Dell XPS 15 OLED 2021
“The Dell XPS 15 is all you might need in a strong 15-inch laptop computer.”
Superior construct high quality
Wonderful inventive and productiveness efficiency
Good keyboard and superior touchpad
Attractive OLED show
What do you do to make the very best 15-inch laptop computer 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 alter what’s on the within as an alternative. That’s precisely what Dell did with the 2021 refresh of the XPS 15, which provides 11th-gen Intel H-series CPUs and the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti to considerably improve 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 cheap laptop computer. However as we’ll see, you get what you pay for with the XPS 15 — a laptop computer that does what it must do to hold on to the crown.
Mark Coppock/Digital Developments
My spouse, who not often feedback on the laptops I evaluate, known as the XPS 15 “lovely.” That’s excessive reward, and it’s well-deserved for this remarkably designed laptop computer. It’s arduous to make simplicity stand out, however that’s what Dell has accomplished. 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 strains, 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 massive chin hidden beneath 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 feel and appear 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 wherever within the lid, keyboard deck, or chassis. The machined aluminum mixed with the carbon or glass fiber provides the XPS 15 a way of sturdiness that you just received’t discover in lots of different laptops. The Spectre x360 15 and Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Excessive Gen three are as inflexible, however I wrestle to think about one other 15-inch laptop computer that feels as stable. Even the XPS 15’s hinge works higher than most, permitting the laptop computer 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 a substantial 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 computer for such a strong machine, coming in at narrower than each the Spectre x360 15 and ThinkPad X1 Excessive Gen three. It’s barely deeper than the Spectre because of the taller 16:10 show, and it’s nonetheless shallower than the ThinkPad even provided that laptop computer’s old-school 16:9 panel. The XPS 15 is available in at zero.71 inches thick in comparison with the ThinkPad X1 Excessive Gen three at zero.72 inches and the Spectre x360 15 at zero.79 inches.
Lastly, the XPS 15 weighs four.31 kilos with the OLED show and 86 watt-hour battery, in comparison with the Spectre at four.23 kilos and the ThinkPad at three.75 kilos. General, that makes the XPS 15 a smaller laptop computer that’s barely heavier and feels denser in hand, which isn’t a horrible factor at these weights — none of those laptops are significantly heavy for bigger machines.
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 four help, a full-size SD card reader, and a three.5mm audio jack. Dell does embrace 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 can be welcome to creators, although, in comparison with the microSD card readers you sometimes discover on fashionable laptops. Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 present wi-fi connectivity through the Killer AX1650 chipset.
You may configure the XPS 15 with a variety of Intel 11th-gen H-series processors, from the Core i5-11400H to the Core i9-11900H. My evaluate unit was outfitted with the Core i7-11800H, a quick Eight-core, 16-thread CPU that has carried out properly in different machines, together with 16GB of RAM (as much as a whopping 64GB could be configured) and a 512GB PCIe solid-state drive (SSD and as much as 4TB could 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 anticipate this mixture to carry out properly 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 operating. It does significantly properly towards the XPS 17 that advantages from a bigger chassis and even higher thermals than the very well-designed XPS 15.
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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 operating 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. In case you bump as much as the Core i9 mannequin, you’ll most likely exceed the Ryzen 7’s efficiency. The XPS 15 additionally did properly within the PCMark 10 Full benchmark, scoring within the higher echelon of the laptops we’ve examined and doing significantly properly 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 outfitted the XPS 15 with its energy utility to tune the CPU for decrease warmth and fan noise whereas limiting efficiency or operating 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 properly beneath the XPS 17’s 692 (with the sooner 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.
General, the XPS 15’s refresh has elevated its efficiency sufficient to make it well worth the effort, and it’s one of many sooner 15-inch laptops you’ll discover — particularly for such a skinny and light-weight machine. In fact, it flies by way of 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.
3DMark Time Spy
Civilization VI (1080p Extremely)
Dell XPS 15 OLED 2021 (Core i7-11800H)
1513 / 9979
1544 / 8299
Dell XPS 15 (Core i7-10875H)
1314 / 7549
Dell XPS 17 (Core i7-11800H)
1525 / 10145
1568 / 8801
LG Gram 16 (Core i7-1165G7)
1394 / 4137
1573 / 5454
Lenovo Legion 5 Professional (Ryzen 7 5800H)
1430 / 11195
1460 / 7227
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, significantly 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 operating 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 just a few fps of different RTX 3050 Ti laptops. The XPS 15 makes for an excellent entry-level gaming laptop computer regardless of its slower-clocked GPU.
