Dell XPS 15 9510 OLED Review: The Greatest Retains Getting Higher

Dell XPS 15 OLED 2021

MSRP $2,400.00

“The Dell XPS 15 is all you might need in a robust 15-inch laptop.”

Professionals

  • Superior construct high quality
  • Stunning aesthetic
  • Wonderful artistic and productiveness efficiency
  • Good keyboard and superior touchpad
  • Beautiful OLED show

What do you do to make one of the best 15-inch laptop even higher? Nicely, you don’t change what’s on the surface. It already has a killer design and a very good OLED display.

As a substitute, you modify what’s on the within as an alternative. That’s precisely what Dell did with the 2021 refresh of the XPS 15, which provides Eleventh-gen Intel H-series CPUs and the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti to considerably enhance efficiency.

I reviewed the XPS 15 with a Core i7-11800H CPU and the RTX 3050 Ti, which runs a cool $2,400. This isn’t a reasonable laptop. However as we’ll see, you get what you pay for with the XPS 15 — a laptop that does what it must do to hold on to the crown.

Design

Dell XPS 15 OLED laptop sitting on a small table. View of the backside.Mark Coppock/Digital Tendencies

My spouse, who hardly ever feedback on the laptops I review, known as the XPS 15 “stunning.” That’s excessive reward, and it’s well-deserved for this remarkably designed laptop. It’s arduous to make simplicity stand out, however that’s what Dell has performed. The XPS 15 doesn’t have the extravagant gem-cut aesthetic of the HP Spectre x360 15, for instance, with contrasting colours and extensively chamfered and angled edges.

As a substitute, the XPS 15 has squeaky clear traces, a silver aluminum lid and chassis backside with soft-touch black carbon fiber or white glass fiber keyboard deck, and double-anodized chrome edges that resist scratches and pull the design collectively. The tiny show bezels afford a real 92.9% screen-to-body ratio (no giant chin hidden underneath the again of the keyboard deck) that makes the taller 16:10 display appear to drift within the air. In brief, the XPS 15 has a cohesive appear and feel that’s unmatched amongst 15-inch laptops.

And the XPS 15 doesn’t simply look nice. It’s additionally stable as a rock, with no bending, flexing, or twisting anyplace within the lid, keyboard deck, or chassis. The machined aluminum mixed with the carbon or glass fiber offers the XPS 15 a way of sturdiness that you simply received’t discover in lots of different laptops. The Spectre x360 15 and Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Excessive Gen 3 are as inflexible, however I wrestle to think about one other 15-inch laptop that feels as stable. Even the XPS 15’s hinge works higher than most, permitting the laptop to simply open with one hand, but firmly holding the show in place. These are all traits shared with different XPS laptops just like the XPS 13 and XPS 17, and it’s apparent that Dell has paid an excessive amount of consideration to creating laptops that exude high quality.

If the XPS 15 has one weak point in its design, it’s connectivity.

The XPS 15 can be a remarkably small laptop for such a robust machine, coming in at narrower than each the Spectre x360 15 and ThinkPad X1 Excessive Gen 3. It’s barely deeper than the Spectre due to the taller 16:10 show, and it’s nonetheless shallower than the ThinkPad even provided that laptop’s old-school 16:9 panel. The XPS 15 is available in at 0.71 inches thick in comparison with the ThinkPad X1 Excessive Gen 3 at 0.72 inches and the Spectre x360 15 at 0.79 inches.

Lastly, the XPS 15 weighs 4.31 kilos with the OLED show and 86 watt-hour battery, in comparison with the Spectre at 4.23 kilos and the ThinkPad at 3.75 kilos. Total, that makes the XPS 15 a smaller laptop that’s barely heavier and feels denser in hand, which isn’t a horrible factor at these weights — none of those laptops are notably heavy for bigger machines.

Left side view of the Dell XPS 15 OLED laptop. Two Micro USB ports.
Right side view of the Dell XPS 15 OLED laptop. Micro USB port and SD card reader.

If the XPS 15 has a weak point in its design, it’s connectivity. You’ll discover simply three USB-C ports, two with Thunderbolt 4 assist, a full-size SD card reader, and a 3.5mm audio jack. Dell does embody a USB-C to HDMI and USB-A adapter, which is a plus, however it’s unlucky to wish dongles in any respect. The SD card reader will probably be welcome to creators, although, in comparison with the microSD card readers you usually discover on trendy laptops. Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 present wi-fi connectivity through the Killer AX1650 chipset.

