The last Dell laptop I reviewed was the Latitude Rugged Extreme which was a monstrous beast of a computer that could be operated inside a volcano. So reviewing the Dell XPS 15 2 in 1 has been a very different experience. This is an ultra-sleek, super-performing pinnacle of portable computing. You don’t want to be chasing hurricanes with this one.
Design and Display
I normally don’t get wowed by laptop displays as they usually aren’t anywhere near as impressive as what you can hook up to a desktop. But when I lifted the lid on the XPS 15 I actually paused for a moment to appreciate the view. The bezeling on the edges of the frame is only 5.7 mm wide which makes for a display that comes close to Dell’s own description of ‘virtually borderless’. For a laptop the display seems much larger than you would usually expect and this comes in very handy if you’re expecting to be playing a few videogames on it. The ultra 4k resolution (3840 X 2160) is pretty much astounding; you know when you’re rolling with 3000 more pixels than the Macbook Pro you’re in very good stead for all kinds of image editing as well as gaming.
Outside of the display the design is pretty standard fare for a Dell laptop. This model has a silver finish with a metallic Dell logo featured on the outside centre of the display panel. The hinges swing with a smooth but firm action to turn this laptop into a tablet and the panels lock in place with a secure feel to it. The weight is a respectable but manageable 4 pounds and its dimensions run between 11-17 mm in thickness. It’s a big piece of kit and more at home on a desk than on your lap. I must admit I found the 2 in 1 feature rather strange given the size of the screen. It might just be my lack of experience with fold-able laptops that become tablets but the XPS 15 felt quite unwieldy as a tablet and the screen didn’t automatically orient as I changed my holding position either. Generally speaking I can’t think of too many reasons why you’d need to switch a laptop this size into a tablet but I did find the touch screen very responsive and often quite handy when using it in laptop mode.
This piece of kit comes with an array of connectivity options that should satisfy pretty much any user. On its left side it sports a Thunderbolt 3-powered USB Type-C port. There are two other USB 3.0 ports on the laptop along with an HDMI 2.0 and a 3.5 mm headphone jack. On the top of the screen there’s also a handy webcam. It’s not the greatest camera you’ll ever work with but once you get it set right it will do the job.
Battery Life And Performance
This is where the XPS 15 really shines as it is decked out with the incredible 6 core 8th Gen Intel® Core™ processors. 32 GB of memory and the option for an NVIDIA® GeForce™ GTX 1050 mean this baby will handle almost everything you throw at it in terms of gaming. I tested it out with a cheap and easy Indie game like Pinstripe first before moving onto a more testing game like Bloodbowl 2. When the XPS 15 handle these without so much as blinking I graduated to Battlefield One and Wolfenstein: The New Collossus. I was genuinely impressed with what this laptop had to offer in terms of gaming. There was the odd flicker of frames here and there and a few hints of ghosting or screen tearing at the worst of times but by and large this laptop holds up like a champ.
The battery life is stated to come in at just under ten and a half hours and this is all fine and dandy but don’t be expecting it to last for half as long if your playing any serious games. That being said it certainly has a lot of juice if you’re up to day to day tasks or using it in tablet mode to browse the web. If you’re gaming you’re more than likely going to have the laptop hooked up to the mains so ni big worries there.