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Dell gives a number of 15.6-inch 16:10 shows for the XPS 15. You may select a Full HD+ (1,920 x 1,200) non-touch show, a three.5K (three,456 x 2,160) OLED contact show, and a UHD+ (three,840 x 2,400) IPS contact show. The latter two help Dolby Imaginative and prescient excessive dynamic vary (HDR) for wonderful Netflix binging (though, learn on). My evaluate unit was outfitted with the three.5K OLED show, and it’s drop-dead attractive. Colours pop, blacks are inky, and it’s brilliant sufficient to make use of outdoors (though possibly not in direct Southern California daylight). I’m unsure why Dell opted for the three.5K decision versus true 4K, given how superior the latter could be for watching 4K HDR media, however the show is sharp sufficient for the rest you’ll need to use it for. Subjectively, that is one superior show.
This is a superb show that matches up properly for creators with the XPS 15’s efficiency.
My colorimeter agreed with me. Colours had been intensive, at 99% of AdobeRGB and 100% of sRGB, they usually had been additionally spectacularly correct with a DeltaE of zero.49 (1.zero or much less is taken into account wonderful). 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. Examine this with the AMOLED show on the HP Spectre x360 15, and also you’ll discover equally huge 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 nearly as correct at zero.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 properly for creators with the XPS 15’s efficiency. It’s additionally a stunning show for productiveness employees who will recognize 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 perimeters — pump out tons of quantity with zero distortion. There’s extra bass than typical, and mids and highs are clear and nice. That is the very best set of Home windows 10 laptop computer 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 except you need your privateness — this audio system will greater than suffice to your Netflix binging and music listening wants.
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Keyboard and touchpad
The XPS 15’s keyboard is spacious with massive keycaps and light-weight 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 computer I used, the XPS 13. There’s a motive 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 might help lengthy typing classes with out fatigue, however I did miss the exact response supplied 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 gives 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.
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The XPS 15’s touchpad is big by Home windows 10 requirements, because of the copious quantity of palm relaxation afforded by the taller show and Dell’s resolution 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 the very best touchpad you’ll discover on a Home windows 10 laptop computer (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 internet pages with my thumb.
Home windows 10 Hiya password-less login help is supplied by a fingerprint reader embedded within the energy button and an infrared digicam for facial recognition. Each labored completely, logging me within the minute I pressed the facility button if I went that route or instantly on waking up the laptop computer if I enabled facial recognition.
Dell doesn’t present any webcam privateness possibility. That’s a disgrace as a result of the characteristic has change into an ordinary on premium laptops.
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Dell knocked most battery capability from 97 watt-hours all the way down to 86 watt-hours on the brand new XPS 15 design, however usable battery life truly improved in some areas. In our internet searching 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 outfitted 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 anticipate 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 Purposes battery benchmark, the very 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 net searching 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 thought of what’s doable, the LG Gram 16 with a Core i7-1165G7 and WQXGA (2,560 x 1,600) IPS show lasted for a spectacular 17.Eight 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.
General, these outcomes are fairly good for a machine of the XPS 15’s caliber. It’s fully doable to make it by way of a complete workday on a single cost, not one thing I’d have anticipated. In fact, you’ll have to hold your charger useful should you’re doing something intensive, however for common productiveness work, the XPS 15 is a surprisingly long-lasting laptop computer.
The Dell XPS 15 is the very best 15-inch laptop computer you should purchase. Much more than that, it’s probably the greatest laptops out there right this moment, interval. It’s lovely, evokes a direct sense of high quality the minute you contact it, and performs extraordinarily properly. You’ll most likely love the keyboard, you’ll positively love the touchpad, and the three.5K OLED show is superior.
You could possibly complain concerning the value if you need, however that might be foolish. Sure, the XPS 15 is pricey, however Dell clearly put a ton of engineering into crafting this luxury and highly effective laptop computer — and that’s well worth the cash.
Are there any alternate options?
Frankly, there aren’t many 15-inch laptops that I’d suggest as critical alternate options. The HP Spectre x360 15 gives good efficiency and its personal attractive OLED show if you need the flexibleness of a convertible 2-in-1, and it’s inexpensive. So there’s one possibility.
You could possibly bounce as much as the XPS 17 and get even higher efficiency, the identical construct high quality, and a show that — whereas not OLED — gives wonderful colours, brightness, and distinction. It, too, is pricey, so hold that in thoughts when selecting.
In case you actually need to avoid wasting cash, you might additionally take into account the HP Envy 15. It’s additionally quick and gives a fair sooner GPU, together with an AMOLED show that’s simply pretty much as good as Dell’s OLED model.
How lengthy will it final?
Without end. No, severely, the XPS 15 will final you so long as you’ll need to use it, with a construct that may face up to abuse and a configuration that may hold Home windows 10 buzzing alongside for years. You may also improve the RAM to 64GB should you discover the configured 16GB in our evaluate unit too little and add a second SSD to increase storage.
The one-year guarantee is disappointing for such an costly laptop computer, however at the very least it gives on-site service.
Do you have to purchase it?
Sure. In case you’re in search of a 15-inch laptop computer that’s as lovely as it’s highly effective, look no additional.