Efficiency

You possibly can configure the XPS 15 with a spread of Intel Eleventh-gen H-series processors, from the Core i5-11400H to the Core i9-11900H. My review unit was geared up with the Core i7-11800H, a quick 8-core, 16-thread CPU that has carried out effectively in different machines, together with 16GB of RAM (as much as a whopping 64GB may be configured) and a 512GB PCIe solid-state drive (SSD and as much as 4TB may be ordered). Two SSD slots imply that you might set up twin 4TB SSDs for a complete of 8TB of storage.

You’ll additionally discover an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti discrete GPU inside, which lives close to the underside of the RTX line however nonetheless beats built-in graphics by a rustic mile. You’d count on this mix to carry out effectively in demanding duties like video modifying and others that enchantment to each creators and productiveness energy customers.

In our benchmarks, the XPS 15 was an admirable performer. We didn’t run all the identical checks on the 2020 XPS 15, however the place now we have overlap, the brand new mannequin is quicker. That’s to be anticipated. The brand new XPS 15 doesn’t dominate our comparability group, however it’s proper there within the working. It does notably effectively towards the XPS 17 that advantages from a bigger chassis and even higher thermals than the very well-designed XPS 15.

Dell XPS 15 OLED laptop sitting on a small table.Mark Coppock/Digital Tendencies

Trying on the CPU-intensive benchmarks, our Handbrake take a look at that encodes a 420MB video to H.265 and Cinebench R23, the XPS 15 competes strongly towards the XPS 17 and the Lenovo Legion 5 Professional working the AMD Ryzen 7 5800H. The Ryzen chips are speedy at CPU-intensive duties, and so the XPS 15’s rating right here is spectacular. If you happen to bump as much as the Core i9 mannequin, you’ll most likely exceed the Ryzen 7’s efficiency. The XPS 15 additionally did effectively within the PCMark 10 Full benchmark, scoring within the higher echelon of the laptops we’ve examined and doing notably effectively within the Content material Creation portion of the take a look at.

On the Pugetbench take a look at, which makes use of Adobe Premiere Professional to carry out a number of brutal duties, the XPS 15 scored 507. Dell has geared up the XPS 15 with its energy utility to tune the CPU for decrease warmth and fan noise whereas limiting efficiency or working flat-out in efficiency mode. In all our different checks, the utility made no distinction in efficiency, however in Pugetbench, efficiency mode boosted the rating to 590. That’s effectively underneath the XPS 17’s 692 (with the quicker RTX 3060) however nearer to the Legion 5 Professional’s 622. That makes the XPS 15, which advantages from each a quick CPU and a discrete GPU that may pace up some duties in Adobe apps, a robust performer for Adobe creators — though not the strongest we’ve seen.

Total, the XPS 15’s refresh has elevated its efficiency sufficient to make it definitely worth the effort, and it’s one of many quicker 15-inch laptops you’ll discover — particularly for such a skinny and lightweight machine. In fact, it flies by productiveness duties and received’t decelerate it doesn’t matter what you throw at it. As alluded to earlier, it really works for each cellular creators and productiveness energy customers.

Laptop computer 3DMark Time Spy Cinebench R23 Geekbench 5 Handbrake
(seconds)
PCMark 10 Fortnite
(1080p Epic)
Civilization VI (1080p Extremely)
Dell XPS 15 OLED 2021 (Core i7-11800H) 4540 1513 / 9979 1544 / 8299 101 6024 50 fps 73 fps
Dell XPS 15 (Core i7-10875H) 3860 n/a 1314 / 7549 122 n/a 60 fps 53 fps
Dell XPS 17 (Core i7-11800H) 7039 1525 / 10145 1568 / 8801 n/a 6209 78 fps 104 fps
LG Gram 16 (Core i7-1165G7) 1390 1394 / 4137 1573 / 5454 213 4827 13 fps n/a
Lenovo Legion 5 Professional (Ryzen 7 5800H) 9175 1430 / 11195 1460 / 7227 99 n/a 101 fps 114 fps

The RTX 3050 Ti that Dell put in within the XPS 15 is proscribed to 45 watts, regardless of technically being rated to run as much as 80 watts. Due to this fact, it’s not the quickest iteration of the chip you’ll discover. Theoretically, that limits its efficiency, notably in gaming. In our testing, although, the XPS 15 was an excellent performer, scoring 4540 within the 3DMark Time Spy take a look at. That’s a stable end result for laptops working the RTX 3050 Ti.

