Dell XPS 15 review
Not quite as classy as its predecessors, but the newly affordable XPS is a bona-fide entertainer
Review Date: 8 Dec 2010
Reviewed By: Sasha Muller
Price when reviewed: £582 (£684 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
The XPS' entertainment focus continues with its JBL-branded speakers. The speakers go loud without distorting, and they even sound rather good. They're helped no end by the presence of Waves' MaxxAudio 3 software. Waves is more commonly known for its studio-quality audio plugins, but here its technology helps make the speakers sound crisper and louder, with much deeper bass than you'd expect. It even managed to make some cheap headphones that we had lying about sound reasonably listenable.
But Dell, fortunately, doesn't neglect the basics: look around the XPS 15's chassis and there's all the connectivity you could ever ask for, including USB 3, mini-DisplayPort, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, eSATA, optical S/PDIF out, a memory card reader capable of accessing SD, Memory Stick and MMC cards, and Bluetooth 3. The only thing missing is dual-band 802.11n support.
There are some mild disappointments, however. The first is the display, which has a modest 1,366 x 768 resolution, and only middling image quality. Vertical viewing angles are narrow, and while colours are neutral it does have the tendency to smudge the darkest greys into black. Due to temporary supply limitations UK customers can't upgrade it to a Full HD panel right now, either, although Dell tells us that situation should soon be rectified.
The keyboard could be improved too. There's no issue with layout, and we don't even mind the fact that the top row of Function keys default to their secondary actions, but there's noticeable flex in the keyboard's base, which leaves it feeling a rattly and insubstantial. You could live with it, but it isn't the best in its class.
Aside from these minor niggles, though, Dell's XPS 15 offers a finely judged balance of performance and features at a very reasonable price. In fact, there's only one major stumbling block: that oh-so-alluring price is one of Dell's time-limited offers. When it goes back to the original £680 ticket, it won't be quite such an amazing deal, but it will still be a good desktop replacement for sensible money, and that makes it one worth recommending.
Author: Sasha Muller
Your Best Deals link is incorrect!
It points to a Panasonic Lumix camera on Amazon. Shame, I thought Christmas had come early....
By Throbinevans on 10 Dec 2010
make sure you buy the very expensive warranty, you'll need it...now on my 4th motherboard in my XPS M1730 premium DELL laptop
By JamesBub on 10 Dec 2010
I bought a Sony E-series, whilst the battery life maybe shorter, I got a Blu-Ray writer drive as a free upgrade & paid about £70 for a screen upgrade, the quality is better that the Dell & having had Dell PC's in the past & then being bombarded with unwanted emails, mailshots etc, I decided not to use Dell ever again.
By SKINHEAD1967 on 10 Dec 2010
You also can't get the same 'upgrades' as you can in the States, as usual with Dell.
By Ex_Sailor on 10 Dec 2010
My contact said that the Full-HD upgrade wouldn't be available straight away due to supply issues.
It may be that they're holding them back in readiness for the imminent upgrade to Sandy Bridge. Or they may simply be waiting for supply to increase.
I'll try to keep you posted!
By SashaMuller on 11 Dec 2010
I bought a Dell XPS 15 in December 2010. I find it extremely pleasurable to work with. Pros: good-looking, fast, excellent quality/price ratio. Cons: limited monitor viewing angles, monitor proportions (too wide, not high enough),weak battery. Overall an excellent desktop replacement.
PS: what is it with this fashion of very wide but not high enough monitors? I don't like it at all. Fortunately I use it mostly on my desk with another monitor attached.
By frapro on 17 Feb 2011
- EE confirms 4G network outage
- EU promises single telecoms market by 2015
- Samsung courts Android developers with $800,000 contest
- iOS 7: release date, features and more
- Yahoo promises not to "screw up" Tumblr
- Nook ebook readers to get browser and email access
- Google "cheated" UK taxpayers, says former exec
- Music and lights could trigger malware
- Apple vs Samsung battle moves to suppliers
- Outgoing Intel CEO: we could have powered the iPhone
- Hands on with the new Google Maps
- Nokia Lumia 925 review: first look
- Why I won't subscribe to Creative Cloud
- GoPro camera strapped to a remote-control helicopter: the ultimate boy's toy
- Acer Iconia A1 review: first look
- Acer Aspire P3 review: first look
- Acer Aspire R7 review: first look
- How we produce the PC Pro podcast
- Google Now draining iPhone battery
- The government website that doesn't work with IE, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Macs or smartphones
- Best smartphones for 2013
- The best broadband speed tests
- iPhone apps for business travel
- How to get a job as a mobile games developer
- 25 best Windows 8 apps
- Introducing Arduino - a simple Raspberry Pi alternative
- The tweeting spaceman
- Samsung Galaxy S4 vs HTC One
- 30 best web apps
- Getting started with HTML5
- How to boost your mobile reception
- How to fix Facebook: Social Fixer
- Taking the stress out of WordPress updates
- Where to download free web fonts
- Turn your tablet into a Sky+ remote control
- How to measure the success of a new IT system
- Three years on: the state of the tablet market
- Windows 8: what works and what doesn't
- Yes, I write down my passwords
- How to make money from apps
There are dozens of exciting prizes up for grabs on PC Pro Competitions. All our competitions are free to enter. Try your luck.ENTER NOW