The minimalistic design is a selling point, but more than just a pretty face. The laptop’s sturdy base is carbon fiber with an aluminum display encasement that make for a strong 14.6 by 10 by 0.7 inch chassis that weighs in at about 4.4 pounds. The HD display is made of Corning Gorilla Glass and rocks a 3200 by 1800 pixel resolution. These stats mean razor sharp HD picture quality and an easy to clean screen that features 10 point touch support. A bit of glare is evident but not excessive. Standard ports and sockets housed along the sides include four USB sockets, an HDMI port, mini-display port and a 3-in-1 media card reader. The internal HD webcam is standard, as are the twin fans in the rear that cool the processor and video cards respectively.
Dell chose the Intel Cor
e i7-4702HQ quad-core processor for the XPS 15’s engine. It’s a strong chip that will have no problem running HD video and is fully capable of light video and photo editing. Those tasks are made easier by the impressive 16 gigabytes of DDR3L-1600 RAM. For a graphics card they chose Nvidia’s GeForce GT 750M, a reliable card boasting 2 gigabytes of GDDR5 memory. This powerful combination of chips will run most games, but at their lowest resolution. It is not so much a gaming laptop but a multi-media station. That being said, the XPS 15 scored incredibly well on industry benchmark tests like PCMark 7, wPrime and #DMark 11. These tests gauge a machine’s processing speed while multi-tasking several programs at once.
This iteration of Dell’s leading laptop falls behind in the connectivity department. The Intel Dual-Band Wireless-AC 7260 internet adapter’s performance in this machine has been the subject of scrutiny despite decent scores in connectivity tests. At least it supports Bluetooth 4.0 wireless devices.
The XPS 15 is available in different memory capacities, and it is this feature that most affects the price difference between models. The premium model comes in at about $2,399.99, and includes 512 gigabytes of Samsung mSATA solid state memory. Solid state memory is decidedly better than hard drive memory in speeds and durability. The base model is priced at $1,549.99 and includes a one terabyte hard drive.
This laptop’s battery life makes it worth a second look if some of it’s flaws have aroused your doubts. The 6-cell 91Wh battery will keep the equipment running for about seven hours of web surfing and typing, but that time drops down to around four to five hours during heavy workloads. Adjusting the screens brightness has a great effect on battery life.
Overall the XPS 15 by Dell is a strong machine if it matches your specific needs. It has enough punch to justify the hefty price tag, but certain flaws can get on the nerves of particular users. It seamlessly runs Windows 8.1 and high-definition video but can falter on the gaming side of things. The 1-year limited warranty is nothing to write home about but the image quality and processing speeds are dazzling.
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