As a primarily console gamer, I was thrilled at the chance of reviewing such a beast of a laptop. Now this laptop is not advertised as a gaming machine, but when you see the specs you will find that hard to believe. This review will not be the most technical you have ever seen, because this is all new to me. But if you’re like me, and you’re at the start of your PC gaming journey then this might just be helpful to you. Now about those specs:
CPU: 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ (quad-core, 6MB cache, up to 3.8GHz)
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 (4GB GDDR5); Intel HD Graphics 630
RAM: 32GB DDR4
Screen: 15.6-inch, UHD (3,840 x 2,160) InfinityEdge touch display
Storage: 512GB SSD
Ports: 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB-C (Thunderbolt 3) w/ PowerShare, 1 x HDMI 1.4, SD card reader, headset jack
Connectivity: Killer 1535 802.11ac 2×2 WiFi; Bluetooth 4.1
Camera: 720p widescreen HD webcam with dual array digital microphones
Weight: 4 pounds (1.8kg)
Size: 14.06 x 9.27 x 0.45 – 0.66 inches (357 x 235 x 11 – 17mm; W x D x H)
The design of this laptop is astonishing for the power it has. When closed it is a mere 17mm at it’s widest point and it weighs less than 2KG. This Makes it perfect for anyone who travels and likes to work on the go; it will fit in most back packs or any laptop case and won’t give you back ache while you walk to the station. When opening the lid you are greeted by a very sleek design, very simple and understated. The keyboard is one of the only issues I had with the XPS. It’s a bit smaller than any keyboard I have used previously and the ‘A’ key and ‘Caps Lock’ seem to be a little out of allignment, meaning I would hit the wrong key quite often. A little frustrating but I’m sure repeated use would alleviate this.
Lets move on to the display: This thing looks better than my TV, it is stunning. The Infinity Edge adds a real sense of class to this machine by not having a chunky black border around whatever you may be viewing. This does pose an issue for the webcam placement, which is underneath your screen, so any Skype chats you may have with friends or loved ones will have them seeing how your double chin has grown over the festive season. Images and videos are so crisp and almost rise off the screen due to the stunning 4K resolution. I used some YouTube 4K videos to put the display to the test, and was mesmerised while viewing all the incredibly detailed colours and the intense depth of everything I viewed.
Now as a gamer, the XPS’s ability to play games was the primary focus for me. Having spoken to some of my PC gaming buddies and showing them the specs of the XPS I got excited by their responses. They couldn’t believe that this was housing an i7, 32GB of RAM, 312GB SSD and of course an Nvidia GeForce 1050. To a layman like me these were just a bunch of fancy words and numbers, so I decided to take a much more hands on approach and play some games. I started small and downloaded an old favourite, Minecraft. Because of the issues I had with the keyboard, I used a dongle to connect an Xbox One controller to the XPS, the connection was very simple to do and held strong throughout the review process. I loaded in to Minecraft very easily, I loaded up a new world and maxed out the chunk loading, no issues whatsoever, but that was to be expected. I then downloaded a few different texture packs, to see if I could start to find any issues, and still we had none. Test number one passed with flying colours.
Next I decided to boot up the game I have been playing the most lately, Fortnite: Battle Royale(Review coming soon) to see how it compared to playing on the PS4. Again the control link was flawless, and even changed the menu in game to match. I jumped right into a game, and the game looked great, even on a smaller screen. I decided to delve further into the world of graphic settings, and just turned them all up to 11, or ultra as they’re more commonly known. The difference was great, the game felt a lot more crisp and there was little to no noticeable negative difference in the frame rate. Now remember that I am a console gamer, if you are a PC gamer and you give this a go, you will probably notice a lot more than me. This is the first time for me using a machine like this and I was very impressed.
I then moved on to something way more graphically demanding, ARK: Survival Evolved. I mean who doesn’t love a bit of Dino Hunting with incredible detail. Again I ramped it up to Ultra and had a go. I did have to change the settings to get rid of motion blur, as the frame rate took a big hit when it was active. Other than that the game looked very impressive, the textures for the character models were a bit off but this was down to the game and not the machine, everything else looked great. You could tell the XPS was working its hardest at this point, you could hear the internal fans going into over-drive, I thought it might take off. I put the settings down to high and found that the game played a lot better. Even though the graphics card is held in such high regard, it was struggling at this point and I feel that a game that was very big graphically wouldn’t be able to run on any higher settings than medium; games like GTAV or Call of Duty: WW2 for instance.
I am by no means artistic when it comes to photo editing, but when you have this many pixels at your disposal it would be rude not to have a play around with photo editing software. I downloaded some high res images from Google and played around; trying my best to make the most of the amazing depth you can get with this display. Safe to say the results won’t be going up in any gallery any time soon. However, it did give me a much better scope of how much you can do on the XPS.
Overall I would certainly recommend this machine to someone who is looking for a top of the range, all round laptop. If you’re looking for a high end gaming laptop then in all honesty this isn’t the one for you. Take a look at our Alienware 17 R4 review if that is what you’re after. The display is beautiful; it is almost a shame that there is touch screen functionality, as I found myself wiping fingerprints off to get back to admiring the resolution. If you want a laptop that can do a bit of everything, and aren’t too fussed with running games at their max settings, then this may be worth a purchase. Our review model had the best of everything installed. And with these specs the price range would be very high. But if you reduce the RAM and the SSD, you can find them for a reasonable price.