it’s a whole redesign of a laptop computer that’s modified little since 2015, when it first adopted its “InfinityEdge” bezels.
On this mannequin, gone is the 16:9 show facet ratio that was prevalent for some years—superb for watching YouTube, not so nice for productiveness. In its place is a 16:10 facet ratio, 15.6-inch panel working 4K+ with HDR400 and Dolby Vision assist. The result’s a surprising all-screen look that’s prone to set the fashion for different laptop computer makers to emulate.
XPS 15 9500 Specs
The Dell XPS 15 9500 wouldn’t be a Dell XPS 15 with out top-shelf elements. As you may see from the spec listing that follows, it’s first-class all the best way. Note that the eval unit we examined has a Core i7 CPU, which we expect is a better option total than the Ninth-gen Core i9 within the Dell XPS 15 7590 we examined final fall. The Core i9 chip appeared to push that laptop computer’s thermals over the sting.
CPU: Intel 10th-gen 8-core Core i7-10875H
GPU: GeForce GTX 1650 Ti
RAM: 16GB DDR4/3200 in dual-channel mode and SO-DIMM slots.
Display: 4K UHD+ 3840 x 2400 Sharp IPS panel with contact
Storage: 512GB SK Hynix PC611 NVMe SSD
Networking: Killer WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5
Dimensions: 13.6 x 9 x 0.7 inches
Weight: 4.5 kilos, plus 1.5 kilos for the 130-watt energy brick
Battery: Rated at 85 Watt-hours
Ports: For ports, photos inform the story greatest. On the left aspect of the laptop computer you get a wedge-shaped lock port and two Thunderbolt 3 ports.
The proper aspect of the XPS 15 9500 provides you a SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps Type-C port that may hit 10Gbps transfers and assist USB Power Delivery charging and DisplayPort (with and adapter). You additionally get a UHS-III SD card reader and an analog audio jack.
Yes, there’s no sq. USB-A port on the XPS 15 9500, which is certain to chap some hides. We’ve complained about this since Dell jettisoned the USB-A on the XPS 13, however to no avail. Dell’s official motive has been to cut back the thickness of the laptop computer with out including drop-down jaws or port bulges. The unofficial motive, we suspect, is that if Apple will get away with it, why not Dell? When we imply “get away with it” we imply, folks nonetheless purchase Apple and Dell laptops by the truckloads, so possibly it’s simply us.
Beyond the lack of the USB-A although, is an total pattern to lose concurrent port use. The previous XPS 15 7590 featured two USB-A, one Thunderbolt 3, a full-size HDMI port, headset jack, SD Card slot, lock port and devoted charging port. That meant you may cost the older mannequin with an HDMI monitor plugged in in addition to a USB keyboard and USB mouse. With the XPS 15 9500, one USB-C port will at all times be occupied by the charger. A monitor (with adapter) would take one other port. Suddenly you’re right down to a single USB-C port for all the things else.
Fortunately, Dell mitigates this slightly by together with a USB-C dongle with a USB-A and HDMI adapter within the field. Dongles are yet one more accent to juggle, however a free dongle is best than none in any respect. You can guess what Apple does.
Card Reader Performance
Because the XPS 15 9500 is aimed toward content material creators, Dell spends invaluable actual property to combine an SD card reader into the laptop computer. Dell specs it as a UHS-III-capable slot, which suggests in concept, it will probably hit 600MBps in case you have a fast-enough card. Actual UHS-III SD playing cards are nonetheless almost inconceivable to search out, although, so for our check we used a 128GB SanDisk Extreme Pro card rated for 300MBps reads and 260MBps writes. We ran CrystalDiskMark 7.0’s normal check on the XPS 15 9500 and in contrast it to the outcomes of a SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-II USB reader.
The XPS 15 9500’s SD card slot outperformed a quick USB reader by 21 p.c in reads and 18 p.c in write speeds. If you’re copying over 100GB of video recordsdata you simply shot, that’s a major distinction.
Webcams are not the throwaway function they have been final yr. In the XPS 15 9500, it’s a 720p-resolution unit (as are the overwhelming majority) that’s built-in into the highest bezel. The module additionally helps infrared and works with Windows 10’s biometric Windows Hello function. If you don’t need to use your face to login, there’s additionally a fingerprint reader constructed into the facility button.
Overall, the webcam delivered picture high quality just like that of most present laptops in regular lighting. Unless you’re doing a video convention in a cave with Colonel Kurtz, it’s simply superb.
Laptop audio system typically run the gamut from medicore to worse. Sometimes, like within the case of the MSI GS66 Stealth, you virtually marvel if there are audio system inside–or the world’s smallest Kazoo band.
With the XPS 15 9500, Dell really integrates 4 audio system: two side-firing within the base, and two audio system that fireside up by way of 4,532 holes drilled by way of the keyboard deck. This provides the XPS 15 9500 legitimately the most effective audio we’ve heard in a small laptop computer shortly. No, this received’t match the annoying beat coming from the again of a lowered Honda Civic, nevertheless it will get decently loud with a great stability of highs, mids and lows. It might use a contact extra bass, however we suspect that’s asking an excessive amount of of a laptop computer this skinny. As it’s, the laptop computer is loud sufficient which you could really feel the vibrations by way of the keyboard deck in your palms if it’s turned as much as reasonably excessive quantity. (We’re undecided what may very well be performed besides add vibration insulation, which might make the laptop computer thicker and heavier.)
The audio system are branded Waves NX. Dell says they have been tuned by an Academy-Award-winning producer to enhance its immersive sound. Whether that’s simply advertising and marketing fluff we will’t say, nevertheless it does certainly sound very immersive, due to the mixture of the sound coming at you from the highest and the sound reflecting off a floor.
Keyboard and Trackpad
The elements of the laptop computer you contact most are the keyboard and trackpad. On the XPS 15 9500, you fortunately get a typical butterfly swap as a substitute of the corporate’s MagLev keyboard. That means good journey and pretty secure keys when depressed.
Much just like the MacE-book Pro, the trackpad is now large. It helps Microsoft’s Precision drivers for Windows 10’s gestures and is pretty easy, although not as buttered-glass easy as MSI’s GS66 Stealth. With its measurement, we have been involved about sending the cursor flying with our fats palms. But even when making an attempt, we couldn’t get our palms to maneuver the cursor.
There have been reported points with unfastened and wobbling trackpads on early XPS 15 9500 models. Dell reportedly has said it identified the problem, which has been corrected on newer models. Any laptops already within the area will probably be mounted.
So is a big trackpad higher? That’s exhausting to say. A bigger trackpad means you don’t want your finger to be as exact or as targeted in its actions because it must be on a smaller floor space. Your fingers additionally bodily have to maneuver farther. Overall, Dell has performed its homework on tuning the trackpad.
The trackpad remains to be a bodily clickpad as nicely, with a hinge design inserting the pivot level on the prime close to the keyboard. That means it’ll get progressively tougher to click on the trackpad as you progress farther up the floor. In comparability, Apple’s MacE-book Pro sequence doesn’t bodily transfer, as a substitute simulating clicks with haptic suggestions.
Which is best? Apple’s system will bug those that need their trackpads to really transfer. Because the clicks are pretend, nevertheless, there’s no want to extend stress close to the highest of the keyboard. To every their very own.
Keep studying to see the wonderful show, and efficiency benchmarks, in fact.