It managed 73 frames per second (fps) in Civilization VI at 1080p and extremely graphics, which beat out the Acer Swift X with the identical GPU and a Ryzen 7 5800U that hit 66 fps and the 2020 XPS 15 at 53 fps. Lastly, in Fortnite, the XPS 15 managed 50 fps at 1200p and epic graphics, oddly behind the 2020 XPS 15 however inside a couple of fps of different RTX 3050 Ti laptops. The XPS 15 makes for an excellent entry-level gaming laptop regardless of its slower-clocked GPU.

Show

Dell XPS 15 OLED screen.Mark Coppock/Digital Tendencies

Dell gives a number of 15.6-inch 16:10 shows for the XPS 15. You possibly can select a Full HD+ (1,920 x 1,200) non-touch show, a 3.5K (3,456 x 2,160) OLED contact show, and a UHD+ (3,840 x 2,400) IPS contact show. The latter two assist Dolby Imaginative and prescient excessive dynamic vary (HDR) for glorious Netflix binging (though, learn on). My review unit was geared up with the three.5K OLED show, and it’s drop-dead beautiful. Colours pop, blacks are inky, and it’s vivid sufficient to make use of outdoors (though perhaps not in direct Southern California daylight). I’m undecided why Dell opted for the three.5K decision versus true 4K, given how superior the latter can be for watching 4K HDR media, however the show is sharp sufficient for anything you’ll wish to use it for. Subjectively, that is one superior show.

This is a superb show that matches up effectively for creators with the XPS 15’s efficiency.

My colorimeter agreed with me. Colours had been in depth, at 99% of AdobeRGB and 100% of sRGB, and so they had been additionally spectacularly correct with a DeltaE of 0.49 (1.0 or much less is taken into account glorious). Brightness wasn’t as excessive as some OLED shows at 381, however that’s nothing to complain about. Distinction got here in at a gaudy 381,130:1, which accounts for the inky blacks. Evaluate this with the AMOLED show on the HP Spectre x360 15, and also you’ll discover equally broad colours and excessive distinction, though the Spectre was barely brighter at 405 nits and never as correct at 1.29.

The 2020 XPS 15’s 4K IPS show was simply as colourful and virtually as correct at 0.65 and far brighter at 442 nits. Its distinction was 1480:1, excessive for an IPS show however not as otherworldly because the XPS 15’s OLED panel.

Subjectively or objectively, this is a superb show that matches up effectively for creators with the XPS 15’s efficiency. It’s additionally a stunning show for productiveness employees who will admire the luscious colours and the black textual content that leaps off white backgrounds.

The XPS 15’s audio can be spectacular. 4 audio system — two upward-firing flanking the keyboard and two firing down and to the edges — pump out tons of quantity with zero distortion. There’s extra bass than common, and mids and highs are clear and nice. That is one of the best set of Home windows 10 laptop audio system I’ve personally examined, with solely the MacBook Professional’s audio system being higher. You don’t want to fret about carrying round a set of headphones until you need your privateness — this audio system will greater than suffice on your Netflix binging and music listening wants.

Closeup on the Dell XPS 15 OLED laptop's right size speaker.Mark Coppock/Digital Tendencies

Keyboard and touchpad

The XPS 15’s keyboard is spacious with giant keycaps and lightweight grey lettering. There’s loads of journey and a lightweight contact that’s constant throughout the keyboard, though I discovered the bottoming motion to be much less snappy than I bear in mind on the final XPS laptop I used, the XPS 13. There’s a cause for that — the XPS 13 keyboard has much less journey, so Dell tuned the mechanism with extra of a snap.

The XPS 15 has a cushty really feel that will assist lengthy typing classes with out fatigue, however I did miss the exact response offered by the XPS 13. I just like the keyboard on HP’s Spectre line fairly a bit extra — it, too, has loads of journey, however it’s additionally snappier and supplies extra suggestions for every keystroke. Many individuals will love the XPS 15’s keyboard, so I received’t fault it, however it’s not my private favourite.

Image of the Dell XPS 15 OLED's keyboard and trackpad.Mark Coppock/Digital Tendencies

The XPS 15’s touchpad is large by Home windows 10 requirements, due to the copious quantity of palm relaxation afforded by the taller show and Dell’s determination to fill most of it with touchable floor space. It’s a pleasure to make use of, with soft-click buttons and a easy glass floor that feels extremely expansive. In fact, the touchpad helps Microsoft’s Precision drivers, so Home windows 10’s multitouch gestures are dependable and responsive. It’s one of the best touchpad you’ll discover on a Home windows 10 laptop (subsequent to the XPS 17). As well as, the OLED show is touch-enabled, and I appreciated that as I tapped on-screen buttons and scrolled lengthy net pages with my thumb.

Home windows 10 Good day password-less login assist is offered by a fingerprint reader embedded within the energy button and an infrared camera for facial recognition. Each labored completely, logging me within the minute I pressed the ability button if I went that route or instantly on waking up the laptop if I enabled facial recognition.

Dell doesn’t present any webcam privateness possibility. That’s a disgrace as a result of the characteristic has grow to be an ordinary on premium laptops.

Battery life

Close up on the Dell XPS 15 OLED's bezels and screen.Mark Coppock/Digital Tendencies

Dell knocked most battery capability from 97 watt-hours right down to 86 watt-hours on the brand new XPS 15 design, however usable battery life really improved in some areas. In our net shopping take a look at, the XPS 15 managed over 9 hours, whereas the 2020 XPS 15 achieved simply seven hours on this take a look at, and it was geared up with a 4K IPS show. The Spectre x360 15, with its 4K OLED show and 82 watt-hours of battery, hit simply six hours. Sure, the XPS 15’s show isn’t fairly 4K, however it’s shut sufficient that we shouldn’t count on to see 50% extra battery life. Within the video take a look at that loops a neighborhood Full HD Avengers trailer, the XPS 15 hit 11.15 hours. Many laptops exceed 14 hours on this take a look at, however they don’t have power-hungry high-resolution OLED shows. And the 2020 XPS 15 managed simply seven hours on the take a look at, making the brand new model’s outcomes considerably higher by comparability.

I additionally examined utilizing the PCMark 10 Functions battery benchmark, one of the best take a look at of typical productiveness battery life. The XPS 15 endured simply eight hours of this take a look at, lower than I anticipated given the online shopping outcomes. We didn’t take a look at the 2020 XPS 15 with the benchmark, and the Spectre x360 15 got here in at 6.5 hours. We don’t have many different related comparisons, that’s, 15-inch laptops with H-series CPUs and OLED shows, however to get an concept of what’s attainable, the LG Gram 16 with a Core i7-1165G7 and WQXGA (2,560 x 1,600) IPS show lasted for a spectacular 17.8 hours within the take a look at. Within the PCMark 10 Gaming battery take a look at, which pushes the CPU and GPU, the XPS 15 made it to about 1.5 hours. That’s typical for the extra highly effective laptops we’ve examined and demonstrated that the XPS 15 retains up the pace whereas on battery.

Total, these outcomes are fairly good for a machine of the XPS 15’s caliber. It’s solely attainable to make it by a whole workday on a single cost, not one thing I’d have anticipated. In fact, you’ll must hold your charger helpful for those who’re doing something intensive, however for basic productiveness work, the XPS 15 is a surprisingly long-lasting laptop.

Our take

The Dell XPS 15 is one of the best 15-inch laptop you should purchase. Much more than that, it’s among the best laptops accessible as we speak, interval. It’s stunning, evokes an instantaneous sense of high quality the minute you contact it, and performs extraordinarily effectively. You’ll most likely love the keyboard, you’ll undoubtedly love the touchpad, and the three.5K OLED show is superior.

You may complain in regards to the value if you need, however that will be foolish. Sure, the XPS 15 is pricey, however Dell clearly put a ton of engineering into crafting this luxury and highly effective laptop — and that’s definitely worth the cash.

Are there any options?

Frankly, there aren’t many 15-inch laptops that I’d advocate as severe options. The HP Spectre x360 15 gives good efficiency and its personal beautiful OLED show if you need the pliability of a convertible 2-in-1, and it’s cheaper. So there’s one possibility.

You may soar as much as the XPS 17 and get even higher efficiency, the identical construct high quality, and a show that — whereas not OLED — supplies glorious colours, brightness, and distinction. It, too, is pricey, so hold that in thoughts when selecting.

If you happen to actually wish to avoid wasting cash, you might additionally contemplate the HP Envy 15. It’s additionally quick and gives an excellent quicker GPU, together with an AMOLED show that’s simply pretty much as good as Dell’s OLED model.

How lengthy will it final?

Endlessly. No, severely, the XPS 15 will final you so long as you’ll wish to use it, with a construct that may stand up to abuse and a configuration that can hold Home windows 10 buzzing alongside for years. You can even improve the RAM to 64GB for those who discover the configured 16GB in our review unit too little and add a second SSD to develop storage.

The one-year guarantee is disappointing for such an costly laptop, however at the very least it supplies on-site service.

Must you purchase it?

Sure. If you happen to’re on the lookout for a 15-inch laptop that’s as stunning as it’s highly effective, look no additional.

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